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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

Unlike most elephant snorting blogs we don’t have posters of Art Bell on our walls and advance the latest conspiracy theories. We believe in the best of people’s opinions, even when it is wrong and left-wing induced.

But the cases of former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, both of which made appearances before the State Bar of Arizona have us rethinking such an approach.200px-Dennis_Burke_US_Attorney

While chasing mercurial malfeasance in Maricopa County government hindsight and the record now shows abuses and bad judgment by Thomas. Was some type of disciplinary action by the State Bar warranted? Yes. But discipline turned to vengeance and Thomas lost his ability to make a living. They gave him the death penalty. No license to practice.

Compare this to the recent “punishment” of Burke, someone who wasn’t just misguided on the notion of specific corruption. He was actually involved in the political cover-up of death. Involving a U.S. Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry. In the sickening scandal that became known as “Fast and Furious.”

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As Scottsdale voters were preparing to vote on city council candidates during the 2012 election the Arizona Republic rightfully called businesswoman and preservationist Virginia Korte one of the finest, most qualified people to seek the job. Korte is now the Vice Mayor of Scottsdale.

Such plaudits are appropriate for her friend, just across a town boundary, Paradise Valley Town Councilman Dan Schweiker.

Schweiker surprised many earlier today with a letter announcing his intent to resign from the Town Council July 3rd, and move to a smaller home in Scottsdale.schhweiker

It is major loss for the tony town, because he is a person that has helped achieve so many wins for it.

Years ago he cut through the acrimony that led to both beautification and flood control on Doubletree.

He has always been a strong supporter of photo radar.

He cast the deciding vote making Ed Winkler the Mayor, demonstrating his belief that no one should sit in that chair too long, as it belongs to the citizenry not the entrenched.

In between council stints he chaired the political campaign committee in support of a new Ritz-Carlton, not that his tourism bona fides ever needed to be burnished. On the council there has been no one more emphatic about the need for robust Paradise Valley resorts than Schweiker. He knows they not only provide great amenities for local residents, but revenues from them mean Paradise Valley remains one of the few municipalities in the state without a property tax.

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Broader school choice is as inevitable as the great civil rights fights before10_6-Stanton it. Individual battles may be lost along the way but history’s tide unquestionably flows in its direction.

Most Democrats have yet to realize this. They are exemplified by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the blunt instrument of unions always seeking self-interest over student achievement. Data, parents and charter school students be damned, he governs.

Across the country a different big-city mayor is taking a difference approach. That’s Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. When well-known school choice advocates announced plans to proliferate charter schools throughout the core of Phoenix Stanton embraced the idea, unlike de Blasio.

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A new type of urban warfare among Valley cities is upon us. And it is taking place in the West Valley. There, the City of Peoria has announced plans to greatly expand its commercial core around the Peoria Sports Complex, with the unquestioned intent of seizing spending from the current entertainment epicenter just down the 101 at Westgate.

If successful, the Peoria gambit would cost the City of Glendale, Mayor Weiers and the Glendale City Council millions of dollars at a time when it can least afford it.

Peoria officials are trying to play their counterpartglendale-az-shame_-800x530-westgates in Glendale for fools. The Peoria plan, not unlike Westgate’s, relies on a proliferation of new billboards to help pay for parking garages and other infrastructure to get the project going.

The only problem? A local business—Becker Boards—isn’t a part of anyone’s grand plan. They just want to build a couple of billboards in a commerce park, at a depressed site, next to the freeway.

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During a heated 2012 campaign between Scott Lemarr and Maria Syms to be Paradise Valley’s Mayor a well-known couple was murdered in the province. It shocked the Valley. Around that time too were a rash of burglaries in the northern part of the community. While Mayor Lemarr won re-election there was undoubtedly nervousness in the town. Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

But he acted. And the town acted. Led by Town Councilman Michael Collins, the Paradise Valley Public Safety Task Force involved numerous stakeholders committed to improvement and reform.

The results are starting to speak for themselves. While any crime is one too many Chief Bennett’s latest monthly report shows a 50% drop in crime from this February, compared to last year.

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Sure, a Super Bowl is coming and Spring Training is underway but that probably just reminds Glendale that they need to get their bill through the legislature seeking public safety reimbursements for the big game, and that Camelback Ranch is an enduring financial migraine.

And today the Arizona Republic reported the City of Glendale’s bond ratings were downgraded, again. Taxpayers will be hurt as the cost of borrowing money now goes up.

Climbing out of its money hole will not be easy. Things little, medium and big need to be undertaken. It is a city that must be relentlessly pro-business, in so many ways.

The city’s recent, unanimous decision to invest a little to attract a big-selling furniture store was a smart move. It sent a message to the market that Glendale is open for business. There’s a smaller project being debated in the community that could do likewise.

Putting two outdoor billboards at the 101 and Bell, in a commerce park, would seem like a matter for the consent agenda, not contention. After all, it will mean some revenue to the city, but more importantly allow more Glendale businesses to advertise effectively and prominently. According to industry reports some 70% of billboard advertisers are local and in this case Becker Boards is incentivizing that further with a 20% discount for local businesses.COG_Logo_Color

And even though there has been a lot of support from the business community, including from the owner of the commerce park who sees the investment as a way to jumpstart his development, there has been opposition. From two curious quarters.

The first is from the City of Peoria across the street. Why? Because they want to put up their own billboards to help pay for Peoria Sports Complex improvements that will compete directly with Westgate. And take sales tax revenue away from it. Why the financially-strapped Glendale City Council would want to hurt its community by enabling Peoria is a good question.

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Think back to 2010. U.S. Congressman John Shadegg announced his retirement. A coveted seat, largely populated by Anglos, was open. A mad scramble ensued. But during the course of the candidate positioning can one imagine if there were an orchestrated effort – and one actually signed by political leaders – to keep the seat for whites? Vernon Parker, the then African-American Mayor of Paradise Valley who later became a candidate to replace Shadegg: No votes for you. Or Paulina Morris, a Latina, sorry you shouldn’t be considered because of your skin color. Thankfully that didn’t happen and in that Republican primary there was rich diversity.

Compare that situation four years ago to what’s occurring now in Arizona’s Congressional District 7, after Ed Pastor announced his retirement.

There, Arizona’s chief race-baiter and biggest political loser, Mario Diaz, has organized Latinos to discourage not only white Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema from switching districts, but to declare this a seat for Latinos only.

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Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb often displays an independent streak in his writing.  Except when it comes to Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility monopoly. They provide talking points.  He fetches. 

Like his column today.

While again criticizing renewable energy initiatives – demonstrating anew how extraordinarily out of step he is with Republican likely voter public opinion – Robb makes no critique of his corporate inspiration – one of the great subsidy sucking machines in state history.

Nor does he make mention as we have here before (Click here) of his previous job as Chief Subsidy Shiller for sports franchises and corporate interests.  

 The true “faux conservatives” are not those that see the philosophical consistency with supporting school choice, health care choice AND energy choice through options like rooftop solar.  They are those who Robb the title with archaic utility speak.  

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Whenever someone talks about a renewed commitment to impressive vision in Scottsdale the proposed Desert Discovery Center for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve usually comes up.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

As envisioned it would further enlighten preserve visitors and hikers, and aid Scottsdale tourism efforts.

There is such a thing as an idea whose time has come. There are also those ideas whose time has passed. This may be one of them.

Putting aside the potential cost to taxpayers – the project once ballooned to $100 million but has since been put on a diet – there are two other reasons why the project may escape further enthusiasm.

First, anyone who has visited Scottsdale’s relatively new trailheads will experience their exceptional design and utility. How would bigger buildings improve on them, or what God has created adjacent?

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Other titans of Arizona’s illegal immigration wars have fallen. Andrew Thomas. Russell Pearce. Even Sheriff Arpaio’s last election was close. And although lesser known the smart, affable State Rep. John Kavanagh is likely next on the target list.

Word is that determined moderate Republican and former Scottsdale Planning Commissioner Jeff Schwartz is set to challenge the House Appropriations Chairman as he seeks a seat in the State Senate. And due to some unluck and unforced errors by Kavanagh it could be close.KAVANAGH

It didn’t have to be. After all Kavanagh won his 2012 election handily. That’s because while undoubtedly conservative he’s been an advocate for the district, stepping up for the district’s land preservation efforts and tourism industry. Such constituent service has been important since simply labeling oneself a “conservative” even in primaries isn’t a routine recipe for success.

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He was one of the brightest Republican stars in Arizona history before the Phoenix New Times unveiled his whole new meaning of “Jose, Can You See?”

He is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Once the darling of Fox News and Arizona Republican Party voters alike. Just several years ago most anything was politically possible for Babeu.Sheriff_Paul_Babeu

Then came the troubles. And while many concluded he was a dead politician walking Babeu had other plans. He focused on his base in Pinal County. He won re-election handily in 2012, his coattails even bringing along a Republican County Attorney. Like Michael Sam being gay wasn’t his identity. Sam is a football player who happens to be gay. Babeu is a tireless public servant, who also happens to be gay, as was learned in rather dramatic fashion.

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Amazing. Just amazing.

Following the Paradise Valley Planning Commission’s rejection of a plan to supersize the unremarkable Cottonwoods Hotel in town, backers are now saying they can magically reduce the rejected plan’s proposed density by thirty five percent.Paradise-VAlley-RED-Senior-Living

It’s amazing what can happen when you just say no. We opined about the flawed Cottonwoods proposal back in October. Here is a link.

And it makes you wonder, a lot, about the need and premise of the proposal in the first place. There’s little doubt the property needs a little lipstick. But that’s not what this proposal was about. It was nothing more than a denizens of density enrichment plan that would have been good for one pocket book but not good for the character of a town that needs protection more than enhancement.

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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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By Paul Dembow
Dear Fellow Paradise Valley Resident:

As a Paradise Valley Town Councilman, I know how important strong leadership in government is. And as a father of five children — all of whom went to Scottsdale Unified School District schools — I am a strong believer in the power of quality education.

Both reasons are why I'm supporting Pam Kirby for the SUSD Governing Board — and why I urge you to support her as well.

I had the pleasure of serving with Pam during her time on the Paradise Valley Town Council. She is a conscientious, committed public servant who makes fiscal responsibility and responsive government a top priority.

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