By Harry Alexander
Well, another local election cycle has passed and Tucson residents will still have to put up with two ineffectual city council incumbents. Steve Kozachik and Richard Fimbres easily won re-election. In the other council race a democrat will take over from the retiring also ineffectual democrat. That means we will have to again put up with a council that’s more interested in social justice than taking care of the city’s infrastructure and putting more police and firefighters on the road. Hell, the city can’t even afford to replace aging emergency vehicles thanks to the democrat-controlled Tucson City Council.
Perhaps the only bright light from Tuesday’s local election and ballot questions was that voters solidly said “no” to giving the mayor and council a pay raise. The voters also told the council they don’t want the city involved in early childhood education. What’s not so clear is the result of another ballot question that would raise city taxes by 1/10 of a cent for ten years to do better maintenance and repairs at the Reid Park Zoo. The results, as of this writing, are too close to call one way or another. But, y’know, proper budgeting for these things could have avoided the need to ask voters to tax themselves.
It’s interesting that city voters don’t want to give the mayor and council a pay raise, don’t want the city getting involved in early childhood education, yet, they re-elect two democrats (Fimbres and Kozachik) who haven’t done squat for the residents since being elected in 2009–unless you think social justice and civil rights issues should be top priorities for a city.
Tucson voters will just never learn. We will still be the least desirable city in Arizona to reside, we will still have a high poverty rate, we will still have a high crime rate, and, we will still be traveling over roads that resemble a war zone from all of the potholes.
This Saturday is Veterans Day. It’s the formal day where we honor veterans who honorably served their country. We are also reminded of how a military court made a huge mistake in the case of the deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
Bergdahl had deserted his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was captured by the Taliban and remained a prisoner for five years. Then, former President Barrack Obama decided to release five known terrorist chiefs from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for Bergdahl. We all remember the Rose Garden announcement with Obama and Bergdahl’s parents surrounding the president.
After his release there was an investigation into how and why he fell into enemy hands. The result of that investigation was that Bergdahl willingly left his post. It also came out that soldiers from his unit went looking for him for 19 days without success. In fact, some of the soldiers in his unit lost their lives looking for the traitor. Others will have permanent scars resulting from those patrols.
Bergdahl faced life in prison for his actions. His defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl probably should never have been in the military because of the environment in which he grew up. The attorneys and psychologists said that Bergdahl grew up in a scary and tense household. Those conditions may have contributed to his desertion. If Bergdahl’s past civilian life was so bad, why was he allowed to enlist? Who missed these signs–the recruiter, his drill sergeant, his company commander? It’s also been said that Bergdahl provided useful intelligence about his captors. Big deal.
As it turns out, Bergdahl received a pretty light sentence, considering what he did. He will have a dishonorable discharge hanging over him for the rest of his life rather than life in prison. He’ll also have to pay a $10,000 fine. He will also have to think every day about his fellow soldiers who sacrificed their lives looking for him.
Sorry, the man is a deserter and he should have been treated as such by the military court–regardless of what intel he may have provided. He should be serving the rest of his life in a military prison.
Veterans just don’t take kindly to deserters.
Harry Alexander is the Managing Editor of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner.
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