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Lesson From the Buddha
Chris Hutcherson [“Dying to Live,” June 14, City Weekly] should be given credit for the tremendous courage that it takes to face such a catastrophic change of life.

When the prognosis is terminal, hospice is the only choice'who wants to die in a hospital setting? I would choose Baja, Mexico, drinking Margaritas with my toes in the sand over intensive care any day.

I’ve had relatives with cancer who ended their lives in hospital intensive-care units. Their deaths were cold, clinical farces of who they really were. One exception was a second cousin in Billings, Mont., who continued life as always, with no hospital stay.


You’re an amazing man, Chris. I admire you and the fortitude it must take to say, “I will not give up my life as easily as it [cancer] takes it from me. I will make my last moments in this state of existence as comfortable as I can.”

Buddha said that if you accept your fate, and karma is correct, that you might find peace in Nirvana. Have faith, Chris, that there is a better place for you.
tChristian Anderson
West Jordan

Master of None
John Rasmuson, in his column about Sugar House [“Keep the Change,” Replace John, June 14, City Weekly] has got at least one thing right. The so-called “redevelopment” of the Salt Lake City neighborhood will not be cataclysmic. Cataclysmic would be an earthquake across the Wasatch Front that liquefied the benches and sent mudslides and former structures into the quaint local businesses. That would be cataclysmic and might even get some coverage in the daily newspapers.

Regarding Craig Mecham, I partially agree. He shouldn’t be blamed. He is only doing what any greedhead would do: Capitalize on the hard work and success of others. The real culprit is the Salt Lake City Council (with the shining exception of Søren Simonsen) who gutted the zoning laws so the project could go forward profitably. This was in direct opposition to the master plan for the neighborhood. My question is, why bother spending taxpayer money commissioning a master plan if it’s going to be ignored whenever it suits moneyed special interests?

Where Rasmuson completely missed the point was that all the businesses affected by this change are successful to one degree or another and the vast majority of them are locally owned. His reminiscences of old Sugar House would have no relevance at all if they’d taken place at a T.G.I. Friday’s, Bank of America and Mervyns. Then they wouldn’t have been unique to the city or the neighborhood; they could have taken place at AnyMall, USA. And, judging by the stores across the street, that is exactly what we can expect for the New! Improved! Sugar House: Homogeneity ‘R’ Us.
tErin Michael Finney
Salt Lake City

How to Decide
I guess it never occurred to the author, Jonah Owen Lamb, [“Against All Odds,” June 21, City Weekly] that many of the delegates electing members to the Utah Republican State Central Committee vote based upon the short speeches offered up when the candidates introduce themselves, their qualifications, and their political views/agendas. As has been reported recently in some news outlets, not everyone accused of a crime is guilty. The current allegations were (properly) not raised as an issue by other candidates during the convention elections.

If evidence is presented to suggest a criminal act took place, I’m certain that either E. Ozwald Balfour voluntarily would step down, or the committee would request his resignation. I can’t help but note that in the last two years, nothing more than the initial unsupported accusations have been made public. On what basis should reasonable people base their decisions about guilt or innocence to assertions of wrongdoing?

I’m fairly certain that if Balfour had been unsuccessful in this bid for re-election to the GOP state central committee, we’d be reading a much longer article by Lamb accusing the mostly white GOP precinct delegates of being a collection of reactionary closet racists. How about just a little journalistic integrity?
tDoug Van Duker

“Bicho” Envy
A little while ago, I happened to pick up the City Weekly. While looking through it, I came across an article [The Missionary Position, May 17] that said, “bicho.” Well, I burst into total laughter!

I read it and it explained that it is a bug. Yes, it is … but, since I am originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., I have to give you the other meaning for bicho. Ready? It’s used to describe the male organ.

tRichard Cumba
Salt Lake City

Safety on Foot
I have to write to you in response to Corvin J. Frank’s letter [“Downtown Razing,” Letters, June 7, City Weekly]. His letter was in response to the column about Main Street’s plight in the May 10 issue [“LoMain Rising,” Mullen].

While his sarcastic comment on how Salt Lake City’s new City Creek Center will resemble the cloned look of Disney was humorously right on, his earlier comment on how the words “walking” and “downtown” are not used in the same sentence in Chicago is far from the truth.

As a former Chicago city resident of Lake Shore Drive, located in the heart of downtown, I can assure you that a large majority of downtown residents are found walking around. Michigan Avenue is a world-renowned shopping center, and not for lack of foot traffic. Those downtown streets are constantly crowded, with people from tourists admiring the John Hancock building to recovered winter hibernators frolicking around in Grant Park to bustling businessmen and women trying to fight their way through the crowds to get to work.


With these numbers and types of people, that is also what makes Chicago safe. I can’t remember a time when I have felt safe in downtown Salt Lake City and, even as a native, I think we still have a long way to go in terms of our downtown development. While the 2002 Winter Games brought us along some of the way, at this point, we are still in need of more businesses and housing to attract actual downtown residents, not just folks in town for the main attraction.

So, Utah, take this as a confession from a real-live former Chicagoan, that living in that city is nothing but walking, and walking is actually the much preferred mode of transportation because, like most big cities, parking is either too expensive or not to be found!
tKate Kirchgasler

Let My Dollars Go
Who says the government gets to decide which schools my tax money should go toward [“Vouch for Us,” Mullen, June 14, City Weekly]?

If I want to send my kid to private school instead of public school, then why should the portion of my taxes that is allocated towards education be put into the public-school sector? Should our tax money for schools be monopolized?

Why would anyone other than teachers unions be against vouchers? Are poor people against vouchers? The vouchers definitely only benefit those who normally couldn’t quite afford to send their kids to private schools.


I don’t know if poor people care less what school their kids go to, but why shouldn’t public and private schools have to compete for our money and our education? Who cares who is for or against vouchers? That’s something for both fringes of government to dance over.


But I don’t think anyone should have a stranglehold over how my or anyone else’s education tax dollars should be spent.

Do teachers get to interfere in how our education tax money is spent? Do they feel like they are entitled to our tax money to pay for their jobs? I sure don’t have that kind of job security. Why should they?
tMatt Morris
Wilmington, N.C.

A Shaky System
This is a good article on the voucher drama [“Vouch for Us,” Mullen, June 14, City Weekly].

With big corporations like Wal-Mart trying to control public-ed dollars, it makes me wonder what the system will look like when I retire from public-ed in 14 years.
tLinda V. Auwerda

A Table With Saltas
I worked for a major airline for 37 years, and I’ve traveled extensively. Some may shake their heads or roll their eyeballs but I think the airport at Chania [“Cretan Cleansing,” Private Eye, June 21, City Weekly] is the nicest one I’ve ever seen, albeit modest'but there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s part of the beauty! Chania, of course, has its own ample charms that go far beyond the airport, but it’s certainly nice to start off with a very pleasant and agreeable arrival.

I’ve also been an avid reader of City Weekly since I moved here in 1993 (at heart, I’m still a non-native), and I’ve voiced my opinions here a couple of times. But this is the first time I’ve written about CW President John Saltas. I’ve always appreciated his offerings and musings about Greeks because I think they’re wonderful people from a wonderful country. Not all of them are completely honest, but their warmth and humanity almost invariably are. I sure wouldn’t mind sharing a table with Saltas sometime. (I’m not even going to mention the wonderful, fresh calamari I enjoyed over there.)

But I guess I’m wandering afield, as does Saltas sometimes. Who cares? Anyway, I knew a few bits and pieces of Cretan history, but Saltas did a wonderful job of bringing it alive'and filling in some blanks'in his most recent meanderings. I was glad to come on that journey with you, John, and I appreciate your sharing it with us. Please know that there’s at least one reader in your audience who smiles when you go on like that. Epharisto!
Salt Lake City