LaWall Seems Like a Financial Travel Whiz to Me!

I just finished reading "Crime Fighter" (Currents, Aug. 25), the story attacking Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall's business travel. I now believe she is a pretty good steward of the county's travel money. Throughout the piece, the author sprinkles superficially damning financial figures around: $356 for a trip to Los Angeles, a $300 registration fee, etc. As someone who travels a lot for work, I found these charges perfectly reasonable, and in some cases, bargains.

When you travel on business, your choices are often limited. If parking in your Vancouver conference hotel costs $20, that is what you end up paying. I see her averaging $122 per day for more than 100 days and wonder how she does it. For example, the state of Arizona's per-diem rate for food and lodging alone in Washington, D.C., is $193 per day and $140 in Los Angeles. Throw in some airfare and taxis, and it adds up quickly. Moreover, the idea that she "nickels and dimes" the county by not paying for her own airport parking is ridiculous. Since when has it been wrong for an employee to get reimbursed for business expenses?

Underlying this entire article is the insidious implication that business travel equals vacation. I have no personal knowledge of, or ties to, LaWall or her office, but I would bet that if she is like most "road warriors," she would like nothing better than to cancel half of her trips and just stay home with the family.

John Kruse

Pfeuffer's Logic Doesn't Add Up for Homeowners

Perhaps TUSD Superintendent Roger F. Pfeuffer should enroll himself in some of his own, say, third-grade classes, and try to get a grip on the reality faced by the common folk ("Pfeuffer: Budget Under Control," Mailbag, Sept. 1).

We aren't all buying and selling our houses every few years to realize a profit from our higher property values. Some of us just want to live out our lives in the old family homestead. And the real tax increase that we are subject to every year is going to prevent more and more of us from doing so. We'll have to sell our homes, because we can't afford the increase in taxation on our fixed, non-inflating incomes. Higher property values only count if you sell the property.

Meanwhile, the city contemplates $200 million bridges over I-10? What a bunch of idiots. Evil idiots.

John M. Jensen

Firebirds Founder: Our Restaurant Has Rocky Mountain Roots

I am the founder of Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill, and I appreciate the review on the Tucson store that you gave us ("Unexploited Niche," Chow, Aug. 11).

I wanted to clear up some of your confusion on the concept. I live in Colorado part of the year and got the idea from meeting and dining with many of the chefs in the Aspen/Snowmass area. Most of the entrées came from those chefs. The design was meant to look like a Colorado lodge, based on the ones I have seen in Colorado.

I also started a company called Lone Star Steakhouse in the early '90s. I learned that the farther away from Texas, the higher the sales volume. It also started in North Carolina, not Texas.

To put a Colorado-themed restaurant in Colorado would only be doing something they have already seen. By locating the restaurants away from the Rockies, we are giving people the "feel of the Rockies" without being there. That is the same thing we did with cowboy steakhouses. I hope that helps with any confusion you had on the concept.

I appreciate the feedback on the lunch items. It helps us focus on always trying to improve.

Dennis Thompson

An, Um, Interesting Suggestion on Fixing Border Woes

Something that the owners of the border lands may like to consider is to put the land into production--either organic farms or solar farms--and turn the border area into a work zone ("Images From the Battleground," Aug. 11). The only people allowed into the fenced-off area would be authorized workers, while legal border crossers would pass through the specific, authorized entries. Employees of the farm could patrol the fence line on horseback.

The world is going to have to feed more and more people off the same amount of land (or less due to global warming). We need to put all of our land into production. Lifestyles that worked two generations ago do not necessarily work any more. Organic farms would provide employment, keep the area full of watchful people, produce a lot of food and regenerate the earth, making it a sustainable use of the land. Rain water harvesting could be implemented.

Another way to turn the land into a construction zone would be for owners to lease their land to electric companies for production of solar-electric power along the border.

Barbara Kausen

A Heavily Edited Mathematical Treatise on the Minimum Wage

Mostly I've been bored with the Tucson Weekly and its usual array of liberal rants, because progressive ideology has already lost America's popularity contest. In fact, conservatives now control the White House, both branches of Congress and in a few months, the Supreme Court, too. I feel pretty safe knowing that your Marx-inspired ideas presently have almost no chance of destroying this democratic, free-market, gun-loving, God-fearing society, the United States of America!

However, only because I have a few minutes to kill before contributing to the economy by working, I'd like to offer a few observations concerning Joey Moncarz (Guest Commentary, Aug. 11), who condescendingly proclaims that he is beyond "the human excrement of Democrats and Republicans" because he is a "progressive," and goes on to smugly "enlighten" us readers by insinuating that those who do not agree with your and his liberal perspectives are "ignorant," To paraphrase Shakespeare, "A progressive feces by any other name would still smell as foul."

Specifically, Joey argued against the merits of the Iraqi War, against the state of Israel, and for a higher minimum wage. I'm not going to waste much skin off my fingertips by explaining why a democratic Saddam Hussein-less Iraq in the center of Arabia contributes toward global security. Nor do I share the belief that all pro-Palestinian activists (such as Joey) are anti-Semitic terrorist supporters just because the Palestinians and al-Qaida share many of the same goals and tactics. However, I will explain in simple, liberal-friendly terms why raising the minimum wage harms the economy.

Let's say you are a greedy corporate employer in Guatemala (where Joey once lived), and through the forced labor/exploitation of the poor natives, you derive an even $100 profit. To further elaborate on this example, let's say that you want to invest the whole amount into more labor, thus deriving more profit for the evil shareholders, and you can either pay the market wage of $10 per person, or the minimum wage of $100 per person. You would be able to either hire 10 natives for $10 dollars each, or one native for $100. Logically, employing 10 natives is better than hiring one native, and through paying the market wage, a higher percentage of the exploited Guatemalans are gainfully employed.

Do not worry, liberals; there is no Jewish plot in which using logic makes your heads explode, but there may be a secret Bush administration/Halliburton conspiracy concerning new cranium-exploding weapons!

Progressives, if you have problems understanding the math used in this example, please go directly to an elite liberal learning institution for further educational indoctrination, and by all means, believe everything you read in the Tucson Weekly!

Joseph R. Damron

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