He'll Sure Be Missed

To the Editor,

Regarding "Northwest Passage" (Tucson Weekly, December 14): I hope when Lawrence Cheek gets to Seattle he can be content with becoming a snob about Puget Sound and just sort of let his 23 years of me-first writing about the Southwest fade into memory.

Mailbag He can turn on the introspection and wax about Rainier's imposing majesty, Olympic fern forests, migrating whales and the intoxicating culture of the Pacific-Rim, et al. He can adopt the affectations of a different chest-thumping literati.

Larry, pal, you'll have to figure out a new set of codes. "Coyote cantata" and "malevolent cutlery posing as plant life" aren't going to hold up much longer.

--Tom Duddleston Jr.

Sex Ed

To the Editor,

Regarding the letter "Naked Truths" (Mailbag, Tucson Weekly, January 11): The sexual urge in a male is biological. The sexual urge of a female is largely emotional and is easily diminished. Ergo, men need sex, women don't. Therein lies the problem.

--J.A. Webb

Race Relations

To the Editor,

Noticing the interesting and unusual racial awareness displayed in The Weekly, I would suggest that the anonymous hair-shirt white guys and gals writing for The Skinny, as well as Tom Danehy and cartoonist Derf ("The City") check with the UA hospital and see if Dr. Copeland could perform a race transplant. They would all probably feel a lot better and maybe not be quite so mean. Danehy's diatribe "Homies" (Tucson Weekly, December 14) set a new low in racial and religious prejudice.

--Wayne D. Anderson

Gone Astray

To the Editor,

It's probably not very important in view of the subjects which Jim Hightower covers, but I think he should know that his quotation in "You Say Tomato, I Say Genetically Engineered Danger" (Tucson Weekly, January 11), "the best laid plans of men..." was both incorrectly given and incorrectly attributed. To start with the latter: It was not Shakespeare who wrote this, it was the Scottish poet Robert Burns; as for the actual text, it ends with "gang aft agley"--the Scottish colloquial equivalent of "often go wrong."

--Kurt Wenner

Wilde At Heart

To the Editor,

Jeff Smith is a fine writer, and I look forward to his column every week. However, I wish he were more careful with literary facts. Once, he attributed to Aristotle the "willing suspension of disbelief" of Coleridge. And in "Getting Personal" (Tucson Weekly, January 11), he makes Victorian authors of the writers of Pride and Prejudice (published in 1813), It Can't Happen Here (published in 1935) and Democracy in America (the earliest parts of which were published in 1835). Victoria was queen from 1837 to 1901.

How would he like it if someone described him as a decadent author, a contemporary of Wilde?

--Michael J. Hansen

Budget Breakdown

To the Editor,

Your Skinny comment on Steve Leal's question about the cost of annexations is right on target ("Growth At Any Cost?" Tucson Weekly, January 11). Under the current system we cannot tell how much money we spend on annexed property.

The solution, however, is not a specific line-item in the budget for annexations. That would mean that each department would have to separate out the costs of its service to a particular area of the city from the rest of its budget. This is an almost impossible task.

One small example: police services. Counting the extra time spent by officers within that geographic area would be a nightmare. Each individual officer, or perhaps some hapless administrative assistant, would have to go through each report and determine exactly the location of the call and find it on a map. Then, the AA would have to calculate the value of each officer's time spent within the annexed area, add to that the time spent talking to Dispatch on the calls and then add more time for discussion with a police supervisor on the related subject, paperwork time, value of equipment used, etc., etc. Essentially the same process would have to be gone through for every department and every employee within the city. It is less a task for city management, and more a task for some graduate student--someone who has the time and the educational background to accomplish such a task.

In addition, there are the questions of which annexations to use and how far back to go. Does one go back only a few years, when annexations were scarce but city services tended to be supplied at current levels? Or does one go back 20 years, when the services demanded by residents of the city were less than they are today?

An alternative to a line-item annexation addition to the current budget would be to change the format of the city budget to one based on outcome and performance. It would answer the questions of how much time and energy are spent going toward a goal.

A brief example: Before the annexation we had one crime per 1,000 people and spent 10 hours solving that crime. The city's population was 10,000 and we spent 10,000 hours solving crimes. After annexation we had 11,000 people, we spent 11,000 hours solving crimes. This cost us an extra $100,000.

Line-item budgets are only useful for detailing expenses. This keeps corruption down, but does not tell us about the direction of our government, its efficiency, or alternative methods of achieving the same ends.

This is especially important with a projected $10.6 million budget deficit for fiscal 1996-1997. If the budget must be cut, or taxes raised (a most likely prospect), the current budget prevents sound judgment on important spending issues such as crime, landfills, water departments, literacy, fire protection and development.

Change the budget's format to an outcome-performance type and that debate can take place. And, we might not even need to raise taxes, fees or assessments.

--Kurt Cooper

Outstanding Spokesman

To the Editor,

I've been reading your rag for the last year and I must say that it's been fun. I moved here from Boston, the home of informed (and belligerent) news readers. It was a relief to find you tucked away in a corner of Kino Hospital (where I worked for some time). Imagine my surprise, a weekly paper that covers the "real" news of our local metropolis.

It's been especially good to see regular installments from Kevin Franklin and the Out There gang. They've shared a few excellent mountain bike rides. Keep them coming, please! I'm too cheap to buy a book that probably contains all the same information that I get from you people every week or so.

Keep up the good work. It is appreciated!

--Bob Tyszko

We Want Letters!

Thrilled by our brilliant insights? Sick of our mean-spirited attacks? Need to make something perfectly clear? Write: tucsonweekly@tucsonweekly.com

Image Map - Alternate Text is at bottom of Page

Tucson Weekly's Forums
Tucson Weekly Staff Page

Page BackLast WeekCurrent WeekNext WeekPage Forward

Home | Currents | City Week | Music | Review | Cinema | Back Page | Forums | Search

Weekly Wire    © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth