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Prop 401, 402 Supporter Is Disappointed in the 'Weekly'

Many thanks to the Tucson Weekly for endorsing Propositions 401 and 402 to help improve funding for schools in the Tucson Unified School District (Oct. 8). I know the Weekly also understands the important role of our local print media in accurately describing the complexities of the school-funding issues underlying the need for these ballot measures.

For this reason, I was disappointed that the Weekly's coverage ("Budget Boost?" Currents, Oct. 8) contained so many misleading statements that were neither corrected nor clarified by the reporter. For example, the article contained an unrebutted claim by an opponent, Mary Terry Schiltz, that the state already funds all-day kindergarten—and that the override's provision of resources for that valuable program is therefore redundant. In fact, all-day kindergarten costs TUSD $12 million while the state provides only $9.5 million to fund it. To make matters worse, the Legislature has threatened further cuts.

Schiltz also maintained that a 2004 bond override provided technological upgrades. In fact, that bond money only funded computer wiring within walls—and provided no resources whatsoever to buy computers or upgrade Internet speed, which Propositions 401 and 402 would fund. I was disappointed that such a patently misleading statement was neither rebutted nor placed into context.

In addition, Schiltz claimed that court-ordered desegregation funds constitute a de-facto override. These funds have specifically designated purposes, such as paying for busing, magnet programs and state-mandated specialized instruction of non-English-speaking students. They cannot be used to fund general school-district needs, such as computer upgrades at all schools.

When I brought these oversights to the attention of the Weekly's editor, I was equally disappointed with a response that was defensive rather than corrective. Although the editor concedes that the Weekly should have contacted my group, and that Schiltz engaged in "serious spinning" ("Looking Back," Editor's Note, Oct. 15) he suggests that Schiltz's contention regarding the funding for all-day kindergarten was correct. He bases this conclusion on information his reporter gleaned from talking with a TUSD elementary-school supervisor. After I told him that his reporter still did not understand the complexities of the kindergarten-funding issue, he maintained that Schiltz's misinformation had been "fact-checked."

In this era of rampant misinformation on the Internet, we depend all the more on our print news media to provide an oasis of factual accuracy. I recognize that the Weekly has limited resources and that the resources of all print media are contracting, but I hope the Weekly takes this role more seriously in the future.

Ann-Eve Pedersen

TUSD parent and member of the Invest in Our Kids Committee


Danehy Has It Wrong About Vaccines, the Flu

Once again, Tom Danehy has demonstrated that if bullshit were currency, he'd be Warren Buffett. Let's face it: An alt-weekly columnist giving medical advice is akin to Bernie Madoff telling us how strong the economy is.

There are myriad points I could demolish his bloviating rant with, but I think I'll let the most salient one suffice. To wit: his assertion that "the long-held belief that some people contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome from the mass swine-flu vaccinations of the 1970s is also not true" (Oct. 15).

Actually, Tom, the same Centers for Disease Control and Prevention you want to join forces with the Columbia School of Journalism in order to hunt down the progenitor of a silly colloquialism begs to differ, stating, "When cases of GBS were identified among recipients of the swine flu vaccines, they were, of course, well covered by the press. Because GBS cases are always present in the population, the necessary public health questions concerning the cases among vaccine recipients were, 'Is the number of cases of GBS among vaccine recipients higher than would be expected? And if so, are the increased cases the result of increased surveillance or a true increase?' Leading epidemiologists debated these points, but the consensus, based on the intensified surveillance for GBS (and other conditions) in recipients of the vaccines, was that the number of cases of GBS appeared to be an excess." (See www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol12no01/05-1007.htm.)

Enjoy that lovely vaccine, buddy! Oh, wait, you won't, because you never have. Putting aside the obvious implications of your lifelong opt-out versus your general state of heath, the only science necessary will be to figure out if you're the pot or the kettle.

Chuck Aubrey


Not All Real Estate Agents Like Prop 200

I'm sorry, Tucson!

I became a real estate agent in Tucson in 1985. I love Tucson and the eclectic, diverse community we are. All the human-rights activists, solar-energy buffs, incredible musicians, respected environmentalists, strong neighborhood groups, etc. keep us positively engaged with each other and make Tucson the vibrant place it is. My clients are delighted to find a house within walking distance of a park, or are comforted to know Meals on Wheels is feeding their neighbor, or are happy with summer programs for kids.

If Proposition 200 guts our city budget, all this will end. ("Just Saying No to Prop 200," The Skinny, Oct. 15.)

So I'm sorry, Tucson. I'm sorry for all of us that the Tucson Association of Realtors, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and Jim Click are stirring up fear to push their strange agenda, and I want you to know that many of us working real-estate agents out here are not in lockstep with this plan. Vote no on Prop 200!

Susan Thorpe

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