Letters to the editor published in the December 30, 2009, edition of The Explorer.


Thanks for restoring focus on Christmas

Kudos to The Explorer "We Say" article titled "Merry Christmas." Whomever is DPP, thank you.

Jan Brewer, thank you for the restored focus on Christmas this year and restoring the meaning of Christmas in 2009.

Some have claimed that we or I do not need a savior, yet daily there are cries for a Savior. Those cries come during perilous times. In 2001, those cries were heard worldwide. How quickly we forget.

It is true that our Founding Fathers incorporated Christian principles in developing the Constitution. Unfortunately, many want to change the Constitution and have labeled it outdated. Perhaps they have forgotten some of the principles of our Founding Fathers and consider Christian principles outdated?

It is true that Jesus healed the sick, forgave the adulteress, suffered the little children, implored us to love our enemies and instructed his followers to bless those that curse you. He told us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and to love him with our whole heart, mind and spirit. Something our Founding Fathers understood.

Until we restore and understand the principles behind their operating principles we cannot forgive as Jesus instructed. That is why, each year, we have Christmas instead of a "holiday." For we forget, need to be reminded and need a Savior. Happy New Year.

Bob Black, Oro Valley

(DPP is reference by initials to the newspaper's publisher and editor – Ed. (DPP))

State better off with less to public schools

I would like to respond to the opinion piece that Cheryl Cage wrote regarding funding for public schools (hereafter referred to as government schools).

On average it costs $5,500 to educate a child in the government schools. A private school does the same job, if not a better job, for about $4,000. So for every child not in the government schools, the state saves an average of $1,500.

Surveys of government school teachers show that they send their children to private schools more frequently than non-teachers. They probably have a better idea of the product they are producing, and the conditions they are working in, than the person who is not working in the system. We should heed their example.

In regards to the funding, I had the same question Cheryl did about why the government schools can't have a voucher program. The answer I got from my legislators was that when the courts ruled that funding among districts had to be equal, the ability to privately fund government schools was removed. Extra curricular activities are not considered education and as such can be privately funded.

Cheryl also commented about the funds not being available for the general fund. Legislators like more funds in the general fund because they can be used for any purpose, and usually not education. Money that is redirected from the general fund and into education funds is better for the children of Arizona.

As we saw with TUSD last spring, more money to the education system frequently does not make it to the classroom. While TUSD was laying off teachers, the district was looking to hire more back office staff.

The scientific data is in, and the conclusion is that the less money that goes into the government system, and the more that goes into the private system, the better the citizens of Arizona are served.

Andy Woodward, Tucsonr

Giffords the best person for the job

Emil Franzi is often insightful and always entertaining, but his Dec. 9 column was not a true picture of my representative.

Gabrielle Giffords has proven herself to be a hard-working and accessible voice for southeastern Arizona in Washington. She comes home nearly every weekend, meeting with constituents, participating in community events and informing us about what's going in the Capitol. I've met with her personally and / or seen her at grocery stores, community events, forums, and various others functions large and small.

This is exactly what I want in my representative — Someone who cares and who listens.

As The Explorer itself reported a few weeks ago, Congresswoman Giffords was in Marana recently to present a flag to a Vietnam veteran who wanted it flown over the local library. A little thing, to be sure. But it speaks volumes about what kind of person our congresswoman is.

Voters notice and appreciate gestures like that. That is why they sent Giffords to Congress in 2006, sent her back in 2008 and will do the same in 2010.

Franzi is, of course, free to blame the anonymous inhabitants of a backroom for Republican failures in the 8th District. Voters know, I know, that Gabrielle Giffords is the best person for the job.

Regina Suitt

Days off in OV are a no-brainer

I was somewhat amused at the column in the Dec. 23 issue of The Explorer that the town employees are to be given "extra" days off during the Christmas holiday.

As a retired union auto worker, my friends back home would also be very amused that this is a story that made the newspaper. Having to work on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve would have been sacrilegious where I come from, and if you were truly needed and did have to work, you would be paid triple wages for your sacrifice of being denied time with your family to enjoy the holiday.

I commend Jerene Watson for upholding the finest traditions of what unions have done for their workers for years by allowing these people to have these days off with pay so that they may spend precious time with their friends and family. This is a no-brainer.

I hope all of my fellow citizens in Oro Valley have a great holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Dave Berry, Oro Valley

School tax credits look like win-win

In the Dec. 23 issue of The Explorer there were several letters to the editor and commentaries criticizing Sen. Al Melvin for his encouragement of citizens to take advantage of the school tax credit program and questioning the program itself.

I would like to make two points about public education.

First, public education is supported by taxes on all of the citizens, whether they have children in the system or not. The amount of taxes collected is then allocated to the public schools based on enrollments. I don't know the exact numbers, but I believe this works out to something like $8,000 per student. That means a typical class of 24 students is funded to the tune of $192,000. Subtracting the classroom teacher's salary, say $70,000, leaves $122,000 for overhead per classroom.

Where is this money spent? In these difficult economic times, the lower tax revenues are reducing the dollars available for public education. It seems to me large overhead costs of our public education system need to be examined carefully.

My second point goes back to the criticism of the tax credit program. Parents who elect to send their children to private schools pay private tuition in addition to paying public school taxes. They, like the government are probably suffering in these economic times, and perhaps may be forced to send their children to public schools. If this happens, the number of students enrolled in our public schools will increase while the tax revenue to pay for public education remains the same. This translates to less funding per student in our public system.

If the school tax credit keeps students in private schools, then our public school students benefit from better funding per student. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Michael Kowalski, Oro Valley

Melvin knows bills unpaid by hand-wringing

A few days ago I sent off my ACSTO and public school donations.

I didn't need Sen. Melvin's reminder, as I make the donations annually, always sending the maximum allowed to both entities. However, his reminder in The Explorer was well taken, at least by some of us, and perhaps helped explain the idea behind the donations along with the benefits.

I wanted to thank Sen. Melvin for his courageous efforts during these difficult times, and in particular under the withering hatred of some of the community.

He has a good understanding of fiscal reality, and well understands the idea of living within his means. He understands that emotional, irrational and just plain hand-wringing does not pay the bills. He knows that there has to be a cut line somewhere.

Such pragmatism and realism is in stark contrast to the Cheryl Cages of the community who can't string together a rational thought if their lives depended upon it, and would spend us into total financial ruin simply because it feels good to them. These very dangerous radical lefties have zero knowledge about fiscal discipline and economic reality, nor do they care to learn anything.

Sen. Melvin instinctively understands the reality that any society can't tax itself to prosperity, and that limited government is truly in everyone's best interest. I really appreciate Sen. Melvin's willingness to maintain fiscal discipline under the horrific onslaught of irrational and psychotic loathing from the radical lefties.

Thanks for toeing the line of reality, Sen. Melvin, and sticking to your real world principles, in the face of the emotional, irrational, and utterly psychotic onslaught from the radicals.

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley

Global warming believers riding very high horses

I'm new here in Tucson and I was ready to enjoy the land of Barry Goldwater. Imagine my shock when I discovered I had not left the land of Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her ilk when I picked up the Dec. 9 Explorer and read Safier's column on global warming "deniers."

I was angered (as I usually am) at the smarmy arrogance of these leftist writers. Their haughty superiority when "debating" those who dare to challenge their religious beliefs about things liberal continually attempts to overwhelm any mere questioning of their causes. So I ventured to check this guy out to establish his credibility.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had more scientific training then he does. Less then two years ago he was a retired educator in "urban studies" brought on to blogforarizona.com to begin "posting regularly about his investigations and activism around education." Twenty-two months later he's an expert on global warming.

His zealotry regarding this subject ignores the very debatable facts about this issue, especially in the arena of "manmade causes," all of which can be discovered in a short trip around the internet.

It is his attitude that really sticks in my craw. The debate over gravity might be a fun cocktail party conversation sometime, but the debate about GW is vastly more serious and one we "deniers" have every right to enter vocally. It's because nobody is trying to pass laws locally, nationally or internationally that will ruin our economy and many others over gravity. Nobody is awarding Nobel Peace Prizes to idiot politicians who lie about gravity on film. It's because "settled science" is becoming as big an oxymoron as "liberal intelligence," "government efficiency" and "government reduced health care costs."

No Safier, I don't believe the world is flat, but I do believe you and your kind need to get off your high horses and show some respect for those of us who don't worship at your alter and actually have the brain capacity to think for ourselves and not in lockstep with your party beliefs.

Cragg B. Utman, Oro Valley

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