For the June 4, 2008, issue.

That’s what you call ‘bare bones’ budget-making?

In reference to Patrick McNamara’s article “Council works to sort out budget demands” in the Explorer on June 4.

Let’s applaud the town manager for his new “creativity” for freezing personnel costs for 2008 / 2009. In 2005 / 2006 he had the utility tax to bail him out.

I was an information technology department manager (setting budgets) for seven years and a management consultant for 20 years, assisting over 50 companies in setting their budgets.

There are ways to circumvent personnel budgets: position reclassifications, market adjustments, and department (public works) reorganizations. The town manager used them all.

Also, the town manager recommends both step ($1.5 million) and merit increases ($384,000) for the town employees. This is not freezing personnel costs.

The budget calls for 5-½ new positions. Was this $456,136 cost justified?

The article does not cover the 59 percent retirement contribution and 15 percent health premium increases.

This is “bare-bones” budgeting?

John Musolf

Oro Valley

Democrats are the source of high gas prices

There is no mystery behind gasoline prices. Gasoline is a commodity subject to the same supply / demand relationship as anything else, such as, say, corn.

The tragedy behind the current high prices is that the supply is being artificially constrained for political reasons. The U.S. has very large domestic oil deposits that unfortunately are off limits to production. By allowing domestic production to increase to the maximum value possible, the world’s oil supply would dramatically increase, with prices falling significantly.

However, for at least the past 35 years the Democrat Party has caved to its radical extremist base and has made the vast domestic oil reserves off limits to exploration or extraction. There is no rational reason for putting enormous domestic oil deposits off limits to production, except that is what Democrats do, with the cowardly Republicans too spineless to even feebly protest.

Unfortunately the supply problem is further exacerbated by limited domestic refining capacity. U.S. refining capacity is generally running at 95 percent of capacity, which is why a minor storm in the Gulf of Mexico causes a price spike. Since the mid-1970s, Democrats have blocked all efforts at increasing domestic refining capacity, again for no rational reason, other than controlling every facet of your life is what they do.

But do not despair. Know that spending $80 or more to fill up your car just so you can get to work and pay taxes is all for The Cause, Mother Earth, or whatever the Democrats judge to be more important than your measly bank account. Be content with your station in life, whatever it is, and know that you’re doing it “for the children.” And more importantly, be content knowing that the ultra-rich Democrat donors, who infest the coasts, will never have to worry about an oil rig despoiling their view of the ocean, irrespective of how far over the horizon it may be, because you’re so willing to pay these artificially high prices just to get to work. You are so wonderfully understanding in your unwavering sacrifice to the good of those elites who are doing it to us for our own good.

Rick Cunnington

Oro Valley

Who’s running MUSD schools?

What is going on in the Marana Unified School District? In less than one year, there has been a continuous flow of individuals in the position of human resources director. I am aware of at least four people holding that position during ‘07-08. This leads me to wonder, with the extensive turnover in such a short period of time, the reasons for the repetitive changes for the same position. I also wonder how these changes affect the current employees and the new hires.

I can’t help but wonder too, if the process of screening can be done with minimal error in the priority of safety for our students, with someone new coming in every quarter to learn, interpret and implement the MUSD policies and procedures.

Inasmuch, we also have not had a constant superintendent for this district for far too long. Why can’t we keep a superintendent for any length of time? Who is running the show and why can’t you keep an employee you feel qualified to have hired to begin with? It smacks of the memory of the good ole boys way of doing business. Something is wrong with this picture.

Is anyone doing anything to repair the extreme turnover rate by asking why it’s happening, or looking within for the reason it is recurring in its administrative personnel? Do we assume that this kind of turnover is taking place with the teachers, the aides, the bus drivers, and all over the district in the same way? Who is accountable for the quality education the students in attendance are to receive if there were changes of this magnitude occurring in a classroom? I feel constant management personnel changes are also negative for the district’s employees.

Paul Saxe


Buffelgrass is a real threat

Thanks for your helpful story on the buffelgrass burn in Avra Valley.

I’m pleased to see this information get out to a wider audience. You expressed the basic ideas very well.

The real danger of buffelgrass is that these hot fires destroy the seeds not just of cactus but of other native plants - wildflowers, trees, etc. - on which native birds and animals rely. It’s a survival strategy for the buffelgrass, and could be devastating for Southern Arizona tourism if buffelgrass takes over Saguaro National Monument.

Pat Eisenberg


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