Cactus Needles - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cactus Needles

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Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2009 6:09 pm | Updated: 12:52 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Short takes from the Tribune Editorial Board...

The faculty and parents of the Edu-Prize private school in Gilbert are offering a model lesson in civic activism, and not just for the students in the classrooms.

Edu-Prize opposes the proposed construction of an electric substation by Salt River Project next to the school campus near Baseline and Cooper roads. School officials have strong concerns about possible damage to the health of students and staff with high-powered transmission lines nearby.

For months, the school and its supporters have marshaled their arguments, canvassed the neighborhood for petition signatures and pressed for SRP to build the substation elsewhere.

We aren’t convinced these transmission lines would pose a serious danger to Edu-Prize. But we are impressed about how they have made their case. The school’s advocates have been passionate but respectful and willing to commit the necessary time to exercise their constitutional rights in an orderly manner.

While the process has been lengthy, the constructive engagement has worked. Tribune writer Hayley Ringle reported Thursday that an SRP oversight committee has asked utility staff to look more closely at alternative sites.

We knew House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, faced an uphill battle when he promised to inject more transparency into how his state chamber conducts business. But we certainly didn’t expect to see an Adams-run House turn off one of the best tools for outsiders to keep track of what the Legislature does.

House staff refused Thursday to use taxpayer-funded cameras during a meeting about tuition tax credits organized by legislative Democrats. Usually, far more people watch such meetings on the Legislature’s closed-circuit television, Web broadcasts and dedicated cable channels than attend in person.

Adams’ spokeswoman, Becky Blackburn, offered the lame excuse that the meeting was scheduled too late. But the lead organizer, Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, says he filed proper notice more than two weeks before. Besides, we know from past experience it only takes a few minutes to get the House cameras working. So the public could have watched most of the two-hour meeting anyway if Adams had kept his word.

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