Letters (Week of Oct. 29, 2008)

We can learn from Arizona?s Sheriff Joe


Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff Joe Arpaio came up with the answer to overcrowded, outdated jails back in 1993. A jail tent city!

Army surplus tents are used to house prisoners and ?chain gang? prisoner labor was used to construct the facility. He also saves the county taxpayers money by serving the prisoners outdated food, keeping meal cost down to 40 cents a day.

Sheriff Joe also charges the prisoners for the cost of their stay at the jail. (What a great idea!) Check it out for yourself at www.sheriffjoe.org.

So you say it won?t work here because it gets much colder in Kansas then in Arizona? Well, I agree with Sheriff Joe. These are the same tents our men and women in the military have used in all parts of the world. Give them an extra blanket and put another log on the fire! We have a few miles of hedge in the county that could be trimmed (with chain-gang labor).

Why don?t we haul our prisoners off to another county like we do our trash? Maybe all we need is a transfer station?like our old outdated jail without the $11 million makeover).

Here is an idea. It sounds like we?re going to start hauling the Marion County trash to Butler County and the commissioners want to buy a semi to haul it themselves. Why don?t they spend $50,000 to 75,000 to have the semi ?customized? (bullet-proof glass, steel cage in the passenger seat, shackles and stuff) and haul the prisoners to Butler County in the ?trash truck?? They are going to be making the trip at least once a day. Deputize the driver and give him some ?hazard pay? when he hauls a prisoner.

Don?t be fooled by the notion that extra beds being rented out will help pay for the jail. Renting out extra beds may defray the cost of operation, but there is no way it will pay for much or any of the cost of construction and bond repayment. But that would have been spelled out in the business plan that the commissioners seemingly didn?t need.

The problem with the ?build it and they will come? theory is that it works best if you are one of the first ones to come up with the idea. This jail idea could be similar to ethanol plants. It worked for Chase County because they built their new jail back in the ?90s when building cost were a lot lower and they saw a need and filled it.

Garnett built one of the first new ethanol plants just a few years ago. It paid out the investors in record time. There are now several defunct ethanol plants around Kansas. Let?s not build a jail that could break us.

Rest assured our taxes will increase even if the ?justice center? fails. The July 29 issue of the Free Press reported about the condition of the roads in the Tampa area. Raising the mill levy may be needed to improve county roads is mentioned.

In the same issue is an article about budget shortfalls for the city of Marion, raising the mill levy was suggested as a possible solution. Property taxes are destined to continue increasing. If they don?t raise the mill levy, they will keep raising the valuation (which does the same thing).

Please, no more new taxes. I vote ?no? on the one-cent jail tax.

Dale Nuss



?Stealing? includes taking yard signs


To whoever is stealing our Obama signs: You are indirectly contributing to the Obama campaign because we pay for those signs, which helps finance the Obama campaign.

The Republican signs across the street have been left intact. We thought this was a democracy. We feel ?Thou shalt not steal? even applies to Obama signs.

Jerry and Leann Toews



Scattering nails was a cowardly act


To the citizens of Florence: I am writing this letter to warn you. If I were you, I would refrain from driving down the alley behind the bar next to my property because you could end up with a flat tie due to the nails that were scattered up and down the alley and my property Saturday night.

You ask yourself, how did this happen. Well, sadly, we have a coward living among us who has no regard for the residents of Florence.

I apologize to my neighbors and their visitors who have used this alley and now risk having flat tires in the future.

To the coward: For whatever reason, you seem to have a problem with me. How long did it take for your pea-size brain to calculate this highly strategic plan of action?

A coward is a person who lacks courage and is afraid of confrontation. Confrontation doesn?t bother me, so when you decide to stop being a coward you know where you can find me. Just watch where you step.

Trisha Widell



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