Aren't the Underdogs' Supporters Just ADORABLE?

"The Weiss campaign pointed out that Gabby Giffords, the Democratic front-runner (at least before Patty decided to pursue the seat), was neck-and-neck with Graf, with both pulling roughly 34 percent." ("Anchors Away!" The Skinny, Jan. 26)

While the media, including the Tucson Weekly, fall all over themselves ogling Patty Weiss and Gabby Giffords, a real candidate with substance is running for District 8. Jeff Latas, a retired Air Force pilot, announced his candidacy even before Kolbe decided not to run. Mr. Latas decided to run in order to change the direction of the disastrous Bush policies and the rubber-stamp Congress. It is likely that neither woman mentioned above would have been willing to face off against Kolbe.

Jeff is a decorated veteran, an aerospace engineer and an environmentalist. He is far more qualified than a local newscaster or a one-time Republican. Instead of assuming who the front-runners are, using Democratic establishment rhetoric, the Weekly could do Tucsonans a real favor by interviewing the candidates and letting the people decide who the front-runners really are.

Patt Hale

Yet Another Adoring Latas Fan Compares Nintzel to Jayson Blair

The print media recently has been rocked with scandal due to poor journalistic tendencies (Jeff Gannon), making up the news (Jayson Blair) and publishing partisan lies to appear "fair and balanced" (Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell). However, shoddy research and celebrity gossip as news is just as damaging.

Usually, the Tucson Weekly is a good free newspaper. But your coverage of the District 8 congressional Democratic primary leaves so little to be admired, especially this comment: "The Weiss campaign pointed out that Gabby Giffords, the Democratic front-runner (at least before Patty decided to pursue the seat), was neck-and-neck with Graf, with both pulling roughly 34 percent."

When did Giffords become the front-runner? What are her positions? Is she a Republican in Democratic clothing, selling out to corporate sponsors? What is her record in Phoenix? I live in District 8, and I never heard of anything she did, sponsored or fought for. If I didn't go to a UA "meet the candidates" night at Hillel, where Ms. Giffords ignored most of the people in attendance, I wouldn't know who she is.

What about Patty Weiss? She's spent the better part of her life reading from a teleprompter. What are her positions? What are her beliefs?

One candidate has already been named "the only Democrat capable of winning the seat" by conservative columnist/radio host Emil Franzi. This candidate announced his intention to run long before Kolbe announced his retirement. On his Web site, this candidate also has a detailed issues section, the only one of the Democrats who has publicly announced his position on important issues.

Finally, this candidate is a highly decorated lieutenant colonel, retired from the United States Air Force. In this day and age of security and military support, only one Democratic candidate for District 8 has the experience to understand the complexities of the military, including five active duty tours in the Middle East. That Democratic candidate's name is Jeff Latas, not Patty Weiss.

Sadly, you didn't mention Mr. Latas. You only mentioned a fellow journalist, Patty Weiss, and a sellout who had very little of a record in Phoenix. I'm sure Weiss enjoyed the free, unchallenged publicity. Has this Sierra Vista-owned newspaper already endorsed her? If so, please refer that to the op/ed section, not the news section. If not, please remember there are other Democratic candidates for District 8 who are not local celebrities. One of those candidates actually has more qualifications for Congress than being a local celebrity. His name is Jeff Latas.

Please be a bit more thorough in your journalistic objectivity. Please have the appearance of impartiality until you endorse someone.

Aram S. Katz

For the record, the Weekly, as has been stated numerous times, does not believe in objectivity. Fairness, yes; objectivity, no. And to be fair, Mr. Latas has been mentioned in The Skinny seven times since December.

And Now, We Yield the Floor to a Supporter of Another Long-Shot Democrat

Thanks for helping those of us too lazy to think to make decisions the easy way--never look at a political candidate that is running against an incumbent; they must be sure losers. If someone has lost in a primary once, they must be losers forever--never mind the valuable contacts and experience they garnered in braving the fray. You are sooooo helpful ("Sure Losers," The Skinny, Jan. 26).

Jeff Chimene has my vote for state Senate just for pissing you off by running. Oh, and by the way, District 30 is much larger than just Sierra Vista--and even people there object to using our young people as cannon fodder.

Kay Aubrey-Chimene

Animal-Issues Help Is Needed on the Southside

What the southside needs badly is an animal-care facility, either public or nonprofit (Guest Commentary, Jan. 26). The area has grown quickly and without the local resources to deal with the many animal issues here. Animals run loose all over the area. Dogs and cats that have been run over by autos are a daily sight. I see the Pima Animal Care Center people out here all the time, but the Silverbell Road station is miles away.

We need a facility that can deal with local people and local issues--one that can provide low-cost spay/neuter clinics, adoptions, shelter, a pet food bank, shots and education. I have no doubt that there would be much support from the community for this.

Caroline Salcido

That Graffiti Story Was Important, Thorough

Lee Allen's "Tucson Tagging" article (Jan. 12) was a much-needed, diligent and thorough exploration of the Old Pueblo's ongoing graffiti problem and some possible solutions (and some unfortunate limitations to solutions at present). We have dealt with this intractable and frustrating nuisance since moving into our eastside neighborhood five years ago and have painted over some areas of graffiti three or four times. It gets ridiculous after a while, but you can't give up, because the quicker you respond, the better you can show the perpetrators that they do not have permission to "decorate" (i.e., damage) either public or private property without the property owner's permission--and, in most cases, they are not going to get permission. It sends the strongest and most crucial signal to drug-pushing gangs that they are not welcome to do business in your "hood."

Keep up the good work in investigative journalism on matters of great import facing our community.

Joan M. Bundy

A Lesson Learned: Appreciate the Good Stuff Nearby

I live approximately 2,100 miles from Hi Corbett Field, but manage to catch a half-dozen games each spring, there and at Tucson Electric Park. But I do understand (about ignoring nearby blessings). I live 15 miles from Niagara Falls--an admittedly spectacular physical landmark--and I last laid eyes on them in 1967 ("I Hereby Resolve ..." Editor's Note, Jan. 5). Everybody ignores the bounty around them--while pining for the far-flung attractions that are being ignored by their locals.

See you along the third baseline this March.

Terry Olynik

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