Prezelski: Realtors Expressing Cynicism With Prop 100

Thank you for the article about the sources of funding for the ballot propositions ("Extra-Special Interests," Oct. 16). With regard to Proposition 100, a little extra information might be useful in revealing the full breadth of the cynicism behind this particular issue.

I have to take some responsibility for this thing being on the ballot. See, when they say "some politicians" want to tax real-estate sales, they are talking about me.

Back in 2007, Phil Lopes and I were working with Pima County to help find a means to provide money for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. To this end, we introduced a bill that would have allowed the county to levy a tax of "one-tenth of 1 percent" on new-home sales for the trust fund, which would amount to less than $200 on an average home in Pima County. This would have generated $4 million for the fund, allowing the county to provide mortgage assistance to about 400 families.

We tried to make it clear that we were open to any ideas on how to provide money for the fund, as the bill was really about the trust fund itself and not the tax. Instead of coming forward with any ideas, the Realtors put out a pink flier calling me a socialist. Then, with alarmist predictions about how people were going to be forced out of their homes, they paid good money to get this constitutional amendment on the ballot to prevent us from ever considering this again.

The Realtors argue that such a tax would be a blow to affordable housing. Given how small this proposed tax was, this argument is laughably silly, especially since homeowners' association fees levied by developers on new homes are usually much higher. The argument that it would force folks out of their homes is equally silly, if not an outright lie.

Even crazier is the fact that, as of September, the Realtors had spent more than $2.7 million to fight a tax that would cost $4 million. If the Realtors wanted to do some good, they could have put this money into the Housing Trust Fund, where it could have helped nearly 300 families in Pima County buy homes. There would be no tax; the trust fund would have gotten some money; the problem would be solved; and everyone would be happy. Unfortunately, it was far more important to them to enshrine their special-interest tax break in the constitution forever, community-mindedness be damned.

Tom Prezelski, State representative, District 29

McCain's Compromised His Principles to the Point of Shame

I would like to respond to Robert W. "Bob" Boyle's bombastic explosion about the Tucson Weekly's endorsement of Barack Obama ("A Reasoned, Cordial Response to Our Endorsements," Mailbag, Oct. 16).

John McCain used to be a person of integrity and a maverick in his party, but ever since he ran against Dubya, he has compromised his principles, until today, he looks like a clone of Bush. His integrity is so compromised that in a desperate attempt to rise in the polls, he made Sarah Palin his running mate. He is older than 70 and has had cancer four times. He could die in office, and she would be our president!

Her husband was with the Alaskan Independence Party, wanting Alaska to secede from the United States. How's that for patriotism? Had she been a Democrat, the press would have been all over it.

She said she opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere," the biggest of pork barrels, but it was exposed by the press that she was for it before she was against it. As governor, Palin hired lobbyists to secure nearly $300 million in pork-barrel projects for Alaska. Then on stage in front of the world, she boasted that she was fighting to reduce the amount of so-called "earmark" appropriations from Congress. She's a liar!

Palin opposes sex education in schools, calling for "abstinence-only" programs. Look how well that worked for her.

Bob, don't call anybody an idiot; look in the mirror. The Republican Party's reputation for corruption and dirty tricks is legendary. Bush and his band of thieves have nearly ruined my country, and I am mad! McCain is itching to go to war with Iran. McCain knows nothing but war--he admitted he didn't know anything about the economy and had his hands in deregulation up to his elbows.

I think Barack Obama is a decent person, and I can no longer say that of McCain. Being a POW does not make him qualified to be president. And on that subject, I've talked to other POWs who consider it dishonorable to parade their experiences to make them look good. I trust Obama, and I think you, Bob, are the idiot, not the Tucson Weekly.

Marilyn O'Connor

Claim: Red-Light Cameras Cause Accidents

I find it hard to believe you are as gullible as the Arizona Daily Star. The stats on red-light cameras prove nothing if you factor in the price of gas ("Drinking Problem," The Skinny, Oct. 16). Bus accidents are probably up. Why? Because red-light cameras cause accidents. Google red-light cameras, and see for yourself. It's not about safety; you never see a motor cop at an intersection. They are a half-mile away where they can write more tickets per hour.

The red-light cameras can and do malfunction. But God help you if you go to City Court--there is no justice there. It's the same old thing: a greedy company and city preying on the citizens of Tucson. They are having a $2 million-a-year party.

Mark Hansen

Taxes = Bad, So Prop 105 = Yes Vote

Yes, I'll readily give my vote to "folks who've moved away, who've died, or who just don't care," as illustrated on the cover of your Oct. 2 issue in which you express opposition to Proposition 105. If the depicted rebel, busy guy or lazy guy truly wants yet another tax increase, a few minutes can be taken to file a mail-in ballot.

I'll concede the proposition is not perfect in that those who've moved or passed away are counted as a "no" vote. But what is considerably less perfect is my having to dump out hundreds of dollars in semi-annual property taxes which are further increased by approved tax propositions. After all, I am mandated to pay this money, no matter what my circumstances are.

That brings us Proposition 403, another school-budget-override request. The schools need to learn to live within their means as many entities must do. My primary Tucson Unified School District property tax constitutes a significant 27 percent of my bill, along with another 12 percent of secondary TUSD money, for a total of roughly 40 percent--that's enough already. Where will it end? I have no children, and it seems to me to be inherently unfair that I must pay the same TUSD tax rates as those with one, three or five kids in school.

How about dividing the costs of these school overrides among those who vote for the increases? That would be fair. But since that's not likely to happen in the current culture, who, then, will fund my own budget overrides as I pay for these increased taxes?

G. Goodall

Mike, We're Afraid, Too!

I'm afraid, very afraid! I agreed with all your recommendations on the propositions. I've scheduled an appointment with a counselor. Will keep you posted. Pray for me.

Mike Hicks