Like any monopoly the public school system has constantly fought change, during the past decade in the form of greater school choice.
And it is losing in higher income areas like the Scottsdale School District where some 9,000 students choose charter or private schools.
This is putting enormous pressure on the system there, populated by bureaucrats who don’t know how to innovate. Monopoly and old school is their mantra. Head sanders they are.
They must be taking particular umbrage this Arizona legislative session with SB 1100. Backed by an impressive cross-section of Republican legislators ranging from Barto, Worsley and Pratt to Montenegro, Farnsworth and Yee it is the ultimate addition of insult to the public school injury.Read more
Arizona’s NHL franchise avoided a public vote following the Glendale City Council’s split decision to award its new owners a $15 million payment. Such a referendum election would have likely torpedoed the transition to new ownership since it would have delayed ratification of the city agreement until after the season was to begin.
The saga that has been hockey ownership in the desert was thought to be over, at least for the next five years. But a movement taking place in Ohio raises new questions for hockey fans. There, a group is seeking to unravel via a citizen’s initiative an agreement for local government to fund the arena for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, a structure that may have some parallels to the Glendale situation.Read more
Tough on crime and tough on illegal immigration. That’s Andrew Thomas in a nutshell. What’s not to like? As a candidate for Governor, Thomas hopes to appeal to the most conservative voters in a split field and capture the GOP nomination. From there, he would look to ride the Republican voter registration advantage to a brand new office on the 9th Floor, from where he would wage war on corruption in the government and the judiciary. Light your torches!
But each news cycle’s coverage of settlements of lawsuits against Maricopa County related to Thomas’ conduct as County Attorney erodes confidence that Thomas is capable of winning a fight against corruption, not to mention an election.
Thomas claims to have been hard on the trail of massive corruption within Maricopa County and for the sake of this post we are going to assume that he was sincere and correct. He indicted a lot of people for a lot of things. We can’t say they were guilty of anything though because they were not convicted. Seriously. Ever. Not any of them as near as we can tell. And we’ve really searched the news clippings hard. Was it because Thomas quit as County Attorney in the middle of these prosecutions to run for Attorney General? Or was it because the indictments and investigations were a really bad idea? Or were they simply really badly executed?
Based just on the number and size of the checks Maricopa County is writing to settle lawsuits filed by the “victims” of these acts, we’re going to concede it might be any or all of the above.Read more
We all remember the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher, that muffled, mumbling sound no one could much listen to for longer.
That’s the way just about every Republican candidate sounds these days. Ronald Reagan was great. I am a conservative not a moderate. I can recite my poll tested talking points with the best of them, hopefully with more money.
As Arizona holds its State GOP Convention this Saturday in Tempe we should ask ourselves is it time for a change?
For nearly thirty years Republicans have been wedded to this model. It’s boring and increasingly ineffectual.
Interestingly, there have been detours. And they have been successful.
George W. Bush developed his own “compassionate conservative” vernacular and won an election he was not expected to in 2000.Read more
We ask because of the Arizona Republic headline today raising similar questions about current Maricopa County Board Chairman Denny Barney (Maricopa County chairman in ethics flap). While many Republicans don’t like the Republic, the story reminds us of the import of the fourth estate, especially robust investigative journalism. We digress as we necessarily observe who will be there to shed light on that which was done today if larger media goes away? This blog? Other bloggers? A motley crew on Facebook? Back to our premise.
Barney achieved the near impossible in 2012. Running as a rookie for a coveted seat abandoned by Fulton Brock he ran unopposed. That’s because of the regard the marketplace had for Barney personally, his family and his promise.
Surely his constituents thought the youthful Barney mature enough to avoid the kind of problems described today in which he apparently nudged Maricopa County staff to resolve issues that were costing his development project money.Read more
As we are about to enter the 2014 campaign season television advertisements and flyers will flood mailboxes and airwaves. They will emphasize many words and messages. But nary a one will tout “wisdom.” They should.
Readers are surely familiar with former Maricopa County Andy Thomas’ travails. And they may have read Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts (click here) as well as the paper’s editorial (click here). Both questioned the prosecutorial wisdom of current Attorney General Tom Horne and what amounted to rather paltry charges in his office’s pursuit of former Fiesta Bowl lobbyist Gary Husk. Readers are probably familiar with other reasons General Horne’s conduct can be questioned as well. And while many Republicans don’t love yet another former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, they will still recognize him as a straight shooter. So when he calls Horne’s ethics and conduct into question it is noteworthy.
This all leads us to Andrew Thomas’ successor Bill Montgomery. Although only a practicing lawyer for about a decade he appears to have uncommon wisdom among recent Arizona prosecutors.Read more
Some politicians just want it too badly. They are just too obvious. Everyone who sees what they are doing knows what they are doing. Yet these same politicians seem to have no idea that they aren’t fooling anyone.
Exhibit A for today is Arizona Secretary of State wannabe Michele Reagan.
For years she has wanted to be elected to statewide office, especially Secretary of State. Facing a daunting primary challenge just to retain her State Senate seat, Reagan decided that 2014 was the perfect time to run for it. The only problem is that after more than a decade in the legislature, she really didn’t have much of a record to run on as related to the SOS office, and what record she was known for was left of center on a host of issues.Read more
Every community has critics. And that’s a good thing, especially in an age of a declining fourth estate. Their eyes, ears and energy can be just what’s needed to shine a light into some darker places.
But in Scottsdale activism has become its own art form, its own sport. While there are certainly problems in one of America’s best cities some of the criticism operates in an existential-like luxury of complaint – kind of like Peter Cook cheating on Christie Brinkley. He was lucky to be married to her before he wasn’t, like Scottsdale residents are fortunate to live where they do, until they don’t.Read more
From the Arizona Republic
A meme spreading across Facebook proclaims “My favorite part of winter ... is watching it on TV from Arizona.”
This has been a good week to watch winter from afar, as the polar vortex dropped harsh cold as far south as Mobile, Ala. The good people at the Arizona Tourism Authority were absolutely gleeful putting up a warehouse-tall advertisement showing a bikini-clad woman enjoying our state’s winter.
But it’s more than good weather. It’s the good the weather brings.
That begins Sunday, when the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction begins its annual run in Scottsdale with a trio of firsts. The auction moves into a permanent building, though it will still use the massive tent this year. It gets two hours of prime Saturday afternoon broadcast network coverage, on top of an extensive cable schedule. And it adds a bull riding event.
Credit auction owner Craig Jackson for keeping the auction fresh, giving people reason to come back year after year. Five other Valley auctions will sell fine cars throughout the week, to small audiences of strictly car enthusiasts. But you don’t have to know a Bugati from a Baracuda to enjoy Jackson’s auction. It’s an event, a celebration that attracted 300,000 people last year. With good weather, Jackson says he could hit 325,000 this year.
Some will go to see what a rare 1967 Corvette L88 sells for. (Jackson predicts between $3.5 million and $5 million.) Others will relive their childhoods getting a close look at the Hot Wheels “Snake” and “Mongoose” funny cars, being auctioned in a single lot with their haulers. (What will they sell for? Jackson shrugs. “It just takes two people,” he says.)
Still others will go for the fashion show, for the bull-riding event, for the chance to see celebrities auction cars for charity, for the expo that offers ultra sound systems, $6,000 bicycles and $2,000 cowboy boots.
The important thing is they choose to come to Arizona. Florida, Southern California, Hawaii, Costa Rica are just as pleasant this time of the year. So why come here?
To see something you cannot see anywhere else.
Jackson has expanded his auction to three other cities, and other companies stage auctions around the world. None tops the extravagance and the spectacle the Scottsdale auction offers.
The PGA hosts a golf tournament every winter weekend in a warm weather location. But no other boasts anything like the Phoenix Open’s 16th hole.
Half of Major League Baseball trains in Florida, where teams ask fans to drive three to five hours for road games. In Arizona, all the teams are less than an hour’s drive apart.
Those are powerful reasons for our frozen fellow citizens to choose Arizona for their winter escape. They fill our hotel rooms, our restaurants, our golf courses. They spend their money, keeping Arizonans employed and topping off city, county and state government treasuries. They allow us to get better services for lower taxes than we would without them.
So we’ll cheer when the bids on an Italian sportscar or American classic zips past $1 million, $2 million, $3 million.
On Monday night Florida State defeated Auburn for the national college football championship. They did so on the final drive of the game, arriving in the red zone with just seconds left. Football winners and losers are often decided by those who score when they get within 20 yards of the end zone, and those who do not. Florida State did.
The journey may be a bit involved, but it is looking a whole lot better than it was, and that befell Rawhide before it.
That’s because Greasewood Flat owners have been expressing an interest in relocating to a more authentic, rural location within the city as urban sprawl has closed in around them, infringing on the experience. So unique is the experience it could likely continue to withstand the encroachment but if other, better alternatives are available why bother? Why risk it? After all, the family’s Reata Pass Restaurant was forced to close a couple of years ago, likely because guests no longer felt the authenticity that once was. Reata Pass never seared the local or tourist conscience like Greasewood Flat or Rawhide. The family has said it is not coming back and that is no great loss. But a decade ago losing Rawhide to the Gila River Indian Community was. And so it would be with Greasewood. Approving a new location for it should be unanimous and enthusiastic, not unlike what occurred for the new Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale dealership that’s sprung to life across from Scottsdale Fashion Square.Read more