Drug charge doesn’t speak to amnesty

Re: the Oct. 20 column “Deportation threat leaves family in limbo.”

As I read Ernesto Portillo’s column I was torn apart by the beginning story until he had to fess up to the fact that the father was deported once before on a drug charge! This is not the kind of person we want in the U.S.

We don’t even want citizens convicted of drug offenses but we have to contend with them. “Illegals” must be like Caesar’s wife. It’s exactly this kind of story that destroys immigration reform through blanket amnesty.

R.J. McLoughlin

Retired teacher, Tucson

Plantings a delight at Holloway School

A few weeks ago I took my great grandson to Holloway Elementary School to participate in building an adobe bench. What I found interesting once we arrived was that every spot that could have something planted did. There were flowers, vegetables and at least one herb, basil.

It was apparent that the teachers and parents in this neighborhood care about their school. How refreshing to see something other than playgrounds (there were plenty) and sidewalks. Congratulations teachers, parents and students.

Lela Aldrich

Retired, Tucson

Don’t divert tax money for private schools

Re: the Oct. 24 editorial “Geico donation a boon for tax credit program.”

I’ve never been a fan of conspiracy theories; however, there seems to be one that is intent on destroying public education. The $500 million since the school tuition program began in 1998 was $500 million in taxes that the state did not receive. Just think what that money could have accomplished if it had been used for public education.

One reason we developed a middle class in this country was because of free, public education. Previously, there were only private schools for the elite. Instead of diverting tax money to private schools, improve public schools. That will benefit all of Arizona’s children.

Alberta Gunther

Retired, Tucson

Glitches are common in software rollouts

Re: the Oct. 8 article “Health law glitches frustrating for many.”

I don’t want to be thought a supporter of Obamacare, but the difficulties with the rollout of the online enrollment system are not a surprise to anyone who has tried to implement a major software program. Hours of programmer troubleshooting and beta testing can still leave glitches. There is a practical point when it makes sense to release the product and let prospective users report problems.

In addition, users are sometimes offered instructions to take enumerated steps (1, 2, 3, etc.) to accomplish a task but then some users will do 1, 4, 6, 2, etc., and complain about the program’s response. This inability to follow simple and clear instructions is sometimes referred to, by those less eloquent than myself, as the “stupidity factor,” which no amount of brilliant programming can overcome.

Richard Gallimore

Retired civil engineer, SaddleBrooke

‘Boneyard’ planes can fight fires

Re: the Oct. 9 article “AF’s new cargo planes go right to ‘boneyard.’”

All those new planes going to the boneyard could be retrofitted and put to use in the fire service. The planes in service now are old, not too safe and in short supply.

William LaBar

Retired, Tucson

Congress can’t renege on debt it has OK’d

Re: the editorials “Let’s hope Congress is wiser now, can strike a broad deal” and “Disarming debt-ceiling bomb should be next step.”

Both are excellent commentaries on the government shutdown and default threat, but both fell short of recommending a solution that would preclude repeated default brinkmanship in the future.

Legal scholars are divided as to whether ambiguous language in the 14th Amendment gives the president authority to avoid default by unilaterally overriding the debt ceiling.

We need to fix that with a new and unambiguous amendment to the Constitution. Congress has the power to limit our debt by exercising due diligence and prudence in its approval or rejection of spending bills. Congress should not have the power to disavow debt it has already approved.

Joseph McNully

Retired, Oro Valley