A Mine and a Business Aren't Neighbors If 25 Miles Apart

Apparently, Tim Vanderpool is willing to use bad journalism to defeat a project of which he does not approve ("Backroads Boondoggle," Currents, Feb. 21).

The Rosemont mine site is 25 airline miles from the Black Dove Bed and Breakfast in Patagonia. The idea that the mine would destroy Patagonia as a tourist destination given the distance is absurd. The Sonoran Institute conclusion that the mine would "take a toll" on tourism-based business and drop property values is a scare tactic. If that were true, the value of property in Tubac and Sahuarita would be going down because of the open-pit mines in that area.

What Patagonians should be worrying about is the price of the metals found on the large mountain east of town. A number of years ago, Kerr-McGee did extensive test-drilling but decided not to mine. If copper were still 65 cents a pound, no one would be interested in Rosemont.

Far-flung tourist sites like Patagonia, Tombstone, Jerome and Bisbee will be hurt a great deal more by the price of gas and an economic recession. Tourism and second/third homes for the rich make for a very weak foundation for "a new West," and that foundation is further weakened by the Bush tax cuts and other policies that direct any gain in American wealth toward the upper 1 or 2 percent.

As for the mine, I oppose it.

Peter Hubbell

Claim: Mining Is Better for Economy, Wealth-Creation Than Tourism, Sprawl

With regard to "Hard Rock, Hard Truth" (Currents, Feb. 28) I'm not certain which is worse: Mr. Vanderpool's mocking attempt at presenting a balanced view, or the list of so-called "studies" and "facts" he parades with nary a credible citation.

A basic understanding of economics would reveal that tourism doesn't produce real wealth, but merely rearranges it. Money spent on tourism here was made by someone somewhere else who had a real job and a real income. The illusion that tourism creates sustainable wealth to any but the tiniest fraction at the highest levels is a sad tale to peddle. Would Kimberly Schmitz of the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau or Dave Baker of Summit Hut be willing to take the jobs of the cleaning girls at the many hotels? Likely, these same folks are the first to fight against proposed increases in the minimum wage.

The sad truth is that most employment created by tourism pays at the lowest rung of the economic ladder, offers little to no meaningful training and can hardly be called a career unless one is particularly hard-hearted. Meanwhile, employment in the mining industry not only creates "real wealth" in the form of a physical product, but it also creates much higher-paying jobs that require, and train people for, higher skill levels than scrubbing a toilet or fitting someone for a backpack.

Also, despite the hyperbole, when a mine closes, it reverts back to the natural forces of wind, rain and gravity, something that mindless sprawl will never do.

Southern Arizona should be proud of, not condemning, a new mining operation.

David Jones

Story About Fights Against the RIAA Brought Back Memories ...

I was reading the article ("Thank You for Not Sharing," Feb. 28) about the Recording Industry Association of America harassing people, and it brought to mind one sunny day in West Texas, 1988, when I was a general manager of a local pizza chain. I was accosted by an abrasive little loudmouth Yankee schmuck who said he represented the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and was going to sue us for not paying royalties on the music used in our overhead music system.

Not one to be intimidated, I told him to go to Kmart, buy a kite and fly it.

We had a music system in the stores, and sometimes, we used radio news broadcasts as filler. We did not use any broadcast music. The only music we played was from a well-known local jazz musician, Don Caldwell. Don was one of our valued customers (because we made really great pizza).

Anyhow, ASCAP and the fool filed suit on us. We did not even hire an attorney. The court date came, and the ASCAP guy could not show one instance in which we had pirated any music from anyone. We just sat there and laughed at him in front of the judge. After an hour of listening to their baloney, the judge made an abrupt summary judgment: He dismissed the case with prejudice and issued contempt of court on the fool, slapping him with a $10,000 fine.

J.E. Barbee

People Being Sued by the RIAA Are Thieves Who Deserve the Grief!

Please! Yet another instance of dissonant morality from those who can't wrap their heads around the fact that downloading or distributing copyrighted material without permission is illegal. It's just plain stealing! Should I make multiple copies of the latest best-selling book and hand them out on the street corner? I think not. Thank God at least the courts are getting it.

For the record, the RIAA is not "get(ting) in our computers." They're getting info sent to their investigators from the perp's computers while committing an illegal act, a big difference. People need to wake up to the fact that just because the Internet enables you, it doesn't mean you should.

Bob Demers

Danehy Needs to Learn That Being Inclusive Benefits Everyone

Tom Danehy's rant (Feb. 28) on the City Council's unanimous decision to extend benefits to heterosexual domestic partners was not only short-sighted but unconscionable. The council righted an inequity, and I applaud their courage to honor all domestic-partner relationships, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, by compensating their employees equally.

For the first 15 years of my employment with Pima County, I experienced firsthand the frustration and angst at not being able to include my domestic partner under my health benefits. I'm grateful that changed in 1997, not only for me, but for all domestic partners. The City Council realized that all their employees deserved the same sense of security and the same compensation as their married co-workers.

Danehy misses the boat by not realizing that being inclusive benefits everyone, even him. We all know that the uninsured drive up the cost of health care for all of us when they can't afford to pay the heavy costs of primary-care doctors, and they end up using the emergency room as their primary care. His stance would deny basic human rights if you don't conform to his way of thinking. If I took that view, then my tax dollars should not fund public education for his children. That would be ludicrous on my part.

For the record, it was a retired public-health educator, who is married, and I, a gay man, who petitioned the council and others to right a wrong. We did so, because we saw the inequity within the city when compared to so many other private and public-sector employers. We also believe that all families should have access to the same employee benefits and peace of mind.

Finally, Danehy compares domestic partners to selfish road hogs who are too lazy or uncommitted. In his eyes, my 25 years with my partner don't measure up to a committed relationship, nor does it deserve the same rights or benefits as his. I beg to differ with you, Mr. Danehy.

Damien McNeal


In "Moon Shot" (The Skinny, March 6), we reported that Magic Carpet Golf would close later this year. Actually, Magic Carpet has already closed, although it's slated to host the fundraiser for the celebrity-golf-tournament fundraiser for Valley of the Moon in April. We apologize for the error.
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