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Friends,
We may be a young city, but we have a rich history – and it’s our responsibility to preserve that history for future generations.
When I learned that the Arizona Exposition and Fair Board planned to tear down the historic 1938 WPA building, we took action. The City issued a stop work order to call off the wrecking crew, and joined Preserve Phoenix’s lawsuit to stop the demolition. 10_6-Stanton

I asked the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to convene a special meeting, and commissioners voted unanimously to designate the grounds historic. We all owe them a thanks for stepping up and doing the right thing.

State officials agreed and I’m grateful that they scrapped their plans to demolish the building.

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In early 2008 Barack Obama sat down with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal and attempted to wax eloquent on a variety of different topics. But it was the future President’s compliments about Ronald Reagan that captured the attention of Democratic primary voters for a time. Why? Because it was videotaped by the editorial board for the interested to see. Obama in his own words.

We don’t know why the Arizona Republic’s own editorial board interviewing the Republican candidates for Governor was not likewise videotaped. If a smaller paper can do so for a leading presidential candidate it would seem appropriate for state aspirants that have already been videotaped thoroughly to date.

Whatever reason it is to be respected as the members of the Arizona Republic are among the most passionate advocates for a better Arizona, and fair even to those they disagree with, contrary to many right wing assertions. jones-governor

But we can lament that decision because of the apparent performance of Christine “I Am Always The Smartest Person In The Room” Jones. Asiding that particular issue if Bob Robb was present, our regret is that a video did not capture Jones’ apparent meltdown when challenged on her plans to stop illegal immigration and “send Obama the bill.”

You see, beyond a shocking lack of experience to actually be Governor -- being a lawyer without running really anything doesn’t qualify -- Jones’ temper is ill-suited to the job too. Her performance at the editorial board would have been just the evidence for more voters to see that insiders are already familiar with.

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It’s typical for opinionists to relay who should be entrusted with your vote. There is some of that below. But in some races we take the unusual step of telling you why others should be rejected.

Ultimately, it’s your decision. But at least we can provide some compelling menu items for consideration.

Governor: Doug Ducey.
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Jon Kyl served Arizona with considerable decency and a keen intellect. Perhaps that’s why he never lost an election. He was a precision of conservative and common sense. And even in Republicans darkest days, such as 2006, Kyl’s conservatism was always understood but never too much to win a statewide race. He prevailed that year in a tough race versus well-funded Democrat Jim Pederson. Ducey leads in the same style as Kyl. But with a bit more range, even tapping into well known Tea Party leaders to, as he says, offer the broadest range of Republican support among all the contenders. From Jane Hull to Mike Lee. Ducey has grown in the campaign too. Watch a debate and his command of issues and appropriate temperament is on display. Republicans want a conservative. But one who can win too. Like Jon Kyl before. And Doug Ducey now. As for the other major contender at present Christine Jones is running a clichéd, poll driven campaign calling to mind Sally across from Billy Crystal not a Governor with a core or conviction.

Secretary of State: Do NOT vote for Justin Pierce.

Pierce, Cardon and Michele Reagan all represent a next generation for GOP voters. But the issues surrounding Justin Pierce are profoundly disturbing. It is believed Arizona Public Service, a regulated utility monopoly, is routing funds through “dark money” organizations to prop up the trailing Pierce. Why? Because Pierce’s dad did the company a bunch of favors and carried their water on the Arizona Corporation Commission. And now it’s payback time. Read what one Arizona Republic columnist had to say about the situation here.  Only the future will tell if such an arrangement evolves from distasteful to something more. But for now and with all of these questions there is absolutely no reason to support Pierce with better choices for Republicans.

Attorney General: Mark Brnovich

The embattled incumbent Tom Horne has become a laughingstock in Arizona and a national embarrassment to our state. Yet, he remains on the ballot. Supported now by about three brnovichRepublicans. Unfortunately, popular Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one of them. Horne is betting upcoming Arpaio commercials and advocacy will pull him out of a tailspin. It will help. But be far too little too late. Besides, as voters get to know Mark Brnovich they like him. One of the best speakers on the 2014 stump, Brnovich is a devout conservative that no one can put out to pasture, as has been done with Scott Smith in the gubernatorial campaign. Any thinking Republican wanting to keep this seat for the GOP should vote Brnovich on August 26th.

Treasurer: Hugh Hallman.

When you hire someone to look after your money do you ask if they are a Democrat, Republican or Indepdent? Not typically. Not even the great Republican Jack Londen hallman picprobably operated so. As such, it’s doubtful anyone looking blindly at the qualifications of the three contenders - Jeff DeWitt, Hugh Hallman and Randy Pullen – would hire anyone but Hallman to care for their money. As it should be for the person Republicans and the State of Arizona hire to look after billions. All candidates at any level have issues. But it is hard to argue that Tempe under Hallman was not capably and ethically led. Indeed, Hallman doesn’t accept gifts or tickets from lobbyists and even refused his designated parking space at Tempe City Hall. Meanwhile, a video produced several years ago and other records about Pullen raise troubling questions for a State Treasurer candidate. Being sued for not paying spousal support? Leaving the Arizona Republican Party in debt? A campaign that is currently in debt? Serving as a “consultant” for the biggest sports taxing boondoggle ever proposed – the 1999 massive Mesa tax hike rejected by voters for a new Arizona Cardinals football stadium? And Dewitt. He boasts of being a stock trader. And a day trader at that. That’s comforting. Gordan Gecko needs to remain fictiously on Wall Street not arriving in downtown Phoenix come January as our next State Treasurer.

Arizona Corporation Commission: Vernon Parker and Lucy Mason.

A race that undoubtedly qualifies as the most disturbing of the year. For the first time that is known a regulated monopoly, Arizona Public Service, is spending lavishly to elect its chosen slate of Tom Forese and Doug Little. Anyone wonder why? They need reliable votes to knock down energy choice via rooftop solar or any discussion of deregulation so everyone doesn’t have to rely on them? Or to raise rates to meet their earnings forecast on Wall Street. Using ratepayer funds to engineer the election of those that will do your bidding is a relative to the State of Arizona using taxpayer money to do the same in races that matter to it. It’s wrong. And so is the position of Forese and Little, agreeing with a new property tax on rooftop solar equipment that has tens of thousands of seniors, schools, churches and citizens enraged. But APS wants it. So they do. So the money can flow into “independent” efforts to elect them. Forese has also been recognized by the Arizona Republic as the greatest grabber of lobbyist goodies at the State Capitol. This is not encouraging. Fortunately, former Paradise Valley Mayor, George H.W. Bush Undersecretary and 2012 Republican Congressional nominee Vernon Park, as well as former State Representative and House Energy Chairperson Lucy Mason offer good, conservative alternatives. APS’ attempt to call them Obama lovers is comical. The only thing Parker has in common with Obama is skin color. And Mason? Well, she has an “A” in her name like Barack. The issue really comes down to this: If you want APS to use your money to elect candidates so it can raise your rates go with Little and Forese. If you don’t go with the more independent minded Parker and Mason.

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One of Arizona’s top political blogs for years has been seeingredaz.com. It is not right. It is hard right. And the blog’s contributors defend their positions with courage and conviction.

But this recent refrain from a post about Arizona Secretary of State and 2014 Republican aspirant for Governor was not such a post. The post in its entirety can be viewed here.

Here is a portion of it:

“Even more curious is his odd invitation to supporters to “Join the Ken Bennett Camp.”
The word association is not the best for Bennett, whose camp counselor son was sentenced to jail time for sodomizing (the press called the brutal acts “brooming”) 18 middle school age campers with broomsticks, a flashlight and a cane. This is the report from the Arizona Daily Sun. This article details the civil lawsuits filed by the families of the young campers, who claim Bennett’s son got a sweetheart deal because of his father’s prominence.
“Camp” is a word Bennett should steer clear of. Ditto the governor’s race, which he is unlikely to win.”

During a heated 2006 race for the United States Senate Republican incumbent Jon Kyl refrained from attacking his Democratic opponent, Jim Pederson, over significant troubles his son was having amidst the campaign. Kyl showed decency and wisdom in so doing.

Many wanted to believe Bennett, then the Arizona State Senate President, acted inappropriately when his son did benefit from prosecutorial lenience. But there was no indication he did.

To drag up now the sins of the son to impede the ambitions of the father is distasteful. And wrong.

Leave the kids – Democrat or Republican – out of it. Unless of course you’re in Oracle, Arizona. Where every kid is fair game.

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President Obama,

I am writing this letter to you regarding illegal immigrants.

As a tax paying, law abiding citizen of the United States, I WANT my voice heard on this issue. My son, Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, an officer who was with the City of Mesa, Arizona police department, was killed in a tragic head on collision on May 12, 2014 by a wrong way driver on our freeways. This man happened to be an illegal immigrant, was in this country illegally, convicted of previous crimes, no Social Security number, no valid driver's license BUT he had purchased a vehicle and registered it to drive in Maricopa County Arizona.

I had my son's life STOLEN from me by a man who didn't value his life, was 3X the legal limit drunk, was high on Meth, drove for over 35 miles THE WRONG WAY on 4 different freeways and had NO BUSINESS BEING IN THIS COUNTRY!!!

The Federal Government knew he, Raul Silva Corona , was an illegal immigrant when he was convicted on crimes in 1994 in Colorado. The prosecutors were "lenient" on him and several charges were dismissed. When he was convicted of these crimes and 1994 and the government knew he was in the country illegally, why wasn't he deported? Why are any of these illegal criminals in this country ??

I am furious that the Federal Government allowed this criminal to stay in this country and KILL my son! I have attached several articles for you to PERSONALLY read about my son. He was an Icon with the City of Mesa Police Department. He was instrumental in making life better for people of all walks of life in the park project he took on. He was humble, selfless, worked many hours off the clock helping disadvantaged children and often used his own money to do things for the community, including "adopting" children at Christmas to provide them with gifts….out of his own money!!

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As the travails of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne continue, at least until he is voted out and down by state Republicans on August 26th, the honor and duty of law enforcement counterpart Bill Montgomery is a reminder that it didn’t have to be this way.

Perhaps it is Montgomery’s military background. Perhaps it is a mbill-montgomery-professionaloral compass that focuses on the destination, not on the journey. Perhaps it is that Montgomery is appreciative of the office, not expecting to be there. After all, it took an Andrew Thomas departure and an overcoming of Rick Romley to get where he is, albeit with substantial help from Sheriff Arpaio.

But even among Democrats and those who oppose Arpaio and opposed Thomas there is a deep respect for Montgomery, even while they disagree with him.

And beyond all of this one gets the sense that if Bill Montgomery were not the Maricopa County Attorney he would be serving another way, as he already has his country. Or he would be succeeding in private practice. In other words, he is a person more than whatever title he holds, comfortable in his own skin.

Compare this to Horne. It’s as if he never went to prom and has been trying to make up for it ever since. Trying to get ahead financially back east before being banned for life from the securities profession for violations. Or running a racially-tinged campaign versus former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera so his title could be grander than that of Sue Gerard’s disciple in the Arizona State Legislature.

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One of the finest baseball stadiums in the country is AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Outside of an entrance sits an impressive statue of Willie Mays, the greatest Giant and player of all time.

Cameras click as the sense of arrival is profound.

Unknown is how this particular piece of art came to be. What is known is that someone had the obvious common sense not to put it in the field of play, interfering with the game and stadium that justified the statue in the first place.

While they mostly come to Scottsdale during spring training perhaps we can import some of that planning sanity now as it relates to goings on at WestWorld.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Over the past few years city leaders and WestWorld management have done a remarkable job enriching the community’s central park as an equestrian and special event playground. That foresight and the investments that have accompanied it deserve much credit.

Besides its goal of attracting new events to WestWorld, the most stated reason for expending tens of millions there was to retain two of Scottsdale’s signature events: Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Indeed, they are helping to pay for the debt service required for the expenditures.

So why in the world, as outlined at a recent City Council WestWorld subcommittee meeting, would Scottsdale Public Art propose and at least one city staffer support putting a new $400,000 statue in the middle of these event operations?

Millions get spent to better host Barrett-Jackson, the Arabians and other events in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center and now we want to impede them? With a piece of public art that while nice is hardly as important as ensuring event success at WestWorld so taxpayers can recoup their investment? To hear the discussion was to be reminded of the phrase tail wagging the dog.

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It is somewhat surprising in what is arguably Arizona’s most impressive community that the turnover on the Town Council is so substantial. A retiring Mayor. A relocating popular councilman named Schweiker and a previous top vote getter named Kirby choosing to devote more time to her elected position on the Scottsdale School Board.
Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living
By acclimation Vice Mayor Michael Collins will be Paradise Valley’s next Mayor as he has no opposition.

But that still leaves a number of seats open at the council level voters will have to sift through. Some names are known. Some less so. But they are collectively an impressive lot.

Over a month before early voting begins in the August 26th primary three names stand out and are worthy of endorsement now.

They are current councilmembers Paul Dembow and David Sherf as well as former Planning Commissioner and mayoral candidate Maria Syms.

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No matter the municipality City Hall activists like to fancy themselves as guardians of veracity.

Elected officials aren’t giving it to you straight. Something untoward is going on. But for us the world will end.

Their intelligence varies but the refrains are largely the same when it comes to development matters, pensions, imaginative projects and other matters of civic life.

Notwithstanding the merits he espouses the upper end of the Activist Mensa Meter is dedicated Scottsdale preservationist Howard Myers. His messaging troika is basically this: Development is bad. Tourism is good. And keep expanding the spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve, albeit at all costs. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

One may disagree with Myers but he has not seemed a dishonest sort over the years. Yet, his blatant falsehood recently about a proposed plan to relocate a beloved bar and restaurant called Greasewood Flat, separate but in tandem with a related residential plan, challenges that notion.

Myers started by doing his best John Kerry flip-flop impersonation. He actually suggested the new, proposed Greasewood Flat location on land owned by the bar’s owners near the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, before he now appears to be against. This, coming from the person who constantly scolds Scottsdale leadership about the import of tourism and Scottsdale’s western heritage place within it.

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John McCain learned an invaluable crisis communication lesson during and after his Keating Five debacle. If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. In other words, never be the status quo, especially when trouble hits.

It is an approach that has served McCain well. In a world of crisis communication “experts” he may be the best of all.mccain

The question now is, does McCain himself have a crisis as it relates to the Veteran’s Administration malfeasance in Phoenix that is now a national scandal?

After all, how does a United States Senator serving Arizona since 1986 not know what is going on in such an important federal operation? Did his office never get a constituent complaint? If not that would seem terribly odd, considering the level of purported malfeasance. Wouldn’t the office of a veteran and longest serving elected official in Arizona be one of the first people to contact for help? Did McCain or someone in his office drop the ball, or did they not?

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