Letters to the editor published in the November 25, 2009, edition of The Explorer.


Pay in U.S. education is upside down

Like many of our system of governance, our education system is upside down.

Consider that students (grades 1-12) learn or are supposed to learn the basic skills needed to get along in life. In addition they are, in many cases by default, taught ethical and moral values in schools.

I, therefore, submit the teachers charged with primary and secondary education have a considerably more important role in society than any of the professors our institutions of "higher learning."

And, considering that many of our primary and secondary students never advance to "higher education," I submit that our primary and secondary teachers should be paid more than professors of "higher learning." Clearly this is not the case and it should be reversed.

Ken Kinared, Oro Valley

Health care sell-out for abortion amendment

After all of the hard work that has gone into crafting a health care bill by both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, it is most discomforting to discover that a large group of our current politicians (both parties) would sell out on health care for all Americans to advance the most stringent anti-abortion amendment to come along in decades.

Rather than solely addressing public funding as they would have you believe, the Stupak-Pitts amendment, passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 7, would rescind all coverage for abortion currently offered by 85 percent of private health insurance companies.

Carried out stealthily by a coterie of lobbyists and "C" Street fundamentalists, an all-out effort to stop abortion was tacked onto the health care legislation at the last minute. "Persuasion" included a visit by Catholic Bishops to Speaker of the House Pelosi's office and to the House of Representatives.

While some preach that abortion is murder, a larger segment of the American public does not recognize an embryo as a full-blown citizen from the moment of conception. It may be difficult for the "right-to-lifers" to realize that not everyone buys their beliefs and that we do still have freedom of religion in America.

Does it occur to any of them that when John F. Kennedy ran for President, he had to promise repeatedly that he would never entertain the Pope in the White House? What has happened to that wall between religion and government?

Now that technology can track exactly what's going on in the womb, an informed decision by parents is possible. Bringing a defective child into the world is not an acceptable choice for many parents who opt to abort and start over. No matter how abhorrent that may seem to the otherwise-indoctrinated, it is an inalienable right.

Kathy Pastryk, Oro Valley

Why 5 officers to pull over a compact vehicle?

I would like to respond to Mr. Varner's letter and Chief Sharp's letter.

A few years ago I was pulled over by two patrol cars of OV "finest." The officer stated that my turn signal light was the wrong color. I explained that the car came this way from the factory and I had owned it for several years and this was the first time that I had been stopped.

The officers were "adorable," but I was amazed that it took two patrol cars to handle such an insufficient matter. I solved the problem by pulling out a bottle of red fingernail polish and painted the lights in question.

Yesterday I passed five OV Police vehicles behind one small compact car. I was extremely curious about what dastardly deed required five paid police officers to "nail" one small compact car.

I have attended several HOA meetings in Rancho Vistoso, where residents are satisfied with the regular patrol officers, but dissatisfied with the investigated techniques, which the detectives used. Their skills were not on a par with the various towns they came from  and failed by comparison.

This brings up an interesting point. I had the wonderful pleasure of attending a meeting in SaddleBrooke, where the "famous" Sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke. The statement that he made truly made an impression on me. He said that when the sheriff or chief is appointed, they are accountable to the individual whom appoints them, but when they are elected they are accountable to their constituents.

I remember Mr. Cox stating that in Oro Valley, anyone with enough signatures could get on the ballot, which, I presume may be true in many cities, but I am sure the residents of the town or cities are smart enough, as they were in Pinal County, to vote for an individual who has the required background and experience.

Geri Ottoboni, Oro Valley

Take a vacation, when spotlight is upon … you

The best time to take a vacation is when the spotlight is on … you.

May 2009, Speaker Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her. When the CIA fought back, on May 23, San Fran Nan took a convenient trip to Beijing to cool off at a global-warming talk.

December 2008, Rahm Emanuel was caught in a sticky, Senate seat-selling scandal with Rod Blagojevich. Rahm conveniently took a long-planned family vacation to Africa.

Africa is a nice place to catch a safari. Didn't Hillary go there to exhibit her prowess during her seven-nation trip in early August 2009 while her husband brokered the release of two Gore reporters from N. Korea; and while post election turmoil in Iran was so heated that Iranian government silenced protesters the only way they knew how —murder and imprisonment?

Most recently, after "Soldier of Allah" Muslim terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood, Homeland Security secretary Janet "Let's Not Call Them Terrorists" Napolitano visited the United Arab Emirates to assuage the fears of Muslims against anti-Muslim sentiments in America. Do you wonder what state business Hillary is taking care of these days while Jan, Nan, and Bill have got her back?

With stacking evidence against Hasan, Obama is not convinced that Hasan is a terrorist and goes as far as to ask the Senate to postpone the Fort Hood hearing. Presently, Obama is touring Asia, while at home we're dealing with 10.2 percent unemployment, $1,800,000,000,000 deficit, rancorous health care reform discussions, terrorist activities on US soil, delayed strategies on Afghanistan, just to name a few.

I can't help but wonder why Obama likes to bow. Did he imbibe a Singapore Sling or two during the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Singapore? I wonder if he'll obtain permission from the Chinese to meet with the Dalai Lama, borrow more money, or even get a few pointers on Communism. When in Seoul, might he give a shout out north to Kim Jong Il?

And by the way, what veep duties has Joe been up to lately?

Just wondering.

Misti Chivaluksna-Smith, Oro Valley

People speak so they get their work done

Thanks to Mr. Varner for sharing his insight with his fellow residents of Oro Valley. Since reading his letter last week, I've observed several other serious "inefficiencies" that Mr. Varner may wish to investigate:

• Several physicians could be seen talking with each other at the Northwest Hospital ER earlier this week.

• Teachers and staff out at local schools could be seen talking before and after school recently.

• Paramedics and fire fighters were observed talking with each other at the scene of an accident on I-10.

Ridiculous? Of course. Clearly these people need to communicate with each other to get their jobs done. No different for OVPD.

Mr. Varner indicated he was new to Oro Valley so perhaps he will become more aware over time of all the greats things OVPD does in our community and the brave men and women that put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe.


Kevin Jones, Oro Valley

Flowing Wells has done much for her 2 sons

In regards to Tim Derrig's letter, I would like to add that there was a helicopter that landed on the playground that day.

Tears of gratitude for those that have sacrificed for my freedom were allowed to overflow as I strolled through my neighborhood with the picture of the landing chopper etched in my mind.

Both of my sons attended Richardson Elementary and both of them graduated from Flowing Wells High School. My eldest son just completed his military submarine service on the USS Tucson and now works at Raytheon. My youngest is employed at McClintock's Restaurant with aspirations of sous chef.

FW Schools have instilled in my children the values of perseverance and integrity which has springboarded them into their adult lives as productive human beings.

Kelly Henderson, Flowing Wells

Isn't El Tour getting a little out of control?

I started Saturday morning with a prayer for the safety of all the cyclists riding in the El Tour de Tucson. I'm glad it went well.

That having been said, am I the only one of the majority of Tucson-area denizens who don't ride in the bike race that thinks this thing is getting out of hand? Yes, I know that for 364 days of the year motorists have majority control of the roadways, but I still have trouble accepting that as a reason to hose things up so thoroughly on the day of the bike ride.

Particularly annoying is the new gerrymandering of the route through Oro Valley, no doubt to bolster official OV's perpetually sagging self-image with a shot of synthetic importance (Town motto: Hey, we're important!). This silliness resulted in my daughter being completely unable to enter her apartment complex by car after returning from work, the driveway being blocked by a small mob of El Tour hooligans waving and hollering while a sympathetic policeman weakly smiled and shrugged at her and waved her down the road.

I like a bike ride as much as the next guy (although not usually with 10,000 of my closest cycling friends), but can't we find a route for these good folks to work up a sweat but not get in everybody's way doing it? How about a nice long ride out the 86 toward Organ Pipe and back?

Not really expecting these words to change the money-making juggernaut of Perimeter Cycling, maybe just looking for a sympathetic ear. Scoff away, fanatical velocipedists.

Pete Francis

So much about health plan is misunderstood

There is still much misunderstanding about our health care rights and the bills being considered in Congress.

The Republicans have spent millions to lobby and spread false info on these proposals even before we know what the final bill will look like. I recommend readers go on-line to each bill, although the Senate bill has not been finalized or approved.

One misguided lady theorized that the bill would cause unionization and nationalization, resulting in the bankruptcy of hospitals like the T-D clinic. (On-line sources reveal other reasons for bankruptcy of this clinic, not just the Doctors Federation as the writer insinuates.)

Republicans should consult any dictionary (I use Webster's 2003) to learn that "socialism" is where "society controls the mean of production and distribution." Production would include labor. Agencies such as our Defense Department and Post Office are socialized. They are also nationalized because the federal government controls and owns them. The Defense Department practices socialized medicine.

There is no proposal in either the House or Senate bills for either socialized or nationalized medicine. The bills propose that the government subsidize (or promote) our national health care system for every one of us by funding it as a single payer. Our government subsidizes (or promotes) projects (like farmers) all the time.

So, let's get it straight now, the preamble says "Promote the general welfare" and promote and subsidize are synonymous (any thesaurus, Webster's 2003).

Yes, Republicans, there is a Constitutional right for the government to promote health care. The government has the right to raise taxes or fees to support it and require everyone to participate. I have a constitutional right to demand that they promote (subsidize) health care for every citizen.

Benjamin Love, Oro Valley

Want to pay for health care? Look at military

A suggestion to those alarmed over the costs of Democratic proposals for health care reform relative to the federal budget and debt: addressing the true cause of our nation's virtual bankruptcy – our military imperialism – could provide money to insure all Americans with billions to spare.

The health care bills are projected to cost around $85 billion a year and reduce the federal deficit. Sure, we could quibble over those projections up to a few billion here and there, but consider the magnitude of the numbers I am about to mention.

The total cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past nine years is rapidly approaching $1 trillion. That's over $100 billion a year, more than the total annual cost of the Democrats' health care reform bills.

For Arizonans, the nine-year wars bill is approaching $13 billion. That would buy health care for nearly three million Arizonans for one year. Military spending in FY2009 consumed 58 percent of our federal budget's discretionary spending; health spending, 5 percent. Of the entire world's military spending by every country, plus NATO, the United States spends almost half ($704.3 billion in FY2010). We maintain more than 737 military bases in more than 130 countries. We budget more than $4 billion annually just on military recruiting.

The ancient Roman republic became an overstretched military empire which gradually undermined Rome's constitution and caused that republic to decay from the inside out. We can avoid a like end by choosing democracy over empire. We cannot have both.

"Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other … No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." (James Madison, "Political Observations," 1795).

Grant Winston, Marana

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