The Skinny Engaged in a Childish Tantrum? What a Stunner!

Usually, The Skinny produces insightful analysis of local political issues. I have always respected its writers whether we agree or disagree on the issues. But for the second year in a row, The Skinny has chosen to slam John Kromko with what can only be described as a childish tantrum ("We've Had More Than Enough!" May 11).

This transportation boondoggle on the May 16 ballot had something for everyone. Which means, there was also something for everyone to hate. Enough! sent a mailer to Green Valley residents letting them know that they will pay the costs while getting none of the benefits, and then sent a letter to midtown Tucson residents saying that this is designed to benefit the developers of the outer limits of Tucson. Both statements are absolutely true.

As for the "fuzzy math," Mr. Kromko reached the number of $300 per family by dividing the total cost of the project ($2.1 billion) by 20 years by 370,000 families (the projected average number for the 20 year period).

Professor Marshall Vest says the sales tax will cost $75 per family. Who is telling the truth? Answer: THEY BOTH ARE.

The lies are coming from the Regional Transportation Authority proponents who say that this sales tax can produce $2.1 billion. We've seen this every time these guys come out with another of these hair-brained schemes; they simply don't have the guts to tell the voters the true cost, so they make it up as they go along.

As for who is making rational arguments: Who put those ads on TV claiming that people were dying in the streets because of traffic? Peter Likins made it to the hospital on time in spite of our so-called traffic congestion.

David Euchner

Owls Use Less Water Than Development, So ...

Let's get on the wagon to return the pygmy owl to the endangered list ("Off the List," The Range, April 20). Surely a couple dozen owls will use less water than the thousands of people the developers will build houses for instead. Water is the issue, is it not?

For 20 years plus, I have been turning off the water when I brush my teeth. It seems ridiculous in the face of permits being issued for thousands of new houses. This is desert, folks. Can we all get on the same page--or at least in the same book? The carrying capacity for this desert has surely been reached.

Joyce Madden

Conservatives Are Winning the War of Ideas in Arizona

I was interested to read Jim Nintzel's grousing about how the Clean Elections legislation has been unfairly beneficial to conservative Republicans ("Dash for Cash," The Skinny, May 4). Is it discouraging that moderate Republicans and Democrats can't seem to capitalize on being, well, honest, fair and clean?

Or perhaps it is within the realm of possibility that what we are witnessing is a slight change in politics as usual? That without the war chest provided by special interests, Democrats and moderate Republicans in Arizona are failing to compete on a playing field of ideas?

The Citizens Clean Election Commission reported in 2004 that 56 percent of the candidates running in statewide elections in Arizona participated in the system. That was up from 29 percent in 2000. That is a BAD thing--that more candidates are committing themselves to play by the rules?

Len Munsil is an excellent example of how the system is working. He has raised more than $3 million for the Center for Arizona Policy. Even though he could raise more money than he gets through Clean Elections, why should he open himself up to charges that he is selling out? He has chosen to keep himself above reproach and base his campaign on his beliefs, convictions and policies.

Even if one doesn't agree with their politics, let's tip our hats to those who participated in Clean Elections and won because of their policies, not their special-interest-fattened pocketbooks.

Aaron Keffer

More Speculation on What Cesar Chavez Would Have Thought

It seems Tom Danehy (May 4) fell for the distortion of Cesar Chavez's position on undocumented immigrants currently permeating the Web and online discussion groups. The United Farm Workers and relevant university Web sites with UFW/Chavez material indeed show that Chavez and the UFW opposed the bracero policy. They protested against companies hiring undocumented immigrants. Unlike present day hatemongers, they did not demonize undocumented immigrants or seek to make them felons. They saw undocumented immigrants as victims and not as the primary cause of low farm wages and unsafe working conditions.

As the Rev. Jesse Jackson noted, braceros did not come over; they were brought over by the collusion of the U.S.-Mexican governments and by greedy U.S. companies. To UFW/Chavez, the blame rested entirely with American companies supported by unethical politicians. Some braceros, inspired by Chavez/UFW, joined the UFW. UFW also negotiated with the American agriculture industry on the historic AgJobs and 1986 immigration bill that eventually led to the legalization of 1.3 million undocumented farmworkers.

In the current immigration debate, UFW is calling for a comprehensive bill that provides a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. Chavez saw the situation of the poor, excluded and the weak and sought a holistic and comprehensive solution. The immigration movement at present is pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform.

Danehy picks up on Chavez's position on the bracero program, but removes it from its historical political context. By asking how many immigrants should be let in, his question distorts the complex issue of immigration and frames the controversy by focusing solely on undocumented immigrants.

Hecky Villanueva

Tying Together Water and Immigration Issues ...

Jimmy Boegle's column ("Water Water Nowhere," Editor's Note, May 4) resonated with this old Southern Californian. While I am an ardent conservationist and tree-hugger, I get a bit cranky when some young official preaches water conservation and completely ignores the rampant population growth that is swallowing up our water faster than we can conserve, or replace with toilet-to-tap, or desalinate from the sea. I will continue to conserve water because it's the right thing to do, and besides that, I'm probably too old to change.

The Census Population Clock gives a little perspective. One birth every 8 seconds. One death every 13 seconds. One international migrant, net, every 31 seconds. Net gain of one person every 11 seconds. Those numbers have our shrinking open spaces and finite water resources in the crosshairs of a population-driven juggernaut.

No matter how sympathetic one might be to the "citizenship or else" marchers, the sheer numbers can't be ignored. Our present population is almost for 299 million, heading for 420 million by 2050. How is my conserving water going to mitigate for irresponsible federal policy?

Barbara Vickroy

Reject the Rainbow Bridge--for the Birds!

Whatever the subjective aesthetic values of the proposed Rio Nuevo "rainbow bridge," if it is ever built, it is likely to be a bird killer ("Over the Rainbow," Currents, May 4). Even though the Santa Cruz River is usually dust-dry in that area, the course remains an important pathway for migratory birds. A large arch with wires rising above the migration route is very likely to be a deadly agent to untold numbers of night-migrating birds.

If the main function of the proposed bridge is to aggrandize Tucson and the UA Science Center, the price in dead birds, energy, natural resources and money is just not worth it.

Mark Stevenson

Reject the Science Center--for Tucson's Uniqueness!

Rafael Viñoly is a talented architect, but his design for the UA Science Center is wrong for Tucson and inappropriate for the times. The proposed site--across the dry Santa Cruz River--is even more ludicrous.

What gives Tucson its special sense of place are its colorful adobes, the amazing diversity of wild flowers, its habitat for butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife, the visibility of the constellations in the night sky and the way Tucson's buildings interact with the Sonoran Desert.

We have many local architects who are knowledgeable in passive solar design, environmental considerations and have a sense of Tucson as a unique desert place. We should let them design our science center with thoughtfulness for the needs future Tucsonans, the habitability of our planet and how it enhances Tucson's uniqueness.

Barbara Vaughn

Conspiracy Theories Aside: Where's the Coverage of KXCI?

I am writing in response to your recent Editor's Note ("Conspiracy Theories," May 11). You chafe at being the centerpiece of a conspiracy theory (who wouldn't) and pompously laugh in its general direction. We've all had yuks at the expense of conspiracy theories--even ones we sort of believe. However, before we allow you to win the day with your snark-heavy and fact-light editorial, an examination of clearly discernible facts is in order.

The fact of the matter is that you removed Chris Limberis from the KXCI story for reasons debatable at best. But more central to the point here, the Weekly has uttered barely a peep about the shenanigans at KXCI since you reassigned the story. That's the sort of thing that gives rise to conspiracy theories, and it shouldn't surprise you. Shenanigans and cronyism continue to rule the day at KXCI, yet the Weekly remains silent. One big indication that things are not right in the land of KXCI is the recent resignation, "effective immediately," of former station GM Larry Bruce. "Effective immediately" means there is a problem, and both KXCI and the Weekly owe the Tucson community a better explanation than the ruses offered up so far.

Limbo would have investigated, found it and provided the information to the public. As a matter of fact, last year, the KXCI board, after considerable public pressure, "voluntarily" made several structural changes to help make KXCI more like an actual community radio station. They changed the composition of the board to have a majority of elected instead of self-appointed members, instituted a volunteer grievance policy and put a volunteer representative, elected by the volunteers, on the board of directors. Without Limbo's articles and the public awareness they generated, these changes may not have occurred. It was good journalism at work.

The current operating vacuum created by the former GM's quick exit is an important story the Weekly is ignoring. The interim manager is Volunteer and Outreach Director Randy Peterson. Mr. Peterson has a jaded outreach history in this community. Piney Hollow, a well-established and loved business, and a KXCI underwriter since the station's inception, drew Mr. Peterson's and Celia Blackwood's ire for its support of the Celtic Crosscurrents show and its vocal opposition to the show's termination. The show was canceled because KXCI staff and management, of which Mr. Peterson was a part, were performing surveillance on volunteers' private e-mails, didn't like the contents of one of my private e-mails and used it as a pretext to cancel the show. Chris covered the story ("Cross Currents," Dec. 19, 2002), again bringing necessary information to the public forum.

The above is not Mr. Peterson's only community outreach project. In the last two board of directors elections, I believe Mr. Peterson used his access to KXCI's membership list to campaign for several candidates. He also selectively used the membership list to smear and circulate false information on candidates he did not like.

Recently, KXCI has undertaken a GM search, and Mr. Peterson has made public his intention to apply for the position. Fair enough. However, upon closer inspection, we see that Celia Blackwood is on the GM search committee. Further, we see that two other members of the GM search committee are Gene Armstrong and Margot Veranes. These were two of the candidates that Mr. Peterson campaigned and smeared for in the last election. Whether they encouraged, allowed or were unaware of Mr. Peterson's activities is unknown. On their face, these things are definitional cronyism and beg journalistic investigation.

The fact of the matter is that things have smelled rotten at KXCI for years now, and Chris Limberis was the only writer in town with the journalistic spine to write about it in the apparent face of a media blackout on the subject--whether conspiratorially driven or otherwise.

To me, a little crowing about one's successes is good for the soul, good for business and nothing to be ashamed of. Your "Shameless Self-Promotion" piece about the Weekly writers who have earned awards, which opens with a mention of a first-place award won by Chris, is only shameless because you attempt to stand on the back of a man whose voice you silenced. Limbo did his job with hard work, fairness and integrity. There's not a writer or serious reader in town who doesn't know that. I challenge you, Mr. Boegle, to do yours.

John Murphy

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