Break The Chains

To the Editor,

Hurrah for Frank Asbeil's letter responding to M.F. Munday's "Chain Gang" (Tucson Weekly, April 16). As an independent restaurateur in Tucson, I have also felt the effects of the recent influx of chain restaurants. As a local business, we purchase our supplies--from food to advertising--from local companies when at all possible. Chains, by and large, purchase these things from out of state.

Mailbag I attended the meeting organized by Councilman Steve Leal (The Skinny, April 23). There were many viable ideas discussed at that roundtable that, if acted upon, could be very helpful to Tucson independents of all types.

We, as a community, need to support all local independent businesses: cuisine, books, clothing, mechanics and other products and services. We all face depletion by attrition from chains coming to town. The trend continues to support the Chain Gang, sending local dollars to some far-off corporate headquarters.

--Deborah Gellman

Owner, Presidio Grill

Wild Things

To the Editor,

Regarding Jeff Smith's "The Name Of The Game" (Tucson Weekly, May 14): I always thought I'd rather have a half-ton gorilla named The Nature Conservancy as a neighbor than Phelps Dodge or Del Webb or most cattle ranches I could name. I consider myself, as a cowboy whom I count as a friend (a Perkins nonetheless!) once succinctly put it, "a hugging, tree-fucking environmentalist."

So imagine my surprise when one day after 4 p.m. I was chased out of the Nature Conservancy's preserve in Patagonia because it was after hours. I mean, I walk quietly, I stay on-path, I don't foul water and I leave the gate the way I found it. Surely "I" could do no harm. Being the type who flouts authority of any sort, my hackles stood up and I was none too pleasant, if I recall, to the Conservancy employee who escorted me out.

Coming home in the wee hours one night after too many carbonated waters at the Third Stone, imagine my epiphany when I rounded a bend just before Flux Canyon Road and screeched to a halt in front of a mountain lion whose head stood taller than the hood of my station wagon. No doubt he was on his way to the creek. Now, I'm not prone to over-sentimentality and I have a heavy vein of cynicism at my core, but a group that can keep one of the last stretches of natural water in Southern Arizona free for such creatures (even if they have to use the excuse of an endangered minnow to do it) can pretty much tell me to take a flying hike anytime they want to. I'd rather worry any night about whether I'm gonna end up a mountain lion's snack on the back forty than as a statistic of another drug deal gone bad at the border.

Unless the bean counters are totally wrong, and they are not, the human population is not in imminent danger of going extinct. Surely we can find other places to copulate and breed than a highly critical riparian area. (May I personally suggest the mesas out towards the dump? A night sky as big as a Sacaton sea and way less mosquitoes!) Oh sure, sure. We could have some Extinction Level Event that will end "life as we know it," but hell! You could be hit by a bus tomorrow, too. Why not use that as an excuse to wipe out a few more species? Nihilism is not conducive to successfully living within a social construct. Surely it doesn't seem necessary for humans of themselves to be an Extinction Level Event?

And as for the argument that tying up water rights infringes upon the rights of people who have "always" been cowboys or whatever? Well, I'm a small business person and no one guarantees my market for me. I can't even get a federal law passed to protect and regulate my $3 billion industry (organic produce). If water and labor costs go up (and they have), I move my business to Mexico (which I've done). If people decide they don't care for organic tomatoes from Mexico, well it's high ho and off to find a new market niche I go.

White people have the oddest definition of "always" I have ever seen. Well, nothing is for always and everything is subject to change. Thank God. Otherwise we'd "always" have slaves, we'd "always" find some reason not to do the right thing.

More power to the N.C. for finally figuring out the truest if not the oldest maxim of the West: He who controls water, controls development. Always.

But just like Jeff believes in the romantic myth of the Marlboro cowboy, I suppose I indulge in my own fantasies. I dream of a sensitive-yet-strong, eco-warrior mounted on a shining steed who defends the wild and still gets the girl at the end...

Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

--Sherry Luna

Foul Shot

To the Editor,

Regarding "Fools With Rules" (Tucson Weekly, May 21): Usually, I agree with Tom Danehy's opinions, or at least find them entertaining. However, he keeps dissing my high school. The reason Mesa Mountain View is so big is because Mesa is one of the fastest growing towns in the country. All of Mesa's high schools are overpopulated, due mainly to a city government that is more interested in growth than sustaining and improving its infrastructure.

More importantly, I think there is something more than just a larger pool of athletes to draw from. When I was a Toro, every member of the basketball team had experience in Mormon leagues. I know for a fact that players that had more than enough talent to play for other schools were passed over in favor LDS-trained kids. Size is not the only thing that matters.

--Jeff Graupmann

Three's The Charm

To the Editor,

Wow--three stories about Sells, Capital of the Tohono O'odham Nation, in one edition of The Skinny (Tucson Weekly, May 14).

Indian Oasis School District for years has offered fascinating controversies for any enterprising reporter interested in exploring them. How disappointing to see it finally make it into the newspaper over an uninteresting qualifications issue.

I know for a fact that Malcolm Escalante and the Escalante family have been "residents" of Sells Village and Sells District longer than we can easily comprehend. In almost nine years of my working in the reservation's tribal courts, I never once heard Judge Escalante's sincere commitment to the welfare of the O'odham people questioned. How curious to see him characterized by innuendo as a self-dealer grasping at a position on the school board to advance his personal ambitions.

Then you send a nosegay right out of the Citizen society pages to former Tohono O'odham tribal judge Rosalie Lopez. You report that she resigned but not that her resignation was rejected, in acerbic prose reminiscent of Dr. Johnson's rebuff to Lord Chesterfield, by her boss, the very same Malcolm Escalante, because procedures to remove her for cause had already begun.

A pattern seems emerging here. Your third Indian country scoop was a cheap shot at a physically disabled attorney known to be high on the fecal roster of the aforementioned retired jurist.

Coincidence? Or conspiracy?

--Robert J. Bushkin


To the Editor,

It was too bad that Karin Goodwin had to defend her book in your Mailbag column. Her novel, Sleeping With Random Beasts, rocked. I bought it, I loved it I loaned it to my girlfriends. Great voice, terrific new writer. Awesome chick book.

Mari Wadsworth has shown great insight at times, but she missed on this one.

--Susan Zakin


My boyfriend is really concerned about germs, and it kind of pisses me off, because there's a certain sexual act he will not perform, if you know what I mean. Anyway, about four months ago we had a fight because he's always emailing his ex-girlfriend, and I found out that he used to do this thing for her that he won't do for me. I told him that that didn't seem very fair, so he got mad at me for reading his email, even though we use the same computer, and he stormed out of the house. While he was out I took his toothbrush, and all the silverware, and the rim of the water bottle, and I applied them to a place where his mouth has been a stranger. Now I just smile every time he brushes his teeth.

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