Letters to the editor: April 24 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: April 24

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Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:36 pm | Updated: 2:30 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

In light of the recent shootings, where innocent civilians and police officers were murdered by madmen, the federal government has once again raised the specter of gun control and the erosion of our Second Amendment rights.

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Gun Control

It’s the person, not the weapon

In light of the recent shootings, where innocent civilians and police officers were murdered by madmen, the federal government has once again raised the specter of gun control and the erosion of our Second Amendment rights.

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As usual, the government is blaming the tool rather than the cause of these tragedies. This is the easy way out and it is also a red herring.

The government would like all to believe that guns are insidious and evil. The premise is flawed as guns are not living things. They have no personality. They are plain and simply tools.

Any tool, whether it is a pocket knife, baseball bat, shovel, et al., when placed in the hands of a murderous deviant, can achieve similar results. It’s an issue of personal responsibility.

In some of these situations, had the civilians involved been legally armed, the carnage in all probability would have been greatly reduced. Would there have been deaths? Yes. But wouldn’t it have been a better scenario if the only death would have been that of the murderer intending to kill many people? Because someone was legally armed.

Because of the Second Amendment.

Our Constitution is under attack by the very people we have elected to represent us.

There are a few, like Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who very correctly has seen fit to question those making the laws as to their constitutional authority. She is asking the august body we call government just exactly where in the Constitution it says they can do what they are doing? She’s not getting any answers.

Please do not be fooled by government misdirection. Read our Constitution. Know what it says. Support it, for if you do not, you will no longer be citizens, you will be subjects.

Mark Hawthorne

Apache Junction

Common sense

Extinguish the political correctness fire

A Venter asked, “Where is the common sense in our country?” The common sense part of our brain is being eaten up by the idiocy called political correctness, which is just an excuse for doing nothing about any situation you want changed or unchanged. Once your brain is gone, though, it is gone and you can only expect lunatic behavior from then on. We need to totally stamp out political correctness.

KAREN WILLIAMS

MESA

Sex Education

Step toward stronger education

As a high school teacher, and supporter of all forms of family planning, I feel the need to write to you about the current state of affairs in regards to the lack of comprehensive sexuality education in Arizona schools. I have been teaching secondary education for the past 11 years, eight of those in Arizona. I taught pregnant teens and worked at a school for them (two years in Jacksonville, Fla.), and at present in the Valley teach some teens (with babies) attempting to finish their education.

The time is right to speak out: More informational choices should be available to our secondary youth, and soon! A 2008 study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing that one in four teen girls age 14-19 have a sexually transmitted infection, is proof that comprehensive sexuality education is vital. Another statistic that makes medically accurate sexual education important is the fact that the Guttmacher Institute identifies Arizona as second in the number of teen pregnancies. Are these statistics Arizona should be proud of?

The only memory of any such thing taught in high school, as held by informal polls in my government classes, was the scare tactic of showing pictures of sexually transmitted diseases gone bad, and the use of that to promote “abstinence only” education.

Yes, teenagers need to know how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy — they also have the right to have all the information accessible. Our youth need correct and complete information to make responsible decisions. We all want our teens to be safe. Providing truthful and accurate information is an important step.

Let’s take that step together.

Darcy White

CHANDLER

LIGHT RAIL

Send toward Gateway Airport

We have had our share of failed public projects and some that could have been better at less cost. Are we being prevented from having the light rail deliver maximum benefit at higher cost on a gamble that it may help make downtown Mesa a thriving business area?

Look at the map. Locate business and population concentrations as well as heritage areas where high density is discouraged. Density is what is required to reduce passenger service costs. Remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You must conclude that the light rail should continue southward to eventually terminate at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. That would reduce cost, travel miles and time and serve many more residents of the East Valley. Freeway safety and rush-hour traffic loads would benefit. Vacant land is available now.

A humble suggestion as to the approximate route: South on Alma School Road to Guadalupe Road, southeast through Gilbert to Rittenhouse Road, which goes southeast to the airport. That would pass over U.S. 60 and Loop 202. Inject new life in the Fiesta Mall area, serve nearby Mesa Community College as well as the Banner Hospital complex, and draw riders from several cities. Downtown Mesa traffic would increase with the east and north traffic that could be served by the park-and-ride express bus location.

Later, re-establishing the east Main Street street car could be considered. The additional revenue from the entire community being revived would make that possible. Right now, the suggested southeast course could advance the rail and airport time schedule and give us more at less cost.

RICHARD T. TRACY SR.

MESA

GILBERT ELECTIONS

Sentz prepared for council

John Sentz has what it takes to be an excellent Town Council member. I have known him for several years. He is always careful in his deliberations on the planning and zoning commission to fully understand citizen input before voting. He is proactive in finding solutions and building consensus. He is fair-minded in all his actions. He has a solid business background to help improve Gilbert’s internal operations and eliminate waste. He is a long-term Gilbert resident who has diligently prepared himself to serve our community with distinction. He will serve with honor.

KENT COOPER

FORMER GILBERT TOWN MANAGER

GILBERT BUDGET

Plenty of ways to cut costs

For four years, I have e-mailed to the town and the council that sales tax cannot sustain the spending of Gilbert. For these four years, Town Manager George Pettit and the council have stated growth pays for itself. Clearly, growth has not paid for itself. All the spending was funded with the forecast of ever-increasing growth. That was 100 percent unsustainable!

Now, Pettit is quoted in the Tribune as saying the revenue cannot sustain the lifestyle. This is the direct result of Pettit’s budget and revenue forecasts. Tax revenues will continue to decrease so cuts in the lifestyle must be done.

The comments of councilman Steve Urie are even worse. “We have a choice — crappy roads and a nice park or nice roads and crappy parks.” Wow, that’s great planning.

That’s like saying the car can only have oil or gas but not both. The car requires both.

The town needs to maintain and spend at a sustainable level.

I am happy Gilbert will have a new mayor and at least one new council member so the group think can be broken. Let’s cut solid waste costs by 50 percent. How? With odd and even pickup that’s used in most cities. Garbage is only picked up on the odd side of the street and recycling is only picked up on the even side of the street. Employee hours, miles driven, fuel and maintenance are reduced by 50 percent.

Also, close 50 percent of Gilbert’s swimming pools. Look at the usage; it is 40 percent less then in 2000. No reason for this lifestyle of pools being used inefficiently. Cut staff to 32 hours per week. Even a top company like Intel is working only 32 hours.

Remove George Pettit as town manager for his complete lack of planning to develop a sustainable budget and revenue stream while the town has doubled in size.

CHIP MANDELA

GILBERT

Education

Don’t cut the good teachers

On May 24, 2008, I proudly accepted my Gilbert Public Schools diploma as a graduate of Mesquite High School. On Sept. 9, I matriculated at Yale University. Over here, with my classmates from Phillips Exeter Academy and other elite private schools, I feel proud that I received a similarly rigorous education from a lowly “public school.” Of course, I thank my parents for pushing me to do my best and supporting all that I did. But just as important are the teachers I had throughout high school, each and every one, contributing to my education.

Gilbert public school teachers are among the best. Recently, I learned that among the “first year” teachers being let go are several veteran teachers, many of whom helped me realize my Ivy League goal. I realize there is a budget crunch, and my family has felt the economic pinch (we do pay for my education). I, however, cannot find any justification for the firing of some of the best teachers in the name of budget cuts. If Gilbert Public Schools wishes to continue to be the beacon of public education that it is, it should sacrifice elsewhere in the budget.

Perhaps you agree with the system. Then by all means, continue sending your children to a flawed and failing Gilbert public school system. If not, voice your opposition and demand the right you and your children have for a quality education.

To those who make the decisions: I spent almost the entirety of my educational experience within the Gilbert Unified School District. I am entirely a product of it, and I am thankful for that every day. This is why I am saddened to hear of the loss of such great teachers. I can only imagine what the next generation of Gilbert students will miss out on.

Thomas Sanchez

Gilbert

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