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Still fighting for LGBT equality

Still fighting for LGBT equality



In this decade, the gay rights movement has accomplished more than anyone could’ve thought possible during time of the senseless assassination of Harvey Milk in 1978 or during the start of the Stonewall riots in 1969.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage can no longer be prohibited by a state, marking one of the largest accomplishments of the LGBT movement.

However, like the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBT movement hasn’t reached the end of its journey and some of the hardest battles may still be ahead.

Much like the enacted Civil Rights Act of 1968, the gay marriage law is not being accepted by everyone just yet. Many still face the same type of discrimination that was around before the bill was passed. There have been many cases of gay couples being refused a marriage license despite the ruling.

For some reason, certain Americans are not willing to accept that two people of the same sex would want to have the same rights as straight couples do. In fact, it seems as time passes more and more social conservatives are fixated about the apparent scourge of homosexuality sweeping across the U.S. They sound like an anti-gay propaganda film from the 1960s.

Rather than focusing on newer, pressing issues such as the wave of murders committed by police officers or skyrocketing occurrences of school shootings, it seems that conservatives simply cannot get their minds off of strangers going to bed together in the privacy of their own homes.

This may be in part due to how the media can obsess over something and blow it completely out of proportion, whether it be liberal or conservative outlets. As soon as the ruling was handed down, FOX news began to declare the downfall of the United States.

As the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh stated on the day the bill passed, “That’s exactly what this day is about. The Constitution has been made to be everything about this. It has been corrupted.”

Yup, giving Americans the right to marry whoever they choose has “corrupted” the Constitution in the eyes of some conservatives.

This is ever more noticeable in Houston, Texas with the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance bill that would have protected LGBT members from discrimination at work and in public, as well as discrimination based on age, race, gender and many other areas where discrimination is still present.

The LGBT community simply wants the right to feel safe and protected equally, the same way as straight Americans. However, for some reason citizens seemed to have their heads in the toilet, focused on the fact that this bill would have allowed transgender individuals to use whichever bathroom they most identify. This would mean that women who have transitioned to men would be allowed to use the men’s bathrooms, and vice versa.

Immediate outcry was heard in the conservative state of Texas, and a successful fear driven campaign against the bill led to it being voted down by the voters. Many around the country wondered how this could happen in a liberal town like Houston.

The campaign against this bill used the same tactics that were used to keep gay Americans from adopting children and getting married in the 1970s. The opposition of the bill portrayed LGBT Americans as pedophile monsters who are out to hurt women and children.

Sadly, the LGBT community actually faces a higher number of sexual assaults than the straight community. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that 44 percent of lesbians are victims of sexual assault, rape, or stalking as opposed to 35 percent of heterosexual women. Additionally, 37 percent of bisexual men experience this compared to the 29 percent of heterosexual men.

However, other states that have passed bills to protect these rights have not experienced any higher rates of sex crimes or instances of sexual acts from its LGBT citizens. The only difference is that the LGBT community feels safer and can live happier lives.

Violence against those who identify as LGBT has been on the rise in 2015, up 13 percent from 2014, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. It is un-American to be treated poorly because of your sexual orientation, and there are some being murdered for it.

In the media, some LGBT individuals are being portrayed as child-hurting monsters which people should fear. When in reality, the LGBT community faces hate and violence everyday and is in need of protection in order to live safe lives.

Americans are obsessed with what their neighbors are doing and cannot simply mind their own business. Maybe, instead of trying to create a problem out of nothing, we can start to worry about the real problems our country seems to be ignoring.

The human race faces new troubles everyday, whether it’s a terrorist attack that kills Americans or that another teenager murdering his fellow classmates. It seems like now, more than ever, people should be coming together as a community instead of letting small differences tear us apart.

Braasch is an Aztec Press reporter and an activist for equal rights. He believes in a community that minds its own business. 

Tarantino and police affairs

Tarantino and police affairs



Quentin Tarantino stood with protesters at a RiseUpOctober rally on October 24. The remarks he made at the event about police actions have not been taken lightly by unions in Los Angeles and New York.

In his speech, he referred to police officers who used deadly force in confrontations as “murderers,” saying, “When I see murders, I do not stand by. I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers.”

The response from the unions was to boycott his upcoming film, “The Hateful Eight.”

Any police response is completely unnecessary and the proposed boycott would be a waste of time.

We live in the United States and the First Amendment to our glorious Constitution entitles Tarantino to say whatever he wants in public. It allows the police to do the same, but they didn’t have to say anything.

Although many people love Tarantino’s films, he’s not in a seat of power. He’s just a concerned citizen. He’s no threat to police, because he asked for nothing other than justice. He didn’t ask for the “murder of the murderers.”

Tarantino isn’t black and he isn’t viewed as any kind of black hero. He’s not going to convince someone to do something they weren’t already going to do. He wasn’t gathering troops, he was lending his voice.

He isn’t New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made comments that showed a lack of support for police actions and received turned backs from officers during the funeral for Officer Wenjian Liu, who was shot on Dec. 20, 2014.

Tarantino’s comments should have just gone by.

The boycott for the film stems from a perceived lack of respect from Tarantino due to the sensitive timing of his speech, which was delivered four days after New York police officer Randolph Holder was fatally shot by a suspect he was pursuing.

The march in New York was planned weeks in advance, so it would have been impossible for anyone to anticipate that a police officer’s life would be taken the same week.

It’s understandable that the unions would be on edge for the heat they’ve been getting because of standout events that have claimed the lives of unarmed black citizens.

Not all officers would make the same decisions that were carried out in the contested “murder” cases.

People joining the police academy know the risks involved, and it’s hard to believe that candidates would go through training just to get the chance to shoot unarmed citizens. Police officers become police officers to uphold the law where it is challenged. They give their time to protect the community and serve the public trust.

It’s understandable that black Americans would be enraged by what seems to be a constant flow of incidents involving unarmed, black Americans that end in them seeing the coroner and not the courthouse.

At the end of the day, police still have to do their jobs. Tarantino’s stand with the protestors did nothing to infringe upon that. He wasn’t asking for more death, he was asking for justice.

He asked for the same justice men and women all across the U.S. have to dish out every day as uniformed officers.

There shouldn’t have been any response to his impassioned words other than self-reflection from police and citizens alike.

Romero isn’t a social justice advocate of any kind. He believes black lives matter just as much as blue lives. He realizes that judgement calls made in heat of the moment have no planning but can have major repercussions. In situations where the infraction is minor, being black shouldn’t magnify the judgment call’s likelihood of having fatal consequences.

Concerning capitalism confusion

Concerning capitalism confusion



Ever since its inception, capitalism, an economic system based off of private ownership of the basic means of production and free trade, has received both lots of love and seemingly more hate from millions of thinking humans.

In the United States, people on the political right wing are more accepting of capitalism. Those on the left tend to be highly critical of the system. However, it seems that those who criticize capitalism do so on the basis of basic misconceptions of the economic system.

The first of these misconceptions is that capitalism is fundamentally exploitative of the lower social classes. It seems one doesn’t have to go far in any direction to encounter this narrative. What critics fail to realize about capitalism is that it’s based off of free trade and interaction. This means that both employees as well as employers freely consented to associate with each other. Hence, the outcome is mutually beneficial.

This is in contrast to the anti-capitalist narrative that the poor suffer exploitation from the rich.

Another popular misconception of the economic system of capitalism is that it mainly benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. Of course, this also is ultimately false since, as I noted earlier, economic interactions within capitalism are voluntary, thus we know that they are mutually beneficial. BOTH parties will benefit from the trade. Otherwise the trade wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

When one buys a hamburger from McDonald’s, the customer obviously wants the burger more than he wants the money, and the worker wants the money more than he wants the burger. In which case, both people involved are better off than they were before because of the trade. It’s also good to note that both the rich and the poor in the U.S. have gotten richer over decades, according to an article by Abigail R. Hall of The Independent Institute.

In a truly capitalistic society, people can really only become rich if they supply others what they want. We can know this to be the case, once again, because all human interactions under capitalism are voluntary and thus mutually beneficial.

In other words, those who wish to benefit themselves and become rich can really only do so by benefiting from those whom they interact with in the economy.

Ask yourself why, for example, Wal-Mart is so profitable. It’s because millions of people do business at Wal-Mart, and we can reasonably assume they do business there because it makes them economically better off. Therefore, Wal-Mart’s economic success is due to benefiting millions of people, not exploiting them.

Capitalism is obviously not a perfect system, but it sure does seem better than the capitalism we have now, that is corrupted by a big, bureaucratic system that forcefully exploits taxpayers for the interests of powerful entities.

Kezer is interested in politics and hope to cover important political issues.

Guest commentary: Rethink approach to learning

Guest commentary: Rethink approach to learning



I am writing this piece to express my deep disappointment with the current efforts on both the local and national levels to equate the educational process with quantification and uniformity. In my view, education should be about student engagement, interaction and growth, not organized numerical cataloging. The results of learning will show up in the way students think and behave in life.

Let me begin by saying that education is really about exercising our mental capacities, much the way we would exercise our bodily muscles, or practice certain techniques in a studio class. The main point is not the course material itself, since students will soon forget this and can always look it up when needed. What we are really about is helping students learn to think creatively and analytically. This requires active participation and discussion rather than simply listening, memorizing and forgetting. The skills acquired here are not really quantifiable “outcomes” that can be cataloged and systematized.

To better explain what I mean, let me share briefly the way I structure my own classes here at Pima Community College. To be sure, my way of teaching in Humanities courses does not fit all subject matters, but I think that in principal it does get to the heart of what real education is all about. First off, I think it is important to give attention to the way a classroom is arranged. I try to arrange the seating so that it comes close to a semi-circle, with some students sitting up front on one side of the room and myself on the other. This arrangement greatly facilitates discussion because we can all see and hear each other better. Sad to say, it is not usually possible to rearrange the remaining students’ desks.

I divide the class into rotating “sparker” groups of roughly 6 students each, and in each class period a different group is up front with me. Each group gets up front four times in a semester. The students in the “up front” group write and share a short paper in which they focus on something important in that day’s reading assignment, which then becomes the topic of discussion for that day’s textbook assignment.

I read, write criticisms and suggestions and evaluate these papers and give them back at the next meeting of the class. It is vital that the students get feedback on their work as soon as possible. At the end of each section of the course, every student writes a longer paper on a take-home, open-book assignment integrating the material of that section. I name these papers “Integrative Educational Experiences” and they count as double. I find tests to be counter-productive to real learning in the sorts of courses I teach because they create undue psychological pressure. Time factors have little to do with developing critical thought and insight.

In each class we discuss the students’ papers, while I serve as moderator and “secretary,” briefly summarizing what students are saying on the whiteboard, asking questions and sharing my own thoughts from time to time. As the discussion progresses, other students in the class are encouraged to participate. I find this format highly conducive to strong student engagement, both with the key ideas in the course and with one another. Many students “find their own voice” and learn to listen seriously to others. True dialogue takes place, as opposed to the one-way communication of information.

It is important to emphasize that that these classroom discussion sessions are neither mere glorified bull-sessions nor debates, but rather they are serious exchanges among young people who are desirous of getting a better grip on some big issues. I teach the Philosophy of Religion, New Testament and Intercultural Perspectives, and each of these courses raises and pursues important questions and openness to new ideas, critical thinking and diverse values. It is exciting to engage together in exploring significant issues of the past, the present and the future from different perspectives and angles.

Over the years, many of my students have expressed pleasure and shown growth in relation to this quality based approach to their educational experience. I try to be both thorough and concrete, as well as honest, when remarking on their written work and their classroom participation always factors in as well. Through this process students “learn to learn” rather than simply producing certain prearranged “outcomes.” Quality outweighs quantity ever time.

Another way to express what I am getting at is focused in the contrast between process and product.

One must trust that the value of real educational growth will reveal itself in the process.      

Gill is an instructor of humanities at Pima Community College.

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor


Disappointed by content

As a Pima student, I am disappointed in the content of your paper. The articles always seem to be left leaning. I have spoken with several students on my own and we have realized that it seems you are trying to push a certain agenda on the students by not including opposing views in the paper. We understand all media outlets tend to be biased and this one seems no different then expected. But as adults we would like to see this paper take a hard look at its content and try to include all thoughts and ideas representative of both sides of the population.

-Jason Khalaf, PCC student


Violence awareness display

On behalf of the Old Pueblo chapter of Zonta International, we wish to thank the administration and students of Pima Community College West Campus for their involvement in our display of shoes, from Oct. 28-30, to focus on victims of domestic violence.

We know that many on campus took the time to read the information and to acknowledge the victims whose names were attached to the shoes on display.

Some even took the extra time to write responses in the notebook we had next to the display.

Many wrote something like the following:

“Very powerful way to bring awareness to this sad fact.  A grim sense of the scale, the children’s shoes especially.”

Several survivors of domestic violence also responded.  One or them wrote:

“I am a survivor of domestic violence and can’t believe how many people actually lost their life to this.  I am grateful that my children and I are alive… I pray for the ones that are currently in these situations… that they may be seen… and find the support they need.”

That awareness of the need for support was echoed by others.  The last quote in the notebook poses some important questions that we all need to consider:

“It’s now early morning.  Not many people here.  I’m reading the info on these shoes for the first time.  Real people—dying at all different ages due to violent relations?!  Ages 3 days, 2 years, 61 years, etc.  Unrelentingly sad!”

“What types of activities can people get involved in so they learn how to become non-violent, or to move away from violence? What therapy can a bad person receive?  How can a victim learn how to become healthy enough to leave?  How can they heal?”

We at Zonta appreciate the time everyone took to look at and respond to the display.  We share the concerns expressed and hope that all will consider how to address the questions posed.

One place to start is Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse, or 795-8001.

Again, we give our sincere thanks to the PCC West community for your interest and response.

-Katherine Conover, on behalf of the members of  Old Pueblo Chapter of Zonta International

Limit exposure to America’s kids

Limit exposure to America’s kids


Medical marijuana is having negative effects on America’s youth. While medical use of the drug may have its benefits, precautions need to be taken to protect children from access and influence.

Pot isn’t all bad; it just shouldn’t be promoted to minors. Once a person reaches adulthood, they can do whatever they want. Even regular users of marijuana, like Colorado’s Todd Mitchem, recognize that children shouldn’t be exposed to recreational use of the drug.

In an article published by The Cannabist, a marijuana oriented publication, Mitchem said that his children are well educated on marijuana.

Mitchem runs a dating app for pot users called High Life, and his children are very curious about marijuana in general. They’re not, however, allowed to even sample the pot brownies in the fridge. Why? Because, as Mitchem says, “It’s bad for their developing brains.”

Children are impressionable. As marijuana becomes a bigger part of mainstream media, youth across the country are starting to draw unsafe conclusions. Their exposure to marijuana should be limited to ensure they don’t make bad choices.

A study conducted by the Research and Development Corporation, a global research foundation, discovered that teens exposed to medical marijuana advertisements are more inclined to illegal use of the drug.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government run activism and research group, reported that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

Twenty states have decriminalized marijuana. According to Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, decriminalization means that first-time offenders found with small amounts of marijuana would be given a citation and fined, but wouldn’t have a criminal record or serve time.

The impacts of recreational usage have become concerns for healthcare workers across the country. The American College of Pediatricians stated that call rates for accidental pediatric marijuana ingestion increased nearly 11.5 percent per year in states that decriminalized marijuana between 2005 and 2011. But, accidental ingestion isn’t the only problem facing America’s youth.

According to a study published by the National Institute for Biotechnology Information, a branch of the US National Library of Medicine, between 70-72 percent of people age 12 to 17 who enter drug treat- ment programs do so primarily because of marijuana addiction. These teenagers also reported being exposed to the usage of crack cocaine, heroin or codeine cough syrup.

Marijuana was labeled a gateway drug, or a drug that made users more open to other illegal drugs. Teen Challenge USA, a national drug and alcohol rehabilitation group, reported all of these findings in their patients.

“Teen Challenge centers repeatedly see marijuana as a gateway drug in many of their students’ lives,” said Patty Baker, a Teen Challenge staff member.

But, if that wasn’t bad enough, marijuana use can make high school even harder than it already is. Maybe anti- drug campaigns should use report cards as a motivator to not abuse illegal substances.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported in a 2014 study titled, “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use,” that adolescents who use marijuana impair their cognitive development, develop breathing disorders and heighten their risk for episodes associated with mental illnesses, like schizophrenia. They explained that students have a harder time in their studies if they illicitly use marijuana.

According to the same study, these young people are at an increased risk for health problems because their brains and bodies haven’t finished developing. Essentially, they make the nightmare of puberty even worse. These findings were also reflected in a 2012 study on adult users conducted by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The study, titled “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to mid-life,” found that patients who began recreational use of marijuana at a young age lost, on average, 8 IQ points between the ages of 13-38.

The lost mental abilities didn’t return when these patients quit later in life. Critical thinking abilities, learning abilities, memory and brain connectivity were all negatively impacted.

Thankfully, the solution is simple. Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, stated that they “don’t want people to think of medical marijuana more than it should be thought of,” and expressed support of limiting the access that America’s impressionable youth have to the media hype around marijuana.

Ford is a speech and debate alumna and coach for a local speech and debate team. She is also way more fun than this article would insinuate.


Our country’s beneficial right

Our country’s beneficial right


Recreational marijuana won’t only please the government with the revenue it can create, it will also bring tranquility to those in dire need of it.

Cannabis, weed, marijuana, reefer, bud or ganja is a plant grown from the earth like any other normal plant. Trees help provide us with oxygen and cannabis can help with several health issues. So why is it still illegal if it’s proven to help people?

To understand the “reefer madness” propaganda, we must go to where it all began.

In ancient China and Egypt 2727 B.C., cannabis was used to treat soreness from gout, rheumatism and other issues.

By 1545, the Spaniards introduced marijuana to America in the form of hemp to make rope, clothing and paper. The English brought marijuana to Jamestown Colony, Virginia, in 1611, and by 1619 America’s first marijuana law was established.

All farmers were ordered to grow Indian hempseed. In times of shortage, the government encouraged  farmers to grow hemp and it was considered unlawful not to do so. My how times have changed.

Nowadays, being in possession of any amount of marijuana could get you an unfair sentence in certain states.

If it wasn’t for William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, the DuPont family and Harry J. Anslinger’  marijuana wouldn’t be frowned upon the way it is today. To these men, marijuana was not dangerous to the people, but a threat to their billion dollar empires.

The DuPont and Hearst empires had to get rid of hemp because it was far more versatile, and they considered it competition to their wood pulp and nylon industries. Anslinger was embarking on a career opportunity with the Bureau of Narcotics. He wanted to build his agency by making marijuana illegal. Of course he wanted to make marijuana illegal, why would people pay for medicine when they can grow it themselves at home? Racism and violence were themes he used to get attention.

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” Anslinger said.

Hearst helped Anslinger provoke fear in the hearts and minds of America by using media manipulation, thus, creating the “reefer madness.”

Andrew Mellon, United States Secretary Treasurer from 1921-1932, wasn’t only the primary investor to the DuPont and Hearst families, but he was also Anslinger’s relative. The relationship between Mellon and Anslinger prompted a sense of powerful, moral correctness.

Anslinger brought his case to congress with ridiculous stories from Hearst editorials about murderers that were believed to have killed because they smoked marijuana, along with several racial slurs towards minorities.

Hearst and Anslinger received support by the DuPont chemical company and many other pharmaceutical companies in an effort to ban marijuana. Anslinger single-handedly set the tone for the 20th century’s “War on Drugs.”

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 placed a tax on the sale of cannabis. The law stated that in order to possess marijuana, one must have a Federal Tax stamp for it, but you couldn’t get the stamp without having the marijuana in hand.

Not only was this law unconstitutional, but it was inhumane due to the fact that it was a trap and mainly targeted towards African Americans and Mexicans. Anslinger wanted to put enough people in jail to scare the public into believing marijuana was bad.

These power elites worked together to ban a plant that can heal illnesses or be just as enjoyable to people, but less dangerous than alcohol.

There are currently 24 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Arizona has been one of them since 2010. Cannabis can help with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and many other illnesses.

Recreational marijuana is only legal in four states. Since legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2012, Colorado has brought in nearly $40 million in tax revenue, according to the states department of revenue. The state has allocated more than $8 million in revenue for youth prevention and education, mental health and community-based development programs.

There is $2 million of marijuana tax revenue that has also been allocated to fund community-based youth service programs that offer mentoring and focus on drug prevention and school retention, according to the department of revenue. Over $4.3 million will fund school-based outreach programs for students using marijuana.

Seeing all the benefits recreational marijuana can bring, it puzzles me how a few racist men were able to demonize one of the most useful substances in history.

Although Turcios has never done marijuana, she believes if she can have a glass of wine at the end of a hard day, then why shouldn’t you be able to smoke pot?


The name’s Bond... Pima County bonds

The name’s Bond… Pima County bonds



With all the excitement over presidential debates, campaign rallies and whatever came out of Donald Trump’s mouth this week, it can be difficult to remember that we have local elections this year.

Pima County voters will head to the voting booths on Nov. 3 to vote in our local elections, which is arguably much more important than selecting our future president. However, due to the media monopolization of the presidential race, local elections often get over looked.

This year, Tucson has the opportunity to approve or deny more than $800 million infrastructure and economic stimulus packages. Nearly a billion dollars could be spent improving our roads, parks, neighborhoods and businesses, but only if voters approve.

Members of the Pima County community have spent the last nine years developing seven distinct proposals worth nearly $100 million apiece to be paid for with general obligation bonds.

A 25-member committee has held more than 100 hearings to gather public insight as to what specific projects comprise each bond and these seven propositions are the culmination of nearly a decade of debate and compromise.

Bonds are similar to loans from private investors, except these loans are payed for by taxpayers. Over the next 15 years, property taxes will increase to fund these projects.

But worry not, for the average property owner tax will increase by a mere $17.54 per year while the highest valued properties ($250,000 or more for 13 percent of primary residences) will increase by $28.75 per year.

While it seems the vast majority of the public supports these propositions, there are some who disagree with the justification of spending $800 million of taxpayers’ money. One group, Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds, has even created a website (that belongs in 1996) to persuade voters against voting for the bonds.

The main argument against the bonds is that businesses will experience a much higher tax increase than homeowners. This is partially due to the fact that average commercial property is valued at roughly six times that of residential property. The average business owner can expect a tax increase of about $200 per year.

As compelling an argument as it may be, the life of a business depends on the lives of its customers and these packages not only stimulate economic development and tourism, but transportation and public health as well; all of which are beneficial to businesses as well as citizens.

Additionally, Pima County has an exemplary history with bonds and currently holds a AA credit rating, the second highest possible. Since 1974, Pima County voters have passed 54 bonds worth $2.03 billion in 12 elections. Only four have ever been denied.

The decision is ultimately left to the voter. So to help you decide here is a brief summary of each of the seven propositions. For more information, head to


Proposition 425: Road and Highway Improvements

Total: $200 million

This is the largest proposal this cycle with the majority of the spending designated to road repair and pavement preservation to be completed over the next 12 years. It’s no secret that Tucson’s roads are in desperate need of repair and in tandem with Prop 431 for flood control and drainage, this $200 million will go further than funds for repairs in the past.

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Proposition 426: Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training

Total: $91.4 million

What else does Tucson need? Business! This package is aimed at helping the unemployed prepare for and land a job as well as help out existing businesses. The largest parts of the package are the $20 million going to the University of Arizona Tech Park for a new building; $18 million for the new Southern Arizona Regional Orientation Center, a tourist resource for learning more about the Southwest; and $15 million for the Oro Valley Business Accelerator, a center for industry and academia to collaborate on research.

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Proposition 427: Tourism Promotion

Total: $98.6 million

While the proposition sounds like it’s aimed towards tourists, much of this package goes towards places Tucsonans love to visit as well. The Music Hall and Leo Rich theaters are the big winners of this proposition, as both are slated to receive renovations. The rest of the funding will go towards many of Tucson’s museums and the zoo.

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Proposition 428: Parks and Recreation Facilities

Total: $191.5 million

The second largest proposal on the ballot, Proposition 428 will funnel money into several of Tucson’s parks for renovations and expansions. Kino Sports Complex would receive $25 million for a new indoor sports complex and new fields and $3.5 million for a velodrome.

About $77 million will go towards various recreational facilities like YMCA, municipal golf courses and swimming pools and the remaining $85 million will be spent improving more than 20 parks in Pima County.

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Proposition 429: Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing

Total: $105 million

Nearly a quarter of this package will go towards improvements in Pima County’s most “stressed” neighborhoods for improvements such as street lamps, sidewalks, parks and community in the interest of reducing many negative societal impacts such as crime and drug abuse.

Other funding will go towards the Pima County Affordable Housing Program ($20 million), Pima County Medical Examiner ($15 million) and the Sahuarita Food Bank ($300,000).

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Proposition 430: Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation

Total: $112 million

This one is interesting as nearly the entire proposition aims to spend $95 million on a land acquisitions. The proposal would allow the county to purchase up to 450,000 acres of private and state land in order to maintain and facilitate wildlife and environmental preservation.

Though the county may not necessarily purchase all the eligible land, the land it does purchase becomes public and open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. The county will place new trails and trailheads that will be open to the public.

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Proposition 431: Flood Control and Drainage

Total: $16.9 million

This one is sure to be a favorite among voters, as it aims to better prepare Tucson’s rivers for the monsoon season. Almost half of the bond ($7 million) will be spent to reinforce the banks of the Santa Cruz and Rillito rivers and Canada del Oro, connecting river parks, bike paths and trails along both banks.

Other parts of the proposition will go to the Tohono O’odham San Xavier District ($2 million) for drainage improvements and acquiring flood-prone land for the county ($5 million) to relocate residents who may be at risk.

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Trick-or-treat means cha-ching!

Trick-or-treat means cha-ching!


by Valerie Turcios

You know Halloween is near when Starbucks starts serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes and “Spirit Halloween” stores are on every corner.

It’s the one night a year that children and adults get to dress up and pretend to be something or someone they’re not. The whole month of October is filled with festivals, Halloween parties, haunted houses and of course, trick-or-treating.

Halloween used to be called “All Hallows Eve” or “Night of the Saints,” about two thousand years ago in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts’ New Year started on Nov. 1, so they celebrated on Oct. 31, the day they believed that ghosts rose from the dead.

They believed having the spirits present helped the Celtic priests make predictions about their culture’s future during the long dark winters. It was the time of year when death circulated through the land. They wore costumes made out of animal skins and danced around hearth fires.

In America, Halloween has turned into a huge commercial holiday that brings retailers billions of dollars in profit. More than 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The survey showed that consumers will spend $6.9 billion collectively, with the average American spending a predicted $74 on costumes, decorations and candy. Americans will spend $1.2 billion on adult’s costumes, $950 million on children’s costumes and $350 million on pet costumes.

I think it’s crazy how much people are willing to spend on, not only Halloween decorations, but costumes for their pets.

People are always in such a hurry that they’d rather pay ridiculous prices than actually take the time to think of a good costume. The creativity in costumes has been going downhill since the good old days. Kids are going to places like Party City to get a costume that is made with cheap fabric and sold for $50.

I miss the days when kids put together a cardboard box, cut a few holes and became a robot. Or when your mom helped you sew the fabric on your witch costume. People are forgetting what Halloween is supposed to be about.

It’s not about spending hundreds of dollars on costumes and costume accessories. It’s about expressing your creativity and being something you can’t be in the real world.

I know that times have changed and it would be rare to see a child trick-or-treating in a bed sheet with eye-holes. But with websites like Pinterest and Instagram there are good resources for costume inspiration.

There is always a greaser with his pink lady, Adam and Eve, and sometimes even Adam and Steve.

If you can’t find costume inspiration online, the month of October has other perks too.

There are classic feel-good, Halloween movies for inspiration that aren’t all scary. A few of my favorites are “Halloween Town,” “Double, Double Toil and Trouble,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Casper” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Halloween is the holiday that starts off the season, and consumer spending. I’m not against Halloween, but I can’t wait for it to be over so we can finally get to Christmas.

Turcios loves Halloween because she thinks it’s fun to dress up, but she doesn’t like the idea of being scared. She will always prefer Christmas.


I’ll pay for YouTube videos

I’ll pay for YouTube videos



The old saying of “having 500 channels with nothing on,” has given à la carte online services real legs to stand on in recent years by letting anyone watch whatever they want, whenever they want.

With the cost of cable packages these days, I’m one of the many who chose to cut my cable cord in favor of online services like YouTube, Twitch and Vimeo for my video consumption.

With YouTube being the predominant vehicle for my viewing entertainment, I’ve gotten used to watching short ad clips before getting to the video I clicked on.

However, subscription-based services have now started surfacing, including Vessel, Sling TV and the recently announced YouTube Red.

These services have costs ranging from $3-$20, and allow subscribers several different perks, depending on the provider, such as timed exclusivity and videos without advertisments.

As both a content creator for my own YouTube show and a recreational user, I’m excited to see where these services will go with mainstream audiences.

Most of the content creators that I watch are ‘Let’s Players,’ people who commentate while playing video games, and most do so out of their homes, as their full-time jobs.

In order to rent out offices for workspaces, it can take years to gather enough popularity, and in turn, funds, to afford an office through traditional YouTube monetization means.

With the new avenues of services, many content creators are looking at sites like Vessel for peace of mind.

Vessel costs $2.99 a month and grants timed exclusivity, ranging from 48 hours to two weeks.

Even with the non-existent funds I have, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to get my subscription so that I can support my favorite content creators.

Besides, paying three bucks a month for the content I actually want, compared to the $50 for cable that only has a few shows I would actually watch, seems like a no-brainer.

Fruechtenicht is a content creator for his cooperative Let’s Play show, Coffee Table Zeroes on YouTube.


Stonewall left hung out to dry

Stonewall left hung out to dry


by David Pujol

The Stonewall Riots, which took place at the Stonewall Inn, located in New York City, were an influential part of LGBTQ history. It paved the way for many of the rights that LGBTQ individuals have today. To have Hollywood misrepresent that history by whitewashing it in a new film to sell tickets is just disrespectful.

The Stonewall Riots were violent outbursts that took place after the Stonewall Inn was raided for not having a liquor license. Although the police were legally in the right to raid the inn for not having a license, how the police handled the crowd of LGBTQ citizens at the time was not right.

The violent demonstrations that occurred that day would take place for an entire week making it the first major gay protest in recorded history. The film “Stonewall” is erasing our people, our history and our color.

The movie, directed by Ronald Emmerich, was released this year. What should’ve been another LGBTQ theatrical gem was a disappointing lump of coal. Emmerich apparently didn’t do his homework. Allow me to give you a history lesson. On June 28, 1969, in the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, police raided the Stonewall Inn and riots ensued shortly after and LGBTQ citizens were harassed.

Two of the people who sparked the riots were Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Hispanic drag queen. Screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz got it wrong. Instead of Johnson, Rivera or one of the other influential LGTBQ individuals who actually sparked the riots, it was a cisgender, white male who threw the first brick

Did they think that LGBTQ people would spend their money to watch an inaccurate representation of their history? Well, we didn’t. The movie’s budget of $17 million had a box office return of only $174,000. That’s not even one percent payback. So as Marsha P. Johnson historically said, “pay it no mind.”

These events are influential and sacred to our history. To have them altered and rearranged to fit the ideals of Hollywood is a great injustice to those who endured and participated in the riot and changed history. There are multiple eyewitness who can sure as hell tell us that it wasn’t a white male who changed history.

Whitewashing history isn’t an uncommon occurrence. The idea that history is being misrepresented and that those LGBTQ people of color who sparked a movement are being robbed of the credit they deserve, very disappointing to me as an LGBTQ person of color.

How the movie depicted the events of that historical night is wrong and very upsetting.

LGBTQ rights have advanced throughout our society’s history, but we need to keep making changes and keep improving. It’s our job to continue making this world a better place for all the LGBTQ people.

Pujol is an Aztec Press reporter and supporter of LGBTQ rights.


One man’s saint is another man’s sinner

One man’s saint is another man’s sinner


by Bryan Orozco

Recently Pope Francis canonized Franciscan friar Junípero Serra on U.S. soil.
Serra is known for founding 21 catholic missions along the California coast with the help of the Spanish conquistadors.
Some Californians learn about Serra through a religious or colonialist lens, however there are always two sides to history.
During the Spanish Inquisition, the monarchy held the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other. The attitude the Spanish had was either you conform to Catholicism and forget your own beliefs, or you die.
Serra should also be credited for helping the Spanish conquistadors in rallying up the indigenous and allowing them to commit mass murders. Although, Serra is credited for bringing literacy, economy and agriculture to California. To some he’s the savior of the indigenous people.
With the recent canonization, it doesn’t seem that the Pope Francis recognizes both sides of history. “He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a single example of the churches universality,” the Pope said.
The process of someone being canonized is fuzzy, but one of the major steps is to have had three miracles go on during your lifetime. Serra’s miracles as sited by the Catholic Church are his life and work. The miracle of him bringing Christianity to the “savage land” is considered a miracle in the eyes of the church.
There’s one person that comes to my mind, and if we filter him through all the exceptions given to Serra, his canonization seems plausible: Adolf Hitler.
Just set aside the genocide of the Jewish people committed by Hitler’s orders. That simple blockage already parallels the way the pope has set aside the act of genocide of the indigenous people carried by Serra’s orders.
Hitler was raised Catholic and a nationalist German who brought a message to the masses of unification with love and pride of the German people.
It could be considered a miracle that in the span of six years, he was able to come into power and have Germany unite under a common economic goal after his ascension.
Like many things in the world, race seems to be a catalyst to how we view events and actions.
The name Hitler carries a synonymous image of vicious acts of violence against Jews. The Holocaust is taught as an omnipresent lesson of history to never be repeated.
Yet, Serra’s mass murders aren’t taught side-by-side with the creation of the California missions. This “minor” piece of forgotten information is repeated in our U.S. history and culture.
Junípero Serra’s legacy is cemented and all we can do now is learn and prepare for the next questionable decisions from El Papa.

Orozco believes that to understand history you must look at it in all angles and perspectives. He thinks that history has been watered down and that we must treat it as the complex entity it is.

Pg06-Opinion Bryan

Red light cameras need to go

Red light cameras need to go


by Kit B. Fassler

Legislatures should abolish cameras at the intersection lights.  The government contracted a for profit corporation taking pictures of drivers.   It’s an invasion of privacy.  The law on cameras must be repelled.
The government continues to watch us in cars, phones, our computers and even in our homes.  It will continue to take more of our freedom away if we, as citizens, are not vigilant.
Drivers caught by camera might not realize where their photos go.
Well, it looks like this camera goes beyond taking photos of the car with your license plate and a light that’s red.  The record is shared to others, even after you pay your traffic ticket.
Another fact is that the contracted company is taking money out of the pocket of ordinary citizens.  That’s why the fine is huge.  The city government pays the company and the left over money goes to the city administrative costs.
The minimum violation has a price tag of $200.  It can reach $600.  As a retiree of limited income or even as a student struggling to get an education, taking $200 out of my pocket is like not letting me eat for a month.
What’s the solution?  What should city officials do to decrease driving through red lights?
Citizens should let local traffic police handle their job.  We put them to work.  The money goes local.  It’s a plain and simple approach.  We should lower the cost of traffic tickets.  We already pay taxes. We already support our government.  Let’s give peace of mind to our seniors, retirees with limited income, students and Tucson residents.
I always avoid driving through streets with cameras.  At the intersection of Broadway and Craycroft, there’s a camera.  When I’m driving from Broadway heading east to Craycroft, I don’t drive through the light to avoid the camera.  I make a detour to a small street to reach Craycroft.  It becomes a waste of time.
I’m an ordinary citizen aside from the fact that I only have limited income being a retiree.  But that’s not really the case.  I was curious as to why our legislators passed this law when it’s obvious that it’s an invasion of privacy.
There were lots of attempts to repel the law.  A small group of ordinary citizens tried it many times for the reason that it’s unfair.  They approached our legislatures to repel the law with no avail.  Finally the group decided to get lots of signatures from citizens to agree to put this case into the ballot.
This November election, voters have to decide on Proposition 201: To vote “Yes” means repel of the law and to vote “No” means let the law stay.  As for me, it’s obvious that I want my privacy to be protected.

Fassler is a social justice advocate.  She is keen and mindful if there’s injustice around her space and take action on it by getting her voice heard.


‘Ooh, guns, guns, guns’

‘Ooh, guns, guns, guns’


by Micheal Romero

A 26-year-old gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1 and killed nine people in his English class before taking his own life.
It was discovered that the shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, had an arsenal of guns all obtained legally by him or members of his family.
As some call for gun control to prevent these massacres, others argue that gun control is not the solution and that “stuff happens.”
“Look stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do,” said GOP candidate Jeb Bush in a forum on Oct. 2 for the Conservative Leadership Project at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Bush’s comment, which received a wave of backlash, was echoed by other GOP candidates like Donald Trump and Bobby Jindal.
But the comments, despite the perceived insensitivity, help us to understand the two reasons that the shooting occurred.
Americans are entitled and will fight hard to keep their guns and they don’t want to take responsibility for their kids.
The gunman’s mother Laurel Harper, is just as responsible for the shooting as the guns that she allowed in the apartment she shared with her son.
In an Oct. 5 article, The New York Times uncovered online postings that she took pride her son’s gun collection and his gun handling knowledge.
She attacked states that had gun laws limiting firearms and indicated that fully loaded guns were in her apartment in case of an intrusion.
But Harper isn’t a lone wolf in her sentiment towards guns. Americans love their guns and that’s why the gun control issue is an uphill battle.
NBC News reported on March 10 that a General Social Survey found 32 percent of Americans owning guns but a Pew Research Center survey from 2013 estimated that 310 million guns were owned.
On the other side of the argument is where the shooter’s father rests, but he should be held just as accountable for his son’s actions as Harper should.
When questioned by CNN on Oct. 3, Ian Mercer, mentioned that the gun laws currently in place are the reason his son was able to kill nine people, with guns he shouldn’t have been able to obtain and a mental illness he probably had.
“Obviously, somebody who goes and kills nine people has to have some kind of issue. Whatever it is, let the police determine what they find,” Mercer said.
But it should have been Mercer’s responsibility to find out what kind of illness his son had that pushed him to take the lives of Lucero Alcaraz, Treven Taylor Anspach, Rebecka Ann Carnes, Quinn Glenn Cooper, Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, Lucas Eibel, Jason Dale Johnson, Lawrence Levine and Sarena Dawn Moore.
A community college is a place you go until you’re ready financially, mentally or academically for a university. It’s two more years to figure out who you are and what you want to do before the burden of the big league. Eight students and one instructor don’t have this safe haven anymore and somebody is responsible. Harper-Mercer’s murder-suicide was not honorable or commendable in any way. His internal problems were the responsibility of his family and himself.

Romero isn’t afraid of guns but understands the need for gun control to keep tragedies like this from occurring. He believes Americans shouldn’t live in fear that someone will attack them at school, the grocery store or a movie theater.


Guest  Commentary

Guest Commentary


I want to emphasize that I love Pima Community College. I’ve always felt so lucky to work in higher education. Not everyone has the opportunity to make a living doing something that they love and feel passionately about. I love our mission of “providing educational pathways that ensure student success and enhance the academic, economic and cultural vitality of our students and diverse community,” and work hard to promote it every day through my words and actions.
The new media policy, which I learned about from the Arizona Daily Star over the weekend, appears to conflict with our institutional mission, although I’m sure that was not the intent. However, when priorities shift from “students first” to preservation of our reputation (i.e. “present[ing] the College in the best light”), we lose sight of our North Star, our guiding principle. Our College Values, which “characterize the way in which we accomplish our mission,” mention “evidence-based continuous improvement practices,” “accountability and transparency,” and “open and honest communication.” A policy that only authorizes certain people within the College (“Marketing and Communication” and “on occasion, other College personnel”) to communicate specific and predetermined information does not support any of these ideals.
A truly student-centric approach would welcome constructive criticism as an opportunity to pinpoint problems within our institution in the interests of the student, and by extension, the community. Employees at all levels, even those who are considered “rank and file,” are stakeholders in our organization. Without the ability to engage in truly open dialogue and provide candid feedback, we undermine the importance of critical thinking, which is an essential component of the caliber of education we strive to provide to our community.
The volume of critical (and often deserved) press we’ve received in the past due to lack of openness and transparency under previous leadership has understandably left us feeling a bit wary of media attention. However, it was precisely such media attention that led us to make many necessary changes in how we conduct ourselves as an institution. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” it’s in our best interests to foster authentic dialogue. We certainly  risk potential embarrassment by allowing forthcoming, candid communication with which we might not always agree. However, appearing to stifle free speech or engage candidly with the public that we both support and are supported by is guaranteed to be far more embarrassing.

Editor’s Note: The author of this op-ed asked to remain anonymous.