Letters to the editor published in the January 27, 2010, edition of The Explorer.
Earth's climate changing, most scientists agree
Andy Woodward painted a distorted picture in his "You Say" opinion on Jan. 20, and mischaracterized the state of climate change science.
Unfortunately, many still get suckered into believing that "To say the issue is scientifically settled is incorrect." The truth is that the science behind global climate change is well settled for the vast majority of reputable scientists. The main remaining controversies are being deliberately fostered by Big Oil and other special interests.
Andy then singles out the behavior of those who support the concept, claiming that supporters can only be believed if they live a Spartan life. But Andy is wrong — the world is chock-full of examples to the contrary. For example, many choose to contribute to charities, but almost nobody chooses to give up all their belongings. Why not? Isn't that inconsistent with their desire to help? Yet no one doubts their charity.
Millions of others acknowledge that being overweight breeds many health issues, some even fatal. Yet most choose not to change their food habits. Why? Isn't that inconsistent with their desire to live long healthy lives? Yet no one doubts their desire to live.
Why then is there any reason to doubt those who accept the scientific consensus, yet fail to live their personal lives in a perfectionist fashion? The fact is, there is no reason to doubt them. And the specific examples Andy cites? President Obama is a very busy man. Do you seriously think he should take the time to bike 10 miles for his lunch?
And is it wrong for Al Gore to travel in his campaign to raise awareness? I'll warrant that the man has probably saved more carbon dioxide emissions with his campaign than he has emitted with all those plane trips. At least he's taking a stand, rather than sitting on the sidelines and carping about the behavior of others.
Doug Ziebell, Tucson
We may whisper; corporations may now shout
President Obama was elected largely by small contributors. That alarmed right wingers. Poor and middle class competing with the few chosen rich in the arena of campaign finance? In our very own democracy? The horror.
The RNC filed a bogus complaint in the FEC that went nowhere. More right wing hand-wringing. What can be done? Enter SCOTUS. The same conservative activist justices that appointed Bush president in a decision so shameful that they wrote it was never to be mentioned to them as precedent has struck again (Citizens United v. FEC).
The conservative activist justices decided, without being asked, that corporations are like persons and can contribute unlimited amounts at any time to defeat or elect candidates. Corporatists and right wingers were saved again by the judicial activism of a conservative majority on SCOTUS. Additionally, the conservative activist justices forsook their doctrine of original intent which they solemnly say confines their judicial ratiocination to what our founding fathers meant in the constitution and Bill of Rights. But the founders wrote "person," or "the people," to identify who enjoy the BOR.
Even far right Chief Justice Rehnquist observed that treating corporate spending as the equivalent of individual free speech is to "confuse metaphor with reality." Yet this activist conservative majority needed to stop ordinary folks from having an audible voice. Henceforth we may whisper, but only a corporation may shout.
True, the decision includes unions. But even the justices know how unions have been for decades busted to a fraction of their former numbers and can never match the money of Cigna, Exxon-Mobil, corporations who make war materiel, etc. "Tea Party Patriots" include in their mission statement on their web site: "We believe that it is possible to know the original intent of the government our founders set forth, and stand in support of that intent."
Grant Winston, Marana
Letter shows limited view on climate change
In response to Tony Woodward's letter of Jan. 20, I would really like to bring to attention the lack of understanding about climate change in some parts of the country.
The issue has been politicized to the Nth degree and phrases in Tony's letter highlight this unequivocally. The delusion that there is still big debate amongst scientists about anthropogenic causes helping a warming trend is utter nonsense initiated partly by the Frank Luntz memo and politically motivated "science institutes" like the Marshall Institute.
There is a deep interest in this country in keeping the public very much divided and ill-informed, and also to focus on political dramas versus the real issues and facts. Honestly, I really don't care to which degree that Al Gore and President Obama recycle, conserve energy, or where and what they eat (is Tony unaware that Obama bought his own chef to the White House? or that beef production alone is responsible for emitting millions of tons of methane and widespread deforestation, major contributors to global warming?).
I do what I think is right because I have read widely on both sides of the argument, if you can call it that. I don't have to look to Gore or Obama for inspiration.
Tony's letter illustrated perfectly that a narrow-minded focus on the actions of ideologues and not the real facts and problems facing the world are what is hindering progress. And as the name of global warming implies, it is a global issue, Americans might do well to look beyond Democrat, Republican, Denialist, Scientist, right and left wing bloggers and study the other people in the world who are struggling with changes at this very moment who perhaps have no right or left to blame or throw insults at. What do they believe?
Since the 1930s, we have been studying the effects of our emissions on the environment. There are hundreds of papers, archival documentaries, and even politicians' statements predating this current trend of over-politicized denial. Some need a good lesson in history to get a grip on the present.
Dave Hymers, Tucson
Mayor never met a tax he doesn't like
Quoting from the Explorer news article, "OV candidates offer views, make cases," Jan. 20:
"Oro Valley Town Council and mayor candidates were asked Saturday if they would 'consider' a first-ever property tax to bolster a lagging general fund."
Mayor Paul Loomis said Oro Valley is the largest town in Arizona that does not have a property tax.
It seems that Paul Loomis had the same "mind set" when the mayor and council passed the utility tax in 2006. The third slide in that utility tax presentation at that time stated: "Oro Valley is one of only five other communities that does not currently tax utility services."
More recently, on Nov. 2, Mayor Loomis wrote a letter to The Explorer stating: "Raising our utility tax from 2 percent to 4 percent would put us in alignment with other southern Arizona towns."
In my opinion, Mayor Loomis likes to make sure Oro Valley taxes keep up with other Arizona towns.
Mayor Loomis has never met a tax he didn't like (especially if Oro Valley is one of the few communities in Arizona that does not have that particular tax or he thinks that tax should be increased).
Some of the same reasons for wanting a property tax today are the same reasons that were given for wanting a utility tax in 2006: 1) lack of diverse funding sources and an over-reliance on one time construction related revenues, 2) 10 percent reduction in states shared revenues in FY2009/2010 (the percent of state shared revenue reduction has grown astronomically since 2006), 3) an alternative funding source for capital improvement plan, 4) to achieve better bond ratings and thereby lower interest rate costs.
The fifth reason was insufficient recurring general funds to support 18.5 new positions. The 18.5 new positions had been turned down twice in previous budgets. The utility tax was an end run by the mayor and council to secure that revenue without voter approval. It is fortunate that property taxes require voter approval.
In my opinion, Mayor Loomis likes taxes, not justifying expenditures or cutting them.
John Musolf, Oro Valley
Don't believe revisionist view of Bush/Cheney
Many of our fellow citizens have a short-term memory problem when it comes to the Bush/Cheney years.
The conservative pundits, especially the Cheneys (father and daughter) seem to forget that the worst attack ever on our country occurred during their watch. They had been in office almost nine months and they had been warned that Al Qaeda intended to strike the United States.
After 9-11, the country came together like it did after Pearl Harbor. Instead of galvanizing us into action, President Bush said "we should go shopping."
Bush/Cheney and the NeoCons then used the attack to justify invading Iraq. Many people still believe that Saddam Hussein planned 9-11.
Then there is our economic crisis. People forget that Bush/Cheney inherited a budget surplus and Obama inherited economic Armageddon. Then they and Wall Street tell us that it was the government's fault for getting all those poor people into mortgages they couldn't afford.
Don't believe revisionist history.
Phil Gibbs, Oro Valley
SB artists and artisans don't need outside aid
In the Jan. 13 Explorer, a news article appeared about a Jan. 30-31 art show at SaddleBrooke. This show of non-SaddleBrooke artists is being brought to SaddleBrooke by an outside show promoter, who was quoted as saying "… the show will benefit the SaddleBrooke Art League."
Anyone planning to attend the show should be aware there is no such organization at SaddleBrooke, and none of the existing art groups at SaddleBrooke were contacted by the promoter about a "benefit."
Actually, more than 130 SaddleBrooke resident artists offer four major art and craft events each year, all open to the public.
As hundreds of Explorer readers who have attended SaddleBrooke art events know, if our SaddleBrooke artisans want to have a benefit, they can combine their high-quality talents and present a heck-of-a-show without any outside help.
Barbara Tidyman, SaddleBrooke