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U.S. Senator Jon Kyl

Congress has long recognized that it can only grant residents of the nation’s capital the ability to participate in federal elections through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Prior to 1961, for example, residents of the District of Columbia were not permitted to vote in presidential elections. Article II, section 1 of the Constitution expressly provides that the Electoral College should be composed of electors from each state, in a number equal to the state’s combined congressional delegation.

In the face of this explicit constitutional language, Congress recognized that a change to the law would require a change to the Constitution itself. That’s why, when Congress granted D.C. residents the right to participate in presidential elections, it went about the right way – by passing what would become the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution.
Just as Article II of the Constitution limits the right to appoint presidential electors to the states, Article I clearly and repeatedly limits representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to the states.

Article I says that the House “shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.” It requires that each Representative, “when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he [was] chosen.” It mandates that “each state . . . have at least one Representative,” and it provides that “[w]hen vacancies happen in the Representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.”

Despite the explicit constitutional language giving congressional representation only to states, the U.S. Senate recently approved legislation that would give the District a full voting seat in the House.

Proponents of the bill ignore the fact that the very court that will hear challenges to this bill (under a process known as “judicial review”) have previously ruled on this matter. In Adams v. Clinton, decided in 2000, a three judge panel of the federal district court for the District of Columbia concluded that the Constitution plainly limited congressional representation to the states. The U.S. Supreme Court later refused to reconsider that ruling.

In order to give District residents a voting seat in Congress, I introduced an alternative proposal that would have accomplished the result constitutionally.
Under my alternative, except for the areas around the Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, and other federal areas, the District would be retroceded to Maryland. This is what was done for the Virginia area of the original District back in 1846. Unfortunately, my amendment was rejected.

Assuming the legislation approved by the Senate is also approved by the House and signed by the President, it will be litigated in the courts, and, I believe, will be struck down as unconstitutional. Maybe then Congress will be willing to consider retrocession in order to give the residents of the District of Columbia a full vote in the Congress.

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Election turnout

Larry Grow | Carefree

Voter turnout in the Carefree election was 46 percent with 1,244 bailouts being cast. If only 100 of 1,449 registered voters that did not vote had voted Carefree would likely have been spared the expense and administrative hassle of a May 19 run off election. Elections have consequences and there are even consequences or not voting.

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Veterans and President Obama

Bob Williams, Colonel | United States Army, Retired

I am a veteran. I served 26 years in the United States Army, including two combat tours in Vietnam in some very nasty environments (1966/67 as an Adviser to the Army of Vietnam in the jungles of I Corps and 1968/69 with a U.S. infantry division in the same area). As a result, I feel pretty strongly about veteran’s affairs. I was very lucky on many occasions in Vietnam as well as in other foreign and domestic assignments along the way and came out of the career with all of my parts and pieces. Many of my comrades in arms did not. In Vietnam alone, over 50,000 servicemen and women did not return and well over three times that number returned without all of their parts and pieces. Iraq and Afghanistan represent the same ugly meat grinder, but on a smaller scale. Since the days of the Roman Empire, a country’s highest calling has been to serve in its defense. And for the same period, the country has had the obligation to provide at least basic care for those who did serve. What little veterans get today, they earned many times over.

I am a voter – a registered Independent for the past 15 years or so because neither major party represents my values and vision anymore. I did not vote for President Obama, but frankly had a tough time convincing myself to vote for John McCain. I believed then and believe now the country could have done better. And in retrospect, until today, I believed I had voted for the wrong candidate and have supported the President privately and publicly. Today, perhaps we saw the President’s true colors when he floated a plan – not just a trail balloon – to have veterans pay for their own medical care, including combat injuries, with their own private insurance. The very thought is dishonorable and disgusting. Such an outrageous proposal has to be the result of a President and his minions never having had to fight for their country and they probably never will. They do not understand the rigors of military life, what military leadership and individual service members endure in combat or the concept of putting your life on the line for your country in some foreign rat hole for remarkably little pay. Apart from the moral obligation, the fact that much of the military does not make a living wage now and cannot afford that kind of insurance is conveniently ignored. If successful, his proposal will likely kill the military services – one of the few remaining institutions in this country that the country can always count on. Words simply cannot express my outrage. Unconscionable!

I am stunned. I could go on, but I will spare you. This proposal is so outlandish, so over the top. I feel confident, at least I fervently hope that intelligence, experience, rational judgment and some minimal sense of honor will prevail and this proposal will go nowhere. But, the damage is done. You can’t unring the bell and no matter where this administration goes, I will never trust it and will work for its defeat at every opportunity

[Editor’s note: The author sent this letter to the President, converted only by substituting personal pronouns where appropriate, and has the firm expectation that no one at any level of authority in the administration will bother to read it.]

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Antithesis of individual rights and liberty

Ed Konecnik | Flushing, New York

The slogan “the greatest good for the greatest number” sounds noble and virtuous. It has no specific meaning and can and has been used to justify depraved and vicious actions: 51 percent of the population enslaving the other 49, a lynching mob murdering a man whom they consider dangerous to the community, nine hungry cannibals eating the tenth one, a Nazi regime exterminating the smaller number of Jews.

The slogan implies the “good” of the majority must be achieved through the suffering of a minority; that the benefit of one man depends on the sacrifice of another. Responsible Americans are now compelled to sacrifice for the “good” by bailing out failed businesses and co-signing the mortgages of irresponsible spendthrifts.

The slogan the “greatest good for the greatest number” is the antithesis of individual rights and liberty. The “good” is not determined by counting numbers and is not achieved by the sacrifice of anyone to anyone. When every man is free to work for the greatest good he can achieve for himself by his own choice and by his own effort the sum total of such individual efforts is the only kind of social good possible.

In their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution the principle that the state is subservient to the individual, not vice versa.

Henry David Thoreau observed “the character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in the way.” He also warned, “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I would run for my life.”

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Voters of Carefree

Peter Koteas | Candidate for Town Councilee

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank all my fellow citizens that voted for me in the recent primary election. With your continued support in the May 19 General Election, I pledge to represent ALL Carefree residents honestly with integrity while keeping an open ear to your concerns.

I humbly ask for your continued support as we work together to “restore” Carefree to what the founders envisioned; a charming, tranquil, yet vibrant semi-rural community and to guide Carefree town government back on the path of representing ALL Carefree citizens.

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Peripatetic Obama

Geoff Orton | Carefree

I've been bemused by the fact Obama seems to spend more time going from city to city giving speeches than he does in the White House. It may be a good thing he is not working in Washington, as we are spared more socialistic policies. However, why does he spend so much time traveling? Why the peripatetic Obama?

I finally got it. As he is totally devoid of any administrative experience, and has very little experience in government at all, he really does not have a clue as to what to do. The only thing he is any good at is campaigning and making speeches to adoring and cheering crowds. Hence, rather than have to actually accomplish something, he continues to campaign, as that is all he knows how to do. How long do you suppose it will take for his followers to recognize he is totally incompetent?

Pity we did not elect a real President.

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You know who you are

Brenda Cirincione | Cave Creek

On Thursday afternoon, February 26, a horse got loose somehow. It ended up on our street around 64th Street and Dynamite. I totally understand the thought of catching it as soon as possible especially since it was so close to Dynamite and also to Scottsdale Road.

What I don’t understand is why someone would think chasing a horse with a car is acceptable. First off – the horse bolted for a reason people. Second, if an animal is terrified, the last thing it needs is a vehicle chasing it SPEEDING.

To the people who THOUGHT it was acceptable to haul ass on our street – DON’T COME BACK to our street. We have lots of small children, dogs and horses that live here. Show some respect – DO NOT speed in the ‘hood – don't speed in anyone’s ‘hood.

And when I say speed – these people thought it was okay to be going well over 50 mph in a neighborhood. Hello – the speed limit is 25 mph in most neighborhoods (some are only 15). And it wasn’t just one pass thru – it was at least three times.

All you had to do was ask any one of us to help – we would have lent a hand. You saw us because we all yelled at you to slow down. There were AT LEAST SIX (6) homeowners that would have banded together and tried to help. Had you stopped momentarily and asked – we have cell phones – it would have only taken a short time for us to help.

But no, you chose to piss us off by showing no respect. Had we been informed – we could have helped – it just would have taken seconds. I really hope the horse was corralled and not hurt in any way. Animals are always welcome around here, people like you are not. You know who you are.

Keep up the great work Don. Thanks.

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Harry Mitchell out of bounds

Bill Crawford | Scottsdale

Here's a cute stunt from the political playbook of clandestine marketing. Exactly 1 month before personal tax filings are due, I received an expensive, four color "information" brochure from Congressional Representative Harry Mitchell sent to me at tax payer expense. Mr. Mitchell claims that he wants his constituents to be able to contact the IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue. And for our viewing pleasure, he has posted a picture of himself on the mailer. For our added convenience, we are directed to contact information on Mr. Mitchell. Certainly, most everyone who pays income tax knows how to contact the IRS without the help of Mr. Mitchell.

This self serving piece of name recognition propaganda is tantamount to a paid political advertisement, benefiting Mr. Mitchell's political career far more than the tax payer, the IRS or the Arizona Department of Revenue. Why did Mr. Mitchell do this? Because he can.
Shame on Mr. Mitchell for using smoke, mirrors and a loophole in campaign finance laws to advance his political career at tax payers expense. Why not? It's other people's money.

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Dear IRS

[An Actual 'Letter to the Editor' from the February 5th edition of the Wichita Falls , Texas Times Record News]

Ed Barnett | Wichita Falls

Dear IRS,
I am sorry to inform you that I will not be able to pay taxes owed April 15, but all is not lost.

I have paid these taxes: accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capitol gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, Colorado property tax, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico sales tax, and many more that I can't recall but I have run out of space and money.

When you do not receive my check April 15, just know that it is an honest mistake. Please treat me the same way you treated Congressmen Charles Rangle, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and ex-Congressman Tom Dashelle and, of course, your boss Timothy Geithner. No penalties and no interest.

P.S. I will make at least a partial payment as soon as I get my stimulus check.

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McDowell Mtn Ranch greed

J. Wheeler | Scottsdale

Most of us know a friend or relative with cancer. It deeply saddens me when I see a wealthy organization, like the McDowell Mountain Ranch HOA go to great lengths to oppress a resident with cancer (and currently undergoing chemotherapy). Mrs. ‘R’ is a little over $1000 past due on her HOA dues at this time and is on a repayment plan with the HOA. Yet in spite of her painful and debilitating treatment, the HOA is pursuing foreclosure on her family’s home over this past due balance and adding massive attorney’s fees to it all, which triples the cost.

Our economy has resulted in many residents in our city, state and country to live in difficult circumstances. Yes, many have brought their own plight onto themselves. And, yes, many have not. Mrs. ‘R’ did not ask for cancer, its expensive medical treatments or her employer downsizing her job while undergoing therapy. But when an HOA organization like the McDowell Mountain Ranch HOA, pursues aggressive and unnecessary legal action without even being willing to respond to her efforts to work-out an affordable plan with them, it must be pure greed that the HOA board of directors is motivated by. Certainly their million dollar bank account will get them by for a short time longer. It is no wonder that this HOA gets sued on a regular basis. It is HOAs like McDowell Mountain Ranch that have caused our legislature to propose new laws to help reign-in their outrageous abuses.

In these times, we should be interested in seeking ways to help each other. We should be willing to work with each other toward a common solution. We should be seeking to find ways to reach out and help our fellow citizens. I call for the McDowell Mountain Ranch HOA to get off their ivory tower and show some compassion to their fellow citizen.

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