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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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The 1988 Democratic nominee for President Michael Dukakis talked a lot about the “Massachusetts Miracle,” touting his perceived Bay State successes.

But by the time the campaign ended voters weren’t looking so kindly on such claims.ScottSmith

It’s a lesson that could play out this year in the 2014 Arizona gubernatorial campaign, either by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith’s GOP opponents, or presumptive Democratic nominee Fred DuVal.

Smith likes to espouse his achievements, and there are no doubt some, but there are also very big problems.

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Proximity to Sky Harbor, freeways, a great downtown, the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, the Indian Bend Wash.

“South Scottsdale” should be a prideful label, not a derogatory one.

Maybe the two strip clubs in the area advance the negative connotation. Or the automobile dealer departures along McDowell Road.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Or maybe the big talk but little action from both public and private sectors that has yielded an ASU office facility, but one without urban coattails.

Politically, there is no reason to keep doing the same thing. It hasn’t worked since the demise of Los Arcos Mall and the failure to realize the voter-approved arena district. Countless task forces and master plans aren’t getting it done.

What might?

Light rail has been put on the table as an area addition by a contingent on the council. Another idea is to connect the Indian Bend Wash and Papago Park via an elevated trail down the middle of McDowell Road.

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With the exception of Bill de Blasio’s New York City where the mayor there is declaring war on charter schools, educational choice is gaining more acceptance across the country to the constant displeasure of teacher’s unions. They can block for a time but not forever the tide of history. This is the lesson of all civil rights, of which school choice can rightly be called one. CMAlvarez_Bevel

Here in Phoenix a new group, despite protestations of cooperation to the contrary, are taking dead aim at many of the dead end schools in the core of Phoenix with an insurgence of new charter schools there.

But it’s in Glendale, Arizona where we gain another reminder of how far school choice has come, and why it ultimately will be the norm, as we see in higher education.

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As the narrative goes Mesa Mayor Scott Smith single-handedly willed a backward East Valley behemoth into America’s most progressive city.

That’s a slight exaggeration and there’s no doubt Mayor Smith has done a commendable job getting results. Additionally, he is an engaging fellow that’s got a little Chris Christie without bridges while being a tad more cherubic.Mayor-John-Lewis

But if the justification for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2014 is the best performing East Valley Mayor doesn’t Smith get the silver medal to Gilbert Mayor John Lewis?

Smith’s results in Mesa resemble Sammy Sosa. The former slugger used steroids. Smith used subsidies. A lot of them.

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Recently an article in the Scottsdale Independent queried whether Scottsdale was losing its luster. It cited the election losses of the General Plan, a Scottsdale School District bond and the recent city bond package.

But that’s a little like saying Kate Upton doesn’t like as good in a red bikini as blue. She still looks good. No matter what. kate-upton-poster

So let’s take stock.

The city just debuted an amazing new facility at WestWorld that just hosted the world’s largest car auction called Barrett-Jackson and is hosting the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the largest in the world.

Just blocks away is the home of the world’s largest golf tournament.

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You don’t see this every day. And that’s the hometown newspaper of a Super Bowl host city harshly criticizing the costs of the event, as well as the local NFL team that makes landing the third largest sporting event in the world (behind the Olympics and World Cup) possible.

But that’s what the Glendale Star, the long-timer paper of record for Glendale, Arizona did in its most weekly editorial. It pulls no punches and makes for fascinating reading, even as we disagree with the premise and support Glendale’s call to be reimbursed for public safety costs associated with the big day in 2015.  Here is a link to the editorial.

 

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School choice advocates are taking dead aim at what’s left of the public school monopoly. In the City of Phoenix.120103022050-school-bus-gi-afp-story-top

Courtesy of a front page article in today’s Arizona Republic (“New Charter School Push In Phoenix Core”) let there be no doubt about what’s taking place. Having pillaged upper income school districts like Scottsdale’s school choicers believe their moment has come to strut proudly and loudly in lower income areas, proving once and for all the superiority of their approach for students, parents . . . and teachers.

Oh, both the Phoenix Union District Superintendent and backers of the multi-charter school initiative said all the right things and played nice.

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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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