Brewer must fight for small businesses

Re: the April 5 article "Brewer urged to negotiate with Amazon."

After hearing the stories of the small businesses who are struggling because of the unfair advantage Amazon gets in our state, I am shocked that our governor has not fought for small businesses.

I still remember her State of Arizona address back in January, where she made aiding Arizona's small businesses her first cornerstone. Were those just words, Governor? Did they have any meaning other than a quick sound bite that would appease the masses?

Well, some of us actually believed you when you said that, and for you to stand by while Amazon crushes small businesses because they do not have to collect sales tax is not only disappointing, but downright irresponsible.

Julie Starr

Tucson

Elected officers reflect voters' views

Re: the April 4 editorial "Hicks' sorry lack of knowledge was plain to see - and on national TV."

I take exception to the editorial, which in part stated "Hicks embarrassed himself, Tucson and pretty much all of Arizona. "

Michael Hicks, a duly elected representative of the people of Tucson, like other elected representatives of Tucson and Arizona such as Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, and Terri Proud, reflects the beliefs and views of the voters who elected him.

The people of Tucson and Arizona as a whole should take pride when the spotlight is cast upon these individuals and their often uneducated, bigoted, chauvinistic, racist and regressive policies, because those views reflect the views of the voters, and by extension Tucson and Arizona.

John Mitchell

Contract specialist, Oro Valley

Letter writer insults neighborhood groups

Re: the April 4 guest opinion "Neighborhood association ought to back Main Gate project."

According to Bob Lanning, "the creation of areas of higher density in parts of Tucson, if done well, will help to foster more life and vitality in the urban core."

Unfortunately, the Urban Overlay Zone being forced on the West University neighborhood hasn't been done well.

Why is a 14-story building necessary? The highest buildings now are eight stories, including nearby dorms and the Marriott hotel.

Keep the new building in perspective.

Although Lanning states that it "makes no sense" that the West University neighborhood extends to Park Avenue, it's a fact.

Allowing the destruction of historic properties could impact the neighborhood's ability to continue to qualify as a National Register Historic District.

Lanning concluded that "most neighborhood associations espouse NIMBY thinking," are responsible for "countless vacant, weed-filled lots and deteriorating properties," and "are a net 'negative' for our community." This insults all neighborhood associations across the city, including mine!

Sandra Miller

Retired, Tucson

Why the GOP switch on health-care plan?

I received a robo-call from the Arizona Republican Party. They said that President Obama's health-reform plan will rob Medicare of $500 million, will cost Americans $1.7 trillion, will result in millions of Americans losing their health coverage including 340,000 Arizonans. There is no evidence to support these claims.

The Affordable Care Act will expand the number of Americans eligible for Medicaid, provide subsidies to help the uninsured purchase private health insurance, prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to persons with pre-existing conditions and permit children to remain on their parents' health insurance policies up to age 26.

The plan will require most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. Without this mandate, the act would cover fewer Americans.

In past years, Gov. Romney and other prominent Republicans were supportive of this type of health plan. I wonder what changed their minds.

Stuart Sellinger

Retired school administrator, Tucson

Old observation, new interpretation

Regarding the Trayvon Martin case and Florida's "Stand your ground" law.

Most of us have heard the old observation that, to the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Looks like we need a new one: To the person with a gun, everything looks like a target.

Dave Seifert

Tucson

School boards need expert members

TUSD Board member Michael Hicks is every superintendent's worst nightmare.

Can you imagine any publicly held corporation in America being able to function with someone like Hicks on the board of directors with the power to literally run the show?

School districts are often the largest business in every city and town.

They run a food service, transportation service, maintenance and building service, secretarial service and education, all of which have to be carefully financed, managed and have separate bargaining groups.

To be effective, school board members need to be at least knowledgeable in all of these areas, and specific expertise in any one of these areas is extremely helpful to have a well-managed school system.

Janet Pipes

Realtor, Tucson

Closing Congress St. shows poor planning

The last-minute change to close Congress Street and negative impact on small businesses downtown is just an indication of what's coming for this whole project. Is Rio Nuevo being replaced by "Rail New-Erratic"? What kind of planning is this? Good grief.

Owen Rentfro

Architect, Tucson

Small price would be OK to attend air show

I was looking forward to the Davis-Monthan air show until it was announced that there would be no bus service to the base. I understand that free is nice, but in these days of fiscal austerity, let's compromise. What if one had to pay, say, a dollar or two fare to get a round trip ride from one of several locations to the base area?

Susan vonKersburg

Retired, Tucson

Photo radar does change behavior

Why are people trying to kill me? I was out running a few errands. I drove about 20 urban miles. I saw no fewer than four drivers blowing through stop signs without even slowing. I saw a dozen drivers slowing and then rolling through the stop signs. I saw at least four people make left turns after the green arrow ended. I saw speeders, erratic lane changers and no fewer than four drivers texting.

I felt threatened by these drivers. I kept saying to myself, "Where is a cop when you need one?"

But here is what else I saw. I saw every driver slow to the speed limit or below when approaching a marked photo-radar zone. I saw 100 percent compliance at an intersection with photo enforcement.

I don't like the photo enforcement any more than anyone else, and it isn't perfect by any means.

I want to be safe on the streets, but I want the police going after the real bad guys and solving crimes, not hanging out at every intersection. So on balance I do see the value of mechanical enforcement.

It does work. It changes behavior. And I feel safer because of it.

Sam Behrend

Telecom consultant, Tucson