Mt. Graham littered with 'political chicanery'

Editor:

Look at Congress' current rash of riders used to legislate major domestic policy. Sneaking controversial legislation through by tacking it to some unrelated, less controversial bill avoids public hearings and citizen participation. No wonder opinion polls find public contempt for Congress at an all-time high.

Remember that premier porkbarreler DeConcini who sneaked the University of Arizona's Mt. Graham telescope rider through the final hours of the 1988 Congress with out public hearings or debate? He claimed any delay from completing the lawful studies would frighten European investors.

In the UA's brazen rush to sneak their rider through Congress, they hadn't even taken time to do the scientific homework. Five years later in 1993 they discovered that in their haste they picked the site with the poorest astrophysical visibility on the mountain, and that UA's Mount Hopkins observatory was far superior to any site on Graham. The UA said Hopkins was so superior that on a scale of one to eight from bad to good, their Graham site was one, and Hopkins eight! Germany had always planned their radio telescope for Mt. Lemmon, not Graham and they conceded that Hawaii was best. The Vatican let the cat out of the bag when they told the press in 1990 they didn't need Graham, and that there were other "very viable sites, and they're in Arizona." In summary, it turns out, the scientific basis for the need for all three of the proposed telescopes on Graham was fraudulent.

DeConcini's insult to Native Americans was appalling. Only the culturally illiterate would be unaware of the role major landmasses play in their religion. Graham is Arizona's highest base-to-summit peak. The Apaches have six times officially declared the UA's project "a display of profound disrespect and a serious violation of our traditional religious beliefs."

After 10 years of UA evasions, the courts have ruled that the Apaches and that irreplaceable "sky island" ecosystem will finally receive the long overdue lawful studies heretofore circumvented by political chicanery.

Clem Titzck

Phoenix

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