This Liberal, Organic-Eating, Brilliant Trucker Thinks Tim's a Twit

First, let me state that I'm a loyal Tucson Weekly reader. I am also beyond "liberal" on many points to the point of being radical. I eat organic. I hate Bush. I'm also a trucker. I have an IQ that tops 150 and a respectable grasp of the English language.

That said, Tim Vanderpool is an ignorant, selfish twit ("Truck Terror, Currents, Feb. 9).

I have made deliveries in my "smoke-belching beezlebub rig" in his neighborhood. I've probably driven right past his house. Do you know why? It's because this neighborhood is directly adjacent to an industrial area, and at times, the only way to get there is through Mr. Precious' 'hood.

We truckers don't drive through there to be assholes, or because we're selfish or stupid. We do it because we have a job to do. I used to live in the Dunbar/Spring area, and when I did, I accepted the constant train traffic. Now I live in the UA area, and I accept the loud home lives of the students.

A few months ago, a co-worker and fellow driver of mine was compelled to commit the grievous sin of passing through this area. Our company received a call of complaint, which was probably the esteemed "journalist" here. At any rate, this "Diesel Dan" was actually named Mike. He's 50-something years old; he's trying to make ends meet on $11 an hour, and his wife just had a stroke. Mike needs to make these deliveries to keep his job to keep his wife alive. And if Mike won't make them for $11, someone else will do it for $10.

You see, Timmo, we don't all have the luxury of getting paid to sit on our ass and complain about meaningless shit. Some of us in the world that we all share have to actually work. And yes, truck driving IS work, whether you know it or not.

If Vanderpool has some kind of anti-truck fetish, I would venture to suggest he not live next to a warehouse district. Either that, or just stop consuming anything you can think of, Tim, because otherwise, you are just creating a demand for more trucks, and you don't want to be ignorant AND a hypocrite do you, Tim? I could write much more, but I have a job to do. See you soon, pal!

Brian Kessler

Props to Brandon Kosters for Taking That Ticket

Wow. What an intriguing and powerful article ("My Katrina Diary," Feb. 9). What a bold adventure, and what a life-changing set of lessons learned. Thanks for listening to the call. Thanks for sharing the experience and yourself.

Randy Gerdes

Bruegmann: An Apologist for Sprawl, Period

I attended the lecture by Dr. Robert Bruegmann at the Museum of Contemporary Art ("In Support of Sprawl," Visual Arts, Feb. 9). But I can't tell you what his argument was. His lecture was disjointed and rambling. He punctuated his delivery with high pitched, trailing verbal cues, perhaps in an attempt to drive his points home.

I think he is an apologist for suburban sprawl. He never adequately defined "sprawl" but tried to point out that people are "better off" at lower population densities.

Whether people are better off at lower population densities depends on how developers achieve those densities. If developers make arrangements for free movement of animals and for open spaces for humans, then suburbs might be a good model for the future. Dr. Bruegmann didn't seem concerned with those things.

What irked me most about Dr. Bruegmann's presentation was his failure to adequately answer questions by members of the larger-than-expected audience. One young woman asked him what effect suburban sprawl might have on biodiversity. He countered with what I believe is an old standby of the Rove/Bush-type crowd. He said, "Well, I guess it depends on if you view man as part of nature or as outside of nature." When asked by a young man if he thought that free movement of animals was important and whether he thought that invasive, non-native species were deleterious, he countered with, "Well, there has always been change. For instance, at one time, the Earth didn't have any oxygen."

That cleared it up for me.

Norm Koehler

People Just Don't Hurt Elephants; Elephants Can Hurt People

There's one argument against keeping the Reid Park Zoo elephants that Carrie Stern and Jim Nintzel forgot to mention: They're potentially more dangerous for the people taking care of them than any other animal commonly kept in captivity ("Pachyderm Push," Feb. 16). So much so that most zoos electing to keep them have eliminated physical-contact options for the keepers who care for the animals. The Tacoma Zoo, for example, now has an elephant barn in which virtually every veterinary procedure can be performed through a series of bars and partitions without ever putting the human caregivers in harm's way.

In the last 10 years, elephant keepers have been killed or injured at the San Antonio Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Oakland Zoo, the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Shrine Circus, the Miami Metro Zoo and Marine World Africa USA. The list goes on. It's not the elephants' fault. They aren't any meaner than anybody else, but while an unhinged aardvark is manageable, an elephant in the same condition isn't.

This fact, and the negative feeling it generates toward the animals in question, seems to me to cancel out any "educational value" keeping such creatures confined in limited city space could possible have.

Catherine O'Sullivan

Elephant Pregnancy Carries With It a Lot of Risk

I hope the Reid Park Zoo thinks through its decision very carefully before adding additional risk to the captive lives of Connie and Shaba. Twenty-seven is a very advanced age for Shaba to become pregnant if she has never given birth before. The risk for a stillborn birth is huge.

The risk for the mother is also great. There are at least two elephants (one in St. Louis Zoo and one in Seneca Park Zoo) that both became pregnant late in life (through artificial insemination) and lost their calves. The risk of infection for these animals is great.

Carrie McIntyre

Educate by Sending Elephants Away

There is a wonderful group of people here in Tucson trying very hard to provide an opportunity for a better life for some longtime Tucson residents. I understand the passion of both sides, but really, it should come down to what is best for these magnificent creatures.

One will discover, without much research, that these animals do very poorly in captivity. They physically and mentally deteriorate, and they are considered as social as humans or dogs. They thrive in herds. There is no better way to educate Tucson's children than to lead by example, and show them that we are compassionate, proactive and sensitive to the elephants.

Chloe Black

Shouldn't an Elephant Savior Forgo Reptile Shoes?

Although I thoroughly agree with Nikia Fico and her plight to save the Tucson elephants, I would equally agree that she might get more support for the cause if she didn't wear her designer dead reptile or alligator shoes to a photo shoot. After all, she is quoted as saying "I think we should be giving animals the respect they deserve and treating them compassionately and humanely." Tell her shoes that!

Dale Stephens

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