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.
ARIZONA STATE FAIR
Not a fun ride
I went to the Arizona State Fair last Friday because my daughter was going to sing with her school choir there at 4 p.m., and then dance with her dance studio at 6 p.m. Thank heavens both performances were in one day because after having gone there I can tell you I would have had no desire to come back.
First of all parking was $12, of course your other option is to park in the surrounding rundown neighborhoods with derelicts lurking around. That’s ridiculous; it’s $10 to park at Disneyland and I never worry about my car being broken into, or would I ever have to park next to several broken beer bottles and have the smell of stale beer with me all afternoon.
Upon going in we found out that this year they put all the stages next to each other, so when our kids were singing you could hear everything going on on all the other stages, and when she danced at 6 their music was nearly drowned out by the demolition derby going on right behind us. The prices for food were astronomical. I got my 2-year-old old a small soft-serve ice cream cone and it was $5.50. I also went into Memorial Coliseum to use the restroom and was shocked at how rundown and unkempt everything was. My husband and I used to go to Phoenix Suns games and concerts there and it certainly has deteriorated since those days.
I have no intention of returning next year; the whole aura about the fair was just scuzzy and overpriced.
Limit automatic citizenship
The 14th Amendment was written post-Civil War (1866) with the intent of granting full citizenship to the slaves. With that in mind, and the circumstances surrounding the execution of this document, how can someone pervert the Constitution and contend that these rights extend to someone who is here illegally and in violation of our laws?
Article 1 of the 14th Amendment says: “All person born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States …”
This subject has been debated with different camps interpreting what they want it to say, but the distinction is clear that the “intent” was to clarify that a “subject” must have full allegiance to the United States and its laws.
When seeking legal naturalization, a person must declare in a recorded document that it is their expressed intention to become a citizen of the United States, and declare allegiance to the United States. If they are here to just have a baby, and receive social benefits and assistance via the taxpayers, one has to question their allegiance to this country and to our Constitution. In some cases, when they are receiving benefits, they return to Mexico and have the checks cashed and sent to them in Mexico. To become naturalized as a citizen, many terms must be met, including demonstrating a knowledge of our history, the Constitution and a proficiency of the English language.
</> STERLING SMITH
Fight against ALS continues
This Veteran’s Day, you will read about the heroes who fought for our country in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. You will hear about those who defended freedom during the Cold War and those who served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what you probably won’t hear about is the war our veterans continue to wage right here at home: The war against ALS — the deadly disease that took the life of baseball legend Lou Gehrig and which is now striking veterans at nearly twice the rate as the general population.
“Falcon’s Cry: A Desert Storm Memoir” is Maj. Michael Donnelly’s story about his nine-year battle with ALS. He details his Persian Gulf War experiences in the first section, then his battle with ALS in the second half. Of particular interest is his struggle to maintain his Air Force benefits and the Pentagon’s indifference toward veterans diagnosed with Gulf War syndrome, ALS and various cancers.
Although Congress and the administration repeatedly express support for our troops, they have not done enough to support our military men and women and our veterans in the war against ALS, despite the fact that studies conducted by researchers at Veterans Affairs and Harvard University have found that people who serve in the military, regardless of when or where they served, are about twice as likely to die from ALS. What cruel irony. People who have dedicated their lives to defending an entire country succumbing to a disease that prevents them from even lifting a finger in their own defense.
This Veteran’s Day, please remember the war our veterans are fighting against ALS and join their fight to end this disease. How many more have to die?
Phony comparisions to Vietnam
If Vietnam is to be compared with Iraq, then points made regarding Vietnam must be valid and accurate. This is not the case with “Vietnam Redux” letter of Oct. 15. To be specific:
• The Gulf of Tonkin incident was not a “phony issue.” The first attack did occur. The USS Maddox emerged with a bullet hole in its stack and Hanoi brags about the battle to this day. Of greater significance is the fact that South Vietnam combat fatalities and assassination victims at the time of the incident approached 25,000 out of a population of 16 million. Had the U.S., 190 million population at the time, sustained proportional fatalities the death toll would have approached 300,000, more than U.S. combat fatalities in World War II.
• The “old generals” did not say Vietnam was inherently a quagmire, but instead told President Johnson and then-Defense Secretary Bob McNamara that the Ho Chi Minh trail must be cut and held to avoid a quagmire. Their warning was rejected and McNamara forbade public discussion of this subject, saying communist sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia would be “condoned.”
• U.S. objectives were not to “perpetuate American global primacy and impress its values” on anyone else. The expressed goal was to stop Hanoi’s war and permit existence of neutral countries even if they were not pro-U.S.
• Hanoi did not intend to win by guerrilla warfare and knew it could not. The guerrilla phase of war was intended to buy time, wear down U.S. resolve, and build a massive communist conventional military, armed with massive amounts of Soviet modern weaponry.
• The U.S. emphatically did not help “arm” the Viet Cong. More than 200,000 Viet Cong defected and came over to the government of South Vietnam.
A little common sense needed
I have served on my share of juries in my life. When I lived in Colorado and California, it was easy to be assigned to an area close to home. This is the only state where you may have to serve two hours away from your home for county jury duty. In fact, we were told they could require us to serve anywhere in the state.
Why does the county require people from Mesa to serve on a jury in Surprise? That really is stupid. It is a two-hour drive one way from our house at Signal Butte and Broadway roads. The cost to the county is much greater than if the person served in Mesa or in Phoenix. You cannot get public transportation from where I live to Surprise in less than four hours one way, if at all. Even if you had to serve a little more, it would be better to serve in a closer area. It is a simple process to use ZIP codes to better select a jury for an area.
If I were the prosecutor, I wouldn’t want someone mad at the system to serve on a jury.