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Neil Wake Mostly Right About Prop 123

District Court Judge Neil Wake is getting some unjust criticism regarding his decision in the appeal of Proposition 123, the measure that helped fund education by taking more money out of the enabling act trust fund. Former Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit warned against the action of taking too much money out of the trust fund. A better solution would have been to accelerate the sale of state trust land, as DeWit suggested. This would have brought an immediate cash infusion into the trust fund from the sales and would have guaranteed future income through the payment of real estate taxes on what was government land that paid no taxes. Both sources of money could be used to increase education spending. However, this would mean a loss of control of the state trust land by Arizona State bureaucrats. I suspect that this is part of the reason for failing to take the path that was clearly proper and legal rather than the one that was questionable, as noted in Wake’s opinion.

Jeff Flake Critics are Wrong

Anderson and Murphy are wrong about Jeff Flake

Arizona Republic letter writers Parker Anderson and Edward Murphy in today’s paper (Oct 2) are wrong in their criticism of Jeff Flake. I have known Jeff Flake well ever since I and my fellow Goldwater Institute board members hired Jeff to be our executive director nearly 30 years ago. Jeff was an outstanding director, US House member, and US Senator. Writer Anderson claims that Jeff failed to speak up (about his concerns over Trump misdeeds) but this is simply false. Jeff made his opinions clear from the day Trump was elected and was always the most outspoken (and respectful) of all the Republican Senators. Writer Murphy’s complaint is that Jeff quit the senate. This was the only honorable thing Jeff could do because of the demands in his upcoming campaign for fundraising. Jeff simply knew that he could not ask other Republicans for money while at the same time retaining his integrity by holding the President’s feet to the fire.
If anyone is seriously interested in knowing where Jeff Flake stands, they need only read his book “Conscience of a Conservative.” There has never been a more honorable person in the Congress than Jeff Flake.

We Don’t Need a Citizens Review Board

There is a lot of talk lately about creating a Citizens Review Board for the Phoenix Police Department. This is a bad idea. Instead we should hold management’s feet to the fire. Whenever you create “review” boards for police, you inevitably reduce the authority of the police chief. This is a problem for every major police department in the country. Well publicized bad results have occurred in places like New York and Chicago, but Phoenix has, so far, escaped the corruption that happens when management fails. I was chairman of the Phoenix Civil Service Board back in the 1980s. We heard appeals of disciplinary actions and I saw firsthand the negative effects of taking authority away from the chief when we overruled management too frequently.

We have enough “review” within the Police Department and with the CSB now if we just insist that everyone does their job.

Memories of the USAFA Chapel

I was a devout Minnesota Lutheran when I came to USAFA in 1963. I was lucky that my sponsor was the Protestant Chaplain, Capt Bob Hendricks. (He ended his career as a Colonel/TAC Command Chaplain and we remained lifelong friends until his death in 2014.) While at USAFA I became very involved in Chapel activities and also taught Sunday School at the Base Chapel. I also tried out for the Protestant Cadet Choir but did not make the cut. Another chaplain at the time, Capt Chapman, had seminars on the Dead Sea Scrolls that I attended. I was so caught up the chapel activities that I actually considered attending a seminary (probably Luther Theological Seminary in Minnesota). However, that motivation caused me to begin a more detailed study of religion, especially doctrinal issues and I began to question doctrine, first esoteric doctrines like Transubstantiation but later, more fundamental doctrines such as the Trinity. That caused me to begin a multiyear quest for a church whose doctrine I could believe in. Long story short is that I have been a Unitarian for the past 42 years. Obviously, the Chapel and its cadet programs were very meaningful to me, as they were to many cadets in our class.

Remembering David H Koch

I first met David Koch 40 years ago when he ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980. Although I am a life long registered Republican, my philosophical leanings are libertarian and I usually follow libertarian candidates. In this race David had little chance of winning, but he was always willing to invest his personal resources to promote his libertarian views. He did this throughout his life and I admired him for doing so as he always did it a very calm and thoughtful manner. Consequently, I believe he was extremely effective in advancing these limited government views.

But, in addition to David’s effective advancement of libertarian views, he was also one of America’s most generous philanthropists. I first became aware of his generosity here in Arizona when I learned that he was on the board of the Institute of Human Origins, Don Johanson’s group that discovered Lucy. David was a significant contributor to IHO, but I also began to notice David Koch’s name on many other large donations and, significantly, these were donations that went to arts, humanities, and medicine. Sadly, these donations never received the same media attention that was given to his political donations.

When you combine the results of his life of giving, I believe he emerges as one of the most influential figures of the past 50 years. I will remember him fondly.

Chair Seats Should Tip Up

How many times have you sat down on a chair with a smooth seat and found your butt sliding to the front of the chair? Happens to me all the time. Why don’t chair manufacturers build chair seats with a slight upward incline?

AZ Central’s Light Rail Deception

Arizona Central (Arizona Republic) is repeatedly claiming that “Phoenix voters have approved light rail 3 times.” This statement is very misleading because light rail has never been sufficiently popular to gain the support of Phoenix voters on its own. The last big tax increase is a good example. The instigators of this tax increase proposed it for the sole reason of paying for light rail. However, they were not stupid. They knew that support for light rail is very thin (because light rail is wasteful, inefficient, polluting, congestion causing, expensive, inappropriate in our age of autonomous vehicles, etc, etc). Therefore, they tried to give every Phoenix voter something to support. They threw in road repair, buses, bike lanes, walkways, and anything else they could think of to get enough votes to pass the measure. Near the end of the process they even threw in $16 million for police, just to be sure they got something for everyone.

A standalone vote for light rail never would have passed. Therefore, to suggest that voters have “approved light rail 3 times” is playing Pinocchio.