Letters to the editor: Feb. 22 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Feb. 22

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Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009 6:07 pm | Updated: 2:06 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

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.

Submit your letter to the editor

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.

Submit your letter to the editor

GILBERT ELECTION

Scroggins is fighting for Arizona’s families

As I have campaigned across Gilbert I have met many new people with differing opinions and ideas about our town.

Recently, I again came face to face with another of our residents that illustrates perfectly why I’m running for Gilbert Town Council. Wade Kelsall is the owner and operator of Mother Nature’s Farm.

On Jan. 9, John Sentz and the Gilbert Planning Commission voted to deny Kelsall his user permit for “agritainment.”

This is a place I’ve taken my kids for years to learn about the importance of agriculture and to see what a working farm looks like. It’s a place for wholesome family entertainment where you can take hay rides, pick fruits and vegetables and pet farm animals. Apparently, Sentz and the Planning Commission doesn’t like how the Kelsall family uses another piece of property that they have a legal right to use and is a source of family income.

Because Sentz and the Planning Commission can’t do anything about this property, they have decided to strong-arm Kelsall by denying him his user permit for “agritainment” until he bends to their will. This is an unbelievable abuse of power and an outright violation of property rights. When I campaign about being a voice for Gilbert families this is exactly what I’m talking about.

On Tuesday, the council will hear Kelsall’s appeal and I urge my fellow residents to join me at 7 p.m. in the Gilbert Town Hall to stand with Wade and his family and show our elected officials we will not allow one of our neighbors to be bullied.

ERIN SCROGGINS

GILBERT

Elect leaders such as Sentz

John Sentz served as the founding chairman of the Gilbert Veterans Day Committee. His leadership was evident from the very start. He led the committee to insure the event honored our veterans. He was extremely well planned and flawlessly implemented the planning schedule. He skillfully managed a plan and encouraged inputs from all committee members. His leadership was evident in the quality of the two events he chaired. He will take these same skills to the Town Council. Please join me in voting for John Sentz for Gilbert Town Council on March 10.

GEORGE BARGMAN

GILBERT

Council needs Krueger back

It’s great to see the growing interest and the number of candidates involved for Gilbert elections coming up on March 10. These are difficult times for many budgets, both personal and municipal. The current situation will be a challenging one for our community in the foreseeable future and times like these require experienced leadership, which I believe Joan Krueger possesses near the conclusion of her first term.

I like the fact that from day one of a possible new term that Krueger is up to speed to work with the current council to address the financial challenges our town is facing. She is the only incumbent in a lengthy list of Town Council candidates and experience is needed for town leadership and should play a key factor in this election. Krueger understands the current importance of focused economic development efforts and ensuring that Gilbert maintains its reputation for safe homes and neighborhoods making Gilbert a positive place we call home.

I look forward to voting for Joan Krueger for re-election to the Gilbert Town Council as proven experience should be valued and rewarded this election.

ANTHONY BIANCHI

GILBERT PLANNING COMMISSION

Diversify economy to stay strong

“May you live in interesting times,” a Chinese adage that is both a blessing and a curse. We do live in interesting times, unheard of federal, state and city spending deficits, deteriorating banking and financial systems, rampant home and business foreclosures, historic unemployment, and uneasiness about the future. These events have affected communities everywhere, and Gilbert is no exception. Gilbert residents are seeking answers as to how their town leaders, especially their mayor, will address these circumstances affecting us today and tomorrow.

Gilbert residents have the opportunity to decide who should be mayor for the next four years. Past practices of relying on real estate and retail development to solve Gilbert’s economic problems will not do. Gilbert needs to diversify itself economically and attract health care, information technology, knowledge industries and the skilled professionals that accompany them. Then, when our cyclical economy takes a downturn, its effects will be lessened.

One mayoral candidate, John Lewis, has the education and business experience needed to work with the above high-growth industries. John has applied his master’s degree in business administration in creating and developing technology infrastructures that have allowed the University of Phoenix to grow quickly over the past 10 years. Lewis also been involved in the Gilbert community through various charitable organizations. Lewis knows Gilbert, and he understands how important economic diversity is to it.

I invite Gilbert residents to look at John Lewis’ credentials at www.Johnlewisformayor.com, and ask those who have worked with him about his ability to lead Gilbert forward towards a better future. I believe those who do will be very pleased. John Lewis as mayor will make a difference.

ROBERTO PULVER

GILBERT

SCHOOL CHOICE

Improves public schools

Thank you so much for your excellent editorial pointing out the power of free-market competition to improve all public schools (“School choice a vital issue in education,” Our View, Feb. 11).

Arizona’s East Valley communities are rich in excellent public schools because they have seen firsthand that they have to innovate and listen to parents’ wishes if they want to be able to retain students — if not, they know they will lose them to private and charter schools. While public school districts and teachers unions nationwide fight tooth and nail to stop school choice in all its forms, advocates know that it is good public policy that saves taxpayers money and improves educational outcomes for all. The East Valley should be proud to be a shining example of this phenomenon at work.

KARLA DIAL

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.

MESA ELECTION

Too many questions about Gaylord

Did anyone notice that only positive comments were written in the election publicity pamphlet we all received? This is a comment against the development.

First, Gaylord Entertainment is offering to sign the property over to the city then lease it back. Doesn’t this mean that there will be no property taxes collected on the property? Gaylord will pay the city $5,000 a year for 50 years, a total of $250,000. Isn’t that about what their annual taxes will be on 3,200 acres for one year? Who will be responsible for making up the increase needed to cover the emergency services, etc., required to support this facility? Won’t the local property owners be expected to make up the difference? Will our property taxes double or should we anticipate a bigger increase?

Second, the city will be “kicking back” to the hotel the bed taxes for 30 years, which will then be used to “advertise” for the city. The hotel will no doubt include advertising for their convention center in this advertising for the city attractions. This is something they would be doing anyway. Why should we subsidize their advertising budget? Aren’t we already subsidizing their tax liability?

Third, the liability on the hotel itself. Who will be paying this annual premium? What happens if their liability insurance coverage isn’t high enough to cover costs of an accident or incident? Doesn’t any resulting financial liability come back to the city as property owners?

Fourth, wasn’t the Mesa Proving Grounds classified as a Superfund site? Has this site been cleaned up or will the current owner be responsible for seeing to the remediation? Is this another reason the hotel company wants to transfer ownership of the property to the city?

This proposal is great for the Gaylord Hotel, but does not look like an advantage to the city. Is it too late to go back to the table and renegotiate the terms of the agreement? We voted for voter approval of these big ticket items, but we still need more information on this issue. I am voting “no” and I hope the rest of the voters do likewise.

OLETA ELLIOTT

MESA

World-class resort to put Mesa on map

The full page “Quality Jobs for Mesa” ad in the Tribune by “Yes on 300” displayed plans by Gaylord Entertainment of Nashville to build a large estate — a 1,200-room hotel and convention center — and will without a doubt generate significant revenue and jobs for Mesa.

On March 10, voters in Mesa will make the decision on the Mesa Proving Grounds resort because it involves the use of tax breaks to help finance the project. The Gaylord resort and a second resort would control up to $51 million in bed taxes charged to tourists as long as the revenue is used to promote Mesa tourism.

In the special election publicity pamphlet mailed to Mesa voters, 40 of the 41 arguments for Proposition 300 listings were paid for by the Yes on 300 Committee, and primarily, funding was provided by Drew M. Brown Association (DMB) and Gaylord Entertainment. DMB Association acquired the 3,200-acre site in east Mesa and is an Arizona-based diversified real estate company with real estate holdings through affiliated companies.

Gaylord Entertainment plays a central role in Gaylord hotel and convention industry, with a collection of four upscale, meetings-focused resorts near Nashville, Orlando, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

In the special election publicity pamphlet, there were no published arguments against Prop. 300.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has stated on TV commercials that Mesa is not spending public money up-front to build the project. A Mesa world-class hotel and convention center will definitely help the city define its community and pull in visitors from around the nation and world.

JACK SALLEY

MESA

Tax breaks equals budget shortfall

Well, I just read the editorial on Proposition 300 (“Prop. 300 reflects commitment to Mesa’s future,” Our View, Feb. 7). It seems to me businesses who have expenses to run their operations and marketing was considered one of those items.

Why would the taxes be used for this and take away from the people of Arizona for such a normal cost? It seems the rich get better and the average people take it in the shorts.

I can see the construction of his huge place would bring in big dollars to that area of Mesa. However, after the big bang, the 4,000 permanent jobs would be on the low end of the pay scale. These low-end pay people will not pay for new houses and other such major purchases. It seems to be the trend in Mesa — big box stores, giveaway taxes — and they wonder why the budget falls short.

KENNETH A. SMITH

MESA

APACHE JUNCTION ELECTIONS

Forward thinking with small-town attitude

My wife and I moved to Apache Junction in 2008 after wintering in Mesa the previous three years. Since coming to Apache Junction, it has been interesting to observe the very attractive and modern City Hall Complex, multi-generation center and public library. The city buildings don’t match the oppressive posture the City Council demonstrates toward new business.

There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive, forward-thinking City Council. Now that we are here full-time, we have heard more stories of how businesses are not encouraged to locate to Apache Junction. This appears to be a consistent pattern. I believe we need new leadership on the City Council. I encourage all of you to go to the web site: www.abetteraj.com.

These candidates are Shannon Flynn, Jim Stephens, Ted J. Mueller and David D. Dowdle who are forward thinking with a vision for the future of Apache Junction. They want to keep the good and encourage the new that we so desperately need. We are all looking forward to a more progressive city while maintaining the small town feel.

BOB OSTRICH

APACHE JUNCTION

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