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The following was submitted as a Guest Column:

When State Representative Justin Pierce first entered the Secretary of State's race last year, many political observers thought he would be a viable candidate who had at least a shot of beating both Wil Cardon and Michele Reagan in a divided Republican primary. It was assumed that Gary Pierce's connections, the support of the House GOP leadership, and a ton of "dark money" from people looking to curry favor with Gary Pierce on the Corporation Commission would give his campaign the resources needed to compete against two well-funded GOP primary opponents.

However, since the middle of October, all of these assumptions have proven false. After a very lackluster initial fundraiser, Pierce abruptly decided to run as a clean elections candidate, which immediately limited the amount of resources that he would have at his disposal in both the primary and general elections. Additionally, after APS received intense criticism from the press for their use of "dark money" in the net metering debate and the exposure of their links to Justin Pierce's campaign consultant Alan Heywood (who also employed Pierce's father) it now appears highly unlikely that there will be an independent expenditure effort to support Pierce's Secretary of State campaign.

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With the exception of Bill de Blasio’s New York City where the mayor there is declaring war on charter schools, educational choice is gaining more acceptance across the country to the constant displeasure of teacher’s unions. They can block for a time but not forever the tide of history. This is the lesson of all civil rights, of which school choice can rightly be called one. CMAlvarez_Bevel

Here in Phoenix a new group, despite protestations of cooperation to the contrary, are taking dead aim at many of the dead end schools in the core of Phoenix with an insurgence of new charter schools there.

But it’s in Glendale, Arizona where we gain another reminder of how far school choice has come, and why it ultimately will be the norm, as we see in higher education.

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Cave Creek, AZ - Citing a recent poll showing the governor's race is up-for-grabs, new entrant in the race, Frank Riggs, an Arizona businessman and former U.S. Congressman, touted his success in defeating Democratic candidates in a congressional district where Democrats enjoyed an almost 20-point registration advantage. The poll by Republican pollster Susquehanna Polling and Research suggests that over half of voters are undecided and the race is a toss-up between whoever wins the Republican nomination and the presumed Democratic nominee.

"I twice defeated incumbent Democrats," Riggs said. "And I did so while building a strongly conservative voting record that also appealed to independents and conservative ("Reagan") Democrats."

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February 13, 2014 - Scottsdale - City Council candidate Michael Auerbach today announces the endorsement of Phoenix City Councilman, Sal DiCiccio.

"Today I am pleased to endorse Michael Auerbach, Candidate for Scottsdale City Council," said DiCiccio. "Michael is a fiscal conservative who will fight to enact pension reform.

The escalating cost of city government must be brought down, and Michael will protect taxpayers from wasteful government spending. I encourage you to vote for Michael Auerbach."

“It is humbling to receive such kind words from a fellow Conservative Republican leader. I admire how Sal has taken on the unions and fights for the taxpayers. I am thankful for his support,” said Auerbach.

 

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As the narrative goes Mesa Mayor Scott Smith single-handedly willed a backward East Valley behemoth into America’s most progressive city.

That’s a slight exaggeration and there’s no doubt Mayor Smith has done a commendable job getting results. Additionally, he is an engaging fellow that’s got a little Chris Christie without bridges while being a tad more cherubic.Mayor-John-Lewis

But if the justification for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014 is the best performing East Valley Mayor doesn’t Smith get the silver medal to Gilbert Mayor John Lewis?

Smith’s results in Mesa resemble Sammy Sosa. The former slugger used steroids. Smith used subsidies. A lot of them.

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Recently an article in the Scottsdale Independent queried whether Scottsdale was losing its luster. It cited the election losses of the General Plan, a Scottsdale School District bond and the recent city bond package.

But that’s a little like saying Kate Upton doesn’t like as good in a red bikini as blue. She still looks good. No matter what. kate-upton-poster

So let’s take stock.

The city just debuted an amazing new facility at WestWorld that just hosted the world’s largest car auction called Barrett-Jackson and is hosting the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the largest in the world.

Just blocks away is the home of the world’s largest golf tournament.

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You don’t see this every day. And that’s the hometown newspaper of a Super Bowl host city harshly criticizing the costs of the event, as well as the local NFL team that makes landing the third largest sporting event in the world (behind the Olympics and World Cup) possible.

But that’s what the Glendale Star, the long-timer paper of record for Glendale, Arizona did in its most weekly editorial. It pulls no punches and makes for fascinating reading, even as we disagree with the premise and support Glendale’s call to be reimbursed for public safety costs associated with the big day in 2015.  Here is a link to the editorial.

 

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School choice advocates are taking dead aim at what’s left of the public school monopoly. In the City of Phoenix.120103022050-school-bus-gi-afp-story-top

Courtesy of a front page article in today’s Arizona Republic (“New Charter School Push In Phoenix Core”) let there be no doubt about what’s taking place. Having pillaged upper income school districts like Scottsdale’s school choicers believe their moment has come to strut proudly and loudly in lower income areas, proving once and for all the superiority of their approach for students, parents . . . and teachers.

Oh, both the Phoenix Union District Superintendent and backers of the multi-charter school initiative said all the right things and played nice.

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tbird uniformIt would be like wearing Dockers to the prom. Or a wedding dress to UFC. Or a Toga to a golf tournament.

Shouldn’t the orTBird-Medallions-1024x778organizers of the world’s most attended golf tournament have outfits a bit more stylish than something Jar Jar Binks might wear to a Bee Gees Party?

The Master’s has green jackets. The Fiesta Bowl yellow ones. Sports teams often change up uniforms. Note to the Phoenix Thunderbirds: It’s time. Chicks dig the long ball. They don’t dig those threads.

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Such a case can really be found in 2004. In the form of John Kerry. Not loved but viewed as quite competent Kerry was a weak frontrunner for the 2004 Democratic nomination for President, kind of like Ken Bennett who sits atop most polls for Arizona Governor in 2014 but who most observers think we will toppled due to limited fundraising and a boredom factor.40448a

And Kerry was toppled . . . for a while. By Howard Dean before The Scream went too shrill. And John Edwards almost caught Kerry in Iowa, but didn’t have the juice to challenge in New Hampshire. He was apparently saving that for someone else.

But then the Democrats returned to Kerry having yawned about him in the first place. He waged a tough campaign against George W. Bush, like Bennett undoubtedly would against Fred Duval.

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