Carol West on City-Enterprise Funds

I read with interest the Tucson Weekly article about the City Council candidates' thoughts about the garbage fee ("Garbage Politics," Currents, Sept. 20).

City-enterprise funds include water and environmental services. In an enterprise, the revenues received support the services provided. In the case of environmental services, the pickup of garbage and recycling, maintaining and operating the landfill, the investigation of soil and water contamination, and the subsequent cleanup of city-owned properties are included in the fee.

Last year, the water utility (enterprise) had a revenue shortfall, since the sales of water decreased. This could not be made up from the general fund. Instead, Tucson Water had "to tighten its belt" and delay projects and hiring.

Most Democrats will tell you that they want "transparency in government." That is what an enterprise does. All funds in an enterprise must be used for the services provided; no money from the general fund can subsidize a utility. Therefore, customers know what they are paying for. It also ensures that there is a spending cap, since revenues must match expenses.

Carol W. West
Tucson City Council, Ward 2

In Defense of a Mexican-Food Chain Joint

Every year, you express shock that On the Border receives multiple votes for Best Mexican Restaurant (Best of Tucson™, Sept. 27).

Have you ever eaten there? I have probably dined at 100 different Mexican restaurants in Tucson and elsewhere. I would rank On the Border easily in the top 25 percent. They offer creative, tasty Mexican food in a nicely decorated, clean, well-managed environment. I know it is a chain (gasp!) restaurant, but that does not make it bad. Most Tucson restaurants should strive to be as good.

Jerry Krueger

The 'Weekly' Is Just Too Darned Liberal!

Each time I read the Tucson Weekly, I look for a letter to the editor or a cartoon or an article or any write-up in the paper that does not blatantly lean liberal or to the far left. I can't believe everyone in Tucson is a liberal or a far-left person. Don't you get letters that praise our military or believe in a strong defense of our country?

When the enemy is walking down our streets, everyone previously condemning recruiters, the military and defense contractors (Raytheon, etc.) will wish the United States had the best fighting force and weapons to protect them!

Rosalie Wright

Protesters Need to Get a Life, Watch Out for Cars

Gretchen Nielsen (Guest Commentary, Sept. 13): The only way I have ever viewed protesters is as people without a job, people without a life, people who will never make a difference by holding up a paper sign.

I did two terms in Iraq. I was not a "misguided" soldier. I knew what I was getting myself into. Have you ever sat and talked to a soldier, heard their stories, seen the pictures? I never considered myself a hero, but my friends and family do. Good enough for me.

We have not ever been trained not to learn "retaliation is suicide." People who survive battles do use their mind and skills. They keep learning even after basic training and boot camp, all the time. Because of American soldiers, you still have your freedom to protest against people that can and will protect you and our country, even away from home.

You are in no way a (self-proclaimed) hero. Learn from generations before you: Paper signs will never make a difference. That is a fact, not an opinion. Have a nice day, and watch out for cars.

James Goodman

Want Respect From a Retail Employee? Give Respect!

As a person working in retail in this lifetime, I offer a rebuttal to Connie Tuttle's opinion article regarding the lack of civility in the retail environment (Sept. 27). I agree that a pleasant exchange between sales associates and customers is hard to come by, but in my experience, the lack of regard for humanity comes most often from the customer, not the employee.

I work in retail, because it is one of the only jobs conducive to being a working student. I brace myself everyday for the personal abuse that I receive from customers who believe they, for some unknown reason, should be afforded special treatment. We rarely receive a "thank you" for help or positive reports to management about a job well done. Customers are more likely to point out flaws and voice disapproval than to hand out praise (which I find typical of society in general).

My advice to Tuttle to improve her shopping experience: Keep your receipt. It isn't as difficult as it may seem. It is your proof of purchase and often states a store's return policy, and most retail establishments now require one for transactions involving the return of money. The reason for such stringent return policies is due to the high amount of loss incurred by stores on a daily basis, both by physical theft and return fraud. We can not pick and choose which customers should be subject to these return policies and which should not; it only works when all customers must follow the same rules.

The clerk--i.e., sales associate, i.e., underling--was simply doing his/her job, and the "attitude" Tuttle experienced most likely stemmed from frustration. She almost definitely was not the first customer he/she dealt with who was ignorant of the return policy and took no personal responsibility.

I can assure you the employees of this store most likely did not mean to cause Connie Tuttle any distress. A little more understanding of what those of us in service industries go through on a daily basis could help. Retail employees do not turn into drones once they are on the clock. Treat us like human beings, and we will give you the same respect.

Kathryn Van Kirk

Greyhound-Racing Industry: Don't Condemn Us!

The recent column by Catherine O'Sullivan about greyhound racing (Sept. 20) was an example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. She has condemned an entire industry without really knowing all the facts.

In the vast majority of cases, injured greyhounds recover fully and return to racing within a short time. The few who sustain career-ending injuries still transition easily to life in a loving adoptive home. That's a reality that racing opponents would prefer to ignore. In fact, the recent incident in Tucson shows how impossible it is to satisfy the political adversaries of greyhound racing.

On the one hand, they cry that letting people under the influence of drugs or alcohol handle greyhounds is tantamount to animal abuse. On the other hand, they are now castigating the Tucson track for not handing a seriously injured greyhound over to an individual who was inebriated.

Greyhound racing spends more than $1 million a year on track-based and independent adoption programs. More than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are either adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire. This success story is due to ongoing constructive collaboration between greyhound racing and hundreds of volunteer adoption groups around the country. Together, we are working toward the goal of 100 percent placement of all eligible greyhounds in the near future.

Gary Guccione
Communications coordinator, American Greyhound Council

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