Cattle, Ranchers Don't Belong on Public Land; Coyotes DoThank you for Tim Vanderpool's article on coyotes ("Fire From the Sky," Currents, March 23). It is a nice change to read a newspaper article written by someone who actually understands environmental concerns.
Predators such as coyotes are a necessary part of our wildlands environment. Cattle are not. Ironically, if the government would just give the coyotes a chance, they would self-regulate their numbers on their own. But because so many are killed by the government every year, coyotes desperately try to repopulate each spring, and are again shot in huge numbers. The government knows this, but as one Bureau of Land Management employee told me, they cannot stop--the ranchers would not stand for it.
We need to end this control ranchers have over our lands. They are not educated biologists or wildlife experts, much as they like to believe they are. The days of cattle ranching need to end.
As someone who lives in rural Nevada, I have watched our wild horses being rounded up after having been portrayed by the government as "overpopulated" on our public lands. The only thing our public lands are overpopulated with is privately owned cattle.
Our rangelands belong to the American people and our wild animals. It is time to get the ranchers and their cattle off our public-owned lands.
Nylene W. Schoellhorn
Motorized Bikes? A Mixed BagI was surprised to see Spooky Tooth Cycles owner Roland Bosma claim his motorized bicycles were popular with the "green" crowd since they "pollut(e) less" ("Spooky Spokes," Currents, March 23). In truth, his two-stroke engines without catalytic converters pollute much more than a modern SUV! That's right: Those cute little bicycles produce way more CO2, CO (global warming) and hydrocarbons (smog) per mile driven than modern automobiles and SUVs produced by "The Man." In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has outlawed most two-stroke motorcycles for just this reason, and there are similar new laws in Europe and Asia.
These motorized bicycles are certainly better than cars in other ways. They use much less gasoline than autos (think national security), utilize fewer natural resources to build and, perhaps most importantly, offer people of modest incomes freedom of mobility.
So, in reality, motorized bicycles are a "mixed bag" from a green perspective.
A Treatise on What Makes 'Real Cyclists'If Roland Bosma wants a positive transportation revolution, then he'll start putting zero-emissions motors on bikes instead of stinky high-polluting, two-stroke gasoline engines.
I've never seen anyone actually pedal one of these "bikes"; they are always motoring. They can be dangerous due to speed. A friend of mine was recently killed in Tucson on one of these motorbikes.
Get truly hip, Spooky Tooth, and ditch the cheap, dirty engines. I'll keep riding my real bike, which provides exercise on the flat streets of Tucson, and burns no global-warming, polluting oil. Real cyclists don't need motors.
Daniel R. Patterson
Tucson Planning Commissioner
And Speaking of Pollution, Tucsonans: You Suck!You've printed Jim Hightower's view that "the Bushites continue to keep their heads up the tailpipes and smokestacks of the industries pumping out the greenhouse gases that cause the unnatural warming" ("Doing Something About Global Warming," Hightower, March 23). But so do we in Tucson!
I'm always impressed when I return from highway travel where most trucks and buses have cleaned up their visible emissions and re-enter Tucson, where vehicles from city and school buses, trucks of prestigious companies, leaf flowers, lawnmowers and contract vehicles (of institutions including universities; city, county and state governments, etc., all of which could forbid emissions violations by contract) are belching it out as if we're in a Third World country.
By the way, our descent to that status is at least as imminent as "civil war" in Iraq, for this bankrupt nation is a pawn to oil sheiks and foreign CEOs far smarter than Ken Lay, though our great-grandchildren are supposed to reverse it all. Supposedly, unlike my neighbors, they will be driving clean cars on fabulous spaghetti-style expressways over, under and around us rather than returning to the safe and nonpolluting city and urban streetcars of my childhood, a system requiring investment to re-create, but far cheaper in the long run. Only the morning reports of vehicle carnage would be missed.
Health Savings Accounts Get a Little LoveCritics of Health Savings Accounts charge that the program is merely a tax break for the rich ("Sick System?" Currents, March 30). They're wrong, plain and simple. Look at the facts. Two in five HSA-plan purchasers earn less than $50,000 a year, and 37 percent were uninsured before they enrolled. More than half are families with children. HSAs are putting insurance into the hands of those who couldn't afford it before.
President, Galen Institute
The 'Weekly' Gets a Little LoveI would like to congratulate the Tucson Weekly for its excellent article in your March 23 issue highlighting the needs and problems of promoting Tucson's downtown development ("Residential Revolution").
Writer David Devine and photographer Jason Swift did an exemplary job of addressing what can and needs to be done. Also, bringing in comments from a number of builders who are involved in helping to meet the city's objectives brought vital insight to the story.
The Tucson Weekly is known for telling it as it is. This, with your extensive readership, allows the public to get necessary information for their decision-making process. Please convey my thanks to Devine and Swift for a job well done. If I can be of any future assistance, you have but to ask.
John Wesley Miller
Buffelgrass Gets a Little LoveIn response to the articles about the runaway buffelgrass ("Bad Grass" March 30) terror, I noticed that the hysteria propagated by these green militants neglected to address the more beneficial aspects of this demonized plant.
Buffelgrass provides the essential high rainwater infiltration to prevent massive floods as evidenced in 1983. It also provides for the deep infiltration necessary to sustain mesquite and other deep-rooted trees during drought. Native grasses will not grow because their habitat has been destroyed, so topsoil must be built up before natives can be established. Buffelgrass requires more than our normal rainfall to survive and is totally dependent upon additional runoff water as seen along the roadsides. Ripping out, chemical kill, grazing or other methods used to destroy buffelgrass will leave an ecological wasteland, including groundwater pollution.
Apparently a biased group of grass-haters were interviewed resulting in so-called facts that have little or no truth. Their knowledge of soils and hydrology is considerably limited. There is one green-oriented scientist, Dr. Robert M. Dixon, among others, whose life-long dedication to research in soil physics and plant physiology led to different conclusions about buffelgrass. Unfortunately, he was not consulted.