Letters to the editor

2014-06-24T00:00:00Z Letters to the editor Arizona Daily Star
June 24, 2014 12:00 am

Arizona Public Media budget cut is disturbing

The University of Arizona “budget reality” cut to  Arizona Public Media funding is disturbing. KUAZ, KUAT, and NPR are rich intellectual sources for our community. The stated reason for cutting their funding — to free up dollars for research and other UA needs — seems disingenuous.

The reality is that, since President Ann Weaver Hart took office, precious taxpayer resources have been diverted to pay astronomical salaries to newly hired administrators, whose collective publicly reported compensation is in the millions, while longstanding dedicated employees have seen little, if any, increase in their salaries over the years.

If these hires truly reflect a “budget reality” that should supplant the intellectual contributions made by AZPM, then that’s a troubling reality. Replacing intellectual content with bureaucracy is a travesty.

Ed French

Professor, Tucson

Huppenthal a disgrace to his office, state

Re: the June 19 article “Huppenthal admits anonymous posts.”

In an astonishing article that belonged above the front-page fold instead of on Page 5, the Star reported that, for at least three years, Arizona Superintendent of Public Education John Huppenthal has anonymously used two blog posts to — among other things — call disadvantaged Arizonans “lazy pigs,” compare Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to “the Nazis” and blast increased funding of Child Protective Services as a waste of money.

Huppenthal’s post-exposure apology — “I sincerely regret if my comments have offended anyone” — is worse than meaningless. The person elected to a high state office responsible for equitable treatment of all of Arizona’s students in all of its public schools has electronically revealed himself — in anonymous, cowardly fashion — to be a right-wing bigot.

Arizona is one of only 14 states that elects its Superintendent of Public Education. Huppenthal should be recalled at once. Better yet, if he can muster the necessary character, he should do the honorable thing: resign immediately and stop disgracing his office.

Thomas Sanders

Professional fundraiser, Tucson

Wake up: NPR is thought provoking

Re: the June 21 letter “Cat need a sleeping pill? Just tune in NPR.”

For some time I have been too busy to respond to any letter to the editor. But when I read Andrew Gullo’s letter about NPR helping his cat (and him) sleep, I felt it required a loud and clear response.

As a veterinarian I can understand how NPR may help his cat sleep, but as a reasonably intelligent, contemplative and interested individual, I have no idea how anyone could find NPR as anything less than thought provoking and intellectually stimulating.

When I am traveling by car and the NPR reception begins to fade, I know I will find nothing else worth listening to.

Kenneth Cohn

Veterinarian, Tucson

Create interagency hotshot crews

Nearing the first anniversary of the Yarnell Fire, firefighters across the country still mourn the tragedy. Another crew loss, though not deadly, is losing the Ironwood Hotshot Crew of Northwest Fire at the end of this year. It will be unfortunate to see a nationally recognized crew disband after 20 years of wildfire suppression and disaster assistance.

The Tucson Basin needs a hotshot crew. The Coronado National Forest brings in out-of-area hotshot crews to be on standby. Couldn’t this local resource be saved by federal and state partnering to finance the Ironwood Crew? This model works in Utah where the Alta Hotshot Crew (since 2001) is financed by both the U.S. Forest Service and Utah Division of Forestry. Support of the crew would be shared by three agencies; thus, reducing the strain on Northwest Fire District, and saving dollars the Forest Service spends staging out of area crews here.

I hope that all three agencies will consider sharing the expense of keeping Ironwood Interagency Hotshot Crew.

Mark South

Retired US Forest Service, Rio Rico

AZ politicians must stop negative antics

Questions for Arizona voters:

How many times will the voters allow elected officials to cast a negative perception of Arizona to our nation and possibly the world?

Are taunting, pettiness, meanness and bigotry what we want our children to look up to? How can we ask the administrators, teachers, parents and students to set and achieve high standards when the highest ranking public official in charge of the state education system demonstrates a lack of integrity and inclusiveness?

What company would want to establish a business and employ people in a state that has such a questionable educational leader? What are the voters going to do next November?

Mike Fisher

Volunteer, Tucson

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