Open Letter to Ray Ihly,

Dear Ray,

Thanks for the fan mail!    I would like to let you know that my assessment of Steve is of his actions and of his words that were spoken and published for the world to see and those actions are what drive my assessment of his characterization of him.  While I, too, know that Steve is a great guy, the fact that he went to a partisan level in recent events instead of reaching out to others on the board he resides with shows exactly what his motivations are.   Actions simply speak louder than words.

Like you, I know Steve to be a great person, but his political judgment is cloudy which is why I made my comments.  Political judgment matters.   I also want to apologize to Steve as my letter was used by his opponent as an attack on him in his primary.  That person should have brought up his own issues on why he is better for the job, and it seems to me the voters did not accept that line of attacks, fortunately.   The competitiveness of that primary should be a wakeup call for Steve. Let me make this clear.  This is not about attacking Steve but is about the accountability of actions as an elected official and why he has not made the case for my vote.  I always have personally liked Steve and wish him well against Steve Dimond in November.
I do want to address a few things.  Amazingly, you say I value freedom less than Steve, when I have served our nation; twice in Iraq.  I have earned my opinion and as a combat veteran who was on the mission that captured Saddam Hussein and, in my opinion, it is sad to see you attack a veteran like that.  I have put my own life on the line for our nation and nothing can be more patriotic than that as I have answered the call twice when my nation needed me.  The line of attacks you used does not address Steve’s misguided actions and only shows you are taking this to a personal level, and those kinds of attacks will not work.

 I have taken the time to do my research on COVID-19, and we even had a medical opinion here in the Vail Voice published in the August issue under the letter to the editor that shows I am correct on this issue.   Simply put, Steve decided the lives of his constituents were less important than energizing the anti-COVID base.  
Let us talk about COVID death rates – you fail to acknowledge that more people have died of COVID than our recent wars combined.    We are now have 60 times the death rate of people dying from COVID than people who died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Based upon those attacks we started a 20-year war.  I do believe COVID is an attack on our nation, in a form.  We should respond accordingly.  More importantly, John Hopkins Medicine indicates that the CDC has estimated 24,000 to 62,000 persons died from the flu from Oct. 1, 2019 – April. 4, 2020 during the flu season, whereas our current death rate with COVID is now over 165,000 deaths and has lasted far beyond the flu season.  
These are all indisputable facts, and something that Steve should have taken into consideration as the safety of all his constituents is far more important: masking up is the solution.  Thank you to the Pima County Board of Supervisors who did the right thing as the mask provisions they voted in place in June, and Steve voted against, have been a contributing factor to the recent decrease of COVID-19 rates in the area.  That is the type of leadership we need right now and Steve’s actions were against it.
Furthermore, in a recent study by Rutherford, researchers found that 80 percent of the population wearing masks would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown.  While I appreciate your points, you also fail to acknowledge that science evolves when it comes to treating diseases and why experts often change their opinions.    I am sure Steve understands as well, to a point, his actions speak something much different when he put liberty over life as without life you cannot have liberty.  As a voter it makes me question where else Steve has gone wrong.    
Look at our roads.   Nobly, Steve ran on a platform to fix the roads and he gave it the ole college try.  But are our roads better off today than they were in 2016?  No.  According to County data, provided in the Board of Supervisors Memorandum dated November 5th, 2019, “Sixty-three percent of our roads are rated at a poor or failed state and over 90 percent of the county’s unincorporated roads are in failing condition.” What we did get is a ten-year pay-as-you-go system that does not work for Pima County, and something Steve supported.   It keeps the roads in a failed state while not spending any real money on the roads.  
We are now in a recession and I doubt we will see the funds in the pay-as-you-go plan will come to fruition.  Even in January in an interview with KVOA, the county acknowledged that the amount of money they set aside was not enough to repair all the roads they had planned on.   When Steve voted on the plan he had short-sightedness as we were in a 10-year economic boom at the time and the board, including Steve, should have known the chances of a recession hitting were 100 percent during the lifetime of the plan, killing the effectiveness of it.  So here we are as the plan went in effect in July, with a major loss of revenue due to the current recession and our roads remain in the same conditions. So now we are stuck with bad roads and no real plan to fix them.  While I appreciate Steve’s service to our community, this is exactly where we were in 2016 when Steve promised to fix the roads and why I am voting for change as no real action has happened to get our roads fixed; Steve’s voting record shows he’s not in it to keep our entire community safe.    Thanks for taking the time to respond as I do appreciate your opinion. 

By Robert Nemitz

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