Lopez: I Missed Votes Due to Illness

The March 15 Skinny ("Elsewhere on the Border Beat") states that I missed some votes during the week of March 5. Yes, I did. I was absent Tuesday through Thursday. I was hospitalized in Phoenix on Monday night and was not released until very late on Tuesday. My children transported me home to Tucson so I could be under the care of my physician.

I take my position as state representative and my responsibilities to my constituents very seriously and try very hard to avoid missing floor action. I hope that you can you let your readers know why I was absent for those votes.

Rep. Linda Lopez

One Step Closer to Mega-Suckage!

What the shit is wrong with you, replacing "Tom the Dancing Bug" with "¡Ask a Mexican!"? Replace other shitty comics. Example: "The City," which sucks; all it does is make fun of people. "K.Rat" is another in a long list of cynical, stupid comics with an animal as its protagonist.

"Tom the Dancing Bug" was consistent. It made me laugh. Most of the time, your paper totally sucks and is shitty. Think about all the dumb shit your paper could have removed.

You are now one step closer to mega-sucking forever. Sincerely, from a very experienced paper reader,

Samuel Chompis

It's Time for New Leadership at MOCA

Searching the Internet to re-read Tim Vanderpool's Feb. 22 article ("Getting Toole'd," Currents) regarding the serial evictions of Toole Shed artists instigated by MOCA executive director Anne-Marie Russell, I came across Pamela Portwood's July 4, 2002, article "ReTooled: Toole Shed Artists Celebrate a Decade of Downtown Revitalization."

Striking, the contrast of where that corner of Toole Avenue was, and the sad state of where it is now. What happened?

I thought the "Getting Toole'd" article captured Russell's personal style perfectly. When asked about the artist evictions at a recent committee meeting, Russell said that it wasn't she who was at fault; it was the founders of MOCA. When questioned further, she changed her mind and said it was the MOCA board of directors that was responsible for the evictions. She also blamed those who don't like contemporary art, which to her seems to mean the same thing as not liking her management of MOCA.

It's no great leap to think that MOCA is in need of new leadership. When the Toole Shed debacle finally exploded onto the media level, I wasn't surprised. MOCA is chumming up with power players on the backs of evicted artists, losing what's left of earlier MOCA grassroots support.

What happened to all the cool and inspiring exhibitions that Elizabeth Cherry, former director of MOCA, was creating? Why was Cherry ousted, and who was behind it? The exhibitions were never the same after she left. I was recently in a meeting with the city's real estate chief when he mentioned that there was a split in the arts community, referencing MOCA as the source of information. A split? Surprise to me. So what's going on?

I think we've been had by Russell, who first floated the idea of a split in the arts community during the last few months. She recently emerged to offer a remedy to the "split." She wants to bring in someone, say, Eric Abrams, a local developer, to take the lead in developing a section of Toole Avenue. OK. I attended a meeting recently where Abrams and Russell did most of the talking, and it felt like the fox wanting to help out with securing the henhouse.

The only fragmented arts community is the one created by MOCA's ongoing insensitivity (or perhaps, one should say cruelty) to the inherited daughter that is the Toole Shed. Bad management is a very big part of the problem. Tucson truly needs a successful Museum of Contemporary Art, but ... this museum, with this leader? MOCA's old 3,000-square-foot exhibition space remains dusty and dark while the aspiring Dinnerware Contemporary Arts Gallery has to look for a new space. Could the problem not be more obvious?

The MOCA exhibition space does not need that much work to satisfy code requirements and certainly is not a cause to start kicking out the Toole Shed's artists. Now we have a new MOCA touted as Concept MOCA, but what is that? It's the MOCA gift shop with a never-changing art exhibit (oh, I mean permanent collection). A gift shop by any other name would taste as saccharine.

Now, I've heard that MOCA has created a splinter group called Friends of Toole Avenue. It has the ring of Bush's "Clear Skies Initiative," which allows for more polluted skies, or in this case, less art and more of a trickle-down approach toward artists, MOCA-style.

David Aguirre

Banks' 'Amnesty Trail' Piece Shared Accurate, Unique Perspective

The Tucson Weekly correctly identifies itself as "The Alternative to Bland Daily Journalism in the Sonoran Desert." The articles authored by Leo W. Banks ("Following the Amnesty Trail," Feb. 15) clearly demonstrate a unique perspective on a vastly complex phenomenon that history will long remember: the illegal immigration into the United States by millions of foreigners.

Unfortunately, many of your readers wrote angrily in response, calling Banks foul names and accusing him of dishonesty, propaganda and poor journalism, specifically, "missing the bigger picture." Those letters (March 8) were primary examples of the adage that when we point our finger at someone, three fingers point back at ourselves. Banks first interviewed my husband and me several weeks prior to the story's publication. I found him meticulously honest. He toured the area. He rechecked his facts several times.

Banks is no propagandist: He merely wrote his story to share the unique perspective experienced by border residents. Misunderstandings happen. The word "stray" to a city dweller evokes images of junkyard dogs, but the mind of a rancher imagines lost newborn calves or lambs, the epitome of defenseless vulnerability. Banks' use of the word in reference to lone migrants in the desert intended the latter image. In fact, the Bible employs the same analogy.

"The larger issues" the angry letter writers identified are merely different perspectives on the same immense topic, and outside the scope of Banks' article. Scores of journalists have already covered those "larger" perspectives.

The Weekly lives up to its motto.

Cindy Coping

And Now for Something Completely Different

This is what 122 issues of the Weekly looks like. (See photo above.)

I am such a pack rat ... but no more. All of them are now in the recycle bin.

Louie La Compte

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