The Conservative's Corner
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.
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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:
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.
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.Read more
There’s a phrase about anyone noticing a tree if it falls in the forest. Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
But in Scottsdale, Arizona these days it’s hard to miss trees not when they fall in a forest, but as they obstruct the signage of prominent businesses.
For years a city installed tree has obstructed grandfathered signage for the venerable Coach House Tavern. Maybe the owners are too buzzed to notice, or it’s revenge for the efforts of customers to stop the city from condemning the property over a decade ago.
A more contemporary and comical example impacts famed collector car auction Barrett-Jackson.
Apparently, the company is readying a revitalization of its southern Scottsdale property near Scottsdale and Thomas Roads. A grander showroom with more collector and exotic car sales is in the works.
If you can find it.
Enter another tree.
Many years ago Scottsdale voters approved a Scottsdale Road beautification project. A good idea.
Yet some city botanist in their infinite wisdom decide to plant a large Palo Verde tree right in front of the Barrett-Jackson sign.Read more
Why don’t elected officials tackle the big issues more? It’s a constant refrain one hears about elected officials whether its foreign policy or Social Security in the nation’s Capitol Hill or Scottsdale visionaries lamenting the lack of a next great thing.
From Michael Bidwill and rich gaming tribes to transient new owners of the Phoenix Coyotes and a spring training complex with the worst mathematics in baseball there is no escape from tough votes and issues in the capital of the West Valley.
Enter first-term Councilman Gary Sherwood.
Last summer he led the charge for an annual $15 million subsidy allowing the now Arizona Coyotes to stay in town. But for his championing and vote the franchise would have skated away, as it likely will anyways several years from now.
And in the heavyweight title bout surrounding a new Glendale casino and involving the largesse of a Tucson gaming tribe and one right here in the Valley Sherwood flipped his vote to favor the new casino.Read more
There has been considerable chatter about the Rasmussen Poll that shows Democrat Fred Duval and Doug Ducey in a dead heat for Arizona Governor.
Keep in mind that Rasmussen has been trying very hard to make up for its gaffe in predicting a Romney win over Obama. Perhaps Rasmussen has been trying too hard.
According to this article in the Guardian, Rasmussen is trying to correct past sins by leaning a bit too far to the left. For example the article notes that “Obama's average net approval in Rasmussen's polling since re-election is +10.6pt, which is nearly 4pt higher than the other pollsters' results.”
Rasmussen is also using past exit polls to weigh its surveys. The article continues, “The exit polls, though, had Democrats with a 6pt party identification advantage. Sure enough, Rasmussen now weights its polling to 38% Democratic and 32% Republican – the same exact spread as the exit polls gave.”
Some more interesting facts on the Rasmussen poll.
In 2010, voters under 40 made up approximately 20 percent of the Arizona electorate; yet, in today's Rasmussen poll, they have the age bracket at 25 percent.
Arizona voters over 65 made up nearly 30 percent of the midterm electorate in 2010, and in Rasmussen's sample, they make up only 26 percent.Read more
In 2007 a relative unknown named Michael Nowakowski decided to take on Congressman Pastor’s influence for the race to replace former Phoenix City Councilman Doug Lingner.
Undoubtedly an intriguing candidate, few gave Nowakowski a chance against Laura Pastor, the Congressman’s daughter.
He fared OK in the first round of voting, but finished well behind Pastor. Surely there wasn’t enough in the runoff election to make up that much ground. But he did. And his campaign manager for the upset? Ruben Gallego.
That should have told us something. Because its engineering was one of the more impressive Arizona political upsets in recent memory.
Gallego has since gone on to capture a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, and assisted his wife Kate’s successful run against a Phoenix legend, First Institutional Baptist Church Pastor Warren Stewart.
And last Tuesday he sleighed a Democratic legend (at least in her own mind), the ethically short cutting Mary Rose Wilcox.
By any stretch this is one of the more accomplished and meteoric rises, ever, in Arizona politics.Read more
Is there a Democrat in Arizona today that doesn’t embrace just about any call for a fee or tax hike to aid a pet interest?
Our television screens this week suggest Fred Duval falls right in line. While serving on the Arizona Board of Regents, the group that governs Arizona’s universities, Duval supported increasing tuition on the backs of students a whopping 99%.
His excuse? Legislative Republicans dealing with the Great Recession made him do it.
C’mon Fred. Even using your own math that university budgets were cut in half by the State Legislature, your tuition hikes were double this amount.
Is Duval actually suggesting spending cuts shouldn’t have been made to universities which were among the most extreme beneficiaries of former Governor Napolitano’s largesse?
And it was a REPUBLICAN Governor, Jan Brewer, who led the fight for the largest tax increase in state history to mitigate the Great Recession on state government.
No, Duval was just acting as a classic liberal in raising tuition beyond any reasonable level, beyond any cuts to higher education at a time when state government had to whittle away. And Duval will suffer for it as the political commercials continue, ultimately ending his hopes for Governor.
So what does this have to do with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton? A lot.
As a Phoenix City Councilman and as a candidate for Mayor Stanton felt more like a Bill Clinton Democrat than a Nancy Pelosi one. Yet, since running an impressive campaign for Mayor, Stanton has towed party orthodoxy. Perhaps his aspirations fear a more difficult primary for higher office in the future if he is not an liberal adherent. After all, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman showed the challenges of winning a primary having once served as Mayors, as Paul Johnson did before him.
But this makes for bad policy and relegates taxpayers as mere subjects to advance oneself in the political game.
Having already flip-flopped on the City of Phoenix food tax, he was opposed to it as a candidate before embracing it as Mayor, Stanton is now strangely quiet on charging new fees for those using City of Phoenix parks like Squaw Peak and Echo Canyon.
This is real simple Mayor. It’s a terrible idea. Just because you can tax doesn’t mean you should.Read more
No rest for weary voters. The Republican Governor’s Association is already up with attack ads against Arizona Democratic nominee for Governor Fred Duval. While the primary messaging focuses on Duval’s obscene support for huge tuition hikes on Arizona students, the word “lobbyist” to describe him is used several times. As sagacious political operative Matt Benson opined earlier this week via Twitter that will be Duval’s first name by the time this campaign is over. It has long been his trade after all.
But Republicans looking to advance the lobbyist line need not rely solely on their own party. In fact, their best spokesperson may come in the form of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat.
During his run-off election in 2011 Stanton faced Republican Wes Gullett, a “lobbyist.” And Stanton was never shy about laying wood to Gullett’s profession.
Indeed, there is a treasure trove of quotes, assertions and really an arching philosophical narrative from Stanton as to how and why a lobbyist would be inappropriate as the Mayor of Phoenix.Read more
So new technology is perplexing some National Park Service officials as they wrestle with how to manage the use of photography drones at its natural cathedrals.
Here in Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, the policy for our natural wonder shouldn’t be complicated at all. A resounding no to their use ought to be the answer.
Imagine going into the Sistine Chapel and being subjected to the irritating buzz of drones. Well, the Grand Canyon is God’s Chapel. And when one visits there an inherent right to irritate and endanger with whiz bang technology does not come with the entrance fee.
Some years ago the National Park Service was wise to restrict air tours to certain corridors so visiting and hiking the canyon didn’t have to resemble a trip to Sky Harbor Airport.
Tourism has been enriched. Access to these travel options has been maintained.Read more
Through all the fights, all the criticism, all the lawsuits, they still come. A parade really. Especially this year, when many thought the Sheriff of Maricopa County was on the decline.
All of the 2014 candidates for Arizona governor wanted his endorsement. Doug Ducey got it. And is showcasing the Sheriff on television. By himself. And with Jon Kyl.
Embattled Attorney General Tom Horne is doing likewise. His thinking? If anyone can save me, it’s Arpaio.
Even State Treasurer candidate Randy Pullen has the crime fighter doing radio ads for him, even though his nexus to the office is remote to say the least.
So how and why does Arpaio maintain such an aura?Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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,
Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate