Now Is the Time to Invest in Education, Not Destroy It

Gov. Jan Brewer's eagerness to make drastic budgetary cuts, including 20 percent of higher education's budget, is equivalent to state suicide.

Slashing that budget goes beyond denying many students the opportunity for advanced education; it pulls the rug out from under Arizona's business, industry, commerce, science, health-care and cultural life. It will ensure a lack of trained personnel needed in the state's future recovery.

During World War II, the Roosevelt administration planned two programs in higher education that would play a major role in our country's tremendous postwar economic development.

Knowing that it would take months, if not years, to ship troops home from the far corners of the globe, the military set up universities to fill the time constructively for countless men and women, most of whom hadn't had the money to attend college. As my last Army assignment after the defeat of Germany, I was on the faculty of the American Army University in Biarritz, France, where enthusiastic soldiers were grateful for this unexpected opportunity.

At other universities, I witnessed the GI Bill of Rights in action. It opened higher education to millions of veterans who soon were the engineers, architects, scientists, astronauts, computer programmers, doctors, nurses, teachers and highly skilled workers who catapulted the United States to the forefront in almost every field.

In these hard times, we need government leaders who don't take the easy way out of crises. Spineless leadership in the state led to successive tax cuts over a period of about 17 years that, among other results, placed the state 39th in child well-being and 50th in support of public education. We can do much better, and it's up to our leaders to set the example.

Milton Schwebel

In Defense of Right-Wing Rhetoric, Confederate Soldiers

In recent columns, Tom Danehy has made some astonishing and inaccurate statements, and has done so in such a way as to leave a false impression in his readers' minds.

First, Tom stated that the shooting of a political figure pretty much makes the shooting a political act (Jan. 20). John Hinckley's stated reason for shooting President Ronald Reagan was to impress actress Jodie Foster. Nothing political there, Tom. So, in the absence of any evidence that Jared Lee Loughner's motive for shooting Gabrielle Giffords had anything to do with politics, would you please stop purveying the hateful lie that her shooting is because of the atmosphere of hate created by right-wing rhetoric? The false and hateful rhetoric which comes from the left is almost, by itself, enough to drive some people to violence. You—and this paper—steadily say that the right is "stupid," "under-educated," "un-enlightened," "illiterate," "hateful," "racist" and "crazy," and are always and forever arguing that people who oppose your views "just do not understand" things. Maybe they do, Tom, and simply disagree

More recently, Tom argued that the Civil War was about slavery, and that there is no evidence to support any other view. Sure, slavery was a part of the mix, but Lincoln himself did not make it the reason until he issued his "Emancipation Proclamation." Until then, he consistently said the war was about "preserving the union."

Slavery—at any time, in any place—is a total evil. But most Southerners fought not to preserve slavery, but to defend homes and hearth against invading armies. Their cause was not slavery so much as self-preservation. Though we can all agree that their cause was misguided and had an evil component to it, many of them were oblivious to that evil and often fought with great courage, gallantry and honor.

John Gray Wallace

The Food Code Keeps Us Safe—but It Should Be More Flexible

Kudos to Karen Elliott for feeding the homeless. However, your article ("The Rigid Code," Currents, Feb. 3) could have been more informative (and less one-sided) had the reporter mentioned that the state code that prevents Ms. Elliott from preparing food in her home and serving it to the public was designed in the public's interest.

The State Food Code ensures that sanitary practices are used in the handling and preparation of all food that is offered to the public. It is only because Pima County enforces this code that we can eat in a restaurant, or purchase food from a food cart or a stand at a community event, and have a reasonable expectation that what we are purchasing is safe to eat.

Like any regulatory framework, the food code must be applied to all sorts of circumstances that might have been unanticipated when the code was developed. Ms. Elliott's situation may be one of these situations. But scrapping the code is not the answer, and easing the code cannot be done at the local level; it is a state issue.

Revisions to include feeding operations like Ms. Elliott's to ensure sanitation standards yet not make it impossible for her to do her good work are surely needed. The code has not been updated in many years.

Rather than make it appear that Karen Martin and Sharon Browning are being obstructionist, I would suggest that the Weekly engage in some deeper investigation about the food code and barriers to updating it so that it can provide both protection and flexibility.

Merrill Eisenberg
Assistant professor, UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

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