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2018 Scrum

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.”

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Caroline May
Breitbart
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.MattSalmonRepArizona

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."

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“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:al melvin

“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.

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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.

Jan_Brewer 3It 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.
Sounds legit.

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Cave Creek, Arizona – Republican candidate for Governor, Arizona businessman and education consultant, and former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs today filed more than 10,400 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to qualify for the ballot.riggs

In less than four months, the Riggs campaign collected almost double the 5660 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. "No other candidate collected as many signatures in such a short period of time," Riggs' campaign manager Darcie Johnston said. "We thank all of our grassroots volunteers and supporters around the state who made this possible."

Riggs said. “There may be a big field in the Republican primary for governor, but I’m the proven, tested and trusted candidate for Governor. I offer a clear choice and new direction for Arizona. I will stop the 'Obamanization of Arizona' by repealing Common Core and rolling back the unsustainable expansion of Medicaid."

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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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There are few nicer people in Scottsdale than Kathy Littlefield.  Or as irascible as Bob Littlefield.  Scottsdale should not be their guinea pig and allow Bob to serve as Mayor (he’s a longshot candidate) while Kathy serves as a Councilwoman.  The plethora of open meeting law violation possibilities and other legal problems would likely be long while civic tempers grow short at the weirdness their ways would mean for the city.   But that doesn’t mean their collective efforts in other areas can’t be applauded.

Take what they did for the struggling residents of the Wheel Inn Ranch Trailer park.  As reported by the Scottsdale Independent the couple along with Councilman Guy Phillips and others stepped up for some people who needed it most. 

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Old people like to drink too.  That was manifested in Scottsdale for many years at a place called Chances Are.  There it sat on Miller Road, just south of Camelback and across from a lot of residences.  It became to septuagenarians in the area what Studio 54 once was to the Big Apple.

Back then we didn’t hear many complaints about bars in that part of town.  Maybe that’s why city leaders wisely called for siting more bars and clubs in an “Entertainment District” east of Scottsdale Road, not too far from Chances Are.  Such would leave  downtown neighborhoods to the west of Scottsdale Road more for dining establishments.  The locale of places like Jetz, Stix, Planet Earth, The Works and Anderson’s Fifth Estate would be no more.   It seemed to be wise planning.  And everyone signed on.

Then something impressive happened.  Small business people started creating compelling places for younger people like Axis, Radius, El Hefe, Maya, W Hotel, Martini Ranch, Maloney’s, DJs and many others just where the city wanted them.  Scottsdale’s Entertainment District started resembling the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.  The planning worked.  Too well for some as it turned out.

Soon the calls to revoke permits and deny more small businesses in the area occurred.  It’s as if they were Soviets, not Smith as in Adam.  We don’t want to be sleepy or sensational so let’s just be injudicious. 

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We have opined before that one of Scottsdale’s great strengths over the years has been an enduring, mature governing majority. While Scottsdale’s political schizophrenia often yields a Littlefield or Zraket it doesn’t usually flush sanity or common sense when decisions come to the dais.

This can be difficult when neighborhood unrest is significant. But it’s in those times having a council consisting of accomplished individuals makes all the difference. Scottsdale isn’t Glendale. They know having succeeded in business and life what it takes to move an organization forward. And despite political turbulence from time to time keeping the ship steady and prosperous is more important to the community’s quality of life than being a lurch for a loud, micro-minority.

The upcoming decision on Rancho Paraiso is a case in point. West of Scottsdale Road and along Cactus a new ranch is being proposed on six acres. Keep in mind this is an area of horse properties. Keep in mind it would hardly be Scottsdale’s largest ranch. Keep in mind the neighbors closest to the site including Arizona Diamondbacks’ legend Luis Gonzales support Rancho Paraiso. At a time of Scottsdale recently losing Greasewood Flat, Pinnacle Peak Patio and other “western” elements the case on its surface has all the making of an easy, unanimous council vote. Indeed, it SHOULD be a unanimous vote.

Yet, a separate contingent of neighbors despite living amongst horses don’t want more of them. The whole thing is odd.

But in the governing tradition mentioned above Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven has been attempting to mediate a compromise. She’s tough, she’s independent and she has a particular view of what drives Scottsdale forward. Voters must like her approach. She was rewarded as the top vote getter in the 2014 city council elections despite being targeted with negative advertisements.

Backers of the ranch proposal are well known Phoenicians. And when it comes to superb equestrian facilities this isn’t their first rodeo. They can be seen at the couple’s Promontory community in Park City.

At the suggestion of a neighbor who used to be an opponent but who is now a supporter the applicant has significantly reduced the number of horse stalls for the ranch to 48 with an additional requirement that it only be allowed to gain that number if it is fulfilling all promises, and is in compliance after one year. Until then the number of stalls is 38. Sounds pretty reasonable since there are much larger ranches east of the 101 on the Cactus Corridor. New stipulations have also been agreed to at the request of other neighbors.

But in a middle finger flip to Milhaven and the spirit of compromise some neighbors have responded with requests that look something like it was proffered by the Castros in Cuba not common sense near Cactus.  

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What the Thunderbirds are to the Waste Management Phoenix Open the Charros are to Scottsdale spring training.

They put on great events and raise ridiculous sums of money for local charities.  They are civic service at their best. Dennis-Pic

That’s why we were pleased to read this story recently in the Scottsdale Independent about Dennis Robbins becoming the new executive director of the Charros.

If there were ever a person to match the organization’s benevolence it would be the former Scottsdale City Councilman. Look up “good guy” and there you will find Robbins’ picture.  Scottsdale may have lost a councilman when he was surprisingly defeated in the 2014 elections but it just gained a lot more.

In fact, we can’t think of a better fit, unless it’s baseball and beer, something Robbins will help oversee now at Scottsdale Stadium every March.

 

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As we have written about before there is much to be excited about if you’re living in or focused on south Scottsdale.  From exciting new redevelopments at 64th Street and McDowell to the success of Sky Song and even a relatively new microbrewery the marketplace is abuzz about this revitalizing area.  The location is superb, proximate to recreational and transportation amenities.  The housing stock, both old and new, is diverse. Indeed, the new residential options coming into the area from cool apartments to new single family at the old Paddock Pools site on Thomas Road will bring the additional customers that have been needed for years for new stores and restaurants.

Yet, southern Scottsdale residents have felt a bit disenfranchised over the past two decades because rarely does one of their own sit on the council dais.  Oh, there was Kevin Osterman who did win one election before losing another some 12 years ago.  And some will remember Robert Pettycrew defying the odds in 1994.  City_of_Scottsdale_Script_Logo.svg

That’s two people in 22 years.  This year all members of the Scottsdale City Council live Shea or northwards.  That doesn’t mean the southern city doesn’t get due attention.  It clearly does as described above. But why not discuss and debate how city representation can get even better?

Well, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane did just that today with an announcement that he wants to reform city governance with a new, dedicated south Scottsdale council district. And have one for the distinct personalities of the central and northern part of the cities too.

He’s calling it a “hybrid” district system that would leave the Mayor and the three remaining members of council to be elected at large.  Here is a Scottsdale Independent article on Lane’s plan. 

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We believe Arizona voters should pass Governor Ducey’s landmark Proposition 123 on May 17th to settle lawsuits over the state’s K-12 public education system.  It’s a $3.5 billion injection of new money without raising taxes.  The new revenues come from future sales of state land.

The measure is an impressive, bi-partisan compromise.

Yet, some who have jumped on board, primarily from the left, want to hold it hostage as they ratchet up the rhetoric against an effort in the Arizona State Legislature to expand school choice.

Pass expanded student options they say and we may – or will – abandon support for Proposition 123 their threats go. 

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Arizona State University is coming to downtown Mesa, after it already helped revitalize downtown Phoenix.

A big new regional park is coming to Gilbert, following the resurgence of its downtown.

The expansion and enhancement of Margaret Hance Park in Phoenix is impressive.

It begs the question does Scottsdale still need big ideas of its own to move the community forward?  There’s a good argument it does not for it already boasts the likes of a massive preserve, recreational wash, renowned special events, the state’s best shopping mecca and a dynamic downtown.

But there are other smart opinions that no community can rest on its laurels because as Ricky Bobby might observe, if you’re not first you’re last.

A coterie of tourism leaders often point to the Desert Discovery Center as one such idea for Scottsdale.  We view it more as innate inertia.  Just because an idea has been around awhile doesn’t make it good, or novel.  We have a Desert Botanical Garden.  The McDowell Sonoran Preserve and its trailheads are already amazing.  Do we really need people and buildings to preach what nature and wildlife already make obvious?  After all, people don’t go to the Grand Canyon for the Hopi House.

To spark a discussion on what could or should be the next big thing in Scottsdale next we proffer several ideas:

*Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, is already one of the great tourist attractions in Scottsdale and indeed, the state.  It is currently pursuing designation as a World Heritage Site from the United Nations.  Look up the list.  To be included with such giants as the Taj Mahal and Pyramids would mean instant additional prestige for the city, as well as significant economic impact.  The city should be doing everything it can to assist the process.

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He Chuckled Like Jabba The Hut Before He Killed Citizen Rights

Avid Star Wars fans will remember Jabba The Hutt’s laughter at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.

That’s the way many probably feel after reading former Scottsdale City Councilman, defeated State Legislative candidate and current Scottsdale Mayoral candidate Bob Littlefield’s recent tome.

After resembling Grumpy during the early days of his quixotic quest to join his wife on the Scottsdale City Council, Littlefield proffers a sunnier disposition outlining some of the things that are good about Scottsdale before assigning responsibility alone to residents – not businesses – who helped make them happen. Jabba_the_Hutt

President Obama is in Cuba this week.  Littlefield’s reasoning reminds us a bit of Che Guevara. Or Bernie Sanders, who was in Phoenix this week.  People good.  Business bad.  It sounds more like Sweden than Scottsdale. 

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As soon as Willard “Mitt” Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts he began running for President.  After losing the GOP nomination in 2008 he immediately started running again.  After being the nominee in 2012 he lost a winnable general election.  Then he started calling upon his inner Adlai Stevenson (a 3-time loser for the Democratic nomination for President) and quietly embarked on plans for a third Oval Office run. mitt-romney-35df95759d8b8e46

But then the early Jeb Bush juggernaut – to be confused with the later “low energy” WASP -- scared him out.

But that hasn’t stopped the wily Willard, always on the look out for himself.  After enthusiastically embracing Donald Trump in 2012 Wily Willy now sees opposition to him as a bank shot to the banks of the Potomac. These efforts continue on the eve of Arizona's presidential primary as well as one in Utah.  

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By Scottsdale City Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp

There is little about City Council meetings that I cannot tolerate. I support freedom of speech and welcome people to come to the City Kiva and express their opinions about many subjects. My patience is very well established. klapp

Fault me if you want, but enough is enough when a Satanist group, not even based in Scottsdale, wants to disrupt our meetings by giving an invocation to the entire Council meeting audience. And it is certain this will be a disruption.

The group applied to come to the meeting in April, then backed off when the city administration approved the request. It was obvious the group was just testing our response. We had a slight reprieve, until they came back with another request recently and were given July 6 as the date to be at the Council meeting.

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By Former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Betty Drake

Scottsdale, the “West’s Most Western Town,” is a place with a long tradition of welcoming and supporting the horse community. From its earliest days, there were horse ranches, horse shows, polo, rodeo, horse communities and horse trainers, many right in the middle of residential areas. Horses are part of Scottsdale’s image and culture.

Today, people lament erosion of the horse community in Scottsdale, as horse ranches leave and equestrian properties are subdivided. Areas of the city where traditionally horse ownership was high and local trails maintained are being eroded, with people moving in who block off the trails, do not own horses and often object to those who do.
The neighborhood where the Najafi Ranch is proposed has been a treasure for horse-lovers. Many people keep horses on their properties. There’s a community horse arena at Mescal Park and remnants of the internal trail system. Throughout the neighborhood, though, horse properties are being replaced with homes you could find anywhere in town. The area is in danger of losing its unique history and identity.

There have been many horse ranch and training facilities located within residential areas of Scottsdale. I have kept horses at some of these and have taken lessons at others over my 45+ years in the Valley, 30 of those years spent in Scottsdale. Look at Flying Fox Farm, Heitel Ranch, Jeffrey Wilms Training, and Camelot Farms. Looking along the Cactus Corridor.

Sandspur, at Cactus and 93rd Street, is a large facility that has been there many years, with arenas right next to single-family non-horsey homes. I boarded there and it was wonderful to be able to drive less than 10 minutes to ride. At one point it was rezoned as a subdivision but a horse-loving individual bought the property so the equine uses could remain. Other properties along Cactus have not been so lucky.

Pretty Penny Ranch was a large boarding and training ranch located in a residential area. When Pretty Penny announced that it was closing so the land could be turned into a subdivision, the horse community was up in arms.

Piece by piece. Property by property. The horses are being squeezed out of Scottsdale.

I’m a life-long horse person who just plain hates to see this happen. I can’t understand why the horse people aren’t storming the public hearings demanding that the Najafi Ranch be approved. Sure, 52 horses sounds like a lot on paper, but go look at a training barn with that many horses. It’s a reasonable number. It’s two barns.

I’ve known Francis Najafi for over 20 years. He’s a guy who does things right. There will be state-of-the-art dust control, fly control, construction and maintenance. As is typical of training ranches, a capable, professional manager will live on-property to assure that the highest standards are maintained. Najafi Ranch will be a magnificent, showcase facility, a considerable investment in our horse community and a statement that the City is committed to preserving Scottsdale’s signature horse culture.

 

 

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Are all developer requests for rezonings good?  Of course not.  But nor are they all bad as Scottsdale’s current and former councilmembers Kathy Littlefield, Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips often wax ineloquent.

Take this article in today’s Scottsdale Republic.  The revitalization of McDowell Road has perplexed city planners and authorities for years.  But progress is finally at hIMG_0604and.  From SkySong to Fate Brewing Company to this new effort at 64th Street and McDowell to transform shuttered car dealerships into a mixed-use project.  What an exciting time for the corridor.

The developer behind the Entrada plan and property is one of Arizona’s wealthiest individuals.  He’s realizing as others have understood that this parcel, this area, is both blessed and underappreciated.

A quick shot west on McDowell takes you to the Loop 202.  A bit further east is the 101.  Across the street is Papago Park.  And the Desert Botanical Garden.  And the Phoenix Zoo.  And the Papago Golf Course.  Just further south is the old Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the new home of ASU baseball.  Mill Avenue is a short drive away as is the energy of downtown Scottsdale.  Be in the middle of it all isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s reality. 

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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.

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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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