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Letters to the editor published in the September 1, 2010, edition of The Explorer.

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Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:12 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Principles of church, state remain constant

Sometimes more than 300 words are required to defend the truth against a three-word lie.

The Founding Fathers' own words advocating for the separation of church and state number in the thousands. Those who deny pages of history with "No, they didn't" are doubtlessly too intellectually lazy to read Jefferson's "Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom," "Notes on the State of Virginia," Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments," "Act for Establishing Religious Freedom," and "Detached Memoranda," or their private correspondence.

Saying that the Founders opposed only government establishment of religion, but did not wholly support separation of church and state, is to conflate a position on a single issue with the principle in support of that position.

In the Founders' era, the burning church/state issues were government establishment of an official religion, religious oaths required to hold civic office, and taxation to support churches. The Founders opposed all those measures for violating their cherished principle of church/state separation.

But issues are transitory; principles, such as separation of church and state, are constant. Had Jefferson and Madison lived to take positions on more recent issues, they surely would have opposed coerced prayers in public schools and a carved granite Ten Commandments in a courthouse, based on the same invariable principle.

A few words from Jefferson and Madison, the Father of the Constitution, might suffice; only be careful of letting Mr. Franzi read them – his head might explode.

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god." -- Jefferson.

"Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. … Religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together." – Madison.

Grant Winston, Marana

New PAC doesn't care about Marana

I am concerned about any group that claims to want a better Marana, yet supports the dumping of 1,500 tons of garbage in west Marana every day. That group is known as the Political Action Committee for a Better Marana.

Although they do support improved education in the schools, their motives are political in nature. I pray that one day I will not see them on the council making decisions for the Town of Marana.

Supporting an oxymoronic group like this new political action committee is like believing the proposed dump will be almost safe. Why would anybody believe this new PAC wants a better Marana when they do not care about locating a dump site near a neighborhood where 100 families live?

I understand why Vice Mayor Herb Kai would not care about things like the floodplain, the rising water aquifer, the nearby drinking water well, or the 100 families. However, I do not understand why a new PAC would not take the opportunity to influence the public with a statement of non-support for a new garbage dump in this environmentally sensitive area. They have missed an opportunity to show the community that they truly do care about the people in and around Marana.

If you think about the 187 garbage trucks that will be required to deliver 1,500 tons of garbage to the proposed garbage dump every day, you may begin to see why it is just a bad idea. All of that garbage is currently being taken out of our area every day, so why bring it back in?

There are alternatives. A new landfill is just north of Marana, and Pima County just announced that a transfer facility will be available within the existing Tangerine Landfill. We do not need a new landfill in west Marana and we do not need a transfer station near the Breakers Water Park.

If the new PAC truly wants to promote, advance and improve the quality of life for the residents of Marana and Pima County, they should prove it with their actions.

Steve Storzer, Silverbell West

OV should keep its swimming pool open in daytime

Oro Valley Community Pool? Not.

New hours at the OV community pool have been cut. So there is no swimming between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

What? You heard it, no swimming during those hours starting Monday, Aug. 23 … and it was 105 yesterday and it's Aug. 24.

I don't get it. Worst scheduling I'd ever seen in 11 years of living here and swimming at the pool. Plus it still has to be heated, cleaned, and maintained, right? Swim teams pay to use it, so do we.

I understand the budget was cut and someone had to make the hours, so they looked only at numbers of swimmers, for pool times. Where does this leave us retired, work at home, moms, etc? Come on … it's not always about majority, please. Come cooler weather, those hours can get pretty darn cold.

We all have different rhythms for exercising, and I like to sleep between those current pool hours, thank you very much, or at least gear down at 6:30 p.m. at night, not crank up. I have a family.

I never did get it, moving here 11 years ago, that "summer hours" go from Memorial Day to Labor Day. … when we still have months of summer outside that window. And probably non-swimmers or even non-exercisers make those decisions for the hours we swim. Many of us swimmers said we'd even pay more to keep the pool open even just a couple of hours twice a week.

Shame, shame, Oro Valley for not utilizing your jewel of a pool, one of the only facilities here in our sweet little town. I'm disappointed. I know my fellow daytime swimmers are too … so writing this not only for myself but for all of us.

Janice M. Ward, Oro Valley

Catherine Atalla, aquatics manager for Oro Valley, reports the pool is closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays this time of year due to budget constraints. Three high school teams and two club teams use the pool from 3 to 6:30 p.m. – Ed.

There are so many reasons to oppose 'fill

Ranting and raving is not what I've seen or heard from the informed citizens who live in Silverbell West. Concern, heartbreak and outrage is more like it.

There are so many reasons to oppose this landfill that the short space allotted here does not suffice. If you've actually read any of the "Voices," you might know already.

People who live in SaddleBrooke, while they are entitled to their opinions, don't have a landfill proposed for anywhere remotely close to them.

Therefore, I suggest driving to Marana, coming to a council meeting, hearing what's actually going on and then if you still think we need a landfill, just one question for you. How big is your backyard, Mr. Phillips?

David and Tanya Anway, Marana

Prisoners on school grounds a risk to kids

I am truly saddened by the lack of support and understanding for the needs of the children of this state.

Recently I learned that Al Melvin is putting our children's safety at further risk. Melvin has stated in editorials and in his campaign for state senate that he wants prisoners doing maintenance and yard work at public schools.

Yet just last Wednesday a prisoner walked away from such a work detail in Tucson, and was walking through local neighborhoods for nearly 24 hours.

Melvin has already declared himself an enemy of public education by voting to cut $1.2 billion from education and eliminating all-day kindergarten. Now his idea to give school maintenance contracts to private prisons will make our public schools and neighborhoods less safe as well. I cannot understand this total ignorance for the care and safety of our future generation of Arizonans.

We can't afford another two years of Melvin's dangerous schemes. This is frightening.

My vote on Nov. 5 will be for a candidate who will put children's education and safety before private profit and support our public schools. I will support Cheryl Cage for state senate.

Kathy Rawls, Catalina Foothills

Landfill is a bad idea for Marana locale

On Aug. 3, engineers in support of DKL presented information during a study session claiming that septic systems are more of a threat to groundwater than a garbage dump. Once again, that is a spin, a partial story.

Some basic research shows that, yes, septics can and do contaminate aquifers, about 1 percent of the nation's usable aquifers, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Compare that statistic to landfills, and you can see how deceitful this information really is. As noted in a study by Lee and Jones, and cited by the World Health Organization, 75 percent of 75,000 landfills pollute adjacent groundwater with leachate. Looking into this further, the EPA notes that the Brawley Wash watershed, which includes Marana and extends west and south almost to the border, had zero cases of impaired water despite many septic tanks in the area. Wow, 75 percent of landfills compared to 1 percent of septic tanks. I would like to know how the engineers came to their conclusions that septic tanks are more harmful.

A study by Yates and Yates at the University of Arizona sets the distance that a septic tank should be from water wells at 100 feet. The proposed Marana Landfill would go down 70 feet over the rising aquifer that is currently 150 feet to 200 feet below the proposed area. Based on this information, it is at an unsafe distance in some place right now and will be unsafe in all areas several years from now as the water aquifer water levels continue to rise.

Facts are facts, and they show that this landfill proposal is a bad idea for the location that Marana is considering. If a new landfill is truly needed for this area, then a more suitable location needs to be found where it is not built around people and our valuable water sources.

Dan Rogers, Avra Valley

Grapes a poor choice to use precious water

I have always wondered how Steve Nannini watered the grapes he was growing in the Magee/La Cholla area. I was horrified that he has had a well drilled in order to water the grapes.

What right does he have to use our precious water for his hobby of growing grapes to make wine? Water is in very short supply in Arizona. Did he have to get a permit to drill the well? Who gave him the permit in 2006 to drill the well?

I love wine, but this is a poor choice for the use of our water supply.

Dorothea T. Heron, Tucson

Steve Nannini reports he did in fact secure permits for the well from state water authorities. The well is drilled into the Cañada del Oro Wash, a deep channel waterway running to Baja California, and does not impact local drinking water supplies, he said. Grapes at the vineyard are irrigated with a drip system. "Grapes are a very low-water plant," Nannini reports. – Ed.

'Fair tax' is much better than status quo

To Emil Franzi: Re your column of 8/25, "The latest campaign disinformation" please explain your comments and conclusions about the "fair tax." It seems you have researched the concept as minimally as Sens. McCain and Kyl.

The "fair tax," while not a perfect solution to our outrageously serious economic crisis, offers methods which would reduce government, encourage business growth, increase spending and place the tax burden where it belongs, on all present in our country including those here illegally.

You might want to do your homework before making off-the-cuff commentary. A "fair tax" would be immeasurably better than the ever-increasing confiscatory tax policies we are living with now.

The next generations deserve better than what today's deficits have in store for them. Please contact me for good reference material.

John Wright, SaddleBrooke

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