I want to address the Bob Benzinger interview; he is doing a horrible disservice (TQ&A, Nov. 5).
When asked, "Do you think Americans lack a good, basic knowledge of foreign policy?" he answered, "Yeah, but a lot of it is cultural, and cultural isolation. But other countries are culturally isolated, too; we're not even the worst. In a lot of ways, we're actually less-isolated and less-racist than a lot of other cultures. We don't dwell on the past nearly as much as other cultures."
I would never expect such a poor, inarticulate answer from a teacher with his background. The answer to that question should be, "Yes." I question his credentials based on his poor answer.
Blaming isolation and racism and then applauding the degree to which we are not is nonsense. If, in fact, we are not as bad as other countries, then we should be more knowledgeable. Alas, his answer is convoluted and ill-informed, and whitewashes the fact that the sorry American public has been lulled to sleep by Fox News.
We are guilty, more than any other country, of supporting a government which imposes its policies on the rest of the world. America is the leader of imperialistic foreign policy, and the result is the highest number of murders in the world!
It is no surprise to me that Karin Uhlich narrowly won re-election ("The Power of No," Currents, Nov. 12).
I purchased a new home nine years ago and kept my old house three miles away, mainly for storage. I voted for Karin when she first ran. Following her election, I went to her ward office and explained that I no longer used the trash and recycling containers at my old residence, and asked if the city could remove them. I am a senior citizen who has no pets, friends or relatives living with me, and I generate very little garbage. Whatever trash I accumulate at my old house, I carry to my primary residence and dispose of it in the containers there.
I don't recall whether I spoke with Karin herself or a member of her staff (I believe I spoke to both), but I was arrogantly told, "How do we know you won't be putting your trash in a neighbor's container or in a business' trash bin?" Apparently, I should have known that some politicians and/or their staff don't share my ethics. There may be some truth in saying that politicians are more concerned with their own political gain than working for the constituents who elected them.
This time around, I didn't vote for Uhlich; in fact, I didn't vote for anybody in my ward. For all these years, I have been paying $28 (now $29) for garbage/recycling pickup once a month at my current residence. Meanwhile, at the old house, I have been charged nearly $700 over the past four years just for the opportunity to wave at the garbage and recycling trucks as they pass by. Down the street, a household with a number of children stuffs their container every week so high that the lid is never down.
Some people cite the Environmental Services fee as being "unfair." I consider it downright criminal. It amazes me that no one has yet figured out an equitable proportionate fee, like that for water use.
R. Karl Mehl
Regarding "Crank It Out!" (Books, Nov. 19):
This is a wonderful article (about National Novel Writing Month), and it is definitely something worth trying if you are someone who wants to be a writer/author. I've been participating for two years now, and it is a wonderful experience. Although I am the "pantser" type of wrimo, I've found that without the burdens of having to make everything believable and getting stuck on revision, your characters will surprise you with the way they handle situations and move the story on their own in fast-paced writing. It is truly a neat experience, and I plan to do it for years to come.
Regarding "Unincorporated and Unrepresented," Nov. 19:
Why is this so confusing to the citizens of Marana? They're obviously unaware of the way in which our elected "representatives" work. They're elected, but they're never really our "representatives" until it's time to be re-elected. The same is true for Tucson and all municipalities. In Tucson, we had an election that threw out one of the council members. Guess what? She was allowed to come back the day before her replacement was to be installed so she could vote for an issue on which the majority of our neighborhoods were opposed. ... On her way out, she was going to be allowed to stab the neighborhoods in the back as an act of revenge for being removed from office by—voters! What's wrong with this picture?! Yet, she was outraged that, while on vacation, the basic issue was modified slightly, without her knowledge, by the council, thus making her vote unnecessary. She went ballistic! And remember that this attitude was displayed the day before her replacement was to be installed! What arrogance!
That's the image of our elected "representatives." Marana officials are no different. The next time there's an election ... throw them out so you can install folks who are dedicated to residents first, and process second.