Get a Job? Not in Tucson

To the Editor,

I found your recent article on Tucson's labor pains (February 28) very compelling.

I moved to Tucson almost three years ago from Seattle. I had just graduated from a top-ranked university and was looking to strike out into the world. My fiancée had previously worked at UMC as a nurse, and the climate was appealing so we set out for Tucson.

It was a massive mistake. While my girlfriend found work plentiful, she was the only one. I had five years of experience in the computer industry, and according to the rest of the nation was highly desirable. Not in Tucson. I soon found that while I was literally getting a job offer a week in Seattle, there was little if anything available here. The wages were half of what they were in Seattle. Experience and education were more of a liability than anything else. After taking a few temp jobs (where I was often supervised by someone with half the experience and little, if any, education) I found a part-time job working for a charter school. Twenty-five hours a week. When that ended, I was unable to find anything at all. The only offer I have had in the last eight months has been one from a call center for $8 an hour working from 6-9 a.m.

Could it be just me? I soon learned it wasn't. Two friends of mine recently graduated from the UA. Neither has been able to find anything other than call-center jobs or jobs working for $8 an hour in health care. Almost every college graduate I meet in this city suffers my fate. Under-employed. No prospects. Their education deemed worthless.

When I worked at the charter school (yes, I should have known better), many of the students had no aspiration for higher education. They would simply say, "I can work at AOL or get a job in construction." At first I though this was a waste of their talents. Now, I realize that they saw the writing on the wall.

Wanna make money in this town? Get a job at AOL or shake your tits at Ten's. It doesn't get any better.

--Robert Kennedy

Environmentalists, Go Home

To the Editor,

I can draw only one conclusion from reading Jim Nintzel's article "Growing Concern" (February 21). There is nothing more hypocritical than someone who moves to Arizona to join the battle against people moving to Arizona.

The article profiled Stephanie Sklar, who moved to Arizona from Washington, D.C., (in 1994) and now heads the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, a group whose main objectives include protecting Arizona from growth. The message is clear: it is OK for her to move to the desert, but, damn it, if everyone else moves here, the desert will be destroyed.

Another person mentioned in Sonoran Institute. According to that group's web site, he moved to Arizona from Washington D.C., where he was formerly "a Senior Associate with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Conservation Foundation." Propst, therefore, has credentials as a real environmentalist and, apparently, Nintzel considers Propst to be on the right side of the growth battle or he would not have included him in the article. Curiously, the Tucson Weekly of December 3, 1998 derided Propst as a "supposed environmentalist" and called the Sonoran Institute a "sham environmental group set up by Diamond." (As in Don Diamond, the developer.) The Weekly should make up its mind whether Propst is a good guy or a bad guy, and stick with it.

And don't think that these two are the only hypocrites in the anti-growth/save-the-desert movement. Most of the other activists in this movement are also newcomers. For example, the Center for Biological Diversity consists largely of folks that moved here from New England. They arrived in 1995 by way of Silver City, N.M.

Another activist group, Earth First!, moved here last year from Eugene, Ore. Their biggest beef is that there are too many people moving to Tucson! What with thousands of other environmentalists moving here, I guess they decided they could be closer to their friends if they moved here, too. Besides, it's way too hard to get a good arson fire going in Eugene because it rains there so much.

Carolyn Campbell, the head of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, is also a newcomer to Tucson. She moved to Tucson specifically to join the battle to save the desert from so many people moving to Tucson.

I can't really blame newcomers for wanting to be anti-growth environmental activists. When you are an environmentalist, you have no impact on the environment. It must be liberating knowing your water use does not stress the aquifer, your sewage doesn't stink, your garbage doesn't take up space in landfills and your car doesn't add to congestion or pollution. It is only other people who contribute to these problems.

If all the newcomer environmentalists who are truly concerned about growth in Arizona would go back to where they came from, the crisis would be over. So shut up and start packing

--Ray Harris

Export Chief of Prisons

To the Editor,

I find it beyond the beyonds to have Terry Stewart, Arizona Department of Corrections director, lament the lack of oversight at private prisons such as the Florence Correctional Center ("Bar Wars," March 7). To quote Mr. Stewart, "They don't have to follow any standards of operation except what's imposed by the company itself." This is a classic case of "You spot it, you got it." ADOC has had no oversight since 1995. Any grievances by inmates are responded to in a circular fashion; they go to a grievance officer who makes a personal response--deny, oppose or not warrant further investigation--and that's the end of the issue except for retaliation for grieving in the first place via "lockdown." Ask those in the know, the Arizona inmates, who endure a lot more than "time." Terry Stewart should be exported.

--Teresa Mulroy

Rhapsody of Nature

To the Editor,

Just wanted to drop a note to say how much I enjoyed the recent column by Lee Allen (Outdoors, March 7). His love of nature and fluidity with the written word combine for a very readable and enjoyable work of prose.

And while we may not necessarily agree on every one of the finer points of enjoying nature (Vienna weenies?), I'd say he's spot-on with his regard for the marvels of our natural desert climes.

The fact that decades ago Mr. Allen was one of my instructors at the UA has nothing to do with this tone of adulation (I believe I passed his class in broadcast journalism). It's just nice to see his musings on a regular basis.

--Michael Serres

Spring Fever

To the Editor,

When urging readers to reckon the seasons by observing nature instead of looking at the calendar, outdoor columnist Lee Allen ("Spring has Sprung," March 7) seems to suggest that the dates of the seasons recorded on the calendar are arbitrary inventions. In point of fact, the calendar is based on calculations of the motion of the Earth with respect to the sun, in effect, observation of nature.

The first day of spring is always on or about March 21, the day (or, more precisely, the instant) that the sun's direct rays cross the equator and neither the north nor the south pole is inclined toward the sun. Or, to put it another way, the moment when the sun's path on the ecliptic crosses the celestial equator. The day on which this event occurs is called the equinox.

At an equinox (and only then) the day and the night are of equal length everywhere. So the equinox is the day in nature when the seasons change. There will, of course, be harbingers of this change, such as lengthening days, warmer weather and the appearance of winter-blooming flowers, but the first day of the season will never be other than the equinox. A look at the calendar, or, if we have the proper instruments and the mathematical skill, an observation of nature will inform us that spring does actually come early this year, with the equinox falling on March 20.

--Ned Nelsen

How much for delivery?

To the Editor,

I am writing in response to The Skinny item ("House Divided, Part Two," February 21). It addressed the House race in District 26 where Carol Somers is one of three incumbent Republicans running for two seats.

I applaud the declaration, "If it weren't against the law, we'd put money on Somers in the September primary." Hear, hear! Many of us are doing just that.

Carol has defined her legislative style as someone who gets the job done by working hard and collaborating with others. She always conducts herself with professionalism, as she did when she was a small business owner. Carol doesn't waste time, energy and taxpayers' dollars by clogging the legislative process with acrimonious, ham-handed, unproductive gamesmanship. She wins with rational, persuasive arguments.

Want results? Carol Somers delivers.

-- Karen Lee Rice