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Claim: First Things First Article Was a 'Slap in the Face'

Tim Vanderpool's article, "First Things First?" (Currents, March 11) was a slap in the face to an effort that has made significant improvements in the lives of young children in Arizona.

You forgot to mention that because of First Things First funding in Central Pima County, 1,110 children have received access to child care; 1,450 early educators will receive professional development; 750 families have received parenting support; 203 early educators have received scholarships for college; and 2,079 families have received emergency food boxes.

You forgot to mention the details of the funding process. First Things First is designed so that the community decides how the money is spent. Regional councils, composed of community members, create funding strategies that are specific to the needs of the immediate community.

It is necessary to lay a solid foundation for lasting change in early childhood services. This involves establishing systems of collaboration among agencies. It means that larger agencies might need to act as a funnel for monies to the smaller ones as they work to build their capacity.

I place my trust in education experts and well-informed community members to decide how the money is spent. At a time when the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer have asked voters to repeal First Things First, your article was incredibly poorly timed. This bad publicity only adds to the climate of deep budget cuts to programs for children, cuts that will produce long-term negative effects. First Things First is the last hope for young children in our state.

Monica Brinkerhoff

Comment From a Reader at

Regarding Danehy, March 25:

You obscenely make light of the tragedy that prohibition has brought to millions of individual persons who have served time—hard time—for a political crime.

The so-called war on drugs is merely a tool of coercion. Haven't figured that out yet, have ya, Tom? You suck. Yeah. And you're really stupid.


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