Every day that passes tends to leave me more concerned regarding the state budget. The ideas being presented show an absolute lack of leadership. I equate another $1 billion dollars in cuts to schools to putting an anorexic patient on a diet. We are already funded 50th (or lower) in the nation as it is. Cutting school funding results in cutting learning opportunities for our kids — period.

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State Budget

Cutting school funding cuts opportunities

Every day that passes tends to leave me more concerned regarding the state budget. The ideas being presented show an absolute lack of leadership. I equate another $1 billion dollars in cuts to schools to putting an anorexic patient on a diet. We are already funded 50th (or lower) in the nation as it is. Cutting school funding results in cutting learning opportunities for our kids — period.

The Mesa Unified School District is being forced to close the Health Sciences High School program at East Valley Academy. This is the exact kind of program we need more of. Add to that another bad idea, Rep. Rich Crandall’s scheme of borrowing money from the state retirement system. Richard Nixon did the same thing with Social Security and it was never paid back.

The effect of this borrowing would be that those paying into the system would see an increase in their contribution rate. Is that not a targeted tax increase? Why can’t we all pay a little bit more — so schools and child abuse investigators can do their jobs. And once and for all — do not permanently end the county schools property tax. If businesses want educated and able employees, they should be willing to help pay for them. Crandall continuously complains about the amount of property tax he pays on his business. He needs to remember that he is not in the Legislature to represent only himself and people like him. He is there to represent all of us.



Education cuts unavoidable

I am sick of the spineless opinion writers of this state. It’s amazing these people get paid to simply repeat each other.

Regarding the budget issues in particular, they all list the reasons why education is beneficial and our legislators are fools. Then, almost invariably they acknowledge that, “Costs must be cut,” before moving into the most noncommittal, intellectually vapid, waste-of-space writing you will ever read. Ninety-five percent of the opinion page commentaries I have read in the past few months are some combination of cut “unnecessary expenses” out of state government and “trim the fat.” Make state government a “lean machine.” And don’t forget that we must close “tax loopholes.” Finally, they say it is hard but it can be done if our state lawmakers would simply be smart enough and stop taking the easy way.

Here’s the reality, state revenue dropped almost 10 percent last year with sharper decreases this year and projected for next. Of the $8.4 billion total in 2008, $5.5 billion was appropriated to education. So right now, two thirds of the state budget is spent on education and we are facing a $2.93 billion shortfall.

Here’s where you have to actually have some courage, editorial writers of Arizona. Where do you find $3 billion without touching education? “Trimming the fat” doesn’t get it done and you are lying to yourselves and the Arizona public when you continue to say it will. So what do you cut first? Health care for kids and the poor? How about benefits for the unemployed? What about the police? I know we only spent $63 million on public safety last year (.006 percent of the budget) but we can probably do without that.

Not generalities, evasiveness, doublespeak or pandering, but where exactly do you make up a 20 to 30 percent deficit without affecting (as painful and unattractive as it is) the place where we spend 65 percent of our money. I want to hear someone have the courage to do that or I want to stop hearing from them at all.



Health Care

Improving initiatives for patient safety

As our elected officials continue to discuss health care reform, I encourage everyone to stand up for quality as a critical area for improvement. Perioperative registered nurses see the need for continued quality improvement initiatives while working every day in the operating rooms of local hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

Our national association, the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (www.aorn.org) continues to lead patient safety efforts related to surgical procedures as it has since its founding in the 1960s. We are the pioneers that developed and promoted the value of the Perioperative Nursing Data Set, a standardized language for documentation and evaluation of the care provided in the operating rooms of our nation’s hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.

Our association has now embarked on a new phase of development to create a standardized perioperative framework that will be integrated into health care information systems. This standardized, evidence-based data derived from standardized documentation is a cornerstone of public policy initiatives to measure quality and will support transition to a quality-driven health care system.

As you consider health care reform and how it will impact you, I encourage you to consider the important role of evidenced-based data such as what perioperative registered nurses are developing to improve quality of care in the operating room.



Photo Enforcement

Take down warning signs

Regarding the complaint about photo enforcement warning signs causing accidents (Letters, April 19), doesn’t it make sense to remove the warning signs and keep the cameras? I have always been amazed by the idea that law enforcement has to warn people that they are planning to enforce the laws.

This holds true with the warning signs that “bait cars are in use in this neighborhood.” Doesn’t that negate the deterrent aspect of the bait car use? Doesn’t it send a message to would-be thieves: “If you’re in the mood to steal a car, you should do it in a neighborhood without bait car warnings.”



Gilbert Election

Spencer stands for character

When I heard they were cutting the Summer Reading Program funding this year, I couldn’t believe it. My brother, sister and I have all attended this program for years. We look forward to exploring new authors and books and attending the Phoenix RoadRunners games every year with the tickets we get as an award for reading so many books! It has become a tradition. So when friends of my father, Glen Spencer, who is the write-in candidate for Gilbert mayor, got together and committed to donating the money my father had declined as campaign contribution to the Gilbert schools’ Summer Reading Program, I to was inspired to make a difference.

A lot has been said in this campaign about character, ability to lead and family values. John Lewis even stated education as being the No. 1 concern in Gilbert. All I can say is that my father has always shown true character by standing up for what he believes in, no matter what it may cost him, leads by inspiring others to make change, and loves his family. I hope the voters of Gilbert see this like me and the many of others who have had a chance to really get to know him. And that he inspires more to help save a program that enriches the lives of Gilbert children every summer.



Krueger seeks bright future

I’m asking the residents of Gilbert for your support to re-elect Joan Krueger. Some single-issue voters have been accusing Joan of untruths. They are associating her with the controversy over the Big League Dreams ballpark when the truth is the council approved the agreement before Joan was on the council. The truth is that at the council meetings of Aug. 21, 2007, and again on July 17, Joan voiced her concern and frustration over the cost increases.

Further, these single-issue voters claim Joan is associated with big business developers who have helped make Gilbert an award-winning community and who plan to provide more amenities to the community in the future. The truth is that Joan’s contacts provide the ability to bring economic development to Gilbert and she has proved she will dedicate the time required to serve on the council and she promises to bring businesses to Gilbert.

Joan understands our desire to have Gilbert be an exceptional community and has consistently supported our great parks and trails system as well as fire and police to maintain public safety. In the last four years, Joan has proven to be an asset to the town and has earned our support for another term.

Please seek the truth when voting for your Gilbert council members. Please vote for Joan Krueger for Town Council.



Sentz understands needs

I am writing in support of John Sentz in his run for Gilbert Town Council. I have known John for four years and have worked with him during the past two years on Gilbert’s Veterans Day planning committee. I am proud to support John Sentz on four levels:

As a fellow veteran — I understand the lessons he learned and the knowledge and skills he developed in his 34 years as a naval officer. He also goes out of his way to support and acknowledge his fellow veterans.

As a small-business owner — John understands business and especially the struggles of the small-business owner. I feel confident that he can help steer the growth of Gilbert in a manner supportive of all businesses including small businesses.

As a community supporter — John has proven his commitment to his community through his service on numerous boards and committees. I have witnessed firsthand his involvement with the Gilbert Historical Society and AZ Students Recyling Used Technology. John earnestly devotes time and energy not just as a participant but as someone helping these organizations reach their goals, a valuable commodity in any community.

As a family man — John raised a family in Gilbert; he understands the needs of families at all stages. I know John will weigh and respect these needs, continuing to make Gilbert the ideal place to raise a family.

John brings years of planning and project management experience to every endeavor he pursues and makes those around him more effective in the process. He gets things done, not just discussed. His presence on the Gilbert Town Council will be a positive force for the entire community.



Global Village

Work to unite America

Over the last few years, I have heard so much about diversity and diversity training. Your coverage of the Global Village Festival in Gilbert on April 18 was excellent.

The program is wonderful — as far as it goes. There needs to be an additional step to the program.

Patrick Henry said, “United we stand, divided we fall.” On our coinage are these words, “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning, “From many come one.”

It is important to remember and celebrate our various heritages as well as to better understand and appreciate each other’s. But our true strength comes from unifying. We should not be “Mexican-Americans” or “Black-Americans” or any other hyphenated Americans. We need to give attention to our being Americans.

From our various countries of origin we come together as Americans. Our strength lies in our coming together as one people. Perhaps some thought could be given to adding this aspect to the celebration next year.



Note to readers: Letters related to Gilbert’s May 19 municipal election must be submitted by noon Wednesday to be considered for publication. Letters may be sent to forum@evtrib.com; by mail to Letters to the Editor, Gilbert Tribune, 120 W. First Ave., Mesa, AZ, 85210; or by fax to (480) 898-6362.

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