Surely TUSD can spend PR funds elsewhere

Re: the June 25 article "$300K PR push proposed for TUSD."

I can't believe TUSD wants to spend $300,000 to polish its image. The image I have of TUSD is that it wastes a lot of money already. Now they want to spend more to prove me right. Can't they think of a better use of that money? They are right up there with PCC on waste.

Don C. Real

Retired, Tucson

History doesn't excuse Deen's offensive words

Re: the June 25 letter to the editor "Put Deen's words in historical context."

I am 60 years old and a member of Paula Deen's generation. Growing up in Southern Arizona in the 1960s I was about as white as they come, with a Swedish father and a German mother. I never used the word Deen used. I was taught at an early age by my parents and teachers that the N-word was hurtful and offensive. I cannot remember my family or my friends ever using that language.

I did hear racially offensive language used by others, but they knew what they were saying and they meant their comments to be hurtful. So please don't excuse Deen's words by saying she is a product of her time. A racially offensive word is hurtful in any time period and always has been.

Therese A. Flores

Retired, Tucson

Better plays might help ATC with its debt woes

Re: the June 21 article "Troubled ATC sees a deficit of $1M."

I wish I had a fix for Arizona Theatre Company's budget problems, but I don't. The article highlights the challenge for all performing arts organizations - maintaining the current audience and traditional donors while creating programming to bring in new patrons.

I wish ATC management well as they grapple with this thorny problem. Tucson needs a robust theater scene.

Maybe a place to begin is the quality of the productions. I have held tickets for the last two seasons, and many of the shows have been mediocre at best. In fact, I can only think of two truly outstanding productions over the last two years.

I will be attending selected shows this season, but until changes are made I will not renew my season tickets.

Tom Skinner

Retired, Tucson

Death penalty is costly and no deterrent

The death penalty does not work: It does not deter crime; innocent people die; the quality of legal support is poor; and it's a form of revenge, not punishment.

Additionally, the cost of trials, appeals, etc., is much higher than a trial for life without parole. Based upon several studies, the average cost for a death-row inmate is about $200,000 a year more than an inmate sentenced to life.

In Arizona, with 125 inmates on death row, the state spends an additional $25 million annually on murdering people. Someone recently said that in Arizona the only people punished with the death-penalty system are the taxpayers.

Ron Stone

Retired, Green Valley

Flakes seem to have 'foot in mouth' issue

Re: the June 17 article "Some gaffes heard 'round the world, due to Internet."

Sen. Flake on Cuba last January: "We should force them to deal with spring break once or twice." His son now tweets racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments on the Internet.

There seems to be a problem with "foot in mouth disease" in this family. And the apple doesn't appear to fall far from the tree. When you live in the public eye, you receive a lot of benefits. But a downside is that you can become an ant under a magnifying glass. Burned.

Michael S. Smith


Private sector collects loads of personal info

I hope that with the media feeding frenzy about government surveillance of our communications systems there is enough outrage left over to be no less concerned about private sector intrusion into our privacy.

The private sector is heavily involved in data mining that collects far more detailed information about us than the government programs that have been revealed so far.

Every time we use our computer and a search engine, every time we swipe a credit or debit card, use a cellphone and various other technology devices, we are yielding a lot of personal, economic and behavioral data that goes far beyond what the government is reported to be collecting.

And, while the government surveillance is supposedly related to our national security and potential acts of terrorism, the data collected by the private sector is for making money either directly and/or through the sale of this information to other companies.

Paul R. Dommel

Retired professor, Tucson

Tea-party groups were gaming IRS tax rules

Why are we still talking about why the Internal Revenue Service's attempt to handle their voluminous 501(c)4 application load seemed to be targeting a special group?

Why isn't the fact that many applicants were gaming the system for purely deceptive political purposes by applying for tax-free status our real concern? The IRS needs to clear up the confusion about 501(c)4's regarding political work.

The tea party? That's a purely political party or stance and nothing else. It seems to me that if such organizations do mainly political work, they should have no right to tax-free status. Period.

Cynthia Chaffee

Musician, Oro Valley

Sticker ads, fold-overs; it's all too complicated

First it was stickers at the top of the front page. Now fold-over edges. Both for advertising. In addition to the letters to the editor page, I would like to see a "life is getting too complicated for me to cope" page.

Ted Gemoets

Retired, Tucson