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PHOENIX – Arizona’s $5 billion Permanent Endowment Fund will pay a record distribution of $93.7 million to endowment beneficiaries in FY 2016, said State Treasurer Jeff DeWit.  That is a 14.7% increase from this year’s $81.7 million distributions.

This emphasizes the great work of previous Treasurer Doug Ducey and our top-notch staff,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “I’m proud to continue this legacy, and to further protect and grow the Endowment.”

 K-12 schools are the largest beneficiary of the Endowment and will receive $87.2 million in distributions starting in July 2015, $11.2 million more than this year, as approved by the State Board of Investment during its monthly meeting this week.

“This increase is excellent news for teachers and students, and for the hardworking taxpayers of Arizona,” DeWit said. “This record distribution of funds shows the value of voters approving Proposition 118 in the 2012 election. The distributions have shown constant, continued growth since that time. I commend former Treasurer, and now Governor Doug Ducey, for his tireless efforts on Prop 118. He showed how good public policy can result when the Legislature, schools, and voters all come together.”

 Proposition 118 simplified the distribution of revenues from the Endowment to 2.5% of the average market value of the Endowment for the previous 5 calendar years. The result has been an average increase of 13% each year in distributions. 

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Over the weekend I was elected Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am the first woman and first Hispanic Chair the Party has ever elected – and I’m hoping that symbolism will help us move our Party in a new direction that modernizes our approach and wins more elections.

Some of you may know me from my time as campaign manager for Dr. Richard Carmona’s campaign for U.S. Senate, or as chief of staff to Congressman Harry Mitchell. But my connection to the Democratic Party and our progressive values runs much deeper than my experience running campaigns and managing offices.

I come from a small mining town in rural Arizona. Growing up, my dad was a miner and proud member of the union – a union that my family sometimes had to lean on when things got tough.

My mom raised us in proud Catholic traditions, but she also raised three daughters who she wanted to be independent and capable of controlling their own lives and medical decisions. So when my sisters and I reached dating age, my mom drove us right down to Planned Parenthood to make sure we had access to birth control and the health care we needed.

I’m a Democrat because I care deeply about the values that make us all Democrats – and I believe firmly that those values are the right ones to govern our state. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to winning races for Democrats in Arizona.

I’m going to build a leaner, meaner Arizona Democratic Party – a party that proudly boasts of our progressive values and hammers ideological Republicans when they cut education, block access to women’s health care, discriminate against our LGBT community, vilify unions and sell out our state to the corporations that dump Dark Money on our candidates. 

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PHOENIX -- ProgressNow Arizona has hit for the cycle in January, establishing the year-old organization as the go-to progressive voice holding elected leaders accountable in several television, print and radio interviews on the state’s biggest political stories.

Executive Director Robbie Sherwood has provided commentary in response to Gov. Doug Ducey’s inaugural speech, led a massive press conference and rally pushing common-sense budget solutions ahead of Ducey’s “State of the State” speech, broke down Ducey’s anti-education budget plan and stood up for President Obama’s accomplishments after his State of the Union address. 

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Scottsdale is a wonderful place and has rightfully been recognized by many for effective city government.

But several years back there was a movement to import personnel from Phoenix, led by long-time Phoenix Planning David Richert who later became Scottsdale City Manager.

Richert was and is a fine man, but some of his hires well, not so much.

Some of these experiments, led by Paul Katsenses, were never culture fits.  Unlike Scottsdale’s history they always seemed to be more interested in the journey rather than the destination.  Talking takes precedence over performance, except when fighting for one’s own bureaucratic existence.

When a new city manager came to be in Scottsdale the highly-compensated Katsenes was properly demoted from his Assistant City Manager position. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

That’s the thing about city employees.  They rarely get fired.  They get reassigned, keeping their big salaries and pensions.

Most cities farm such personnel out to a water services department, or other such innocuous do little harm part of the jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, Katsenes was spun off to WestWorld where he is essentially the General General Manager, a real head scratcher because the current General Manager Brian Dygert is well regarded, even commanding a letter several years back from the property’s biggest users, stating their regard.

Rather than somehow aid the promise of WestWorld Katsenses has become its laughingstock, routinely wasting users time when he is not wasting the Scottsdale taxpayer’s money.

Fortunately, the relatively new City Manager has a stiff spine and seems without constitution to suffer fools gladly.

Let’s hope so.

Taxpayers win more when there is greater accountability for government workers, and a greater chance they can be fired, not simply farmed out.

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Ban Gifts Now - Ethics Reform Now

by Sal DiCiccio

Dear Friends:

Just like you, Phoenix is excited to see the Super Bowl come to town. However, the game should not be an exciting opportunity for politicians to “score free game tickets.” Mayor Stanton promised a gift ban/ethics reform 1,110 days ago-but nothing has happened. Nothing. He even went on to promise implementing a ban before the Super Bowl, so that the politicians would be on notice.

Promises Made Must be Kept!!!!

I having been pushing a new ethics requirement for politicians at Phoenix City Hall for some time and like you was promised by the Mayor it would happen. See the photo above that is on the hall wall of my office - for everyone to see.

It looks like only public pressure on Mayor Stanton will get this across the goal line and make him keep his promise to you and your family.  Please call or write and demand that Mayor Stanton enact a gift ban PRIOR to the Super Bowl.

 

From my family to yours,

Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix City Council

District 6

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Friend,

Just over three years ago, I was sworn in as Mayor of Phoenix and fully focused on getting to work on moving this city forward -- just as you entrusted me to do.

I grew up here and I love this city. I’ve seen Phoenix grow into a major American city. And yet, Phoenix still has so many unique characteristics that makes it special.

This is a city that rewards hard work and welcomes those from an incredible array of diverse backgrounds. But like any great city, we must always strive to do even better.

Phoenix has dug out of a grueling recession, but our work is not done. We need an inovated, exported based economy that works for everybody, and that starts with supporting our schools and expanding transporation options.

I’ll be reaching out again soon with more details on what lies ahead and how you can continue to support our efforts. For now, I just want you to know that I remain passionate about this city and the things we can accomplish together.

Thank you for your support,

Greg

 

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Editorials are usually 500 words of trope and tripe about this and that. But to this all we have to say is what very good news it is to have Tom Horne back in the private sector.  And out of government.  Where he was a walking embarrassment and shameless scoundrel.

 

MY FIRST DAY AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN

I want to thank everyone for your friendship and support during my time as your Attorney General.

I am now practicing law, which I did for 30 years,  with the firm of Slaton and Sannes, which is now Horne, Slaton and Sannes.  I expect to be trying cases and arguing appeals, and experiencing the satisfaction of winning for my clients, as I did for the state of Arizona as its Attorney General. I am located at 6720 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, suite 285, my phone number is 480-483-2178, and I am at your disposal.

Again, thank you for your support and your friendship.

Sincerely,

Tom Horne

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Former U.S. Congressman to lead organization's efforts to educate and inspire future leaders

 

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (January 6, 2015) - The Joe Foss Institute Board of Directors has named Frank Riggs the new President and CEO of the Joe Foss Institute (JFI). The mission of JFI is to restore civics education in K-12 schools and ensure that all high school graduates are ready for active, engaged citizenship.

 

Riggs will also head JFI's affiliate, the Civics Proficiency Institute (CPI), which has launched a national campaign called the Civics Education Initiative to encourage all 50 states to adopt the United States Citizenship Civics Test, the test all new U.S. citizens must pass, as a condition of high school graduation.

 

Riggs succeeds Dr. Lucian Spataro, who has joined an on-line education technology company as its president and COO. Spataro will remain on the JFI and CPI boards, and serve as co-chair of JFI's annual fundraiser, Stars in Service.

 

"I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to build on the solid foundation at JFI," Riggs said. "As CEO, my priorities will be expanding and branding JFI as the national leader for civics education, advocacy and engagement, and inspiring future generations to public service."

 

JFI Board Chairman Sandy Froman said, "While I am saddened that Lucian has chosen to depart, I am ecstatic that he is remaining on both boards and that we have someone of Frank's caliber to fill his shoes. Frank brings years of  leadership experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, and is ideally suited to take the Joe Foss Institute to the next level and move the Civics Education Initiative forward."

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(Phoenix, AZ) With the new year begins a new era in the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich added three more staff members as he prepares to take office on Monday. brnovich

Zora Manjencich will join the Attorney General's Office as the Assistant Chief of the Child Safety Division. Manjencich spent nine years at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office handling high-profile sex crime cases in the East Valley. She once tried and convicted a child predator who was featured on America's Most Wanted and earned the Crime Victims' Rights Special Award. Manjencich most recently worked as a litigator at a local law firm. Manjencich is actively involved with organizations that advocate for children with both physical and learning disabilities.

"Zora's experience prosecuting child predators demonstrates to me that she is the ideal person to work alongside John Johnson in the Child Safety Division," said Brnovich. "The fact that she devotes her own time to standing up for children in our community proves that her passion for youth goes beyond any job title."

Maria Syms will serve as Legal Policy Advisor. Syms is currently a councilwoman-elect for the Town of Paradise Valley and recently earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. Syms' impressive resume includes serving as an Assistant United State Attorney in Los Angeles. She both enforced the law and saved taxpayer money by aiding in the dismissal of frivolous lawsuits. She has experience working as a Law Clerk within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit where she analyzed and researched cases and legal issues presented to the court, drafted opinions and orders, and briefed a federal judge in preparation for oral argument. Syms also practiced law at a private firm in Hawaii, advocating for businesses of varying sizes.
General Brnovich named Jennifer Perkins the Assistant Solicitor General for Attorney General Opinions. Perkins comes to the team from her role as Of Counsel at an appellate law firm in Phoenix. She previously spent five years with the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct as Disciplinary Counsel and Staff Attorney. In that role she investigated, prosecuted and provided resolutions in all statewide judicial misconduct complaints. She also served as as a staff attorney with the Arizona Chapter of the Institute for Justice for five years.

"Selecting the very best people to serve our state has been an exciting task," Brnovich added. "I become more confident in my team with each new hire."

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