On the Motivations of Activists, Scott and Brush Ceramics

Well, well, John C. Scott, Tucson's bombastic radio show host, defended Democrat Linda Lopez in a letter to the Weekly by trashing Environmental Justice Action Group ("John C. Scott Defends Linda Lopez and an Advertiser of His," Mailbag, June 16). Is it because Lopez has been singing the praises of Brush Ceramic Products, an advertiser on Scott's show? We suggest Scott do a little research.

Brush's manager boasted at a recent meeting that employee protection was so important they developed a test to find sensitization to beryllium oxide. However, a Washington Post article states Brush's parent company, Brush Wellman, lobbied to avoid testing until employees show symptoms of beryllium disease.

We have taken Lopez and Yolanda Hererra to task because of untrue statements. Lopez wrote to the Weekly: "EJAG told Brush that they were comfortable with the information Brush provided." In fact, EJAG and the Sierra Club don't believe much of the information we have heard from Brush. And in a Citizen editorial, Hererra mentioned EJAG and said, "our community ... may be subjected to a misinformation campaign." All the information we provide comes from scientific reports, government documents and media sources.

It has never been our stated policy to shut down the plant. We don't want workers to lose their jobs. Instead, we want workers regularly tested for chronic beryllium disease and we want them, along with nearby residents and schoolchildren, to be protected from beryllium oxide emissions.

Unlike you, Mr. Scott, EJAG and Sierra Club see no financial gain from our work. We are just a collection of citizens who are concerned about their community, not their bottom line.

Rob Kulakofsky,
Rincon Group of the Sierra Club
Pat Birnie,
Environmental Justice Action Group

Hip-Hop, Like All Music, Sucks--With Exceptions

It's nice to know there's still a voice out there for naïve racists (Danehy, July 7). Let's just be clear: Most music sucks. Choose any genre of American music that suits your fancy, and the truth is that 95 percent is garbage. Really, thanks, I sleep a little better at night knowing that AC/DC is going to sell out shows in 30 years. Tom, AC/DC sucks. You really think selling out a show to a crowd of people who have a collective 35 functioning neurons at any given time is the benchmark of quality?

I'm just giving you a hard time, though. Truth is, hip-hop does encourage misogyny and violence, and I can't condone that. Now that I think of it, country music encourages alcoholism and infidelity (not to mention driving those big gas-guzzling trucks, and that just adds to our foreign oil dependency. Can't they just sing about their beat-up old Prius?). Heavy metal leans on hate and anger. Rock 'n' roll seems like it's always about doing drugs and screwing. Pop music just encourages superficiality. The way I see it, we should stop listening to music all together.

Fortunately, there is always a band or an artist that breaks the mold. The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bill Frisell, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Patton, the Violent Femmes, Saul Williams and Mos Def are all exceptions to the rule. Yeah, it turns out hip-hop is no different than any other genre; it's just harder for you to see that, because you're a naïve, fat white guy. But thanks for the mention of musical geniuses like R. Kelly and 50 Cent while trying to characterize not only a musical movement, but also a cultural movement in America. That's like telling me that jazz sucks because Kenny G. has no soul. But didn't he recently go on tour and sell out a bunch of shows? Hell, what do I know?

By the way, thank you for that stab at Ebonics, too. It's great that we live in a place where a guy like you can lay down some overt racism and still get it published. Tom, stick to the one-dimensional, superficial stuff like basketball. It suits you.

Anthony Dee

Hip-hop About Struggle, Love

I found Danehy's July 7 column laughable, as well as slightly offending. Mr. Danehy obviously does not have a credible grasp of hip-hop culture.

As a 17-year-old black male, I have grown up with hip-hop. I remember listening to pioneers like Sugarhill Gang, KRS-One, MC Lyte, and Eric B. and Rakim, as well as a plethora of others. I consider all of them role models. They represent the ability to overcome the worst of situations. They represent ghetto life; they represent little black girls and boys who have nothing. For Mr. Danehy to call hip-hop a sham is truly offensive, because in part, hip-hop represents me. Furthermore, hip-hop is not about slapping hos, shooting pigs and tippin' on 24s. It's about struggle; it's about rebellion; it's about love. If Mr. Danehy were to listen to rappers and hip-hop artists outside of the mainstream, he would find intellectuals talking about the problems of America's political landscape (Wyclef Jean, with his song "President"). He would also find men who talk about the joys of fatherhood and how much they respect their partners (Talib Kweli, with his song "Joy").

I challenge Mr. Danehy to broaden his horizons. With an understanding of hip-hop comes an understanding of black culture. The two are deeply intertwined, and as long as there are black people, and as long as there are social injustices, hip-hop will remain a permanent fixture. When the year 2035 rolls around, I, for one, will be groovin' to a sold-out hip-hop venue. And when that time comes, I will pay for Mr. Danehy's ticket.

Alex Batiste

Thanks for Alert on Endangered Species Act

I want to thank Tim Vanderpool and the Weekly for reporting the plans now underway in Congress to gut the Endangered Species Act ("Endangered Act," July 7). Washington, D.C., is controlled by special interests intent on rolling back decades of environmental protections--while deceiving the public about it. First, they undermined our air pollution standards and called it the Clear Skies Initiative. Then, they opened up old-growth forests so timber corporations could clear-cut and called it the Healthy Forests Initiative. They will probably call this the Endangered Species Improvement Program!

We can be thankful we have Congressman Raul Grijalva. If we had more elected officials like Grijalva in Washington, this country would be a lot better off. Unfortunately, we don't. Instead, we have a government that is bought and paid for by the industries that want to be able to rape and scrape everything of value in their pursuit of profit.

To try to weaken the Endangered Species Act is not only short-sighted, hard-hearted and selfish; it's stupid. The more species and habitat we destroy, the more impoverished the Earth becomes--not just for them, but for us, too. It's like burning the timbers in our own ark--weakening the boat that keeps us all afloat.

Acasia Berry

Frantzman's Pass-the-Buck Views Were Offensive

Seth Frantzman's views on maquiladoras (Guest Commentary, June 30) were offensive to me and disrespectful to the Mexican workers who struggle to survive while laboring in the harsh environment the maquiladoras pose. His comments on people opposing maquiladoras in order to have "cheaper girls" were completely inappropriate. I suppose he doesn't know that some people actually care about others. He is correct in saying that the Mexican government has a role to play in improving conditions, but that's not to say the U.S. government and the corporations running the maquiladoras don't have their own responsibilities. Mexicans workers may not currently be able to find "$10-per-hour jobs just around the bend," but they can at least be treated like humans while they work.

Daniel Deborde

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