Taxpayer-funded Sweatshop

To the Editor,

With all the hype about the Indian gaming propositions, Prop 400, the Pima College Tax Levy measure, has received very little attention. Just the "coincidence" of a lot of "Thank You Pima" ads around Tucson. The Weekly's cover story last week about unions in Arizona ("Come Together," October 24) provides a perfect opportunity to talk about Pima Community College.

The voters should know the Board of Governors at Pima Community College is overseeing the reduction of good middle-class jobs in Tucson at the same time they are paying exorbitantly high wages to administrators, managers and central office staff. Wages that come very close to matching the same positions at the University of Arizona. Chancellor Bob Jensen likes to brag about how "cost-effective" the school is and how the taxpayer is "getting value for their dollar." But the truth is that quality education is less important to the governors and administrators than their own top-end financial remuneration and putting a branch campus in every corner of the city. Every new branch campus has its new administrators--housed in expensive underutilized buildings.

At the same time voters are paying for new buildings, they should know the big secret at Pima College: their methods at being "cost effective." The student tuition percentage of the budget has risen to one-fourth in the last two decades (Jensen's own figures). At the same time, the number of full-time faculty members teaching those students has dropped steadily. Today, more than half the students are taught by part-time "adjunct" faculty members. The governors and administrators play games with this number by neglecting to count the Community Campus adjunct faculty classes and by neglecting to count the large-size classes of the adjunct faculty.

The still-shrinking full-time faculty members are paid about one-third to one-fourth the salary of administrators, but even they are paid about $7,000 for a 3-unit class. "Adjunct" faculty are paid $1,700 for the same class. With no benefits. Very "cost effective."

The newest development in the sweatshop mentality comes in the classified staff area. Pima has taken to hiring "part-time" staff employees at 37.5 hours a week--just like the worst offenders in corporate America. Not quite full time and again, saving on the benefits.

Be a smart voter. Ask the Pima governors to publish the top 200 salaries and names and jobs at the college. Ask them what percentage of Prop 400 money will go to creating new full-time jobs. The difference between the management culture of Enron, WorldCom, Qwest and Pima College is that only Pima gets your money to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

--Howard Allen
(on behalf of several adjunct faculty members at Pima, whose names were withheld by request because they feared losing their jobs)

Spare the Dogs

To the Editor,

Sorry to hear that Kip Keefer ("Mailbag, October 24)" found Jim Nintzel's piece on the gambling proposition so "slanted" towards 202, but as he himself stated, it was an opinion piece. In my opinion, I believe Prop 201 isn't about the Indians or their casinos; the primary motives here seem to lie in the acquisition of additional revenues for a failing (and justifiably so) dog-racing industry.

By saying yes to 201 on November 5, Arizonans will expand casino gambling to dog tracks throughout the state. In effect, this will financially support greyhound racing and the continued ghastly treatment of its "stars," the greyhounds themselves. An estimated 19,000 greyhounds were euthanized nationally in 2000 due to the simple fact that they were no longer able to race, and thereby were not of any further value to the industry. Although adoption programs are helping many greyhounds find happy homes, this is not the answer--ending the unnecessary abuse and suffering is.

--Mike Iorio

A Piece of the Action

To the Editor,

I appreciate Tom Danehy's opinion regarding the different propositions on Indian gaming ("Indian Givers," October 10).

I had the unique opportunity as a non-tribal member to work for three years in Sells for the Tohono O'odham Nation. During that time I saw tribal members adversely affected to a larger degree by poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide and illness than non-tribal members living in the Tucson area. Requests for assistance to lawmakers in Phoenix were rarely if ever answered. I always thought their pleas fell on deaf ears, but realize now that their hearing was excellent. Tribal members should have been rubbing two quarters together. The sound of money has made their ears perk up like a couple of Doberman pincers when dinner is called.

Indian gaming is generating money and lawmakers want a piece of the action. The different propositions are just a way for lawmakers to get their hands in the pockets of tribal people. It is apparent they do no care that money will be taken away from the very people who need it the most.

Danehy told it like it is.

--Jay McKenzie, ex-Director
Tribal Employment Rights Office
Tohono O'odham Nation

Voting for Amphi

To the Editor,

There are three candidates running for two positions on the Amphitheater Governing Board (The Skinny, October 17). Of the three, Patricia Clymer and Doug Reed offer the best hope for dedicated leadership. Jeff Grant, on the other hand, is too connected to the past. So connected, in fact, that one cannot tell the difference.

Grant chaired the failed campaign for Mike Bernal's attempt to retain his position on the board. Bernal was opposed to a "call to the audience" at governing board meetings, even going as far to get the Amphitheater taxpayers to pay for a ridiculous legal opinion calling such public comment "illegal" at board meetings. Bernal, of course, lost easily. Grant was appointed to the "budget committee" by Virginia Houston. That "committee" ultimately became a recognized farce and it added ammunition to the recall election that threw out Houston along with Grant's other friends, Richard Scott and Gary Woodard.

Grant favors the creation of a school district that only serves the town of Oro Valley. Can such a selfish person adequately represent the children in the "southern" part of the district? I, for one, would like to know why he favors such an "exclusive" district. Is it the colorful diversity he has a problem with? Is it the low economic status he fears? Is it the issue of taxes? Studies show that the Tucson Mall and the Auto Mall pay far more in taxes to Amphitheater and they are located in the "other" part of the district. I know the residents of Oro Valley do not share his point of view.

There is only one central administrator and one principal left from the disaster that was Amphitheater. We kicked out the old board and we welcomed the "retirements" of the administrators. We are now under an order from the Attorney General to conduct our business properly because of the methods Grant's friends employed to run our district.

I urge the voters to remember the past and look to the future when they vote on November 5. Please vote for Clymer and Reed.

--Andy Morales

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