The Conservative's Corner
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
Watch TV news, read newspapers, and listen to any liberal politician or consultant, and they will tell you that Arizona's growing Hispanic population is turning Arizona from red to purple and will eventually turn it blue. They believe it is inevitable because their liberal ideology presumes that demographics determines ideology and voters will vote in a manner that can be predicted based on their race, gender, orientation, etc. And left-wing groups have generated tremendous news coverage from their liberal allies in the media, all focused on their voter registration efforts.
But submit their assumptions to a fact check and consider the following:
For the first time since statehood, Republicans now control every statewide office. In spite of a hijacked mapping process and the Democrats getting the bestpossible district lines, Republicans still hold large majorities in both the State House and State Senate. But the voter registration numbers tell the real story. By Election Day in 2008, Republicans held a voter registration advantage of 96,335 voters. By Election Day in 2010, that advantage had grown to 128,865 voters. By Election Day in 2012, after all the hype, media attention, and after the vaunted Obama machine's focus on registering Hispanics, that advantage had grown to 168,067.
And it isn't the case where Democrat gains have been outpaced by Republicans and/or Independents. Democrat registration from 2008 until 2012 actually fell by 70,000 voters. So Arizona's population continues to grow, the Hispanic population continues to grow, but the Democrat Party continues to shrink.
So here is a message to politicians - Message Matters! Stand for something!
Hispanics largely favor school choice, are pro-life and pro-marriage, and distrust large governments who want to control their daily lives. Those are conservative positions. So go get that vote by talking to voters about our positions on the issues, have more Hispanic candidates who can help to deliver conservative messages to the entire state, and never take assume you can tell a voter's ideology just by looking at them. That's what liberals do and, judging by their results here in Arizona, they are wrong.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. email@example.com
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
Editorials are usually 500 words of trope and tripe about this and that. But to this all we have to say is what very good news it is to have Tom Horne back in the private sector. And out of government. Where he was a walking embarrassment and shameless scoundrel.
MY FIRST DAY AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN
I want to thank everyone for your friendship and support during my time as your Attorney General.
I am now practicing law, which I did for 30 years, with the firm of Slaton and Sannes, which is now Horne, Slaton and Sannes. I expect to be trying cases and arguing appeals, and experiencing the satisfaction of winning for my clients, as I did for the state of Arizona as its Attorney General. I am located at 6720 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, suite 285, my phone number is 480-483-2178, and I am at your disposal.
Again, thank you for your support and your friendship.
Tom HorneRead more
Pundits are always lauding vision. Where is it? Who has it? Why isn’t there more of it.
Scottsdale is fortunate. Leadership and vision have led to impressive achievements like the Indian Bend Wash, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Civic Center and the Waterfront Canal, to name just a few points of pride.
In its own way the achievement of Shawn Yari and Tri-Yar Development is a spectacular vision realized. Whether one likes what has been achieved in Scottsdale’s “Entertainment District” south of Camelback and east of Scottsdale Road – and we do – it is a stunning statement.
Some 20 years ago who could imagine let alone bring to life what is there now?
Yari was a well liked nightclub owner of Empire at 24th Street and Camelback. Les Corieri’s Jetz & Stix bar and club was on the west side of Scottsdale Road, near where Culinary Dropout now sits.Read more
There exist three and a half noteworthy downtowns in the Valley. Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, with the half going to Glendale. Mesa’s doesn’t count as it is a beautiful performing arts venue surrounded by Fallujah. Chandler is making a move thanks to San Tan Brewing Company but still has quite a ways to go.
That brings us to Tempe, which is clearly separating itself from the others. The amount of development velocity underway is remarkable, a perspective that should be appreciated but a bigger picture that can be lost among the almost daily announcement about new stuff.
John Graham’s SunBelth Holdings and Marina Heights.
An attractive redevelopment of the Monti’s restaurant site.
A compelling new development vision for the Hayden Flour Mill.
The whirling dervish that is Arizona State University.
Even the Chinese are purportedly looking to get in on the action on the other side of Rural Road along Town Lake.
Some of these projects importantly offer quality new hotels which the area lacks in near embarrassing fashion.Read more
According to insightful reporting at the Paradise Valley Independent , the denizens of density behind the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and townhouse development in Paradise Valley are back.
A couple of reasons.
First, after viciously, and unsuccessfully attacking Mayor Scott Lemarr, his term is coming to an end. As a son of Paradise Valley Lemarr has long been a skeptic of the Ritz plans, that are actually being curated by Five Star Development – a company unrelated to the Ritz. Lemarr’s departure alone aids those seeking to pioneer more liberal development allowances in town.
Second, those who laughed at recent Ritz-Carlton/Five Star Development attempts to turn that which voters approved in 2008 into something reminiscent of Tempe have left or are leaving office come January.Read more
Northeast Valley residents saw change after the recent elections.
The Town of Paradise Valley will see the most after movings, goings and retirements.
And Scottsdale will incur some too as those more cautious about the city’s growth trajectory were narrowly favored.
While others could certainly be noted, one victor in each municipality exemplifies the marketplace filling that which they constantly request in more candidates: talent and regard.
Take Councilman-elect Mark Stanton in the 85253. Frequent smile. Good humor. Looks you in the eyes. And has served in the private and public sector with distinction. First as an accomplished public relations executive, then as the as the Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism.
With more gray hair across the border is Scottsdale’s David Smith. He can be prickly, but whether one is in agreement with him there is little doubting his brain cells and financial acumen. People like him are needed to check government largesse and inefficiency.Read more
By Bob and Kathy Littlefield
Residents of the Wheel Inn Ranch Trailer Park in South Scottsdale are being evicted from their homes and forced to relocate to other housing. Many have lived in this park for decades and over the years have helped to create the City of Scottsdale we all love. Most of them are now elderly, disabled, low income and, for the first time frightened of what their future holds for them.
The park’s new owner has told the residents they must be gone by the end of January to make way for his future development. Unfortunately, most of the park’s mobile homes are too old and fragile to be moved, so owners will be forced to abandon their homes, even though many residents have sunk their life savings into buying them and adding extensions to them. Even the homes that can be moved will be expensive to move, plus all external improvements (such as porches and carports) must be left behind.
Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield has worked with the City’s Community and Human Services staff to coordinate assistance from city, state and federal agencies. This includes the Veteran’s Administration, since some of these residents are veterans or spouses of veterans all the way back to World War II. However, this assistance only scratches the surface of what is needed to insure our fellow residents are safely relocated into housing they can afford by the January deadline.
That is why we are organizing this fundraiser and asking for your help. To insure all funds are properly accounted for and will be spent where they will do the most good, we have put together a committee of community leaders who will oversee the collection and disbursement of funds. Everyone involved in this effort is a volunteer: no one is getting paid, and all of the money collected will go to help the Wheel Inn Ranch residents. The committee members are: Former City Councilman Bob Littlefield, City Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, co-chair of the Scottsdale Coalition, Nancy Cantor, South Scottsdale neighborhood activist and non-profit executive, Cindy Hill, and Tonolea neighborhood activist, Jim Heather. Advisors to the committee are City Councilman Guy Phillips and Coronado neighborhood resident Martha Seaman, a Deacon with the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and President of the Valley Interfaith Project.
You can make a tax deductible contribution to help through "Arizona LEOS," an IRS-approved 501c3 charity which sponsors an Aging Safely program. If you donate online via PayPal please check "Add special instructions to the seller:" and write "Wheel Inn Ranch" in the box provided when you checkout. To contribute by check, make it out to "Arizona LEOS" and mail it to Wheel Inn Ranch Fund, 8414 E. Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85250. Please write "Wheel Inn Ranch" on the memo line and include your email address so we can save postage costs and email you a receipt.
The people at Wheel Inn Ranch are proud and independent folks who had secured a home and quiet lifestyle that met their needs and that they could afford. Now that their park is being destroyed, they do not know what to do or even how to ask for help.
So we are asking for them. Please help in assisting these Scottsdale citizens who, through no fault of their own, now stand in such urgent and desperate need.
Thank you so very much.
Bob & Kathy LittlefieldRead more
From the Rubio Campaign:
Today, at a speech to the Detroit Economic Club in Michigan, Marco Rubio will share his agenda for a New American Economy. Marco will specifically detail how his tax plan would help a small business owner and a single, working mom in Detroit.
Below are Marco's remarks, embargoed until 12:45pm ET, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you. It’s great to be at the Detroit Economic Club today. I can think of no better place to discuss the challenges and opportunities before our nation than Detroit.
No city understands the vision and toil it took to build the American Century better than Detroit. No city understands the heights attainable through the American Dream better than Detroit. And no city understands the pain of losing that Dream – and the importance of restoring it – better than Detroit.
And that is why this city, the heart of the old economy, is the perfect place to discuss how we can embrace A New American Economy – one even grander and richer in opportunity than ever before.
I want to begin by looking back to 1896, when in a small rented workshop on Mack Avenue, less than 10 miles from here, a man constructed what was referred to by some as a “pile of scrap iron.” Just seven years later, that man – Henry Ford – founded the Ford Motor Company, and his pile of scrap iron became the first affordable automobile, which would put the world on wheels and alter the nature of work and life forever.
What ended up making this story remarkable was not one outstanding genius or one transformative company. It was how the entire American economy took an invention and turned it into an engine for prosperity. The affordable automobile did not create a business; it created thousands of businesses. It brought new opportunities within reach of our people.
For most of history, entire generations would pass without seeing a new innovation as transformative as the automobile. But the pace of human progress changed during the industrial revolution and has accelerated ever since. Unbelievably, the Ford Motor Company was not even the clear winner for the most transformative development of the year 1903. Two brothers from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina also had a breakthrough that year that did nothing less than alter the course of history.Read more
FOX News’ Chris Wallace: “In terms of winners, Marco Rubio did very well.” (FOX, 8/6/15)
Charles Krauthammer: “That [clip] you showed of Rubio, I thought, was the best expression of his campaign, and was the best way to take on Hillary.” (FOX, 8/6/15)
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: “You talk to Democrats and they are concerned about [Rubio] because Rubio presents that generation contrast.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: Rubio is “a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” “Are we really going to go backwards in generations or do we go forward to GenX, which is Rubio. Which as Americans. we usually want to move forward. That's
what makes him a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp: I think Marco Rubio scared [Hillary Clinton].” Chris Matthews: “Put yourself into the body and mind of Hillary Clinton right now. Who scared her?” ACU’s Matt Schlapp: “Who scared her? … I think Marco Rubio scared her. I think that he, in so many ways, resembles the kind of opponent she fears.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)
Fox News reports that Marco Rubio had the best individual performance. "The best individual performance was that of Marco Rubio, whose high-energy delivery, one-liners and policy riffs will undoubtedly win back some of the supporters who have drifted from his column of late." (Fox News First, 08/07/15)
The National Journal reports that Marco Rubio underscored why he would be a strong opponent to Hillary Clinton and that he was one of the winners that emerged from the debate. “Of the three candidates most likely to win the nomination—Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker—the senator from Florida had the best night. He seemed to grow in confidence as the debate wore on, culminating in a rousing speech explaining his opposition to abortion rights. More than anything else, however, he underscored again and again why he would be a strong opponent against Clinton. ‘If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?" Rubio asked. "I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.’” (Winners: Trump, Kasich, Rubio, The National Journal, 08/05/15)
The Washington Examiner reports that Marco Rubio had some of the best lines of the night and that he won the debate. “Rubio's responses were well-reasoned and pointed, he also had some of the best lines of the night. His comment about Hillary Clinton not being able to lecture him about living paycheck-to-paycheck when that's how he was raised was poignant and allowed him to remind the audience of his compelling life story. His comments about immigration included simple facts about the nature of who is coming to this country and the reality of the current visa program.” (Marco Rubio won the main debate, but Carly Fiorina won both, The Washington Examiner, 08/06/13)
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Marco Rubio won the first debate. “Marco Rubio won the first GOP presidential debate on Thursday night. … He made the most of each question, demonstrating not only a grasp of detail but also an ability to deliver his views cogently and succinctly.” (Rubio Wins, The Washington Free Beacon, 08/06/15)
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “The Florida Senator … was terrific on Thursday night.” (Winners and losers from the first Republican presidential debate, The Washington Post, 08/06/15)
By Dr. Matt Heinz
I’ve got some exciting news: I’ve just announced my candidacy for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
Why have I decided to run for Congress? Simple. Because I believe I can make a difference.
When I look at what’s going on in Washington these days, I see a government in need of a cure. I see a whole lot of partisan gridlock, political maneuvering and pandering to special interests.
As a physician, I’d never turn my back on a sick patient. And as an American, I won’t turn away from the country I love just because it’s dealing with tough issues. In fact, I want to get to the heart of those problems and work to find solutions.
Throughout my career as a doctor, a state lawmaker and a national health care leader, I’ve worked collaboratively to deliver results for people in need. I’ve helped increase access to health care for low-income women with cancer, improve patient safety by making medical complaints public, and implement a coordinated federal response to the Ebola crisis.Read more
By AZ progressives
Last weekend the Arizona media lost their minds over Donald Trump coming to Phoenix. This weekend, Bernie Sanders is hosting a rally in Phoenix -- and despite the media hyperventilation over Trump...we're hearing the Sanders crowd is going to be MUCH BIGGER.
That's because we have a strong and proud community of progressives here in Arizona fighting for our values (even if the media never notices). So to show how PUMPED we are to flex our progressive muscles this weekend, will you sign your name to welcome Bernie Sanders to Arizona?
Friend, no matter who you support in our Democratic primary, you've gotta love that the strength and size of our progressive community will be on full display this weekend.Read more
By. Dr. Michael Ward
My wife, Dr. Kelli Ward, is the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever known. Even though I see her every day, she still finds new ways to surprise me.
When we met in medical school, I knew she was something special. It wasn’t just the caring and the empathy she showed for her patients and fellow doctors, though that was remarkable. It was the laser-focus she put into whatever she was doing, and the skill and determination she used to solve problems and achieve her goals.Read more
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