Letters to the editor published in the June 17, 2009, edition of The Explorer.

Survey tries to reach all of OV

This letter is in response to the May 6 opinion piece written by Oro Valley Town Council Member Salette Latas entitled "Survey takes OV pulse without expense."

Council member Latas should be commended for her efforts in reaching out to Oro Valley residents and wanting to learn more about their wishes and desires pertaining to how the town operates. However, her article has several inaccuracies and misrepresentations that should be addressed.

Our company, Marketing Intelligence, had the privilege of working with the Oro Valley Town Council in providing them with a community survey that was based on industry standards in terms of methodology, survey question writing and data analysis.

It is important for the residents of Oro Valley to know that in our meetings with the survey sub-committee (consisting of town council member KC Carter and former council members Helen Dankwerth and Terry Parish), the group felt very strongly that they represent all residents of Oro Valley, and not just those who are registered to vote. As such, the research methodology needed to be inclusive of all town residents, making the use of the voter registration list as the sole source of potential survey participants insufficient. This resulted in a telephone survey using a list of registered voters and a supplemental list of residents with Oro Valley addresses, all of whom were subsequently screened at the very beginning of the survey.

In keeping with sound survey design principles and the sub-committee's explicit desires to ensure that the survey was completely unbiased, any questions and / or potential responses that could in any way be perceived as leading were to be re-worded or eliminated. Additionally, each committee member made it apparent that the survey results were to be used by the entire town and should not reflect any of their personal research desires.

The entire town council wanted a survey and subsequent data analysis that was 1) representative, 2) based on solid research methodology, 3) unbiased and 4) touched on a variety of subject matters that are important to town residents. We feel that we have delivered exactly what was asked for and are fortunate to have worked with such a professional client, not only in the three council members mentioned above, but also Mayor Paul Loomis and council members Paula Abbott, William Garner and Al Kunisch, all of whom asked insightful questions pertaining to the methodology and survey results at the presentation of findings.

Chris Baker, Marketing Intelligence, Tucson

Where were the Memorial flags? Let's fly on 4th

Where were the American flags?

Over the past Memorial Day I was very disappointed in the lack of American flags being flown. My neighborhood, one of several in Continental Reserve, was represented by no more than a dozen homes flying the flag.

Several Air Force families call this home, and I know that we have families with troops deployed. Here's hoping that the next holiday, the Fourth of July, sees an increase in homeowners willing to at least put out some of the smaller ones if they don't want to put one on their homes.

Paul Bird, Marana

In match of wits, both sides are partially right

My friend Emil Franzi seems to be in a match of wits with local Democrat leaders Robert Cozad and Mike Dayton over education legislation.

Mr. Cozad started this match by stating that teachers no longer have a right to assemble at the state capitol.

Emil states that the measure only penalizes teachers who lobby on district time. Both positions are partially true.

15-504 from SB-1187 does not prevent teachers from lobbying during working hours. If a teacher chooses to lobby during "regular" school hours then they have to reimburse their district for substitute pay.

The term "regular" in conjunction with "substitute" does not mean "district time" but "student time." This does not prevent teachers from lobbying when a substitute is not required. This could fall within district hours.

I am opposed to lobbying while working. That would include the whole teacher day. I am also in favor of total disclosure. That means every legislator must state if he or she owns a day care center before voting to get rid of full-day kindergarten, or if they profit directly from voucher programs. I wonder why conservatives are against this.

Emil believes the argument over teacher notification deadlines was a political ploy on the part of one side to make the other side look anti-education. The conservative position would have forced districts to break the law.

The deadlines to notify administrators remain while the deadlines for teachers have been removed. Why?

These amendments coming from far-right conservatives go way beyond budget issues and mainstream Arizona – they are focused solely on ideology. They have used the budget situation to push an agenda.

Not only are administrators offered protections that were taken away from teachers but they pushed through an amendment that removed all certification requirements for superintendents.

The only requirement left is a finger print card.

The fact that 15-203.A.14 has gone unnoticed means the media has dropped the ball again. To be fair, the Senate did not include it in their "fact sheet" for some reason.

Emil knows all too well what can happen when a district hires an unqualified superintendent.

Andy Morales, Tucson

OV must keep control of its public library

In response to Mr. John Musolf's June 3 "You Say" column (OV Should Give Library to Pima County's District, pg 16).

Mr. Musolf wants our town to give away a $7 million asset, which includes our meeting rooms and many of our programs and activities.

He fails to mention that would include as many as 30 percent of the books we asked for and paid for. As just another branch, our books, checked out through other libraries, would stay with them. The current collection policy requires our books be returned to us. Books and furniture of our library are valued at close to $2 million.

Then, there's the building. We would still be responsible for paying the $184,000 per year mortgage – on a building we would no longer control. We would also lose the income from the semi-annual book sales (approx. $20,000 per year) and resident gifting which seems to increase each year.

Furthermore, Mr. Musolf doesn't seem to realize that the county board lowered our secondary tax from $2.35 million to $1.8 million for 2009 – 2010. Of course, that would most likely be raised if they added the costs of our library to their responsibilities.

And what do you suppose would happen to our ratings? The Hennen American Public Library Evaluation rates our OV Library at 93 percent. The Pima County Library system is rated at 49 percent.

Also, according to a January town survey, our library is the #1 service provided by Oro Valley. No surprise, since we're told that we're a more educated, higher income area, with higher home valuations than much of the county.

As it is, we've expected more from our library and we've been gratefully receiving it. We aspire to the best and I believe our children deserve it.

Really, do we really want Pima County to hire our employees, select our books and not be answerable to our council? Sacrificing our long-term investments for a short-term fix is not good economic policy.

A permanent, 18-year resident and avid library user,

Arlene Lehto, Oro Valley

Terrorists sworn to destroy our civilization

Re: Grant Winston on waterboarding.

I suggest that when embellishing, indeed rewriting the history of WWII and Japanese atrocities from the relative safety of suburban Marana, you include the full story.

The Bataan Death March was little more than murder while walking. The Japanese were ruthless and sadistic, whether raping and pillaging occupied cities such as Nanking, beheading for the fun of it against supposedly inferior races, and spreading false propaganda to their civilians regarding U.S. soldiers which caused many to jump to their deaths on Okinawa in 1945.

The object of the torture perpetuated on U.S. and allied military were actually meant to torture and kill the victim. At Gitmo, nobody has died as a result of waterboarding.

Additionally, the Geneva Conventions do not apply to terrorists who routinely hide in the civilian population and don't wear a uniform. Once again, our moral supremacy does not require suicidal self-loathing and assuaging collective guilt by coddling murderous terrorists sworn to destroy our civilization.

In the context of the time of the waterboarding episode, we were under attack and vulnerable. Taking our actions at the time out of context is self-destructive.

Islam means submission. Dhimmitude is the future of our culture for your high sounding, self-destructive principles.

David Hampton, Oro Valley

OV library is of real value to community

Does John Musolf, who recently returned for the summer to his home in Wisconsin, realize the value of its local library?

Currently, according to a town survey, the Oro Valley library is one of the highest rated services provided by the town.

Oro Valley citizens value their lifestyle, living conditions and their good fortune to live here. We expect quality, which is what our library gives us.

Mr. Musolf appears to want us to give away a $7 million asset. If we allow the county to take over the facility we will still be paying our library tax, plus a yearly charge, for a minimum of three years, to the county. This amount could equal $1.5 million over that same three-year period. The current library district tax for 2009-2010 is projected to be $1.8 million (not $2.35 million), of which approximately one-third is returned to the town to help run the library.

Currently our Oro Valley librarians purchase the books we want or need. If we become a branch of the Pima County system, the county would select and purchase materials. If we become a branch of said system, could our locally purchased books be fed into the county and permanently lost to our local facility? Can we stand to lose as much as 30 percent of our locally purchased books, many of which are bought by our Friends of the Library and not from town funds? Would our Friends of the Library want to continue to purchase books that could disappear into a county system?

Pima County officials would be setting policy for our local library, and the employees would not be answerable to the OV Town Council, even though they are employed in our OV facility. Would we lose access to our community center for other than county-sanctioned events?

The financial value of the library, and the cost of maintenance, are great, but the value to the community is greater. Are we being shortsighted in accepting a long-term solution to a short-term problem? Turning over the library to an out-or-town entity is a permanent, irreversible solution to a temporary problem.

Judith Kuhel, Oro Valley

This letter was shortened – Ed.

Nothing wrong with empathy, but it's not first thing

Whoa. The fuzzy-thinking Dave Safier has it wrong again.

President Obama said in his nomination that we shouldn't look at Judge Sotomayer's qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice, but rather look at her background and her empathy. It's not unreasonable that conservatives and, as a matter of fact, any thinking person should take umbrage at that.

This is not about empathy or "anti-empathy."

Suppose your airline captain says, "Good morning. I'm not qualified to fly the airplane and I don't have much experience, either. But I grew up poor and will really empathize with you if we crash."

Or your neurosurgeon says, "I'm not adequately trained. But I'm Hispanic and empathetic, so I'll feel your pain if we have a complication."

Or Sergio Garcia says to the Masters committee, "I know Tiger shot a better score, but I'm Hispanic and therefore disadvantaged. Therefore, I should get the green jacket. And maybe we should just rotate who gets it from here on."

I exaggerate a bit to make a point. But, the first thing any responsible employer does when hiring is to make certain the person has the training, reasoning skills, experience, attentiveness and, in some cases, the manual dexterity skills to do the job well and safely. After those hurdles are crossed, finding someone who's empathetic to other people's needs is a fine thing.

The point is, we conservatives know plenty about empathy. But we know that in any responsible endeavor, intelligence, training, reasoning ability, experience, and dexterity come first. If we can find all that, then finding some empathy is a good thing, but only then. It's a matter of priorities.

Judge Sotomayer may or may not be a good candidate. So far, nobody has given us much information about her. All I know is that she's female, of Hispanic descent and empathetic. OK, nothing wrong with any of that.

What I want to know, is she well-educated, well-reasoned, experienced and cool under fire? Are her previous decisions based upon constitutional law, logical, and written with clarity?

When I know nor about those things I'll be better able to determine whether she's a good candidate for the Supreme Court.

Stephen Vanourny, Marana

No Fourth of July event? No surprise

The news that Oro Valley will not have a town-sponsored Independence Day celebration as reported in last week's Explorer should come as no surprise. As mayor Paul Loomis stated, "We made our decision in January."

Other council members proposed that "the request for funding fell outside the normal community group funding cycle." That recently established cycle leaves no room for the long-term planning required for a "signature event."

For the eight years that GOVAC and the Town of Oro Valley presented the event, planning started in September. The rejection of a funding request in January, followed by a further turn-down for a smaller holiday event several months later, left GOVAC unable to present a "Fourth Event" in 2009. In no way did GOVAC "abandon us" as stated by Council member Bill Garner in your article.

We can understand how the budget problems could cause him and the council to decide it could not help fund the event. However, it is the public and the hundreds of volunteers (of whom we are just two) who made this event a success and who were "left high and dry." We who have given those hours understand the council's frustrations, but are saddened by the "name game." The fact is that GOVAC tried and we assume the council did as well in January. So, it is the state of the economy that is the culprit.

The financial cycle will correct and hopefully the Town of Oro Valley's funding cycle will accommodate long-term planning for an event that brings long-term and patriotic memories to the community.

Robert and Vivian Weede, Oro Valley

School vouchers give choice, and choice is fair

In response to Dave Safier's article, "A school voucher is a school voucher…," I have to say that there is nothing democratic about the Democratic Party. We must lock step, Nazi style with the NEA and its agenda.

As a retired teacher from California public schools who paid school taxes but sent my children to private schools, I know of what I speak. There is no room at all for parental preferences for our children's education. Parents who cannot afford public education are compelled to send their children to drug-infested and violent schools with administrators who are more concerned about litigation than academics.

David Safier is wrong in supposing that the goal of conservatives is to privatize education. Parents, conservative or otherwise, want a safe, academic, drug-free school. They don't want the gay, lesbian lifestyle or any other lifestyle to be forced on their children. School is not about social engineering.

The actual goal here is to squash any deviation from the party line. I worked in an environment where the teacher's union was allowed free rein to promulgate its program with no discussion allowed. In California, even home schooling is suspect.

Why is Mr. Safier afraid of choice and some equitable help for those who can't escape a deplorable school situation? Vouchers give a choice. Choice is fair.

Marilynn Neville, Tucson

Federal money for Steam Pump? 'Ugly practice'

Regarding Congresswoman Giffords' request for earmark funds for Steam Pump Ranch: "There she goes again."

Congresswoman Giffords typifies much that is wrong with Washington. She cannot help but feed from the pubic trough. I do not want the tax money I send to the federal government being used for pork barrel payouts. This ugly practice has to stop.

I have e-mailed her office regarding this issue and have received no reply of course. We as tax payers must take a stand here and now and reject these funds.

When the Republican mayor of Marana endorsed Giffords for Congress, I was at first puzzled. Then I saw the pork money she secured for Marana and I can clearly see why he endorsed her. This practice is obscene and must end.

Thank you for your time.

John Bezel, Oro Valley

Do voters want loss of $5M to state's budget?

Dear editor,

I read about the legislators' action on the school vouchers / "tuition tax credits" in both dailies, The Star and The Republic, but it took reading Dave Safier's column in your June 10 Explorer to add the detail and really clarify the issue for me.

A big thank you to you both and a question: Do we voters really want this $5 million loss of corporate taxes from our state budget?

Sincerely, Mary Wilson

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