The Nest Of The Story

To the Editor,

I would like to comment on The Weekly's assessment of my recent affidavit concerning pygmy owl surveys and nest-cavity searches on the Amphi school property (The Skinny, June 18). The overall impression portrayed by The Weekly was that both the surveys and nest-cavity searches were entirely flawed, and that I ridiculed Mary Darling and dismissed her and her crew as a "bumbling group."

Mailbag Let me clarify that my affidavit targeted the validity of the nest-cavity search and the nest-cavity search only. The actual pygmy-owl surveys conducted earlier in the season, and the credibility and reputation of Mary Darling, and her crew, were never in question.

I was approached by a representative of the Defenders of Wildlife and shown a copy of an affidavit Ms. Darling had previously submitted in which she claimed that the nest-cavity search added validity to Amphi's claim that there were no pygmy owls using the site. Because of critical flaws I witnessed during the nest-cavity search, I did not believe the search was scientifically valid, and to use the results from this search as evidence in a court of law would be misleading. As a participant in the nest-cavity search, I felt compelled to respond with my own affidavit giving my perspective of the cavity search.

On the other hand, the over 30 hours of pygmy-owl surveys (with negative results) that I assisted Mary Darling with on the Amphi property were conducted in a methodical, thorough, and professional manner with accurate documentation. I stand by those results, although there is some basis to the claim that we may have "over-surveyed" within a short time-frame to the point where any potential pygmy owls on the property may have been "de-sensitized" to responding to the taped pygmy owl call we used during the surveys.

There was, admittedly, a conflict of interest in my agreement to assist Mary Darling in pygmy owl surveys and nest-cavity searches on the Amphi property. As a hired biological consultant for Amphi School District, it was in Darling's best interest to provide reasonable evidence to the district that pygmy owls were not actively using the proposed school site. I felt fortunate in that I was in a position to confirm that, to the contrary, pygmy owls were indeed using the site. Darling, however, did not hire me for my viewpoint or opinion, but rather for my experience and expertise in detecting pygmy owls. To my dismay, I was not able to make any such confirmation (that pygmy owls were at that time using the site) after several hours and sessions of surveying.

That does not alter my belief, however, that pygmy owls have used the site in the past, and construction of the school and the sure-to-follow perimeter development will have a major negative impact on not only any individual pygmy owls in the area, but the future of the pygmy owl population as a whole in Northwest Tucson. With the pygmy owls' endangered status and extremely low numbers in Arizona, and what seems to be their preference for ironwood laden desert scrub communities, we are talking about the owl's possible extermination as a species in Arizona if such large chunks of remaining ironwood desert scrub are allowed to be developed on such a large scale in northwest Tucson.

As expected, I was promptly fired by Darling once she learned of my affidavit. But just as there are other employment opportunities that I can explore, so too there are other alternatives where the school could be built. The pygmy owl, however, hasn't the luxury of options. It's just trying to survive.

--Michael J. Terrio

P.S. I still do pygmy-owl surveys as a private contractor (but not for Mary Darling, of course).

Absolutely Criminal

To the Editor,

Regarding "Balancing Act": Chris Limberis writes that "Pima County voters hate sales taxes."

Really? And so do City of Tucson voters--I hope!

And to address the real problem--Limberis also wrote that, "The Juvenile Center was under a federal court order to reduce overcrowding and the main jail was bursting at the seams."

Can I ask a question here? Why do we have so many kids and people in general in jails?

Has anyone ever heard of the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Tucson needs to wise up. In my opinion Sherriff Dupnik already receives more than he ought to. So do the Tucson Police and then there are a host of lawyers who don't represent the people but charge enough for their dubious services that the pouplation ought to be cringing.

New facilities? Indeed, so we can make more criminals out of more people.

Libraries should have more money and youth programs that provide places for children and teens to "hang out" should be funded. Parents are already stressed with too many taxes and could use some help. KIDCO is a great program. My main complaint is that there is not enough of it. Midnight Basketball--yup. Oughta get with the program and start it in Tucson. The more kids we get off the streets and out of gangs the better we all will be.

That brings me to an attitude problem. Tucson is controlled by the bucks that snowbirds bring here. They come, hang up their "Adult Only" signs (translation: "We hate Kids"), and I frankly don't see them spending that much. They don't pay property taxes for the streets they drive on or for the services they use. What a horrible message to give our kids.

--Norma J. Allyn

Freak Power

To the Editor,

Being a former Tucsonan, and a present Flagstaffian, I look forward to the Rainbow Gathering, I really do. This is for one reason, and one reason only: To get those goddamn, pan-handling, grubby, dirty, lice-infested, haven't-taken-a-bath-since-Moses-parted-the-Red-Sea hippies. These people are a joke, in fact they even look like little Moses clones.

What in the HELL leads them to believe that through covering themselves in Patchouli and making the rest of us sick to our stomachs with that God-awful stench, that they are going to make the world better. The gospel of these leftists make me sick. Half of them think that because they don't shave, bathe, or buy their clothes that they are living a natural life (the way that Mother Nature intended). Y'all stink, and I don't mean proverbially, I mean you need to be hosed down with DDT to kill every creepie crawlie that you unleash on us.

By the way, white hippies that wear dreads are an insult to barber shops, so do your local barber a favor and pay him a visit. Matter of fact, have him shave your whole bodies.

Now, with regard to a letter by a certain Chattering River (Mailbag, June 25) who was so worried about Dave Irwin's "Rainbow's End" (June 4) starting another Rainbow Killing (not that I would mind), hey pal, get a life. There are much better ways to deal with a mid-life crisis that listening to an old fossil wail away on an old guitar about how society sucks and you're the victim.

And as far as going to our forest and planting your tree-hugging selves in the soil, I'll let you in on a little secret--that is the government's land that you are going on, as in the government that you think sucks, I got news for you, the government and I think you suck too and if you don't like it, go find somewhere else to burn your incense.

In sum, scum suckers, get a life. If life sucks so badly that you have to go into a forest to bitch about it, there is a real easy way out, if you don't know what I am talking about, I can call Jack "The Drip" Kevorkian to explain the concept to you. Get over it and move on, after all Jerry's dead as a doornail, and Phish needs to be cleaned, and the sooner y'all realize that the better off we'll be. Good job, TW, don't let those crybabies get to you, we're behind you!

Until then hippies, sit back and have a nice, big, greasy, hamburger at McDonald's!

Watch your backs, we'll assimilate you yet.

Peace, Love, and (Barf),

--Joel Michael Barr

The Conservative Right (and we ARE right.)

To the Editor.

Wow, no wonder you call the Rainbow Family freaky. Imagine 20,000 people camping in a national forest using slit latrines, returning organic waste to the earth so it can be reused immediately by the earth. (What a concept!) Then they clean up after themselves and each other, including aerating compacted soil (!) allowing the earth to heal itself within a mere year!?!

Meanwhile our forests continuously endure non-freaky groups (which file all the right permits, I'll bet) using sites in non-freaky ways (loved your story on the mining company, the Quechan, and the BLM, by the way) that leave them scarred and poisoned for decades.

My question is: will the real freak groups please stand up? My reaction is: give me those OM-chanting drum circlers with their living cell councils any day. At least they leave the earth safe for the rest of us to live on. As for all those unsavory types that hang at the fringes, why don't we consider their association with the Rainbows a positive step toward self improvement, however unconscious that may be? Peace and have a nice day!

--Joan Fulford

Plain As The Hills

To the Editor.

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Barry's Legend" (Tucson Weekly, June 11): Smith's first sentence reads thus: "Don't expect the boffo box-office the death of Arizona's favorite straight-tongued son-of-a-Jewish drygoods dealer did last week to spark some renaissance in political plain-speaking."

Whew. What does this sentence mean? Two of my literate friends were also unable to decipher this journalistic crypto-babble. Is Jeff so lost in his love of stringing adjectives together that he can no longer write a proper sentence?

Also, in the review of the CD The Jewish Alternative Movement: A Guide For The Perplexed, Roni Sarig uses the term "postmodern cholent." In which dictionary can I find the word "cholent", or is that only to be found in a lexicon of ultra-hip Gen-X rock critic terms? I'm truly perplexed and in need of some plain-speaking.

--Steve Vetter

Heart and Sole

There you are, fast asleep under the warm blankets, dreaming of things known only to yourself. There I am, your brother's friend, spending the night in the room next to yours. Not for the middle of the night, I sneak very quietly, silently, into your room. I reach for your blankets from the foot of your bed and very carefully pull them back to expose two very pretty, very soft feet. I take my index fingers and lightly stroke the soles of your feet. I caress and fondle them, adoring each polished toenail, and after a couple of hours (it seems) I retreat back to my bedroom to dream of what I have just done, hoping perhaps you enjoyed it.

There we are, sitting on your couch, and me with your feet in my lap. It is very late at night and you agreed to let me give you a foot massage. I must have done a great job because you quickly fell asleep. This stirred up my emotions. Sleeping females have always given my foot fetish impulses the most strength. There you are, asleep, with your pretty bare feet on my lap. I do what I must do...I take each toe one by one in my mouth and suck like there is no tomorrow, wondering all along, "Can she feel this?" and more importantly, "Does she like this?" We were only friends. Nothing more, nothing less.

Finally, there you are, studying at the UA library. You're wearing sandals. I'm seated across from you. I untie my shoelaces and position my feet in such a way that the shoestrings dance upon your toes. You either keep your feet there because you enjoy what I'm doing, or you swiftly move your feet (and your entire body) to another desk. If you've ever experienced that feeling...that was me who did it. To all of you ladies I offer my sincere apologies. I'm trying to curb this obsession, but it may take time. I infringed on your personal space and took advantage of your pretty feet. (I found that the prettier the feet, the more it seemed they liked what I did,) Someday I'll meet my sole-mate, but hopefully under more honorable circumstances.

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