A compilation of letters published in the Nov. 5, 2008, edition of The Explorer.

Owls, delays, and politics

I am indirectly responding to Conny Culver’s letter and various other responses to her letter.

I cannot see where anyone was disputing what Nancy Young Wright did about cleaning up the Amphi School Board and their inappropriate practices. Even Vicki Balentine, Phd, superintendent of Amphitheater Public Schools, only mentions her service, but nothing specific.

Nancy Young Wright in her article about her service only mentions the inappropriate activities of her colleague, Dr. Ken Smith, and her various honors. No mention was made about the delay of the building of the much needed high school that Conny Culver mentions.

The letter written by Killen Herring on page 21 refers to the delay of the building of the high school due to the fact that Nancy Young Wright was trying to protect an owl that is not even native to the area. That is what Conny Culver was addressing.

I can’t see what this has to do with Conny Culver  being on the city council. This issue here was the delay of a much-needed high school. It sounds like the owl was more important than the teachers or the students.

Geri Ottoboni

Oro Valley

Columnist got vouchers subject wrong

I think Dave Safier got it wrong regarding school vouchers.

He’s afraid that vouchers would subsidize the wealthy or support religion. In reality we all “subsidize” public education in this country, even though we have little control over how our money is used. The state then designates a certain amount from taxpayer dollars each year for the education of each child. Currently only children in public schools receive the benefit of this money. All school vouchers would do is let the money follow the child.

It costs $5,000 / year to teach a first grader reading, writing and ‘rithmetic? Then give a $5,000 voucher to every first grader’s family and let them choose the school where they want their child to learn all of the above. Competition is good and parents are no fools. They will send their children to the school that does a better job academically while upholding their family’s values.

No one will be forced to attend a failing school for lack of money — and no one will be forced to attend a religious school, either. That’s what choice is. And the state can still regulate the academic aspect by establishing a standard for each grade level and measuring sufficient progress and achievement. And that’s all it should regulate.

So as long as private schools are providing superb education, the voucher money would do exactly what it’s supposed to: make quality education available to anyone.

I am a mother of five who is by no means wealthy, but so far has not received any state money for her children’s education.

Andrea Vekony

We should vote based on values of the Creator

Columnist Dave Safier argued to those citizens who are still uncertain how to vote, that Obama should be voted in so that he could maintain the current balance of the Supreme Court.

Republicans could similarly make the case to elect their presidential candidate, then their perspective could be better reflected by new appointees to the Supreme Court.

I would argue that our criteria for how to vote should primarily be aligned not with what our future president could do to benefit us personally or corporately, but rather with what honors the Creator mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. It is, after all, officially recognized that our Creator is the one who endows us with inalienable rights, so why should we be expected to exclude from political discourse the values of the Creator?

Long ago, in the mid-1800s, some individuals shamefully had the audacity to argue that a certain group of people were not really human, so did not merit holding basic rights. Now in the 21st Century, many argue that yet a different group of people are not genuinely human. Thus society, through a Supreme Court decision, sanctions the termination of these people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Respect for the dignity of human life is of fundamental importance to society and should be a key factor in deciding for whom to vote. History has taught us this. The Declaration of Independence’s Creator’s nature points to this. Our own strong inner desire for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness confirms this.

Sally Simmons

Eagle Crest

Vistoso votes were counted very carefully

After reading Brenda Ryan’s letter concerning Vistoso Community Homeowners Association in the Oct. 22 edition, I felt that I needed to comment on her statement about “ballot box stuffing”.

I was a part of the nomination committee volunteers that had the oversight responsibility for the Vistoso Community HOA Election in March 2008.

In accordance with the CC&R’s and bylaws, each ballot was pre-numbered and homeowners had to sign their ballot in order for it to be valid and counted. The association has three groups who are eligible to vote, single family, multi-family and commercial.

Every ballot was extremely important to the nomination committee because of the legal requirements to make quorum. Without every ballot accounted for, we may not have had quorum and would have had to do the election over at great expense to the homeowners.  Each homeowner was mailed a ballot in advance of the annual meeting and had a choice to vote early or in person at annual meeting.

All mailed ballots were placed in locked boxes that were under the control of the nomination committee. Homeowner volunteers counted the ballots. Any homeowner who voted at the annual meeting placed their ballot into the locked ballot boxes after voting.

It was impossible for Lewis Management or any homeowner to “stuff” the ballot box.

Mrs. Ryan perceived that someone was placing a white envelope into a ballot box that she assumed was “stuffing,” and one might say that if you were describing a person putting a ballot into the slot in the box. The white envelope described by Mrs. Ryan was the color chosen for the “commercial ballots” cast at the meeting. Had Mrs. Ryan or any other homeowner asked about the envelope at the annual meeting, their questions would have been answered quickly concerning the envelope.

I just wanted to assure the members of Vistoso Community Homeowners Association that the election was conducted fairly, all ballots were accounted for and all votes were counted.

Jill Anderson

Vistoso Community Association member

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