To the Editor,

Regarding Kevin Franklin's "The Bird Is The Word" (Tucson Weekly, March 13): I find it sad to see that the Tucson Weekly apparently views its readership with such little regard as to deprive it of the opportunity to reach its own conclusions regarding the merit of the issues surrounding the Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and its listing.

Mailbag When I was interviewed by Franklin, he assured me that his treatment of this diminutive owl and the issues swirling about it would be both thorough and objective, although it now seems quite apparent that such was never his intent.

Had it been, Franklin would have shared with his readers the rather pertinent fact that only 12 specimen records exist for the ferruginous owl in Arizona between 1872 and 1949. He would have also let his readers know that no more than half a dozen or so of these owls had been found in any given year in Arizona until the mid-1990s, and that the 20 owls found around just Tucson alone represent the largest number of these owls ever recorded in Arizona during any given year.

Franklin also deemed it of no consequence to his readership to inform it of the further fact that three major riparian projects on the Santa Cruz River have been founded by the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission during the past two years. The $189,000 granted the Pima County Flood Control District for its effluent recharge project on the lower Santa Cruz, the $591,319 granted to the San Xavier Nation for the restoration and recharge of its riparian community, and the $352,420 granted to the City of Nogales for its international waste-water treatment plant constructed wetland demonstration project were all conveniently disregarded or apparently viewed unworthy of mention. After all, mention of any of the above would hardly be supportive of Franklin's position or Peter Galvin's position that the listing of the owl is of necessity if desert riparian communities are to be protected.

As a member of Arizona's Water Protection Fund Commission, I have accepted an active and voluntary part in the restoration, protection and revitalization of Arizona's riparian habitats, and, as an involved participant in such, I take exception to the antics of Franklin and Galvin, whom, it seems, are more preoccupied with spittin' out words to see where they splatter than they are with any semblance of commitment to either honest or constructive treatment of the issue.

--Dennis Parker

Sick Treatment

To the Editor,

Congratulations are in order to your publication and specifically Karen Brandel for the sorriest piece of journalism published in years. ("Don't Get Sick," Tucson Weekly, March 27). Your tasteless cover shot of a lady victimized by tragic circumstances placed against the backdrop of an HMO office is totally irresponsible.

The articles inside were aptly titled as they were slanted to portray HMOs as despicable organizations with their primary focus on dollars rather than health care. Your articles sidestep the fact that HMOs are committed to providing quality care to Arizonans at prices which are affordable.

The Tucson Weekly isn't the only publication to ignore this simple premise. The media too often forget that a few years ago there was a public outcry to find some way to lower the skyrocketing cost of medical care. HMOs are offered as a solution, a darned good one. Thousands of Arizonans are pleased with the care given by their HMOs (yes, even sick people) and they don't have to pay as high a premium as might be the case with an alternative carrier.

Physicians and hospital staff are not always pleased with HMOs because the organizations' designed purpose is to ensure health care is properly managed, and that means providers need to responsibly practice medicine or lose patients. Obviously, it is understandable why hospitals, doctors and staff are frequently willing to whisper their misgivings about HMOs as long as their identities are concealed.

The media is all too frequently willing to ballyhoo allegations against HMOs for the simple reason that the stories are emotionally charged. And that sells papers. This is fine as long as there is at least some sense of perspective given to the viewpoints.

In the case of the Tucson Weekly articles, your publication stepped way over the line--out of bounds.

--Joan C. Herrick

Crazy Advice

To the Editor,

Regarding Karen Brandel's "Don't Get Sick" (Tucson Weekly, March 27): Fran Roberts, VP of Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, is right. Psychologists don't fit in with the drug-pushing mentality of the 1990s. Instead, we adhere to the scientific findings that patients with serious mental disorders do best with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. People with less serious problems can do fine with psychotherapy alone.

What may be more egregious than the "schlock treatment" pointed out in your series of articles may be the warping of the American mind to believe that pill-popping is the treatment of choice in mental-health care and that "cheaper is better" throughout the health-care system. With the growing emphasis on pills rather than talking to someone who can help, is it a wonder that we have a drug problem in this country?

--Martin R. Levy

Teach Your Children

To the Editor,

To use an archaic term from the '60s: Right on, Smith! You quite eloquently put into words what I've been feeling for some time about this whole silly censorship on the web debate ("Worldwide Willies," Tucson Weekly, April 3). Whatever happened to personal responsibility in child rearing or, for that matter, in one's own life? It seems that more and more people are relying on government to think for them and decide what is wholesome and proper in their lives. "Oh, Big Brother, go ahead and take care of that. With my busy schedule I simply don't have time to teach little Johnny right from wrong. I trust you."

This is bullshit, and it needs to be pointed out wherever and whenever it occurs. With this kind of thinking, it's no wonder that bands of feral youth are roaming the streets. Frankly though, I find it beyond ironic that we're even having this debate in a country that drapes itself in the flag of free speech and political freedom.

--Mark Kouts

San Francisco, CA

Hetero Hate Mail

To the Editor,

You jumped the gun in the April 3 Skinny blurb regarding the Pima County Board of Supervisors' decision to extend health insurance coverage to domestic partners. You stated, "A simple solution" is to "allow gay people to marry." Well, I'm a county employee, I'm as heterosexual as you can get, and I'm living with my girlfriend of 10 years and our daughter. We plan to get married someday, and when we do it'll be our decision. Until then, it's nice knowing the three of us have the same inadequate coverage.

--L. Garcia

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