Ding Dong, the Lane Is Dead

Thank you so much for the thoroughly excellent article about the Grant Road suicide/homicide lane ("Reversing the Reversible," April 15). Dave Devine's very realistic description of a trip down the lane during rush hour should be enough to make anyone think twice before attempting the same trip. It may have contributed to convincing any undecided members of the City Council to think twice about voting to keep the lane in place.

Barbara Lehmann
Dodge/Flower Neighborhood Association

Gosh Darn It, the Lane Is Dead

I am so sick and tired of the City Council telling us how bad the traffic situation is getting. I find that the more they beat this issue, they more they are the problem--they're not solving the situation. I live in a neighborhood where they have turned several intersections into roundabouts. They are the most unsightly, uncalled-for traffic chokers I have ever seen. What used to be a two-way stop is now a four-way, and you have to practically make a U-turn to make a left. If you are hauling even the smallest trailer, it is a nightmare to make the turn.

I am fed up with neighborhood associations with hidden agendas cloaked as "good for the community" garbage. My street was fine before this eyesore was put in place. Thanks to this device, the crime rate has escalated; we have a number of hit-and-runs and vandalism attributed to just one of these circles.

I live at First Avenue and Grant Road. I, for one, liked, used and wanted to see the reversible lane left the way it was. I have seen several reports about people who were injured or killed on Grant, and they tried to say that the reversible lane played a part in it. BULLSHIT. Two girls playing chicken in the traffic is not the lane's fault. Bicyclists have to follow the rules of the road, just as cars do. Dumb drivers cause accidents, as well as pedestrians who don't want walk a few feet to a crosswalk.

Patrick D. Payton

Wyatt Earp: Still Smeared After All These Years

Wyatt Earp once told his biographer, Stuart Lake, "Notoriety has been the bane of my existence." How sad it is to see that, 75 years after his death, Wyatt Earp is still being smeared in the newspapers ("The Return of Wyatt Earp," April 22).

In his lifetime, he was the victim of bad press of the worst yellow-dog variety. He was consistently lied about by sensation-seeking reporters who make Jayson Blair look like a paragon of integrity. Earp was no saint, but he was certainly not the "frontier drifter" and "gunslinger" who, according to you, "never did much of anything." He was a lawman in a tough town in a tough era, one who had lost several law-enforcement friends to cowboys and their shoot-em-up ways.

You ask, regarding the proposed statue and museum, "Does Wyatt deserve it? What a silly question. Of course he doesn't." Sez you. Wyatt Earp brought order, if not law, to the wilderness of Tombstone, and for this service to the community, he received nothing but harassment and controversy for the rest of his life, fed by news articles like yours.

If you want to read about the REAL Wyatt Earp, not the one you're making up (again) in your article, try Casey Tefertiller's Wyatt Earp: The Man Behind the Legend or Allen Barra's Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends for a sober and historically respectable assessment of the man's life and impact.

Sarah Stegall

Another Opinion About the Earp Story

We own Wyatt Earp's Birthplace Home in Monmouth, Ill., which is now a nonprofit museum, and we immensely enjoyed "The Return of Wyatt Earp." Leo W. Banks brings history to life in a very entertaining way.

We'd like to add that Wyatt Earp was also a Pima County deputy sheriff, a deputy U.S. marshal in Arizona and a lawman in Alaska, Idaho, Dodge City and Wichita, Kan. However, he was mainly a businessman.

Earp had warrants for the arrests of the desperados who tried to murder his brothers and himself after the O.K. Corral. Pointing guns at lawmen (the Earps) was a threat, which allowed Wyatt and his posse to take care of the murderers. Wyatt helped get rid of "organized crime" in southeast Arizona. Also, Wyatt Earp was never convicted of horse stealing in Arkansas.

We're in northwest Tucson now for the winter. We look forward to visiting the new museum in Tucson in 2005, along with other worldwide visitors who also visit the Wyatt Earp Birthplace Historic House Museum.

Bob and Melba Matson
Wyatt Earp Birthplace Board of Trustees

In Defense of Starbucks

I regularly read your paper and find it a useful companion to everyday Tucson life. However, I was upset by the April 22 "Random Shots," by Rand Carlson. In the comic, he portrays Tucson businesses as being environmentally unfriendly. One of the businesses was the company I work for: Starbucks.

In the comic, Starbucks is depicted as a deforesting, faceless evil corporation that is ruining foreign coffee plantations and the environment surrounding them. What upset me about this is the falsehood of the accusations. Starbucks is the most recognized coffee brand in the United States. As such, it gets the brunt of the abuse that environmentalists throw at farmers, coffee growers and buyers. This is a totally undeserved accusation.

Starbucks coffee accounts for 3 percent of the world's coffee consumption. In order for a coffee plantation to even be considered by Starbucks, it must meet rigorous control standards far beyond the local government's standards. The coffee plantation must pay workers a fair salary and use environmentally friendly techniques. Starbucks is THE ONLY coffee company that employs such high standards. Other Tucson coffee shops and sellers have no idea where their coffee comes from, or what conditions it is harvested under.

It's a travesty that such a comic was printed without the facts being checked first. I would urge Rand Carlson to inquire from his local coffee shop where the beans come from, and how that plantation is affecting its surrounding environment.

Scott Pressnall

Around the World to Reconnect Via the 'Weekly'

When I read in Jimmy Boegle's "News and Notes" (April 22) that the Weekly was breaking its self-imposed rule to publish only local news, I figured it must be for something big. I was stunned to see that the author's name was Jason Vest ("Fables of the Reconstruction," April 22). I'm was thinking: Could this be the same kid I taught in my 12th-grade AP English class in about 1990 in Northern Virginia? Even then, I saw in him the seeds of a future Hunter S. Thompson or Bob Woodward, so I already knew a bit of Googling would be unnecessary, but I was absolutely delighted to find nigh onto 6,000 postings, and that he was, indeed, from my former stomping grounds.

I figured if any student I'd taught in 31 years would make it big in journalism, it would be Jason. Thanks so much for your serendipitous choice. It thrilled the socks off this retired English teacher to see one of her own so boldly and eloquently firing broadsides against the current crop of goons who've taken up residence in the White House and then blithely squandered America's good will by taking us down a most foolhardy path in Iraq.

Denice Blake

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