Guy McPherson's Arizona-Centered Perspective Ignores the Lack of Illegal Workers Elsewhere

It's always interesting to read comments by experts like Guy McPherson that imply that without illegal laborers working for less-than-subsistence wages, Americans would not be able to afford their three-bedroom homes, iPods and the other trappings of typical American life (Guest Commentary, Aug. 16).

I'm not sure if Guy has ever left Arizona--perhaps I should specify Southern Arizona--but here's a news flash for Guy: There are actually parts of this country where dark skins are rare, where schools don't include large populations of undocumented children and where emergency rooms aren't packed with unfortunate folks forced to work in substandard conditions by unscrupulous employers taking advantage of abundant cheap labor. Guess what? Are three-bedroom homes nonexistent? Are iPods unknown? Hmmm, no, apparently not, and apparently, there's a corresponding higher minimum wage in those states that allows homebuilders, farmers and factory workers to actually buy some of those three-bedroom homes and iPods for their children--and even send their children to college.

When you have a moment to do some research, Guy, check out the cost of owner-occupied housing in states like Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota and Ohio, and compare the relative number of undocumented workers there to the number in Southern Arizona. See if you can validate your claims. Even Vermont and Maine, states not known for their high populations of undocumented workers, have lower housing costs than Arizona.

Roberto Gonzalez

A Letter That Sheds a Lot of Light on Why Greens Don't Get Elected

I enjoy reading "The Skinny" and watching Jim Nintzel on KUAT Channel 6's "Reporters' Roundtable"; thanks for keeping Tucsonans informed and for doing so in such an entertaining way.

After reading this week's column, though, I needed to write and voice my disappointment in the way you are addressing the upcoming mayoral race. Calling Dave Ewoldt, Dave Croteau's campaign manager, a "cranky Green" and suggesting it is easier for him to tell others how to do their jobs than doing his own job was off the mark ("The Long, Hot Summer," The Skinny, Aug. 23).

Dave Ewoldt knows about sustainability. The guy is intelligent, articulate and genuinely concerned about Tucson's future. Growth is a huge issue that needs to be addressed honestly and immediately. Ewoldt raised valid points on his campaign blog, but you ignored substantive issues to dismiss him as "cranky" instead.

Our water table is dropping. Our current rates of consumption are not sustainable, and when growth is factored in, the prospects are downright scary. Mr. Ewoldt (along with all informed and thoughtful people) deserves to be cranky, but I still don't think a reasoned discussion of Tucson's water issue qualifies as "cranky."

And as far as doing his job? Being a campaign manager in the Green Party is a different job than shilling for the two major political parties. Greens are motivated not by money, but by 10 key values--our platform de-emphasizes fundraising and money-grubbing in favor of practical, forward-looking solutions.

You will enjoy meeting the Green mayoral candidate Dave Croteau and getting to know his vision for Tucson's future. His plan for a local-based sustainable economy offers you and your media peers an opportunity to explore some meaty issues rather than focusing on trivialities and name calling.

Mary DeCamp

Arizona Prisons' Special Management Units, Abu Ghraib Are No Good

Many thanks to Caroline Isaacs for her commentary on the Arizona Department of Corrections' Special Management Units (Guest Commentary, Aug. 9).

The name itself is a euphemism for extended isolation of prisoners. This practice does not deter undesirable behavior within the prison system, nor does it protect the public at large when these prisoners are released. Cruelty begets cruelty, as was well shown at Abu Ghraib. It is time for ADC Director Dora Schriro to end the practice that Terry Stewart installed in Arizona and in Abu Ghraib.

Diane Wilson

Those Who Accuse Others of Racism Need to Look in the Mirror

"Tom is a racist" (Danehy, Aug. 23) not because he speaks the truth, but because he's the victim of the No. 1 racists: those who always accuse others of being racists.

Even though we're now in the 21st century, and after men have walked on the moon, we still won't jack-up "black" hypocrites.

Black people are an African people; we are not a European people, and a black identity is reflected in one's name and language. I would wager being burned at the stake that the people of the NAACP prefer their white identities over our black identity. Now who's the racist?

Shoka Kubwa

The Bashful Bandit's Doing More Than Just Experimenting With Live Music

Regarding Saturday Night Metal Jams at the Bashful Bandit: Stephen Seigel, did you stumble onto one of Tucson's best-kept secrets in local rock 'n' roll? It's true, The Bandit's history is as you described, and today, there is a much more diverse group attending the bar. I enjoyed your article ("No Longer Bashful About the Bandit," Soundbites, July 26).

However, The Bandit has done more than "experiment" with live music. Saturday Night Metal Jams, hosted by local rock trio Dodge N Bullets, has been running for more than a year. There's no mention of this at all in your July 26 Soundbites column.

To date, a number of Tucson bands have been given an opportunity to play their music for a real audience.

Yes, The Bandit is a friendlier place, to patrons, local musicians and the community. This bar hosts events such as the Ronald McDonald charity benefit that was held on Aug. 18. The Bashful Bandit deserves kudos for achieving longevity in our transient town.

Karen Stewart

Bob Dylan's Genius Songs Are Best Performed by Someone Besides Bob Dylan

I've long observed the Dylan cult as a fascinated outsider who is mystified by his appeal as a performer (review of Bryan Ferry's Dylanesque, Rhythm & Views, Aug. 23). When one tries to pin down Dylan's admirers, they almost always retreat to what they see as the defensible perimeter of his calculatedly obscure lyrics. The man is obviously a genius, but his fans seem to be more obsessed with the idea of Dylan--the oracle, the sage, the trickster--than with the reality of the performer.

Is there anyone that actually loves his mumble-y whine? I can't think of a single Dylan song that isn't improved by having someone else sing it. That's why all the really iconic performances are by other singers--Jimi Hendrix, Kris Kristofferson, the Byrds, Manfred Mann and ... Bryan Ferry. The latter is no Johnny-come-lately; he's been improving Dylan songs for more than three decades and only now has devoted an entire album to the ongoing project.

Bob Dylan should be grateful for all the Ferrys in this world; I'm sure his accountant is.

Steve Hahn


The Live photo in the Aug. 30 issue was incorrectly credited. The picture was taken by Chris Anderson. We apologize for the error.