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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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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.

The economic impact from spring training is staggering.  Just ask most any local business.  It’s like spring break, bachelor parties and Cooperstown all rolled into one. will-ferrell

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.

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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.

It’s not quite clear what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats stand for.  But here in Arizona it is this:  continued indentured servitude of their constituencies. state capitol

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.

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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.

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

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. david smith 2

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. news@councilmandavidsmith.com

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

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Republicans are evil.  Single handedly they are responsible for squeezing the middle class.  This is the constant Democratic Party refrain.

Except in Arizona, apparently.

Here, the donkeys are skewering the middle class via their opposition to HB 2611.  On this issue they are being led by nanny state sycophant Debbie McCune Davis. vaccine

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. 

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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.

solar chart
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."

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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?  

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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. APS_logo_2011

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. 

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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.

When a new city manager came to be in Scottsdale the highly-compensated Katsenes was properly demoted from his Assistant City Manager position. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

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.

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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.

Sincerely,

Tom Horne

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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. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

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.

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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.
tempe
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.

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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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By Lindsey Graham

Dear Friend,

Just moments ago I officially announced that I am running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Will you stand with me today as a DAY ONE Founding Member of my campaign? Please follow this link to make an instant online contribution.

I did not make this decision lightly. After months of consideration and years of working to protect and secure our country, I knew I could still do more.

Our country very much needs a proven leader...

  • Who is ready to be Commander in Chief on Day One and has the conviction to defeat our enemies...
  • Who can inspire Americans to build on the best our country has to offer...
  • And who can cast a vision for a strong, secure and prosperous nation that Americans can rally around and give their full support.
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