Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Editorial: High reward, low risk in Chino Valley

The headline is correct as far as it goes. It's far easier and smarter to build public transit system with a municipality than try to graft one on after the need becomes acute.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but Chino Valley is probably the least likely municipality in the area to make a success of public transit, because its large-lot platting and intermittent commercial strip spreads its population and businesses much more thinly.

The likely best result will be an infrequent short-bus schedule specialized for group-home seniors and maybe a few hospital workers, leaving out kids and general riders. There just won't be the money to support a system that residents more than a block away from 89 can practically use. That's not my idea of success. (And I can only imagine how quickly the calls will rise to scrap it all when the first bus gets involved in a collision on 89.)

This is the problem for mass transit everywhere in this country: underbuilding the system with lowball schedules and few destination options inevitably leads to underuse and hasty accusations of failure. Doing it right takes real vision and massive commitment, qualities I fear Americans at large and Arizonans in particular no longer value.

Chino Valley police making shift to hand-held e-Citations

A couple of points in this story should have merited followup questions.

"... citation information is ... stored in a central data base with Brazos, the company making the device's computer program ...." These are public records and must be handled securely and economically. Why is a private company doing this, and how much does it cost?

"... the money to pay for the devices will not come from the General Fund but rather a special improvement budget, much like a capital improvement item, bringing a return in revenue for the Town." How much money does the Town expect as a "return in revenue," and how does the Town assure residents that the new technology won't be used as a cash cow rather than enforcement tool? The Chino Valley PD has long carried a reputation for excessive enforcement. Will this get worse, or better?

Districts let teachers decide if they will air Obama's 2nd back-to-school speech Tuesday

Correction, Paula: the president's speech last year didn't cause controversy, at best it triggered controversy. Better writing would be "The president's first back-to-school speech in 2009, which encouraged students to study hard and stay in school, was the target of criticism by political opponents throughout the country, as well as locally."

The story infers that the "controversy" anticipating the speech was justified, when in reality it turned out to be idiotic once everyone heard what the President had to say. By writing it this way, the editors feed the sort of ridiculous flames we see in the comments.