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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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Several weeks ago it seemed the demagogues were about to drive Scottsdale down by driving away the top school in the country and Scottsdale.  Economic developers in other cities were frothing: if the best city in the Valley said bye-bye to BASIS would or should any company say hello?

Then Governor Ducey weighed in . . . and the Wall Street Journal . . . and late today Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Necessary legal threats were made.  Mayor Jim Lane showed leadership, bringing together neighbors and school backers.  Virginia Korte, once a skeptic, showed the temperament and prudence of a future Mayor. Councilwomen Klapp and Milhaven showed their usual, steely resolve.  Even those acting supremely demagogic previously, Smith and Littlefield came around in the end leaving only the confounding Guy Phillips.  He the supposed Tea Partier.  He the supposed constitutionalist.  As the lone vote against BASIS he ignored the law and in one issue transformed himself from Scalia to Sanders.  Council candidate rival Dan Schweiker will surely make him feel the burn in the upcoming election.

But for tonight there’s reason to celebrate that Scottsdale didn’t ultimately fumble and the adults stepped forward to govern, as they usually do in Arizona’s most dynamic city.

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This weekend Canal Convergence returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s a wonderful concept and celebration of Scottsdale ingenuity at its best.  Turning a non-descript waterway into a campus for capitalism and, periodically, the arts.  For this we can applaud Scottsdale Public Art.  For this.

But for two other reasons bureaucrats need to be held to account, or heads need to roll.

Why?

Several years ago Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven wisely spearheaded an appropriation to fund a dramatic new entry way to the Marshall Way arts district north of Indian School Road.  It’s an area that has struggled in recent years as salons have replaced galleries and Main Street has exerted its primacy.  

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In baseball a successful team needs good starting pitching and a good closer.  That’s how we view this editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal.  We started opining on the matter weeks ago.  But we can’t think of a better closing editorialist than the Wall Street Journal to lay bare what is now a national embarrassment for the city.  Hopefully, Scottsdale’s governing adults will end the ridicule Tuesday rather than allow our fine city to become a further laughingstock and defendants in a major lawsuit.

Issues with neighbors can be worked out.  Turning your back on the #1 charter school in America, the law, Governor Ducey, rumblings from the Attorney General’s Office, state lawmakers and the overwhelming constituency for a flagship BASIS campus? That’s how closers, and top cities, blow leads and their reputations.

Here is a link to the editorial.

 

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We don’t typically tout more government.  But Scottsdale is of the size and scope that more is needed.  And it would be one of the best reforms the city has ever adopted.  Here’s why.

Last we checked members of the Scottsdale City Council were paid $24,000 per year while the Mayor gets $36,000.  They are supposed to be “part-time” jobs.  Yeah, right. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Scottsdale is a big, thriving, complicated city.  It does not have a district system.  That means it’s pretty much up to everybody to work on everything.  Big-time development projects.  Contracts for major events.  Pensions. Law enforcement.  Budgets.  Our heads hurt just writing this.  Imagine if we had to govern it.

We left off an important job description:  constituent service.  Nowhere is this more important than at the local level, the government closest to the people.  Potholes.  Speed bumps.  Barking dogs.  Garbage service.  Code enforcement.  Litter. Landscaping.  Do the requests of and constituent complaints to municipal officials ever end? 

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We’d been hearing good things about new Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell.  Like her moxy and focus on the destination, not the journey.  This stands in marked contrast to the recently departed David Peterson who etiolated the district.  And when this became apparent even to him Peterson bailed on his fellow bureaucrats, actually blaming two women on the School Board desirous of more accountability.  Remember when George H.W. Bush was famously called a wimp?  Peterson took it to a whole new level. And to where did Peterson flee?  A large construction contractor who contracted during his tenure to build millions of dollars worth of schools.

So, in  many ways, Birdwell and the district have nowhere to go but up.  And based on her recent comments in this Scottsdale Independent article about a proposed Basis charter school that has stirred up debate at 128th & Shea, north is exactly the direction Birdwell appears headed.

Birdwell didn’t just forcefully dispel some beliefs  Scottsdale Unified was stoking opposition to a flagship campus for the top ranked charter school in the country, she destroyed them.  Indeed, she basically said “bring it on.” We have always believed Scottsdale’s K-12 public schools offer the “ultimate choice.” Now it finally appears to have a leader to take that message forward.

More importantly, she showed character.  That’s more than we can say in this instance for two of Scottsdale’s typically stout councilmembers:  David Smith and Guy Phillips.

We recall (because they apparently don’t) that when sworn into office they committed to upholding the law.  Not the ones they agree with, all the laws.  We are particularly troubled by Tea Party Constitutionalist Phillips.  He surely supports a strict constitutionalist to replace Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Yet, when it comes to honoring an unambiguous state law allowing this charter school to locate at this location Phillips goes all Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

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What morons.

In this Age of Trump let’s dispense with editorial etiquette.

We’re talking about the grumblings over Scottsdale Fashion Square’s redevelopment plans.

Excuse us? IMG_6334

The beloved mall is facing an onslaught from online shopping. Barney’s is departing in a couple of months. Drive by 68th and Camelback and the Dillard’s parking lot. It looks like a ghost town. Restaurants are coming and going.

Critics of the retail behemoth act like it’s the age of Ricky Ricardo not Amazon and Apple.

If mall owners need more height and hotels to bolster the future give it to them. Fashion Square isn’t the little engine that could. It’s the locomotive for local sales tax dollars that funds the essence of Scottsdale’s quality of life. And it’s more important than ever. The Chapman Automotive Group is the latest group of car dealerships leaving McDowell Road. That will leave a city sales tax hole of millions annually.

Where will it be made up? By whom? The rosary beads of the nattering nabobs of nimwittedness?

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The momentum in downtowns Tempe and Phoenix is undeniable.  It represents good news for every Valley resident.  But let’s be honest.  What’s taking place in those two city centers is a little like watching Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa awhile back, not Willie Mays.

In Tempe, local taxpayers have forked over huge sums to create Town Lake.  After a slow start they are starting to see a return on investment with stunning new projects on its shores.

In Phoenix, one could lose count of the citizen’s largesse between Chase Field, Talking Stick Arena, the Phoenix Convention Center, light rail and Arizona State University’s downtown campus.   It might be a bit Denmark but a relentless (and generous) commitment to the city core has resulted in a recent tipping point.  One of the best exemplars of that recently was Barron Properties, it of the Greenhaus demolition on Roosevelt Row.  When asked if they would accept millions in city subsidies to alter its behavior it said it didn’t want or need such public assistance.  A developer not accepting a hand out?  “Copper Square” has arrived.

That brings us to Scottsdale.

Sure, some public money has been used to create a “Waterfront.”  But the bones were largely in place thanks to Salt River Project.  Its commitment to arts facilities is significant, but not altogether different than Tempe or Phoenix.

What makes Scottsdale’s success distinct is the stunning, accomplishing vision from the private sector.  It’s led by nightclub impresario turned developer extraordinaire Shawn Yari. 

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It’s not often the former stomping grounds of drug lord Pablo Escobar are invoked for municipal inspiration.  Then again, Bogota, Colombia is not infamous like it was two decades ago.

Today, a renaissance is occurring.  There can be found remarkable ideas Scottsdale and other Valley cities should adopt.

It’s a Sunday tradition in Bogota to close many city streets from 7a-2p to enable people to bike them.  All at once a sense of community and adventure is created.

Whether it’s many, several or one think how interesting it would be to bike the middle of 68th Street, Via de Ventura, Sweetwater or even the beautiful, meandering Thompson Peak as it flows through some of the city’s best neighborhoods and touches the majesty of the McDowell Mountains.  It’s an idea that need not be Scottsdale’s alone.

Would it be inconvenient for some?  Of course.  But it would also be a romantic ride available to all.  Streets are shut or redirected frequently for parades, road races, major sporting events and arts fairs.  So why not for the people as well as the special interests?

Scottsdale could use a bold idea to maintain its status as the Valley’s planning ingénue, even one imported from a place whose exports used to be more destructive than delightful.

 

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*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu starts his congressional race in a commanding position on the GOP side but his campaign has been a comedy of errors since announcing.

*No truth to the rumor that Jeb Bush is looking at Brock Landers, otherwise known as former Congressman Ben Quayle for Vice President.  Keep those Bush-Quayle signs in the closet.

*Few elected officials have learned to serve with a smile better than Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri

*Mrs. Arpaio needs and deserves prayers

*The campaign to inject new funds without a tax increase into Arizona’s K-12 education has hired people from both sides of the aisle.  Smart.  The statewide vote on Proposition 123 is May 17th.

*Will Arizona feel the Bern?  Quite a bit of GOP polling on the field for Arizona’s presidential primary March 22nd.  Someone could make some news polling the donkeys. 

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The Scottsdale Center for the Arts is a fine facility.  But for years it served as a dungeon for the Mayors of Scottsdale State of the City.  Few attended the dimly lit serenade.

Leave it to a reformer like current Mayor Jim Lane to change the approach.  His upcoming address on February 25th is timely to remind all, how he is a mayor for all. lane portrait

Scottsdale is a city synonymous with luxury. Yet it like every city has those who struggle to make ends meet, need food or just need a hand to get through the day.  That’s where critical city programs and facilities like those at Vista del Camino come in.  But it can’t do everything.

This is why Operation Fix It was spawned by the city years ago.  It extends an embrace to those having a hard time helping themselves.  A senior no longer able to keep up with home repair or landscaping.  A tired neighbor(hood) that needs a little sprucing up.  When things fall through the cracks, when people can no longer go around or through walls, a small safety net is there. 

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Once upon a time Jay Lawrence was the 1-900 voice of Arizona freedom, rocking KTAR late nights for liberty lovers.  Now, he’s a member of the State House of Representatives.

Once upon a time Jill Norgaard was doing something else.  Now, she’s a rising Republican star in the same House of Representatives.

One of the first things lawmakers learn is how challenging it can be to stay true to one’s philosophical moorings.  Some 1,000 bills per year come at the honorables.  And most aren’t black and white issues on abortion, guns, civil rights, energy, taxes or other issues that are typically found on campaign web sites and direct mail pieces.

There are issues like last year’s reinvention of payday lenders into something more innocuously called “flex loans.” The pushers are cockroaches of commerce.  Yet, in that case, Lawrence and Norgaard rightfully didn’t focus on the who, they focused on the what.  That is, if people want or need such monied instruments then such financial choice is the citizen’s to make.   The two lawmaker’s support was principled.  To mangle Sir Thomas Moore a bit they may not agree with the business at issue but they defended their right to do it.   It’s easy to prop a sexy, popular company like Uber when the freedom fire needs to burn a bit brighter .  It’s much more difficult when it’s people predators making the argument.

That’s why we’re scratching our heads a bit at the two’s agnosticism to HB2523.  The Goldwater Institute-backed measure extends from one to two or three years the time a contact lens user must endure a costly and state mandated annual visit to an optometrist.  We have written about its merits previously.

We get that the state’s 400 optometrists don’t want to see their special interest subsidy watered down a wee bit, but the state’s 700,000 contact lens wearer’s would probably appreciate the disassociation with such an antiquated law.  After all, if Republicans aren’t eminent endorsers of consumer choice and convenience, what do they stand for?

Norgaard and Lawrence are two of the most interesting legislative voices in Arizona today.  They help all see Republicanism and freedom more clearly.  We can’t think of a more topical bill for them to lead the march again.

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It would be easy to recognize Mayor Jim Lane for such a distinction. Ethics. Reforms. Results. Well-regarded by his peers. An overwhelming favorite to be re-elected for a final term later this year. And there are others that could be duly considered. 3

But the distinction goes to someone whose name identification isn’t as high but respect from all is never low: Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Rachel Sacco.

If personality were a potion Sacco would be an elixir for the city’s hoteliers. They think she walks on water as do all on the Scottsdale City Council. Even those who have despised each other on that dais over the years have an affinity for Sacco in common.

It’s not easy to survive as long as Sacco has in such a prominent position. Recessions come and go. So do big voices on commissions and councils. Yet, through it all Sacco has become the Terry Branstad of local tourism. And rightfully so. P.S. That was a tenure joke for those who may no longer be paying attention to Iowa since its Caucuses are over. Branstad is the longest-serving Governor in American history.

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By Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

Thanks to our great hosts, Craig and Carolyn Jackson, Governor Ducey, a fantastic Host Committee and supporters just like you, our re-election campaign kick-off October 21, 2015 was extraordinary.  Your endorsement of my re-elections has likely made this event the most successful political campaign support event in Scottsdale's history.

As we work to take Scottsdale from better times to the best of times I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all that you have done for me and to make the city I am privileged to lead the best city in America. 

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Colorado's Cory Gardner endorses Marco; says "Our country needs a new generation of leadership"

"Today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
- Cory Gardner
Watch The Interview Here

FOX News' Happening Now
Sen. Cory Gardner
November 2, 2015
Cory Gardner: "Well, today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
...

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By Paula Ngon
Student:Arizona State University

With the 2016 Presidential election quickly approaching, the amount of candidates still occupied with playing the political games are giving voters no definite direction. The mudslinging is splitting the country in different directions regarding who is fit to run this nation. However, one candidate is gaining momentum by doing things differently.

Bernie Sanders is blowing the door to American politics wide open this campaign season as he surges in the favor of the next generation. It comes as a shock because Sanders, 74, is nearly three times as old as some of his biggest supporters however, he has definitely rocked the millennial vote.

With the boisterous empty promises of Donald Trump and the investigation scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton, Sanders offers a refreshing take on this election cycle. He is seen as trustworthy, honest, and clean and voters praise his consistency and transparency.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Holds News Conference On Capitol Hill

He is fighting for progress, a value young voters are rallying behind. Millennials want advancement and improvement of our society, not a backwards march to the reign of yet another Clinton or Bush presidency. With the generation's current lack of faith in the government they are looking to start anew with fresh ideas, new systems, and a different type of leader.

A vote for Bernie is a vote for a man who has been fighting for the same issues that have troubled young voters for years when no one else was listening.

The Sanders' campaign has ignited engagement in younger voters who are concerned with the direction this country is headed. Bernie cares about education, he cares about equality and he cares about equal opportunity for all. His focus on national issues gives hope that this country will change for the better.

Not only does he have the endorsement of the younger generation, he has the accompaniment of their passion and skill for social media. The buzz surrounding Sanders on the internet is astonishing. Supporters are creating memes, merchandise, and hashtags to generate name recognition and endorsement and they're succeeding.

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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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