The Cato Institute Marred an Otherwise Fine Article

That was an excellent article on the streetcar ("A Streetcar Named Desire," Sept. 16)—except that you gave credibility to the Cato Institute, which was founded by the Koch brothers, oil-pipeline magnates who were under federal indictment until George Bush was elected, and 88 charges were dropped. They were recently outed as being one of the main contributors (with Rupert Murdoch) to the Tea Party express.

I could debunk Randal O'Toole, but it has been done many times by professionals. I am surprised you did not offer a valid rebuttal to his outrageous claims (by qualified transportation sources).

Referring to the Cato Institute only detracts from your own credibility.

Bruce Hermes

Ewoldt: Calling My Platform 'Neo-Hippie' Is a Failure of the Fourth Estate!

My relocalization platform is neo-hippie ("The 2010 Tucson Weekly Endorsements," Oct. 7)? Democracy, conservation, putting Main Street before Wall Street, requiring corporations to assume their responsibility to help maintain the amenities they benefit from and clean up their messes, funding an educational system that prepares our youth for rapidly changing times, and a practical, scientifically based plan to make Arizona a global leader in sustainability and the new economy instead of fodder for late-night comedians is neo-hippie?

The International Energy Agency says we're "running out of time" and "forecast a depleted energy supply in the next decade." They then connect the most obvious of the dots: "Energy availability underpins economic growth, and without the opportunity for future repayment of debt the financial system as we know it could stop working."

The recent Bundeswehr report by German military analysts acknowledges Peak Oil and points to a likely reduction in the standard of living that might render societies less stable and make them more attracted to extremist political positions. Investment will decline, and debt service will be challenged, leading to a crash in financial markets, accompanied by a loss of trust in currencies and a break-up of value and supply chains—because trade is no longer possible.

The Pentagon's Hirsch Report concludes that it will require at least two decades to put an alternative-energy infrastructure in place if we start before peak occurs. It is now generally accepted that the peak in conventional liquid fuels occurred between 2005 and 2008.

Does the Weekly consider all of these to be neo-hippie organizations and individuals? Are you aware of any other elected official or candidate that is offering any type of Plan B? It seems what you're really saying is that you know you can neither counter nor refute my arguments on issues or my pragmatic responses to them, so you're reduced to childish attacks.

Since the majority of Americans agree we must start addressing these critical issues now, the Weekly clearly demonstrates it is so far out of touch with reality that it's difficult to find the words to adequately describe it. It seems that not only has critical analysis become a lost art, but so has the ability for independent thought. This is a clear dereliction in the duties of the Fourth Estate.

Dave Ewoldt

Independent candidate for state Senate, Legislative District 28

Yay to the 'Weekly' for Not Endorsing Prop 401

I was encouraged to see the Weekly stop short of endorsing Proposition 401, the all-in-one package of city charter changes recently endorsed by the Pima County Democrats. As a lifelong city Democrat, I'd have preferred that my party exercise similar restraint by taking a neutral position. Three of the five Dems on the Tucson City Council—the party's majority—voted against sending it to the ballot, and I think they were wise to do so.

There's something for everyone in the Prop 401 bundle, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I personally don't share the Weekly's chief complaint about moving all council seats to the same four-year election cycle, but I think increasing politicians' pay by 155 percent while the city is struggling to avoid firing cops is begging for trouble. I also don't like the idea of shifting authority in key personnel decisions from elected officials to an unelected bureaucrat.

Point is, there's something not to like in 401 for just about everyone, too. I think Councilwoman Karin Uhlich was right to insist on breaking it into four smaller propositions.

Luke Knipe

Decriminalizing Marijuana Would Lead to Many Good Things

The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers (Serraglio, Sept. 30). In 2009, there were 858,405 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue step in the right direction. As long as organized crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe
Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

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