Saturday, April 7, 2007

A1: "Young's Farm"

Lefty prods me to post on this, and I admit something about it bothered me on first read, but I put it to the side. Developer Monogram is sweet-talking the D-H P&Z Commission about water, vegetation and open space, which rightly ought to be a strong concern there along what's left of the Agua Fria. I'm reading that Monogram can put in wastewater treatment, but they'd rather use septic systems, they're not sure about the trees, etc. It may be that the Commission will make them toe the line, but it's hard to see in Doug Cook's story. Maybe they didn't say. I just get the nagging feeling that something's being soft-pedaled here by somebody.

Editorial: "Public transit issue just getting rolling"

The editor is right to focus on the weak public input to the CYMPO survey. People should get up on their hind legs once in a while and weigh in, that's how our system is supposed to work. It's a little unfair to imply that the Interfaith Council is bombing the system, though. As far as I know this is a pretty sober group committed to smart governance, and reminding your members to get involved doesn't make you a one-issue, me-first pressure group. Calling 11 buses a "blue-chip proposal" is also a little over the top, don't you think? But the real disservice here -- and I don't think the editor is being evil about this, this logic flows from weak premises that an awful lot of people in this country have bought into -- is wagging the finger over cost, implying that public transit can't work because it can't pay for itself.

I've lived in places where public transit works, and it's not a simple matter. To get people to depend on it daily, you have to be where they are and where they want to go in large numbers at all the right times. This requires a commitment to extensive infrastructure probably well beyond what Arizona or Prescott is willing to do, at least until the cost of fuel really starts to ramp up (you ain't seen nothing yet). Prescott's advantage is that it's still relatively compact, so starting now makes a useful system far more feasible than putting it off.

My complaint, though, is the it-must-pay-for-itself meme, limited in scope to money from riders supporting the entire operation. This is bogus economics designed to kill the issue. The benefits to the community as a whole would extend far beyond getting a ride to the mall -- reduced congestion and parking needs, better air and life quality, more sales because businesses are more convenient to more people, safer kids, on and on. Quantifying all that is hard, but at least consider it in the balance. That's why we spend public money -- to benefit the entire community, including people who don't take advantage of the system -- and it'd be worth it.

Reagan: "Socialized medicine hazardous to health"

Does anybody actually read this boob? In this hit-piece, originally titled "National Health Care Can Kill," he scatters clumsy lies and cracked logic to try and scare us all into continuing to bankrupt ourselves and our country with our monumentally stupid health-care system. In parts left out of the substantially longer original, Reagan tells us that everything's better for Americans, who get the jazziest new drugs sooner because national systems take time to do their own testing and negotiate prices. We don't do that negotiating -- sorry, we are prevented by law from doing it -- leaving most of us unable to afford them anyway. I didn't check the stats on personal bankruptcies related to health costs, care to take a guess?

Need facts? Check out Fig 1.2 on this page from UK Cancer Research, one example of many sources I found with a quickie Google search. The highest incidence of breast cancer per capita? US. The lowest in the developed world? Japan, which also has the lowest mortality rate and the most extensive government health-care system.

The press is supposed to help make us smarter voters, that's its constitutional function. Crap like this gives the whole profession a black eye. You can print lies and distortion and call it opinion, but if you don't call them out, as a journalist you're either falling down on the job or actively participating in the fraud.

Talk of the Town: "4-H Expo livens things up with livestock"

The Courier maintains this week's theme of lifting stories from high-school papers. Nothing against Eric Fleck, who I'm sure is having a marvelous time raising his hog, but what the heck is this doing on the op-ed page? I'm just agog.

A3: "Democratic Women of Prescott Ares offer scholarship"

The Courier gets caught with its Briefs down again. Okay, there's not a whole lot of interest in this regular compilation of press releases, but still, it's just good form to at least scan the headlines for typos before you go to print. (Hint: This is a twofer.)

Letters: The peace rally

The Courier is still taking flak about its backhand disparagement of the peace demo last month on the anniversary of Bush's adventure in Iraq. That oughta teach you to talk down personal choices in footwear.

(The first reader who can post me a link to the original story gets a cookie, I'm getting no joy from the Courier archive this morning.)

Update, 10:26am: From leftturnclyde: 'Give peace a chance', March 25.

Letters: Photo radar again

Ms Randall writes the third LTE I've seen on the Glassford Hill Gauntlet. Where's that story, Courier? Your readers are getting way out ahead of you.

A1: "Manhunt in Prescott Valley"

Ken Hedler offers us a highly detailed recitation from the police blotter, but I dunno, maybe I need coffee, this story seems all over the map -- which may be appropriate to what reads like a modern Keystone Kops episode. So DPS chased two guys, arrested one of them, let the other one go, then PV chased the other one, lost him, found him, lost him again, used their helicopter, used the police dog that bit a neighbor last year, carried a rifle, heard he was somewhere he wasn't, on and on, aaaarghh what a mess, I give up! Could someone please wake up the editors?