My Resolution: Honor Mingus

To the Editor,

Glenn Weyant's essay about the lack of recognition of Charles Mingus' birth in Nogales, Ariz. ("Lost Musician," Arts Jan. 8) was enthusiastically researched, but he missed a major tribute to Mingus in Nogales in April 1993. Linda Kohanov, writing for the Tucson Weekly, described Jazz on the Border: The Mingus Projectas a "world-class event" which featured a world premiere concert at Nogales High School, a day-long jazz festival of Mingus music in Nogales' War Memorial Park and a concert at the Plaza Hidalgo in Nogales, Sonora. This week-long festival, sponsored by the Tucson Jazz Society and the Nogales-Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, also featured events including lectures by Gene Santoro, who credits the project as the impetus for his biography of Mingus.

I'm at a loss as to why there is no record of the festival at the Pimeria Alta Historical Society in Nogales. Susan Spater of the Historical Society collaborated and assiduously collected memorabilia for the project.

Mr. Weyant is right: There should be a plaque commemorating Mingus' birth in Nogales. In fact, the Mingus Project logo was designed to look like a copper plaque with Mingus and his bass captured within the Arizona border, and with Nogales marked as a star on the border. I'm going to make my 2004 resolution to erect that plaque this year.

--Yvonne Tost Ervin
TJS executive director emeritus
New York City

Rutherford Institute Looks OK to Me

To the Editor,

After perusing the Rutherford Institute's Web site, I have come to the conclusion that, contrary to the statement of Turn Left, the Rutherford Institute does not promote hate, racial inequality or religious intolerance. Rather, the Rutherford Institute consistently and unequivocally affirms that constitutional rights and protections belong to everyone, regardless of color or creed ("Liberty for All?" Media Watch Jan. 15).

Many of the commentaries on the Web site deplore the unconstitutional dragnets of Muslim and Arab men, as well as promote religious tolerance.

In this current climate of constitutional crisis, all defenders of civil liberties must be willing to overlook their differences to work for the common cause of freedom. KXCI must continue to oppose the well-intentioned but misguided attacks on the Rutherford Institute and persevere in its steadfast support for freedom by continuing to broadcast "First Liberties."

--E. A. Flanigan

If Lieberman is 'Centrist,' Is Attila 'Compassionate'?

To the Editor,

I find it interesting (in a depressing kind of way) that in your Skinny piece, "The Center Cannot Hold" (Jan. 15), that you describe Joe Lieberman as a centrist, when he is anti-abortion; has stated that he is only one inch away from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the president on the Iraq War; and continues to vote to support the military spending spree that is bankrupting this country.

Howard Dean is pro-choice, which a majority of Americans are; is opposed to the Iraq invasion and continuing occupation; and has kept a state's budget balanced through two recessions, as well as providing health care for the state's younger population.

So much for a "liberal press." Maybe you should start reading Tom Tomorrow, particularly when he talks about the "pundits" and how they spin the news.

I do have a question for you: Since you characterize Joe Lieberman as a centrist, and Howard Dean as Fidel Castro's long-lost twin brother, would you call Attila the Hun a Compassionate Conservative if he were alive today?

--Richard Shapiro

Editor's Note: This letter is inaccurate regarding Joe Lieberman's stated position on abortion. He has pledged to keep abortion safe and legal. And we don't recall comparing Dean to Castro, either. But, um, thanks for reading anyway.

But Last Week, a Mayer Fan Said He LIKED the Piece

To the Editor,

I strongly object to Chris Limberis' article on Mark Mayer ("The Man in the Middle of the Billboard Battle," Jan. 8).

I have rarely seen a worse attempt at character assassination! And it is unprofessional; the article never defines the very good reasons for objecting to billboards along our streets and highways; it is full of gratuitous, uncalled-for innuendoes; and it quotes Mark Mayer's billboard industry opponents, but, amazingly, nowhere gives a quote from his many supporters and admirers.

Without Mark's tireless efforts, huge billboards, hiding our desert, mountains, sky and cityscape, would overwhelm the Tucson landscape. A lot of it would be replaced by the crass commercialism brought to us by billboard companies who only care for dollars at the expense of one of Tucson's major assets: our quality of life. Shame on you, Mr. Limberis!

--Jean-Paul Bierny

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