Yellowstone Yelp

To the Editor,

While I lived in Tucson, I often enjoyed reading your articles. Your perspective is fresh. Regarding Jeff Smith's "Jellystone Ranger" (September 17): As a former interpretive ranger for the National Park Service at Yellowstone, I appreciate Smith's acknowledgment of the wonders of the park. However, I'm not sure I got Smith's point. Many writers have described the park from a perspective similar to Smith's--the crowds of unenlightened tourists, etc.--but the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has better stories to tell. Smith appear to have missed them.

Mailbag Rather than spend a whole column describing his driving experiences, Smith could have described the resources of the park: the wilderness, the power of natural processes, the birth and evolution of the park idea, the thermal geology, the diversity of large mammals. These are the things that make Yellowstone significant. Smith's article seemed more like a train of irrelevant thoughts with no cohesive message.

I would also like to comment on a few specific passages:

• The "American parks system" you refer to is the National Park Service, not to be confused with state parks or national forests, which are quite different.

• "A tree's a tree"? Are you emulating an infamous former Interior Secretary? Some people may find interest in individual trees. Or, the people you saw may have been searching for wildlife. (Nevertheless, they should have pulled over to let others past.)

• The lone cow elk you disparaged was an unglute, not an ungulant, and your related gun humor was a cheap shot.

• Regarding the fumarole: It is human nature to be fascinated by violent, dramatic thermal features like geysers, hot springs, mudpots and hissing steam vents. That's why the park was established. They're unique.

• The fires of 1988 did not burn "most of the woods." Their perimeters encompassed 800,000 (of 2.2 million) acres, or one-third of the park. About half of that was canopy burn, and much of the rest was non-forested to begin with. The affected areas, while stark in places, are not unhealthy or unnatural, as a "Superfund site" would be.

• Finally, I think most visitors would agree that Yellowstone National Park is way cooler than anything Walt Disney ever dreamed up! I hope you haven't lost your sense of wonder at the splendors of nature! Happy motoring!

--Carol Tepper

Liar's Club

To the Editor,

In "The Real Nitty-Gritty" (November 5), old Tom Danehy warned us about lying baby-boomer politicians. "They're lying," he warns. Well, speaking of lying baby-boomers, there are multiple inventions of a non-factual nature in every column he writes. Warn readers: "He's lying too!" Is Darlene as proud of her lying old man as he is of her?

--Danny Bailey

No Perking

To the Editor,

From 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998, Tucson taxpayers subsidized the Tucson Convention Center to the tune of nearly $3 million, with an average subsidy over the last 10 years of $2.5 million per year. I wanted to present this information before thanking Dave Devine for "That's the Ticket!" (September 10) because it's important to reveal how city leaders are addressing the growing taxpayer subsidy at the Tucson Convention Center: asking for free tickets.

Before taking office last December, I knew of many problems at the convention center and had resolved not to contribute to the situation by taking advantage of "just another perk of local politics." However, before I formally made it office policy not to ask for free tickets, a staff member I had kept over from my predecessor requested tickets for two events. The policy has since been formalized and is still in place.

Our city cannot maintain the status quo at the Tucson Convention Center. We need to take a new direction that will reduce taxpayer subsidy and bring in more commercial business. That business in turn will support and preserve community and non-profit activities at the center. Community activities at the TCC will always receive city support, but we must act responsibly with taxpayer dollars, diligently make sure we maximize every taxpayer dollar, and stop taking advantage of the perks.

--Fred Ronstadt

Council Member, Ward 6

This Means War

To the Editor,

I have been a resident of Armory Park for a little under one year, and Margaret Regan's "Tin Soldier" (November 5) outraged me! I am glad to see that the Tucson Weekly is taking a positive stand on the issue at hand.

The field in question is just down the street from where I live. It is not only a vacant field surrounded by some of the oldest houses in the Tucson area, it is also a converging point for neighbors and their dogs, residents and their morning walks, and a wonderful place to watch the sun set. Besides the fact that it is a small slice of desert heaven in the middle of the city, it is also a quiet place. The neighborhood is already surrounded by warehouses of enormous size, two of which are already owned by Levin, but in order to capture and hold the "old Tucson" atmosphere so obviously present in Armory Park, nothing else must be built, and most especially not a huge tin shed.

There is no racism present in Armory Park, and such a statement is completely unjustified and downright political. The neighborhood is a fine mixture of many cultures, all of which live in peace with each other.

We are not against the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the people who use its services; we are against Levin and his ideas of not preserving the neighborhood, and really not caring how the neighborhood feels about his scheme. The war will wage on, and hopefully the better, more truthful cause will win.

--Meghan Ingram

Return To Sender

To the Editor.

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Record Hassles" (October 29): You don't have to accept unsolicited merchandise. Simply write "Refused; did not order" on the unopened package and drop it off at the post office or in a mailbox. The vendor, who will have to pay the return postage, will quickly stop sending you stuff.

--Brita Miller

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