Letters to the editor published in the April 8, 2009, edition of The Explorer.
Franzi’s 'narrow, tired approach'
The narrow, tired approaches to economic problems espoused in Emil Franzi's op-ed piece beg a reply, even without his formal invitation.
Regarding the constitutional amendment to leave successful citizen initiatives alone, you conveniently forgot to mention why us "dumb" Arizonans barred legislators from "changing" them. It was because your friends, the Republican legislators, were blatantly raiding those budgets so they wouldn’t have to take responsibility for the effects of cutting taxes.
The constitutional amendment was an obvious cause-and-effect result which you have chosen to gloss over. Your dreaded "special interest groups" supporting the amendment are other people’s "saviors from the bone heads." Why someone of your conservative persuasion would imply that politicians know what is best for citizens is puzzling in the extreme. It is that same creepy mind-set that wants to deny the option of citizen initiatives to Arizonans. Does the phrase, "of the people, by the people and for the people" ring a bell?
Your examples of additional sources of income, such as a tax on wire transfers of cash and cash bonds for foreign traffic violators, would likely bring in a fraction of 1 percent of the state budget, but would surely satisfy those looking for scapegoats (and what foreign license plates do we see the most here, anyway?). The classical conservative argument that a sales tax is the best way to generate income ignores (or maybe prefers) the reality that this is a clearly regressive tax, placing a larger burden on the disadvantaged than the well-healed.
As for extracting more taxes from pseudo-agriculture land, the "rent-a-cow" issue, you manage to bypass history again while getting a jab in on those icky environmentalists. The fact is that this was one of several battles during the early years of development of Rancho Vistoso. Your conservative friends on the town council and in the state Legislature, strongly supported by the development community, blocked attempts by us "enviros" to do exactly as you suggest. If you do a media search for "Oro Valley Neighborhood Coalition," you will find that name associated with many efforts to get a grip on the rampant growth that is now Oro Valley, one of which was the "rent-a-cow" issue.
While reveling in terms such as "doctrinaire," "dogmatic" and 'ideology" over the last eight years, I can't recall a single word from you or your ilk about the blatant deficit spending this country endured. That is because it is through deficits that conservatives perpetuate the myth that we can have it all without paying for it. Only now, because Democrats are running the show, do you wring your hands over the burden these deficits will place on our children and grandchildren. To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, "Can you spell hypocrisy?"
Stress that occurs when principles bump into each other is common no matter what one’s leanings are. I can certainly appreciate the squirming that must go on when the "no new taxes" group realize that they are backed into a corner. However, the idea that an additional sales tax, even temporary, is the best approach is a cop-out. Property taxes, as temporary as you like, are the only egalitarian method to spread the pain of paying for our way of life. If you have more, you should pay more, pure and simple. It's the patriotic thing to do.
Carl A. Boswell, Oro Valley
Fanning GOP flames of division
Republican Franzi has invited Democrats to comment. Thank you.
He hears that Democrats need some tax that isn’t subject to economic downturns while they increase the others. Although I have not heard any Democrats talking of increasing all taxes, I agree with our governor and president that more funds are needed to bail us out of this mess.
As for a tax that will not cause downturns, even Mr. Franzi mentioned some smart taxes such as drug money transfers, "rent-a-cow" realty farm subsidies and traffic fines. There are many smart taxes which could improve our extended economy, like taxes on carbon emissions, gasoline, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, etc.
Mr. Franzi says he generally agrees with (but…) the supply side, trickle down, anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-government credo of Grover Norquist, the Republican demigod who demanded that Republican legislators at both the national and state levels sign a no-new-tax pledge. How foolish of them! They gave away one of their most important tools.
Mr. Norquist is one of the Republican ideologues responsible for many of the problems with our economy today. The fact that icons like Norquist, Limbaugh and a host of others can so influence the acts of our Republican politicians proves they are only puppets working for the selfish interests of Republican leaders and not for the citizens who elected them. The Republican supply-side economic model has resulted in at least one recession for every Republican administration since 1929. I can't understand how anyone can vote for a legislator who deprecates the act of governance for which they were elected. What a conflict of interest that is!
I invite Mr. Franzi to stop fanning the Republican flames of division. I invite him to use his considerable influence to reject their failed leadership. He could set some back-fires to stop the raging political inferno.
I invite Mr. Franzi to discuss solutions to our problems from the context of our country instead of our political parties. We need an incendiary fellowship of all Americans to take back our country from the politicos, and restore the American dream for all citizens.
Benjamin F. Love, Oro Valley
Abbott is not the voice of OV’s citizens
I found the following quote attributed to Councilperson Paula Abbott another instance where she is completely out of touch with most folks in Oro Valley.
"If you squelch my voice, you squelch the citizens' voice."
Ms. Abbott's attendance record at meetings from day one has been embarrassing. She misses about 40 percent of the meetings she is supposed to attend. She is often late to those she does attend and she leaves early many times. Public records will support that.
Ms. Abbott does not return e-mails from most citizens. Ms. Abbott does not return phone calls from most citizens. Ms. Abbott does not make herself available to citizens as other town council members do. Ms. Abbott has seldom been seen in her town office. Ms. Abbott does not respond to the press.
Ms. Abbott is simply not available.
If you were to ask every town council member who has ever served with Ms. Abbott, "Which council person is the least accessible?" the response would be, Ms. Abbott, 100 percent of the time. The same response would be forthcoming from town staff.
Ms. Abbott was elected (barely) to represent all of the people of Oro Valley and should be out there listening and soliciting input from a wide variety of sources. Then and only then can she lay claim to be the voice of the citizens.
Don Cox, Oro Valley
OV police should stop whining, be part of solution
The police have been whining ever since the word went out that some of them would have to be laid off in the personnel reduction of the town of Oro Valley.
One of the things they have particularly mentioned is that David Andrews got such a large raise, but no where in any of the ads does it mention that he is still being paid far less than most city managers, even in Arizona cities of approximately the same size.
Does that seem right? And shouldn't the police be willing to help with OV’s problems?
Maybe they should use some of the money they are spending on these ads to improve the quality of their own service to our community. And maybe they can stop being famous for their heavy-duty program of ticketing everyone who comes along our streets and highways for even the slightest transgressions.
Dottie Eagley, Oro Valley
Fewer police, more crime; that's the Oro Valley choice
In response to the "You say" portion printed in the last edition of the Explorer, I have a few statements of clarification for Ms. Mary Reilly.
1. The officers proposed to be let go are the last six hired, meaning they are low on the the seniority list and are strictly on patrol. This means that the officers who are currently involved in other specialties like keeping drug issues in check, i.e., the CAT squad or Community Action Team, will be forced to be back on the streets. "Harassing" the public further and lessening the drug enforcement.
2. During budget cuts in the OVPD, the CAT squad is first to go, which means less officers directly involved in catching drug dealers, etc. Exactly opposite of what you said you wanted with the cuts.
3. If you find issue with the undercover vehicles, I must assume that is because you have been ticketed by them in the past. To that I must say "stop speeding, and they will no longer be an issue for you."
4. The thought of cutting our police (protection) force down and demand that they do something more about the drug issues is ludicrous. Which would you like, less police on the streets to protect you and enforce drug laws or more safety? Less police = more crime. More police = less crime They go hand in hand.
Luckily you don't get to decide.
Thank you for your time,
Beth Brown, Oro Valley
It's perilous to cut spending for OV police
Dear mayor and council,
As a former council member, I think I understand how difficult the budget decisions you have before you will be. The challenges on the proposed budget are unlike any we’ve faced since the incorporation of Oro Valley 35 years ago.
With the hard economic times we all face, the expenses for the Town of Oro Valley must be reduced.
Not that long ago, Oro Valley was booming. As we all know, times have changed. Today, funding public safety must be one of our top priorities.
Many Oro Valley residents have been impacted by the national economy, I know it has hit my home. I lost my job almost one year ago. In our household we have adjusted our lifestyle considerably. It wasn’t pleasant giving up the luxuries we had grown accustomed to enjoying.
Now it is time for the town officials to do the same. Cuts are necessary to effectively and efficiently operate our local government.
In 2006 the utility tax was promoted to the town council as a necessary means to help fund the police. Sadly, this is a tax that does not go to the public for a vote, you (the council) can vote to extend and / or increase this tax. (The 2006 tax was extended in 2009)
As a staunch supporter of public safety, I believed then, and continue to believe, other budget cuts need to be made before considering or proposing any reductions in our police force. Mayor and council, we must all learn to live within our means and not look to the pocketbooks of others to support unnecessary spending.
The dedication and leadership of the Oro Valley Police Department is why Oro Valley has always been known as a safe community. If we reduce our police, we invite a potentially higher level of crime against our residents.
If we send the message we’re willing to compromise the safety of our children in schools and our residents in their homes and businesses, without implementing necessary cost saving measures in Town Hall to preserve our public safety, we will surely pay the ultimate price.
Conny Culver, Oro Valley
This letter was shortened. —Ed.