Deseg order doesn't cause poverty

Re: the Jan. 27 column "Deseg order is holding TUSD back."

Tim Steller sure knows how to throw a cheap shot, noting Tucson Unified School District has lost "16 percent of its enrollment" and that the desegregation order has been "powerless to stop the decline."

He also states that the percentage of TUSD students living in poverty has increased from 60 to 71 percent, and that the district is "browner" because its Latino enrollment has reached 62 percent.

If enrollment loss, browning and increases in poverty are the result of desegregation orders, then perhaps someone has secretly placed a desegregation order on Flowing Wells Unified School District. In a similar period, it's lost 14 percent of its enrollment, its Latino enrollment has grown to 55 percent, and its poverty numbers have grown from 54 to 72 percent.

As for closures, the truth is that big districts have larger numbers of schools, so their contraction will always involve more closures, and no Arizona district has more schools than TUSD. What's more, schools are closing all over the state.

Might Arizona's economic downturn, anti-immigrant stance and staggering cuts in education funding be more to blame?

Salvador Gabaldón

TUSD Curriculum Specialist, Oro Valley

How modern auto assembly lines work

Re: the Jan. 25 article "A world where jobs go extinct wholesale."

As a retired automotive engineer, I would like to clarify an item in this article. While GM and other automakers have significantly reduced their workforces in the last 30 years, only a portion of the jobs were lost to automation.

About 15 years ago, both GM and Ford spun off their parts manufacturing operations into independent companies. Also, much of the assembly work previously done in-house is now done by outside suppliers, including those companies.

For example, the instrument panels are now routinely built up with radios, navigation, A/C components, instrument cluster, switches, wiring and even the steering wheel in supplier plants within a few miles of the auto assembly plant. They are custom built, coded to each vehicle about to start on the assembly line, and delivered in sequence for installation into the correct vehicle, often within minutes of arriving in the assembly plant.

So, many of the auto jobs still exist, just not at the auto companies themselves.

Francis W. Kearney

Retired automotive design engineer, Tucson

What Kozachik, Reagan have in common

As a point of history for the letter writers who criticize Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik for switching from the Republican Party to becoming a Democrat, I would like to point out that Ronald Reagan began his political career as a Democrat and a union leader. Change happens.

Esther Blumenfeld

Writer, Tucson

Questions unanswered about women in combat

Re: the Jan. 24 article "Pentagon to end its ban on women in combat roles," and the Jan. 25 article "Women in combat: Good to go - if they meet the standards."

What kind of society sends its mothers, sisters, and daughters out to die in filthy fighting positions in defense of the country?

What strained logic connects the military with mistreatment of women, then endeavors to place male and female soldiers and Marines in close proximity for weeks at a time? What sense of equality requires men to register for the draft, yet makes combat service for women completely voluntary?

Has anyone in authority asked the front-line sergeant whether this politically correct brainstorm is worth the agony of implementation?

But we don't discuss these things anymore, do we? It's enough just to trust the pandering judgment of a president who appears to have all the answers to every dilemma.

Glenn Perry

Colonel, US Air Force, retired


Right-wingers hurting Arizona's economy

The United States Senate, with a bipartisan group of eight, four Democrats and four Republicans, is currently attempting to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy. This new policy will include a path for illegals to become U.S. citizens. According to government calculations, there are between 11 million to 12 million illegals living in the United States.

This is an effort to bring these immigrants out of the shadows and make them productive members of our society.

In the meantime some of the Republicans in Arizona, including Gov. Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne and Rep. Steve Smith, are attempting to pass legislation that will further bury these individuals into the shadows and keep them from being productive members of our society.

This right-wing group of Republicans has been passing laws for several years that have hurt Arizona's economy and its reputation. It is time for Arizona to get in step with the majority.

Harlan Capin

Retired, Tucson