Wallet lost, then found; his thanks eternal

This is a true story that just happened to me.

After coming back from the dog park late at night, I discovered my wallet missing. I did not know if it was lost or worse, stolen, and searched for it half the night to no avail. I cancelled credit cards and messaged work that I would need the next day off to take care of everything else, a laundry list of items I was not looking forward to rebuilding, some personal and lost forever.

The next morning after almost no sleep, an Oro Valley resident who only wanted to go by "Sandy" called me and said she found some items during her normal walks along Lambert Lane. In my rush to have fun with my dog Rocky, I had left my wallet on the back of the car the previous night, it fell off on Lambert, and scattered along 50 or so yards of the dirt and weeds along both sides of the road. I met her there and we found more items. I recovered everything.

She would accept nothing from me but a thanks. I will be eternally grateful to her. My folks said someone must have sent her down as an angel in my time of need, and that with all the bad we hear about people on the news, isn't it nice to know there are good people like Sandy in the world.

I would like to dedicate this popular poem to her:

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Bill Krones, Oro Valley

Don't be fooled; 'fair tax' a rise For many people

Congressional candidate Jesse Kelly has called for the elimination of all federal income and Social Security taxes. The lost revenue would be replaced by a "Fair Tax," in effect a sales tax of 23 percent on all purchases with no exemptions.

When the issue of tax fairness is raised, it begs the question: Fair to who? Assuming revenue neutrality, any major overhaul of the tax system will inevitably mean that some will pay less, some will pay more. Your perception of "fairness" depends on how the proposal might affect you.

Tax issues are seldom clear and straightforward but the time-tested method of "following the money" can provide some valuable clues as to who the winners and losers are likely to be. "Americans for Fair Taxation," the authors of Jesse Kelly's "Fair Tax" plan, was founded by Texas billionaires Leo E. Lindbeck Jr. and Robert C. McNair. When guys like this, who have done extremely well under our present loophole-ridden tax code, want to re-shuffle the deck, you've got to ask why. The only answer that makes any sense is that they will do even better under the proposed new system.

Is tax reform needed? Of course, but don't be fooled. Jesse Kelly's "Fair Tax" is just another warmed-over version of various "flat tax" proposals that have been floated from time to time by other billionaires like Steve Forbes. They all have one thing in common; high income taxpayers pay less, the rest of us pay more.

William C. Thornton, Tucson

Rich outsiders are controlling state politics

As I write, Republican John Boehner is passing out a check to candidate Jesse Kelly at the Tucson Ritz-Carlton, just as he passed out checks to Republican members on the floor of the US House from tobacco industry companies.

Boehner, House minority leader, takes his orders from the big banks on Wall Street. He is their favorite lobbyist. Boehner will certainly be the boss of any elected Republican candidate regardless of what they promise during their campaigns, they will just be another "no" vote for the people.

It is appalling how the wealthy are buying our representatives' votes (all parties) and trashing our republic for their own greedy interests. Billionaires can fund unlimited advertising for candidates who support their greed. Two Koch Brothers, private owners of Koch Industries (oil refineries), have spent untold millions to bring down President Obama and his progressive programs. Collectively, the Kochs are the third-richest people in the USA. Covertly, they fund the Tea Baggers; busing them around the country to release their anger on any progressive cause which could impact oil profits. In truth, the Tea Baggers are unknowingly drilling political oil for the Kochs'; polluting our environment; stalling alternative fuel initiatives; and attempts to forestall global warming.

I resent the fact that rich outsiders are controlling our Arizona and national politics. I hope you will join me in supporting candidates who will work for the people and not sell their votes to the rich special interests or ideologues this election.

Ben Love, Oro Valley

There's no good reason to build Marana 'fill

When is a solid not a solid?

When it's liquid or semi-liquid, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulations for Subtitle D Solid Municipal Waste Landfills such as that proposed on Vice Mayor Herb Kai's land recently annexed by Marana.

The landfill, we are told by DKL Holdings and the Marana Town Council, "will be permanently restricted to Municipal Solid Waste as defined in state and federal law." That definition, to quote the EPA's regulations, includes "liquids and semi-solids" such as "sludge from a waste treatment plant, a water supply treatment plant, or an air pollution control facility (e.g. scrubber sludge)" and "material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural, and community activities."

The EPA's definition of "non-hazardous," by the way, includes "certain hazardous wastes … including household hazardous waste and hazardous wastes generated by small quantity generators."

There will be liquid leachate. There will be hazardous waste. All landfill liner systems will, according to the EPA and others, sooner or later leak. The health hazards are documented.

With a Tangerine Landfill transfer station to be built, there is no good reason to build a 165-foot-high mountain of garbage over a rising aquifer in a FEMA flood plain by a major wash next door to 100 families.

Sorry if I'm confusing anyone with the facts.

Albert Vetere Lannon, Picture Rocks

Questions for Sen. Melvin

First of all I would like to thank and commend The Explorer for attempting to arrange a one-on-one debate between Sen. Al Melvin and challenger Cheryl Cage.

I would like to ask Mr. Melvin some questions and would like for him to write a letter of response to The Explorer.

1. What was wrong with Mountain View High School as a location? Ms. Cage had no objection. I think MVHS would have been an excellent location, with adequate parking and facilities. This location would have been easily accessible to residents of NW Tucson east of I-10 and Marana east of I-10.

2. What are you afraid of? Is it maybe, you don't want to have to answer questions from middle and lower class residents of District 26?

3. What is wrong with a one-on-one debate? Remember, your challenger has no objection.

4. Are you willing to work bi-partisan with your fellow Pima County legislators? I don't believe you should be a puppet of the Phoenix Republican leadership.

5. Are you willing to go along with the majority of voters in LD 26 and vote no on Props. 301 and 302? If not, why?

Harold W. Thompson, Marana

Giffords ad disingenuous, and a falsehood

The TV ad that Gabrielle Giffords has created and that currently appears on local television regarding Jesse Kelly advocating the elimination of Social Security and Medicare is at the least disingenuous, but more accurately it can be described as an unadulterated out-and-out falsehood.

What is equally irritating is the idea that all seniors are ill-informed and just plain stupid. Rep. Giffords is confident that seniors will believe her dishonest interpretation of the sensible and intellectually proposed comments that Kelly has made regarding the future of these massive under-funded entitlement programs.

Giffords and her campaign have failed to recognize that the electorate this time around is not going to be swayed by this age-old, worn-out Democratic Party tactic meant to frighten and panic seniors. The ultimate irony of the TV ad, though, is that this is from our own Rep. Giffords that voted in March of 2010 to cut Medicare by $500 billion.

Merritt McGlothlin, Oro Valley

Beyond money, examine why schools fail

I am tired of hearing that Arizona is 50th in the nation in education, the implication being that the Arizona Legislature is responsible.

Since when have the local school boards and administrators bequeathed such power to the state? It is true that the state allocates money to education. It is also true that the state of Arizona is in deep financial debt and that the legislators are having a very great challenge in trying to rectify the situation.

However, other variables need to be examined as to why our public schools are not performing. Maybe we need to examine the quality of teacher education.

What are the academic standards required for admission into the teacher education program? Are the teachers highly prepared in the academic areas they are required to teach, or is too much time spent in so-called methods courses?

At the local level, how much of the state money goes into classroom teacher salaries, as well as textbooks and supplies for the classrooms? Do the parents in the district have a vested interest in their children's education? Are there academic standards for students at every grade level? Are students required to meet these standards? How much social promotion is occurring? Are the classroom teachers being held accountable for the learning of their students? If so, how is this achieved?

Some schools that do not have a great deal of money are very successful. They need to be emulated. That is a wise investment of tax money and a valuable service for today's children.

Doris Clatanoff, SaddleBrooke

MUSD backing landfill; why vote for bond?

A question for the candidates for MUSD governing board: Superintendent Doug Wilson and board member Dan Post have spoken out in favor of the proposed Marana Regional Landfill because of promises from the developer to donate money to MUSD schools.

The landfill, however, will accept liquid and semi-solid waste, including waste treatment sludge, and small generator hazardous waste in accord with EPA and ADEQ regulations. The health hazards are well-documented, and include acute respiratory illness in children living or attending school within several miles of a dump.

Do we really need a 165-foot-high mountain of garbage over our rising aquifer in a FEMA flood plain by a major wash next door to 100 families? And if the developer's $150,000 a year — based on receiving 1,500 tons of mostly-imported trash daily — is worth that risk to you, why should parents and grandparents concerned about dump-related birth defects and illness support MUSD's bond measures, budget overrides and Credit for Caring?

Just askin'.

Kaitlin M. Meadows, Marana

Several reasons to vote 'yes' for medical marijuana

In response to the article "Prop 203 Would Bring Medical Pot to State," (Sept. 22,) I am in favor of Prop 203 for these reasons:

According to Women's Reentry Network, Arizona has the ninth-largest prison system in the U.S. and the majority of Arizona prisoners are non-violent offenders. About 25 percent of men and 38 percent of women are serving time for drug- and alcohol-related offenses. To the taxpayer, that means $20,800 per year per person with 32,000 inmates housed a year.

There are alternatives to prison, such as drug courts, which are cheaper and more effective and reduce recidivism but are underutilized. Prisons are big business these days. Many profit from that fact.

Why throw someone who is suffering from a painful illness into prison? This causes family disintegration with long-term harm to the community. If a child's parents have marijuana, a gun or a cold, it is easy for kids to get it and they already do. This law will not change careless parents' personalities. Just as passing one proposition will not automatically pass another one such as legalizing marijuana. We would need to vote again.

On the employment side, employers don't need to know if medical marijuana is prescribed any more than they need to know if employees have pain killers or diabetes medications. All can make a person act strange if misused. Employers have the same way to measure someone's fitness for the job they have always had: Are they doing the job properly?

I say vote for Prop 203 in November.

Anne Dalton, Tucson

Dems renew propaganda on Social Security

Once every two years I hear the same propaganda from the Democrats, "Republicans want to eliminate Social Security." Here in Tucson the lies are being directed against Jesse Kelly, the Republican candidate in CD8.

To say that Kelly is for taking away your Social Security is an utterly false and malicious statement being spread by the Giffords camp.

Kelly has stated "that anyone who is on Social Security and anyone who is near retirement age should be guaranteed to receive it. The young people who are far from reaching that age could decide if they wish to invest in secured bonds etc with provisions that it cannot be taken until retirement and in case of death that money would pass to a beneficiary."

The irony in this is that it was Giffords who voted to drastically cut Medicare when she voted for Obamacare. $818 billion from Medicare hospital insurance, $232 billion from Medicare physicians fees and other services, $200 billion from Medicare Advantage, home health care payments by $30.7 billion and cut Medicare payments to hospitals by $22 billion. Now who is going to pay for that ?

Giffords is also the co-sponsor of a bill HR1645, that if passed, would guarantee blue card (permanent status) to illegal immigrants, their spouse and children. It would "amend the Social Security Act to exempt blue card aliens from prosecution for Social Security-related identity or payment false statements if such conduct occurred prior to the granting of the blue card."

If this or a similar bill passes, where will the money for Social Security come from? Do you think the system will be solvent then?

It seems like Obama and the Democrats are passing all these laws in order to break the system, not to save it. Don't get fooled again.

Joanne Avella, Tucson

In CD8, clear choice between far right, moderate

Jesse Kelly and the Tea Partiers are lying about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and

hiding his agenda.

When Kelly/Tea Partiers say that Rep. Giffords cut $500 billion from Medicare for seniors, they lie. The $500 billion she voted to cut was overpayments of taxpayer money to private insurance companies, not to seniors' benefits. So Kelly/Tea Partiers are actually complaining about Rep. Giffords saving taxpayers money by cutting waste.

When Kelly/Tea Partiers say that Rep. Giffords has a choice of paying into Social Security or into a private account, they lie. Rep. Giffords has to pay Social Security retirement taxes like anyone else. Members of Congress can pay additional money into a Thrift Savings Plan, just as any American can open an IRA.

Kelly wants to hide his right-wing agenda after having won the primary of a radicalized GOP. The small minority of Tea Partiers cannot deliver him 50 percent +1 in the general election. So he would like voters to forget that he said during the primary that he would "love to eliminate" Social Security, and scrap Medicare to wean seniors "off the public dole."

Now he speaks in terms of "protecting" Social Security for older Americans, by allowing younger Americans to put as much as 41 percent of their Social Security taxes into a private retirement accounts. But that would bankrupt the Social Security system in short order, which is what he really wants. He wants to end Medicare by forcing seniors to accept vouchers that wouldn't even keep pace with inflation.

Kelly wants to outlaw all abortions including in cases of rape and incest. Small government to him is the federal government monitoring every American woman's pregnancy to make sure it ends the way the government wants it.

Our choice is clear: moderate Gabrielle Giffords, or far right radical Jesse Kelly.

Grant Winston, Marana

Landfill would cut illegal dump, keep area clean

I am a retired attorney and have lived in the Marana area for the last 10 years.

I support the Marana Regional Landfill because it will be good for the neighborhood. As a local, convenient option for waste removal, it would help deter illegal dumping and keep our area clean.

The added benefits of a new business in the community will help greatly as well.

William Horne, Marana

Toss 'no change, no progress, no ideas' crowd

Day-in and day-out, I hear and read how Democrats will likely lose seats in this election because they are not "energized" to vote as are Republicans.

Well, I don't know about other Democrats, but I don't intend to let whatever misgivings I might have with the state of the economy keep me from protecting what we have accomplished so far, even if it isn't perfect. Nor do I want to see Washington in gridlock, as was the case during the Clinton years because Republicans plan to keep any change and progress from happening.

If this election is nothing to be energized about, then I don't know what is. We have a unique opportunity to replace an aged, self-absorbed, headline- and photo-hungry senator with a young, passionate, committed, bright and future-oriented young man with a 21st century focus. Let's just vote for Rodney Glassman.

Also, our state government is mired in Reagan/Bush polemics and 'good-ole-boy' clubs. Democrats have a full slate of extremely well-qualified, engaged and issue-oriented candidates. Why wouldn't we want to throw the "no change, no progress, no ideas" crowd out?

If Independents are as critically thinking as they would have us believe, I think even they will acknowledge that the same old ideas aren't going to propel us into a bright and vibrant future. The only way to get change is to give some other people a chance. If we don't like it, there is another election in 2012. What more does it take to get energized?

I can hardly wait to cast my vote and I would urge every Democrat, and Independent, not to let theirs go to waste.

Ursula Jarvis, Oro Valley

'Fill needed for economic development

I have lived in Arizona for 37 years and I am a mechanical engineer.

I believe that we need a local landfill for economic development. I support the Marana Regional Landfill because it will minimize excess garbage fees. A privately owned landfill is more likely to operate more efficiently and keep costs down for customers. Also, I believe the design is very state of the art.

Brent Reed, Tucson

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