Home Run

To the Editor,

Vicki Hart's "A Modest Proposal" (Tucson Weekly, May 23) was welcome in getting the discussion ball rolling about a site for homeless encampment. Here is where NIMBYism will kick in hot and heavy. As a new member of the Task Force trying to find such a site, we will have to decide on the structure and function of such an encampment and what part it will play in helping folks attain self-sufficiency, while not negatively impacting a community.

Mailbag I am not clear, though, about Brian Flagg's call for jobs and labeling social workers/agencies "poverty pimps." Sure, jobs are a major piece of the puzzle, but what about the seriously mentally ill; those who are grappling with substance abuse; the battered mother with kids; or the disabled? Do these people need a job or are they precisely the folks who could sure use a case manager and extended assistance to help them heal and become more independent?

This effort is an opportunity for community members to listen to each other, put aside differences and come together for some effective and caring problem-solving.

An example of such problem-solving is that Santa Rita Park will be getting $60,000 worth of playground equipment next fall. The idea and much of the foundation work for this block grant came from Debbie Pettit, who lives directly across from the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen on 25th Street. Her husband George is one of the leaders/staff of Casa Maria. When this project is completed, the Pettits and their two little girls, along with other neighborhood families and kids, can enjoy our neighborhood park more fully. Here is what listening and working together can do for a community.

--Mitch Sternberg

Size Matters

To the Editor,

I loved the "giant" rattlesnake shown in Kevin Franklin's "Snakebite" (Tucson Weekly, May 9). It reminded me of the "giant trout" postcards. I wonder how many newcomers to Tucson will think, after seeing your photo, that rattlesnakes are the size of full-grown boa constrictors?

--Robert Dahl

To Be Or Not To Be

To the Editor,

In the past couple of months there have been several articles pertaining to the downward spiral of our theatre community, sharing with the public the names of many of our best companies that have gone on indefinite hiatus or are now completely defunct. I guess the publicity can be helpful in the sense that it's a message that says to our community, "Please patronize the arts before they no longer exist"; but we need papers (such as The Weekly) to also support and publicize for new companies and independent projects as well.

Friday night I went to a show at the now-defunct a.k.a. Theatre (several young companies are using the space as their starting nest). Upstairs Theatre was presenting When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? and it was a solid show that deserves recognition (in the theatre community the buzz is this is the new troupe to watch). After the show I talked with a friend who was in the ensemble and to her company's (and to my own) dismay, she told me the Tucson Weekly would not be reviewing the show due to a lack of space and time. The show has an extended run, which means there has been positive response, but most importantly that this seems like additional time for The Weekly to feature an article on a company/show that should have some notoriety.

Although our arts community relies heavily on word of mouth, it also depends on a limited amount of exposure through our papers, and most artists and arts patrons look to The Weekly as their main source. My feeling is we can either spend time focusing on the collapse of our theatre companies or we can put that energy into following what is to be a positive outcome of this turnover--new groups taking the initiative to bring the starving community a new body of work and inspiration for those who still support or participate in Tucson's theatre scene.

This is the most crucial time for help. We need positive publicity for the groups that are trying to blossom and make a difference. Skipping reviews seems to be a step in the opposite direction.

--Carrie Hill

Teach Your Council

To the Editor,

Regarding Dave Devine's "Budget Bozos" (Tucson Weekly, June 6): As a member of Tucson's Budget Advisory Committee, I would note that the major cause of our city's budget problems is not Brown and the staff, it is due to the Councilmembers' lack of training in public finance.

How on earth can you expect people with no experience with, training in or a theortical base of large-scale budgeting to competently judge the budget of and make decisions for a city with a $600 million (including capital expenses) budget? You can't. The Council doesn't. And rightly so.

If you want them to do this, you must train them. Most corporations and cooperatives (Sulpher Springs Electric for example) teach their directors how to be directors via classes, seminars, and retreats. In this way the newly elected Director learns about the company, learns how to be a director, learns corporate finance, public relations, etc., etc.

Hence, they grow competent enough to judge the work of their staff, who are often better educated and have more experience than the directors.

The upshot is, either elect council members capable of making competent judgements or train the poor bastards to do so. Otherwise there is no point in complaining and you just upset the local citizens about something they can really do nothing about.

--Kurt Cooper

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