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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

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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According to insightful reporting at the Paradise Valley Independent , the denizens of density behind the proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and townhouse development in Paradise Valley are back.

This time the “We’re Baaack” is likely to be a noisier poltergeist for residents than the last time around.
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So why are they returning to the political theater now?

A couple of reasons.

First, after viciously, and unsuccessfully attacking Mayor Scott Lemarr, his term is coming to an end. As a son of Paradise Valley Lemarr has long been a skeptic of the Ritz plans, that are actually being curated by Five Star Development – a company unrelated to the Ritz. Lemarr’s departure alone aids those seeking to pioneer more liberal development allowances in town.

Second, those who laughed at recent Ritz-Carlton/Five Star Development attempts to turn that which voters approved in 2008 into something reminiscent of Tempe have left or are leaving office come January.

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Northeast Valley residents saw change after the recent elections.

The Town of Paradise Valley will see the most after movings, goings and retirements.

And Scottsdale will incur some too as those more cautious about the city’s growth trajectory were narrowly favored.

While others could certainly be noted, one victor in each municipality exemplifies the marketplace filling that which they constantly request in more candidates: talent and regard.

Take Councilman-elect Mark Stanton in the 85253. Frequent smile. Good humor. Looks you in the eyes. And has served in the private and public sector with distinction. First as an accomplished public relations executive, then as the as the Deputy Director for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

With more gray hair across the border is Scottsdale’s David Smith. He can be prickly, but whether one is in agreement with him there is little doubting his brain cells and financial acumen. People like him are needed to check government largesse and inefficiency.

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Friends of District 7,

I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud to have the Phoenix selected for the 2017 Men’s Final Four, a culmination of March Madness and the finale to the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. Much like Super Bowl 49 and the 2016 College Football Championship Game, the Final Four will have significant components of its activities centered in downtown Phoenix. The event will have a large economic benefit for Phoenix and continues to showcase our wonderful City and that it has to offer to our guests and residents. We look forward to partnering with the ASU, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, and other Valley communities to deliver a world class experience. The City thanks the NCAA for being selected and continues to be the proof why investing in our Downtown and our community pays dividends.
Best Regards,

Michael Nowakowski
Councilmember

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Once upon a time a five or six story office building was built at Scottsdale & Camelback Roads. Those who voted for it were swept out of office.

As sure as the sun rises the ebb and flow of “slow growth” and “pro business” candidates occurs in Scottsdale elections.
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But that it happened so soon in Scottsdale on November 4th, a cycle or two early, is noteworthy.

After rapid growth in the early and mid 1990s Scottsdale citizens remarkably voted to tax themselves to preserve the McDowell Mountains, sparing them from development. And later that decade those critical of growth started to be elected with more frequency.

And then they went too far. Scottsdale became “Stopsdale.” An arena was lost. Studies were done. Those opposed to all growth were soon opposed by voters desirous of reasonable growth.

But then the “pro business” majorities on council go farther than the electorate is comfortable with. So many apartments. So much height. So much which can seem so foreign to residents. And the pendulum begins to swing the other way, all over again. So much of this seemed vital and laudable during the Great Recession, but now that the economy has returned so has the luxury of complaint about that now built.

There were certainly signs of what was to come this election. The General Plan was soundly defeated at the polls previously. So was a city bond package. The natives were growing restless. Even a much improved bond campaign for the Scottsdale School District, which had been previously defeated but that faced no organized opposition in 2014, won a couple of Tuesdays ago by a modest 55%-45% margin.

Always schizophrenic to some extent the Scottsdale City Council now stands at four that can be called “pro-business” (Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, Linda Milhaven, Suzanne Klapp) two that want to slow things down (Guy Phillips and the newly-elected Kathy Littlefield) and another newbie that will probably dip his toes in both camps (David Smith).

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Whether one likes him or not the gold standard for candidate concession speeches was Al Gore following his gut-wrenching, Flordia vote counting loss in 2000. It was the epitome of class and decency.

Contrast his approach with two on Tuesday night in Arizona, Wendy Rogers and Fred Duval.

First, Rogers.

This was her statement.

“I want to thank my friends, family, and volunteers for standing by me in this race, and I want to thank the citizens of the 9th District for all of their kind words over the past several months. I ran for Congress because of my concern over the direction America is heading in, and I hope that, for the good of our country, Congress will work to turn our nation around and put a stop to the Obama agenda.”
No mention of her opponent, Kyrsten Sinema. No congratulations to her.

There is a time for the fight. And there is a time for kudos. Great boxers typically gather in the middle of the ring and hug after prolonged battle. Gladiators of the NFL shake hands after a game. The player acknowledgements after the Stanley Cup has been won are laudable.

Candidates should be likewise. But many aren’t. Thankfully, voters tend to get such deficiencies before Election Night. They clearly understood so with the anemic Rogers, who will not be mistaken for Ms. Manners any time soon.

And that brings us to Fred Duval. Long known for being a gentleman, even criticized for being too much of one in his battle with Governor-elect Ducey, his concession speech was a clunker.

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An opinion that bears repeating after Arizona's election results Tuesday.The following was originally Published February 13

There’s an old observation in politics that just about anyone who gets elected to anything starts seeing themselves being President of the United States. After Goldwater, Udall, Babbitt and McCain that may not be true for Arizonans but you get the point.

But it is true the bigger dragons you slay the bigger the doors that open.

And that’s the opportunity current Arizona State Senator and Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan finds herself in.Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

Once upon a time she was the favorite for the race of second in command. Then along came well-funded Wil Cardon and the most formidable Democrat in the state (sans Kyrsten Sinema) Terry Goddard.

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As nearly always New York Times’ Columnist David Brooks made one think Tuesday about the numbing and dumbing of American elections. Here is a link.

He assigns blame to political consultant sameness indicting the Mitt Romney presidential campaign among others for a lack of ideas and imagination. It is deserved. Brooks_New-thumbLarge

Poll driven campaigns are inherently reactive, almost like trench warfare, rarely breaking out from challenges lobbed into the bunker.

Very rare is the campaign anymore that pulls an upset based on ideas. It’s mostly whoever has the most money wins.

John McCain’s 2000 upstart presidential campaign is perhaps the best example of a campaign team being rewarded with a different approach.

They did not bottle up their candidate in a bubble with redundant talking points. They allowed people to see a human being with humor and candor. But more importantly they focused on an issue that didn’t appear as a concern in any polls: campaign finance reform.

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Wringing hands likely doesn’t do justice to the exercise of Valley old-timers these days.

Pinnacle Peak Patio and Greasewood Flat in Scottsdale are going away next year.

Today we learned Monti’s La Casa Vieja, the oldest restaurant in Arizona, is closing in just two weeks. And this follows the closure of landmark Mexican restaurant Tia Rosa’s in Mesa. montis

Well, at least we still have Rustler’s Rooste.

The natural reaction is to lament their passings and resent that which is taking their places.

This would be miniature thinking on a couple of different levels.

First, the re-developers of the Pinnacle Peak Patio site are wisely exploring options to recreate Pinnacle Peak Patio at WestWorld as a new special event venue. This follows their generosity of allowing the restaurant to continue rent free, prolonging the operation far beyond what would have otherwise occurred.

Greasewood Flat recently pulled its effort to relocate to property elsewhere in Scottsdale. If the owners could ever get in sync they would realize the brand equity the establishment has, and begin soliciting for new locations like Rawhide once did, solidifying a future elsewhere.

The 11,000 square foot integrity of the historic “Hayden House” that makes up the core of Monti’s will be preserved in the redevelopment. So while it may not welcome steak lovers any more who knows what the future may hold in the fascinating space.

The lamenters will say the Valley is losing its way and that which makes it special.

They will say Scottsdale is losing its western roots, notwithstanding God’s roots in greater abundance in the massive McDowell Sonoran Preserve close by Greasewood Flat and Pinnacle Peak Patio. Also adjoining Pinnacle Peak Patio is the hugely popular Pinnacle Peak trailhead, created long after the restaurant debuted. And then there is the Four Seasons across the street from Greasewood Flat, enriching the neighborhood since its opening years ago.

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As the conventional Arizona wisdom goes, the City of Glendale is a bunch of suckers. That’s what has caused their financial turmoil people say.

Whether one is a sexy Dodger, Cabela’s or Coyote open the kimono and let them have one’s way with scantily clad protections for Glendale taxpayers.

History will determine if these decisions were wise and progressive with temporary setbacks, or a gamble too far.

But with more Glendale residents demanding different leadership, change and amends a recent story begs the question not only if the city has the spine to right the ship, but to even stand up to a neighboring city.

Glendale-Peoria Clash Over Billboards Rises Again. October 28th, Arizona Republic

Whether one is for or opposed to the proposed casino in Glendale there is no dispute about the City of Peoria’s aggressive interference with what is clearly their land use issue.

At least that effort was known.

Contrast that with Peoria’s skullduggery as it relates to opposing innocuous billboards proposed by Becker Boards along the Loop 101 in Glendale.

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John McCain’s deployment of so much left over presidential money in his 2010 Republican primary battle against J.D. Hayworth was designed to send a message: don’t mess with me. mccain

And while he won convincingly times have changed. McCain may well be the next Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a perch from which to raise lots of money. But he won’t have the $20 million that went unused during his 2008 run. Add to that a few things.

First, the Citizens United decision could provide a McCain challenger major, stealth resources.

Second, McCain’s numbers among Arizona Republican primary voters are awful. It is why McCain endorsements during the primary election were almost non-existent. People knew of his toxicity and didn’t want to be a part of it.

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U. S. Representative Trent Franks Says NO to Prop 480,
a 1.6 Billion Dollar Tax Increase

In an Op-Ed piece published in today’s Arizona Republic, Rep. Trent Franks explained why Maricopa County Taxpayers cannot afford prop 480. You can read his entire statement below:

Trent Franks: Health care already costs enough. Why is Maricopa County Integrated Health System piling on more?

Arizonans are painfully aware of the skyrocketing costs of health care.
Both federal and state governments continue to ask for more tax dollars to pay for Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers are contributing more than ever for health care for the less fortunate.

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Those below 133 percent of the federal poverty level now qualify for Medicaid and those using an ACA exchange receive a heavy subsidy. These programs will be inordinately expensive.

Proposition 480, placed on the ballot by the Maricopa County Integrated Health System, fails to acknowledge these massive changes and the sacrifices taxpayers are already making by asking for a 27-year, $1.6 billion bond and tax increase for the old way of doing health-care business.
As a recent Arizona Republic editorial pointed out, the county hospital is a true safety net only for illegal immigrants because they do not qualify for AHCCCS or ACA, which raises the question of why only Maricopa County property taxpayers should pay for a federal responsibility.
Since Medicaid restoration and expansion began in January, more than 340,000 Arizonans have signed up, bringing the state's total to 1.64 million and counting (25 percent of Arizonans). Arizonans who receive AHCCCS are free to use their insurance at a variety of private providers just like those with private insurance.

Unfortunately, Prop. 480 proponents give taxpayers zero credit for these enormous investments. They talk about health care for the poor as if we were living in a 1950 America, where the indigent were relegated to the county hospital. The paradigm shift to providing insurance for the poor vs. paying for the facilities calls for less government-run facilities, not more. It also provides the best health care at the most competitive price with the greatest dignity for the patient.

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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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