By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Out of Bounds
I have been heavily involved in the issues regarding the Washington Elementary School District's proposed new school at Seventh Avenue and Peoria, which also proposes to use city park land by joint agreement between the school district and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. My involvement included the drafting and circulation of petitions in support of the proposed new school. These petitions are briefly referred to in Michael Kiefer's article ("Deconstructing the Phoenix Mountain Preserves," November 26).
His article draws into question whether the land proposed to be used by the school district is "mountain preserve land" or not. If there are issues with the mountain preserve, they should not involve park land that is proposed to be used jointly with the Washington Elementary School District. The land in question is park land, not "mountain preserve" land. This conclusion is easily drawn because the City of Phoenix acquired the land well before the mountain preserve ordinance and pursuant to Ordinances S-4365 and S-4405, which specifically designate the land in question as community park.
The mountain preserves are defined in Chapter XXVI, Section 1 of the Phoenix City Code as adopted in 1985. Since by ordinance the land is designated as community park, subsection (a) does not apply. Neither do subsections (b) or (c). Subsection (d) does not apply, either, as there is no ordinance that has designated this park land as mountain preserve. Retired Justice Corcoran came to this same conclusion after his detailed study of the problem, and any reasonable person would also.
As to other parcels of land, it is essential that each parcel be analyzed and determined if an issue exists. If an issue exists, then the procedure outlined by the Parks Department should suffice. I don't believe that the Kiefer article fairly represents either the issues with respect to the land to be used by the proposed WESD school or the issues with respect to other parcels. Suffice it to say that each parcel deserves a factual and legal review, and then public clarification as to its status. This is the only way to do justice to the Mountain Preserve Ordinance.
"Deconstructing the Phoenix Mountain Preserves" was an excellent article. As one of the people involved in the attempt to keep the desert land near Seventh Avenue and Peoria from being deleted from the preserve, I have been sickened by the arrogance of the Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department. It has demonstrated a willingness to remove lands from the preserve even though the department itself has mapped, posted and protected these lands as preserves. It has mandated the enforcement of Chapter 26, which defines and protects the preserve, when dealing with private property encroachments, yet downplays the validity of Chapter 26 when it comes to its own planned encroachments.
As citizens of Phoenix, we need to reassert our claim to the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. Every square inch of them belong to us and cannot be taken away from us unless we vote to do so. This is the law.
Law and Disorder
Good job of keeping the heat on Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("Affidavit Versus Goliath," Tony Ortega, November 26). Those who think Sheriff Joe is unbeatable need to reflect back to the 1968 Maricopa County sheriff's election, when unknown John Mummert unseated the 30-year incumbent Cal Boise.
Give Joe a break. He's one of the few public figures in the country who has the stones enough to treat criminals the way they should be treated . . . like criminals. All the do-gooders in this country have had their way for long enough, and turned it into a place where only the criminals are guaranteed rights and the poor working slob has to defend his property against people who have rap sheets longer than your arms. These people need to serve their full sentences (without parole or any other legal trickery that their loophole-seeking lawyers try to pull).
I hope Joe pitches tents all the way to the border. People should forfeit their rights at the front door of the jail. The only ones who should be screaming about rights are the victims. It's a disgrace the way that convicted felons are coddled, and have their sentences reduced only to return back to the streets and start all over. It's ironic that the same people who complain about not having coffee in jail are the same ones who have no problem stealing, mugging, raping, etc., violating everyone else's right to a safe existence. What's even more sickening is that there's always a worthless, ambulance-chasing lawyer looking to tie up the courts with such nonsense.
You don't see the volume of crimes in countries where you get your hand(s) cut off for stealing, and you can probably bet that there are no Americans spreading graffiti overseas after the "caning" incident. Perhaps those individuals trying to save everyone from everything need to shut their mouths long enough to hear these types of messages from other countries. Criminals only understand punishment. But somehow that got lost in the translation. While the legal system was bogged down with such "important" matters as people suing because they didn't know they shouldn't use a blow dryer in the bathtub, true justice got shoveled under the rug. Somewhere along the line, common sense needs to take hold over legal precedent. Courts need to return to a place of fairness and justice, and cease being a forum for well-educated people in expensive suits trying to outmaneuver their opponent at any cost.