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2018 Scrum

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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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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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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Dear Friends:

In my opening comments at the recent City Council candidate forum hosted by Scottsdale Leadership I made it clear what the upcoming city election is really all about. In my closing comments I made it clear why I am running for Scottsdale City Council.

Voters need to know what is really happening in this election and how much is at stake for our beloved city. Please pass these videos on to as many of your friends, neighbors and relatives in Scottsdale as you can to help us get the word out.

There are three ways you can help me overcome all of this dark money being spent to defeat me. One of the best things you can do to help my campaign is to organize a meet-and-greet and invite your friends and neighbors to meet me and to learn about my platform. If you can hold one please contact me and we will help you organize it.

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VOTER ALERT!!!

 

Maricopa County Integrated Health System (MIHS) has proposed the third largest bond request in Arizona history.

Who pays? All property taxpayers in Maricopa County. The price tag?

$1.6 Billion
As the committee organized to oppose Proposition 480 on the November ballot in Maricopa County, we want to provide you updates on our efforts to defeat this massive tax increase. Additionally, we want to ask for your support to defeat this request for a “blank check,” which comes during the most chaotic time for health care in our nation’s history. This proposal to raise our taxes to fund more government health care by tearing down the current Maricopa County Hospital and rebuild it with fewer beds, using your money, is certainly an issue each of us needs to pay special attention to as our ballots arrive in a week.

The No on Prop 480 campaign wants to highlight a discrepancy in the total cost. We previously used the $1.4 billion dollar figure as the total impact on Maricopa County taxpayers, based on initial interest projections. When the official ballot proposal arrived, we discovered that the cost to taxpayers is actually $1.6 billion dollars. That may not be much to the proponents who are trivializing the cost of Prop 480, but to put it in their terms, that rounding error is about 75,000 cups of coffee at Dunkin Donuts to the voters in Maricopa County.

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