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2018 Scrum

One of Arizona’s top political blogs for years has been seeingredaz.com. It is not right. It is hard right. And the blog’s contributors defend their positions with courage and conviction.

But this recent refrain from a post about Arizona Secretary of State and 2014 Republican aspirant for Governor was not such a post. The post in its entirety can be viewed here.

Here is a portion of it:

“Even more curious is his odd invitation to supporters to “Join the Ken Bennett Camp.”
The word association is not the best for Bennett, whose camp counselor son was sentenced to jail time for sodomizing (the press called the brutal acts “brooming”) 18 middle school age campers with broomsticks, a flashlight and a cane. This is the report from the Arizona Daily Sun. This article details the civil lawsuits filed by the families of the young campers, who claim Bennett’s son got a sweetheart deal because of his father’s prominence.
“Camp” is a word Bennett should steer clear of. Ditto the governor’s race, which he is unlikely to win.”

During a heated 2006 race for the United States Senate Republican incumbent Jon Kyl refrained from attacking his Democratic opponent, Jim Pederson, over significant troubles his son was having amidst the campaign. Kyl showed decency and wisdom in so doing.

Many wanted to believe Bennett, then the Arizona State Senate President, acted inappropriately when his son did benefit from prosecutorial lenience. But there was no indication he did.

To drag up now the sins of the son to impede the ambitions of the father is distasteful. And wrong.

Leave the kids – Democrat or Republican – out of it. Unless of course you’re in Oracle, Arizona. Where every kid is fair game.

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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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Over the weekend I was elected Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am the first woman and first Hispanic Chair the Party has ever elected – and I’m hoping that symbolism will help us move our Party in a new direction that modernizes our approach and wins more elections.

Some of you may know me from my time as campaign manager for Dr. Richard Carmona’s campaign for U.S. Senate, or as chief of staff to Congressman Harry Mitchell. But my connection to the Democratic Party and our progressive values runs much deeper than my experience running campaigns and managing offices.

I come from a small mining town in rural Arizona. Growing up, my dad was a miner and proud member of the union – a union that my family sometimes had to lean on when things got tough.

My mom raised us in proud Catholic traditions, but she also raised three daughters who she wanted to be independent and capable of controlling their own lives and medical decisions. So when my sisters and I reached dating age, my mom drove us right down to Planned Parenthood to make sure we had access to birth control and the health care we needed.

I’m a Democrat because I care deeply about the values that make us all Democrats – and I believe firmly that those values are the right ones to govern our state. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to winning races for Democrats in Arizona.

I’m going to build a leaner, meaner Arizona Democratic Party – a party that proudly boasts of our progressive values and hammers ideological Republicans when they cut education, block access to women’s health care, discriminate against our LGBT community, vilify unions and sell out our state to the corporations that dump Dark Money on our candidates. 

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PHOENIX -- ProgressNow Arizona has hit for the cycle in January, establishing the year-old organization as the go-to progressive voice holding elected leaders accountable in several television, print and radio interviews on the state’s biggest political stories.

Executive Director Robbie Sherwood has provided commentary in response to Gov. Doug Ducey’s inaugural speech, led a massive press conference and rally pushing common-sense budget solutions ahead of Ducey’s “State of the State” speech, broke down Ducey’s anti-education budget plan and stood up for President Obama’s accomplishments after his State of the Union address. 

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Friend,

Just over three years ago, I was sworn in as Mayor of Phoenix and fully focused on getting to work on moving this city forward -- just as you entrusted me to do.

I grew up here and I love this city. I’ve seen Phoenix grow into a major American city. And yet, Phoenix still has so many unique characteristics that makes it special.

This is a city that rewards hard work and welcomes those from an incredible array of diverse backgrounds. But like any great city, we must always strive to do even better.

Phoenix has dug out of a grueling recession, but our work is not done. We need an inovated, exported based economy that works for everybody, and that starts with supporting our schools and expanding transporation options.

I’ll be reaching out again soon with more details on what lies ahead and how you can continue to support our efforts. For now, I just want you to know that I remain passionate about this city and the things we can accomplish together.

Thank you for your support,

Greg

 

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(Phoenix, AZ) With the new year begins a new era in the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich added three more staff members as he prepares to take office on Monday. brnovich

Zora Manjencich will join the Attorney General's Office as the Assistant Chief of the Child Safety Division. Manjencich spent nine years at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office handling high-profile sex crime cases in the East Valley. She once tried and convicted a child predator who was featured on America's Most Wanted and earned the Crime Victims' Rights Special Award. Manjencich most recently worked as a litigator at a local law firm. Manjencich is actively involved with organizations that advocate for children with both physical and learning disabilities.

"Zora's experience prosecuting child predators demonstrates to me that she is the ideal person to work alongside John Johnson in the Child Safety Division," said Brnovich. "The fact that she devotes her own time to standing up for children in our community proves that her passion for youth goes beyond any job title."

Maria Syms will serve as Legal Policy Advisor. Syms is currently a councilwoman-elect for the Town of Paradise Valley and recently earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. Syms' impressive resume includes serving as an Assistant United State Attorney in Los Angeles. She both enforced the law and saved taxpayer money by aiding in the dismissal of frivolous lawsuits. She has experience working as a Law Clerk within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit where she analyzed and researched cases and legal issues presented to the court, drafted opinions and orders, and briefed a federal judge in preparation for oral argument. Syms also practiced law at a private firm in Hawaii, advocating for businesses of varying sizes.
General Brnovich named Jennifer Perkins the Assistant Solicitor General for Attorney General Opinions. Perkins comes to the team from her role as Of Counsel at an appellate law firm in Phoenix. She previously spent five years with the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct as Disciplinary Counsel and Staff Attorney. In that role she investigated, prosecuted and provided resolutions in all statewide judicial misconduct complaints. She also served as as a staff attorney with the Arizona Chapter of the Institute for Justice for five years.

"Selecting the very best people to serve our state has been an exciting task," Brnovich added. "I become more confident in my team with each new hire."

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(Phoenix, AZ) Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich’s administration continues to gain momentum as he added three key members to his staff this week. Brnovich will assume office January 5, 2015.

John Johnson joins Brnovich's team as the Division Chief of the Child and Family Protection Division, Leslie Welch will serve as Director of Operations, and Kristen Keogh takes the role of spokesperson.brnovich

"With these additions, the Attorney General's Office has acquired highly accomplished talent, and I am pleased to have them on my team when I take office next month," said Brnovich.

John Johnson, a former Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Maricopa County Attorney will bring years of experience in the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse with him as he leads the Child and Family Protection Division.

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Scottsdale – Arizona’s 20th Secretary of State Michele Reagan has announced the members of her incoming administration. The new leadership team consists of Lee Miller as Deputy Secretary of State, Eric Spencer as State Election Director, Liz Atkinson as CFO and Matt Roberts as Director of Communications.

“It was important to me and my transition team to place highly-regarded and experienced professionals in positions of leadership within my administration,” said Secretary-elect Reagan. “Each one of them has an exceptional skill set that will help implement my vision for improving one of the most important offices in state government.”image001

Lee Miller, tapped as Deputy Secretary of State, will oversee day-to-day operations of the Department of State, the Secretary of State’s office and its numerous divisions, including the State Library, Archive and Public Records Division.

Mr. Miller’s professional career began working as an attorney for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation investigating financial fraud in the banking and savings and loan industries. That work evolved into senior management positions with commercial and residential securities trading firms from coast to coast.

A noted election law attorney, Mr. Miller has provided consultation and analysis for numerous political campaigns and organizations including the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and pro-bono work for the Arizona Republican Party.

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