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2018 Scrum

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.

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conservative-voteWhile 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'

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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.

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Fiesta Mall in Mesa is about dead.  Los Arcos Mall in Scottsdale died years ago.  Metrocenter is trying to reinvent itself as so many other malls are doing across the country.  The changing retail landscape driven by increased online sales demands it.  Look at Biltmore Fashion Park which now seems more a tony food court than mall. scottsdalefashionsquaremall1

That brings us to Scottsdale Fashion Square.  Despite its pre-eminence it is not immune to the altering landscape.

That’s why its pending requests of the City of Scottsdale to allow greater heights and uses at the marquee mall are forward looking and smart.  They will allow potential hotels, residences and other uses to keep the people coming and dollars flowing.

Fashion Square is a golden goose for the city.  Sales tax revenue.  Cache.  Amenity.  Scottsdale leaders previous made bold decisions to help position the property for prosperity.  They need to do so again, even those with frequent aversions to allowing taller buildings for developers.

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It would seem that the Tempe police are more concerned about people’s opinion of them than actually protecting the residents.

The ‘Safe and Sober’ campaign that launched in 2013 after incidents where Arizona State University students were found dead after attending parties where heavy drinking was involved was replaced with a babied version that focuses on education and prevention.

After the program ran for three weekends it vanished due to complaints that it put Tempe into a ‘police state.’ The semester hasn’t even officially started and we are no-where close to the heavy drinking events such as home football games and holidays and already they are backing off.

Tempe police say that they will be bringing back a new version based on education and prevention instead of a call to action. Just like the years before the whole campaign started, which didn’t work out so well for the underage drinking problem.

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Some time ago Bob and Karen Hobbs bought the former home of favorite Arizona son Barry Goldwater.  Located on a hilltop in the heart of Paradise Valley their preservation and updating of the home was and is spectacular.

From time to time they do events there, mainly political ones favoring the Grand Old Party.  But not a once have they sought to commercialize the property with such things as weddings, concerts and wine bars.  They’d get laughed and run out of town by neighbors and town officials if they thought about, let alone submitted plans to actually do it.

The Hobbs’ also never hired publicists to tout how great they were for keeping and restoring the Goldwater home, where they now live.

Contrast this approach with the extraordinary arrogance of Zach Rawlings in Arcadia, who is seeking to do everything the Hobbs’ did not.

Instead of quietly and nobly resurrecting a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Rawlings has sought to tell the world how great he is for doing it. And while we agree that kudos are in order, his subsequent endeavor to use it as a mean to gain unprecedented commercial rights in Arcadia is anything but a Hobbesian choice.  It’s just wrong.

Indeed the plans submitted to Phoenix allow Rawlings new development rights no other homeowner in Arcadia enjoys.   Consequently, any longer calling it the “Wright House” are woefully insufficient. The more proper name is the Arcadia Event & Wedding Center.  

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We all remember Christine O’Donnell, as we try to forget her?  She was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware who rode that year’s Tea Party wave to upset the presumed nominee, he of the “establishment.”  In one of the worst political television advertisements ever produced she infamously declared she was “not a witch” as she attempted to retintroduce herself to a general electorate following her surprising nomination. It didn’t work.  She got crushed.

Largely quelled in 2012 and 2014 are we seeing the rise of another Tea Party wave in 2016, with Donald Trump as its titular head?

It appears so, at least for now.  But consider that it ominously (at least for some) appears to go well beyond Trump.

In yesterday’s Meet The Press/Survey Money survey the top 3 candidates – Trump, Cruz & Carson – combined for a whopping 47% of the vote.  They are all from outside the establishment and running as such.  Add in another person running as an outsider now tied for fourth – Carly Fiorina and her 8% -- and a majority vote in the 2016 GOP primary is now occupied by Tea Party-like outsiders. 

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Normally one doesn’t start with boring phrases, words and projects to entice a reader to continue on. But the language below while not sexy is compelling for reasons that will be explained. So, please read on.
“Forty-year old infrastructure” in southern Scottsdale.

“Replace existing chemical treatment systems” with new ones to “provide a safe and consistent disinfectant solution for public pools.”

“Replace again restrooms at four city parks” that “do not meet ADA requirements.”

“Replacing outdated irrigation systems” that will “help reduce costs by lowering water usage and increasing energy efficiency.”
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“Replace outdated and inefficient ballfield lighting” at parks across the city.

Improving accident prone intersections and the safety of certain crosswalks.

Improving certain, heavily trafficked roads now in order to leverage regional funds to lessen the burden on Scottsdale taxpayers.

Fixing “missing” and “crumbling” sidewalks.

Replace “antiquated electrical systems” in city buildings that cost taxpayers more to operate.

“Purchase Disaster Recovery Technology Infrastructure.”

“Replace 140 miles of deteriorated pavement on city streets.”

Design and build fire stations in areas that don’t have them or are operating in “single-wide trailers.”

“Expand and renovate the Civic Center Jail and Police Station” to aid a jail built for a Scottsdale in 1971, not 44 years later that sees frequent “jail overcrowding.”

These are the phrases and language found in city information about the upcoming $96 million bond vote in Scottsdale. If these are not the necessary, limited and basic functions of government we don’t know what are.

Two years ago a larger package of some $212 million was proposed. Scottsdale voters soundly rejected it in November, 2013. A leader of that opposition, Kathy Littlefield, was subsequently elected to the Scottsdale City Council. It shows. Littlefield helped craft a proposal supported by a strong majority of council that focus on the basics and the needs, not the nice to haves. A well known former opponent, Bill Crawford, also supports the new package.

If passed the bonds, which would increase the average Scottsdale homeowner’s property taxes by a whopping ten cents per day, would be the first package passed since 2000!

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By David Brooks

When Dustin Yellin was 17 he dropped out of high school. The school was filled with jocks and cheerleaders and he clearly didn’t fit in. Plus he wasn’t intellectually engaged. He hitchhiked around New Zealand and returned to Colorado. He became an apprentice to an eccentric physicist who believed he could get free energy from space and who performed experiments on Yellin involving crystals, baths of saline solution and hallucinogenic drugs. When he was 18 Yellin hatched a plan. He would go to New York, become a successful artist and create a place where painters, scientists, writers, billionaires and other cool people could gather to try to change the world. Yellin turns 40 this week, and that’s more or less what he’s done.

Click here to read  article

 

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The following is a guest opinion piece by reader and commenter Gordon, who is graciously offering us a glimpse into the mind of a Donald Trump supporter. It was originally written on July 13. As with any opinion piece here on Race, the following does not necessarily represent the views of the editor or the other authors on the site; we present it in the interest of dialog and furthering the conversation.

Many of the reasons that try to explain why people are supporting Trump, throughout both the Race42016 community and elsewhere in the political world, cover my personal thoughts and emotions that have been growing steadily over the last decade. These thoughts and emotions reached the boiling point with the flare up over the confederate flag. I can’t stand how dysfunctional not only our government has become, but our society as a whole. I saw a post on Facebook that pretty much summed up how I feel: there’s a guy waking up in his bed and the blurb above him says, “Good Morning America…What am I supposed to be offended about today?”

I am the opposite of a low information voter. I have always tried to view presidential elections with serious thought and attention and have never been more than mildly attracted to vanity candidates. While Ted Cruz may exemplify my internal conservatism, I don’t think he has a prayer of selling that conservatism to the country in a general election. As I’ve stated here many times, I personally don’t think issues win elections, so I don’t have a problem supporting candidates that may not be as pure if I think they can become a truly great president. I’m pragmatic in both my expectations of candidates and my demands on their purity. I’ve never needed candidates to be perfect on the issues, and I don’t feel betrayed if someone needs to alter a view or de-emphasize any particular issue throughout the course of the campaign or their governance afterward. I understand reality will never reflect my ideology… it will never fully reflect any true ideology. Reality is a unique blend of all thoughts and beliefs and tilts both left and right… although the balance may be completely undone at this point until we hit rock bottom.

Click here to read the entire article.

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by David Brooks

Christianity is in decline in the United States. The share of Americans who describe themselves as Christians and attend church is dropping. Evangelical voters make up a smaller share of the electorate. Members of the millennial generation are detaching themselves from religious institutions in droves.

Christianity’s gravest setbacks are in the realm of values. American culture is shifting away from orthodox Christian positions on homosexuality, premarital sex, contraception, out­of­wedlock childbearing, divorce and a range of other social issues.

Read the full article

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Hockey fans rhetorically cross-checked the Glendale City Council during and after a hearing that ultimately resulted in the municipality’s termination of its $15 million per year subsidy for the Arizona Coyotes.

But were they directing their ire at the right people?

Let’s reset.

Having an NHL franchise in the Valley is a very good thing.  While the team has never made the Stanley Cup Finals or hosted an All-Star Game (it had the misfortune of so hosting that extravaganza during a strike year) professional hockey contributes to the area’s quality of life.  It helps economic development efforts.

But should it be in Arizona at any and all cost to the City of Glendale?  After spending $180 million on an arena it decided to fork over $15 million per year to keep the team there on a 4-3 vote in 2013.  Those who question Glendale’s commitment to hockey now should recall what it has generously done previously.

But has it been too generous?  There are good arguments on both sides.   8lqmtthh0w2wgumr6goswqmki

What’s not is that any city that forks over so much money each year – effectively becoming one’s largest sponsor – shouldn't be treated by the team as a best friend, not an irritant. After all Glendale is diverting money from police, fire and other needs to float wealthy owners and their players.

But that’s not the way team executives treated Glendale’s generosity.  They apparently hid financial information.  The new owner couldn’t find time to meet with city officials for months after acquisition.

Shouldn’t this have been the first order of business?  Does anyone think the Gila River Indian Community which pays the team a fraction of what Glendale does for arena naming rights is treated with such disdain?

Of course not.  Political arrogance or malpractice or both are what caused the team to lose Glendale.  And this observation doesn’t involve itself with the purported unethical behavior by Glendale’s former City Attorney now in the employ of the Coyotes.

It never should have come to this.  This was political communication 101.  If it was a class it was failed miserably by the team’s CEO whose job, presumably, involved interaction with the city.

If he is serious about remedying relations with Glendale, majority owner Anthony Barroway should start by firing Anthony LeBlanc. 

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Governor Doug Ducey is announcing today a reform to have more money from the sale of state land go into K-12 education.  Here is a link to the Republic's coverage.  At a time of a rising Arizona real estate market this appears, on the surface, to be government innovation at its best.

It is both good policy and good politics as it is a way for the conservative Republican to get more money to schools – his soft spot early in his tenure – and do so without raising taxes and the ire of his base.

But as with most reforms there are consequences, and in this case potentially negative ones to the state’s largest industry:  tourism.  That’s because some of the most attractive state land lies along the 101 Freeway, between Scottsdale Road and WestWorld.  And a big chunk of it is used for Waste Management Phoenix Open parking, as well as Barrett-Jackson which saw record crowds last year. 

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We have not been fans to date of an overly aggressive development plan for a Ritz-Carlton resort and community in Paradise Valley. But even we can admit that the story of last week should have been the signs (finally) that the developer is at least starting to get it by dropping the second “H” in its HGH plan for the Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend Road site.

However, thanks to conduct unbecoming by the Paradise Valley Town Council the story of last week is now its derelict decorum not a plan that is improving but still needs fine tuning.

Let’s refresh. town of PV

Most would agree that having a Ritz-Carlton in Paradise Valley would be a good thing.  Voters thought as much in 2008 when they approved of what was then an aggressive entitlement by a wide-margin.

Most would also agree that some of what has been proposed by Five Star Development in 2015 to advance a Ritz on the site is inappropriate.

But that doesn’t mean that the councilors of Arizona’s most enviable town should employ a  smugness, even rudeness,  to those wanting to invest some $250 million into the community.

The Town Council’s first formal review of plans of the latest Ritz plan’s last Thursday was an exercise not in polite rebuke but over the top commentary, save for the tethered toastmastering of Councilmembers Syms and Stanton.

The night was best exemplified by the atypical performance of Councilmember David Sherf, he of usual sobriety on key policy matters.  Instead, he seemed inebriated on a newfound affinity for soundbites, even referring to the Ritz plan as “ludicrous.” 

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Preservation of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains is one of the finest accomplishments by any municipality in the nation over the past two decades.

Resident John Nichols was a part of those efforts.  He is to be commended.

His recent effort via an Arizona Republic letter to editor supporting the David Wright House in Arcadia and deriding critics as “NIMBYs” is not to be commended.

You see, Nichols and his friends rightfully insisted that preservation of the McDowells be just that.  In other words, protect the critters, the land and don’t permit commercialization.  He was right then. He is right now.

Recently, the Nichols-like constituency in north Scottsdale rallied to condemn an effort to relocate Greasewood Flat, a revered bar, on PRIVATE property just OUTSIDE the preserve boundary.

Yet, Nichols now has the audacity to suggest that the forest of signs dotting the lawns of Arcadia homeowners not wanting  a pending abuse of Wright House preservation into something more akin to Celebrity Theater is “NIMBYism?!”  Please.  

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By. Dr. Michael Ward

Fellow Conservative,

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.

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by Scottsdale City Council Member Suzanne Klapp

Yesterday in front of supporters, business owners and ASU officials, I announced my decision to pursue a third term on the Scottsdale City Council.  We gathered outside of ATOMdesign, a business located in Skysong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, along McDowell Road to make the announcement.

 

Six years ago I brought a fresh business perspective to the Scottsdale City Council and prioritized economic growth, the continued development of SkySong, and the revitalization of McDowell Road.  I am particularly excited about this City Council run and intend to focus our Council on better connecting Scottsdale citizens with their government. 

 

It’s been my desire to not only run a business but to be involved in the community.  It causes me to be motivated every day.  There is more to do, more to make happen, and more we as government leaders can do to assist business owners and residents.  We can help them through the red tape, through the regulation, and perhaps live their lives a little easier.

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By Arizona State Senator Katie Hobbs

Today is a day for us to celebrate equality and love. It has prevailed. The Supreme Court ruling handed down today strengthens families and communities all over the country. It provides certainty for couples in Arizona that their marriages will remain legally recognized.
I want to congratulate everyone that has worked for this day, it wouldn’t have happened without your determination. I have been encouraged by your perseverance and strength that when we organize, work together, and stand up for what is right we can make positive change.
We must remember though that the fight for full equality for all Arizonans does not end today. LGBT people can still be fired, evicted, or denied services simply for who they are or who they love. I am committed to changing that. Join me by signing our petition here to end these discriminatory practices.

Now celebrate!

Katie Hobbs
Senate Democratic Leader

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by Carly Fiorina

Fellow Conservative,
Fox News recently announced how they will select participants for the first presidential campaign debate.

I’ll skip straight to the point: I look forward to participating in the Fox News debate. I’ll make it clear that I’m ready to take on Hillary Clinton.
But I need your help to get on that debate stage. In order to secure an invitation, I need to grow my team of supporters. Will you make a donation of $13 today to help me get on that debate stage?

I’m running for President because we need a leader we can actually trust in the White House.
In the business world, we don’t have the luxury of hiding from our problems until they go away, like Hillary does on the campaign trail. We have to actually accomplish something.
When I was hired to be CEO of Hewlett-Packard—the first woman in history to run a business so large—I found myself face-to-face with the biggest tech recession in history, and a market that was dramatically changing.
At HP, I wasn’t afraid to shake up the status quo. My decisions didn’t always make me popular—but they would ultimately prove to be the right ones.

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By Robert Leger

A tale of two mayors and two cities:

SCOTTSDALE:

After Steve Ellman abandoned his efforts to build a professional ice hockey arena in Scottsdale and turned to Glendale, Scottsdale was left was a deteriorating mall at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads. Eventually, the city partnered with ASU to build SkySong, a research and innovation center.

Click here to see the entire editorial

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By Marco Rubio

Last week, our team told you about the New York Times attacking me for receiving four traffic tickets over the last 20 years. Now, today, the Times is out with a story suggesting that I'm not rich enough to be president!

According to the Times, "Rubio entered public life in a deep financial hole of his own making." Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? But what exactly was this deep financial hole of my own making? My student loans! I didn't have the money for college, so I had to take out loans. And now the Times is attacking me for it.

As I have said many times, I am not poor, but I'm not rich either. It's true, I didn't make over $11 million last year giving speeches to special interests. And we don't have a family foundation that has raised $2 billion from Wall Street and foreign interests.

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