The real definition of ‘liberal'

Dear Editor:

I would like to reply to the "special" commentary by Chuck Rogér, which appeared in the AFN on June 6 ("Three flavors of fun and I bummer").

However, rather than rely on someone who has been indicted on federal fraud charges to support my position, as Rogér did (Paul Jacob, indicted in Oklahoma City in October of 2007), I would like to quote a War Hero, Pulitzer Prize winner and president: "If by a ‘liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties - someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘liberal,' then I'm proud to say I'm a ‘liberal.'" (John Kennedy, Sept. 14, 1960)

I find this definition to be much more reflective of my beliefs, as well as the other liberals I know.

Paul Walton


Proposed Loop 202 is a bad idea

Dear Editor:

Not many people would like to have a nice, quiet, peaceful neighborhood turned into a crazy, noisy, polluted highway.

Currently, citizens of Ahwatukee have been discussing the subject of the suggested Loop 202 Freeway. As good as having a nice, new highway sounds, there are many downsides to building it.

Supporters of the highway claim that there is too much traffic on other highways. They say that building this highway will prevent traffic jams on other highways. However, this highway will be built going in a different direction than most other highways, so it won't make a big difference.

The highway will run through part of South Mountain. The mountain is sacred to the Gila River Indians. It is against their religion and beliefs to build a big, busy highway running through South Mountain.

Additionally, the highway will destroy some of Ahwatukee's native vegetation. Some of those plants are saguaro cactus, yucca and agave. Due to the lack of some of the plants, many animals will no longer have shelter and/or food! Some of those species are ground squirrels, bats, javelinas, jackrabbits and desert tortoises. These animals will also be trapped on one side of the highway. Currently, animals can easily move from South Mountain to the end of Ahwatukee Foothills. Animals will lose most of their freedom!

The definition of global warming is when sunbeams become trapped in the Earth's atmosphere by carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is formed when something is burned. If this highway is built, more fuel will be burned for cars. This will contribute to global warming greatly.

Furthermore, people will litter and throw their trash on the ground. Animals could choke and die on plastic bags. Plants could suffocate and die. The once peaceful, quiet neighborhood will become a noisy, dangerous street that's covered in cigarettes and soda cans.

Lastly, the crime-rate in Ahwatukee will increase. There will be many more car thefts and robberies if the highway is built. Currently, criminals probably prefer robbing a place that is easy to get to rather than a far away neighborhood. However, if the highway is built, it will make the transportation easier and encourage more people to commit crimes.

Undoubtedly, building the Loop 202 Freeway is not the greatest idea. What is wrong with peaceful hiking trails, neighborhoods and wildlife? Why not just, as Paul McCartney once said, "Let it be?"

Bomi Johnson

Summit School of Ahwatukee sixth-grader


G.I. Bill needs a makeover

Dear Editor:

I just wanted to make you aware that I support what is going on in attempts to change the way the G.I. Bill works.

As you know, the G.I. Bill pays veterans that served honorable to go to college. What you may not know is how little it pays. The program requires that you pay a minimum of $1,200 just to be accepted into it. On top of that you can "donate" another $600 and have the monthly payment upped a little.

I served the military from 2002 to 2006 and am currently attending Maricopa Community College and will be transferring to Northern Arizona University to finish my bachelor's degree. The problem is, while the G.I. Bill does cover my expenses at the community college, it does just barely. With gas at its current prices, the cost of tuition, and the fact that working while attending full-time college can be a strain, it makes a lot of sense to revisit the G.I. Bill and for it to be updated.

Education benefits don't even cover half the cost of most colleges. The maximum yearly benefit available through the current G.I. Bill (to active duty veterans) is $9,675 or $38,700 over four years less than half the cost of an average state school.

The new G.I. Bill will afford more veterans then ever the chance to obtain college degrees, but changing the way the bill works. Instead of a flat fee that is currently awarded, it would pay for the tuition, books, lab fees and give a small living stipend that would make attending school within reach for every veteran.

I highly suggest that you look into this matter and make sure that your readers are aware of how our veterans are being rewarded for their sacrifices.

Former SPC Matthew Lockard

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