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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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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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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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From the Mark Brnovich Campaign:

The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions (ADFI) exists to protect consumers and ensure “the safety and soundness of the financial services industry in Arizona.”

But, under Democrat Felecia Rotellini’s watch as agency Supervisor (2006-2009), the State of Arizona became Ground Zero for the kinds of mortgage fraud and lending scams that ultimately brought the entire housing market crashing down.

According to the Mortgage Asset Research Institute Fraud Index, a comprehensive measure of lending fraud, Arizona ranked 21st in the country for this kind of illegal activity in 2005. By the time Rotellini resigned from her post as financial watchdog for ADFI in summer 2009, Arizona’s rate of mortgage fraud had skyrocketed to 4th in the nation, trailing only Florida (1), New York (2) and California (3).

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Friends,

Helping businesses create jobs has been a priority of mine since I originally took office. That’s why I have fought for reducing burdensome regulations, lowering taxes so businesses can reinvest and getting government out of the way of private enterprise.

I believe every Arizonan has a purpose and every Arizonan should have the opportunity to find rewarding employment. This philosophy has galvanized the support of the business community behind my campaign. I am being supported by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Federation of Independent Business, AZ Association of REALTORS and countless business leaders. Here are what a few of them are saying about my candidacy:

“In recent decades, Arizona’s Governor has not finished his or her term for different reasons. Our Secretary of State is next in line of succession since Arizona does not have a Lieutenant Governor. It is important for the business community to pay close attention to this important race this year and support a strong candidate.

Michele Reagan served in the Arizona Senate and House of Representatives with great distinction. She has been a tireless leader and supporter of the business community, education, economic development and, as importantly, stood strong in the face of extreme agendas. No one else in the race has her proven track record.”

– Michael Bidwill, President Arizona Cardinals

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Phoenix, AZ- September 29, 2014- Today, Shawnna Bolick, Republican candidate for Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 28, received the endorsement of Arizona’s state treasurer and Republican nominee for governor, Doug Ducey.shana

“I strongly support Shawnna Bolick for the House in LD 28,” stated Doug Ducey. “She will bring common sense principles and the right skill set to the job. Shawnna has distinguished herself both in the community and as an education advocate. I know she will represent our district well because she is a strong, effective, and compassionate voice.”

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