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*A scandal is brewing for one elected official in the Northeast Valley

*Downtown Scottsdale businessman and activist Bill Crawford has formed an exploratory committee to run for Scottsdale Mayor

*Good news.  Scottsdale City Manager Fritz Behring has been on medical leave for months but has been visiting City Hall and events about town much more lately.  A date for his full-time return is still uncertain.

*Superman vs. Batman.  Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Nurses vs. Doctors.  The latter battle is as epic in its own way and playing out now at the Arizona State Capitol.

*Love bites.  APS may be sinking its fangs into likely Arizona Corporation Commission candidate and current State Representative Rick Gray

*Early voting starts in less than a month for Arizona’ presidential primary March 22nd

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Once upon a time a group of neighbors in McDowell Mountain Ranch and a terribly odd no-growth activist teamed up to oppose the Ice Den on Bell Road near WestWorld.  Proposed by the then Phoenix Coyotes 20 years ago it was meant to serve as a training facility for the franchise, and an incredible new amenity for kids and families.  After a pitched battle that went all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court the project was allowed to proceed.  Today, it stands as a Scottsdale point of pride and the best ice skating site in Arizona. Time has proved neighbor warnings of “gangs,” “traffic,” and “decreased property values” fallacious.

The episode reminds of a more contemporary debate about siting a flagship BASIS School campus at 128th and Shea.

The BASIS schools are the top ranked schools in Arizona and in some cases, the nation.  The school’s history in the community is long and distinguished.  Having schools of such renown is not unimportant to economic development efforts.  They are the best in class, something Scottsdale has always aspired to whether it’s golf tournaments, car auctions, preservation, the arts, flood control projects or its quality of life. 

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Sean Noble’s recent take on the solar industry as outlined in his blog Noble Thinking in an entry entitled "Failure to Launch" represents a failure to learn on the part of the author.

First a little background.  Nevada recently pulled the plug on “net metering” which requires utilities to pay the retail rate for the excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid.

Hundreds of solar related jobs are being lost in Nevada as a result. That’s something the pro-utility crowd seems to forget as they do a victory lap.

Noble and the pro-utility crowd falsely label this a subsidy.

Net metering is commerce, it’s not a subsidy. Net metering enables rooftop solar customers to generate extra power to offset their electricity bills. These people pay the retail rate for their electricity, why shouldn’t they receive the retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.

And while we are on the topic of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most subsidized industries in the United States.  That’s a talking point often ignored by the utilities and their camp followers.

Another misconception is that net metering burdens non solar customers because it can reduce utility profits. The same could be said for double pain windows, attic insulation, or a good shade tree.

In reality, solar benefits utilities (and the paying public) in the long run by reducing the need for additional power plants.

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This week, the liberal media finally got what it was looking for: the scandalous story that’s going to stop Marco’s momentum.
It’s a 1,644 word bombshell from the Washington Post: When he was 18, Marco got caught in a public park after it closed.
I’m not going to go into the other embarrassing details (because there aren’t any).

The problem: Marco is getting an amazing reception on the trail, but many in the media would rather dig up fake “scandals” like this.
So we’re coming clean about Marco’s other offenses.

Go here to get all the scandalous details:

Marco’s survived $22 million in attacks from the Establishment already, but more is coming.

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Polling shows that Trump and Clinton hold national-primary leads in a volatile and upset electorate.

By John McLaughlin & Jim McLaughlin - January 21, 2016

The latest results from our national survey of 1,007 likely voters conducted between Thursday, January 14, and Monday, January 18, shows that the voters are very upset and quite unhappy, and they want change. At the top of their respective primaries remain Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The poll included 457 voters - 383 Democrats and 74 Independents - who would vote in the Democratic primary. It also included 421 voters - 322 Republicans and 98 Independents - who would vote in the Republican primary.

Among Republican primary voters, Trump led with 36 percent followed by Cruz 17 percent, Rubio 11 percent, Carson 9 percent, Bush 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Christie 4 percent, Kasich 3 percent, Fiorina 2 percent, Huckabee 2 percent, Santorum 1 percent, and 6 percent undecided.

However, virtually all these primary voters had a second choice. Among the total, their second choice was Cruz 22 percent, Rubio 14 percent, Bush 11 percent, Trump 10 percent, Carson 10 percent, Fiorina 6 percent, Christie 6 percent, Huckabee 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Kasich 2 percent, and Santorum 1 percent. It was clear that Ted Cruz has the most upside potential, followed by Marco Rubio, while only one in ten who currently aren't voting for Trump see him as a second choice.

The great caveat will be that there is no national primary day. Instead as each state votes, the results could influence the next state primary and the national vote, as candidates gain or lose momentum.

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By Democrats For Education Reform

It’s no secret that Arizona’s public schools are hurting for state support. Over the past eight years, our schools have suffered some of the deepest cuts of any school systems in the nation. It is with this in mind that Democrats for Education Reform supports Proposition 123, which will be on the May special election ballot.

While we are fully supporting Proposition 123, Democrats for Education Reform wants to be very clear about one thing: Proposition 123 is not the solution to Arizona’s school funding woes, it is only the beginning. We agree with the Senate and House Democrats, as well as educational advocates across the state, in that Arizona needs to have a much larger conversation about both adequately funding and improving our public schools.

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By Michael Crow

Dear friends of ASU,

As we enter an exciting new year of excellence at Arizona State University, I want to call your attention to just how momentous 2015 was in the evolution of our New American University. We set milestones in research, accessibility and achievement throughout our learning enterprise, and for service to our local and global communities.

Most visibly, ASU was ranked #1 among the Most Innovative Schools in the nation for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report - a ranking conferred by our peers, the leaders of other universities. The world is talking about ASU, and it will greatly benefit our efforts to support the success of our students when you talk about us as well.

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Not to channel Hillary Clinton but it does seem women often endure a double standard in the political arena.  Donald Trump’s campaign theatrics make him a “leader,” “entertaining,” and “commanding.”  Imagine if a woman acted so.  “Bitch” would be the most frequently used term.  Like it was when Christine Jones ran for Governor in 2014.  Others have avoided such labels with disarming traits:  Brenda Burns (principle).  Janet Napolitano (smarts).  Kyrsten Sinema (humor).

And that leads us to the tony town of Paradise Valley and one Maria Syms.  She burst onto the scene in 2012 and a combustible race against the person who defeated her for Mayor, Scott Lemarr.

The electorate did not doubt her spirit but let’s just say the marketplace felt a little Christine Jones about her post-election.

What a difference a few years makes.

She was elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council.  She was tapped by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be a top advisor.  She matriculated through the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and is a graduate of a U.S. Attorney’s Office.   She’s a mom, wife, and articulate defender of community character and the resonance of resorts.

The right and recalibrated combination of sass, class and charisma has positioned Syms towards a broad political horizon.  Who knows where she goes from here, but it’s pretty impressive where she’s already been, and is.

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by State Senator Katie Hobbs

Last Monday, as the legislative session began, the Arizona Legislative Democrats unveiled our priorities for the state. We have a clear vision for improving our state by making strategic investments to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and improve our schools.

First and foremost, we know that restoring the voter-mandated inflation funding with the lawsuit settlement in Prop 123 (to be voted on in a special election in May) is just the start when it comes to re-investing in K12 education. We have to keep good teachers from leaving Arizona, and we propose mentoring and retention incentives for our best teachers. We also need to restore building renewal funds and bring our classrooms up to date with materials and technology.

We must also re-invest in our higher education system for Arizona to remain competitive in the 21st century. We have the ability to restore at least half of the $99 million in cuts to the state universities that were made in year’s budget.

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Virginia Korte, life-long Valley resident and career-long advocate for a better Scottsdale, announced today that she will seek another term on the Scottsdale City Council.

“I am proud of what we accomplished during my first term on City Council, but there is so much more that must get done for our community” the veteran leader said.

“Over the past four years, Scottsdale has made significant strides in ensuring that our roads are safe and the necessities that allow our city to be great are nurtured and protected,” Korte says. “At the council’s insistence, city staff reduced staffing levels by 13 percent, or 377 employees, eliminated unnecessary services, consolidated work spaces, and sold unneeded buildings.”

Korte said her goals during a second term are to sustain the qualities that make Scottsdale a great place to do business and create jobs, while ensuring that all residents have an opportunity to benefit from those amenities and participate in creating a great city. Korte also knows education is a critical tool for economic development and to enhance Scottsdale’s future. Korte chaired the 2014 successful “Yes to Children” campaign to renew Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget override and remains an advocate for Scottsdale’s schools.

Korte hails from a family that is tightly woven into the fabric of a city that ranks among the best places to live in the world.

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