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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

The Phoenix Metropolitan area seems to have more major sports and concert venues than just about anywhere in the country. From Ak-Chin to Glendale we are blessed and cursed with buildings big, small, old and new.

But for those who have been here awhile no sporting venue penetrates the Arizona conscience more than Sun Devil Stadium. Rolling Stones Devils And Deserts front

Maybe it is the proximity to Mill Avenue. Or the college energy. Maybe it’s because Sun Devil Stadium was there before U.S. Airways Center, Jobing. Com and University of Phoenix Stadium.

For many years there was just Compton Terrace, Celebrity Theater, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum . . . and Sun Devil Stadium.

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There’s often talk of underutilized community assets.  Mountains that turn into parks.  Canals that turn into Waterfronts.  Buildings that turn into tourist attractions. 

And there’s always been the Papago Golf Course.  Avid golfers know it to be an exceptional layout in an exceptional setting.  And 20-30 years ago it was hard to get a tee time there as affordability fused with challenge at the Valley’s best public golf course. 

But recent years haven’t been so kind to the course.  Mismanagement.  Landscaping don’ts. The list goes on.  Once the prom queen, Papago has started to look like a 40-year reunion.  diciccio

That’s all likely to change as Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been working with Arizona State University to take over the course.  It’s a great move by a school with a rich golfing program and a terrific move by the City of Phoenix to revitalize a great resource. 

So that’s now two home runs for Sal DiCiccio.  This, and working with ASU to relocate its baseball program to Phoenix Municipal Stadium just down the street from Papago.  The Oakland A’s will move next year to the Cubs’ old digs in Mesa.  DiCiccio just earned more of the beer belly vote as ASU baseball currently doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol at its games, something that will change with the move off-campus.

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Once upon a time the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. It went to war to eradicate slavery. One hundred and fifty years later African-Americans support the party with but single digits.

The reasons are many and varied from the Democratic Party’s incessant pandering to most Republicans most recently choosing the rule of law, understandably, when it comes to the nation’s borders rather than donkey denial.

Yet, the Republican Party can rightly be criticized for not enthusiastically taking their message to where Democrats have failed so miserably in the urban cores and elsewhere. That’s why suggestions about holding the 2016 Republican National Convention in Detroit were so intriguing.

The Jack Kemps of hope and optimism have been too few, although a renewed emphasis by Kemp acolyte Paul Ryan in this regard is promising.

Despite the dearth of messengers, messages predominantly involving school choice are thankfully starting to make inroads. Liberals like Bill de Blasio attempting to stop it are on the wrong side of history with political consequence soon to arrive with more dispatch. WARD

But then along comes remarks like those by Arizona Republican Senator Kelli Ward who warned of a “slippery slope” in a Tweet yesterday following NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s proper punishment of Donald Sterling.

The ill-timed Ward tweet read as follows:
“If you offend, I guess you should expect to be stripped of your property & banned for life #PoliticallyCorrect #WhereAreWeHeaded,”

Presumably Ward is concerned about some notion of property rights while being shockingly tone deaf to warrant a political hearing aid.

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As the 2014 election cycle gets underway there may be no easier endorsement, even at this early date, than current Vice Mayor Michael Collins to assume the top position. 

With Mayor Scott LeMarr leaving on top after more than two decades of public service to the town, Collins offers the compelling combination of continuation, experience and talent. 

He chaired the community’s Public Safety Task Force that has resulted in a decrease in crime. RA_Collins_Logos2-1

He chaired the town’s General Plan efforts passed by a whopping 80 percent of voters.

He voted for the Mountain Shadows redevelopment plan that has already resulted in the removal of rat infested buildings at 56th Street and Lincoln. 

He leads not only in the Town but a business with 45 employees that does land use planning for the U.S. military.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, father and husband. 

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If there were a Mount Rushmore in Paradise Valley, Arizona – or more appropriately a Mount Camelback, current Mayor Scott Lemarr would be on it. Only six decades old Lemarr has served the town in a variety of capacities for over a third of that time on a variety of citizen commissions and currently as the first directly elected mayor in the town’s history.  MayorLeMarr

He’s not only seen it all he’s done it all. And Paradise Valley is a better place for it.

A tidy recovering from the Great Recession.

An improved police department and reduced crime.

Improved fire service.

Leading what no council before him could – an approval for the redevelopment of the old Mountain Shadows Resort. The rat infested relic has even been scraped away, readying the property for a better future.

As a son of the community Lemarr has understood that a community already the envy of Arizona doesn’t need a lot more, certainly density. It just needs a little TLC from time to time, the Mayor’s job unlike in other cities largely constituting a do no harm approach.

Lemarr has succeeded in that regard and then some. He likes to attend a lot of Diamondbacks’ games. While they aren’t winning a lot this year that’s not the case for Lemarr’s 22 years of impressive public service.

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In 1992 one-time GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater shocked many by crossing party lines to endorse Democratic congressional candidate Karan English over Republican standard-bearer Doug Wead. A former Amway salesman and political slickster, Wead had spent about 5 minutes in Arizona before entering the fray for Arizona’s new congressional seat. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Goldwater put the state above party. There’s a lesson there as it relates to Tom Horne’s upcoming race for Attorney General.

He believes this week was a good one for him because an administrative law judge decided there wasn’t enough evidence to continue the case of alleged campaign finance law violations against him. But we all know what happened. Voters get it.

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Although it won’t be for almost a year we regret Paradise Valley Town Manager Jim Bacon is stepping down. He has served with humor and effectiveness.

Arriving in Paradise Valley at just about the hour of the day of the year when the economy cliff-dived we can envision few better captains in stormy seas.

At ease with his extensive experience and with a quick wit always at hand Bacon inspired confidence because he has pretty much seen it all in municipal government. Comfortable in his own skin there is no discomfort coming from anyone wondering if town government is operating with integrity and achievement.Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

He proved himself to be a critical deal-maker too. We question whether someone without Bacon’s talent, patience and standing could have negotiated the deal that has become the old Mountain Shadows resort revitalization in progress.

The accomplished town manager deserves the more relaxed times coming to him. And while he will be missed at Paradise Valley Town Hall we know he will enjoy more times watching his beloved sporting events, knowing his was a job well done.

Next door in Scottsdale we hope the activists win. They have it right. As we lament the loss of a consummate public servant like Bacon, Scottsdale’s political vocalists don’t want to lose an interestingly designed church in downtown, on Indian School Road. It has served as a city office and meeting place for some years. City Manager Fritz Behring is rightfully looking at ways to raise additional revenue through the sale of non-essential buildings. But the Community Design Studio, as it is now known, should not be sold. As Councilwoman Milhaven has opined, Scottsdale has relatively few older, appreciated buildings so why not maintain this one, since it can?

And the city should. With a twist.

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What will history decide in 2014?

Back in 1994 a vulnerable Governor Fife Symington overcame a spirited primary challenge from the impressive Barbara Barrett and then came from behind to defeat the formidable Eddie Basha, God rest his soul. ATTORNEY GENERAL

But in 1992 the Arizona GOP was not so lucky. Then, incumbent Congressman Jay Rhodes eeked by a number of primary challengers,only to lose the general election to Democrat Sam Coppersmith.

The stakes for the Arizona Republican Party as it relates to the similarly challenged and embattled Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in 2014 are higher.

The set of circumstances surrounding Horne have grown so profoundly negative, and in some cases downright comical, that the torrent of television commercials soon to come threaten other statewide officials.

It’s that bad.

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Unlike most elephant snorting blogs we don’t have posters of Art Bell on our walls and advance the latest conspiracy theories. We believe in the best of people’s opinions, even when it is wrong and left-wing induced.

But the cases of former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, both of which made appearances before the State Bar of Arizona have us rethinking such an approach.200px-Dennis_Burke_US_Attorney

While chasing mercurial malfeasance in Maricopa County government hindsight and the record now shows abuses and bad judgment by Thomas. Was some type of disciplinary action by the State Bar warranted? Yes. But discipline turned to vengeance and Thomas lost his ability to make a living. They gave him the death penalty. No license to practice.

Compare this to the recent “punishment” of Burke, someone who wasn’t just misguided on the notion of specific corruption. He was actually involved in the political cover-up of death. Involving a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry. In the sickening scandal that became known as “Fast and Furious.”

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As Scottsdale voters were preparing to vote on city council candidates during the 2012 election the Arizona Republic rightfully called businesswoman and preservationist Virginia Korte one of the finest, most qualified people to seek the job. Korte is now the Vice Mayor of Scottsdale.

Such plaudits are appropriate for her friend, just across a town boundary, Paradise Valley Town Councilman Dan Schweiker.

Schweiker surprised many earlier today with a letter announcing his intent to resign from the Town Council July 3rd, and move to a smaller home in Scottsdale.schhweiker

It is major loss for the tony town, because he is a person that has helped achieve so many wins for it.

Years ago he cut through the acrimony that led to both beautification and flood control on Doubletree.

He has always been a strong supporter of photo radar.

He cast the deciding vote making Ed Winkler the Mayor, demonstrating his belief that no one should sit in that chair too long, as it belongs to the citizenry not the entrenched.

In between council stints he chaired the political campaign committee in support of a new Ritz-Carlton, not that his tourism bona fides ever needed to be burnished. On the council there has been no one more emphatic about the need for robust Paradise Valley resorts than Schweiker. He knows they not only provide great amenities for local residents, but revenues from them mean Paradise Valley remains one of the few municipalities in the state without a property tax.

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Broader school choice is as inevitable as the great civil rights fights before10_6-Stanton it. Individual battles may be lost along the way but history’s tide unquestionably flows in its direction.

Most Democrats have yet to realize this. They are exemplified by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the blunt instrument of unions always seeking self-interest over student achievement. Data, parents and charter school students be damned, he governs.

Across the country a different big-city mayor is taking a difference approach. That’s Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. When well-known school choice advocates announced plans to proliferate charter schools throughout the core of Phoenix Stanton embraced the idea, unlike de Blasio.

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A new type of urban warfare among Valley cities is upon us. And it is taking place in the West Valley. There, the City of Peoria has announced plans to greatly expand its commercial core around the Peoria Sports Complex, with the unquestioned intent of seizing spending from the current entertainment epicenter just down the 101 at Westgate.

If successful, the Peoria gambit would cost the City of Glendale, Mayor Weiers and the Glendale City Council millions of dollars at a time when it can least afford it.

Peoria officials are trying to play their counterpartglendale-az-shame_-800x530-westgates in Glendale for fools. The Peoria plan, not unlike Westgate’s, relies on a proliferation of new billboards to help pay for parking garages and other infrastructure to get the project going.

The only problem? A local business—Becker Boards—isn’t a part of anyone’s grand plan. They just want to build a couple of billboards in a commerce park, at a depressed site, next to the freeway.

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By Robbie Sherwood , Executive Director of ProgressNow Arizona

It looks like we touched a nerve.

Recently the Arizona Advocacy Foundation led a coalition of non-partisan groups to produce an in-depth study of our state’s most recent election in the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

The Arizona Shelby Response Project — named for the court case Shelby v. Holder — reached some startling conclusions about whose vote counts in Arizona elections and whose does not. The product of a months-long breakdown of voter data as well as hundreds of in-person interviews with voters at the polls, the comprehensive study showed that thousands of eligible registered Arizona voters had their votes discarded in the last elections. Tens of thousands more have been disenfranchised in previous elections.

There were enough discarded ballots to potentially sway several close races. Caught by a variety of traps set through Arizona’s increasingly antiquated voting laws, the populations impacted shared a disturbing commonality. Young and minority voters — particularly Latino voters — were vastly over-represented among the invalidated votes.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan responded to the report in a defensive and hostile manner. Rather than seizing the opportunity to start a new dialogue to modernize Arizona elections for voters, Reagan instead published an op-ed last week taking issue with the report. Her piece included personal attacks on the report’s lead researcher and on my organization, ProgressNow Arizona, because I served as the report’s editor.

Her accusation that the Shelby Response data was “cherry picked” is ridiculous. We urge the public to read the report for themselves here and urge the media to follow our heavily footnoted footsteps to see what conclusions they reach. The only place where our data came up incomplete is when some election officials — including Reagan — stonewalled us. Those instances are noted in the report and we encourage the press to continue seeking answers.

But we must voice serious concern with Reagan’s when she says: “It is time to dispel the narrative that if a ballot ‘isn’t counted’ it is a bad thing.” This is an astounding statement from any state’s chief elections officer, but particularly one who was elected amid the lowest voter turnout since World War II (when half our country’s fighting-age men were overseas and unable to cast ballots).

Reagan further brags that “since 2006, Arizona has invalidated an average of less than 1.8 percent of the total ballots cast in each election.” Reagan seems to consider this percentage a GOOD thing.

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My campaign staff handed me a stack of new press reports a mile high...

One headline from a Fox News article perfectly sums up everything I'm facing right now:

"UGLY EARLY: PAUL'S ENTRY SETS OFF FIRST ROUND OF ATTACKS."

And that's because the media sees polls showing me as the candidate best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton.

I don't have time to mince words.

The first few days of any campaign are virtually always the most important.

So can I please count on your most generous gift right now to my campaign's Stand With Rand Money Bomb to help us reach our new goal of $1.5 million?

Even if you've already given, but can afford to chip in a little more, please do so.

If you haven't given, please be as generous as you can!

The truth is, taking on the Washington machine isn't going to be easy.

There are plenty of candidates in BOTH parties who want to keep taxing and spending like there's no tomorrow until every last shred of American wealth is wiped out.

They'll do anything to defend the Big Government status quo.

I'm afraid they view you and me as their number-one threat.

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Friends,

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.

It has been a tremendous honor to serve you the last six years and I humbly request your support and confidence for another term.

City Council campaigns can be very competitive with a multitude of candidates vying for limited seats. Any help you can provide in the early stages would be greatly appreciated. Please consider making a contribution or volunteering for my campaign.

Be sure to check out my updated website and “Like” my new Facebook page.

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

A nationwide search resulted in over eighty applicants for the Town of Paradise Valley's Police Chief. It is now narrowed down to five candidates after twelve interviews were conducted on March 13 and 16. The Town Manager, Kevin Burke, will decide on the top candidate to replace Interim Public Safety Director Larry Ratcliff who was appointed in September 2014 after former Chief John Bennett retired after serving for seven years.

Three of the top five candidates — Larry Wingert, Nancy Gardner and Blake McClelland — are currently employed by Arizona agencies and two — Rodney Covey and Brian Kozak — have prior Arizona connections, and are currently employed by agencies out of state.

The five candidates are:

Rodney Covey
Covey is currently Deputy Chief for the Port of Seattle, Washington. He was with the Arizona Department of Public Safety for 32 years and worked his way up through the ranks to Assistant Director over three different bureaus: Patrol, Operations and Agency Support. Prior to moving to the Port of Seattle, Covey created and served as the Executive Director for the Center for Leadership Excellence for the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST). He also assisted with the creation of the Arizona Regional Community Policing Institute, serving as Chairman of the Board and later as Director. Covey has facilitated team building for over 50 governmental agencies in Arizona and the U.S.

Covey holds a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in management from University of Phoenix.

Nancy Gardner
Gardner has over 25 years of law enforcement experience and is currently the Police Chief (Town Marshal) of Camp Verde, Arizona. She previously served as a Division Commander and SWAT Commander in the Avondale, AZ Police Department and a Division Commander in the Gilbert, AZ Police Department. Among her many accomplishments, Gardner implemented a regional dispatching center to include Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Yavapai Apache Tribe, and Jerome to increase revenues and stimulate proficiency through strategically partnering with the other agencies. Since her time in Camp Verde, she has secured grant funding in excess of $300,000 for various programs and equipment for interoperability among law enforcement agencies.

Gardner earned a master's degree in education in counseling and human resources from Northern Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix.

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Just the other day, I filed with the Federal Election Commission the necessary paperwork to formally consider a run for President of the United States in 2016.

Let me tell you why I’ve taken this step, and how you can help.

For many years, I have traveled the country closely studying our politics. I believe we are on the verge of robbing our children of the American Dream.

We are racking up a virtually insurmountable debt, stifling our economic potential and placing our children’s future at risk.

At home and abroad, we are silencing honest debate about our challenges, our differences and our culture, all in the name of political correctness.

We are ceding more and more power to Washington bureaucrats at the expense of our personal liberty, ignoring the wisdom of our founders who risked their lives to form “a more perfect union.”

Too many of our children are trapped in failing schools and find themselves thrust into a deadly cycle of crime, dependence and despair.

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Friend -

Democrat Russ Feingold was in the United States Senate for eighteen years before I defeated him in 2010.

A "creature of Washington," he compiled a voting record that had him joining the ranks of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton as the #1 liberal in the nation.

Feingold has now quit his job in the Obama State Department, which is widely viewed as the first step toward an all but certain campaign against me.

With majority control of the United States Senate at stake, and with every ultra-liberal Super PAC placing a target on my back, I need to build an army of conservative champions across the country ... especially you, Friend. Your financial leadership of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or another amount is of the utmost importance!

With majority control of the entire United States Senate at stake, I'm the Democrats' #1 target.

What difference does your early support make? Having defeated Feingold by less than 5 points in 2010, and all eyes on this race, your support will make all the difference in the world.

And speaking about all the difference in the world, our backgrounds couldn't be more different:

  • Russ Feingold is an attorney and a career politician in a Senate that's full of both. I spent 3 decades helping build a successful manufacturing business and creating good jobs for Wisconsinites.
  • He has done nothing but run for office. I ran for the first time in 2010.
  • He is an advocate for ObamaCare. I want to repeal it.
  • He wants to grow government. I want to shrink it.
  • I'm for a Balanced Budget Amendment. He says it's a terrible idea.

Voters have a sharp clear choice, and our campaign's job is to give voters the truth ... the facts ... a side-by-side comparison of our background and views. And I need your help to get that message out.

But it won't be easy. The Democrat Machine is ginned up and eager to give Feingold all their help in our rematch. He will have the Obamas, Clintons, Big Labor, Hollywood, and Liberal Super PACs bankrolling his attack ads with millions of special interest dollars. I need you to win and I need you now, Friend.

Raising "early money" is the key to our victory, and that is why we have set a goal of raising $30,000 in the next 7 days. Please make your online contribution of $10 or $100 or even $1,000 today. With your good help, I will have the resources to fight back against whatever the Democrats throw our way, win, and ensure that Republicans keep our Senate majority.

And I make you this promise: Not only will I keep voting with our conservative principles in mind, I will continue to lead the charge for sweeping conservative change. We've got a country to save. Are you with me?

Ron Johnson
U.S. Senator, Wisconsin

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