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9 Not on Our Side

To the Editor,

Was it a patented Tucson Weekly "cheap shot?" Or didn't your headline writer even bother to read Bob Richardson's article about Tucson television (August 22)? In either case, what you did is reprehensible. The cover title, "Why Local TV News Gets Worse and Worse," followed by "The Picture Dims on Local TV News," had nothing to do with the gist of Mr. Richardson's article. The headlines are a disservice to broadcast journalists in Tucson, to your readers and to Bob Richardson.

I have had the privilege of working in Tucson television three different times, in the late '70s, mid '80s to early '90s, returning again in 1999. I believe there is evidence local television news is much better. There have been two independent studies conducted by Columbia University that places Tucson television news among the nation's best. In spite of the financial issues we faced, each of the three stations has better people, experienced anchors and better equipment. One only has to look at the fire coverage this summer as further evidence of the quality of local television news.

Perhaps you should examine the "quality" of the journalism at the Tucson Weekly.

--Ray Depa
Vice President & General Manager

Local TV News Is Dead

To the Editor,

Sorry to be the one to break this to you, Bob Richardson, but local TV news isn't getting "worse and worse"--it's terminal (August 22). Flatlined. The patient is dead. Local TV news is abysmal. A farce. "I'm not a journalist, but I play one on TV." Budgets could increase 300 percent and all we'd get are flashier graphics and anchors who can actually pronounce "Sierra Grande." News? It's little more than a police blotter, with weather, sports and some human interest crapola ("South Side abuela gets diploma at 81") tacked on at the end.

Of the countless examples available illustrating how embarrassing, puerile and irrelevant it continues to be, here is my favorite: Last year, when the lottery reached $6 million (or 16 or 60--whatever the hell), this vitally important event was the lead story on all three broadcasts.

What, however, was the lead story airing on the other local news program, KUAT's Arizona Illustrated? Ongoing stem cell research at local university medical centers.

I rest my case.

--Scot Sea

Bid No-Bid Contracts Adieu

To the Editor,

The Aug. 29 Skinny column took me to task for attacking Pima County contracting procedures. I plead guilty.

You noted that I, as a former Pima County assessor, and two other Tucsonans (Dan Swango and Ken Bauer, who have excellent assessing credentials) were awarded a contract of up to $25,000 in 1995 to consult with the Assessor's Office.

Fair enough. But you didn't report that we had done similar work for the Maricopa and Yavapai County Assessor's Offices before our Pima County contract.

The same issue of The Weekly also did not mention in its Frank Felix-Richard Elias story that Elias, whom I have criticized for defending county contracting practices, was given a Pima County consulting contract for the same amount--up to $25,000--before he got a full-time county job (See "Good Intentions," June 27).

His task was to tell South 12th Avenue business owners that their street would be widened. I doubt that any other county had ever hired him to do that kind of consulting. In fact, when Elias finally got his full-time county job, no one took over his vital job.

--Steve Emerine

Gríjalva Doesn't Monkey Around

To the Editor,

Jim Nintzel's "Monkey Business" (August 29) was very insulting to Raúl Grijalva, the champion of the people.

The millionaire developers must have paid you off to write against a man who has limited irresponsible growth, procured hundreds of thousands of dollars for citizens with health problems due to TCE poisoning, protected workers from an arbitrary job cut of 1,000 workers courtesy of the Republicans, worked to get more money back for Pima County from the state, saved handicapped transportation which provides more than 3,500 rides, settled wrongful termination lawsuits, helped avoid a TUSD strike, protected our air quality with dust regulation and construction permits, helped to initiate impact fees to share the tax burden with the wealthy and provided in-home services to low-income elderly.

The good that Raúl Grijalva has produced is really too numerous to list. His record is clear. He deserves to be the new CD7 congressperson!

--Saul J. Ostroff

Party Hearty

To the Editor,

I am writing to respond to comments you made in The Skinny (August 22) regarding the party shift of several prominent Green Party members here in Pima County. Unfortunately your column does not discuss the background information precipitating this shift.

This year the Arizona Green Party was unable to collect the approximately 26,000 petition signatures necessary to remain a state-recognized party. As a result, we are not allowed to run candidates in the state or federal elections. The Green parties of Pima and Coconino counties are in the unusual position of being officially recognized by the county but not recognized by the state. The Division of Elections in Pima County has determined that Green Party members in Pima County may only receive one primary ballot--the Green Party ballot--even though it lists no state or federal candidates. While every other voter in the state, be they Libertarian, Republican, Democratic or Independent, may vote in the fall primary, only we are not allowed to vote in the state and federal primary elections.

Even more unusual is that Green Party members outside of these two counties are allowed to vote in the state and federal primary elections. For instance in Congressional District 7, Green Party members in Maricopa and Yuma counties are allowed to vote in the primary under whichever party designation they desire, while Green Party members in Pima and Coconino counties are not. We feel this is a clear violation of Arizona's "open primary" system, a violation of equal protection under the law and that we are being unfairly disenfranchised from full participation in the primary process.

As noted by The Weekly, the Greens lost a Superior Court battle over this issue earlier this summer. We are still considering appealing the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court, but unfortunately their decision would be too late to allow us to vote in September's open primary.

Green Party members are extremely active politically and want to participate in the political process. Thus some Green Party members have decided to temporarily re-register with other parties or as non-affiliated voters so that they can vote in the primary. The Green Party certainly doesn't condemn temporary party switching--these voters are simply realists who would like to be able to participate in the political process that is suppose to be available to every American citizen. I expect most of them will come back to the Green Party after the election, and I would like to think that the Tucson Weekly would support every citizen's right to vote in the primary election.

I also wished to comment on your suggestion that Katie Bolger was the "Green Party Boss." Are we living in Chicago in the 1960s or did I miss something? To suggest that the Green Party would have anything like a party boss is similar to suggesting that hiring a shepherd to herd cats is a good idea. With the diversity of opinion within our party, no "party boss" is ever likely to develop.

--Ann Samuelson
First Vice Chair
Green Party of Pima County

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