Letters - Tucson Local Media: Voices


Letters to the editor published in the October 27, 2010, edition of The Explorer.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:00 pm

Where would MUSD spend bond money?

Recently, the Marana Unified School District conducted two meetings concerning Prop 403. The presentation did not contain any detailed facts or data on exactly what the $43M would be used to purchase except 130 school buses at an unknown price.

When asked by voters if the district received any estimates or formal quotes for the potential capital improvements, the superintendent said they did not do either. The voters were told the leadership of the district discussed potential costs among themselves and that was the extent of their research. Their repeated response was, "We have done this before and we know what we are doing."

An MUSD employee told me via e-mail, "We decided not to be as specific as you might wish do to the fact some school attendance areas might not choose to vote for this if they saw they weren't getting as much as others. To avoid this, we kept the categories without the school level specifics."

This is purposely hiding the facts from voters and validated my feeling from the meeting. He added in his e-mail, "As for asking for ROM, I assume these are getting proposals, we both realize and are required that this would need to happen to assure the best deal for the district and therefore the taxpayers. We went to vendors we have a working relationship to obtain estimates for these projects." This is not the normal business approach to obtaining competitive quotes for future business, especially when taxpayer support ($43M) is needed.

I am extremely disappointed in the MUSD leadership's presentation and their "trust me" attitude. They did not seem well-prepared for the meetings and appear to be very secretive on how they intend to spend the taxpayers' money.

While I would like to support this effort, until I see where the money is really going to be spent, I can't support this bond. I will continue to attempt to find out where the bond money will be spent and challenge all MUSD voters to do the same.

Richard Hoover, Marana

Regs another reason against Marana 'fill

When is a solid a liquid and a gas? There are two answers.

The first is water, which can be liquid, or, as ice, solid, and gas when it evaporates.

The second is municipal solid waste, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality regulations for Subtitle D landfills. "Solid waste" includes "liquids, gaseous material, and semi-solids, (including) waste treatment plant sludge." Pretty yucky.

The lobbyists for the Marana Regional Landfill fail to mention this when discussing the proposed "solid waste" landfill that will bring in 1,500 tons of (mostly imported) garbage daily. They also fail to mention that, again according to EPA and ADEQ rules, not accepting any hazardous waste actually means accepting household and "small generator hazardous waste."

The regulations are another reason folks in the Avra Valley are questioning the need for a 165-foot-high mountain of garbage over our rising aquifer in a FEMA flood plain by a major wash next door to 100 families. Especially with a Tangerine Landfill transfer station set to be built by the county so that trash will continue to be accepted there for the indefinite future.

Albert Lannon, Picture Rocks

Legislator kept state on road to bankruptcy

Our grandchildren, our great grandchildren and following generations will condemn our profligate spending and irresponsibility in destroying our country. Vic Williams and fortunately others in the Legislature exercised prudent judgment in limiting the spending of money we don't have to spend. Terri Proud will do the same.

Nancy Young Wrong did not vote to keep us off the road to bankruptcy. We don't need any more of her irresponsibility.

Frank H. Bertke

Al, Vic, Terri are a 'trifecta' for education

Mr. Farnsworth took aim at a fundamental process key in our education system — that of a parent to decide the best educational program for their child in his letter to the editor, "It May be Time…"

Mr. Farnsworth seems be more concerned about the $3.7 million that the Amphi won't get, than the potential of 400 kids getting a better education. That is disturbing.

Since the campaign began, I have asked Ms. Cage, Ms. Young-Wright and Ms. Kotterman for the definition of "full funding of education" through e-mails, candidate forums, and personal discussions. To date, none have specifically answered the question.

Mr. Farnsworth possibly provides a peek into the answer. The question is not "how much," it is about "more." The request for more funding comes after passage of Prop 100. It also comes in light of the State Auditor General's report indicating that statewide, less than 57 percent of school expenditures get spent in the classroom. And, unfortunately, this trend over the last years has been continuing downward in classroom spending.

Mr. Farnsworth is also concerned about state spending per pupil. He makes the same mistake as many people do equating dollars spent to performance. Arizona ACT test scores are higher than the national average. We need measure our schools on results rather than on dollar per student.

Competition in the education system is natural and healthy. It the main ingredient of challenging our kids to do better, dig deeper, explore more, and reach their full potential.

We should applaud our elected officials, including Sen. Melvin and Rep. Williams, and candidate Proud for actively exploring methods to give our children the best possible education. We should applaud them for finding avenues for parents to make informed choices about the education of their children. And we should applaud them for doing all this while at the same time being fiscally responsible.

A trifecta for education — win for students, win for parents, win for taxpayers.

Vince Leach, Tucson

Legislators take an oath to back public schools

Every citizen should know these facts:

Every legislator takes a solemn oath to support the Arizona constitution.

The constitution states "In addition to such income (from state land sales and rent) the legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement."

The constitution does not call for the support of private schools.

As state income has diminished, the legislature has increased the income deficit by voting yearly increases to the amount of money that the public and corporations can divert from the general fund by contributing to organizations distributing scholarships to private school students.

The legislature uses the income deficit that it, itself, helps to increase, to justify not providing for the proper maintenance, development and improvement of public schools, as commanded by the constitution it has sworn to support.

Many legislators have even made a private oath to a major out-of-state campaign contributor to never increase taxation. These legislators have put that oath ahead of their oath to uphold the state constitution, an oath that requires taxation when necessary to properly maintain, develop, and improve public schools.

Legislators who have supported increasingly allowable contributions to private education (such as Sen. Melvin and Rep. Williams) claim to have done everything possible to maintain support for public education. The facts listed above reveal that their claim is untrue.

Kent Barrabee, Tucson

The writer is a member of the Amphitheater Unified School District board of trustees – Ed.

Melvin thinks 'compromise' is a dirty word

Does Al Melvin really represent the interests of LD26, most of which is in Pima County? I am not aware of anything he has done to advance or protect the interests of Pima County or the cities in his district.

He frequently mentions his good friends Russell Pearce and Sheriff Paul Babeau, but never seems to mention any relationships with Pima County officials. He seems reluctant to admit that he lives in Pinal County. (See his "Meet your Legislator" video on the AZ Legislature web site.) He changed his Senate identification from "SaddleBrooke" to "Tucson," not "Pima County."

LD26 had previously elected what would be termed "moderate" Republicans, but the right-wingers worked hard to take control of the party and we now have a senator who despises the term "moderate Republican." He cannot abide anything that doesn't fully mesh with his right-wing views and apparently thinks "compromise" is a dirty word. Compromise has always been the genius of the American political system, and worked well to round off the rough edges of hard left and hard right views to develop legislation which served the best interests of most Americans.

If you are really happy with the direction that the Republican-dominated legislature has taken Arizona in their 40 years of control of the legislature, but especially in the period since Jan Brewer became governor, and want to continue to remain near last in school funding and highest in the poverty rate with high unemployment, of course you should vote for Al Melvin.

If you want change and progress, you should vote for Cheryl Cage.

David Ericsson, Oro Valley

Home science experiments are not facts

Home science experiments are not fact.

Could not believe that Albert Lannon would have us believe that concocting a potion during a town meeting constitutes real facts. Well, I am not buying it, Mr. Lannon.

The opponents of Marana Regional Landfill have resorted to cheap tricks, taken statements from honest people out of context and claim "research finding" that have no relationship to this modern landfill. Enough is enough. The Town council should never have let this man bring in any type of concoction and mix them up during a town meeting.

They don't have the real fact. They encourage you to visit their web site but when you do you will find a big disclaimer saying "we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites."

Are you kidding me? They stand up in front of the town council, make outrageous accusations but then say, "well, maybe it's not all true."

Let's stop the nonsense and say yes to the Marana Regional Landfill.

Ernie and Anna Felix, Marana

Marana needs a landfill that's close at hand

I have lived in Arizona for five years, in the Picture Rocks area. I make my living delivering Portable On-Demand Storage units, PODS.

I support the Marana Regional Landfill because I recognize the need that this area has for a landfill. I personally appreciate the close proximity that the landfill will have to my home so that I can easily make trips to dispose of my garbage.

Citizens should consider how the close proximity of the landfill to the community will keep disposal fees lower and have an added convenience for customers.

Chuck Clark, Picture Rocks

Hearing about turn lane ought to be at town hall

On Oct. 28, the Town of Oro Valley is holding a public hearing to discuss a left turn lane on Oracle which will allow for southbound traffic on Oracle to turn left into the San Jose Plaza.

On the surface, this is a great idea, and should have happened a long time ago.

However, the town is also proposing to eliminate the current ability for northbound drivers to turn left onto Greenock, or adding an additional stop light on Oracle.

Eliminating the Greenock turn is a slap in the face to the longtime Oro Valley residents who live in the Oro Valley Country Club area and have always enjoyed this expeditious route, and/or an additional stoplight between El Conquistador Way and Pusch View Lane is wasteful and not needed.

This hearing raises two questions: 1) Why does one turn have to be at the expense of the other; and, 2) Why is this hearing being held at The Loop restaurant? There is no question the turn into the San Jose Plaza will serve The Loop restaurant, an ardent supporter of Hiremath, Snider, Waters and Hornat.

Since when does the town endorse a business by holding a public hearing at their location? Is this a sign of favoritism on the part of the mayor and the city council?

This hearing is required by law. The turn into San Jose Plaza is long overdue. The turn on Greenock should remain and the hearing should be held at the Town Hall or another location and not at The Loop restaurant.

Randy Shields, Oro Valley

Landfill can be a solution to wildcat dumping

I have lived in Arizona for 22 years, and have been a retired home builder for the last 12.

I have personally witnessed the wildcat dumping that frequently happens in our area. The dumping needs to stop so we can keep our community beautiful and clean.

I support the Marana Regional Landfill because it will help solve the problem of dumping by offering a low-cost alternative.

Herman Boge Jr., Marana

Young Wright a fighter for Southern AZ

Recently, campaign signs have appeared in our area that smear our outstanding state representative, Nancy Young Wright.

If you have lived in this area for any length of time, you know of the tough, innovative leadership Nancy has provided us in the Arizona Legislature and as a member of the Amphitheater School Board. She has lived here far longer than her two opponents, and neither of them can come close to matching her record of accomplishment and community service.

Sleazy political tactics by people desperate to win an election do nothing to diminish the work Nancy did to reduce class sizes, cut bureaucratic waste and preserve funding for the fine arts and physical education when she was a school board member. Signs emblazoned with big lies will not erase from our memories all that Nancy has done to fight for public schools, small businesses and law enforcement as our voice in the Legislature.

You can always tell when someone has nothing positive to say and no real record to point to, when they resort to gutter political tactics. It is fortunate that the voters are not as cynical as the people who erected these signs.

Nancy Young Wright is a fighter for Southern Arizona and there is no doubt that LD26 voters will endorse another term of her steady, proven leadership.

Pat Kinsman, Oro Valley

Marana 'fill best, reasonable solution for all

I am a retired lawyer who has been living in Arizona for 20 years.

Everyone complains that they don't want to have the landfill in their backyard, but they all have garbage. The local residents need to realize that they have to have somewhere to put all the trash. People can't expect to keep producing garbage without finding somewhere to dispose of it.

The plans for the new Marana Regional Landfill propose the building site in a fairly isolated area, so neighbors won't be bothered. I support the Marana Regional Landfill because I think this is the best, reasonable solution for everyone involved.

Leo Connolly, Marana

NW candidate makes no blind promise to union

I just read with interest and good humor Vince Baker's questioning ("Fire union is trying to stack NWFD board," Oct. 20) of my integrity and honesty in the race for a seat on the Northwest Fire Board, and would like to respond to his misdirection.

Bill Daniell and myself have been endorsed by the local Northwest Fire District Firefighter's union, local 3572, but I have yet to meet anyone representing the Glendale or Phoenix unions. When the local union was considering the support of my candidacy, I made it extremely clear that I have never been a union man and most certainly would not blindly promise to vote the union line on any issue.

More importantly, I made sure they understood I would always try to vote to do the right thing for all parties involved, from the taxpayers to the district employees and its administration. This was not an empty promise but one that I take very seriously as a taxpayer and district resident. The union firefighters were apparently okay with my independent posture.

While it is true I haven't served on a board overseeing tax monies, I have served on a non-profit's board of directors, as well as several corporate boards. Proper fiscal responsibility looks pretty much the same whether that money comes from taxpayers, people buying raffle tickets to support a good cause or corporate stockholders.

I'm sorry that's not enough for Mr. Baker. I have never met him nor do I know the circumstances surrounding his departure from the board, but I hope he was able to investigate issues before the board with more clarity than he has approached my candidacy.

Bruce Kaplan, Pima County

Kelly right choice to create jobs

I think it is time that we realize that the voting record of Congresswoman Giffords, on the stimulus program, which is costing us money and not yet accounted for; cap and trade, which will increase our energy cost, and Obamacare, which will force us to pay out more money or be penalized, is hurting our economy and costing us jobs.

She forgot to mention that in 2011, we will all be required to pay taxes on the value of our health insurance from our employers. That means a declaration of additional income, on which we will have to pay taxes. This agenda of hers is causing the loss of jobs, that this state desperately needs.

Her ideas on how to increase jobs and the economy are wrong. Companies are not hiring now, due to the uncertainty of Obamacare. Families are struggling due to Giffords' agenda and voting with Pelosi. She is more concerned about voting with Pelosi than what her constituents here in Arizona want.

Instead, we need a plan to bring back jobs and Jesse Kelly has that plan. Cut taxes, since ours are the highest and this will give businesses an incentive to come back, which will bring back the jobs. Several years ago, many businesses left because of our taxing practices, so this is a good indication, that cutting taxes will help to bring these companies to the United States instead of going to other countries that have a more "business friendly" environment.

So instead of listening to incorrect information in TV commercials, read about Jesse Kelly's plan for economic growth.

If we want to help our economy and bring back jobs, Jesse Kelly is the choice for CD8.

Geri Ottoboni, Oro Valley

Theatrics on landfill were not appropriate

Marana residents and Marana Town Council deserve more than the amateur theatrics performed by a member of the opposition to the proposed landfill.

Mr. Lannon stood before the town council on Oct. 5, poured his "homemade garbage juice" into a bottle of water, then offered them a drink. As entertaining as this scene may have been in the Julia Roberts movie, Erin Brockovich, the demonstration in the town council meeting was distasteful and inappropriate, reducing a serious discussion to a carnival side show.

Does the opposition really think this homemade brew poured directly into a bottle of water compares to the years of scientific research and study and technological advances of a modern-day landfill? It is difficult to view this as anything more than a diversionary tactic.

They lack a sound argument based on facts. The disclaimer on their website says it all. They don't even claim their own "facts" to be accurate, complete or adequate.

The proposed landfill will meet stricter guidelines than any of the surrounding landfills in our region. We need to make our own decisions based on facts and reasons, not on silly tricks or scare tactics. We need to be forward thinkers and take action now. What will happen if we don't approve this landfill scares me more than Mr. Lannon's performance.

Linda Zupi, Marana

The writer chairs the Political Action Committee for a Better Marana. This letter was edited. – Ed.

A Republican vote is a vote for DC gridlock

What are Republican/Tea Party-types thinking? That electing right-wing candidates will bring back Washington and Adams? No, it will only bring back the same old crowd that dug us into this ditch. A Republican vote is a vote for gridlock. These past two years, Republicans have placed party over country and voted no on everything.

Despite GOP efforts, this Congress passed the economic-stimulus package that, by objective accounts, saved this country from economic catastrophe. Over a third of this stimulus ($288 billion) went to immediate tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans. Yes, Obama cut your taxes and 9 out of 10 of you don't even know it.

The Wall Street Bailout was as necessary as it was unpopular but you won't have jobs if you don't have a financial system … and most of it has been repaid.

Healthcare reform is touted by the far right as some big disaster … really? The only parts of it that have gone into effect is the requirement that insurance companies not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and that dependents be allowed to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

The Wall Street accountability act will help keep the abuses that sunk our financial system from repeating themselves. Wouldn't it have been irresponsible not to pass this reform? Guess what party opposed it?

This Congress also passed legislation for college loan reform, credit card consumer protections, elimination of waste in Pentagon weapons acquisition, tax incentives for businesses hiring the unemployed, first-time home buyers tax credits, etc.

Americans should be proud of what this Congress has accomplished, despite the obstructionist agenda of the GOP.

On a local note, Jesse Kelly rails against the stimulus while his family business bids for and profits from the same stimulus money.

Jan Brewer takes credit for luring Roche to expand their Ventana operation in Oro Valley with $2 million in federal stimulus money. Talk about trying to have it both ways.

There are lots of hypocrites in politics and they are not all Republicans. This year, however, it just seems that way.

Dana Whitson, Oro Valley

Young Wright has spent her years in trenches

I have known Nancy Young Wright for 16 years, and have watched her progress from being a classroom volunteer as the mother of young children, up to her current position as state representative.

Nancy has spent the years "in the trenches," putting in the hours and doing the hard volunteer work that many others don't have the time, resources or inclination to perform.

Her initial work sprang from attempting to secure services for children, from both classroom volunteer work, and working with Oro Valley to start and chair their first parks board. She then went on to tackle the position of board member at Amphi Schools, where she served for nine years.

During her years in office, Nancy has not taken the path of least resistance, and never believed in "go along to get along," the mantra which many other elected officials unfortunately stand on. She has challenged decisions and actions she believed were wrong or questionable, to get to the heart of the matter. Her work at the Amphi School District helped guide the district through a very difficult time, and led to a complete change and overhaul of the prior district management.

During her almost three years at the Legislature, she has worked hard for her constituency. Nancy does her homework, and will study and question the ramifications of an issue, before voting on it. She has been a thoughtful and hard-working elected official, throughout her tenure. She deserves re-election, to be able to continue her hard work.

Rosalie Roszak, Oro Valley

Letters that did not make the print edition

Town council's actions will have negative impact

Recent town council meetings reinforced my concerns with new council members and Mayor Hiremath.

Concern 1:

The mayor and council had temporarily delayed their plan to eliminate most or all resident-staffed commissions, boards and committees. However, during the last council meeting, disrespect for the residents' participation was again exhibited. The mayor and non-elected Councilman Solomon led a vote to override a decision made by the resident-staffed arts review commission.

The commission members had rejected some art proposed for the new retirement residence on Lambert Lane. The decision was within their authority and wouldn't delay the construction of the complex. The information presented by both sides clearly indicated a misunderstanding. Under these circumstances, even the most junior business manager would have sent the two parties back to resolve their misunderstandings.

However, the commission members' decision was overridden. Why were the art review commission members thrown under the bus? Was this another step to elimination of this commission? Will this council reduce the responsibilities of commissions to an insignificant level, thus allowing business owners, developers, builders, and the real-estate industry to set the direction of matters involving general plan, codes, ordinances and governing structure?

Concern 2:

The council is in the process of studying and approving an updated sign code. The Sign Code Task Force and staff, for the most part, have done an excellent job updating the Oro Valley sign code. Will the council and mayor accept the recommendations, or will they make numerous changes, again letting business owners, developers, builders and the real-estate industry set the direction of matters involving general plan, codes, ordinances and governing structure?

Will the council and mayor create a code that will make Oro Valley the sign-blighted capital of metro Tucson?

My concerns lead me to believe that actions of this council will negatively impact Oro Valley's future. Who is running Oro Valley? Do you want the future of Oro Valley to be crafted by special interest groups or residents? It is time to let your elected officials know what you expect from them.

Donald Bristow, Oro Valley

Rescue of 33 miners touched all of humanity

Like millions of others around the world, I sat transfixed watching the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. This was an unfolding story that touched all of us on a basic human level.

When Chilean President Sebastian Pinera learned the miners were still alive after 17 days, he made a commitment to the Chilean people that he would do everything he could to save them. He asked the world for help, and it responded in droves including NASA and two small businessmen in Pennsylvania who provided the technical solution for drilling the escape shaft.

When the day arrived to begin the rescue, President Pinera stood there to take responsibility for what could either be a tragedy or glorious triumph. When the first rescuer entered the FENIX 2, we all held our breath wondering if this brave man would ever be seen again. Then we were amazed to see the miners below waiting for the escape capsule and we all let out a collective sigh of relief when the FENIX landed.

When the first trapped miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged into the arms of his little son and wife, we shared in the relief and joy and tears of the Chilean people. As each of the 33 miners emerged, he was met with this same joy and enthusiasm. President Pinera told them "Welcome back to life." And indeed each rescue was like a rebirth.

Luis Urzua was the last to emerge. He was the shift foreman who organized the miners and kept them alive for those first 17 days. He wanted all of his men on the surface before he left the mine — he was the captain of the ship and like Sully Sullenberger would not leave until everyone was safe. When he arrived on top, all of Chile erupted in a tumult of national celebration. He and President Pinera led the assembled crowd in the singing of the Chilean national anthem.

What a wonderful and happy story for all of us. We saw determination, ingenuity, comradeship, bravery and a national will to accomplish the impossible. I will never forget what I saw and felt. All I can say is Viva Chile!

Alex De La Garza, Oro Valley

Young Wright deserves voters' trust, support

Our state representative Nancy Young Wright has consistently heard our concerns, fought our fights, and voted in accordance with our needs.

Now, the people who oppose her, such as utility and insurance companies, Phoenix law firms, and corporate lobbyists are inundating our mailboxes with negative mailers that attempt to distort Nancy's record. They try to hide their association with the groups doing these mailers, but all it takes is a quick trip to the Arizona Secretary of State's website to see who is bankrolling these efforts.

Nancy's opponents in this election are asking their fat cat contributors to pay for this propaganda. It is part of the negative campaign they have been running for months and their hope is that voters will be distracted and ignore the fact that their platforms promise more of the same ineptitude and lack of vision we have come to expect from the Legislature.

We need more representatives like Nancy Young Wright, who have the courage and intellect to stand up to the legislative leadership that bankrupts this state, underfunds our schools, and drives business away. After many years of watching Nancy work for us as a state representative and school board member, voters are unlikely to be swayed by such transparent and sleazy mailers. Frankly, they say more about the people paying for them and the other two candidates in this race than they do about Nancy.

Voters may have two votes for state representative, but there is only person running who deserves their trust and support.

Carolyn Badger, SaddleBrooke

Cage runs on soap opera dramatics

I was struck by the glaring differences between the candidates as they answered your questions. Cheryl Cage answered in sound bites and generalities. Al Melvin answered with sources and facts.

Ms. Cage repeatedly talked of closing $10 billion in tax credits and loopholes. After the debate, I asked Ms. Cage for a list of these tax credits and loopholes. After all, since she knew the amount she should have a tabulated list. Apparently not: Ms. Cage refused my request.

On the topic of "all-day kindergarten," Ms. Cage lamented that all-day kindergarten was not compulsory and that children were suffering, a typical progressive-socialist lament. She failed to state that there is credible research on both sides of the topic. It seemed as if she wanted her own opinion and her own facts. Sorry, Ms. Cage, you can have your opinion but you cannot have your own set of facts.

In addition, Ms. Cage resorted to meaningless statistics in her answers. For example, she lamented that Arizona was last in per pupil funding at $9,200. This statistic is meaningless without framing it with qualitative data. At $9,200 per pupil, Arizona graduates 70 percent of its students on time.

America's Promise Alliance, in its study "Cities in Crises: Closing the Graduation Rate," found that in the country's 50 largest cities, which all fund students at higher levels than Arizona, the graduation rates are 53 percent. Arizona's graduation rate of 70 percent is at the national average. The obvious conclusion is Arizona is more effective and efficient in graduating students on time. We can do better, but it is not the doom and gloom picture painted by Ms. Cage.

Ms. Cage, in attempting to explain away the doubling of the state general fund budget from $5.5 billion to $11 billion under Gov. Napolitano (2002-2008), flippantly responded that the reason the budget exploded was Arizona experienced 40 percent growth in its population. Not true. The United States Census Bureau shows that between 2000 and 2009, Arizona's population grew by 28.6 percent, or 11.4 percent less than Ms. Cage's 40 percent even adding three additional years. My analysis shows growth between 2002 and 2008 to be just under 19 percent. Once again, Ms. Cage is devoid of any facts.

Regarding solar energy, Ms. Cage has stated that, "Studies have shown for every $1 million dollars invested in solar will provide 13.5 jobs to the nuclear industry's 4.5 jobs." I am a proponent of solar. I have solar on my house. What I am not a proponent of is mass solar installations that misuse the environment. Spain attempted to "go green" several years ago with dismal results.

"For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid … The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power — which are charged to consumers in their bill –translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish 'green job' created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report … The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices …"

I asked Ms. Cage on more than one occasion how she rationalized net job losses? She has yet to provide an answer.

I firmly believe Ms. Cage is a nice lady but she cannot run on soap opera dramatics. Proposed policies must be based on facts not feelings. This is Ms. Cage's weakness: she prefers her opinion over facts. I think this will be the cause of her loss to Sen. Al Melvin.

Richard D. Brinkley, SaddleBrooke

A lame attempt to attack Young Wright's record

Recently, a " hit mail" piece was mailed to LD26 voters in a lame attempt to attack our state representative, Nancy Young Wright. If you call the phone number on the mailer, you will be connected with an organization that made a substantial contribution to the campaign of one of Nancy's opponents, Terri Proud.

What is apparent here is that Proud lacks the guts or class to confront Wright directly, so she asks some shadow group with an office in Phoenix to do her dirty work for her. Proud's running mate in this race, Vic Williams, already does the bidding of the Phoenix political leadership. Terri Proud would be a Vic Williams clone, and the last thing LD26 needs is another puppet supposedly representing us. Williams has cast vote after vote that have cut funding for our schools and also favored a measure that resulted in a property tax increase. Proud would offer more of the same feckless, non-responsive "service" to our area.

Nancy Young Wright has lived in this area a long time and she has an equally long record of service to her community as a state representative, school board member and community volunteer. Her voting record reflects the interests and values of LD26 families. If Terri Proud thinks that these last-minute tactics will garner her any support, she has made a crucial error and underestimated the independence and wisdom of the voters.

Christine Dayton

Government is not enemy of the people

Kudos to Explorer publisher Dave Perry for facilitating a civil discourse during the Cage-Melvin debate — no small feat considering the tensions between parties. We must realize we are all Americans.

Given the absence of corporate conscience and the greed on Wall Street, the idea that government is an enemy of the people that must be reduced is perverse. We, the people, not political ideologues or corporate lobbyists, must elect legislators who will represent the broad spectrum of middle America; the producers and consumers. This requires wisdom and foresight.

Experience: Lawmakers need all the experience they can get. There are plenty of positions locally. To run for a US legislator's seat with no experience reveals dangerous egotistical qualities and compromises Congress.

Education: We need the brightest minds, those with college degrees. In the US House, 95 percent, and in the Senate, 99 percent of the legislators have at least one college degree. To elect Kelly, who stated he "absolutely hated" his one-year college experience would be an embarrassment to Arizona and an affront to Congress.

Attitude: A tolerant and unprejudiced disposition is required. There is no place for angry Tea Party candidates like Kelly in Congress where patience and understanding are virtues.

Loyalty: A legislator must put the majority of his constituents first, where legally possible; above party, or special interest. The acceptance of campaign contributions with strings attached, as many Republican donors require, usurps the peoples' power — the cornerstone of democracy. To continually beat the party drums publicly, as Melvin does, destroys any feeling of national unity. He makes being an American a zero-sum game for anyone not in his party.

Courage: It takes courage to tackle the big problems, knowing the best solutions may make voters unhappy. It is easy to do nothing as Republicans do and let their corporate donors solve the problems to benefit the corporation under the guise of free enterprise.

Integrity: A politician must stand behind their word, admitting their mistakes and rejecting any attempt to lie as cover or to win election.

Ben Love, Oro Valley

Jesse Kelly is all bluster, no substance

My husband and I wondered how Jesse Kelly got a job as a project manager for a construction company with nothing more than a high school diploma. We then learned that his father owns the construction company. In other words, Jesse was given a break in life … a handout, if you will.

Now Kelly complains that Medicare recipients are on the "public dole." Isn't it ironic how the same people who have things handed to them are also the same ones who scream the loudest when anyone else gets a "handout?"

Prior to running for office, Gabrielle Giffords was laying the groundwork for a career in public service. She obtained bachelor's degrees in sociology and Latin American studies and a master's degree in regional planning. This course of study gives her the knowledge and resources to plot a positive outcome for the future of Southern Arizona.

Giffords has been preparing for this work all her adult life. Meanwhile, all Jesse Kelly did was show up. He does not have the knowledge nor the education to represent Arizona's 8th District.

Mr. Kelly also does not display the maturity nor civility that one should expect from their representatives. Throughout the Oct. 18 debate at UA, Ms. Giffords was poised, articulate, knowledgeable, mature and civil. Kelly, on the other hand, was arrogant, superior, immature and utterly lacking in social skills.

There's also the question of integrity. Mr. Kelly opposes the stimulus package and states that it's the reason he decided to run for Congress, yet he has accepted construction contracts that are being funded by the stimulus bill ($2 million for a Pima County sewer pipeline project and $56.6 million for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System) proving once again, that he's only against handouts and taxpayer subsidies when they're being given to someone else. He also admits that taxpayer dollars account for roughly 90 percent of his company's profits.

Jesse Kelly is all bluster and no substance, or as they say in Texas, "he's all hat and no cattle."

Diane Peters, Oro Valley

Al demonstrates no awareness of schools' import

As an educator with 19 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in Pima County public schools, I was eager to attend the recent LD26 debate between Cheryl Cage and Al Melvin.

When the debate started, I was a Cage supporter. After it ended, my support for her had been solidified and my amazement with the rank hypocrisy of Melvin had increased.

Cage spoke logically about the connection between economic growth and quality public schools. She pointed out how the current Legislature did not look at other areas of saving before they voted for massive cuts to public school funding.

Cage talked about closing tax loopholes and eliminating largesse to corporations. She also noted an alternative budget had been proposed which did not include the cuts to education supported by Melvin, but he and his allies would not bring it up for discussion.

Melvin had the audacity to praise the work done in Amphitheater, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells and Marana, saying that they were quality school districts whose work should be replicated. Since being elected in 2008, he has repeatedly voted for cuts that have led to increased class sizes, loss of teaching jobs, vital programs being eliminated and supplies being cut. My hunch is that most parents, students and employees in these districts are not going to vote for someone like Melvin, who makes their jobs harder every day.

I am a principal in a school district that is partly in LD26. Over the last two years, my school has cut 21 percent from its budget, eliminated many jobs and increased class sizes. Cage understands the damage those cuts do to the students of this state and our hopes for economic renewal. Melvin demonstrates no awareness of the importance of public education, despite his election-year posturing and attempts to fool the voters.

Rex Scott, Tucson

Don't decide on misleading signs and ads

We have all seen the signs posted on nearly every street corner stating that Gabrielle Giffords has "bailed out Wall Street with your money," "cut $500 billion from Medicare," etc.

I don't understand how Jesse Kelly can continue to complain that Giffords is airing commercials with his own words when his campaign is misleading the public with these signs. The fact is that the "Bailout of Wall Street" was really a government stimulus package to lessen the effects of the recession and speed recovery. It is an often used tactic proven to work. That is why every other industrial country in the world did the same thing. The US stimulus was about 7 percent of our GDP. Japan had a stimulus package of 14 percent, Great Britain 8 percent, France 3 percent, China 29 percent, Germany 3 percent. You can argue the amount spent or how it was done, but the fact that the government provided a stimulus package is no "bailout."

I also find it odd that someone whose entire campaign focuses on cutting government spending and reducing the deficit would disagree with cutting money from government programs such as Medicare.

I would also like to understand how our government is supposed to provide for our military, schools, police, infrastructure, etc with only a 10 percent flat income tax and elimination of all corporate sales tax?

I don't want to tell you who you should vote for in any of our upcoming elections. I just simply ask that you research the issues and think for yourself. Don't rely on street signs or television ads to make up your mind. Do your own homework on the candidates and the issues before you vote down party lines or react to one or two negative ads.

Adam Wade, Oro Valley

Claim about Giffords is a falsehood

Jesse Kelly and the money machines backing him have broadcast so many lies about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that they are evidently fresh out of ideas, and are having to recycle old falsehoods that were used against her unsuccessfully in earlier campaigns.

The group calling themselves "Conservatives for Congress" has advertised the old canard about Rep. Giffords profiting from taxpayer money by leasing to the City of Tucson a piece of real estate. Truth: Years ago, the City of Tucson leased the property owned by Rep. Giffords' parents and their partners, not Rep. Giffords. Rep. Giffords has no role in managing the property, and receives no financial benefit from the property.

All your readers, dear editor, who still believe in the existence of things called facts, should know that this same mud was thrown from the gutter by Rep. Giffords' opponent in the 2006 congressional election, and the fact checks by independent news sources proved it was inaccurate then. It is still inaccurate today.

Please do not let your readers, especially those who moved to this area after 2006, be victimized by the slime merchants who are trying to steal an honest election by smearing a creditable Congresswoman who has done so much for Southern Arizona, and give office to a dangerous radical bent on eliminating Social Security retirement, Medicare, and the entire Department of Education which provides over a billion dollars to Arizona's public school children.

Grant Winston, Marana

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