Join us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!

The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

By Sal DiCiccio

Why are you paying huge water bills and ever increasing taxes? Government waste.

 

This week alone Phoenix politicians voted again to give away your money:

  • $10 million contract given to a private company just to let people know about recycling
  • $1.5 million payout to Union Bosses as part of a backroom deal hidden from the public

The politicians who voted for this government waste: Mayor Stanton, council members Debra Stark (District 3), Kate Gallego (District 8), Daniel Valenzuela (District 5), Thelda Williams (District 1) and Laura Pastor (District 4). They have already started claiming to have a shortage of funds and will be voting on the 26% tax increase on July 1.

 

Those who voted to protect you and your money were: Councilmen Jim Waring (District 2), Michael Nowakowski (District 7) and I (District 6) by voting against that government waste.

 

As you can see by the way they blew through your hard earned tax dollars this week, they don’t really believe there is a shortage of money BECAUSE THERE ISN’T ONE. We have a record high surplus of cash. We have enough funds to pay our debt obligations and keep a reserve. This 26% tax is unnecessary and would punish you, the hard working taxpayer, by squeezing your family budget.

 

Oh, by the way, this week the Mayor and Council also voted to spend $300,000 of your money to fund a private downtown special interest group who previously pushed a huge tax increase on small business owners.

 

Remember how you were lied to about the food tax? The politicians are doing it again with the property tax increase.

 

Just like I helped repeal the food tax, I am just as committed to fighting this huge tax increase on you and your family. Your property tax payment doesn’t need to go up 26%.

Read more

By Restore The Constitution Coalition

Breitbart News Reported:

Libertarian icon and former candidate for President of the United States Ron Paul is endorsing Dr. Kelli Ward for U.S. Senate from Arizona in the Republican primary against five-term incumbent Sen. John McCain.

Dr. Paul says in a letter to fellow family practice physician Ward:

As a physician, you have seen first­hand how ObamaCare has reduced our liberties in just a few short years. During your time as state senator, you have fought to reduce the size of government and restore the liberties of Arizonans. We need to elect more people into the U.S. Senate to stand alongside my son, Rand Paul. Because of your dedication to smaller government and restoring more of our personal liberties, I am proud to endorse your campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Paul served several terms as the U.S. Representative from Texas. He served as a doctor in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and with the U.S. Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968 as detailed on biography.com. Ward is a military wife. 

Read more

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

Leftists and union bosses from California are currently collecting signatures for three bad propositions they want to put on Arizona's November ballot:
-An anti-free speech measure that would put your name and personal information onto a publicly-available government database if you donate to non-profit organizations. It would also give state bureaucrats the power to audit and investigate conservative organizations for the "crime" of supporting the causes and issues we believe in.
-A measure to increase the minimum wage to a job-killing $12 per hour and keep young people and low-skilled workers from climbing onto the bottom rungs of the career ladder, with a special exception for the union bosses (if companies agree to unionize, those companies would be exempt from a job-killing mandatory paid leave scheme).
-A measure to cap the pay of hospital CEOs, which is part of an effort to try to unionize hospital employees (so the same union system that ruined Detroit's economy would now run our hospitals).
Use THIS LINK to take action against these leftist ballot measures and share the petition with your friends and family!
For Liberty & Prosperity,
Tom Jenney
Americans for Prosperity Arizona

Read more

By Sal DiCiccio, Phoenix City Council District 6

Dear friends,

I wanted to pass along five reasons why I support Prop 123, the May 17 special election referendum to help fund Arizona’s public K-12 schools.
1) $3.5 billion – that’s BILLION – for schools without raising taxes!
2) We’re using the state land trust, which exists to support public schools!
3) The state land trust will still grow by more than $1 billion!
4) We’re working to help pay teachers what they deserve!
5) Schools will receive $230 million this fiscal year – and billions more to come!
As you can see, Prop 123, which is supported by Governor Doug Ducey and the state’s business and education communities, is a no-brainer. Please join me in voting “Yes” on Prop 123 on May 17!

Read more

By Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

Here is the real story behind the latest move to raise your property tax:

Phoenix politicians secretly knew they were going to raise your property tax. For the past several years they have been purposely draining the fund that pays for capital projects and used those monies for merit and longevity raises. Merit increases are pay raises and longevity increases are bonuses.

Politicians use fancy words to confuse the public that they are supposed to serve.

There were two big lies you've repeatedly been told. One, that employees took pay cuts. This is not true. Every year since the Great Recession they were given pay raises and bonuses. What they did was cut the increase in pay. Most government staff continued to receive higher compensation.

Read more

By Matt Salmon

For the past three years, I've enjoyed meeting so many of you, both in Washington and around the beautiful East Valley. Unfortunately, this great honor brings with it a heavy price tag. Spending so much time in Washington, D.C. means I get to spend very little of it back home with my beautiful wife Nancy and my beloved children and grandchildren.

Over these past three years, I've learned that's just too great a sacrifice to make, and so it's with a heavy heart that I must announce I will not be seeking reelection this November.

I wrote an opinion piece about this in the Arizona Republic this morning – I invite you to read it so you understand a little more about why I came to this difficult decision.

I look forward to spending my remaining months in office making sure your interests are represented and any problems you have are quickly dealt with.

It's been an absolute privilege to serve you. Nancy and I will forever be grateful for all your support.

Sincerely,
Matt Salmon

READ MY OP-ED
"Why I'm leaving Congress"

Read more

The old saying that politics makes strange bedfellows is becoming less relevant these days as conflict replaces consensus. There is a notable exception in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s call for a hybrid district system has found an unlikely ally in John Greco, a frequent Lane critic.

For months Lane has been advocating for reform in the way Scottsdale elects council members. His proposed hybrid district system would see three council members elected from newly created districts in the northern, central and southern city while the mayor and three council members would continue to be elected at large. The reasoning is simple, there has not been a resident of South Scottsdale elected to the council in more than a decade.

Greco outlined his rationale for the reform in a recent letter to the editor in the April 1st section of the Scottsdale Republic. The letter states in part:

“I applaud the mayor's suggestion as a step in the right direction. It offers an opportunity for more representation and is at least worth a try.”

Anyone who reads letters to the editor in the Republic or Scottsdale Independent would be familiar with Greco. He is a frequent contributor who has delivered forceful yet thoughtful letters on LGBT ordinances, the Desert Discovery Center, the Scottsdale Entertainment District, and a long list of other issues. Often, he has been critical of Mayor Jim Lane’s handling of these issues.

Read more

In 2011 Auburn played Oregon for the college football national championship.  The game might have been occurred in Glendale but Scottsdale was the city overrun with events, tourists and shoppers.  At Scottsdale Fashion Square.  Along the Arizona Canal where ESPN staged.  And on an empty lot next to Olive & Ivy that was the site of concerts, special events, college bands, rallies and people that fed into our shops, galleries and restaurants.

Fast forward to 2017.  It was hard to notice much of a Final Four impact in Scottsdale, unless you were in one of the nightclubs at 1am.  Not that such partying is a bad thing.  And there’s no doubt the city’s hotels got a lift too.

But for anyone that took in some or all of college basketball’s biggest showcase the energy for the mega event was indisputably in downtown Phoenix and Glendale.

That’s because the property that allowed Scottsdale to so successfully host activities in 2011 was developed into one of the city’s biggest eyesores – a mustard apartment complex -- years subsequent.  History could have been different.  There were voices that encouraged the city to acquire the property.  It would have been expensive.  It would have been tough.  But that’s what vision often requires. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

We can all lament but that disserves Scottsdale.  For when tourists have a great time in your downtown they become ambassadors for life, sycophants for the Southwest’s best city.  So, are there solutions?  Perhaps.

One is the Scottsdale Civic Center, which beautifully hosts an arts festival and the Scottsdale Culinary Festival but appears to be ill-suited for more.  Some have argued for reworking the beautiful outdoor mall.  It’s time.  And that could or perhaps should involve relocating the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and/or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art to elsewhere in downtown to make more room for events that fill up rooms.

Second, Scottsdale Fashion Square is set to ask for aggressive development heights.  We are sensitive to their requests because of the economic significance the mall plays for the Scottsdale treasury.  But it can be fairly asked of anyone asking for height, how does it benefit the community?  Well, protection of the economic asset just mentioned is one, but useful open space would be another.  

Read more

It was a great movie, La La Land that is.  But it’s not a place we desire to see members of Scottsdale’s governing body go.

In the past we’ve been great fans of David Smith.  Business experience.  Financial acumen . Good person.  A balanced understanding of those things that made for Scottsdale’s uniqueness.

Who wouldn’t want someone like that in the policy mix for “the best city in America” as Mayor Jim Lane likes to say?Smith200

But lately Smith seems more like Ryan Gosling in the almost Academy Award winning movie than the person that resonated with the Scottsdale electorate in 2014, gaining votes from many perspectives.

Indeed, he’s become the chief critic of Scottsdale’s thriving bar and restaurant scene.  Asiding the meritlessness of his arguments Smith would be wise to review the results of candidates who virulently campaigned against the area the past few election cycles.

But it was another recent diatribe that makes us wonder if City Hall misfit Mark Stuart has body snatched Smith’s brain.

Last week the Scottsdale City Council wisely delayed taking down the large tent at WestWorld in the face of new information that the tent was actually making money, taking it down would be very costly for taxpayers and that serious questions remained about whether it could be done in a way so as not to hurt major WestWorld events like Barrett-Jackson, Good Guys car show and others.

Yet, Smith’s attitude was taxpayers be damned.  The events, some of which pump $167 million per year into the city be damned.  New information be damned.

Take it down no matter the cost and consequence because one person in DC Ranch has made it his quest.

Even Guy Phillips and Kathy Littlefield rejected Smith’s logic.  Phillips in particular is becoming an underappreciated champion for the city’s tourism industry.  

Read more

On May 6th the race for the Kentucky Derby resumes.  For two of the most exciting minutes in sports jockeying will abound during the run for the roses.

But in Paradise Valley a different kind of race has already begun, almost two full years ahead of when Mayor Michael Collins will pass the baton to his successor.  IMG_4155

That’s because Collins took the highly unusual step of announcing so early that he would not again be seeking re-election.  Typically, elected officials like to wait on such announcements to maintain as much of their standing and leverage for as long as possible.  But Collins is no typical politician and he showed great integrity alerting the community he intended to abide by his two mayoral term pledge.

And that leads us to who might replace his big shoes.  Unlike when former Mayor Scott Lemarr stepped away and Collins was such a prohibitive favorite no one ran against him, 2018 is likely to be entirely different.  So let’s look at the potential field:

*Current Councilman Mark Stanton.  Twice elected to council, a proven vote getter and someone who serves with a smile.

*Current Councilman Paul Dembow.  No one wants the job more but no one has more political baggage.  Can he overcome it?  Time could be his friend if matters concerning the Paradise Valley Police Department get cleared up, or not.

*Current Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner.  The favorite of at least one former Mayor the question is whether he has the moxy to be in that political caste system?  At a time when most everyone in Paradise Valley is happy with the community’s direction it could be that a steady, cautious hand may appeal to the electorate rather than a salesman.

*Former Councilwoman Pam Kirby: She’s never lost an election.  Twice elected to the Town Council and twice to the Scottsdale School Board.  Kirby’s decision may be more a matter of who else gets in the race as to her jumping in early.

Read more

On January 7, 2014, we raised the question of why, in this age of Phoenix political correctness, Mayor Stanton wasn't staying true to his roots, and fighting to rename Squaw Peak Drive.  Here’s a link.

Well, it looks like he's finally found time.  And stirred up a lot of controversy based on this recent front page article in the Arizona Republic.  
Don’t look for this controversy to go away soon as residents clash with City Hall over the name change. Whatever your opinion, at least you can say you heard it here first.

Read more

To orchestrate an amazing comeback in the Super Bowl, as Tom Brady did, one doesn’t acquiesce to the rote.  Quarterbacks have to call new plays on the spot, based on the information and defense they are seeing.

In Scottsdale, our quarterbacks are the City Council.  And some time ago they made a decision to deconstruct the “Big Tent” at WestWorld used by Barrett-Jackson, Good Guys and numerous other shows because of one complaint by a significant contributor to Bob Littlefield’s mayoral campaign, and numbers provided by city staff that turn out to now be erroneous, to put it kindly.  City_of_Scottsdale_Script_Logo.svg

Indeed, a City Council majority based its decision on representations that the Big Tent was actually costing Scottsdale money (lacking event revenue to cover its costs) and that decommissioning the structure would only cost $700,000.

Neither assertion turns out to be true, thanks to the persistence and due diligence of new Scottsdale City Manager Jim Thompson.

Indeed, the tent is actually making a chunk of change for the city and the charge to taxpayers wouldn’t be $700,000 as originally relayed but $2.6 million!

As one city insider put it, what firefighters, police officers or other cuts will be needed to accommodate this quixotic request?

And if math were not sufficient how about logic?

Read more

A community spawned by the likes of William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor and Barry Goldwater is bound to be something special.  But a quick review of the tony township’s current in-box isn’t just special, it’s extraordinary.

*A new version of the beloved Mountain Shadows hotel is set to open March 7th, along with an equally loved “Short Course,” the renamed links next door. IMG_4155

*The Ritz-Carlton is moving ground further east on Lincoln, promising yet more luxury and more resort and residential choice, not to mention a huge new influx of tax revenue for town coffers.

*And then there is the recently announced expansion of the best small hotel in Arizona one of the best in America, The Sanctuary Resort.  The property is the embodiment of all that is right with Paradise Valley.  Beautiful views.  Sensitive footprint.  Remarkable setting.  Successful.  Distinct.

Times are so good in Paradise Valley that Cullum Homes, the metropolitan area’s #1 Custom Home Builder as ranked by the Phoenix Business Journal, is having the biggest party in town tomorrow to showcase its impressive The Village at Mountain Shadows.  The aptly named “7Cs Party” will host hundreds on site and feature caviar, cigars, cars, champagne, couture, car bars and the people responsible, Rod & Kim Cullum.  

Read more

Yesterday was Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane’s birthday.  It was also his annual State of the City address, attended by a record 460 people.

That’s a testament to his leadership, and the landslide election victory he had in November.  lane portrait

But the most surprising part of his speech wasn’t his dedicatory remarks about the “best city in America,” it was in the way he concluded his speech.  He did so with two forceful pronouncements that he intends to pursue a public vote on the controversial Desert Discovery Center as well as one to create a hybrid district system.  Under this proposal Scottsdale would see its six at-large council seats shrink to three with others being elected from a specific southern, central and northern district.  The three other councilmembers would continue to be elected at large, as would the Mayor.

On the heels of presiding over the best candidate campaign in Scottsdale since Robert Pettycrew’s in 1994, and after smashing nemesis Bob Littlefield, it would be easy for Lane to forget some of these key planks of his re-election campaign.  After all, it’s his last term, leaving him unencumbered.  But that’s not the kind of person he is.  

Read more

Partnership between ASU, Scottsdale's Desert Discovery Center to produce research, exhibits about local environment

There's nothing new about Arizona residents looking for sustainable ways to live in the desert, but a recent United Nations report has made the matter a worldwide concern.

Because of climate change, the UN says that by 2030 almost half of the global population will be living in "areas of high water stress," and that without intervention as many as 700 million people could find themselves displaced.

Enter ASU and its partnership with Scottsdale's future Desert Discovery Center, aimed at creating an expansive research center to teach "a global audience to value, thrive in and conserve desert environments."

"When people think of research they think of a classroom," said Sam Campana, executive director of the center and former Scottsdale mayor. "It's our goal not to have a classroom, but a living laboratory where people are out doing work that is important to those who live here and to anyone in an arid environment."

Aside from research, the center will have a public face, and ASU has been working with design firm Thinc to create a series of exhibits to address "what I can see, what I can't see and what does all of it mean?" Campana said. In total, it will create an experience that shows how we can be more in tune with our environment.

Thinc, according to its website, has become known for a "holistic approach" that "combines great design and execution with broad insight into the organizational, cultural and physical contexts surrounding a project." The firm has worked with museums, science centers, zoosand aquariums.

The center's research will come as the global population grows "mainly in regions that are already experiencing water stress and in areas with limited access to safe drinking water," according to the UN in a 2014 study.

Research collaborations could include water quality, use and supply, as well as climate-change adaptation and urbanization.

Other areas of focus will include soil-crust research, desert species, the intersection of open-space preserves and people.

"There are things going on in the desert that are in the deep in the crust, and they're teeming with life," said Duke Reiter, executive director of University City Exchange. "But without this research and a sophisticated guide, at both at a macro and micro scale, it would be impossible to see. Only the university could bring this component."

Researchers, brought in by ASU, will study desert-life sustainability, "an important step in preserving and understanding this land," said Duke Reiter, whose exchange tracks university's academic and research assets to apply them "for the greater good."

Desert Discovery Center leaders are clearing hurdles as they await approval from the city of Scottsdale.

"If you look at ASU's design's aspirations, this university takes its commitment to their community, applied research and sustainability very seriously," Reiter said, "which is what makes this is a great venue and leaves no reason for us to not be involved in this."

 

Read more

There are gadflies at City Halls.  Every town or city has one, two or more. And then there are gadflies.  Like big gad, horse flies.  They don’t come any uglier or smellier than Mark Stuart in Scottsdale.

It’s not that he’s anti-establishment.  Nothing much wrong with that.   It’s that he’s in La La Land.  But his music isn’t pretty.  And typically lands in the dark, conspiratorial realm of the Art Bell coin.

And it’s not that he’s anti-Desert Discovery Center.  So are we.

But as he approached the podium during a Scottsdale City Council meeting on Tuesday night his intentions were clear, and in violation of the law.

One cannot use government resources to proselytize about a political campaign.  And that’s exactly what Stuart was attempting to do at a government run meeting, broadcast on public television.

He was warned not once, not twice but multiple times not to proceed by Mayor Jim Lane on the advice of the City Attorney.  Stuart ignored all polite requests by Lane.  Indeed, the mayor went to extraordinary lengths to explain that this law applies not just to those that wish to electioneer to oppose the Desert Discovery Center but to those that support it too.  To coin a Fox News phrase, Lane’s approach was fair and balanced.

But Stuart didn’t want to adhere to the law.  When given every chance to adhere he chose to disrupt.  The Scottsdale Police Department could not have been more courteous and conscientious in escorting him out of the Kiva.

For anyone to suggest that Stuart is a martyr or this was Lane again being disrespectful to the anti-DDC position is preposterous.  We either have laws, or we don’t.

The rhetorical thugs behind their DDC opposition, so thoroughly discredited by the city’s recent election results as well as insight such as this , don’t understand this.  But the responsible, reasonable majority of Scottsdalians do.  But don’t take our word for it, take Councilmembers Guy Phillips and Kathy Littlefield. Usual Stuart sympathizers on matters, they didn’t raise a finger or word to aid Stuart.  Because even they knew no martyr was in their presence, just a goofy gadfly.

Read more

One of the great Scottsdale stories of 2016 was the undeniable vibe that southern Scottsdale and her neighborhoods were an area on the move.

Its strengths have long been known – proximity to Scottsdale’s thriving downtown and nearby freeways, a surging SkySong, new breweries – and the marketplace in the form of new families and residents started to respond.

Mayor Jim Lane put a profound emphasis during his 2016 re-election on this turnaround.  Here again the marketplace responded, voting to re-elect him in the southern city by wider margins than 2012.

But to continue the resurgence a critical part of the area must be addressed:  public schools.  It’s a fair question to ask if improvements aren’t made can southern Scottsdale continue its revitalization?  Yes, charter schools can step in to address some voids.  But ultimately it’s up to the backbone of the public education system to deliver, or not.  A case in point is central Phoenix and the Madison school district.  There, good schools equated to more families which in turn has created a mecca of cool and culinary where that didn’t exist previously.

That’s why it’s so gratifying to see south Scottsdale’s high school, Coronado, asking for help.  CORONADO SUCCESS A COMMUNITY PRODUCT.  And that ASU and the Scottsdale Charros have stepped up to the challenge should be applauded.

The Scottsdale Unified School District, of which Coronado is a part, has a relatively new leader, Denise Birdwell.  The essence of leadership isn’t just to find a way through or around walls when necessary.  It’s also being able to recognize that outside voices and resources may be necessary to scaling them and solving problems.  This isn’t a matter of not being too proud to beg.  It’s one of Birdwell being prideful and mindful of her position, seeking new ways of wisdom to students are successful not squandered.

We wish them all good luck.

If and when these capable leaders turn Coronado’s challenges into opportunities it won’t only be good news for the young minds there, it will be a catalyst to continue SoSco’s upward trajectory.

Read more

Plans are underway to tap the further potential of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.  Click here for more info. This is smart planning by city staff and Mayor Jim Lane and the City Council.

But these plans should not languish.  They should be funded as soon as they’re completed.

Home to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, arts festivals, Sunday concerts and souls that are enhanced every time they walk one of the city’s great municipal creations, the area can and should be more to help downtown.

With downtown Phoenix, Salt River Fields, a resurgent WestWorld, Tempe Town Lake and even Glendale seizing more festivals and special events Old Town needs an enhanced events venue.  

Read more

Candidate for AZ Corporation Commission Andy Tobin
Files Thousands of Signatures

Phoenix, AZ - Today, Andy Tobin, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and Governor Doug Ducey’s appointee to the Arizona Corporation Commission, filed 11,306 signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Tobin campaign filed nearly twice the necessary amount of signatures needed.

Tobin said the following, “During this campaign I have met with Arizonans from all across our beautiful state, and I am incredibly humbled by the support and words of encouragement that I have received. It is not a one-man job to collect 11,306 signatures, which is why I am so thankful for those who joined our team and spent countless hours helping me get my name on the ballot. Above all, I want to thank every single Arizonan who took the time to sign my petition - we could not have come so far without your support. Serving and protecting the taxpayers of Arizona has been my mission and my passion, and I look forward to continuing to serve you on the Arizona Corporation Commission.”

###
To learn more about Andy Tobin, his campaign for the Arizona Corporation Commission, or to make a donation, please visit www.andytobin.com.

Read more

Phoenix, AZ – Today, Republican Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates filed more than 2,000 nominating signatures for County Board of Supervisors, which is almost three times the 711 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

“I am honored and humbled by the amount of support I have received since announcing my intent to run for the County Board of Supervisors,” said Gates. “I am looking forward to a spirited campaign as I work to gain the support of the voters of Maricopa County District 3.”

Additionally, Gates officially resigned his council position under Arizona’s “Resign to Run” law before filing his nomination paperwork.

“It is a bittersweet moment as I close one chapter of my life and open another,” Gates stated. “I am incredibly proud of all I have accomplished at the City of Phoenix with the help of so many including: my colleagues; city staff; the great residents of Phoenix and District 3; and of course my friends and family. Thank you for your advice and support.”

Gates, who has represented Phoenix Council District 3 for the past seven years, issued the following letter of resignation to Mayor Stanton:

Read more

GILBERT (May 27) -  Today, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona announced their endorsement for Senate President Andy Biggs for Arizona's Fifth Congressional District.

Andy Biggs released the following statement:

"It is humbling to receive this support from the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona. Firefighters and paramedics across Arizona sacrifice so much to serve our communities, and their valiant efforts should never go without our constant expression of gratitude. I look forward to working from the U.S. House of Representatives with our first responders to ensure that residents in Arizona's Fifth District can continue to count on the best service and care from their public safety officials."

The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona released the following statement:

“The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, representing 7000 Fire Fighters and Paramedics throughout Arizona, proudly endorses Andy Biggs for Congress. “

“Andy Biggs has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our public safety and has been a fierce defender of the principles that guide good governance as established in the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Read more

FROM: J.P. Twist, Campaign Manager
TO: Interested Parties
SUBJECT: How We Won

It was January, and I had just watched a discussion on Channel 8’s Journalists Roundtable, where the panel predicted as high as a 70-some percent victory for Prop 123 on May 17. I almost fell out of my chair. If only they were seeing what I was seeing.

Our first poll around the same time told a totally different story. Just 50 percent ‘yes.’ This would be close to the very end, I remember thinking. The electorate was divided – not just on Prop 123, but on the broader discussion about education funding. Voters of both parties – especially in a low turnout special election and in a toxic political climate – were skeptical of pouring more money into anything to do with the government.

Getting voters the facts and explaining the details of a complicated and important policy proposal would be tough, but as we saw this week, not impossible. From our first poll all the way to Election Day, we knew this was going to have to be an aggressive, expensive campaign. A lot was on the line -- $3.5 billion in education funding over the next decade, the settlement of a years-long lawsuit, and immediate pay raises for teachers all over the state.

Through an intense campaign strategy that relied on constant data crunching, targeted voter turnout investments, an unconventional political coalition and messaging tailored to key constituencies that followed polling trends, Prop 123 has achieved victory.

Here’s how we did it.

WHERE WE STARTED

Despite conventional wisdom, Prop 123 was never a slam dunk. In fact, it never hit higher than in the low 50s in our tracking. It peaked at 53 percent in our April poll. But generally, it always hovered right around 50 percent.

January 7-10
YES: 50%
NO: 41%

April 14-17
YES: 53%
NO: 36%

April 25-26
YES: 49%
NO: 40%

May 2-3
YES: 47%
NO: 42%

May 11-12
YES: 49%
NO: 40%

The bottom line is that the race was always close. We knew we wouldn’t just win by chance. And we knew the dynamics of an initiative campaign: It’s a lot harder to get people to ‘yes’ than ‘no.’ If voters are confused, they just say ‘no.’  We always operated under the assumption that the ‘yes’ numbers in our surveys would be what we got, and the “no’s” and “undeciceds” would all ultimately all be ‘no.’

LOW TURNOUT

Polling research and focus groups told us a lot. Some said the proposal was too good to be true. “I want to know more,” one female Independent voter said in a March focus group, when the proposition had yet to garner much media attention. “It seems too good to be true.” Our opening ad addressed that – explaining the proposal in a way that was digestible and understandable.

But there were other dynamics at play that stared us in the face and we knew we needed to address.

“Likely voters” in this race differ dramatically from the larger electorate. More than half were over the age of 65. They are more Republican, with an 11-point advantage over Democrats. And they are more Anglo – 82 percent white.

Our universe were hyper partisan, primary-going voters – the very voters animating the unpredictability we are seeing in the presidential campaign. These voters, including Democrats, are extremely skeptical of government, politicians, traditional institutions and whether schools will use these dollars appropriately.  The Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders factors were very much on our mind as this campaign unfolded.

For many, it was a tough sell to spend this amount of money without strings attached. Counter-intuitively, among both Democratic and Republican voters, the idea that the proposal was “bipartisan” and backed by leaders in both parties was reason enough to say “no.”

“It makes me suspicious,” one female Democratic voters said in our March focus group. “If both sides like it, there’s got to be something wrong with it.”  This is the level of distrust that exists right now in the electorate – the negativism is almost unbelievable, and it got worse every month during the campaign

Read more

by Team O'Halleran

According to the National Park Service, the Grand Canyon National Park supports 7,400 jobs and creates more than $467 million for the local economy.

Protecting the Grand Canyon National Park is not only critical to preserving its majestic landscape, but to securing the economic benefits it provides for our community.

Click here to advocate

The Grand Canyon National Park provides visitors from across the globe an opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery and fun recreational activities.

But let us not forget the financial stability the park generates for so many in our community.

Join us to advocate for the protection of the Grand Canyon National Park:

Team O’Halleran

 

Read more

by Friends of John McCain

Phoenix, AZ— Today, National Right to Life endorsed John McCain for the United States Senate. John McCain has fought for policies to protect the unborn and has a 100% voting record on pro-life issues:

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of National Right to Life, an organization that promotes respect and dignity of every individual human being, born or unborn," said John McCain. "As a lifetime pro-life supporter, I have fought to defend the rights of all human life and I will continue this fight in the U.S. Senate."

"All voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to return John McCain to the U.S. Senate, so that he can continue to work to advance vital pro-life public policies," said Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life.

Other national pro-life advocates praised the endorsement of John McCain:
“Senator McCain is steady and unwavering friend to unborn children and their mothers and we are proud to have him on the side of life. He is a good listener, strategic thinker, and helpful ally in our fight to advance the right to life and protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans.” – Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List

Read more

Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate