Letters to the editor published in the Octover 21, 2009, edition of The Explorer.

Article suggests powerful lesson for the elected

I believe editor and publisher Dave Perry wrote an outstanding article in his Oct. 7 column, "A time to show up."

His comments were sensitive, respectful, philosophical and certainly appropriate in regard to the past debate among the Oro Valley council members, which was in reference to the forced resignation of Town Manager Dave Andrews. His comments also referred to the absence of some of the Oro Valley council members at the State of the Town luncheon at the Hilton El Conquistador, Sept. 29th.

He wrote about civility and respect and that, "Political leadership is the craft of compromise," and about winners and losers. Rather than quote many more of his remarks, I would highly recommend a must reading of his article in its entirety. His acute knowledge of political debate and resolution was clearly obvious.

In my view, his article suggests a powerful lesson, "How dedicated council members can truly represent his / her constituency, 101." Certainly, his comments were appropriate for all elected officials not only in Oro Valley, but for the civilized world.

Richy Feinberg, Marana

Bill shows we truly are living history

Gabrielle Giffords said the health care bill would be her opportunity to mark history — her "moon landing." Well, since those words were printed, the summer has indeed been an historical one. We hadn't seen anything quite like this since Nixon was president.

Now, we're going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose head said he doesn't understand it, and will be re-written behind closed doors, by we don't know whom, before being passed by a Congress that won't read it, but exempts themselves from it.

Signed by a president who also hasn't read it, and who smokes. Overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and a panel of bureaucrats who have no medical training. With funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, but is going to "reduce the massive budget deficit" without lowering costs.

And, since our country is broke, we're going to "bend the cost curve" and finance it by putting money into the economy from money taken out of the economy, and taxing it as it passes through.

Yeah, that should work. What possibly could go wrong?

Karen Schutte, Casas Adobes

Explorer is deserving of commendation

Tucked into the left hand corner of page 4 of the Oct. 14th edition of The Explorer is a brief column about the four awards that The Explorer just received from the Arizona Newspaper Association and the Arizona Associated Press Managing Editors.

Then on the editorial page Dave Perry commends a colleague for winning two very important awards for exercising freedom of the press in the face of adversity and personal threats.

I believe that Dave Perry and his staff also deserve to be commended for providing us with such an excellent newspaper every week. Their awards at this time, when newspaper publishing is under siege by bottom line publishers and an indifferent audience, are important.

I agree with Dave, newspapers do matter and do make a difference in our lives.

Kathi Sanders, SaddleBrooke

All Safier does is complain, rant and rave

Week after week Dave Safier does nothing but complain about Republicans, Conservatives, and anyone else who does not agree with his liberal rants and raves.

He puts down anyone who is not an Obama supporter as well as anyone who speaks against government-run health care in the town meetings, unprecedented government spending, or takes part in the growing, very popular Tea Parties.

He even depicts these groups as violent members of society taking orders from Glenn Beck, whom he calls the crown prince of village idiots. In other words, all the groups mentioned above are apparently "village idiots" since they do not agree with his liberal views.

Funny, the last time I looked at the election numbers, over 62 million people  did not  vote for Obama as well as the state of Arizona not voting for him.

Apparently, Mr. Safier can't accept any Obama or Democratic bashing, although he was free to bash Bush and Republicans for many years in his clueless columns. He attacks our Republican governor and never mentions the huge mess that the former Democratic governor left the state in. Of course, she is now making blunder after blunder in the current administration and will be replaced sooner or later.

All of us "idiots" who complain about big government, high taxes, Pelosi and Reid, a do-nothing Congress and Senate, and a weak President have something very much in common. That is the fact that we will never let our country continue down the path that the current administration is leading us.

We are not the minority but much rather the majority since our numbers grow daily. You, sir, can keep your czars, ACORN, Barney Frank, Pelosi and Reid and retreat to say, California, land of fruits and nuts. The rest of us "dangerous fools" will continue to do what is right and make this country great again.

A proud American.

Frank Sapone, Oro Valley

Money's not  answer to public school performance

Dave Safier in "The year of school funding with Al" implies: (1) Higher taxes are necessary to maintain our government educated students quality education; "(Az) has the lowest funding per student in the nation." (2) He denigrates the private schools with his Marie Antoinette analogy.

So, is it always money that is needed, or could it be something else? Just for giggles, let's compare California and Arizona. Statistics from: "Governing Source Book State & Local" http://sourcebook.governing.com and from "High School Dropout and Completion Rates In the United States 2007" http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/200964.pdf.

Arizona "is" the lowest per capita spending state at 50th. California is the 13th highest. California's personal income per capita was $41,580 or +26 percent more. California's spending per pupil was $8,834 or +55 percent more. California's spending as a percent of personal income per capita was 4.6 percent or +4.6 percent more. California's average teacher salary was $63,640 or +38.5 percent more! California spends +38.5 percent more on teacher salaries than Arizona.

California outspends us in numbers of dollars big time. But not as a per capita percent of personal income (only +4.6 percent) more. Personal income is what we have for taxes, what we make.

What do Arizona and California get for their money?

Arizona's government-educated students were surveyed by the Goldwater Institute in: "Freedom From Responsibility." Out of 10 questions from the U.S. Customs civics test, which the Arizona 8th grade academic course standards would prepare students to answer, 1 percent of students got seven of the 10 right! The USCS reports 92.4 percent of immigrants passed the citizenship test on the first try! The report shows that charter schools were no better than the government high schools overall. Private schools, 5 percent got seven of 10 right. None of them broke the MENSA barrier.

Arizona's averaged freshman graduation rates of public high school students: school year 2005-2006 was 70.5 percent. California's averaged freshman graduation rates of public high school students: school year 2005-2006 was 69.2 percent.

Money's not the answer, especially after reading "Acclaimed school ponders OV branch" on page one.

Kenneth W. Gareau, Oro Valley

Would hopefuls sign pledge on property tax?

There are several new candidates running for mayor and the three council positions in the upcoming election. There is at least one major issue that should be addressed directly: Property taxes.

Each of the new and incumbent candidates should be asked if he would be willing to sign a pledge not to raise our property taxes. In past elections, we have allowed the candidates to remain ambiguous on this issue. It's time for a straight answer.

Ray Lewandowski, Oro Valley

Wear a cycling helmet, no matter age, skill, place

Today I drove by an accident in Oro Valley involving bicycles and a truck. I hope there were no severe injuries, but it seems like an opportunity to address an important issue: helmets.

As an avid cyclist who has been hit by motor vehicles and fallen a few times due to weather, road conditions, or similar issues, I have escaped severe injury by wearing a helmet. My last accident was at low speeds on a dedicated bike path. I hit the ground hard, cracking my helmet in seven places. I escaped serious injury, but if I hadn't been wearing that helmet my injuries would have been far more severe.

No one expects an accident. It's easy to mistakenly believe a short trip on a bike path couldn't possibly result in severe injury.

In both Pima County and Tucson, children under 18 must wear a helmet. I see kids every day without helmets, yet, despite the law, I have never seen Tucson or Oro Valley police stop these children to talk to them about the importance of wearing helmets — and to remind them of the law.

This is a public safety issue and should be addressed. We can't expect others to promote safety for our children. We must do that at home and we should set an example by wearing helmets ourselves. No matter how hard your head may seem, it's not harder than concrete or a sharp rock.

Chris Kmotorka, Oro Valley

Melvin has no solution for AZ school funding

In a recent editorial, State Sen. Al Melvin offered his thoughts on education funding in Arizona. Let's see if I can summarize his position.

Other than the Republican majority in state government, everyone else is to blame for the current budgetary crisis our schools face. Immigrants, Acorn, SEIU and Planned Parenthood are to blame. School administrators are to blame. Parents and students are to blame for being too blind to see hidden agendas in materials sent home from their schools.

Thank you Mr. Melvin, because I definitely feel enlightened by this rehash of the usual GOP talking points. Nothing in your letter is recognizable as a solution.

Mr. Melvin argues that we spend $9,700 per pupil in the state. He is apparently either unaware or unwilling to acknowledge that Arizona ranks 50th in the nation in terms of per pupil spending. Furthermore, per pupil spending is 33 percent below the national average over time. These are not facts we should be proud of.

While money is not the answer to everything, data clearly suggest that those states that spend more have student outcomes that are far superior to Arizona's.

The facts are that the GOP-controlled Arizona Legislature has cut  education budgets repeatedly for almost two decades. Mr. Melvin voted "yes" to cuts in the education budget in both January 2009 and more recently for bill 2288 which cut again. For Mr. Melvin to accuse others of hiding behind the slogan "in the best interests of the children," while his own and his party's positions are antithetical to building strong educational institutions, is the height of hypocrisy. While railing against "progressives," Mr. Melvin's comments can be best characterized as regressive — hold others responsible for our woes while doing more harm by cutting state tax rates on corporations.

We need state legislators who are willing to work with the educators in their district to find solutions, not perceive those educators as the problem. So, Mr. Melvin, what do you actually plan to do about education funding? You say you want to hold others responsible. Its cliché, but those in glass houses…

Wendy Gamble, Oro Valley

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