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Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 13, 2005
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$21K for LIDAR gun better spent elsewhere

Today is a wonderful day in Tucson history. Apparently, violent crime in this city has dropped to a point so low that our local police departments are able to spend $21,000 on a single radar gun to catch those pesky speeders ("Cops get $21K traffic tool").

My first question is, doesn't University of Arizona Police Department have radar guns already? In case they don't, a quick search reveals that used radar guns can be bought for as low as $600, with brand-new ones selling for about $2,000. Why on earth would they pay $21,000? Some would say it's because it was purchased through a specific grant offered through the state's Office of Highway Safety.

Then, I ask, where did the state get an extra $21,000 to give to departments to buy LIDAR guns? Assuming this grant was offered to several departments around the state, this number could easily jump to more than $100,000. Couldn't that money have been spent on things like education, health care or, God forbid, violent crime or prevention/investigation?

In 2004 Tucson Police Department alone dealt with 49 murders, 371 rapes and 6,147 injury assault cases (according to their crime statistics Web site). I think it's time our police departments start focusing on crime prevention rather than sources of funding like traffic tickets and minor in possession citations.

Jesse Blake
aerospace engineering graduate student

Zona Zoo does UA proud

I just have one thing to say - wow! Never in my two years here have I been as proud to be a Wildcat as I was Saturday at the football game. The Zona Zoo section was absolutely incredible. It was literally busting at the seams with energy and pride for this school and team.

On Saturday, Zona Zoo radiated excitement to everyone in that stadium and even to people watching on TV. It created a presence like I have never seen and truly showed me that we, the students, are the heart and soul of this school. If anyone has ever questioned whether student attendance makes a difference, all doubt was erased from their minds.

Zona Zoo stood behind its team, and I am absolutely positive that the volume and enthusiasm it created has something to do with how great the football team played. Now the challenge is to keep it going and stand behind our teams no matter what their standing is. I know we can do it and I know that the rest of the country is ready to see just what the Arizona Wildcats are made of! Bear down!

Cassie Coleman
communications junior

Textbook publishers working to help students

The recent story on the Government Accountability Office study of the cost of college textbooks was missing a perspective that would provide readers with a more complete picture of this complex issue ("Book Prices Soar on campus").

While the writer quotes two students who choose not to take advantage of learning material selected by their instructors, nowhere in the story do you read about the most critical issue facing higher education - student success. Instructors in the chemistry department are some of the most innovative in the country when it comes to investigating how to use technology to improve student success.

A recent article in the Tucson Citizen highlighted some solutions they have explored. The department was also an early user of online homework systems that help their students actually do what most scientists agree is absolutely necessary for student success: work multiple and varied problems in order to master the material and refine the essential skill of creating solutions to scientific challenges.

For a variety of reasons, many students now enter college without the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in college level course work. At the same time, class sizes and the number of students taught per instructor increase every year. In response, textbook publishers have worked diligently with college professors to refine textbooks and develop new tools to help teachers meet these pressures. These efforts and the resulting successes are left out of the discussion about bundles and "bells and whistles."

Publishers share the concern of students, policy makers and consumer advocates about college affordability and increasing financial burdens. But we are also concerned for the one-third of all first-year college students who do not make it to their second year. The learning materials publishers produce are critical to the success of students in their first year and beyond.

Students who read and use their textbooks and other course material, who attend class and study, are ones who go on to earn a college degree. We remain committed to providing all students with high quality educational materials to help them succeed in their coursework.

Daniel Bartell
vice president, director of campus relations
Pearson Higher Education

"Do we really expect that the Minutemen would criticize corporate America and the business interests that dominate this country?"

Minutemen aiming at wrong culprits

The Minutemen and their supporters insist that illegal behavior, not race, drive their opposition to illegal immigration. This claim rings hollow since they intentionally ignore the real culprits on this whole drama: the American (and overwhelmingly Anglo) employers that hire these undocumented workers. Illegal immigrants do not take American jobs; American employers give those jobs away!

If the Minutemen were serious about ending illegal immigration, they would be harassing owners and shareholders of the corporations that hire illegal workers. They would be organizing boycotts of those businesses busted by law enforcement for hiring undocumented workers. Without jobs in El Norte, illegal border crossings would shrink to a trickle overnight, with the Border Patrol having plenty of time and resources to intervene against smugglers and terrorists.

But do we really expect that the Minutemen would criticize corporate America and the business interests that dominate this country? The very same businesses that bankroll the Republican Party, that sponsor right-wing talk radio and send financial contributions to conservative religious and social organizations? Not a chance! It is more convenient to focus on the brown-skinned Mexicans sneaking across the border than to assign blame where it belongs, on greedy, and mostly Anglo, business owners.

Francisco Gonzalez
assistant director
UA Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office

Tearing down borders illogical

Pam Rada stated in a letter Wednesday ("Borders, fences should be torn down") that all borders and fences should be torn down as a solution to the "illegal immigrant" problem. Why stop there? Pam, have you taken all the locks off your doors? Remember that those that would do you harm are human beings, too. Calling them thieves and rapists is just putting a label on them. Have you called for removing all bank vaults? That's really just a "monetary border" isn't it? So we should remove all the borders for the bank patrons' "illegal withdrawals." And shouldn't all cars operate with a single key that we all have equal access to?

It should be clear that my examples are as ridiculous as yours. There is a parallel between national sovereignty and private ownership. Your "one world" view quite accurately displays you as Marxist and communist in the truest sense of the word.

Remember that a country is defined by its borders as well as its language and culture. America as a nation will continue to adapt and evolve just as it always has, but we are a nation of laws. We should not let the lawbreakers dictate how our country will change.

Michael Badowski
microbiology and immunology graduate student

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