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2018 Scrum

Such a case can really be found in 2004. In the form of John Kerry. Not loved but viewed as quite competent Kerry was a weak frontrunner for the 2004 Democratic nomination for President, kind of like Ken Bennett who sits atop most polls for Arizona Governor in 2014 but who most observers think we will toppled due to limited fundraising and a boredom factor.40448a

And Kerry was toppled . . . for a while. By Howard Dean before The Scream went too shrill. And John Edwards almost caught Kerry in Iowa, but didn’t have the juice to challenge in New Hampshire. He was apparently saving that for someone else.

But then the Democrats returned to Kerry having yawned about him in the first place. He waged a tough campaign against George W. Bush, like Bennett undoubtedly would against Fred Duval.

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Our previous editorial focused on the wisdom of reforming tax policy to recruit the ultra-rich to Arizona like Phil Mickelson.2013 U.S. Open

And why shouldn’t the Grand Canyon State? After all, the competition is stiff with no income tax states like Texas and Nevada.

Furthermore, the private sector constantly engages in a never ending quest to land the whales. At casinos. In hotels. Country clubs. Restaurants. New homes. Season tix. Sponsors. So if Adam Smith’s disciples understand the benefit of attracting the biggest wallets why shouldn’t government?

If politics is a concern be as radically appealing to aiding the poor as one might be to recruiting the rich. Just like anti-illegal immigration activists should be the biggest proponents for legal immigration and the ingenuity and entrepreneurs it yields, unless their true colors can be found on a Confederate flag.

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At a time when Paul Ryan and others are smart to be channeling Jack Kemp and re-engineering GOP messages for the lower and middle classes, it is an appeal to the highest crust that could be a good move here in Arizona.Phil-Mickelson-1

This week Phil Mickelson is defending his Waste Management Phoenix Open. A Sun Devil, he is the most beloved golfer in Arizona and recently made waves talking about the onerous tax rates in California.

This prompted a national discussion. The Arizona State Legislature should act.

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Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

The last time Paradise Valley paid much attention to the large, empty real estate between Mockingbird and Scottsdale Road and Lincoln and Indian Bend Roads was November, 2008. Then, Paradise Valley voters were wise to pass by a nearly 2-1 margin a mixed-use plan that had a new Ritz-Carlton at its core.Taco_Puttin_on_the_Ritz

While the entitlement granted by the then Paradise Valley Town Council was aggressive it did not jeopardize the town’s character.

Fast forward to 2014. The developer of the project is now saying its generous entitlement wasn’t, and isn’t enough.

Why? Because what are they to do with a big chunk of their plan now that Scottsdale approved a large new apartment project that will stare into the back of its project? That 4-story project has now been built and opened on the northwest corner of Scottsdale and Lincoln.

Chutzpah.

The attorney and lead lobbyist for that apartment complex was none other than the same one the Ritz developer employs. And did the Ritz ever state any opposition to the apartment plan? Of course not. Why? Because it knew the increased density in Scottsdale could be used to justify absurd new requests of Paradise Valley.

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The cathedrals of Europe tend to be of the religious variety, serving both as cornerstones of faith and tourism.

Here in the United States our cathedrals are the shrines of sport. Wrigley Field. Fenway Park. Augusta. Churchill Downs.

They are magnets for economic impact.

In Arizona we do have a rather Grand, natural cathedral three hours to the north. Closer to home some of the country’s largest municipal preserves located in Scottsdale and Phoenix remind us of the Valley’s special nature.

When it comes to the man made variety we do have a mansion called Wrigley and a remarkable Frank Lloyd Wright winter home. But we don’t have anything that truly captures the bucket list imagination of the tourist besides the general concept of spring training.

The pool at Chase Field was a noble attempt but for the Los Angeles Dodgers pissing a little vinegar in it last year it hasn’t served as much of a discussion point.

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Like any monopoly the public school system has constantly fought change, during the past decade in the form of greater school choice.

And it is losing in higher income areas like the Scottsdale School District where some 9,000 students choose charter or private schools.

This is putting enormous pressure on the system there, populated by bureaucrats who don’t know how to innovate. Monopoly and old school is their mantra. Head sanders they are.

They must be taking particular umbrage this Arizona legislative session with SB 1100. Backed by an impressive cross-section of Republican legislators ranging from Barto, Worsley and Pratt to Montenegro, Farnsworth and Yee it is the ultimate addition of insult to the public school injury.

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Arizona’s NHL franchise avoided a public vote following the Glendale City Council’s split decision to award its new owners a $15 million payment. Such a referendum election would have likely torpedoed the transition to new ownership since it would have delayed ratification of the city agreement until after the season 8lqmtthh0w2wgumr6goswqmkiwas to begin.

The saga that has been hockey ownership in the desert was thought to be over, at least for the next five years. But a movement taking place in Ohio raises new questions for hockey fans. There, a group is seeking to unravel via a citizen’s initiative an agreement for local government to fund the arena for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, a structure that may have some parallels to the Glendale situation.

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Did Republicans just ignore all of the headlines over the years about disgraced former Congressman Rick Renzi who was found to abuse his position while in office for real estate gains? barney

We ask because of the Arizona Republic headline today raising similar questions about current Maricopa County Board Chairman Denny Barney (Maricopa County chairman in ethics flap). While many Republicans don’t like the Republic, the story reminds us of the import of the fourth estate, especially robust investigative journalism. We digress as we necessarily observe who will be there to shed light on that which was done today if larger media goes away? This blog? Other bloggers? A motley crew on Facebook? Back to our premise.

Barney achieved the near impossible in 2012. Running as a rookie for a coveted seat abandoned by Fulton Brock he ran unopposed. That’s because of the regard the marketplace had for Barney personally, his family and his promise.

Surely his constituents thought the youthful Barney mature enough to avoid the kind of problems described today in which he apparently nudged Maricopa County staff to resolve issues that were costing his development project money.

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As we are about to enter the 2014 campaign season television advertisements and flyers will flood mailboxes and airwaves. They will emphasize many words and messages. But nary a one will tout “wisdom.” They should.

Allow us to explain using the example of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.bill-montgomery-professional

Readers are surely familiar with former Maricopa County Andy Thomas’ travails. And they may have read Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts (click here) as well as the paper’s editorial (click here). Both questioned the prosecutorial wisdom of current Attorney General Tom Horne and what amounted to rather paltry charges in his office’s pursuit of former Fiesta Bowl lobbyist Gary Husk. Readers are probably familiar with other reasons General Horne’s conduct can be questioned as well. And while many Republicans don’t love yet another former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, they will still recognize him as a straight shooter. So when he calls Horne’s ethics and conduct into question it is noteworthy.

This all leads us to Andrew Thomas’ successor Bill Montgomery. Although only a practicing lawyer for about a decade he appears to have uncommon wisdom among recent Arizona prosecutors.

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Every community has critics. And that’s a good thing, especially in an age of a declining fourth estate. Their eyes, ears and energy can be just what’s needed to shine a light into some darker places. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

But in Scottsdale activism has become its own art form, its own sport. While there are certainly problems in one of America’s best cities some of the criticism operates in an existential-like luxury of complaint – kind of like Peter Cook cheating on Christie Brinkley. He was lucky to be married to her before he wasn’t, like Scottsdale residents are fortunate to live where they do, until they don’t.

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On Monday night Florida State defeated Auburn for the national college football championship. They did so on the final drive of the game, arriving in the red zone with just seconds left.  Football winners and losers are often decided by those who score when they get within 20 yards of the end zone, and those who do not.  Florida State did.

We hope the same now happens with efforts relating to Greasewood Flat.  In football terms, circumstance has now put efforts to keep or relocate the beloved bar squarely in the red zone. b6b4bc0fc67644f597c99da8db91d68b

The journey may be a bit involved, but it is looking a whole lot better than it was, and that befell Rawhide before it.

That’s because Greasewood Flat owners have been expressing an interest in relocating to a more authentic, rural location within the city as urban sprawl has closed in around them, infringing on the experience.  So unique is the experience it could likely continue to withstand the encroachment but if other, better alternatives are available why bother?  Why risk it?  After all, the family’s Reata Pass Restaurant was forced to close a couple of years ago, likely because guests no longer felt the authenticity that once was.  Reata Pass never seared the local or tourist conscience like Greasewood Flat or Rawhide.  The family has said it is not coming back and that is no great loss.  But a decade ago losing Rawhide to the Gila River Indian Community was.  And so it would be with Greasewood. Approving a new location for it should be unanimous and enthusiastic, not unlike what occurred for the new Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale dealership that’s sprung to life across from Scottsdale Fashion Square. 

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As the hand wringing continues about Glendale’s investment in sports facilities there is an untold story of how the first domino in the form of a hockey arena might never have come to be. COG_Logo_Color

It’s a fascinating tale and one that would have taken a slice of Valley history through a different sliding door.

Following not one but two landslide elections in favor of locating an arena at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads voters probably expected their City Council to implement their wishes.  It was not to be with a disrespectful, divided council.

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From Elect Bolick for Arizona

Dear neighbors,

Michigan recently became the fourth state to approve Right to Try. On election day, Arizona voters will have the chance make our state the fifth to do so by voting yes on Prop. 303. I support Right to Try; but my liberal opponent, Eric Meyer, opposes it.

Right to Try was home-grown in Arizona by the Goldwater Institute. It would allow terminally ill patients to access experimental drugs, prescribed by their doctors, that have passed the safety phase of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

So far, Right to Try has passed overwhelmingly across the country with support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

E.J. Montini, one of our state’s most liberal columnists, wrote that “Prop. 303 isn’t about politics. It’s about hope.” Also endorsing the measure, the Arizona Republic says that Prop. 303 “provides doctor-confirmed hope to the terminally ill. This is easy to support.”

Apparently not so easy for Eric Meyer, who tried to prevent Arizonans from even having a chance to vote on Right to Try. Among hundreds of legislators in five states who so far have voted on Right to Try, he is the only doctor to vote no.

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Felicia Rotellini News release:

That is what major newspapers are saying about our campaign. I am honored to have their endorsement and support to return the focus of the Arizona Attorney General's office to its core mission: prosecuting criminals and protecting Arizona families.

Our team has been working hard these last 20 months and people are taking notice. Take a look at what some of the editorial boards had to say:

Arizona Republic
In close call, Rotellini for Arizona attorney general
"Having worked in the office, Rotellini will face no learning curve. She knows which divisions are most vital and need the most attention... She understands — and can mentor staff attorneys — on how to go after consumer fraud and the excesses of large companies. That makes her experience more germane to the work of the attorney general"

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We are pleased to announce the launch of the first NO on Proposition 480 TV ad today.

Proposition 480 would impose a $1.6 billion tax increase on Maricopa County property owners for a new government run, county hospital. Many believe that the price tag for what amounts to a blank check is too high for a special district with a relatively narrow mission.

Supporters of Prop 480 don’t want to talk about the price tag. Neither do they want to explain how they are spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to run a feel good branding campaign in conjunction with the referendum campaign.

If you agree that Prop 480 is a bad idea at a bad time, please forward this ad to your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Please help us get out the word that the price of Prop 480 is just too high.

Click here to view the ad, coming to a TV near you. Also please go to our website, www.VoteNOon480.com for additional information.

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By Felecia Rotellini

From the very beginning of this campaign, I have not wavered in my goal to return the focus of the Attorney General’s Office back to prosecuting criminals and protecting Arizona families. rotellini

With the campaign heating up, I want to make sure you know what this race is really about and, if elected, what I will do as Arizona’s next Attorney General.

Here are a few of the issues I will focus on:

Consumer Protection Initiatives to Protect Arizona’s Senior Citizens
We need an enhanced Senior Fraud Unit within the Consumer Protection Section of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. This Unit will work closely with the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Adult Protective Services; local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; the criminal division of the Attorney General’s Office; private sector attorneys and non-profit organizations to focus resources on the scams and fraudsters who pose the greatest threat to Arizona’s senior citizens.

Protecting Arizonans from the Mexican Drug Cartels, Human Smugglers, and Organized Crime
I propose a two pronged attack of simultaneously and vigorously prosecuting and demanding harsh prison sentences for cartels and human smugglers, while at the same time destroying the ability of the criminals to financially profit by utilizing Arizona’s RICO statutes to seize their assets.

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Friends,

Over the past four years, the Scottsdale City Council has worked to keep taxes low, costs down and our quality of life the best in Arizona. None of these decisions happened in a vacuum. It required a team effort from a dedicated and responsible Council. I’m pleased to announce an integral member of that team has endorsed my campaign for Scottsdale City Council – Mayor Jim Lane.

I am excited to continue our great work together on the Council and proud to have his endorsement.

“I equally support Linda Milhaven for Scottsdale City Council. Linda possesses the leadership ability and strong work-ethic Scottsdale must have to continue to be the best city to live, play and work. Her proficiency at understanding complex issues and providing clear solutions makes her a valuable member of the City Council. She is dedicated, passionate and effective at improving Scottsdale’s quality of life.”

- Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

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VOTER ALERT!

Maricopa Integrated Health System is spending $600,000 of YOUR tax dollars so you will give them a taxpayer funded $1.6 billion blank check.

"Even ignoring the potential legal issues, using $600,000 of taxpayer money to fund an ‘image campaign’ while simultaneously running a campaign asking those same taxpayers for a billion dollar bond is unseemly,” said Victor Riches, VP of External Affairs at Goldwater Institute.

Please see the Arizona Capitol Times story below. ____________________________________________________________________

Hospital district pursues taxpayer-funded ad campaign

Published in the Arizona Capitol Times on October 3, 2014

A hospital district has spent $570,000 on an ad campaign launched two weeks after its board called for a nearly $1 billion bond election.

The taxpayer-funded advertising campaign is running at the same time a separate, political group pushing for passage of the bond proposal launches a nearly $800,000 television ad campaign.

Included in the tax-funded ad campaign are a series of television commercials that promote areas of the Maricopa County Medical Center the bond proposal promises to improve. The advertisements don’t mention Proposition 480, the Nov. 4 election or advocate for a vote, any of which would be illegal.

The advertisements feature testimonials of people with real-life experience in the county’s mental health system and burn unit, and feature doctors who work in the trauma center and in the residency program.

Mike Robertson, senior vice president of marketing and public affairs for Maricopa Integrated Health System, said the ad campaign was not designed to win votes.

“What you’re seeing is me fulfilling my responsibility of getting a communication campaign out there to start educating Maricopa County residents with regards to what we do, and this is but chapter one,” said Robertson, who joined MIHS in March.

The political ad features Bryan Jeffries, president of the Professional Firefighters of Arizona, a firefighters union, stumping for a yes vote to improve the trauma center, burn center and mental-health system. A voice-over says the Maricopa Medical Center is where first responders are taken when they are injured. Other than that, however, there is no mention of the hospital or the proposed $541 million to $548 million reconstruction of it.

The MIHS board unanimously approved putting the public financing on the ballot May 28. The $935 million in financing, which will cost the owner of a $150,000 home about $18 per year, would pay for a new, scaled-down Maricopa County Medical Center, an improved mental-health system, improved neighborhood clinics and upgrades to the hospital’s nationally renowned Arizona Burn Center and the hospital’s trauma center.

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Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate