We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.
Presidential race — Corrupt by own definition
It all started in March 1987. When Charles H. Keating Jr., the flamboyant developer and anti-porn crusader, needed help, the government was poised to seize Lincoln Savings and Loan, a freewheeling subsidiary of Keating’s American Continental Corp.
As federal auditors crawled all over Lincoln, Keating was not content to wait and hope for the best. He’d spread a lot of money around Washington, and it was time to call in his chits. Thus the Keating Five.
You do remember the Keating Five, don’t you?
Sen. John McCain’s move upward in politics was hit hard when he became caught up in the Keating Five scandal of the 1980s. Keating was a big contributor to McCain’s political campaigns, to the tune of more than $112,000. McCain and the other good old boys of the Keating Five held two meetings with federal regulators wherein they asked these regulators to lighten up on their friend.
Eventually the Lincoln Savings and Loan was taken by the federal government at a cost to the taxpayers of more than $2.2 billion dollars. Keating was tried, convicted and served time. However, the Keating Five escaped prosecution, but this does not mean that their hands were altogether clean.
Yet today McCain lectures his party and his president about “the corrupting influence” of money in politics. He rails against the so-called “wealthy special interests” and their ability to buy access to elected officials. And, of course, under McCain’s current standard, a politician who takes a principled position that may benefit a donor is corrupt, even if no law has been violated. It then follows that John McCain is corrupt.
Donald G. Martin
Conservatism — True fiscal conservatism
“Stay away from hospitals, because too many people get sick and die there!”
This logic amuses us because although the statement is partially true, its inversion of cause and effect make the conclusion ridiculous. Such is the case in a recent letter, “Dems the fiscal conservatives” (Jan. 31). The writer makes some glaring errors in his conclusion starting with his point that Republican “tax reductions” increase the national debt. No Republican has or is proposing “tax reductions.” Some are proposing tax increases stimulated by a tax rate reduction. This is what happened with the Reagan cuts years ago and the recent Bush tax rate cuts. After the rate cuts, economic activity was stimulated, resulting in record federal revenues.
The real cause for larger debt is increased spending, which rose at a much greater rate then revenue during the Bush administration. The only mention of spending in the letter had to do with the Democrats’ “pay-go” plan, which coupled any spending increases with corresponding tax increases. In Democrat parlance this means “tax rate increases,” which have been shown to depress the economy and actually decrease revenue.
Another error: President Clinton and “fiscally responsible Congress” did not pay down on the debt, as the letter-writer implies. The national debt actually increased by $1.5 trillion during Clinton’s two terms.
A true “fiscal conservative” would be one who honestly believes in two simple points: tax rate reductions and spending restraint. Congressional Democrats refuse to make the Bush tax rate cuts permanent and thus they fail on the first point. President Bush and his Congress did not sufficiently restrain spending so they failed on the second point.
If we can, let’s find somebody who really believes in low tax rates and restrained spending.
Poverty — Quit talking about it
Over the years, politicans of all stripes and flavors have promised to end poverty, and this year is no exception. If memory serves me correctly, it was my understanding poverty was to have been totally eliminated upon implementation of the Great Society legislation that was proposed and passed under the Democrat leadership of President Lyndon Johnson.
This legislation was passed 40-plus years ago, and yet we still have poverty. Why? Either we citizens were misled then by this false promise, or the legislation was faulty at best and could never be fully achieved.
The citizens of this great country have bought into this desperate cry for help to end poverty, and yet politicians of both parties have never came close to ending poverty over these past 40 years
I am a senior citizen, and believe me, I am getting sick and tired of politicians who do nothing more than talk, talk, talk by constantly continually blowing hot air year after year in their total misleading rhetoric of promising to eliminate poverty.
I would offer the following to all politicians that believe in the Bible, and leave you with this one thought: Proverbs, Chapter 14, verse 23: “All hard work brings profit — but mere talk leads to poverty.”
I dare say we have had plenty of talk over these last 40 years from politicians and obviously nothing has happened. In fact, politicians keep informing us that poverty is constantly increasing year after year. So therefore, I would admonish all politicians to quit talking, get out of the way and let small, privately owned business ventures, and corporations provide the work to end poverty.
Tipping — End the wage exemption
I read with interest a Feb. 6 vent which obviously was submitted by a server at a restaurant. It said that a tip is expected and you should expect to pay it as part of the cost of the meal.
The truth is a gratuity is supposed to be a thank-you for services rendered and the amount should be based on the guest’s satisfaction with the service and ability to pay. In Europe and other parts of the world, the gratuity is automatically added to the ticket. Here in the U.S., that practice is normal only for parties of six to eight or more.
The fact is that a gratuity is expected and counted on by the server because it is considered as part of their wages for the day. This is because their minimum wage is less than that of other wage earners, and the server is required to report part of their tips as wages earned, and some are required to share their tips with the cooks and busboys (who are already, in most cases, receiving the full minimum wage because their job does not involve direct guest contact).
I feel it is high time that restaurant servers and other service-oriented laborers start receiving the actual minimum wage or greater and the tip or gratuity received is just what it is meant to be, a thank-you from the guest, to be kept by the server.
I urge all service-oriented, tipped employees to write your legislators on both the state and federal levels to remove the tip offset and allow you to be paid the full minimum wage. At the same time I urge you to not expect a tip but to accept it for what it is, a thank you for services rendered.
Queen creek council — Letter doesn’t warrant AG probe
The past few months have been very troublesome for our town. In the past few years we have gone from a town that was recognized by Sunset Magazine as one of the west’s best places to live to one that should be the headline act for Barnum and Bailey Circus. I am specifically referring to the Valenzuela letters, threats leading to police reports, dredging up insinuations of wrongdoing on Coletto-Cohen and now another anonymous letter on a candidate for council. To say I am disillusioned, disappointed and disgusted is putting it mildly. When the citizens of our town elected our council, we expected to have a Town Council that served at the highest level of integrity.
It is my understanding that the council may consider sending the letter supplied by Silvia Centoz to the Attorney General’s office. This letter accuses Councilwoman Lisa Coletto-Cohen of conflict of interests. As a town resident, I highly urge the council to not consider this motion. Coletto-Cohen has always acted with the best interest of Queen Creek in mind. She never takes her job lightly. I would challenge the council to name any council person or mayor better prepared for the meetings. The two cases are different and only one, that of Councilwoman Toni Valenzuela, warrants elevation to the Attorney General’s office. From what I understand, those who looked into matter said what Coletto-Cohen did was legal.
I highly respect the service that Valenzuela has given to Queen Creek. I supported her in the past and I hope the investigation vindicates her.