Claim: Police Dispatch Will Have a Chilling Effect on Elder-Abuse Reports

While the Police Dispatch column sometimes makes me wonder and occasionally smile at the foibles of fellow citizens and the police, "Cereal Killer" (Jan. 31) horrified me on many levels.

Anna Mirocha thought this was funny? Her title belies humor, but this is a tragedy. The incident described is a clear case of extreme physical and financial abuse of both elderly parents. That the Pima County Sheriff's Department did not wait for the return of the mother and abusive son is outrageous. Adult Protective Services should have been notified.

Elder abuse is one of the most underreported crimes; its victims are often vulnerable and afraid to contact police. This story will only make them less likely to seek help.

Miriam Lippel Blum

Corporate Dictates Are Destroying Journalism

As a new resident in Arizona, I learned early that the Tucson Weekly represents the best in journalism: objective reporting combined with an openness to all views, very much in line with your statements in "Positively Packed" (Editor's Note, Jan. 24). As to the media at large, however, I find your appraisal over-generous, and not because of the qualifications and character of journalists.

Corporate owners, like Rupert Murdoch in print or Fox News on cable, dictate an editorial policy that is not in the interest of the great mass of Americans--for example, their unquestioning support for the Bush/Cheney war and for legislation that is threatening the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Even The New York Times, presumably the flagship of liberal journalism, had the temerity to add, as one of its conservative columnists, William Kristol, a major architect of the disastrous Iraq war.

Years ago, when I was a reporter for the now-long-defunct Hartford (Conn.) Times, I learned that if I reported anything negative about the insurance industry (Hartford was then the insurance capitol of the United States) or about Pratt and Whitney (manufacturer of airplane engines), the managing editor would call me to his desk and pointedly ask for a rewrite. And those were the heydays of American journalism, before competition from TV and the Internet, and before the corporate consolidation that has seen so many papers die an unhappy death or suffer the dictates of wealthy owners.

We in Arizona can be thankful for your ethical journalism.

Milton Schwebel

El Ojito Springs: Both Regan, Alvarez Are Entitled to Their Opinions

We respectfully request the opportunity to clarify the following after reading recent letters about the Heart's Path exhibit at El Ojito Springs Center for Creativity.

We at El Ojito Springs thought the article by Margaret Regan ("Dislocation and Separation," Visual Arts, Dec. 13, 2007) was very fair and reflected exactly the same sentiments we hear from El Ojito Springs guests upon viewing the exhibit. Regan spent an extended time at the gallery viewing the artwork and the artifacts, and we believe that her article was authoritative and balanced.

While the management of El Ojito Springs does not share Tanya Alvarez's opinion about Ms. Regan's review (or about Ms. Regan personally), we believe that independent artists certainly have a right to express their opinions about any review of their work without having to consult or get "permission" from our gallery ("An Artist Takes Umbrage With One of the Southwest's Top Arts Writers," Mailbag, Jan. 10).

Ms. Alvarez's passionate works are wonderful and praised often by viewers. They do not share the "simple eloquence" of the other pieces as noted in Regan's review, but they are not meant to. They are a provocative insertion of opinion into a largely reflective exhibit, and the jarring effect is intended, if not always appreciated.

Randy Ford and Toni Duprey

Tucson Needs a Public Skate Park in a Neighborhood That Wants It

I enjoyed reading Tim Vanderpool's article regarding the proposed skate park at Santa Rita ("Park Pique," Currents, Jan. 17). It even made me laugh out loud several times. You see, there were several things written and said within this article that made it abundantly clear that nobody involved had ever talked to an adult skateboarder in favor of the park.

It was not only not surprising to be ignored once more; it was fully expected. Skateboarders are rarely given any sort of voice about these things until a consensus is made between everyone else involved (neighborhood associations, parks representatives, politicians, etc.). After all, what would we know? We're just skateboarders, kids at heart who probably slack off and can't be trusted with big decisions. Never mind that I have regularly skated with engineers, architects, contractors, EMTs, plumbers, military personnel, physical therapists and business owners: r espected community members. Skateboarding is not merely a hobby; it is a passion that burns long past childhood for some, who in return only wish to hopefully inspire that passion to others in a safe, free, public environment. That's why it was insulting to be collectively referred to as drug-dealing graffiti artists by Armando and Debra Rodriguez in their response to the article ("Wouldn't Skate-Park Money Be Better Spent on Sidewalks or the Homeless?" Mailbag, Jan. 31). How outdated and backward. Tucson has possessed a very rich, and at times, close-knit skate scene for more than 20 years. This is amazing considering that almost everywhere else in the country, a sustained interest in skateboarding is largely dependent on free public skate spots.

In my travels up and down the West Coast and Southwest, my skate-park tours have shown me some striking correlations. The more vandalized and drug-laden parks were the ones that none of the neighborhoods wanted built. The parks that were safest and cleanest were the ones where the surrounding community had a positive and proactive involvement in them.

In reality, there are many complex issues that need to be taken into account for this particular park, not the least of which is the displacement of Tucson's homeless population. But, please, stop judging skateboarders, and start talking to them. Tucson needs a free, public skate park!

Nicholas Gentry

Claim: TUSD Is a Teacher-Hating Cesspool of Corruption

I am a former Tucson Unified School District substitute teacher who believes I was fired for writing an anti-Bush letter to the editor of the Tucson Citizen, though TUSD would claim it was based on having too many complaints.

I have great empathy for Kelly Munsell and her torment by TUSD ("Legal Education," Currents, Jan. 31). No matter how her case is resolved, she will never forget how TUSD treated her. I will never forget the systematic harassment of substitute teachers by the human-resources department. A system of fear existed where any good that was done was ignored, and substitute teachers worried about job security and were offered little to no due process to challenge complaints against them.

Kelly Munsell's case shows TUSD's continued contempt for teachers. The TUSD administration will not stop until non-administrative employees take direct action and change the system. TUSD's cesspool of corruption, inhumanity and intolerance must be drained of its filth.

Randy Dinin


In "Retro Restaurants" (Yum! Feb. 7), it was reported that The Tack Room was the first Arizona recipient of the Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Dining Award. This is correct; however, The Tack Room also received the Mobil Five Star Award for many years, a fact that was deleted in the editing process. We apologize for the omission.
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