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2018 Scrum

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Recently we noticed this letter in the Scottsdale Republic.  It reminded us of that irresistible curmudgeonly charm of some southern Scottsdale residents who sometimes seem like male virgins betrothed to Gisele Bundchen.  You just can’t make some people happy.

From the Scottsdale Republic

South Scottsdale Can’t Grow Like This
By Maj. George Stafford, Scottsdale

 

I have lived in South Scottsdale for 48 years. It has been a nice community until now. The City Council seems determined to destroy south Scottsdale by approving any and all requests for construction of apartments and condos.

Between Miller Road and 64th Street on McDowell Road, there are three new areas of housing. The one at 7501 E. McDowell has 572 units! The one at around 6700 E. McDowell and the one at 64th and McDowell will add at least 300-400 more. The one on 6565 E. Thomas Toad has 147 units. The one at 71st Street and Osborn and the one just approved to build at the location of the old Red Lobster will add hundreds more, competing with the one now at Scottsdale Road and Osborn.

These are all within less than two mile from where I live and will add at least 2,500 new residents to a small area. Imagine what it will be if each resident has a vehicle?

Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places? We now go to a Tempe mall that is collecting taxes that could be Scottsdale’s. What is this obsession to cover every open piece of land to make living quarters?

If this isn’t enough lunacy, the Council has approved a 400-foot swimming pool for the new Ritz-Carlton Resort that will be the longest pool in North America. Just what we need when we are facing a water shortage.

All this new construction will also require lots of water. I’m glad I’m 92 and won’t have to face the congestion on our southern city streets that will most certainly follow all because of those who can’t see the future any further then end of their noses.
Isn’t it strange none of this construction is gong in north Scottsdale where, incidentally, most of the Council members live? The Council must learn to say no to all developers.

Notwithstanding the mistakes in the letter such as water use at the new Ritz-Carlton which will is to go in Paradise Valley not Scottsdale our favorite part was this:

“Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for so many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places?”

Mr. Stafford was speaking about new apartment projects along McDowell Road, near Thomas Road and elsewhere.

Does he not realize that the reason retail started fleeing the area two decades ago beginning at Los Arcos Mall was because the area no longer had the population or wealth to sustain such stores? And retailers in Phoenix, Tempe, at Scottsdale Fashion Square and even the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community began poaching away brands big and small?

To reverse the trend two things are needed: more density as has happened in Phoenix and Tempe, or a migration of new families due to quality schools and good housing stock, as has occurred in north central Phoenix. Minus such dynamics more cool stuff in south Scottsdale will be a hope and a prayer not reality on the ground.

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Arizona  Governor Doug Ducey is rightfully positioning Arizona for a better state of innovation, for the best possible business climate.

As members of all parties consider whether our state is to be one of the past or one of the future more and more legislative issues are being viewed through the innovation prism.  Are you a dinosaur like the decision makers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or are you on the side of the consumer with more choices?

One of this year’s biggest legislative brawls, that being doctors and nurses and whether the latter should be able to creep into territory previously the domain of Doctor Welby, is no exception.  But in that debate both sides can make a claim for the cloak.

In the case of another, similar but lesser known bill the freedom and innovation clarity is far more obvious. You see, HB 2523 led by State Representative Heather Carter emancipates some 700,000 Arizona wearers of contact lenses from a state mandated and expensive optometrist visit every year just to get a refill to once every three years.  Mind you, a patient is free to see an optometrist any time for any reason.

Let’s bring this common sense into focus a bit more because the absurdity of the existing state law may blind some with anger. 

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*A scandal is brewing for one elected official in the Northeast Valley

*Downtown Scottsdale businessman and activist Bill Crawford has formed an exploratory committee to run for Scottsdale Mayor

*Good news.  Scottsdale City Manager Fritz Behring has been on medical leave for months but has been visiting City Hall and events about town much more lately.  A date for his full-time return is still uncertain.

*Superman vs. Batman.  Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Nurses vs. Doctors.  The latter battle is as epic in its own way and playing out now at the Arizona State Capitol.

*Love bites.  APS may be sinking its fangs into likely Arizona Corporation Commission candidate and current State Representative Rick Gray

*Early voting starts in less than a month for Arizona’ presidential primary March 22nd

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Once upon a time a group of neighbors in McDowell Mountain Ranch and a terribly odd no-growth activist teamed up to oppose the Ice Den on Bell Road near WestWorld.  Proposed by the then Phoenix Coyotes 20 years ago it was meant to serve as a training facility for the franchise, and an incredible new amenity for kids and families.  After a pitched battle that went all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court the project was allowed to proceed.  Today, it stands as a Scottsdale point of pride and the best ice skating site in Arizona. Time has proved neighbor warnings of “gangs,” “traffic,” and “decreased property values” fallacious.

The episode reminds of a more contemporary debate about siting a flagship BASIS School campus at 128th and Shea.

The BASIS schools are the top ranked schools in Arizona and in some cases, the nation.  The school’s history in the community is long and distinguished.  Having schools of such renown is not unimportant to economic development efforts.  They are the best in class, something Scottsdale has always aspired to whether it’s golf tournaments, car auctions, preservation, the arts, flood control projects or its quality of life. 

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Sean Noble’s recent take on the solar industry as outlined in his blog Noble Thinking in an entry entitled "Failure to Launch" represents a failure to learn on the part of the author.

First a little background.  Nevada recently pulled the plug on “net metering” which requires utilities to pay the retail rate for the excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid.

Hundreds of solar related jobs are being lost in Nevada as a result. That’s something the pro-utility crowd seems to forget as they do a victory lap.

Noble and the pro-utility crowd falsely label this a subsidy.

Net metering is commerce, it’s not a subsidy. Net metering enables rooftop solar customers to generate extra power to offset their electricity bills. These people pay the retail rate for their electricity, why shouldn’t they receive the retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.

And while we are on the topic of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most subsidized industries in the United States.  That’s a talking point often ignored by the utilities and their camp followers.

Another misconception is that net metering burdens non solar customers because it can reduce utility profits. The same could be said for double pain windows, attic insulation, or a good shade tree.

In reality, solar benefits utilities (and the paying public) in the long run by reducing the need for additional power plants.

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By Michael Crow

Dear friends of ASU,

As we enter an exciting new year of excellence at Arizona State University, I want to call your attention to just how momentous 2015 was in the evolution of our New American University. We set milestones in research, accessibility and achievement throughout our learning enterprise, and for service to our local and global communities.

Most visibly, ASU was ranked #1 among the Most Innovative Schools in the nation for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report - a ranking conferred by our peers, the leaders of other universities. The world is talking about ASU, and it will greatly benefit our efforts to support the success of our students when you talk about us as well.

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Not to channel Hillary Clinton but it does seem women often endure a double standard in the political arena.  Donald Trump’s campaign theatrics make him a “leader,” “entertaining,” and “commanding.”  Imagine if a woman acted so.  “Bitch” would be the most frequently used term.  Like it was when Christine Jones ran for Governor in 2014.  Others have avoided such labels with disarming traits:  Brenda Burns (principle).  Janet Napolitano (smarts).  Kyrsten Sinema (humor).

And that leads us to the tony town of Paradise Valley and one Maria Syms.  She burst onto the scene in 2012 and a combustible race against the person who defeated her for Mayor, Scott Lemarr.

The electorate did not doubt her spirit but let’s just say the marketplace felt a little Christine Jones about her post-election.

What a difference a few years makes.

She was elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council.  She was tapped by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be a top advisor.  She matriculated through the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and is a graduate of a U.S. Attorney’s Office.   She’s a mom, wife, and articulate defender of community character and the resonance of resorts.

The right and recalibrated combination of sass, class and charisma has positioned Syms towards a broad political horizon.  Who knows where she goes from here, but it’s pretty impressive where she’s already been, and is.

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The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great.  Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.

The campaigns in suppIMG_0638ort of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too.  Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument.  You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.

The trust thrust was and is misguided.  After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service.  And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.

But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point.  In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale.  Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc.  – should be allowed an up or down vote.  That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona.  We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block.  We do so individually.

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Scottsdale is on a roll. While no community can expect a sunny headlines all the time, let’s just say these past few weeks have been very, very good to Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Business Journal put out an article that says Scottsdale is one of the best places in the United States for a startup business.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Reporter Haley Ringle wrote, “This is no surprise to the Phoenix Business Journal since our reporters often drive out to Scottsdale to talk to thriving businesses and startups.”

You can read the complete story here.

The other sunny shoe dropped in the Arizona Republic which reported Scottsdale is taking in record amounts of sales tax revenue thanks to sporting events and a tourist trade that keeps expanding. It was a very good year with local tax revenues hitting $258.9 million.

Here is a link to the rest of the story.

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*Governor Doug Ducey’s State of the State again reminded Arizonans what it’s like to have someone with a firm grip on the wheel.  His predecessor always made the public feel like a passenger to a driver’s permit.

*It should be noted that McCain’s time in the U.S. Senate and Ducey’s time as Governor will both end in 2022.  Who knows if Ducey would ever want to succeed him but he would undoubtedly be an impediment to those who prefer waiting McCain out to taking him on.

*When people now ask whether Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale or Gilbert has the best downtown it shows how far Phoenix and Gilbert have come.

*The success of a young Phoenix Coyotes team is an underreported local sports story and an underappreciated sports achievement.

*Many in the media are quietly asking and exploring how likely it may be that the Phoenix Suns relocate its arena to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

*With the Scottsdale Tribune expiring years ago and the Scottsdale Republic cutting two more reporters it might be the case that the Scottsdale Independent is the closest thing the city now has to a newspaper of record.

*Craft brew houses are everywhere, thank goodness.  Flashbacks:  Coyote Springs at 20th & Camelback.  Hop’s at Scottsdale Fashion  Square.

*Former Scottsdale School District Superintendent David Peterson’s tirade and accusations as he departed might be the most pathetic and inaccurate report since Brian Williams was on the air.

*Wendy Rogers needs to go away.

*In today’s Wall Street Journal there was a short article on the Sussman house in Paradise Valley listed for $35 million, along side Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion which will only cost you $200 million.  And it’s required that Hugh stays.  Unknown if the Playmates come with.

 

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Not all content here needs to be political.  Nor should it.  Our job is to stir thought.  And that's what this article does.  A businessman who runs as local rock legend Roger Clyne sings, "Counterclockwise."  It's a good read.  And a different way of getting ahead in business.

From the New York Times: North Korea Is Newest Frontier for a Daredevil Investor
By Penn Bullock

He searched for oil in the badlands of Somalia and fueled a stock market boom in Mongolia. He sued the world’s smallest republic, far out in the Pacific, for a chunk of what it is worth. Now, he is betting on North Korea. James Passin, a hedge fund manager at Firebird Management, believes the nuclear ­armed country sits on as much as a billion barrels of crude — enough to make it as big a producer as Oklahoma. If the oil exists, he wants to help unlock it.

Click here to read the entire article

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by Loyd Eskildson

The Arizona Legislature took away SUSD’s near monopoly on students living within the district when it passed the 1994 law enabling charters. Since then SUSD has lost an ever increasing number of pupils and associated funding. The total number of pupils currently lost is estimated to be as high as 12,000. Using a conservative number of 10,000 pupils funded at $8,500/each suggests that SUSD personnel and pupils are currently losing $85 million/year. That number has steadily grown.

Why did this happen? Instead of making ‘Job One = Customer Satisfaction,’ the district instead focused on simply obtaining more money from residents and the State, rebuilding/renovating facilities, and maintaining an environment of ‘Happy Talk’ at Board meetings. The primary concern of parents withdrawing their children – lack of alternatives to what many saw as inadequate discipline and achievement goals, was largely ignored/dismissed. As for the disappearing students - that was either denied or ‘rationalized’ via highly implausible excuses. Meanwhile, neighboring public school districts raided SUSD, while competing charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools steadily added capacity and filled those seats with the children of dissatisfied SUSD parents. More of these seats will be available next year, and they’re already working to fill them.

SUSD’s losses could soon create a downward spiral. Given the rationale of most parents for removing their children from SUSD, it wont take long for SUSD pupil achievement to also start trending downward, creating more incentive for even more parents to withdraw their children.

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By Alex Meluskey for Senate

A few days ago I introduced myself, and I really want you to get to know me, and to vet every candidate before you commit. I want to EARN your support, and I don't want you to give it blindly.

As you do this, I want to take a moment to let you know where I stand on some of the most important issues facing America. I also would be honored to host you at our Campaign HQ Open house.

• Veterans - Our representatives and the Veteran’s Administration have failed our brave veterans. My number one priority in the U.S. Senate will be to FIGHT day and night for those who have fought for the freedom of us all.

• LIFE - I am staunchly pro-life, and will FIGHT to see the human traffickers at Planned Parenthood prosecuted.

• Taxation – As the FAIRtax State director in Arizona I will FIGHT to abolish this unjust system of confiscatory taxation and replace it with a system that is fair, flat and which taxes consumption, not labor to capture the revenue of the underground economy.

• Border Security and Immigration - Border security IS National security, but focusing on the border alone leaves us vulnerable. We must definitively secure ALL points of entry into the United States. Amnesty of any form is unacceptable, and a slap in the face of those who followed the law.

• Israel - There is only one true ally to the United States. Israel is that ally, and we must stand ALWAYS with the Jewish state. Our leaders MUST take an active role in preparing the damage done to our relationship by the Obama administration.

• Limited Government- The federal government is a product of the Constitution, not the other way around. As such, the government’s power is LIMITED to those enumerated. We must FIGHT to make sure the constitution is respected and followed. 

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By Marco Rubio

Last night, in the latest Republican presidential debate, one of the moderators actually asked me if I should "slow down." That's exactly what the establishment has been telling me for years. That I should "wait my turn."
Wait for what? This country is running out of time:
• Millions of people are living paycheck to paycheck at the same time they're working as hard as they ever have because everything costs more. They have not had a real raise in decades.
• Small businesses are struggling: more businesses are closing than opening.
• We live in a world that's out of control, with a president who's weakening our military and doubling down on a failed foreign policy while our adversaries continue to grow stronger.
The time to act is now, the time to turn the page is now. If we don't act now, we'll be the first generation that leaves our children worse off than ourselves.

>>Click here to donate $10 if you agree that the time to act is now!<<

With your help and support, I'll be the leader that turns our country around and ensures the 21st Century is an American Century.

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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.

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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.

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By Bob and  Kathy  Littlefield

Dear Friends:

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.

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By Sheriff Paul Babeu

Friend,

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.

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