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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona • Page 35
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona • Page 35

Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson, Sunday, April 9, 1989 gjjr Arizona Baiht Star Section Page Three VIEWPOINTS ft-' News too good to resist The Arizona Daily Star BJackwell house ffts well within its desert home By" Judith Chafee i As architect of the Blackwell house, I wish to share my information and feelings about the house prior to the crucial next meeting of the Pijna County Parks and Recreation Commission on April 19. As an architect and a professor of architecture, my feeling about the controversy suj-rounding the house is one of profound sadness for usjall. The sequence repeats itself time after time in This is too good for the news pages, too fantastic for the tabloids. That's why you'll only read this stuff here. WORLD: A puzzle.

The Soviets in their first real election solved a problem that has puzzled Western democracies for years What do you do when you don't like any of the bums? In one out of eight districts, the Soviets Tom Beal valley: destruction, desolation, remorse, nostalgia, mi'? 'fjJHj-' mMMPA restoration, preservation, revivalism. We regret the destruction of most of our older regional architecture and much of our land. We continue to destroy: concreting natural waterways, destroying animal habitats and damaging our climate. Afthe same time, we are building structures that use inordinate amounts of water and energy and have completely false visual images borrowed without understanding from the superficial "appearance" of details in past architectural "styles." Images from the past seem to offer comfort without thought about the depth of the wisdom the past held within the limitations of its technology. The Blackwell house was commissioned, conceived, built and used as a deeply felt contmitment to living in harmony with the desert crossed out names and declined to elect anyone.

Still puzzling the commies, though, was the appearance on the ballot in several districts of unknown candidates named Joe Sweeney, Ed Finkelstein, Bill Heuisler, Dick Jaskiewicz and Evan Mecham. NATIONAL: Lid pops on Wright Jim Wright, the House Speaker, is really in trouble now. Word out of the secret deliberations of the House Ethics Committee is that Wright will be severely chastised for not reporting income he received for his 1 many television and personal appearances as popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher. Wright, third in line for the presidency should something happen to George and Danny, has already been charged with unethical behavior for payments made by Teamsters for copies of his book, "Just Two Cheap Contracts Away." Then there was the deal in which he or his wife reportedly received a salary, a car and a condo from a wealthy Fort Worth supporter. This is only unethical, we are told, if Wright had a direct hand in legislation that directly benefited the wealthy Texan.

Otherwise, it's just considered the usual fun money that everybody gives to congressmen. No leaks from the committee yet as to whether a report will be issued on Wright's drinking and womanizing. Congressional sources say the rumors were discounted at first, but gained currency after the Senate hearings on Sen. John Tower. Said one committee staffer: "If Tower can get babes, anything's possible." JUSTICE: C'mon, OHie, I'm missing my soaps.

As Jim Wright twisted slowly in the wind, the trial of Oliver North continued. A secret poll of the jury empaneled to decide his fate revealed that 7 of the jurors had never heard of Oliver North this after hearing three weeks of testimony. STATE NEWS: Legislature bans left hands. The Arizona Legislature disposed of a couple of controversial bills last week. Rep.

Leslie Whiting Johnson, best known for changing hats and hairdos daily, prematurely withdrew her dildo bill after her fellow representatives had amended it to her dissatisfaction. As originally crafted, the bill would have made it a felony to possess more than five sexual devices. That caused Rep. Bobby Raymond, D-Phoenix, to ask: "Which one of my hands will I have to cut off?" Cops fight gun nuts to standstill. The other bill would have made it possible to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

This one got derailed when police agencies throughout the state convinced members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that such a law would make people walk funny, especially when they concealed those big semiautomatic weapons. SPORTS: Lute's a jerk potentially. Want to see Lute Olson go from god to ungrateful jerk in record time? That, of course, is what would happen if Lute took a job that is apparently being offered him by the University of Kentucky. In the meantime, though, I'm not even going to joke about Lute. Somebody's going to find him an extra million and persuade him to stay in town.

Besides, I know you basketball fans. You're vicious. You even boo Todd Lichti. ENTERTAINMENT: Ev's back. Heavens! Has it been only a year since Evan Mecham left the scene? Seems like forever.

Most impressive was the fact that out of 750 followers who gathered at the Crescent Resort for his announcement speech Tuesday, not one could carry a note. They sang anyhow, to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching "He'll vaporize the welfare state. Hurrah! Hurrah! He'll make Bob Corbin curse his fate. Hurrah! hurrah! He'll chase the homos from all our towns. His verbs won't has to match his nouns.

And he'll kick some butt when Mecham comes marchin' home." Tom Beal is a former city editor and political reporter for the Star. Man A. Schaefer, The Arizona Daily Star environment in our time. It is ironic that an effort involving so much thought, care and compassion could become the victim of a public agency that shSOld be concerned with seeking and encouraging anyjdeas about human habitation that make the places where we live more harmonious with our parks; a continuation of park land like the Blackwell house, which uses the surrounding mountains and rocjB as the final walls of the living area. Too often, our parks are places of retreat from the places we live, the places we have spoiled.

Any understanding that contributes to our living within our desert is important to our future well-being. The impression of being an old settlement in tune with the geological site of our valley and rivers was one of the attractive aspects of Tucson that set its character above that of for instance Phoenix. We could lose our distinction if we don't think and don't care and don't do something now. The future of the building has been under discussion for a long time. On Dec.

17, 1986, the Tucson Citizen initiated public awareness of the issue with a large picture and the caption an eyesore that probably will be removed, county officials say." Since that time, the parks commission has received letters international in scope from distinguished scholars, architects, magazine editors and architectural critics praising the house as a serious design response to our desert environment and urging the commission to keep the house intact, as designed, for use by an appropriate tenant who will also make it available for study as a desert dwelling. Indeed, I know of only about three people who have publicly expressed a desire to destroy it. Yet the house is in danger. Since this has been a long and involved issue, I wo'uld like to summarize the current situation to the best of my knowledge so that citizens and their elected officials may have a chance to respond to the situation before the next meeting of the commission, which will take place on April 19 at the Pima County Parks and Recreation Department. small house, 1,570 square feet on ground level, was built in accordance with the owner's requests, using passive solar heating and cooling concepts; natural materials that would weather in our climate and not require maintenance; and creating minimum negative impact on the ecosystem surrounding it.

No changes were made in natural patterns of water runoff. No obstructions were created for the established pattern of north-south animal migration. No plants were removed that were not within the actual area of the structure and driveway. During the ejight years of occupancy, peaceful cohabitation of the site between humans and animals prevailed with rtWny animals sufficiently relaxed to use the windows fpriooking in. There is no evidence of any negative Effects on animals from residential use of the structure.

Qn July 18, 1988, Robert Hershberger, dean of the dollege of architecture at the University of Arizona, made a formal proposal to the commission. This proposal included the following provisions: The Architecture school would repair, maintain and furnish the house. It would provide full-time supervision of the premises. The house would be used as a residence for visiting distinguished professors of giving the cost of revisions to and maintenance of the building, and the cost of demolition. Gene Laos is one of the people who publicly proclaimed himself in favor of demolition.

No matter what the nature of the new report to the commission at its meeting this month, the citizens of Pima County lose. Demolition of the concrete structure would not be inexpensive for the county and would cause a great deal of disruption of established habitat. Revisions to the structure and maintenance would cost money. Staff time will cost money to arrange for the use of the house, and maintenance costs will increase from this use. Indeed, the use of the house by miscellaneous one-time users almost ensures wear and tear and abuse of the premises that could lead in a short time to the claim that the use of the house is not feasible and it should be demolished.

Reconsideration and approval of the college of architecture's proposal would cost the county nothing. Residential use of the structure, for which it was intended, will not destroy it and will preserve it. The benefits received by the university would be returned to the community by the presence of the distinguished visitors and the maintenance of one place in which desert living is being constantly observed and studied. The college is clearly committed to sharing its skills, knowledge and perceptions about desert living with the community, as well as pursuing a goal of becoming an important international center for the exchange of ideas about design for hot, arid climates. Judith Chafee, the architect of the Blackwell house, has an active architectural practice in Tucson.

She is an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona College of Architecture and a distinguished visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. architecture and other guests of the university. Occasionally, during the daytime, small groups might use it for special conferences or seminars. The participants would come in shared vehicles so that no additional area would be used for parking or driveways. This use would provide an experience in true desert living for distinguished visitors from all over the world while the school, in turn, would be able to offer the house as an added inducement to scholars to visit the UA and would benefit from the experiences of the visitors.

In proper professional form, the aid of the original architect was sought in discussion of interior changes that would be required for the structure's new use. The matter was discussed at the parks commission meetings of Aug. 19, 1987, and Sept. 21, 1988. Some participants still preferred the idea of demolition.

The only reason given was that it was a building in the park and might disturb the animals. (We know that the house does not disturb animals and that the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson are buildings in the same park.) A committee of the commission was appointed to study the matter. On Jan. 18, most of the members of the commission visited the house for the first time. The architect and former owner were available to explain the house and answer questions.

That afternoon, the committee members made their report. They suggested using the house for daytime uses. Groups would make arrangements with the parks department for its use. They also suggested that some regrading could be done and changes made in the color. (The last two items require much more technical consideration, in my opinion.) The commission voted to approve the report in spirit and instructed Gene Laos, director of the parks department, to prepare a report for the April meeting ttHE MIDEAST Shamir's alternatives for peace may not be new, but they're realistic 1989 Washington Post Writers Group 7 JH i ATASHINGTON-f Iraq is acquiring i nuclear bombs.

$yria already has poison gas. Saudi Arabia has )ong-range missiles. And fiow we learn that Libya, hich is building a chemical-weapons factory, is acquiring long-range fighter-bombers. At which Country do you think these weapons of extermination will be aimed? honestly by tne Israelis is simpiy taise. wo one disputes the honesty of the West Bank municipal elections conducted in 1976.

Khalidi's argument is bogus. It reflects a deep fear by Palestinian exiles that with elections they are going to lose the initiative to West Bankers, who might ultimately be more prepared for compromise. Shamir's peace initiatives are already being derided as Camp David "old ideas." Is 10 years now the life span of a treaty? At Camp David, Israel gave up all of Sinai in return for certain arrangements and promises. Israel is now being asked to give up more land in return for more arrangements and promises. Will Israel be told 10 years later that these arrangements and promises are "old," that Israel is now required to come up with "new ideas" to satisfy new and more expansive Palestinian aspirations? Trashing Camp David does not give Israel confidence that the United States will stand by its commitments.

Elections, autonomy, transition. Shamir's ideas may not be new novelty is a highly overrated diplomatic commodity but they are realistic. They are the best way toward Bush's proclaimed goal of "Palestinian political rights." Only Israel can grant these rights. And only under conditions of prudence and reciprocity can Israel grant them. Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Krauthammer is an essayist for The New Republic.

believing that Israel is threatened by nothing more than 16-year-old stone-throwers and for wondering at the hardheartedness of the Jews in denying these youths their own state on a small piece of Middle Eastern territory. But in a Palestinian state, 16-year-old boys will not rule. The armed factions of PLO will. The West Bank will become the locus of murderous conflict between PLO factions, each backed by an Arab patron, precisely as has happened in Lebanon for the last 14 years. (Today's Lebanese lineup card has Iraqis arming Christians, Syrians arming Druze, and Iranians arming Shiites.) After the occupation, the West Bank, now Belfast, becomes Beirut The real danger from a West Bank state is not stones thrown into Tel Aviv, but inherent instability.

Being non-viable economically and politically, a West Bank state would need to expand into its neighbors Israel and Jordan in order to become viable. The resulting irredentist turmoil and agitation will invite intervention from states like Syria, Iraq and Libya. These states, implacably opposed to Israel's existence and now armed with weapons of mass extermination, await two developments before risking a war for the final liberation of Palestine: a gravely weakened Israel (an Israel that had given up the strategic depth of the West Bank) and the opportunity to intervene on behalf of a beleaguered State of Palestine. A PLO state provides both of these indispensable conditions for war. A PLO state, an idea now as fashionable as the checkered headdress, is a trap.

What is the alternative? The alternative, outlined by Israeli Prime Minister Shamir on his visit last week in Washington, is a peace process that rests on two principles: a transitional period and election. Whatever arrangements Israel and the Palestinians make, no ultimate solution is attainable now. There has to be a transition period during which each side can demonstrate to the other its bona fides. Only two weeks ago, Arafat said that "The Declaration of Palestinian Independence constitutes a beginning of the real confrontation of the Zionist project on the land of Palestine itself." Leila Khalid puts it more bluntly: "We will return to Nablus and then move on to Tel Aviv." Only time will permit a demonstration that the Palestinians do not truly intend what they now say they intend for Israel. The second idea is elections on the West Bank to produce an indigenous Palestinian negotiating authority.

The ferocity with which this idea has been attacked by non-West Bank Palestinians makes one wonder what they are so afraid of. Professor Rashid Khalidi, writing from Chicago, says there could be no real election under the harsh conditions of Israeli occupation. The idea that a secret ballot cannot be conducted Charles Krauthammer The target, in Arab parlance, is not a country at all, but the "Zionist entity." (The fact that not a single Arab country has Recognized Israel following Yasser Arafat's much fteralded "recognition" of Israel last December, hows that the rhetorical device, meant to impress eternally gullible Americans, was thoroughly understood by the Arabs to be meaningless.) i Nuclear bombs, poison gas and long-range Missiles do not show up on American television. What Shows up nightly are 16-year-old boys throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. The viewer can be forgiven for.

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