Prison labor works fine in Florence

This letter was sent to Sen. Al Melvin. – Ed.

I am a Registered Republican voter in your district. I want to congratulate you on a fine response to the criticism you have received regarding your stance on using DOC inmate labor at public schools.

Just last week I was in Florence, and witnessed inmate labor working at Florence High School, landscaping the grounds of the school as students walked to their classes. This is a common scene, and has never presented a problem, to my knowledge. Florence is a "prison town," the residents approve of this practice so that the inmates learn work skills and discipline.

Your response indicates that you have researched this issue, as you directed folks to the DOC web page for more information. Nice job.

Joe Glen, Tucson

Anti-tax, but she'll cast a vote for 100

Let me start by saying I am an anti-tax, small-government voter. But after doing my homework, I will vote for Proposition 100.

I see the passage of this proposition as an investment in the future of Arizona. A quality education is the driver of long-term productivity and prosperity (tax revenue). A strong education system is also a recruiting tool for corporations and businesses. Many corporations seeking a new home might look askance at Arizona and think "If the state won't invest in themselves, why should we?" Therefore, I think all Arizonans have a vested interest in this proposition and the ancillary benefits it will provide.

Deirdre Kochanski, Tucson

Temporary sales tax not answer to Arizona's woe

I read Vic Williams' opinion piece in the Explorer, and while I appreciate the history of how we got into this mess, I disagree with your conclusion that the temporary sales tax is the answer.

This temporary tax is just a way to push the problem into the future. It would be nice to think that our economy will improve, and it certainly may. It is unrealistic to think that we would return to the economy that we had during the housing boom. The cure, as painful as it is, is to permanently adjust spending to income.

People need to understand that there is no large source of money to use when times get tough. If the current state revenue is $7.2 billion, then that is what we have to spend. When the economy is better, the state needs to exercise fiscal responsibility so that this type of situation doesn't happen again. The tax is just another way of ducking the issue, and I will not be voting for it.

Jack Friedman, Tucson

Zinkin better man to take care of OV

Although Oro Valley elections are nonpartisan, many citizens have received an e-mail from a gentleman (nonresident of Oro Valley) recommending we vote for the Republican mayoral candidate, Hiremath.

This e-mailing gentleman is assuring us that because Hiremath is a Republican, he would be fiscally responsible. Not so.

Normally, Republicans are more fiscally responsible, however our town council Republicans have a record of overtaxing and reckless spending.

For example, the utility tax increased through council members Kunisch, Dankwerth, Parish and Mayor Loomis was designed to end April, 2009. Regrettably, the Republican Council, knowing this is a tax on our necessities, water, gas and electricity, voted to extend the tax. They keep on taxing.

Hiremath's records show that he may have the same "easy spending, easy taxing" tendencies. As a board member of GOVAC, he came before the Oro Valley Town Council seeking a $60,000 handout to balance the GOVAC budget. How do we know that Hiremath won't repeat similar scenarios if elected to mayor?

In addition to concerns of overspending, there is an unusual situation with Hiremath's endorsements; he is endorsed mainly by Tucson city organizations or non-Oro Valley residents: Tucson Chamber of Commerce; the Tucson Association of Realtors; the North Tucson Firefighters; Oro Valley Fraternal Order of Police (not necessarily Oro Valley residents) and Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce. I go on record as a loyal supporter of all firefighters, policemen and their fraternities. However, our town of Oro Valley needs to vote for a mayor who will focus on Oro Valley issues, budgets, organizations and government obligations.

Previously, our leaders have financially supported organizations from outside Oro Valley and disregarded the will of the people. In this election, we hope to rectify the misplace loyalty as well as change the overtaxing and overspending problem. That is why Mike Zinkin is the better candidate for mayor.

This election is about taking care of Oro Valley.

Linda Johnson, Oro Valley

Candidates are in sales, not management

Where will Oro Valley be in 2-5-10 years? Who will lead us there?

The goal of effective community leadership, if solely placed in the lap of elected officials, will remain unfulfilled. It always helps to remember that political candidates are in sales, not management, and that well done is better than well said.

In 2003, a Pew Research survey revealed that 93 percent of Americans said that working together on community issues leads to better results. When asked what would most improve life in the community, 40 percent said working together compared to 14 percent who cited voting.

The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it. The leadership required must come from different people, at different times, and from those with different perspectives. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they want to go quicker because they are moving on the energy of one another. Leadership and learning are interdependent.

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy announced a vision of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the decade is out." On July 20, 1969, the vision was fulfilled. It required extensive teamwork, an integration of knowledge, and tremendous synergy. But it all started with a clear vision.

High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectations. The condition of our community is as good as we residents permit. If we are displeased with where we are, then it is incumbent upon us to change direction.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "Every private citizen has a public duty." Oro Valley has many talented residents with the time, knowledge, and skills to help create our future. Now we must find the candidates for elected office who are willing and able to use this talent effectively. Past practices are best used as guideposts rather than hitching posts.

Stephen Fansler, Oro Valley

Prop 100 is a bridge to a brighter future

Registered voters can pump up the state economy by voting Yes on 100.

Your vote will keep millions of dollars of matching U.S. government funding in our state economy.

If voters agree to make an investment of close to $1B each year for three years, resources for our state's prison system, health care services, the courts, public safety including fire/rescue and police forces as well as education will be protected by passing a temporary sales tax of 1 percent.

By voting Yes, you choose to prevent the loss of $107M to the universitysystem.

The magnitude and severity of the state budget shortfall is so great. Voters must realize that Arizona can no longer afford inaction.

Over 20,500 public and private jobs in Arizona may be lost if Proposition 100 does not pass on May 18th. If voters do not pass the temporary sales tax, the state will slash $867.5 million, Arizona will also lose an additional $442.5 million in federal matching funds, according to UA Eller School of Management economist Alberta Charney.

No one enjoys paying a higher sales tax, but to do otherwise would be too costly. The price to our quality of life would be much greater should Prop 100 fail.

This measure was punted to the voters by the GOP-led Legislature while the state has been teetering on financial collapse.

On March 4, Gov. Jan Brewer called on the GOP leaders in the State Senate and State House of Representatives to raise much-needed revenue via a temporary 1 percent sales tax increase. They refused. Had they passed this measure over a year ago, the state would have already raised almost $1 billion.

Statewide cuts impact our local community. If Prop 100 fails, there will be $10.3 million in cuts that will impact Marana schools. If Prop 100 passes, there will still be $5.6 million in cuts that will impact Marana schools.

This option is a bridge to a brighter future. As a stakeholder in our state, make the responsible choice and vote Yes on 100.

Milani Llorin Hunt, Marana

Tell OV council to appoint fresh, new leadership

Residents of Oro Valley will have a chance to change our town council for better or for worse in about a month.

A new council will be made up of a new mayor plus two new councilmen, the newly-elected Mary Snider, and two veteran council members, Barry Gillaspie and Bill Garner. In addition, Pat Spoerl was appointed last fall to the Abbott seat. It is hoped that the fair, diligent, and even–tempered Spoerl will consider staying on to complete the last two years of the Latas term.

Those who want to be considered for filling in the remaining two years of the Latas term have until May 19 to sign up. A new council will decide on the appointment this June.

Voters were recently appalled to hear that lame duck Mayor Loomis wants to be considered for the Latas seat. He must think the public's memory is like a sieve.

Loomis led the council for 12 years. When business was better, he favored giving over $50 million as "incentives" to developers, asked for higher utility taxes, and left us a big box mall after promising something "upscale and unique."

That was just the tip of the iceberg. Loomis and Councilman K. C. Carter orchestrated the dismissal of David Andrews, Oro Valley's esteemed town manager, who tried his best to run a tight ship. During this past winter people became so disenchanted that they remembered at the polls in March and decisively voted out Loomis and Carter.

Please tell council to appoint fresh new leadership.

Tina Zayhowski, Oro Valley

Dealing with Zinkin makes everyone angry

Dr. Satish Hiremath is our choice for mayor of the Town of Oro Valley.

Dr. Satish Hiremath has a successful dentistry business, and is a very active volunteer, leading GOVAC for several years. His business is thriving. GOVAC has matured into a successful regional organization under his guidance. Both jobs require detailed financial planning and personnel interaction. Getting consensus is mandatory. Leadership skills are required — working with people is the job.

Mike Zinkin was an air traffic controller for many years and has been a baseball umpire for 40 years. I have no doubt that he was a very fine air traffic controller and that he is a great baseball umpire; you can't do those badly or you are not asked to continue. They require one to make repeated, instantaneous, black and white decisions without consulting anyone. The decisions must be communicated instantly as unquestioned orders. No leadership skills are required to guide airplanes or to call strikes.

Mr. Zinkin interacts with our homeowners association —with mostly legitimate concerns — more than anyone else in our tract. Every time he does so, he does it in such a manner that everyone gets angry. The natural response is to just say no. If Mr. Zinkin were elected to the HOA board, we would resign immediately. He's impossible to work with.

Seven years ago, Mr. Zinkin was on the HOA board. He and another board member were censured after they cost the HOA several thousand dollars by their actions. They escaped being sued for malfeasance on a technicality. He has not served on that board since.

Dr. Satish Hiremath is clearly our choice to lead Oro Valley as mayor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the Canada Hills Village 15 Homeowners Association.

Douglas Forester, Harry Wells, Burton Jordon, Oro Valley

Zinkin shows interest in the town’s welfare

As Oro Valley voters decide between Mike Zinkin and Satish Hiremath in the upcoming mayoral election, it would be prudent to consider a few things.

Mayor Loomis came in last in the primary, meaning that Oro Valley taxpayers had had enough of a mayor who catered to the whims of special interest groups. Loomis is now endorsing Hiremath, who is endorsed by several special interest groups, the majority of which are not even located in Oro Valley. Where is the logic in replacing Loomis with another mayor who is connected to special interests?

One should also compare and contrast the records of Zinkin versus Hiremath.

Mike Zinkin has shown a consistent interest in the welfare of our town. He spent four years on the Oro Valley Development Review Board and has extensive knowledge of our general plan and zoning codes. As chairman of the DRB for two years, Zinkin has experience running a town meeting. He is also a graduate of the Citizens Planning Institute.

In addition, Zinkin also attended boards and commissions training given by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, served on the Steam Pump Ranch Task Force, was a member of the Capital Improvement Committee and has worked with the town attorney, the chief of police and the town engineer in matters pertaining to town code violations and public safety.

In contrast, Hiremath has no experience in municipal government. He has never held a position on a town board or commission and has never even attended CPI classes.

Add to this that Hiremath stated that he never attends town council meetings because “they’re too frustrating.” His pattern of showing a disinterest in Oro Valley government was apparent again during the January budget retreat when he failed to return for the afternoon session. Perhaps the budget discussions were also too frustrating.

Voters should also be aware that Hiremath has declined Zinkin’s request to hold a public mayoral debate. If Hiremath truly believes that he is the superior candidate, he should be welcoming a debate rather than making excuses to avoid one.

Diane Peters, Oro Valley

Mayor is not lone voice for Town of Marana

The only Since the April 6 Marana council meeting it is painfully clear that the communication problem doesn’t lay with Pima County’s Board of Supervisors, but with The Mayor of Marana, Ed Honea.

It is appalling the arrogance the mayor has referring “He” is the Town of Marana, (Arizona Daily Star April 15, 2010). There are six other people that sit alongside him making decisions and five regarding the “dump” issue. These people have been voted into their positions just as he has. There is no “I” in team. He says he intends to respect regulatory and environmental agencies but he will not respect the county the town is in? There is something wrong with that picture.

Since 911 people want transparency and they want government municipalities to work together for the safety of people.

God help his family who live in Honea Heights if he thinks they will not be harmed by a “privately” owned dump. “He” nor the TOM will be able to deny imported trash trucked in. It is the law.

It should be perfectly clear to the other council members by Mayor Honea’s statement “I don’t interfere in the county’s day-to-day operations. Don’t interfere in mine,” that he could care less what any of them think just as long as they fall in line with his and Kai’s agenda.

It is time the rest of them put him in his place and make it painfully clear to him that they are just as important to the “day to day operations” for the TOM. Their vote is right around the corner on the annexation, and if they vote “no” at this time, not only would they show their integrity by being “good stewards” of the land, they would definitely show Mayor Honea he is not “the voice” of Marana, but they all are as a collective.

Mayor Honea and Herb Kai need to be held accountable for their statements and/or actions regarding the total disregard for people’s health and welfare. I hope they will come back to haunt and bite them when election time rolls around.

Melissa Rohlik

Hiremath ad disingenuous, misleading

On April 22, a disturbing advertisement, paid for by the “Dr. Satish Hiremath for Oro Valley Mayor Committee,” appeared in the Northwest section of the Arizona Daily Star. It stated: “Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, agree: Dr. Satish Hiremath is the best qualified candidate in the non-partisan election for Mayor of Oro Valley.”

This ad would be humorous if it weren’t so alarming. Humorous because, of course, there is no evidence presented for the supposed conclusion, and therefore could be perceived as just silly. But it is alarming because one wonders if this is the kind of consensus that Satish Hiremath professes he will build in the town council and within the Town of Oro Valley.

Will he just say that something is true despite evidence to the contrary or a complete absence of evidence? One is reminded of others’ attempts at this type of mis/dis-information: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction;” “Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen;” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

What evidence did Satish Hiremath collect to support his conclusion? How did he collect it? This is of some concern because he has made it clear that he doesn’t like to attend meetings. As mayor, how will he gather information and opinions for making decisions and for presenting the point of view of the Town of Oro Valley? Although meetings are not always the best or most efficient way to collect information, they can be an effective and transparent means of doing so. Will he simply decide what he thinks is correct or appropriate and then present it as if others agreed with him or as if his conclusions were correct?

Everyone should be concerned about this matter because his advertisement is decidedly disingenuous and misleading.

Barbara Ansell, Oro Valley

Writer takes fiction to the level of absurd

I too am an avid fan of Larry McMurtry’s novels of the Old West, including Lonesome Dove. But for your extreme rightwing columnist to construe a fictional portrayal of turbulent Texas in the 1870s as the preferred standard to measure immigration policy in 21st-century Arizona is, to use the columnist’s word, absurd.

Yet his column does show either how the far right actually does aspire to turn the clock back 140 years as we on the left have been saying, or your rightwing columnist really considers his readership so ignorant and unthinking as to be persuadable of formulating policy opinions based on how characters in a novel might behave.

Leaving aside that the Comanche had their own immigration policies relative to the real-life white invaders, and a Comanche could not possibly have produced a U.S. government residency document for a Texas Ranger who would not shoot first and ask questions later, let’s keep the discussion on a level your columnist understands – fiction.

Mr. McMurtry wrote another Old West novel, By Sorrow’s River, in which he created the character of Takes Bones, an Acoma also known as “The Ear Taker” for his penchant of avenging past atrocities perpetrated by whites against Acoma. He would slice off a white person’s ear whenever he saw the opportunity. This he did so skillfully and stealthily that no white, even his victims, ever had a good look at him. Thus “The Ear Taker” could mingle among the whites in their towns indistinguishable from all the other peaceful Native Americans.

If it’s not asking more than he can give, perhaps your far right columnist could think about that. If it’s too much to ask, perhaps he could just simply think, about something, anything.

Grant Winston, Marana

Let’s keep OV politics, votes as non-partisan

In the April 7 cover story (Latas third to resign OV seat since November), Salette was said to have injected partisanship politics into the town’s non-partisan election.

That was not the first time it ever happened. Two years before, during the 2006 run for council, the Oro Valley Republican Club sent out a red, white and blue postcard complete with a cute elephants to every Republican household in Oro Valley. The postcard’s sole purpose was to identify three Republican candidates and tell Republicans

to vote for “Cox, Culver and Kunisch.”

That tactic didn’t necessarily help all of those candidates.

Interestingly, incumbent Councilman K. C. Carter, also a Republican, was running in ’06 but was ignored by his own party. He was not a part of the team that dreamed up party support for the three R’s.

I admire the fact that many candidates and voters in Oro Valley reserve their partisanship if any – for district, state and national elections.

What’s best for Oro Valley should have nothing to do with political parties. Voting wisely involves getting to know the candidates, studying issues, and talking to your neighbors – no matter what their bumper stickers have to say.

Citizens of this town ought to be able to engage in civil discourse and not revert to the secrecy and nastiness that all-too-often invade talk shows, blogs and party politics.

Let’s keep Oro Valley non-partisan.

Kathleen Pastryk, Oro Valley

Zinkin’s view reflects the needed balance

I read with great surprise Jill Anderson’s letter “No way Zinkin a pro-business OV candidate.” As a fellow member of the Oro Valley Development Review Board, I’ve viewed Ms. Anderson as a reasonable colleague, so her letter seemed out of character.

Ms. Anderson used the May 12, 2009, DRB meeting when “Wal-Mart requested a paint color change” to show Mike Zinkin as not being pro-business while chair of the DRB. Meeting minutes (accessible on the town’s web-site) reveal that Ms. Anderson got her facts completely wrong. The minutes report Ms. Anderson was not present at this meeting, yet she describes what happened. Mike was not the meeting chairperson, Tom Gribb was. Town staff actually recommended against granting the color change because it “was not in compliance with the approved MACP.” Mike made no motion denying Wal-Mart’s request. I did, because granting the request “would violate the trust of the people in the community.”

The minutes don’t reflect Mike made comments on the issue, only that I, Chairperson Gribb and member Buette (who supported Wal-Mart) did so. The staff recommendation passed 5-1.

Ms. Anderson has a right to her opinion, but I believe her allegation is only as credible as the example she cites supporting it. I served on the board during most of Mike’s tenure as chairperson and never observed what Ms. Anderson alleges. He sometimes asked applicants questions they may have not been comfortable having raised, because the design guideline element was being violated. All members of the board have an obligation to raise such questions.

Mike Zinkin’s perspective represents the balance citizens of Oro Valley need in its mayor — the understanding the town must become more supportive of business, while maintaining reasonable development standards that make our community the livable place we all enjoy. Mike Zinkin’s actual record reveals that’s the person he is, not the person Ms. Anderson inaccurately portrayed.

Michael R. Schoeppach, Oro Valley

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