Trapping Cats Can Benefit Neighborhoods

Why is it that cat owners ("Trap Trip," Currents, May 8) feel entitled to have their animals defecate, urinate, eat native birds and reptiles, and make a nuisance of themselves on other people's property?

I like cats. I don't like the smell of cat pee on my porch or cat poop in my yard. Some people defend this behavior by saying they're animal lovers. Hogwash! Cats are highly effective predators. A high-density cat population creates an artificial ecosystem with a massive impact on the animals that are supposed to live here. It's like putting a school of piranha in a lake because you're an animal lover. Animal owners have an obligation to control their animals.

Stephanie Nichols-Young, the Phoenix lawyer, is dead-wrong when she says that turning a loose animal over to the Pima Animal Care Center could be a prosecutable offense. By turning in stray animals, you are within the law and common sense. Instead of asking some law-board member from Phoenix, Tim Vanderpool should've asked the Pima County Attorney's Office.

Elizabeth Parowski is also wrong about trapping cats creating a vacuum for more cats. My neighborhood was infested; we trapped them, and there's been no problem for more than a year.

Love your cat? Keep it in your yard or in your house.

Scott McDowell

To Birds, Scott Denton Is a Hero

Birds were forgotten in "Trip Trap." They are the animals most threatened by free-running cats. The destruction of vulnerable wild-bird species by cats is documented and ongoing. In our yard, and even with walls and fencing, feral and pet cats prey upon the birds we love, both pet chickens and wild birds.

Why is it that cats are such a favored species? Unlike dogs, they are not required to be kept contained or get licensed. I like cats, along with most animals, but as killing machines, they belong inside the house, and I get a little irked when someone's released predator kills our beloved birds. Sounds to me like Scott Denton and his trap are doing both birds and us a favor, and I thank him for his effort.

John Patterson

Cats in Armory Park? Not a Problem

As an Armory Park resident, I was appalled to read "Trap Trip." I've lived in Armory Park for eight years, and I've had no problem with the cats in the area.

I, like Nadine Rund, have also fed and left water for a cat or two, and I have become attached to them coming to my home. For Scott Denton to suggest that cats are like rats and pests is ridiculous. If anything, I'm sure they're helping keep down the population of these rodents.

Ellen Malawka

Wilderness Designation Can Lead to Confounding Problems

What a wonderful and refreshing story on the Tumacacori Wilderness proposal ("Nature Vs. Security," May 1). My interest in thwarting this hypocritical, politically motivated and unnecessary designation was reinvigorated by this article and its accurate disclosure of the problems.

The environmental lobby may have been able to dupe the political puppets of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, but they have yet to convince anyone else who is familiar with the litigious and confounding nature of wilderness designation in today's world. To my knowledge, there is only one fringe out-of-state outdoor group that supports this wilderness proposal, and their experience with wildlife and hunting issues in the Southwest must obviously be very limited and shaded.

Thanks again for the enlightening article and for being brave enough to present the unpopular truths about this proposal.

Brian Dolan

Leo W. Banks Helped Restore My Faith in Journalism

Regarding the vicious and ignorant attacks on Leo W. Banks: Leo interviewed us and friends of ours for a story on border-crossers and the effects they're having on our ranches, as well as other issues. Leo does in depth interviews and explores every aspect of his stories in a thorough manner. I agree with people with whom I am acquainted who have had professional contact with Leo: He is the most professional and accurate reporter we have ever read.

In fact, I had lost all faith in journalism of any kind because of the bias and inaccurate reporting. Leo actually restored my hope that we could have true journalism, in its best sense, alive and well in this country!

The Mailbag responses were clearly sent out because Leo's findings didn't support the attackers' biases. In fact, I have done considerable research with the agencies affected by the possible wilderness designation and believe that absolutely everything Leo wrote was totally accurate, as usual.

And, by the way, for your readers' information: Most, if not all, of the ranchers in our area are "environmentalists." We live on the land that we love; we have the biggest stake in improving the land we oversee; our practices include making every effort to improve the environment for the wildlife we live with (including repairing damage done by all-terrain vehicles, illegals and some hunters) and to ameliorate erosion.

Congratulations for printing the stories of an excellent journalist and a good, involved, honest human being: Leo W. Banks.

Dena Kay

That Keen Observer Nintzel Is All Wrong About Our Tax Pledge

The Skinny columnist Jim Nintzel finds Americans for Prosperity's Arizona's 2008 Local Government Tax and Spending Pledge to be "stupid" ("Hollow Promise," May 15), because we are asking local officials to "vow not to support increasing government spending at all."

Nintzel is often a keen observer of the state and local economy, but he has apparently missed the dozens of news stories and official reports this year projecting sharp downturns in various streams of tax revenue, including state-shared income-tax and sales-tax revenue, which will probably come in below last year's revenues.

Even the spendthrift majorities on the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Tucson City Council managed to get the news--and have been putting the brakes on spending. So far, the county and city budgets from fiscal year 2009 look relatively modest, with projected spending lower than that of FY 2008.

Further, the planned slowdowns in spending come after a year in which local governments went hog-wild with spending. In 2007, Supervisors Sharon Bronson, Richard Elías and Ramon Valadez voted to increase the county budget by 15.8 percent, and Tucson's City Council members voted unanimously to increase the city budget by 14.6 percent. That is more than twice the rate of growth of the Tucson-area economy--even when the economy was in a period of strong growth.

In 2007, the allowable spending increase for the AFP Arizona scorecard was 7 percent, which allowed for population growth, inflation and real per-capita economic growth. The 2008 tax and spending limits are lower because of the recession. The people of Pima County and Tucson are going through tough times, and local governments have no business increasing taxes or spending money faster than the economy is growing.

The 2008 Local Government Tax and Spending Pledge is available online.

Tom Jenney
Arizona director, Americans for Prosperity

This Dude Has the Smartest, Most Well-Informed Canary Ever

Love the new Weekly size ("Half-Inches, Food Issues," Editor's Note, April 10). It fits the bottom of my canary cage perfectly.

Gary Patch