Drowning in Debt

Letters from the week of January 9, 2003

College Fund

As the Crow buys . . . :Thank you to Amy Silverman for her recent column regarding tuition increases at Arizona State University ("Raising Arizona State," January 2). I am grateful that the issue is surfacing in mediums other than solely the campus newspaper. Perhaps this attention will prompt more formidable solutions.

Personally, I have been largely skeptical of "Emperor" Michael Crow ever since he was wooed by the administration to replace former president Coor. There was no expense spared, it seems, in catering to his demands to bring him to the university. I have been further frustrated by both his plans for exorbitant tuition increases and desire for recruiting more students. Most recently, I am perturbed by his pricey office renovations that were put on hiatus (rightly so) because of public sentiment, as well as the astronomical faculty raises mentioned in Silverman's article. All or part of this money would have better been spent addressing day-to-day student issues, such as the faculty-to-student ratio, student housing and, most importantly, parking.

I am dumfounded that students – many of whom struggle to meet monthly bills, let alone tuition payments – are being forced to subsidize such blatant misappropriations, all in the name of Crow's vision for a "New University." If a ridiculously priced, overcrowding public institution with a top-heavy administration constitutes this vision, I want no part of it.

Derek Heutzenroeder
Tempe

Struggling to Stay Afloat

Water gates:I wish to clarify a couple of key inaccuracies in Quetta Carpenter's article, "Kid Drownings" (December 26), specifically those regarding the KSLX/Fulton Homes Fence Watch program.

KSLX (100.7 FM) created the Fence Watch Program in the spring of 2001. Instead of giving away cash for summer contests, we felt that we could better use the money to proactively build pool fences for the people who needed them most, while increasing education and awareness of the tragedy of child drownings in the Valley.

KSLX listeners were invited to nominate a friend or neighbor for program participation. Nominees were Valley residents who truly needed to protect children in the household but lacked the funds to fence their pool.

The heartfelt letters, faxes and e-mailed responses were reviewed by KSLX and captains of local fire departments each Friday for three months. The selection was then announced on-air, combined with an interview with the firefighter to drive home the issue of protecting our children around water.

Over the past two years, we have built 20 pool fences totaling more than 2,000 linear feet of fencing – potentially helping to save the nearly 100 children all over the Valley represented by our participating households.

Our program, obviously, cannot provide a pool fence for every needy family in our Valley, but we can help every listener by continuing to broadcast the message of water safety.

Thank you for helping KSLX and our local firefighters drive home these key points – through parental supervision and added pool barriers, we can reduce the number of senseless child drownings each year. If we all pitch in as a community, we will save lives.

Dave Cooper
Program Director/Morning Show Host
100.7 KSLX-FM
Phoenix

Pooling resources: Thank you for the thoughtful research and informative article "Kid Drownings." I hope that your analysis will get the attention of city officials, media, firefighters and philanthropic organizations to help them organize their resources more effectively on behalf of those children who need it most.

I don't usually read the New Times but was waiting for a new radio to be installed in my car when my eye caught your article on the cover. I'm glad I stopped to read it. I had not considered the problems and solutions you presented.

Thank you for your good work.
Nephi W. Bushman II
Glendale

Wavy logic: Did you ever go to the beach in San Diego? Did you ever see a fence around the ocean? How many children drown in the ocean, with all the millions that visit the beach each year? Must be something to pool drownings other than zip codes. Nice try.

Jake Collins
Via e-mail

Drowning troubles: Yesterday, I read Quetta Carpenter's "Kid Drownings" and, today, another little boy drowned in a Maryvale pool. The article was good because I never knew how concentrated kid drownings were, and because it described the "lives" of near-drowning victims. The question I was left wondering after reading the article and hearing of the latest drowning news was this: If pools in Maryvale were not fenced when the houses were built, why had child drownings in that area not been excessive until it became a "low-income" area?

The fact that the little boy drowned in a Maryvale pool on December 29 – just a few days after Carpenter's article was published – is a horribly blatant enforcement of the truth.

I am not a parent, so I have no idea how carefully children need to be supervised or how difficult it is to know their whereabouts at all times. Apparently, if you live in 85033, you cannot take your eyes off of them.

And to the firemen of 85033: You guys have a right to be pissed off!

Miranda Hardy
Phoenix

A Dogged Pursuit

Wiener worst: Although I consistently disagree with Carey Sweet's food reviews, I am particularly upset with her recent diatribe concerning my favorite food, the hot dog. Her statement that the best hot dogs are the ones served from push carts on "every street corner of Manhattan" is so utterly false that I am compelled to spend part of my New Year's Day composing this responsive letter.

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