The Conservative's Corner
By The Goldwater Institute
Partisan gridlock in Congress is often the rule, but there are the occasional and notable exceptions. In the recent spending bill, lawmakers successfully repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—one of the most extreme examples of consolidated, unchecked government power in American history. As the only organization to have challenged IPAB in court, we’re celebrating the elimination of what columnist George Will called “the most anti-constitutional law ever written.”
Enacted eight years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, IPAB was created as a cost-saving mechanism for the Medicare program for the nation’s elderly, but its authority was far broader. The unelected Board wielded unprecedented power to write healthcare rules that would automatically become law without a vote of Congress, signature of the president, notice to the public, or review by the courts.
Some fiscal conservatives are now lamenting the fact that, by repealing IPAB, Congress has removed important checks on uncontrolled Medicare spending. This is an issue that should not be ignored. True, the Medicare program is in desperate need of modernization and financial overhaul, and IPAB would have been a tool to control those costs. But the costs to our Constitution would have been far greater. Those doubting the dangers that IPAB posed should consider the following:
IPAB’s authority was not limited to Medicare. IPAB had much broader powers to make law governing both government and private healthcare—whatever the Board considered “related to the Medicare program.” IPAB’s toolbox was vast: It could enact price controls and even levy taxes. And those decisions would have been free of any meaningful checks or balances.
IPAB’s power was consolidated in one individual. Some viewed Congress’s repeal of IPAB as premature—after all, neither President Obama nor Trump had appointed any members to the Board, and it had not yet taken any actions. But lack of membership was only more cause for concern. So long as IPAB remained unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services alone wielded the Board’s vast powers.
IPAB’s decisions were not subject to judicial review. IPAB’s so-called “recommendations” would have automatically become law, without review by Congress or the courts. In other words, the ACA left unaccountable bureaucrats free to make decisions that could affect public and private healthcare for millions of Americans.
IPAB had the power to ration care. Many mistakenly believed that IPAB was prohibited from rationing healthcare. But what constitutes rationing? The ACA never defined “rationing care”—instead, it left the Board to define rationing however it wished, and it prohibited patients and doctors from turning to the courts for protection if the Board stopped them from receiving or delivering care. In other words, IPAB put bureaucrats in charge of deciding what type and how much medical care people should receive. That system would have deprived patients of access to needed care—increasing centralized decision making at the expense of individual healthcare decisions.
The U.S. Constitution gives the lawmaking power to Congress alone because legislators are responsible to their constituents and checked by the other branches of government. No agency can be rendered exempt from democratic processes and the rule of law. That is why Congress should be lauded for repealing the unchecked and unprecedented consolidation of bureaucratic power.Read more
PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced yesterday during the State Board of Investment meeting that the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to as the Schools’ Trust Fund, has hit a record market value of more than $6 Billion.
Even with increased distributions totaling more than $793 million to Endowment beneficiaries, which is more than three times that of any previous treasurer, the endowment has grown in excess of $1 billion during Treasurer DeWit’s tenure.
“Credit for this achievement goes to the dedicated work of Senior Portfolio Manager Tim White who has managed the fund for nearly 20 years, along with the rest of the investment staff, and the members of the State Board of Investment,” Treasurer DeWit said.
Treasurer DeWit, who is chairman of the State Board of Investment, also noted that the Treasurer’s office reached another milestone in January with the month ending value of all investments at $15.85 Billion, an all-time high for assets under management.Read more
By Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers
Last week I received a call from the media asking me to comment on Congressman Trent Franks’ pending resignation and wanted to know if I would be forming a committee to run for that office.
To say the least, I was stunned. But even more than that, I was forced to look at the possibility of going to Washington, D.C., and how that would affect the city, my family and friends. It made me look deep inside myself.
I was shocked at the hundreds of calls, e-mails, text messages, and the sheer number of folks stopping and asking; maybe asking isn’t the right word - pleading for me to run for Congressional District 8. My phone battery has been dying the last few days from lengthy calls from people wanting me to represent them in D.C. It’s been overwhelming to say the least. But maybe even more surprising to me are the folks who have been brutally honest with me, telling me NOT to go to D.C.
It’s been pointed out to me that just five years ago, our fine city had a BBB bond rating (basically junk bonds). It was also pointed out to me that five years ago, we had many pending lawsuits and less than zero dollars in our savings account. Staff was looking for employment in other cities, meaning we were losing talented and skilled people - what I have referred to as brain drain. We had an Interim Police Chief, Interim City Manager, library hours cut, parks not receiving water, leaving grass dying and no outlook for the future.
The Chamber of Commerce was kept at arm’s length. Millions and millions of dollars was being paid to fund professional hockey, and a professional football franchise that was being disrespected by city staff. Our roads were getting worse by not doing necessary preventative maintenance. We were the second-most financially strapped city in the United States, second to Detroit, Michigan, (and that city went bankrupt.) And there were other morale busters.
Fourth of July fireworks display – cancelled.
The Fire Parade—cancelled.
The city had done everything possible – except fix the problem.
That was then.
Most recently, our city received an AAA bond rating. This is the strongest sign that our city is back on track and headed in the right direction financially. It has not been easy, but we’ve made difficult decisions and the city has turned around.
In the area of quality of life, friends are telling me that with my leadership, we have a very successful Fourth of July fireworks display that is much larger, but not paid by the taxpayers. Yes, I restarted it, but not alone - by working with Jeff Teetsel, a principal at Westgate.
We just had the Fifth Annual Hometown Christmas Parade. Yes, I started that, also. Now, it has large sponsors, such as our own Sanderson Ford, and a committee of nearly 35 members. It’s not a city event, but the city has become a big partner in helping it succeed for our residents. It is the largest parade in Arizona.
I’m reminded that five years ago, we had no program for our veterans. This past September, we held our Fifth Annual Glendale Stand Up for Veterans event. I started that, recognizing that someone who signs a paper saying that they will give their life for their country deserves the full attention of all, to ensure that they are not forgotten and looked after.
One very good friend of mine told me that I’m the only person he knows that can take a problem for some, and turn it into a fun event that helps so many.Read more
by Team Ducey
Arizona public schools are helping students make real educational gains.
A recent New York Times article analyzed school districts across the country to determine whose students were learning the most between 3rd and 8th grades. They found three of the top 20 public school districts in the nation are in Arizona.
Students in the Chandler, Peoria, and Washington Elementary School Districts are showing more than 5 years' educational growth between 3rd and 8th grades, with #2 ranked Chandler students gaining nearly six years of learning in 5 years' time.
We're making real, measurable progress in education, closing gaps and bringing students up to grade level.
Want to see how your district stacks up? Read the article.
There's still plenty of work to do improving our Arizona schools, and Governor Ducey is committed to doing it. But things are moving in the right direction for our students, parents, teachers, and principals to ensure that every child has the opportunity for an excellent public education in our state.
If you think people ought to know about the progress we're making, post this story on Facebook, tweet it out, or simply forward this email to a friend.
PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit presented Arizona State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee the 2017 Hero of the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office award for her sponsorship of SB 1448 this past session.
“The changes made in this legislation will lead to many millions more in earnings from the investments in our office,’’ Treasurer DeWit said.
“Majority Leader Yee’s knowledge of the Treasurer’s office from here prior employment here was critical in getting this legislation unanimously approved this year,” DeWit said. “She truly understands the role the State Treasurer of Arizona serves in protecting taxpayers.”
The wording of the award is as follows:
Whereas, SB 1448 was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee during the first regular session of the 53rd Arizona Legislature;
Whereas, SB 1448 was unanimously approved by the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives;
Whereas, SB 1448, was enacted as Chapter 277, Laws 2017, and became law on August 9, 2017;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee worked tirelessly for the successful passage of this legislation;
Whereas, SB 1448 changes Arizona Law that will benefit the investing of taxpayer funds by the State Treasurer of Arizona;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee’s knowledge of the Treasurer’s office from her prior employment in the office was critical in the passage of this legislation leading to increased earnings for taxpayers;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee truly understands the role that the State Treasurer of Arizona serves in protecting taxpayers;
Whereas, those changes will lead to many millions more in earnings from investments by the Treasurer’s Investment Management Division, while maintaining our conservative investing approach;
I hereby declare, in the capacity of Treasurer for the State of Arizona, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee as the 2017 Hero of the State Treasurer’s Office.
Former chief deputy: If Sheriff Paul Penzone was serious about making a safe community, he'd seize more drugs, arrest more people - and actually enforce the law.
By Jerry Sheridan
Paul Penzone’s My Turn (”Where we're taking the sheriff's department after Joe Arpaio,” Aug. 6) was entertaining. His criticism of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, is unwarranted.
I don’t have space to explain Arpaio’s defense here. Suffice it to say he is appealing. Police unions throughout the state, representing more than 18,000 police officers, endorsed Arpaio against Penzone in the last two elections.
By Scottsdale Pinetop
A war hero, an Arizona Senator and a presidential candidate. The legacy and political career of Senator John McCain has become a staple of Arizona’s pioneering identity. Diagnosed with brain cancer last summer, the Senator has been in and out of hospital treatments for the past year. With the future of McCain’s health uncertain, so is the future of the Arizona Republican Party.
The narrative of McCain’s political career has been a point of controversy since his presidential campaign in 2008. He has been praised for his self-styled nonconformist reputation while also being criticized as one of President Trump’s loudest opponents from his own party. Regardless of opinion, McCain remains one of Arizona’s most powerful political figures and many lawmakers are fearful of losing his influence.
With growing concern of McCain’s poor health, Republican lawmakers are taking steps to ensure his Senate seat remains in house.Read more
Once again, the ill-conceived Desert Discovery Center/Desert Edge (DDC) is dividing and hurting Scottsdale.
That’s the only clear takeaway after last night’s Scottsdale City Council hearing.
To explain what happened allow us to provide a little history.
Scottsdale Stadium has been an integral part of downtown for decades. It’s there that legions of baseball fans from San Francisco and the country over descend to spend money and enjoy spring training.
Recently, there’s been talk of upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium that would come from a variety of public and private sources, including the team, with taxpayer contributions coming from the city’s tourism tax revenues. Tourism taxes for a proven tourism generator that is a public facility. Seems to make a lot of sense.
There’s only one problem. The more tourism tax monies get used for Scottsdale Stadium the less there might be for the Big Bombastic Boondoogle (er DDC) in the desert. Actually, we don’t view that as a problem. We view that as a secondary benefit to the primary one of up-keeping a community crown jewel.
But three councilmembers didn’t share our opinion Tuesday night. Instead, Councilmembers Milhaven, Korte and Smith sought to transfer upgrades to Scottsdale Stadium from tourism tax rolls onto those for property taxes that would fund all the improvements called for in the community bond.
How unnecessary. How unfortunate. How unwise. Seeing the shell game at hand, the balance of the council rejected the notion and said no to referring the bond plan at all in 2018.Read more
By Scottsdale Pinetop
What a shame.
Across the state, thousands of Arizona public college DACA students are reeling from Monday’s news. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in order for DACA recipients to attend any of the state’s three universities or community colleges they’re going to have to pay a higher tuition.
Unfortunately for many of these Arizona residents, that’s just not possible. They now face having food on the table versus a better future with more education.
Arizona, somewhat understandably, has had a long-standing reputation for its strong stance on illegal immigration and securing the border. However, this court ruling punishes young people through no fault of their own. It would be like a 14-year old son of a shoplifter being named as a co-conspirator.Read more
Over the past two plus decades in Scottsdale there have been two epic campaign contests for Mayor. In 1996 Diana Smith (wife of former Councilman David Smith) spent a major chunk of her own change to almost upset the presumptive frontrunner, Sam Campana. Almost. And then in 2008 then Councilman Jim Lane challenged a vulnerable Mayor Mary Manross, very narrowly prevailing. Back in 2016 we thought Lane v. Littlefield might have made the list but after the latter fared worse than the Phoenix Suns on opening night it’s not even worth an honorable mention. And speaking of honor it’s been how many hundreds of days since the Bobcat has failed to call Mayor Lane to congratulate him?! We hear Dear Abbey may be writing a column about the Lilliputian’s bad manners, but we digress . . .
While Scottsdale has important council elections later in 2018 it’s the 2020 campaign, most especially that for Mayor, stirring the most speculation and discussion.
Much of the attention has been driven by the aplomb, agog and athirst of Councilwoman Virginia Korte. She’s always wanted to be Mayor, and is perhaps the most qualified to seek the post in the city’s history. By announcing for the post about the time JFK was talking about sending someone to the moon, she’s setting a pace that has been both productive, and counterproductive.
Interestingly, it hasn’t seemed to unsettle fellow Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp who, according to rumors, whispers and dais display is exhibiting an almost Phil Jackson, Zen-like vibe to the prospect of challenging Korte. She’ll get to it when she’s get to it could be her campaign slogan now, showing little preoccupation that Korte in Kentucky Derby speak is out of the gate so quickly.
But there’s an increasing sense that Klapp will enter the 2020 race, so much so that popular Councilman Guy Phillips is said to be exploring other options, including a run for statewide office.
Klapp versus Korte. Two people who, as candidates in 2016, raised about $250,000 per person. What a race it would be. But we’ll save further analysis until another time.Read more
By Scottsdale Pinetop
When it comes to charter schools people either celebrate them as an alternative to underachieving public schools or accuse them as a flawed outcome in failed education reform. Regardless of opinion, it’s hard to discredit charter schools’ growth throughout the U.S.
Leading the way is the BASIS Curriculum Schools network, regarded as the best charter school system in the country. BASIS Schools continue to excel against any standard – high Advanced Placement results, consistent national rankings and high college admission rates. Currently, BASIS serves over twenty thousand students and its influence only continues to grow.
Coming this fall, BASIS will be opening its doors to its third open-enrollment, tuition free public charter school in Scottsdale. Located in northern Scottsdale, BASIS Scottsdale Primary – West Campus will be serving over 350 student in kindergarten through 4th grade. BASIS Scottsdale Primary will be the network’s 21st charter campus in Arizona.Read more
By Scottsdale Pinetop
The recent events of local high school robotics teams is a classic Cinderella story.
Against the odds, three of Scottsdale’s high school robotics teams advanced to the FIRST® Championships, an international robotics tournament held in Houston, Texas. But their celebration was short lived after discovering that teams from Chaparral, Desert Mountain and Saugaro might not be able to attend the competition.
In just 10 days, these student engineers need to raise at least $20,000 to compete. With such a short deadline, it’s nice to have local supporters to ensure their success.
Becoming SUSD’s new fairy godmothers, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board Member Pam Kirby and the Scottsdale Charros are lending their financial support to these robotics teams – committing $5,000 each to the three teams.Read more
By Virginia Korte
I believe the City Council does an exceptional job of representing citizens, no matter where you live. I feel I can speak for everyone on the Council when I say we work hard to treat everyone and every issue the same: thoughtfully and thoroughly.
But as I have conversations with people throughout our community, some ask what I think about creating districts from which we would elect the six councilpersons. That topic comes up particularly in some of the southern areas of our city.
While I believe our current system of electing councilpersons “at large” is working pretty darn well, I am open to considering a district representation system if enough people feel we should move in that direction.
I am aware of and respect what some citizens say are the benefits of establishing a district system.Read more
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane has always been more concerned with getting things done than getting attention.
That may be his motivation behind forming a Political Action Committee called “At Our Best.” Records show it is being organized to raise money to assist political candidates.
Scottsdale, or Arizona for that matter, has no shortage of critics. But it may have a shortage of innovative leaders with fresh ideas and the will to implement them. Lane’s PAC could provide support for innovators so they can withstand the slings and arrows of naysayers.
And while some could argue that the “Scottsdale Edge” political blog occasionally falls into the naysayer category, we’ll just say its recent post on Lane’s PAC misses the mark.Read more
The Phoenix Suns have had many great players over the years but Paul Westphal was right up there with the best of them. Twisting, turning, shooting and scoring like few others is why he’s in the team’s Ring of Honor. His jersey number was 44. It was fitting and looked good to all who saw him play.
Compare that with another 44 in a different part of the Valley, Paradise Valley. It’s purportedly the top height being requested for a new hotel and condominium redevelopment of the Smoketree Resort along Lincoln, near Scottsdale Road. Unlike Westphal, it doesn’t look so good.
We can all agree that a refurbishment of the Smoketree site is desirable. The old restaurant that fronts the property, The Other Place, has been vacant for years. While not quite an eyesore it is a community blemish. Removing it with a nice new project would be desirable.
The Phoenix Business Journal reported on the possibility earlier today. LINK HERE
But with a purported top height of 44 feet, the ends don’t justify the means. When it comes to resort revitalization 36 feet has become an important line, or height, not to cross. Should new Smoketree efforts gain additional latitude than that given Mountain Shadows, Montelucia, Sanctuary or The Hermosa Inn?
No. Because to say yes is to lace up the skates and start down a very slippery slope from which it’s difficult to regain one’s footing. Forty four becomes 54 then 64 then that which makes Paradise Valley so distinct isn’t so.Read more
By Scottsdale Pinetop
If there is one-thing critics and supporters of the Trump administration can agree on is that President Trump is leaving a lasting mark on U.S. foreign policy. Weakening traditional alliances, threatening military action and dissolving trade agreements, the fate of the U.S. foreign relations remains murky.
This can leave local leaders to step into the vacuum and exercise their own form of soft power – starting with Scottsdale’s own Mayor Jim Lane.
Last month, at the invitation of Marrakech Mayor Mohamed Larbi Belcaid, Mayor Lane led a small group of local leaders to Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech has been a sister city to Scottsdale since 2011, but the two leaders had yet to meet face to face.Read more
By Scottsdale Pinetop
As the debate about bike share programs rages on in Scottsdale, neighboring community Paradise Valley can’t seem to escape the discussion either. In recent months, various bike share companies have migrated into the Phoenix and Scottsdale downtowns areas, often crossing city limits. For many Paradise Valley residents, this appears to be a problem and has many asking if expanding the bike share program there is just too much of a good thing?
Known as a “dockless” bike program, bike share companies populate a city with bikes and place them in pedestrian-friendly locations such as sidewalks, parks and downtown areas. Activated by a smartphone app, bike users typically pay $1 per half-hour to locate, ride, and lock bikes without the need for a bike rack. Consequently this leaves bikes abandoned along sidewalks, the canal or on private property.
The Paradise Valley Town Council began discussing the topic at the end of February and tensions on the issue only seem to be growing. Some members have chosen to embrace the colorful bikes and trust that the industry can resolve many of these issues on their own. Others argue that the bikes are creating unnecessary litter that damages the beauty of Paradise Valley and call for immediate attention.Read more
As noble opponents of the ill-conceived and politically toxic Desert Discovery Center/Desert Edge continue their impressive volunteerism to force a public vote on the project we thought it would be helpful to remind readers why their efforts are justified. We have not been shy about our opposition to this wholly unnecessary white elephant over the years and wanted to summarize in one place our numerous musings as opponents march towards an upcoming deadline for signatures.
Is Scottsdale’s Long-Discussed Desert Discovery Center Necessary?
March 5, 2014
How About A Desert Discovery Bridge Rather Than A Center?
May 17, 2016
Patrick Peterson Is Why The DDC Is On The EDGE
August 4, 2017
Scottsdale’s $60 Million Opportunity Cost
August 17, 2017
The Art of the Deal
August 25, 2017
Kathy Littlefield’s Serve & Volley
October 12, 2017
The survey results of 800 likely voters in Florida clearly show that Democratic Senator Bill Nelson would
be vulnerable in a general election against Republican Rick Scott. On the ballot, Rick Scott has a 1-point
lead (47% to 46%). Rick Scott has a stronger favorable rating than Bill Nelson who is underperforming on
key benchmarks for an incumbent. This race would be one of the most highly competitive and watched
races in the country. With the right amount of resources, Rick Scott would be able to defeat Bill Nelson.
Bill Nelson is under 50% on the ballot, which is a sign of a vulnerable incumbent.
Rick Scott has a 1-point lead on Bill Nelson (47% to 46%) with 6% undecided.
The ballot is heavily polarized along party lines with Rick Scott leading among Republicans 84% to
12% while Bill Nelson is ahead 80% to 15% among Democrats.
Non-Party-Affiliated voters lean in favor of Rick Scott 46% to 44% on the ballot.
The majority has a favorable opinion of Rick Scott (53% favorable to 36% unfavorable).
Bill Nelson’s favorables are significantly under 50% (41% favorable to 25% unfavorable), which is
a troubling indicator for an incumbent. It’s apparent voters aren’t that excited about Bill Nelson.
This Florida statewide survey was conducted among 800 likely voters between March 10 and 13, 2018.
In addition, an oversample was conducted among 76 likely voters in targeted media markets. The
oversample was weighted proportionately into the original 800 sample. All interviews were conducted
by professional interviewers via telephone. The sample included a mix of 59% landline and 41% cell
phone interviews. Interview selection was at random within predetermined election units. These units
were structured to statistically correlate with actual voter distributions in a general election. The
accuracy of the sample of 800 likely voters is within +/- 3.4% at a 95% confidence interval. The results in
this summary have been rounded and may not equal 100%.
By Governor Doug Ducey
Phoenix (March 28) – Today, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery endorsed Republican candidate Shawnna Bolick for the open House seat in Legislative District 20.
“Shawnna Bolick is a strong supporter of the rule of law and is a constitutional conservative. She is smart, principled and will serve her constituents honorably. I am proud to endorse Shawnna as the next legislator in Legislative District 20,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.
“I have a good working relationship with Bill Montgomery and enjoyed working with him in the past election,” stated Bolick. “Bill continues to serve our country well and I, too, believe in defending the rule of law and advocating for crime victim’s rights. His endorsement carries a lot of weight and I look forward to working with him once I am elected to the Arizona Legislature.”Read more
PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced today he will resign effective Tuesday, April 3, 2018 to become the Chief Financial Officer of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration.
“It has been such an honor to serve the State of Arizona as Treasurer and I have worked hard to make sure our financial results reflect the trust that the voters placed in me in 2014,” Treasurer DeWit said.
“The superb performance of the Treasurer’s office during my tenure has been recognized nationally and I truly love the job of Treasurer for the great state of Arizona,” DeWit said.
“I am extremely grateful that President Trump and the United States Senate have entrusted me to serve the country at such an accomplished agency as NASA. It is a very exciting opportunity for myself and my family, and I will continue to work hard to make the people of Arizona proud for putting their faith in me four years ago. As I continue to serve the country at NASA, I want to thank my wife Marina and our family for the tremendous sacrifice they have made and are willing to continue to make as I proceed with my public service.”
Treasurer DeWit was nominated for the CFO of NASA position by President Donald J. Trump on Nov. 29, 2017. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on March 14, 2018.Read more
On behalf of John Whiteman, Reg Ballantyne III, Mike Brewer, and myself, I want to applaud Arizona State Representative Doug Coleman and State Senator Kate Brophy McGee, as well as Speaker J.D. Mesnard, President Steve Yarborough, and the entire leadership of the state legislature for protecting over $650 million in revenue for our schools and avoiding the fiscal cliff of Prop 301's expiration.
Now the business and education community must focus its efforts on expanding the education funding pie after we work to get Governor Ducey re-elected this Fall.
We continue to be vocal supporters of Governor Ducey’s vision for investing in teacher pay, full day kindergarten, K-12 capital and the other priorities as articulated two years ago in his 2017 State of the State Address.Read more
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