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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

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.

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by Team Ducey

Friend --

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.

Thank you!
Team Ducey

 

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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.

 

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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.

Read entire guest editorial here

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By Governor Doug Ducey

(Originally published by CNCB)

Things move quickly in Arizona.

In July 2016, when I wrote an op-ed for the 10th anniversary of CNBC's America's Top States for Business series, I talked about how our state is slashing red tape and embracing the new economy.

What a difference a year makes.

Since then, Google began offering Arizonans rides in their own self-driving Waymo vehicles. Airbnb hosts in our state earned more than $50 million throughout the year. And an array of first-class companies — from Vector Space Systems to Orbital ATK and many others — have expanded their presence here.

Three-hundred days of sunshine per year certainly helps, but it's not just the beautiful weather and panoramic mountain views that convince companies to relocate. It's a combination of Arizona's top-shelf quality of life and the pro-growth environment we've fostered over the past few years to make our state a great place to do business.

Just to name three:

A highly trained workforce: We know what it takes to train the future. The newest rankings from U.S. News & World Report found that Arizona is home to the top three public high schools in the country. We're making major investments in our universities, too, including a $1 billion financing package that will allow them to make critical research infrastructure improvements to stay ahead of the competition. 

We also announced an initiative last year to equip at least 60 percent of adults in our state with a certificate or degree by the year 2030 so Arizonans they have the tools they need to succeed in our quickly-changing economy. With Arizona State University being ranked the most innovative university in the U.S. for two years in a row now (beating out MIT and Stanford), you know we're on the right track and moving forward fast.

A 21st-century government: Some states have a regulatory system that reacts to innovation; in Arizona, we anticipate and embrace it so that new technologies have to catch up with legislation instead of the other way around. Whether that's an executive order paving the way for research into self-driving technology or a revamp of our revenue system to make home-sharing easier, we're always looking forward so that entrepreneurs can do what they do best without running into an unnecessary bureaucratic speed bump. It also means eliminating burdensome and outdated regulations already on the books, which is why we unveiled "Regulation Rollback" in January with the goal of soliciting input about which regulations to cut and then eliminating 500 by the end of this year.

Strong international relationships: "Trade is not a problem to solve. It's an issue to focus on and expand." That was my closing remark to an audience in Washington, D.C., at a discussion about the U.S.–Mexico relationship. Since taking office, I have made it a priority to strengthen Arizona's relationship with elected officials and business leaders in Mexico, and other countries, in order to bring more jobs, manufacturing, and exporting power to our region. 

The relationship put our state over the top when Lucid Motors was deciding where to locate its new $700 million electric vehicle manufacturing facility a few months ago, with Lucid Motors specifically citing our "strong regional supply chain" and "proximity to rail, major interstates, ports, training facilities, [and] utility providers."

Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich and I are also working together with the hope of creating a new cruise-ship port at Puerto Peñasco. International economic activity, and the relationships that foster it, can be a huge boost for businesses looking to expand, and Arizona is helping to make that happen.
You don't need to take my word that our state is the place to be. People are seeing our low-tax, commonsense regulatory environment, and they're voting with their feet.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, our own Maricopa County is the single fastest-growing county in the United States, adding more than 222 people per day in 2016. This year, Phoenix officially reclaimed the title of the fifth-largest city in the country, too.

Companies are doing the same. We've seen a number of major job announcements over the past few months alone, including Constant Aviation in May and Benchmark Electronics, which is relocating its corporate headquarters to Arizona from Texas. In fact, hiring for finance and insurance jobs grew faster in Arizona than in any other state in the country over the 12 months leading to March 2017.

That's no accident.

Arizona has been nationally recognized for its economic competitiveness, including recently in two prominent trade publications. We were given the 2017 Gold Shovel Award in Area Development's list of top states for economic development in the five- to eight-million population category, and we were named the No. 1 most competitive state in the mountain region in Site Selection's 2017 Prosperity Cup.

In other words, when entrepreneurs get sick of being overtaxed and overregulated in places like California, they pack up a U-Haul (another great company based here) and move to Arizona

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By the Goldwater Institute

For seven years, leaders in Washington have promised to repeal Obamacare, but as we saw this week, Congress doesn't seem any closer to real health care reform. The good news is that there’s an opportunity for action in our 50 states.

Take the dental care crisis, for example. Did you know that 18 percent of lower-income Americans say that they or someone in their household has turned to an emergency room for dental pain treatment? And in Arizona alone, 2.4 million of the state's 7 million residents are living in areas with a serious shortage of dentists. That leads to higher costs and poorer health.
But we don't have to rely on Washington to solve this problem.
States can increase access to dental care and reduce costs by licensing dental therapists who carry out routine dental procedures. And it's a solution that has bipartisan support, as The Huffington Post reported this week:
While most media attention has been focused on the lack of consensus on health care in Washington, several conservative organizations and think tanks, like the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, have joined state-based coalitions now spanning the political spectrum that advocate for a free market approach to addressing the oral health crisis.

 

The dental establishment has actively resisted this reform and usually cites unfounded concerns over patient safety, even though the safety and quality track record for dental therapists is long and well-documented.
Limiting the supply of providers not only increases the cost of care services; it forces Americans to pay higher prices. To increase dental access and affordability, states can and should allow for dental therapists.
It's a solution that doesn't have to go through Congress. And it's one example of how states can help reform health care while Washington just keeps talking.

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Many of us remember Bob Schuster as an editor for the East Valley Tribune. Bob is retired, but he is offering some sage advice to the current generation of writers and editors at the Arizona Republic. In a letter to the editor, Bob takes the Republic to task for the way it is covering the school choice issue and an apparent bias in favor of school choice opponents.

Here is that letter as it appears in the Republic:

The media are showing their biases again in schools debate

By Bob Schuster, Mesa

Could we please get more even-handed coverage of Proposition 305, the school voucher referendum on the November ballot?

If the editorial board opposes the expansion of school choice to parents who prefer a private education for their children – including at religious-based schools – then please keep those opinions where they belong: on your Editorial pages.

Instead, we’re greeted by regular diatribes on page 3 – a “news” page – by Laurie Roberts decrying “dark money bazillionaires” wanting to rob public schools of badly needed dollars to help fat cats send their kids to fat cat private schools.

Then on another “news” page, reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez tells us that Save Our Schools, which is trying hard to kill Prop. 305, is a “grassroots” group.

Sounds like David versus Goliath.

Actually, there are several Goliaths on each side, just as there are lots of “grassroots” regular folks on each side.

Gov. Ducey long has advocated expanding school choice in Arizona, and it’s not surprising he has close ties with the Koch brothers, who also back school choice and have the deep pockets that help sell the school-choice message.

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There is a fascinating debate occurring in Paradise Valley.  It’s the ultimate trash talk.  In other words, should the tony town move to a single provider of trash or continue with the existing system of some 5 providers?

As Mayor Michael Collins has observed things must be pretty good when this is the subject de jour.

Interestingly, it’s an argument that’s largely been settled across  America and Arizona.  About 90% of cities and town use a single provider because the economies of scale result in lower rates, fewer trucks,  less pollution, less noise and overall a more coherent approach to sanitation.

Yet, Paradise Valley has never adopted such a reform largely in the name of “limited government.”

So, as commentators of “Smart Opinion. Mostly Right,” let’s look at that philosophical approach a bit more.

First, HOAs in Paradise Valley, including those lived in by Councilman Paul Dembow and others, most often use one trash company because by pooling their homeowners they have greater buying power.  And besides a lower rate they can negotiate they also get less truck impact on their community.

So why is it OK for HOAs to have this ability but the other 80% of individual homeowners cannot?  Why can’t and shouldn’t they be able to pool together, like HOAs, to create maximum buying power for lower rates and a better overally environmental impact?  Right now there’s no way to do that in Paradise Valley.  Under the proposed change they would.

Pooling is at the heart of the Republican approach to health care. The more companies and individuals can join together the more ability they have to negotiate better packages, including across state lines.

So when it comes to limited government Republicans in our nation’s capitol adopt the approach Paradise Valley is considering when it comes to health care.  So why not trash PV GOP?

Opponents of a single-hauler system also talk a lot about choice.  That is, homeowners should be able to choose any provider they want when it comes to trash service.  We get and appreciate that point of view.  But people don’t get such a selection when it comes to ambulance service, photo radar, towing or police and fire service.  That train has already left the station.  But when it comes to the current proposal what choice is really lacking?  Residents can still get once or twice a week trash, multiple cans and recycling.  In fact, town staff has even negotiated MORE choices with the future service to also provide things like Christmas tree disposal, household hazardous waste and shredding that aren’t currently available for most.  So the issue really isn’t “choice?” It’s whose name is on the truck.  Let us repeat that.  It’s whose name is on the truck.  This is a key point that has been made by former Councilwoman Jini Simpson.  And in the end, is the name on the truck a philosophical mooring more important than lower costs, fewer trucks and all the other quality of life benefits a reformed system would provide? Do any of us really care who made the school bus or who operates it so long as children get safely to school?

This leads us to former Paradise Valley Town Councilman Dan Schweiker.  At a town event earlier this week he stunned the audience by announcing his support for the change.  In stints previous on council Schweiker was single hauler’s biggest opponent. But he now believes town staff has injected sufficient and substantial choice into service.  Schweiker’s opinion culiminated an event where some 90% of those in attendance also stated support for single-hauler.  But it was Schweiker, along with former Mayor Ed Winkler’s support, that became the exclamation mark on the topic.  Going into the meeting one could have waged a better bet that Donald Trump would give up Twitter than Schweiker his opposition to single-hauler.

And that leads us to another Great Scott! moment.  In his 2016 campaign for Paradise Valley Town Council Scott Moore had this to say in the Paradise Valley Independent about a possible change away from the town’s trashy approach to a single hauler.

“This solution keeps us out of the trash business and helps reduce daily noise, reduces safety concerns and helps minimize our annual asphalt and street maintenance costs by having less trucks on a daily basis. Residents are expected to see a reduction in fees based on the size of the contract with the town.All  of this could be accomplished without creating more overhead or government.”

 

But after receiving a few emails generated by a special interest garbage hauler that didn’t even bother to bid on the contract Moore seems to be singing a different tune. JFK wrote a book called “Profiles in Courage.” Moore should read it lest he wants moore cost, moore pollution, moore noise, moore accidents, moore wear and tear on the roads and moore failure on this topic to be his legacy with it.

Arizona, and Paradise Valley, are great places because one can pretty much wear flip flops all year long. But that doesn't mean they can't be a fashion faux paus in the winter, especially now for Moore, as they are so politically unbecoming.

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There’s a member of the Town Council in Paradise Valley named David Sherf.  A successful hotel consultant he’s the kind of person who exudes ethics when you meet him. The kind of person any community from Buckeye to Arizona’s toniest town would want to have on its governing body.

Sherf didn’t find politics.  It found him.  Originally appointed to the Town Council he went outside his comfort zone to run and win election to the post to which he was appointed.

He didn’t long to stay, instead deciding not to seek re-election.  But then Maria Syms resigned her council spot after an impressive run for the Arizona House of Representatives.  Sherf became a logical replacement, even though a well-known politician named Andy Kunasek wanted the gig.  But we’ll get to that relevancy later on.

Sherf again offered himself for service, gaining the appointment over Kunasek.

Not bound by the standard calculus of a politician, Sherf set off on an emancipated path, including solving, finally solving, the only thing Paradise Valley doesn’t organize real well:  trash service.

Anyone would and should feel grateful to live in 85253, until one has to experience the orgy of trucks and trash that flail away at the community’s quality of life, day in day out, morning after morning.

It’s not just a comedy of errors. It’s an erratic and highly unusual approach to local governance not shared by the vast majority of communities in Arizona, or America.

Noise.  Pollution.  Higher costs.  Ripped up roads.  More accidents.  Libertarians love it in much the same way they argue for lackadaisical anything.

But not Sherf.  He, and other councilmembers, have brought forth a proposal to end the mayhem with a semblance of community order.

But vested special interests don’t like it.  The companies and beneficiaries of the chaos have engaged in a deceitful campaign designed to spook Sherf and others from abandoning their interest in bringing some order to the galaxy. Fortunately, Sherf has stood tall and stood on the side of the taxpayer and quality of life.  He’s stood on the side of a proposal that would see the Road Warrior-like system of gas guzzling vehicles in town reduced to a single provider.  A single provider the town negotiated with through a competitively bid process to ensure that the vast majority of residents see their rates drop from an average of about $50 per year, with some even seeing rate cuts of 50% of more.  And few if any would see rates increases including HOAs or individuals as the winning bidder has pledged to honor existing rates or better deals for the life of its contract with the Town.   Additionally, ates are set for seven years with only a 3.5% annual increase.  So much for the monopoly means higher rates argument.

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Nothing beats sitting at a ballpark on a sunny day, watching your favorite team with a hot dog and ice cold beer in hand. This has become a symbolic scene in American culture and a tradition Peoria Sports Complex celebrates as it kicks off its 25th year.

In 1994, Peoria Sports Complex became the first dual-team spring training facility in the country and with it an economic surge for the West Valley.

According to recent statistics, 67% of tourists stated spring training as their primary reason for visiting Arizona, according to a study conducted by the Cactus League Baseball Association. Arizona welcomed over 1.7 million fans last year alone. And, the economic impact to Arizona in 2015 alone was $809 million. 

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While U.S. Rep Martha McSally has not formally announced her campaign for the Senate seat, being vacated by Jeff Flake, another strong indication of her pending candidacy came last Thursday when a fellow Republican announced she is launching a campaign for The Congressional District 2 House seat.

Lea Marquez-Peterson’s long speculated campaign for Congress is a go. And that’s a great thing for the Arizona GOP.

Since redistricting, District 2 has been a top target for both Republicans and Democrats. In the past two decades, being a moderate has been the key to winning in McSally’s district, often flipping back and forth between the two major parties.

Marquez-Peterson is the next formidable candidate to shake up the 2018 election.

She’s called southern Arizona home for about 40 years and she’s been a Republican all of her adult life.

She has a high profile in the Latino community serving as CEO and President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

She offers a combination of conservative ideals while giving a voice to minority communities. That combination will play well in District 2, and is a direction we hope the Republican Party will head more in general as opposed to the nationalist tilt of late.

Over the years, Marquez-Peterson has become a close ally of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and some speculate she’ll have support from GOP power players such as car dealer Jim Click.

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As emerging cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault dominate national and local news, the dialogue is shifting towards victims’ inability to discuss abuse, commonly citing confidentiality agreements as the problem. However, Arizona may hopefully be positioning to change this.

State Representative Maria Syms, a Republican from Paradise Valley, is saying enough is enough.

Last week Syms proposed legislation that would make confidentiality agreements regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault essentially ‘unenforceable’. Confidentiality agreements, also referred to as the ‘sexual predator loophole’, prevent victims from speaking out against their abusers.

By addressing confidentiality agreements, the state is sending a message to sexual predators that officials and institutions can’t buy their way out of criminal responsibility by silencing victims through contracts.  

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By the Goldwater Institute

How the Bureaucrats Stole Christmas
November 25, 2017

Every year, Lee Sepanek’s Christmas display brings joy to Phoenicians, who visit to enjoy the glistening decorations and sip the hot chocolate he serves them.

But not this year. Thanks to Phoenix bureaucrats, Lee has been forced to cancel the show.

The trouble started this summer, when the city warned him he was in violation of its Mobile Food Vending Ordinance, even though he isn’t operating any kind of “mobile” facility. He doesn’t even charge for the cocoa — he just asks for donations. But the city says its rules are broad enough to prohibit even giving away cocoa — made from hot water and powdered mix — from your driveway.

Officials told Lee he “would need to find a licensed commissary kitchen as a ‘base’ to store, clean and prep any open food,” and that he would have to get a “special event/seasonal permit,” requiring fees and “inspections onsite.” They also complained that Lee was selling Christmas ornaments, arguing that violates Phoenix’s rules against having a “home occupation.”

After local news exposed Lee’s story, the city indicated it might budge, but it’s too late. Even if city officials changed their minds, Lee couldn’t get the lights up in time for Christmas. The Goldwater Institute has stepped in to represent Lee and help get his legendary lights get turned back on.

We’re also working on an even larger problem. Across Arizona, local governments are trying to shut down home-based businesses, violating private property rights and harming economic opportunity. The Goldwater Institute is joining with the Free Enterprise Club to urge state lawmakers to broaden protections for home-based businesses.

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge questions the Ghost of Christmas Present about laws that forced Londoners to close their stores on holidays — which, Scrooge says, essentially deprived them of income. Why, Scrooge asks, should the Ghost “cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment?”

Shocked, the Ghost says he did no such thing — that was done by people who act “in our name” but who don’t really get the Christmas spirit. It’s sad to think Phoenix officials have a poorer understanding of the holidays than Scrooge.

Liberty in the News

  • Watch your inbox on Giving Tuesday, November 28! It’s the day when millions of Americans give back in a variety of ways—with their time, their talents, and their money—in a truly heartening nationwide display of voluntarism. The Goldwater Institute’s president and CEO Victor Riches will have a special message about how you can double the impact of your giving to the Goldwater Institute.
  • Putting four children through college would be a challenge for most families. But there’s a new policy working its way through Washington that just might help. The Goldwater Institute’s Jonathan Butcher explains how Congress is considering expansion of 529 college savings plans to allow parents to save for a child’s K-12 education, as well as college expenses.
  • More than five million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to skyrocket. But there's something Congress can do right now to help, and it won’t cost a dime. Read about how Right to Try can give patients a path to seek promising treatment.
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Rumor has it two complaining City of Phoenix employees, possibly in the City Attorney’s Office, are to blame for ending one of Arizona’s most spectacular Christmas displays.

(Here is a link a recent story on AZ Central. )

They purportedly moved into the Arcadia neighborhood that’s hosted the lights put up by  Lee Sepanek for some 30 years, and didn’t like the enthusiasm the public has for those who believe that Christmas time is a celebration of all that is good and right with the world.  They apparently don’t realize that for many families this as close as they ever get to the North Pole.

The result? The sad, front-page article in the November 16th Arizona Republic.

This is government at its worst, and its most hypocritical, led by the muted Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.  Never known as a leader Stanton’s silence on the issue is notable, even more so because he used to represent the homeowners while a mere mortal on the Phoenix City Council.

Just up the street Stanton doesn’t seem to mind the owners of the Wright House which routinely hold major events not with marsh mellows and cocoa but caviar and booze.  And they don’t do so just around the holidays, The Wright House entertains so all year long.

Why the double standard?

To listen to the Sepaneks is like listening to a child let down by Santa Claus.

Let’s hope a reindeer soon shows up to light a better way for a neighborhood and city that should be celebrating Saint Nick, not grinching out to a bunch of not so saintly dicks.

 

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Today I am announcing my candidacy for a second term to represent you on the Scottsdale City Council.  I am proud of Scottsdale and passionate about participating in our city's future.

When voters elected me in 2014, many only knew me from the years I served as Scottsdale's City Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.  I offered voters proven financial experience, a record of fiscal integrity and a vision that apparently resonated with many of my fellow citizens.  I promised, if elected, I would be their voice to...

  • Ensure the fiscal sustainability of our city, spending your tax dollars wisely and for your benefit,
  • Protect and enhance the financial investment you have in our city by protecting and enhancing our quality of life,
  • Preserve our heritage, building on the special place called Scottsdale, and
  • Pursue visions for the future as bold as the visions of the past to distinguish us from other cities.

Now I have a record of providing keen financial and business analysis to the issues that come before Council.  I've searched for the facts and diligently listened to citizen voices on all sides of the issues.

Consider whether my leadership has represented your interests:

  • Ensuring our city's fiscal sustainability is still my most important initiative.  As a city, we have "kicked the can down the road" on major liabilities for too many years.  Capital reinvestment in our infrastructure continues to be less than depreciation, as it has every year since 2008.  As a member of the Council's newly formed Subcommittee on Capital Investments, I am working to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to recommend to the full Council
  • Protecting and enhancing your financial investment and quality of life has influenced positions I've taken regarding tourism, economic growth and development.  I have championed tourism, arguing for every initiative that promotes this vital industry, as well as arguing against initiatives that threaten to undermine it.  As a 35-year resident in different parts of the city, I look for development projects that protect and benefit our community at large.
  • Preserving our heritage and building on the special place we call home has guided my views on development, but also influenced my positions on tax reform.  I have argued for eliminating our sales tax on groceries.  To be known as a special place, with a heritage of caring for our neighbors, we should not be imposing the most unfair tax any city can levy on its citizens.
  • Pursuing visions for the future as bold as the visions of the past is an important responsibility of any Council.  I picked up where previous Councils left off and voted to authorize the study of an educational, interpretative and research center (referred to at the time as a Desert Discovery Center.)  We needed to define what this vision could add to the unique character of our city and what it would cost to build and operate.

The study was completed this summer and now Council is tasked with deciding whether this is a vision we want or can afford.  Large groups of citizens are speaking excitedly (for and against) this project, based on its purpose, location, cost to build and cost to operate.

Some of my colleagues propose to immediately refer the question to a public vote.  As your elected representative, I accept responsibility to search for solutions that are financially prudent, improve the cachet of our city and support tourism.  That's a tall order, but I believe that's what you expect from your Councilmembers.

My first-term votes on Council were often in the minority, but many of you have encouraged me to continue making my voice (our voices!) heard on the issues affecting our community.  I commit to provide strong financial leadership and oversight, always mindful that I am spending your money.

If my positions on City Council have aligned with your vision for Scottsdale, I hope you will support my candidacy for another term.  To mount a successful campaign, I will need...

  • 1,000 petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.  The sooner we qualify, the sooner we can focus our attention on issues.
  • Supporters willing to declare their position by displaying campaign support signs in their front yards or windows.  (In 2014, I pledged not to clutter public rights-of-way with campaign signage and I make that pledge again!) 
  • Leaders willing to host neighborhood gatherings that give me an opportunity to discuss city issues with a broader audience.
  • And, financial support.  An early report of strong fund-raising from a broad array of supporters will send a powerful message to the community.

Electing members of City Council is an opportunity for every citizen to select the voices that best represent their vision of our great city.  Next fall, you will have the opportunity to vote for three Councilmembers; I would be honored to again receive one of your three votes.

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

2018 Candidate for Re-election

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In years past “ambulance chasers” was a derogatory description that could find its way to certain lawyers or law firms.  Here in the Phoenix area the term was often associated with the Goldberg & Osborns of the legal profession.  But we appear to have a new gold medalist:  The Frutkin Law Firm.

In the great new age of social media there’s no need for the Frutkins of the world to actually go chase the wounded in ambulances and pass out cards at the hospital.  Instead, they can just monitor headlines and prey on the gullible, as it appears they are doing with those interested in violating private property rights and “saving” the former Chinese Cultural Center near Sky Harbor Airport.

Look at this GoFundMe campaign they are promoting.  https://www.gofundme.com/save-the-chinese-cultural-center.  Basically, it’s a beg for up to $300,000 in legal fees for  quixotic, long-shot claims that were bounced out of court earlier this month.  What’s even sadder than the legal effort is the amount of money raised to date, just over $4,1000.

But perhaps that’s a good thing so it prevents other legal voyeurs from doing likewise.  And with behavior like this it makes all the more clear why such a law firm sought to change its name earlier this year from the last name of the principals to something called Radix.  That’s a technique tobacco companies and pay day lenders have used. How appropriate as we get closer to Halloween.  A law firm and its losing ways that is all trick and no treat for the Chinese community, or for the state’s clear property rights laws.

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Once upon a time people named Pettycrew, Carla, Korte, Decabooter, Rau, Drinkwater, Manross, Campana and others sat around a Scottsdale table.  They had the audacity to not only dream of a McDowell Sonoran Preserve, but to make it happen.

Today, it stands as the community’s greatest accomplishment.

Paradise Valley is blessed to have similar landscapes.  They, like Scottsdale’s, define its very essence.  And as in Scottsdale the threat of too much development up high is causing certain Paradise Valley leaders to look more seriously at preserving more.

That’s why we applaud the action of Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman Julie Pace, cited for her leadership on the issue, among others, in this recent Paradise Valley Independent article. http://paradisevalleyindependent.com/news/town-council-has-eyes-for-hillside-preservation-in-paradise-valley/

But as noble as we think these steps we don’t think they go far enough. Reinvigoration of the Mummy Mountain Preserve Trust is a fine thing but it is an entity that relies on private donations to increase the community’s open space.  Past is prologue and this, ultimately, would be more pissing in the wind.

 

What’s called for is a town survey of all properties that might be included in preserve efforts.  There may be dozens and they may be pricey.  But the total costs for maximum preservation should be understood.  From there it can be determined how much of a sales tax increase is necessary, and for how long, to pay to acquire such lots.

 

No one should be scared of such a discussion because ultimately the question of if and how to fund such an endeavor would be left to voters, as occurred in Scottsdale.  And Telluride.  And Phoenix.  And countless other communities around the state and country that said open space and views were worth the price.

 

It’s well past time for Arizona’s toniest town to engage this debate.  After all, it does welcome all visitors to the community with impressive monument signage showcasing mountaintops, not roof tops.

 

Kudos to one of the new kids on the PV block for getting this important conversation underway.  Now it’s time to quicken the pace.

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by Desert EDGE Advocates

The Honorable Paul Messinger
The Seven Wonders of this Great Community
The accomplishments that separate Scottsdale from other Valley cities:
1. Modifying the Indian Bend Wash into a very successful flood control project and great open space and parks project
2. Scottsdale putting its electric utilities underground and requiring fire sprinkler systems in all buildings built shortly after its beginning
3. Our master planning of our community parks, open space and elimination of all billboards
4. WestWorld, with its major world-class and diverse events
5. Scottsdale’s performing arts center, contemporary art museum and Civic Center Mall
6. Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West – a world destination from the start
7. And our biggest City project, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and “desert discovery center” (now known as The Desert EDGE). . .coming soon!
Every project took years to do, as well as great amounts of our community treasure and effort. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve was already voted on by Scottsdale’s citizenry in the early 1990s – just lacking the construction of its desert discovery center – The Desert EDGE.

Ninety percent of the citizens who voted for the Preserve nearly 25 years ago – and who have been paying for it ever since – cannot access it. Only our City’s youth and those who are physically strong – those who hike, ride mountain bikes or who are able to ride the trails on horseback, are able to actually use the Preserve.

The Desert EDGE will serve the majority of Scottsdale’s population socially and educationally, as well as to tell our visitors about our type of desert. Many local families, as well, know very little about this country, which we call “home.”

Paul & Cora Messinger

Lois Drinkwater Thompson

Move Forward with The Desert EDGE
I would ask the mayor and city council proceed with the Desert EDGE project and not refer it for a public vote. My brother, Herb Drinkwater, would never have spent $500,000 on a vote when the project had already been approved. A small group of loud naysayers have tried to derail this project.

They have attacked any supporters including me when I tried to correct their facts. And, they don’t give the facts. They still have posted old information from a project from eight years ago. If these angry people want a vote, they can get public signatures for a referendum. That is how our system works.

Not trying to loudly force the Council into putting it on the ballot for them. The council needs to realize that we are a “silent majority” and want this benefit for the city of Scottsdale.

I know the Desert EDGE can be approved by the council and I would urge them to do so. It would be an incredible world class amenity for the city and would bring global attention to Scottsdale’s long-standing reputation for leadership in environmental sensitivity, sustainability and preservation. Desert EDGE is critical to the success of education in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. And, I say that as a former teacher and coach for over 34 years in the public school district.

Our immediate family has over 100 years of public education in Scottsdale and this would be a value to our school kids and teachers. A public vote is not required and a huge waste of my tax dollars.

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By Bolick for Arizona

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shawnna Bolick Earns Strong Support from Arizona Legislators

Phoenix, AZ- February 23, 2018- Today, Shawnna Bolick received over a dozen endorsements for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 20.

"I am honored to have the early backing of so many fantastic sitting members of the Arizona Legislature," stated Bolick. "I very much look forward to tackling the toughest issues facing Arizona, ensuring we leave Arizona in a better place for future generations to come," exclaimed Bolick.

The following members of the Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona Senate have endorsed Shawnna Bolick today:

Representative David Stringer, Prescott (LD-1)
Representative Mark Finchem, Tucson (LD-11)
Representative Travis Grantham, Gilbert (LD-12)
Representative Darin Mitchell, Goodyear (LD-13)
Representative Jeff Weninger, Chandler (LD-17)
Representative Jill Norgaard, Phoenix (LD-18)
Representative Anthony Kern, Glendale (LD-20)
Representative Kevin Payne, Peoria (LD-21)
Representative Ben Toma, Peoria (LD-22)
Representative Jay Lawrence, Scottsdale (LD-23)
Representative Maria Syms, Paradise Valley (LD-28)
State Senator Warren Petersen, Gilbert (LD-12)
State Senator Rick Gray, Sun City (LD-21)

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Phoenix Initiative, Co-Chaired by Councilman DiCiccio and Former Congressman Chaffetz, on Track to Make August Ballot

February 13, 2018

 

PHOENIX - Responsible Budgets, a Phoenix ballot initiative being supported by Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio and former U.S. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, announced today that they have now gathered more than 13,000 validated signatures, and are on track to turn in over 32,000 signatures – far more than the 20,510 needed – in time to place Responsible Budgets on the ballot this August.

With pension costs for cities soaring nationwide, and with Phoenix recently being named one of cities with the worst pension deficits, now is the time to act," said Councilman DiCiccio. "It’s just like your credit card, the longer you let that balance keep building up, the more it costs to pay it off." DiCiccio continued, "Pretty soon these deficits are going to start taking away our ability to pay for things like street maintenance, public transportation, libraries, police and fire – the stuff that really really matters to our citizens. Responsible Budgets is a major step in heading off that disaster."

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A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Gateway Trailhead

By Solange for Scottsdale

Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban preserve in the nation! As a Councilwoman, I will ensure that a Desert EDGE/DDC in the Preserve requires voter approval.

After all, the Preserve came into being at the ballot box and voters should have the final word on any major changes involving the Preserve.

I think Scottsdale voters will decide to keep the Preserve.... preserved.
If that is the decision, we should celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Preserve’s Gateway Trailhead with a small plaque that reads:

THE PEOPLE OF SCOTTSDALE PROTECTED THIS LAND TWICE

Which may cause some to wonder, "How did this land get protected the first time?" And, "Who is 'Carla' anyway?" Let me share a bit of history.....

Carla, famously with no last name, was one of the first people to dream of a McDowell Sonoran Preserve and then ACT on it! She devoted over a decade of her life, inspiring leaders and fellow citizens to join her in an effort to preserve a large swath of arguably the most expensive and beautiful desert in all of Arizona. Scottsdale voters supported the vision and approved multiple tax hikes to acquire and protect the land forever. The creation of the Preserve is almost as miraculous as the desert it encompasses and our community has a miracle maker named Carla to thank! 

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Race Already Has A Stalwart Candidate In Steve Smith

 

Republican Wendy Rogers Announces Congressional Run to Unseat Tom O'Halleran

Flagstaff, AZ - Wendy Rogers, a conservative entrepreneur and retired Air Force officer who supported Donald Trump in the primaries, announces her run for the United States House of Representatives in the 1st Congressional District of Arizona.

A copy of the announcement video can be found on Wendy Rogers' Facebook Page.

A full text of her speech is below:

"Good afternoon, I’m Wendy Rogers . . . a conservative Republican.

I come to you now, running the race to serve as your congresswoman for Arizona's 1st Congressional District . . . in Sedona, home of our current Democrat congressman.

Thanks to President Trump, our nation, and its economy are reviving. Yet there is more to do and I want to help!

We must repeal Obamacare for the sake of our nation’s health and resolve illegal immigration, which threatens national security. We must build the Wall and end sanctuary cities once and for all. Respect for the rule of law has eroded. Our nation’s very identity and history are under attack, with liberals trying to erase Columbus, Washington, and Jefferson.

It’s up to us to protect the most vulnerable - our unborn and the elderly; as well as our very own families with our God-given right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment. Our strained, but steadfast, military is our last bulwark. America’s veterans are precious. I swore my life’s oath to secure the United States against "all enemies, foreign and domestic". I will do this again as your congresswoman.

As a 5th generation career military officer, I was privileged to serve as one of the Air Force‘s first women pilots. I’m now a successful business entrepreneur.

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I want you to be one of the first to know about the new commitment I am making to Scottsdale – because I believe you should hear it directly from me.

For nearly 30 years, I have dedicated myself to helping maintain our wonderful quality of life. I have always worked to put Scottsdale first.

Now I believe it’s time for me to make the ultimate commitment to helping shape the vision and provide the leadership for our city.

I am planning to pursue the office of mayor.

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By Joe Arpaio

I filed the paperwork to run for United States Senate in Arizona to fill the seat that Jeff Flake is leaving behind.

I have thought long and hard about this decision. And I did not make it without many discussions with my wonderful wife of over sixty years, Ava. And Ava agrees with me. We cannot sit idly by while our nation faces unprecedented challenges. President Trump needs my help in the Senate. He needs a conservative vote he can count on, and a voice in the Senate who knows first hand the threats our nation is dealing with.

And, that's why I'm running for United States Senate.

As the Sheriff of America's fourth-most populous county for two decades, I witnessed every day the danger our streets and neighborhoods are facing. As Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, my deputies and I locked up violent drug dealers, callous human traffickers, and thousands of criminal gang members that were in this country illegally.

Friend, with many of President Obama's failed and dangerous policies still in place, our nation is not safe - at least not yet. President Trump is working around the clock to make America great again, but he can't do this alone - he needs our conservative voice and my vote in Washington.

Compared to when I was growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts as the proud son of Italian immigrants, our country today is barely recognizable. You know exactly what I'm talking about...

  • Sanctuary cities like San Francisco are literally refusing to hold illegal immigrants accountable for their actions, just to further their politically correct, pro-Amnesty agenda.
  • The once bedrock American commitment to paying our bills has been replaced by over $20 Trillion in national debt.
  • The liberal Left attacks the rights of law abiding gun owners -- but doesn't even bat an eye while so-called "doctors" slaughter millions of unborn children in their mother's womb every single year.
  • Millionaire athletes are lionized by the fake news media as "heroes" for disrespecting the American flag and refusing to stand for our national anthem.

Enough is enough. I'm running for Senate because I want America to be great again.

I know this isn't going to be easy. I know I'll be attacked by the far left, the establishment right and of course, the liberal media. The media is going to say every nasty thing they can think of and try to break me. But, Friend, I have never been one to shy away from a fight - and I can't in good conscience sit back in retirement knowing that my grandchildren will inherit a country worse off than the America I've spent my entire life defending.

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