To the Editor,

One never knows whether one was blabbing on or a point was missed in a phone interview, but I'd like to clarify a comment I made on Mexican suspicions over U.S. conservation efforts ("Borderline Hope," March 21). I left an impression that The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlands Project are trying to control Mexican land. This is far from the case. An important side-effect of efforts that these organizations might make to protect land or create easements or purchase land for conservation purposes is that in Mexico such efforts will often be seen first as interventionist.

Everyone from the Spanish to the French to the Arizona Rangers to the multilateral corporate investors and Colombian and Mexican cartels have staked their claim on Mexico sometime in the past 500 years. Mexicans will justifiably view efforts to control their land as a form of imperialism. Other Mexicans may choose to manipulate this type of perception for their own use. Grupo Mexico wants mining rights as much as possible in the proposed San Pedro reserve area in Sonora; other interests such as narcos or land investors have no use for extra attention to the land. And others legitimately worry about potential economic restrictions and need to get some serious responses on how they will be affected by new or expanded reserves.

This is not the same as my stating that TNC or Wildlands are scheming to steal land from Mexicans. I applaud their goals; they are up against a lot of tough perceptions in Mexico. The issues will only get more complex with time. I apologize for any misconceptions I may have encouraged.

--Dick Kamp
Border Ecology Project
Bisbee and Santa Fe

To the Editor,

We appreciate Tim Vanderpool's attention to the challenges of achieving cross-border conservation along the upper San Pedro River corridor ("Borderline Hope," March 21) but we also noted factual errors or misperceptions that deserve correction:

1. While the Arizona portion of the river consists of over 40 miles, the headwaters lie in Mexico and travel north 12 miles before reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.

2. The correct name for the decentralized state environment agency, IMADES, is the Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development for the State of Sonora. The Nature Conservancy's work with IMADES is one of partnership. We have been working with IMADES for 13 years, strengthening their institutional capacity to implement a variety of conservation programs. In the upper San Pedro area of Mexico, these programs focus on riparian restoration and land protection and stewardship. This is not to be confused with work being carried out on the lower San Pedro in Arizona, which encompasses the area between Benson and Dudleyville. (While ecologically linked, these areas have distinct socioeconomic, political and cultural contexts and strategies must address these differences.)

--Christine Conte
The Nature Conservancy of Arizona

Food Fight

To the Editor,

I find it convenient that your new policy of disclosure (Chow, February 28) follows the less than flattering review of Café Terra Cotta by Diza Sauers (Chow, February 14). It's more like an excuse for your publication to placate the dissatisfaction of Terra Cotta's management. In your veiled attempt to apologize to Café Terra Cotta, you have brought into question the integrity of the establishment at which I am very proud to say I am a part of, Pastiche.

Why was it necessary to involve Pastiche in this issue? Sauers' selection of Pastiche as one of Tucson's top romantic restaurants (Chow, February 7), of which we were pleasantly surprised, and her review of Café Terra Cotta have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The issue at hand was not Sauers' current detached affiliation with Pastiche, but her former detached affiliation with Café Terra Cotta that you imply influenced her recent review. By planting the seed of doubt regarding Sauers' credibility and integrity, you have fostered doubt in the public's eye about any suggestions Sauers may have had regarding our restaurant and besmirched our reputation in the process. Pastiche had no hand, or backhanded involvement, in Sauers' decision to name us a romantic restaurant. Your "disclosure" falsely implies such.

You may have pacified Café Terra Cotta, but in the meantime you have alienated us. Of additional interest to you is the fact that Sauers' husband, by his own choosing, is not Pastiche's chef. Will Pastiche's mollification be as important to you as Terra Cotta's was?

--Richard L. Mann

Editor's reply: Our food critic's husband once was employed as a chef at Café Terra Cotta; he is now employed by Pastiche in a different position. In our disclosure, we supported Diza Sauers' favorable opinion of Pastiche and unfavorable opinion of Café Terra Cotta. Both reviews are available online in Sauers' archives.

Danehy Gets 2 Cents Worth

To the Editor,

In response to Tom Danehy's "Nothing for Money" (March 21), I'd like to toss my 2 cents worth into the mix regarding online music, file swapping and the record industry.

Although Danehy seems to equate online music downloads with theft, not all music downloading is wrong. Many artists offer legitimate Mp3's at their web sites. Some artists without record deals offer mp3's via their web sites. Simply downloading music does not mean you're stealing music.

Danehy also asserts that musicians are now getting ripped off in two directions, which may or may not be the case. In the current arrangement, musicians make the bulk of their money by touring. The windfall from a million-selling album mostly lines the pockets of the record company.

The Net is bringing about a lot of changes and the entertainment industry needs to learn how to adapt. Or die. The swan song has been sung before--first when TV was invented (it will kill radio), again when VCRs came along. (Hollywood screamed like a bitch at first; now they rely on those videotape returns to save their asses.) The record industry screamed this death knell when cassette tapes came along, too.

It's amusing watching Hilary Rosen and the Recording Industry Association of America, the lobbying organization for the five largest record companies, champion artists' rights in its fight against music downloading and file swapping. This is the group that represents the big record labels that have been ripping off the artists for the past 60 or so years. Of course they don't want anyone cutting in on their action.

Most artists recognize the value of the Net. They see that it allows them to appeal directly to the fans, without record label approval. A good example of how a band has grasped the technology is the Beastie Boys. They released a greatest hits volume. You could buy a regular version, the 20 or so songs they thought were their best. Or, you could visit their web site and select your own lineup of 20 songs from among a listing of 200 or so. Then they would press the copy with the 20 songs you selected and mail it to you (for the appropriate price, of course). Neil Young has stated in interviews that online music is another way for musicians to get their music "out there." Instead of digging in their heels and resisting change, they're experimenting with ways to use this change to their advantage.

As you mentioned, some record companies are using copy-protection technology but that raises issues, too. It often does not allow you to play a CD in multiple media. In other words, that CD you just bought may work in your stereo but it may not work in your PC. Some encrypted CD's won't play in older CD players. So the consumer is inconvenienced because the industry assumes we're all thieves. Besides, so far, they've only encrypted the soundtrack to The Fast and the Furious and a Charlie Pride CD. Who in the hell wants to copy either of those anyhow?

Why shouldn't I be able to "rip" songs from a CD? Why shouldn't I be able to make my own mix CD's? We used to make mix tapes; how is this different? Or what if I buy a CD for home but want to load it up on my work PC to listen to at work? Are we expected to buy one copy for home, one for the car and a third for the office?

It all comes down to power--power they want to keep and power they want to deny you. As with any and all power, with it comes responsibility, including the responsibility to not let our musicians starve.

As you point out, if the record companies don't make money on product, they won't be able to offer new product. Are you saying that without the Big 5, music will cease to exist? Music existed before the Big 5 and it will survive their demise.

The record companies are losing their death grip on music distribution and they're not happy. They'd much rather be able to sit back and sell one Britney album to 10 million people, rather than have to actually work at figuring out how to sell 10 different albums to 1 million people each.

File-swapping programs such as Napster, Kazaa, WinMX and Morpheus are nothing more than tools. How those tools are used depends entirely upon those that use them. They can be used as consumer education tools or they can be used to bootleg.

No one rightly advocates the wholesale bootlegging of entire works but these file-swapping systems do have legitimate uses. They can be used to explore music. I'm not exactly content with what the local Clear Channel station is playing. File-sharing systems are consumer education tools. Now, you can listen to the songs KRQ isn't playing and decide if the album is worth buying.

For music geeks like me, this type of exploration only leads to more purchases. The more I hear, the more I'm likely to buy. To that end, online music has tremendous promotional potential.

In other cases, I may want a particular song and just that song. What choice do I have? Buy the whole $20 CD for one song? Buy it on some K-Tel compilation?

The online music battle is a power struggle. It's power the entrenched want to keep and it's power they want to keep out of your hands.

To the music industry, I say: Adapt or Die. If Tom Danehy still feels guilty after downloading a song, he can always mail $1 to the artist. There's even a tip-jar style web site such up to do just that.

--Mark Shull