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Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:14 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

In a quandary over vote on Prop 100 funds

As the election looms, I find myself in a quandary over Prop 100.

I know the schools are struggling, and I'll probably vote "yes" on the proposition. But perhaps before we cast our votes, we should also demand change.

Going through the system myself, and watching my kids go through it, one thing is clear: real learning is about a teacher's ability to teach. A teacher who cares about students, is excited about the material, and has a gift for teaching will cause learning. A teacher who is burned out, cannot communicate well, and is leaning on old, worn-out methods will not.

Clearly, the best way to improve education is to reward good teachers and to get rid of bad teachers. However, because of tenure and the teachers' union, it's nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher — unless they are new and are still on probation. I'm all in favor of paying teachers $60,000 to $80,000 a year, but only if bad teachers can be fired easily as well. That's the way the real world works. If you're not doing your job, you get fired. If you're doing a good job, you get a raise.

It's time for public education to join the real world. There's a lot of dead weight to get rid of. I know, because my kids have been the victims of their ineptitude. Thank God for teachers who work hard and teach well despite their job security with tenure and their low wages. I applaud their character and integrity.

So while we're considering saving public education with Prop 100, let's also demand some accountability — not through more state-mandated tests, but by revamping the system. It's really quite simple.

Lori Sellstrom, Tucson

Zinkin's use of seal 'hardly' an oversight

Oversight? Hardly.

The use of the town seal in mayoral candidate Mike Zinkin's ad cannot be an oversight. It was deliberate.

Tell us you're sorry for the mistake and we can accept your honest admission. If anyone believes the use of the town seal was inadvertent or unintentional, they might be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge for $100.

John Anderson, Oro Valley

'Oversight' has her convinced on mayor choice

Though neither Mr. Zinkin nor Mr. Hiremath impressed me at a January candidate's forum at the Oro Valley Public Library, the recent Explorer story of Mr. Zinkin's 'oversight' of using the town seal in a mailing is all I need to know that Mr. Hiremath is the better choice for the next mayor of Oro Valley.

Mr. Zinkin apparently allowed this oversight — of something relatively simple — despite all candidates being told in writing and verbally not to use the town seal. If this is true, I can not trust that Mr. Zinkin — though his intentions may be noble — can make decisions for our town, that may be complex in nature, in a responsible and legal manner.

Mr. Hiremath now has my vote.

Theresa Shaw, Oro Valley

Declare your freedom from added taxes

To all Arizonans, before you vote on Prop 100, ask these questions:

Has tax increase anywhere ever led to economic growth?

Will I have more money under my control if I have to pay more taxes?

Do you understand that Prop 100 does not necessarily mean increased funding to education?

When has increased funding to education ever translated into better education / learning / knowledge to public school students?

Do you really think this tax is "temporary?"

Why can't every government office, division, agency, welfare and social programs — and yes, even education — be cut 1 percent? (No exceptions, No sacred cows).

When will you declare your freedom from paying more taxes? (When you are paying 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent, etc., to the government.)

Why are so many wealthy persons / organizations supporting Prop 100?

Arizonans, declare you freedom from more taxes, vote No on Prop 100.

Mona Moehring, Tucson

Is this chicanery of the highest order in OV?

As a resident of Oro Valley and a 13-year observer of OV government, politicians and elections in our community, I would urge citizens of Oro Valley, including my friends and neighbors, to vote for Satish Hiremath for mayor and Joe Hornat and Lou Waters for OV council as the best choices for these offices in this election.

I read in these pages where Mike Zinkin dissed Art Segal and then Segal "the blogger" wholeheartedly endorsed Zinkin (also in these pages). Either someone did not get the memo, or, they don't think we are paying attention, or, there is political chicanery of the highest order at play.

I wonder which it is.

Richard J. Tracy Sr., Oro Valley

AAUW stands in support of Proposition 100

Throughout its 129-year history, the American Association of University Women has been a strong advocate for quality public education, healthy families and safe communities. On April 10. at the 64th state convention in Tucson, delegates of Arizona's 14 AAUW branches representing communities statewide, voted unanimously to support Proposition 100, the temporary 1 percent sales tax.

A well-educated citizenry is essential to create and sustain financially sound, safe and healthy communities, yet Arizona presently ranks nearly last in the nation of dollars invested in public education. Our state cannot prosper without investing in the quality education necessary to prepare its citizens for the 21st century jobs in an increasingly competitive world.

Arizona must not go backward as it moves into its second century. Education is the engine that will drive us forward.

We appeal to voters to support Prop 100. Clearly, there are no reasonable alternatives.

Barbara Neubert, AAUW state president

Rowena L. Hardinger, Public policy chair, AAUW Casas Adobes

Teacher is outraged, urges a 'yes'

In 37 years at the front of the classroom, I can honestly say Monday, April 12 was one of my saddest days at school (only surpassed by the death of President Kennedy, the Challenger explosion, and 9-11). On Monday I learned that five additional colleagues were added to the 10 previously informed that they would be receiving a RIF letter by April 15.

All these teachers at Harelson Elementary in the Amphitheater School District are amazing educators who have dedicated themselves to teaching kids with their whole being. For several, this notice now leaves both adults in their family unemployed. But, I am not only saddened by this event — I am outraged.

Let's get something straight. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Balentine and the School Board of the Amphi School District. My outrage lies with the state legislators who have put every school district in Arizona in the position they are in.

Cutting teachers and programs including fine arts, PE, and athletics is not an option that any district can escape from this year. There are no winners in this current public school educational holocaust — except possibly some key legislators who have worked blatantly for years to do everything in their power to destroy Arizona's public schools to make way for private vouchers.

There are, however, many losers in this scenario. First, and foremost, are the students. They will have high class sizes (40 in some cases), diminished elective choices, as well as reduced or eliminated arts, music, PE, foreign languages, technology and textbooks. Extra curriculum offerings may be greatly reduced, including after-school sports at the middle school level, and if Prop 100 doesn't pass, possibly the elimination of freshman and JV sports.

In the words of a former student, Emily Joseph, "Prop 100 is a Band-Aid over a bullet hole, but it's the first step in stopping the hemorrhage." Please vote Yes on Prop 100. Then, take the time to check out which state legislators voted against public school education.

Diane Schlieder, Tucson

This letter was shortened – Ed.

Who he can trust to be OV mayor

The April 28th edition of your paper provided significant insight into the mayoral candidates in Oro Valley, and I thank you for this eye-opening information.

I received a flyer from Mr. Zinkin which included the Town of Oro Valley logo, which made me assume he was endorsed by the Town. However, a local talk radio station revealed he was not and it was a campaign violation to include the logo. In fact he was admonished by town officials for his inappropriate use of the town's logo.

Additionally, the questions posed by your staff showed a contrast between the two, but the question about broadening the tax base demonstrates Dr. Hiremath's understanding that the town exists to provide service and should maximize the resources to provide that service by increasing the tax base by soliciting more businesses to come to Oro Valley.

Mr. Zinkin answered the question by saying he would look for motion detectors in the bathrooms and made sure computers were turned off at night and gave the pat answer of looking at "wants" and "needs." Hasn't this already been done by the current council and staff … I think so.

More concern was raised in my mind in the letter to the editor in the Explorer from the members of the Canada Hills Village 15 Homeowners Association about Mr. Zinkin being censured for his actions that cost the HOA several thousand dollars. Mr. Zinkin's performance as an HOA board member, his lack of answer to the all important tax question and his misuse of the town logo gives me the clear understanding of which candidate I can trust to lead Oro Valley … Dr Hiremath.

Mike Spiva, Oro Valley

Teach your children what is right, wrong

How do we teach our children what's right and wrong?

Our President admits the federal government has failed to control immigration and enforce federal laws, yet states Arizona attempts to keep criminals (illegals) out of the state are misguided and irresponsible.

Students pull fire alarms at school in order to skip class and attend protests because civil disobedience is OK by them and many of their parents. Public servants state half-truth impacts to taxpayers which only point out some of the costs / benefits, and openly state they will not enforce laws they believe to be unconstitutional (pick and choose approach to the rule of law).

Businesses and individuals knowingly hire illegals and pay them off-the-books. TV commercials state that various companies can get you debt relief from your credit card balances and taxes, and you don't have to give anything back.

Government spending is out of control, leading to generational theft. Instead of balancing the budgets by cutting costs, the prevailing attitude is to give more breaks to businesses (because it will create jobs), increasing entitlements (it will benefit the children), and adding more taxes and fees (shifting the burden mainly to the middle class).

Help stop the train wreck. Explain to your kids that: actions lead to consequences, there are no free lunches — bills eventually have to be paid back by someone — and they should follow the laws. Lead by example.

Vote out elected officials not doing the people's work, and vote down tax increases until spending is under control.

Tom Sander, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), Tucson

Golder Ranch Fire is good for Oro Valley

Mr. Oldakowski,

Although I am not up to speed on Oro Valley politics, one item I can speak to is fire protection. For 30 years, I was a volunteer fireman in a very busy fire department 30 miles east of New York on Long Island. Our response area was about five square miles running nearly 3,500 calls per year.

In 1982, I was awarded New York's highest medal " The New York State Medal of Valor" for rescuing two small children from a house fire. In 1993, I rescued a man from a fully involved car fire. And plenty more medals to prove my fire protection knowledge. In 1981 my grandparents were killed in a house fire in New York City, I know what it feels like to lose family members to fire.

Annexing of Oro Valley by Golder Ranch Fire was good for all of us. I'd suggest you read up on the fire codes of NFPA 1500 to better educate yourself on requirements of fire districts as opposed to private, for-profit, fire companies. This is not to knock the Rural Metro Firefighters; they're firefighters first, and have little say in corporate Rural Metro Fire.

Rural Metro had the one firehouse on First Avenue serving much of Oro Valley. Golder Ranch has four companies in Oro Valley. Under Rural Metro, in the event of a large fire, the nearest engine company to the First Avenue firehouse responded from Magee and Oracle, beyond this Rural Metro companies were responding from firehouses out on East Ina Road. From my experience, this is way too far.

Until the threat of Golder Ranch annexing, Rural Metro provided minimal staffing on their engines; two firefighters with two others coming in on an ambulance, unless they were on an EMS call somewhere else. Under Rural Metro, a ladder company did not exist for Oro Valley fire protection.

For peace of mind, I'd pay more to have adequate fire protection for my family. Again, annexing Golder Ranch was good for Oro Valley.

Bob Thomas, Oro Valley

Just who the 'progressives' truly stand for

Follow the money. I am appalled at the behavior of public figures like Isabel Garcia, Raul Grijalva, Al Sharpton and all of those who decry the state of Arizona for doing what the federal government has failed so miserably to do; protect our borders. Where were these fakes at when Robert Krentz was murdered?

The outrage is over people who don't live here, who have no legal standing here and who come to our country knowing full well they are violating our laws. What perplexes me is there is no outrage by the so-called "social progressives" about the human smuggling and slavery — yes, slavery — that it feeds.

Think about this for a moment, who stands to gain from cheap labor that is extorted into low paying jobs? Who benefits from the kidnapping that occurs when they arrive here? Where are the Al Sharptons of the world on this topic? Isabelle Garcia, what do you have to say about young women forced into prostitution? When a Mexican national can enter the United States legally, through the existing immigration process, he / she will not have to pay the coyotes to smuggle them in under dark of night and into a slavery network. They will have a true stake in the American Dream. One which they earned and can be proud of.

The whole human smuggling business is making a lot of people a lot of money. So who do the vocal public figures really stand for? Graft, corruption, payoffs? Spend our resources on investigating that and follow the money then we'll see who the "social progressives" really stand for.

Mark Finchem, Oro Valley

Honesty from schools might be right approach

According to Coronado K-8 School Principal Monica Nelson, a minimum of four and a maximum of possibly 10 teachers will lose their jobs next year. So why give RIF notices to 33? Obviously the district is simply trying to scare the public into voting for Prop 100.

We see right through the scam. Honesty might be a better approach.

Some IRHS students demonstrated themselves to be good Democrat automatons, proving indoctrination rather than education, as they noisily protested and demanded other people's money be spent on their perceived problem. This is an opportunity to demonstrate a little personal responsibility for their own educational experience, rather than rely on someone else: donate money to the school.

Don't have any? Get a job and make a donation. Spend a little less on Friday night and donate the difference. Stop driving daddy's Beamer, get a Hyundai instead, and donate the difference. Trade in that iPhone for a Hue and donate the difference. How about fundraisers: car washes, bake sales, skip a few days at the spa, etc. Get creative, rather than resorting to demagoguery. Take responsibility rather than being a parasite. Demonstration of even a modicum of self-reliance would impress district voters a lot more than noisy demands.

I plan to vote for Prop 100. Everyone having skin in the game, and not just the few who get stuck paying the bills while the rest get a free ride, is great. It is a truism that the closer folks are to a funding source, the more responsible they become, and they'll be aware every time they buy something.

The three-year sunset is a great idea so that when the economy recovers, the state isn't left with a lot of extra money to further expand its tentacles. Providing excess money to government beyond only basic services is precisely the fundamental cause of budgetary problems.

This is a golden opportunity to get big government out of folk's lives just a little, while giving those who consume the most the chance to pay for their demands.

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley

Firefighters have response to Zinkin backer

As president of the North Tucson Firefighters Association, I would like to address misinformation contained in a letter to the editor written by Mike Zinkin's treasurer on April 21.

While the official-endorsement website of Zinkin has called us "ilk," "pompous," and junkyard dwellers for supporting a candidate, we have remained civil regarding the upcoming election. However, statements attempting to mislead a voting constituency deserve a response.

Mr. Oldakowski incorrectly suggests that a 2004 election led to events that "forced Rural Metro out of business in Oro Valley." Employees of Rural Metro still serve southern Oro Valley as the Mountain Vista Fire District.

The fact is this: these untrue statements are a campaign strategy to discredit firefighters because of their political participation. In a blog run by individuals who are Zinkin's only endorsement, supporters viciously comment under posts with titles like "Makes Me Sick: Firefighters Stick Their Noses Where It Doesn't Belong." Anonymous bloggers label us as "corrupt," "special interest," and an "outside entity." The truth is quite contrary. NTFFA members are graduates, coaches, volunteers, citizens, sons and daughters of this town. We are not a "special interest" group, we are an "invested interest" workforce who is thoroughly integrated in this community.

The success of Oro Valley bodes well for us all, and it is what we desire. Any suggestion otherwise is misguided and false.

Furthermore, as a father, public servant, and resident of Oro Valley, my "nose" belongs in speaking against what I feel is detrimental to this town. I do not support conflict. I do not support name calling; and I do not support contentious quarrelling. Unfortunately, others in this election thrive in those areas.

The NTFFA will continue to pursue fire service advancement through effective relationships and a proactive approach toward politics; however, we have never asked for, nor received, any special favor from any candidate … ever. We prefer open and civil communication. We prefer teamwork and cooperative problem-solving. We choose to exercise our constitutional right to be involved; and for that involvement, Mike Zinkin's supporters choose to attack us.

Dan Klement, President North Tucson Fire Fighters Association

Mike Zinkin has proven himself to Oro Valley

As a Pima County resident for over 40 years, I have seen this area grow in all directions.

We have an individual who prefers planned growth as oppose to sprawl. Someone who is invested in his community full time. A person who is pro-growth who wants to bring clean business to our community. An individual who wants citizens to be involved in their community.

One, who knows how to work within and create a budget. Someone who knows how to work with pressure where people's lives are stake. Someone who is passionate about the issues, because these are very serious times. A person who wants to have a community our citizens and its business community can prosper and enjoy in its entirety.

Someone with common sense, who admired the individual and vision of Mo Udall, and the spirit of Barry Goldwater. Both men who "Were All For Arizona" all the time. A person who will listen to all sides of a debate , and a man who likes to debate.

Mike Zinkin is the candidate for mayor who has proven himself to Oro Valley. If elected, he will work for us and be available 24/7, and will demonstrate honesty and integrity as our mayor.

Jeff Siegel, Oro Valley

Schools fear has become sick reality

Even as the ground violently shakes and the fissures begin to form and snake their way through the very foundation of Arizona education, new signs of life, buds of hope begin to erupt to life in wellsprings of hope all around us.

Valiantly, groups are rising to the tasks all around us in a courageous effort to shore up the very foundation of Arizona's education even as the majority of our legislature works to chip away at the very hope and well being of the future … our children.

The authentic fear, that at first only threatened to choke out this hope, has now become a heartfelt and sickening reality.

Arizona's citizens are beginning to wake up, take notice and act on the dire state that we are falling into. Groups such as AEN, parent sign-making events, and students and teachers rallying to support one another are evidence that this awaking is occurring.

What else can we do? By voting for and passing Proposition 100, we can make a difference. We will be sending a powerful message to our legislature that we will not be dragged down into the quagmire of quicksand that they have thrown public education into. We will be sending rays of hope to our students and their loved ones that the citizens of Arizona have foresight and can see into the very future of our state … one that is built upon a solid foundation of quality education.

A willingness to further tighten our belt straps, despite the sickly state of the economy, will help to ensure passage and enactment of Prop 100. Our other alternative … the potential shambles that could very likely occur when families relocate to other states in our country who value education and companies think twice about relocating their home bases to Arizona because of a weak, ailing and broken education system.

It's time to stand up straight, tall and with pride, Arizona. It's time to vote for a positive change, hope for our future and Prop 100.

Karissa Richardson, Teacher

In OV, 'trolls' try to instill fear in voters

Internet "slang" refers to someone who posts inflammatory messages, innuendos and insinuations, with the primary intent of distorting issues and discrediting individuals, as a "troll."

Here is an excellent example of "trolling." It deals with the Kai property (some 271 acres) bordered by First Avenue, Palisades and Tangerine roads.

Over the past five years, the Kais have requested general plan amendments to change the zoning from low density residential to high density residential and commercial. These requests were all turned down and, to date, there have been no changes in this land use.

In a 29 April posting, reference was made to the campaign signs of candidates Hiremath, Hornat and Waters having been placed on the Kai property, as many candidates, with Mr. Kai's permission, have done in previous campaigns.

The "troll" issued a " special caution" to homeowners bordering the Kai acreage, and stated that they "… get frightened beyond belief when the name 'Kai' comes up." In a further posting that day, the question was posed "who do you think will help Kai with a general plan amendment, if elected?" "Yup. It's those that have their signs there." "… favors beget favors."

Clearly innuendos and an attempt at instilling fear. It implies that, if elected, these three, since they were permitted to place their signs on the property, will help the Kais, should they request, to obtain an amendment to the general plan.

Changing an existing zoning designation of this type requires passage of a major amendment. Two-thirds or five town council members must approve it. Prior to its reaching the council, two public hearings are held by the Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as two neighborhood meetings. There is a public hearing at the town council meeting should the request get that far.

His last request was withdrawn by Mr. Kai well before it reached P&ZC due to homeowner opposition. The "process" prevents a change from being "rammed" through by a few.

Oro Valley voters should certainly want to question the judgment of any candidate who received, and accepted, an endorsement from those who deal in trolling.

Alan Dankwerth, Oro Valley

Hiremath has leadership and vision to lead OV

As Election Day quickly approaches, it's important for Oro Valley voters to learn about each of the candidates. I would suggest that if you didn't get Dr. Hiremath's informative new mail piece, you should call and have him send you one. In it, he makes clear that one of his top priorities is to ensure our town council will represent all of the interests in the community and do so in a collaborative and productive way.

This is key for our town's future. Dr. Hiremath also emphasizes the need to have "a council that will work together in good faith." Sounds to me like he will respect all council members, current and future. According to him, "it is time to end the bickering, the division, and the waste of council time and taxpayer dollars." No one can disagree with that.

Dr. Hiremath has the vision and leadership to put the town on the right path for the future. He'll work with the council to ensure all voices are heard. These are just a few more reasons why he has earned the support of business organizations, public safety groups and town residents alike.

As voters learn more, I'm confident they will see Dr. Hiremath is the best choice for mayor of Oro Valley. He's willing and committed to work with the entire council and all town residents. Nice job, Dr. Hiremath.

David Godlewski, Oro Valley

It's time for collaboration in communities

Why do some communities address issues such as growth, economic development, fiscal management, crime, etc., better than others? It is because they are able to develop and use synergy within their communities.

Robert Putnam, Harvard professor and author of "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," documents the decline of nearly all measures of civic engagement in the past 35 years. Americans today spend dramatically less time connecting with family, friends and the broader community.

Collaboration is more often talked about than actually done. It is one of the hardest things to organize and execute but often the most effective. With the shortage of funds, too many only want their light to shine. Effective collaboration requires new kinds of relationships. When formed, these new relationships are powerful forces for change that could never be achieved by one entity working alone. New skills, new perspectives, and new people create new energy and possibilities. Communities like Santa Fe, N.M., Waco, Texas, Danville, Va., and Fargo, N.D., along with numerous others have been able to create the synergy needed to address issues which threatened their sustainability.

They realized that one organization or sector could not address the systemic issues alone. They understood the issues could not be siloed; they must be addressed multilaterally. Their leaders had to learn how to identify community assets, manage conflict, communicate the broader agenda, and how to organize and facilitate people in the process.

This requires leaders with a passion for change but flexibility on how to achieve it. People are willing to help when they are talked with, not talked at. Effective leadership often has little to do with age, gender, ethnicity, education, experience, or titles. This I learned when I was responsible for a process designed to assess people for managerial positions at all levels in large corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. It is truly amazing what ordinary people can accomplish when they begin without preconceived ideas.

Stephen Fansler, Oro Valley

Both parties to blame for immigration ills

I am the daughter of a legal immigrant. My mother came to this country and ended up becoming a proud American citizen.

Through all the rhetoric, one thing remains, one thing is clear. Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for this situation. The Republicans want the illegals for work, but not to vote, and the Democrats want them to vote, but not to work.

What is a shame is that no one wants to admit that slavery is alive and well in the 21st century. Illegality promotes a permanent underclass that gets exploited. Slave labor, human trafficking, prostitution, gangs, drugs and murder result.

Let's not pretend that we are concerned for the poor Mexican. If we were, we would be protesting the corrupt Mexican government and its lack of responsibility to make a good life for its citizens. But we are not.

It is a political football to be tossed around while all of us suffer. Strong border enforcement is the most humane thing we can do. Perhaps the bill Arizona passed is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

Kim Rajunis, Marana

Amateur hour over; writer is thinkin' Zinkin

The soon to be ex-mayor of Oro Valley Paul Loomis has come out and asked us to vote for Mr. Hiremath, stating that he has the "experience" necessary to run Oro Valley. Really? I have yet to see any resume from the good doctor that backs this up.

Mike Zinkin comes to the voters with a list of accomplishments that are truly impressive and clearly shows that he is ready, willing and able to lead Oro Valley into what may become a challenging and difficult future for us all. We need a person that has the time and experience to be a full-time mayor in Oro Valley and not one looking for a new hobby.

Mr. Zinkin has a long standing record of being pro-business in this city and will continue to do the things necessary to attract commerce to our town, but he will not give business a blank check and will expect them to live by the rules that were set forth by the voters of Oro Valley and contained in the general plan.

Mike will continue to support the police, firefighters and all the good people that help to keep us safe, but he will not be held hostage by union strong-arming if it conflicts with prudent government.

In spite of these groups pulling out all the stops against Mike, he continues to state that he will always have an open door policy and will be willing to sit down with anyone that cares to express their views and will approach their requests with an open mind.

From this writer's point of view, the choice for mayor could not be more clear. Either we want four more years of failed Loomis style management from an inexperienced "part-time" mayor, or we want Oro Valley to get a full-time mayor with integrity, experience and most of all the time to be a steady hand at the tiller to guide us with confidence through the choppy waters ahead. Amateur hour is over. I'm thinkin' Zinkin.

David Berry, Oro Valley

Arts group is not political; jazz funds are private

I was disappointed to read Kathleen Pastryk's letter to the editor (May 5), as it contained two serious factual errors regarding the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (formerly GOVAC).

First off, the organization has never endorsed nor contributed money to political candidates or causes. As an IRS-designated 501(c)3 nonprofit, SAACA is forbidden from engaging in such overtly political activities.

Second, Ms. Pastryk suggests that Oro Valley taxpayers have funded SAACA's annual Jazz Legends concert at the Hilton. That annual fundraising event has always been paid for with private money, including generous contributions from SAACA board member Al Cook.

In fiscal 2009-2010, the Town of Oro Valley contributed $61,930 to designated SAACA programs that included a spring and fall arts festival, a car show, two youth/school art programs, a local artists exhibition/competition and concert series. SAACA only charged admission for the car show; the other events and programs were free to attend.

The town's investment helped SAACA producing events that reached more than 20,000 Oro Valley residents, including hundreds of artists and performers.

Furthermore, SAACA serves Oro Valley residents in other ways for which it receives no town funding. Nearly every school in town makes use of SAACA arts education programs. Along with support from Ventana Medical Systems, the organization presents quarterly art exhibitions featuring local artists. And last year, the organization published a book devoted to Oro Valley's successful public art program.

These are the facts regarding the town funding SAACA received and how that money was spent. This information could have easily been verified by Ms. Pastryk had she bothered to consult official sources, including town government.

Melanie Larson, President of the board for SAACA, Oro Valley

He's not getting his money's worth From public schools

A member of my Toastmasters club is an intelligent and well-spoken 14-year-old girl. Her recent solution for "global peace" was an obvious consequence of being indoctrinated through the government-run programming system commonly known as "public education."

She explained that the reason for global conflicts is because "this country takes all the world's resources and keeps poor countries poor." She went on to posit that if we "would use what resources we have instead of stealing from other countries, they would not hate us so much," thereby eliminating the cause of all wars: The United States of America.

This misguided sentiment and other opinions like it permeate our government-run education system. Teaching our kids that we are a nation of thieves is factually misleading. It is deliberately erroneous and borders on subversive.

I recognize that many victims of educational malpractice buy into this irresponsible paradigm. We actually have educators teaching this to kids rather than teaching American exceptionalism and what has made this the finest, kindest, most generous and prosperous nation on Earth.

If I worked for Coca-Cola, it would not be acceptable for me to wear a Pepsi T-shirt to work. If I worked for McDonalds, I would not wear a Burger King mask to work. Teachers are paid by the American citizens; they work for us. In fact, they are presently begging and pleading with us to voluntarily increase their subsidies via Proposition 100.

If they are going to get paid by the tax dollars of the American people, they damned well ought to be teaching pro-American values and concepts. And if they cannot force themselves to do that, then at the very least they should not be teaching anti-American concepts. Is it too much to demand that they don't denigrate the hand that feeds them, let alone request job protection at the expense of those that produce the earnings taxed for their salary?

Please think about this as you go to the polls May 18th. Is your money going to promote America or to disparage her? I'm not getting my money's worth. Are you?

Don Winfield, Marana

Why can't we all take blame, and fix this?

This is in response to Emil Franzi's column of May 6th.

I very seldom read Emil's column because I don't agree with much of anything he says. This time I agree with nearly everything he said. If I am stopped for any traffic violation I must show three different pieces of paper, or be cited for not having them. The people that are protesting SB1070 so strongly don't give the entire story.

Now, the thing I take issue with is the fact that Emil is blaming the entire protest thing on the left. I am a Democrat, and I feel like I am fairly liberal, but to say this is the left's fault is ridiculous.

There are level-headed people on both sides, and it is a darned shame they can't work together and get things done. Instead they point the finger at each other and nothing gets done. They seem to want to do nothing but stir the pot and cause more controversy.

Why can't everyone in this country, from the top people to the everyday citizen, take the blame for things that have been done wrong, and try to fix them? As long as there are African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Japanese-Americans, and so on, we just get farther apart. I suppose I should hyphenate my name, too. That would make me a Scottish-Irish-German-Native-American-American.

Anyone who wants to live here, and become a citizen, is an American. Pretty simple.

Bud Bowersock, Oro Valley

Zinkin is the 'we' candidate for Oro Valley

"Focus 2020, The Future in Balance" — thus is heralded the Oro Valley General Plan, ratified by the voters Nov. 8, 2005. Throughout this document is woven a tenet that Oro Valley must adhere to a "balance" by the inclusion of our unique Sonoran Desert setting, our educational opportunities, our economic stability in concert with our quality of life, the richness that art, recreation, and culture bring to us, and an efficient government that protects our long term interests.

Unfortunately there are certain "interests" that, at times, dismiss these principles as an impediment to "progress." One not-so-little-kept secret is that some of those who profess to have Oro Valley's interests in mind want certain boards and commissions dissolved in order that relative processes be transferred away from the people and incorporated into an increased power of council and staff; this would afford governance to be more directly accessible to the whims of the "power elite."

By headlining his campaign literature, "The Pro-business Conservative Choice," candidate Satish Hiremath seems to promote this perverse suggestion by "drawing a line in the sand" and accepting divisiveness as a natural human element; hence, he defines himself accordingly. By declaration, he appears to advocate that "business people" and "people people" must be two separate and contentious sectors. Reading his fine print, Hiremath is more of glib than substance and, in lieu of true business acumen, practitioner Hiremath turns to the utility of regional entities as his crutch.

Mike Zinkin is the "we" candidate. He believes that Oro Valley can formulate its own destiny.

He advocates for the inclusion of all and rejects domination by any. Having chaired the Development Review Board, Zinkin hasn't simply read our general plan, he's lived it. He knows there are "stumbling blocks" that do impede the ease of facilitating business here, but he is unwilling to simply pay lip service to such problems, ignore the "community of whole," then impulsively act out the guesswork of knee-jerk solutions. Unlike Hiremath, Zinkin wants progress that can provide "We, the People" a better future for all.

Zev Cywan, Oro Valley

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