Join us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!

By State Treasurer Jeff DeWit

PHOENIX – The Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to the Schools’
Endowment, reached another new milestone under State Treasurer Jeff DeWit growing to $5.57
billion at the end of April 2017.

“The hard work and incredible staff at the State Treasurer’s Office continues to produce great
investment results,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “After beating most university endowments in
2016, the winning streak continues for our schools’ Endowment.”

Last year, the fund’s return beat many of the large public investment funds in the United States
including CalPERS, CalSTERS, Dartmouth, MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

“Managing the investments internally, right here in the Arizona Treasurer’s Office, has been a
huge win for our schools as it allows them to earn more and keep more of their money,” DeWit
said. “These record earnings are on top of the fact the Endowment has paid out nearly $225
million to schools this fiscal year, more than any year in Arizona’s history with two months to
go.”

Read more

by Andy Biggs

Friend,

The false claim that Trump conspired with Russia to engineer the 2016 election has reached the height of absurdity. The media and Democrats are trying to bamboozle the country by conflating several isolated incidents. I just wrote in the Washington-Examiner that  they have no evidence but have created a story that combines the allegations about the Russians and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

They have made three false claims against Trump and I have refuted them in my op-ed. You can read it here.

Thank you for your continued support,

Andy Biggs

Read more

As former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods rightfully serves as a co-chairman of a nascent campaign committee to overturn Republican excess at the State Capitol to restrict citizen’s rights, his hypocrisy in another part of the state is notable.

We have written before of Woods and his disdain for disclosure as it relates to why he is opposing a new automobile country club in Maricopa, Arizona known as Apex.   Here are some links:

http://arizonaprogressgazette.com/smell-wilmer-moles/

http://arizonaprogressgazette.com/worst-public-affairs-campaign-ever/

http://arizonaprogressgazette.com/lost-maricopa-woods/

He leads the Clandestine Cartel, joined by ethical invertebrate Joe Villasenor and Smell & Wilmer’s Nick Wood.

Widely suspected to be doing the bidding of the Attesa project near Casa Grande which believes its racetrack plans so poor it cannot stand purported competition in Maricopa, the Clandestine Cartel have reverted to every anonymous, dark money trick in the book to oppose and slow their perceived rival.  Following Maricopa’s unanimous and enthusiastic approval of Apex, they even imported both a Phoenix and Scottsdale resident in Villasenor’s orbit to form a committee to oppose Apex, even though the City of Maricopa has deemed their efforts unlawful.  It’s totally normal of course for a Phoenix and Scottsdale resident to get involved in a local, Pinal County issue. Not!  Save for the financial motivation and interest of another business with an inferiority complex.

Which leads us to even more hypocrisy.  Attesa’s purported direct or indirect opposition of Apex has focused on how bad the project will be for “noise,” “traffic” and other falsehoods promulgated about the private facility in Maricopa. They have runs ads on local cable television and online broadcasting as such.  None of this is true as Apex is a private facility and must get a special event permit from the city to hold large events.

Ironically, what does a quick look of Attesa’s entitlement applications in Pinal County reveal?  A desire to attract a lot of racing events with “20,000-25,0000” people to its track.  Sounds like a lot of noise. And traffic. And as for the probability of attracting such events to justify its extraordinary entitlement requests we’re sure Phoenix International Raceway and Track President Bryan Sperber will be surprised, as they are in the midst of a $150 million upgrade.  Sperber’s concerns may be tempered by the serious questions surrounding Attesa’s ability to get an assured water supply in the near term, if ever.

Integrity the boys at Attesa appear to not have but chutzpah they certainly do.

And that leads us to a discussion about Pinal County and its elected leaders:  Supervisor Steve Miller, Supervisor Tony Smith, Supervisor Pete Rios, Supervisor Todd House and Supervisor Mike Goodman.

To reward this type of conduct by Attesa, if true, would be political malfeasance.  Actors, and henchman, such as these are not what have positioned Pinal County on the threshold of an economic boom.  They should send a strong message, just as Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and the entire Maricopa City Council did when Woods came calling.  Go home.   We know what’s best for our part of the world.  And you aren’t it.

In previous editorials we have welcomed, even encouraged Attesa, to write us and tell us where we are wrong.  So far, crickets.  It appears they find their own charade so clever they have lost sight of professional moorings with others.   So unless and until Attesa’s owner Dan Erickson and all of his employees and consultants can assure Pinal County officials, perhaps with affidavits, they are not behind or funding the skullduggery in Maricopa, directly or indirectly, they should delay if not reject all of Attesa’s requests.

Read more

By Senator Jeff Flake

Enough is enough. The “9th Circus” madness must end. Arizonans deserve justice from the mountain west, not California. That’s why I’ve sponsored a bill to move Arizona into a new circuit.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is too large to be effective and has been for too long. 20% of our nation’s population lives in the 9th and it houses 40% of our nation’s landmass. They take 15 months to make a decision because they are so backed up in their work.

There’s no reason to protect an overworked and overburdened Court. 
I’ve introduced a bill with John McCain that will split the 9th and create a new, 12th Circuit Court of Appeals because Arizonans and other Western states don’t have the bedrock principle of swift justice found in the rest of our nation.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Join me in fighting for a solution for Arizona.

We need courts that are fair and effective for everyone, not political institutions. Let’s make it happen.


Thank you,

Jeff Flake

Read more

The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is coming up but the jockeying to be the next Mayor of Phoenix has long been underway.  Mayor Stanton is term-limited and will depart in 2019, if not before.

So let’s take a look at those in or eyeing the starting gate, and the odds associated with each for the not too far away contest.

Phil Gordon (3/2):  How can this be say you?  Because, technically, acute observers may recall he didn’t fill out his entire two-year term.  He resigned a week before.  A court will surely decide whether Gordon can run.  He certainly wants to.  If so, he would start out as a strong favorite.

Tom Simplot (2:1):  The former Councilman and current head of the apartment lobby has all the ingredients a Phoenix Mayor needs.  Pro-business, social conscience and he’s not afraid to make a decision, a ding on the current occupant of the office.  He’s well spoken and serves with a smile.  Simplot has a story to tell and will be able to raise money though he does have some blemishes on his record (i.e. Valley Metro) that could come back to bite him.  

Read more

If Scottsdale is Beverly Hills its next door neighbor in Paradise Valley is Bel Air.  Two great communities in California, just as they are in Arizona.  Bel Air has a superiority complex towards its better known proximate, not unlike Paradise Valley exhibits to Scottsdale.

Yet, in one area there’s no doubt where Scottsdale shines far more:  preserving its mountains.  IMG_4155

A view of the McDowell Mountains in north Scottsdale is to see a beautiful face without blemishes.  Mummy Mountain and Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley?  Full of acne.  Well-heeled, mind you.

The Town of Paradise Valley has long had a noble commitment to private property rights.  As did Scottsdale until a band of visionaries like by people such as Drinkwater, Carla, Rau, Decabooter and Korte decided the McDowell Mountains were a treasure worth preserving.  And voters agreed.  What private property was needed for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve was acquired by fair market value.  Today, two decades later, Scottsdale’s tourism, recreation and quality of life are the better for it.  

Read more

By Sal DiCiccio
6th District, Phoenix City Council

Do you know what modern government corruption looks like? In order to see it, you’ll first need to let go of many of the stereotypes you hold true.

For example, many believe the government helps the poor. The truth, however, is a ruse as old as civilization: Government takes on a worthy cause, like building a school or affordable housing. After the project goes out to bid, the governmental entity selects itself as the developer.

Government staff then hires their family and friends to service the contract. And when all is said and done, the project costs twice as much, is half as good, and creates permanent city staff that now must find a new project to work on to protect their jobs.
Under this model, modern day government takes a noble cause, like helping the poor, and turns it into a corrupt type of “good graft” benefiting the insiders who profit off the good will of the public.

Let me give you a real-life example. In Phoenix, local politicians approved an affordable housing apartment project for the poor on land the city already owned. The housing, which should have cost $150,000 per unit, ended up costing around $281,000 per unit for a simple apartment unit. As a comparison, the median cost of a single-family home in the Phoenix is $195,000.

Around the same time, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Phoenix, a luxury apartment complex built and owned by the private sector was sold at a price considered the highest ever in the City of Phoenix. It had every high-end finish and amenity. This luxurious apartment complex sold for $277,000 a unit ‒ about the same as the "affordable housing" apartment complex the taxpayers were forced to pay for in the example above.

So what went wrong? The “good graft.”

To start, the City of Phoenix gave itself the ability to self-select. This meant that even though there were multiple bids on the project from the private sector at about half the cost, Phoenix was able to select itself as the developer.

Read more

It’s hokey.  A little run down.  The elements don’t always work.  And it certainly looks a little odd amidst the nice shopping and large offices on Scottsdale Road.

It is the Cracker Jax Family Fun Park.  Birthday parties.  Batting cages.  A driving range.  Race cars.  Volleyball courts.  Video games.  Miniature golf.  Bumper boats.  The place is a throwback to a different time.

Yet, there it sits as a nice respite for young and old, rich and poor, to escape for a time with some affordable fun.

Unfortunately, the day will soon come when the land is too valuable to support a business funded with quarters and tokens.  This is a story Scottsdale knows all too well.

Rawhide. Greasewood Flat.  Pinnacle Peak Patio.  The Kachina Theater.  All have succumbed while the city is fortunate that others like the Rusty Spur and Coach House have not, and continue to fight the good fight.

We hope Cracker Jax stays in the ring for as long as possible because Scottsdale is a much better place (and certainly more fun) with it continuing on rather than yielding to redevelopment with yet more apartments.  A toy surprise at the end of Cracker Jax that will not be.

Read more

In 2012 Arizona Speaker of the House Kirk Adams was the unquestioned frontrunner to replace Jeff Flake in the United States Congress.  Flake decided to run for the U.S. Senate that year.  Adams had done a very good job as Speaker and had the backing of John McCain, retiring U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, his fundraising apparatus and even Sarah Palin.

But it was not to be.  In most any other election the outcome would have been different.  We doubt Adams much regrets the loss as he has gone on to become the highly-respected Chief of Staff to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

So why wasn’t it meant to be?  Because Matt Salmon decided he wanted to return to Congress.  Popular, honorable, recalled fondly, Salmon’s previous tenure in the district proved too much for Adams to overcome. IMG_4155

Fast forward to Paradise Valley, Arizona in 2018.  The well-regarded Mayor, Michael Collins, has decided two terms and his rapid-fire record of achievement is enough.  He announced so earlier this year.

Potential candidates started lining up, something we wrote about previously.  Here is a link. 

And something has happened since.  Former Paradise Valley Mayor Scott Lemarr appears to want to return to public service, as Mayor.  If that’s the case others may want to concoct a campaign against the notion but it might be a little like a salmon swimming upstream.

Paradise Valley enjoyed very good times under Lemarr before.  Why wouldn’t it again?  That will be the challenge for anyone to overcome against someone who grew up in the community and grew to be very well-liked as Mayor.  Lemarr is not a fat man.  But he may very well be accompanied by a Fat Lady as the campaign trail nears.

 

Read more

If Phoenix Rising is capturing the Valley’s attention as its dynamic new minor league soccer team, it’s the notion of Glendale Rising that should be getting major league notoriety.

That’s because it wasn’t too long ago Glendale, Arizona was considered too financially ruinous to succeed.  It was even a municipality that considered bankruptcy.

That was then.  This is now.  Look what an insightful article in the Arizona Republic this week had to say about Glendale’s improved financial condition.  Here is a link.  Quite an accomplishment indeed.  It’s a real testament to the tenacity of Mayor Jerry Weiers, the Glendale City Council and top city staff from City Manager Kevin Phelps on down.

So it makes sense with more public stability comes greater private investment.  Like BMW deciding to set up shop in the city, a business that will contribute mightily to Glendale’s sales tax revenues.  Or Conair’s one million square foot expansion.  Or Pulte, Arizona’s top homebuilder, wanting to invest nearly $400 million for a new master-planned community near Westgate.  According to a city economic impact report that project, known as StoneHaven, will pump $49 million into Glendale’s coffers.  The city certainly appears to be on a roll, except for a voice from the past, that’s gone back to the future.

We have great respect for Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark.  She’s different and serves with a sass not often found.  That can be refreshing.  So it’s not disrespectful for us to scratch our heads about Clark’s opposition to StoneHaven.

The community, on farmland long owned by the John F. Long Company, one of Arizona’s great community benefactors, would be a bastion of young families.  The plan includes no apartments.  But it does include a grocery store, something the area has coveted but needs more rooftops to support.  Right now the shopping dollars of area residents often travel across the street or down the road into Phoenix benefitting that city but not Glendale. 

Read more
Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Arizona Progress Gazette and receive notifications of new articles by email.

Search this Site!
Featured Authors