Ernesto Portillo Jr. / Arizona Daily Star

Ernesto Portillo Jr. y su esposa Linda Portillo.

Nobody asked

for an Interstate 11

We have desperately needed a cross-town freeway in Tucson for more than 30 years now. Why is it that our politicians cannot get this done, but some of them are willing to push for an unnecessary freeway through Avra Valley (a freeway that most people do not want). Maybe we need to elect different people to Congress.

Gerald Peters


Neto’s stories

will live on

This morning I flipped to the “Neto’s Tucson” column as usual and found what I have been dreading, his retirement. To say his departure is a great loss is putting it mildly. He says he is not indispensable, but Neto is about as close as they come to irreplaceable.

For me, the best stories were about the Chinese grocery stores, but I always eagerly read all of the tales he wrote that no one else was covering. That these stories have been told in both English and Spanish speaks to the values of our community. In archive, they are, in both languages, an invaluable research tool about Tucson’s history and culture.

Neto deserves a break, and I wish him well in retirement. But I know many people will miss him greatly, and I hope we can continue to get the benefits of his insights about our beloved community from time to time.

Robin Blackwood

East side

Automatic registration might help voter turnout

The right to vote is a privilege and duty of American citizenship. Voter registration is the necessary prerequisite to the exercise of that right. A recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that voter registration rates substantially increased in states like Georgia and Alaska that have adopted Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) laws.

Under AVR, people are registered to vote when they apply for a driver’s license and/or when they turn 18. Opt-out provisions are provided for those who may not wish to register.

In the recently concluded session our Republican controlled Legislature, including legislators from LD11, passed, or attempted to pass, a number of bills to make it harder for citizens to register or remain registered to vote.

Instead, they should support AVR in order to safeguard the strong and representative government that the Founding Fathers envisioned on July 4, 1776.

Eileen Hollowell

Oro Valley

Habitat loss from I-11 wouldn’t be great

Recently there has been opposition to the proposed Interstate 11 going through Avra Valley because it would ‘destroy’ the Sonoran Desert. I am a botanist and conservationist who has worked for four nonprofit conservation organizations in the Tucson area for the last 40 years. The Sonoran Desert is a huge area with six subdivisions in Arizona, California, Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. The eastern extension of the Lower Colorado River Valley subdivision in Avra Valley is badly disturbed. Excellent protected examples of Sonoran Desert vegetation are on both sides of the proposed I-11 corridor in Ironwood National Monument, Saguaro National Park, and Tucson Mountain Park. There may be economic, political, or cultural arguments against this freeway, but loss of important Sonoran Desert habitat is not important.

Tom Van Devender

North side

Fourth of July

just lost its allure

I am having a hard time believing that those that represent me in Washington, D.C., have done nothing about the plans for Trump’s self-promoting July 4th extravaganza. Is it not enough that he has spent millions of our tax dollars playing golf? Now his ego needs tanks and VIP tickets and a takeover of the 4th of July. Clearly this man’s ego has no limits, and he is so ignorant of history he doesn’t understand how this type of show leaves most of us questioning his intentions and our government. For me, I have lost the allure of what has long been my favorite holiday. My prayer is the people in Washington will either not go to the mall or show up to protest the co-opting of the citizens’ celebration and of our democracy.

Sherry Steele


First-trimester abortion can be for the best

In addition to the physician perspective, I wanted to add that I’m very grateful for my abortions. I was a failure at birth control and I would have been a failure as a parent. The only bad experience I had was a bunch of people in the parking lot yelling at me that I was a murderer. I must also share how grateful I am for having had the privilege to have my son. He wasn’t planned, either, and I was terrified, but the timing was right. So, as someone who has experience with both situations, I have to say that a first trimester abortion is not a disaster or a failure. And, while having a child is a lifetime of work of which I know nobody who would trade it for the world, carrying a pregnancy is dangerous and may negatively affect you and your child physically and or emotionally for the rest of your lives.

Cynthia Duncan


Arts patron opposes parking meter proposal

Re: the July 1 article “Main Gate, 4th Ave., downtown could be hit by parking changes.”

In reaction to the possible parking changes for Downtown, Main Gate and Fourth Avenue, I must vigorously protest in defeat of such consideration. After enjoying all our unique and affordable venues from dining out to theater, symphony, concerts and just plain fun, a loyal Tucson patron of the arts would be compelled to run to meters every two hours and “ feed the meter” even at a concert at the Fox or Rialto or any number of smaller spots along Toole.

I am vehemently opposed to this method of raising revenue as it serves no purpose to loyal Tucson supporters of all downtown leisure, cultural and culinary activities.

Lindy M. Elias


I-11 proposal

is premature

The I-11 proposal is sensitive to the environment. However, the freeway would impact the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert, the Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park West, and the desert vistas.

No major new road or highway should be built while major technological changes in transportation are occurring. Self-driving vehicles and intelligent highway systems may make existing highways much more efficient and allow existing highways to carry much more traffic safely.

Don’t spend billions on new highways until we know we have to.

James Beregi

Northwest side

Don’t short-circuit

downtown revival

Apparently, the city is thinking of eliminating free parking downtown after 5 p.m. weekdays, and on weekends. This is a bad idea for two reasons:

1. We should continue to encourage people to come downtown and enjoy all the dining, entertainment, sports, etc., which, in the last few years, have begun to flourish. Dollars spent by customers and patrons should offset any adjustment to the parking rates.

2. People who work in the service industries or volunteer downtown should not be “taxed” for after-hours or weekend work.

Before we shoot ourselves in the foot on this issue, let’s see if we can find some other way of increasing revenue. Downtown is becoming an exciting and vibrant destination. Let’s see if we can keep it that way.

Tom Skinner


Nobody talks about green cards anymore

In media and newspaper coverage about immigration, I never hear anyone talk about green cards. An immigrant visa for permanent legal residency is called a green card. I believe many undocumented immigrants are looking for work and a way to improve their life and family situation. Providing a path to a green card seems to better fit these goals. A foreign national holding a green card can live and work in the U.S. and be protected by the laws of the land. Holders are required to obey all laws of the land, pay taxes, and if between the ages of 18 and 25 register for selective service. As a green-card holder you cannot vote, but you can get a legal driver’s license and Social Security card. If a holder wants to become a citizen, they must meet the current standards defined by law.

So why don’t we develop a process for deserving immigrants to become green-card holders. If they wish to become citizens, let them follow the existing process.

Calvin Rooker

Northwest side