The Conservative's Corner
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%.
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.
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.
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?Read more
By Hugh Hallman
Dear Fellow Arizona Resident:
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.Read more
We may be a young city, but we have a rich history – and it’s our responsibility to preserve that history for future generations.
When I learned that the Arizona Exposition and Fair Board planned to tear down the historic 1938 WPA building, we took action. The City issued a stop work order to call off the wrecking crew, and joined Preserve Phoenix’s lawsuit to stop the demolition.
I asked the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission to convene a special meeting, and commissioners voted unanimously to designate the grounds historic. We all owe them a thanks for stepping up and doing the right thing.
State officials agreed and I’m grateful that they scrapped their plans to demolish the building.Read more
In early 2008 Barack Obama sat down with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette-Journal and attempted to wax eloquent on a variety of different topics. But it was the future President’s compliments about Ronald Reagan that captured the attention of Democratic primary voters for a time. Why? Because it was videotaped by the editorial board for the interested to see. Obama in his own words.
We don’t know why the Arizona Republic’s own editorial board interviewing the Republican candidates for Governor was not likewise videotaped. If a smaller paper can do so for a leading presidential candidate it would seem appropriate for state aspirants that have already been videotaped thoroughly to date.
Whatever reason it is to be respected as the members of the Arizona Republic are among the most passionate advocates for a better Arizona, and fair even to those they disagree with, contrary to many right wing assertions.
But we can lament that decision because of the apparent performance of Christine “I Am Always The Smartest Person In The Room” Jones. Asiding that particular issue if Bob Robb was present, our regret is that a video did not capture Jones’ apparent meltdown when challenged on her plans to stop illegal immigration and “send Obama the bill.”
You see, beyond a shocking lack of experience to actually be Governor -- being a lawyer without running really anything doesn’t qualify -- Jones’ temper is ill-suited to the job too. Her performance at the editorial board would have been just the evidence for more voters to see that insiders are already familiar with.Read more
It’s typical for opinionists to relay who should be entrusted with your vote. There is some of that below. But in some races we take the unusual step of telling you why others should be rejected.
Ultimately, it’s your decision. But at least we can provide some compelling menu items for consideration.
Governor: Doug Ducey.
Jon Kyl served Arizona with considerable decency and a keen intellect. Perhaps that’s why he never lost an election. He was a precision of conservative and common sense. And even in Republicans darkest days, such as 2006, Kyl’s conservatism was always understood but never too much to win a statewide race. He prevailed that year in a tough race versus well-funded Democrat Jim Pederson. Ducey leads in the same style as Kyl. But with a bit more range, even tapping into well known Tea Party leaders to, as he says, offer the broadest range of Republican support among all the contenders. From Jane Hull to Mike Lee. Ducey has grown in the campaign too. Watch a debate and his command of issues and appropriate temperament is on display. Republicans want a conservative. But one who can win too. Like Jon Kyl before. And Doug Ducey now. As for the other major contender at present Christine Jones is running a clichéd, poll driven campaign calling to mind Sally across from Billy Crystal not a Governor with a core or conviction.
Secretary of State: Do NOT vote for Justin Pierce.
Pierce, Cardon and Michele Reagan all represent a next generation for GOP voters. But the issues surrounding Justin Pierce are profoundly disturbing. It is believed Arizona Public Service, a regulated utility monopoly, is routing funds through “dark money” organizations to prop up the trailing Pierce. Why? Because Pierce’s dad did the company a bunch of favors and carried their water on the Arizona Corporation Commission. And now it’s payback time. Read what one Arizona Republic columnist had to say about the situation here. Only the future will tell if such an arrangement evolves from distasteful to something more. But for now and with all of these questions there is absolutely no reason to support Pierce with better choices for Republicans.
Attorney General: Mark Brnovich
The embattled incumbent Tom Horne has become a laughingstock in Arizona and a national embarrassment to our state. Yet, he remains on the ballot. Supported now by about three Republicans. Unfortunately, popular Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one of them. Horne is betting upcoming Arpaio commercials and advocacy will pull him out of a tailspin. It will help. But be far too little too late. Besides, as voters get to know Mark Brnovich they like him. One of the best speakers on the 2014 stump, Brnovich is a devout conservative that no one can put out to pasture, as has been done with Scott Smith in the gubernatorial campaign. Any thinking Republican wanting to keep this seat for the GOP should vote Brnovich on August 26th.
Treasurer: Hugh Hallman.
When you hire someone to look after your money do you ask if they are a Democrat, Republican or Indepdent? Not typically. Not even the great Republican Jack Londen probably operated so. As such, it’s doubtful anyone looking blindly at the qualifications of the three contenders - Jeff DeWitt, Hugh Hallman and Randy Pullen – would hire anyone but Hallman to care for their money. As it should be for the person Republicans and the State of Arizona hire to look after billions. All candidates at any level have issues. But it is hard to argue that Tempe under Hallman was not capably and ethically led. Indeed, Hallman doesn’t accept gifts or tickets from lobbyists and even refused his designated parking space at Tempe City Hall. Meanwhile, a video produced several years ago and other records about Pullen raise troubling questions for a State Treasurer candidate. Being sued for not paying spousal support? Leaving the Arizona Republican Party in debt? A campaign that is currently in debt? Serving as a “consultant” for the biggest sports taxing boondoggle ever proposed – the 1999 massive Mesa tax hike rejected by voters for a new Arizona Cardinals football stadium? And Dewitt. He boasts of being a stock trader. And a day trader at that. That’s comforting. Gordan Gecko needs to remain fictiously on Wall Street not arriving in downtown Phoenix come January as our next State Treasurer.
Arizona Corporation Commission: Vernon Parker and Lucy Mason.
A race that undoubtedly qualifies as the most disturbing of the year. For the first time that is known a regulated monopoly, Arizona Public Service, is spending lavishly to elect its chosen slate of Tom Forese and Doug Little. Anyone wonder why? They need reliable votes to knock down energy choice via rooftop solar or any discussion of deregulation so everyone doesn’t have to rely on them? Or to raise rates to meet their earnings forecast on Wall Street. Using ratepayer funds to engineer the election of those that will do your bidding is a relative to the State of Arizona using taxpayer money to do the same in races that matter to it. It’s wrong. And so is the position of Forese and Little, agreeing with a new property tax on rooftop solar equipment that has tens of thousands of seniors, schools, churches and citizens enraged. But APS wants it. So they do. So the money can flow into “independent” efforts to elect them. Forese has also been recognized by the Arizona Republic as the greatest grabber of lobbyist goodies at the State Capitol. This is not encouraging. Fortunately, former Paradise Valley Mayor, George H.W. Bush Undersecretary and 2012 Republican Congressional nominee Vernon Park, as well as former State Representative and House Energy Chairperson Lucy Mason offer good, conservative alternatives. APS’ attempt to call them Obama lovers is comical. The only thing Parker has in common with Obama is skin color. And Mason? Well, she has an “A” in her name like Barack. The issue really comes down to this: If you want APS to use your money to elect candidates so it can raise your rates go with Little and Forese. If you don’t go with the more independent minded Parker and Mason.Read more
One of Arizona’s top political blogs for years has been seeingredaz.com. It is not right. It is hard right. And the blog’s contributors defend their positions with courage and conviction.
But this recent refrain from a post about Arizona Secretary of State and 2014 Republican aspirant for Governor was not such a post. The post in its entirety can be viewed here.
Here is a portion of it:
“Even more curious is his odd invitation to supporters to “Join the Ken Bennett Camp.”
The word association is not the best for Bennett, whose camp counselor son was sentenced to jail time for sodomizing (the press called the brutal acts “brooming”) 18 middle school age campers with broomsticks, a flashlight and a cane. This is the report from the Arizona Daily Sun. This article details the civil lawsuits filed by the families of the young campers, who claim Bennett’s son got a sweetheart deal because of his father’s prominence.
“Camp” is a word Bennett should steer clear of. Ditto the governor’s race, which he is unlikely to win.”
During a heated 2006 race for the United States Senate Republican incumbent Jon Kyl refrained from attacking his Democratic opponent, Jim Pederson, over significant troubles his son was having amidst the campaign. Kyl showed decency and wisdom in so doing.
Many wanted to believe Bennett, then the Arizona State Senate President, acted inappropriately when his son did benefit from prosecutorial lenience. But there was no indication he did.
To drag up now the sins of the son to impede the ambitions of the father is distasteful. And wrong.
Leave the kids – Democrat or Republican – out of it. Unless of course you’re in Oracle, Arizona. Where every kid is fair game.Read more
I am writing this letter to you regarding illegal immigrants.
As a tax paying, law abiding citizen of the United States, I WANT my voice heard on this issue. My son, Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, an officer who was with the City of Mesa, Arizona police department, was killed in a tragic head on collision on May 12, 2014 by a wrong way driver on our freeways. This man happened to be an illegal immigrant, was in this country illegally, convicted of previous crimes, no Social Security number, no valid driver's license BUT he had purchased a vehicle and registered it to drive in Maricopa County Arizona.
I had my son's life STOLEN from me by a man who didn't value his life, was 3X the legal limit drunk, was high on Meth, drove for over 35 miles THE WRONG WAY on 4 different freeways and had NO BUSINESS BEING IN THIS COUNTRY!!!
The Federal Government knew he, Raul Silva Corona , was an illegal immigrant when he was convicted on crimes in 1994 in Colorado. The prosecutors were "lenient" on him and several charges were dismissed. When he was convicted of these crimes and 1994 and the government knew he was in the country illegally, why wasn't he deported? Why are any of these illegal criminals in this country ??
I am furious that the Federal Government allowed this criminal to stay in this country and KILL my son! I have attached several articles for you to PERSONALLY read about my son. He was an Icon with the City of Mesa Police Department. He was instrumental in making life better for people of all walks of life in the park project he took on. He was humble, selfless, worked many hours off the clock helping disadvantaged children and often used his own money to do things for the community, including "adopting" children at Christmas to provide them with gifts….out of his own money!!Read more
As the travails of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne continue, at least until he is voted out and down by state Republicans on August 26th, the honor and duty of law enforcement counterpart Bill Montgomery is a reminder that it didn’t have to be this way.
Perhaps it is Montgomery’s military background. Perhaps it is a moral compass that focuses on the destination, not on the journey. Perhaps it is that Montgomery is appreciative of the office, not expecting to be there. After all, it took an Andrew Thomas departure and an overcoming of Rick Romley to get where he is, albeit with substantial help from Sheriff Arpaio.
But even among Democrats and those who oppose Arpaio and opposed Thomas there is a deep respect for Montgomery, even while they disagree with him.
And beyond all of this one gets the sense that if Bill Montgomery were not the Maricopa County Attorney he would be serving another way, as he already has his country. Or he would be succeeding in private practice. In other words, he is a person more than whatever title he holds, comfortable in his own skin.
Compare this to Horne. It’s as if he never went to prom and has been trying to make up for it ever since. Trying to get ahead financially back east before being banned for life from the securities profession for violations. Or running a racially-tinged campaign versus former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera so his title could be grander than that of Sue Gerard’s disciple in the Arizona State Legislature.Read more
One of the finest baseball stadiums in the country is AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Outside of an entrance sits an impressive statue of Willie Mays, the greatest Giant and player of all time.
Cameras click as the sense of arrival is profound.
Unknown is how this particular piece of art came to be. What is known is that someone had the obvious common sense not to put it in the field of play, interfering with the game and stadium that justified the statue in the first place.
Over the past few years city leaders and WestWorld management have done a remarkable job enriching the community’s central park as an equestrian and special event playground. That foresight and the investments that have accompanied it deserve much credit.
Besides its goal of attracting new events to WestWorld, the most stated reason for expending tens of millions there was to retain two of Scottsdale’s signature events: Barrett-Jackson’s Collector Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Indeed, they are helping to pay for the debt service required for the expenditures.
So why in the world, as outlined at a recent City Council WestWorld subcommittee meeting, would Scottsdale Public Art propose and at least one city staffer support putting a new $400,000 statue in the middle of these event operations?
Millions get spent to better host Barrett-Jackson, the Arabians and other events in the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center and now we want to impede them? With a piece of public art that while nice is hardly as important as ensuring event success at WestWorld so taxpayers can recoup their investment? To hear the discussion was to be reminded of the phrase tail wagging the dog.Read more
Two Year Adjustment Announced for Upcoming Elections
PHOENIX – Secretary of State Michele Reagan has unveiled the funding amounts available for qualifying Clean Election candidates in the 2016 election cycle. State law provides for these funding levels to be adjusted by the Secretary of State every two years.
The Citizens Clean Elections Act, passed as an initiative by the voters in 1998 provides public funding to qualified statewide and legislative candidates.
The 2016 election cycle will be the ninth time candidates in Arizona will be permitted to take part in the Clean Elections system as participating candidates. The choice is strictly voluntary, although public funding is available only to participating candidates who qualify for funding. To qualify, participating candidates are required to gather $5 qualifying contributions from eligible voters and adhere to spending and contribution limits.
According to Secretary Reagan, the numbers released today establish the new Clean Elections spending limits for the 2016 election cycle and take into account recent inflation figures as well as the percent increase in state resident income tax returns as required by law.
Secretary Reagan revealed the new figures in a letter to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission and a copy of the 2016 Clean Elections Biennial Adjustments chart is included with this press release. Copies are also available at the Secretary of State’s office on the 7th floor of the State Capitol, by calling the Elections Services Division at 602-542-8683 or 1-877-THE-VOTE or www.azsos.gov.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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,
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."Read more
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