It's Cool to Be OutragedTo the Editor,
Thank you for The Rant Issue (March 6). While I--and probably every reader--do not agree with every rant, I will say that if one is not outraged by something, then one is probably not paying much attention to anything.
My Rant Is Better! Neener Neener!To the Editor,
I do agree with some of the rants, but you did not include one of the most annoying.
This always happens at the express checkout in any supermarket: There is a senior citizen checking out items that total less than $5. After the cashier tells the customer the total, the customer then either fumbles around his pocket or purse to find their checkbook. They then ask the cashier for a pen. They then s-l-o-w-l-y fill out the date, name of the supermarket, amount (in numbers and then in script) and sign it. They then go back to the register of their checkbook and fill in the date, check number, store and amount. They finally rip the check out and hand it to the cashier. She then asks for the driver's license. Once more, there is fumbling around to find the license. She or he is generally "happy" chatting while all this is going on.
Are our retired citizens so introverted that they cannot see a line in back of them that is getting larger and larger due to their inability to think more than 30 seconds into the future? Why can't they people just find their checkbook and pen and fill out all the information except the amount before they get to the register? How come people do not have $5 to pay in cash?
My rant beats some of the ones you used.
The Art Auctions Rant Was Right OnTo the Editor,
Amen, Sister Margaret!
Thanks for exposing most of the art auction fund-raisers for what they are. Though there are some auctions I'm proud to contribute work to, they are, for the most part, exactly as you wrote ("Art Auctions," The Rant Issue, March 6).
I'm pleased that even as an artist living on a shoestring, I can contribute to organizations I would make cash donations to if I could afford it. I'm delighted to donate a $200 piece to an auction where it gets $300 for the worthy cause. But when every piece at an auction goes for less than its value, something is wrong. I'd rather sell the piece myself for what it's worth, write a check to the nonprofit for the fire sale price they would have sold it for and spend the difference on groceries.
Some advice for artists considering donating work to auctions: Ask the organizers of the event to return your work to you if it doesn't sell for a minimum price that you set. Don't contribute work to any auction that won't comp you a ticket to the event. Don't contribute work to any organization that you wouldn't write a check to.
And a word to the fat cats sipping wine and bidding:
Don't be stingy. Bid it up. You're supporting a cause, remember?
Margaret, thanks for your years of insightful writing on the arts.
--Janet K. Miller
Brief Props for RantsTo the Editor,
The rants were great. Keep including them.
We Want Rants All the Time!To the Editor,
Dude, I loved it. Where is it? The RANT was going to be the next Crossfire; you could do show on cable access with local personalities throwing out "bite me"s to whomever. And yet, here I am looking for the next edition for the RANT and has already been cancelled.
That is CRAP!!!
Ranting About Development FeesTo the Editor,
A Rant Issue is not something I would normally feel the need to contribute to, but I've heard parts of the development community complain about money a few too many times. This time (again!) it was about how raising fees to pay for development services would cause a dreadful hardship to low-income homebuyers. Really? Do they try that when lumberyards, window manufacturers or roof-tile companies raise the cost of products? "Don't raise the price of nails--John and Jane Q. Public won't be able to afford a house!"
Development fees are a cost of doing business. The Pima County Board of Supervisors would have been derelict in their duty to the taxpayers if they had agreed to subsidize development services instead of charging for actual costs. Thankfully, common sense prevailed.
Unfortunately, I expect I'll soon be hearing this all over again from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. They've already been trying to wave the low-income homebuyers flag over impending increases in impact fees and over "land becoming scarce under the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan." This propaganda has persisted despite having been disproved by Pima County.
So what do home prices really reflect? What the market will bear. First of all, local home resales outnumber new home sales by more than 3-to-1, which means development fees do not affect more than 75 percent of the housing market. Of new homes, Tucson's top 10 homebuilders in 2002 were responsible for more than half of new home starts, and seven of these builders are owned by out-of-town corporations! If you check those corporations' "investor relations" materials, you also get another spin on home prices.
Tucson's largest homebuilder in 2002, U.S. Home, is a subsidiary of Lennar Corporation of Miami. According to their latest annual report, Lennar Corporation sold more than $5 billion worth of homes in 2001. Their gross margin on their homes was 23.9 percent. Their CEO alone made $6.5 million in pay (salary and compensation) or $280 for each and every one of the 23,000 homes they sold.
Big corporations like these don't look at local fees and land prices as straightforward factors in home sale price. They look at the total cost of doing business and decide how to balance what the market will bear with their margins, their overhead and the dividends they pay to stockholders.
Yes, there is an affordable housing crisis and what we need are major, inventive and realistic solutions. However, letting developers off the hook for the costs of growth and failing to preserve a major economic asset, our unique Sonoran Desert, are not the answers.
More on Timothy O'Sullivan's CareerTo the Editor,
Thank you for Margaret Regan's well-researched and nicely written article about Timothy O'Sullivan ("The Life of Timothy O'Sullivan," March 13). In addition to what she's written, though, Weekly readers might be interested to know that O'Sullivan is presently credited with having taken the first photograph of Mission San Xavier del Bac. The photo, of the church's south-southeast elevation, is in the National Archives (#106-WA-159). It is dated 1871, suggesting that he passed through Tucson en route to the Colorado River as part of Wheeler's 1871 survey. The details in the photo are excellent and offer information about the history of the building that is available nowhere else.
Where's the Anti-War Demonstration Coverage?To the Editor,
I just read your description of the changes you've made to The Weekly ("Not New, But Improved," March 13). These are good. But as the only paper in town that is likely to acknowledge the absurdity of our government's Iraq Attack, could you include a timely notice of protest events? These are surely relevant to any representative City Week (perhaps a PEACE heading in the listings). Even those who wish to wave flags in favor of killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Baghdad should be happy to know where they can go to find opposition.
Jimmy Boegle's response: I agree with you that protest event times should be publicized. The problem is, we're not usually told about them until it is too late to publicize them. Example: We learned about the March 5 protest at the UA the day before. Seeing as the next issue came out on March 6, there was nothing we could do.
If we get alerted to protest events in time for us to put them in the paper, you have my word we'll do just that. But considering the last-minute nature of these protests and our deadline constraints, there's often nothing we can do.
I Want to Be Able to Die With DignityTo the Editor,
Connie Tuttle tries to make a case for dying without subscribing to physician-assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia ("Dignified Life & Death," March 13). I sincerely hope she gets her wish and has the opportunity "to accept the loss of some bodily functions with grace, dignity and humor."
As for me, I would opt for death if I suffered severe pain and function deterioration. I would not concern myself with whether my relatives earn the chance to develop compassion taking care of me. If I become a burden to my family, I hope that I would be the one to have enough compassion to release them from such an encumbrance. And I would take anything medicine or technology has to offer to alleviate my pain, thank you.
May Tuttle have the privilege of having her "cosmic dance as her body decays and her head dances until the last cell is finished." I prefer to go on living only if there is some quality of life left.
Cracking Up Over the PersonalsTo the Editor,
The personal ads in the Tucson Weekly make my eyes goggle out! Wow! But what did I encounter? An ad for a natural clairvoyant. Are there unnatural clairvoyants? And how come I gotta call her for an appointment? Shouldn't she know when I'm gonna show up?
Now look, fellas, just because I read the TW front-to-back I don't want you thinking I have no life. I just enjoy the humor in your paper!
CorrectionIn "Search for the Best Guinness" (March 13), the name of the bartender at Montgomery's Irish Pub was incorrect due to an editing error. Her name is Wendy. We apologize for the error.