The less-filling E.V. Sunday brunch - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

The less-filling E.V. Sunday brunch

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Mark J. Scarp is a contributing columnist for the Tribune. Reach him at mscarp1@cox.net.

Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 11:30 am | Updated: 5:34 pm, Fri Nov 11, 2011.

Welcome to Scarp’s East Valley Sunday Brunch, where there’s sooooo much to choose from. Strangely, nobody ever goes back for seconds …

***

Most — 68 percent — of state Senate candidate Jerry Lewis’ nearly $68,000 campaign treasury came from contributions from donors from Mesa and a total of 99 percent of it from within Arizona, according to the Tribune’s Garin Groff, who reports that Lewis’ campaign is pointing to this fact in response to supporters of Sen. Russell Pearce, who have claimed that Lewis’ campaign is chiefly funded by outsiders.

We’ll learn Pearce’s totals in the Nov. 8 recall election by Thursday, where it’s expected that he won’t be able to match Lewis’ from-Mesa percentage. Still, while “Who’s funding your campaign?” is a legitimate question to ask all candidates in any campaign, in this one it would also be appropriate to ask where the money came from in the original effort to gather sufficient signatures to recall Pearce in the first place.

***

The discussion over the ficus trees along Mill Avenue through downtown Tempe proves the notion that professional landscapers know much more than the typical resident about the proper foliage for a certain use in a certain place.

A few years ago, passersby were being dive-bombed by flocks of grackles relieving themselves from above, particularly as they returned to roost each evening in the leafy adult trees shading the sidewalks along both sides of Mill. There was a call for removing the trees entirely as a health and safety issue.

Cooler heads prevailed and the trees remained. But as the Tribune’s Groff has also reported, some of trees neared the end of their lives and the city was replacing them with relatively puny Chinese pistache trees that shade less and lose their leaves in winter. The ficus trees themselves were the victims of improper pruning in their youth, Groff reported an arborist told city officials, and their trunks suffered while the trees’ life spans were cut short by burning from the sun where buildings weren’t shading them.

The City Council has now intervened and decreed that the pistache is out as a replacement and dying ficus will be replaced in kind. Next up: The Return of the Invasion of the Grackles.

***

You can’t blame Michael Sanchez, the San Tan Valley father who has the attention of members of Congress in his quest to never have happen to another parent what happened to him: The taking of his daughter by her mother out of the country in violation of custody agreements.

He advocates a proposed law to let airport security officers check national crime databases to determine whether a parent traveling alone with a child is violating a similar court order. It’s a well-meaning idea that could pose unjustified interference with legitimately traveling parents and children that could prove nightmarish if authorities detain the wrong people.

As the Tribune’s Mike Sakal reports, after three years, Sanchez fought and won the right to be reunited with his daughter Emily, now 6, in a custody agreement and visitation schedule worked out with authorities in Brazil, where she was taken in 2008.

He is now promoting “Emily’s Law,” which doesn’t address a non-custodial parent leaving the country with his or her child by other means, such as by car to Canada or Mexico, to board airplanes there, something that could be quickly accomplished from a border state.

“Emily’s Law” appears to have several important tenets, such as requiring both parents’ permission before granting a child a passport. But lawmakers need to be careful before passing any legislation that requires virtually every single innocent parent internationally traveling with a child to be delayed by unnecessary interaction with law enforcement that could be disquieting, even frightening to that child.

***

Peoria and Surprise each has a stadium that’s home to two spring training Major League Baseball Teams. Scottsdale — technically, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community a few hundred feet over the city border — also has such a stadium. Phoenix has two stadiums, each with one team.

Mesa may soon join these lofty ranks once the Wrigleyville West facility is ready for the Chicago Cubs in 2014 as then-empty Hohokam Stadium is being scouted by a couple of other, as yet unnamed, big-league teams, the Tribune reported.

And in the meantime, the Arizona State University Sun Devil varsity baseball team will play home games at Hohokam while their home, Packard Stadium, gets an upgrade.

Only a couple of years ago the words “sports destination” and “Mesa” weren’t uttered in the same sentence. And attractions were headed out of Mesa, not in. City voters’ wise decision to pass Proposition 420 that approved the deal to create the new Cubs’ facility and surrounding retail amenities is starting to bear fruit. Grapefruit, maybe?

• Read Tribune contributing columnist Mark J. Scarp’s (mscarp1@cox.net) opinions here on Sundays, and watch his video commentaries at evtnow.com/scarp

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