More From DiGiovanna's Adoring Fans

If you are the person who edits James DiGiovanna's "columns," I am sincerely baffled by why you or anyone else has this buffoon on staff. After reading his column, "The Gore of the Christ" (Cinema, March 4), not only was I repelled and insulted by the disrespectful handling of religiously sensitive material, but by the 11-year-old "dude" and "hippie" terminology and juvenile ranting.

How can anyone consider that "column" a piece of writing? I would be embarrassed to have that mental midget working on my editorial staff.

Maria G. O'Donnell

Props for Speeding Rant

I had to tell you how much I enjoyed your speeding rant in the last week's Tucson Weekly ("The Rant Issue," Feb. 26). Thought you'd appreciate my story.

I was pulled over for traveling 25 mph! Not 25 mph OVER the speed limit, but for actually driving 25 mph! I was heading south on La Cholla Boulevard from Tangerine Road, where the speed limit is 45 mph. It quickly changes to 15 mph as you approach a school zone. I was immediately pulled over before I even had a friggin' chance to get to 15 mph.

Then the cop informed me that he clocked me at 34 mph where it was posted 45, but I didn't slow down quickly enough. If I was going 34 in the 45 mph zone, doesn't that tell you that I'm NOT A SPEEDER?

I've since gone back to that stretch of road on numerous days and attempted to lower my speed from 45 to 15. It can't be done in the time allotted unless you slam on your brakes and risk being rear-ended. Because, as the Weekly has also observed, if you go the speed limit in Tucson, you will always have a car right on your f--ing ass!

I'm not surprised that you were fined $163. I was fined $97. These fines are outrageous for such minor infractions. I am going to attend traffic court to fight this absurdity.

Dee Barnett

Give MORE Speeding Tickets and Quit Whining!

So Jimmy Boegle is bummed out because he (she?) got a $163 ticket for exceeding the posted speed limit by 32 percent. Boegle's whine? "Hey, everybody was doing it." (Is Boegle still in junior high school?)

Were I the dude in charge of public safety, I would give every law enforcement officer in Tucson a radar gun and tell them each to issue 20 moving traffic citations every day. It should take each officer about 17 minutes to do this, judging by Avogadro's number of morons driving our streets.

Patrick Bishop

Comments on Rants

Thanks for your Rant Issue; a few relevant comments I'd like to add.

Re: "People in the Way": It has never ceased to amaze me just how seemingly unaware people are of their surroundings and how this negatively impacts others around them. I suspect some of these hypocrites are the main audience currently raving about how Mel Gibson's movie provides them enlightenment about how Christ suffered, yet they neglect to practice the Golden Rule.

Re: "Artists Denied Visas": Regarding the Cubans who managed to crate a boat out of an automobile and maneuver it all the way to the coast of Florida--surely, these people have proven themselves to be talented and creative enough to be permitted entry to the United States, and they would obviously be able to contribute to the gross national product. To deny them entry makes no sense, especially when there are so many illegal immigrants who come here without any apparent job skills. If I'm not politically correct, well, at least I'm honest.

Lisa E. Green

Shopping Carts: Weapons of Mass Destruction?

I love the rants, and while supermarket people who hog the aisle is right-on, it missed the most important rant in supermarkets.

If Bush is still looking for WMDs, he needs only to look in the nearest supermarket. What idiot decided that the "cute" little miniature cars were a great idea? This WMD has hit me in the back and Achilles' tendon; the drivers, who are only 3 or 4 years old, have no concept of how far these cars stick out. I won't go into the fact that they do crash into displays, since I love the sound of crashing cans in the morning.

R. Lieber

Danehy: Once Again, Behind the Curve

Leave it to Tom Danehy to fill the last available seat on the steroids bandwagon (" Major League Baseball Continues on a Downward Spiral," March 4) , bound for the scandal scrap heap as soon as Pete Rose opens his pie hole once again or Alex Rodriguez takes his first swings as a Yankee.

As a lifelong fan of baseball, I don't deny that steroid use is a serious problem that merits soul searching on the part of the entire institution. There are real problems with this game I love, and it continues to be my wish that the stewards of the game will recognize them as such and address them with the honesty and integrity necessary for real solutions. And even when/if they do, new problems will surface, thanks in part to the scavengers of a voyeuristic media.

But neither steroids, greed, gambling nor even non-"exciting" games are argument enough to convince me that Major League Baseball is locked in some "downward spiral" from which no recovery is possible. It survived the Black Sox of 1919, 60 years of racial segregation and ownership collusion in the '80s.

Seth Basen

The 'Weekly': Newest Part of Right-Wing Conspiracy?

I am very disappointed that you chose to drop Jim Hightower's little column. It would take up less than a quarter of a page. My cynicism leads me to think that the increasingly vocal radical right wing had more to do with your decision than just a lack of space.

A few days ago, I was discussing your paper with a friend, and she said that Hightower and Tom Tomorrow were the first things she read. I have to add The Skinny to my list of favorites. However, you did me a favor by directing me to Hightower's Web site, where there are daily links to articles that will rarely appear in our local corporate-managed newspapers.

Bill Garrison

Longtime 'Weekly' Folks Are Revising History

When these anniversaries and nostalgic looks back into the early days of the Tucson Weekly have come up, I have tried to let go my irritation at the points of view expressed. In the past, Tom Danehy, Jim Nintzel and Doug Biggers have all had "interesting" views of Tucson Weekly history, and now that they're back again ("The Anniversary Issue," March 4), I have to say something.

I was there when Doug and Mark Goehring had their unpleasant divorce as partners. I'm the one who talked Doug into staying with the Weekly when he wanted to let it die. And we went to the real savior of the Weekly in those early years, Sid Brinkerhoff. He believed in the passion Doug and I had for an alternative weekly.

Later, I was the editor who fought for Danehy to be in the paper and brought in Jeff Smith and free-lancers like the wonderful Barbara Kingsolver, Tim Vanderpool and Leo W. Banks. At one point, I was promised on paper that I would have stock in the Weekly. Now I learn that one of my successors actually made thousands of dollars for his stock when the paper sold. He didn't have my tenure or dedication during very risky times as an editor of this publication.

Nintzel says the cover stories grew stronger and more relevant in the '90s. In fact, it was the time when devoted Weekly readers left the paper because of a decline in great cover features and a decline in breaking news in favor of warmed-over-daily, political-junkie-hack journalism.

I know the Wick family owns the paper now, and they have been going through an on-the-job learning process regarding just how an alternative weekly works. Thanks to editor Boegle and great writers like Renée Downing (who reviewed movies like no one else has in town, except me), the paper seems to be regaining its editorial stature.

Howard Allen

So What If We Own Land That Will Go Up in Value?

Chris Limberis failed to hear/grasp key issues and historic points made by speakers during the Feb. 17 Board of Supervisors meeting ("Sweet Spot," Currents, March 4). Because my name was mentioned (also misspelled), I'll limit my response to concerns of a more personal nature.

Should those of us who live near the proposed Sweetwater Preserve feel guilty about being involved in this project? No! To be effective, conservation efforts must begin on the home front. If those of us living in the area have no passion for what we know and love, who will? We understand the value of this land in Tucson's future and for three years have worked hard to bring it to the attention of others.

I, for one, intend to spend the rest of my days in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert, at least as long as I can enjoy the quality of life that drew me here in the first place. I've devoted the better part of my career to environmental education and conservation and find it ironic to be portrayed in the Weekly as a land speculator.

Supervisor Ray Carroll, formerly a real estate broker, seems to have trouble understanding why many of us would buy land for its intrinsic value. Mr. Carroll pointed out the obvious: The value of our land will escalate over time. Sure, but so will our taxes. And if those of us living in the area were motivated by profit, we'd be pleased to see Sweetwater Properties convert their 700 acres into a golf resort instead of a county park.

Sadly, Pima County's present tax laws discourage land conservation. Undeveloped desert, i.e. "vacant land," is taxed at a rate of 16 percent of its assessed value. Non-commercial, residential land with "improvements" is taxed at a rate of 10 percent of its assessed value. Development is thereby being encouraged, conservation discouraged.

Your reporter also mixed up facts about property owned by myself and Dr. David Morton, land linking the Sweetwater Preserve with existing parks and reserves. Ten years ago, when we purchased this stunning patch of desert, deed restrictions limiting owners to 1 house per 10 acres (on a total of 130 acres) were already in place, and having a county park nearby was no more than a prayer. Without support for open-space initiatives and conservation-friendly tax laws, many of us may be forced to sell out in the years ahead.

An opportunity to purchase nearly 700 acres of pristine desert in the heart of the Tucson Mountains will never come again. It's now or never, folks.

Thomas Wiewandt

Sweetwater Has Widespread Support

As a community activist who's spent the last four years of my life trying to protect land in the Tucson Mountains, I was disturbed by the inaccuracies in Chris Limberis' article. His article reported on a debate among the board of supervisors about county acquisition of the Sweetwater Preserve, the largest remaining open space in the Tucson Mountains, as part of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

The mistakes made by Limberis range from trivial to serious. First, the Trust for Public Lands provided more than $60,000 in bridge funding for a year-and-a-half so this remarkable piece of land could be protected from development while county officials decided whether to turn it into a park. We worked closely with the TPL and with members of the Tucson Mountains community, who contributed more than $30,000 in three months time to help secure an option on the property. This is only one indication of the strong support this project has received from 52 neighborhood, community, environmental and government groups. The owners of the land--including Linda Ronstadt--have willingly worked with TPL to keep this land off the market for almost two years for a possible conservation sale, despite their previous plans to market and develop the property.

TPL's option was set to expire. A board vote was required to save the option on the land. If this vote had not been taken, we would have lost the opportunity to preserve the land for the community. The county's approval did not circumvent the process for acquiring conservation land.

The Board had only two choices--save the opportunity to acquire Sweetwater or pass it up and see it developed. They made the right choice with a 5-0 vote.

Paula Chronister

I'm a Liberal, So Neener Neener

In response to Joseph R. Damron's letter, "Read the Seven Tenants of Liberalism," in the March 11 issue: With the exception of just a few minor, poorly worded points, it looks like you got it pretty much right. That's why I call myself a liberal. So, what's your point?

Will Scheerer

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