Enjoy your paper

Mr. Sorchych,

I live in North Scottsdale and enjoy your newspaper very much. I also agree with your views and the views of your reporter Linda Bentley. I applaud your efforts to keep the Obama eligibility issue front and center. To me it seems an outrage that questions about Obama’s birth certificate and his social security number remain unanswered. We need to know who this person is that holds the highest office in this land. Worse yet, anyone who asks questions or demands answers are ridiculed by the press and called a racist or a nut case. There are serious unanswered questions regarding Obama’s birth certificate and other parts of his life.

You seem to be one of the few journalists who are willing to stand up to an obvious attempt to hide the truth from the American people. I thank you and have a question:  Why are the mainstream media so willing to cover and hide the truth?

Thank you for any information you may share.

Michael Walker


Reata Ranch: House Ranch

Have you been to my neighborhood? Head East on Dynamite, pass Pima, pass soaring Pinnacle Peak. Keep going. Suddenly, the road crests and begins to slope down. You pull your car to the side of the road. You can’t help yourself. The vista of Four Peaks rising in majestic splendor before you, skirted by waves of mountains at its feet, is too compelling. The McDowells to your right are a mighty arm of beauty and strength that reach out to embrace you.

But you better get out here fast. Scottsdale government, which ALWAYS knows what is best for you and me, has decided to “fast-track” HOUSE ranches. No, that is not a typo.

Back in October, an article appeared in the Arizona Republic headlining the arrival of a “dude ranch” on 220 acres zoned for about 110 homes. We were intrigued; if it could succeed, it might fit well.

We met the developer. We looked at his sketched plan and puzzled. No corrals. No horses. But houses! Have they got houses, oops, I mean dwellings….330, crammed in there, because this is a RESORT now. This is a 21st century guest ranch.

We worked, saved and CHOSE to move to this rural area where we honored and abided by zoning. We plan our car trips to encompass all we need do. We don’t want to be away from our homes too long. We, as our neighbors, all dozen or so, are on large lots, adhering to zoning. Many have horses.

The CITIZENS of Scottsdale thought this area so unique, so expansive, and so rare, that we voted to tax ourselves to buy land nearby to create the McDowell Mountain Preserve for the future. We CITIZENS considered this too important a legacy to squander. You can now visit the area; your children and grandchildren will visit, climb, explore, thanks to the efforts of the CITIZENS of Scottsdale.

But from those splendid heights, will the all-knowing GOVERNMENT of Scottsdale give you vistas of roof tops?

Whether you are a citizens of Scottsdale or not, this impacts you. I urge you to contact Mayor Lane and City Council to protect the McDowell Mountain Preserve from encroachment by non-conforming, high density projects.

Stephanie Bradley


Obama is a fraud

Don, I just read your Obama is a fraud editorial.  I have always liked and respected you Don, but am baffled by your take on Obama.  I could not be more on an opposite side of this issue, and I find your continued skepticism about his birth astounding.  Glad you have freedom of speech, glad I feel proud and patriotic about our hard working, successful, Christian president.   

Melissa Paxton


Signs in Carefree

As a former retail business owner, my heart goes out to those who are trying to stay in business.  A business without a sign is a sign of no business.  The designers of most shopping plazas do not consider the ease in finding a store whose front is in the back.  I applaud the town of Carefree for allowing A-frame signs.  They are not the best option but are relatively inexpensive and let the customer know where the business is located.  I frequently turn into a plaza when I see a sign and find a store I never knew existed. When a landlord has a vacancy, signs are plentiful.  It is the presence of these small businesses which give the town its unique character. If the signage ban is allowed to continue,  we will have a pristine town devoid of business.

Name withheld by request
Cave Creek


Protecting their rice bowl

In the past four years, companies, parent/teacher organizations and individuals have invested about $85,000 in two political action committees (about 35 percent for the "Vote Yes for Cave Creek Students" PAC and 65 percent for the "" PAC) supporting CCUSD93's financial ambitions (bonds, overrides, etc.) in four separate special elections. What is the return on investment for all these invested PAC funds? ZERO, NADA, ZILCH!
Were a majority of contributors to these PACs merely "protecting their rice bowl" (a phrase spoken by the late Steve McQueen in his move "Sand Pebbles")? It could be!

Nearly 40 percent of the PAC contributions came from architectural and construction firms active in the educational construction marketplace. Another 16 percent of the PAC contributions came from individuals associated with CCUSD93 (teachers, administrators, governing board members, etc.). About 9 percent of the PAC funds came from CCUSD non-profit parent/teachers organizations and from the teachers' union. Another 9 percent came from other political action committees active in the education area. Only 26-27 percent of the PAC contributions came either from the "under $25" category or from the general public with no clear affiliation with CCUSD93. Talk about most PAC contributors "protecting their rice bowls!"

Did these two political action committees, supporting CCUSD93 financial ambitions, use these contributions to accomplish their goals? Apparently not, given voter rejection of CCUSD's multiple bond and override proposals in the past four years.

How did the political action committees, supporting CCUSD93, use their money during the four year period? Well, over $32,000 (about 37 percent of the total disbursements) went to consultants for "robocalls," mail outs and advisory services. Another 20 percent of the total disbursements were used in a "postcard" campaign and about 15 percent (over $13,000) was spent for those signs prevalent throughout the district during the election season. Most of the remaining PAC funds were used for fund-raising, advertisements (mainly in the Arizona Republic), election apparel (including T-shirts, wristbands, etc) and various mail outs. Despite the use of these modern electoral techniques, these PACs failed to convince a majority of district voters to approve the proposed CCUSD93 requests.

Should future contributors to political action committees supporting CCUSD93, expect that their funding would make a difference? Probably not!

The financial "reality" proposed by CCUSD93 proponents (like seeking budget overrides while running budget surpluses) is only remotely connected with the financial "reality" of the external world (poor economy, relatively high unemployment, housing crises, etc.), with four years of futile PAC expenditures demonstrating that. What is lacking is a matter of trust by the larger district electorate regarding the school district, in light of a past history of proposed "Taj Mahal" high schools, several shuttered schools, proposed Olympic swimming pools, half-filled multi-school complexes, etc. Until that trust level increases, future PAC contributors may reasonably ask "why should I contribute?"

Alexei Westfall


Supreme Court's Indecision Leaves Schools, Students Unsure of Speech Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday stoked the fires of a hot free speech debate-without even taking a case or issuing a decision. The Court did so by choosing not to hear appeals in two cases that reached contradictory conclusions about the authority of public school officials to punish students for online, off-campus speech.

In two consolidated cases originating out of Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that school officials could not punish students for degrading their principal on a social networking site. At the same time, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 5-day suspension of a student in West Virginia who spread a rumor online that a fellow student had a sexually transmitted disease.

Legal experts are concerned that the conflicting rulings may lead schools throughout the nation to overreach in censoring student speech. "This lack of resolution by the Supreme Court could open the door for more school districts to suppress student speech, including expression of religious or traditional values on Facebook," said Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute. "With so much anti-Christian censorship already occurring inside the classroom, the last thing we need is public schools censoring even more speech outside the classroom." Late last year, PJI voiced similar concerns after a New Jersey teacher was suspended for expressing religious beliefs against homosexuality on her personal Facebook page.
The Supreme Court's landmark 1969 decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District established speech rights for students while allowing officials to control expression that disrupts the learning environment. Tinker arose in the context of anti-war protests in the Vietnam era. In 2007, the High Court upheld school disciplinary action against a student in Alaska who held up a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" sign across the street from his school, when the entire school had gone outside to watch the Olympic torch relay. Lawyers like Dacus believe it's too much of a stretch, though, to say that those cases justify school punishment of expression that happens outside school hours and miles away from campus.

Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties. Pacific Justice Institute works diligently, without charge, to provide their clients with all the legal support they need.  Pacific Justice Institute's strategy is to coordinate and oversee large numbers of concurrent court actions through a network of over 1,000 affiliate attorneys nationwide. And, according to former US Attorney General Edwin Meese, "The Institute fills a critical need for those whose civil liberties are threatened." "Through our dedicated attorneys and supporters, we defend the rights of countless individuals, families and churches... without charge."

Brad Dacus


Do nothing

We have a do nothing congress because we have a do nothing citizenry. In 2010 less than 38 percent of eligible voters voted. In that election 88 percent of incumbents were reelected. Most American voters don’t vote and those that do keep electing the same people. Perhaps the reason people don’t vote is that they feel they must pick the lesser of two evils. You could give voters a better choice.

If you are sick of Washington politics I invite you to make a difference and run for congress. The job pays $174,000 per year. You must act now as the filing deadlines in many states are fast approaching. Find out how you can run for office at GOOOH (pronounced Go) intends to challenge incumbents, in the primaries, with citizen representatives chosen by the members of their district. That could be you or someone you know.

Irving B. Welchons III
Charlotte, North Carolina


An eye for an eye?

A year ago gunman Jared Loughner snuffed out six innocent people and injured another thirteen! Thus far, other than showing how resilient, lucky and courageous Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is, the status of the evil Loughner does not seem to matter. But then again Gov. Jan Brewer's son copped an insanity plea for a nasty crime and no one seems to care about that. Am I missing something? I think most of us could think of appropriate punishments for Loughner. But most likely he'll get the same deal as Gov. Brewer's son.

Joseph DuPont
Towanda, Pennsylvania