Random thoughts on East Valley news cooking inside a mind touched by the mid-August sun:
• If the plan to place armed security officers in county libraries in the Gilbert area is a good idea, then it’s probably a good idea in many other public properties with significant numbers of young people to protect where there isn’t such a presence: public pools, playgrounds, school and city park athletic events, school plays and concerts. The question to county and municipal officials is, why only libraries?
• We learned this week that what appears to be a much more responsive ambulance system will be available to residents of four East Valley cities who made a joint agreement with Southwest Ambulance. According to Friday’s Tribune, one reason it took three years for this arrangement with Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek and the Apache Junction Fire District to take place is that state regulations didn’t specify that such deals were allowed. Why not? City fire departments are allowed to share resources with each other, but why couldn’t private ambulance services contract similar services across city borders that today are hard to know are there?
• In a welcome effort to reach out to residents through social media, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith will appear on his city’s Channel 11 at noon Thursday for an hourlong forum in which viewers may ask him questions via Twitter to #AskSmith. Twitter’s maximum message size will keep voters’ questions to a maximum of 140 characters. If only we can demand politicians’ answers be of such brevity.
• On Friday an Arizona State University dormitory (although the preferred term is “residential community”) will have its own Dunkin’ Donuts shop. ASU students also have ready access to on-campus eateries whose menus consist of more healthy stuff than Dunkin’s signature product, but it’s the fast-food stuff that seems to get the media attention. Recall the frenzy over the Valley’s first In ‘N’ Out Burger outlets? Ever see a long line waiting for the grand opening of a health-food store?
• Elsewhere in Tempe, the Tempe Community Action Agency made the unusual announcement last week that donations of food containing protein had dwindled to low levels. It’s not that good-hearted folks in Tempe are holding back on protein donations, but that demand for it has risen. As you think about making a donation, remember, folks, man (or woman) does not live by bread alone. Or vegetables.
• Bankers aweigh: On Monday a branch of Navy Federal Credit Union will open its first branch in Mesa. Despite its name, Navy Federal serves military personnel and their families from the Navy as well as Army, Air Force and other Department of Defense employees. You probably wouldn’t get this kind of helpful, cooperative spirit at an Army-Navy football game. Could it be that these folks have more sympathy to mortgage-holders who are under water and float them a loan?
• This time of year the local TV morning shows run live shots of freeway traffic and talk about how much it’s increased since school is back in session. But how many of us use freeways to take our kids to school?
• Meanwhile, your Pulitzer Prize-winning East Valley newspaper may not be impressing the Phoenix TV people too much. On Friday one of the morning shows teased that later it was going to announce the identity of a mystery guest, who was shown in the green room holding a copy of the Tribune in front of his face. “He’s reading the Tribune,” observed the male anchor. “How about that, sports fans?” His female counterpart replied, “That’s what we had available.”
• Mark J. Scarp (email@example.com) is a Tribune contributing columnist whose opinions appear here on Sundays.