Chevron: We Cleaned Up Pollution in Ecuador! And What's Left Isn't Our Fault!

"By repeating a lie a thousand times, it will become the truth" is a remarkable quote from Abraham Mahshie's Dec. 21 article ("The Cost of Greed," Currents). Attributed to a member of the group pursuing litigation in Ecuador against Chevron, the statement reflects the plaintiffs' attorneys' strategy in this case. Judging from his article, it seems Mr. Mahshie has fallen for the plaintiffs' carefully orchestrated half-truths and outright distortion.

The overwhelming body of credible scientific evidence that has been presented to the Superior Court shows that the people of the Oriente face no significant oil-related health risk from the areas remediated by Texaco. The science doesn't lie--the remediation program conducted by Texaco Petroleum Company was successful. So far, 45 oil sites have been inspected, and in their sole report to date, court-appointed independent experts affirm Chevron's conclusions.

In addition, the article includes a seemingly deliberate avoidance of the indisputable fact that Ecuador's state oil company has owned and operated these oil fields exclusively for 15 years. During this time, Petroecuador has maintained a disastrous record of environmental neglect but lacks the balance sheet to warrant the attention of trial attorneys.

Having been spoon-fed the plaintiffs' fabrications in the pages of the Tucson Weekly, readers may be interested in the other side of the story, which can be found online. While the information at the Web site may resemble the "bland daily journalism" the Weekly resists, it has the benefit of being true.

Charlie Stewart
Public affairs manager, Chevron Corporation

Drunk Driving, Hospital Closings, Etc.: All Illegals' Fault!

Re "Migrants and Minutemen," Visual Arts, Dec. 21: nice story. Now how about doing one on the tens of thousands of hospital workers nationwide who lost their jobs when hospitals closed, broke from having to care for Mexico's impoverished--86 hospitals to date here in California alone? How about the construction workers that are now greeters at Wal-Mart after their construction jobs were taken? Or the 44 percent of hospitality workers replaced by illegal aliens (Pew Hispanic Institute)?

How about the 29 or so Americans that lose their lives each day at the hands of illegal aliens, or the mother who buried her 18-year-old daughter, killed by an illegal alien drunk driver? How about a story on the three Arab men who crossed our border in the middle of the night in California last October, and got away?

I am so tired of the bleeding-heart stories of the poor Mexican peasants just trying to get a better life, 24 percent of whom are hardened criminals. My heart bleeds, not for them, but for my countrymen. So where do your allegiances lie?

Carl Braun
California state leader, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps of California

One-Way Streets Are Not the Problem

I'm a downtowner. I sell my art in downtown shops, and I frequent downtown clubs and events. In my 25 years as a Tucsonan, I have seen far too many downtown businesses fail. That said, I was keenly interested in the recent article "New Direction" by Jim Nintzel (Currents, Dec. 14).

Two primary complaints about downtown have been congestion and lack of parking. The city traded congestion for additional parking when it recently redesigned Congress Street. Some business owners are lobbying for two-way traffic on Congress. They cavalierly brush aside the unintended consequences--more congestion and a significant increase in the number of failed intersections. They believe that two-way traffic will make downtown business more viable; two-way traffic will "revitalize the central core and make downtown a great place." Silliness.

How exactly will two-way traffic help Congress "be what it wants to be"? Where are the follow-up questions to these ungrounded opinions?

Businesses have failed downtown for multiple reasons, but one-way traffic is not the prime culprit. What about crime? Homelessness? Parking? Congestion? No downtown convention hotel (for business tourists)? No family destinations (for suburbanites)? Lack of funds for historic preservation? Insufficient investment in downtown arts?

Hopefully, Rio Nuevo will give downtown Tucson the economic and cultural boost that it needs. Can we move beyond rethinking about the redesign of one street and look at the big picture?

Pamela Powers

In Defense of Arizona List

As the chairman of the Arizona List committee and head of the Advisory Council, I want to tell you why I support Arizona List and Pam Sutherland ("The Nature of Support," Currents, Dec. 14).

Arizona List has developed a group of volunteer men and women who are doing incredibly difficult grassroots political work across the state, which I am proud to say is proving to be successful. Pam is a very savvy and knowledgeable political adviser. She has tirelessly traveled around the entire state energizing women, promoting candidates and developing working relationships with other progressive organizations. She knows what is going on in every Arizona district and provides our membership with up-to-date information. Pam is an excellent political strategist and has helped our women candidates develop more successful campaigns and train better staff. She works incredible hours, sometimes seven days a week, to encourage and advise our women running for office.

Our membership is well-informed and sophisticated enough to understand that their dues are helping pay for the political strategy that is developing winning campaigns across our state.

I am concerned that the inspiration for your article came from people who begrudge the success of Arizona List, because they were unfortunately on the losing side of a campaign.

Pam Grissom

Claim: Danehy's Becoming a Pagan?

After reading Tom Danehy's comedic tyrant on religion, (Dec. 7), I have to give hats off to the guy. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that he's been slumping in his column these past few weeks, or months, but you've gotta love this column.

Even if you're on the black-and-white side of religion, you can still enjoy the column, as long as you have a sense of humor, which most die-hard Catholics lack. Well done, Danehy, you bald-headed pagan.

Will Butler

DiGiovanna Needs to Stop Liking Movies, Dammit

There are a few additions/corrections to be made to James DiGiovanna's recent take on Apocalypto ("On the Seat's Edge," Cinema, Dec. 14).

While it is true, as James wrote, that Mel Gibson got "actual native people" to play the roles of the Maya, few, if any, of the principal actors have any Maya blood. Apparently, Mayan actors weren't beautiful enough to represent Gibson's idealized image of what the Maya people look like. Instead, North Americans and Mexicans with some native blood were chosen for the main roles. Also, James lauds the cast for performing all the action "while speaking an ancient Mayan language." Speaking? No more than a lost American frat boy with a few memorized phrases "speaks" French or German while drinking his way around Europe. The cast learned the dialogue phonetically. Yes, I'm being picky, but only because I hate it when DiGiovanna likes a movie.

Steven Baird

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