Bluefin: We're Constantly Working to ImproveThank you for your anticipation of Bluefin's opening (and your kind words for Kingfisher). I apologize for it not living up to your expectations ("Below Expectations," Chow, June 23). Having been so fortunate with Kingfisher for the last 12 years, we knew going into Bluefin that the bar would be set pretty high. Part of the impetus for Tim (Ivankovich), Murph (Jim Murphy) and me to open another restaurant was to challenge ourselves, and create some opportunities for our great long-time Kingfisher staff (average seven years of tenure in the kitchen, eight-plus in the front of the house).
Although your review certainly has merit, honestly, on a personal level, it was very upsetting to us, maybe because we have had such good fortune over the years. On a professional level, it will only make us work harder to be better. We aren't going anywhere! That said, we recently implemented some menu changes until our new menu comes out in July, and we have addressed our service issues with twice-weekly staff meetings. The level of business at Bluefin for the last four months has been much greater than anticipated, and although we like to think we are doing something right, we also know we are only as good as our last dining experience.
Having read every food review in Tucson for the last 20 years, I hope the Weekly still has a policy of the re-review and would like to extend an invitation to you to dine with us in the future.
Jeff Azersky, chef/owner
Does This Hate-Crime Memorial Open a Can of Worms?So, some genius at the city approved a stone monument in a city park in memory of hate-crime victim Philip Walsted. ("Healing Place," Currents, June 23). Ignoring for the moment the intellectual vacuity of classifying some crimes as "hate crimes" (and all others as "love crimes"?), it is easy to sympathize with the friends and family. Senseless murder is tragic, no matter the victim or the motive.
Since there are plenty of senseless, tragic murders to go around, it should be obvious that it won't be long before the next determined and vocal group of survivors wants to put up another monument. As I see it, there are three things that could happen:
1. The city resigns itself to having its lawyers tied up for years fending off the anger and lawyers of crime survivors who insist (probably correctly) that they have just as much right to erect monuments in city parks as those who remember Mr. Walsted. Then there are the liability questions when someone trips or crashes into the stone and is injured.
2. Stone monuments pop up all over the city parks and turn them into faux graveyards.
3. The monument to Walsted is removed, probably soon.
I don't expect city bureaucrats to be geniuses, but this decision must have been made by a potted plant.
Did Development Cause Drought?As I do my daily walks, it has come to my attention that something is not in balance. Hearing the bulldozers scrape more desert land and seeing the "sides" of washes transform into adobe housing, I am realizing that we do not get it ("The Issue of Infill," June 30). This whole area has been in a drought for many years now, ever since the extensive expansion of the northwest in the late '90s. Could it be that this expansion has truly brought us out of harmony with the environment, causing a drought that is so extensive that a miracle will need to take place? Developers are digging deeper and deeper to obtain water. The Tucson Mountains are now being bulldozed. Should we continue this ramped development, we will definitely see the 100-year flood take away this glorious area that we live in back to its original state! Carl Jung's tale of "The Rainmaker" may put it all in perspective. The Rainmaker came to a village that had suffered from drought for five terrible years. On the fifth day, after the Rainmaker showed up and retired to his private tent, the village was drenched in life-giving rain. When asked how he had accomplished this great miracle, the Rainmaker explained, "When I arrived, the first thing I noted was that everything in your village was out of harmony with heaven. So I spent four days putting myself into harmony with the divine. Then the rains came." I encourage citizens and the city to consider placing a moratorium on building. This time would allow for some silence, better reasoning and long-term solutions to an issue that will face us sooner than we think.
Deborah Van De Putte
Infill Solution? Tire Houses!The article by Mr. Devine on city infill was quite good. The problem for contractors is that the land parcels are good for one or two houses; you can't bring in machinery for that small of a lot.
A better solution would be to build houses out of tires. There are several advantages: They are free; they have been approved by the state, county and city; they can be built by private individuals after a little teaching thereby saving money; after building, they are covered with adobe so they look very nice. The cost is about $10 per square foot. I can send photos if you want them. New Mexico has a large program on tire houses for poor people.
The Star refuses to print letters about this; no doubt they are afraid of angering the big builders.
Stuart A. Hoenig
People, the Marketplace Determines DevelopmentIt was useful that you were willing to explore what you called "leap frog development" as lengthily as you did. It was also fascinating to see how so many "experts" seem to know why this occurs.
In the end, what really determines what will happen is the marketplace; it attracts buyers who want places they find attractive, practical and worthwhile. Builders could build all over the place without regard to what people want and go out of business.
Some of your commentators talked about preserving the downtown core as if there is something sacred about this kind of geography. The reality is that natural growth occurring from expanding families and other normal circumstances have created revised ideas about what happens, and where. The evolution of shopping malls has transformed planning and public thinking.
One of the aspects continuously and politically resisted as inevitable change is the need for revised approaches to governance. Regional government reduces the costs of duplicated public services and expands cooperative financial underpinnings.
If Tucson meets Phoenix in some new megalopolis, it will be because more and more people want to be where we are, and they have the right to make those choices. What will mitigate the effects of such development will be more mature political, industry and government cooperation, combined with less citizen apathy.
Joseph J. Honick
President, GMA/International, Ltd.
Frieders Is Our Hero; Danehy's Off to HellWow, am I even capable of expressing how moved I was by the sentiments of Kelly Frieders (TQ&A, June 30)? Here's the thing: Republicans horrify me; people who call themselves Christians (ya know, with that big capital C) scare me; and, totally on a side note, I find triplets pretty spooky (just mostly kidding there). What a gal! Frieders understands glass houses: She knows that it's just not right to judge. If there's a god, then Kelly is blessed. Danehy, on the other hand, good grief: He's gonna rot in hell--poor misguided soul.
Home-schooler, breast-feeder in public (always discreet), born/bred atheist, hetero domestic partner and probably sinner of many other Tom-sins,