Provincial Potshots

To the Editor,

Imagine that a writer from Tucson flies into LaGuardia airport. It's the first time he has ever been to New York City. Leaving the terminal, he hails a cab and travels first through Queens and then Brooklyn, where he is dropped off at Kennedy airport. In a lounge at the airport, he interviews Donald Trump. A little while later, he interviews Al Sharpton. Then an editor from the Village Voice says to the writer: Hey, there's a misanthropic world-weary opinion columnist who lives down on Coney Island and I think you should meet him. They take the subway over there and the two are introduced. This columnist wasn't born in New York, but he knows deep down that he understands the true essence of New York better than anyone. His "pungent prejudices" about Arizona are "informed by ignorance." He admits this in his own column, actually revels in it. The last thing we need here in New York, he says, is a bunch of sunburnt Arizonans with their trailer parks and cockfights and John Denver eight-track tapes. The two writers spend some time together and part company equally unimpressed.

Mailbag A short time later the writer from Arizona flies out of Kennedy back to Tucson. He writes a travel essay about his experience, complaining that New York isn't nearly as interesting as so many people claim it is. He has still never set eyes on the Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, the Staten Island ferry, Soho, the Central park ice-skating rink, or Riverside Drive. He hasn't been to a single baseball game, dance recital, outdoor concert, ticker-tape parade, comedy club, or rooftop. His essay, though, is valid because it honestly records his "impressions."

Back in New York, the other writer's column argues that no one there should care if the essay was full of unresearched and uninformed opinions. He rants in his usual Village Voice style about how this person's a moron and that person's a jackass and everything sucks before changing gears and speaking with sincere sentimentality about his own little corner on a small street in Coney Island where all the neighbors know one another. Only there are things nice. Not in Tucson, not in Manhattan, not in Chicago, San Diego, or Wyoming. Only in the small geographical area where he happens to live and feels comfortable. The rest of the world is rotten, especially unknown places like Mt. Lemmon, Barrio Viejo, the San Xavier Mission, the Center for Creative Photography, and the Hotel Congress.

These two writers aren't named Robert Kaplan and Jeff Smith. Those two are a whole different case.

--Donald Murray

Good Lord

To the Editor,

As a Christian and a Promise Keeper, I would like to respond to the letters of David Moreland, Paul Peter Katona, and Yvonne M. Osmond (Mailbag, October 15).

To Moreland, I say: Calm down, brother, and come off your religious irritation. James DiGiovanna's "Promises, Promises" (September 24) was much more fair and balanced than I would have expected in a Tucson Weekly treatment. That should be taken as a sign of progress and a cause for hope. By the way--how would you or I "fare on judgment day," but for the grace of God?

If I could meet Katona and Osmond, I would ask them: (1) Did you form your opinion of PKs (and presumably of Christians in general) from personal and close contact with us, or from hearsay? (2) How do you think the vituperative tone and sweeping generalizations of your letters contribute to a rational discussion of the issues involved?

Prejudicial and stereotypic thinking, and the strident or dismissive rhetoric they produce, serve only to feed egos and cloud issues. I used to indulge in them. Several times, the results appeared in Mailbag. The only good to come of it was one response letter in Mailbag (from Valerie G. Townsley, January 20, 1993) which was, on the whole, more calm and rational than mine had been.

God has ordained a world in which believer and unbeliever, feminist and nonfeminist, etc., are to live together in a relative peace, and work together for the common good. We would all do well to think and speak of each other in a manner which facilitates that.

--Bill Foltz

Free Ride

To the Editor:

As a regular reader I put up with several characteristics of The Weekly that irritate me in order to enjoy the qualities that are not found in other area publications. One thing I hope does not become a trend, however, is a tendency toward being a little stricter in calling 'em as you see 'em with some public figures as opposed to others.

In the October 15 issue, The Skinny took District 13 House candidate Kathleen Dunbar to task for urging voters to vote only for her in that race. No problem with that criticism. I recently received campaign literature from your cover lady of that issue, Rosalie Lopez, which asked me to do the same thing; i.e., vote just for her and no one else for the TUSD board. Does this make Ms. Lopez a "whiny little brat" also? (The best part of her literature was the insert in the packet she sent to my domestic partner, whose name is Lopez, in which she tried to put a warm and fuzzy twist on electing a "fellow Lopez" to the board. What's up with that?

Additionally I can't help but think that if one of the local dailies ran paid ads for a board candidate for several weeks and then used that candidate alone (one of nine) on the front page of an issue dealing with the race, that you'd be all over the "Daily Suckwad" or any other paper that made such an editorial decision.

I go into The Weekly knowing that I am not going to get a detailed analysis of all sides of an issue. I know you think such reporting is boring. But I really hope that you don't start giving a free, no-questions-asked ride to those candidates, officials, community leaders, etc. who you generally support. It would seriously dull your edge.

--Jim Merten

Tom & Jimmy Show

To the Editor,

Thanks to The Skinny, I was able to check out a debate that took place between incumbent Congressman Jim Kolbe and his challenger, former Tucson mayor Tom Volgy. The highlight for me was in response to an impeachment question. Kolbe promised to vote his conscience, while Volgy countered that after the due process was over, President Nixon had lied to the IRS and was not impeached as a result.

That shows us that Congress was given a second chance in the case of Nixon. Therefore, Congress should not take this issue for granted.

--Robert W. Shatz

Kolbe Aids Kids

To the Editor,

From time to time I read a few selected articles from Tucson Weekly. The articles are usually those which just happen to catch my interest through the headline or a picture attached to it. When I saw Jim Nintzel's "Mr.Coffee" (October 22), focusing on the race between Congressman Jim Kolbe and Democrat Tom Volgy, I was beyond thrilled.

I am currently a sophomore at St. Gregory High School. I'm usually not one for politics, but I have the utmost respect for Kolbe. Any featured article that I can get my hands on that involves Kolbe I take advantage of.

Just this morning he came and spoke to the students at my school about what he embodies and supports. One of the many topics he spoke of was his idea on the vouchers he would like to send out for private schools.

When I first read about Volgy's opposition on this subject, I completely understood his reasoning for his opposition. However, when Kolbe spoke with our school about this decision, we received the full story.

In Nintzel's article, it sounded as if Congressman Kolbe wanted to send vouchers to private- or religious-schooled students, helping them with the costs of their schooling, while public-schooled students would receive nothing.

According to Kolbe, that's not the case at all. He spoke this morning of Washington, D.C.'s public school system. Of the 500-plus politicians in Washington, no one politician sends any of their children to a public school there. He said the politicians just don't feel the public schooling in Washington is safe enough, that the education there just isn't up to their standards, and that a lot of improvements need to be made in the public schools there.

For years, the government has been giving these public schools money in hopes of turning those negative aspects around. However, they have seen no improvement. Kolbe says he feels it's unfair for the students to endure that. They deserve a better education and better chance at schooling.

Kolbe explained to us that the government has tried to improve the public school system there, but nothing seems to work. So he feels that maybe if the government tried something different, such as putting that same money into vouchers for public school students, that maybe those students can turn to a private or religious school for their education if they're not satisfied with their current school.

Kolbe explained that he felt the same situation is happening in our state. Kolbe wants to give the public-schooled students a chance to choose. The money was not intended for private-schooled students.

The Congressman told us it might be very possible this plan may not work at all, but it's worth a shot. It's something new to try, and there's no harm in trying something new if an old plan just isn't working.

I personally support Kolbe, but even if I supported Tom Volgy, I would still feel the need for this letter to be written. To put it into simpler words, I feel that Jim Kolbe's ideas were unfairly rendered in Nintzel's article. It would be much more beneficial to the community if, in the future, all the details were revealed before attacking a candidate, even if the article happens to be an Op/Ed piece.

Hopefully in the future, Tucson Weekly will take steps to uncover the entire truth, or let the person who is being attacked in the article defend themselves, so as not to deceive the readers of your paper.

--Jennifer Jones

Libertarian Dollar Lust

To the Editor,

Regarding Jim Nintzel's "Give Me Libertarian" (October 22): Isn't the Libertarian Party supposed to be an alternative to the Republican Party? Judging from Phil Murphy's comments, it would appear not.

Let's see: Murphy wants to kill as many federal agencies as possible and trust everything to the benign, always-right free market. Isn't that the crap Newt Gingrich and his ilk have been trumpeting for years now?

Most galling is his inane idea to sell off national parks to private interests because they'd make a profit at running them. I would submit that our national parks serve a better purpose than simply being a revenue center. They provide us with some chance to experience nature in as close to a pristine setting as is possible anymore. Leaving public lands to be managed by private interests puts the financial desires of a few over the educational and natural needs of the many.

Like Republicans, Libertarians cannot accept the idea that anything has any intrinsic value. All the Grand Canyon is, is a way to make more money for a select few. It's exactly that worldview that is leading to the destruction of the desert around us. Voting Libertarian is just another step towards sending us further down a road I don't think any caring person wants to go.

--Deron Overpeck

Bad TPD, No Doughnut

To the Editor,

If my reading on the beating of "Vince" on Forth Avenue ("Anatomy of a Blunder," October 8) 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, 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 door 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,

Regarding "Anatomy of a Blunder" (October 8): What kind of world is this where the minions of the law decline an open invitation to jollystomp on some street scum?

Especially when the perpetrators have apparently tuned up a normal, taxpaying citizen? Man, in the old law-abiding days, the cops would still be tapping out nightstick serenades on the bad guys' heads!

We sure are living in soft, indifferent times.

In the story itself, there was mention of the Tucson Police Department being undermanned, stretched thin and underpaid. Nowhere in the story, though, does anyone point out TPD's utter dereliction of duty. With all those witnesses around, that sounds like the sort of real live sacking offense even the most inept internal affairs department should slam dunk.

Would "Vince," the victim, have to have been a cold, battered, blood-oozing corpse before somebody with a badge noticed the breach of duty?

The whole situation on North Fourth seems to have mutated. In the old days a hands-off attitude by the police and public over-tolerance might've been an acceptable reaction to those eking out pavement existence. Let's face it, those street people back then were mostly harmless.

Now, though, such human fringe society is whacked-out and jacked-up. It's not even a countercultural trip any more, but one of predators refuting Darwin. Rather than inch up the evolutional scale, they're declining into a more feral nature. One that might've even raised the hackles of our long-dead Stone Age ancestors.

The worst part of this incident may be if the public feels abandoned by those who vowed to "serve and protect" them, it may turn to direct action and take law into its own hands. And as bad a threat to orderly society as those criminal vagrants are, rabble-incited, mob-issued justice would be far worse.

I suggest the adults take over again. And soon.

--Robert Gadson

Danehy's Detractors

To the Editor,

I was really annoyed with Tom Danehy's take on the UPN show, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer ("Tube Tied," October 15). Basically he wrote that uptight black activists were complaining about nothing and should just lighten up and realize that the show could combat stereotypes, blah, blah, blah.

But, I bet, he wouldn't have taken this stance, say, if the sitcom was based on the holocaust, or when Japanese were put into internment camps. It's only okay to poke fun at blacks and slavery, because hey, slavery was over 500 years ago and black folks should just lighten up, blah, blah, blah.

But slavery never was and never will be funny. And to claim that black activists are losing credibility by even mentioning the show makes light of it. Slavery is insulting. And I don't care if the black character on the show is the only intelligent and logical one on the show, he's still the butler.

Danehy, get a clue and think before claiming that a show that is insulting to blacks is a "fresh of breath air." (sic)

Oh well, at least you had the decency to claim it wasn't funny. Thank God!

-- I.

Biting Back

To the Editor,

Regarding "Sweet Sixteen" (October 22): Yes, I am the Howard, the previous editor of the Tucson Weekly that Tom Danehy wants to "bite him" now that his teenage daughter, Darlene, 16, has turned out better than I predicted. "Despite your predictions," he said, "Darlene has never smoked a cigarette, tasted alcohol, tried drugs, or skipped a day of school. And I'm willing to bet all I own that she never will."

Even with such a small bet--he does work for The Weekly, don't forget--and even though Tom went on with a list of Darlene's accomplishments that would make Oprah Winfrey jealous, I must remind Tom my original challenge included both his kids. I still have high hopes his son Alexander will do the right thing and test his parents to the limit.

My own daughters are turning 16 and 19 this week, and I'm proud to say they're not perfect. They're not National-Merit-Wonder-Workaholic-Saints, but they are good people and good students. They worry about the first big disappointment life will hand Darlene (I mean other than having a parent who refers to his editors in public as "Howie" or "Mr. Long Dong," and a parent who puts down baseball at the same time the NBA is about to skip a whole season due to pure greed, and a parent who reviews TV shows as if such a thing were worth 10 seconds of anyone's time, and a parent who works for a publication long on gossip and short on reporting and long on film reviewers who oddly and obviously hate films.) Now that we think about it, maybe Darlene has had to face one of life's major hurdles: parents.

--Howard Allen

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