God And Country

To the Editor,

Regarding Dan Huff and Dave Devine's "Grassroots Goliath" (Tucson Weekly, October 17): The Christian Coalition and the Pima County Interfaith Council are very much alike. Both groups consist of people with strong religious principles, and both want the government to enforce those principles on unwilling others.

Mailbag Admittedly, the two differ on specifics. The Coalitioneers get their excitement from the grimmer passages of Paul and the Pentateuch, while the libido of the Councilistas is directed more toward the Sermon on the Mount. Yet both represent a threat to the liberty of non-believers. The Pat Robertsonites lust for state regulation of reading, viewing, speech and more intimate matters; the compassion-mongers of the PCIC crave vastly expanded spending on social programs, which would rob the taxpayer of free time and money.

Rather than yielding to the pleas, demands and threats of either group, our elected officials should undertake to maximize our freedom. If Ralph Reed's flock would rather not lie with mankind as with a woman, they should have that option; if the followers of St. Francis in the Foothills want to sell all that they have and give to the poor, that should be their prerogative. But by the same token, infidels whose beliefs demand neither chastity nor charity should not be forced to practice either virtue to satisfy the consciences of others.

--William Flack

To the Editor,

Regarding Dan Huff and Dave Devine's "Grassroots Goliath" (Tucson Weekly, October 17): I am a third-grade teacher at Mission View Elementary in South Tucson and am involved in issues affecting the Santa Rita Park and South Tucson communities. Last May, I initiated a meeting over business and residents' concerns about the homeless/ transients in our area and park. I invited the PCIC to attend, since I had positive dealings with these folks at the school. I knew they were homeless advocates, but felt they deserved to participate and speak out.

My naiveté. The PCIC folks who showed up tried to take over the meeting, insulted me, threatened my job, and ended the session by praying for me and all the other folks who dare to speak out about our concerns. Our grassroots goals of empowerment and dealing with an onerous situation didn't take with them.

Your article on the PCIC glossed over the amount of anger and resentment many in our community feel towards this group. PCIC attacks the so-called "power-structure" not in the foothills or the development community, but in reality they go after many people who are already engaged in the community and trying to accomplish good works.

The PCIC modus operandi is to buddy up to a group on a project and then try to take it over, completely. They are an anti-neighborhood lobbying organization with a strong religious flavor. They espouse having allies and communication, yet the words that have come up since I started to do research on them have been: "racist, fascist, bullying, into intimidation and weird."

I am not sure where their espousal of caring about families, kids and community comes into keeping Santa Rita Park the city's homeless/transient park, where there are bare-bones recreational facilities and no sports leagues at all for kids or youth. Where do the kids in South Tucson have to go for a league of any kind? What has the PCIC done about South Tucson?

The PCIC folks demand accountability of others. I and many other folks feel that it's time for them to be accountable to the community. To not only clearly demonstrate a track record for what they put forth, but an authentic willingness to work with other folks in improving our community. The PCIC has needlessly alienated many folks engaged in working for positive change. I think it's time for them to stop their squawking their talk and start walking it.

--Mitch Sternberg

Defending Ireland

To the Editor,

As the daughter of the infamous brother of Joel Ireland who sells real estate on the southwest side, I have to set the record straight ("Pass/Fail," The Skinny, Tucson Weekly, October 3). My dad is a real estate agent who works for a company that builds homes in several areas of town. He does not own a real estate firm, nor does he have any ownership in the company he works for. He was selling houses on the southwest side long before there was any mention of a new high school, and he is still selling houses on the southwest side.

During the time the TUSD board was discussing the closure of Catalina High School, a woman came to my father's subdivision inquiring about high schools for that area. My father told her the high school for his subdivision was Pueblo. He also mentioned the possibility of a new high school. When the lady asked where they planned on building the new high school, my father proceeded to list possible locations.

The woman, who was posing as a potential home buyer and, coincidentally, just happened to be a teacher from Catalina High School, then ran to the papers with allegations of a so-called "shady land deal." There was nothing of the sort. At the time all the information my father gave was public knowledge.

I am also greatly offended by your attack on my uncle. A person can't just look at what they see, they have to look at the entire picture. In the eight years Joel Ireland has been on the TUSD School Board, he has done a lot. In his time on the school board Joel provided the vote that passed all-day kindergarten in all TUSD schools. Last year alone he voted to increase the student supply budget by 20 percent. And between 1992 and 1995, objective test scores rose significantly.

Your paper has referred to this "funny land deal" without ever checking the facts. I fully understand the freedom of the press, but a reporter has to know when they are serving the public and when they are misleading the public, and in case you haven't noticed, there is a difference. With freedom of the press comes a responsibility to print the truth through viable facts, which in this case you failed to do.

--Lindsay Ireland

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