Letters to the Editor, Nov. 1, 2006

Another embarrassment for Camp Verde

Editor:

Camp Verde never ceases to amaze me. Within a few weeks we now have a bunch of developers who just received their honorary degrees in hydrology. That's got to be a record for a town of this size. So how did these developers obtain such valuable knowledge literally overnight? I don't recall seeing any notice that Yavapai College was offering a course. They probably held a late night crash course at an undisclosed realty office. Either that or they conducted small study groups over coffee at a local restaurant.

These new water experts are now hiring some guy to back up their theory that there is plenty of water for their future housing developments, for the next 100 years. I'm betting this guy is the Culligan man. It's antics like this that are an embarrassment to this community. So what happens if your hired expert disagrees with your guy's opinion? What if he realizes there is an inadequate supply of water with unsafe levels of arsenic? Are you going to slip him another hundred or what? Are you going to keep hiring other experts until you get the answer you want?

No matter what this expert says, the bottom line is he is guessing. Nobody knows for sure how much water is down there, nobody. That's why we should go forward with caution.

Now more than ever it's imperative that we pass the impact fee referendum. We need to slow down developers who make up anything they want to justify building houses on every square inch of dirt in Camp Verde and surrounding communities.

I'm sure developers don't care that real experts are warning that we are using way more water than nature is replenishing. I'm sure developers don't care that many Chino Valley wells are starting to suck sand every time a new house goes in across the street. Never mind that a coal company is literally pumping the Hopi Reservation dry. Never mind that we have dried up almost every river in the state. Never mind that we have no clue about the impact Prescott will have pumping out of the headwaters of the Verde River.

These developers insulted my intelligence by paying somebody to agree with their philosophy. It's extremely difficult for developers to see the big picture. Especially while wearing their self-centered blinders that are stuck on with crazy glue.

Jerry Clawson

Camp Verde

Consider please, the ACLU ...

Editor:

Recently a number of letters to the editor have made references to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). If you are one of the readers who isn't familiar with the ACLU, here are a few of its propositions for you to consider.

• The ACLU is totally opposed to the death penalty far any crime, no matter haw heinous. (ACLU Policy #239)

• The ACLU's position regarding employers who hire illegal aliens is that the employers should not be penalized for breaking the law. (ACLU Policy #329)

• The ACLU's position regarding the U.S. Border Patrol is that the Patrol should stop their efforts to halt illegal immigrants on our southern borders.

• The ACLU's position regarding the Boy Scouts is that it should be forced to allow homosexuals to be Scout leaders.

• ACLU's Policy #312 is that English should not be the official language of the United States.

• ACLU Policy #270 opposes the anti-terrorist precaution of airport searches.

• The ACLU advocates drug legalization.

• The ACLU works to strip the 10 Commandments or any other faith based images, from public display in our communities.

Arden Druce

Camp Verde

Vote no on both 106 and 105

Editor:

There has been a great deal of publicity given to the public for and against Propositions 105 and 106. Both propositions have a worthy goal - to preserve open space and protect from development. However, I am urging the public to vote "NO" on both.

Last year a plan was developed to restructure the management of State Lands with the goal of preserving open space. It was the result of several years of work by the Fox Group, which is made up of the widest possible representation of Arizona interests. The plan was agreed upon by all parties involved, except the Sierra Club. Unfortunately, the report of the Fox Group was completed too late to be presented and acted upon by the Legislature in the last session.

Now, in 2006, the voters are being asked to support Prop. 106. It was written only by the Arizona Education Association (the teachers' union) and certain environmental groups with no public discussion or input outside their groups. Prop. 106 is certainly NOT the Fox Group report.

The following are my concerns about the ambiguities of language, specifically in Prop. 106, and the impact on the State Trust Lands:

The Fox Report said, "The purpose of this proposition is to endure and increase the economic value of the State Land Trust for the benefit of the Public School and other beneficiaries while maximizing lands for natural open space." This wording was agreed upon by all interests in the Fox Group.

Prop. 106 states, "The purpose of this Proposition is to permit the State of Arizona to manage state trust lands in ways that promote well-planned growth, conservation, and sound stewardship, addressing issues that were not of concern at the time of statehood."

There is no mention of "economic benefit" in Prop. 106. The whole purpose for the Federal Government in creating state trust lands was to provide economic benefit to support education and several other entities.

Prop. 106 creates a Board of Trustees to oversee the State Land Department and set policy. It would be made up of persons from the field of education - persons who are beneficiaries of the trust. In the real world of financial management this would never happen. The Board of Trustees, if necessary, should consist of economist, geologist, land planners, range and wildlife managers, land developers, and persons with no vested interests in the trust, as well as educators.

Prop. 106 does away with the State Land Department Board of Appeals ‹ a board that tries to settle disputes over decisions of the Director before going to court. With Prop. 106, the only recourse to dispute would be the courts.

Because voter-passed Initiatives cannot be changes by the Legislature, the courts would be the only agency for clarification of the meaning of Prop. 106. If the words, "As prescribed by law," had been included in all of its sections, then it would be possible for the legislature to provide clarification and save much future litigation.

My personal view is that a "NO" vote on both 106 and 105. (A hurried response by the Legislature to correct errors in 106), and 106 would be the most responsible course of action and would prevent the hi-jacking of the State School Trust. Both proposals have enormous impact on the future of fifteen percent of the land in Arizona. Much more discussion and education of the general public is needed.

John Hays

Former Legislator

Yarnell

Michael J. Fox does not speak for me

Editor:

I have Parkinson's Disease, and Michael J. Fox does not speak for me. Those of us who share the annoying tremors, the embarrassment, and crippling paralysis caused by this disease are frustrated and gullibly eager to believe in miracle cures.

Please understand that the political ads promoting the eminent benefits from embryonic stem-cell research have little to do with curing any disease and everything to do with promoting abortion. As far as I'm concerned, Fox made a deal with the Devil -- the Devil in this case being a cynical group of politicians who believe they can exploit people's suffering to win votes. If you don't support them on abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and cloning, then you must not care about cures for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and crippling spinal injuries.

I've spent most of my life working with children. I do not expect, nor do I want the most innocent of these to surrender their lives for my sake. I do not believe in cannibalizing other humans for spare parts as they do in China. Nor do I believe that because the baby is going to be "terminated" anyway, it's OK to use their body parts for medical experiments.

Do alarms go off in your head when you hear of women being paid large cash rewards for the product of their ovaries?

I am saddened that the abortion lobby has hijacked the direction of Parkinson's research in this country. There is no under-funded or outlawed line of stem-cell research that will bring cures to fruition as soon as the right group of politicians gets elected. In fact, while we continue to pour money down the dry hole of embryonic stem-cell research, more promising areas of study are going without funding or being done in foreign countries.

Politics and science go together like alcohol and driving. With advocates like Fox driving us, our chances of arriving at a timely cure seem more unlikely than ever.

Rick Heisley

Cottonwood

Democrats owe Jon Kyl no favors

Editor:

For those who are not yet committed to one or the other U.S. Senate candidates, I'd like to suggest a tactic that I think is very important for Arizona. Consider this:

The election on Nov.r 7 might very well result in a significant shift in favor of the Democrats. And that shift might very well carry on to the presidential election 2008.

If Jon Kyl is reelected, Arizona will have two very partisan republican senators who will have little influence with the Democrats.

If the Democrat is elected, Arizona will have a partisan in the very center of each camp; a very good position to be in for a state that is too small to dominate either party. If we return two Republican Senators to Congress, they may be sitting with the losing side.

The Democrats owe Jon Kyl no favors and could easily come to feel the same way about the Arizona voters should the Democrats gain power and see no Arizona Democrat in the Senate.

Think about it. Then vote.

Kari H. Klassen

Clarkdale

How did Mingus fall into such disrepair?

Editor:

It's usually easy to decide how to vote on school issues. We all want what is best for our kids. Everything related to schools tugs at our heartstrings. Schools are a "home away from home" for our children, and we want them to be safe, happy, and to learn.

But a $15 million dollar MUHS bond? Wow!

I know for me I have to decide every day how much money to spend on the house, and how much goes other ways. I would never let my house get so run down, and by the same token, I would never pour so much money into renovating it. For that kind of money, wouldn't it be cheaper to keep the best and rebuild the rest?

I don't think this is a good, well thought-out use of my money.

Mary McCarthy

Verde Village

Can't fool me on reason for bond

Editor:

MUHS has had a maximum override for 20-plus years. That means local taxpayers have continually supported this school to the fullest extent the law allows.

Even so, the buildings appear to be in a shamble. Why? I doubt it's because of those whose job it is to maintain them. I suspect the blame goes to whose job it is to see that needed maintenance is funded.

Don't try to tell us you need this bond for our kids. You need this bond to make up for terrible administration, and that's not the way to handle this problem.

June Robinson

Cottonwood

206 was put up by Big Tobacco to muddy the waters

Editor:

A World Health Organization study began 3 years ago says that within 9 years tobacco will be the cause of a full 1/3 of all non-war deaths in the world every year. Ten percent of those will be from second-hand smoke. That means that tobacco is, right now, causing the worst health epidemic the world has ever known. Worse than the Black Death of the Middle Ages. Worse than AIDS. Worse than African Ebola. Worse than the 1918 Influenza. Worse than all of them combined. Just slower.

Our present state smoking law is not working. It allows smoking in bowling alleys, pool halls, bars, and motels, and does not protect the thousands of workers who involuntarily inhale second hand smoke. Also, in most cases, it does not protect those of us who are guests in those establishments.

Do you think for a minute that smoke knows that it is supposed to stay in the smoking section? It's like having a peeing section in a swimming pool!

On Election Day the citizens of Arizona will vote on two propositions to decide the future of indoor air pollution for the health of all of us in our beautiful state.

Proposition 201 is a good law for protection of all people in their workplaces and is the one to vote for. It was proposed by us in the healthcare professions, county boards, and the American Cancer Society. Eleven states have similar or more restrictive laws.

According to the Wall Street Journal Big Tobacco is spending $40 million to overcome anti-smoking propositions like Prop. 201 in many states this election.

Big Tobacco is pushing 206 and making it sound like tough restrictions; actually it would erase antismoking laws that we fought so hard for in Flagstaff and Coconino County. The "$5 million tax hike" in 201 is actually an increase of $0.02 per pack of cigarettes for enforcement.

206 was put up by Big Tobacco to muddy the waters.

Don't fall for that gag. Vote for 201 and against 206.

Carl E. Shrader, M.D.

Flagstaff

Jason Finger an excellent choice for school board

Editor:

Your recent editorial column concerning the candidates for the Cottonwood Oak Creek Governing Board mentioned two candidates, although there are three positions opening on the Board. As a member of the Verde Valley health care community, it has been my privilege to work with Jason Finger and see first hand the knowledge, preparation, and care that he provides to his physical therapy patients.

Jason's integrity and character are readily apparent in the assessments that he makes concerning his patients. Each decision is well thought out, and takes into consideration all possible outcomes. Jason will bring this same process to the issues before the Governing Board.

As a parent he definitely has an interest in the education of his three sons, but an effective Board member must have the ability to set aside any personal involvement to truly make decisions based on the advantages to all children in the District.

I believe Jason Finger has that ability and will be an excellent representative for the Cottonwood Oak Creek School District.

Terrie Snyder, R.N.

Cottonwood

Don't forget who got us into this mess

Editor:

This election can be a turning point in history. All the incumbents are touting their records, however, their past efforts are responsible for many of the problems today.

Sometimes a change in direction is prudent, and now is the time for change. The contenders for congress and senate are not responsible for the others actions.

I am a Republican, but will not support the incumbents.

Gene McIntyre

Camp Verde

Cottonwood Elementary School Fall Carnival a huge success

Editor:

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the numerous businesses that donated money and items to the recent Cottonwood Elementary School Fall Carnival. Thanks to SRMG, Fry's, Food City, United Rentals, Sonic, Home Depot, and Safeway for your generous gifts. Hundreds of students and their families enjoyed a fun evening due to your generous contributions. A big thank you to the Cottonwood Middle School National Junior Honor Society and the MUHS Key Club and Interact for volunteering at our booths so teachers and parents could enjoy the evening with the students!

Money raised from that evening will be allocated directly to our classrooms at CES. Once again, our teachers and children thank you for your donations!

Lori Simmons

CES Carnival Chairperson

C'mon Rush, what were you thinking?

Editor:

An Open Letter to Mr. Rush Limbaugh:

Rush, How could you make fun of people with Parkinson's Disease? Both of my wife's parents died from the complications of Parkinson's Disease. It was not a pretty sight to see them suffer and deteriorate day by day and month by month from this terrible disease.

I believe an apology is in order from you to all the patients suffering from this debilitating disease and their families, and perhaps you should give a substantial donation to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Shame on you. I thought you were a bigger man and more sensitive than to stoop so low. At lease Mr. Fox has not abused his medications.

Fred Roberts

Lake Montezuma

Another perspective on propositions

Editor:

I am writing in response to Doug Von Gausig's analyses of certain ballot initiatives to offer an opposing view. My views are rooted in a U.S. Constitutional perspective which, above all else, preserves individual freedom granted us by our Creator.

Government is from the will of the people. We have the right to own property and use it to our personal benefit ‹ not the collective benefit as our socialist friends would have us believe. We have the right to keep the fruits of our labors. The liberal left, through their actions and stated positions such as those expressed by Mr. Von Gausig, have the opposite view: we are allowed to use our land and a certain amount of our money by the government. We make the money but the government owns it and lets us use some of it.

Prop 101 is set to limit government's ability to raise the rent (property taxes) on our property. They need that restriction ‹ just look at what has happened to our property taxes in the last year! Vote Yes.

Prop 105: It is a conservation and multi-use initiative. It preserves the rights of ranchers and others who have used and improved the state trust lands for generations. The initiative is needed because our Arizona heritage is under constant attack from those who would lock up all public lands to prevent all use: off roading, camping, hunting, fishing etc. Maybe not today, but that is their stated goal. Mr. Von Gausig's main argument seems to be based upon backers of the legislation rather than the purpose. Vote Yes on 105. Vote no on 106 for the very same reasons. State trust lands have been effectively managed since their creation in support of education funding. This measure would take management of the lands out of the hands of our elected representatives and put it in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable commission. Do we want that? And, look at the radical environmental groups backing it: Nature Conservancy (who is seeking in multiple Western US court cases the elimination of use of Western streams and rivers - including the Verde and San Pedro in AZ). Other supporters mentioned put their money and support to people and actions aimed at restricting multiple uses of federal and state lands. Again, vote NO. on 106.

Prop 207 is aimed at restricting governmental abuse of eminent domain by taking property from one citizen and given to another (developer) to create a greater tax revenue stream to the government. Prop 207 will prohibit any Arizona government from doing this. And it puts teeth in it by requiring just compensation whenever government actions reduce the value of your property. Although not stated, this law could perhaps prevent Salt River Project from taking water rights from Verde Valley well owners - which is still percolating out there. Vote Yes on Prop. 207 "Private Property Protection Act." This is another case of Mr. Von Gausig taking the position that we don't own our property ‹ the government just lets us use it as it seems fit.

I discovered another issue in my research. The League of Women's voters booklet is incomplete in summarizing the provisions of Prop 202, the minimum wage initiative. From freedom and economic points of view, employers and employees must have the freedom to negotiate compensation for the benefit of both. Artificial minimums will actually hurt those at the bottom of the economic scale. Putting that aside, there is a very great reason to reject Prop. 202. You must read the full text to understand that there are provisions in the measure that allow unlimited access to business records - financial and employment - based on one complaint. The employer has no right to fight and no right to challenge his accuser - who is hidden from the accused by this law. Sounds like an opportunity for the jack-booted thugs of government to step on the neck of anyone employing someone based upon even third party rumors. Fact. Read it. Vote NO!

Frank Ogden

Cottonwood

Yes vote on Prop. 400 a yes vote for Habitat for Humanity

Editor:

In response to your recent articles/rebuttals on the Cottages of Aspen development:

First and foremost as executive director of Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity, I personally wish to thank the developers, Rock View Visions, LLC, who have spent two years going through the proper channels and having the "vision" to provide 13 local families the possibility and opportunity of homeownership.

With the rezoning being requested and upon the passage of PROP 400, these developers are willing to donate one of their costly building sites to VVHFH to build another home for a deserving working family in the Verde Valley. We encourage other developers to do the same in their upcoming builds to show our community their good will and support.

Finding buildable, affordable land in our community to build "simple, decent & affordable" housing is our biggest challenge. With the ever-increasing demand to live in our beautiful community, many young families who have grown up locally, service you in the many fine restaurants, motels and other local business your readers visit daily, are finding the ability to now live here as adults only a dream. I recently toured a new subdivision that was touted as "affordable" housing and when I saw the starting price tags of $269,000, I asked which models where the affordable models? The response was, "If people are willing to buy at this price, then they are affordable!"

Last year VVHFH sent out over 700 letters to local property owners, (criteria was 1/4 acre in town lots) inquiring about purchasing their vacant land for use in our building mission. The one and only response we had was from a gentleman from Phoenix who is still considering our offer. I assume folks figure why sell to Habitat for what the land is really worth when they can double the price and sell to someone moving in from out of the area.

With land prices continuing to escalate, VVHFH may very well be out of business. What a loss to our local families.

Habitat homes are built based on a partnership between a family and our local community. I strongly urge your Cottonwood readers to please vote YES on PROP 400. Won't you help build it too!

Karen Lynn Maddy,

Executive Director

Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity

Health benefits of rec center are enormous

Editor:

In response to Pat Spence' letter of October 29, I say we cannot afford not to vote yes on the rec center. The health and wellbeing of our community is at stake. The costs of not supporting a community recreational facility are beyond comprehension.

I don't know if the author reads the news but obesity in children and adults is burdening America financially as well as being a devastating health issue. According to an article put out by Reuters Health on June 27, 2005, "Obesity Costs Soar Tenfold to $36.5 billion in US" between 1987 and 2002, private spending on problems related to obesity rose from $3.6 billion or 2 percent of all health spending, to $36.5 billion or 11.6 percent of spending.

This was only private spending and did not include all of the costs to taxpayers for obesity-related illnesses. About 60 million Americans are obese and obesity was the biggest cause of major medical spending for the 10 top medical conditions which included arthritis, asthma, back problems, diabetes and heart disease. This translates to 60 percent of adults and 13 percent of children being overweight or obese.

A large part of the problem is lack of exercise and facilities in which to exercise. From the Web site www.americascores.com, more than a third of young people in grades 9-12 do not regularly engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity. Forty-three percent of children in grades 9-12 watch television more than two hours per day. Physical activity for all age groups continues to decline because of lack of a physical education requirement and fears of leaving children unattended outside.

If children and adults would adopt a formal exercise program, or simply become more active, the will burn fat, increase energy expenditure, and maintain lost weight. Exercise will also lower blood lipid profiles and blood pressure while improving blood sugar profiles and decreasing insulin resistance.

The biggest financial burden we have in this country is escalating health care costs. None of us is immune to it, no matter what our income bracket. Most families in our community cannot afford the private facilities that are either being built or all already available. They need a public facility in which to engage in regular physical exercise; a place where people of all ages in our community can improve their health. For our physical health as well as our financial health, regular physical exercise is not an option.

One more reason we can't afford not to vote yes on the rec center; our young people need something to do. They need something to do that they can feel good about and will keep them from getting involved in drugs and alcohol. This community needs to provide an alternative for them. The rec center is the perfect solution to a lot of problems in this community. We spend a lot of tax money on things we can't even see or benefit from. It's time we spent it on something that we will see a direct benefit from.

Laura H Hatton, M.S., Ph.D., C.C.N.

Cottonwood

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