Road kill

To the Editor,

Though I feel badly for the loss of her Lexus, RuthAnn Hogue ("Don't Hit a Cow, Ma'am," March 14) need look no further than Cottonwood Properties (aka Dove Mountain) in determining the home range for the errant cow that she hit.

I passed the bloated, legs-up carcass that next morning, lying on the south shoulder of Tangerine Road, just a few yards east of the entrance for the stick-and-stucco forest of Dove Mountain.

This was no mere wandering ranchers' cow. It was one of Cottonwood's Tax-Cows, a rare breed of cattle owing no herd alliance, ignoring the cows'-law-of-consumption and, as often as not, a pampered member of a tax-dodge scheme.

This particular road kill was winched off the road within about 12 hours, wherein the one Ms. Hogue mentioned down at the bottom of the hill, three miles west and in front of the new Trico construction, was left for days.

I would suggest that instead of picking on the few, if any, real ranchers around this 'hood, she go to the source, Cottonwood Properties. It's their cow. I know, I've chased out the herd from my property many times.

By the way, I feel that she should have taken responsibility for her road kill and butchered the cow, claiming at least the filet mignons.

Lastly, a nice big gas-guzzling SUV, along the lines of mine, would go a long way in surviving her next encounter. Indeed, anytime Ms. Hogue wishes to come up to my place, I'll show her how to fill her freezer, the easy way, with nary a scratch.

I'm glad you came out of this encounter physically OK, Ms. Hogue; that is often not the case.

--Rosco Smith

More Road Kill

To the Editor,

Regarding RuthAnn Hogue's article "Don't Hit a Cow, Ma'am!" (March 14): Are we supposed to feel sorry for Ruth because her Lexus with the all-leather interior and electric windows got whacked by a cow? Will the rental car ever live up to her snobbish standards while the Lexus is being repaired? Who cares?

Hey Ruth, if you are afraid of running into open range cows and other animals on your way home, I have some pointers for you. 1) slow down, 2) high beams, 3) driving lessons, 4) move down into the heart of a large metropolitan concrete jungle where the only animal you could possibly hit is a sewer rat looking for a bread crumb.

--David Loehrs


To the Editor,

RuthAnn Hogue's frivolous and cavalier article on plowing into a cow with her Lexus is deplorable (March 14).

Our state should have a voracious fine, dependent on the price of the vehicle, for myopic Dove Mountain dwellers who attempt to write humorous articles on the breaking of bones and finally the neck of a protected animal who was home on the range. Hogue is uncaring and an embarrassment, possibly even to residents of Dogpatch.

--Mary Blythe

No Access

To the Editor,

Dave Devine's February 28 piece, "Access Limited?," exposed the tip of the iceberg about Access Tucson.

Last fall, an Access member urged me to look into his claims of serious consumer problems there. After interviewing him and other members, and two Access board of directors members, I and one board member reviewed hundreds of photocopied Access-related documents accumulated over a decade. I found much that was disturbing and irrefutable.

When I submitted inquiry letters to Access Executive Director Sam Behrend about various issues, I received evasive responses or none at all. This substantiated some interviewees' claims that he routinely disposes of sensitive inquiries.

This isn't all Behrend does "his way." In 1998, he bought, without soliciting competitive bids, a 24-year-old TV production truck for $60,000, for which Access gave the sale a $10 bill of sale. In a 1999 letter to the City of Tucson, he admitted the deal violated the requirements of a city/Access contract.

In another 1999 letter to an Access member, Behrend announced his intention that Access Tucson--a nonprofit corporation--would use the truck to compete in the business marketplace with other Arizona TV production companies. This proposed use bore no relationship to Access's primary mission, the production of public access TV programming by individual members, and may have threatened its nonprofit status.

The truck purchase and other of Behrend's financial moves at Access have drawn an Internal Revenue Service probe that is ongoing.

The record on Access board of directors is appalling. Twenty-five percent or more of member ballots have been declared invalid in some elections. Such problems continued unabated until late 1998, when increasing member dissent finally prompted the League of Women Voters to investigate and severely criticize defective Access electoral practices that Behrend had previously approved and defended.

Speaking of that board, it holds significant portions of its "public" meetings in closed "executive sessions," and mandatory monthly meetings were sometimes canceled in 2001 despite contrary written policy. Further, its 2000 executive committee--which its bylaws require be appointed yearly--was held over without reappointment through most of 2001. Access no longer broadcasts its board meetings and interest in the board by Access' purported 1,500 active members is now so anemic there are but five candidates for three vacant seats in this year's election.

The history of friction between Access members and Behrend's administration was well memorialized in one board member's 2000 resignation letter, citing "the never-ending hostilities between them."

Disabled members complain bitterly about their treatment. Access has no Americans with Disabilities Act protocol for handling member complaints or accommodation requests. Problems have long existed with its one disabled parking space. Some restrooms in its building were reportedly wheelchair-inaccessible for 17 years until remedied last year. One disabled member's 2001 ADA complaint against Access is under investigation by Arizona's attorney general.

Access's system for internally disciplining its members is a mockery of due process that can be easily abused to suppress dissent.

These facts and others not mentioned here make indisputable the need for an aggressive city investigation of Access Tucson.

--Willy Bils

Don't shoot the messenger

To the Editor,

After years of world traveling and being amateur gourmet cooks from New York, when we retired to the Tucson area a few years back we searched out the better restaurants, including the old Café Terra Cotta.

Recently we have eaten in the new Café Terra Cotta and would like to say that your reviewer (Chow, February 14) was dead on! Not only no bread plates, but no butter! And the bread was cold! (By the way, this is a pet peeve with us about many Tucson places: cold bread.)

Also the dessert came half frozen. (The-not-too helpful UA student server said the refrigerator was overzealous). And we agree the food has definitely become lackluster and boring. It's virtually the same as years back. Don't they watch the Cooking Channel and see all the new ways with food?

As to Pastiche (Chow, February 7): Nice place: We like the half portions, which serve as a type of tapas to graze, but think that The Bistro is more romantic.

Don't throttle the reviewer--she seems to be more honest than most ad-driven publications.

--Jay and Rhonda Keene


To the Editor,

I was gratified to read the article regarding mental health treatment in southern Arizona communities ("Daggers of the Mind," January 24). Community awareness of existing mental health services is vital to public access and utilization in times of need.

This article contained a biased accounting of system inadequacies. And pitfalls. Mike Munday's reference to "gold-clad insurance" and the earnest assurance it offers is a pejorative toward community mental health care, in particular nurse practitioners, be they psychiatric specialty or otherwise.

One could assume by reading this that face-to-face contact with medical doctors is the gold standard for "quality" psychiatric care. This is inaccurate and contrary to research findings in a variety of patient care settings.

I am a family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist working many years in this community. Mr. Munday's agenda trivializes the role of the nurse practitioner with flagrant disregard and demeans successful mental health care in a system pictured as hopeless for those who enter.

--Deane W. Apperson

Eating Danehy Alive

To the Editor,

Tom Danehy's mean-spirited attacks on vegetarians have gone too far. In his column (February 14), he deliberately abbreviated an excerpt from John Toland's biography ("the definitive work in this area" according to Danehy) of Adolf Hitler to bolster his anti-vegetarian diatribe that Hitler was a vegetarian.

This is the excerpt Danehy used in his article: "(After Raubal's suicide), nothing on earth would make him eat meat again. He had made such remarks in the past, but this time, he meant it. From that moment on, Hitler never ate another piece of meat."

Now let me share with you what it really says on page 268 of Toland's book: "Nothing on earth would make him eat meat again.*" is part of the text of that page. The footnote at the bottom of the page says, "He had made such remarks before and had toyed with the idea of vegetarianism, but this time, according to Frau Hess, he meant it. From that moment on, she said, Hitler never ate another piece of meat except for liver dumplings."

Danehy's intentional deletion of "except for liver dumplings" is reprehensible and clearly demonstrates that he has no journalistic integrity.

I don't know any vegetarians who eat liver dumplings! Danehy uses such absolute terms as "the irrefutable fact" and "the indisputable fact" in regards to Hitler being a vegetarian. At one point in his article, he challenges the reader by saying, "So, it's your choice: Do you believe EVERY (his caps) serious biographer who has ever written on the subject, or do you go with an obviously self-serving article in something called the Vegetarian Voice? Hmm?"

Well, here are some additional sources that he overlooked in his "research": In Robert Payne's biography of Hitler, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, he states, "Hitler's asceticism played an important part in the image he projected over Germany. According to the widely believed legend, he neither smoked nor drank, nor did he eat meat or have anything to do with women. Only the first was true. He drank beer and diluted wine frequently, had a special fondness for Bavarian sausages and kept a mistress, Eva Braun, who lived with him quietly in the Berghof. There had been other discreet affairs with women. His asceticism was fiction invented by Goebbels to emphasize his total dedication, his self-control, the distance that separated him from other men. By this outward show of asceticism, he could claim that he was dedicated to the service of his people."

"In fact, he was remarkably self-indulgent and possessed none of the instincts of the ascetic. His cook, an enormously fat man named Willy Kannenberg, produced exquisite meats and acted as court jester. Although Hitler had no fondness for meat except in the form of sausages, and never ate fish, he enjoyed caviar. He was a connoisseur of sweets, crystallized fruit and cream cakes, which he consumed in astonishing quantities. He drank tea and coffee drowned in cream and sugar. No dictator ever had a sweeter tooth."

Also, Dr. Roberta Kalechofsky wrote an essay entitled "Hitler's Vegetarianism: A Question of How You Define Vegetarianism." In it she states, "Biographical material about Hitler's alleged or qualified vegetarianism are contradictory. He was sometimes described as a 'vegetarian,' but his fondness for sausages, caviar, and occasionally ham was well known. On the other hand, on the basis of foods he was known to like or eat 'red meat' is never listed. His alleged vegetarianism was often coupled with a description of him as an ascetic individual. For example, the April 14, 1996 Sunday magazine edition of the New York Times, celebrating its 100th anniversary, included this early description of Hitler's diet in an article previously published on May 30, 1937, 'At Home With the Fuhrer:' 'It is well known that Hitler is a vegetarian and does not drink or smoke. His lunch and dinner consist, therefore, for the most part of soup, eggs, vegetables, and mineral water, although he occasionally relishes a slice of ham and relieves the tediousness of his diet with such delicacies as caviar...' The New York Times definition of 'vegetarian,' which included foods such as ham, is quite a stretch of definition of vegetarian."

I am a vegetarian, and like most vegetarians I know, I can appreciate good-natured humor about vegetarianism, as on the television show The Simpsons, but Tom Danehy has crossed the line with his virulent rhetoric.

--John O'Neill