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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
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To 'Polkey,' with love

Shawntinice Polk ("Polkey" to her countless friends and adoring basketball fans) is suddenly gone at age 22, the victim of an errant blood clot that found its way to her generous heart and lungs. Her passing leaves a hole in my own heart and in the heart of her university community.

In the world in which I work as a university president, nothing is more deeply gratifying than giving a young person an opportunity to rise above the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of childhood to a position of high achievement. Polkey is my shining star.

The darkness from which Polkey emerged is not our concern today. The light she brought to our lives is all that matters now. We will remember her engaging smile, her indomitable spirit and her extraordinary determination to realize her full potential as a student, an athlete and a human being. She promised me when she arrived that she would graduate; she wanted to be a teacher of children with learning disabilities. A gentle soul, she would have been a great gift to her students.

Polkey was a foot taller than I am, a different color and almost 50 years younger. But I loved her. I think at some level all who knew her did.

Peter Likins
UA president

Polk will be remembered for touching many lives

Shawntinice Polk was not just an acclaimed UA athlete; she had the determination and vision to make her dreams come true. Her successful basketball career is a testament to a work ethic full of perseverance and diligence. Shawntinice represented the university well in every dimension, serving as a role model for her teammates as well as the many young fans who came to see her play. Her signature smile is miniscule when compared to her goliath heart. Shawntinice will be missed for her contributions inside and outside the court (more importantly outside, where she touched many lives, including my own). My thoughts and prayers go out to all who had the honor of knowing Shawntinice Polk.

Mohammad Abdelwahab
pre-physiological sciences senior

Tucson citizens tired of disruptive students

TheArizona Daily Wildcat editors and Ryan Johnson should get an "F" for inadequate research and failure to check facts ("A vote for Dunbar is a vote against students").

Tucson's Red Tag Law was imported from a Berkeley, Calif., noise ordinance. It was passed into Tucson law in 1998, long before Ms. Dunbar took office.

The Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance is an attempt to control large assemblies of noisy, unruly persons without regard to their status at the university.

Mr. Johnson and his ilk are here for a few years and then move on. We who live in the neighborhoods get to absorb late-night loud party noises, step over or around your bile-stained vomit on our streets and pick up the broken glass, plastic cups and post-party debris on anongoing basis.There is nothing special about a UA studentwhen his or her behavior results in these conditions (behavior that would not be tolerated if it occurred on campus and that is characterized by Mr. Johnson as an "off-campus debacle").

Owner-occupied neighborhoods lend stability to the area surrounding the university. They have a long-term interest in the community and the university, while the students' interestis ephemeral.In turn, we pay taxes that subsidize all student tuition, even the partygoing crowd.We pay those taxes with the hope that eventually the Ryan Johnsons morph into a "cohabiting 40-year-old" taxpayer.

Wendell Niemann
Tucson citizen

Subsidized water responsible for Arizona's woes

Scott Patterson's column "Swimming in the desert" is dangerously misinformed. To advance his anti-growth agenda, he predicts future water shortages in Arizona due to urban population growth. Urban growth is not to blame.

Nearly 70 percent of Arizona's water is used for agricultural purposes. What's more, the cost of water for agricultural use is significantly lower than for industrial or household use. The problem is not that people live in this desert, it's that people inefficiently grow crops in this desert, and the inefficiency is encouraged by price control on water. If water costs for agriculture were not subsidized, then market pricing would ensure a plentiful supply of water for generations to come.

Jack Benway
Tucson citizen

Cooperation needed between pedestrians, cyclists

This is a response to Jim Scholl's letter to the editor ("Bicyclists also at fault for accidents, injuries"). Don't generalize cyclists. For those of us who are passionate about cycling, we have a couple rules. One of them is "ride in the street" and "obey all traffic rules." And yes, I do stop at stop signs. I haven't ridden on a sidewalk since I was five and had training wheels.

Next time you see one of them coming at you, why don't you tell them they shouldn't be in your way or to get off their phone? They'll listen and hopefully remember what you said. Then that'll be one less person on your sidewalk. And next time I see a group of people walking in the bike lane when there's plenty of room on the sidewalk, I'll tell them the same thing too.

Anne Domme
theatre arts junior

ASUA conference funding for a worthy cause

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona senate has come under fire recently because of a decision to fund $1,200 towards a Denver leadership conference, and I would like the opportunity to defend my personal vote in favor of the funding.

I believe it is vital that we have representation at this conference in order to develop leadership skills, network with student leaders at similar institutions and bring back new ideas to campus. Workshops at this conference include Lobbying 101: Organizing and Fundraising for your issue, and Case Study: Affordable Textbooks Campaign, among others.

There are only two senators (not four) attending the conference with two advocates from the club resource center and two Arizona Students' Association directors. The senators attending the conference are younger members, so that they can contribute in future years.

Also, of the approximately $96,000 ASUA gives to clubs, a good portion goes towards funding travel to conferences. These clubs must attend conferences and bring back proof of attendance. ASUA leaders are held to a higher standard and must deliver a report to the senate on what they learned so that we can also gain knowledge from the conference. The approval of these funds did not go without debate from the senate, and I believe that this is a worthy investment for the student body.

Alex Dong
ASUA Senator

Cooperation needed between pedestrians, cyclists

This is a response to Jim Scholl's letter to the editor ("Bicyclists also at fault for accidents, injuries"). Don't generalize cyclists. For those of us who are passionate about cycling, we have a couple rules. One of them is "Ride in the street" and "Obey all traffic rules." And yes, I do stop at stop signs. I haven't ridden on a sidewalk since I was five and had training wheels.

Next time you see one of them coming at you, why don't you tell them they shouldn't be in your way or to get off their phone? They'll listen and hopefully remember what you said. Then that'll be one less person on your sidewalk. And next time I see a group of people walking in the bike lane when there's plenty of room on the sidewalk, I'll tell them the same thing too.

Anne Domme
theater arts junior

Justices should respect Court precedent

Kara Karlson should be careful when comparing the "enigma" that is Judge (soon to be Justice) Roberts to her archetype of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas ("Appoint a chief justice, not an enigma"). Though I do agree with many of the Supreme Court's decisions that Thomas has joined, his tenure on the Supreme Court has been scrutinized for many reasons, most notably his near-absolute silence during oral arguments as other justices use sharp, logical questions to delve into the attorney's arguments.

Additionally, Thomas' personal opinions in cases before the Supreme Court have been criticized for mirroring those of fellow Justice Antonin Scalia, a zealous advocate for "original intent" and "plain meaning" arguments rather than a more progressive and adaptive meaning as encompassed by a "spirit of the constitution" interpretation (an argument that neither Scalia nor Thomas accepts or proposes, as Ms. Karlson states).

Perhaps the appeal of Roberts is that he is unpredictable, but not so enigmatic that conservatives should fear a Souter-esque liberal shift. Roberts' career in the U.S. Solicitor General's office, in private practice, and in the D.C. Court of Appeals demonstrates his conservative ideals and unwavering respect for the rule of law and stare decisis (the doctrine that past decisions should be upheld). This suggests that Roberts may be just the sort of justice that the Supreme Court needs - one who values judicial precedent yet is willing to depart from precedent when either doctrinal ambiguity or social conditions necessitate a change.

We should all hope that Roberts ultimately resembles neither Thomas nor Souter and instead distinguishes himself as a principled yet impartial justice, even if that impartiality at first seems "enigmatic."

Dan McGuire
UA alumnus

Constitutional reality not so clear-cut

I had mixed emotions after reading Kara Karlson's column ("Appoint a chief justice, not an enigma"). First, I thought it might be a breath of fresh air. Boy did I ever appreciate how Ms. Karlson cleared up a lot of issues that were nagging me during the past three years of law school, and so succinctly! It seemed so clear!

For instance, there was this lucid bit: "[Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas analyzes the actual language of the Constitution, rather than change it to fit whatever agenda he may be pushing. His opinions are based on the actual definitions of those words, and the spirit of the Constitution."

For a moment, I thought I had figured out what had really been going on in James E. Rogers College of Law's Dean Tony Massaro's Constitutional Law II class last year: We were all wasting our time!

Yep, according to Ms. Karlson, all that confusing material could be simplified, if only those "five Supreme Court jokers in the majority who need to brush up on the purpose of government" would just stick to the Constitution's text.

But, sadly, my excitement wore off. I remembered the names of two famous cases: Bush v. Gore and Brown v. Board. The former case proves that everyone on the court has an agenda. Everyone. The latter case proves that everyone with a shred of decency agrees that we have to construe the Constitution more broadly than the rigid construction Ms. Karlson supports.

In the end, I realized, the euphoria was ephemeral. There are indeed no facile answers to complex problems inhering in interpreting the Constitution. Clear-cut solutions, such as that which Ms. Karlson proposes, might work well in the space allocated for 700-word columns. However, as experience proves, they don't jive in the gray constitutional reality.

Dillon Fishman
UA alumnus



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