A correlation between poverty, incarceration rate can be drawn
I found the article by Arizona Sen. Al Melvin concerning inmate labor for work such as cleaning up trash on I-10 and at the animal control facility interesting, and I am sure there are benefits to the state and counties as well as to the inmates by this practice.
I do, however; have a concern; if the inmates are such low-risk level offenders, why were they given such lengthy prison sentences that they can spend one or two years at work for the state? Why are they still in prison?
There have been a number of articles in recent years questioning the "tough" sentencing laws passed under the guise of protecting the public with lengthy penalties in an attempt to force compliance. I know of no law that can prevent a person from doing what they really want to do, no matter how severe the penalty. Words and threats do not prevent action, or there would be no need for the hated traffic cameras that have created such an uproar.
Recent newspaper reports claim Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States, which I presume contributes to its spending more on prisons on a per capita basis than nearly any other state in the union. The latest Census Bureau information also puts Arizona #2 in poverty. Could there be a correlation?
May Perry, Tucson
He should acknowledge true intention
The Sept. 15 issue of The Explorer details how a longtime OV employee was fired, in part because she succumbed to bullying pressure from Vice Mayor Garner to improperly give him a recoding of my private conversations which he believed would influence the mayoral election in favor of Mike Zinkin.
This private conversation occurred following a storm water commission meeting, which was cancelled due to lack of a quorum. Thus there should have been no recording. However, the private conversations were recorded, then deleted and after persistent pressure from Garner, retrieved, copied and provided to the Zinkin camp. An out-of-context excerpt of my private conversation from this recording was then published on the Love Blog without my permission for the clear purpose of influencing the outcome of the mayoral election.
Fortunately, the publishing of this excerpt was not sufficient to change the final outcome of the election, but it may have made it closer than it should have been, as the final margin was by only 30 votes.
Vice Mayor Garner's blatant attempt to influence the election has had a very negative effect on my reputation and years of hard work for the town. However, I will continue to support the town and its elected officials whenever I can.
The lady was dismissed because under pressure from Garner she violated the town's standard procedures. Garner's use of his title and position was far more than normal procedures, conversations and requests for the tapes.
Mr. Garner should come forward and acknowledge his intent on obtaining tapes was for use in the election and that obtaining them resulted in the dismissal of this longtime employee.
Now is the time for him to do the honorable thing, which would be to apologize to all involved and resign his position on the town council for his role in this matter.
KC Carter, Oro Valley
Marana does not really need a new landfill
I live in Silverbell West and I oppose the proposed Marana Regional Landfill less than 3,000 feet from our neighborhood.
People in favor of this monstrosity have dismissed every researched fact we have presented when in fact they reference little evidence to support their rationale for wanting this landfill.
Supporters of the landfill say "we need a landfill in Marana," but why? We have the Tangerine Landfill and the Ina transfer station. Most people have trash service with companies that have their own landfills outside of Marana. They will not use this landfill.
Proponents say "garbage rates will go up without the landfill," but where is the proof? If not for inflation and greed, there would not be an increase just because there is no landfill in Marana.
Those in favor of the landfill also indicate that "it will cut down on wildcat dumping," but I disagree. People have been wildcat dumping for generations even when the Tangerine Landfill was free. Some people are just too lazy to take their garbage to the dump and some do not want to pay.
Some who want the Marana Landfill say our excuse is "not in my backyard." Opponents have not used that excuse. We have used facts, research and personal reasons why this is a bad idea.
But why not use that excuse? Other neighborhoods have. Dump supporters say it is OK to put it in our backyard, but not it theirs. Who wants a 165-foot, 440-acre dump in their backyard, with the noise of the trucks and tractors, the dust and the smell? I guess the wind does not blow where proponents live. Some say "it will not smell" or "it will not have dust." I don't care how you cover it up or how many times you water it down there is going to be dust and odors.
We in Silverbell West are fighting for our lives, our family's health and for our neighborhood. Greed seems to be the reason for landfill support because they have no facts.
Kris James, Silverbell West
Giffords is not being truthful on 2 benefits
I am writing to address two letters to the editor, from Sandra Spangler and Pat Menck.
Sadly, with all the information available, these people were only able to glean their information from a six-second commercial made by the Giffords campaign, which is incorrect. As usual the Giffords campaign is not completely truthful, taking incomplete bits and pieces of information from channel KUAT.
This last week, Jesse Kelly addressed these myths in a TV commercial. Jesse Kelly has always said he will protect the Social Security and Medicare programs that our seniors have paid into for years.
The administration said the money for Social Security and Medicare is coming to an end. Jesse Kelly is offering a thrift savings plan for younger workers (the same one that Gabrielle Giffords has, as a member of Congress). What is good for Congress is good for the rest of us. We would have choices to stay in the Social Security plan or pick another (not the stock market) similar to Gabrielle Giffords' plan.
She is not concerned about our seniors or she wouldn't have voted to remove $500 Billion dollars from Medicare Advantage that many seniors have, and move it over to Obamacare. And if Obamacare is so great for Americans, why is it that Congress would not include themselves in this new program?
My senior friends contacted Gabrielle Giffords and asked her to please not touch their Medicare and Advantage Medicare. She had so little concern for them, that she voted against the majority of her constituents.
I wonder if maybe she has little interest in the people of CD8 since she lives with her husband in Houston. Perhaps she should run there instead.
Gayle Wegrzynowski, Oro Valley
OV needs a conduct code for the elected
Once again The Explorer has shown courage in reporting a story that exposes the unseemly conduct of a sitting Oro Valley council person.
Councilman Bill Garner and former town employee Deanna Ruiz collectively pirated a non-public recording and used it for political purposes. Garner then states he and Ruiz did nothing wrong.
Garner openly accused long-term and highly respected town employees of lying. Garner stated "I was conducting my own internal investigation." Just what and why was he investigating? If Garner was investigating, why was mayoral candidate Mike Zinkin involved? And one has to ask what part of "my own internal investigation" required that Garner rush the stolen recording to Zinkin, who in turn rushed it to the L.O.V.E. blog to be posted for public consumption 10 days before the election?
I smell something funny here. I'll just hazard a guess and offer the thought that this entire incident was political in nature. Ya think?
There is but one person not telling the truth in this tasteless event and that would be Councilman William Garner.
There is absolutely no doubt that town resources (staff, material and equipment) were used in an attempt to influence the mayoral election. I suppose the saving grace (reason for no prosecution) is the offense was carried out in a serpentine manner by Garner, Zinkin and Ruiz in spite of the efforts of town management. Neither Garner nor Ruiz would admit to making the recording until confronted after the fact. And Garner was one of those arguing against town employees getting involved in political activities.
But the more important story in this entire embarrassing mess is that the town has no means to adequately deal with sleazy conduct by elected officials. We now are faced with two distasteful and questionable incidents in the past year.
I would urge the town council to embark on the creation of a code of conduct for Oro Valley elected officials. This code can specifically describe unacceptable behavior(s). It will be the responsibility of the council to examine what punitive avenues are available them. But, as citizens, we can no longer tolerate this kind of conduct.
Don Cox, Oro Valley
Time to stop the fear mongering on Social Security
I'm offering a response to the letter "Kelly would veer U.S. back to the 19th century." In it, Sandra Spangler refers to Mr. Kelly's frightening notion that long-term Social Security planning for younger folks needs to be fixed and in fact, changed, allowing for some portion to be personally invested.
Sandra takes the age-old liberal position that if we allow this to happen, kids will lose their money in the stock market. I'm sick and tired of this liberal scare tactic: why do they do it, and why is it baloney?
First of all, let's get clear on Social Security and liberals like Giffords in general. Liberals want our money to invest in their constituency, to bring votes in for themselves and to gain or retain power. Much of the stimulus plan went to that purpose.
Social Security is received and disbursed by the general accounting fund and is a candy store for the aforementioned purpose. It is not an entity of its own. Politicians can and do raid it at will.
Liberals will attempt to frighten old folks like myself whenever we try to take the candy, or what they believe to be their candy, away from their greedy mitts.
While Spangler proudly regurgitates the liberal line about personally investing some S.S. funds equating to losses in the stock market, she noticeably doesn't tell us that S.S. earns less than 1 percent interest in a 2.5 percent inflationary environment. She also doesn't mention that Mr. Kelly never mentioned the stock market.
My question is: when can we stop this fear mongering and get to real solutions? After reading Spangler and listening to the outright lies of Giffords, I'm voting for Kelly. Let folks 55 and older keep the current system, as Kelly asserts, and let the youth of this country get hip on what's been happening with Social Security. This game's been going on forever. You can stop it. Take some of what's left of your cash back from the politicians, put portions of it into safe places, and give it back to yourselves.
Bob Holzapfel, Oro Valley
First, let's not purchase more than we require
Aside from the occasional silliness issues within letters to the editor, I have often wanted to respond back to The Explorer with letters of appreciation for all the wonderful people and amenities we have in Oro Valley. However today, I respond to the community landfill/dump issue in Marana.
Most everyone makes good points about the problem, no matter where our trash goes. I have long hypothesized that many past civilizations, including the Hohokam, disappeared or moved on because of trash pile build-up and the associated odors, pollution and health problems. Tucson is going in that direction, as are many communities.
Let me point out three particular groups of heroes, among many, in my life. First was my dad, who made a point to turn the car around when traffic was clear, then pick-up things from the middle of the road. He had a collection of towels and hats that were washed and reused and of course he had a lot of extra tools, etc., that he had collected.
The second hero was my driver's training teacher, Ed Nymeyer, who made us stop the car, back up, and parallel park while he jumped out and collected glass bottles. Of course back then he made a profit from the deposit money, but most people would not do such because of the inconvenience and/or ridicule.
My third groups of heroes are those who used to pick-up and take home a significant amount of perfectly usable materials from the dump every time they took their own load to the dump. I understand now that such a valued task is illegal and I can appreciate that there may be some health risk involved.
My partial solution to the landfill problem is for each of us to not purchase more than we can consume, to live with our out-of-style furniture a little longer and to find another use for something instead of discarding. Recycling by melting and recreating is good, but reusing is best. Yes, we still have a problem with a dump site, but eventually a smaller problem.
Roy Barnes, Oro Valley
Giffords seems unwilling to learn about Social Security
This is an attempt to answer the two letters published in the Sept. 15 issue of The Explorer, relative to Social Security and Medicare. What the authors have to say on the subject is, in my opinion, political propaganda aimed at misrepresenting the position of Republicans on the subject.
The last major change in Medicare became effective in 1999. At that time, payments to health providers were severely cut. As a result, many seniors, especially in rural areas, lost their HMO coverage and Cigna Health Care had to close its Tucson office.
Something similar may occur due to the passage of Obamacare. Although the payroll tax rate for Medicare hospital insurance has not changed, the maximum taxable income increased greatly in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and was eliminated in 1994. Either benefits will have to be cut or revenues increased, lowering the return on contributions, to save it. This results in younger people paying the consequences for prior underfunding. This describes a "Ponzi scheme."
When Social Security was first inaugurated, the benefit payout compared to a participant's contribution was exceedingly high. The return on payroll tax contributions gradually decreased and will continue to do so, until the return is negative. This will certainly be the case for those who started working in 1990, when the payroll tax was increased to 6.2 percent. This describes a "Ponzi scheme."
The letter Rep. Giffords sends to her constituents makes it clear that she does not know anything about Social Security. You can't stop borrowing the surpluses without shortening the life of the two Social Security programs. Giffords has never voted to strengthen Social Security. There has not been any such vote since the early 1980s.
Back in May 2007, I explained to Giffords how to learn about Social Security. It is regrettable that she keeps sending inaccurate letters to her constituents on the subject of Social Security after being 3-1/2 years in office. I could never vote for such a person; one who is unwilling to learn about Social Security doesn't understand what is needed to save it.
Enid F. Rocourt, Casas Adobes
State can't afford politicians who turn a deaf ear
A friendly reminder to voters: Oct. 4 is the last day to register to vote for the Nov. 2 election. Please encourage eligible 18-year-olds plus to register to vote.
Arizonans cannot afford for politicians to turn a deaf ear any longer. An educated workforce will bring jobs to our state.
Last May, voters passed Proposition 100. We still face the current deficit at $1.7 billion. Gov. Brewer expects significant reductions to state funding for public education K-12, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Economic Security. The willful mandates by the Arizona GOP leading majority will continue to inflict pain on Arizona families during economic hardship.
School districts must ask voters to approve bond issues. Without the will of the state to invest in the future, projects go unfunded and programs cease to exist. Further taxes to homeowners will be inevitable or other resources must be found.
What we value will define us. Will it be prisons or public education K-12? Will Arizonans invest in our future? How can we better prepare young minds to face a competitive global economy? Make your vote count in this swing district.
Expect and elect competence. Elect Cheryl Cage for LD 26 state senator and re-elect Nancy Young Wright for LD 26 state representative for a stronger Arizona. Wright gets an A+ for her full support of funding public education. Cage and Wright understand that the UA, a top employer in southern Arizona, plays such an important role in the economic growth and the quality of life in our community.
Melvin's dismal voting record of 0 percent support for public education in 2009 speaks volumes. Budget cuts hurt families. His support to shift tax liability to homeowners is just wrong for Southern Arizona.
Does Melvin care more about the GOP party leaders in Maricopa County than Southern Arizona? Spare us Melvin's wish list for future nuclear power plants and radioactive waste sites here where we lack water resources for this 30-year venture. Nuclear power is not the panacea to the current budget crisis.
Milani Llorin Hunt, Tucson
We need to keep a vigil eye on them
It's nice to know Oro Valley town administrators can find a scapegoat to absolve themselves from any guilt by firing the "so-called" offender.
I think Oro Valley town folk must keep a vigil eye on these people. It, apparently, seems a disease is going around that is affecting all towns lately. Just to mention a few, in California two cities are under investigation by the federal government for abusing their power. It pleases me to see that people are executing their rights to see that action is being taken.
I feel sorry for Ms. Ruiz. I, sincerely, hope she doesn't have a family to support since I'm very sure it won't be easy finding another job with these sort of charges that have been brought against her. However … since the corrupt and crooked Oro Valley individuals need to protect themselves, it was easier to put the blame on someone else.
If, by the way, no laws had been broken and by cleverly deleting the evidence of the recording. … Why????? Was Ms. Ruiz fired????
In the future, I believe Oro Valley citizens should be more astute and cautious in who they vote into office and give authority to run our local government.
Evelyn Wenzel, Oro Valley
Who is the real extremist in CD8 contest?
Gabrielle Giffords cannot run on her voting record of supporting the policies of Obama and Pelosi/Reid Congress. She is an enabler of an unprecedented federal spending spree, the failed "stimulus" program, the hostile takeover of healthcare, and the Democrats' drive to raise taxes on those who create jobs (often referred to as the "rich").
She seems indifferent that future generations will be burdened with repaying the trillions in debt Obama and Congress are running up with few positive results.
She smears Jesse Kelly as an extremist, yet what exactly is her plan for reforming Social Security (soon to go broke) and what is her explanation for how depriving Medicare of $500 billion strengthens that program and helps seniors?
Who is the extremist? It's time to fire Gabby.
Robert Key, Pima County
Brewer has hit the level of her own incompetence
Ever heard of the expression "I'd rather be lucky than good"? Golfers say it all the time, thinking a poorly struck ball actually turns out to be in a good position after all.
Well, this applies to politics also, and Jan Brewer is living proof.
At the start of the campaign for governor, she was considered a rather weak candidate even by the Republican Party. A much more qualified candidate in Buzz Mills or Dean Martin probably would have beat her in the primary. And then SB1070 hit her desk. She signed the bill and immediately was thrust into national and international news, plus she became a regular on Fox. She now was the darling of the Republican Party and conservative groups.
Mills and Martin could see that spending more money on an election campaign was futile and bowed out of the race.
Her whole election platform hinges on SB1070 in every respect. Ask her about the economy, jobs, housing, public safety, shoring up the tourism and convention industry, which she destroyed with her rhetoric, and she manages to bring up 1070 in all responses to the press, the opposition or supporters alike.
And then the debate. It really showed her true character. She's a person who cannot think on her feet, and without a script or teleprompter she has trouble communicating at all. The sad thing is that she'll probably be re-elected.
It really disturbs me that Arizona would be saddled to inept leadership for the next four years. What will happen to this great state is frightening.
I will give her credit, as she is the perfect example of the Peter Principle. She truly has hit the level of her own incompetence.
Dennis Ottley, Oro Valley
Melvin giving 'thumbs down' to education
Exactly two years ago, and in the heat of the campaign for two newcomers at the time, our (now) senator spoke a big claim. He stated that when elected that he would fight for every man woman and child within LD26.
From my view, I don't see it. Senator Melvin has voted consistently against any and all types of funding or relief for public schools. His voting record for the last two legislative sessions is clear. He put a large "thumbs down" to the future of our children and their education at every opportunity.
He currently touts that per student funding has merely been reduced from $9,700 to $9,200. The fact is that we spend $6,200 per student in Arizona. This number is substantiated by the Arizona Tax Research Association.
The senator spoke recently about his affinity for inmate labor. I have spoken to him on this topic. On the interstate medians and within controlled circumstances, I am not against this use of labor. What he neglected to mention is that an inmate "walked away" from a work crew last month near Broadway and Harrison. One by one, vehicles were searched for the escaped felon. No less than six TUSD schools were placed on lockdown that morning. What do you suppose was the cost of executing a tactical alert for TPD that day? Fortunately, the inmate was recovered without a single shot having been fired. Enough said.
In the meantime, there remain 25,000 children who collectively attend the schools in and around his legislative district who need his help. Sadly, they cannot vote, they don't even know who he is. But, their future is dictated in part by his political stance on public education.
Best of all, the senator states the he will Fight For Education and Families on his recently placed outdoor campaign signs. This voting constituent remains hopeful that all voters will dig beyond the "sound bite" claims of temporary campaign signs and educate themselves on who really will support education.
Tim Derrig, Flowing Wells
New landfill is important, and needed
Our large community needs a place to put our debris and waste. The proposed Marana Regional Landfill is a good solution to the upcoming problem of the Tangerine Landfill closure.
The private sector that wants to start this business venture should be allowed to open the new facility for our community without local governments blocking progress. The opening of this new landfill would create and keep many jobs.
This is a very important and necessary service that the public needs.
Larry Briggs, Pima County