Letters to the editor published in the September 30, 2009, edition of The Explorer.
We need vision, not more ideology
Thank you to Cheryl Cage for naming clearly the mess that Arizona is experiencing because of the lack of planning for the future by the GOP legislators.
It is essential that legislative decisions be made to resolve our financial crisis. These decisions will have to include planning for a future that includes equitable taxation and that supports additional school funding.
Ideological attitudes should have no place in the overall plan. Vision is what is needed now.
Diane Wilson, Tucson
Council gave Andrews the 'shabby treatment'
It is important for voters to know that Andrews was forced to resign, that Mayor Loomis walked into his office Wednesday with four votes in his pocket to force alternatives: resign or be fired. That is what I would call a coerced resignation.
This dismissal was unexpected and so stunning in its speed and brutality that people are still flabbergasted.
Andrews was ditched for things that we are told cannot by law be shared with the public, shameful things including an anonymous poison-pen letter; allegedly some spying and stalking — alleged "back room deals" and very dirty business.
It is important to note that none of these vile and petty machinations were committed by David Andrews.
I think the real secret is that there were no grounds for this improbable firing unless you count myriad pettiness, jealousy and vindictiveness on the parts of our elected officials – and oh yes, opposition by some police over staffing numbers.
Just a week ago Andrews came out of his performance review apparently unscathed. In K.C. Carter's demand for what amounted to an impeachment, he vaguely mentioned promises unkept. Promises? What promises could possibly have been broken during this past week to turn the mayor and his cronies against Andrews? There are many who see Carter and Kunisch as tools of the mayor. Abbott, the pivotal vote, joined the unholy alliance about four months ago and accordingly voted for Andrew's "resignation." Thus Mayor Loomis, Paula Abbott, K.C. Carter and Al Kunisch shamefully gave Andrews The Shabby Treatment instead of the heaps of praise he deserved for successfully piloting us thru a frightful financial mess this year.
There is talk of recalling all four, but it's getting close to election time (vote by mail ballots will be sent out in February). Therefore, what we really need is as many excellent candidates as we can get to run for council. So far no strong candidate has stepped forward to oppose Loomis for mayor. Those who are experienced in local government need to consider this an emergency and flush out available alternatives.
Kathy Pastryk, Oro Valley
Understanding scope, volume of uninsured
To the editor,
To elaborate on the Sept. 23rd article "McCain feels the 'revolution'," the oft-quoted statistic of 47 million uninsured is actually a gross overestimation of the problem, as recent research suggests the number of Americans who cannot currently afford health insurance is much lower.
A new study by Dr. June O'Neill, who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-1999, shows that nearly half of those uninsured Americans could likely afford to purchase health coverage. The average "voluntarily uninsured" household makes $65,000 per year.
We should not rush into the creation of a new, expensive healthcare system without a better understanding of the uninsured population. As long as we continue basing our arguments on inaccurate numbers, it's hard to see how we can make effective policy decisions.
Kristen Lopez Eastlick
Senior economic analyst
Employment Policies Institute
Above all else, the dollar is their motivator
Mr. Kenneth Gareau stated in the previous issue that my letter "It's Cruel to Profit From Pain, Misery" contains distortions.
Of course he is entitled to address freely any matters I or anyone else may bring up in this debate – however he himself has missed, or glossed over, the one primary point of my letter. That point was to remind people that there is indeed something that unites the banking industry and the healthcare industry – however varied their respective level of regulation, and that is the motivation to make a buck.
No matter what, that force predominates. And making that buck on the backs of untold thousands of Americans who are in pain and suffering is immoral. Plain and simple. About the morality of making money from pain and misery Mr. Gareau says nothing. And this silence is telling.
Further, in the respective details that he cites – which clearly lean towards a position favoring deregulation — he does me the favor of demonstrating my previous analogy for me; that is that if the deregulated state of the banking system of late 2008 had such near-catastrophic consequences, then trusting our lives to those same market forces, and the same economic philosophy, is severely dangerous.
I know this to be true from a personal standpoint. I nearly lost the use of my legs due to a scan denied by an insurer – and I am a statistic of one. Perhaps insignificant in the greater scheme. My "source" I do cite is personal experience, and there are untold thousands like me.
I assert that a profit of .000000001 percent is utterly immoral, if even one person has to become crippled or die in the course of its pursuit. And as long as a single payer system (in France) was rated number 1 in quality by the WHO, and we were a pitiful 37th, then I will have all the sources I need.
Neil Myers, Oro Valley
Andrews did not deserve wrath of four
The despicable actions by Mayor Loomis, Vice Mayor Carter and council members Kunisch and Abbott have embarrassed many of our citizens. David Andrews did not deserve the wrath of these four based on innuendo and false allegations.
David has the class and dignity that these four sorely lack. I hope every concerned citizen will read my blog, and learn why David was terminated after 18 years of dedicated service to the community he loves.
Art Segal, Oro Valley
School woes much more than one state senator
First, I would like to thank Principal Rex Scott for his article dated Sept. 16th.
Let's get straight to the point regarding our state senators. Al Melvin is not the sole senator that is responsible for the schools suffering in LD26, or any legislative district. The work and problems in our schools are the result of the aggressive spending efforts of our previous governor.
Likewise, the ownership of these problems includes the administrators of the Amphitheatre School District, our school district principals and yes, the legislature of the state of Arizona. It is a well-established fact that schools outside the public school system do better than the public school system with less, not more funding. Likewise, other legislative champions of the past have been involved with education, but their efforts were under much different circumstances than today.
I believe, as Al Melvin believes: teachers should receive higher wages. Evaluating the bureaucracy at the school districts needs consideration. Highly paid administrators need to take a hard look at benefits they receive and work diligently to improve the salaries of the teachers that have been sacrificed for their benefit.
Adjustments to all wasteful spending needs to be done. The morale and environment for all teachers needs to be improved. Too many have received too little for doing so much for too long.
The problem is not Al Melvin. The problems are the administrators. When will the finances of our school districts ever be correctly managed? Monies seem to fall into some sucking "black hole" that is never satisfied, always searching for someone to devour. One senator cannot be blamed for this.
Finally, many know that Sen. Melvin pledged not to raise taxes; however, Sen. Melvin voted with those in support of our governor's proposals. I am sure that Sen. Melvin went through the gauntlet regarding his vote.
I am confident that Principal Rex Scott may have read "Profiles in Courage" authored by John Kennedy. If not, he should read it rather than placing blame on one individual and take a hard look at himself rather than one Republican.
Bob Black, Oro Valley
What we know about OV's chief of police Sharp
Two letters in the last edition of The Explorer were disturbing. Both questioned the policing abilities of the Oro Valley Police Chief Danny Sharp.
Interestingly, the two letters took opposite views on whether the chief is keenly aware of the day-to-day activities within the department. One states "The fact that Chief Sharp stated that he was not aware of what was going on tells me that perhaps Oro Valley needs a new chief." The other opines that the chief "used his relationship with his officers to involve their unions." I suspect that neither author has any clue what goes on within the police department, much less what the chief knows or doesn't know.
On several occasions I have placed telephone calls and / or sent e-mails to Chief Sharp to arrange a meeting to discuss various topics. He has never failed to respond and/or not meet. Therefore I know he is very accessible to the public. I have worked with Chief Sharp on several projects in the community. I know he is very public safety oriented.
There have been occasions when our interactions involve knowledge of what is going on at every level within the department. I know Chief Sharp is keenly aware of what is going on within the department. Does he know what every officer is doing every minute of the day? No. He doesn't need to.
I know Chief Sharp is well respected within police organizations at the local, state and federal level. Oro Valley has received numerous awards over the past few years for being a great place to live. A common thread in most all of those awards is public safety. Therefore one can conclude that many others know and realize that our police department of well run and efficient.
We are indeed fortunate to have a police chief like Danny Sharp. We are less fortunate to have some citizens sitting on their self-made thrones passing judgment on a subject for which that have very little knowledge. But then we are used to that, aren't we.
Don Cox, Oro Valley
When info comes from bites, e-mail
Lynn St. Angelo's recent letter in the Explorer is typical of the hysteria that results when one gets their information from sound-bites and e-mails.
She states that, "In Tucson, at least 3,000 people told Gabrielle Giffords they do not want government in their healthcare." This is a sound-bite. Three thousand people constitute only 3 percent of the 117,227 registered voters in Tucson.
Her next sound-bite, "every small business that wants to keep their current healthcare will be taxed 8 percent" is untrue. There is no such mandate. According to the Washington Post, the only businesses that would be fined (2-8 percent depending on the size of the business) are those with an annual payroll of $250,000 or more who fail to provide any health insurance coverage.
Her hysteria becomes evident when she tosses abortion and euthanasia into her argument with, "Every medical professional, hospital, church, ministry, insurance company, and individual will be forced to pay for and provide these services."
A dermatologist will be forced to provide abortions! St. Mark's Church will be forced to provide abortions! Blue Cross will be forced to pay for abortions and euthanasia! She forgot to mention that The British are Coming.
She implies that accessibility to doctors will be impeded with her exaggerated statement, "In England, people are pulling their own teeth out with pliers and vodka." Yet, she isn't concerned that women without access to safe, medical abortions resort to performing them with a coat hanger.
Her hysteria continues with, "government will own all medical records and have direct access to our bank accounts." She obtained this information from an e-mail. I know because I received the same e-mail. PolitiFact.com called it, "a clearinghouse of bad information." The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation said that the e-mail contained, "flat-out, blatant lies." The legislation merely describes typical electronic banking transactions between insurance companies and health care providers.
She also states, "Government bureaucrats will have power over life and death." Meanwhile, insurance companies having power over life and death is apparently of no concern to Ms. St. Angelo.
Diane Peters, Oro Valley
OV council's conduct was unprofessional
While I have not uniformly agreed with David Andrews' handling of the town budget and several other issues related to his performance as town manager, I am dismayed by the unprofessional conduct displayed by the prevailing council members during the Sept. 23rd study / special session.
If the questions raised and issues addressed during his recent performance review were so egregious as to require his resignation, there is no doubt in my mind that the proceedings should have occurred in executive session. By insisting on what amounted to a public lynching, said council members were perceived as unbusinesslike, unprofessional, vindictive, and perhaps worst of all, uncaring that they were — at a minimum — besmirching the town's image.
I am most disappointed in Mayor Loomis for allowing this debacle to occur. In my (perhaps not so humble) opinion, every action taken by an elected official must be made in the current — and future — best interests of the town. The actions of Sept. 23rd were woefully short of that goal.
Helen Dankwerth, Oro Valley
OV should keep its excellent chief of police
In answer to Ms. Saxer's accusation that Chief Sharp tried to obtain a $250,000 command car, whatever that is, for himself, let me set the record straight.
If Chief Sharp asked for any funds from council, it would have been to upgrade the command center purchased by me in 1999 for a total of $86,000. I used seizure funds to make that purchase, not the town budget. A command center is a vehicle equipped to handle any type of emergency by the command team and is certainly not a personal vehicle for the chief.
I hope that these facts assuage the concerns expressed by Ms. Saxer. As Sgt. Joe Friday said in his television program, Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am."
As to Ms. Ottoboni, to my knowledge management has never been able to dictate to labor.
We have an excellent chief. Let's keep him.
Werner Wolff, Chief, OVPD (Ret.), Oro Valley
Now, it's time to evaluate 3 council, mayor
I watched as one of Oro Valley's greatest failures was gaining momentum over the past months. Never, did it occur to me our town council could, or would, in a final 4-3 vote, embarrass our town as they did Wednesday evening removing David Andrews as town manager.
I don't believe these unconscionable acts are attributable to any one individual or any one group. Some blame the police unions. Others place the blame on the mayor and three council members retaliating over insignificant and petty issues. I can find no reasonable explanation for their behaviors.
David Andrews has always demonstrated professionalism. He's made the tough financial and personnel decisions.
David Andrews had been a loyal town employee since 1991. For many of those years, Mr. Andrews was our financial director. During his tenure, Oro Valley had the distinction of numerous statewide awards for sound financial policies.
Currently we're experiencing the worst financial crisis we have ever had to face. Mr. Andrews' expertise and guidance is desperately needed. I believe our mayor and three council members (Carter, Kunisch and Abbott) have greatly harmed Oro Valley.
I addressed the mayor and council Wednesday evening. I reminded them that the responsibility for what they were doing, at that moment, rested solely on their shoulders. The buck stopped there.
I expect my local elected officials to work together and do what is best for the residents of Oro Valley.
The mayor and three council members refused to go behind closed doors and discuss their concerns. As a matter of common courtesy and professional decorum, personnel matters are historically conducted in executive session. To publicly disparage a long-term exemplary employee was not only unforgivable but also vindictive and petty.
Residents and voters of Oro Valley, is this how we, as a community, reward performance and dedication?
I asked the council to put principles above personalities, and do the right thing for our town. After all, isn't that why we elected them?
I think it is time to carefully review the performance of the mayor and three council members to evaluate how they're doing their jobs.
Conny Culver, Oro Valley
None of these bills 'nationalize' U.S. healthcare
Republican LaPorto feels kooky spending so much time thinking about politics, and fears being seen as a crackpot for writing letters to the editor. Is she talking about Republicans?
She should definitely spend more time learning the meaning of the word "nationalize." There is a huge difference between nationalizing health care and a single-payer system like Medicare which Democrats propose. Attempts to explain these differences were made during Rep. Giffords' health care sessions but may have been squelched by the mob. Republicans should consult a dictionary before opposing something not on the agenda.
All members of our armed services have experienced nationalized health care, where the government owns or rents all hospitals and treatment equipment and employs all providers. None of the proposed bills would nationalize, socialize, or communize health care as Republicans claim.
Benjamin Love, Oro Valley
So feds never get too big for britches
For many months leading up to the economic meltdown of our economy, we often heard the term bantered around "too big to fail." Then when those "too big to fail" businesses failed, many of us tried to understand why. We asked who is accountable? What didn't happen that should have?
We are entitled to answers to those questions, but we are not getting them. And what will be done about those who we hired to represent us and failed at their job? Clearly facts were ignored, simple economic prudence was abandoned and our elected officials – the wise, honorable and learned ones — started down a path of bigger government, greater spending and insanity.
After the meltdown occurred, the leadership of our nation began to espouse the virtues of preventing "too big to fail" from becoming too big to fail in the future. But missing is the knowledge of lessons learned and the application of advanced intellect. Instead we get an agenda that is not in step with reality; put forward by elitists who want nothing more than to possess power and enjoy the privileges of it.
Who are the "elitists?" Our representatives who exempt themselves from the very programs and policies that the rest of us are required to live under. So here is a poser for you; when does the federal government get too big to fail?
The men who lived under the crushing weight of tyranny crafted a very important safeguard. The 10th Amendment was designed to ensure that government stayed close to the people, at the state level. "States rights" was put into our constitution to make sure the federal government never got too big for its britches. What has changed?
Mark Finchem, Oro Valley
How low the level of public discourse has fallen
It is extremely distressing to see how low the level public discourse has fallen.
For centuries, we elected statesmen to represent us; people who could debate an issue without launching personal attacks or hurling personal insults at those opinions different from their own. Today, the people we elect to represent us seem to not only lack common sense and decency, but put their own self-interests and personal beliefs ahead of all other Americans.
We just witnessed a United States representative insult and disrespect not only the President of the United States and his colleagues, but more important all Americans. When Rep. Wilson shouted out "you lie" during the President's address to Congress and the America people, his insult and disrespect of the President was an affront to the Office of the President and thereby a direct insult to the American people.
Rep. Wilson later stated that "I called the President because the Party leadership asked me to," not because his felt he needed to. Is Rep. Wilson so void of common sense, common decency, and personal and professional ethics that he must be told to do what is right? When will he apologize to the American people? When will we learn we need to elect political leaders that can look beyond themselves and their party, especially when deciding issues, and make decisions based on what best serves the country and it citizens as a whole?
Greg Steed, Oro Valley