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Scottsdale is an overwhelmingly Republican city.  This tends to make it innovative on business issues, but an awkward actor when it comes to rapidly changing social opinions about gay marriage and other matters of import to the LGBT community.

Of late there has been a concerted effort to encourage Scottsdale to follow the lead of other Arizona cities and provide greater protections to this community.

It should. But not because of the vacuous argument that a failure to do so will harm its significant tourism brand. That’s almost laughable. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

The City Council should do so because it is entirely in line with the Republican philosophy those on the council apparently believed in to sign up with the Grand Old Prty in the first place.

Why?

Because a greater mantra heard from Republican leaders in recent years revolves around freedom and liberty.  The reasoning goes policies should be put in place to provide individuals with greater opportunity.  Well, what’s a more important opportunity than that to be yourself? How can it be that a party of freedom doesn’t ultimately protect that decision and indeed permits overt or de facto discrimination when made? 

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Imagine this:  A City of Scottsdale employee perhaps not enjoying a request or opinion from a citizen decides to choke them, in public and resulting in a police investigation.

How long do you think City Manager Fritz Behring would keep them around?  The pink slip likely wouldn’t take as much time as the choke.

Yet, if developers asking for special favors in Scottsdale choke those who disagree with them outside of City Hall that’s apparently OK.  At least to some members of the Scottsdale City Council.

This is not a hypothetical.  This actually happened over the last month.

The craziness concluded Tuesday night when four members of the City Council, including Mayor Lane, voted down the choker’s request for the WestWorld area, as they rightfully should have on the merits.

But three did not.  It’s one thing to be pro-business but to put a choke-hold on common sense is a real head scratcher.

Scottsdale has endured some pitched battles over the years on a whole range of issues.  But never has the decorum been as decrepit as this developer’s.

Let’s hope it’s an exception for those who rule in Scottsdale.

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You spoke, and your leaders listened. With the stroke of a pen, Arizona became the latest in a growing list of states to embrace smart ridesharing regulations that support innovation, expand economic opportunity, and put consumer choice and safety first.

We’ve been proud to play a role in strengthening Arizona’s economy while making it easier, safer and more affordable for more people to move around. And we hope you’ll join us in thanking the leaders, including Governor Doug Ducey, who helped make this day possible.

SIGN THE PETITION THANKING AZ LEADERS

Of course, none of this would have been possible without you. Your calls, tweets, and emails made all the difference and prompted elected officials to adopt regulations that work for Arizonans everywhere. Because of you, uberX is here to stay.

We’ll see you on the road.

Uber On,

Team Uber Arizona

 

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We are fans of the Arizona Republic. We also came into being due to their retreat from robust, community-oriented editorial content.  Today, the Arizona Republic’s editorialists awoke from their frequent hibernation on matters local, reminding us how they can be wrong, not Wright.

Essentially, the Republic chastised the Arcadia neighborhood for its substantial opposition to a developer’s plan to commercialize the David Wright House, designed by the famed father for his son. Here is a link to the editorial.

The opposition appears to be based on the not unfounded frustration that what once seemed a noble effort to preserve and restore a house has metastasized into a commercial development ploy that would make even Donald Trump blush.

According to the Phoenix Councilman who represents the area, Sal DiCiccio, the effort to preserve this house now includes an outdoor performance venue, a “wine bar,” weddings and substantial tourist visitation levels.  Just the way Mr. Frank Lloyd designed the house, Wright?  Not exactly. He designed it as a peaceful retreat for his son with no commercial activity, unlike the current owner Zach Rawlings who is using Wright’s renown for an exceptional commercial development parlay.

We do have to give Mr. Rawlings credit for creativity, even if it now means any home of interest in the City of Phoenix can follow his lead for enrichment and disruption.

Maybe the Rawlings’ Austin Powers-like ingenuity is what led to the mancrush in today’s editorial  It was written by a long-time scribe at the Republic well known for being a reliable tributary for Rawlings’ chief lobbyist.

During the love letter we were regaled to Rawlings’ selflessness and ties to the Valley, with neighbors being scolded for describing him as being someone from Las Vegas.  Shame on they the Republic instructed, not realizing itself Rawlings’ has apparently been registered to vote in Nevada since 2007.

While the Republic is misguided at least they are consistent, trespassing on both white-collar neighborhoods like Arcadia, and blue collar ones alike. 

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By Robbie Sherwood , Executive Director of ProgressNow Arizona

It looks like we touched a nerve.

Recently the Arizona Advocacy Foundation led a coalition of non-partisan groups to produce an in-depth study of our state’s most recent election in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

The Arizona Shelby Response Project — named for the court case Shelby v. Holder — reached some startling conclusions about whose vote counts in Arizona elections and whose does not. The product of a months-long breakdown of voter data as well as hundreds of in-person interviews with voters at the polls, the comprehensive study showed that thousands of eligible registered Arizona voters had their votes discarded in the last elections. Tens of thousands more have been disenfranchised in previous elections.

There were enough discarded ballots to potentially sway several close races. Caught by a variety of traps set through Arizona’s increasingly antiquated voting laws, the populations impacted shared a disturbing commonality. Young and minority voters — particularly Latino voters — were vastly over-represented among the invalidated votes.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan responded to the report in a defensive and hostile manner. Rather than seizing the opportunity to start a new dialogue to modernize Arizona elections for voters, Reagan instead published an op-ed last week taking issue with the report. Her piece included personal attacks on the report’s lead researcher and on my organization, ProgressNow Arizona, because I served as the report’s editor.

Her accusation that the Shelby Response data was “cherry picked” is ridiculous. We urge the public to read the report for themselves here and urge the media to follow our heavily footnoted footsteps to see what conclusions they reach. The only place where our data came up incomplete is when some election officials — including Reagan — stonewalled us. Those instances are noted in the report and we encourage the press to continue seeking answers.

But we must voice serious concern with Reagan’s when she says: “It is time to dispel the narrative that if a ballot ‘isn’t counted’ it is a bad thing.” This is an astounding statement from any state’s chief elections officer, but particularly one who was elected amid the lowest voter turnout since World War II (when half our country’s fighting-age men were overseas and unable to cast ballots).

Reagan further brags that “since 2006, Arizona has invalidated an average of less than 1.8 percent of the total ballots cast in each election.” Reagan seems to consider this percentage a GOOD thing.

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My campaign staff handed me a stack of new press reports a mile high...

One headline from a Fox News article perfectly sums up everything I'm facing right now:

"UGLY EARLY: PAUL'S ENTRY SETS OFF FIRST ROUND OF ATTACKS."

And that's because the media sees polls showing me as the candidate best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton.

I don't have time to mince words.

The first few days of any campaign are virtually always the most important.

So can I please count on your most generous gift right now to my campaign's Stand With Rand Money Bomb to help us reach our new goal of $1.5 million?

Even if you've already given, but can afford to chip in a little more, please do so.

If you haven't given, please be as generous as you can!

The truth is, taking on the Washington machine isn't going to be easy.

There are plenty of candidates in BOTH parties who want to keep taxing and spending like there's no tomorrow until every last shred of American wealth is wiped out.

They'll do anything to defend the Big Government status quo.

I'm afraid they view you and me as their number-one threat.

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Friends,

Yesterday in front of supporters, business owners and ASU officials, I announced my decision to pursue a third term on the Scottsdale City Council. We gathered outside of ATOMdesign, a business located in Skysong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, along McDowell Road to make the announcement.

Six years ago I brought a fresh business perspective to the Scottsdale City Council and prioritized economic growth, the continued development of SkySong, and the revitalization of McDowell Road. I am particularly excited about this City Council run and intend to focus our Council on better connecting Scottsdale citizens with their government.

It’s been my desire to not only run a business but to be involved in the community. It causes me to be motivated every day. There is more to do, more to make happen, and more we as government leaders can do to assist business owners and residents. We can help them through the red tape, through the regulation, and perhaps live their lives a little easier.

It has been a tremendous honor to serve you the last six years and I humbly request your support and confidence for another term.

City Council campaigns can be very competitive with a multitude of candidates vying for limited seats. Any help you can provide in the early stages would be greatly appreciated. Please consider making a contribution or volunteering for my campaign.

Be sure to check out my updated website and “Like” my new Facebook page.

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Improvements to Ariz. Tuition Tax Credit Scholarships await Governor’s signature

HB2483 and HB2153 offer accountability measures and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit programs

PHOENIX (March 31, 2015) — The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds the Arizona Legislature for passing educational choice bills which increase transparency among School Tuition Organizations (STOs) and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program to include donations from small corporations. HB2483, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston, passed the House this afternoon with a 41 to 19 bipartisan vote. The legislation requires STOs to report on their websites the amount of money awarded to low-income families through private school scholarships. HB2153, sponsored by Rep. Justin Olson, passed the Senate with a vote of 16 to 13. This bill brings parity for small businesses (S-Corps) to have the ability to donate to the state’s Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program which funds STOs.

“We applaud Reps. Livingston and Olson, as well as all of the legislators who voted in favor of improving this crucial scholarship program, which helps Arizona’s high-risk and low-income students,” said Kim Martinez, American Federation for Children communications associate. “The Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program brings opportunity to children who could never afford to attend private school otherwise. Adding more accountability and expanding the funding pool helps secure the program for current and future recipients.”

HB2483 requires School Tuition Organizations to disclose on their website and through Department of Revenue reports, how much money they are in fact using to scholarship low-income children. This transparency allows corporate donors to see which STOs are helping disadvantaged children the most and how much money they are actually giving in low-income based scholarships.

HB2153 allows S-Corps to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to school tuition organizations. This provides many Arizona small businesses with the opportunity to donate to STOs if they so choose and receive the same tax benefit as large corporations.

School Tuition Organizations are required by law to distribute 90 percent of the corporate tax credit donations they receive in the form of scholarships to low-income children.

HB2483 and HB2153 now go to Gov. Ducey for consideration.

The Arizona Federation for Children is a state affiliate of the American Federation for Children.

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By Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton

Friend,

Did you see what Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said about his governor's decision to legalize discrimination against his state's LGBT community?

"I don't believe this legislation truly represents our state or our capital city. Indianapolis strives to be a welcoming place that attracts businesses, conventions, visitors and residents. We are a diverse city, and I want everyone who visits and lives in Indy to feel comfortable here."

I remember saying almost the exact same thing about Phoenix last year during our fight to force a veto of SB1062.

Discrimination isn't just morally wrong  it hurts our communities, businesses and cities. It makes it harder for all of us to compete in the global economy.

That's why I'm so fond of saying that being pro-business means you're pro-people -- and that's why the business community, universities and so many others stand up to fight these laws.

So, if you're with me and believe equality in the best policy for all of us, sign your name — stand for equal rights and against Indiana's harmful law.

We didn't just play a central role in fighting off SB1062, Phoenix also passed one of the most progressive anti-discrimination ordinances in the country.

Even when our state legislatures advance these harmful ideas, our cities are standing up to lead the way.

Let's show Indianapolis that Phoenix is with them  sign your name and stand for equal rights.

Thanks,


Greg

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