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.
Gov. not strongest tree in forest
The Thursday article covering the lighting of the state Christmas tree, and how our governor refused to say the word “Christmas,” infuriated me. When you stand next to a Christmas tree, and light a Christmas tree, and won’t call it a Christmas tree — you have no backbone. None.
When I stand next to Janet Napolitano, and look at her, I will call her “what I want” to.
She has no backbone — period.
Is wordy good will next?
Enough with the name changes. The large coniferous evergreen tree, decorated with lights and ornaments in the lobby of the Capitol tower is not a “holiday tree.” It is what it is, a Christmas tree!
What’s next on the agenda for political correctiveness? Maybe we should redefine the idea of “good will to men,” to be stated as “good will to humans of both genders, including pre-adults, and companion animals as well.”
Elementary is fundamental
As a high school teacher, I was offended by Don Preston’s Nov. 25 letter, his tortured attempt to explain why high school teachers deserve better pay than do elementary teachers.
His logic, and I use that term loosely, is to argue that while “high school teachers do not have a higher human or moral value than elementary teachers” they have a superior “market value” compared to elementary teachers.
Without getting into the specifics of Preston’s convoluted logic, I’d only point out that if he wants to talk about “market value,” I’d suggest to him that great elementary teachers help make our jobs as high school teachers easier, that if we were able to attract and retain the best teachers at the elementary level, we’d see our high school students’ learning improve as well.
In fact, one could make the argument that elementary teachers have a greater economic value to our society in that they lay the foundation for students’ later learning, as they take on the herculean task of teaching students the basics of reading, writing, and math. And when successful — as they more often than not are — those elementary teachers have at least the “market value” of the high school physics teacher Mr. Preston seems to believe deserves more pay.
In my years of teaching, I haven’t met any high school teachers with Preston’s short-sighted perspective. Thankfully.
Politicians ignoring need
Previously, I wrote about the need for the governor and Congress to take action to require the use of solar power in all new construction, residential and commercial. The cost would be included in the sale of the building and spread out through the length of the mortgage. And the savings on electricity would be grand.
I also wrote about the need to ban swimming pools. The water consumption cannot be afforded. Mesa just approved a water park. The governor needs to take action to get it blocked. We cannot afford the water it will consume. Besides, there are three other water parks in the area already.
I wrote the governor and Congress and got real simple replies that they just don’t have time to answer all correspondence. People, it is time to take a real look at what is happening and require government at all levels to take appropriate action.
We must take care of troops
I recently realized that during the last few years I have become more and more irritable. I have not slept as well as I used to. I had been attributing this to several causes: changes in my work environment, empty nest syndrome, and my body wearing out due to age. The real cause has been the Iraq conflict dragging on and on. The rightness or wrongness of the conflict has not been the major issue bothering me.
I am angered when I hear of the poor job our government is doing in taking care of the troops, as well as the serious emotional and mental damage to soldiers caused by extended and multiple tours. Our government seems to forget that soldiers are human beings.
The Army is asking disabled veterans to return the signing bonus because they did not complete their service commitment. Veterans Affairs hospitals are not to provide the care our soldiers deserve because of a lack of funds. Soldiers with serious physical and mental injuries are forced out without rehabilitation resources due to the so-called pre-existing conditions loophole. If you are good enough to serve, then you are good enough to get the help you need if you are hurt regardless of any so-called pre-existing conditions. These are only a few of the issues I have been learning about.
Regardless of how we feel about the conflict we are obligated morally, legally and ethically to take care of the troops. To all the recent veterans: Please keep trying. Too many veterans are winding up homeless or dead from suicide.
GPS tracking of value now
I sponsored the legislation that created the GPS program designed to increase oversight of our state’s worst sex offenders. Your editorial (“GPS devices unreliable way to track criminals,” Nov. 18) made valid points about problems with implementation. But it overlooked the benefits as noted by a committee of experts charged with overseeing the program.
The bill mandated that GPS be used to track people who committed sex crimes against children, served their sentence and were scheduled to be released on probation. This includes those convicted of child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual abuse and other horrible crimes. The monitor prohibits them from going near schools and playgrounds and from removing the device. Violation results in parole revocation and jail.
There are adjustment periods with any new technology. This one produced a number of false positives that one provider testified can now be reduced by up to 80 percent. Further, reporting and recording violators’ movements with GPS made it safer for authorities to more quickly apprehend those who committed other crimes.
Dramatic technological improvements now allow a school, for example, to receive an automatic alert if a sexual predator steps foot on school grounds, will provide the name and picture of the offender in real time, and the exact location.
When asked, not one expert member of the committee felt that the devices were a waste of resources, and all felt we should continue the program. Maricopa County is running a trial program for domestic violence offenders, an area where the devices might prove particularly effective. However, no one wants to expand the program until the problems you noted are addressed.
The technological improvements and the need for our staff to become acclimated to the new technology, not to mention the positive results that went unmentioned in your editorial, make it imperative that we do not scale back the program at this critical juncture.
Sen. James Waring