Last week, Chandler issued a directive that would have criminalized nursing in public. Following public outcry, the city set aside the directive and formed a task force to "study" the issue.
I'm all for studying issues, but a little common sense may be all that's needed here. Infants need nourishment every few hours. Unless we want to confine nursing mothers to their homes, infants will occasionally have to eat in public.
If this makes someone uncomfortable, looking away is a civil solution. The alternative is to turn nursing moms into criminals or segregate them to public restrooms (wonderful places to eat, no doubt).
Most mothers are discreet. To quote Leah Landrum Taylor (D-16), "I think if everybody just reflects a little bit... they probably can say that they've never witnessed a mother with a raincoat on, opening it wide open, and then going and trying to feed and nurse her child... There is a blanket... to provide a sense of comfort and privacy." A little common sense in applying the state's indecent exposure laws would go a long way.
A mother should not need a permission slip from government to feed her baby. Instead of prosecuting mothers, Chandler might consider an alternative resolution: "Mothers Welcome Here."
U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, and U.S. Reps. John Shadegg and Jeff Flake, were among the 12 federal lawmakers who put principle above short-term political gain and voted against the recently passed transportation bill.
This $286 billion bill divvied up the money from the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax we all pay when we fill up. What's so bad about that?
The gas tax originated in the 1950's to fund construction of the interstate highway system. The system has long been completed, but the gas tax, as taxes usually do, lives on.
Now it funds items like tourism promotion in Rutherford County, Tenn., bike paths in Delta Ponds, Ore., and intermodal transportation at the Bronx Zoo.
The collection and administration of the gas tax is wretched public policy. What possible rationale is there for us to send our tax money to Washington rather than just remit and spend it locally?
Is it really possible that Washington bureaucrats know how best to spend our transportation dollars? Money sent to Washington suffers shrinkage just from being handled by bureaucrats, and the distribution of these funds is highly politicized.
Want proof? The current bill contains an astounding 6,361 "earmarks" or special projects requested by lawmakers. President Ronald Reagan vetoed the 1987 highway bill because it had 152 pork-barrel earmarks.
Watchdog groups estimate that 40 percent of the gas tax proceeds are wasted on special projects of little benefit to the car and truck drivers who pay the tax. We would be far better off raising and spending the money locally on our real transportation needs.
The federal gas tax is nothing but an expensive slush fund for a Congress unable to control itself. Let's get rid of it. Meanwhile, thanks to Arizona's Fab Four, who stood tall and voted no.
This appeared as a full-length opinion-editorial in the East Valley Tribune Sunday, August 7, 2005.
The state legislature and governor are wrangling over proposed funding increases for English Language Learners ranging from an additional $300 to $1,300 per pupil.
To be sure, there is a problem with the ELL system. Four out of five ELL sophomores are failing reading, writing, and math, despite the fact that the AIMS test has become easier to pass in each of the five past years.
Absent systemic change, more funding is unlikely to yield better results.
A Texas program for students sharing similar socio-economic backgrounds with Arizona ELL students is promising. In 1998, every student in San Antonio's Edgewood district became eligible to receive a private school scholarship through the HORIZON program.
From 1998 to 2002, Stanford-9 test scores of HORIZON scholarship students improved an average of five percentile points in reading, five percentile points in language, and seven points in math each year.
Almost as impressive as those achievement gains is the fact that the scholarship amounts, up to $4,000 each, were about half of what Edgewood public schools were spending per student.
Imagine comparable gains for Arizona ELL students. Measures that let parents find the right education setting for their children, such as a voucher for ELL students, can ensure that money spent on ELL programs achieves the goal of providing a quality education.
-Robert Robb: "GOP must keep fighting on English-learner issue"
-Study: Choice, Change & Progress: School Choice and the Hispanic Education Crisis
-Study: A Guide to Understanding State Funding of Arizona Public School Students
Fifteen percent is the magic number, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The ACC voted this week to require Arizona utilities to produce 15 percent of their energy from "renewable resources." Why 15 percent?
There's nothing magic about 15 percent. In fact, the number is arbitrary and expected to impose $50 million in surcharges on consumers every year.
Arizonans are naturally concerned about resource sustainability. But regulation is a poor approach to sustainability.
As Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb puts it, "To be blunt, the politicians and staff at the commission have no particular insight about what will be the optimal energy mix for the production of electricity 20 years from now. Nor should it be their job to make such decisions."
The ACC might revisit Nobel Prize laureate Vernon Smith's path-breaking research on how a deregulated marketplace can increase efficiency and sustainability, some of which the commission funded back in 1984. Deregulation experiments in other states have saved consumers as much as 15 percent on utility bills while reducing electricity consumption. Now that's a magic 15.
Recent Facebook Activity
Fifteen Bureaucrats Are Better Than One
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have announced that they will not recommend candidates to serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the federal health care law’s panel of 15 bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs. In a letter to the president explaining their decision, Boehner and McConnell said they “believe Congress should repeal IPAB” and “hope establishing this board never becomes a reality.”Read More >>
Policymakers Need to be Adults when it Comes to Corporate Handouts
Economic development consultants act like children when they talk about attracting new businesses. Maybe a “deal closing” fund can help the state attract high-profile corporate relocations, they argue. Or maybe a special job training grant. Just do it this one time and it will make our state an economic powerhouse. Pretty please!Read More >>
Charter Schools Should have Better Access to Empty Public School Buildings
The wave of school building closures comes at a time when charter schools are disproportionally represented in the list of the top performing schools in the state. As TUSD shutters schools, shouldn’t the district find a way for successful charter schools to move in and give families better options?Read More >>