Claim: Graffiti Article Glorified 'Lifestyle'

This article ("Tagging Tales," Jan. 4) glorifies the artistry and illegal lifestyle choices of those who create graffiti while discounting or ignoring the negative social, environmental and economic consequences that graffiti has on the community. By bringing notoriety to the initials and monikers of individuals and groups perpetuating this activity, and explaining how to create graffiti with the right implements, this encourages more illegal "art" and other tagging. The negative effect of graffiti is provided only a token acknowledgment through quotes from the city and a local business owner.

This article is, at a minimum, highly irresponsible and unbalanced reporting. It may also have been illegal and unethical for a reporter to watch the subjects of the article "prepare for a night on the town" and then actually accompany them, witness and document their illegal actions as they occurred, and return to their homes to learn more about additional illegal activity in the past.

There are many daily efforts to remove and prevent graffiti and its negative consequences through our organization's program partners in Pima County and the city of Tucson, as well as many individuals and volunteer groups. This type of graffiti is vandalism and not merely a victimless crime. As soon as art and tagging moves from sketchbooks and canvas onto unauthorized public or private property, we, as the community, are the victims.

On behalf of everyone working toward a cleaner and more beautiful Tucson area, we are highly disappointed by this article. Thank you very much to Tom Danehy and other local citizens for their follow-up opinions, and also to everyone in government, community groups and individuals--for their past and continuing involvement in addressing this important community concern.

Joan E. Lionetti
Executive director, Tucson Clean and Beautiful

A Letter in Agreement With Tuttle's Thesis

Connie Tuttle wrote (Jan. 18): "From its inception, public education in this country has existed to serve the needs of the state and the economy." I think that sums up the problem. Education should serve each individual child, not the state.

Ted Louis Glenn

A Letter Decidedly Disagreeing With Zoldan's Oro Valley Thesis

I take exception to Karyn Zoldan's snotty remarks about Oro Valley residents in "cookie-cutter" houses preferring chain restaurants (Noshing Around, Jan. 18). You should know better than to engage in such stereotyping. A couple of friends and I regularly drive many miles to support good, independent establishments, which is one reason I read the Chow page in the first place.

As to "cookie-cutter" houses: Haven't you noticed that many neighborhoods look pretty much the same? Are flat-roofed stucco places in central Tucson, brick three-bedroom ranches and barrio construction all in that same category? Perhaps you are fortunate enough to live in a mansion designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

How dare you be so judgmental about the choices people make to live when you know absolutely nothing about them or their circumstances. Shame on you.

Ann Fall

Tucson Greyhound Park Needs to Go

Why do Tucsonans, Pima County and the state of Arizona allow Tucson Greyhound Park to continue doing business ("In the Red," Currents, Jan. 18)? Cheating a sick child--isn't that a wonderful community service? Selling dogs to a hauler known to kill and sell dogs to research--isn't that wonderful ethics? No wonder TGP never talks to the media.

The racing commission doesn't seem to have any control over this "business." Why should we continue to allow these people to give our good names a black eye? The rest of the United States and, in fact, the world is paying attention. Please, good people: Write to your congressman, your senator, your newspaper or anyone else who you think may pay attention. This outrage has continued far too long.

BJ De Bruine

Nielsen's Commentary Seemed Naïve

I would love to see a column in the Weekly called Karma Police, which is really what Gretchen Nielsen fashions herself as (Guest Commentary, Jan. 25). "Surely Raytheon and the people of Tucson can join forces" to do good in the world instead of maiming innocents? Either this is an excerpt from her beauty-pageant speech, or she's an exemplar of how extreme and illogical positions are great ways to lose friends and not influence people.

Gretchen, I'm sure you mean well, and you are highly intelligent, but really, this makes you sound naïve at best. Living here and quietly accepting the misdeeds of "the fifth-largest munitions factory in the world" is certainly creating negative karma for Tucson and its citizens. Geez, I've even thought of that myself. But one might ask, following the logic of your column: Why stop there? Why not have the Air Force and Tucson join forces to show what other creative and useful purposes these costly and impressive resources can be used for, like ferrying our workers from south of the border so they don't have to suffer the extremes of Sonora and those nasty border agents. Brilliant!

It is one thing to write such a column, but another thing entirely to believe that by putting this drivel in the Weekly, some of us will be spurred to change and heroically confront the "elephant" as an act for the collective good. This town just doesn't seem to have enough brave souls. What is the local Committee for Non-Violent Action up to besides creating a wonderful T-shirt? And why isn't Ms. Nielsen leading them in a sit-in at Raytheon's gates right now? Until she takes action, I'd rather spend my time writing this letter. It gives me the chance to ask: What kind of town lets its drivers mow down defenseless pedestrians? Can't we get the karma police after them?

One could agree (as I do) with her argument that we are complicit in Raytheon's crimes. But where does one stop when following the logic of her argument?

Lewis Humphreys

Americans Will Do Jobs Held by Illegal Immigrants--If Paid

Kudos to Tom Danehy (Jan. 25). His position that a guest-worker program would allow big business to pay unreasonably low wages, unsafe working conditions, etc., is a point of view I have personally argued ad nauseum with liberals and conservatives alike.

Growing up, my family was supported by my father. Although a great provider and father, his lack of education and opportunity left him with few other options than to work as a janitor, landscaper, mover and factory worker. He worked an average of 70 hours a week.

The results of his labor were obvious. We owned a home in a nice neighborhood near Boston; my family had two cars; there was never a concern for how the family would be fed or clothed. Thirty years later, we would be impoverished if we had to rely on my father's limited abilities.

Some Americans are not biologically or financially suited to obtain a degree. Should this preclude them from the American dream--a dream that this country should be offering to its legal citizens, before offering it to residents of other countries?

As corporations continue to reap record profits and CEOs are compensated as if they were royalty, wages for the jobs my father held are now the equivalent of half of what he earned in 1975. Americans will do the jobs done by illegal and guest workers, just not for $5.15 an hour, considering that in 1975, my father made $12 an hour as a janitor.

Peter Iacobucci

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