Survey Says...

To the Editor.

I am concerned that the planned pygmy owl surveys will in themselves bring extinction to the pygmy owl. Currently, an owl survey requires a biologist having a U.S. Fish and Wildlife permit to "call" a pygmy owl. Last year's survey found 31 owls in the entire state of Arizona. If the few pygmy owls in Arizona are constantly being "called" from parcel to parcel in Pima County, the act of "calling" may inevitably disturb owl mating and hamper reproduction.

Mailbag The public and private sectors are investigating the many different angles of the pygmy owl issue and should include possible owl sexual dysfunction due to being over-surveyed. Perhaps a county supervisor or county official would volunteer as a test subject, where they are "called" to 10 separate parcels (without use of motorized vehicles) in Pima County per day between September and May and report back to the taxpayers on their mating abilities.

--Jade Khalsa

Artful Dodge

To the Editor,

After reading TPAC's committee chair Jane Hallett letter TPAC letter ("Art for Public Sake, September 10), I struggled mightily. Should I get a sympathy card or a cookbook so people can really know the difference as to what should be shoved in her proverbial holiday turkey?

When the Board of Supervisors gave away the "1 percent set-aside" from all Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), including all bond items, it was to complete a deal made by Raul Grijalva with TPAC just prior to the bond elections. I attended that meeting of happy campers and heard his promises. TPAC was on the board like flies on you-know-what, and by March 1998 they cut the hog out with every dime they could squeeze and wheeze. Now we hear whimpering? In fact total set asides is $7,905,900--so far. The Cultural Resources and Neighborhood Reinvestment controlling interests made it very clear they don't want "no stinkin' mosaic tile and art projects" cluttering up or cutting into their grabbag of dollar goodies. Over $2,056,000 designated as "artist-enhanced, environmentally enriched wetlands" translates into subsidized lake for a subsidized golf course by Kino--with an artistic attitude. Beware of mosaic-tiled manhole covers.

So actually we do have to include it along with later project set-asides: $894,550, which totals up to $8,800,450, not the--sob, sob--mere $5,264,910 she snivels about. Now whether Hallett gets her paws on every dime or not, she and the Board Of Supervisors have never, in TPAC talk, finished the whole picture, so to speak. TPAC sins of commission, fiscally and literally, are bad enough, but the sins in omission will blow your socks.

These set asides at only 5 percent over 12 years will cost $5,280,270 in debt service, or a total of $13,186,170 for something we never voted for. Nor can any of it be found in the Truth in Bonding. But we'll be subsidizing a lot of people that could very well help paddle the Clinton Canoe to Liar's Paradise.

Oh! She didn't tell you about the $140,000 in general fund monies they just got in this current budget either? Oh! How disappointed are we that TPAC misled you? Punch your ticket to Heartbreak City? How about a Downtown Sonoran Roach for everybody? I'd rather have my money back thank you.

Please draw a sad face and color it blue--better yet, color your faces red for embarrassment at being snookered once again by the "Artful Dodgers" and "Crafty Politicos."

--Mary C. Schuh

Authority Disfigure

To the Editor,

Reading Jeff Smith's article in the August 27 issue ("Bully Boys") on a warm summer afternoon created a sudden, overwhelming sense of deja vu in those of us who grew up in Prescott in the late '50s. Memories come rushing back as our perception grows misty, the picture undulates, weird music plays...

...then the scene clarifies: night, cool breezes, and we suddenly find ourselves in a 1956 Chevy, sitting close to our sweetheart, watching The Hanging Tree at the Senator Drive-in Theater. We've been getting along pretty well, my sweetie and I--maybe it would be OK to hug a little closer. Suddenly a huge head thrusts itself in the window! "WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" it bellows. My sweetie screams bloody murder and throws her soda all over the inside of the car. I swallow an ice cube whole. Well, sheeesh. It's only Mr. Schwartz, our local juvenile officer, face now dripping with soda. Charged with protecting the morality of Prescott's youth, he had developed the policing technique of sneaking between the rows of cars in the theater and peeping suddenly into the windows to catch kids doing naughty things. "Well, looks like you kids are OK," the head says, and Mr. Schwartz goes skulking off to another row of cars...

The scene changes...

A warm, sleepy summer afternoon at a downtown intersection. Cars waiting for a green light. The light changes, the cars start out, then suddenly screech to a stop. Mr. Schwartz, approaching from the cross street, has turned on his flashing lights and is cruising through the intersection against the light. When he gets through, he turns off the flashers and proceeds on his way--ah, the sweet, endless days of summer.

Then the sky darkens, a cloud covers the sun, lightning flashes and we are hurtled roughly back to our own time and the pages of the Tucson Weekly. Good ol' Sheriff Joe. It's about time somebody took on this self-righteous, publicity-grabbing, self-styled Wild West lawman.

Arpaio panders to the new political correctness that says the way to rehabilitate criminals is to abuse and humiliate them. It's not clear that this makes much sense, since most criminals are that way because they've been abused. In fact, the so-called corrections system hardens criminals and makes new ones by forcing them to live in prisons run by the toughest inmates, where abuse of all kinds is rampant. It has yet to be proven that humiliating them with pink underwear does any good at all, other than gathering votes. And Sheriff Joe can sit around and smoke cigars with his buddies and hear them say, "Boy, you sure showed them there felons a thing or two today, yessirree!"

The incident with the handicap parking space brought back the youthful memory of another abuse of power. And although he probably wouldn't like the comparison with Clinton, it's apt. Arizona politics are reminiscent of a Stephen Sondheim song: "Isn't it rich? Don't you love farce? Send in the clowns." Or is it the clones?

--Carl Noggle

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