Letters to the editor published in the July 1, 2009, edition of The Explorer.
No mandates to buy health insurance
I strongly support HCR 2014, which would override any mandate to buy health insurance.
The entire takeover of the U.S. healthcare by the federal government is a travesty and an outrage. An examination of the facts will quickly establish the number of uninsured Americans is about 25 million — about 8 percent of the population — using the mean estimate of the uninsured population and subtracting out the mean of the illegal alien population.
The 50 million bandied about by Democrats, which includes the illegal alien population, is simply scaremongering.
And they want to completely destroy a system that by and large works very well? As far as I am concerned, the U.S. healthcare system works just fine. All federal proposals are nothing more than attempts by radical Democrats to further strangle American individual rights and further impose their view of socialist utopia. They have to be stopped.
HCR 2014 will be a small finger in the dike holding back the tide of radical socialism.
Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley
Melvin's events not give-take 'town meetings'
Two comments regarding State Sen. Melvin's recent letter.
First, "town meeting" implies some sort of give-and-take discussion. Based on experience, that's hardly how I would characterize Sen. Melvin's sessions. They are essentially monologues where he presents his ideologically driven position and dismisses any alternatives.
As far as the cuts in education and health care as a percentage of total spending are concerned, does the senator apply this same line of reasoning to the Obama Administration's projected budget deficit? After all, this is "only" about 4 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Why, that's trivial, just like the budget cuts being offered by Sen. Melvin and his colleagues.
Why does OV give money to outside groups?
According to your article on June 24, Oro Valley is giving $61,930 to the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, $40,000 to Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities and $25,000 to Critical Path, with the total outside group giving reaching $277,717.
Perhaps this could be justified in a year of excellent economic growth, although I cannot understand why government funds art instead of the marketplace, but in these times it seems irresponsible at best.
The sum of $61,930 could pay for more than one teacher for a year.
I fail to see the logic of the Oro Valley Town Council giving any money to any outside groups when they were looking at cutting police a month ago. Sometimes it seems like every level of government has lost its collective mind.
Respectfully submitted, Lynne St. Angelo, Oro Valley
Sun Shuttle is attracting new riders
In the June 10 Explorer, Steven Samson reacted to Sun Tran's recent request for customer input, suggested that nobody is using the Sun Shuttle service that started May 4, and that operating a transit system in Oro Valley was a waste of money.
The RTA collected input – from over 300 public meetings held throughout the region prior to the vote on the RTA plan, and it also received a mandate – to deliver on the plan, as promised. Those promises included circulator bus service to Catalina / Oro Valley, Marana, and Green Valley / Sahuarita as well as additional express bus service.
For transit to be successful anywhere, Oro Valley included, services has to be convenient, reliable, and travel to destinations people wish to go to. Once people can believe that those three properties exist in their transit service, we will see riders.
The Sun Shuttle is slowly attracting new riders. After the first six weeks of service, the Catalina / Oro Valley routes have ridership that is building. In the case of route 401 (running along Oracle Road between Catalina and Ina Road) ridership increased from 12 in the first week to over 90 riders a week currently.
We expect to be able to provide free transfers to Sun Tran shortly, which will allow Catalina / Oro Valley residents access to the entire Sun Tran system. The Sun Shuttle service was deliberately started during the summer to work out the issues that invariably occur with any new service, before school resumes and winter residents return.
Express bus ridership also is growing, and offers a tremendous value to residents that work in downtown Tucson or at Raytheon Missile Systems. Changes proposed to the 312X will give reverse commute access to the Oro Valley Medical Center, Oro Valley Marketplace and the burgeoning biotech industries along Innovation Park Drive. The RTA, Sun Shuttle and Sun Tran are committed to delivering high quality transit services in the Catalina / Oro Valley area, as the voters mandated.
We need constructive public input to improve the service. We are prepared to prune services that are not successful, but we need to give them every opportunity to succeed.
Gary G. Hayes, Executive director,
Regional Transportation Authority
It really is time for third party, like the Whigs
Doug Hecox's article "High Time for a Return to Whiggery" gave an accurate description of the current political mood within our country, even if a little tongue in cheek.
He also explained the need for a third party to appear. The Republicans have lost their way and the Democrats have lost their minds. How else could you seriously tell the American public you want to give away 787 billion dollars, then fund fund our outrageous national deficit with voodoo accounting that makes Burney Madoff look honest.
All humor aside Doug, you are mostly correct. With each passing day, moderate voters across the country are becoming more disillusioned with the Democrats and the Republicans. Voters are looking for a better choice, but not the fringe ideological choices offered by most third parties. Face it, Greens and Libertarians don't live on planet Earth.
Most of us, by far the largest voting block, are moderate voters. Like the Modern Whig Party, most of us believe in fiscal responsibility, solid defense, and the right of each state to decide what social issues are important. One size does not fit all.
Hey, what would you expect from a party given re-birth by the veterans of this current war.
And Doug, you were pretty accurate but missed a few points. First, the Modern Whig Party has just organized a new chapter in Arizona, and we are inviting you. We are recruiting membership throughout the state. And our political animal is the wise old owl. We discussed earwigs but they were leaning socialist.
The Modern Whig Party is rising quickly. Doug is putting his money on us. We hope it's a lot because someone should make back all that lost cash from the crash. But if solid values and good representation are what you want, check out the Modern Whigs. You can learn about us like Doug did, on the internet at www.modernwhig.org. Become a part of history. Bewhigged or Begone.
Tim Cushing, Tucson area coordinator
Arizona Modern Whig Party
Committee was unanimous about keeping OV library
In February 2009, the Oro Valley Town Council appointed a citizens committee to review the feasibility of turning the library over to Pima County. At the first meeting, it was apparent a majority probably favored turning the library over to the county.
After five months of intensive research including hours of one-on-one meetings with administrators, staff and patrons of other Pima County libraries, it was obvious that it would be impossible to maintain the same level of service to Oro Valley residents if the library was turned over to the Pima County and became one of 27 libraries under county administration.
It was agreed in the committee that the town is at a crossroads. Our town now has a population of over 44,000. We are a large municipality, however, under the present state statutes no municipality has control over funds raised by a county library district. The taxes are paid to the county and they pay our municipality whatever they wish to pay. At the present that represents around 50 percent of the costs of running the library, less than a third of the library property taxes paid by our residents. Last year, Oro Valley residents paid $2.3 million in library tax, and the county returned only $650,000 in reimbursements.
If we turn the library over to the county at this time, we will lose the leverage to take this, together with other municipalities, to the state legislature. We will also lose bargaining power with the county when the present intergovernmental agreement expires in 2012. If we turn over the library, Oro Valley will pay a large additional amount of money for the privilege of giving Pima County our library.
In the end our recommendation was unanimous and was intended to give the town time to potentially save over $1 million for the residents of Oro Valley, eliminate $700,000 of expense from the general fund, and keep the library.
Alisdair Innes, Review committee member, Oro Valley
More weight for opinions of advocates
In her June 24th letter, Misti Chivaluksna-Smith falsely claimed that I was unable to debate why Oro Valley should have its own pet shelter service. I clearly explained that Ms. Latas' plan to turn unclaimed animals over to rescue groups was a superior alternative to PACC's 60 percent kill rate.
Smith also claimed that I resorted to marginalizing her reasons for opposing this plan. It was Ms. Smith who marginalized the lives of 24 animals by referring to them as "merely."
She asserts that she is "more than qualified" to speak on this issue since she is a "U.S. citizen, voter, taxpayer, and OV homeowner." Ms. Smith is confusing rights with qualifications. As a U.S. citizen and taxpayer she has the "right" to speak on any issue she wishes, but these factors alone do not "qualify" her to speak.
She then tried to impress me with her dog ownership "resume." Owning animals and loving animals are two different things. In her Explorer letters and in her speech to the council, Ms. Smith speaks of animals in a very matter-of-fact tone. She then labeled my letter an "emotional tirade," yet it was she who was reprimanded by the mayor for her emotional tirade during a recent council meeting.
Ms. Smith states that I should "show gratitude" towards Ms. Ignacio because she saved the life of a pound dog. Ironically, Smith and Ignacio applaud themselves for their minor contributions to animal welfare while at the same time criticizing Ms. Latas for her enlightened and extensive contributions towards ending animal suffering.
My husband (an animal rescue volunteer for 20 years) agrees that a feasibility study is warranted given the current situation. The opinions of animal advocates should carry more weight in this debate than the opinions of people whose only concern is money. However, if that is a concern, the cost / benefit ratio for this program should exceed that of most other Oro Valley town services.
Dogs give us unconditional love, loyalty and protection. Have we become so selfish as a society that we cannot offer them the same in return?
Diane Peters, Oro Valley
Sordid tale of library friends letter campaign
A number of weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the editor recommending the Town of Oro Valley turn over the operation of the Oro Valley Library to the Pima County Library District.
Two ladies wrote a letter to the editor in response to my letter to the editor. This is their right. I do not have any problem with the two ladies voicing their "own" opinion on the content of my letter. This is assuming it was their opinion and not something "ghost-written" for them. I have written a comparison between the two letters and some of the same language, numbers and talking points in the letters reek of collusion.
When The Explorer published these two letters in response to my letter, The Explorer did not know that the "Friends of the Oro Valley Library" had concocted a letter writing campaign (conspiracy) to attempt to discredit my letter. On the "Friends of Oro Valley Website", the "Friends" had written some excerpts:
"Someone must respond to John Musolf's letter in the Explorer. It can't be me, but I have written one that anyone could redo as their own. Please e-mail the board and ask if someone will do this. I will get the letter to them. Have them call me 825-xxxx".
"Apparently xxxx has a neighbor who is going to sign off on the article. I guess this avoids any comments from the public that it is a Friends of the Library article."
This chat information has since been deleted from the "Friends Website." However, the whole sordid story can be read by going to the Let Oro Valley Excel Blog website.
John Musolf, Oro Valley
See the future, OV; don't get into animals
Don't The Oro Valley Town Council recently decided to look at retaining animal licensing fees instead of them going to Pima County. Pima County uses the fees to care for animals that are lost, abandoned or even dead – so what animals will not be taken care of if this passes? Oro Valley's? Probably not.
From what I know, a regional approach taking care of our "favorite friends" has several facets and one of the ways they pay for all the services they provide is with the money they receive from licensing fees. If you take the estimated $63,000 to $300,000-plus away from the county, what do you think is going to happen? Care won't be given to lost and abandoned animals that come in, services that are currently rendered will not be.
Without the money from license fees in Oro Valley, (the service) certainly won't be better and we certainly can't provide all the services by ourselves.
This is a regional solution for a needed service we all take advantage of – yes, even those of you that don't own animals. As a regional partner that consumes services, we need to pay our part, too. The thought of our council looking at doing something that will jeopardize this facility in Pima County so we can collect fees that we will not be conducting any services for is ridiculous.
Finally, I realize this community is currently struggling to make budgets balance. I'm appalled at the lack of knowledge and experience in our current leadership to understand the consequences of their decisions – in fact, it's probably the worst in 25 years I've lived here – and frankly, that's saying a lot. None of them have met a payroll or run anything as large as they are currently trying to. This has shown up with their solutions such as this one – if you take the revenue stream away from a needed service, you're going to lose the service. It's that simple. So, don't get swept away with this silly idea – it will haunt us forever if you do.
Virginia Delwarte, Oro Valley
McCain's wrong, Obama's correct in Iran response
Sen. John McCain joined ranks with other opposition blowhards on the Sunday politishows in a unified attack of President Obama's reaction to the events unfolding in Iran.
McCain spoke out against Obama's inaction and criticized the president's measured words on Iran. McCain suggests we should regress to a Cold War like stance in the Middle East. He says we should be students of history, and cites the founding fathers, and a 19th Century congressman.
McCain still apparently fails to grasp that this is the 21st century. We should be students of more recent history. Our meddling in Iran in the 1950s resulted in the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the U.S. being portrayed as the Great Satan. Is this what McCain and the Republicans truly seek? More destructive stalemates?
McCain lauded Secretary of State Daniel Webster for speaking out in support of the Greek Revolution of 1823. Not that this was not President Daniel Webster.
A president's primary "weapon" especially in the 21st century is diplomacy. Unlike Bush, Obama's style is not to overextend our nation in terms of foreign meddling. Eventually President Obama will have to engage and, yes, talk to whomever comes out on top in Iran. He is carefully poised to do just that. He has demonstrated a respectful piece of maneuvering here, encouraging Congress to speak out in support, and ready to engage when the time is right.
Measured accord over reckless brinkmanship is something we haven't seen in the past eight years. It may take some getting used to, but it is the right path.
Peter J. Burns, Tucson
In Marana, party affiliation makes little difference
This letter is in response to Mr. John Bezel's in the June 17th edition.
I wonder why he feels the need to trash U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Marana Mayor Ed Honea. Is he opposed to bi-partisanship?
I am a Marana resident. I would like to know what "pork" Mr. Bezel is referring to when he states that Mayor Honea endorsed Ms. Giffords for Congress because of the "pork" she secured for our town. The only thing I can think of is her bi-partisan work with Republican Sens. Kyl and McCain to successfully keep a large portion of Marana off of the new FEMA flood plain maps, saving our Marana citizens money on flood insurance.
Is it a crime that Ms. Giffords cares about and wants what is best for her constituents regardless of party affiliation?
As Mr. Bezel may or may not know, Marana has a non-partisan form of town government which works quite well. Mayor Honea is a Republican, Councilman Clanagan is a Democrat, Councilman Post is an Independent. They are not against each other and fighting and bickering, but doing their best to work together for the good of our town.
I am a registered Independent. I believe in voting for the person, not the party. Mr. Bezel would be smart to investigate the facts.
Harold W. Thompson, Marana