We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.
School choice — Don’t ignore bulk of students
As a public school teacher, I am always interested in Tribune columnist Tom Patterson’s frequent arguments for expanding school choice in our state. In his latest writing, “Setting bar higher for schools (Opinion 2, Dec. 17),” Patterson once again argues that “real reform” will come only when Arizona allows vouchers, the only way to ensure higher achievement from our students and schools.
In this piece, he asks us to “Look at the fact.” Then, he goes on to cite the three Arizona schools that made the U.S. News and World Report’s list of top 100 public high schools in the nation. Two of the three are charter schools, “schools of choice,” as Patterson notes.
But the schools he mentions — BASIS of Tucson and Northland Preparatory Academy — are not close to reflecting our state. Both have enrollments under 350 students in grades 6-12; could smaller class size have something to do with the schools’ success? If Patterson wants to make that argument, then he should press it with the state Legislature, which would never fund schools to such small class sizes.
Both are — according to the Arizona Department of Education Web site — overwhelmingly white, have few if any students with disabilities, have no students who are poor, and have no English language learner students. Doesn’t sound like any typical school population in our state, does it?
It’s great that these two schools achieve as they do — no doubt the students, parents, and staff work together to help ensure the success they’ve enjoyed. But for Patterson to cite them as examples of what the state’s schools should be like is misleading, and intentionally so.
National identification — Need for security
Is the idea of a national ID card a legitimate concept or “Big Brother” at your doorstep? Consider:
The next major terrorist event in the U.S. will likely validate the government’s desire to know more accurately who among us are citizens, visitors, guest workers or terrorists. Political opposition will evaporate. But why must we wait for thousands more to die before we act? No valid constitutional basis exists to argue that our government has no right to know who its citizens are. Fear of “Big Brother” government abuse is not a valid constitutional argument. Accomplishing the act of identifying one’s self to valid authorities exercising valid inquiry is hardly an invasion of privacy. Without a valid ID it will not be possible to:
• Determine if one is a visa “overstayer.”
• Determine if one is a “wanted” individual.
• Determine if one is a “guest worker” in good standing or an “overstayer.”
• Determine if one is in violation of a deportation order.
• Determine if one is an undocumented individual in the U.S. illegally.
Some believe there may be inappropriate requests to view an ID card and therefore no cards should be issued. Some believe that some people will find ways to produce fake cards, therefore no cards should be issued. If perfection was required before any program was implemented, none would be. All progress would cease. While nothing in this world is without some problems, clearly the benefits of a national ID card outweigh any perceived disadvantages.
Birch Society also objects
The John Birch Society is the leader in protection the U.S. Constitution by opposing the REAL ID/Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. I hope that you can support such a group to show true patriotism in saving the American Republic.
Presidential candidates — No one has to believe
Mitt Romney has stated that a candidate’s religion should not be a factor in deciding who should get the nod for the office of president. Many fair-minded people have stated a like opinion. I wholeheartedly agree.
Romney, however, stated “Secularism is wrong.” He just lost my vote and his credibility. It is the height of hypocrisy to call my beliefs “wrong” while chastising those who question his.
Energy supplies — Coal-fueled transportation
Iran threatens to cut off its oil and the world trembles. Russia has returned to world power status mainly from money from oil. Every little dictator with an oil field is getting rich from us buying oil from them. We will not drill for oil in Alaska or off-shore.
Experts estimate oil production will reach its full capacity in about 5 years and then start tapering off. You think oil is high now? Wait! Yet, there is a simple solution. OK, not so simple and certainly not inexpensive. But gasoline can be produced from coal. The experts said that when oil reached $35 a barrel or gas reached $2 a gallon, it would be cheaper to make gas from coal. That happened two years ago, and we have enough coal to last 300 to 400 years.
There is nothing to replace the combustion engine for at least 30 years, not electric or hydrogen or natural gas or solar. With gas from coal, we would be independent from foreign oil and free from worry about a shortage every time somebody wants to turn off the spigot. There is a solution for every problem regarding gasification and as time went on, it should only get cheaper and more efficient.
Cactus towing — Udall pulled city strings
Lance Johnson wrote in his Dec. 16 letter that Mesa lawyer and civil leader David Udall is a man of integrity. Consider this:
• The Tribune story on Cactus Towing investigation revealed Udall was Cactus’s No. 1 contact and Cactus raised lots of money for years for Mesa council candidates and others in county and state government.
• Udall is suspect as top dog for the East Valley Partnership, of which most every present and past candidate for Mesa’s public offices are members.
• No public figure or “player” (those who feed at the public trough) goes against Cactus even though the Tribune investigated and printed facts and the names of politicians who benefited from Cactus money raising.
• Udall didn’t answer any Tribune calls for his comment on the story.
• Udall was an original framer of Mesa’s “charter” in 1968 that is still in place today. Mesa’s charter wording is proven to have created an “oligarchy.” “Oligarchy” means “ruled by a few.” It “bypasses” the electorate, canceling voters’ rights and rendering Mesa council members as simply lackluster rubber-stamps currently dominated by the appointed administrators.
I rest my case.
Share your views
We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and the original thoughts of the writer. Send comments via standard mail to Letters, The Tribune. 120 W. First Ave., Mesa, AZ 85210; via e-mail to email@example.com; or by fax to (480) 898-6362.