<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>
And this is the way they treat the 'good guys?'
I have been a registered Republican for over 20 years. This week, watching the way that President Bush's visit to Flagstaff was handled, I'd have to say that I am very discouraged and disappointed. If the president's visit was supposed to help the campaign of Rick Renzi, for me, it placed my vote in jeopardy.
Let me explain. I am currently teaching two freshman courses at Northern Arizona University. The theme of these courses is, "Preparing Citizens for the 21st Century." Naturally, when I heard that the president of the United States would be in our college town, I rushed down to Rick Renzi's headquarters at the beginning of the week before the scheduled visit. I explained that I was teaching at NAU and wanted my students to be able to experience the energy of a political rally and to have the privilege of hearing a president speak who was currently in office.
The polite but somewhat distant individual said that she would put my name on a waiting list and I would be called. Understandably, security was an issue, and they were uncertain about tickets. I naively asked for 50 tickets for NAU students.
The next day, being the persistent person that I am, I e-mailed the office and was told to call on Wednesday. I called on Wednesday and was told that they would know for sure by Thursday. On Thursday, I went in person and was told that it was very unlikely that I would get tickets but they would call me if they could arrange anything. The deadline was 5:30. I didn't hear from anyone so I e-mailed all of the class members and told them that it was off.
At 8:30 p.m., I received a call that said if I still wanted to go I had to fax the name, addresses, date of birth and Social Security numbers of all students that would attend. I got in touch with as many students as possible, got their information, and faxed it to Rick Renzi's office at about 11:30 p.m..
On Friday, we loaded up the students into the various cars and set out for the event. We waited on the highway for over an hour and finally crawled to the exit leading to the fairgrounds. To our despair, just as we arrived they closed the exit and sent us down the road. We tried to think of alternatives but finally gave up and drove back to the campus.
My son and I being real die-hards decided to go back, park somewhere, and walk the two miles into the fairgrounds. It was raining and dreary but we pressed on to see the president. Just as we approached the entrance to the where people were seated on bleachers, a secret service agent announced that we could not go in because the gates were closed.
By then, it was really raining so I suggested that they let us stand under the awning and listen. That wasn't acceptable so we went over about 25 feet from the fence so we could at least listen. President Bush arrived and we saw him for two seconds as he walked to the platform.
Being the teacher type that I am, as he began to speak, I started taking notes. At least I could tell my students what he said. So for the first half of the speech, standing in the rain, I took notes. Then, a very rude secret service agent decided that I was too close to the fence and told us to move. (I really look like I could leap fences.)
When we got to the area that was acceptable with him, we couldn't hear, so I finally gave up. By then, I was so aggravated that I felt like joining the protestors.
On the walk back to the car I noticed a few things that made me wonder. The protestors were at least a mile away from the bleachers where the speakers would be. Why were there so many police standing in a ring five feet apart facing the protestors? Isn't it acceptable to protest?
Why, when there were busloads of elementary school kids, were my students turned away? Why, if Bush was really stumping for Renzi, did the Renzi folks not know anything? Why did you have to have tickets, and need Social Security numbers, names, and addresses? What message has this sent to the citizens of the 21st century from my class? Has the threat of terrorism made us captives in our own country? After all, as a Conservative Republican, I thought that I was one of the good-guys?
This is just a bump in the road for our town
Although our council has requested an investigation of the problems we are currently experiencing in our town government, I felt compelled to respond to the inferences you made in your Sunday editorial.
The inquiries/investigation will come to an end as soon as we have received a complete review of the entire matter; and, we have stressed that this be done as soon as possible. I don't believe that anyone will allow it to take "months to sort out."
Camp Verde Town Hall, and the employees that staff our government, has remained a service provider to the town throughout these recent, unfortunate weeks and months. You see, Dan, our council has absolutely no need to remind our employees to do their jobs ... they've been doing their jobs, very well, under stressful conditions that would put the strongest of persons to great test. And, they most definitely do not "fight with each other."
You also suggest that our town is "the butt of jokes from Jerome to Sedona." I would like to believe that our colleagues in the Verde Valley feel sympathetic toward our situation instead of amused. Situations sometimes arise over which we have no control, or we miss the signs that need to be promptly addressed; and that, my friends, can and does happen more frequently than any of us would like to admit.
Bottom line is that the employees of our town are the best. While allegations seem to flow in an endless stream, for all the citizens to read in the newspapers, our staff has continued to serve the public well, keep smiles on their faces and their chins held high.
When all is complete, perhaps you will provide us with some real news.
Camp Verde Town Council