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Metro Center closes: Is Lt Rail still needed??

One of the main justifications for the northwest extension of Light Rail was to connect with Metro Center Mall, at one time the only large two-story mall in Arizona. Now that Metro Center is closing, we should reexamine the northwest Light Rail extension. This would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, especially because this extension requires an extremely expensive crossing of Interstate 17.

Defund Police Unions, not Police

The villain in the practice of retaining bad cops is the police union, not the police management. We should defund the unions, not the police. Just think about it for a minute: Police management has an incentive to get rid of or discipline bad cops. Police unions have the opposite incentive; they exist only to protect the cops. I saw this play out repeatedly during my time on the Phoenix Civil Service Board, the agency that disciplined cops in Phoenix appealed to. No matter how egregious the offense, the police union was there to argue against termination or against harsh discipline. Let’s focus our attention and our remediation where it belongs.

Gov Ducey: There is no Systemic Racism in the PhxPD

Last week one obnoxious reporter tried twice to get Governor Ducey to say that there was “systemic racism” in the Phoenix Police Department. This was after another reporter (maybe it was the same one) tried to get Ducey to admit that he suffered from “white privilege.” The farthest the governor would go is to say that “I am learning.” I want the governor to know that, after living in central Phoenix for 45 years, and after serving on numerous Phoenix commissions and committees, including as chairman of the Phoenix Civil Service Board (where we heard appeals of Phoenix PD disciplinary actions), and after knowing most of the chiefs of police during that 45 years, there is no systemic racism in the Phx PD.

I do not know the current chief, Jeri Williams very well, but I have had some personal interaction with her, and I have closely followed her actions in the press. As a result, I have the utmost confidence in her management.

I hope that the next time the governor is asked this question about systemic racism he will say that he knows of no such thing, even while acknowledging that that there are always a few bad apples in every barrel and that he is all for dispensing the appropriate discipline when they are found.

The Military should not act as Police

It is extremely dangerous, and unconstitutional, to use the military for policing. The military and the police have opposite functions. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. The role of police is to serve and protect. To use the military as police will inevitably result in more people being killed and more things being broken. At the other extreme, we see police forces around the country being “militarized” through use of weapons such as tanks and heavy firearms and military vehicles. This will cause the police to view protesters as the enemy, rather than as people who they should protect and serve.

Double the Number of Service Academy Grads—cost free

All military service academies are four year, intensive, resident, programs. Does anyone seriously believe that it takes four years of such an intensive program to create great officers for our military? Of course not. After all, there are more officers produced from other less intensive officer training programs, such as ROTC, than from the service academies and many of the products of those other programs, nevertheless, go on to serve in the highest levels of their respective services. The extreme example of this is what we in the Air Force called the 90-day wonders, graduates of OTS, the Officer training School, many of whom go on to achieve high rank.

Here is my suggestion: Why not make the service academies two-year programs and instantly double the number of military academy graduates? Two years should be more than enough time to instill the proper attitude and skills. Students could enter the academies after two years at another college, probably after also serving those two years in the ROTC. They would then also have completed the grueling “beast” indoctrination and would come to their final two years as more mature adults, who are more likely to have the additional knowledge and commitment required for a long military career.

Such a system would also reduce the perceived “differences” that are inevitable between “Academy grads” and the officers from other commissioning sources. This is likely to be beneficial to both the new officers and to the taxpayers. Let’s give it a try. As an Air Force Academy grad myself, I suggest the pilot program (pun intended) be at the Air Force Academy.

Air Force needs a “military” uniform

When General McPeak came out with the new Class A uniform many years ago it was immediately dubbed the “Delta Pilot” uniform because that is what it looked like. The rank on the sleeve (like the Navy uses and like Delta pilots use) did not last long and neither did the lack of insignia on the shoulder. But the lack of a pocket on the right side stayed and the worst feature of all, the three-button coat, remained. It may be comfortable (allegedly designed for general officers in the pentagon) but it does not look “military” and should be scrapped. It’s OK to keep the polyester (but not great) for easy maintenance but Air Force should definitely go back to the four-button coat and right side pocket.

Corona Virus Opportunity

With the Corona Virus raging the experts are now advising us of the hazards regarding mass transit, such as light rail, because we cannot properly distance. (Some of us have been advising of the economic hazards of light rail for many years.) Many of those same experts are now suggesting that we drive our cars to keep social distancing. What a great opportunity for Phoenix to abandon the leftist campaign to make us look like San Francisco or New York and, instead, advertise our low-density city as a wonderful place to drive a car. We could be the only city in the country bragging that we are the most automobile friendly city in America. Phoenix Chamber; are you listening?

Pat Tillman’s Friendly Fire Killing

April 22 was the 16th 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.

Store Closing Mandates

The Phoenix City Council should repeal the store closing mandates. Government can be a great service when it acts in an ADVISORY capacity but, when it gets the guns out and starts mandates, things go very wrong. Put your guns back in the holster and keep giving sound advice.

Genetic Engineering has always been with us

Lots of my friends bemoan genetic engineering in all its forms. They won’t eat genetically engineered foods and they criticize anyone who wants “designer babies,” that is, who want to modify genes in the womb to address possible genetically transmitted diseases, or anything else that sounds scary (having to do with modifying genes). What these critics do not realize is that we have been genetically engineering babies forever, simply by choosing who we have children with. Tall, thin, attractive girls have many more suitors than do short, fat, ugly girls. And those suitors tend to be tall, muscular, handsome, guys.

The only way to prevent this genetic engineering is to mandate that the least attractive girls can only marry the most handsome men and the most attractive girls must be forced to marry the least handsome guys. The critics should ponder what kind of a dystopian world we would have under such conditions. And, meanwhile, let’s stop criticizing genetic engineering in all its forms and, rather, look forward to the reduction of diseases and longer, healthier, happier, lives that can be the result.