UA Racked Up

To the Editor,

It was a relief to see that the truth about the disappearance of your newspaper racks was given, and the Tucson Weekly will be compensated ("Rack 'em Up," May 2). (Editor Michael Parnell's) final paragraph, however, gave me pause. You said, "The UA might pay attention to that kind of common sense in its search to deliver higher education at a cost the state could afford."

Granted, the story of the racks demonstrates how human or bureaucratic error can cost an institution. But here's another perspective as to what the state can afford.

The UA was asked to make deep budget cuts, and then even more drastic ones. In my husband's department, a major teaching position cannot be filled for next year. With the death and loss of two faculty last year, this puts a strain on remaining members of the department. One professor will be dropping his classes in order to pick up those classes with no instructor. Several innovative graduate programs have had to be shelved because faculty lines were not filled. Adjunct positions were dropped and staff positions were eliminated. Many teaching assistantships were eliminated. That's fewer student jobs, but that's not the only repercussion--with fewer teaching assistants, class sizes have to be reduced. In fall, some lecture hall-sized classes will downsize to fit into a classroom, limiting the number of enrollees. Many students won't be able to get into the classes they want/need, which could extend the time they are in school.

Budget cuts are a trade-off. In the short run, you seem to save money, but the cost is felt in the quality of education, the availability of classes and, ultimately, the loss of good faculty and students.

--Sheila Hamann

Mediocre, and Proud of It

To the Editor,

Reading Diza Sauers review "No Masterpiece" (Chow, May 2) prompted me to reminisce about how many times I have received shoddy or inattentive service and then have had the temerity to "complain" about it. I too have been brushed off as a crank for having the nerve to bring up a server's or business's shortcomings. The real problem is that the culture in this town praises, reveres and demands mediocrity in everything from our politicians to our school system. "Go along to get along" should be the motto of Tucson.

As long as the public keeps its mouth shut about bad service or anything else we will continue to get what we deserve.

--Nick Cianciotto

Food Fraud

To the Editor,

Diza Sauers' review "Good Intentions" (Chow, May 9) of the Cup Café at Hotel Congress was so far off the mark that the only possible explanation for such error is that a visit was made to the establishment, a menu was retrieved, taken home and then the review was written based on an uneducated guess.

I have enjoyed the Cup not less than five times since the appointment of their new chef, Scott Wheeler, and have yet to suffer what was described in The Weekly. As just one example, the description of the halibut serving as "paltry . . . and had been dipped in some substance that formed a clingy, gummy skin. No herbs were present." The halibut dinners that I have enjoyed at the Cup Café on two separate occasions were nothing as described by Sauers. In fact, the presentation was artistic, tasty (plenty of herbs and no gummy sauce) and reasonably priced.

If Sauers is to continue in the review business, may I recommend actually ordering the food of the establishment in question. It will help to reverse a now-tarnished reputation.

--Dale Demonbreun

Power of the Press

To the Editor,

I always relish the thought of the next TW. But it is a particular (although bittersweet) pleasure when Tim Vanderpool delves into the power struggles in southern Arizona ("Power Pique," May 16).

As you know, we have a very unfair battle under way. Power companies like TEP and Public Service of New Mexico want the plant ghastly 345kV power lines that will only become monuments to their stupidity and greed. They want to do this in our backyards or in the Coronado National Forest, where they would wreak unthinkable environmental havoc in ultra-sensitive, fragile areas. They want to do this not to relieve power needs in poor little Santa Cruz County, but to jam what they hope will be overpriced power down poor Mexico's power grid. They think they can use their deep pockets to buy their way in and ignore us, their victims.

We will suffer forever from such a scourge unless we continue grassroots efforts to fight them off. David did bring Goliath down. But this David needs the help of writers like Tim to tell it like it is, keep us focused and let these modern-day robber barons know we're on to them. Thank you for printing Tim's piece last week. I look forward to many more.

--Emilio E. Falco

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