Saturday, January 19, 2008

Liberal journalist defends County Attorney crime prevention handbooks

On Horizon's Journalists' Roundtable last night, liberal journalist Mike Sunnucks from the Phoenix Business Journal defended Andrew Thomas's crime prevention handbooks, noting that numerous other politicians send out materials with their names on them and it's to be expected as part of the job. Gabrielle Giffords has sent out countless flyers as U.S. Representative, known as "franking." Napolitano has sent home pictures of herself with all Arizona schoolchildren, plastered her photo on billboards around the state at a cost of almost $150,000, inserted herself into a book about the Navajo Indians that was sent home with schoolchildren - thanks to Sonoran Alliance for remembering this one), and prominently featured her photo on the front of the Clean Elections website (thanks to Lighthouse for this one). Secretary of Jan Brewer issued a video of herself before elections reminding voters to bring identification with them to the polls. Perhaps the prize for the worst offender should go to AZ attorney general Terry Goddard, who has at least 73 publications listed on his "Publications" webpage. Most of them are glossy slick booklets with his picture prominently featured on the front.

One thing to take into consideration when considering whether to ban this type of thing is what benefit arises from the use of it? In Thomas's case, crimes - including deaths - will be prevented, and money will be saved from having to prosecute (and pay for public defenders) to deal with criminal offenders. If just one person is deterred from committing a heinous crime, isn't that enough to justify the $200,000 cost of the booklets? The cost to the victim and their family, in addition to the financial costs of prosecuting, defending, and housing one murderer, must be comparable to $200,000. I think an argument can be made for spending money to justify sparing lives, especially since the money ends up being saved since there is no crime to then prosecute.

As for the other politicians, it's not quite as easy to justify their flagrant self-promotion. How do you justify $150,000 worth of billboards with the Governor's smiling face on them that only say, "There's nothing like home cooking."

1 comment:

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