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2018 Scrum

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) released a statement following the passage of H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014:

“I am proud to have cosponsored and supported H.R. 4031.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responsibility is to provide care and support for our nation’s heroes. Sadly, the recent reports and investigations indicate the VA has failed our veterans.” said Schweikert. “VA leadership must be held accountable and I believe this bill is a step in the right direction to restoring faith and trust with our nation’s veterans.”

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From The Desk Of Russell Pearce:

You know that bad feeling when November rolls around and you look at your ballot and you realize that while you could never support the Democrat on your ballot, you are going to have to hold your nose to vote for the Republican nominee? Now is the time to do something about that. It is Primary time, when we get to support the best conservative and send a message to our state and our Party that those who champion our beliefs earn our support. That is why I am sending you this email today... To introduce you to State Senator Al Melvin, the proven conservative candidate for Arizona Governor.al melvin

For six years Al has been fighting for conservative values and casting real conservative votes: For Constitutional Carry, for SB1070 to fight illegal immigration, for SB1062 to protect religious liberties, for the largest tax cuts in Arizona history, against the ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion, and more. Al was also the author of the bill to stop Common Core here in Arizona. These weren’t easy positions to take, but Al took them on because it was the right thing to do.

In short, Al is the best conservative in the race for Governor, and he is someone you will get to feel good about supporting.

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Friends,

Since day one of this campaign, I’ve stated that when I am elected Attorney General, one of my top priorities will be to work to protect those in our society who cannot protect themselves.

Whether they are the unborn, children, seniors, or our veterans we have a moral obligation as a society to protect the vulnerable.

I am running against both a Republican incumbent who has sided with pro-choice forces and against a Democrat who is supported and well-funded by groups like Planned Parenthood.

The liberal Democrats know that if they can gain control of the Attorney General’s Office they can selectively enforce laws including deconstructing laws that strengthen or protect the rights of the unborn.

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By Frank Antenori

I was recently invited for coffee by a close friend and fellow Republican to discuss upcoming state legislative races. Well respected in both local grass roots circles as well as the so called "GOP Establishment," he was chosen to reach out to me in hopes of convincing me to not get involved in several key legislative primaries. However, by the time we finished our second cup of coffee, he would not only fail to convince me to stay silent, but he would instead volunteer to help me in my efforts to inform GOP voters of the threat to our state. It took a simple history lesson to change his mind.frank-antenori-002

I take you back to the 46th Legislature. In 2004, a handful of so called "pragmatic" Republicans conspired with Democrats to give then Governor Janet Napolitano a budget that would increase state spending by more than $700million, a 10% increase in spending in a year that saw little inflation (2%).

Worse yet, that budget created a $500 million budget deficit; in violation of Arizona's Constitution which requires a balanced budget. Rightfully, fiscal conservatives were outraged at what was clearly an irresponsible budget. In response, conservatives recruited fiscally responsible primary opponents to challenge these fiscally irresponsible Republicans.

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By Wil Cardon
Candidate for Arizona Secretary of State

Recently, a federal judge issued a ruling saying that Arizona has the right to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. This may seem like common sense to most people. After all, why wouldn’t we require proof that you are an American citizen before you exercise one of the most important civic duties - voting. cardon jpeg

However, there are many on the left who do not want there to be any proof of citizenship before registering to vote. This week, the Obama administration announced that they were going to fight that decision. And here in Arizona, my opponent has made quite clear that he does not support requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

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Yesterday, the City Council voted to give City Manager Ed Zuercher a $56,000 pay increase. Councilman Gates, Councilman DiCiccio and myself voted against this pay raise, like I voted against former City Manager David Cavazos' pay raise.

At a time when the City is facing a $37.7 million deficit, I felt it was unacceptable to give a pay raise. This is an instance of the City over spending while claiming to be broke. Money should not have been spent last year on golf courses, the Melrose Arch or poetry about recycling. And this year we should not be spending money on pay raises.

Thanks so much,

Jim Waring
Phoenix Vice Mayor - District 2

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Not to channel Hillary Clinton but it does seem women often endure a double standard in the political arena.  Donald Trump’s campaign theatrics make him a “leader,” “entertaining,” and “commanding.”  Imagine if a woman acted so.  “Bitch” would be the most frequently used term.  Like it was when Christine Jones ran for Governor in 2014.  Others have avoided such labels with disarming traits:  Brenda Burns (principle).  Janet Napolitano (smarts).  Kyrsten Sinema (humor).

And that leads us to the tony town of Paradise Valley and one Maria Syms.  She burst onto the scene in 2012 and a combustible race against the person who defeated her for Mayor, Scott Lemarr.

The electorate did not doubt her spirit but let’s just say the marketplace felt a little Christine Jones about her post-election.

What a difference a few years makes.

She was elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council.  She was tapped by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be a top advisor.  She matriculated through the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and is a graduate of a U.S. Attorney’s Office.   She’s a mom, wife, and articulate defender of community character and the resonance of resorts.

The right and recalibrated combination of sass, class and charisma has positioned Syms towards a broad political horizon.  Who knows where she goes from here, but it’s pretty impressive where she’s already been, and is.

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The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great.  Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.

The campaigns in suppIMG_0638ort of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too.  Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument.  You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.

The trust thrust was and is misguided.  After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service.  And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.

But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point.  In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale.  Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc.  – should be allowed an up or down vote.  That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona.  We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block.  We do so individually.

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Scottsdale is on a roll. While no community can expect a sunny headlines all the time, let’s just say these past few weeks have been very, very good to Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Business Journal put out an article that says Scottsdale is one of the best places in the United States for a startup business.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Reporter Haley Ringle wrote, “This is no surprise to the Phoenix Business Journal since our reporters often drive out to Scottsdale to talk to thriving businesses and startups.”

You can read the complete story here.

The other sunny shoe dropped in the Arizona Republic which reported Scottsdale is taking in record amounts of sales tax revenue thanks to sporting events and a tourist trade that keeps expanding. It was a very good year with local tax revenues hitting $258.9 million.

Here is a link to the rest of the story.

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*Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State again reminded Arizonans what it’s like to have someone with a firm grip on the wheel.  His predecessor always made the public feel like a passenger to a driver’s permit.

*It should be noted that McCain’s time in the U.S. Senate and Ducey’s time as Governor will both end in 2022.  Who knows if Ducey would ever want to succeed him but he would undoubtedly be an impediment to those who prefer waiting McCain out to taking him on.

*When people now ask whether Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale or Gilbert has the best downtown it shows how far Phoenix and Gilbert have come.

*The success of a young Phoenix Coyotes team is an underreported local sports story and an underappreciated sports achievement.

*Many in the media are quietly asking and exploring how likely it may be that the Phoenix Suns relocate its arena to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

*With the Scottsdale Tribune expiring years ago and the Scottsdale Republic cutting two more reporters it might be the case that the Scottsdale Independent is the closest thing the city now has to a newspaper of record.

*Craft brew houses are everywhere, thank goodness.  Flashbacks:  Coyote Springs at 20th & Camelback.  Hop’s at Scottsdale Fashion  Square.

*Former Scottsdale School District Superintendent David Peterson’s tirade and accusations as he departed might be the most pathetic and inaccurate report since Brian Williams was on the air.

*Wendy Rogers needs to go away.

*In today’s Wall Street Journal there was a short article on the Sussman house in Paradise Valley listed for $35 million, along side Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion which will only cost you $200 million.  And it’s required that Hugh stays.  Unknown if the Playmates come with.

 

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Not all content here needs to be political.  Nor should it.  Our job is to stir thought.  And that's what this article does.  A businessman who runs as local rock legend Roger Clyne sings, "Counterclockwise."  It's a good read.  And a different way of getting ahead in business.

From the New York Times: North Korea Is Newest Frontier for a Daredevil Investor
By Penn Bullock

He searched for oil in the badlands of Somalia and fueled a stock market boom in Mongolia. He sued the world’s smallest republic, far out in the Pacific, for a chunk of what it is worth. Now, he is betting on North Korea. James Passin, a hedge fund manager at Firebird Management, believes the nuclear ­armed country sits on as much as a billion barrels of crude — enough to make it as big a producer as Oklahoma. If the oil exists, he wants to help unlock it.

Click here to read the entire article

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by Loyd Eskildson

The Arizona Legislature took away SUSD’s near monopoly on students living within the district when it passed the 1994 law enabling charters. Since then SUSD has lost an ever increasing number of pupils and associated funding. The total number of pupils currently lost is estimated to be as high as 12,000. Using a conservative number of 10,000 pupils funded at $8,500/each suggests that SUSD personnel and pupils are currently losing $85 million/year. That number has steadily grown.

Why did this happen? Instead of making ‘Job One = Customer Satisfaction,’ the district instead focused on simply obtaining more money from residents and the State, rebuilding/renovating facilities, and maintaining an environment of ‘Happy Talk’ at Board meetings. The primary concern of parents withdrawing their children – lack of alternatives to what many saw as inadequate discipline and achievement goals, was largely ignored/dismissed. As for the disappearing students - that was either denied or ‘rationalized’ via highly implausible excuses. Meanwhile, neighboring public school districts raided SUSD, while competing charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools steadily added capacity and filled those seats with the children of dissatisfied SUSD parents. More of these seats will be available next year, and they’re already working to fill them.

SUSD’s losses could soon create a downward spiral. Given the rationale of most parents for removing their children from SUSD, it wont take long for SUSD pupil achievement to also start trending downward, creating more incentive for even more parents to withdraw their children.

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Ever since a 2002 statewide vote Arizona tribes have had a monopoly on gambling. You remember the promises:  grant us this right and we’ll do good by it, help our people and keep gambling on our lands.

Then along came the Tohono O’Odham tribe from Tucson.  Through clever lawyering, political chicanery and sleights of hand that would make any great blackjack dealer jealous, they claimed a right to put a new casino on acquired land near the Phoenix Coyotes’ hockey arena.

Opposition from state leadership over the years has been intense.  After all, the tribes promised in 2002 to keep gambling in certain places.  Until a tribe 200 miles south of Glendale decided to go rogue.

This Sunday the Tohono O’Odham tribe will try to claim some victory as they debut their new Desert Diamond “Casino” at 9341 West Northern .  But if media reports about the new facility are to be believed, claims of victory are pyrrhic, to put it generously.

Consider that it can and should be called the most unrewarding casino in the world. Why? Because it can’t even serve alcohol until at least February according to AZCentral.  Here is a link.

No booze at a casino?  That’s like baseball without peanuts.  Pizza without cheese.  Or a bikini without boobs.

And if you’re expecting to play blackjack or slot machines, think again.  Because casino backers have so alienated lawmakers all they can engage in is Class II gaming. What’s that?  Glorified bingo. 

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It’s up for debate that it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks because of all the established companies who are mixing things up. Businesses across the nation are finding that they can indeed learn new tricks and even put their own spin on it.

Starbucks is constantly working to keep as up to date as possible with the latest trends, from having themed cups and matching drinks, to having wine in different locations. It seems that Starbucks has also found another new future for itself in art.  Not the art that you can hang on the wall, but the art of who works for their company. The baristas are the heart and soul of their company and are whom the customers interact with everyday.

Take Angus Maxwell in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A barista at Starbucks who loves to brew artisanal cups of coffee for avid coffee lovers. He continues to brew coffee in different ways to keep up with the boutique roasters nearby.

It is baristas like Maxwell that contribute to Starbucks success, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive officer. In a flat market year, Starbucks shares saw a 50 percent increase. Why? Innovative baristas like Maxwell keep the company fluid and help it adapt to new things.

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Canals have a rich history in Arizona. Used for transporting water along the desert landscape, canals have been bringing new life to the area for hundreds of years. Now, the Grand Canal has the opportunity to restore this feeling of new life throughout Phoenix and make the canal another reason to enjoy the state’s largest city.

A $10.3 million grant was given to the City of Phoenix from the Department of Transportation to refresh the Grand Canal. This refresh will be an upgrade to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a potentially powerful tourist attraction for Phoenix. 

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*How poorly was a political campaign run? One can usually tell by how long it takes to get campaign signs down post-election.  One MONTH after four of the six Scottsdale bond proposals failed “YES” signs are still up.  To those who ran the campaign show some respect to those you tried, and failed, to persuade.

*The number of photo radar cameras in Paradise Valley is getting out of control.

*It appears to be a 2-person race in Glendale for Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Weiers has raised about $90,000.  Upstart Mark Burdick a respectable $26,000.

*State Representative Jeff Weninger is the prohibitive favorite to succeed current Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

*As is the case with their emerging battle nationally, Arizona campaigns for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are setting the pace in Arizona with an impressive number of endorsements

*Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, most recently defeated in a Republican primary for the Arizona House of Representatives, has filed to run for Mayor against Jim Lane.  Littlfield had considered running for the Arizona Corporation Commission and as an independent for another run at the Arizona House.  Lane has already raised over $150,000 for his final and term limited bid for office. 

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The good news is that after heavy revisions to a flawed Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan introduced earlier this year it’s now in a positive place, and nearing approval.  Anecdotal and polling information all demonstrates overwhelming support for the project.  And there appears to be a solid majority of supporters on the Paradise Valley Town Council two weeks before a scheduled December 17th vote.

The bad news is that Vice Mayor Paul Dembow, who purportedly has higher political aspirations, is showing leadership qualities far short of such ambition.

When he first ran for the Paradise Valley Town Council Dembow ran on a platform vehemently opposed to approval of the Montelucia Resort at Tatum & Lincoln.  He even ran newspaper ads with the universal “no” sign slashed over the hotel’s name.  He lost.  Two years later he won, running on a pro-resort platform.

Subsequently he rightfully voted for a plan to revitalize the old Mountain Shadows Resort property.  The plan is dense, the densest one ever approved in Paradise Valley, and far more intense than that now being proposed for the Ritz.

Yet, despite the public support – including the support of the largest HOA closest to the site -- and substantial tax revenue the project would mean -- Dembow still appears to be uncommitted.  Indeed, the Ritz revenue could offset and mean reductions in tax increases Dembow approved while on council.

Why this convolution?

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By Shikah Dalmia
Senior Analyst at the Reason Foundation

With Congress stuck among the contradictory demands of labor, business and talk-radio restrictionists, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama has been able to move the needle on immigration reform. Meanwhile, as the economy gathers steam, states face a tight labor market at all skill levels.

There might be a way forward, if Congress enacts legislation to give states standing waivers or permission to craft their own guest-worker programs. It sounds radical, but several states, red and blue, have already been trying to do this.

California, New Mexico and Kansas have passed resolutions or drafted legislation to issue guest-worker visas to undocumented aliens. Three pending bills in Texas would let state employers hire foreign workers from abroad on temporary work visas. Utah’s conservative legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2011 to let undocumented workers obtain a two-year visa. But Utah’s program has been postponed, because immigration is a federal function and states would need federal waivers. President Obama has stonewalled Utah’s waiver request.

One way to release states from the partisan whims of administrations would be for Congress to erect a statutory architecture under which states could implement their own guest-worker programs. Canada has done this through its highly successful Provincial Nominee Program.

Read entire article here.

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Phoenix, AZ – After hearing of Senator Driggs’ decision to not pursue a fourth term in the Arizona Senate, Kate Brophy McGee announced her intention to run for the newly vacated seat with the following statement:
BROPHY_MCGEE
“Senator Driggs and his family have had a long and distinguished career in public service for our great state. Senator Driggs has served his constituents in LD28 loyally and tirelessly. He has always served in the Legislature with integrity, nobility, and dignity. I’m proud of Senator Driggs’ accomplishments. In that legacy of strong, principled leadership, I am announcing my candidacy for the LD28 Senate. I am deeply grateful for Senator Driggs’ endorsement to kick off my campaign.

This is an important race for Arizona. I am ready, enthusiastic and prepared, and fully committed to winning this campaign and continuing my dedicated service to this state and my district. The campaign will focus on the issues that matter to Arizonans, and seek to build on the recent progress we have made in the economy, education, and providing for our most vulnerable citizens. We need a Senator who is able to work with the Republican majority and the Governor to advance sound public policy.”

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Polling shows that Trump and Clinton hold national-primary leads in a volatile and upset electorate.

By John McLaughlin & Jim McLaughlin - January 21, 2016

The latest results from our national survey of 1,007 likely voters conducted between Thursday, January 14, and Monday, January 18, shows that the voters are very upset and quite unhappy, and they want change. At the top of their respective primaries remain Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The poll included 457 voters - 383 Democrats and 74 Independents - who would vote in the Democratic primary. It also included 421 voters - 322 Republicans and 98 Independents - who would vote in the Republican primary.

Among Republican primary voters, Trump led with 36 percent followed by Cruz 17 percent, Rubio 11 percent, Carson 9 percent, Bush 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Christie 4 percent, Kasich 3 percent, Fiorina 2 percent, Huckabee 2 percent, Santorum 1 percent, and 6 percent undecided.

However, virtually all these primary voters had a second choice. Among the total, their second choice was Cruz 22 percent, Rubio 14 percent, Bush 11 percent, Trump 10 percent, Carson 10 percent, Fiorina 6 percent, Christie 6 percent, Huckabee 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Kasich 2 percent, and Santorum 1 percent. It was clear that Ted Cruz has the most upside potential, followed by Marco Rubio, while only one in ten who currently aren't voting for Trump see him as a second choice.

The great caveat will be that there is no national primary day. Instead as each state votes, the results could influence the next state primary and the national vote, as candidates gain or lose momentum.

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By Democrats For Education Reform

It’s no secret that Arizona’s public schools are hurting for state support. Over the past eight years, our schools have suffered some of the deepest cuts of any school systems in the nation. It is with this in mind that Democrats for Education Reform supports Proposition 123, which will be on the May special election ballot.

While we are fully supporting Proposition 123, Democrats for Education Reform wants to be very clear about one thing: Proposition 123 is not the solution to Arizona’s school funding woes, it is only the beginning. We agree with the Senate and House Democrats, as well as educational advocates across the state, in that Arizona needs to have a much larger conversation about both adequately funding and improving our public schools.

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by State Senator Katie Hobbs

Last Monday, as the legislative session began, the Arizona Legislative Democrats unveiled our priorities for the state. We have a clear vision for improving our state by making strategic investments to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and improve our schools.

First and foremost, we know that restoring the voter-mandated inflation funding with the lawsuit settlement in Prop 123 (to be voted on in a special election in May) is just the start when it comes to re-investing in K12 education. We have to keep good teachers from leaving Arizona, and we propose mentoring and retention incentives for our best teachers. We also need to restore building renewal funds and bring our classrooms up to date with materials and technology.

We must also re-invest in our higher education system for Arizona to remain competitive in the 21st century. We have the ability to restore at least half of the $99 million in cuts to the state universities that were made in year’s budget.

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Virginia Korte, life-long Valley resident and career-long advocate for a better Scottsdale, announced today that she will seek another term on the Scottsdale City Council.

“I am proud of what we accomplished during my first term on City Council, but there is so much more that must get done for our community” the veteran leader said.

“Over the past four years, Scottsdale has made significant strides in ensuring that our roads are safe and the necessities that allow our city to be great are nurtured and protected,” Korte says. “At the council’s insistence, city staff reduced staffing levels by 13 percent, or 377 employees, eliminated unnecessary services, consolidated work spaces, and sold unneeded buildings.”

Korte said her goals during a second term are to sustain the qualities that make Scottsdale a great place to do business and create jobs, while ensuring that all residents have an opportunity to benefit from those amenities and participate in creating a great city. Korte also knows education is a critical tool for economic development and to enhance Scottsdale’s future. Korte chaired the 2014 successful “Yes to Children” campaign to renew Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget override and remains an advocate for Scottsdale’s schools.

Korte hails from a family that is tightly woven into the fabric of a city that ranks among the best places to live in the world.

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In Arizona having noteworthy names has often led to electoral success.  Democrat Paul Newman was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission, even though he came from a small town in southern Arizona.

Then there was Sandra Kennedy, an African-American and former state legislator who put shamrocks on her campaign signs to suggest she was part of the famous family back east.  She won too.

And don’t forget Bob Stump who purportedly altered his name to that of a revered Arizona congressman.  It worked.  Stump was elected to the legislature and then the Arizona Corporation Commission.

So that brings us to Dan Schweiker, an executive with China Mist Tea Company.  He’s running for the Scottsdale City Council.  And who is the popular U.S. Congressman for the Scottsdale area?  David Schweikert.

 

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