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Single CEO for the USAFA AOG and UE is a Bad Idea

A couple of years ago the AOG tried to get a bylaw amendment passed that would have allowed a single CEO to lead the AOG and the USAFA Endowment. It was a bad idea then and it is still a bad idea. The reasons can be summarized in two points; it results in a return to centralization of power under a few influential grads (mostly large donors) and it perpetuates a lack of transparency in AOG/UE affairs.

First, why do I say this is a “return” to centralization of power. The desire for power is a natural tendency and it was manifested in the AOG several years ago when the bylaws were changed to prevent anyone from running for the board who was not first “approved” by the existing board. I only learned of this when I encouraged one of my classmates to run for the board and learned that he must first be “approved.” This was wrong and undemocratic, but it took a few of us more than a year of acrimonious debate until we got the bylaws changed so that any grad member can run for the board.

But those who like control did not give up. In my opinion, the bylaw change is what caused a few grads who were unhappy with the loss of control to turn to the UE to regain their influence. They have been mostly successful at this because we are now at a point where the UE is nearly the total funding agent for the AOG for any activities that require donations, and most people agree with the saying that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Compounding this problem of centralized power is a lack of transparency. The AOG and its created offshoot, the Class Advisory Senate (CAS), both refuse to allow electronic participation in their meetings, even though this can easily be accomplished efficiently and without disruption. I know this because I participated in both AOG and CAS meetings before they both decided to disallow this participation. And the UE does not even allow “in-person” participation, except in special cases. This essentially means that the actions of the AOG, the CAS, and the UE are not open to over 90% of grads, only to the few who happen to live in the Colorado Springs area or have some special reason for attending.

I have been told that there are problems identifying who is participating electronically. All I can say is that it was not a problem the few times that I participated electronically. My name was clearly shown on the computer screen, so everyone could see who was participating. Furthermore, why do our actions need to be secret? What are we afraid of? What if someone from the press did listen in? What’s the problem? There are some legitimate concerns about AOG bylaw provisions, but I have two responses to that; either change the bylaws at the same time of the proposed change for the single CEO or simply loosely interpret the bylaws. I believe that the applicable part of the bylaws was probably put there to make it clear that AOG board members are “allowed” to participate electronically, not to prevent other grad members from participating.

Another point that grads should consider is the attempt by the AOG to limit the debate. What are grads to do? If one side controls the debate, that side is likely to win. It is no surprise that on the last attempt they got 86% “yes” votes because there was no opposing view. This time, the AOG would not print my argument in Checkpoints or agree to send it with their arguments in favor of the Single CEO, or let me use their bulk mail service to send it myself (even if I paid for it).
Because I think the idea of a single CEO is bad, and because the AOG will not allow transparency in their meetings, and because they will not allow a fair debate, the only effective way to stop this is to avoid voting (because the bylaws require a minimum of 25% participation). This tactic worked last time. Therefore, I must again suggest that the best way to defeat this bad idea is for grad members to refuse to vote on this issue (you can still vote for other items on the ballot).

Roy Miller Col (Ret), Class of ‘67
1529 W Virginia Ave
Phoenix AZ 85007

Suns arena: Sell it to the Suns

Taxpayers should not be required to put another dime into the Suns arena. City governments should not even be in the arena business. For that matter, city governments should not be in the hotel business (remember the Sheraton disaster), or the convention center business (that’s why we “had” to build the Sheraton hotel), or the trash hauling business, or the light rail business, or even the airport business, or the water company business, or the sewer company business (we have over 300 private water and sewer companies in Arizona). This list is large. All businesses run better if business people are in charge rather than government bureaucrats.

And the Suns arena would run better too. And Phoenix would get the tax revenue and avoid the headaches of management and maintenance.

Let’s make the Suns an offer they can’t refuse.

Church attendance

I recently read that in my home state of Minnesota the fastest growing religious denomination is “none.” These statistics are probably similar in the rest of the United States. This is discouraging because I believe that religion provides a foundation for morality, that is, correct behavior. Oh sure, you can learn what is correct behavior by studying the great philosophers, but it is religion that provides the motivation to not just KNOW the right thing but to DO the right thing. This is sorely needed today because we live in a world of relative morality. We have presidents who lie routinely to the American people, and not the just the current president; remember that both President Bush and President Obama lied to us about the government collection of data on all Americans.

If the president can lie and escape any negative consequences, why should the rest of us tell the truth? The answer, of course, is that it is the RIGHT thing to do. And it is religion that motivates us to do the right thing. Attendance at weekly church services is not the only answer but it is a strong indicator of interest, intentions, and commitment. It is something that we should promote.

Stop Whining About Voter Turnout

Tuesday’s election had the biggest non-presidential election turnout in Arizona history, but pundits are still complaining because that only represents 50% of registered voters. The cry is “where are the other 50%?” Answer: They are either uneducated about the elections or they just don’t care. But, in either case we should not want them to vote. If you try to push people to vote who either are uneducated or uninterested, all you will get are those who want more “stuff” from the government, that is, an expansion of the welfare state. This may be actually be a goal for some liberals but it should not be a goal for anyone who wants government to protect liberty and to stop stealing so much of our money.

Jeff Flake-I am among the 30%

Jeff Flake is still popular with me

I am proud to say that I am among the recently reported 30% in Arizona who still admire Jeff Flake. And I have continued to be proud of Jeff ever since a small group of us hired him to be the Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute back in 1992. But, since Trump’s election, Jeff is challenged by our President’s actions. Unfortunately, Trump has a personal manner that is pretty disgusting. As a lifelong Republican I wish that more members of my party could make a distinction and praise President Trump for his good decisions but also recognize that much of his behavior is not to be held up as an example for others. Jeff Flake is one of the few senior leaders in our party who regularly makes this distinction. Honor should be placed above policy and I thank Jeff for holding Trump’s feet to the fire on issues of honor and integrity.

Jeff wrote a book called Conscience of a Conservative, like one written many years ago by Senator Barry Goldwater. I commend it to anyone who might be frustrated when Jeff does not always support the President. There is no one in senior leadership today whose honor and integrity are held in higher esteem by me than Senator Jeff Flake.

Must Students Have Teachers Who Look Like Them?

It seems that racism will not die. The latest demand from the left is that teachers must look like their students. And, as we become browner and blacker, the leftists say there are not enough brown and black teachers. But think about that. If a classroom has 35 students and 20 of them are brown or black, the leftists would demand that the class have a brown or black teacher. But, what about the remaining 15 white kids? Do they not deserve a teacher who looks like them?

The easiest solution to this problem is to segregate schools by race. Then white kids can have white teachers and brown/black kids can have brown/black teachers. But wait……………..haven’t we spent the last 160 years trying to escape racial segregation? My suggestion is that we stop dealing with people based on the color of their skin and start treating people, including students, as individuals. It is called ending racism. What a concept.

Indian School Road-What is Phoenix ‘Pedaling’?

I can’t believe what Phoenix city staff is ‘pedaling’ for Indian School. They want to take out a lane of traffic between 7th Ave and 19th Ave on Indian School to install bike lanes. I decided to document how nutty this idea is, so I recently drove west bound on Indian School (during early rush hour). There were so many vehicles backed up at Central Ave that it took me three lights to get through and then I had slow going to 19th Avenue. Meanwhile there were zero, none, no bicycles going either direction on Indian School in the bike lanes that already exist. Obviously, the proposed changes are being implemented to appease some political interest rather than to help traffic flow. Why can’t bicycle riders (I am one) use the sidewalks that already exist, especially since we have spent thousands of dollars installing ramps at every intersection?

Can’t we restore some sanity in our transportation planning?