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Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 11:00 pm

Letters to the editor published in the March 24, 2010, edition of The Explorer.


Being the mayor of OV is a full-time commitment

I was surprised and upset. Guess I should  have not been, but to read in The Explorer that Mary Snyder under the auspices of the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce stated that we should vote for Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Dr. Satish Hiremath.

Dr. Hiremath, who only attended town council meetings when he needed $60,000 for GOVAC, has actually stated that he does not like attending town council meetings. He has not even attended a Citizens Planning Institute, which is required for commission and boards and anything to do with the running of the Town of Oro Valley. He has not held a position on a board or commission. So I am puzzled, as to why he would want to be mayor. It is a full-time job.

Mike Zinkin, on the other hand, has attended two citizen planning institutes, been on boards and commissions, and has conducted town meetings. The only thing he has not done is to state that the town council needs to give money to the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce and TREO. He is a kind of "wait and see" guy.

These groups need to prove what they can do, not have "carte blanche" with the town's finances.

Geri Ottoboni, Oro Valley


South Carolina not best model for school funds

Sen. Al Melvin is so impressed with the nuclear industry in South Carolina that he wants the same thing for Arizona. He says that so much cash is flowing into that state from the Savannah River Plant in Aiken that it basically funds education from kindergarten to 12th grade.

He is absolutely correct; at least, according to his Republican vision for education.

South Carolina is on the verge of cutting school bus services and furloughing 48,000 teachers. And as far as the success of the nuclear industry there, it has filled the landscape with carcinogens. It has contaminated both groundwater and surface water with uranium, arsenic, mercury, cesium and radium. The area is undergoing a clean up that began in 1985 and will not be finished, even at a recently accelerated rate, until 2030. The decontamination cost is in the billions of dollars.

Sen. Melvin has seen the light, but the light he sees is the glow from Frank Antenori's outdated incandescent bulb.

Doug Sanders, Tucson


Neither man for OV mayor is 'anti-growth'

Last week, Mayor Loomis was quoted as saying ”that one of the remaining mayoral candidates was "anti-growth." After reading and hearing about Zinkin and Hiremath, I do not believe either candidate is anti-growth.

However, there are stark differences between Zinkin and Hiremath. Mike Zinkin has League of Cities and Town training, twice attended the Citizen's Planning Institute, served on the Steam Pump Ranch Task Force, and was a member of a Capital Improvement Committee. Hiremath has done little to show he is qualified to be Mayor.

Zinkin is retired and knows the time it takes to be a mayor, and is available to Oro Valley 24/7. Hiremath appears to be in mid-career and can at best be a part-time mayor.

Mayor Loomis is correct, the differences are there. One candidate has town government experience, and the time to serve … the other does not.

Thank you.

Jeff Siegel, Oro Valley


Why not inmates? No one will be at schools anyway

At first, I was incensed about Sen. Melvin's proposal to save state dollars by having inmates work on school grounds.

Then I realized that his short-sighted lack of support for education (i.e., cutting full-day kindergarten, "leaning against" the 1 percent sales tax measure) will further decimate our state school system. At that point, it won't matter who works on school grounds. The schools will either close due to a lack of funding or they will be a shell of their original intention (education).

It's not hard to predict that the lack of support for education in this state (and definitely by Sen. Melvin) will result in few resources, books, materials, or even teachers to educate our kids.

Donna Winetrobe, Oro Valley


No kids around when inmates work on schools

The March 17, 2010 edition of The Explorer, on page 44, made statements about me regarding inmate labor.

What the paper did not state is my understanding that some public schools in the Douglas area have, during summer vacation when no students were on school grounds, used carefully supervised inmate labor to paint school buildings inside and out. This cost saving measure saved the school district a large amount of money.

The Arizona Department of Corrections would never allow inmates near school grounds when students were present, under any circumstances. I urge readers to go to http://www.adc.state.az.us">www.adc.state.az.us, click on inmate labor and view the seven-minute video on this subject. All levels of government can use this cost saving opportunity to fill pot holes, paint over graffiti, repair vehicles, work in animal control facilities, etc.

Since March 8, over 10,000 bags of trash have been picked up on I-10 from Tucson to Phoenix. This successful operation will be expanded on interstate highways throughout the state.

I believe this inmate work program could be used to prepare closed rest stops on our interstate highways for reopening within a month or two. Inmate labor projects help qualified inmates to learn the dignity of labor and good work habits before they transition back to society at the end of their sentence.

Sen. Al Melvin, LD 26, SaddleBrooke


Let's take the lead on solar electric energy

Hats off to Sen. Al Melvin for continually coming up with new approaches for generating revenues to provide for Arizona's needs.

His suggestion to have Arizona pursue a path to create "a site for the safe oversight and reprocessing of nuclear material" (radioactive spent fuel rods, etc.) is both bold and patriotic (something needs to be done, and we in Arizona can step up to the plate to do something that nobody in the rest of the country is anxious / willing to do). Certainly, helping the military by building a "safe, secure, cost-effective" place to house its weapons and nuclear debris is a matter of national security.

There is another opportunity that Arizona can readily capitalize on and the hope is that Sen. Melvin can discover a new approach to get Arizona moving forward on this front as well: solar electric energy.

As we all know, Arizona is the location of the nation's most abundant solar energy "field"… accordingly, the huge opportunity. To the extent that for reasons of national security we want to establish energy independence, we need to begin using the fuels that will be available to us "forever" (i.e., solar energy).  In the 40- to 50-year time frame, at the present rate of worldwide consumption, both oil (for moving people and commerce and many of our fighting machines) and uranium fuel (to run our nuclear energy electric power stations and the rest of our fighting machines) will "run out." Arizona has the opportunity to lead the nation now along its path to utilizing solar energy for generating clean electricity to meet our everyday needs (including, eventually, transportation) enabling us to effectively preserve / manage our oil and nuclear fuel supplies to run our fighting machines and provide effective national security.

Come on, Sen. Melvin, step up to the plate.

Robert B. Hall, Marana


Health care is broken, and we should be ashamed

As you know, many people have lost employment due to small and other business places closing down in Tucson. Educators are losing their jobs, as well, in order to cut back expenses.

Close to home: our daughter's large company closed its Tucson office. Many people were employed for years in those offices.

Our daughter was able to maintain her position working out of a home office, traveling to Phoenix for meetings, etc. However, her health insurance premiums have gone up higher then any raises she accrued. Her income is shrinking.

Long-time company friends were not so lucky. Many cannot sell their homes, for what they paid. They have now lost health insurance coverage and are growing desperate. The majority of these people have families to support.

A few are working minimum wage jobs or part-time (none of which provide health insurance). Some have pre-existing conditions and cannot even take money from savings to buy independent health insurance.

To say that a public option or single payer system is pandering to the lazy, uninterested, unemployed people could not be further from the truth. People are strapped and in a horrible position per above.

In another related case, my mother-in-law (insured with socialized insurance — Medicare) was rushed to the hospital a few weeks ago. The scene in the ER was likened to that of Haiti. There were far more patients to treat then doctors. Many of these people are uninsured and are desperate to get care. Some were very sick, some bloodied and there they waited unattended for hours and hours. Our health care system is broken and our country should be ashamed.

Time for the rich to start caring about their fellow man. Time for greedy politicians to stop playing games with people's lives. The stories are plentiful and yet the outcome remains the same.

What is wrong with this country?


Pat Canady, Tucson


In tough times, focus must be on the essentials

In a tough economy, we have to focus on what's essential, and nothing is more essential to our future and our economy than Arizona's public schools.

Cutting aid to education means larger class sizes, fewer programs, and not enough books and materials in classrooms. Enrichment programs such as music and art are in danger of being dropped – as are remedial classes in reading and math, after-school programs and sports. Governor Brewer and the majority of the legislature have already cut adult education and all-day kindergarten. They've drastically reduced university programs.

Through the years, Arizona's educators have worked hard to produce successful students ready to contribute to our workforce and build our economy. Corporations seeking job-ready applicants will not be lured to a state lacking educational opportunities. All of the tax breaks in the world cannot compensate for poor schools and an unskilled work force.

After all of our best teachers and professors are gone, maybe voters will look around and wonder what caused the brain drain, the downfall of our public education system and a dearth of good jobs.

Sen. Al Melvin warned that spending monies that we don't have for health care, education and social services will put our grandchildren in debt for generations – and yet he would deprive our children of a decent education. Does he not consider education an investment in our future? What kinds of jobs does he think will be available for future generations? With a substandard education, the big choice will be: Move away or stay to work for a substandard wage.

Parents, teachers, professors, librarians, schoolchildren and business leaders, take the time now to notice, assess and apply corrective measures before it's too late. Elect legislators who really know about education. Rep. Nancy Young Wright and Cheryl Cage, candidate for the Arizona Senate, appreciate and support our universities and our public school system. Ask them what needs to be done for our children and Arizona's future.

We must change direction by voting out the majority of legislators who obsessively extol tax breaks for corporations while excluding common sense.

Kathleen Pastryk, Oro Valley


Show fiscal restraint; tell Oro Valley 'no'

I don' t really care one way or another whether Oro Valley does anything with Steam Pump Ranch. However, I am annoyed the town would ask the federal government for a handout to pay for it.

I sent the following to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on the matter. I wonder if she'll ever even pretend to act responsibly.

Rep. Giffords:

I live in Oro Valley. I find it an outrage that Oro Valley officials are asking you to earmark $1 million for preservation of the Steam Pump Ranch.

As a resident I have no opinion on that particular project. If the town wants to proceed with the restoration, that is fine by me. However, the town needs to pay for it with town money, and not ask for a handout from the federal government.

I find the entire earmark process the epitome of fiscal irresponsibly. Even asking is reprehensible, particularly for some art project. And given the worse than dire fiscal shape this country is in, and given the utterly irresponsible spending of the current administration and the Democrat party, this earmark is nothing but an irresponsible boondoggle.

You campaigned as a so-called Blue Dog, with some sort of alleged claim to fiscal responsibility and restraint. However, your track record clearly establishes that you are fiscally irresponsible. Come next autumn, your entire voting record will be on display and it will be scrutinized in detail by your opposition. And you will be hammered for your fiscal irresponsibility. This earmark will only cement the belief that you are irresponsible, and need to go.

As you do the political calculus, you would be well advised to show even a modicum of fiscal restraint, and tell Oro Valley "No." What a refreshing change that would be.

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley


Giffords is the one listening to constituents

I was born when Truman was President and advocated health insurance reform. I am one of the many Arizona voters who is cheering that it is going to finally happen.

Rep. Giffords, unlike Sens. Kyl and McCain, has been listening to her constituents who know that the current health care system is broken and financially unsustainable. Have these Republicans ever had to buy their own health insurance, ever paid huge monthly premiums with large deductibles, ever had to fight with the insurance company for coverage of prescriptions that their doctor said were essential but weren't in the formulary?

Rep. Giffords is fighting to prevent insurance company abuses, to create competition in the insurance marketplace, to cover 31 million people who now have no insurance, and to fix the "doughnut hole" in prescription coverage for seniors.

Thank you, Congresswoman Giffords. We won't forget you in November.

Walter Marcus, Tucson


Health care bill worst ever by a U.S. Congress

It is interesting, now that Obama and the Democrats in congress have passed their "health care" bill, to reflect on how they did it. Only by threats, cajoling, and incredible pressure was Obama able to get representatives of his own party to support his bill. The battle he had to wage was not mainly against Republicans, but Democrats.

Opposition on the part of the public is unprecedented. Polls show that 60, 70, up to 80 percent of the people are against it. This has to be an indicator of how bad the bill is. It is, in my opinion, the worst piece of legislation ever passed by a Congress in the history of this country.

Very well; Congress has spoken. But, now we will have access to the judicial system to verify the fact that this act is unconstitutional. That is part of the American system, too. I am looking forward to active action in the courts to strike down this bill.

In the mean time, let us all remember what has just happened, and who made this happen. We will have an election in November, and I really hope that the zeal of those of us who participated in the Tea Party movement will not abate in the next eight months. Let us let our Rep. Giffords come to realize that we know where she stood as this historic vote took place. I hope that we will have a Congress more reflective of the wishes of the citizens of this nation when the new Congress is seated in 2011.

Lloyd H. Ostrom, Tucson

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