April 13 - April 19, 1995


Cane And Able

To the Editor:

I enjoy reading the Tucson Weekly and believe that it serves a purpose in our community. However, I take exception to the recent bit about the assault on Chief Criminal Deputy David White ("The Skinny," Tucson Weekly, March 23). David did not race to catch up with the "elderly citizen." The "elderly citizen" followed David to his home, trespassed on his property, and assaulted him.

The two things that The Skinny thought "worth pointing out here" puzzled me. The weapon used was not a wooden cane, I can assure you. And what does the fact that the "elderly citizen" was the father of a Pima County deputy have to do with anything? Would you have written the piece the same way if the individual was the father of a Pima County secretary or maintenance worker?

I thought it strange that there was no comment about what an irresponsible act this was, even though committed by an "elderly citizen." What kind of judgment and arrogance does this type of behavior indicate? (to quote your piece). Methinks that your piece indicates some bias on the part of the writer.

--Charles "Bud" Miltenberger

The Skinny responds: We take exception to some of your exceptions.

l. David White, according to his own version, chased the elderly citizen to flip him off. He would have had to, as he had been cut off, which would put the elderly citizen in front of him.

2. We pointed out the citizen in question carried a cane and not a "club," as it was called by others. That it was not entirely wood is true, but so what? The point is the citizen was not a club wielder, but a cane wielder.

3. That the elderly citizen was the father of a deputy and himself a retired firefighter lends some credence to his side of the story. Mr. Miltenberger has already accepted the version offered by Mr. White. Government officials always tell the truth and citizens always lie, right?

4. Even if Mr. White's version is ultimately upheld in a court of law, our point was that he used bad judgment.

5. Finally, Bud, we should point out that as a Criminal Investigator for the Pima County Attorney's Office, you have some bias on this case. We'd expect some loyalty from you to Mr. White, the chief criminal county attorney, even when he displays bad judgment and arrogance by flipping off senior citizens.

Just The Facts, Ma'am

To The Editor:

I read with amusement Joe Gold's puff piece on the journalism department at the University of Arizona ("Swatting At Gadflies," Tucson Weekly, March 2). There's another side to the story, as evidenced by a joke making the rounds of working journalists in town, to the effect that we should start a "Stamp Out the U of A Journalism Department Committee."

There were a couple of problems with Joe's piece, a listing of which might point out why the rest of us find that joke relevant.

1. Joe failed to mention that he is a member of the Save the J-school Committee, an omission that constitutes a breach of journalistic ethics.

2. However well-intentioned, Joe's article ignored or soft-pedaled some of the real problems with the journalism school, where I taught for one semester a couple of years ago. Joe himself graduated from the j-school almost 30 years ago, got two Pulitzer nominations, then went into the public relations business that he derides in his article.

Joe left the j-school at approximately the time the department ossified. So he may not be aware that the problem with the j-school is not just that there aren't enough jobs in journalism or that all but one of the tenured professors in the department are white males. The real problem is that the department simply isn't very good.

I team-taught a "boot camp" sophomore-level reporting and writing class with department head Jim Patten, considered liberal in the j-school scheme of things. The handout assignments were so old they read like a script synopsis for The Fugitive minus the suspense (the David Janssen TV show, not the Harrison Ford version).

The difference between this kind of journalism education and the one I received at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in the early '80s is enormous. We, too, received predigested news assignments. But they taught us how to look at the underlying issues that drive a story--racism, poverty, political corruption. That's the kind of journalism education that would make U of A students marketable in the 21st century. But they're not going to get it from these professors.

--Susan Zakin

Class Struggle

To the Editor,

Jeff Smith's column "Bombs Away" (Tucson Weekly, March 23) was very good. There is more and more evidence that the United States of America is turning into a two-class society; there will be an upper class and a lower class.

The one thing that Jeff missed is the way the lower class will be "kept down." Narcotic drugs will be sold like liquor or even given away, and birth control materials can be mixed in to help keep the numbers down. Watch and see it happen, under a Republican administration.

--Stuart A. Hoenig

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April 13 - April 19, 1995

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