Dropouts having babies the key to poverty cycle

Re: the Aug. 4 article "Tucson kids pay poverty's high price."

Spending the entire annual Pima County budget on trying to eradicate poverty will not solve the problem. As long as the cycle of dropping out of school and having babies without a committed relationship between the two parents continues, there will always be kids living in poverty.

Blaming needed budget cuts for the rise in the number of Tucsonans who are dependent on government assistance makes no sense. Until folks everywhere break the aforementioned cycle and understand that making responsible choices trumps everything else, nothing will change.

Lindsey Smith

Retired, Tucson

Young people need help with reproductive care

Re: the Aug. 5 article "Young moms, kids barely making it."

For a more stable community and stronger economic future, each of us must help young people to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Free or low-cost birth control and reproductive health care, based on a person's income, is available at Planned Parenthood.

An easy way to help teens is to simply point that out. Planned Parenthood participates in a federal funding program called Title X to supplement birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, and other reproductive health services. This program does not pay for abortion care.

There are two Planned Parenthood clinics in Tucson, and the one at 529 W. Wetmore Road provides Title X health care. Teens don't need parental consent to receive birth control and birth control consultation (including condoms), STD testing or pregnancy testing.

Kathleen Vandervoet

Freelance journalist, Tubac

Star should eliminate animals-for-sale ads

Re: the July 18 article " 'Look in your heart,' adopt a pet who's in urgent need."

Thank you for your article on the adoption crisis at the Pima Animal Care Center. This is a tragedy brought about by careless, selfish people.

I would urge your newspaper to take this concern one step further and eliminate your animals-for-sale classified ads. When there are millions of dogs and cats killed every year in U.S. shelters and the "purebred" rescues are overflowing, it's time for us to rethink our notion of any kind of a "responsible" breeder.

I applaud your efforts in informing the public about this situation that can be successfully addressed by all of us.

Deborah A. Smoot


True Republicans went extinct years ago

Folks, there are only three political parties: Conservatives, Democrats and RINOs. Republicans have been extinct since Reagan left office. McCain is not and has never been a conservative - just ask Palin.

Frank Lollar

Retired, Marana

Enforce employer laws to deter illegal migrants

Resolving illegal immigration is not about a fence hundreds of miles long, expensive high-tech surveillance equipment or thousands of boots on the ground. Dry up the opportunities for employment and the vast majority of illegal immigrants would have no reason to stay, nor make the risky trek across the border.

The silence of our business sector on this issue is deafening. Many businesses, especially agriculture, depend on poorly paid illegal immigrants to increase their profit margin. Just redirect the money spent maintaining the fence between Mexico and the U.S. to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce existing laws prohibiting employment of illegal immigrants.

The current penalties for employing an illegal immigrant are pathetic: $250 to $2,000 for first offense, $2,000 to $5,000 for second offense, $3,000 to $10,000 and up to six months' jail time for three-time offenders. Do not allow the common wrist-slapping of white-collar crime.

Glenn Johnson

Retired, Tucson

Wine-industry story omitted UA pioneer

Re: the July 21 article "AZ wine industry boosting ties to UA."

There is one glaring omission in the article. The "granddaddy" of the wine industry in Arizona is unquestionably Dr. Gordon Dutt, professor emeritus in the University of Arizona's Soils, Water and Engineering Department.

Back in the '70s, Dutt was in the "idea stage" of raising grapes and producing wine in Arizona. This preposterous idea generated little enthusiasm among fellow faculty members and elsewhere.

However, through vision, external fundraising, ingenuity in water harvesting, a vigorous research program and much "down and dirty" effort, he raised grapes and made - and is still making - wine in the vicinity of Elgin. The rest of the story is ably portrayed in the Daily Star.

Frank Wiersma

Retired professor, Tucson

Gun led Zimmerman to deadly decision

As I understand it, "stand your ground" means just that. One does not have to run away. One can just stand right there and defend oneself. Isn't that what Trayvon Martin did when he confronted the strange man stalking him? Isn't that what George Zimmerman did when confronted by the man he was stalking? Zimmerman had a gun, though, and that gun made all the difference. The gun made him feel powerful enough to initiate that deadly chain of events. Zimmerman's life is ruined. Martin's life is over. Without that gun that night, none of this would have happened, and these two young men would be going about their lives instead of being headlines.

All hail the armed citizen patrolling the darkened sidewalks of Florida.

David P. Kelly

Retired, Tucson