The Conservative's Corner
Some politicians just want it too badly. They are just too obvious. Everyone who sees what they are doing knows what they are doing. Yet these same politicians seem to have no idea that they aren’t fooling anyone.
Exhibit A for today is Arizona Secretary of State wannabe Michele Reagan.
For years she has wanted to be elected to statewide office, especially Secretary of State. Facing a daunting primary challenge just to retain her State Senate seat, Reagan decided that 2014 was the perfect time to run for it. The only problem is that after more than a decade in the legislature, she really didn’t have much of a record to run on as related to the SOS office, and what record she was known for was left of center on a host of issues.Read more
In fact, the Republican Primary for Attorney General may be the ugliest race of any election year in Arizona history. And we are basing that solely on how ugly it already is here in 2013. Familiar faces, familiar tactics, hypocrisy by the boatload, and two candidates who are likely to get lost in all of the mud. Oh yes, and a Democrat nominee hoping all of this comes to pass.
The offending group is the ironically named Arizona Public Integrity Alliance. Don’t bother trying to find out who is paying for their work because their donors are secret. Their Vice President and spokesperson is Tyler Montague who, when we last saw him, was working with liberal bomb-thrower and racial demagogue Randy Parraz to recall conservative Republican Russell Pearce and replace him with Jerry Lewis.
Their target is Republican Attorney General Tom Horne. Their tactic is smear. They want you to know that Tom Horne has been accused of having an affair, was accused of giving jobs to “cronies”, was investigated by the FBI, and took campaign contributions from law firms who do business with the AG’s office.
They are spending a lot of money on ads and mailers designed to soften up Horne before the Republican primary and, to avoid campaign finance laws, they are disguising their attacks as issue ads in support of a newfound agenda to pass two reforms to the AG’s office. One of their early ads has already had to be pulled and redone because it was proven factually inaccurate.
What isn’t clear is if they simply hate Horne, they want to elect his Republican challenger Mark Brnovich, or they want to elect the Democrat candidate Felicia Rotellini. Because AZPIA’s donors are secret, we can’t know where their money is coming from. But Montague’s history of working with Democrats to elect more liberal candidates is well established, and the AZPIA’s attacks are basically rehashes of the Democrat Party’s talking points about Horne.
Republicans across Arizona are rightfully worried about Horne losing the general election to Rotellini in 2014. But they are ignoring that Horne has a largely solid record as AG and that Arizona remains a solidly red state. Rotellini and her allies outspent Horne and his allies in 2010 and he won anyway. It is quite probable that a united Republican Party would be able to defend Horne’s office in 2014. But smear campaigns fronted by Republicans and funded by dark money a year before the election promises to muddy both Republican candidates to the point where neither can recover. Then Arizonans will get to see what Chicago style politics really look like with Rotellini in charge.Read more
In the 2012 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature raised the contribution limits for statewide candidates from $912 per person once during an entire election cycle to $2,000 per person for the primary election and another $2,000 per person for the general election. The usual liberal suspects sued to stop the change, the Legislature and the Secretary of State's office argued that the changes were great, and the first judge agreed the changes were fine. So the liberals appealed and to the surprise of many, the appellate courts overturned the decision and ordered that the old limits needed to be reinstated. Now the whole battle is headed for the Arizona Supreme Court, except not everyone is on the same sides anymore.
Lo and behold the Secretary of State's office has reversed itself and is now arguing that the old status quo should remain to eliminate uncertainty. We’re not sure how uncertain a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court should be. Supreme Courts tend to have the final say on things, but the Secretary of State’s argument seems to have changed from what is right and Constitutional about the higher limits (and conversely what is wrong and un-Constitutional about the lower limits) to now arguing that it would be more convenient to keep the un-Constitutional limits in place. Ah yes, what to do about that pesky First Amendment, eh Mr. Secretary?
Fire up the conspiracy engines though. Because Secretary of State Ken Bennett is running for Governor using Clean Elections, and the establishment favorite is State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who is running by collecting money the old fashioned way. As it is, Ducey is going to raise a boatload of money, far in excess of Bennett¹s $800,000 take from Clean Elections. If Bennett wins at the Supreme Court, Ducey only gets to collect $912 per person. But if Bennett loses, Ducey can raise it $2,000 per person and that boatload becomes ocean liner huge.Read more
The entire story would take too long to write, but anyone can go online and find the entire history.
For now, all you need to know is that two groups in Arizona gave approximately $15 million to two campaign committees in California during the 2012 elections. One group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, is led by former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams. The second group, The Center to Protect Patient Rights, is led by Arizona-based political consultant Sean Noble.
The contributions were what is being called ”dark money” because the original source is concealed. These sorts of contributions are illegal in California, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission investigated these donations and the groups involved. The result of the nearly year long investigation is a series of financial settlements whereby the groups involved will pay massive fines and the Commission will allow these groups to continue to conceal the original source of their funds. Americans for Responsible Leadership and The Center to Protect Patient Rights will each pay $500,000 while the two California committees are being asked to pay nearly $15 million in penalties.Read more
What do Republican primary voters think of House Speaker John Boehner and why might it matter in next year’s CD1 Primary here in Arizona? Let’s call it “a Speaker thing”.
Activists in the GOP are largely disappointed with Speaker Boehner and his leadership and they are critical of what they see as his lack of conservative resolve. They don’t trust him to lead his caucus in a conservative direction if that means taking on established interests. They expect him to be weak and to cave at the end of each legislative battle.Read more
While the divisive fight over Medicaid Expansion was widely expected to produce primary challenges to the small number of Republicans who joined with the Democrats to pass it, early indications are that conservatives who voted against the expansion are increasingly finding themselves targeted by left-leaning Republicans who believe that crossing the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation ought to be a primary goal. Whether or not these challengers are successful will make a big difference to whether or not Arizona's Legislature remains solidly conservative.
In the West Valley, Litchfield Park City Councilwoman Diane Landis is challenging State Representatives Steve Montenegro and Darin Mitchell, who are two of the most conservative legislators in the State House. Both voted against the Medicaid Expansion and Landis'Read more
We are fans of the Arizona Republic. We also came into being due to their retreat from robust, community-oriented editorial content. Today, the Arizona Republic’s editorialists awoke from their frequent hibernation on matters local, reminding us how they can be wrong, not Wright.
Essentially, the Republic chastised the Arcadia neighborhood for its substantial opposition to a developer’s plan to commercialize the David Wright House, designed by the famed father for his son. Here is a link to the editorial.
The opposition appears to be based on the not unfounded frustration that what once seemed a noble effort to preserve and restore a house has metastasized into a commercial development ploy that would make even Donald Trump blush.
According to the Phoenix Councilman who represents the area, Sal DiCiccio, the effort to preserve this house now includes an outdoor performance venue, a “wine bar,” weddings and substantial tourist visitation levels. Just the way Mr. Frank Lloyd designed the house, Wright? Not exactly. He designed it as a peaceful retreat for his son with no commercial activity, unlike the current owner Zach Rawlings who is using Wright’s renown for an exceptional commercial development parlay.
We do have to give Mr. Rawlings credit for creativity, even if it now means any home of interest in the City of Phoenix can follow his lead for enrichment and disruption.
Maybe the Rawlings’ Austin Powers-like ingenuity is what led to the mancrush in today’s editorial It was written by a long-time scribe at the Republic well known for being a reliable tributary for Rawlings’ chief lobbyist.
During the love letter we were regaled to Rawlings’ selflessness and ties to the Valley, with neighbors being scolded for describing him as being someone from Las Vegas. Shame on they the Republic instructed, not realizing itself Rawlings’ has apparently been registered to vote in Nevada since 2007.
While the Republic is misguided at least they are consistent, trespassing on both white-collar neighborhoods like Arcadia, and blue collar ones alike.Read more
About a decade ago far north Scottsdale saw Rawhide relocate to the Gila River Indian Community. The property now houses a Sprouts, strip center and nursing home.
The venerable Scottsdale watering hole Greasewood Flat is set to be replaced this year with houses, as is Pinnacle Peak Patio.
And while its special nature can be questioned The Borgata was certainly an interesting space. It’s now going to be condominiums.
All of these properties had compelling reasons for evolution but it’s a fair to ask if Scottsdale is the better for it?
Most would say not. So that begs another question. Should special Scottsdale places receive special treatment to stay as they are?
Yes. Perhaps. Maybe. We hope so.
For example, if the Coach House and Rusty Spur go away for the non-descript is Scottsdale enriched? Perhaps financially but not socially, culturally. That’s why the activists that sought to keep and preserve an old church now city owned on Indian School Road should be applauded.
Republicans, and Scottsdale is a city full of them, typically don’t like “subsidies” where elected officials get to offer goodies for specific companies to come to town. Well, what about efforts to keep certain ones that help define its personality.
This could take the form of tax breaks, reimbursements, fee waivers and even city marketing assets for certain businesses and properties specifically reviewed and vetted, first by a citizen’s committee then by a council.Read more
It would be far more forthright for developer Jerry Ayoub, who wants to build a dense subdivision in Paradise Valley that happens to include a Ritz-Carlton hotel, to level with the good people in town rather than his current silly rhetoric.
It would go like this: I paid way too much for the large property at Scottsdale and Indian Bend during Arizona’s real estate heights. I spent too much on lawyers and lawsuits to keep the property. And now I have to pay whopping interest payments to Bob Parsons for a cash infusion I needed to hold on. If you want a Ritz in the shortest term I may be able to deliver one. But you have to bail me out of my quixotic adventure with development rights not tendered in the locale’s history. Not by a little bit. But by a lot.
So do town officials want to violate everything the community stands for just to get a Ritz now?
The citizenry likely won’t after the political con job behind the proposal becomes more well known. So let’s discuss and revisit.
Ayoub says the 4-story Scottsdale-approved apartment complex at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road is now causing him to go up, in violation of town principles. Granted, this was approved by Scottsdale not Paradise Valley but Ayoub as an adjoining property owner could have forced a supermajority vote on the matter, likely killing it. He didn’t by design. For reasons we are hearing now. Surely it was no coincidence that both projects share the same zoning attorney either.
The Ayoub camp is actually saying another Scottsdale approval, that for a 4-story condominium project on the old Borgata site influences its proposal too. What? That’s like half a mile away.Read more
Today, Hall of Fame funny man Will Ferrell is creatively making his way around the Cactus League to showcase a great cause.
That he is here at all, able to move so conveniently from one stadium to another, reminds us all of one of the Valley’s most notable achievements.
But that wasn’t always the case.
Some two decades ago Florida’s Grapefruit League was the favored place for the annual birthing of baseball.
But then Scottsdale City Councilman Jim Bruner stepped in, solidifying plans and funding to stop the Cactus League’s bleeding and the migration of more teams east.
Fast forward to November, 2000 when the Bidwill family, now capably led by Michael Bidwill, prevailed in a countywide vote that also included substantial new funds for Valley spring training stadiums. The inclusion of such funds in a football focused tax was self-serving. But so what?
We should be grateful to the Bidwills not only for a winning football team of late, or when a Super Bowl is in town, but each spring, for the Cactus League we have today.Read more
A Philosophy Enshrined In Opposition To Financial, School & Healthcare Choice
Prospective 2016 GOP nominees for President get asked it a lot. What does your party stand for? Ronald Reagan Redux. Freedom. American exceptionalism. Liberty. Those are a few of the familiar refrains.
More school choice to empower parents? No way. That would hurt the public school monopoly, teachers union and bloated administrative bureaucracy. Besides, parents: You’re too dumb to make such choices. We know best.
Or how about health care choices? Nope. That gets in the way of their goals for universal health care and one size fits all. Too many people will get snookered if too many choices exist.
And that brings us to something we opined about last week but the justification for responding further reveals itself with each Democratic demagogue since. Donkey alert. Payday lending in Arizona is dead. And that’s a good thing.
And so is financial choice, the heart of HB2611 legislation sponsored by State Representative J.D. Mesnard. We can’t have it Democrats say because proposed interest rates on unsecured loans are too high, and those who might advantage them will entwine themselves in debt. In other words you poorer people with few financial opportunities, you’re too dumb to know what you’re getting into.Read more
Since the closing of Los Arcos Mall some 15 years ago and a number of automobile dealerships more recently, Scottsdale’s primary political sport has been hand wringing about the future of McDowell Road.
An arena for the Phoenix Coyotes, SkySong, large new apartment projects, light rail, a New York City-like “High-Line” trail. There has been no shortage of ideas big and small to lift the area from perceived decline.
Yet, as took place up the street in downtown Scottsdale something more organic than planned seems to be occurring. After all, “south Scottsdale” is in the middle of it all.
Five minutes to the south is a thriving ASU. Just north is the fun and entertainment of downtown Scottsdale. To the east lies a recreation jewel, the Indian Bend Wash. The 101 Freeway is just beyond. Adjoining to the west is Papago Park with the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden and now the new home of ASU Baseball.
Pretty good neighbors indeed.
Sometimes the market is slow to recognize such strengths. This is changing in south Scottsdale. And often times the best changes are not prompted by master plans but by the imaginations of entrepreneurs.
Like those at Fate Brewing Company. It’s interesting. Most cool bars and restaurants go through an understood progression. Downtown Scottsdale. Mill Avenue. Maybe Chandler or Biltmore. Then North Scottsdale. But this brewery which started near Scottsdale and Shea is going from north to south. Unheard of!
And that’s why this is so encouraging. First movers will benefit from taking a chance on this area. It would be recognized as the next great neighborhood in the Valley, if it already wasn’t one. As smart business people are understanding.Read more
By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith
This Tuesday evening, February 24, the Scottsdale City council will debate the first real tax reform in recent memory. A workshop has been scheduled to discuss the proposal I made last month to eliminate the sales tax imposed on retail sales of food for home consumption.
Scottsdale's food tax collections amount to $11 million a year, borne substantially by Scottsdale's 220,000 citizens. A family of four might pay as much as $200 per year. More troubling, the burden of this tax weighs most heavily on those least able to afford it.
The Scottsdale Independent ran an editorial I submitted arguing for the elimination of food taxes, available at: http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/smith-scottsdale-city-council-debate-real-tax-reform-feb-24/
I hope you'll take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issues and follow this important debate. If you have questions to ask or opinions to share, I encourage you to email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
David N. Smith
Scottsdale City CouncilRead more
Republicans are evil. Single handedly they are responsible for squeezing the middle class. This is the constant Democratic Party refrain.
Except in Arizona, apparently.
Once upon a time she led a proper fight against pay day loans in Arizona. And voters agreed with her.
Congratulations Debbie, you won.
But the opposition by her and other Democrats to HB2611 is like the head coach who gets upset at the quarterback for calling a successful audible. Like the Republicans are now doing as it relates to the financial circumstances for so many that have changed in recent years. Banks won’t make post Great Recession small loans to lower credit individuals. Enter the wisdom of state legislation posed by Arizona State Representative J.D. Mesnard. He proposes so called “flex loans,” which are unsecured ones for people with lower credit scores. The interest rate is capped at 36%. But that’s not where opponents get riled. It’s the additional fees.
You mean like Wells Fargo just added? Going from $5 to $10 per month for low balance accounts? Or banks charging as much as $35 for a bounced check no matter how much the amount?
Opponents say this is “predatory lending” even though they don’t criticize credit card companies for luring millions of college students into high interest programs with minimum payments. Nor do they have an answer when people properly ask what their solution is to providing unsecured loans to people with low credit scores. There is a need after all. Go find a family member or friend they say. Right. Or Larry The Loan Shark.Read more
An analysis of Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) residential sales data for the
past six months show that homes with solar actually sell faster and at much higher prices than
homes without solar.
Through the end of 2014, homes with either owned or leased solar systems outpaced sales of
non-solar homes significantly. Contrary to what proponents of APS-backed SB1465 would like
the public to believe, solar leased homes sold the fastest of any home and at a higher price.
"This data proves what we have known all along; solar is a benefit to Arizona consumers and
makes homes more attractive to prospective buyers whether systems are leased or owned by
the original homeowner" said Mark Holohan, President of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries
Association (AriSEIA). "We ask that legislators take notice of this information the next time a
utility lobbyist sits in their office making baseless claims that solar makes it harder to sell a
home or doesn't add value for homeowners."
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio once did a campaign television commercial where he threw copies of the Arizona Republic in the trash. While a congressional candidate over a decade ago current Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio ripped the Valley’s paper of record similarly in direct mail. Others, most notably conservative blogs, cheer daily its hoped for demise. Don’t count us as one of them. There’s no doubt the Republic’s editorial page can be frustrating to Republicans, conservatives in particular.
Sheriff Arpaio can do no right. SB 1070 was wrong, notwithstanding the deaths of police officers and other community problems associated with massive illegal immigration. Fox News it is not.
But the Republic’s editorial page also endorsed popular Republican Governor Doug Ducey – in the primary and the general. Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl received similar treatment. And just today they termed Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton a “political liberal.” But arguing for their editorial page is not our key point. That has to do with their investigative reporting.
Government, business and society always have had and always will have actors operating in the shadows. What’s different now is the disturbing confluence of a decline of the fourth estate with the privileges granted corporations to wield more influence in elections. Who is left to point out the concerns? Who is left to peek in the darker corners and shine a light?Read more
A good man used to say “all politics is local.” Whether true or not there’s no doubt it’s cyclical.
Today, Arizona Public Service (APS) is feeling pretty good about itself. Attempting to foil innovation and more energy choice is its new way of doing business. After all, the company effectively owned, in the political sense that is, immediate past Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce.
And after its recent, robust election activity it thinks it owns at least two others. Whether that’s right or not remains to be seen.
APS’ largesse wasn’t about regard. It was about their bottom line. And they will squeeze whoever they have to, most especially their acquired allies, to beat stock expectations or qualify for bonuses.
No matter the issue – rates, solar, regulation, power lines – they will inevitably go too far. Power can’t help itself. Neither can arrogance or the demands of Wall Street.Read more
Scottsdale is a wonderful place and has rightfully been recognized by many for effective city government.
But several years back there was a movement to import personnel from Phoenix, led by long-time Phoenix Planning David Richert who later became Scottsdale City Manager.
Richert was and is a fine man, but some of his hires well, not so much.
Some of these experiments, led by Paul Katsenses, were never culture fits. Unlike Scottsdale’s history they always seemed to be more interested in the journey rather than the destination. Talking takes precedence over performance, except when fighting for one’s own bureaucratic existence.
That’s the thing about city employees. They rarely get fired. They get reassigned, keeping their big salaries and pensions.
Most cities farm such personnel out to a water services department, or other such innocuous do little harm part of the jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, Katsenes was spun off to WestWorld where he is essentially the General General Manager, a real head scratcher because the current General Manager Brian Dygert is well regarded, even commanding a letter several years back from the property’s biggest users, stating their regard.
Rather than somehow aid the promise of WestWorld Katsenses has become its laughingstock, routinely wasting users time when he is not wasting the Scottsdale taxpayer’s money.
Fortunately, the relatively new City Manager has a stiff spine and seems without constitution to suffer fools gladly.
Let’s hope so.
Taxpayers win more when there is greater accountability for government workers, and a greater chance they can be fired, not simply farmed out.Read more
My name is Alex Meluskey, and I'm running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona against John McCain because a seat in the U.S. Senate is more than just the comfortable job of one man. Arizona deserves better.
As a husband and father I am running out of a deep calling to stand for our Constitution and our Bill of Rights -- to stand for and revive our military, to stand with our veterans and fix the broken VA system, and to foster strong national security policies to protect the American homeland. These are some of the strong conservative principles that I stand for.
I have fought for conservative values my entire life, as a true champion of tax reform, the FAIRtax State Director in Arizona, and a syndicated talk show radio host.
I know firsthand the struggles of small businesses even during good economic times. My life has been about my family, and instilling those valued conservative principles into mine and Roberta's children.
John McCain has been in Washington for more than 32 years, which has clearly put him out of touch with the citizens of Arizona. John McCain is Hillary Clinton’s favorite republican and the Obama administration’s partner in foreign policy, and as you know, he is running for re-election in 2016.Read more
MESA, Ariz. (October 22) – Maricopa County Supervisor and Chairman Steve Chucri today announced his first major endorsement, Governor Doug Ducey, in his re-election effort.
"I've known Steve Chucri for many years, and he is exactly the kind of leader we need at Maricopa County – one who has applied private sector principles and a sharp business acumen to solving county problems and increasing the level of service for residents while also protecting taxpayer dollars,” Governor Ducey said. “As chairman of the Board of Supervisors, he has taken a conservative-minded approach to governing and led with integrity and transparency. Given his record of accomplishments during his first term, I'm proud to endorse Supervisor Steve Chucri for a second one and I look forward to continuing to work with him."
Chairman Chucri was elected to his first term in 2012 and has served as chairman since January of 2015.Read more
By Bob and Kathy Littlefield
Councilmember Guy Phillips just announced he is running for re-election to the Scottsdale City Council in the 2016 city election. We are supporting Guy and urge all of you to do so also. While we don’t agree with Guy on every issue, he has been a strong and consistent opponent of the parasitic development, supported by the City Council majority, which threatens Scottsdale’s special character and high quality of life. He has also been a fierce opponent of the wasteful spending that plagues our city government. We need to keep Guy’s voice on the Scottsdale City Council.
Unfortunately the special interests will be pulling out all the stops to defeat Guy. No doubt they will try to drown him in a tidal wave of special interest campaign money. So Guy will need lots of help. You can contribute to Guy’s campaign online via PayPal or by a check made out to “Committee to Elect Guy Phillips.” You can mail checks to Guy at 7131 E. Cholla St., Scottsdale, AZ 85254.Read more
By Sheriff Paul Babeu
We’ve been saying it for years … Washington, DC needs a new sheriff in town. There’s cleaning up to do.
It’s time to arrest all the spending and debt created in Washington.
It’s time to arrest the flow of illegal immigration into this country that makes a mockery of the rule of law.
And it’s time to arrest the ambition of professional politicians who toe the establishment party line and only reach across it to grab a campaign contribution from special interests.Read more
By Scottsdale Councilmember Virginia Korte
PLEASE VOTE YES FOR SCOTTSDALE BONDS!
Since 1989, Scottsdale’s citizens have demonstrated great foresight, fiscal responsibility, and logical long-range planning having passed capital bond projects totaling over $700 million dollars. Such purposeful investments resulted in the funding of what continues to make our city thrive and our citizens’ quality of life stellar: libraries, parks, senior centers, public safety, transportation needs, a Cactus League baseball stadium, cultural and visual amenities, and so much more.
The financial impact of the 2015 bond’s approval ($95.5 million) will vary from resident to resident; the average value of a home in Scottsdale is $371,000; thus, a successful bond election will cost each household $3.50 per month. While theRead more
Arizona Republicans Want To Replace John McCain With A True Conservative! It is Time For John McCain To Retire!
By Restore American Liberty
Conservative Kelli Ward is officially leading John McCain for the first time in the polls! In a recent poll from independent firm Gravis Marketing, Kelli Ward was the choice of 45% of registered Arizona Republican primary voters while John McCain only garnered 36%. Approximately one fifth of voters still remain undecided. This poll is a huge shift from the May numbers that showed Kelli Ward trailing John McCain by 13 points. Momentum is on the side of Kelli Ward!
It is still early in the race and John McCain will soon launch a massive attack campaign. The establishment does not want John McCain to lose! Lobbyists and big money donors are prepared to do anything to attack Kelli Ward. Will you help fight back? Please contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, or more, to support Kelli Ward with voter contact and advertising! With your help, Kelli Ward can defeat John McCain!Read more
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