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Argument in Support of Phx Prop 105

Our streets badly need repair while we waste taxpayer money on light rail. Passenger rail is a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem. It is inefficient, inflexible, increases pollution, increases congestion, and takes up space on our streets which should be used for the proper solution to transportation issues, which is autonomous vehicles. Why would anyone walk or take a bus to light rail when they can be taken from their door directly to their destination quickly and safely with an autonomous vehicle? This is the future, but we must prepare for it by ensuring that our streets have the safety and capacity to handle the traffic. If you vote for Prop 105, we can take the money we are currently wasting on light rail and fix our roads.

15th Anniversary of Pat Tillman’s killing

Today, April 22 was the 15th anniversary of the friendly fire killing of Army CPL Pat Tillman, a football hero and man of honor who gave up millions in potential earnings to serve his country. I just watched the documentary movie “The Tillman Story” as I do every year on the anniversary of his death. The movie uses actual footage from that time and interviews with key people involved. It documents Tillman’s death and the massive cover-up regarding the real reason for his death. The cover-up involved several of our most senior military officers, the Secretary of Defense and, possibly, even the President.

The reason I suggest that we reflect on this incident is because I believe that senior members of the military should be role models for the rest of our nation, and I am concerned that our military training is failing at this. I know of no consequential changes with respect to honor training in the military since the Tillman incident. Frankly, it appears to me that the evidence suggests we are heading in the wrong direction. As one example, USAF Col (ret) Fred Malmstrom’s research regarding honor code compliance at our military academies reveals steadily increasing incidents of violations of their codes. If our academy graduates do not maintain high standards, it is unlikely that other officers will do so.

Sadly, there is no reason to expect that, if an incident like the Tillman killing were to occur today, our senior military leaders would do anything differently than they did in the cover-up following Tillman’s death.

Abolish school districts

Abolish school districts
In the April 4th Arizona Republic the article by Joanna Allhands she explains “Why consolidation (of school districts) won’t really help our schools.”. She is right. School districts are a needless bureaucratic layer between students and the taxpayer. Joanna was on the right track, but she just failed to suggest the next logical step. The districts should not be consolidated; they should be abolished, and the schools should be funded directly. The money should go to the school principals who know best how it should be spent. (An even better idea would be to tie the funds directly to the student, but such a move yields other complicating issues.).

Why do we regulate home inspectors?

Why Do We Regulate Home Inspectors?

Today (April 2) I had another lesson in the folly of occupational licensing. I attended a meeting of the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) where the subject for the entire meeting, over an hour and a half, was taken up with how many hours an assistant to a home inspector, called a “parallel inspector,” should have to serve before advancing to the next level of regulation. This subject is one of several that comes under the purview of the Arizona Board of Technical Registration (BTR). I learned early in the meeting that this very small part of the BTR mandate had required the attention of GRRC several times since June of last year, and that it was one part of a longer regulation that required GRRC approval.

During the meeting I learned that there are three schools that teach home inspecting and that each applicant must complete 84 hours of instruction and then serve in this “parallel inspector” role for five years and make 250 home inspections. Part of the reason for the length of the meeting was that one of the school operators had filed a complaint about the regulations. There were extensive discussions about both the 250-hour requirement and the five-year requirement. One interesting fact, among many, is that BTR does not evaluate the work of the inspectors, only that they complete the inspection, i.e., check all the proper squares.

Part of the GRRC responsibility is to ensure that the BTR rule changes comply with the requirements of ARS 41-1030. Another part is to ensure that the BTR rules comply with ARS 41-1033(g) which asks whether the proposed rules are burdensome or unnecessary.

Although I had not planned to testify, I became frustrated after about an hour and turned in a comment card. I simply suggested that, instead of spending over an hour debating this minutia, the GRCC should spend ten minutes discussing whether we should be regulating home inspectors at all. The GRRC chair said that was not in their purview. But I thought to myself: “Don’t we have a Republican Governor who wants to reduce regulations, and don’t we have Republican majorities in both houses? What is the obstacle?”

After the agonizing hour and a half debate and discussion, the GRRC decided that the proposed BTR regulations do comply with ARS 41-1030 but that they are overly burdensome, i.e., failing ARS 41-1033(g). Therefore, GRRC decided to amend the rules to leave the 250-hour requirement in place but to lower the time requirement from five years to three.

If it does not boggle your mind, wondering whether we should be regulating home inspectors at all, here is a final thought: This GRRC meeting required the time of five GRRC board members, three GRRC staff members, two BTR staff members, one attorney for the GRRC, one attorney for the AZ Attorney General, one school inspector operator, one volunteer member of the BTR Rules and Standards Committee, and about ten others in the audience whose mission was not clear to me.

This situation is completely insane. Why don’t we deregulate this whole realm and let all these people do something productive with their time??

PS During my working career I held four different occupational licenses so I have a first-hand knowledge of how wasteful ALL of these regulatory schemes can be.

Excellent piece on cannabis but…..

Ryan Randazzo’s piece in Sunday’s Arizona Republic (March 31-“ASU grad shakes up cannabis industry”) was well done but has a couple of significant omissions. Near the end of the article Randazzo quotes drug warrior and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, as saying that, “If we were to get rid of drugs, we could almost get rid of crime.” This is nonsense. First, drugs have always been with us and always will be. Second, it is not the drugs that cause crime but rather the drug war which Polk steadfastly supports. Most drugs are cheap substances and, except for making them illegal, would not require criminal drug cartels to produce and distribute. While drug use will not go away, most crime would go away if drugs were decriminalized.

Drug warriors also support draconian measures on the distribution of legal opioids. This simply drives users to the black market and causes deaths from overdoses and impure drugs. The drug warriors like Polk are indirectly causing the deaths of many innocent people.

But that is not all the harm they cause. Polk was the most vocal opponent of the recent attempt to decriminalize marijuana. I believe that the biggest donor on this campaign was himself a producer of fentanyl, the most harmful of all the drugs in use today. The suspicion by some of us for why he supported the anti-marijuana campaign was that he did not want the competition from marijuana. This kind of hypocrisy by these drug warriors should have been noted in the article so that readers get a clear picture of where the problems are in dealing with drug use.

Concise speaking

So, you know, like, this is, sort of, a letter to the editor, right? (If anyone does not understand the message they are welcome to contact me.)

Handicapped Parking Fraud

Admit it, you have been irritated more than once when you had to park a long distance from your destination and someone else pulled into a handicapped parking spot at the front, got out of the car with no apparent disability, and walked briskly to the front door of the business ahead of you. It happens too frequently. These days almost anyone can be thought of as disabled or handicapped by some doctor and get a sticker for their car or a temporary window hanger.

This situation has gotten completely out of hand. The answer is to go back to what handicapped parking was meant for, that is, people in wheel chairs. (That is why the marking for these parking spots is a wheelchair.) Besides ending the fraud, we would also free up many parking spaces because they would only be used by the truly deserving.