Letters to Editor

Whose mistake?

Regarding the Sept. 27 letter by Don Cox (“Rookie Mistake”) belittling the facts I provided on Sept. 20, Mr. Cox should know that three years is plenty of time for an observant person to grasp the incompetence of our Oro Valley elected officials, especially after having lived in eight different cities over 34 years, four of which are consistently ranked “best places to live.”

Cox wrote that the Naranja Park expansion has been discussed for 15-plus years. In fact, Mayor Hiremath recently stated in a TV interview that Oro Valley’s demographic has changed dramatically in just the past 10 to12 years. Therefore, what people “discussed” years ago has no bearing on today’s population and current citizen desires.

He also wrote, “Ignorance of fact is an avoidable illness.”  This is amusing coming from a man who asserted (in this very paper on June, 1, 2016) that former Councilmembers Zinkin, Garner and Burns were to blame for the approval of all three apartment complexes on Oracle Road. Zinkin and Burns were not even on council when the apartments were approved. And Garner opposed the apartments at El Corredor, and was absent for the vote on the apartments at San Dorado.

And, Mr. Cox, it is fact that it is “Oracle Road”; not “Oracle Blvd” as written by you on that same date.

Cox said that my comments were “strong words for a newbie.”  Facts are always “strong words’’ to deceitful individuals. Finally, to correct another “ignorance of fact,” I have participated in the Oro Valley programs that Cox suggested I attend.

—Brian F. Gagan

Do the math

If 20 students and sports staff show up for a three-hour practice at a sports field that rents for $10 to $50 per hour, the cost per attendee is $1.50 to $7.50. That is not a “prohibitive” or “exorbitant” daily or weekly expense to participate in a high school sport. 

Because of their use, the fields require maintenance for which the schools have under-budgeted. Have the coaches and parents written or lobbied Gov. Ducey or their state representatives for increased funding? Do they keep voting these legislators in? Do they appeal to Chuck Huckleberry with their concerns? There’s a lot of state revenue that these politicians are not allocating to our schools. The problem starts there.

If Oro Valley builds new fields, the rattlesnakes will come,  so that is a moot point. So are potholes. Seems like a pay-as-you-go model can be used to repair and maintain the existing fields without creating an additional tax burden for every property owner in Oro Valley for the next 20 years. 

I assure you that turning Oro Valley into a town with the highest sales and property taxes in greater Tucson will repel new residents and companies more than an overabundance of playing fields will attract them. 

Vote no on 454.

—Lois Berkowitz

Check the tax bill 

Those of us who have received our property bills are painfully aware of the 4 to 9 percent increases (the higher number if Pima County reassessed your property in this invoice). But for the many others whose taxes are paid from their mortgage escrow account, this may come as another unpleasant surprise. 

An Oro Valley home valued at $250,000 and reassessed by Pima County, if not this year, then next year, will see a property tax increase. 4 to 6 percent, or a roughly $130 increase.

Saguaro Strategies, the mayor’s high-priced political consultants now fronting our Little Leaguers say the $17 million bond, will only cost a latte each month.

What they didn’t say is that before you give the town their latte they must wait in line while you “the Barista” serve: Pima County primary, Amphi school #10 primary, Golder Ranch Fire Bond, Central AZ Water Project, Pima roads primary, Pima Community College, JNT Tech Ed, Golder Ranch Fire secondary, library district, fire district, school equalization and Amphi school #10 secondary. While they get 25 more lattes than the 500 lattes they got last year.

But it will get worse. This $17 million bond on 454 could be the first of two bonds for the Naranja Park build out. The town just mentioned in passing that the total cost of the planned overbuilding of Naranja Park will be $33 million and with interest that could mean $50 million in new property taxes. How many more Lattes is that?

I am voting “no” on 454 to stop the rapid overbuilding of Naranja Park and paying for infrastructure and facilities we don’t need or want. I support building all the fields our youth need by continuing our successful “pay as you go” approach. 

Simply stated: Pay as we go, “no” on Property Tax 454.

—Jim Horn

Editor’s Note: Jim Horn is the chairman of the Axe the Tax PAC.

What about fixed incomes?

I am an 84 year old widow living on a fixed income. I’ve lived in Oro Valley for 14 years and have watched our town leadership erode over the past six years.

The current mayor and council have sold out to developers. Construction is going on everywhere, even in Big Wash where they want to build more than 400 houses—some of them in a FEMA flood zone. The town coffers are flush with money from the construction sales tax, building permits and water/sewer hook up tax. In their press release last week, the town boasted that they generated a $2 million surplus. 

So why tax me for the remainder of my life to build facilities we don’t need in Naranja Park? What happened to the “no property tax” and “pay as you go” promises? How about using that $2 million surplus to build baseball fields for the kids? My Pima County tax bill just arrived and it’s 9.3 percent higher than last year. Same with my electric bill, HOA fees, groceries, gas—everything has gone up! 

If I have to live within my means, why can’t the town? I’m voting “no” on the bond. I don’t want higher taxes to drive me out of my home.

—Marlene Leeper

Think of the children

Since retiring from my position eighteen years ago as the principal of Copper Creek Elementary School, I have pretty much watched things from afar in terms of Oro Valley.  But, the upcoming bond issue 454 brings to light something that has always been special to me about the Oro Valley community and its wonderful people. What was special were the children and their families, and all those people, including the older generation, like me, who have supported them over all these years!

While at Copper Creek, the teachers, other staff members and the parents worked cohesively to provide the children with those life skills that would help them be successful adults when that time came.

Things such as teamwork, leadership, independence, initiative, self-discipline, dealing with adversity and a strong work ethic were just a few of the important ones. These same skills are emphasized daily on the athletic fields where the children play and learn sports.

Just as these children needed classrooms for school, they also need athletic fields for learning these important life lessons. All of those children we had eighteen years ago are now adults, many with children of their own, probably with a good share of them living in Oro Valley today. I would make a personal plea to them to please support this initiative for the current and future children and the community of Oro Valley.

I’m asking everyone in Oro Valley to support the children and the entire community once again on Nov. 7 by voting in the affirmative for the bond issue #454. When you think about it, for the approximate cost of one hamburger and a soda once a month, this effort by and for the community can be successful. I can’t believe that is too much to pay for the benefit of the children as they progress on their way to adulthood.  Please make a difference!

—Bob Lenihan

“Voices” leads to verdict

Excellent letters in the last two issues and other articles I’ve read have led me to “Axe the Tax.” 

Letters from Peters, Lamonna, Wanczyk and Zinkin on Sept. 27 have listed factual reasons why this new tax is only a way of escaping the council’s obfuscation they’ve been playing for years.  Hiremath’s town council, when they became a majority in the last election, aren’t listening to the people; witness the open house chaos at the Proposition 454 that displayed a “divide and conquer” planning mentality; the infamous faux pas of purchasing the community center/golf course that each year has lost money despite their “Dorothy in Oz” mentality. Clicking red shoe heels is an illusion for children, not a town council representing about 40,000 residents. 

And the inane letter insulting a resident of only three years who should butt out of all this important work of the town council is, well, inane. Maybe a few of these “resident” council members should listen more to the newbies and not the housing developers; maybe we need a change in the next council election to break the pack of “no dissent” and get some new ideas.

—Allen J. Pastryk

Ode to Autumn, 2017

On Friday Sept. 22, shortly after the 1:02 p.m. equinox officially marked the first day of fall. As if on cue, the temperature dropped dramatically.

Following this minor miracle, Tucson enjoyed five luscious fall days with highs in the 80s that coaxed many folks, including me, out of summer hibernation. We locals had paid our dues by enduring the fourth hottest June ever recorded and a tie for the sixth hottest summer.

Though we were teased with forecasts in the 90s for the rest of September into October, this most welcome respite of “local cooling” gave us hope of months of great weather to come. That precious ray of hope was enough to bring us wilted desert dwellers back to life!

We are grateful.

—Barbara Russek

Here’s my protest

I am sick of hearing or watching these NFL players disrespect our flag and anthem. They say it’s not about the flag or anthem. Yes, it is! I wonder if 10 “kneelers” were asked what they are protesting, how many different answers would emerge. 

From this point forward I may or may not watch any more games, but what I am going to do is display OUR FLAG every Sunday throughout the NFL season. How about you?

—John Spitler

 

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