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Prediction: This Reader Won't Enjoy Election Day

Thanks for your opinion "More on Endorsements" (Editor's Note, Aug. 17). Granted, Jeff Latas has not held elected office. Sorry, he was risking his life in combat missions while Gabrielle Giffords was playing hooky from her day job to go on junkets to Washington, D.C., to cozy up to her future donors from the Democratic Leadership Council. She has never run with Clean Elections; her well-heeled friends paid her bill.

It's ironic you should single out her positions on issues. Tucson's own nationally acclaimed feminist leader, Sheila Tobias, is supporting Latas because of his superior positions on issues of importance to women.

Giffords spouts a list of endorsements from environmental groups while advocating more oil refineries that we won't be able to use by the time they're built. I was first attracted to Jeff Latas' candidacy because he highlighted conversion from fossil fuels to clean energy as his No. 1 foreign-policy initiative.

Please ask a Southern Arizona Stonewall Democrat about the relative strengths of the candidates' positions on LGBTQQ issues. We have just evaluated questionnaire responses from candidates, and Jeff Latas' grasp and support of our issues clearly stand out as superior. Meanwhile, Giffords has not responded a week after deadline, three weeks after our request.

This won't be Jeff's only political foray. He'll run for re-election in 2008.

T. Stephen Cody

Jeff Latas: He's Too Good for the State House!

Reading about how you decided Giffords was your nominee despite the fact you were inclined toward Jeff Latas on the issues, I was amazed that anyone would suggest that a fighter pilot and an aerospace engineer, who has the background and expertise to challenge George W. Bush's foreign policy decisions and refocus our U.S. energy direction, would have any reason to run for the state House. I guess you see politics as a career path--and think a person should start at the bottom regardless of prior background.

Jeff Latas' expertise and sound judgment can best serve us in Congress. By your reasoning, Joe Lieberman should keep the job in Connecticut instead of Ned Lamont, because he has "paid his dues." Thank God, the times, they are a' changin!

Gerry Straatemeier

Latas Is the Kind of Man Our Founding Fathers Wanted in Congress

I don't believe the founding fathers envisioned a Congress filled with professional politicians. I believe they wanted a citizen legislative branch, or at least one that would represent the people and preserve the country. The major problem with our Congress in the last five years is that both parties have abandoned these principles. The Republicans have no regard for the people and obey only the dictates of the cabal that occupies the White House. Many Democrats have also been bought off by the corporations and have forgotten the principles of the Democratic Party.

I see Jeff Latas as exactly the kind of person who is what the founders wanted and the kind of person who, as a citizen, will represent the people and stand for changing the direction.

You say, "Jeff Latas seems to be in the right place on the issues, and his professional credentials are impressive." So do I. But you discount a man for our time because he is not exactly what the public overwhelmingly despises--a politician--and instead favor someone who has little program or electability, but has experience being a politician. So sad.

All over the country, returning vets are leading races to take away the seats of the entrenched politicians who have forgotten us. You seem to think we don't need that here. I want to vote for a strong individual who will stand up to those politicians in Washington and stop this president from selling us out. I don't think any career politician will do that. Politicians have a checkered record; when they reach Washington, their seats become more important than the voters and the country.

Norma Hogan

Latas Has Medals, So You Know He's Qualified!

No, Jeff Latas has not held public office, and it's because he has been serving the United States for 20 years in the Air Force. Did you know that he has served five tours of duty in the Middle East, serving in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and received several medals for his meritorious service?

I have seen and heard all the Democratic candidates speak on several occasions, and every time, it is crystal clear that Jeff Latas' experience serving our country and working at the Pentagon--and his ability to speak without notes on a multitude of important issues--shows he has what it takes to represent Congressional District 8 in Washington.

For lesser-informed candidates, holding prior public office might be necessary, but Latas' intelligence puts him at the head of the class. He can go directly to Washington and will do a superior job representing us. Some of his opponents are real lightweights and are running for office on sheer nerve.

Ellen Hermalin

Some Words of Support for Matt Heinz

Your support of Ted Downing for the state Senate, Dave Bradley for the House and Gabrielle Giffords for Congress did not require deep study and analysis. All of them have excellent records of success in the Legislature in spite of being members of the minority party.

Given your methodology, I should not be surprised that you endorsed the darling of the growth businesses--Steve Farley--for the other House seat in District 28. Indeed, he "showed he could work across the political aisle" back when the council had three Republicans, three Democrats and one independent.

Before the City Council approved the Regional Transportation Authority plan, more than 100 merchants along Grant Road petitioned them to consider the less destructive alternative of improving just the major intersections (bus pullouts, right-turn-only lanes, etc.) instead of widening several major arterials, which will entail removing many businesses. The city transportation department estimated that this alternative would move 70 percent as many cars and cost much less. Farley was instrumental in convincing the council that it was worth the sacrifice of a few hundred businesses and homes for the higher good of moving more cars.

Conflicts of interest are a fact of life. Many of us in District 28 depend heavily on these businesses. One of my favorites went under because they lost their lease.

So I read the printed material, checked the Web sites and contacted the Democratic primary candidates. Dr. Matt Heinz is by far the best choice to work with Bradley and Downing. He offers viable solutions in many areas, especially in health care and education.

Before you Democrats cast your primary votes, do your own research. Andy Nichols served well in this position. It is time to put another doctor in the House.

Ruth Stokes

Traditional Ed at Dodge Deserves Support

Dave Devine's article ("Drama at Dodge," Currents, Aug. 10) pinpoints the problem with traditional education in the Tucson Unified School District. The fact is that there is no longer administrative support for the parents and teachers who desire the program.

I taught at Bonillas School for many years and served as chair of its first Shared Decision Making Council. My son went to Dodge Middle School and was among the first few classes to attend Catalina High School as "traditional" students. My daughter attended Bonillas as a magnet student until our move to Virginia.

The traditional program, originally at Bonillas and later at Dodge and Catalina, was not intended for every student, every parent or every teacher. It was meant to be a program of choice for those who wanted a traditional education. If parents didn't want a dress code or phonics, they could opt for a different school. If a teacher didn't believe in rote memorization or phonics instruction, he or she could teach elsewhere. This program was created by parents and was, at that time, supported by the school board.

Now, the attitude is, "We'll just do what we want and call it traditional." Many parents like the high test scores and tight discipline (until it affects their child) but want to pick and choose what aspects of traditional they want. Some teachers want to teach in a school where kids behave, and parents are generally supportive, but don't like the prescribed curriculum and teach what they want instead of what the program requires. It should be the role of the administration--both school-based and central--to support the basic tenets of the school and require adherence to the program.

The Dodge program works because of the traditional methods and curriculum, not in spite of it. It is time for TUSD's central office to grow a backbone and tell Cathy Comstock and Dean Keller that they can support the program--or they can leave.

Julie Perham

Teachers at Dodge Deserve Support!

I was extremely upset when I read the recent Weekly article "Drama at Dodge." I graduated from Dodge Middle School four years ago, and I received an excellent education from that school. In fact, the majority of what I learned there will benefit me my entire life. But it was not the parents of Dodge that gave me that education; it was the educators!

I had a number of extraordinary teachers while I was there, and they were the ones who inspired me to learn so much. They did not merely recite phonetics to me, nor did they force me to memorize multiplication tables, as some parents suggest should be the norm. Instead, they taught me in their own individual styles, and made it interesting!

As for the parents' criticism of Dean Keller, I have something to say to them as well. I never had Mr. Keller, nor did my younger brother. However, when my brother was in danger of failing his algebra class in eighth grade, it was not the parents who volunteered to tutor him; it was Mr. Keller. So perhaps the protesting parents will forgive me when I say that I trust a teacher like Dean Keller when it comes to knowing the best way to teach a child.

Joshua Parker

Theaters Can Have It Both Ways

I read with great interest James Reel's "Fiscal Play" (Performing Arts, Aug. 3).

It was a very informative article, mostly for highlighting the problem with Tucson theater overall--cautiousness to the point of pandering to audiences. Although only several groups were used in quotes, they mirror the problem for the majority of local groups.

What Beowulf's Stephen Elton said reads as justification for his company's own middle-of-the-road play choices more than it reflects what local patrons will go see. They assert that they are forced to dumb down their seasons to remain in business, as it were. As an artistic director here in Tucson in the 1990s, and now again, and in other places such as Los Angeles, New York and Florida, etc., I whole-heartedly disagree that mediocrity is necessary to build a theater business and maintain it.

Ken Tesoriere

'The Radicals' Deserve Kudos for Standing Up to Those Ashamed

I enjoyed Tom Danehy's piece on four Hispanic leaders in our community ("The Radicals," Aug. 3).

I find one major part missing. The story isn't complete without mentioning those Hispanics (then and now) who were, and are, "ashamed" of their own heritage and who actively worked and work against these "radicals."

They are called the "Hi Spanics." They are the ones who have personally and financially benefited from the battles won, but they want us to "behave" and "fit in." They are the ones who see success as personal wealth, appointments to meaningless committees and being placed in dreamed-up jobs while the intention was always to make life easier for the future generations. Our community is full of them, and they are well known.

Thanks to Danehy, however, some of the ones who fought the battles are getting recognition as well.

Andy Morales

Using the Word 'Bitch' Makes Danehy a Dull Boy

Please buy Tom Danehy a dictionary/thesaurus. He uses "bitch" eight times in one article (Aug. 10) to designate male graffiti sprayers. He has become very boring (tedious, dull, dreary, mind-numbing, repetitive). I wonder what his beloved schoolgirls learn from this.

Maria Cadaxa

Enough With the God Talk Already!

Please! Enough about God and how he/she/it has "blessed America" ("America Should Be Sharing Its God-Given Blessings More," Mailbag, Aug. 17, and Guest Commentary, July 20). I will believe such nonsense when I see physical evidence of the existence of God. Ya got any proof the critter actually exists?

Hard work and uncommon good sense have blessed America, not God.

Patrick Bishop

Correction

The name of last week's Guest Commentary writer, Gretchen Nielsen, was misspelled in our print edition. We apologize for the error.

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