Bowled Over

To the Editor,

Emil Franzi's "Toilet Bowl" (Tucson Weekly, June 6) said exactly what was needed to be said to the promoters of the Copper Bowl, that won't-go-away fiasco. Let me add a few other points.

Mailbag Consider the possibilities of how that $300,000 requested from the city and county could otherwise be spent to benefit Tucsonans and be pumped into our economy. Ask a social worker who serves the elderly. Ask someone who's working at a shelter for battered women. Ask a parent with no marketable skills who's stuck in a minimum-wage job. Ask a small-business person in need of a loan.

Would someone please explain to me the value of hosting yet another bowl game where two mediocre football teams, totally unfamiliar to most Tucsonans, are each paid $795,000 to $1 million to come here? This is what has always bugged me most about the Copper Bowl: Its PR people talk as if there is some intrinsic civic pride in staging such an event. The obvious needs to be stated: It's just a game, entertainment, a spectator sport! There's no pride like that associated with a cancer research center, a world-famous museum or even a bike race that thousands of locals participate in. It's just a damn game played, coached and followed by people with no connections to this community.

Wouldn't the holiday season for us Tucsonans be just a little more pleasant if there weren't an additional influx of tourists clogging our roads? I'm not an anti-tourist; this is just a quality-of-life question.

The Copper Bowl strikes me as an ego trip for its promoters with, as Franzi pointed out so well, questionable economic benefit. The city and county should pull the plug and let it die a natural death.

--Peter Bourque

Radio Ruckus

To the Editor,

On behalf of the Native American Program I would like to address an issue that was raised in Jeff Smith's "Burst Of Static" (Tucson Weekly, May 2). Smith quoted KXCI programmer Miguel Ortega as saying KXCI staffers "weren't fooling anyone with their pious talk about democratic rule..." and that "he and his Chicano and African-American and Native American brothers and sisters recognized it for what it is--racism--and they were going to do whatever it took to stop it...."

This statement deserves further clarification. The general assumption this article places on the Native American programmers is that Allen Gainey, Gardner Deegan and I support the views and opinions of Ortega.

Our first conversation with Ortega was April 28, when he approached us before the Native American program and introduced himself and stated that he wanted to discuss KXCI business at our convenience. We agreed, passed along our phone numbers and tabled discussion for another time. We have never had a conversation with Ortega. We did not realize he had a problem with KXCI staff or the Board of Directors. He had no right to imply that he had our support. He should have clarified that the support of the Native American brothers and sisters were not those from KXCI's Native American Program.

Racism is a very serious issue, one deserving full attention and discussion when the situation arises. The Native American Programmers have found Program Director Joe Vincenza and the staff of KXCI to be very supportive and cooperative in everything we have tried to accomplish. We have not had any dealings with the Board of Directors; we leave that to our Programmers Representative.

Racism is a strong charge and it does not exist among the staff of KXCI. We have found the staff to be genuinely committed to the community, to their programmers and to each other. We do our best because we enjoy what we are doing. The station would not exist without quality programming and we bring our best efforts to serve the public and KXCI does listen to the public.

Every problem and question we have presented to Joe Vincenza was received with respect and appreciation. He did everything he could to provide us with his best efforts and advice. Michael Hyatt has also extended his best efforts to listen to our concerns and stood in support of the integrity of our program. The Native American program received an underwriter which was not suited for the format of our show. (Underwriters provide funding to assist KXCI expenditures.) Mr. Hyatt met with me and he took the time to talk about our traditional culture to fully understand the issues at hand. As a result he turned down the money, which would have helped the station, and he chose to respect the integrity of our program. I do not find a shred of truth in charges of racism at KXCI.

--Velina N. Bergen

Don't Know Beans

To the Editor,

In the review of Yoeme Restaurant ("Going Native," Tucson Weekly, May 9), Rebecca Cook states: "I didn't ask if [the refried beans] were lardless, because, frankly it didn't matter to me one whit."

Forgetting to ask is an unforgivable oversight (easily remedied with a simple phone call), but the "tough shit" attitude implied above is not; as a service to readers, is not the point of a restaurant review to critique an establishment with the readers' concerns in mind? Judging by the number of Weekly advertisers who mention vegetarian this-or-that, it appears that the presence of lard might, frankly, matter to some of your readers.

Instead of striking such an inconsiderate posture, Cook should have simply left the lard unmentioned. (Isn't there a cliché about it being better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought of as ignorant rather than opening one's mouth and proving it?)

In future reviews, Cook should take better care to remember who her readers are.

--Les Pierce

Fired Up

To the Editor,

Rebecca Cook's review of Fuego ("Quest For Fire," Tucson Weekly, April 25) appears to be out of date at best. I had a birthday party there for my wife and all 14 people raved about the seafood platters, the wines and the service. We remained to eat dinner and it was superb.

The people in attendance are all members of at least one local wine and gourmet food group and most are extensive world travelers and all were impressed. The review does a great disservice to a fine eating establishment.

--Kirk A. Ashley

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