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Building Blocks May Go Tumbling

To the Editor,

I read David Devine's "Building Blocks: Change is coming to downtown warehouse district . . ." (March 28) with a smiling optimism. But when I attended the Railroad Depot "ground breaking" ceremony, my eyes widened in the way that eyes do when they see a car collision. I saw a proud Mayor Bob Walkup, in a one-armed, yellow tractor, ceremoniously tearing down a section of the depot.

Granted, it was not a historic section of the depot. Still, acting in the field of symbols can be a revealing thing. Will the city dismantle the artist studios in the historic warehouse district once they take ownership of them? Will those city folks, looking for more revenue, cart out the wrecking ball of yet more rent increases?

Last year, the Arizona Department of Transportation, current owner of the historic warehouses, made an across-the-board rent increase to achieve "market rates." Our rents increased and the artists paid it, to the tune of $300,000 annually. Now, our future landlords, the city of Tucson, says that it might have to increase rents to "market rates." Uh oh. I think I hear that yellow tractor rumbling down the road.

For many years, the artists have cared for these historic buildings when no one else has cared for them. Biannually, we open these studios to the public and we have hundreds of visitors every year to the painters, stone carvers, puppeteers, dancers, weavers, potters, photographers and more. Let's keep them and let's keep the culturally and artistically rich historic warehouse district a unique Arts District destination.

--David Aguirre
Tucson artist


Bring Down Those Barriers

To the Editor,

Chris Limberis' "Short End of the Stick" (March 28) was quite revealing about both the city transportation department and the courts' cavalier, if not indifferent, attitude towards accessible parking spaces.

The vendor parking lot next to the city court building fares no better. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, facility owners or transportation providers are required to provide barrier-free elements, for example, by providing accessible doors, accessible drinking fountains, accessible restrooms, accessible ramps and, yes, even accessible parking.

Part of the purpose of the act is to rid existing areas in public accommodations and commercial facilities of true handicap elements and spaces. Today, a door, restroom, ramp or parking space with an architectural or transportation barrier should be contemptuously labeled "handicapped." So while the act requires barrier-free accessible elements be provided by owners and providers, it would seem the city's transportation department is only providing handicap parking spaces. And even though city court doesn't have the jurisdiction to enforce the ADA, too bad it won't do justice and rule in the spirit of the law.

--Daniel Vargas


White Men Can Hump

To the Editor,

I thought Danehy would do a Kwanzaa-like critique of that silly, bogus, half-pagan festival called Easter in his piece "Holy Defined" (March 28). Come on Danehy, you ought to have chastised those Yaqui girls for adopting a stupid myth about some guy who the Romans dubbed "terrorist," then lashed to a cross and pounded some nails into him. Those girls are Yaqui--with their own traditions. No need to travel thousands of miles to adopt some cock and bull story about that same guy claiming to turn water into wine and boasting about being the son of some God nobody has ever seen.

What Danehy should have done is to tell those girls that it was wrong for those fellow-traveling Spanish witch-doctors (called "missionaries"--what mission did they have?) to have forced them to adopt nonsensical myths that have nothing to do with their own myths. Let's face it, any myth is as good as any other. The Spaniards came to the Southwest to rob, steal land, rape (where did all those mestizos come from?) and murder. The "missionaries" fellow-traveled with the brigands just to calm and bamboozle the survivors.

Come on Danehy, that's what you should have told those Yaqui girls. Show the same dissing zeal that you did with Kwanzaa.

And Easter: all those bunnies (known for their non-stop fornicating) and eggs (ova)--how sexy. Let's face it, Easter was the time for the savage tribes of Europe to get out from their caves and sex each other to death. Who said savage white men can't hump.

--A. Kamara

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