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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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As the 2014 election cycle gets underway there may be no easier endorsement, even at this early date, than current Vice Mayor Michael Collins to assume the top position. 

With Mayor Scott LeMarr leaving on top after more than two decades of public service to the town, Collins offers the compelling combination of continuation, experience and talent. 

He chaired the community’s Public Safety Task Force that has resulted in a decrease in crime. RA_Collins_Logos2-1

He chaired the town’s General Plan efforts passed by a whopping 80 percent of voters.

He voted for the Mountain Shadows redevelopment plan that has already resulted in the removal of rat infested buildings at 56th Street and Lincoln. 

He leads not only in the Town but a business with 45 employees that does land use planning for the U.S. military.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, father and husband. 

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If there were a Mount Rushmore in Paradise Valley, Arizona – or more appropriately a Mount Camelback, current Mayor Scott Lemarr would be on it. Only six decades old Lemarr has served the town in a variety of capacities for over a third of that time on a variety of citizen commissions and currently as the first directly elected mayor in the town’s history.  MayorLeMarr

He’s not only seen it all he’s done it all. And Paradise Valley is a better place for it.

A tidy recovering from the Great Recession.

An improved police department and reduced crime.

Improved fire service.

Leading what no council before him could – an approval for the redevelopment of the old Mountain Shadows Resort. The rat infested relic has even been scraped away, readying the property for a better future.

As a son of the community Lemarr has understood that a community already the envy of Arizona doesn’t need a lot more, certainly density. It just needs a little TLC from time to time, the Mayor’s job unlike in other cities largely constituting a do no harm approach.

Lemarr has succeeded in that regard and then some. He likes to attend a lot of Diamondbacks’ games. While they aren’t winning a lot this year that’s not the case for Lemarr’s 22 years of impressive public service.

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In 1992 one-time GOP presidential nominee Barry Goldwater shocked many by crossing party lines to endorse Democratic congressional candidate Karan English over Republican standard-bearer Doug Wead. A former Amway salesman and political slickster, Wead had spent about 5 minutes in Arizona before entering the fray for Arizona’s new congressional seat. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Goldwater put the state above party. There’s a lesson there as it relates to Tom Horne’s upcoming race for Attorney General.

He believes this week was a good one for him because an administrative law judge decided there wasn’t enough evidence to continue the case of alleged campaign finance law violations against him. But we all know what happened. Voters get it.

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Although it won’t be for almost a year we regret Paradise Valley Town Manager Jim Bacon is stepping down. He has served with humor and effectiveness.

Arriving in Paradise Valley at just about the hour of the day of the year when the economy cliff-dived we can envision few better captains in stormy seas.

At ease with his extensive experience and with a quick wit always at hand Bacon inspired confidence because he has pretty much seen it all in municipal government. Comfortable in his own skin there is no discomfort coming from anyone wondering if town government is operating with integrity and achievement.Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

He proved himself to be a critical deal-maker too. We question whether someone without Bacon’s talent, patience and standing could have negotiated the deal that has become the old Mountain Shadows resort revitalization in progress.

The accomplished town manager deserves the more relaxed times coming to him. And while he will be missed at Paradise Valley Town Hall we know he will enjoy more times watching his beloved sporting events, knowing his was a job well done.

Next door in Scottsdale we hope the activists win. They have it right. As we lament the loss of a consummate public servant like Bacon, Scottsdale’s political vocalists don’t want to lose an interestingly designed church in downtown, on Indian School Road. It has served as a city office and meeting place for some years. City Manager Fritz Behring is rightfully looking at ways to raise additional revenue through the sale of non-essential buildings. But the Community Design Studio, as it is now known, should not be sold. As Councilwoman Milhaven has opined, Scottsdale has relatively few older, appreciated buildings so why not maintain this one, since it can?

And the city should. With a twist.

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What will history decide in 2014?

Back in 1994 a vulnerable Governor Fife Symington overcame a spirited primary challenge from the impressive Barbara Barrett and then came from behind to defeat the formidable Eddie Basha, God rest his soul. ATTORNEY GENERAL

But in 1992 the Arizona GOP was not so lucky. Then, incumbent Congressman Jay Rhodes eeked by a number of primary challengers,only to lose the general election to Democrat Sam Coppersmith.

The stakes for the Arizona Republican Party as it relates to the similarly challenged and embattled Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in 2014 are higher.

The set of circumstances surrounding Horne have grown so profoundly negative, and in some cases downright comical, that the torrent of television commercials soon to come threaten other statewide officials.

It’s that bad.

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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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PHOENIX – Evan Wyloge, an award-winning investigative reporter and new media specialist, is joining the staff of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting as a senior reporter.

This marks a significant milestone for AZCIR as it works to establish the nonprofit investigative newsroom as a hub for accountability journalism in Arizona.Evan_Wyloge

Wyloge joins the Center from the Arizona Capitol Times where he worked as a watchdog reporter and new media specialist for the last five years. He will continue that same focus for AZCIR as the Center expands its original and collaborative reporting efforts across Arizona.

Evan_Wyloge“Evan represents the future of journalism — particularly among newsrooms dedicated to depth and accountability reporting. Through his knowledge of computer assisted reporting techniques, data analysis and how to integrate that level of technical reporting into compelling, impactful stories, Evan is a perfect fit for our newsroom,” said AZCIR Executive Director Brandon Quester. “We’re thrilled to have Evan join our staff and look forward to having him hit the ground running next Monday.”

Wyloge’s journalism career spans more than a decade, including the last six years with a focus on watchdog reporting. He earned a political science degree from Northern Arizona University in 2005 and a Master’s degree from ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism in 2010. His accountability reporting has garnered both state and national recognition.

Wyloge was a key component of the joint collaboration between AZCIR and the Arizona Capitol Times for the 2013 Mapping The Vote project, which shed light and better understanding about Arizona’s 2012 election. That project took home one of several state-level awards for public interest reporting in Arizona.

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From the National Journal
by By Andrea Drusch

The conservative groups that brought down Senate incumbents and other modmccainerate Republicans running for office in 2010 and 2012 primaries had relatively little success in 2014. But the next election comes with an opportunity to take a second swing at a big nemesis, one who stands apart from any other Republican senators up for reelection in 2016, according to interviews with conservative strategists.

Click here for the full article.

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Phoenix, AZ – Earlier this week, Secretary of State-elect Michele Reagan announced former Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless as the Chairwoman of her transition team. Michele and Betsey have finalized the transition team that will provide counsel and direction as Michele prepares for the next two months before officially assuming the role of Secretary of State in January.

Transition Team:
Chairwoman Betsey Bayless – Former Arizona Secretary of State
Helen Purcell – Maricopa County Recorder
Leah Landrum Taylor – State Senator
Lydia Hernandez – State Representative
Ted Downing – former State Representative
Glenn Hamer – President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Todd Sanders – President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Doug Yonko – Vice President of Communications, Hensley Beverage Company
Joe Kanefield – Elections Attorney Ballard Spahr; former Arizona Elections Director
Bill Beard – Pima County Elections Integrity Commission
“We have a serious amount of work to accomplish over the next two months,” said Reagan. “I am incredibly grateful for the collection of leaders and specialists we have put together and look forward to the input and guidance they will provide. I am excited about the challenge and the opportunity that lay ahead.”

As the transition team prepares to convene in the coming weeks, members weighed in on specific issues they felt were important for Reagan to consider as she moves forward.
“Developing a strong working relationship with the County Recorders is key to having an effective tenure as Secretary of State. Fortunately, Michele has proven during her time in the Legislature that she is willing and able to work constructively with all fifteen County Recorders. I was honored to be invited to join the transition team and help further cultivate those vital relationships,” said Helen Purcell.

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Phoenix, AZ – Today, Arizona Secretary of State-elect Michele Reagan announced Betsey Bayless will chair her transition team. Bayless, who has a public service career spanning forty years in Arizona, served as Arizona’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2003.

“For many years, I have been a staunch supporter of Michele Reagan and I am proud to support her in this new role as Secretary of State. It is a giant leap from the Legislature to the Executive Branch and, if my past experience can help smooth that transition, I want to help. We will be conducting a statewide search for the best people to surround Michele to allow her to hit the ground running,” said Bayless.

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by Glen Bolger.
In the House, Richard Nixon’s the one. In the Senate, Bill Clinton has not stopped thinking about tomorrow. But both of them are about to be replaced in modern political history* by Barack Obama unless Election Day turns out far differently than projected.

The category, Alex? Recent two-term Presidents who have done the most political damage to their party in their two mid-term elections. Mid-term destruction, in other words.

In the House, Nixon lost a total of 60 seats across his two mid-term elections – 12 in 1970 and 48 in 1974 (Watergate, baby!). The funny thing is, Obama already has Nixon beat in the House. Obama lost 63 House seats in 2010, so unless he somehow gains four House seats on Tuesday, he will simply be adding to his lead as the most destructive President to his own party in the House. chart 1

The least destructive midterm President in the House? Surprisingly, George W. Bush. In 2002, Republicans gained eight House seats, while losing 30 in 2006 (and the majority) for a net loss of 22 House seats in mid-term elections. Reagan had the second smallest impact, losing 31 seats – 26 in 1982, and five in 1986. Clinton lost a monster 52 seats in 1994, but cut his total losses to 47 by gaining five in 1998 despite Newt Gingrich’s master plan.

Now, to be fair, some will argue that Nixon should still be considered the champ, since he lost his 60 seats from the minority in both cases, but, for raw numbers, it looks like Obama will be the winner (well, actually loser).

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