Cactus Needles - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cactus Needles

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Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2008 7:25 pm | Updated: 9:05 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Short takes from the Tribune Editorial Board:

Scottsdale’s noble-sounding “citizen petition” process — an unusual section in its City Charter letting any resident, even one alone, force the City Council to act (or not) on his or her petition on any topic within 30 days — just keeps producing frustrating results and nothing done.

It will continue to do so as long as it remains unamended. One problem: Most petitions’ language is too vague or overbroad to be legally enforceable, even if council members agreed in principle to what petitioners want (and they seldom do).

On Tuesday the council rejected one and postponed consideration of another. These were rare results; usually petitions aren’t even acted upon at all.

The council should refer to voters a charter amendment requiring that the city attorney’s office approve petitions’ language (not their substance), and, as we’ve recommended before, that the minimum number of signatures be raised to 50.

If you can get 49 other residents to agree with you that there is a big enough issue to require council action, it will be worth hearing, maybe even acting upon.

Anything less is fodder for ax-grinders who like to lengthen public meetings for their entertainment value.

As reported Thursday by the Tribune’s Andrea Natekar, a teacher with a college degree in education and a teaching certificate from Idaho was not eligible to teach in Arizona until she passed a battery of state exams.

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, sponsored a bill that would have aligned Arizona’s teaching certification standards with the federal government’s. Given the way No Child Left Behind mandates have homogenized education across the nation, this seems to be a logical move — except to John Wright, president of the Arizona Education Association.

Wright contends the change would amount to lowering standards. But considering Idaho ranked better than Arizona across the board in National Assessment of Education Progress test proficiency levels in 2005 and in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2007 Report Card on American Education (No. 23, vs. Arizona’s No. 31 ranking), maybe we should be getting more of our teachers from the potato state.

We have to acknowledge Pinal County Sheriff Chris Vasquez has apparently learned his lesson about the ethics of plagiarism, although he has said he had no regrets about his previous lapses.

The sheriff’s August newsletter is on the street, and it’s devoted to the potential dangers and economic costs of teenagers drinking alcohol. The first sentence notes all of the information in the newsletter comes from the Underage Drinking Enforcement and Training Center, a division of the U.S. Justice Department.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it, sheriff?

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