You Must Spend to Be a Good American

To the Editor,

Connie Tuttle's article satirizing the spirit of Christmas ("Merry Shop-mas," Dec. 18) was not only perfidious but sadly un-American. She bombasts the newest technology, especially the plasma screens (what is so wrong about cuddling up with a loved one and watching cable on such magnificent technology?) and does not seem to comprehend that consumerism is the well-oiled engine that drives the economy. It really is Economics 101: The more you buy, even though there is a small risk of personal fiscal ruin, the economy grows healthier, and the stock market goes up! What is wrong with that?

I believe Christmas is the time when friends/family/acquaintances show their love and what they really think of me. Gift giving is especially poignant if loved ones give a better gift to me than I give to them. My personal doubts about their character vanish; my accessibility to them increases. So much good results by the simple act of digging into one's purse.

The Bush administration's formula concerning the economy may be simplistic: Keep on lowering interest rates to drive Grandma into the stock market so she can afford her prescription drugs. In the long run, we may have the good fortune to end up like Japan.

--Sarah A. Masse

Underage Drinking? Blame Clear Channel

To the Editor,

Your article on underage drinking ("Arrested Development," Dec. 11) has Lt. Mike Pryor of the Tucson Police Department saying that we can not point to any alcohol-related success stories. Well, here's one.

Clear Channel has made a fortune selling billboards on Speedway Boulevard, Broadway Boulevard and Grant Road near campus. And guess which product most often appears on those billboards? You got it: booze.

Since the people of Tucson passed a resolution making many Clear Channel billboards illegal, shouldn't Lt. Pryor be seeking out the perpetrators of this crime? After all, he is very concerned with following legislated law.

But we all know he won't be sending out warrants for Clear Channel and spending thousands of dollars on sting operations anytime soon. That's because we have two sets of laws in this country at the moment: those for the very rich, and those for everyone else. The police arrest kids for polluting their bodies and disturbing the neighborhood, but Jim Click, Jim Kolbe and Don Diamond can break endless laws, pollute the city and disturb the whole damn environment--and you won't find a police officer in the city to arrest them. (In fact, Jim Kolbe breaks laws and treaties, and disturbs and pollutes the neighborhoods of the world. Yet no warrants for his arrest are forthcoming.)

It's not good that kids get stupid drunk, break laws and do dangerous things that hurt innocent people. However, it's not good that adults get stupid drunk with power and money and do the same thing. The police need to enforce the law on a level playing field.

And the college kids need to realize that there is more to life than getting drunk and complaining about police harassment. You are the ones who need to confront the fascist oligarchy in this country and stand up for your civil rights. I have news for you: This sort of harassment doesn't end in college. If you want it to stop, better get involved in the political life of your community. Put down that Budweiser and get involved now! Bush and his gang of corporate criminals want to take more of your freedoms away, while police want to eliminate more of your civil rights.

So, Lt. Pryor: When can we expect those warrants for Clear Channel billboards?

--Jim Ru

Kick Out Police Helicopters, Too

To the Editor,

Bravo! Your feature, "Get Out of Town" (Dec. 18) was brilliant. I agree with your picks almost across the board. You should make this a regular feature and invite your readers to contribute their own nominations. The Weeklydoes a good job with their annual Best of Tucson ® survey; now, let us make Tucson a better place by turning the spotlight on the worst of Tucson.

My own pet peeve: that infernal Tucson police helicopter patrol. Since moving here 14 years ago, I have considered it to be among the most unpleasant aspects of living in the city. Many other cities, some much larger, manage just fine without a noisy "spy in the sky." I was pleased to hear that its budget has been cut, reducing the number of hours on patrol. Mayor Walkup: Why not finish the job and cut the rest of the budget, and give Tucsonans a better chance of getting a good night's sleep?

--Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

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