Star should add moderate columnists

Coming from a much more conservative community than Tucson, I have always found the Star editorial page refreshing.

I do not object to adding a few more conservative voices to the mix. However, I agree with other letter writers that George Will, Jonah Goldberg and Charles Krauthammer are not the best choices, as all three of them have fallen off the right-hand side of the political wagon.

I admit, I don’t like most right-wing columnists. On the other hand, I occasionally agree with Kathleen Parker, and found her column on the death penalty to be excellent. On the same day, there was a column by Ruth Marcus on Monica Lewinsky’s recent interviews that was also open minded, and moderate.

Please give us more moderate columns. It would be nice to find conservative columns that don’t drive me up the wall, and liberal columns that give me more food for thought.

Ellen Taylor

Retired RN, Sierra Vista

Chief would benefit from sell-back program

Re: the May 4 guest columns “Police chief, councilman clash over benefits and more.”

I have only respect and gratitude for the Tucson police officers and firefighters whose daily efforts help to keep us safe.

However, in the recent dust-up between TPD Chief Roberto Villaseñor and City Councilman Steve Kozachik over the sick leave sell-back program benefiting those two agencies, some of Chief Villaseñor’s comments and actions have been, at best, disingenuous.

After TPD’s union blasted Kozachik for questioning the sell-back program’s appropriateness in times of budgetary austerity for the city, Villaseñor himself hammered Kozachik on the TPD Facebook page.

The chief then tried to distance himself from the fray by claiming in print that the union is charged with negotiating the sell-back programs, and that it didn’t speak for TPD.

Villaseñor is a union member, the highest ranking, highest paid TPD officer, and the one who benefits most from the sell-back program. The chief is asking us to view him as a neutral bystander with no interest or influence in this matter. Really?

Thomas Sanders


Homeland Security

has culture of impunity

Re: the May 7 article “No action taken on most BP charges.”

Having worked with community-based organizations to document the impacts of Border Patrol abuses both in Tucson and El Paso, Texas, I’ve been shocked to witness the culture of impunity that thrives within the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security.

The human cost of rapidly expanding militarization mechanisms has victimized not only those individuals in the cases cited by Star reporter Perla Trevizo, but thousands of other border crossers who have no means by which to access an already broken and corrupt complaint system.

It is infuriating to read Customs and Border Protection invoke the language of human rights in their statement, when the reality on the ground is that immigrants face a web of enforcement that demeans, criminalizes and dehumanizes them.

We must demand transparency from CBP, because our national borders are a mirror into the society in which we live, and this lack of accountability exposes a grim reality about the current state of our civil liberties.

Beth Lowry


Vouchers a cheap shot at the middle class

Re: the May 4 article “New voucher plan pricier for AZ taxpayers; lawsuit likely in works.”

Not only is State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal an enemy to public schools, he’s an enemy to the middle class.

That also includes all the state legislators who support giving our tax dollars to private and parochial schools, particularly in the form of vouchers.

If parents pay, say, $10,000 per year for private school and they receive a voucher for $3,000, their cost is now just $7,000. This only serves to keep the rich richer and impoverishes public schools.

Just another cheap shot at the working man.

William “Kelly” Rowden

Retired middle school teacher, Willcox

Reader seeks middle ground

The Star’s decision to include more commentary from the political right is an admirable attempt to be more “fair and balanced.”

But where does that leave the growing number of us in the middle who choose not to receive a constant barrage of biased political chatter? Good luck finding that middle ground anywhere in the media today.

Tony Banks

Retired, Oro Valley

Encourage bike riders by discouraging thieves

Re: the May 5 column “City builds protected bike lanes to get more cyclists riding.”

I rode a bicycle every day between 2000 and 2013. In that time, I had four bicycles stolen.

When the last one was taken a year ago, I did not get new one. I am tired of buying a good bicycle and accessories only to provide a nice ride for a thief. Now, I walk and ride the bus.

If the city wants me to get back on a bicycle, they will have to make a stronger effort to discourage bicycle thieves. I suggest capital punishment.

Barry Andersen

Retired, Tucson