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PHOENIX (November 7, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 500 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows that just under a year out from Election Day, Democrat Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) has extended her lead over GOP candidate Dr. Kelli Ward to a 7-point margin, 34-27. The survey, which was conducted immediately after U.S. Senator Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election, indicates both candidates have lots of work to do in both defining themselves and their opponent over the coming months.

In an August poll of 400 likely voters, HighGround tested a hypothetical match-up between the same two candidates with a much closer margin of 30.5% for Ward vs. 31.8% for Sinema. Despite Ward receiving an endorsement from former White House advisor Steve Bannon in the time since the August poll was conducted and Senator Flake withdrawing, Ward has not seen a bump and in fact, has lost ground.  In both surveys, the plurality of voters had not made their mind up in favor of either candidate.

“Even with Senator Flake announcing his retirement and the whirlwind of media attention around Steve Bannon’s endorsement and visit, Kelli Ward has not seen any improvement in her support,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. “The numbers continue to show that Ward is a flawed General Election candidate, and her nomination would likely result in a loss of the seat for Republicans.  With the apparent ceiling of support for Ward, there is clearly room for a different Republican candidate to emerge as a credible challenger with a path to victory, such as Congresswoman Martha McSally or Great Hearts founder Jay Heiler.”

The latest survey data also showed that Congresswoman Sinema is still not known by 37% of the electorate in Arizona, whereas Ward is not known by more than 40% of the electorate despite challenging Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “While many have proclaimed Congresswoman Sinema to be a strong candidate, Arizonans are still unsure of her after a haphazard announcement of her Senate candidacy, with no subsequent statewide tour or messaging to support her campaign. We have yet to see the popularity she enjoys within the left leaning Congressional District 9 translate to rural areas such as Yuma and Yavapai counties – home to some of the larger cities outside Maricopa County, where she needs to be competitive.”

General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender. Today, not a single Democrat holds statewide office in Arizona.

“Quite frankly, Senator Flake stepping out completely opens up the race for a primary challenger to Ward and a more credible Republican to face off against Sinema in November.  Ward no longer has a candidate to beat up on, and Sinema can no longer count on a facing a damaged and resource-depleted Republican in November. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the electorate and I think this data shows that we are in for a wild ride,” concluded Coughlin.

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.  The General Election sample of 500 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.36%.

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by Scottsdale City Councilwoman Virginia Korte

Great communities like Scottsdale often share qualities that make them special -- including a strong economy, a vibrant downtown, an excelling community college and public school system, engaged citizens and civic and political leaders committed to keeping the city moving in the right direction.

However, one of the few shortcomings of living in the “West’s Most Western Town” is that some folks like to shoot first and ask questions later.  These characters like jumping to conclusions without taking the time to learn the facts.  Many of those who oppose the Desert Discovery Center, now known as Desert EDGE, are dismissing years of decisions made by multiple City Councils and an overwhelming majority of voters.  They are discounting decades of research that shows the project to be a desirable community amenity because of its contribution to our citizens as well as boosting our tourism industry.  And they are choosing to ignore the fact that since 1995 the optimum location for the project has been envisioned to be at the Gateway Trailhead on the edge of the Preserve.

The DDC/Desert EDGE has been part of the community conversation for more than 30 years.  Many preserve advocates, City Councils and dedicated citizens have supported the concept through its many iterations and designs.  It is the culmination of thousands of hours of public outreach, research, creative thought and exhaustive discussion regarding the purpose and vision of the proposed desert center.

Desert EDGE is focused on education.

The project will be a place that people visit to learn more about our desert and better understand how to sustain themselves in an arid environment.  This expanded knowledge is expected to lead to greater respect and preservation of our unique land. Additionally, ASU has committed to placing their Global Dryland’s Institute headquarters at the Desert EDGE as an important portal for global research, providing an opportunity for visitors to interact with scientists to enrich their educational experience.

I am a long-time supporter of the Desert Discovery Center/Desert EDGE because I believe it will be an incredible amenity to our city and our McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I am also a long-time advocate of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I served as chair of the McDowell Mountain Task Force, served two terms on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission and was active in all five “Save Our McDowells” political action committees to educate voters about the value of the Mountain Preserve to our community.  I was also the first executive director of the Center for Native and Urban Wildlife at Scottsdale Community College and I am a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy.

There is funding available to build the Desert EDGE without raising taxes. Citizens have already voted to use the Preserve sales tax to acquire land and make improvements in the Preserve.  There are additional funds available through tourism bed tax dollars.

I will not support an amendment to the charter or a resolution.  I will, however, support the right of citizens to collect enough signatures to place the issue on an election ballot.

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By Candidate for Governor Steve Farley

To what lengths will Trump go to destroy Arizona?

From the news that broke just a few days ago, apparently much further than we had ever imagined.

The Hill recently reported that President Trump is considering lifting the Obama-era ban on Uranium mining in northern Arizona -- a ban that was put in place to protect one of our state’s and country’s most beautiful and breathtaking regions.

Mining in that fragile area would destroy a significant part of our landscape forever. It would also cause undue risks to our groundwater and soil -- risks that could lead to an unmitigated disaster.

Arizonans have a deep appreciation for our natural treasures like the Grand Canyon but we need to fight to protect it. 

While we haven’t heard much out of the governor’s office on this topic, we can safely assume that Governor Ducey will no doubt fall right in line, just as he did with Graham-Cassidy.

Governor Ducey is much more concerned with political advancement in DC and helping his special interest friends than helping Arizona. The Koch Brothers have attempted for years to fund efforts to remove protections preventing mining in the regions around the Grand Canyon.

Now with Trump AND Ducey at the helm, they might just pull it off.

Arizona deserves a leader who won’t put Arizonans, our natural resources, or the beauty of our state in jeopardy to please their donors. 

Let’s take this fight to Ducey, Trump, and their backward agenda.

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

During the recent Council work study session on the Desert EDGE project, I summarized the history of events that has led to locating a Discovery Center in the preserve, at the Gateway on Thompson Peak Parkway. A few listeners asked me to share that chronology. It's a long history, so hold your seats!

In 1994 - before there was a preserve tax or a preserve! - the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission (MSPC) retained a local research firm, Nelson, Robb, Duval and DeMenna to conduct a statistically reliable telephone survey of Scottsdale registered voters to determine whether they supported land preservation.

The poll questions made it clear the City's goals were broader than just acquiring land. Each poll participant was also told, "The following are a list of features that are under study for inclusion in the preserve" and asked to rank the importance of each feature. For "Desert museums and education centers", 69.5% answered "very important" or "somewhat important;" 30.5% answered "not very important" or "don't know."

The poll results guided City Council in structuring the May 23, 1995 Ballot Proposition 400 seeking voter approval of a 0.20% temporary and dedicated preserve sales tax. That proposition was approved almost 2 to 1.

Following the 1995, the MSPC began studying where preserve assets should be built to enhance public entry to and enjoyment of the preserve. By March 1999, they had published their McDowell Sonoran Preserve Access Areas Report identifying several access points.

There should be a single Gateway, they said, as the focal point for educational facilities as well as a a broad array of public amenities - a visitor center, interpretative or educational centers, museum facilities, displays, an amphitheater, concessions and areas to accommodate large user groups. Many of those visions of 20 years ago survive today as features of the proposed Desert EDGE at the Gateway.

About this same time, 1998, homes were being constructed on Bell Road in the McDowell Mountain Ranch community, across from the southern boundary of the proposed Gateway.

In 2004, voters were asked to increase the preserve tax again (this time by 0.15%) and allow the revenues to be used for land "...and improvements thereto."

That vote prompted Council to begin defining potential improvements. City Council's first action was to authorize a "Municipal Use Master Site Plan" (MUMSP, for short) for the Gateway - the city equivalent of a developer's site plan.

In February 2006, staff held an open house to explain Council's future plans for the Gateway. Staff shared a site plan map identifying Phase I as the Gateway Access and Phase II as a Desert Discovery Center, including an interpretive center, support offices, café with outdoor dining terrace and a 400-seat outdoor amphitheater.

On September 18, 2007, based on the 2006 public outreach, Council approved the MUMSP for the Gateway with the site plan unchanged. The accompanying Council Report described a Desert Discovery Center "...that will serve as the primary educational facility [including] a small café in conjunction with the Center...[as well as]...an outdoor amphitheater as part of the Desert Discovery Center...used in conjunction with educational and support activities for the Center." The description even anticipated "...there will be limited evening activity at the Desert Discovery Center." Mayor Mary Manross and Councilmembers Betty Drake, Wayne Ecton, Jim Lane, Bob Littlefield and Ron McCullagh all voted for the Gateway site plan.

Starting in 2007, homes began to be constructed on the west side of Thompson Peak Parkway, across from the proposed Gateway and Desert Discovery Center.

On October 11, 2011, Council approved the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Areas Report. The 1999 Report had been updated in 2010, but still provided there would only be one Gateway and that its location would be the focal point for educational facilities and programs and include a broad array of public amenities such as a visitor center, interpretative or educational centers, museum facilities, displays, an amphitheater, concessions and areas to accommodate corporate picnics and other large user groups. The Report was adopted unanimously by Mayor Jim Lane and councilmembers Milhaven, Borowsky, Klapp, Bob Littlefield, McCullagh and Robbins.

Before and after 2011, several versions of a Discovery Center were developed, leading to a Council decision in early 2016 to contract for a definitive study of what a Discovery Center should be. For more than twenty years, Scottsdale's elected and appointed representatives had been guided by the wishes of Scottsdale citizens; respecting this history, Council stipulated the design be sited at the already approved site north of the Gateway trailhead.

Still, the contractor, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale (DDCS), was given latitude to consider alternative sites. They could have recommended another site - at the Gateway, elsewhere in the preserve or out of the preserve altogether - provided an alternative showed promise as a superior location, insuring greater success for the Discovery Center. In fact, an alternative, superior site was identified, just south of the Gateway trailhead. That is the site council is now considering for the Desert EDGE.

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PHOENIX – A brand new tool for monitoring the number of Arizona voters in real-time has been released by Secretary of State Michele Reagan.  The Voter Stats Dashboard displays registration data allowing users to observe trends by party and county from 2007 to the most recent report.

The innovative tool aggregates statistical and demographic data of Arizona’s registered voters by county and forecasts future registration levels of partisan affiliation.  The forecast is made to January 2021 and the time series is adjusted to consider yearly seasonality effects.

“No longer do people have to wait for each quarterly report to better understand the number of voters in Arizona,” said Secretary Reagan.  “The number of active voters changes each day with people registering, moving or when our counties perform routine list maintenance.  With this innovative dashboard people can better see what’s happening with the state’s electorate each day.”

The party forecasting function uses a basic time series algorithm called ARIMA.  Widely available to the public, it is a moving average from quarter to quarter.  Seasonality is a way for the algorithm to take into account patterns that may be found in the data based on outside events. In this case, the forecast takes into account the quarters of an election year which historically see an increase in registrations.

The Voter Stats Dashboard was developed by the Secretary of State’s Election Information Systems team and is hosted on her dedicated elections portal www.Arizona.Vote.

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By Steve Farley for Governor

When we think of the labor movement in Arizona, we are reminded of notable pieces of our past and present.

From the Old Dominion miners in Globe who striked against wage decreases in 1896, to the ironworkers who helped build skyscrapers like Chase Tower in Phoenix – unions have always played a role in everyday life here in Arizona.

We think of AFSCME members who ensure our cities and towns like Peoria operate effectively, and teachers unions like AFT and the NEA who make sure our children have the best possible future.

These men and women from across the state work hard every single day to make sure Arizona is the best state in the nation --– and it is their unions that fight tooth and nail to protect them every step of the way.

Each of us benefits from the labor movement’s accomplishments, whether you are a union member or not.

Weekends, minimum wage, child labor laws, workplace safety -- we sometimes take the work of labor unions for granted.

These benefits were paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of our union Brothers and Sisters that fought in Arizona and in states across the country to protect the American worker.

That’s why on this Labor Day, I want to take a moment to not only thank unions around Arizona for their hard work in the past, but also tell them that I stand with them and their future fights for Arizona’s workers’ rights.

To the men and women of the Arizona AFL-CIO, Ironworkers Union Local 75, AFSCME, Teamsters Local 104, UA Local 469, Carpenters Local 1912, IBEW Local 640, SMART 1081, and the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, and every union across the state:

Thank you for all your hard work and know that I stand with you. Arizona is what it is because of you.

Keep it up,

Steve

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From No DDC

FINAL SURVEY RESULTS -- THANK YOU, SCOTTSDALE. 9,000 of you saw it including 4,000 who saw the Survey on NoDDC and 5,000 who saw the promoted ad. We promoted the survey to all 140,000 Facebook users in Scottsdale to try to get an unbiased and representative sample of voters.

Of those who opened the Survey over 84% completed at least the first 3 answers.

WHAT WE LEARNED: 5.86% want the DDC built on the Gateway Trailhead. That is it. Even after we goaded the DDCSI crowd in to trying to stuff the ballot box they could not get up to 6%.

62% do not want the DDC built on the Preserve under any circumstances. No matter how small and no matter whether voters approve it or not, they say they oppose all versions of the DDC. That answer was nearly 3 times more prevalent than any other answer.

Especially in South Scottsdale, where voters were not so concerned about preservation as they are about Taxes and Budgets. South Scottsdale is an overwhelming NoDDC Voting bloc that does not want an election because as one voter put it "why waste more money on an election when everyone knows we hate it". 78% of South Scottsdale simply said "No. Not under any circumstances". 16% said they would tolerate it if it was moved or there was an election and 5.9% said they approved.

We do not know how you could possibly change these trends. DDCSI just made its best pitch to impress the City and if anything it seems that voters became even more opposed after the big rollout of the relabled Edge project 2 weeks ago.

CHALLENGE TO DDCSI: You will refuse to accept the results of this Survey and insist that it was contrived. It was not. But you deflect all criticism. So why do we not do the next survey together and jointly manage the data? We are confident where this debate is going.

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By Scottsdale Councilmember Virginia Korte

Last week we took the first significant step in solving our city’s infrastructure issues.virginiakorte_bio

Mayor Lane appointed me and Councilmembers Guy Phillips and David Smith to a new Council Capital Improvement Project Subcommittee.  The three us will be officially confirmed at the Council meeting on Tuesday, February 21st.

Recently, the city staff presented more than 40 capital improvement projects for the Council’s consideration.  The total cost of the projects is estimated to be $84 million. That is a lot of money, and, quite candidly, it is going to be a challenge finding the funding for those projects.  And this is the “tip” of the proverbial iceberg with our growing needs for reinvestment in the city’s infrastructure. It will take a combination of several different options to pay for all the projects over time. 

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By: Virginia Korte

The city of Scottsdale and our nonprofit partner, Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale, Inc., invite you to a public workshop regarding the proposed concept for the Desert Discovery Center. Please join us as we introduce you to our experience designer - Thinc Design - and architect - Swaback Partners. They will be leading you through a workshop that will highlight the new Desert Discovery Center concept.

The Desert Discovery Center concept is envisioned as an interpretive education and research center focused on understanding the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and what it can teach current and future generations regarding conserving, living in and adapting to desert environments.

This workshop is an important step in the current process of determining what the DDC concept would cost to build and operate. This planning phase will be complete in August 2017. With this information in hand, the Scottsdale City Council can determine if they want to move forward with the project.

A community workshop will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Registration is required and a number of time slots are available from 3 to 7 p.m. To register, please select the time that works best for you and plan on actively participating for about 1 ½ hours. Please note: One registration per person. Those who register should be prepared to participate in the planning process for the proposed Desert Discovery Center at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (located at the Preserve perimeter -- Thompson Peak/Bell Road). The Scottsdale City Council has directed further study of the DDC concept at this location.

Project Update

Desert Discovery Center Scottsdale has hired Thinc Design as its experience designer for the Desert Discovery Center concept. Thinc Design has developed world-class projects of national and international significance -- most notably the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The firm's focus is on history, natural history, culture and the environment.

The Thinc Design team will be sharing more information about the developing concept at the Nov. 30 community workshop. To-date, they have provided a Summary of Outcomes (PDF) that gives a glimpse into the aspirations guiding the Desert Discovery Center's experience design:

  • The DDC should inspire future generations to preserve and protect - the story of the Preserve is an invitation to see the potential and value of local preservation, at all scales, and it will inspire local pride and ownership that will grow stewardship in current and future generations
  • The DDC should educate - alignments with STEM and STEAM frameworks will inform the design concepts and exhibits, supporting the educational mandate of the Center
  • The DDC should build anticipation for exploration - an experience that stirs people's imagination, curiosity and sense of discovery ... for many, it will be their first exposure to the real desert
  • The DDC should show people the "world of the desert" - the desert cannot be seen in a day or on a single hike ... there are things happening below the surface and inside plants that most of us cannot see, as well as off-trail locations where species are known to congregate or ancient sites with petroglyphs that must stay undisturbed
  • The DDC should support tourism - many people seek experiences that connect them with the "real place": authentic knowledge, cultural practices and activities ... the Center is ideally placed to align with the strategy of the Scottsdale Tourism Advisory Task Force's long-term plan for interpretation on the climate and ecology of the desert
  • The DDC should be inclusive - design planning will address accessibility for all visitors, including experiences that can replicate some of how the desert "feels" for those who cannot have a direct encounter
  • The DDC should be a model of sustainable design and practice - in its architecture and exhibit design, the Center should be sensitive to the landscape and create the least amount of visual interruptions and impact on the environment ... the eventual size of the Center has been of particular concern and we should aim to define its size in terms of what is needed to achieve the mission and economic and environmental viability ... in its operations, the Center should follow practices for sustainable cohabitation with neighboring residents, including traffic and parking management

For additional information on the proposed Desert Discovery Center Concept please visit the website.

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The people of Arizona face a critical decision this year: continue with the failed policies of corrupt career Washington politicians or support common sense solutions that will make America great again.

Mr. Trump has tapped into the frustration that many voters feel across the state and our nation. We’re excited to hear Donald Trump Jr. speak as we work together to prevent Crooked Hillary from winning the White House.

The rally will take place in Downtown Gilbert on Friday, November 4 from 10:45 am – 11:45 am:

Gilbert Water Tower
45 W Page Ave
Gilbert, AZ 85296

RSVP here to reserve your spot!

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