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TEA President: Here's Why We Endorsed Just Two Candidates

I welcome the opportunity to clarify the decision by the Tucson Education Association Political Action Committee to endorse two candidates, Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez, for the Tucson Unified School District governing board (Guest Commentary, Sept. 13).

First, a little history regarding our organization: TEA has always been an active and involved association in the political arena. Because member dues cannot be used for political action, TEAPAC was created for this purpose. Members voluntarily contribute additional money to support public-education-friendly candidates and initiatives, like Proposition 204. Those members who contribute elect individuals to serve on the TEAPAC steering committee. They were charged with interviewing the candidates for the TUSD governing board. After two days of interviews, the committee recommended approval by TEAPAC contributors.

There was a long and thorough discussion by participating members before deciding that endorsing only two candidates would significantly increase the likelihood for success. Those with a clear understanding of how elections work realize that it is to our members' benefit to endorse only two candidates. In a field of 12 candidates, it would be extremely difficult to elect a three-candidate slate. Asking our members to vote for only two will definitely increase the chances of electing these two pro-public-education candidates. In addition, TEAPAC gives their endorsement to candidates who we are confident will support TEA values.

These two individuals are highly qualified for this office and share the values of teachers, support professionals, the community and students. They have demonstrated their commitment to public education by their actions and involvement in our community. They are the two strongest candidates for the TUSD governing board.

While I disagree with the comments made by Miguel Ortega, I am glad that it has afforded me the opportunity to present the facts. It's unfortunate that he decided to attack the very association that he sought an endorsement from two years ago. In this time of great turmoil for the education community, this is an unnecessary distraction from the real issues affecting our teachers, secretaries, monitors, teaching assistants and students.

The TEA will continue to work on behalf of our members, and because we strive to do what is in their best interest, we ask that members vote for just two candidates, Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez, for the TUSD governing board.

Frances Banales

Tucson Education Association president


A Detroit Native and Current Tucsonan Looks Back

I was born at Detroit Receiving Hospital on Beaubien Avenue in January 1947. My father was born in Detroit, as was his. I'm a white man, a graduate of Wayne State University and Detroit College of Law. I left in 1975 and never looked back, although I've visited periodically (last in 2009).

My dad owned Whitey's Cocktail Bar on Cadieux Road—an infamous den of iniquity. As a law student, I worked in the Model Cities Drug Abuse Program in the old Motown Building, next to the Vernors plant. I also worked summers at Jefferson Assembly and had boilermakers at Chevy-Ho. I worked at Riedel's Super Service at John R. and Milwaukee streets. My first job out of law school, and until I left, was at Legal Aid on West Warren Avenue. I've lived in Jeff-Chalmers, Palmer Park and Sherwood Forest.

Boy, have I got stories and laments. Boy, was the Detroit of my youth a wonderful city. Boy, did it go to hell fast. Boy, is it scary now. I got me some Deeetroit creds, even though dated. Boy, could we talk Detroit. Enjoyed your piece ("Rock City," Aug. 30). Sign me "Born on Beaubien."

Albert B. Lassen


Not All Sentinel Plaza Residents Are Unhappy

I am one of the miserable seniors who was dragged kicking and screaming from Armory Park and forced to live in this gorgeous, brand-new facility ("Bittersweet Home," Sept. 20).

It's true: There aren't any handrails, and the toilet is a little low, but my apartment is otherwise beautiful, with new appliances, a balcony, soundproof walls and plenty of extras—and you can't beat the rent. Those who were expecting a social club with free coffee every morning (lousy coffee, by the way) and whine when their monthly birthday party (free cake and ice cream) is a few days late need to go back to grade school and learn when they're well-off.

The only problem I've encountered so far is an overabundance of cute little dogs and way too much self-righteousness. It is, after all, "independent" living, right? Your reporter should have talked to a few more residents. As they say, "The squeaky wheel ... ."

Christopher Brown


Maybe Ms. Johnsrud Should Have Read the Article a Wee Bit Closer?

Thank you, Frank Boccio, for your letter regarding Michael Roach (Mailbag, Sept. 20, and "Buddha in the Desert," Sept. 6). It will put an end, one hopes, to the perception that Roach's organization somehow reflects accepted Buddhist teachings and practices. And thank you for articulating questions we could well ask ourselves before joining any community.

Another topic: I had expected a swarm of letters zeroed in on the Sept. 6 sub-headline. Yes, we expect a hook to lure us readers in, but your headline writer must have interned at the National Enquirer: "... raises questions about cults—and the future of American Buddhism." Neither topic was explored in the article.

Georgiana Johnsrud

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