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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

President Obama,

I am writing this letter to you regarding illegal immigrants.

As a tax paying, law abiding citizen of the United States, I WANT my voice heard on this issue. My son, Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, an officer who was with the City of Mesa, Arizona police department, was killed in a tragic head on collision on May 12, 2014 by a wrong way driver on our freeways. This man happened to be an illegal immigrant, was in this country illegally, convicted of previous crimes, no Social Security number, no valid driver's license BUT he had purchased a vehicle and registered it to drive in Maricopa County Arizona.

I had my son's life STOLEN from me by a man who didn't value his life, was 3X the legal limit drunk, was high on Meth, drove for over 35 miles THE WRONG WAY on 4 different freeways and had NO BUSINESS BEING IN THIS COUNTRY!!!

The Federal Government knew he, Raul Silva Corona , was an illegal immigrant when he was convicted on crimes in 1994 in Colorado. The prosecutors were "lenient" on him and several charges were dismissed. When he was convicted of these crimes and 1994 and the government knew he was in the country illegally, why wasn't he deported? Why are any of these illegal criminals in this country ??

I am furious that the Federal Government allowed this criminal to stay in this country and KILL my son! I have attached several articles for you to PERSONALLY read about my son. He was an Icon with the City of Mesa Police Department. He was instrumental in making life better for people of all walks of life in the park project he took on. He was humble, selfless, worked many hours off the clock helping disadvantaged children and often used his own money to do things for the community, including "adopting" children at Christmas to provide them with gifts….out of his own money!!

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As the travails of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne continue, at least until he is voted out and down by state Republicans on August 26th, the honor and duty of law enforcement counterpart Bill Montgomery is a reminder that it didn’t have to be this way.

Perhaps it is Montgomery’s military background. Perhaps it is a mbill-montgomery-professionaloral compass that focuses on the destination, not on the journey. Perhaps it is that Montgomery is appreciative of the office, not expecting to be there. After all, it took an Andrew Thomas departure and an overcoming of Rick Romley to get where he is, albeit with substantial help from Sheriff Arpaio.

But even among Democrats and those who oppose Arpaio and opposed Thomas there is a deep respect for Montgomery, even while they disagree with him.

And beyond all of this one gets the sense that if Bill Montgomery were not the Maricopa County Attorney he would be serving another way, as he already has his country. Or he would be succeeding in private practice. In other words, he is a person more than whatever title he holds, comfortable in his own skin.

Compare this to Horne. It’s as if he never went to prom and has been trying to make up for it ever since. Trying to get ahead financially back east before being banned for life from the securities profession for violations. Or running a racially-tinged campaign versus former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera so his title could be grander than that of Sue Gerard’s disciple in the Arizona State Legislature.

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One of the finest baseball stadiums in the country is AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Outside of an entrance sits an impressive statue of Willie Mays, the greatest Giant and player of all time.

Cameras click as the sense of arrival is profound.

Unknown is how this particular piece of art came to be. What is known is that someone had the obvious common sense not to put it in the field of play, interfering with the game and stadium that justified the statue in the first place.

While they mostly come to Scottsdale during spring training perhaps we can import some of that planning sanity now as it relates to goings on at WestWorld.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Over the past few years city leaders and WestWorld management have done a remarkable job enriching the community’s central park as an equestrian and special event playground. That foresight and the investments that have accompanied it deserve much credit.

Besides its goal of attracting new events to WestWorld, the most stated reason for expending tens of millions there was to retain two of Scottsdale’s signature events: Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Indeed, they are helping to pay for the debt service required for the expenditures.

So why in the world, as outlined at a recent City Council WestWorld subcommittee meeting, would Scottsdale Public Art propose and at least one city staffer support putting a new $400,000 statue in the middle of these event operations?

Millions get spent to better host Barrett-Jackson, the Arabians and other events in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center and now we want to impede them? With a piece of public art that while nice is hardly as important as ensuring event success at WestWorld so taxpayers can recoup their investment? To hear the discussion was to be reminded of the phrase tail wagging the dog.

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It is somewhat surprising in what is arguably Arizona’s most impressive community that the turnover on the Town Council is so substantial. A retiring Mayor. A relocating popular councilman named Schweiker and a previous top vote getter named Kirby choosing to devote more time to her elected position on the Scottsdale School Board.
Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living
By acclimation Vice Mayor Michael Collins will be Paradise Valley’s next Mayor as he has no opposition.

But that still leaves a number of seats open at the council level voters will have to sift through. Some names are known. Some less so. But they are collectively an impressive lot.

Over a month before early voting begins in the August 26th primary three names stand out and are worthy of endorsement now.

They are current councilmembers Paul Dembow and David Sherf as well as former Planning Commissioner and mayoral candidate Maria Syms.

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No matter the municipality City Hall activists like to fancy themselves as guardians of veracity.

Elected officials aren’t giving it to you straight. Something untoward is going on. But for us the world will end.

Their intelligence varies but the refrains are largely the same when it comes to development matters, pensions, imaginative projects and other matters of civic life.

Notwithstanding the merits he espouses the upper end of the Activist Mensa Meter is dedicated Scottsdale preservationist Howard Myers. His messaging troika is basically this: Development is bad. Tourism is good. And keep expanding the spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve, albeit at all costs. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

One may disagree with Myers but he has not seemed a dishonest sort over the years. Yet, his blatant falsehood recently about a proposed plan to relocate a beloved bar and restaurant called Greasewood Flat, separate but in tandem with a related residential plan, challenges that notion.

Myers started by doing his best John Kerry flip-flop impersonation. He actually suggested the new, proposed Greasewood Flat location on land owned by the bar’s owners near the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, before he now appears to be against. This, coming from the person who constantly scolds Scottsdale leadership about the import of tourism and Scottsdale’s western heritage place within it.

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John McCain learned an invaluable crisis communication lesson during and after his Keating Five debacle. If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. In other words, never be the status quo, especially when trouble hits.

It is an approach that has served McCain well. In a world of crisis communication “experts” he may be the best of all.mccain

The question now is, does McCain himself have a crisis as it relates to the Veteran’s Administration malfeasance in Phoenix that is now a national scandal?

After all, how does a United States Senator serving Arizona since 1986 not know what is going on in such an important federal operation? Did his office never get a constituent complaint? If not that would seem terribly odd, considering the level of purported malfeasance. Wouldn’t the office of a veteran and longest serving elected official in Arizona be one of the first people to contact for help? Did McCain or someone in his office drop the ball, or did they not?

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According to the owners of Tempe’s famed Yucca Tap Room, things are awry and city officials want their property. The Republic has some background on the situation. Click here.

The one-time platform of Roger Clyne and many other local music aspirants, the distinct bar is something to be celebrated and assisted, not run over as appears the intent of city bureaucrats. Yucca-Whisky-Tshirt-Back-300x300

What a shame. And what a reminder of a similar show we have seen before. In Scottsdale.

There, over a decade ago a conspiring city and developer wanted to condemn the city’s oldest tavern, The Coach House, and give it to a neighboring property owner for a bland mixed-use project. The odds were stacked against the small business as a pro-developer council majority seemed assembled. But then the locals and regulars rallied. The uprising was such that whatever majority existed evaporated as one colorful citizen after another entreated for relief. And The Coach House got it. And there it sill stands, an important reminder of Scottsdale’s history and one of the best watering holes in the Valley. Thank goodness.

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If Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is not investigated by someone for what appears to be a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars to aid his own election, we are not sure what the point of any campaign finance law is.ATTORNEY GENERAL

While some of these laws can be complex, the prohibited use of taxpayer dollars and government staff to assist one’s private election pursuit is not. And, it is among the most critically important election laws of all.

Horne wants us to believe it is coincidence or merit that has led to well-known Republican political, media and fundraising operatives onto his staff. All of who just happen to be working on his challenging re-election campaign. And this doesn’t include a $300,000 advertising contract just awarded by the Attorney General’s Office to one of Horne’s political consultants.

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There are many important commercial corners in Phoenix but a largely vacant one at 32nd Street and Indian School Road is particularly so.

Once a proud, thriving center it has retreated to near nothingness.

With the recent success of businesses and restaurants like The Vig, Beckett’s Table and Crudo nearby, the corner surround by diverse neighborhoods is both an incredible opportunity to bookend Arcadia, or see this central Phoenix area west of 32nd tip itself into no man’s land.

The former aspiration got some welcome news this week in the form of acquisition by De Rito Partners. Owned by the constantly in motion Marty De Rito the enterprising company is a great match for a property with so much potential.

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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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By Sal DiCiccio

4551 new teachers for Phoenix… that is how many NEW teachers we could hire for the cost of just one new mile of rail.

Mayor Stanton and others are pushing a new $30 billion tax and spend proposal for transit costing $209 million per mile to build and operate.

Make no mistake about it, every penny taken from our citizens and wasted on these boondoggles and government waste is one less dollar our hardworking taxpayers can use for critical services we really need.  Now is not the time and place for us to waste money on ideas meant to benefit city insiders who will benefit from this money.

As a city and as a state we need to do a better job of prioritizing limited dollars.  We must do better and we must start to make choices based on things that matter.

Our families must be protected first and be the priority.

Read and watch what the Phoenix Business Journal and Channel 10 FOX News had to say about this massive boondoggle coming to voters this August.

Follow me on  FacebookTwitter  and now  Instagram .

 

From my family to yours,

 

Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix City Council

District 6

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Dear Friends:

For those of you who are concerned about Scottsdale’s future and the direction it has been moving (or not moving)  over the last few years, I offer you a way to keep in touch and up-to-date on what is going on in Scottsdale.  For you Clint Eastwood fans, discover “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”

Please take a moment to read the following letter, inviting you to join COGS, a group of other concerned citizens like yourself.  You can also read about COGS and what it does on their website www.cogsaz.net.  Remember:  The future of Scottsdale depends on her citizens.  This is a way to help you stay informed and let your voice be heard!

Thank you.

Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield

www.kathylittlefield.com

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By Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith

Dear Friends...

This Tuesday evening, February 24, the Scottsdale City council will debate the first real tax reform in recent memory.  A workshop has been scheduled to discuss the proposal I made last month to eliminate the sales tax imposed on retail sales of food for home consumption. david smith 2

Scottsdale's food tax collections amount to $11 million a year, borne substantially by Scottsdale's 220,000 citizens. A family of four might pay as much as $200 per year.  More troubling, the burden of this tax weighs most heavily on those least able to afford it.

The Scottsdale Independent ran an editorial I submitted arguing for the elimination of food taxes, available at: http://www.scottsdaleindependent.com/opinions/smith-scottsdale-city-council-debate-real-tax-reform-feb-24/

I hope you'll take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the issues and follow this important debate.  If you have questions to ask or opinions to share, I encourage you to email me. news@councilmandavidsmith.com

David N. Smith

Scottsdale City Council

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Over $209 million per mile to build and operate. Yes, that's the cost to build and operate one mile of the new train system being proposed to the Mayor and Council.

I'm guessing you didn't know this was being pushed forward by the bureaucrats and politicians.

This is being proposed for the Phoenix ballot this year and will be sold to you as a "new direction" for our city.

Don't believe the politicians when they try to take more of your hard-earned monies. This is money from you and your family to pay insiders this outrageous sum.

You will be asked to pay for their costly idea with a huge tax increase with overall spending of over $30 billion! You tell me if you think it's fiscally-responsible and makes sense to spend $6.5 Billion building just 31 new miles for a new train system.

I urge you to send this notification to everyone on your personal list including Facebook and Twitter.

They will have all the big beneficiaries pour millions of dollars into their campaign to convince you to give them your hard-earned money.

You have my commitment to keep you informed as a counter to their plans - plans designed to protect big-government insiders.

 

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram.

From my family to yours,

 

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

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Two Year Adjustment Announced for Upcoming Elections

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Michele Reagan has unveiled the funding amounts available for qualifying Clean Election candidates in the 2016 election cycle. State law provides for these funding levels to be adjusted by the Secretary of State every two years. michele-reagan-027

The Citizens Clean Elections Act, passed as an initiative by the voters in 1998 provides public funding to qualified statewide and legislative candidates.

The 2016 election cycle will be the ninth time candidates in Arizona will be permitted to take part in the Clean Elections system as participating candidates. The choice is strictly voluntary, although public funding is available only to participating candidates who qualify for funding. To qualify, participating candidates are required to gather $5 qualifying contributions from eligible voters and adhere to spending and contribution limits.

According to Secretary Reagan, the numbers released today establish the new Clean Elections spending limits for the 2016 election cycle and take into account recent inflation figures as well as the percent increase in state resident income tax returns as required by law.

Secretary Reagan revealed the new figures in a letter to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and a copy of the 2016 Clean Elections Biennial Adjustments chart is included with this press release. Copies are also available at the Secretary of State’s office on the 7th floor of the State Capitol, by calling the Elections Services Division at 602-542-8683 or 1-877-THE-VOTE or www.azsos.gov.

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PHOENIX – Arizona’s $5 billion Permanent Endowment Fund will pay a record distribution of $93.7 million to endowment beneficiaries in FY 2016, said State Treasurer Jeff DeWit.  That is a 14.7% increase from this year’s $81.7 million distributions.

This emphasizes the great work of previous Treasurer Doug Ducey and our top-notch staff,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “I’m proud to continue this legacy, and to further protect and grow the Endowment.”

 K-12 schools are the largest beneficiary of the Endowment and will receive $87.2 million in distributions starting in July 2015, $11.2 million more than this year, as approved by the State Board of Investment during its monthly meeting this week.

“This increase is excellent news for teachers and students, and for the hardworking taxpayers of Arizona,” DeWit said. “This record distribution of funds shows the value of voters approving Proposition 118 in the 2012 election. The distributions have shown constant, continued growth since that time. I commend former Treasurer, and now Governor Doug Ducey, for his tireless efforts on Prop 118. He showed how good public policy can result when the Legislature, schools, and voters all come together.”

 Proposition 118 simplified the distribution of revenues from the Endowment to 2.5% of the average market value of the Endowment for the previous 5 calendar years. The result has been an average increase of 13% each year in distributions. 

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