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 comments may be edited for clarity and length.
CAP AND TRADE: It’s not a tax
Critics of the Obama administration’s cap and trade proposal attack it as if it were a tax, but clearly it is not. Rather cap and trade is a means to achieve certain ends. Those ends include reducing dependency on crude oil, both foreign and domestic, and the related objective of reducing carbon emissions, including emissions from coal. Increasingly the world is becoming dependent on coal, which is relatively abundant and cheap but a heavy carbon emission source. Cap and trade is the most cost-efficient means to stimulate private competition to control greenhouse gas emissions. And this competition can place the U.S. back into the innovative high-tech world of alternative energy source development, a field abandoned by the Bush administration. It would be these ends, but not the means to achieve them, that ought to be examined and debated.
Where employing pejorative terminology is typical political fanfare, whether critics intentionally mischaracterize cap and trade as a tax or do so inadvertently is not at all important. Either they are intentionally dishonest or they are ignorant of the facts. Either way, an informed public needs to shy away from the rhetoric of the Party of No.
DALE WHITING, CHANDLER, CHANDLER TRANSIT
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CAP AND TRADE: Plan too expensive
Regarding the story “Chandler seals deal for light-rail bus line” (Tribune, Feb. 21), I cannot find anything “rapid” about a form of transit that stops 20 times in 12 miles. With this many stops it would take more than 30 minutes to travel from Tumbleweed Park to Sycamore Station.
Good-intentioned people will soon skip the bus and climb back into their cars to drive to the railhead. With fewer stops commuters will have a quicker trip to the train, which equals more riders paying fares every weekday. With fewer bus stops to build, the city won’t need as much money for land acquisition, design and construction.
I suggest cutting the number of stops to 10, with the first stop after leaving Tumbleweed Park being Pecos Road.
The next stop should be downtown Chandler. After this the bus should stop once per mile near the intersections of Chandler, Ray, Warner, Elliot, Guadalupe and Baseline. From here the next stop should be Main and then Sycamore Station. There is already a bus (112) running along Country Club Drive to connect to all the east-west bus routes to support local commuters so we don’t need the redundancy of a second bus to cover the area between Baseline and Main.
Also, does anyone besides me feel that $12.5 million is a tad high for carving out 20 new bus stops to allow the longer buses to pull out of the traffic flow?
RANDY AAFEDT, CHANDLER
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WASTEFUL SCHOOL SPENDING: Why send these letters?
The public schools are crying for money.
They are telling us that programs must be cut and teachers let go to balance the budget. However, it looks to me like there is a lot of wasteful spending that could be eliminated before resorting to that.
A case in point would be the $5.54 certified mail fee that a Gilbert High School assistant principal just spent to send me a letter inviting my daughter to apply to be valedictorian at this year’s graduation ceremony. Apparently all students in the top 5 percent of the graduating class receive this letter. I am not even required to respond to it. I fail to see why it was necessary to spend this money, multiplied by the number of students in the top 5 percent, and I’m certainly less than thrilled about having had to take a half-hour out of my lunch hour to stand in line at that other model of governmental efficiency, the U.S. post office.
This letter was not a good, necessary use of taxpayer money, and if the school’s financial condition is as dire as claimed, then serious rethinking of spending priorities is in order.
JONATHAN BAILEY, GILBERT
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GILBERT TOWN COUNCIL: We have right to speak
To the mayor and Town Council:
I am a little late responding to the absolutely unfounded comment and advice by your legal counsel, Susan Goodwin. I could rant and rave on this decision, but I will try to be conservative on the issue.
It doesn’t take a lawyer to see the meaning, and the intentions, behind the statute ARS 9-500.14! Goodwin used this statute to intimidate and quiet those who are against the tax increase.
Goodwin’s comment that she was “troubled” by this issue of residents advocating their position on the tax increase — (“It’s really hard to listen to people expressly advocate when they are not really talking to the council. They’re campaigning.”) — was troubling. This comment is out of touch and self-absorbed — she really doesn’t get it.
The council is exactly who we are appealing to — she just didn’t want to hear us — as apparently the council does not either. Find a new legal counsel. She wants nothing more than to shut out our rights of free speech.
The Town Council does not have an easy job trying to cover all bases and keep all constituents happy. We take up a lot of your time, but you asked for the job, and you are not in too big of a hurry to get out of it (i.e., moving up the elections to save the town money). With your job comes the responsibility of listening to each one of us that you represent, no matter how frustrating it can be.
SUSAN HICKS, GILBERT
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DOMESTIC PARTNERS: State removing health coverage
At a time when so many Americans are concerned about losing their employment and health insurance in the private sector, it is shameful the state of Arizona has terminated health care for 750 men, women, and children formerly covered by a working member of their household.
My family recently experienced this inequity in the private sector. While between jobs in this difficult economy, my mother discovered a breast lump. After four months spent searching for employment with health benefits, she finally obtained care from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer. Mom’s domestic partner has a management position, including full health coverage for spouses. If private insurance companies would recognize them for what they are — a loving, mutually supporting household — Mom would have received immediate treatment.
Now that our Legislature has not only failed to recognize but actively stripped 750 people, both homosexual and heterosexual, of their health insurance, we must ask — what will these families do? Will they experience the limbo and uncertainty that my mother experienced while between insurers? Will every individual be eligible for AHCCCS? Or will many have to leave their domestic roles, uninsured employment, and courses of study in order to desperately seek employment that will protect them, as the state has failed to protect them? I am angered and dismayed that our Legislature, not content to deny these families recognition in a thousand other ways, would betray this commitment just when we depend on it most.
KIRSTEN M. PICKERING, MESA
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TAXES: Sales tax increase would be regressive
There are proposals in the state Legislature to cut some taxes and raise sales taxes. This is unfair to the poor and middle class and a bonanza to the rich.
If sales taxes go up on necessities it will affect the poor disproportionately more because they would spend more as a percentage of their money on hand. For example, sales tax on $10,000 to someone making $30,000 is worth more than to someone making $100,000.
If income, property, or estate taxes go up, it will be an unequal rise in taxes. Since such resources are disproportionately more in the hands of the rich, they will be taxed more.
We should be in favor of progressive taxes versus regressive taxes. Feeling empathy for the rich and not the poor just doesn’t make sense, especially in these hard times.
TIM MAVRIDES, MESA