Awww, We Hurt a Lib's Feelings

If Chris Limberis is having a contest with Tim Vanderpool to see who can write the most tasteless and juvenile hit piece, I think he took the lead with his July 14 note on John Kromko ("Not Quite Enough," The Skinny, July 14). It was the best I've seen since Vanderpool devoted a (paragraph) of an article about a presidential candidate's visit to the scruffiness of (Libertarian volunteer) Rick LaPoint!

I'm still trying to figure out what the gripe is about Kromko. Maybe using referenda to rubber-stamp the grand schemes of local politicians or to rob our neighbors to pay for streetcars is acceptable, but using initiative power to draw a line in the sand on taxes and repeal a backdoor increase is not.

Or maybe, like a schoolboy after gym class, Limberis is just picking on Kromko because Kromko lost. Lost by a hair, at that, due to a dubious ruling that invalidated my petition and about 600 other signatures due to a poorly documented technicality.

The fight to say "enough is enough" to tax-hungry, spendaholic politicians and to repeal the backdoor increase known as the "garbage fee" will go on until avenues for appeal are exhausted, despite the best efforts of the powers-that-be, who'd hate to see voters limit their power or have a choice on a substantial matter. Baseless attacks and stupid rants like Limberis' article are a great help; they draw attention--and sympathy--to the effort. Thank you!

Bennett Kalafut

Predatory Lending, Eminent Domain All About Big Business

I've just re-read Renée Downing's eye-opening article on the disturbing situation of predatory lending ("Little Houses," July 21). Reflection on this brings to mind the recent Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain powers involving residents of New London, Conn.

It has been suggested that the decision was an attempt to impose a certain form of socialism on the country, the main argument being that the Supreme Court ruling undermines private-property rights. I am troubled by the Supreme Court's decision, but for a very different reason. The New London properties claimed under eminent domain will eventually be developed into offices, condominiums and perhaps resorts and restaurants. Renée Downing pointed to essentially the same fate for properties such as Jennie Morales' house. Big developers will build expensive condominiums, and major hotel and restaurant chains will move into the Rio Nuevo development zone. In other words, the properties will remain safely in the hands of the private sector, but not in individual owners' hands. Both the Supreme Court ruling and the predatory lending practices illuminated by Downing's article have the same effect: to transfer property rights from individuals to big business.

Those who would paint the Supreme Court decision as an attempt to impose socialism therefore raise a red herring. But worse than that, they put up a wonderful front for big businesses that will, as usual, make sure they come out on top of the deal.

Martin J. Murphy

Tucson's Fave Letter-Writing Lesbian Stirs the Pot Again

No doubt Steve Meiller's letter regarding the Philip Walsted memorial ("Does This Hate Crime Memorial Open a Can of Worms?" Mailbag, July 14) will be met with an onslaught of righteous indignation from those who uphold the misguided concept of "hate crimes" as having anything positive to do with the cause of gay and lesbian rights. However, this is one gay person who must say that I am definitely in your corner on this one, Steve.

When the Arizona Daily Star carried the story of David Higdon's life sentence for Walsted's murder, there was a smaller story below of a 5-year-old girl who had been raped and beaten to death by her mother's boyfriend. I remember thinking that day that, as a lesbian and a human being, I could not with any conscience pretend that the hate motivating David Higdon's actions was any more heinous than the hate that tore into that tiny girl.

In our attempts to rectify the fact that the harassment and murder of gay people has historically been devalued, we are creating the lie that we are somehow a special group whose suffering carries more weight. I'm sorry, but the rape and murder of a beautiful 5-year-old child diminishes me and the community in which I live no less than does the vicious murder a beautiful young gay man. Legislating the significance and weight of violent crime based on motive is a dangerous concept at best and arrogantly self-righteous at worst. Waving the banner of "hate crimes" separates us from our fellow human beings in a way that we should never want to be separated. We need to find a better way.

Paula Klein

Let's Build the Cross-Town Freeway in the Name of Progress

Most taxpayers have for many years clamored for and needed an east-west freeway. So far, they have been denied, with the flimsy excuse that it would uproot businesses along the river edges.

That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. The river bed is wide enough to accommodate both the freeway and its interchanges without disrupting anything on the banks. Thus far the powerful people against progress have been successful. But will the success continue? Or will they have to move someday 50 miles into the desert, because they can't stand to see the Old Pueblo move into the current century?

Albert Vetter

We Appreciate the Mention of the Decor

Thank you for the mention of the "lovely" interiors of the Bluefin restaurant in Chow ("Below Expectations," June 23). Having been a residential interior designer in Tucson for more than 20 years, this is my first "go" at designing a restaurant; I am glad to know that a discerning customer found the "one thing Bluefin has right is the design and décor" and that "it's comfortable and welcoming."

As its neighbor, I can attest that Bluefin has proven to be a great addition to Casas Adobes Plaza. It is one of the few places on the northwest side of town where one can hear wonderful live jazz music and see those gorgeous Catalina Mountains, and get fine food and drink from friendly staff. Let's hope your next meal there is a memorable one, and only in a good way.

Christy Martin

More on DeGrazia Prints

I enjoyed reading Ron Butler's insightful essay on buying original and reproduction DeGrazia artwork on eBay, (Guest Commentary, July 21). I agree with Mr. Butler that DeGrazia would have appreciated eBay's ability to reach so many and cut out the middleman--it mirrors DeGrazia's own philosophy to make art accessible to the widest possible audience.

Just one clarification, regarding Mr. Butler's assertion that DeGrazia rarely did lithographs and they were not numbered: DeGrazia, produced quite a few stone lithographs, particularly in the late 1970s, and they are almost all numbered. Lithographs can be identified by the signature in a graphite pencil in the lower right corner of the print. Often, the month, year and DeGrazia's trademark stylized saguaro icon are also noted on the lower right. The edition number is handwritten in the lower left corner.

DeGrazia created his lithographs in small runs of 75-150 editions. The small runs make these lovely works valuable. Gallery in the Sun has a large collection of original lithographs, serigraphs and etchings for sale, and occasionally, the works will turn up at other local fine art galleries. These works are considered "original prints" due to the artist's involvement in every step of the process.

I urge anyone with a question about identifying DeGrazia artwork to call and consult with the museum staff at the DeGrazia Foundation.

Kristine Peashock, director of collections and exhibitions
DeGrazia Foundation: Gallery in the Sun

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