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.
Cutting costs simply
Bill Richardson’s Opinion 2 assumption to the answer to rising costs in the Maricopa County prisons (“Private prisons may be answer to rising costs, Nov. 30) may be partially correct, but I believe he misses the one major way in which these costs can be drastically reduced.
In the November 2007 “Unlocking America” publication, it is pointed out that the laws that put people in jail need to be changed. The length of prison incarcerations has been increasing and needs to be decreased, and the time needs to be equal to the crime. Also, the length of parole needs to be reduced. There is no reduction in crime by placing a released prisoner on parole versus a no-parole decree. Lengthy incarceration only tends to allow the prisoner time to learn undesirable traits that will be carried back into society upon release.
Tougher penalties do not deter criminals. Prisons, as they are set up, do not rehabilitate.
There are no viable programs that encourage and effectively “change the way a prisoner thinks,” that is necessary for rehabilitation. Imprisonment for drug use, sale, and production is the primary culprit for the increase in our prison population, and the sentences for these “crimes” are not commensurate.
There are four actions that will reduce prison population and thereby reduce the costs: reduce time served in prison, eliminate the use of prison for parole or probation technical violators, reduce the length of parole and probation supervision periods. and decriminalize “victimless” crimes, particularly those related to drug use and abuse. That would give Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail and other prisons empty spaces rather than increased costs. Give it a try.
Sudan protests not peaceful
The massive uprisings in Sudan, demanding the death of a school teacher who allowed her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad,” again demonstrate that there is very little to see of the peacefulness about the Islamic religion, as its believers insist.
For the publication of a silly cartoon in a European newspaper, and this insane demand for the execution of a school teacher for being passive about the naming of a teddy bear, thousands of Muslims take to the streets, thereby exemplifying the blood-thirstiness of some adherents. When the first thing about the slightest real or imagined insult against Islam evokes the cries of “kill, kill,” it is difficult to believe in its peacefulness.
To my mind, the sharia “justice” in Muslim countries demonstrates medieval savagery, rather than enlightenment and evolvement of humans to a higher plane that religion is supposed to bring.
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Crow’s misplaced priorities
When Michael Crow began his reign as president of Arizona State University in 2002, he claimed to have a great master plan that would transform ASU from a fourth-tier party school into the “New American University.” While Crow’s sky-high ambitions have won him much popularity here in the Valley, his vision is hurting many of those whom Crow should care for most, ASU’s students and faculty.
Since Crow came to Tempe, resident tuition at the university has climbed by an average of 14.2 percent a year, according to the Board of Regents. It’s strange that the university would feel a need to raise tuition so dramatically, especially when ASU has a projected $170 million budget surplus this year alone. So much extra cash, yet students and faculty have seen none of the profit. The Arizona Board of Regents even admitted that teacher’s salaries at ASU have not even increased quickly enough to match the rate of inflation. So, teachers are actually losing money as the university takes $170 million a year in surplus funds. Crow’s vision of the “New American University” looks more like a lucrative business than an institution of education.
Rising tuition is not the only factor raising the cost of education at Arizona State. The consistent increases in tuition have been accompanied by other, less-noticeable fees tacked on to a student’s bill each semester.
Crow’s master plan for ASU is popular among business and community leaders because he has built a strong business in our community. But the university should be focused on offering affordable quality education to local residents and not about forming business partnerships with Arizona’s economic elite.
Razing the Valley
In response to “Apathy wins” (Letters, Nov. 27):
Don’t fret none, lady (letter writer Patricia Abraham), about the apathy for the greed and growth with capital Gs in the East Valley.
The sprawl has been going on for more than 20 years. We’ve outgrown our britches many years ago in Phoenix metro, but the same scenario continues, overbuilding.
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” — Edward Abbey.
It seems the quicker we ride off into the sunset and deplete all our resources and consume our last acre of desert, the happier the developers and political types will be. A job well done, pat on the back, kudos and yahoo! And that ain’t the Internet folks.
OK, mount up, partner, and let’s punch them doggies (Caterpillars) so we can raze away what’s left of Arizona‘s cherished land, that last acre of real estate has to go. Giddyup!
Teach their dangers early
With the latest round of legal problems for Barry Bonds (baseball), Floyd Landis (cycling) and others for usage of banned performance-enhancing substances (steroids), there is a valuable lesson for our educators to pick up on. Our educators should require a comprehensive class for school athletes of all ages to attend on the health, moral, and legal pitfalls for using steroids or other banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Not only should the required class speak to the health issues, but it should also celebrate how athletes like Hank Aaron, Erik Hieden (speed skating and cycling), and Lance Armstrong (cycling and triathlon) were able to attain the pinnacle of their respective sports without using steroids and/or other banned performance-enhancing substances. Lessons are needed to emphasize that the quality and quantity of your effort towards winning is the goal for all life’s endeavors.
This Valley is a hotbed of sports all year long. Children and young adults from all over the U.S. also come here to learn and sharpen their athletic skills. Our children look up to those athletes who are at the top of their games. Educators and parents must put forth a scripted effort to develop the whole child by highlighting those who accomplish sport feats steroid free. It’s time for the Valley’s educators to take the lead in ensuring the future generations understand the long-term negative effects of using steroids.