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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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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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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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