The Range

Poll Positions

We love all-day K! A new survey of Arizona voters show that 77 percent of registered voters support Gov. Janet Napolitano's push for all-day kindergarten.

Last year, lawmakers begrudgingly agreed to fund all-day K for schools where 90 percent of the kids were eligible for federal lunch assistance. This year, Mom, played by Napolitano, wants to spend enough money to add 20 percent of the kids not in all-day kindergarten, with a plan to add another 20 percent each following year until everyone's happily coloring, snacking and napping in the classroom all day long. But Dad, played by the GOP legislative leadership, says we don't have the money, and what good does it do, anyhow?

The poll of 442 registered voters statewide, conducted by Phoenix PBS affiliate KAET-TV and ASU's journalism school, also showed that we love term limits, with 76 percent of us supporting the laws, even as we return incumbents to office election after election. We don't much care for Español, with 69 percent supporting making English the state's official language, which explains why so many restaurants now refer to burritos as "wraps." And we do mind if you smoke, with 72 percent supporting a ban on smoking in public places.

What else have we learned about ourselves? We're conflicted over gay marriage, with 54 percent of us supporting a constitutional amendment to limit matrimony to one man and one woman. But just one out of three of us support the amendment if a ban on domestic benefits for gays is thrown in.

About half of us--53 percent--are in favor of being able to kill ourselves if we're suffering from an extreme illness and can get a help from a physician. Ask your doctor today!

We're losing our patience with the AIMS test, with 48 percent supporting efforts to dump it as a graduation requirement, 44 percent wanting to keep it and 8 percent without an opinion one way or the other.

Finally, only 40 percent of us favor making abortion illegal, and just 36 percent want to privatize Social Security.

Another poll, conducted by the Knight Foundation, discovered that high-school kids are even more ill-informed than we realized. More than a third believe the First Amendment goes "too far" in guaranteeing the right of free expression. Only 51 percent think newspapers should be able to publish stories without government approval.

When it comes to their own lives, kids are more generous, with 58 percent thinking students should be able to publish controversial stories in their high-school papers without approval of school authorities. (Incidentally, only 25 percent of principals agree.)

The Range recommends that all schools add a daily airing of the Clash's "Know Your Rights" to the curriculum.

We're Making Bank!

More good financial news for the state: December tax collections were $77.9 million above the forecast, meaning the state has now brought $267 million more than originally anticipated in the first half of the fiscal year. Corporate tax collections of $137.2 million represented the single highest collection month since September 2000, helping boost corporate payments to almost 45 percent over the original forecast.

Meanwhile, all that Christmas shopping boosted sales taxes $12.3 million above the December forecast. Keep on spending, Arizona!

The bad news for the state budget: The AHCCCS caseload continued to increase in December, with average enrollment in state-sponsored health care during the last quarter up 6.2 percent compared to the previous three months, while the prison population continued to increase by about 100 inmates a month.

Don't Drink the Water

Yuck! Backed-up water-treatment plants had Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon warning his citizens to boil tap water before drinking it last week, setting off panic in the streets, widespread rioting and looting of bottled-water outlets. OK, we made up the last part, but it would have been really cool if that had happened.

Cougars Bite Cats

Following a thrilling 91-82 win over Washington last Thursday at McKale Center, the Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team collapsed against totally crappy Washington State, losing 70-63 and breaking a 38-game win streak against the Cougars that dated back to 1986.

"I'm embarrassed how we played and the effort we put out," said Coach Lute Olson following the game.

Up this weekend at McKale: The Cats face the California Golden Bears on Thursday, followed on Saturday by the dreaded Stanford Cardinal, which have beaten the Wildcats three straight times at home.

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