Washed Up

To the Editor,

So Fred Ronstadt thinks a lot of us "aren't up on the issues," huh? And he dares to censor voters' information-booklets because he thinks (if that's the right word) we can't read or understand it on our own?

Mailbag Well, I've got news for him--most of us Tucsonans are "up on" the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, unlike, apparently, Freddie and his lawyers. Ronstadt lost his pre-election lawsuit because, I think, he doesn't really get the First Amendment's free-speech clause. Thus he unjustly deprived Tucsonans of the city's election-information booklet in good time for voting on Election Day. Thanks for nothing, Ronstadt.

The First Amendment protects my--and all other voters'--right to receive this voter-information promptly, and without delays caused by folks who have a problem with free speech. The First Amendment formally recognizes the natural and inalienable right of Americans to think and speak freely; it is fitting that freedom of expression should be the first freedom in the Bill of Rights. Madison, Jefferson and other framers of the Bill of Rights viewed freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression as vital to human progress.

From Ronstadt's lawsuit, I deduce that he doesn't understand the First Amendment, unlike his opponents Democrat Alison Hughes and Libertarian Dan Dougherty. This lawsuit wrongly sought to restrain the so-called "sarcastic" comments of a local citizen, although the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently rejected the notion that speech can be punished because it offends some people's sensibilities.

Additionally, when I became a naturalized American citizen years ago, I learned that the best answer to problematic speech is more speech, not less speech. The Ronstadt lawsuit attempted to stifle citizen comments by silencing a voice (or any voices) that spoke in a tone distasteful to the plaintiff.

Neither government nor its aspiring candidates may judge our speech unlawful because of perceptions (usually erroneous) that we are being sarcastic, humorous, snide, wacky, loud, soft, illogical, impolite, tactless, crude etc.

--Helen Bailey Bayly

Pipe Schemes

To the Editor,

I'd like to compliment Paula Huff on "Flow Job" (Tucson Weekly, October 9), and your paper in general, for covering--or rather uncovering--the relentless undermining by moneyed interests of every good-faith effort at self-government.

--Brian Nicoll

To the Editor,

The debate over CAP recharge (1995's Proposition 200) vs. CAP treatment (1997's Proposition 201) was frustrating because of the lack of hard facts available to make an intelligent decision. The voters were being asked to "take on faith" the arguments of the advocates of both CAP recharge and CAP treatment. It's times like this when I wish we could trade a national championship for a detailed hydrological study.

The only thing the adversaries agreed upon is that the underground water table has dropped 200 feet since 1940. It appears that either CAP recharge or CAP treatment will alleviate this problem, assuming they're implemented in a competent manner. The problem has been brought to a crisis by the City of Tucson terminating CAP treatment and distribution (as required by Proposition 200 in 1995) but failing to commence CAP recharge in an expeditious manner. Naturally this (in)action further depleted our groundwater. This is the same city leadership that delivered repugnant water in 1993 when they first pulled the CAP treatment experiment on us. So far they're batting .000 in the CAP World Series!

--James P. Needham

Crisis Of Faith

To the Editor,

I have lost my faith in God. That's it, farewell Díos, arrivaderci Signore. In the past, I've let lots of stuff go by--war, famine, an apparently endless amount of pointless suffering, Howard Stern on TV at 8 o'clock. But enough. Je suis finito. If there was a deity anything close to concerned with justice, surely he'd visit a plague of boils on the soulless, heartless, son-of-a-bitch developers destroying the west side of the Sabino Canyon area between River and Sunrise.

After leaving town on business for a couple of years, my family and I decided to move a little farther out from the center of town. Now make no mistake--I am not one of those people who go all mushy inside when someone mentions the Sonoran Desert, but I am inclined to defend it when my hipper friends go on the attack. Especially the aging Firesign Theater fans who insist I live in a "stinking desert."

"There's nothing stinking about it," I tell 'em. "Bacteria has a hell of a time thriving in all this aridity. And anyway, how 'bout all you groovies show me the multi-hued eco-systems in L.A. and New York, huh? Show me your coyote, javelina, curved-billed thrashers, road runners, tortoises, quail, endless variety of reptiles, birds of prey, and cacti. Let's see your lungs from breathing all that smog and your souls from staring at all that asphalt and concrete all day long, where the only green thing around is the occasional loogie on the sidewalk." This usually shuts them up, at least for as long as they're capable of shutting up.

Well, I hate to say it, but one of these days, if the rampant development around here isn't halted, I'll have to admit to those friends they were right. Because without the beauty of the desert, the wildlife, the foothills, without the uncluttered views of the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets of any place in the world, Tucson isn't much more than a stinking desert. You can keep the basketball team, the rednecks, the Mexican food and all the rest of it.

Now I'm no idealist, I realize the good of economic growth and appreciate the fact that this town's bound to expand. What I don't understand is why some degree of regional planning seems so impossible. It just doesn't make any sense to put 34 single-family homes on five acres of land, like they're doing at this very moment outside my window. Any moron except the very most shortsighted can see that, can't he? Even if he is lining his pockets at the speed of light.

Which leads me to reconsider the God thing. Maybe He does exist but He's just on extended leave. That's go to be it. It's the only possible explanation. I just hope He gets back in time to roast the bastards who put the gasoline in the bulldozers--maybe pour asphalt and cement on them and leave 'em out in the sun, without even the shade of a mesquite shrub to hide in.

--Catherine O'Sullivan

Note Of Alarm

To the Editor,

I just wanted to let you know what a great job you are doing, and I'm not the only person who thinks this way.

Any publication that can actually wake up Tom Volgy and make him take notice has my total support! Nobody else could do it, for God's sake!

--Ernie Groff

We Want Letters!

Thrilled by our brilliant insights? Sick of our mean-spirited attacks? Need to make something perfectly clear? Write: tucsonweekly@tucsonweekly.com

 Page Back  Last Issue  Current Week  Next Week  Page Forward

Home | Currents | City Week | Music | Review | Books | Cinema | Back Page | Archives

Weekly Wire    © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth