The Conservative's Corner
Diane Douglas for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Dear Fellow American,
A third party group has released poll numbers for several statewide contests in Arizona and our race was part of their survey.
I am only 4 points behind Mr. Huppenthal but 42% of voters are still undecided. I received 27% support and Huppenthal received 31%.
We have not spent any money on advertising and we are only a few points away from someone who has been in government for 30 years - we can win this race!
The other bright spot from the poll was that 63% of voters agree with us that Common Core must be stopped. Only 15% of respondents support Common Core. That means once we get our message out to the voters, they are inclined to support us on our main issues by a 4 to 1 advantage.Read more
Noted anti-establishment reformer and Arizona native, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, endorsed my campaign for governor. Here's what he had to say:
“America needs strong leaders who are willing to stand up for conservative ideas and values at every level of government. It takes real leadership to stand up to special interests and push for conservative reforms. Doug Ducey is one of those leaders and that is why I am proud to endorse his candidacy for Governor of Arizona.
"Doug has shown courage, vision and leadership on a wide range of issues. He fought relentlessly against tax increases and is committed to shrinking the size and cost of government while eliminating privileges for special interests. Leadership is what leadership does, and what Doug has done as a leader has earned conservatives' respect and earned our support.
"His commitment to conservatism, his background growing a small ice cream company to a nationally recognized brand and his record defending Arizona taxpayers make him well suited to lead Arizona for the next four years. I believe that conservative governors like Doug Ducey will lead the way towards a stronger, more prosperous America.”
State Treasurer Doug Ducey, conservative candidate for Arizona governor and former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, today announced that Sen. Al Melvin has endorsed his candidacy for governor. Until recently, Sen. Melvin was also a gubernatorial candidate “I ran for governor because Arizona needs a strong conservative to lead our great state. While my campaign has ended, my fight for conservative values continues,” Sen. Melvin said. “When I withdrew from the race I made it clear that I had no intention of playing spoiler or of even accidentally helping to elect a liberal Governor. I would put my shoulder to the wheel to elect the best possible conservative candidate.
“That is why I am endorsing Doug Ducey for governor. After traveling our state and sharing the stage with so many of our fine candidates, I am confident that Doug is the very best choice for conservative voters,” Sen. Melvin continued. “His background in the private sector, his work as state treasurer, and his fidelity to the principles upon which our country and party were founded separate him from the other candidates.
“I have also been impressed by his grasp of the issues concerning Southern Arizona, which, as you can imagine, is very near and dear to my heart,” Sen. Melvin concluded. “With our state and nation at a tipping point, Arizona conservatives cannot afford to divide themselves into so many camps that we end up losing at the ballot box. I am voting for Doug Ducey to be our next governor and I encourage every Arizonan to join me."
“I am grateful to receive Senator Melvin’s endorsement today,” Ducey said. “The Senator is a man of strong character, a consummate gentleman and a consistent conservative. I am proud to call him my friend and am humbled to have his support.”Read more
June 25, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. — "Let's face it: I've been a thorn in leadership's side," says Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon, sitting at his desk in the Rayburn House Office Building.
Earlier that day, Salmon had just been named by Speaker John Boehner to a special "working group" on the crisis at the southern U.S. border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are streaming into the country with hopes that President Obama will grant them amnesty.
Salmon is the most conservative member of the new group, and his selection by Boehner is surprising, to say the least, given that the Arizonan has been a leading critic of House leadership.
"Probably nobody was more shocked than me, but I was pleasantly surprised," Salmon says.
On the other side of the ledger, the group includes Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a passionate advocate for a comprehensive immigration bill, and Rep. John Carter (R-TX), who negotiated for years with liberal Democrats, including Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), to craft an immigration bill that never saw the light of day.
Leading the new group is Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX). Its other members include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michal McCaul (R-TX), and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM).
"They put some independent-minded people on there," Salmon says. "At least they didn't stack it up with a bunch of 'yes people [for Obama or Boehner]'" he adds. "I'm glad to see that."Read more
“Our Cause Is More Important Than Any One Person”
Citing his campaign’s pace in collecting $5 contributions, and certain that Clean Elections funding would not be received in time for the start of early balloting, State Senator Al Melvin has formally withdrawn from the race for Arizona Governor, filing the required documents with the Arizona Secretary of State. His official statement is below:
“I had planned on having more time to decide my campaign’s future, but I was alerted by the Secretary of State’s office that while Maricopa County’s deadline to withdraw was June 27th, the remaining counties had their own early deadline and a decision had to be made by today. So after prayerful consideration with my wife and closest advisers and supporters, I filed the necessary documents with the Secretary of State’s office to formally withdraw from the race.Read more
Why is the Governor, aka The Artist Formerly Known as a Stalwart Conservative, so fixated on raising taxes? It’s a complete mystery. Governor Jan Brewer’s office and her Department of Revenue both responded yesterday to questions of exactly why they want to slam the state’s solar customers with a higher property tax, and their excuses were breathtakingly unconvincing.
The arguments are so lame that we’re forced to assume that she’s not protecting people from the tax because she doesn’t feel like it. Which is cool, after all she doesn’t have solar, and if her party takes a hit this Fall because Arizona’s retirees and homeowners are fundamentally opposed to tax hikes, so what? She’s outta here…. Anyway, let’s take a look at the blather:
1) Excuse: 2014 Governor Brewer can’t stand 2009 Governor Brewer.
“This equipment is being used to generate electricity for sale,” [Dept of Revenue spokesman Sean Laux] said. And that, he said, means they legally are no different for tax purposes than a power plant, solar or otherwise, owned by a utility. – East Valley Tribune, 6/5/14
First, it’s really weird to say a Glendale home with some solar panels and a trampoline out back is anywhere near the same category as a nuclear power plant. I mean, should the radio in my kitchen be subject to the same regulations as a nightclub? They are, as this Dept of Revenue guy would point out, both used to generate music.
Regardless, in 2009 when Jan Brewer had a hunch that solar was the perfect Arizona industry—and turned out to be right-- she said very clearly that rooftop solar was not like these other things, and that regular folks and the nascent solar industry should not pay industrial-level taxes. Small government, pro-business, all that good stuff.
Now her office says they don’t want to “strong arm” her own Department of Revenue to get them to simply abide by Governor Brewer 2009.
That makes no sense.
2) Excuse: We must tax solar customers because… solar panels work when turned on.
Not to delve too deep in the weeds here, but the Department of Revenue’s argument for why solar should pay a property tax is that utilities pay the tax based on the fact that they sell power. Therefore, because solar leasing companies also sell power, they conclude, they too should be taxed.
Except for one thing: solar leasing companies don’t sell power at all—they lease the equipment, and the solar customers receive whatever benefit may come from using that equipment.
It may seem convoluted, but it’s also the law, and the Department of Revenue is pushing an interpretation that has no legal basis.
But the Department of Revenue’s Sean Laux does not care about no stinkin’ law, and insists it is not an equipment lease because….err, the solar equipment works:
“And they guarantee it and will actually pay you if it doesn't” provide those results. “So it sounds to us as if you are paying for a certain number of kilowatts.” – East Valley Tribune, 6/5/14
By this logic, if you sell a TV and guarantee that it will work for three years, you’re not selling a TV, you’re selling time itself.
We’d been hearing good things about new Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell. Like her moxy and focus on the destination, not the journey. This stands in marked contrast to the recently departed David Peterson who etiolated the district. And when this became apparent even to him Peterson bailed on his fellow bureaucrats, actually blaming two women on the School Board desirous of more accountability. Remember when George H.W. Bush was famously called a wimp? Peterson took it to a whole new level. And to where did Peterson flee? A large construction contractor who contracted during his tenure to build millions of dollars worth of schools.
So, in many ways, Birdwell and the district have nowhere to go but up. And based on her recent comments in this Scottsdale Independent article about a proposed Basis charter school that has stirred up debate at 128th & Shea, north is exactly the direction Birdwell appears headed.
Birdwell didn’t just forcefully dispel some beliefs Scottsdale Unified was stoking opposition to a flagship campus for the top ranked charter school in the country, she destroyed them. Indeed, she basically said “bring it on.” We have always believed Scottsdale’s K-12 public schools offer the “ultimate choice.” Now it finally appears to have a leader to take that message forward.
More importantly, she showed character. That’s more than we can say in this instance for two of Scottsdale’s typically stout councilmembers: David Smith and Guy Phillips.
We recall (because they apparently don’t) that when sworn into office they committed to upholding the law. Not the ones they agree with, all the laws. We are particularly troubled by Tea Party Constitutionalist Phillips. He surely supports a strict constitutionalist to replace Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, when it comes to honoring an unambiguous state law allowing this charter school to locate at this location Phillips goes all Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Read more
In this Age of Trump let’s dispense with editorial etiquette.
We’re talking about the grumblings over Scottsdale Fashion Square’s redevelopment plans.
The beloved mall is facing an onslaught from online shopping. Barney’s is departing in a couple of months. Drive by 68th and Camelback and the Dillard’s parking lot. It looks like a ghost town. Restaurants are coming and going.
Critics of the retail behemoth act like it’s the age of Ricky Ricardo not Amazon and Apple.
If mall owners need more height and hotels to bolster the future give it to them. Fashion Square isn’t the little engine that could. It’s the locomotive for local sales tax dollars that funds the essence of Scottsdale’s quality of life. And it’s more important than ever. The Chapman Automotive Group is the latest group of car dealerships leaving McDowell Road. That will leave a city sales tax hole of millions annually.
Where will it be made up? By whom? The rosary beads of the nattering nabobs of nimwittedness?Read more
The momentum in downtowns Tempe and Phoenix is undeniable. It represents good news for every Valley resident. But let’s be honest. What’s taking place in those two city centers is a little like watching Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa awhile back, not Willie Mays.
In Tempe, local taxpayers have forked over huge sums to create Town Lake. After a slow start they are starting to see a return on investment with stunning new projects on its shores.
In Phoenix, one could lose count of the citizen’s largesse between Chase Field, Talking Stick Arena, the Phoenix Convention Center, light rail and Arizona State University’s downtown campus. It might be a bit Denmark but a relentless (and generous) commitment to the city core has resulted in a recent tipping point. One of the best exemplars of that recently was Barron Properties, it of the Greenhaus demolition on Roosevelt Row. When asked if they would accept millions in city subsidies to alter its behavior it said it didn’t want or need such public assistance. A developer not accepting a hand out? “Copper Square” has arrived.
That brings us to Scottsdale.
Sure, some public money has been used to create a “Waterfront.” But the bones were largely in place thanks to Salt River Project. Its commitment to arts facilities is significant, but not altogether different than Tempe or Phoenix.
What makes Scottsdale’s success distinct is the stunning, accomplishing vision from the private sector. It’s led by nightclub impresario turned developer extraordinaire Shawn Yari.Read more
It’s not often the former stomping grounds of drug lord Pablo Escobar are invoked for municipal inspiration. Then again, Bogota, Colombia is not infamous like it was two decades ago.
Today, a renaissance is occurring. There can be found remarkable ideas Scottsdale and other Valley cities should adopt.
It’s a Sunday tradition in Bogota to close many city streets from 7a-2p to enable people to bike them. All at once a sense of community and adventure is created.
Whether it’s many, several or one think how interesting it would be to bike the middle of 68th Street, Via de Ventura, Sweetwater or even the beautiful, meandering Thompson Peak as it flows through some of the city’s best neighborhoods and touches the majesty of the McDowell Mountains. It’s an idea that need not be Scottsdale’s alone.
Would it be inconvenient for some? Of course. But it would also be a romantic ride available to all. Streets are shut or redirected frequently for parades, road races, major sporting events and arts fairs. So why not for the people as well as the special interests?
Scottsdale could use a bold idea to maintain its status as the Valley’s planning ingénue, even one imported from a place whose exports used to be more destructive than delightful.
*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu starts his congressional race in a commanding position on the GOP side but his campaign has been a comedy of errors since announcing.
*No truth to the rumor that Jeb Bush is looking at Brock Landers, otherwise known as former Congressman Ben Quayle for Vice President. Keep those Bush-Quayle signs in the closet.
*Few elected officials have learned to serve with a smile better than Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri
*Mrs. Arpaio needs and deserves prayers
*The campaign to inject new funds without a tax increase into Arizona’s K-12 education has hired people from both sides of the aisle. Smart. The statewide vote on Proposition 123 is May 17th.
*Will Arizona feel the Bern? Quite a bit of GOP polling on the field for Arizona’s presidential primary March 22nd. Someone could make some news polling the donkeys.Read more
The Scottsdale Center for the Arts is a fine facility. But for years it served as a dungeon for the Mayors of Scottsdale State of the City. Few attended the dimly lit serenade.
Leave it to a reformer like current Mayor Jim Lane to change the approach. His upcoming address on February 25th is timely to remind all, how he is a mayor for all.
Scottsdale is a city synonymous with luxury. Yet it like every city has those who struggle to make ends meet, need food or just need a hand to get through the day. That’s where critical city programs and facilities like those at Vista del Camino come in. But it can’t do everything.
This is why Operation Fix It was spawned by the city years ago. It extends an embrace to those having a hard time helping themselves. A senior no longer able to keep up with home repair or landscaping. A tired neighbor(hood) that needs a little sprucing up. When things fall through the cracks, when people can no longer go around or through walls, a small safety net is there.Read more
Once upon a time Jay Lawrence was the 1-900 voice of Arizona freedom, rocking KTAR late nights for liberty lovers. Now, he’s a member of the State House of Representatives.
Once upon a time Jill Norgaard was doing something else. Now, she’s a rising Republican star in the same House of Representatives.
One of the first things lawmakers learn is how challenging it can be to stay true to one’s philosophical moorings. Some 1,000 bills per year come at the honorables. And most aren’t black and white issues on abortion, guns, civil rights, energy, taxes or other issues that are typically found on campaign web sites and direct mail pieces.
There are issues like last year’s reinvention of payday lenders into something more innocuously called “flex loans.” The pushers are cockroaches of commerce. Yet, in that case, Lawrence and Norgaard rightfully didn’t focus on the who, they focused on the what. That is, if people want or need such monied instruments then such financial choice is the citizen’s to make. The two lawmaker’s support was principled. To mangle Sir Thomas Moore a bit they may not agree with the business at issue but they defended their right to do it. It’s easy to prop a sexy, popular company like Uber when the freedom fire needs to burn a bit brighter . It’s much more difficult when it’s people predators making the argument.
That’s why we’re scratching our heads a bit at the two’s agnosticism to HB2523. The Goldwater Institute-backed measure extends from one to two or three years the time a contact lens user must endure a costly and state mandated annual visit to an optometrist. We have written about its merits previously.
We get that the state’s 400 optometrists don’t want to see their special interest subsidy watered down a wee bit, but the state’s 700,000 contact lens wearer’s would probably appreciate the disassociation with such an antiquated law. After all, if Republicans aren’t eminent endorsers of consumer choice and convenience, what do they stand for?
Norgaard and Lawrence are two of the most interesting legislative voices in Arizona today. They help all see Republicanism and freedom more clearly. We can’t think of a more topical bill for them to lead the march again.Read more
It would be easy to recognize Mayor Jim Lane for such a distinction. Ethics. Reforms. Results. Well-regarded by his peers. An overwhelming favorite to be re-elected for a final term later this year. And there are others that could be duly considered.
But the distinction goes to someone whose name identification isn’t as high but respect from all is never low: Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Rachel Sacco.
If personality were a potion Sacco would be an elixir for the city’s hoteliers. They think she walks on water as do all on the Scottsdale City Council. Even those who have despised each other on that dais over the years have an affinity for Sacco in common.
It’s not easy to survive as long as Sacco has in such a prominent position. Recessions come and go. So do big voices on commissions and councils. Yet, through it all Sacco has become the Terry Branstad of local tourism. And rightfully so. P.S. That was a tenure joke for those who may no longer be paying attention to Iowa since its Caucuses are over. Branstad is the longest-serving Governor in American history.Read more
Driving through north Scottsdale these days can bring a twinge of sadness. The beloved site that once housed the city’s most enduring watering hole, Greasewood Flat, is now being bladed for new homes. The same fate is set for the acres once hosting Pinnacle Peak Patio.
Sure, businesses come and they go. But the inability of these particular owners to soldier on was a blow to the soul of Scottsdale itself. But the Scottsdale City Council is not to blame. If long-time businesses can’t evolve with changing times and tastes, government should not – and cannot by state law – step into help.
But what the city can do is invest in public facilities that make Scottsdale shine.
Some criticized large new facilities at WestWorld and to be fair there were cost overruns. But since they have come online the number of events at Scottsdale’s Central Park have increased substantially. And its signature events – Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – have seen even more growth. That’s not just important because of dollars and cents. These essential events showcase the community around the world for a profoundly positive impact, known and unknown.Read more
Guy Phillips first ran for the Scottsdale City Council in 2010. That was the year of the Tea Party. With little money Phillips, a rock-ribbed Republican, rode the wave to a surprisingly strong finish, albeit unsuccessful.
But he didn’t give up. Two years later he won. Now, Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips is up for re-election.
During his first term has played an undeniable role restricting spending via opposition to city bond proposals, a position that surely resonates with activist Republican Partiers. But two positions he’s adopted of late must leave even ardent supporters scratching their heads.
The long-discussed “Desert Discovery Center” has been a political hot potato with influential tourism leaders arguing its necessity while most voters in Scottsdale disagree with either putting such an enterprise within the preserve, or spending more taxpayer dollars on it when so much has been spent up north already.
That’s what made Phillips’ flip-flop on the project last month terribly curious. While not the final decision Phillips voted with the majority to authorize millions for more design and study. Some in his political constituency likely view that as apostasy. But it likely pales in comparison to an issue that is near sacrosanct to Republican primary voters: charter schools.Read more
When Doug Ducey was elected Governor of Arizona he pledged to bring more business acumen to the job. What voters may not have anticipated was his adeptness for politics. Surely some of that has to do with the skills of his Chief of Staff Kirk Adams and others nearby like Danny Seiden and Daniel Scarpinato, but even with those ear whisperers it still takes someone at the top to get it.
Governor Ducey’s exemplary and respectful relationship with lawmakers isn’t just limited to Republican leadership. Recall his outreach calls to Democrats prior to taking office. That wasn’t just window dressing. Respect from and rapport with Democrats – and nearly all legislators -- helped lead to a crucial vote to move Arizona K-12 public education forward on May 17th. A “yes” vote on Proposition 123 will end lawsuits and begin better funding for students statewide.Read more
There are few more interesting municipal elected officials in Arizona today than Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith. Having served as the City Treasurer he was the ultimate insider. Then as a candidate he ran as a quasi-outsider. Smith is whip smart and no matter one’s view of him he cannot be questioned about his affinity for the community.
Recently, however, the new outsider showed great fidelity to an old insider. A project called The Outpost, essentially a glorified gas station at Pima and Dynamite was vehemently opposed by north Scottsdale residents. But due to a purported close relationship between Smith and well-known project architect Vern Swaback, Smith abandoned his constituency for a party of one rather than a commitment to all. Indeed, Smith cast the deciding vote leaving North Scottsdale fuming.
Fast forward to a new case at 128th Street & Shea involving a new BASIS charter school, the #1 ranked public school in the state. Despite clear state law requiring the entitlement, Smith has presided over Design Review Board hearings that seem more a kangaroo court. Two thousands parents of BASIS students are wondering what is happening to Scottsdale.Read more
WASHINGTON, DC – Following Marco Rubio’s strong comeback in South Carolina, Conservative Solutions PAC, the Super PAC supporting Rubio’s presidential campaign, today released a new ad highlighting what is at stake in the 2016 presidential campaign, and why Marco Rubio is the conservative choice voters can count on. The ad will air in Super Tuesday states.
V/O: We live in dangerous times. Terrorism growing. The economy teetering. The Supreme Court in the balance.
Trump. Erratic, unreliable.
Cruz. Calculated, underhanded.
The choice we can count on?
“A disciple of Reagan.”
“Smart” and “Forceful.”
“The Democrats’ Nightmare.”
Marco Rubio, the Republican who can beat Hillary and inspire a new generation.
For more information on Conservative Solutions PAC, please visit: www.conservativesolutionspac.com. Click here to follow the Conservative Solutions PAC on Twitter.
by Virginia Korte
I am running for re-election to the City Council because I respect our city’s past and all those who helped make Scottsdale so great – and, most importantly, I want to make sure we stay focused on our future.
Truthfully, some people think they can turn back the clock to what our city once was while ignoring what it can be.
Those people want to stop us from continuing to attract visitors who contribute to the city’s revenue and help keep our taxes down. They have also stopped us from investing in maintaining some of our most critical infrastructure, which ends up putting citizen services in jeopardy.
I am grateful that voters approved two bond questions last November to build new fire stations and replace 140 miles of deteriorating pavement on our streets. However, when the other four bond questions were rejected, it left our city with about $67 million in unfunded priority projects.Read more
By Ken Bennett
The Arizona Republic recently covered David Schweikert's bill which would build a 700 mile long fence on the Arizona/Mexico border. Representative Schweikert's bill hits Washington bureaucrats where it hurts - in their wallet.
Schweikert's bill will withhold funding from Department of Homeland Security's brand new headquarters building and suspend any senior employee pay increases and bonuses until the fence is complete. I commend David's courage and I stand with him in support of this effort. It's time we get serious about addressing illegal immigration and actually doing something about it.Read more
Queen Creek, AZ - Vice Mayor Julia Wheatley and Retired Fire Chief Van Summers to chair campaign.
Jeff Brown said "I’ve been so humbled and honored by the outpouring of support that I have received! As this campaign kicks off I am excited and looking forward to building on existing relationships, collaborating with new friends and neighbors and continuing the conversation that includes all the residents and business owners of Queen Creek. Our campaign is truly a collaborative effort… working towards implementing the collective vision of all stakeholders of the Town of Queen Creek.”Read more
By David Gowan
When I was first elected to Arizona House of Representatives, it didn’t take long for my principles to collide head on with the broken political status quo.
You see, this was back in 2009. Governor Napolitano had just left office, and my class of newly-elected conservative colleagues and I were eager to get to work on scaling back the state’s bloated budget and bureaucracy.
Those plans were quickly dashed though, when the liberal Republican leadership dropped its own pork-laden budget bill on our desks and demanded our votes.
We were told, in essence, to stand down. To set aside our principles and campaign promises, and go along with their plan. We were even threatened with retaliation if we refused.
But refuse we did, because it was the right thing to do for the people of Arizona. We held out and in the end we prevailed, achieving deeper spending cuts.
That’s how Arizona’s Liberty Caucus was born… and seven years later, I am tremendously proud to serve as one of its leaders and as the Speaker of the Arizona House.
Over time we grew our ranks to put an END to that broken political status quo in Arizona. And we’ve gotten tremendous things done in recent years, from balancing the state budget and cutting burdensome regulations to getting greater control over illegal immigration to protecting the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn.
Now I am running for Congress to bring that same effective conservative leadership to Washington, D.C.Read more
By Marco Rubio
On Saturday night at the debate, I dropped the ball. I want you to know that will never happen again.
We are heading to South Carolina, Nevada and beyond. Make no mistake: We are going to win this nomination.
Throughout my life, I've known tough times. In New Hampshire last night, I told the story of how when I was young, at one point, my father lost his job as an apartment manager and my family had to move out of our Miami apartment, all in the same week. He had to move clear across the country to Las Vegas to look for work, and the job he finally found, after 20 years as a bartender who'd finally moved his way up a bit, had him starting from scratch again as a busboy.
I know how to come from behind. We're going to show America what leadership and a vision for a New American Century look like.
If you heard what Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton said last night, you know the stakes: If one of them wins this fall, they will keep up President Obama's efforts to change our country beyond recognition.Read more
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