Letters to the Editor

While we're at it, let's tax fat people, too

Editor:

I would like to thank Carl Nye for his article about smokers vs. non-smokers. I think we smokers have been discriminated against long enough. What non-smokers don't seem to realize, or simply don't care about is, that smoking is an addiction just like drugs, alcohol, eating, etc.

We fully realize smoking is harmful. We're not stupid, just addicted, because the tobacco companies were, and still are dishonest. They've lied to the public for decades about how addictive and about the chemicals they add to the tobacco to make them even addictive and more impossible to throw down without some serious help.

For those of you who are pushing propositions to add yet more taxes to cigarettes and want to ban smoking everywhere, you're only concern is for yourselves. All you want to do is punish smokers. Do you punish those who drink alcohol, or do drugs? No ‹ not until they do something stupid to get caught. Do you force them to pay the ridiculous taxes you are seeking to impose on cigarette smokers? If you're determined to punish one sector of the population, then punish the manufacturers of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, not the consumers. It's always the smokers everyone goes after.

I have a really swell idea - let's tax fat and obese people at all-you-can-eat buffets, and let's tax them on airlines when they take up two or three seats. Let's impose an additional tax on everyone everywhere who buys anything consumable that contains alcohol.

I have yet to read a headline where a smoker has caused an accident because they had too much nicotine in their system. But wait - you say, and I believe it's true, that second hand cigarette smoke is harmful to everyone's health. Oh, say it ain't so! But if it is I have a terrific solution for all of you sanctimonious, self serving drum beaters - go build your own non-smoking Bingo halls, bars, restaurants and cafes, and leave ours alone!

Stop trying to force your lifestyle down others throats like our government tries to force democracy on other countries around the world; countries existed eons before this country was ever discovered by the white man. If you don't like us, stay away from us. Just leave us alone, and go find someplace else to play.

If you want to jump on a band wagon and carry a banner, jump on one where those on it are fighting to keep illegal aliens from voting in this country; those who are also trying to keep illegals from drawing our Social Security benefits.

Never forget this - smokers are terrorists. We drain the economy, and very soon now we'll have enough voting power to take this country by storm. Then you'll have a bandwagon to jump on, or will that be a burro cart? Whatever! How stupid can people get?

Jennifer Sherrill

Cottonwood

Protect state trust lands: yes on 106

Editor:

What's the best thing you can do for yourself, your children and grandchildren? Vote Yes on Proposition 106. Why?

Prop. 106 supporters are a broad coalition of educators, conservationists and business and community leaders who worked more than five years to build a consensus of how best to protect Arizona's state trust lands. A record number of Arizona voters, nearly 310,000, signed petitions to put Prop 106 on the November ballot. They all recognize the urgent need to protect nearly 649,000 acres of state trust lands, balance exponential growth with good planning and stay true to the mission of the trust funding Arizona's public schools.

Prop 106 is endorsed by Governor Janet Napolitano, the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Attorney General Terry Goddard, mayors of Arizona's largest cities, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Arizona State Parks Board, Arizona Parks and Recreation, the Professional Firefighters of Arizona, and hundreds more community groups and leaders.

Currently decisions on state trust land decisions are handled by one person. Prop 106 would increase this to a five member Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor who would be required to have substantial experience in planning, real estate, land appraisal and other related professions. Further, all state land business would be mandated to be conducted in open meetings with citizen oversight. We must keep open space to recreate ourselves, refresh ourselves and restore our integrity.

Prop 106 is the most important ballot issue for the residents of northern Arizona. Protect our state trust lands. Vote YES on Prop 106.

Pat Williams

Clarkdale

Mingus needs major attention

Editor:

Over the last 34 years, technology has changed all of our lives. Things like computers, calculators, projection screen, overheads, big screen TVs, interactive boards, LCD projectors, wireless lap tops, wireless PCs, and so on, have come into our lives and are now taken for granted.

In 1972 when Mingus Union High School, was built the need for electrical power was much less than it is today. Some classrooms only have one 20-amp circuit shared between them. This is not enough electrical power to run the teaching equipment needed for today's classrooms. To combat this shortage of power we have had to pull some teaching equipment from campus as well as all non-essential electrical devices, but this still has not been enough.

Teachers cannot run the equipment they need to help give students the education they deserve. To fix the power issue will be one of the most costly parts of the Mingus bond. The main service panels at the school will have to be changed to a larger modern unit; from here the wire size will need to be increased to new upgraded sub panels from which new wire can be run to the classrooms and outlets added. This is one of the most important issues facing the Mingus campus.

HVAC

Some of the HVAC (heating, ventilation, A/C) units at Mingus are 34 years old, and others have been changed out over the years but are showing their age as well. The school loses four to six units a year and repairs many more out of about 120 units on campus. We change the filters every other month and service the units every three months. This takes a great deal of manpower.

Another issue is evaporative cooling. The gyms, auditorium, halls, kitchen, weight room, and 500 building have evaporative cooling insufficient for the amount of students and area size. There have been days this year that the temperature has hovered around 90 degrees in these areas, creating a safety issue and poor learning environment for the students.

Using both air conditioning and evaporative cooling in the same building has the units fighting each other. Evaporative cooling humidifies air while air conditioning tries to dehumidify air, causing the AC units to freeze up. The bond committee is looking at two options: one is to upgrade all units to new more efficient air conditioning units; two is to put in a central plant which will cool all the areas with one unit.

Gary Allred

MUHS Plant Foreman

I'll be glad when the election is over

Editor:

I don't care whether a politician is a Republican, Democrat or Independent, if they must resort to lies and attacking their opponents to stay in office instead of standing on their own voting records, it's time for them to be shown the door.

We don't need them to represent us anymore. For shame!

Fred Roberts

Lake Montezuma

Protect private property rights with yes vote on 207

Editor:

Mark Twain once said, "The difference between governments and individuals is Governments don't care, individuals do."

For this reason, I am writing to urge people to vote " 'Yes' on Prop. 207 for Property Rights."

In this time of activist judges, overreaching government and a national trend toward the erosion of our basic freedoms, it is high time we as Arizonans had solid property rights protection.

It's just plain wrong that politicians across the country have taken private property away from citizens with the sole rationale that it will increase tax revenue. Prop 207 will help put a stop to this type of sanctioned land grab. I can only imagine the heartbreak of having your home taken away without fair compensation.

People work hard for their homes and businesses. It's not right that an individual or family's life can be destroyed on the whim of an uncaring government.

We need Prop. 207 and I am encouraging everybody I know to join me in voting "Yes" on Nov. 7.

Bryan Detwiler

Cottonwood

Enjoy the view, vote yes on Prop. 106

Editor:

This election, voters in Arizona have an opportunity to protect special lands, scenic visitas, wildlife habitats, and lands critical to the Verde River's watershed. These lands are part of 694,000 acres of state land that would be preserved by Proposition 106.

A competing proposal, 105, could preserve up to 449,000 acres. However, this would require action by the state legislature, something they have been very reluctant to do.

Proposition 106 is supported by a broad coalition of educators, businessmen, and conservation organizations. In fact, a record number of Arizona voters, over 300,000, signed petitions to put Proposition 106 on the ballet. Please join us in preserving many of our state's great places and vote YES on 106.

Bob Rothrock

Verde Valley Land Preservation Institute

Arizona needs aggressive stance on border protection

Editor:

As I write this, another public recreational area in Southern Arizona has been closed to our citizens and surrendered to illegal immigrants and drug dealers.

Not a word of outrage or vow to take it back from our governor. We are simply told that the area is now too dangerous for us to use.

A just-released federal government report verifies what most of us have known for some time. Drug cartels are taking over our southern border with Mexico. They are better armed than our own Border Patrol and Homeland Security agents. We cannot depend on help from the Mexican government because it is paralyzed and corrupted by the drug lords.

Four of every 10 Mexican police are tied to drug cartels. The number of illegals being caught crossing our border isn't 1 out of 4, as previously claimed, but 1 out of 10.

Our Congress in Washington just passed a bill allowing a 750-mile fence to be built on the border to help funnel illegals to areas where they can be more easily contained. Those weak on border enforcement smirk because they know they didn't provide funding to build the fence.

A most disturbing part of the report says that Hugo Chavez, idiot savant, communist and president of Venezuela, is training Arabs to pass as Latinos so they can more easily get through our meager defenses.

It is true that border protection is a federal responsibility, so goes the mantra from our governor as she vetoes every bill designed to stem the flow. In the meantime, I believe Arizona's government has the responsibility to move unilaterally to protect our own citizens. We can sue the feds for all costs and raise enough hell to get the attention of those in charge.

One move I believe in is to form an Arizona Border Patrol. Because of the increased violent nature of the drug cartels the Patrol recruits should have more military type training and weapons. In fact, in addition to normal recruiting, I think recruiting of active duty military personnel who are due for discharge would be of great help. As a bonus, they should be given credit for their military service years toward Arizona State Retirement.

At the same time we beef up the border we have to stop waving the carrot of employment of illegals. Our own state government has proven over the last year that I.D. checks of social security numbers does work and does not interfere with business. Local businesses should be held accountable to do the same.

Once illegals see serious enforcement at the job site they will seek legal means. Only then can we assess exactly what need we have for legal immigrant labor and adjust our policies accordingly.

This is the type of "comprehensive" reform we need on our border. Not amnesty. These problems need to be addressed one law at a time right now. When Congress tries to tie them all up in one package they water down the entire process so that it becomes just as meaningless as the present situation. And that is just what those weak on border protection want.

Remember, only 1 out of 10 are being stopped at our border instead of 1 of 4. That means the problem, and the danger, is increasing at a much higher rate than previously believed. I recall a historic tale of a Roman leader who fiddled while his city burned.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde

We're suffering from too much centralization of power

Editor:

For the first time in my long life, I am frightened. Frightened because we sleep while the thieves are little by little, taking away our Constitutional rights as citizen of the United States. The erosion of our Rights began after President Truman's Administration. After South Korea, Congress attempted to withhold a president's power to send troops into combat overseas without consent of Congress. They failed in their effort. In fact, Congress passed a law authorizing such powers by the President.

Now we have the Patriot Act which authorizes government agencies to listen in on our private phone conversations, read our mail, and just about anything else these agencies want to do, all in the name of protecting our citizens from the big bad wolf at our door. Next we have the Right of Habeas corpus for our citizens taken away by the stroke of our Presidents pen. This Right is of singular importance to our freedom.

My fellow Americans take a good close look at world history. There is clear evidence that the world's dictators, such as Hitler, Stalin and others as far back as the Romans all came about because the people slept while more power was taken from them by too much centralization of power. This, in my view, is what's taking place in our land of the free and home of the brave today. Far too much power is vested in our Chief Executive and congressional committee's.

President Lincoln said "That Government which governs the least and does the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people is good government." Certainly, we need to be alert to those peoples and nations whose aim is to destroy us. But where I ask, are Hitler, Stalin and all the rest of those who would change the world? Almighty God, in His own good time and way, brought them down. This Universe and all that's in it, belongs to God, and in time, He will prevail. The individuals and nations keeping the Middle-East in a constant state of flux, have been doing this sort of thing before the time of Christ, and the free world attempting to show them a better way of life and form of governments most likely will not change the situation. It will, cost us, and our allies, their blood and millions of dollars that could be best spent at home. You guessed it! I'm for a strong military, but quit trying to change peoples of the world to our way of live with our blood and dollars. Let them find out for themselves, which is a better way of life, theirs or ours.

Wm. M. Oates

Major, USAF (Ret.)

Cottonwood

Time to rethink Mingus bond

Editor:

I read Superintendent Allen's column about the MUHS bond. I understand the school needs some upgrades, but I thought that is what the school facilities board was supposed to direct and fund. Shouldn't we be fighting for these funds if they are needed? Or, could it be that what we want is nice but not needed?

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that no sane person would vote to pay for a $15 million bond for just upgrades and maintenance that has been lacking. As to the auditorium, for that kind of money, this community could build a new community stage and have enough left over for some school upgrades.

R.D. Melia

Cottonwood

We can do better than Simon, Napolitano

Editor:

There have been several anti-Renzi opinion letters. But is Ms. Simon a better choice? Representatives are elected for two years , a relatively short term.

Ms. Simon was a lawyer for the ACLU. That group defends free access to pornography/ abortion/ homosexual school curricula and mandatory sex education in detail/ defends NAMBLA (the Man/Boy Love Association)/ legalized polygamy and prostitution/ nudist camps for teenagers/ child pornography/ same-sex marriages, etc.

What is the ACLU against? Abstinence/ home-schooling/ education vouchers/ government ethics committees/ school prayer/ parental consent laws/ pro-life demonstrations/ medical safety reporting of AIDS cases (re: blood)/ post 9/11 security measures/ "God Bless America" banners in schools/ legalized school prayer, etc.

Renzi may not be your favorite but do you really want an ACLU lawyer as your national representative to Congress even if it's only two years?

And, may I remind you that a 13-year-old ward-of-the-state was transported to New Mexico for an abortion while Napolitano was attorney general? When our governor is in trouble concerning election monies she is merely told "Don't do that again." Would anyone else get such tender treatment? The state Supreme Court did stop her latest power bid in a line item veto. She crossed out one item she did not want -- because there was no appropriation to support it. Oh, really! It is election year and we finally see Napolitano a few times. She reminds us how important our votes are (they are) and how much she herself has done for the state. Somehow she fails to mention the very people who make the laws and approve the budget plus all the financial help from the Federal funds. Maybe it is time for a change.

Phyllis Hazekamp

Lake Montezuma

Mingus students deserve better

Editor:

Mingus Union High School was first opened in 1972. Many of the facilities in the school are now over 35 years old. The students of the school need updated restrooms, water fountains and facilities that work properly.

All students deserve to attend schools with working bathrooms, lights and heating and cooling.

The Mingus Union High School Bond will provide these necessary items for students.

The Clarkdale-Jerome School District Governing Board urges support for the bond to assure that all students have facilities that will serve students and support their learning.

Jane Phillips, Dale Williams, Anthony Lozano, Kathleen Fleenor

Clarkdale-Jerome School District

Prop. 400 is about protecting a neighborhood

Editor:

I'd like to thank Stan Ronaldson and C. Dunn for their input on Prop. 400. They hit the nail on the head. I'm hoping that the rest of the registered voters in Cottonwood have the same insight.

The impact that this has is far reaching. Already the citizens against Mesquite Hills are paying the price. We must keep our neighborhood the way it was intended, AR-20 agricultural. Developers must be stopped at coming in and trying to re-zone something to suit their purpose. That is why I filed the referendum.

When I was at Planning and Zoning I saw that there were plenty of areas zoned R-2 (multi family residential). So, why come to AR-20 agricultural to put in 13 condos?

By voting no to Prop. 400, we not only stop the development and re-zoning for our neighborhood right now, we stop developers from getting a foothold in our neighborhoods -- possibly even one you might be living in right now.

Mr. Ullom and Mr. Kennan could still build two nice homes that would fit into the neighborhood and not have to change the zoning.

So, I urge all registered voters to ask themselves: Do you want a developer to try to come to your neighborhood? Or, do you want to vote no on Prop. 400 with me and keep developers from getting a foothold in our neighborhoods.

Anna Chavez

Cottonwood

Prop. 400 is result of city not protecting neighborhood

Editor:

Prop. 400 (Aspen Cottages) has never been about one or two disgruntled residents. It's about an entire disgruntled neighborhood ‹ from Aspen to Mingus, 17th Street to 18th Street.

Since July 2004 when we first met with Sedona developers Garth Ullom and David Kennan of Rock View Visions, we have expressed our disapproval of Aspen Cottages as presented. We gave Planning and Zoning a petition with the signatures and concerns of 40 homeowners. The Planning and Zoning regulations required that only those people living within 300 feet of the proposed project would have any input, regardless of how others in the area would be affected.

We attended every meeting speaking our concerns. Yes, there is a small apartment complex, which is precisely why we want to stop at one. Not to keep setting precedents for even more such projects. Owners' concerns have ranged from the drainage; traffic/safety, density and loss of openness just to name a few. This is an older neighborhood with some families from the '40s and '50s and some brand new families. The quietness and open areas are what make it special. We don't feel every square inch of land has to be covered with houses and cement.

So far Mr. Ullom and Mr. Kennan have not proved to be good neighbors. They have allowed the weeds to grow so abundantly as to become a fire hazard. They have gutted the house and left it to become a target for vandalism. Now they can point to the place and show people how bad it is and why their development will improve the area.

As I live to the immediate east of the project, I will have seven "houses" along my fence line. The neighborhood has been using all legal means to make it plain we do not welcome this project. We are trying to preserve the feel and character of our area. We have never been against development ‹ that's progress. But why do developers get to play by different rules? We had to develop our properties in accordance with the law by putting only one or two houses on a lot. Developers get to change the rules and put 13 "houses" on two lots.

At every turn we have felt that our concerns and wishes were brushed over. There were two token meetings between residents and developers, but it was obvious nothing would change. Any concessions made were to P&Z and the City Council in order to get the project passed. There was no compromise with residents because our concerns were meaningless and they scoffed at our suggestions.

This process has taught us patience and perseverance because it is designed to wear you down. When the City Council wonders why more people don't get involved, we can tell them why most people think it's a waste of time.

As our elected officials we recognize that they don't necessarily represent us, but we feel this project is in the best interest of developers only and our concerns have been ignored. Residents on the south side of Aspen in our area have waited for years for the city to right a wrong, and we are very aware we need to look out for ourselves.

Every community needs to be vigilant to this kind of over-development. Developers have their eye on profits. We have our eyes on preserving our quality of life.

That is why we are asking the people of Cottonwood to vote "no" on Prop. 400.

Linda Battle

Cottonwood

Mingus bond nothing but a money grab

Editor:

A $15 million bond sounds to me like the highest amount the law will allow based on our local tax base. So already this appears to be a "money-grab."

The district has reached for the moon on this one, and for what? For maintenance and upgrades that should have and could have been done all along. $15 million ought to be enough to build a brand new school, or come close to it.

I'm a school supporter, and I could see a few million in upgrades, but not $15 million. Nope. Not buying it.

Max Barrett

Cornville

Prop. 201 is better health measure

Editor:

On Nov. 7, 2006, registered voters will be asked to vote on many propositions. Two of them are about limiting smoking with Prop. 206 being less restrictive. Prop 201 is more restrictive and would appear to ban smoking from all business establishments open to the public and most places of employment.

In the Oct. 11, 2006, issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) a lead article was written by D. Menzies, et al, on the effects of second-hand smoke on bar workers. In an editorial piece titled Banning Smoking in Public Places, by Mark D. Eisner, MD, MPH; he states that "After the smoke-free legislation went into effect, bar workers experienced sustained reduction of sensory irritation symptoms and respiratory symptoms as well as improved pulmonary function."

From additional evidence presented in the lead article Dr. Eisner states "Consequently, it appears that the benefits of smoke-free workplace legislation are even greater for persons with chronic airway disease."

In regard to economic consequences of lost revenue he states and references that, "using sales tax and other objective financial data, studies now conclusively demonstrate that bars, restaurants, and hotels do not lose revenue after becoming smoke-free (ref. 27-30)"

With the information presented in the October 11,2006, issue of JAMA evidence is compelling enough that Prop. 201 is the better of the two propositions for the health of the Arizona public.

R.D. Richards, MD

Cottonwood

Why wasn't campus maintained properly?

Editor:

I read in the newspaper that Ann Cumpston is a verbal supporter of the $15 million Mingus bond, that she is chairman of the MUM group advertising for this bond, and that she was a member of the governing board of this school district for many years.

I wonder, has anyone asked her the question, "What happened to the funds through the years that were meant to be used to maintain this campus?" From the sounds of things, maintaining this beautiful campus was never a priority.

Herb Steele

Cottonwood

Mingus should have taken care of facility

Editor:

Supt. Sharyl Allen writes about 35 year old MUHS campus as if it were positively ancient. Do we really live in a nation where we build such structures to fall apart so soon? I don't think so.

What I do think is that "worm out equipment ... plumbing ... mechanical systems" of which she notes, have been allowed to deteriorate to this level.

We need better administration and better assurance of how funds are being spent in this district before we give them another $15 million.

Which, by the way, seems like an unmanageable amount for upgrades and lapsed maintenance. Vote no.

Harry Stovall

Verde Village

Thank you, Mr. Brushingham

Editor:

Sometimes someone using a black paint "brush" finds their action produces an opposite effect. A very negative October 8th letter to this paper mentioning an unlawful act by, and probable arrest of, a local high school student has brought forth several white paint brushers who have shared with us many positive high school accomplishments. Just as every American Legion or Elks Lodge (to use that writer's references) member's behavior has not been perfect, neither will we see 100-percent perfection in our youth. After all, it is we older members of society who have produced today's youth, even the occasional bad apple.

Nevertheless it is the majority of students at Mingus Union High School who need and deserve our support in November's election. That means a "YES" vote on the Improvements Bond, as well as a "YES" on the sale of nearby, but unusable, property belonging to the high school.

Philip Cumpston

Cottonwood

United States in no place to expound democracy

Editor:

My conclusions re: Rebellion/Terrorism:

The documentary The Road to 9/11 vividly points out that our war on terrorism is not solely against the United States and the coalition, but against oppression by autocracies and foreign nations, i.e. British, Russians French, U.S. People like us (the masses) resent and object to unjust rule that keeps them from living decent lives. After decades of extreme conditions and brutality, they rise up for recognition and change; they attack anyone they perceive to be perpetrators of their misery and helplessness. It only takes a determined, even ruthless leader to stir them up.

Question: Do not the U.S. and others need to do much more publicity to the masses and communication with the leaders of them to convince them as well as to remind us, that we are not there to change their whole world, but to change their treatment of the masses. This means we must also change our pressures on them to adopt our ways of living, which makes them lose their identity, self-rule and self-respect.

How can the U.S. expound Democracy when we ourselves are also a nation of corruption, deception, greed, selfishness and power hungry rulers who rule at the expense of the ruled. We deplore the poor conditions and treatment of people in sweatshops and slums and yet we too own them in covert ways.

Do you see the hypocrisy of it all! Even our voting system is manipulated. Candidates lie and present false fronts of religiosity. Why can we not learn that we all can have a peace and relatively pleasant lives if we share and respect each other? Our present goals and our methods of corruption and greed are eventually short-lived and are not satisfying in the long run. We ought not to condemn the masses for rebelling when they get someone to lead them who has determination and strength, no matter under what guise (i.e. sects). Let us hope our current U.S. society does not lead to similar results.

D.E. Meckfessel

Cottonwood

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