A TUSD Tragedy

To the Editor,

Regarding Chris Limberis' "TUSD's Cover-Up Caper" (September 24): Tragedies occur in the lives of individuals and organizations when people with a sense of justice stay silent. There are countless numbers of people who could come forward and recount, in detail, the exceptional, educational contributions that Edward Arriaga has made to the Tucson Unified School District over the last 31 years. Some professional educators stay silent due to the belief that their private lives could become the next target of a media feeding frenzy.

Mailbag The stage has been set nationally for no holds to be barred and no detail spared once a media attack has been initiated. I am unable to maintain a silence and must clearly present what are the most obvious facts in these particular media attacks. There is no story. Arriaga was exonerated of all accusations, so why are he and his family being humiliated now? Whose sense of justice is served by establishing that all confidential matters are fair game for special interest groups and the public arena?

I am incensed that anyone decides that a family's financial circumstances are a public concern. In articles attacking Arriaga, people chose to remain nameless and even a vague reference to students was included; this was particularly unjust. In 31 years as an educator, students have always been his agenda. People in TUSD talk about their focus being the students, but how many administrators truly have a high visibility on the campus and even know who the students are, much less call them by their names.

The reason that Arriaga was brought out of retirement to once again serve the District was in recognition that few people have his experience as an administrator. What was accomplished at Tucson High School during his tenure became a model for creating a new opportunity for schools struggling with transition. He is truly a mentor for educational innovation.

I am not an educator, but one does not have to be in order to formulate an opinion and to be informed. It takes courage to assume a stand and fight the fight. Arriaga has professionally supported hundreds of teachers, administrators and students in this district as issues have been debated and lines have been drawn. When you stand for nothing, no one challenges you. When you state your views and develop alliances, attacks are unrelenting.

As a parent of TUSD graduates, and a graduate of TUSD myself, I am ashamed and saddened by the treatment of Ed Arriaga. A man who has contributed to the system in so many diverse roles should be acknowledged for a life-long pursuit of educational excellence rather than experience a slanderous, smear campaign. These kinds of tactics set every courageous educational leader up for personal attack.

Everyone in a public position is vulnerable; accusations can be made against anyone at any time. There has to be a safe arena where justice can be served and an individual's reputation should not be judged by a public that doesn't have access to all of the facts. We can all be accused and must all be protected against this type of unbridled vigilantism.

--Mrs. Noel Pyers

Fourth Downer

To The Editor,

Regarding Tim Vanderpool's "Anatomy Of A Blunder" (October 8): If my reading on the beating of "Vince" on Fourth Avenue is correct, perhaps an investment in a CCP and an NRA membership wouldn't be completely off the deep end. Why not? I read of a TPD officer responding to an apparent felony who is either a rookie who shouldn't be patrolling alone, a major pussy, or both. I read a quote from a detective that felony assault "isn't a big deal," evidently because "these things happen every single day." Well, ho-de-do, is this from the same department that tried to usurp state law by preventing citizens from carrying firearms in one of Tucson's beautiful campgrounds...er, parks?

Gee, it's these wonderful anecdotes that make residents of unincorporated Pima County just champ at the bit for the chance to get annexed. I know that I only live in a cookie-cutter development out in the weeds in Dogpatch, but I'll be darned if the Marana PD not only tries to nail me for speeding on Silverbell, but also shows up at my and my neighbors' doors within minutes of a 911 call. It's always nice to see one's tax dollars actually working.

If the boys and girls in Tucson City Hall want a better chance to expand their empire, they might try a little harder at offering service for payment rendered. Hell, back where I came from, the LAPD has it's problems, too. But slacking ain't usually one of 'em.

--Carl Holmberg


To the Editor,

What was the purpose of James DiGiovanna's article "Promises, Promises" (September 24)? I kept asking myself, "Who does he hate more, Jesus or the Promise Keepers?" I am not a member of PK, nor do I condone their "Jim-and-Tammy-Baker" brand of religion. I however do believe in God and his son Jesus, as do billions of others on Earth.

To compare Jesus to some fable really offended me. What happened to unbiased reporting, I ask DiGiovanna. It will be interesting to know how DiGiovanna fares on his judgment day.

--David Moreland

To the Editor,

Regarding James DiGiovanna's "Promises, Promises" (September 24): The Neanderthal views of fornicating hypocritical fascists of the Promise Keepers need to evolve. Allow me to plant the "clue" seed into your unenlightened brains. Hopefully, you married your wives, in the presence of God, because you love them, respect them, treat them like equals and want to build a decent family with them. Hopefully, you don't see your wives, and other women, as servants and baby machines.

I also hope that you love and respect your daughters as you do your sons. If you do, congratulations on building the foundation of a decent family. If you don't, it's no wonder daddy's little girl told you to buzz off.

In order to propagate our species, a woman bleeds for several days a month, carries a growing fetus in her body for nine months, gives birth and supplies breast milk to nurture every child born. And that's just the beginning! All the male has to do is impregnate her. Don't you think she deserves your appreciation?

Brothers, if we are indeed all children of God, He no doubt loves us all equally. So, before you go and fine-tune your superiority complex, you might want to consider what it is to be a man, and what it might be like to be a woman.

--Paul Peter Katona

To the Editor,

Regarding James DiGiovanna's "Promises, Promises" (September 24): Promise Keepers: I promise to keep you--under my thumb and knocked up.

So let me get this straight. Basically, what they're saying is, "I, as a female, am not allowed to be a whole human being, with the same rights, opportunities, choices and possibilities as a man. I am not allowed to have dreams, an identity, to govern my own body, opinions, to disagree or say no. If I marry I lose my mind, name, body and soul. Pretty much, keep my mouth shut and my legs spread. Wow--where do I sign up!

--Yvonne M. Osmond


To the Editor,

No criticism can be totally objective and have character as well, but when it tells us more about the author than the subject, it becomes boring. Unfortunately, Stacey Richter's review of Buffalo 66 ("Control Streak," September 24) says more about her than about the film which she found "annoying," her main complaint being that Vincent Gallo wrote, directed, starred, composed and chose all the settings and costumes himself. I thought this made him a Renaissance man, but according to Richter, it makes him "a control freak." Richter's problem lies in her fear of being controlled, a characteristic of the Lesser Control Freaks.

She goes on to cite the film as lacking originality and cinematic vision. In fact this film has received favorable reviews from many of the most respected critics and, to my mind, is quite original and refreshing. I especially hate to see a fine film like this one be so misrepresented, because the future of the independent film industry is a precarious one, and needs all the support we can give it if it is to continue bringing us an alternative to the Novocain which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the film industry.

It's good that Richter gets annoyed by films--it lets her know she's alive.

--Bill Cox

Late Nominations

To the Editor,

Nice "Best Of Tucson" issue (September 17). However, I have two humble suggestions for you.

First, Best All-Ages Club. For the perfect mixture of over-18 and over-21 neurotics, pool, and industrial and eclectic ('70s, '80s, '90s) jams, I would have to suggest The Fineline. (Watch it buddy, those crosses don't work on us anymore; only decapitation or directly applied fire.) Once, long ago, I actually worked the door for the owner/operator Richard Plowman. So, I can certainly say he is a kind-hearted soul who has kept The Fineline open all these years primarily for the kiddies.

Next, last, yet certainly not least, is the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. I just returned home from the Tanque Verde Swap Meet (you'll catch me out there at least one Saturday a month). I was headed to the grocery store with a bi-weekly allotment of 40 bucks for groceries. Well, at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet I purchased enough toiletries, condiments and batteries to last me a month for, get this, $27! Then I spent another $20 at the Mexican food and candy stand, so now I'm set for two weeks--and then some! Everyone should really check this out. Of course, all you old-timers and (yikes!) natives are already in the know.

--Kevin David Bennett

Southern Accents

To the Editor,

Yes! Thank you for printing Christopher Leonard's comments about his Nonie New Orleans Bistro, wherein he points out that there is a very real distinction between the New Orleans Creoles and the New Iberia-area Cajuns (Mailbag, October 1).

Cajun cooking and Creole cooking are different, although bogus "Cajun" recipes make it sound as if anything with Tabasco is Cajun. (In fact, most Cajun dishes are not particularly spicy, but you can find similar claims with other faux ethnic nonsense where anything with oregano is called "Italian," anything with taco sauce is called "Mexican," etc.)

The fact that both Creoles and Cajuns have French as a common language is coincidental. The Creoles in the New Orleans area are descendants of French colonists directly from Europe. We Cajuns are the descendants of Canadian exiles from what is now called Nova Scotia, then called Acadia (Acadians, 'cadians, Cajuns). In 1755, after refusing to swear allegiance to George II and refusing to convert to Protestantism, the Acadians were arrested, jailed, murdered or exiled, with the "lucky" ones ending up in the colony of Louisiana, which was in the midst of going from French to Spanish to French to American territory. Many of the other Acadians were sold into slavery in Jamaica, where the descendants of those white slaves still today maintain a unique culture. The Louisiana Acadians, later called Cajuns, have their own accent and dialect (and think the folks up in N'Awlins sound funny) as well as their own culture and traditional cooking recipes.

Trying to lump Cajun and Creole together because they're both from Louisiana is like saying that all New Yorkers must be Irish because they have a St. Patrick's Day parade.

--Tom Robicheaux

We Are Not Amused

To the Editor,

I would like to take exception to Tom Danehy's insensitive remark about a feminist bookstore being unsuitable for Best Tucson Bookstore because there was no humor section, the implication of course being that feminists have no sense of humor.

It is an incontrovertible fact that feminists have been engaged in a hard-fought battle to acquire one and to make light of their struggle is both heartless and mean-spirited. There is ample proof they are working on it.

Look at some of their publications. Many times on the covers you will see photographs of womyn laughing--laughing really hard. We are talking serious laughter here. To risk rupture like that you would have to enjoy some sort of appreciation for what is funny. Still, the war is not yet won. For years they were reduced to laughing at their own jokes, a disagreeable expedient comparable to cannibalism on lifeboats. Only recently have others begun to laugh.

In the future I will thank you not to make light of an issue far too somber to allow for levity. Remember, Mr. Danehy, feminist humor is no laughing matter.

--Garth Gould

Bear Essentials

To the Editor,

I was glad to see J.E. Relly's "The Big Issue" (October 1). As a "person of size" (OK, fat!) as well, I was glad to see some attention focused on this sensitive issue. I am tired of the discrimination thrown at me and at others of my size. How would you like to go into a restaurant or food market and get glared at by people because of your size?

I am really tired of the jokes and downright discrimination aimed at overweight people. It's just a part of what I call body fascism. This society has developed the mentality that thin is where it's at, and if you aren't thin, then somehow you are of lesser worth as a human being.

I'm a gay man as well, and if you think anti-fat prejudice is bad in the general populace, you should see what's it's like in the gay world. Most gays pursue the "ideal guy"--a young, thin, hairless boy type with a perfect 32 inch waist (or less!) who works out at the gym a couple days a week. Thankfully, the "Bear" movement began to catch on, which is a term for a bigger, furry man, and bear lovers are men who like bigger men. If it weren't for the bear community in the gay world, guys like me would be totally ostracized.

People need to realize that many of us are larger than the ideal weight, and it really isn't that easy to correct the problem. I think it's high time American society developed a little tolerance and acceptance towards fat people, especially women. I have always hated those rude bumper stickers like "Save a Whale, Harpoon a Fat Chick!" Don't people realize how hurtful that is?

--Andrew Brooks

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