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For personal, non-commercial use only. Do not edit, alter or reproduce. For commercial reproduction or distribution, contact Dow Jones Reprints & Licensing at (800) 843-0008 or www.djreprints.com.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

Friday, April 13, 2018 | A3

* * * * *

U.S. NEWS

Guard at Border Splits Arizonans

Task Force
To Review
Finances
Of USPS
BY HEIDI VOGT

Arizona National Guard members mustered Monday in Phoenix ahead of deployment to the Mexican border.
cord lows and since has
steadily risen.
It has remained at low levels last seen in the early 1970s.
Mr. Trump, however, declared the level of arrests at
the border an “UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low” in a tweet
last week.
Former Presidents George
W. Bush and Barack Obama
each deployed the National
Guard to the border in the past
dozen years—one time apiece.
The troops, who stayed on and
off for several years, backed up
the Border Patrol, helping
monitor surveillance cameras,
repair fences and vehicles, and
other nonenforcement tasks.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a
Republican who has been supportive of the latest deployment, said troops from his
state would do the same this
time around. “Despite what
some may say, our southern
border is not secure. That is
the truth, plain and simple,” he

said in a statement Tuesday.
The Republican governors
of Texas and New Mexico also
have pledged troops. The first
Guard troops in Texas—about
250—were deployed last week.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a
Democrat, said his state would
send about 400 troops, although he emphasized their
role would be limited.
Mr. Chilton, whose 50,000acre ranch skirts about 14
miles of border, agrees with
the president. He said drug
smugglers and others made
their way north across his land
each day, with some leaving
behind trash and breaking
fences.
Mr. Chilton said before the
National Guard was deployed
to the area during the Bush
administration in 2006, as
many as 30,000 people crossed
his land every year. When the
Guard arrived, the crossings
stopped, he said.
But after the troops left un-

CA L I F.

10

8

Yuma

AR IZO NA

UNITED
STATES

Gulf of
California

50 miles

Existing border fence
Densely populated areas

Phoenix

co Fo
m rp
m e
er rs
ci on
al a
us l,
e
on

WASHINGTON—President
Donald Trump issued an executive order Thursday creating
a task force to recommend reforms in the U.S. Postal Service, following weeks of tweets
accusing the agency of giving
a sweetheart deal to Amazon
Inc. for package delivery.
The Postal Service “is on an
unsustainable financial path
and must be restructured to
prevent a taxpayer-funded
bailout,” Mr. Trump said in the
order.
A Postal Service spokesman
didn’t immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The order didn’t directly
address the Postal Service’s
contracts with Amazon Inc.,
but did say the task force will
look at the pricing in the package-delivery market.
Mr. Trump said the Postal
Service needs to “compete
fairly in commercial markets.”
In his tweets, Mr. Trump
has chastised the Postal Service as Amazon’s “delivery
boy” and said “only fools”
would believe the service
makes money with Amazon. In
fact, while the Postal Service
has posted a net loss for
years, revenue from these
package contracts has been
increasing in recent years and
the Postal Service is banned
from signing any contract that
would lose money.
Some analysts have argued
that the Postal Service should
consider charging Amazon and
other package deliverers more
to make up for other liabilities
in pension and health-care
costs, but few analysts agree
with the president’s assertion
that Amazon causes the service to lose money.
The executive order also
says the task force should
look at issues around pensions and medical costs, along
with “inflexible costs” mandated by law.

ly
.

ARIVACA, Ariz.—At a migrants-assistance office here, a
sign declared “Make militarization of the border a thing of
the past,” indicating how some
view President Donald Trump’s
plan to deploy the National
Guard to the nearby Mexican
border.
A few miles away, amid the
scrub brush that dots the arid
landscape around the international boundary, the Guard’s callup couldn’t come soon enough
for some longtime cattlemen.
“I am absolutely elated,”
said Jim Chilton, a 79-year-old
fifth-generation Arizonan and
cattle rancher. “It’s what’s
needed.”
Along the Arizona border,
Mr. Trump’s decision last week
has spurred emotional and
wide-ranging reactions from
lawmakers, law-enforcement
officials and local residents.
More than 4,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents already are
assigned to the roughly 370
miles of Mexican border in Arizona. More than 330 Arizona
National Guard troops are expected soon to join them to
help address what the administration has called a “crisis.”
The Arizona contingent is
part of a force of 2,000 to
4,000 National Guard troops
that Mr. Trump said likely
would be deployed along the
2,000-mile border. There is no
word yet on how long they
may stay.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff
Tony Estrada, a Democrat who
has worked in law enforcement in the area since 1966,
said he didn’t know what crisis
Mr. Trump was referring to.
“We’ve had issues in the past,
but what is the crisis if the
numbers are down,” said Mr.
Estrada, referring to the decades-low number of illegal
border crossers arrested in
2017 by the Border Patrol. “I
think it’s a made up crisis by
the president to muscle Congress into building his big
beautiful wall.”
In the first few months of
the Trump administration, the
number of people arrested
each month plummeted to re-

CAITLIN O’HARA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

BY ALICIA A. CALDWELL

MEXICO
Caborca

Tucson

Arivaca

N.M.
10

Sierra
Vista

Nogales
SO N O RA

50 km

Note: Due to the scale of the map, some gaps in the border fence may not be visible.
Sources: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and OpenStreetMap
contributors (border fence); Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s LandScan population
data (population density)

der the Bush administration,
he said a smaller number of
people began traipsing across
his land once more. Mr. Chilton said he believed many
were armed drug smugglers.
Immigrant-rights groups

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

and other residents here worried the National Guard deployments were unnecessary
and dangerous—and some of
them say the community already had plenty of Border Patrol agents around.

Oklahoma Teachers to End Their Nine-Day Walkout

n-

no

Most Oklahoma teachers
will return to school on Friday,
putting an end to a nine-day
strike that resulted in pay
raises and boosted state funding for education.
The demonstrations, which
sent teachers by the tens of
thousands to the state Capitol
each day schools were closed,
represented the strongest labor action the conservative
state has seen in several decades.
The threat of a strike initially prompted legislators to
give the teachers a $6,000 average raise this year and add
nearly $500 million in education funding. During the subsequent walkout, the Legislature passed several other
revenue increases to benefit
education, including a new tax
on online sales and an expansion of the types of games
permitted at casinos.
Oklahoma was the second
state to hold a prolonged,
statewide teachers strike just

SUE OGROCKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

BY MICHELLE HACKMAN

Public school teachers protested on Thursday outside of the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.
this year, after West Virginia,
and with educators threatening imminent work stoppages
in Kentucky and Arizona, it
will likely not be the last.
Oklahoma Education Asso-

ciation President Alicia Priest,
representing the state’s largest
teachers union, made the announcement at a news conference in Oklahoma City Thursday afternoon. She said a large

majority of members believed
continuing the strike wouldn’t
produce any further results.
“While the walkout is ending today and we are going
back to school, we are not just

giving up and going home,”
Ms. Priest said, saying the
union would launch a threeyear campaign to pressure
lawmakers to vote for additional funding increases.
The threat of a strike last
month prompted the Republican-dominated Legislature to
pass legislation awarding
teachers the raise this year,
funded through new taxes on
the oil and gas industry. The
Legislature also raised overall
education funding through a
combination of new taxes.
That was particularly noteworthy because Oklahoma requires 75% of lawmakers to
approve tax increases, making
them rare, and much of the
state’s existing revenue comes
from its dominant energy sector.
The teachers opted to strike
anyway, demanding that the
Legislature award them a
$10,000 overall pay increase
and reverse additional cuts it
had made to the state’s education budget. Oklahoma’s education funding has fallen by

28% since the 2008-09 recession, making it the steepest
cut in the country, according
to the liberal-leaning Center
for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Gov. Mary Fallin congratulated Republicans for passing
what she called a historic pay
raise and chided teachers for
their prolonged strike despite
what she viewed as the Legislature’s generosity.
“I am very proud that Republican lawmakers have led
the way on increasing educational expenditures for Oklahoma’s students this session,”
she said.
The strike angered many
lawmakers, who appeared increasingly unwilling to pass
additional sources of revenue.
One Republican legislator lamented teachers’ “stinking”
behavior in a since-deleted
Facebook video.
Teachers in a Facebook
group with over 73,000 members vowed to continue protesting despite their union’s
wishes.

District Drops Plan to Name Mississippi Orders Bridges Closed
School After Blackstone CEO
BY CAMERON MCWHIRTER

BY TAWNELL D. HOBBS
Blackstone Group LP CEO
Stephen Schwarzman has
dropped his stipulation that
his high school be renamed
after him as a condition for
his $25 million gift, the largest known gift to an individual public school.
The
condition,
which
wasn’t disclosed when Mr.
Schwarzman announced his
gift in February, ran into objections from the community
in Abington, Pa., after the
school board disclosed it last
month. Plans for the gift include paying for a major renovation at Abington Senior
High School, where Mr.
Schwarzman graduated in
1965, and adding a new science and technology center.
An initial pledge agree-

ment, approved last month by
the school board, outlined
stipulations for the deal.
One condition in particular, renaming the school
Abington Schwarzman High
School, evoked concern by
some community members
who said it was done without
public input and called it “unnecessary and extreme” in an
online petition to keep the
old school name.
Mr. Schwarzman withdrew
the naming proposal when objections were raised. The
board rescinded its vote on
the initial agreement on Tuesday. A revised agreement will
be considered on April 24.
“The naming was inconsequential, which is why he immediately withdrew the proposal,”
said
Blackstone
spokeswoman Christine An-

derson. “When asked to help
his
alma
mater,
Mr.
Schwarzman agreed wholeheartedly. His intent was singularly to support the school’s
desire to improve student preparedness.”
The revised agreement includes naming the planned
center the Stephen A.
Schwarzman Center for Science and Technology.
Other changes include
omitting a previous stipulation to name “additional
spaces” for Mr. Schwarzman’s
twin brothers and limiting Mr.
Schwarzman’s participation in
the planning, design and construction of the building to
semiannual written reports
provided by the district.
The initial agreement gave
him the right to participate in
person or by phone.

The state of Mississippi’s
bridges are in such bad shape
that the governor has ordered
at least 102 closed this week.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant,
a Republican, issued an emergency declaration, authorizing
the Mississippi Department of
Transportation workers to
shut down the bridges. The department began notifying
counties Thursday to shut
down the bridges within 24
hours or the state would step
in, according to officials.
The dilapidated bridges
“create extreme peril to the
safety of persons and property,” the governor said in the
order. If the bridges aren’t
closed, the Federal Transportation Administration has
threatened to withhold funding to the state, according to
Melinda McGrath, MDOT’s executive director.
The move follows an April 5
letter to Mr. Bryant from Bran-

dye Hendrickson, acting administrator of the Federal
Highway
Administration,
which listed bridges that inspectors determined to be unsafe. The state must close unsafe bridges immediately or
the administration “will be
compelled to follow-up with

102

Mississippi bridges to be shut
down because of safety concerns

consequential actions,” she
wrote. Mississippi was the
only state to receive a letter
recently, said a spokesman for
the U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the
highway administration.
Mississippi’s bridge problems mirror the nation’s. As of
the end of 2017, 54,560 out of

615,002 bridges nationwide
were determined to be “structurally deficient” by the Federal Highway Administration,
meaning the bridge needed significant repair. The American
Society of Civil Engineers has
estimated it would cost $123
billion to repair all the nation’s
bridges. In March 2017, the society issued its “Infrastructure
Report Card”—released every
four years—and gave U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of
“D+”—below standard.
President Donald Trump has
said that fixing the nation’s infrastructure is a priority. But
his top infrastructure adviser
quit last week and his funding
plan—involving $200 billion
over 10 years—has little chance
of getting through the Republican-controlled Congress before
the midterm elections.
Mr. Bryant’s proclamation
hits 16 of the state’s 82 counties but also said it would include “other parts of the state”
if bridges are found unsafe.