Everyone Should Respect Nature, Not Just Environmentalists

I enjoyed Connie Tuttle's piece about the vandalized saguaros (Oct. 27), not only because it expressed the community's anger toward the two idiots who chopped down the saguaros, but also because it describes the long lifecycle of the ancient saguaro, a precious desert plant we should all admire. I appreciate Tuttle's effort to educate the public about the importance and transcendence of one of the most amazing living forms in the world.

Respect, love and care for nature is not a crazy idea held only by "environmentalists"; it is a need which we should all grow up, live and fight for. Respect for the environment is a way to show how civilized humans are; how committed we are to past, present and future generations, humans and non-humans alike; how educated, aware and connected we all are.

Sergio Avila

Peace Keepers Have No Place at a Public Protest

Jeneiene Schaffer has proven herself to be nothing more than an opportunist (Guest Commentary, Nov. 3). In her piece, she selectively quoted an anarchist sign which, in full, was "Draft this! We are ready for a fight." It was not a message of wanton violence directed at the police (as she led the reader to believe), but one of self-determination.

If violence is enforced by the authorities through a military draft, anarchists will direct it at the proper targets, rather than the innocent Iraqi people. I can think of someone in Washington whom she despises for using selective quotes to push an agenda and excuse needless violence.

Tucson anarchists have never even done anything illegal at a protest, much less anything violent. Jeneiene fits the stereotypical liberal elitist mindset by denying the personal responsibility of the cops to follow the law and disavowing solidarity with fellow activists, because she herself isn't targeted. She'd rather align herself with the violent police illegally attacking nonviolent activists. She even admits "trigger-happy officers are even more willing to use over-the-top force," but chooses to blame the victims instead.

We have no need for police at any protests. The "peace keepers" are restrictive. It seems to me that Jeneiene, Susan Thorpe and Joe Bernick just can't stand the fact that people other than themselves are organizing successful protests. At a meeting last year, they were heard to exclaim, "Our movement is being hijacked by radicals!"

Whose movement? Hijacked? What about cooperation?

Mike Sousa

Blame TPD, Not the Anarchists, for Protest Problems

I write this in response to the critical opinion on activism and anarchism in Tucson. I find the thought and ideology behind the commentary dangerous to the ideas of freedom and true democracy. In the last four years of large anti-war marches in Tucson, anarchists, time and time again, have been falsely arrested and accused; after months, their charges are dismissed. While the closet-conservative liberals complain about people getting hurt and arrested because of allegedly violent and "rude, aggressive behavior," we need to look at this issue more critically. Who has gotten hurt by police brutality at anti-war protests in Tucson?

Anarchists. Can you recall just more than a year ago, when a Tucson police officer shot someone in the back with a pepperball gun? Who are the folks consistently arrested on false charges? Anarchists and radicals. Has an anarchist ever assaulted you? Or caused you to get arrested?

I will act on my own desires, not someone else's. Consider giving up your freedom to be spontaneous, in order to be more safe? Sound familiar? The state's agenda to instill fear and point blame at terrorists and anarchists has soiled even the most progressive of liberals today. While you don't fear terrorists and are against the USA PATRIOT Act because of its stifling of freedom, you point blame at anarchists and support cooperation with the ruthless and murderous Tucson Police Department and appoint members of your own groups to cooperate and imitate them at rallies? Quite ironic.

Yusuke J. Banno

Good Protester--Bad Protester Paradigm an Effort to Silence Opposition

We aren't looking for a fight; we are looking for a voice that the police are trying to silence.

Local police intelligence units and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces across the nation are promoting the "good protester--bad protester" argument described in Jeneiene Schaffer's guest commentary. As a co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement, I talk with peace activists all over the world, and I believe this argument is part of a national effort to disrupt and silence opposition to the war.

I first heard this argument from the Tucson police at the beginning of the war. If the peace movement grows more successful at mobilizing opposition, we can expect more pepperball attacks and trumped-up criminal charges. Instead of advancing the police agenda of divide and conquer, we could better spend our energy working to end the real crimes of war, poverty and the threats to our human rights. Stepping off the sidewalk is harmless when compared to the death caused by cluster bombs and nerve gas used by the U.S. military in the Middle East.

Our message of peace is so important that it shouldn't be hidden behind parked cars on sidewalks. The peace movement should be front-page news and the main story of every newscast. We aren't looking for a fight; we are looking for a voice that the police are trying to silence.

Keith McHenry

Remembering Limbo: One of the Best Journalists to Come Our Way

With hearts breaking, Tucson has had to say goodbye to a good and decent man who fought the good fight but lost his battle with leukemia. Chris Limberis was the nemesis of many but a hero to a majority. He was a truth-seeker, and they are few and far between. He was a real journalist and an honor to a profession that tends to fail the test more often than not.

For those who seek to educate the public, Chris Limberis was the beacon. He researched, interviewed and tracked down tips and leads in search of, not only a good story, but the truth. How we all loved to see his byline, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and rejoice in a good read.

He could read budgets and agendas, and ferret out minutiae that revealed what was being done and why. He had an institutional memory and background, and made sure the public was on the same page with him. He wrote for the public, not other journalists, nor did he rewrite cheerleading materials like some current media hacks.

One of the secrets to his craft was his thorough knowledge of the Open Meeting Law. He knew who, what, when, where, why and how things were subverted. He had no hesitation or fear of writing about political or bureaucratic behaviors or consequences that harmed the taxpayers.

Chris Limberis' contribution to the integrity of the Fourth Estate should be upheld with the highest esteem. His memory and legacy should be memorialized by local journalists striving to raise their standards a little higher.

This is written with the deepest of sorrow, for all who have lost Chris Limberis, a friend, a good and decent man, who happened to be one of the best journalists to ever come our way.

Mary C. Schuh
President, Pima Association of Taxpayers

Remembering Limbo: A True Family Man

I was out of town when death finally came for Chris Limberis, and I regret that I was unable to contribute to the Weekly's special tribute "Remembering Limbo" (Nov. 10).

I'd like to share my own warm memories of him. Like many of my colleagues, I can still see Chris positioned at a cluttered desk in the back office at the old Weekly downtown, working late into the evening. He'd be poring over public records, transcribing notes with earphones on his head, making one last phone call, putting in the invisible drudge work that's necessary to topple the bad guys. No one knew better than Chris how to find the evidence of big misdeeds in tiny print, whether it was in tax records or budget reports. He had a brilliant memory for local government. He could always summon up the name of the exact official or obscure bureaucrat you were looking for, or explain some Byzantine machination that had happened on, say, the Board of County Supervisors a decade before.

Chris loved to catch the sleazes at their dirty work, but he was a generous soul who was just as delighted if a fellow reporter bagged one. One time, when I slammed a truly awful candidate for the Tucson Unified School District board, Chris called me on his cell phone to congratulate me on my story. He chortled over it, reading choice sections aloud, until, at the other end of the line, I could hear somebody scolding him. It turned out Chris had been reading the paper while standing in line at the post office to buy stamps. He was so delighted by my exposé that he couldn't wait to call me at a more opportune moment, and he had not even noticed when he got to the front of the line. The post office clerk was not amused.

Chris was a bachelor who was a true family man, and often talked to me proudly about his nieces and nephews. When my own kids were small, I used to bring them down to the office in the afternoons. Chris always took the time to make a fuss over them, and even after they stopped coming, he never--ever--failed to ask me how they were doing, especially in school. He'd smile with real pleasure when I'd tell him about their accomplishments, and he'd say in his deep voice, "That's great. That's just great."

I'll never forget the compassion he showed me when my father died. His own beloved mother had died a year or so earlier, and he could see how much I was hurting. He spoke to me gently at the office, offering his condolences, and sent me not one, but two, hand-written sympathy notes at home. A few months later, I wrote a reminiscence about my father's life and his family history. Chris, who was as devoted to his Greek heritage as I was to my Irish, made a point of telling me how much he liked the story, and added that he had passed it on to an Irish-American lawyer friend who would be sure to like it.

I regret more than I can say that this good, kind man has died too soon.

Margaret Regan

Remembering Limbo: Words About Him Inspire

I never knew Chris Limberis, but I knew his byline. It is a rare journalist who rises to a level that his or her byline speaks louder to readers than the headlines of the stories. If it had Limberis' name on it, I usually took the time to read it, especially when he was at the Star and writing about Ed Moore; that was watchdog journalism at its finest.

I was impressed with how the Weekly handled the tribute to Limberis. Most publications make a hash out of tributes to their fallen colleagues, but the cheese factor of your effort was kept to a minimum. No one has ever lived up to the standard of his or her eulogy, but some come close. Limberis appears to be one of the few.

I've printed out your story and handed it around my newsroom with a note attached saying, "If you died tomorrow, would your colleagues, friends and sources say similar things about you? In regard to me, my answer is, 'No.'" My guess is that my answer would be the same for most in our business, more's the pity.

I hate throwaway words like "inspire" and "devotion" or "heroic." They're generally meaningless and hyperbolic. So I'm squirming as I sit here trying to force myself to write that what was written about Chris in your tribute has inspired me to be a better journalist, if not a better person. But it did.

Nice job. Thanks.

Mark B. Evans
Editor, The EXPLORER

Remembering Limbo: He Didn't Give Praise Lightly

I hadn't seen Chris for more than a year. We had a nice lunch, but he was having pain in his leg. I never asked about his first cancer; I knew he wasn't comfortable talking about himself. I wrote him a thank you for the lunch and didn't hear back.

I noticed his name was absent from the Weekly. I wrote him again. I found out that, since our lunch, he had been diagnosed with leukemia. The last time we spoke, this last April, we talked about our old cars as we often did; I said we should get together soon.

Chris was incredibly kind to me in print, most of the time. He went after me when I deserved it. But I was almost embarrassed by his praise. I knew he didn't give praise lightly. He had no tolerance for deceit or greed.

What a loss to this community.

Judy Burns
TUSD Governing Board

Remembering Limbo: A Gifted Storyteller

Our family is heartsick about Chris Limberis' death ("Fallen Star," Currents, Feb. 12, 2004). Chris was a crackerjack reporter, a talented wordsmith and a gifted storyteller. Time and time again, he fearlessly exposed the underbelly of Tucson's power elite. It's hard to accept that Chris won't be here to guide us through the next local court fiasco, the Rio Nuevo quagmire--or even the meaning behind last week's elections. Chris could spot a phony, and he seemed to delight in exposing greed and hypocrisy. We depended upon him to tell us the truth, no matter the cost.

Chris was a walking library of all things local--politics, courts, budgets and schools. He even followed high school basketball. It wasn't uncommon to see him at important local games--always alone--quietly sizing up the action. He could rattle off statistics about the players, the coaches, the teams--and his eyes lit up when he talked about the games.

Chris had courage--and in a quirky, offbeat way, he had grace. I'll miss him.

Suzanne Rabe

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