Fireworks was a success
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all the hard work the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce put into sponsoring the fabulous fireworks display on July 3. Thanks goes to the chamber staff, the committee members made up of local business people, and the volunteers on the day of the show.
Many people may not realize that besides raising $35,000 in private donations the chamber has to coordinate with the police and fire departments, Homeland Security, and countless vendors who provide services for the event.
Thanks to the Ahwatukee Country Club for allowing the fireworks to come back to Ahwatukee. My hope is that residents and businesses will financially support this great community event each year as it maintains Ahwatukee's small-town feel.
Fan of DiCiccio's 4-point reform plan
Through his new four-point reform plan and his vow to push it through, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio is atypical of most career politicians. He is a model representative of and for the people, principled and unafraid to take on the unions, which have long kept politicians in power from the local level all the way up to the federal level.
He's working hard to restore Arizona's once vibrant and successful economy, free it from the depths of its financial crisis with a reform plan to outsource many government services - with the exception of police and fire - to the less-expensive private sector, along with reducing government employee compensation in order to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. It was commendable of DiCiccio to convey the possibility of turning his reform plan into an initiative he could then take to voters if it failed to materialize at City Hall, where most city leaders were more concerned over enhancing their next-election chances. Raising taxes on residents was a consequence of that mindset. On the national level we've since observed that "by the people, for the people, of the people" has turned into, buy the people, fool the people and rob the people."
On the local level, DiCiccio is a citizen politician who has adhered to the principles of our founding fathers. I'm willing to bet that residents have already begun to feel the pain of raised taxes and lost jobs enough that DiCiccio would have already won public opinion and the only next step remaining is for Phoenicians to help him exercise his competing vision.
Sandy Jane Wong
Get facts straight
When is the truth not damning? When it's not the truth!
"Become aware, responsible citizens" (July 16, AFN) is nothing more than excerpts from a 6-year-old chain e-mail that has been thoroughly debunked (see http://colorado.mediamatters.org/items/200707060001 and items 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 12 at http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants).
Even the Center for Immigration Studies will not comment on the e-mail perpetrated by a certain Frosty Wooldridge, who is hardly a reputable source unless you believe that immigrants are conducting a "disease jihad."
Once again intellectual dishonesty, or perhaps simple laziness, is clouding what should be a robust debate based on facts, not fiction. Shame on AFN for printing opinions that purport to state facts, without the most elementary fact checking.
Put things in perspective
Regarding "Arizona's angst heightened by a questionable presidency," by Linda Turley-Hansen (AFN, June 4).It is very unfortunate that hysteria has replaced reasoned debate on the subject of illegal immigration. Is Armageddon coming, as Turley-Hansen and others suggest? I don't think so. I believe that this is a political game being played by politicians like Russell Pearce, J.D Hayworth, Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas, who have little else of substance to offer Arizona voters. And the press is all too happy to play along because controversy is good for business. This sort of commentary is not productive.
When people are frustrated with the economy, unemployment and an eroding standard of living, they naturally look for scapegoats. Opportunistic politicians are all too eager to fan the flames of discontent, even if it is at the expense of a group - be it ethnic or political. People then see their fears and hatreds bolstered and given legitimacy by the politicos, and vise versa, and what we have is self-propagating monster. If it goes far enough, we have what happened in Europe in the early 1900s. And what happened in Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s. I'm not saying things will reach that point, but let's not let our emotions, fears and hatreds put incompetent people into elected office. Or install people with hidden agenda who are merely riding the illegal immigration wave. And please tone down the "treason" rhetoric, especially if you are going to apply it to just the current president.
I think we need to be realistic and put things in perspective. Sure there are more things we can do to control our borders. But it becomes exponentially more expensive to reach "airtight," if "airtight" is achievable at all. Just as with illegal drug interdiction, even "significant" reductions are not achievable without grossly disproportionate expenditures. Are we prepared to pay? And would the cost outweigh the benefit at some point? Maybe it already is. But to hear it from the most rabid anti-illegal immigration people, the promise is that it can be achieved and that cost is no object when it comes to "national security." I remain skeptical.
Will SB1070 control drug trafficking and human smuggling? I suspect not, since these "operators" come and go, and are not interested in establishing residence here. Nor do I think they have anything to fear from this law since the offenses they are already committing have more severe penalties. Therefore there is no additional opportunity with this law for controlling them.
Then there's the question of whether it is even in our interest to round up and deport every - or even most - of the illegals that are already established here. What would that do to the Arizona economy that relies heavily on construction, agriculture and hospitality-based businesses, which have always relied on cheap labor? Are we prepared to see local businesses go under because they can no longer compete?
Why is it such a big issue now? Would we even be having this discussion if the economy was booming? My understanding is that the population of illegal immigrants in this state is actually down from the peak in the mid-2000s, pretty much tracking our economic health. If so, perhaps the problem is somewhat self-correcting. Free markets and all that...
Why are those so concerned with the economic consequences of illegal immigration, real or perceived, not up in arms over the very real threat to our standard of living posed by the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies? It seems that cutting education is exactly the wrong thing to do if we want to maintain our global competitiveness. Yet what do we do? And the hidden cost of continued use of fossil fuels and global warming? These are arguably much more critical to our future economic well being.
Randal J. Jacoby