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Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:00 am

Letters to the editor published in the November 11, 2009, edition of The Explorer.

The 'duh' factor in defeats of tax proposals

Hello? Earth to Arizona politicians, educators and special interest groups. I don't know what planet you live on but it can't possibly be Earth.

The economy is in the toilet; there are no jobs to be found; people's life savings have been decimated; and all you can do is replace lost tax revenues with … new tax revenues? Does the word "obtuse" ring a bell? What part of "we're scared, we're angry and we're broke" don't you understand?

What ever happened to American ingenuity and leadership? Why is it the only solutions you can put on the table are tax hikes, fees or new taxes? Is it because you're really too timid to pare down your over bloated budgets? Budgets that have grown heavy with entitlements and "feel good" programs to the point that they're now considered divine rights?

Face the facts: we Americans are in a Depression, the likes of which haven't been seen since the '30s. Most of us (here on Earth) are dealing with it the best we can given the "Horn of Plenty" life we've always enjoyed.

Most of us believe in the virtues of good education, police and fire protection; and in good times, we have shown that we'll support them through taxes and bonding. But for those politicians and civic leaders who reside elsewhere in the universe … good times are not here.

Planet Earth, signing off.

Norman Schwartz, Oro Valley

Law on Pinal lines simply a power grab

Re: 'New law to redraw Pinal lines voided'

State Sen. Al Melvin says, "It's a crying shame." Melvin introduced and helped to pass a law that was seriously flawed from the start. The law was a politically motivated power grab on behalf of the Republican Party of Pinal County.

The Maricopa County Superior Court Judge correctly found that the law passed by legislature with only Republican support was unconstitutional because it only applied to Pinal County. The court also found that the setting of two-year terms was also unconstitutional, and that the law created districts with "Shockingly disproportionate population distribution."

I suggest that Al Melvin and his Republican comrades in the legislature should have been paying more attention to the huge problems of Arizona like education and budget, rather than their not-so-veiled attempts at unconstitutional power grabs.

Joe Robison, SaddleBrooke

Branding irons are just right for Oracle wall

Kudos to the planning department of the Oracle Road widening project.

The branding iron art on the north wall of Oracle Road is a perfect touch to an area deeply rooted in traditions of the cowboy Southwest. I am delighted that they opted for history instead of placing some odd-looking artist sculpture that would project only their ideas and visions.

The branding iron art displays the culture of the area and the life that was lived, and hopefully this representation of the past will keep occurring and will not be displaced by "common" art that can be found in any generic city or town.

I encourage and applaud our planners to be true to the Southwest way of life and to designate other projects to have a Tucson-cowboy type of flair. I pass by this every day and it reminds me that I am not in your everyday, middle America boring type of town.

Guests from out of state see it and have commented on how authentic it looks and what a perfect choice it is for our area.

Dennis Respecki, Oro Valley

'Debate' about 200 lacked any real substance

I attended the KUAT / Arizona Daily Star Proposition 200 "debate" at the Leo Rich Theater on Monday evening, Oct. 26. I went to hear opinions about the potential economic impact of Prop 200 on Tucson and Pima County.

Imagine my surprise to learn from Jeff Rogers, chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, that Realtors and homebuilders were the people who caused the economic meltdown. I can understand why he would want to distance himself from the likes of Barney Frank, who was responsible for oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, key contributors to the debacle and significant contributors to the very individuals who were charged with their oversight. Come on, really?

Prop 200 seems to be about more than just public safety first. In the end, when elected officials don't address the basic needs of the communities they serve and throw money at special interests and political friends, taxpayers turn to mandates.

Unfortunately I was sadly disappointed with the "debate." The lack of substantive content was obvious. Weak cases for why money should not be spent to improve service levels were all that came out.

The crowd was nearly evenly split between liberal and conservative. The saddest moment in the mix came near the end, when Captain Delf mentioned Officer Erik Hite's murder. Shame to those who laughed and snickered. As a retired public safety officer myself, I would like to think that the people I served over 20 years on weekends, in the dark, on holidays and for long hours — because we lacked relief manpower — appreciated my contribution for their protection. If you were one of the lemmings who laughed, I hope you never have to face the anguish of loss because nobody came in time.

Mark Finchem, Oro Valley

In 281 years, the preamble has not changed

I recently referenced a copy of the Constitution given to me by my squadron commander, who had volunteered our services once a week to read martial law and the Constitution to the hapless inmates of the Yokota, AFB, Japan, brig.

The preamble, the first sentence of the Constitution, hasn't changed in 218 years. It states "We the people … union … justice … tranquility … promote the general welfare … liberty … posterity … ordain and establish this constitution…"

The preamble is the mission statement for our government. The operative words concerning health care are "General Welfare," words some people and parties ignore. General: meaning all inclusive, public, all people. Welfare: ME (middle English) from phrase "well faren"; to fair well Well: free from infirmity or disease, healthy.

The founding fathers were not concerned about political parties, capitalism, or any other "ism". They formed a government to, among other things, promote our general welfare. Democrats are again trying to set into law the vision of our nation's founders.

Shame on legislators who are so beholden to lobbyist's contributions that they deny us our constitutional rights. After 218 years, isn't it time we demand these rights?

Benjamin Love, Oro Valley

Not another blight on our beautiful views

Oh horrors! A bigger sign for the Krispy Kreme! Not another blight on our beautiful scenery?

Maybe the town council and city planners should have taken another look at the butt-ugly views of the Oro Valley Market Place from Tangerine and Oracle roads. As Dan Quayle was no JFK, OVMP is no La Encantada.

We should give businesses a break that are providing the tax revenues that keep us from paying property taxes. OV has a terrible reputation with businesses — they go out of their way to discourage businesses here.

Here's one other suggestion for the city planners: next time you help design a shopping center, set it up so we can walk from one store to another and leave the car parked.

Alex De La Garza, Oro Valley

Just what are Oro valleycops doing?

Editor's note: Resident Roy Varner sent this letter to The Explorer, as well as members of the Oro Valley Town Council and Police Chief Danny Sharp. His letter, and Sharp's response to it, follow.

As a new resident of Oro Valley, we purchased our home here in July 2007, I continue to be chagrined by the inefficiency demonstrated in the utilization of the police force.

Again last evening, on our way to dinner at the new shopping mall, we observed two blacked-out cruisers setting in the median on Tangerine with the officers obviously discussing the events of the day … or maybe they were lonely and needed some companionship?

By my observation this is a common occurrence (I have observed like incidents several times over the past few months) and a blatant misuse of our valuable tax dollars. I am a retired military senior noncom, and "horseholders" were taboo in my profession, and should be in our town police force if they are as elite as they profess to be. With all the fancy communications equipment the city provides to the force, there should be no need for this type duplication of effort.

Given the strong discussions, and media observations, over town budgets and the recent dismissal of the previous town manager for (by my assessment) challenging the required staffing of the police department, it seems to me that police management would be really keen to demonstrate to the citizens who pay their wages that their resources are being deployed efficiently.

Are we, the taxpayers expected to condone such waste of resources and compensate the primary officer as well as his/her "horseholder"? Seems to me we need more police supervision (and fewer field officers) to ferret out this obvious duplication of effort and provide the taxpayers with an efficient workforce.

Roy Varner, Oro Valley

OVPD is striving for 'continuous improvement'

I received your e-mail sent to Mayor Loomis and town council dated Nov. 8. I am sorry you are dissatisfied with the police services of the Oro Valley Police Department. OVPD is always interested in the genuine concerns of its citizens, visitors, business owners and any person who wishes to work with our organization so we can improve public safety in our community.

One of the missions of the Oro Valley Police Department is to provide a very rapid response for dispatched calls for service. This dramatically increases the chances of catching a criminal during the commission of a crime. Knowing their police department can respond to any situation quickly, citizens feel safer. Having officers in their vehicles ready to respond is vital to the success of this mission.

Patrol officers are assigned to one of four beats (areas of deployment) for 10-hour shifts. The most proactive way to address our response commitment is to have officers complete as much work as possible inside their vehicles. To do this, they often park their vehicle somewhere inside their beat. During these 10 hours, their vehicles become their offices from which they handle all responses for service, conduct investigations, complete paperwork and communicate with other officers.

Officers are also trained to prevent crime and be available to the public. One of the best ways to deter crime is through enhanced visibility; therefore, we encourage officers to park in a business complex, neighborhood or on the side of the road while they are completing paperwork, exchanging information or debriefing after an incident.

You mentioned in your e-mail the need for more supervision. I absolutely agree that proper supervision is vital to the success of our organization. It is very common for a patrol sergeant to meet with one of his/her officers out in the field to discuss an incident, provide counseling and guidance or receive information about an arrest or use of force situation. In many instances, the second patrol car is a field supervisor.

Our records indicate officers on Tangerine Road looking for a suspicious vehicle at 7:17 p.m. Although this may not have been the incident you observed, it is one example of legitimate police business that may be perceived as inefficiency. Moreover, Tangerine Road is a "beat" boundary line and officers from adjacent "beats" sometimes meet on boundary roads to exchange information.

I must also point out that police officers do not have a designated lunch hour. Officers must find time during their shift to eat between calls. It is not uncommon for officers to bring their meals and eat in their vehicles.

Finally, I am not aware of any member of OVPD stating either publicly or privately that we are an "elite" police force. Our members pride themselves on quick response times and competent police investigations. We strive for "continuous improvement" as we seek to provide public safety services for which our community can be proud.

If you would like to learn more about our department's philosophies and strategies or simply wish to ask us questions, you may call me at 229-4901, or 229-4900 and request any member of our command staff. You may also go to our website at http://www.ovpd.org">www.ovpd.org.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Daniel G. Sharp, Chief of Police

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