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Letters to the editor published in the October 20, 2010, edition of The Explorer.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:13 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Do you love grandkids? Vote Republican

Have you noticed, that old refrain is again being sung by the Democrats?

The Republicans want to eliminate/destroy the Social Security/Medicare system. Ms. Giffords is playing that tune in radio/TV ads, accusing Jesse Kelly of wanting to do just that, but that is not what Mr. Kelly is saying. Mr. Kelly knows that whoever fixes the Social Security problem, it will not affect any senior over the age of 50. So seniors, forget your fears and think of your grandkids' future instead.

Here are some facts. Each year, the disbursements come from current year's FICA tax. For many years, the FICA receipts have been greater than the disbursements. By law this surplus cannot be invested to earn additional revenue nor can it be put "under the mattress," it can only be loaned to the federal government which must, by law, pay the loan back. The current I.O.U. (Government Account Series bonds) is at 2.5 trillion bucks, and is projected to hit $3.25 trillion by 2015.

To pay the expected benefits to retirees between 2015 and 2037, the Feds will have to draw $4 trillion from other government funds to cover the shortfall or print more money, which will increase the national debt.

The system is broken, and the Republicans have presented a number of ideas and solutions that have merit but are called extreme. The one point most abhorred, putting some money into an investment account, was actually proposed by the AARP in their study (up to 15 percent). The Democrats are against that approach, and want to Band-Aid the system by "increasing the retirement age," "increasing the tax cap of $106,800 and increasing the payroll tax to 15 percent," or by "cutting or constraining future benefits."

Mr. Kelly believes that "we need a long-term solution that ensures funds paid into the system will be there when people retire. Young people should have a choice of allocating a portion of their contribution into a personal retirement account in their name."

Status quo is good, says Ms. Giffords, everything will be O.K.

Love the grandkids? Vote Republican.

Peter Manley, Green Valley

In response, Williams says he shows up

Since running for office and being elected in 2008, as your state representative, I have visited over 13,000 households which has resulted in thousands of individual conversations with voters in LD26.

I have attended several hundred public events, in which many of them I have spoken, and taken lengthy question and answer sessions on every imaginable topic to groups like PTOs, Rotaries, Optimist, Lions, chambers, churches, LWV, and any other group that will have me.

I have attended every single debate and forum within our district during this and the last election cycle, with the exception of one that conflicted with a personal business trip. I take great pride and consider it an honor to serve you the people of southern Arizona. I will always stand accountable for my actions and my votes. I will always side with good policy over partisanship.

So when somebody like David Safier, who has an ax to grind, lashes out and carelessly attacks me, I feel it is my duty to set the record straight. I would like to know how you feel on this matter.

Rep. Vic Williams, District 26

Giffords only representing herself, Pelosi

I just got my open enrollment information for next year's benefits. My health insurance premium is increasing 24 percent with zero improvement in benefits.

Oh, I forgot. Giffords voted for Obamacare because "it was the right thing to do" and it was guaranteed to lower my medical costs. Thanks, Giffords. With a "representative" like you, acting for my "benefit," I sure don't need any enemies. I can't wait until next year's premium increase.

Every CD 8 voter needs to open his or her open enrollment package before the election. What more proof does anyone need that Gabrielle Giffords is a liar and does not represent anyone's best interest except for hers and Pelosi's?

Rick Cunnington, Oro Valley

Both McCain, Giffords should be defeated

Why I won't vote for Giffords or McCain, and neither should you.

As representatives of the people of Arizona, and members of their respective House/Senate Armed Services Committees, you'd think they'd be at least a little concerned about fraud, waste, and abuse in the DOD amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Major theft, improper accounting and reporting, false material official statements, major overcharges, etc., were identified and reported.

You'd also think they want to support the troops and their families, and veterans in general, considering all of the sacrifices they made; and keep them from getting ripped off to the tune of over a half billion dollars a year by the very country they served/are serving.

You'd think when a retired military officer called these and other significant matters to their attention (on several occasions), that they would take immediate action to look into the allegations and fix the problems.

Well, you'd be wrong.

Sen. McCain didn't even bother to respond. I guess he was too busy running for President for two years while still drawing his salary as a senator. Congresswoman Giffords sent me a letter pointing out the evils of tobacco.

Their priorities are misplaced. They are not representing the people of this country/state/district, and they are not complying with the oath of office they took when sworn in.

They need to be replaced. Please join me this November by taking out the Giffords and McCain trash.

Tom Sander, Tucson

The writer is a retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force – Ed.

Transfer station off Tangerine needs a big 'no'

The proposed transfer station on Breakers Road, south of Tangerine, currently under consideration by the council rates a big "no."

I have been informed that Saguaro intends to build this facility as soon as possible. Saguaro also says that they will not use the new proposed landfill.

Saguaro expects the initial load on Tangerine will be about 35 truckloads a day. This probably does not include the larger vehicles that will transport garbage from the transfer station to their landfill in Maricopa County.

Tangerine, according to the latest RTA reports, is currently in the planning stage and construction for its widening is not scheduled until early 2014. There is no scheduled completion date. There may be even greater delays.

Marana is responsible for maintaining the portion of Tangerine that is inside its boundaries. Currently, thanks to a federal grant, the roadway is being improved — good job.

However, the added load of large vehicles, every day, will accelerate the needed maintenance and repairs of this vital roadway. It will also greatly increase the traffic hazards that already exist.

And then there is the issue of odor — stink — smell. Garbage is garbage. By its nature it is rotting, smelly, gross.

Do we need this along Tangerine? Do we want these noxious aromas drifting across the road, over into Dove Mountain?

There are some minor financial benefits to the town if the transfer station is built. It will employ about 12 people. It will pay taxes.

But it will do much more harm than good. Look at the increased road maintenance. Look at the possibility of Breakers Water Park closing, because no one will go to a smelly place for fun. (72 part time employees — lost tax revenue). Will the Ritz-Carlton be happy with the possibility of garbage odors wafting across their beautiful facility? I know those of us who live in Dove Mountain do not want this.

It is up to each of you, my representatives on the town council, to put a stop to this unneeded, unwanted facility. And the sooner you do so, the better.

Larry Steckler, Marana

More than a little confused by the messages

I am more than a little confused by the use of false and malicious statements by Jesse Kelly prior to and during the primary elections.

It appears per Joanne Avella that he never was a party to the news clips that Rep. Giffords' camp is showing. It is amazing that anyone could do such a wonderful job of changing his words and making them match his lips.

Also, the only time a "fair tax" is fair is when everyone has the same buying power. My father always told me that if "it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck." Watch out for the flip-flop.

Kurt A. Ohlrich, Oro Valley

Arizona can't afford to elect Jesse Kelly

First he proposed privatizing Social Security and trusting our retirement to the stock market. Then he stated his goal of "getting seniors on Medicare off the public dole." Next came his 23 percent sales tax plan authored by Texas billionaires.

Now Jesse Kelly wants to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and with it $1 billion of aid to Arizona schools. This on top of the deep cuts to education imposed by the Arizona Legislature.

This should erase any lingering doubts about Jesse Kelly's fitness to represent us in Congress. His ideas aren't just bad, they're potentially catastrophic. We can't afford Jesse Kelly.

William C. Thornton, Tucson

TARP prevented a catastrophe; now, we vilify

The truth of why politicians refuse to make unselfish choices is right before our eyes.

The TARP bailout fund, by all reputable accounts, prevented the current financial recession from becoming a national catastrophe, including twice the current unemployment. That decision is now vilified by a suddenly budget-conscious populace, and in the face of conservatives continuing to fight fiscal reform.

If the voting public can be so fickle and short-sighted given this case of extreme necessity, how can anyone hope that other, equally difficult problems (climate change, education, health care, campaign financing) will ever be fixed by people who control our future?

Hello gridlock; or worse yet, a return to the days that got us here.

Respectfully,

Carl A. Boswell, Ph.D., Oro Valley

What's truth about Kelly and his plans

We are saturated with TV spots telling us how wonderful or horrible Gabrielle Giffords or Jesse Kelly are. We need to know the truth.

We read in The Star the list of community service, educational background, and experiences of both candidates. We noted Mr. Kelly has no college education and is 29 years old. We learned that Gabrielle Giffords has both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from fine institutions and is 40 years old.

On television, we view the candidates indicating their plans. Mr. Kelly states that "People on Medicare are on the public dole." Mr. Kelly wants no government involvement in education, no Department of Education, no college loans. Mr. Kelly wants a 23 percent sales tax. He favors no tax on corporations, such as the company his family owns. He states he hopes there are "No liberals when he gets to Washington."

We need to know the truth.

Brenda Ryan, Oro Valley

An OV water rate increase; it must be fall

It must be fall.

Phillip Saletta has once again made his annual trek before council to ask for a water rate hike, and in spite of having a new council that promised to be more responsive to the needs of the people of Oro Valley, they did what every council before them has done and immediately approved "Sir" Phillip's request without any mention of proper analysis or investigation as to why this increase is necessary.

This is another rubber stamp council that will not do their job.

Of course this does not surprise me, as this practice has been going on every year since 1997 with the exception of 2007.

I think it is time for this council to insist on an investigation of Phillip Saletta and the Oro Valley water department to find out why these costs cannot be kept under control in a time when everyone else is forced to cut costs and reduce payroll to avoid price increases. In the meantime, just throw away your calendars and wait for your water bills to shoot up again (and they will!) and you will know for sure that it's fall.

David Berry, Oro Valley

Fire union is trying to stack NWFD board

Local Firefighters Union 3572 is trying to take control of the Northwest Fire District Board by packing the board with its candidates. Then the union will control the board and its tax revenue.

Fire PACs from Glendale and Phoenix mailed pamphlets touting the local union's two candidates, Kaplan and Daniell. Why are they sticking their noses in our business? The pamphlet touts their candidates' experience, yet neither has served on a board overseeing tax monies. If they are elected, the NWFD board will be stacked 3-2 with union candidates.

I am neither pro- or anti-union. But the union is made up of people, and people often cannot resist temptation. A public service union in control of its tax dollars, its budget, its pay scale, its working conditions and its management face a huge temptation to bias decisions in favor the union and not the citizens. This is a huge conflict of interest.

To insure that a top-notch suburban fire district continues to be run by its citizens and not by its union, NWFD voters should consider not voting for either of its candidates, Kaplan or Daniell. This would result in a 3-2 non-union board and keep the NWFD tax dollars in control of NWFD citizens.

Vince Baker, Tucson

The writer is a former NWFD board member — Ed.

Giffords does not get it; vote for Jesse Kelly

In August 2009 we attended Gabrielle Giffords' town hall meeting on the east side of Tucson.

It was clear, the majority of people were there to encourage Rep. Giffords to review health care reform in a responsible way. Person after person stood up to plead for tort reform, ability to purchase coverage across state lines, and to not have a massive bill that would be sneaky.

Rep Giffords stood on stage and insured us she would not vote for a bill that did not include tort reform. She stated this numerous times. What did she vote for? A terrible bill the majority of people don't like because we find out, almost on a daily basis, it gets more expensive and more complicated.

This is not the only issue the non-Blue Dog Democrat has not listened to her constituents on. We deserve better. Gabrielle Giffords does not get it. Please vote for Jesse Kelly for real change.

Robert and Dolores Barskis, Marana

Airpark board neutral about fire annexation

This e-mail comes in response to the article appearing in the Oct. 6 edition of The Explorer.

The article made it sound as though Mr. Heffelman represented La Cholla Airpark in his fight against the Golder Ranch Fire annexation. He does not.

I believe strongly in Mr. Heffelman's right to fight an issue he believes is wrong, but he fights as an individual. La Cholla Airpark's Board of Directors has been clear that the airpark is neutral on the issue. Further, there are several airpark homeowners that do not oppose the annexation.

Please clarify your article to correct this implication that the airpark is united against the annexation.

David Sirota, La Cholla Airpark homeowner

Young Wright offers the same failed policies

A review of Nancy Young Wright's website is very revealing. She lists 10 issues. Here is a sample and example of her "thinking:"

Budget: "… She will push to protect funding for education …Businesses want a strong educational system …We must plan and provide for schools, parks and other infrastructure …"

From FY 2000 to FY 2009 (est), total federal, state, county and local spending on K-12 has increased an average of 8.8 percent per year, or about twice the rate of inflation. The data source is the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Per pupil funding has increased 49 percent or about 4.9 percent annually, or about 1.5 times the rate of inflation. It appears that, contrary to Nancy Wright Young's position, the schools are adequately funded.

Education: "… Nancy will fight to restore our public schools … She will push for higher salaries … Once we have rebuilt our schools to an adequate level of funding …"

Instead of voting for higher taxes and more money for schools, Nancy Young Wright should be actively looking at where the problem lies: school district administrators. Shifting CSF funds to transportation and other non-classroom categories directly harms the students. The auditor general has found a clear association between classroom dollars and student achievement. Districts with higher classroom dollar percentages appear to have higher percentages of students who met or exceeded AIMS math, reading and writing assessments. This association holds true even after controlling for the effects of poverty.

Of the issues she listed on her web site, Nancy Young Wright had one answer for budgets, economic development and education: pour more money into public schools. This is after the auditor general has found school districts are mismanaging the money they already have. To provide additional tax dollars to school administrators to mismanage is insanity.

No thanks, Nancy. I want a representative who will think logically and solve problems, not resort to the same old failed policies of the past.

Richard D. Brinkley, SaddleBrooke

It may be time to outsource Sen. Melvin

During his Thursday night debate with Cheryl Cage, retired Naval (Reserve) officer Al Melvin was delighted to be on-board at Basis School because it's a flagship for two of his most cherished positions: school competition/choice and the outsourcing of public services.

Regarding both, understand that Basis (while holding 501(c)3 tax exempt status) and its remarkable new campus are entrepreneurial educational enterprises created through private investment. As such, Basis is a prime example of Melvin's obvious economic preference for charters over conventional public schools — something he hides by preferring to claim they fulfill a public call for school choice.

But let's look at how all this plays out at Basis. Melvin extols the Amphitheater School District, yet the parents of over 400 Amphi kids jumped at the new Basis. Thus, Amphi not only lost 400 plus good kids but the $9,200 a year in state funding which each brought. Instead, Melvin delights in (but doesn't talk about) the fact that, like any charter, the state sends just $7,200 per kid to Basis. Al saves two grand each and doesn't have to kick in for infrastructure. Ain't charters grand.

As for the Amphi district he praises – they end up with 400 fewer of their better students, 3.7 million fewer dollars and the implication they need to improve to be competitive. And Basis Boosters scramble for tax credit "gifts" which might have gone to Amphi as well.

So what does all this competition lead to? Districts, schools, teachers, administrators and families are pitted against each other with a few winners — and lots of losers. So much for the American ideal of a cooperative community educational system serving all equally. About the only way that can happen is to move Arizona from the bottom of US per student funding to, say, the top half.

But Al Melvin and his Senate boss and close friend Russell Pierce have a better idea. Outsource public schools to private operators – like we do with prisons and propose for state parks.

Well, I have a different outsourcing suggestion — let's outsource Al Melvin on Nov. 2.

Jerry Farnsworth, Marana

Too much bad information on 'fair tax' concept

When will we learn the difference between fact and opinion? Re: the "Fair Tax," and all the inaccuracies being bandied about by readers and in outright lies being broadcast in various attack ads "approved" by Gabrielle Giffords.

I suggest the following:

1. To be fully informed about any proposed legislation before writing letters to the news media, please go to the fair tax website and get the facts.

2. Learn that the 23 percent tax is included in the cost of the item, not in addition. All other taxes are eliminated. Your full paycheck (less state taxes) is yours to spend as you see fit.

3. Learn that the poor are not adversely affected by the "Fair Tax." A monthly "prebate" will be sent to all households based upon the poverty level in effect at the time.

4. Read "The Fair Tax Book" and "Fair Tax- The Truth."

Jesse Kelly's tax position is not the only issue in this election. More important is the truth.

In my opinion, an uninformed electorate can be our worst enemy. Get the truth; be guided by it. Be informed in order to vote intelligently. Future generations depend on us.

John Wright, SaddleBrooke

Giffords most certainly not a moderate

Giffords the Moderate; not!

When Giffords stated that she was a Blue Dog Democrat during one of her health care town hall meetings here in Tucson, the crowd erupted into spontaneous laughter. Giffords has voted along with one of the most liberal/progressive activist Congresses ever convened. It's been Pelosi/Obama/Giffords on every bill.

Oh, she'll say correctly that she voted against Cash for Clunkers, but Pelosi didn't need her vote on that one. Pelosi let her off the hook.

Giffords likes to call herself a moderate because she has to run away from her record and that of the current out-of-touch Congress. No, she's no moderate. She stated emphatically, no defiantly, that she is for a single-payer government-run health care system. The majority ofher constituents are against the current plan, much less the more radical one she would have imposed.

Queen Giffords rebuked the town hall crowd for their rowdy objections, and threatened to leave. She forgot that she was talking to her employers and was supposed to be there to listen. She, the representative, is supposed to "represent," right?

No, she's no moderate. You can count on her to go against fixing this ObamaCare debacle; count on her to support cap and tax; count on her to support immigration reform (amnesty) and to pretend the border is secure; count on her to support Card Check and continuing to take from the private sector and spread the wealth to unions and other Democrat interest groups; count on her tacit support for the five lawsuits against Arizona filed by her administration. Time to go, Giffords.

Eric K. Jeffers, Oro Valley

It's time to drain swamp in Washington

Having tried to justify voting for incumbents in the coming election, I have come up empty.

For many years now, our elected representatives have been looting the national treasury, and continue to do so. An appraisal of their present performance reveals the following:

1. They failed to pass a budget.

2. No appropriations bills have been passed.

3. Tax rates for 2011 are unknown.

4. They have turned 'rational compromise' into an oxymoron.

5. They have made a joke out of 'consent of the governed'

6. Etc., etc., etc.

That's a grade of F in my book. To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel "Never let a 'mad-as-hell' moment go to waste. Time to drain the swamp.

Mark Wittels, Oro Valley

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