Monday, August 15, 2011

Where's the followup?

A longtime reader writes:

Twice I have sent this to the Courier editor for inclusion with no response and once to the high school without reply. I smell one or more rats. I think my questions are responsible. I can’t seem to let this go and see no reason I should. Maybe you have a better idea to gain answers?

What’s going on at Prescott High School?

I read with curiosity an article printed in the Courier July 17th titled “Police, firefighters rescue 2 boys from locked car trunk”. We are fortunate that our public servants arrived at the high school and that the story had a happy ending, though the entire event does raise at least two important unanswered questions:

1.Why were 3 eleven year olds working on a car unsupervised, with know one else around, at the auto shop area on high school grounds, not even during the school year?
2.Whose Cadillac was being worked on, what work was being done and why were eleven year olds doing it?

I believe the first goal of our schools is to provide a safe place for students and faculty alike. What transpired to cause this event? How many hundreds or millions of dollars would the city be turning over to families of victims if the outcome had been much different? I have inquired to the schools principal via mail ten days ago and have received no reply.

Steven Major

Update, Thursday night: Ask and ye shall receive, as Tim promised in the comments.

But wait, what gives? I went back to the original story to check it, and find that the phrase "working on," which I clearly remember and Mr Major quotes above, now reads "playing around." The original version is still on display in the July 18 edition on

Going back to reedit the online edition is an unusual move. I guess this, um, typo was a little more embarrassing than usual.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Copping the attitude

"I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses."

-- Karl T. Frederick, 1920 triple Olympic gold medalist in pistol events and President of the National Rifle Association in the 1920s and '30s

Fascinating read on the evolution of gun-control in the US by Adam Winkler in The Atlantic. My takeaway: The NRA has embraced and institutionalized the thinking of the Black Panthers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Watson Lake auto show on the ropes (update)

On Monday I posted a comment on the story about this weekend's Prescott Antique Auto Club show at Watson Lake, asking whether anyone would confirm the rumor that after 37 years this will be the last event in the park because the City is raising the price to an unsustainable level. I got this reply yesterday, from "Car Guy":

It's kind of a kick in the pants really. PAAC is local and has brought a lot of people to this town every August for over 35 years. PAAC's local members raise funds to operate the club for another year. I'll bet many people don't realize how much time and effort the members put into charitable contributions that go back into the community. Parades, visits to the VAMC, Christmas presents for underprivileged kids. And the list goes on.
The real kicker is that the City wants to raise the cost of renting Watson Lake Park about 6 times what is contracted at now, to a fee of about $5200. PAAC currently pays for all garbage pickup and other expenses on top of their fee for the weekend. The first kicker is that the City wants to run PAAC out of town with unaffordable fees but will GIVE $20,000 per year to a group to bring in some bicycle racing!! Want a real kick in the pants? How about this? PAAC is currently rebuilding and restoring a City of Prescott fire engine with all volunteer labor and contributions from it's members!! Ask your council members to look into this. It's an absolute outrage.
I'd like to suggest to the Courier editors that in the context of the County Fair failure, the scattering of another decades-long tradition that draws statewide participation is what we used to call "news," and it would be a good idea to assign a reporter to talk with some PAAC members about that this weekend along with the standard photo review.

Update, Monday: And the story appears*. Well, some of the story, anyway. There are important followup questions that remain unasked in the paper. The club alleges it had a contract and the City is unilaterally "amending" it. This sort of escape clause is common in the City contracts I've seen, but that doesn't make it smart or fair. There's also an allegation that someone in City staff was working with the club either without proper authority or without subsequent support from superiors. The main unasked question is why there's this heartburn about the price change -- who is responsible for the communication breakdown, and why, if the price increase is "not a done deal," says the Mayor, the club has even seen this out-of-sight number? Sounds like someone is fumbling badly (hint: news).

*: No,  I won't claim credit for it, the editors could have heard about it the same way I did or in the Council meeting.