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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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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.
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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.

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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.

That can’t be said of Glendale City Councilman Gary Sherwood.
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The city is a cauldron of upside finances and distrusting peers.

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.

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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.”duval

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.

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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.
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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.

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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%. duval

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.
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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.

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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. duval

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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

It must be rewarding to the octogenarian. Sheriff+Joe+Arpaio

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?

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By Hugh Hallman

Dear Fellow Arizona Resident:

Over the past couple of days, a bizarre "dark money" mailer was sent to voters attacking me by attempting to link my efforts to protect Arizona taxpayers to, believe it or not, Barack Obama. hallman pic

The mailer is ridiculous, but the motives behind it are not. And the Secretary of State's Office announced yesterday that there is "reasonable cause" to believe the group who sent the mailer is breaking the law.

Here's what Republican Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith had to say about this mailer:

"Hugh Hallman has been involved in proceedings in front of the Arizona Corporation Commission on the highly publicized issue of net metering and advocated for a resolution that resulted in eliminating subsidies and protecting taxpayers. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply not accurate. I have known Hugh Hallman for over 30 years and he continues to be my choice for Arizona's next Treasurer."

The attack itself refers to work I did defending Arizona residents against utility rate increases by Arizona Public Service, or APS. I fought APS' efforts to raise rates on Arizona residents.

But now, a mailer with anonymous funding sources is hitting mailboxes attacking me for protecting the pocketbooks of Arizona residents. And "coincidentally," it comes just a few days after APS was saved from facing reductions in its government-protected guaranteed profits and exposing the hidden subsidies it supplies to favorite customers — truly the worst of "crony capitalism."

This "dark money" effort cost more than $80,000. Clearly, someone with deep pockets doesn't want me in the State Treasurer's Office taking on their cronies and defending taxpayers.

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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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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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