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Letters to the Editor: Jan. 18: death penalty, free buss service and communism, IRC, real estate prices in Tucson

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Death penalty must be abolished

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is pushing to execute two death row inmates, Clarence Dixon and Frank Atwood.

Atwood was convicted of killing 8-year-old Vicki Lynn Hoskinson in 1984. Dixon was convicted of killing Deana Bowdoin, a 21-year-old ASU student.

They were both convicted of heinous crimes many years ago. They are among over 100 prisoners on death row in Arizona.

The last execution in Arizona was in 2014 when Joseph Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours. His execution was an abomination.

Why is the death penalty wrong? The death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment.”

I do not believe the death penalty prevents crime. In states without the death penalty, the murder rate is much lower. No studies show that capital punishment is a deterrent. Incarcerated prisoners on death row do not threaten the safety and welfare of societies’ citizens.

The death penalty is immoral and must be abolished.

Tom McGorray

Northwest side

Free bus service not communismRe: the Jan. 7 letter “Free bus service is communism.”

Whoever said that free bus service is communism did not bother checking the definition from Merriam-Webster: a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property.

Would the writer also feel that Kansas City, Albuquerque and Olympia, Washington, are bastions of communism because they have free bus fare? Lots of other cities are currently studying the idea.

If having free bus fare will help keep some from having to decide whether to pay for bus fare or skip a meal, will reduce air pollution and congestion and help those who do not have access to vehicles get to their jobs, school and appointments, then I am 100% for it, whether it is communism or not.

Dave Abbott

Southeast side

Independents need to get organized

Re: the Jan. 8 letters “Ways to ensure nonpartisan IRC” and “Distorted maps should not stand.”

I am a 20-year registered independent Arizona voter who is very disturbed by the actions by some of the (far-right) Republican legislators and the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).

Two excellent letters were posted in Saturday’s Star. Both letters address the IRC, and point out how the system is heavily weighted to the Republican Party.

One letter writer points out much of how Republicans control the selection of the independent member of the commission (commission consists of two Republicans, two Democrats and one independent). Here is another example: To qualify for consideration for the independent seat, one must be registered as an independent for at least the past three years. One of the five finalists for the independent seat, selected by the judges, hosted two Trump rallies prior to the 2020 election. I wholly support the suggestion of a voter-approved proposition to restructure the IRC.

Arizona’s independent voters need to get organized, so that our voices/votes truly matter.

Randy Garmon


Real estate prices

I think everyone in Tucson has noticed the sharp increase in real estate prices over the last year or so. Prices have gone up more than 30%. I believe that the primary cause of this rise are flippers — people who buy property then as soon as escrow closes they put it back on the market for a $50,000 profit.

There are two ways to stop this ridiculous increase in prices. One is not to buy property that is flipped. There are websites that show the history of sales for a property. If a property was just bought and resold a month later, don’t buy it. The other way would be to have our city council invoke a law that a property cannot be resold for a year. If an investor has to pay taxes and insurance for a year before he flips it, he may not invest.

Thomas Wenzel

East side

We must speak out

I will no longer be silenced because of my own fear of possible repercussion from Trump supporters. This is the United States of America. We have guaranteed freedoms — freedom of free speech and freedom of the press, to name just two that are so important to us now more than ever. If we want to continue to live in a democracy that is ruled under our Constitution and the rule of law, we can’t be afraid. We have to speak out. Too many of our friends, family members and business associates believe that our 2020 election was filled with flaws and fraud and that Trump should still be president. Social media, even Fox, continue to perpetuate this lie. It is a lie! Those of us who know it is a lie cannot stop speaking out. I firmly believe that even the Trump supporters do not want to live under a dictatorship. Don’t back down. Continue to speak out against the lie. I plan to.

Langione Cathey


Abandon freedoms?

I am a concerned citizen, lawyer, retired Army officer, Assistant US Attorney, and Pima Superior Court judge. Our recent commemoration of the events at our Capitol on Jan. 6 caused me to consider what freedoms we wish to give up. Our Constitution protects our freedoms of speech, religion and the right to remain silent from government encroachment. It provides for due process, equal protection and certain rights to privacy under the rule of law.

These liberties receive no protection under authoritarian dictatorships. Think, for example, of incarceration for peaceful assembly, protest or dissent. Think of state-sponsored spying on neighbors undertaken by Stasi agents in East Germany. Think of censorship of press and writers who express political opposition in numerous authoritarian regimes.

I have long believed that those who exist without freedom are the ones who cherish it most. What are the consequences of supporting a dictator? What freedoms are you willing to abandon?

Ted Borek


What would Mitch do?

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, please reconsider your support of the current filibuster. No doubt Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell will push it to the side the moment he sees fit. He’s done it before. How will you respond then? If he has given his guarantee he’ll continue to support it, as unreliable as his guarantees have proven, then you and he should publicly say so. Either way, you can count on him stomping on it at his first opportunity. Then what?

Mike Cohen

Oro Valley

Pandemic lessens McKale ‘magic’

Re: the Jan. 9 article “It’s on fans to bring back McKale magic.”

Greg Hansen’s claim that “It’s on fans to bring back McKale Center magic” is totally off base. Attendance has been down and enthusiasm at the games subdued because we’re in the middle of a pandemic. The UA athletic department has failed to make fans feel safe while attending basketball games, so many fans have stayed home. Several Pac-12 schools require proof of vaccination, mandatory masks and shut down concession stands. Some schools have even closed arenas to fans during the omicron outbreak. UA continues to allow fans to remove masks while eating or drinking so many eat a tub of popcorn or drink throughout the game, just to get around the mask mandate. UA fans are incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about this year’s team and our new coach, Tommy Lloyd. It’s just a little tough to show that 1990’s “magic” at McKale right now. But rest assured, Greg, we are cheering on the Cats this season, it’s just from the safety of our home.

Jan Ochoa


Lame-duck Sinema

I just tried to call all three of Sen. Krysten Sinema’s offices to let her know how disappointed I am in her for not voting to end the filibuster. I got a message that all the voicemails were full and to try again later. So not only is she not doing what her Democratic voters want her to do, she won’t even talk to us about it.

She has been a complete disaster as a senator and I am sorry I volunteered to work for her election. I will work for the next Democratic candidate to out-primary her in 2024. She has just become a lame-duck senator. She is burning all her bridges with her Democratic constituents and I seriously doubt any of her coveted Republicans will vote for her either.

Nick Hansen


Where did American exceptionalism go?

I’d like to talk about American exceptionalism. To me that has meant that we do things a little smarter than other countries, and I was proud of it. But lately, I have been reconsidering. The Jan. 6 insurrection was unbelievable. A bunch of thugs nearly capturing our Capitol while being encouraged by a former president. The International Institute for Democracy in Stockholm now lists us as a “backsliding democracy.” They were apparently watching. So, not much exceptionalism there.

More currently we have COVID-19. With millions infected, hundreds of thousands dying, and with health-care workers in crisis mode, we have over 60 million residents refusing to get the vaccine that would help stop the mutations and keep us safe. Well, compared to many other countries where they are taking the preventative steps, maybe that does qualify as exceptional. But not in the way I used to see it. Where are we headed?

John Evert

Oro Valley

Water for mines, not farmersIt is outrageous that with a serious water shortage, Arizona is paying farmers to use less water to grow food for us while allotting water to Rosemont Mine in order to supply profits to a foreign country. The priorities are upside down. Insane!

Diane Stephenson


Fox not all doom and gloom

The incessant whining about Fox News is laughable. Nielsen (December 2021) ranks them the No. 1 cable news show for the sixth year in a row, averaging 1.3 million viewers daily.

Fox bashers rant about Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and have probably never watched the intelligent conversations and sense of humor provided by “The Five,” “Outnumbered,” or “Gutfeld!” You’ll find that unlike your other news networks, “real world news,” the shows we enjoy always have guests with a variety of political views. I’m not a big fan of Laura, Sean or Tucker and prefer to change the channel and look for a good comedy to share a laugh with the family. We’ve found it’s easy to do with knowledge of a TV remote!

Christopher Stauch

East side

Support your local teachersIt’s too dangerous to make lawyers go to court, or HOAs meet in person. Or portfolio managers attend in-person conferences. Or newspaper reporters meet sources face-to-face. Or any expert talk on television from anywhere besides their home office. But everyone “knows” teachers have to do their job in person. Everyone else we need to keep society operational, they have to risk their neck, too. There probably are ways to upgrade in-person schooling, so the learning gets done and our teachers aren’t ambushed every day by the coronavirus. But those measures aren’t there yet. The current online methodology hasn’t worked. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Or that we can’t wait it out a month or two and go to school during the summer. We must keep these teachers alive. You’re going to need them.

Walter Ramsley

East side

Nonexistent voter fraudRe: the Jan. 9 article “As lawmakers convene, election laws loom large.”

For our Arizona Republican lawmakers trying to make new voting laws to fix a system that is not broken, can you add a law that forbids lawmakers to repeat a lie that votes were fraudulent when there is zero court evidence of fraud? As in this last 2020 election, when there is no legal evidence of fraud, the words, “This election was stolen” uttered by an elected official would carry a mandatory fine of $800,000 and a lawmaker would forfeit their state pension. Oh, and to seal the deal, their social media accounts suspended.

With this new law, perhaps these leaders could get to the real work of legislation for the benefit of their Arizona citizens.

Connie Lewis


McKale and the pandemic

The university is not effectively protecting attendees at basketball games. The updated mask policy is fine, but unenforced. The mask wearer is not so much protecting that person but rather protecting others. Claiming that people are free to assess their own risks in deciding whether to wear a mask ignores the last many months of research and evidence. The university encourages the maskless by continuing to display such people on the big video screen during the game. Many times I have seen unmasked persons sitting directly behind “Dr.” Robert C. Robbins. If the mask policy is to be effective it must be enforced and publicly and visibly supported. Recent articles about subdued fan support appear to have been written in a vacuum that ignores the risks of the coronavirus pandemic and the recent surge of the omicron variant.

Richard Bacal

Midtown History repeating itselfOne day, a few years ago, while having breakfast with several very fine people in a hotel restaurant in central Germany, I had a revelation as I sat and chatted with the group, wondering how the parents of such wonderful and engaging people could have been duped into permitting Adolf Hitler come to power?

Now I know — because it is happening right before my eyes. The day prior, I had seen Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on TV rail against those who attacked the Capitol on that day of infamy, Jan. 6, 2021, and then grovel before Tucker Carlson and recant it all the very next day on live TV.

I believe there was an insurrection. An unfettered video record, seen by the world at the time, now highly redacted by Fox in its replays, as it helps spin the truth, is undeniable proof.

The lies persist and our union is in peril.

Carl A. Bosse

Green Valley

Sinema not a real DemocratDemocrats have had the wool pulled over their eyes, to quote a phrase, by a sheep in wolves’ clothing. It’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, she’s not one of us. She pretended to be a Democrat and said she embraced the party’s values of restoring our democracy to safe ground, saving lives by providing truth about the pandemic, passing laws to preserve voting rights and providing career paths through training Americans who need to transition from dying industries, like coal mining, to sustainable stable jobs and income. But, she has not and will not vote for any of this. Instead she obstructs in ways Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene can only dream about. I predict that when she is up for reelection, knowing she’s lost the Democratic voter, she will declare herself an independent and the GOP will vote her in thinking she supports their agenda. Great! It will be their turn to be scammed. Did I say she was a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Maybe she’s a female Trump in cute dresses. Well played.

Carol Dworkin

Northeast side

Keep state gov’t away from Tucson

Re: the Jan. 7 letter “Free bus service is communism.”

I thank the Arizona Daily Star for bringing to my attention that the bus service is free. In fact, it is not limited to the bus service but is in effect for many (if not all) Sun Tran services. It was instituted to give riders fiscal relief during the COVID-19 epidemic. I am fortunate to not require this free service.

This policy brings local meaning to the phrase in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution “To promote the general welfare.”

The surprising fact is that the policy began in March 2020, and this insidious communist infiltration has been hitherto unnoticed! It was suggested that the state should rectify the situation.

I am in disagreement with state government interference with a local program that is intended to promote the general welfare of our citizens. Interference and control by the central government in Phoenix is in fact an example of nitpicking communist control.

Michael Burdoo

West side

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