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The Downtown Alliance: All's Well

Your recent article, "Downtown Discord" (Currents, Aug. 5) claims that the Tucson Downtown Alliance (TDA) finds itself in "hot water again." Newsflash: Not only is the TDA not in hot water, but the water is not even warm.

Your article on this non-controversy is based on "critics'" claims that the TDA is too closely aligned with City Manager James Keene. These so-called "critics" are apparently just two people--Councilmember Steve Leal, who hates Keene because he won't bow down and kiss his feet, and Howard Greenseth, a personal friend of Dave Devine (who wrote the article).

Leal voted against the creation of the TDA and has voted against virtually every major downtown redevelopment project that has come along. His "criticism" can hardly be taken as serious and objective.

Leal's claim that the TDA must comply with "Keene's dreams for downtown" or Keene will retaliate and cut TDA's funding is absurd. Leal knows (or should know, because he voted on it) that the TDA and the city have a contract that sets forth the city's contribution. This contract lasts through 2008. No one in the city, including Keene, can cut the city's contribution.

The TDA was formed seven years ago by a group of downtown business and property owners who voluntarily voted to tax themselves to make our downtown better for all Tucson citizens. The city contributes to the TDA just like any other property owner based on the amount of property it owns. It OWNS a lot. Leal should know this.

Leal's claim that the TDA systematically engaged in an assault on working families regarding the Greyhound Bus Depot is completely unfounded. If Leal had bothered speaking with some of the TDA's small business owners, he would understand that the majority of them are "working families" who are merely trying to improve the overall health of downtown. Leal's disingenuous and mean-spirited smear campaign against the TDA is simply being done for his own political purposes.

The TDA Board took the position that if the Greyhound Bus Depot was going to be relocated, it seemed logical to put it near the freeway so that the buses could have easy ingress and egress to and from Interstate 10. The reason the TDA opposes the Sixth and Toole avenues site is because of the numerous logistical problems with that particular site. Most of these problems were unknown five years ago when the site was recommended. While Leal is well known for imputing ill motives on others, in this case, as with most of the others, he is flat wrong.

Finally, Leal's criticism of the TDA's publication is also way off base. No one in the city, including Keene, has control over the content in the Downtown Tucsonan. It's as much a shill for Keene's views as the Tucson Weekly is a shill for Leal's views.

Michael J. Crawford


FAIR Is Not a Fair Source

We were quite dismayed to see a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) presented uncritically as a reputable source for data about the economics of immigration in the Aug. 5 Tucson Weekly cover story.

FAIR has an ugly political agenda. It has been a supporter of the racist, anti-immigrant initiative Proposition 200 here in Arizona, has worked closely with white nationalists and has in the past received substantial funding from the eugenics movement-supporting Pioneer Fund (for details: http://www.iwfr.org/FAIR.pdf; also, Southern Poverty Law Center info).

FAIR has been known to distort economic data to promote its political agenda. For example, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) issued a June 2004 "Journalists Beware" press release stating that some of FAIR's news releases were distorting EPI's data.

If Nintzel intended to cite FAIR as a reputable source, we urge Tucson Weekly to print a follow-up that takes a less biased look at economic data. If Nintzel didn't mean to cite FAIR as a reputable single source, please print a correction/clarification to that effect.

Further, we would love it if Tucson Weekly would do a story exploring connections between supporters of Proposition 200 and white nationalism. We think these are issues that Tucsonans should be aware of before November.

Leann Long and Michelle Golden


How Dare You Humanize Humans!

I am constantly amazed at the idealization of illegal aliens who violate our nations laws and sovereignty. Your article "Traces of Identity" (July 29) takes the cake.

The Justice Department tells us that among the illegal border crossers recently apprehended are murderers, child molesters and wife abusers, not to mention potential terrorists bent on re-enacting Sept. 11. No matter; "useful idiots" like Thomas Whittingslow insist on romanticizing their crimes.

Where are the pictures of private property destroyed, victims of illegal aliens who will never see justice and the end of a nation where Tom Paine once wrote, "law is king"?

Mike Taylor


Remembering More Closed Restaurants

Please express my thanks to Rita Connelly for her article in Yum!, "Sorely Missed," and to John Peck for his article in Chow, "Menu Memories," both about closed Tucson restaurants, in the July 29 Tucson Weekly. I have lived in Tucson more than 40 years and have eaten in the five restaurants mentioned in her article. I have also eaten in most of the restaurants listed in Peck's article. My fond memories of them still linger.

I have to add two: One of my favorite steak house restaurants was The Round-Up, on the Benson Highway, which closed more than a dozen years ago. Another was my favorite breakfast café for over 35 years, Peppy Lou's Café, on Oracle Road, which closed earlier this year. Thanks for the memories!

John H. Bort


Yet More Restaurants to Remember

Your "Sorely Missed" article brought back some fond memories of Tucson's restaurants. I would like to add these memorable eating establishments: Saddle & Sirloin: served excellent food and presented first-rate entertainment; Pago Pago: offered unique ambience and quality food; Panda: provided excellent food with an outstanding salad bar in a nondescript building; Village Inn Pizza: baked up some wonderful pizza in a cozy atmosphere; Valentino's: cooked up great Italian food for families and university students; The Ranch: presented 20-plus different types of delicious hamburgers; Paulo's: catered to special events (weddings, graduations) with superb food and service; Pancho's: served the most wonderful Mexican food and had great decor; Georgette's: baked wonderful pies and served quality food to long-time customers.

Bill Jaap


A Lefty Crushed by Moore

I am a heartbroken left-leaning Democrat. I have to face up to the fact that Tucson lawyer David Hardy (co-author of Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man) might be right about Michael Moore. ("Moore or Less," Currents, July 15). After viewing Fahrenheit 9/11, I have to admit that Mr. Moore might have played a little fast and loose with the truth. In fact, at this very moment, Mr. Moore might be laughing on his way to the ATM.

I am a confused and broken man. I don't understand how Mr. Moore thought for even one moment that he was going to get away with it. Didn't Mr. Moore understand that lawyers are courageous beings, and that Mr. Hardy, being a lawyer, could and would throw the first stone? Finally, I don't understand why all of my conservative friends are so upset with Mr. Moore. Don't they know that God is great and God is good, and that Mr. Moore will pay dearly for his sins? In Mr. Moore's case, it's going to be particularly painful when he finds himself in a very hot and very crowded room with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rupert Murdoch, Sean Hannity and maybe even Tucson lawyer David Hardy.

Ralph Strong

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