Letters to the editor published in the May 27, 2009, edition of The Explorer.
Terrorists are a concern; elitists are frightening
When practiced on a terrorist, fear, whether it is waterboarding or some other fear-inducing act, is not torture.
Today's modern terrorist, embodied in the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist, has crossed a line that makes them less than human. They have lost their humanity, and any claim to any sort of humane treatment as a result of their terrorism.
As far as I am concerned, the only question regarding so-called torture is its efficacy. If it works, it should be considered for modern terrorists. Otherwise find something else. Either way, once a modern terrorist has given up anything he or she is likely to give up, stand him or her up against a wall and shoot them. They're worth one bullet each, nothing more.
I wonder how many of the modern, high-minded idealists are willing to die for their beliefs? The modern terrorist cares zero about this high-minded idealism. Death and mayhem at all costs is all these subhumans care about.
When there is a nuclear bomb in their neighborhood, their wife is about to be beheaded, or their kids are on a plane about to be crashed into a building by some psychopath shrieking "prayers," I wonder how many of these high-minded idealists will take their idealism to their graves or those of their fellow citizens or family members.
Such high-minded idealism is for cowards. The modern terrorist concerns me. These high-minded idealists terrify me.
Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley
Town can do things to save our lost pets
In the May 13 issue of the Explorer, Kathy Sheheen wrote that Council Member Salette Latas proposed "duplicating services provided by the Pima County Animal Shelter."
She is rightfully concerned about the cost, but I think she misinterpreted Ms. Latas's intention. The Town of Oro Valley should not be in the business of cloning the county "shelter;" nor is anyone I know interested in "adding another layer of bureaucracy."
Most of the very few pets found wandering in Oro Valley probably belong to someone who lives here.
Last year, our red heeler, Ranger, was one of them. Panicked by a loud noise issued by a truck near Starbucks on Oracle and First Avenue, Ranger ran seven miles north through the Canada del Oro Wash. My husband and I spent days searching, making posters, calling people, and visiting the Pima County Shelter full of sad, confused pets. A woman at the shelter warned us that we had best check every day because strays are routinely euthanized, sometimes before the usual incarceration period of three days.
Four days after he ran, we had about given up the search when I received an early morning phone call from a woman named Ann who said, "I have a little dog here and his name is Ranger."
I will always remember those words. She and her husband, Ferdinand, had seen our weary, bedraggled Ranger wandering up their street, dragging his purple leash at 7 a.m. They took him in, fed him, read our phone number on his tag, and called.
How Ranger survived in the wash during four rainless days and nights I cannot imagine, but I am forever thankful that a nice couple found him rather than the Pima County Animal Control.
My feeling is that Oro Valley may be able to keep lost pets alive and well and return them to their owners. It will take some creative thinking and willing volunteers to provide the care and basic necessities, but it's done in other areas. Let's hope that Ms. Latas and interested others can find an affordable, practical way to save our pets.
Kathy Pastryk, Oro Valley
OV police must be honest,flexible and reasonable
We are so grateful that Councilwoman Salette Latas and Councilman Bill Garner continue to pursue fairness and fiscal responsibility for their constituents. It seems that the Oro Valley Police Department continues to expect to spend money taxpayers cannot afford, nor will they accept council-approved measures that would save jobs and reduce their wasteful expenditures.
We both worked long careers in public service, and nobody gave us vehicles to drive home with gas paid for by taxpayers. We expect other public servants to work with the community to share in reductions during this economic downturn, yet the police department continues to send passionate speakers to council meetings to express support only for OVPD. We all need to conserve, compromise, and listen to the wise decisions of those whom we have elected to represent us.
Why does the police department refuse to transfer employees to other departments to reduce duplication of services? Why does the police department refuse to stop the wasteful expenditures of take-home vehicles? Why does this same department refuse accountability for its misuses of "seizure funds?" Why do they not answer the questions of our elected officials?
All we hear from them are demands. What we need to hear is honesty, flexibility, and reasonable participation in our community needs to conserve.
Brenda and Larry Ryan, Oro Valley
GOP-controlled legislature takes speech rights away
In a surprise move, the Republican-controlled Arizona legislature took dead aim at the Bill of Rights and struck down pesky old number 1. No longer will a teacher in the state have the right, supposedly guaranteed them, to peaceably assemble or to petition their government.
That right might work in the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, but it has created serious problems here in Arizona and, because so many teachers and parents have gathered in Phoenix to protest the draconian cuts to education, teachers will no longer be allowed too use their time off to visit the legislature.
These freedoms of speech have just gone too far and must be curtailed. This restriction must be enacted before these teachers expose the fact that this legislature has simultaneously proposed a cut of $8oo million to education while perpetuating a voucher tax windfall for Rep. Yearbourgh that will provide him the $500,000 income to which he feels the state owes him. His frugal Republican colleagues agree. No conflict of interest there.
However , in order to pass this without all that messy dealing with the public and discussing the fact that this voucher plan has already been found to be illegal, the Constitution of the United States must be suspended.
Robert Cozad, Oro Valley
No more new OV taxes of any kind
Wednesday the Oro Valley city council will consider more ways to steal the people's money to continue unabated their expansion of government.
The most egregious proposal is to lay on a property tax to support the police department. We pay the highest property tax rates here anyway without adding this outrageous amount on top.
Every time the council meets, all they try to do is take more money from the people. With the economy suffering as it is, retirement plans disappearing with the wind, inflation raising the cost of everything at double digit rates, where does government get off thinking their jobs and benefits are sacred from participating in the belt tightening like the rest of us? The council seems to think we are an unlimited taxable resource to be squeezed any time they want a few more dollars.
The police department doesn't need this kind of money. Oro Valley is not a high crime city. This is not because of the efforts of the police department, it is because of the make-up of the population. If O.V. had a high crime rate, why are most of the police out on the streets on traffic duty taking our money with their endless tickets? Why not round up the illegal aliens passing through or working here? How about eliminating the drug trade? Those aren't problems in Oro Valley, then why do we need so many police officers? This amount of funding will create a standing army in our town.
Do the people have to take up arms to stop the voracious appetite of this council to steal all of our money? Reduce the size of government, live like the rest of us have to. No more taxes of any kind.
Oh, yeah, both of my sons are police officers so don't say I'm not supportive of the police. I just don't think I need my own personal officer and neither do most of us. Oro Valley is overstaffed now and these taxes are unnecessary in this economic climate.
Michael D. Allum, Oro Valley
Legislators are violating their oaths of office
Do Sen. Al Melvin and Rep. Vic Williams deserve our trust? They took an oath, swearing to uphold the Arizona State Constitution. That constitution states, "The Legislature shall enact such laws as shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a general and uniform public school system… the legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement."
Simply stated, the responsibility of legislators is to provide proper maintenance, development and improvement only to public schools, and to obtain the needed funds by taxation.
Since current funding (and more) is needed to provide proper maintenance, development and improvement, a vote to reduce current funding violates Melvin's and Williams' oath of office. Melvin and Williams compound their violation by reducing the state's already depleted general fund by supporting the indirect funding of private schools (clearly not a state responsibility).
Can we trust public officials who violate their oath of office?
Amphitheater governing board member
We've got to use Sun Shuttle, or we'll lose it
I am writing this letter to echo the sentiments written by Mr. Kmotorka in the May 20th issue of The Explorer.
I recently had family visiting from Nashville, and they were delighted by the new shuttle service in Oro Valley and were amazed at how friendly the drivers were and how clean and comfortable the buses were.
They rode the shuttle every day for the week they were here, but were concerned that most of the time they were the only riders on the bus.
We have what most people only wish for in our new shuttle service and it will be a "flash in the pan" memory if we do not utilize it.
The Oro Valley service is free for May, but when the free service ends it is only a buck and transfers are only a couple of bucks. I would venture to say that as the price of gas goes back up again, this is a great deal and a great way to get around the area.
Please use it or we will certainly lose it.
David Berry, Oro Valley
Let the drug firms fund Critical Path
Re: Critical Path Institute:
I do not see the need for the taxpayers to fund this organization. As I understand it, their purpose is to aid the pharmaceutical industry in bringing drugs to market. This industry is among the most profitable and can afford to fund this organization with their obscene profits.
The taxpayers of Oro Valley should be funding organizations that provide assistance to those in need. The pharmaceutical industry does not qualify under any criteria.
Chuck Davis, Oro Valley
No OV money for outside agencies
I do not think that Oro Valley taxpayer's money should be used for outside agencies.
Robert Gershon, Oro Valley
Public support for all faiths, or none at all
"Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ gave this answer to the Pharisees' question about Roman taxes. His wisdom of separating church and state predates the US Constitution.
To Cathy Sherman:
'There is absolutely nothing religious about it as it doesn't even mention a god."
Fact: Latter Day Saints' Doctrine, Melchizedek Priesthood, Chapter 25, Doctrine of B Young, 232, as Ottoboni's letter stated. The quote is religious; doctrinal for Mormons.
"…no public money shall be apportioned to any religious worship, exercise or establishment."
Fact: This is a direct quote from Arizona's Constitution, not an opinion.
"I suggest that anyone who is offended by the quote, "Honest hearts produce honest actions" is not an honest person."
Fact: You leap to a conclusion without facts and publish it to 40,000 readers.
Be aware you are maligning my integrity.
"I don't know how even an honest atheist would object to this statement … has nothing to do with the issue."
Fact: "…has nothing to do with the issue."
But what is the issue?
The point is that either all religions need public support or none. The choice is not Brigham Young or atheist, it is why not Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.?
"I guess to be politically correct in Oro Valley some would have us only quoting atheists."
Fact: Yes, it may be "politically correct" not to single out one particular religious' leader's comment.
But what facts lead you to conclude that only atheists should be quoted? Are you assuming that I am an atheist?
Fact: I'm Christian, attend daily services, interdenominational bible study, a former missionary. God is big in my life.
Fact: OVPD honors Young as a model by quoting him on their website.
Fact: OVPD is a tax funded public organization which is, in my opinion, violates the US and AZ Constitutions.
Fact: Mr. Baird's attention-getting snide comments about OVPD/Mormonism show OVPD's awareness of its public image.
Michelle Saxer, Oro Valley
OV deserves better from the elected
There is an underground campaign being fought in Oro Valley, and council members Latas' and Garner's behind-the-scene efforts are causing a shadow effect on Oro Valley's policies and practice.
Latas has been taking private polls and using them to form justification for her crusade to bring animal control services from the county to Oro Valley. Garner is being lauded for his use of Oro Valley citizen John Musolf to do a line by line audit of OVPD's 2009 budget.
Why would Garner and Musolf together target just OVPD's budget? Why does Garner need the notably congenial and obsequious Musolf when Town Manager Andrews spent 17 years in the Oro Valley Finance Department? Doesn't Oro Valley already employ competent accountants to do the work that Musolf is doing for Garner and, by default, us?
In my recent contact with Latas, she told me she has found some support from residents to make the town the official body to license and register pets. Ms. Latas believes there are some 8,500 unlicensed dogs in Oro Valley, and by relieving the county of the burden of collecting the fees for licensing, Oro Valley could stand to gain that revenue.
Of course what Ms. Latas would not tell me in any of her e-mails was how she intends to accomplish the 100 percent compliance, the cost of boarding any strays, the cost of veterinary care (by their definition, strays are an unknown quantity possibly infected with anything from rabies to parvovirus to valley fever), nor the cost for the new bureaucracy.
Ms. Latas has determined that she has the support required to move ahead by polling only those individuals she deems worthy to forward her petition. Not very scientific, and if it lends itself to Oro Valley policy making, not a sound investment either. While the goal of alleviating even one suffering animal is altruistic, the method is pollyannish and duplicative.
The development of incomplete polling data to form policy initiatives, and the practice of using unelected, unaccountable accountants to decide our budget, is inconsistent with sound governance.
Oro Valley deserves better from our elected representatives. We deserve honesty, accountability, integrity, and excellence … hmmm, sounds a lot like our police department. Maybe our council members should look across the parking lot for an example.
Keith G. Smith,Oro Valley
Marana request for assistance not fair to employees
The proposal or question of asking the employees to help cover the shortfall in Marana's budget strikes me as unfair to the employees.
Yes, I know there is not supposed to be any future consideration of what the employee gave. This sounds eminently fair, but it would be unreasonable to assume that in the situation of two employees who may be terminated, there will be no one who recalls that employee not giving will have any impact upon the decision.
It seems that a proposal to the residents as a whole would be more equitable. A $64,000 savings could be effected by dropping the Fourth of July costs and allowing residents to manage their own celebration would be good step in the right direction.
In the past few years local municipalities have attempted to provide for the amusement and entertainment of residents and their guests. That is not the purpose of government and should be considered for what it is, a goody enjoyed by a relatively small number of people. Of course, the numbers of attendees grows each year but are they all residents of the city and all participating in paying the costs?
As the budget deficiency continues, governing bodies would be well advised to begin cutting non-essentials from the budget and concentrating on the basic reasons for government. It astonishes me that no member of the city council has questioned the proposal to lay part of the burden of shortfall on the employee. Surely one member will speak up in defense of the employee, who can not help feeling a little bit like being asked to pay for job protection.
Eloise Brown, Marana
No more taxes; OV government must cut its size
Oro Valley City Council recently voted to give more money to Critical Path Institute and TREO. It seems that the council cares more about subsidizing businesses than keeping residents.
The council is considering several new taxes on Wednesday, May 27. Among them are increased property taxes, increased retail sales tax, a grocery tax, an increase in utility taxes and a new franchise fee (tax) for our utilities.
We can't stand any more taxes. Many people are struggling to stay in their homes. Increasing our mortgage payments by adding more property tax is not going to help the residents of Oro Valley.
We are all going to see an increase in our utility bills once the cap and trade tax is passed by our federal government. It would be poor planning to increase those bills on a local level as well.
Raising our retail sales tax would put us in the same league with The City of South Tucson. Taxing our groceries is outrageous. Let's learn a lesson from California and cut the size of our city government instead of letting it grow out of control with increased taxes.
We need to start using common sense. We are not going to stimulate our local economy by digging deeper into the pockets of our residents.
Angela Puffer, Oro Valley