Cunningham wrong on red-light cameras

City Councilman Paul Cunningham said he would need to see evidence that the red-light cameras are making us safer. This implies that he would only support their removal if it is shown that they don't improve safety. This is the wrong standard.

A "safety first" standard argues for eliminating driving altogether, because it is inherently dangerous. What really matters is the cost of safety. We citizens are willing to endure some costs to improve our safety, such as having red lights in the first place, but not others, such as red-light and speed cameras.

High fines are needed to pay for these systems, and the size of those fines make any safety gains not worth the cost. I would say, in general, that Tucson is spending too much on traffic enforcement.

Get rid of the cameras. Raise the speed limits on the major roads from 40 to 50 mph, reduce the number of traffic cops and increase the number of neighborhood patrols to help prevent violent crime.

I have a self-interest to maximize my own safety while driving. Extra help from the Tucson government is not wanted by me.

Perry Willis

Ward 2 resident, Tucson

Thanks to Tucson's good Samaritans

My heartfelt thanks to all who came to my aid one recent night when I fell at La Encantada outside North restaurant. You were all so kind to an old lady.

Special thanks to Michelle and to those who dealt with the very bloodied napkins and towels.

You were all so very gracious, and I am sorry I cannot express my thanks more personally. I am on my feet, but with two black eyes and a very ugly, bulbous nose.

Dorothy Intorf

Retired (90 years old), Tucson

Pap recommendation just more rationed care

Re: the Oct. 20 article "New US guidelines discourage annual Pap tests."

I read in the Arizona Daily Star that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending women need a Pap test only every three years. This is on top of recommending women do not need a mammogram until the age of 50, then only every other year, and men not have a PSA test for prostate cancer screening.

Welcome to rationed health care. It is just a matter of time before these recommendations will become the standard for Medicare and insurance companies.

I know from personal experience that my annual Pap prevented me from having full-blown cervical cancer and my annual mammogram detected my stage 2 breast cancer.

When did medicine become about the bottom line instead of the health and welfare of people? This is just the start under Obamacare.

Has anyone wondered why most of the new regulations don't start until 2014? Do you think it has anything to do with the 2012 elections?

Cindy Groghan

Cancer survivor, Green Valley

GOP debate was a verbal slugfest

The verbal slugfest at the recent Republican presidential contenders debate in Las Vegas had all the sophistication of the bumper sticker: My child can beat up your honor student.

We deserve better.

Wayne Satten

Clinical psychologist, Tucson

Gun training for high school kids … really?

Re: the Oct. 20 article "High school public-safety class gets a shot at gun-use training."

Oh, this is just wonderful to allow our public-school educators to teach kids to shoot guns. What happened to the driver-education program after school?

I find it disturbing that "our future" does not even know what a turn signal is in a car as they text or talk on the cellphone while running through a red light.

OK … let's show them how to kill with a real weapon. Geez.

Russ Jordan

Retired, Tucson

Vogt endorsement doesn't jibe with facts

The editorial praised Vogt for using words like "cooperation" and "compromise." However, nothing about the way he has campaigned suggests that he has any interest in working with other people.

He began his campaign with a petulant call for the incumbent to resign. His campaign has consisted mostly of personal and highly partisan attacks. His petty refusal to meet with the Star makes the endorsement all the more incomprehensible.

It makes even less sense when one considers that Shirley Scott is generally considered moderate and pragmatic.

Overheated campaign smash-mouth is part of the game. However, the Star has been critical of many public figures in this town for being uncivil for much less. The Star is right that this town needs a lot less smack-talking, but by endorsing Vogt, the Star is also endorsing his rhetoric and tactics.

Tom Prezelski

Former Democratic state representative, Tucson

Don't mix religion, politics

If Evangelical Christians are going to mix religion and politics as Pastor Robert Jeffress has done, then they will always get politics.

In talking with Evangelicals, their concerns about America, their personal politics, and their spiritual views are more often about control of others' behavior - i.e., those who are not Christian, or who are gay, or liberal.

America does not need, and most of us do not want, the Evangelical need to control. We as a nation have done fine without it.

Chris Edwards

Registered nurse, Tucson

'Occupiers' have legitimate causes

Re: the Oct. 20 letter to the editor, "Tea party didn't leave behind a mess"

The Occupy protesters are not breaking into anything and their goals are simple. 

The comment that "someone else is left to clean up" after they move on is untrue. 

They are camping out, not moving on.

They are protesting the national auction known as an election, the abortion of justice known as Citizens United, and the socialized risk our financial industry has embraced as a business model.

The right has turned our pensions into money for Wall Street to gamble. Our savings earn no interest. And it is trying to turn our Social Security into more food for the Wall Street monster.

The protesters also are asking why minimum wage pays $14,000 a year to raise a family but a CEO makes $140 million a year to destroy a company and a community.

Listen up. What will emerge is a fairer America. You don't have to like or stay.

Tim Briggs

Travel agent, Tucson