Editorial: Doing nothing is what government does best

One of the things government at any level is best at doing is nothing.

Next up on the list is delaying the inevitable.

Case in point is the effort to rename Arizona’s Jefferson Davis Highway in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or recently deceased former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford.

This effort is not at all unlike a similar attempt that began in 1992 to rename Phoenix’s former “Squaw Peak.” While most lawmakers acknowledged that nomenclature was offensive to Native Americans, they still found one reason after another to cling to the name “Squaw Peak.”

It wasn’t until 2003 at the urging of then Gov. Janet Napolitano to officially change the summit’s name to “Piestewa Peak” in honor of Lori Piestewa, an Arizonan who was the first known Native American female solider to die in combat in U.S. military history and the first female soldier to be killed in action in the 2003 Iraq War.

For similar reasons, lawmakers are now being asked to rename the Jefferson Davis Highway. Having an Arizona highway named in honor of Davis is offensive not only to African Americans, but to people of all races who view any memorial to the Confederacy as an affirmation of racist policy.

In true legislative form, Arizona lawmakers found a way to dodge the issue and debated whether the highway even exists, never mind the fact that there is a memorial along the roadway declaring it the “Jefferson Davis Highway … Erected 1943 United Daughters of the Confederacy Arizona.”

Some lawmakers danced around the issue of propriety by pointing out that the number currently on the highway named for the president of the Confederacy is not the same as it was when the road was first designated. They ignored the fact that there is an official 1992 Arizona Department of Transportation map that shows the highway as the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.

Others pointed to different documents that labeled the highway as the Jefferson Davis Highway, the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway, and the Jefferson Davis National Highway.

As if it’s really that important to decide which of those names is its official one.

In the end, lawmakers did the predictable thing, just as they did throughout the 1990s when Native Americans protested one of the best known summits in Arizona having a racist, derogatory name.

They stalled. Asked for more studies. Sought legal advice. All of which adds up to doing nothing. The very thing government is best at.

Similarly on the local level, we are now more than eight months into latest effort to consolidate the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts. From the onset of this effort, consolidation advocates have sought to have the two school boards form a task force committee to research the issue and advise the boards on how to proceed, or not to move forward with a marriage of the districts.

After eight months, this week the Mingus School Board agreed to form such a committee, but at the same time not actually form it.

That will take at least one more meeting to debate the structure and function of the committee. And then probably a few more to finally getting around to deciding who will serve on this board-advisory group.

Never mind the fact that there have been countless consolidation studies over the past 30 years, including a comprehensive thesis on the merger by highly respected former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Warner. Further, never mind that there already is a group in place that has mountains of research material available on district consolidation.

No, as government most often does, Mingus is doing its best to drag this out for as long as possible.

It’s your tax dollars at work.

Comments

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Pfalbo 1 year, 2 months ago

Sirs:

This constant sniggling about preserving monuments to Civil War soldiers might more easily be resolved if any reference to slavery or racism is excluded from the main conversation.

Why? Because there is one undeniable fact that should trump either as reason to joyfully tear down every Civil War monument. This reason would have to appeal to all the Right-wing "patriots," defending the statues.

The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death.

In what kind of screwed up, alt-right world are traitors to the United State of America worthy of monuments?

Got that? Southerners who raised arms against the US were TRAITORS, not heroes. They died traitor's deaths.

Now, if any still choose to continue their absurd arguments about preserving monuments, then slavery and racism can be reintroduced as credible explanations.

I have yet to read a book titled, "My Wonderful Southern Heritage as a Proud Traitor!"

There is reason for that.

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The_Uppity_Peasant 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm more from the radical center than the right, but actually, since Southerners seceded from the Union and formed their own government, they were not traitors to the USA, but proud patriots of the Confederate States of America. I'm a proud descendant of a Confederate soldier, I voted for Obama twice, and I guarantee I have had more minorities in my home than 99% of you white people. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

I have seen no evidence that my ancestor was racist, a slaveholder, or anything else you people can concoct. What I do know is that he and his family were '49's, and after the Civil War, migrated here and became some of the first ranchers in the Upper Verde Valley. Oh yeah, they were HUMAN BEINGS. It is very easy to demonize those who we disagree with.

If this is what y'all are pushing in the schools then perhaps I need to file a lawsuit.

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Pfalbo 1 year, 2 months ago

Per the Constitution's definition of 'traitor,' they were traitors.

You may not like that, but then, trump...

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The_Uppity_Peasant 1 year, 2 months ago

Never forget that the men and women who founded this country did so through rebellion, revolution, and yes, treason to the British Crown. If they had not been traitors, we would not be Americans.

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Pfalbo 1 year, 2 months ago

Last time I was in the UK, I was surprised to see all the monuments England had erected honoring all the "proud patriots of the rebellious Colonies."

See how absurd your position is?

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