Why Ya Pickin' on the No-Tel?

To the Editor,

Your story on the No-Tel Motel ("My Stay at the No-Tel Motel," Oct. 23) was very unfair. The No-Tel is no different from the other old motels on that strip. If your author really wanted something to run down, he should have stayed at the Tropicana.

Besides, I have never seen a single roach there. (Roaches? In October?) It seems like the author was wigging out at the strip club, too. I suspect he may have some form of paranoia.

--Jan Baker

We Like TUSD Interference!

To the Editor,

Thank goodness Joel Ireland, the Tucson Unified School District's board president, has strongly supported the partnering between the Tanque Verde district and TUSD. Your article, "Tanque Verde Hi Jinx" (The Skinny Nov. 6), is wrong in all aspects regarding Ireland. Ireland has only responded to requests made from the Tanque Verde Coalition and Karen Close supporters for information on the positive future relationship between TUSD and the Tanque Verde district, and for information in response to accusations made by proponents of Sherrylyn Young and the high school. We are so thankful that Ireland has supported us, to set the record straight.

--Marcia Koehler and John Knutson

In Defense of Wal-Mart

To the Editor,

The interview with Mary Bull ("Gap Goader," TQ&A Nov. 13) reminded me of a Stephen Colbert report from The Daily Show with its hyperbole and misinformation--which is to say Bull's comments were hilariously inane.

She claims The Gap is into "the privatization of public schools." I'm not a genius, but how exactly does one privatize a public school, and why on Earth would The Gap care where kids go to school, so long as the kids are wearing The Gap's junky clothing?

Her logic regarding why Saab ads appear on public TV makes even less sense. Why would the CEO of Gap help a car company advertise on a public TV channel he works with? Bull's comments regarding Gap cotton ruining the Aral Sea is pure hogwash. The Aral sea has been drained due to irrigation, thus causing it to go from the world's fourth-largest lake to the world's eighth-largest. It was not been polluted by The Gap; rather, it was polluted by the Soviet Union's haphazard environmental policy. The claims about wages are also ludicrous, as the average Korean is actually helped by The Gap. Without Western dollars helping to employ millions of South Koreans, the country would resemble North Korea, where mass starvation is rampant; the only people with cars are government officials. Sadly, people like Bull would rather that South Koreans starve then be employed by American companies.

Unfortunately, people like this protestor are just full of bull (no pun intended). Their claims are so full of misstatements that it's hard to take the environment and workers' rights movements seriously.

The most illogical statement that Bull made was her critique of Wal-Mart. While Wal-Mart may not appear as pristine as a redwood forest, it does cater to low-income individuals who can't afford the American handmade hemp shirts that Bull's ilk is obsessed with wearing.

--Seth Frantzman

An Inside Look at Tucson Water

To the Editor,

Chris Limberis' "Soaked" (Nov. 6) got my shorts all in a bunch, because I have been bellyaching about our water rates for years now.

In the past, I have raised such a stink that Tucson Water actually invited me down for some intensive 1-on-1 water talk. Tucson Water also invited several other Tucson citizens (chosen at random) to participate on a citizens' water committee. We were given more information and material than anyone before us. After a few meetings, we literally knew more about the water department than some water employees! We were the folks who decided that it was a good idea that Tucson Water pass on some of the costs associated with installing and maintaining "new" hook ups--like making the developers of a new subdivision cough up some of the money it takes to install all those new meters and pipes.

If you are a homeowner and simply want to replace the meter it is relatively cheap, but if you want to go larger, it will cost you! It's a good thing Mr. Savitch did not want to upgrade to a 2-inch meter--it would have cost him a small fortune!

Anyway, back to my shorts. Here in Tucson, if you use twice as much water as your neighbor, then your bill will be twice as much, right? WRONG. Your bill will be three or four times more, because we use a "sliding" fee to calculate the rate. The first few drops of water are relatively cheap, but as the month goes on, and the more water you use, those last few drops of water near the end of the billing cycle are very expensive! This sliding-fee rate is not understood by about 75 percent of the population. It's kind of like a tax bracket; if you are in the lower-use bracket or tier, you pay less per drop than someone in a high-use bracket. A family of eight using the same amount of water per person will pay three times more than a family of four! This sliding fee is thought to be a conservation measure, and boy, it sure bites hard when you get into that last billing bracket. Larger families get screwed, and if you want to install a larger service, get ready to dish out some big bucks!

--Dana Powers

Dunbar Explains Why She Sold Out

To the Editor,

I am writing regarding an item that appeared in the Skinny titled "Billboard Bonanza" (Nov. 13).

I cannot reveal confidential legal advice given in executive session by the city attorney to mayor and council in regard to this matter, but it is clear that you have absolutely no idea of what advice was given and that you simply make up what you choose to report.

The same is true in regard to your attack on me for my vote in the Legislature and for not supporting further appeals by the city attorney. There were 31 votes to pass the bill in the House; how do you know I was the 31st? Are you sure it wasn't Rep. Huffman, Rep. Prebble, or Rep. Schottel, all who voted yes? Rep. Ramon Valdez was absent, along with Rep. Carmine Cardamone, but the preceding year, he voted yes on the bill. Perhaps it was Sen. Victor Soltero or Sen. Keith Bee who was solely responsible for the passage of the bill in the Senate. To say I was the 31st vote is negligent reporting.

To set the record straight, the bill I voted for in the legislature created a two-year statute of limitations for a city to act on a violation. If a city did not make their complaint within two years of discovering the violation, they could not make the complaint. Based on information we received, the bill was not retroactive and would not affect any current lawsuits. Had I or any of my colleagues in the Legislature known that this would be used retroactively to block pending cases, I would not have voted for the bill. In a memo dated March 15, 2000 from Rules Attorney Cindy Bailey and Joni Hoffman they wrote the following: "Absence of a specific retroactivity clause in a bill, it is our opinion that HB2559 would apply prospectively and that a municipality would have two years from the effective date of this bill to cite violations pursuant to this section that were discovered by the municipality before the effective date of this bill."

With that being said, I do not support further appeals by the city of Tucson. How many times do we have to lose in court (at taxpayer expense) to finally get the message? This issue has dragged on long enough, and I believe pressing community needs could better use the city's limited resources. The voters voted not to allow new boards in 1985, and we are upholding that vote. They also voted against expending city funds to buy out the current billboard industry. The city has probably expended more than $1 million dollars fighting this case over the years. Let's not forget Mark Mayer was also on the payroll for the city as a lobbyist against the billboard industry while presenting himself as a neighborhood activist. He did not register with the Legislature, as all paid lobbyists are required to do.

Unfortunately, to ask The Skinny to check facts is just too much work. It's much easier for you to just put "lies" out there and see what sticks. I guess that's why the publication is FREE.

--Kathleen Dunbar

The Skinny replies: Nice try, Kathleen, but if you're going to accuse us of making stuff up, you ought to say what we got factually wrong rather than desperately spinning your own embarrassing legislative history. We stand by the story.

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