Letters to the editor published in the June 3, 2009, edition of The Explorer.

Tucson official grateful for Oro valley water attention

Last week I visited the Town of Oro Valley at the request of Councilwoman Salette Latas, who invited me to present the City of Tucson's first-in-the-country rainwater and gray-water harvesting ordinances.

Oro Valley was having its budget hearings Wednesday night, so my presentation on water was given to a packed council chambers. It was a real pleasure to see the smiling face of Councilwoman Latas, the nodding head of Mayor Loomis, and the rest of the town council who are in the process of implementing their own rainwater and gray-water ordinances that will have similar implementation dates to ours in Tucson.

One of the town staff pulled us to the side after the meeting and thanked the city of Tucson, stating "without you all going first, we would not have been able to move this forward." At the end of our presentation we received a large applause from the residents of Oro Valley that were in attendance.

I want to give a big thank you to Councilwoman Latas, because Southern Arizona is in a state at the bottom of the Colorado River and in a region at the bottom of the Central Arizona Project, and water scarcity will continue to be an issue for us all.

Rodney Glassman, Tucson

Modern media are mouthpieces for Democrats

I do pay for "particularly good, credible information" (The Explorer, May 20). I subscribe to a daily, the Wall Street Journal, and a weekly, Business Week. I also read electronic media, starting with FoxNews.

I skip the online editions of virtually all newspapers and alphabet soup sites, since their alleged "news" is identical to that of their print editions. Virtually the entire modern media are mouthpieces for the Democrat Party.

Irrespective of whether print or otherwise, the radical bias, hatred, and opinion comes through loud and clear. Good, credible information is entirely absent. I refuse to pay for garbage.

While the Star is the local Democrat blurb I do buy the Sunday paper, as my wife wants the coupons. I do read it. Getting the radical perspective once a week is sufficient.

I find that week after week after week the Star never changes its tune. If it ever does, I'll buy it daily. Until then, I won't. And they wonder why the readership continually drops.

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley

Torture tears at fabric of nation from within

I write in response to a letter published in the May 27, 2009 edition of The Explorer entitled "Terrorists are a concern; elitists are frightening."

Whether practiced on American citizens, innocent bystanders, or terrorists, torture is torture. Waterboarding is more than simply "fear-inducing" and is in fact torture. It is the use of controlled but actual drowning. The fact that the victim doesn't actually die at the hands of the torturer, does not make it any less torture.

I reject your claim that terrorists have lost their humanity. And even animals should not be treated with such wanton disregard of basic rights and humane treatment while in the care and custody of people acting on behalf of this country.

Torture for the purpose of gathering intelligence information is not reliable or effective for extracting the truth. Torture does work for extracting false confessions. If we are seeking false support for forgone conclusions, torture is the perfect tool. It is in no way justified under any condition. Torture is a war crime and a crime against humanity. These actions should be prosecuted in a lawfully convened court.

I am the "high minded idealist" who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Torture is an enemy of the Constitution, and when practiced by US citizens it is a domestic enemy. Torture tears at the fabric of our nation from within.

Your answer to terrorism seems to be to practice terror on all who have the appearance of a terrorist, whether or not it is fact. Such a response makes this a terrorist nation, rather than the moral and ethical leader nation for the world that we claim to be.

I am a "high minded idealist" and no coward. I have the courage to stand for the rule of law. I am fearful for this nation because of the citizens of this nation who would wrap themselves in the flag while practicing torture.

Ray A. Green, US Naval Academy 1980, Marana

Thanks for not hitting 'monster' on Moore Road

I wanted to write to express thanks to all of the concerned residents in Oro Valley who stopped for the gila monster crossing Moore Road in the late afternoon of May 26th.

These animals are not only beautiful, but rare. They are even more rare to see out and about.

A few of us got out to slow traffic down, as this beautiful creature was in the middle of the lanes and could have easily been smashed by fast drivers not paying attention. All of the drivers slowed down, some "oohed and awed" out their windows.

Finally, we had a brave soul who was able to move the gila monster back into the desert. It was a nice showing of camaraderie among humans for an innocent animal. It reminded me that there are still good people out there who aren't afraid to spend a few moments to care for something so innocent and vulnerable to our busy ways.

Thanks to all those who stopped and cared. And to all drivers out there — please watch out for the little creatures who we share our world with.

Sara Pike, Oro Valley

Tax credits help mom send two to private school

I am repeatedly seeing letters written by teachers and administrators for the public schools in our area complaining about the availability of tax credits for private schools.

The maximum tax credit per household for private school tuition is $1,000. According to KVOA news, the cost to educate a child in Arizona is roughly $6,000.

Instead of looking at this as a loss of $1,000 for your overly bureaucratic public school system, you should consider it a gain. Let me break it down for you.

I have two children who attend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School. I have a maximum tax credit of $1,000. It would cost you $12,000 to educate my two children. I am saving you $11,000.

Public schools aren't getting the job done, and freedom of religion has been twisted into freedom from religion. I appreciate getting a little bit of my tax money back to seek out education alternatives.

Angela Puffer, Oro Valley

OV should give library to Pima County's district

From Feb. 4 through May 4, I served as an appointed member of the Oro Valley Library Public Library Review Task Group. I resigned as a member of that library committee effective May 4.

In FY2009-'10, Oro Valley taxpayers will be making a tax payment of $2.35 million for the Pima County Free Library Tax for the operation of the Pima County Free Library District, composed of 27 branches.

Eleven of these 27 branches were former City of Tucson library branches that were turned over to the PCLD in an intergovernmental agreement in 2006.

The Oro Valley Library is currently classified as an "affiliate" of the PCLD. This means the town needs to project a budget of $1.25 million in FY 2010 from the Oro Valley general fund to pay for the operation of the affiliate Oro Valley Public Library.

The Pima County Free Library District is projected to reimburse the Oro Valley General Fund only $626,284 of that town budget even though Oro Valley taxpayers will contribute $2.35 million to PCLD.

Oro Valley taxpayers must make tax payments to the Pima County Free Library District as required by law. The town expects taxpayers to also fund the operation of the Oro Valley Public Library "affiliate" status through its general fund. This is double taxation for Oro Valley taxpayers.

This leaves a budget "shortfall" to the Oro Valley taxpayers general fund of $625,122.

The town is facing an estimated $4.2 million budget deficit. The town is looking to cover the budget "shortfall" through a number of actions. One of these actions is a reduction of town jobs.

In my opinion, Oro Valley can no longer justify paying double taxation for the Oro Valley Public Library "affiliate" status from the general fund while cutting people's jobs.

In my opinion, the only viable option is to turn over the Oro Valley Public Library to the Pima County Free Library District.

The town council should start work to create an intergovernmental agreement to turn over the Oro Valley library to the Pima County Free Library District.

John Musolf,Oro Valley

OV prevents crime, without property taxes

It has been some time since I have written a letter to the editor. However, the recent letters written by Mr. Allum and Mr. and Mrs. Ryan compel me to set the record straight.

As to Mr. Allum's comment on the tax imposed by the council, does he know that Oro Valley has no property tax whatsoever, and that this tax goes to Pima County? Has he looked at the sewer tax, which the county has increased 100 percent in the past two years?

As far as the "no crime" situation in Oro Valley, the two goals of any police department are a quick response time and the prevention of crimes. As he stated, Oro Valley is a low-crime town because past and present police chiefs embrace the philosophy of crime prevention, which requires adequate manpower, something that the former council members supported.

As to Mr. and Mrs. Ryan, take-home vehicles enable officers to respond to traffic accidents or crime scenes immediately, thus not having to gear up at the station, wasting precious moments when lives are in the balance.

I would like to know where the accusation of misuse of seizure funds comes from. There are very clear federal laws dealing with the use and misuse of seizure funds, and they cannot be used to supplant general funds of the town.

Werner S. Wolff, Oro Valley

Mr. Wolff is a retired Oro Valley police chief and town councilman.

Sell state lands,but cut funding forveducation?

Mr. Winkelman says that under his leadership the Arizona State Lands Department earned record amounts of money for the state schools trust.

Selling state lands for the benefit of Arizona education is laudable. I question why, with this $382 million received in fiscal 2008, our Republican-led legislature is intent on cutting the education budget.

Could it be that the $382 million from the sale of state lands is subtracted from the state education budget so that the budget remains the same?

Phil Gibbs, Oro Valley

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