Letters to the editor published in the December 23, 2009, edition of The Explorer.
Melvin posing as a savior for public schools
Last week, Sen. Melvin wrote and asked everyone to "Help Our Schools." To do so, he encouraged his constituents to take advantage of the school tax credits. He went on to state … "You can help ease the costs at a school suffering from budget cuts. … This isn't about politics; it's about helping our schools and communities."
I am absolutely flabbergasted with this request. This is coming from our elected senator for LD26 who has voted yes on all budget cuts to K-12 funding this year, the most recent cut to the tune of $144 million.
As an ardent and passion-filled supporter of public education, I am personally insulted that our senator dared to pose such a request. To make matters worse, the senator also encouraged contributions to an STO. Surely, the senator has yet to thoroughly read (if at all) "Rigged Privilege." This story highlights the profit centers that their administrators have turned these programs into.
Specifically, Rep. Steve Yarbrough (Chandler) draws a $96,000 annual salary as the administrator of ACSTO. It is worthy of note that this salary involves no direct stewardship or educating of any children. It sure eclipses the claim that public school districts are laden with excessive administrative costs.
The current fiscal challenge of our state is unprecedented. There will have to be cuts. There will have to be sacrifice. What I will not accept is our senator "posing" as a savior to education with his push for tax credits. Shame on Sen. Melvin for asking us to financially "backfill" the budget cuts that he has voted for. As a constituent of his, I am seeking a little more creativity than this.
Tim Derrig, Flowing Wells
He implored us to love our enemies
Republican writers use issues like abortion and euthanasia; words which "frame" Democrats and deceive the American public.
For instance, there is no governing document or platform within the Democratic Party at any level that advocates abortion. Yes, the Democratic Party does stand for the right of every woman to decide what happens to her body and be secure in her person. It is inconsistent to want the government to violate the constitutional rights of women, yet demand impunity from the government on most other issues.
How would the government enforce anti-abortion laws? Most states tried to enforce these laws back in the mid-1800s and found it impossible. Democrats advocate limiting abortions. Republican claims are just a political Trojan horse.
In another attempt to deceive us, Republicans call the Oregon "death with dignity act" a "state-assisted (read 'forced') suicide." This act was twice approved by voters and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In no way is it forced.
The state will pay for the barbiturates if the patient verbally asks for them and follows up in writing twice. Only then is the patient given the drugs which they must administer themselves and can decline anytime. This is more humane than a private insurer treats a patient they send home to die without providing hospice care. Despite Republican scares, assisted suicide is not included in the proposed health care bills.
Republicans have expressed hatred for President Obama and his supporters. As their leaders have said, they want him to fail. That is at the very least, unpatriotic. I doubt our founding forefathers could have agreed on our Constitution in such a noxious atmosphere.
If the founding fathers incorporated Christian principles in the Constitution, then Christmas is the perfect time to remember that Jesus championed the peacemakers, healed the sick, forgave the adulteress who was about to be stoned, suffered the little children, and implored us to love our enemies.
Ben Love, Oro Valley
Fire district boards are out of sight
I submit that often fire district boards allow only the most determined to know what they're doing.
I have lived in Arizona since 1957, and I've never seen a published notice of a meeting, nor an election of any sort for director of a fire district board. Since I helped gather the signatures of property owners for the annexation of my neighborhood into the new Mountain Vista Fire District, I kept inquiring until I knew the time and date of its fire district board meeting this week.
In Mountain Vista Fire District, notice of the meetings is posted on four boards scattered about the district. Finding one is the first challenge.
The elected directors choose among themselves who is to be chairperson, treasurer, secretary, etc. I have discovered that some intrigue was involved in the latest arrangement of officers – but that's the nature of politics.
It was when the monthly Mountain Vista meeting began that I was stupefied. Out of 25,000 persons supposedly invited to attend a crucially important meeting, called to decide the fate of two or three fire stations and two $480,000 fire trucks and the expenditure of a million or two, and whether a present fire station near my home was to be allowed to remain, I was the total public presence; the only person not an officer, director, legal counsel or firefighter — a score of whom were present.
I went to the meeting because some 2,400 persons who are now in the Mountain Vista Fire District do not know that there is a not-so-discrete plan amongst some of the directors and the administrative chief to close a fire station located a stone's throw away from my neighbors and me – the one on Magee just west of North Oracle, after we were promised that it would it continue to be allowed to protect us if we voted for annexation. We also discovered this week that the number of fire stations promised the district has been recently proposed to be reduced from three to only two. It worries us that a district of 12 square miles, inhabited by 25,000 persons could be adequately served and protected by only two fire stations.
Phil Richardson, Oro Valley
This letter was shortened – Ed.
Senator's call for donations disingenuous
News is out today that the Arizona Senate has proposed a 7.5 percent cut in the budget of most state departments. In addition, they propose to "sweep" state accounts to the tune of nearly $50 million, with the largest amount taken from Arizona State Parks ($9.2 million).
At the same time, they are unwilling to even consider cutting or modifying the complete giveaway of $65 million to private and parochial schools as part of the School Tax Credit Program.
Contrary to what Sen. Melvin says, this is not a "win-win." It is nothing more than graft to the sacred constituents of the Arizona Republican Party, the Religious Right of Arizona.
This program robs the general fund of precious tax dollars and is dubious on constitutional grounds. Were this not the case, the program would not so transparently discriminate between public and charter schools on one hand, and private and parochial schools on the other. Did you note that you can contribute 2-1/2 times the amount to private and parochial schools as you can to public schools programs, with the only restriction being that you cannot contribute for the direct benefit of your own student?
But, as we well know now, the program is fraught with fraud that enables the "indirect payment" of private and parochial school tuition with our public tax dollars.
Come on, Sen. Melvin. I find you article on "Help you schools, and your wallet" to be disingenuous and self-serving. It was a friendly reminder to your supporters to get the AZ taxpayers to fund another year of tuition for their private or parochial school bound student.
How stupid do you think we are, anyway? At a time when the state is hemorrhaging from a lack of revenue, you are encouraging the waste of additional public money.
But, I forgot. We'll just close all of the state parks instead. That should be a real boon to Arizona Tourism, don't you think?
Jim Vavra, Saddlebrooke
Has OV driven off In 'N'Out?
In 'N' Out Burger — Is out? My wife informed me that this great chain is not going to build in Oro Valley Marketplace due to the fact our elected officials would not work with them, regarding a drive thru window.
Many suburbs are now saying no to branch banks due to the fact they pay little tax revenue. In 'N' Out Burger would bring a ton of tax revenue. But no — let's consider a property tax for O.V. If this is true — the inmates have finally taken over the asylum.
Do you realize In 'N' Out starts these kids at $9.50 an hour and the only demand is they must have good grades? Also, if this mayor and council is concerned about tax revenue, I suggest they go down to ElCon Mall and witness the two block long lines waiting to order at the In 'N' Out window. Not only would that increase our tax revenue — but it would bring a lot of people into a mall that was so poorly designed that most people have to get into their cars to go to another store to shop.
If our astute elected officials doubt the financial impact they just pushed away from Oro Valley, I suggest they take a ride down to El Con Mall and see first hand, the long line of cars, waiting patiently for one of the best burgers in America.
No, they have a better idea. Let's plaster bumper stickers on car bumpers that plead "Shop O.V." Now there's a plan.
Fred Stupp, Oro Valley
Word is that In 'N' Out remains committed to Oro Valley Marketplace. – Ed.
Partisanship, biggest woe of government
This letter is in response to Mr. Emil Franzi's article on page 18 of the 12-09-09 edition of The Explorer.
He is obviously pro-Republican. That is his right. I don't have a problem with that.
I would like him to consider however, that as a registered Independent, I believe that the biggest problem with government on all levels is partisanship. I believe we should be informed about the candidate's views on the issues and voting record if any, and not their party of affiliation.
For example, I support Congress lady Gabrielle Giffords, who by the way was endorsed by our Republican mayor. I also support Sen. John McCain.
Mr. Franzi should take a good look at our non-partisan town government here in Marana. He will find that it works quite well for all of our citizens.
Harold Thompson, Marana