Sun Struck

To the Editor,

Your Skinny item "Solar Snake Oil" (Tucson Weekly, July 3) has perpetuated incorrect information originally reported by Joe Burchell of The Arizona Daily Star on June 26. The City Council did not vote to dump another $250,000 in Civano.

Mailbag The $250,00 is already included in the $3 million also under discussion. The $250,000 is a revolving loan fund allowed under Arizona Revised Statutes, which allows a developer to finance design of everything in the public right of way, including roads, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, landscaping and street lighting, underground power, sewer, and gas, water, reclaimed water and telecommunications cables. Once the design work is complete, the actual costs of these improvements are known and apportioned to individual lots as an improvement district lien. This is a procedure common to development projects.

If you had researched your information more accurately, you would have discovered that more than 20 years ago the City of Tucson purchased 300 acres on the west side of Houghton Road for a golf course, district park and southeast City Hall annex.

What the city recently did was to agree with the developer of Civano to find a way to bring those facilities across the street to the east side. The city wants the recreation complex to be coordinated in its design with the Vail School District for multiple benefits. The developer would agree to build and the city would agree to buy at a turnkey price mutually agreed upon by both parties prior to commencement of construction. The present estimate of the cost is $4 million. However, currently the city has caused no obligation, but simply created an option benefiting the city. If the need is there and it is less expensive to do it this way, the option is built in. Further, the city has built in a requirement that 1,000 dwelling units be constructed first, and that in no way would the city make a purchase before January 1, 2000. Tucson's voters still have the final say and must approve the deal.

--Carol M. Goodwin

To the Editor,

I read the Skinny portion of your newspaper with much disappointment. I wonder if the Tucson Weekly has considered that, whatever its position may be with the City Council, a remarkable community is caught in the crossfire?

Civano is not about another real estate enterprise, it's about an emerging style and quality of life that has been nurtured by a group of more than 1,500 people over a 17-year span, and lately by a forward-thinking group of City Council people. The community, which the United States Department of Energy has called "the most significant in the United States today," is addressing whole new relationships to energy and resources, to new modes of building that will be less invasive on the environment, and to environmental technologies which, in the first major building alone, will save nearly $50,000 a year in energy costs. Moreover, all this will unfold in a community of people representing all social groups, all economic levels, and all ages.

"Urban sprawl?" I wonder how any community with the kind of social and technological agenda Civano has could possibly find more than a thousand acres to test these realities in the center of town, much less do it for $2.7 million in land costs?

With regard to the taxpayers, what will the value be to the people of Tucson as research at Civano makes the means available to cut power consumption by a third, even half, and their energy bills plummet? What will it be worth as the means are found to cut water consumption by as much? Or that gasoline cars are replaced by electric vehicles; or that the narrower streets make it safe for kids; or that car time and commute times are slashed; or that tourists from around the country who come for the eco-tours or just to visit this remarkable undertaking end up leaving their dollars?

Lastly, I want to say that no individual or company is really developing Civano. Civano is being built by people like me, and hundreds of others who are meeting regularly to consider our home designs, programs, activities and more. Any one of your readers who may be interested would be more than welcome to participate. It is a community being built by everyday people for everyday people. If Case Enterprises has performed any role, it has been more like a facilitator than a builder.

I am delighted Civano is moving ahead and the Council had the wisdom to look into the future. I hope, in time, the Tucson Weekly will become as convinced of its importance as the more than 100 of us who have committed to make it our future, and our home.

--Angie Sharp

Chair Market

To the Editor,

I would like to address Margaret Regan's criticisms of the Tucson Museum of Art's Arizona Biennial '97 ("Local Talent," Tucson Weekly, June 26).

First, I would like to point out that the call for entries sought recent "arts and crafts" of Arizona artists. For Regan to make the statement that jewelry and furniture are "wildly out of place" leads me to believe that she is not familiar with, nor has she visited, any of our country's large museums, such as the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Los Angeles County Museum, as their collections all include functional or once functional works of art.

Furthermore, to imply that furniture and jewelry "give the Museum the aura of an art bazaar" is an insult to credible art institutions such as the L.A. County Museum, whose impressive collection of 20th-century Craft and Design has been curated by Martha Drexler Lynn, also one of the jurors for this year's biennial.

Regan's preoccupation with the paint medium and "traditional art objects," I believe, seriously limits her ability to objectively critique contemporary art works.

I would be happy to put together for you a survey list of major institutions currently displaying functional objects as art--just as soon as I finish my next table.

--Eric Lee Cooper

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