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Whenever someone talks about a renewed commitment to impressive vision in Scottsdale the proposed Desert Discovery Center for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve usually comes up.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

As envisioned it would further enlighten preserve visitors and hikers, and aid Scottsdale tourism efforts.

There is such a thing as an idea whose time has come. There are also those ideas whose time has passed. This may be one of them.

Putting aside the potential cost to taxpayers – the project once ballooned to $100 million but has since been put on a diet – there are two other reasons why the project may escape further enthusiasm.

First, anyone who has visited Scottsdale’s relatively new trailheads will experience their exceptional design and utility. How would bigger buildings improve on them, or what God has created adjacent?

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Raleigh, N.C. – PPP's new Arizona poll finds not only that voters in the state agree with Jan Brewer's veto of Senate Bill 1062, but that they also for the first time support legalizing gay marriage in the state.

Only 22% of Arizonans say they support Senate Bill 1062, compared to 66% who opposed it. Opposition to the bill is bipartisan with majorities of Democrats (11/86), independents (18/64), and Republicans (34/51) alike against it. For the first time in our polling we find that a plurality of Arizonans support gay marriage. 49% are in favor of it to 41% who are opposed, a net 9 movement in favor of gay marriage in the state since November of 2011 when there was 44/45 opposition to it. Voters under the age of 45 support it 55/36 with seniors the only age group against it at this point.

“Arizona’s a pretty good representative of how the nation is moving on gay issues,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “They don’t support new laws discriminating against gays- they support new laws giving them full equality.”

Moving on to the Governor's race for this year, it looks pretty wide open for both the Republican primary and the general election. The leader for the GOP nomination is 'undecided' at 34%. 5 candidates have measurable amounts of support at this point- Ken Bennett at 20%, Christine Jones at 16%, Scott Smith at 12%, Andrew Thomas at 9%, and Doug Ducey at 6%. Al Melvin, John Molina, and Frank Riggs all register at 1% in the poll.

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By State Senator Al Melvin

Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been law since 1999. SB1062’s sole purpose was to update two sections of it. First, to clarify the definition of “person” to include all types of businesses and legal entities. Arizona laws largely conform to that, but more clarity was best. Second, to address the infamous photographer case in New Mexico where courts ruled that RFRA protections did not apply in a case involving two private parties. We wanted to protect people’s liberties, not just from encroachment by government, but from other private parties as well. al melvin

The bill did not change the protected or unprotected classes in Arizona. Hysterical pronouncements like “mixed-race couples will be kicked out of restaurants” were deliberately inflammatory. That discrimination remains illegal under Arizona and Federal law.

Democrats and liberals argue that businesses should operate only with the consent of government and they should have no say in who they do business with or how. If their doors are open, they must serve everyone and accommodate any request if they are physically able. But that isn’t the law now, nor should it be. A sign company doesn’t have to produce a banner that depicts graphic violence just because their customer wants one. A baker doesn’t have to bake a cake in the shape of a Nazi swastika just because a customer wants one. Still, opponents of SB1062 argue that the State of Arizona should force these companies to make these products or go out of business.

True liberty is not where you get to make everyone do everything you want them to do. True liberty is where you are free to do what you want to do. You are free to make your choices and so is everyone else.

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Other titans of Arizona’s illegal immigration wars have fallen. Andrew Thomas. Russell Pearce. Even Sheriff Arpaio’s last election was close. And although lesser known the smart, affable State Rep. John Kavanagh is likely next on the target list.

Word is that determined moderate Republican and former Scottsdale Planning Commissioner Jeff Schwartz is set to challenge the House Appropriations Chairman as he seeks a seat in the State Senate. And due to some unluck and unforced errors by Kavanagh it could be close.KAVANAGH

It didn’t have to be. After all Kavanagh won his 2012 election handily. That’s because while undoubtedly conservative he’s been an advocate for the district, stepping up for the district’s land preservation efforts and tourism industry. Such constituent service has been important since simply labeling oneself a “conservative” even in primaries isn’t a routine recipe for success.

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MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow is really liberal. And annoying. And she’s a partisan. But one can’t say she doesn’t bring it with passion. It’s worthy of respect even while it reminds those not like-minded why we are right.

That’s why a shout out is in order for SeeingRedAZ.com, one of the most influential and longest-running political blogs in Arizona. Its espousals are not moderate. Opinions were and always are conservative.

And even as the house has caved in on SB1062 – and Republicans run for cover – there stands SeeingRedAz, defending the policy. Proudly.

Theirs is a small gun in war that has been lost. But thank goodness they are there, adding to the debate. They make one think, just as Maddow does, but unlike her they are more often right than wrong. Just not on this one.

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He was one of the brightest Republican stars in Arizona history before the Phoenix New Times unveiled his whole new meaning of “Jose, Can You See?”

He is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Once the darling of Fox News and Arizona Republican Party voters alike. Just several years ago most anything was politically possible for Babeu.Sheriff_Paul_Babeu

Then came the troubles. And while many concluded he was a dead politician walking Babeu had other plans. He focused on his base in Pinal County. He won re-election handily in 2012, his coattails even bringing along a Republican County Attorney. Like Michael Sam being gay wasn’t his identity. Sam is a football player who happens to be gay. Babeu is a tireless public servant, who also happens to be gay, as was learned in rather dramatic fashion.

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By Peter Roff

There’s a battle underway in the West to determine who Arizona’s next governor will be. Among the crowded field of Republicans vying for the nomination is one who is already being talked about as a potential national leader, the kind of politician that can restore the public confidence in the GOP who, if he wins, will soon become one of those “names you know” whose future potentially involves some time in Washington.ducy

Elected state treasurer in 2010, Doug Ducey has spent the last four years building a reputation for competent, consistent, conservative leadership on a range of issue. He was first attracted to politics by the same passions that generated the activism of the tea party: concerns about rising government indebtedness, reckless, out-of-control spending, rising taxes and the size and scope of government.

What made him unique was his business background, which served him and the people of Arizona well. As an entrepreneur, Ducey and a partner grew the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shop from a single store to a chain with nearly 1,400 locations nationwide by the time they sold the business in 2007.

He’s not been afraid to take on difficult tasks, one of which involved his state’s Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. Upon taking office he discovered that the fund, which takes the funds generated anytime state lands are sold, with 93 percent of the annual returns used to fund K-12 education, was not operating to its maximum potential.

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A recent article discussed fear within the Christian community that Christians were losing the culture war and would soon be losing their rights as well. The writer interviewed Jim Phillips, the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church, to find out why events are moving against Christians with such speed.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

It was easy to be reminded of that quote as we watched virtually the entire Republican field for Governor run for the hills in the debate over SB1062, the religious liberties bill that was advocated for by the Center for Arizona Policy and was supported by 50 out of 53 Republicans in the legislature. Conservative Republicans supported the bill, but so did moderate Republicans like Frank Pratt, TJ Shope, John McComish, Steve Pierce, Bob Robson and Adam Driggs.

Upon passage however, Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the homosexual lobby kicked their public relations machines into high gear and the media happily engaged in a feeding frenzy to declare SB1062 the next SB1070. And why not? SB1070 was great for ratings!

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Amazing. Just amazing.

Following the Paradise Valley Planning Commission’s rejection of a plan to supersize the unremarkable Cottonwoods Hotel in town, backers are now saying they can magically reduce the rejected plan’s proposed density by thirty five percent.Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

It’s amazing what can happen when you just say no. We opined about the flawed Cottonwoods proposal back in October. Here is a link.

And it makes you wonder, a lot, about the need and premise of the proposal in the first place. There’s little doubt the property needs a little lipstick. But that’s not what this proposal was about. It was nothing more than a denizens of density enrichment plan that would have been good for one pocket book but not good for the character of a town that needs protection more than enhancement.

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The 1988 Democratic nominee for President Michael Dukakis talked a lot about the “Massachusetts Miracle,” touting his perceived Bay State successes.

But by the time the campaign ended voters weren’t looking so kindly on such claims.ScottSmith

It’s a lesson that could play out this year in the 2014 Arizona gubernatorial campaign, either by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s GOP opponents, or presumptive Democratic nominee Fred DuVal.

Smith likes to espouse his achievements, and there are no doubt some, but there are also very big problems.

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