Bad Attitude

To The Editor,

What the hell do you think you're doing?

Your feature article "Bulldozing the Barrio" (Tucson Weekly, March 6) had a catchy title and an interesting cover image, but the impression you have undoubtedly (unwittingly?) created is damaging to those of us committed to contributing vital energy to Tucson's heart, trying to heal it after years of neglect and the kind of abuse your article refers to.

Mailbag The subhead of the article, "The Downfall of Downtown," refers to regrettable errors made 30 years ago in the throes of government urban renewal projects, but not once does the article refer to the positive aspects of the current reality. In fact, the entire far right-hand column is a litany of critical quotes about our downtown, and even the author states, "Locals don't often linger downtown and tourists routinely bypass it." You, of all people, know this is not true--you have your offices downtown, you're here everyday! You know better--yet for some despicable reason you choose to paint a dismal picture of our downtown neighborhood.

I finally see that it must be true--as has been stated before by many others who've been offended by what you've had to say about topics and issues--you revel in the negative attitude. I do not mean to imply injustices and corruption should be ignored and happy stories take their place. But I question the motive and level of consciousness that so easily disregards any positive or hopeful aspect of an issue.

We may not all have the proper ethnic background to warrant your paper's political concern, but those of of us who have created businesses downtown have done so with a pioneering spirit, in a territory that has been tough to survive in. Sure, Tucson's downtown is not a slick city, but it is good and real, alive and unique. Yet with your bad attitude and 30-year-old ghosts, you have effectively told every one of our citizens downtown is not worth a visit. In this case, Tucson Weekly, you seem to BE the problem. Think about it.

--Camille Bonzani

Cafe Magritte-owner/operator

Editor's Note: While we applaud the entreprenurial efforts currently going on downtown, no amount of positive pioneering can rectify the injustice committed there three decades ago. Those ghosts you refer to still have descendants and relatives living among us. And while this sad chapter in our history may be over and done, we as a community must never forget. That was clearly the point of our story.

Penny Press

To the Editor,

Regarding "On the Poor Side of Town" (Tucson Weekly, February 22) and "Bulldozing the Barrio" (Tucson Weekly, March 6): The Weekly needs to be congratulated on its increasing capacity to write stories and give information to its readers that reflect the long history of the "penny press" in this country. Thanks to you for the gall and guts to publish interesting stories about the people of Tucson, stories the so-called mainline press, the Star and Citizen, do not have the courage to pursue.

Since the early 19th century, the "penny press" has gone right to the core of issues and struggles of the working class.

As Michael Kazin writes in The Populist Persuasion: "From the 1830s on, inexpensive urban newspapers called the penny press framed and promoted the Jacksonian viewpoint for an avid clientele of artisans, laborers, and homemakers who streamed into the cities from the countryside and Continent. Such pioneers of the penny press as James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald and Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune published graphic, dramatic accounts of crime, politics and business that explicitly took the side of their working-class readers against various well-born and/or arrogant enemies in courts, countinghouses and paternalist moral reform associations.

Bennett, an early Jackson supporter, liked to compare his periodical to what he called, in an original bit of invective, the "Wall Street press"--more expensive journals that catered to businessmen, professionals and upper-class citizens who wanted to punish plebeian drinkers, gamblers, and brawlers. "The banks and corrupt cliques of men control them altogether," he charged in 1836

And the Tucson Weekly is free, not even a penny. What a deal--keep up the focused work about the underpinnings of Tucson life.

--Paul Buckwalter

Critical Acclaim

To the Editor,

In defense of Margaret Regan's review of Arizona Theatre Company's production of La Malinche ("Theatrical Calamity," Tucson Weekly, January 23), I would like to respond to playwright Carlos Morton's patronizing and self-serving letter to the editor ("Stage Fight," Tucson Weekly, February 27).

As I recall, Regan said in her review that La Malinche was a bad play, badly acted--as apt and concise a statement as could be made about an embarrassingly corny and clumsy play marked by both wooden and histrionic acting.

I've been a devotee of theater since my teens and a subscriber to ATC since 1974, and I, for one, am glad to read a review that so accurately describes the work in question.

--Laurie Pew

Term Paper

To the Editor,

Regarding "Term Warfare" (The Skinny, Tucson Weekly, March 6) concerning my four-year, two-term bill: "If this (four-year term) proposed became law, it would make Arizona the only state in the Union with a four-year term for its lower house." You go on to add that the compelling reason for two-year terms is that they keep politicians closer to their constituents.

Data obtained from the National Council of State Legislatures show that, as of April 1996, there were 38 states and the District of Columbia with four-year terms for their legislatures. Of these, four have four-year terms for both the Senate and House and one (Nebraska) has a unicameral legislature.

Periodically, I continue to survey my constituents in District 13, as I did in our monthly Town Hall on March 15, and ask whether they prefer two- or four-year terms. This time the results were two-to-one for four-year terms. Most of the time it's more like three-to-one in favor of the longer term.

Perhaps those 38 states and one jurisdiction, plus the many constituents to whom I have spoken in District 13, know something that is of value. Perhaps four-year terms contribute to effective representation, rather than weakening democracy.

--Rep. Andy Nichols

The Skinny replies: Andy, there are 38 states with a four-year term for state senate. Only four have a four-year term for the lower house. Those paragons of virtue and role models for American democracy are Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland and Mississippi.

That people, many of whom apparently live in your district, have become tired of participating in representative government is not a good reason to dump a system that has worked relatively well since statehood. Four-year terms for representatives is simply an obscene attempt to escape voter scrutiny. That a lazy electorate might buy into it, and other bad ideas, is something the founding fathers warned us about; and it's why, thank God, we are a constitutional republic--in which bad ideas like yours are hard to implement.

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