February 9 - February 15, 1995


Trust Buster

To the Editor,

It seems that on the subject of Arizona politicians, living and dead, Emil Franzi just can't get his facts straight ("Time For A History Lesson, Big Steve," Tucson Weekly, January 5). While Marcus Aurelius Smith's first elective office was in Tombstone, any student of the Democrat's remarkable 38-year career can tell you that early in 1896, he left the declining mining camp to move to the Old Pueblo. Thus, by the time he was sworn into the Senate in 1913, he had been a Tucson resident for nearly 16 years. Therefore, Smith, not DeConcini, was the first U.S. Senator from Tucson.

If Franzi can't get the well-documented residence of a dead U.S. Senator right, how can we trust anything else he puts in The Skinny?

--Tom Prezelski



To the Editor,

For all the criticism you have of the practitioners at The Arizona Daily Star, they at least make some pretense of checking basic facts and presenting two sides to a story. Emil Franzi's material, on the other hand, is beginning to look like autoerotic self-indulgence.

His trashing of Andy Nichols ("Ignorant Arrogance," Tucson Weekly, January 5) was so silly, I at first thought it was satire. Or perhaps he was just trying to show how democratic he could be, willing to dump on anybody. But no, Franzi apparently was so taken by the self-righteous blather of someone with an ax to grind that he didn't bother to check for facts or to see if there might be more to it.

The "Ignorant Arrogance" title was also puzzling for a while, but I think I figured it out. Was it a warning from the editor that Emil was ignorant of what he was talking about and arrogant in trying to pass that drivel off on us as some kind of news?

Well, okay, so Emil lives up to his billing, but why bother to print it? If Emil has no sense of responsibility to his readers, doesn't his editor?

It's no wonder there is such a scarcity of good people willing to run for public office. Who needs nonsense like this?

Andy Nichols is one of the nicest, most conscientious and caring people we have in the legislature. You could at least have given him an opportunity to tell his side of the story.

--Paul Huddy


To the Editor,

I was shocked at the whining, complaining and ungrateful attitudes of the women in Kathy Burns' article "Black and Blue and Still Being Bullied" (Tucson Weekly, November 17). I am a survivor of domestic violence, by my husband. As a result of that violence, I made Tucson Centers for Women and Children my home for two-and-a-half weeks this past summer.

Where can a woman go, with or without children, when trying to escape an abusive situation and have a roof over her head, professional, caring counselors available for counseling six days a week (one hour a day), a counselor on duty 24 hours a day, outreach counseling provided before and after entering the shelter, food provided daily, all for the price of one chore?

No, it's not a "perfect" environment. But it is a "safe" one. However, there is a question that arises in conjunction with this issue of domestic violence. Why is it that women or women with their children, in the majority of cases, are the ones driven form their homes, forced to apply for food stamps in order to eat properly, left without transportation, and have to go through the legal steps to obtain a protection order, while the perpetrator still has the home, the car, the income and food?

Laws need to be changed. Women with and without children need security. Since most of these cases involve males, the violent males need to be sent to a shelter with just the clothes on their backs, leaving behind the car, and be required to pay the rent and provide food for their wives, significant others or families. It's my guess the incidence of violence against us would drop dramatically.

For now, my suggestion is to make a commitment in 1995 to donate to all three shelters here in Tucson. We need a "wake-up" call to the fact that domestic violence not only "kills" but can bring humanity to the depths of despair.

--Betty Winn

The Prosecution Protests

To the Editor,

Regarding your Skinny piece "But 19th Century Courtrooms Are So Cute" (Tucson Weekly, January 19): A number of facts and the conclusion in the segment were incorrect.

The Skinny evidently endorsed the sue of video or audio tape recorders to replace court reporters to record preliminary hearings in criminal cases. The column also stated that the "only opponent of" changing the procedure is the Pima County Attorney's Office. Our reason for doing so, the Skinny claimed, is that tape recordings would be cheaper to obtain than court reporters' transcripts and would be advantageous for defendants.

In fact:

A. The Pima County Attorney's Office is not generally opposed to the use of electronic recording devices in criminal proceedings, and they have been used in appropriate cases in place of court reporters;

B. In the murder case that brought the issue to the attention of the news media, both the deputy county attorney and the defense attorney requested a court reporter instead of a tape recorder;

C. Court reporters' transcripts of preliminary hearings are provided at taxpayers' expense to defendants who cannot afford them. And tape recordings would eventually have to be transcribed. Tape recording, therefore, provides no additional advantage to any significant number of defendants.

--Barbara LaWall

Chief Administrative Deputy

Office of the Pima County Attorney

Brown Frown

To the Editor,

I applaud your moral fortitude in standing up to Brown's blatant and seemingly illegal attempt to renegotiate his city contract mid-term ("Slouching Toward Pay Raise," Tucson Weekly, January 5).

I appreciated your quick and decisive action in releasing information about Brown's personal solicitation for increased pork. I think Brown intends to grossly inflate the city budget, claim he's made progress, demand bonuses and then leave town. (Why is he so concerned with severance pay?)

It only goes to figure that Ward 3 Councilman Tom Saggau was one of the first in line to lie down, roll over and pee on himself when called upon by Brown for favors.

As a voting constituent, I cannot adequately express my distrust of those City Council members that chose to endorse Brown's actions. Seems like yellow-bellied, back-door favoritism of a fellow insider politician.

--James A. Carr

Make Brown Leave Town

To the Editor,

In "Payback City" (Tucson Weekly, January 26), Jim Wright does an excellent job of painting a very greedy picture. I always thought that City Manager Michael Brown was overpaid. Now he wants $25,000 per year more. He is asking for a raise equivalent to the average family income of Tucson!

At $120,000 per year, Brown is earning in the top 4.4 percent of all incomes in this country. His annual salary is almost five times the Tucson average.

I think Brown should go back to the "natural disaster state" from whence he came. If he can't live off $120,000 per year in low-income Tucson, then he is a very poor manager.

--Israel M. Knobel

Cut The Crap

To the Editor,

Regarding Karen Brandel's "Prime Suspect" (Tucson Weekly, January 26): How did Lemuel Prion get parole for a violent rape? In Arizona, you can get five years for possession of marijuana.

How can we go on packing the prisons with non-violent drug offenders and letting violent criminals out early to make room for more drug offenders? Even prison wardens say that's nuts.

We have a billion-dollar economy in illegal drugs and both the cops and the robbers work to protect that economy. Our legal drug, alcohol, is meanwhile, probably the most dangerous drug on earth when it is abused.

Let's cut the crap and treat drug abuse as a medical problem while we concentrate on effective care, education, and law enforcement to prevent continued proliferation of sick, violent families which produce Lemuel Prions.

--Clark B. Lohr


To the Editor,

Jeff Smith's article, "You Say You Want A Revolution?" (Tucson Weekly, January 12) puts him up there with the greatest visionaries of our time. And how sad to think that his bold ideas of reforming government seem almost impossible today. This shows the horrific state of our nation.

Our government has become the very imperialistic form of power our founders fought against. In George Washington's farewell address, "As a result of our revolution we have disengaged ourselves from the chaos of Europe." His last words were that we need not engage in foreign alliances. And that held true until the First World War when we canceled the Declaration of Independence and rejoined the British (economic) conquest of the planet. Does it surprise you then that our government in the latter part of the 20th century has become aristocratic if not oligarchic?

Realistically, Mr. Smith's ideas belong to another time, another country.

--Randy Skye

Pet Project

To the Editor,

Thank you for your well written and sensitive piece on the stray animal situation in Tucson ("In Search Of A Trail Buddy," Tucson Weekly, January 12). I was horrified by the woman dropping off her cat because it didn't match her furniture--I only buy furniture that matches my pets! I think the Society should charge money for "owner-releases," although I'm sure that would lead to more animals being dumped in the desert as coyote food.

I wanted to inform you about a wonderful cat shelter called The Hermitage. This is a no-kill cat shelter in need of volunteers and donations, and is a terrific concept. There is a lot of indoor and outdoor space for the cats to roam around and they are fed and well-cared for. Kittens can be difficult for some people, and these adult cats are ideal for adoption. For more information, you can contact The Hermitage at P.O. Box 13508, Tucson, AZ 85732. Or call at 571-7839.

--Thea M. Gilbert

Killing Field

To the Editor,

Thank you so much for your wonderful article on Sister Helen Prejean ("Legal Murder," Tucson Weekly, January 5). After closely following most of the murder trials in Arizona over the past two years, I have come to believe that the death penalty is asked for more on the basis of who the victim was, and who the perpetrator is--and in what county the crime occurred--than on the cruel, heinous and depraved nature of the act. We should be ashamed of the way we pick and choose who is to die. The state's capricious use of legal murder as punishment should be ended. The death penalty should be banned in Arizona.

--Carol C. Korich

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February 9 - February 15, 1995

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