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2018 Scrum

by Jeff DeWitt

It has been an honor to serve Arizona as State Treasurer. I wanted to take a few minutes and thank everyone for their continued support. It is unbelievable how much my life has changed as I went from an everyday father working in the financial world to being elected as Arizona State Treasurer. The road here was not easy, but very worth it as I have been able to put my 23 years of financial experience to use in serving our community. I wanted to make sure you all know how grateful I am for your votes and support.

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By Dr. Kelli Ward

It’s official. As you read this, I am in Lake Havasu announcing my campaign for the U.S. Senate!

I’m ready to retire John McCain and give voters a fresh, courageous choice for new conservative leadership, and I hope you’ll join my effort. Together, we can disrupt the status quo and begin a new era of lower taxes, less spending, secure borders, and respect for the Constitution.

I made this video for those of you who couldn’t be here tonight. Please take a minute to watch it. Tomorrow, we begin the fight to shake up Washington!

This campaign is just beginning, but it’s the support and encouragement of tens of thousands of Arizonans like you over the last few months that have made it possible.

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Standard and Poor's recently assigned Arizona the strongest rating the state has had since 2008.

Commentary by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
June 22, 2015

When I was sworn in as Arizona's governor on January 5, the Super Bowl was set to kick off in our state just four weeks later.

Amid all the planning and upcoming festivities, there was a wrinkle: One of the state's regulatory agencies I inherited had been running sting operations against Uber and Lyft drivers, aggressively trying to shut them down. State regulators were out of control and using taxpayer resources to try to put the brakes on a wildly popular service.

We worried about what this might mean during a major event like the Super Bowl, when 100,000 visitors were on their way to Arizona.

So I took action, replacing the agency's leadership and immediately ending all pending regulatory actions against ride-share operators.

Next, we passed statutory language, making it clear these ride-share operators can do business in Arizona. And for good measure, we are in the process of abolishing the very department where all the regulatory mischief originated.

Breaking down these antiquated regulations made a lot of heads spin among entrenched interests. But the reality is that Uber and Lyft drivers are small-business owners—regular people who are just trying to make an honest living and, in the process, are changing the way we get around.

Our pro-business mind-set is paying off. Recently, Uber announced the opening of its first-ever Center of Excellence in downtown Phoenix. By the end of the year, the center will employ 300 people who will provide support to drivers and passengers.

This is just the latest in a string of good news for our state and a loud message that Arizona is open for business.

See, while everyone was watching the Super Bowl, our office was working. The day after the big game, we announced that the most successful company in history—Apple—was making one of its largest investments ever right here in our state: a $2 billion data center to serve as a command center for the company's global networks.

A lot of what we're doing in Arizona is forcing our government to enter the 21st century so that 21st-century companies can operate here.

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by Rick Santorum

Fellow Conservative,

Yesterday, I officially announced my candidacy for President of the United States.

And now, I need YOUR help to take back America!

If you're ready to join me, will you please pitch in a generous financial gift right now to help me kickstart my campaign?

I believe that it's going to take a fearless, unapologetic, conservative leader to stand up to Hillary Clinton and win back the White House in 2016.

And I believe I am that leader.

As a United States Senator, I spent many years fighting passionately for conservative solutions to our nation's problems and policies that foster and strengthen working families.

And as the leader of one of the nation's largest grassroots organizations, Patriot Voices, my passion has only grown.

Unfortunately, the Obama-Clinton agenda has undone much of what we've fought for, and hard working Americans are paying the price.

But this doesn't have to be the end of the story. Together, we can take back America and build a brighter future!

Please pitch in whatever you can right now.
Our nation is hurting right now.

Working families are more heavily burdened than ever by excessive government intrusion, regulation, and bureaucracy.

Our national debt has skyrocketed at an unprecedented and dangerous rate as a result of Barack Obama's left-wing policies.

Our stature on the world's stage is embarrassingly weak. Our allies - and our homeland - are in grave danger from ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist organizations.

And our freedom to practice our faith is under vicious attack in our communities, in our states, and even nationwide.

I'm prepared to answer the call and tackle every one of these challenges. I am determined to bring this nation back from the brink.

But I'm going to need your help to do it. Will you please pitch in a generous gift to help me launch this campaign right now?

This is going to be a long and grueling campaign.

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Improvements to Ariz. Tuition Tax Credit Scholarships await Governor’s signature

HB2483 and HB2153 offer accountability measures and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit programs

PHOENIX (March 31, 2015) — The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds the Arizona Legislature for passing educational choice bills which increase transparency among School Tuition Organizations (STOs) and expand the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program to include donations from small corporations. HB2483, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston, passed the House this afternoon with a 41 to 19 bipartisan vote. The legislation requires STOs to report on their websites the amount of money awarded to low-income families through private school scholarships. HB2153, sponsored by Rep. Justin Olson, passed the Senate with a vote of 16 to 13. This bill brings parity for small businesses (S-Corps) to have the ability to donate to the state’s Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program which funds STOs.

“We applaud Reps. Livingston and Olson, as well as all of the legislators who voted in favor of improving this crucial scholarship program, which helps Arizona’s high-risk and low-income students,” said Kim Martinez, American Federation for Children communications associate. “The Corporate Tuition Tax Credit program brings opportunity to children who could never afford to attend private school otherwise. Adding more accountability and expanding the funding pool helps secure the program for current and future recipients.”

HB2483 requires School Tuition Organizations to disclose on their website and through Department of Revenue reports, how much money they are in fact using to scholarship low-income children. This transparency allows corporate donors to see which STOs are helping disadvantaged children the most and how much money they are actually giving in low-income based scholarships.

HB2153 allows S-Corps to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to school tuition organizations. This provides many Arizona small businesses with the opportunity to donate to STOs if they so choose and receive the same tax benefit as large corporations.

School Tuition Organizations are required by law to distribute 90 percent of the corporate tax credit donations they receive in the form of scholarships to low-income children.

HB2483 and HB2153 now go to Gov. Ducey for consideration.

The Arizona Federation for Children is a state affiliate of the American Federation for Children.

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Monday I announced my campaign for President, and ever since, I've been under constant attack.

Will you chip in $5 -- or even $35 -- to help me fight back?

You see, the liberal media has called me every name in the book -- attacking me for everything from announcing my campaign at a Christian university to listening to country music.

I want you to see a few of the headlines and just how truly desperate the Left is to discredit and destroy me:

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Part I:  City Manager Search

A key rule in life and business is when something isn’t working don’t keep doing the same thing.  Change course.  That’s certainly in order now that the Scottsdale City Council has again failed to reach consensus on a new City Manager, which is long overdue.

It’s confounding that the apparent direction from council is to go back to the same process and outside consultants that have failed before.  Will the third time really be the charm?  We think not.

So here are some people and procedures that should be considered so this embarrassing saga for Scottsdale doesn’t continue.  The city’s leaders need to remember this is Scottsdale not Buckeye and act accordingly.  If you don’t like the people you’re being fed go recruit talent across Arizona and the country that can easily be identified to you.  Baseball teams don’t outsource General Manager searches to human resources.  Their owners and presidents identify and recruit.  The same should be done now by a subcommittee of the council that has yet to coalesce around one candidate.  This search committee might be made up of Mayor Lane, Councilwoman Korte and Councilman Phillips, each members of the conflicting caucuses.  Fritz Behring was a City Manager hired by acclimation.  It shouldn’t be this difficult.

Absent this new process go back to people that have well served the city in the past, or who could in the future.  People like Lisa Collins, Dan Worth, Dick Bowers or Topeka, Kansas City Manager Jim Colson who was passed over previously.

The city is badly in need of a permanent City Manager.  And badly in need of changing the way it’s going about it.


Part II:  Special Event Funding

In 2010 Scottsdale voters wisely chose to slightly increase hotel taxes to better fund Scottsdale tourism.  Part of those funds are dedicated to assisting new events become the next Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show or Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Results have been mixed, as can be expected of any new program.

But one recent approval should be repulsive to all.

Upon a recommendation from the Tourism Development Commission the Scottsdale City Council approved $82,500 for the azcentral Food & Wine Festival.  Notwithstanding there are 9,000 such festivals around Arizona (and this one is owned by USA Today & Arizona Republic who hardly need promotional help) the event was held in 2015 at Scottsdale Fashion Square.  But for its 2016 event held last weekend it decided to move to Salt River Fields.  The audacity to ask for Scottsdale monies as it exited the community is almost impressive if it weren’t infuriating. Unbelievably, a commission and council indulged.  Furthermore, the event was taking place on the exact same weekend the same groups decided to apporppriate $60,000 for the “Grand Prix” in downtown Scottsdale.  Notwithstanding the paucity of that event why would any Scottsdale leader subsidize an event outside of Scottsdale to compete with one it was contemporaneously funding in downtown?

Scottsdale has been duly recognized for being an effective run government.  This is an exception to the rule and should not happen again.

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alex-3Who is Jason Alexander? No, not the actor who played the neurotic yet lovable George Constanza on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. Who exactly is the man who has burst onto the local political scene, leading the charge against the Desert Discovery Center in North Scottsdale? He just makes it so difficult to join his crusade, even though we were staunch opponents of the DDC long before he was.

By all appearances, he appears to be a regular Scottsdale dude. He’s a “Senior QA Architect with 20 years of experience in software development and quality assurance for agile development teams.”

He also seems like a good father who’s also an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys biking, hiking and partaking in outdoor activities all across Arizona, but specifically in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. As someone who presents himself as a lover and defender of Scottsdale and the Preserve, it’s no wonder that he’s become the leader of NO DDC.

Further examination, however, reveals a hypocritical individual who may not really care for Scottsdale residents and the community he lives in. Since 2007, Alexander has kept a pretty active blog with vignettes of parenting and day-to-day life. In addition to these funny stories though, readers get a glimpse into why he’s full of contradictions.

In numerous posts throughout the years, Alexander refers to the city of Scottsdale as “Snottsdale," here, here and here.  A Princeton-educated computer engineer who is no doubt familiar with a keyboard, Alexander’s denigration of the city’s name can’t be anything but intentional due to the fact that the “C” key and “N” key are not very close to one another.

His dislike of the city isn’t limited to altering the name of the city in his posts. In other blog posts, Alexander also insults city employees and staff. In one, Alexander compares the lifeguards at the McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic & Fitness Center to “Hitler youth” because they enforce rules that ensure everyone, including Alexander’s two children, enjoys the pool safely. In another post, Scottsdale land managers are called asshats” and “eveeeil because while doing their jobs, they bulldozed a small hill on Gateway Loop, which Alexander liked to use for biking.

On top of this dislike for all things Scottsdale, Alexander appears to dislike Scottsdale residents, including the very same people who most likely form the basis of support for his NO DDC group. While writing on the problems of biking and distracted drivers, Alexander calls Scottsdale drivers dumbass egocentric North Snottsdale trash. In another post on his love of being active and outside, Alexander pokes fun at Scottsdale retirees who aren’t as active as he and writes that these retirees have mostly gotten here by indoor jobs . Showing disdain for those who enjoy the trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Alexander writes about a particularly intense bike ride and why he enjoyed it so much. Looks like he loved this bike ride due to the fact that there were “No nimby HOAs, no dodging herds of slack-jawed hikers around Sunrise and Lost Dog…”. In recent months, these residents, slack-jawed hikers, and retirees who are the object of his derision have become his allies. Maybe they’d resist doubling down on supporting his cause if they knew what he really thinks of them?

Alexander, who according to his blog, used to live in Legislative District 19, also demonstrates an apparent dislike for Mormons and members of Arizona’s active LDS community. In a post deriding Arizona’s stringent DUI laws, which are meant to keep the community safe from impaired drivers, Alexander describes writing to Mesa legislators State Senator Chuck Gray and Representatives Kirk Adams and Rich Crandall about why Arizona’s DUI laws are too stringent. When he fails to get a response from them, he posts that the letters won’t do any good when “all 3 legislators are Mormon, very very overtly Mormon”. He goes on to write that he believes that these legislators are “using political offices to promote a morality” and quips that due to their actions, he had to “seriously think about moving to Colorado, or at least Scottsdale.” Finally, he writes, “I will not vote for a Mormon legislator again, period.  I haven’t in years based legitimately on different politics, but this is now my single-issue.”.

Most quizzical of all is Alexander’s own political endorsements and views, which don’t jive with who he supports now. On explaining why he campaigned in support of Effie Carlson for her state legislative bid in 2014, Alexander writes that he and his wife were a part of “the last band of sane people in AZ LD23, standing against the Armies of Whiteness,” and writes that residents of Fountain Hills are “a bunch of scared white people, responding to a wingnut who sprouts teabaggery”. We can only assume that the “wingnut” he’s referring to is Jay Lawrence, but guess who else could be that individual? You guessed it: none other than Alexander’s supposed Preserve savior, Bob Littlefield, who was also running for that seat in 2014.

Not only does Alexander offend members of Arizona’s active Latter Day Saints community, but he also uses one of the English language’s most derogative terms in a joking and “comical” manner in numerous posts. That’s rarely wise for an Anglo. In one post while describing his reaction to an occasion when his wife spilled soda in his vehicle, he writes, “…I only yelled once when my wife spilled cherry soda all over the car. Cherry m*thafuggin soda IN.THE.CAR! Give a n*gga a break!!”. In another blog post where he criticizes Arizona’s inconsistent distracted driver laws, he writes, “N*ggaz was ready ta loot, bust caps off in dumbass egocentric North Snottsdale trash…”.  In a final post, Alexander criticizes in-car breathalyzers and again refers to himself with this vile term: I wanted to to yank the damn thing out of the car, but that anger lasted about 10 seconds til i forced the numbness back over me. Much better than looking at the calender and chafing. this is how n*ggaz do hard time.”

So who really is Jason Alexander? We may never know, but it seems that he may not really love Scottsdale after all. To form this contradictory viewpoint of how he loves and embraces his community, Scottsdale’s Alexander may have just adopted a mantra from Seinfeld’s Alexander, who playing the role of George Costanza once said, “Jerry. Just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

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lane portraitWinner:  Jim Lane.    The incumbent ran the best candidate campaign since Robert Pettycrew’s shoe-string council victory in 1994, one of Drinkwater’s waltzes, or perhaps ever.  He raised big money, the most in Scottsdale history.   That’s what good campaigns do.   He spent it wisely.  Lane messaged smartly and took it to Bob Littlefield, a name who had never lost a municipal race in Scottsdale.  Most impressively, he beat Littlefield at his own game:  grassroots.  Indeed, he had so many events at Scottsdale small businesses, restaurants and bars a voter joked online if he was running for “Chief Waiter?”  Lane also doubled up Littlefield on social media.

Loser:  Littlefield.  Pummeled so thoroughly the husband selfishly has jeopardized his wife’s city council re-election bid in 2018.  After losing his State House of Representatives race in 2018 it’s the end of the line for the loquacious one. But it's not the end of the line on being classless. Littlefield apparently hasn't even called Lane to congratulate him, something even Clinton did last night despite a more blistering and consequential election.

Loser:  John Washington.  Having lost himself to Lane by 30 in 2012 Washington boasted that Littlefield was the right guy at the right time to take down Lane.  Um, no.  Washington’s screeds even went so far as to badly damage Littlefield’s campaign with absurd criticisms of some of Scottsdale’s top business leaders.  Washington is now where he belongs . .  . crossing no rhetorical Delawares let alone the Indian Bend Wash, relegated to irrelevancy in Scottsdale’s lonely crazy caucus.

Winner:  Bill Crawford.  Opting to get out of the mayoral race during the summer Crawford became an avid and effective endorser of Lane.  In so doing he’s broadened his appeal and fundraising base for not just a likely run for City Council in 2018, but a successful one too.

schweikertWinner:  David Schweikert.  With much due respect to Dan Schweiker, a successful local businessman, Schweiker had lived in the community for about 5 minutes before deciding to run for City Council.  And the only candidate who spent less on a campaign was Guy Phillips.  Virginia Korte and Suzanne Klapp outspent him by several times.  Yet, Schweiker came within a whisker of defeating incumbent Guy Phillips.  Why?  Because of a name association with well-respected Republican Congressman David Schweikert who represents much of the Scottsdale area.

Winner, Sort Of:  Virginia Korte.  She’s now the heir apparent to the Mayor’s Office.  But to win in 2020 she’s going to need to improve her campaign and message significantly.  This time around it was vacuous at the beginning before finding its stride late.  That performance in the later innings will be necessary to beat back a strong challenge that will surely come.  Korte also deserves credit for standing by core principles.  It wasn’t convenient to stand by the Desert Discovery Center.  But she did.  It wasn’t convenient to champion a tax hike for Scottsdale schools contemporaneous with her re-elect.  But she did.  And won both of them.

Mixed: David Smith.  Smith thought possible that a Littlefield victory would make him a swing vote on the city council.  It’s aong other reasons why he didn’t endorse Lane.  But that was unfortunate political calculation rather than municipal patriotism.  Right thinking people know (and Smith is one for the most part) how comedic it would have been to have Littlefield as the face of the city.  Yet, Smith indulged the notion through a misguided lens that will hurt him, should he run for re-election in 2018.

City_of_Scottsdale_Script_Logo.svgWinner:  Scottsdale.  The inmates have never yet been elected in sufficient numbers to run the asylum. And this year was no different.  The city affirmed its personality of a progressive majority with always sprinkling in a little schizophrenia.

Loser:  Trolls.  Littlefield’s were maniacal. And ultimately ineffectual.

Loser:  Jason Alexander.  He is a lesson in the wisdom of quitting while you’re ahead.  Having largely won the debate over the Desert Discovery Center (DDC) Alexander and his acolytes went Monkey Wrench Gang with tactics and targeting of Lane, Korte and Klapp rather than simply stick to the issue at hand.  Now, he’s a cancer in the important conversation to shut down the DDC.  More on this topic soon . . .

Winner:  New contributions limits.  When the Arizona State Legislature increased them to a maximum of $6,250 for city council and mayoral races eyebrows were raised.  But the policy rationale involved allowing candidates to have more control over their own fortunes rather than be a message in a bottle bouncing on the waves of dark money and independent expenditures.  The reform worked.  Candidates had the resources to run and fight back and the amount of dark money was noticeably down from previous cycles.

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*He endorsed Trump, but he will likely be responsible for his demise.  He is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, an impressive congressional nominee who is getting precious little help from national Republicans due to the GOP having to defend more seats than they had hoped this year.  Prediction:  If Babeu loses his congressional race look for him to move to Maricopa County and run against Paul Penzone in 2020 if the Democrat defeats Arpaio in November.

*Trump’s demise may strangely benefit U.S. Senator Jeff Flake too.  Not only has he distanced himself from Trump a big Democratic year likely portends a sizable GOP one in the off-election year of 2018.  Kyrsten Sinema is as talented as Arizona elected officials come but defeating Flake in a statewide election that year is likely going to be very difficult.

schweikert*Keep an eye on U.S. Congressman David Schweikert as a possible if not probable candidate for Arizona Governor in 2022.

*Speaking of Governor Doug Ducey . . . he’s not tall but some believe he will be on short lists in 2020.

*Who’s Congressman Trent Franks’ candidate for President in 2020?  Very likely Mike Pence.

*When downtown Phoenix is healthy the whole Valley benefits.  From stadiums to arenas to big urban projects thanks go to the politicians and pioneers that made the tough decisions yesteryear to pave the way for the exciting landscape today.  Special kudos to former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon who was the champion for bringing Arizona State University downtown.  If there was ever a tipping point that was it.

*We opposed the proposed Desert Discovery Center long before the current angst.  But it’s incredibly sad to see the effort hijacked by the likes of Jason Alexander.  He’s one nasty dude that shouldn’t be the Pied Piper for anything.

*Look for downtown Scottsdale businessman Bill Crawford to emerge as a significant contender for the Scottsdale City Council in 2018.

*Sheriff+Joe+ArpaioFan or not of Sheriff Arpaio over the years sad to see all those he has helped and endorsed over the years do precious little now to help his campaign.

*Smart move by Arizona Corporation Commission candidate Bill Mundell, a Democrat, to be advertising on the Drudge Report.

*There are many local measures with financial ramifications on the November ballot.  But there may be none worse than Peoria’s Proposition 400 which is a 4/10 of one cent increase in the city sales tax.  Opponents have dubbed it the “Forever Tax” because it has no sunset.  Worse is that it essentially serves as a slush fund for the elected officials in Peoria to dole out money for pet projects.  This is a city that has clearly decided that big subsidies will be its competitive advantage.  Already being sued by the Goldwater Institute for paying millions to an out-of-state private college imagine what would happen if they got their hands on hundreds of millions more in taxpayer funds?

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Public Opinion Strategies, the polling company to Governor Ducey, Senator McCain, NBC and the Wall Street Journal, among many others, just concluded a October 17-18 survey among Scottsdale voters.

lane portraitAs they showed in their September survey Mayor Jim Lane maintains a big lead over former Councilman and failed State House of Representatives candidate Bob Littlefield.  Lane holds a 28-point advantage with undecided voters shrinking to 20%, many of whom are leaning towards Lane but who may choose not to vote in a down ballot race, underscoring the significant challenge before the flawed challenger.  Additionally, most people feel the city is headed in the right direction and Littlefield’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are weak.littlefield

There is little bad news for Lane in the survey who maintains strong, commanding leads in all parts of the city and with all subgroups.  And the notion of one Littlefield serving as Mayor while the other serves on the City Council at the same time remains very unpopular.  Indeed, after researching the matter Arizona Republic reporter Parker Leavitt was unable to find another example in America where a husband and wife were conjoined on a council.

The mayoral race stands in stark contrast to that for city council where four candidates are vying for three seats.  As it now stands:

Virginia Korte:  27%

Dan Schweiker:  27%

Guy Phillips:  25%

Suzanne Klapp:  23%

Phillips may yet garner one of the three seats but clearly made a strategic blunder so closely associating with Littlefield.  Schweiker continues to outperform with Republican audiences,  benefitting from his close name association with the popular Congressman David Schweikert representing the area.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being was a 1984 work about two men and two women. It’s an appropriate reference to the tale of Scottsdale 2016 and the unbearable idea of two Littlefields serving on the City Council at the same time.

Mlittlefield at deskayoral candidate Bob Littlefield also likes to be on two sides of every issue. He was for the Desert Discovery Center before he was against it. He was for developer subsidies before he was against them. He was for tall apartment projects until he isn’t, unless they are big campaign contributors. The list really has no end, but the latest example is just too rich.

Earlier this year Littlefield threatened Notre Dame Preparatory High School’s non-profit status because they had the audacity to have Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane speak to some of their students about civics. Littlefield bizarrely thought he was entitled, as he does many things, to equal time even though Mayor Lane’s appearance was entirely apolitical.

Think how craven someone must be to threaten one of Scottsdale’s leading educational options this way?

Oh, the irony.

Over the weekend the head of the Scottsdale United Amateur Soccer League sent out an email encouraging people to vote for Littlefield. He might be the only one still left in Scottsdale encouraging votes for Littlefield, who, in a Friday night forum apparently now doesn’t mind the idea of “Satanists” praying at City Hall. So will Littlefield tell this organization, also a non-profit, to go to hell too? Of course not. But the good news for Scottsdale is that Bob Littlefield is going to have a lot more time to play soccer after the voters give him a red card on November 8th.

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lane portrait*A second candidate poll in Scottsdale this week finds the City Council races tight (as the poll before it did) with Mayor Lane maintaining his commanding lead over Littlefield.

*The real question now for Littlefield’s ill-conceived mayoral run is how badly it will hurt his wife re-election’s prospects in 2018?  It will likely be significant.  And with Councilman David Smith uncertain to run again, the council candidate field could be much deeper than 2016.

*Speaking of this year’s Scottsdale council races incumbent Suzanne Klapp has raised a stunning amount for her campaign, likely a new record for a seat – by a wide margin.

*Glendale shook up the West Valley and all of the Valley some 15 years ago when it started doling out public dollars for economic development projects.  That was made possible by city voters supporting an amorphous bond question which was ultimately utilized for sports facilities and other projects.  History seems to repeating itself.  Peoria is not only throwing millions in public funds to revitalize the struggling “P83” entertainment area but in November it has placed on the ballot a large city sales tax increase whose primary purposes seems to be a fund like Glendale had.

*The Summit Group is a well-regarded political consulting group in town.  But what will they be doing the night of November 8th if marijuana legalization passes but Sheriff Arpaio is defeated?  They’re both clients.

byran-jeffries*Phoenix City Hall was atwitter with talk this week that former Phoenix City Councilman and current United Phoenix Firefighters’s Association Bryan Jeffries could make a run for Mayor since Greg Stanton is in his final term.  Others who have expressed interest include Tom Simplot, Michael Nowakowski and even Phil Gordon, the last of whom would need to overcome legal obstacles.  Current Councilmembers Danny Valenzuela and Kate Gallego are said to be eyeing the seat themselves and certainly have formidable constituencies from which to wage a strong campaign.  Either will be in the discussion to be appointed as Mayor too if Stanton leaves early for a Clinton Administration or seeks another political office.

*The likely order of finish in the upcoming Arizona Corporation Commission race?  Burns.  Tobin.  Mundell.  But the race remains fluid as resources remain a challenge for all.

*Those backing the minimum wage hike that will be on the Arizona ballot November 8th are doing so in the name of worker’s fairness and rights.  Yet, the campaign behind it stiffed the petition circulators, the very people their measure is designed to help.

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The embattled Bob Littlefield has many problems as he seeks to become Scottsdale’s Mayor at the same time his wife is serving as Vice Mayor.  Bad polling numbers.  Mayor Lane’s adoption of a “Two Littlefields Are Too Much” message which is devastatingly simple for voters to understand.  Etcetera doesn’t do justice to the enumeration that could take place on what plagues Bobastic.

Yet, two examples and two people underscore Littlefield’s ills quite well.  That’s because campaigns are about addition.  But to look at the Screamer of Scottsdale is to see only subtraction.  Indeed, Susie Wheeler is a top Scottsdale equestrian and has long been a Littlefield supporter. But not this time.  She’s endorsed Mayor Lane because of his commitment to the community’s ranch culture while Littlefield wants it to gallop out of town.

zrakeyThen there’s George Zraket.  He was Bob Littlefield on the Scottsdale City Council before Bob.  Indeed, as anti-business as Littlefield is – even wanting to shut down small businesses in Scottsdale’s downtown – Zraket makes one of the two Littlefields look like Richard Branson.  Yet, according to Lane’s social media, he showed up at the Mayor’s house this weekend to support him.  That’s remarkable.  Despite a similar political philosophy Zraket has such disregard for Littlefield he opted for the pro-business Lane.  Maybe Zraket was inspired by seeing the most popular musical in the land that regales Alexander Hamilton’s decision to endorse Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.  He did so because while disagreeing with Jefferson he realized he had principles where Burr purportedly had none.   Like Littlefield.  (By the way, a tip of the cap here to Scottsdale businessman and former Mayoral candidate Bill Crawford for introducing “Hamilton” vernacular into this year’s mayoral race dialogue).

Credit goes to Scottsdale and some unlikely citizens for realizing this.  It’s one thing for Grumpy to be one of the Seven Dwarfs, or one of seven members of the City Council.  It’s quite another to have him as one of one, the Mayor of a great city like Scottsdale.

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lane portraitAccording to a new poll conducted September 14-15 by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the country’s more notable pollsters with extensive experience in Arizona and Scottsdale, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane holds a commanding 27% lead over former Councilman Bob Littlefield.  And that’s before Lane has started spending the bulk of his substantial campaign coffers.

Lane’s large margin is an uptick from another pollster’s findings in May that had the popular Mayor up by 17%.

With his second consecutive election loss looming the question now is how badly he’s damaged his wife’s re-election prospects in 2018.  Bombastic Bob is trailing by wide margins everywhere in Scottsdale and with every sub-group.  The poll also found Scottsdale voters disagreeing – by huge margins – with the notion of Bob serving as Mayor at the same time his wife Kathy serves as Vice Mayor and/or as a councilwoman.

The city council races are much closer with Suzanne Klapp setting the pace at 31% followed by Virginia Korte and Dan Schweiker at 29% with Guy Phillips currently trailing at 26%.  Respondents, made up of 300 voters in Scottsdale’s 2012 or 2014 General Election were given the choice of voting for up to 3 candidates.  Phillips appears to be hurt by his close association with Bob Littlefield whose FAVORABLE/UNFAVORABLE numbers are poor.  Schweiker is enjoying the opposite dynamic.  His name proximity to popular U.S. Congressman David Schweikert is aiding his support among Republicans, especially in the northern part of the city Schweikert represents.

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With massive reserves in place and some terrific new resorts coming online the tony Town of Paradise Valley doesn’t have too many problems. But there are two items on the horizon worth recommendations.Maria Syms

The first is the likely departure of Town Councilwoman Maria Syms. She was the top vote-getter in the August 30th GOP Primary Election for one of two seats in Legislative District 28 for the Arizona House of Representatives. Securing one of those seats in November seems likely.

Since town councilmembers are not paid Syms is not required to relinquish her Paradise Valley duties. However, that would seem the likely progression as the demands of being a rising star in the lower chamber take hold.

daran-wastachakIf so, the appointment to fill her seat will be made by Mayor Michael Collins and the remaining members of council. But there really should be no deliberation and no applications. Daran Wastchak should gain the nod by acclimation.

While Wastchak has come up short in two bids for Town Council he has had the guts to step in the arena. He also serves admirably on the Paradise Valley Planning Commission. He was the next closest finisher in the recent election that saw Mark Stanton re-elected and Julie Pace and Scott Moore elected for the first time.

If and when an appointment to Council becomes necessary Wastchak should be the easy call.

Away from Town Hall and up Camelback Mountain many nearby residents remain up in arms about a plan to build a giant new home on the most elevated private property on the mountain. While Paradise Valley is a community rightfully adhering to property rights this new project is raising legitimate concerns. For example, engineers cannot guarantee that large boulders in the building envelope will not fall to homes below. All of this begs the question: With budget surpluses and a penchant for preservation why not consider buying this lot and other problematic ones in town to further preserve Camelback and Mummy Mountain much like Scottsdale is preserving the McDowell Mountains?

Recently, Scottsdale leaders wisely made the decision to purchase a home that intrudes on the majesty near Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Why shouldn’t Paradise Valley consider likewise? In a clash between one person’s ego versus the overall environment we know how the community would best be served, and we bet residents would be willing to pay for preservation, this time and in the future.

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*The Arizona Republic’s breathless liberal opinionistas can’t understand why Governor Ducey would speak at a Trump rally, as he did this week. It’s simple.  He doesn’t want to get primaried in 2018, and Trump ally and State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt looms as a potentially formidable challenger.  There may be others.  Anyone would start as an underdog versus Ducey – Kelli Ward’s failure against McCain being a perfect example why.  Yet, stranger things have happened.

*All Hail Christine Jones.  Whatever one thinks of the blind ambitionist, her successful execution of the “outsider” strategy in the Congressional Five GOP Primary was terribly impressive.  Yes, those who spend the most in congressional races usually win.  Still, waltzing into the East Valley and buying a seat well, it hasn’t been done that well since . . . John McCain in 1982.

*Donald Trump effectively labeled opponents during his presidential primary.  “Low Energy.”  “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.”  Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane ain’t like The Donald in approach but his recent labeling of long-shot opponent Bob Littlefield as a “Crazy Uncle” gets the gold medal so far for Arizona political monikers.

*Speaking of Littlefield the guy is just one big gaffe machine, and an offensive one at that.  According to online commentary he’s called Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven a “Great Satan” and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill and renowned Scottsdale businessman and philanthropist Bob Parsons “scumbags.” What a gem.  Is anyone still thinking of voting for this guy?

*State Representative Jay Lawrence had one of the best radio voices during his nights at KTAR.  And whoever his sign guy is deserves a “best of” award too for the best placements.

*Speaker Syms?  Special advisor to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman.  And now top vote getter in the GOP primary for Legislative District 28.   She’s threading a lot of political needles in her run so far, portending a real shot at a House leadership position in future years.

*If Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins maintains his two-term pledge look for just re-elected Town Councilman Mark Stanton to emerge as the most likely successor in 2018.

*As the public mostly rails against the idea of new taxpayer funded facilities for the Diamondbacks, Coyotes or Suns, the City of Phoenix is assembling a massive taxpayer subsidy package for Fry’s to land downtown.  It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction:  big taxpayer help for billionaire sports owners bad but big taxpayer help for billionaire grocery store owners good?

*The City of Peoria’s new sales tax hike proposal – billed as a quality of life tax – has political support built on quicksand.

*Kirk Adams is Governor Ducey’s Chief of Staff.  With the exception of a starring role in a suspect Arizona Republic story about pressuring State Treasurer Jeff Dewitt into supporting Proposition 123 he has largely avoided trouble.  That’s not easy to do for any Chief of Staff.  But people are now starting to talk:  Are some of his recommended appointments and positions more about aiding himself once he resumes his lobbying career?

*Paul Ryan was supposed to have a tough GOP primary but blew away his opponent by an extremely wide margin.  Closer to home, Sheriff Arpaio  had a primary too.  He was running against Donald, Mickey and Goofy.  Yet, more than one-third of the electorate abandoned him.  That’s a troubling and underreported sign heading into a difficult November election.

*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won his Congressional District One GOP Primary but hardly in spectacular fashion.  He struggled in every county besides his own where he ran up the score.  And nearly all – if not all -- of his favored candidates in Pinal County for County Attorney, Sheriff and Supervisor lost.  So, unlike McCain who won by a surprisingly large margin for momentum heading into the General, Babeu limps.

*So State Representative Rick Gray sold his political soul to Arizona Public Service only to have the company renege on a Full Forese.  Finishing out of the money on Tuesday night it’s almost easy to feel sorry for the guy.  Almost.

*There are a lot of reasons for Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ anemic showing Tuesday night, despite an easy campaign narrative of a Glendale comeback. Among them were an incredible disloyalty to the firefighters, business leaders and others that supported him in 2012.  It’s a lesson for all Arizona elected officials, from Governor Ducey on down.

*Seeking to make a name for themselves in political circles a number of younger consultants are trying to get into the polling business.  They are cutting corners to cut costs.  As a result the results are largely garbage.  A case in point was a recent article by the Arizona Republic positing how good Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was looking for re-election.  It relied on polling results from one of the neophytes.  Our case in point.

*We’re losing track of how many times Wendy Rogers has lost whatever she’s been running for in recent years.  She lost again Tuesday night.  Hopefully this will be the last time Arizona has to endure her on the ballot.

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Why is Bob Littlefield’s quixotic campaign for Scottsdale Mayor stuck in the mud?  A lot of reasons.

littlefield at deskHe’s anti-business, even supported by a union that used scorched earth tactics to shut down Arizona’s home grown grocer, Basha’s.    He’s been on both sides of just about every issue in town from development to subsidies to the Desert Discovery Center.  He’s the ultimate politician that’s out of step with so much of what Scottsdale is and stands for.

But another reason he’s slogging through mighty mud mania is the bizarre world he is seeking to enter.  He wants to be Mayor at the same time his wife is Vice Mayor.  It’s strange and problematic. Just as it would be if Joanne Lane ran for city council at the same time her husband was serving as Mayor.  Or if State Senator John Kavanagh didn’t serve in the Arizona State Legislature but on the Fountain Hills Town Council with his wife Linda who is the current mayor.

Littlefield of course says not to worry.  It’s no big deal even though it’s never happened in Arizona history from what we can tell.

But judging from Littlefield’s recent actions it is a big deal.  Because he’s already embarrassing the city.

Consider what just took place in the Scottsdale Airpark.  There GoDaddy Founder and impressive Scottsdale philanthropist Bob Parsons unveiled his latest investment in the city, a large television and video production facility.  In attendance were Scottsdale Mayor Lane, Governor Doug Ducey, Phoenix Mayor Stanton and members of the Scottsdale City Council, invited in their official city capacity to celebrate an important private sector contribution to the economy.  Vice Mayor Kathy Littlefield was there too, as she should have been.

And belittling Bob Littlefield came along for the ride.  He who only days before called Parsons (and Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill) “scumbags” for supporting Lane.

Putting aside the indignity of attending someone’s event he had just show scorn for Bob Littlefield proceeded to video tape the event, especially Mayor Lane’s remarks, presumably for some bizarre political campaign purpose.

He embarrassed himself and Scottsdale in so doing.  In the highly unlikely event Littlefield’s Arizona Lottery like quest for Mayor is successful it won’t be the last time the unprecedented combination of a husband and wife on the Scottsdale City Council make the city like adulterated rather than appreciative.

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by Paul Babeu

Have you seen the latest poll?

It has us up big in Arizona's 1st Congressional District.35% of voters have rallied behind me, and our campaign, which has given us a 27-point lead.

This is all great news, and wouldn't be possible without you and all of your help.

The liberals in Arizona want no part of facing me in November, and they'll be throwing money at this race to stop us.

We're not going to let that happen.

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By Virginia Korte

There is no bigger success story in the city than the resurgence of our downtown area.  It is truly inspiring.

Not long ago people joked that we rolled up our downtown sidewalks at sunset.    It was a short 15 years ago that our downtown had boarded up buildings and tumbleweeds were literally blowing down the street.  I even remember when the canal banks were just dusty trails full of trash.

All that has changed.

Today, galleries, restaurants and entertainment venues have created a vibrant area full of energy morning, noon and night. Downtown has grown from what was once only a tourist attraction to where people now live, work, enjoy the finest restaurants and experience fine arts and culture (not to mention the best shopping in town!).

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It's been my honor serving as Paradise Valley Mayor these past fifteen months. Together with other elected and non-elected volunteers, staff and participating residents we've had significant achievement and are making progress on things that are important to Paradise Valley residents.

Today I proudly volunteer to serve as your mayor for another two years!

I hope that I have earned your support. My performance and actions as your mayor, vice mayor, council member, and planning commissioner are well documented. I've provided examples at PVMayorCollins.com. You can watch my performance first hand on archived town council meeting videos.

Please do me three favors if you support my re-election as Paradise Valley Mayor.

  • REPLY to this email saying that you support my re-election.
  • SIGN MY PETITION. You can only sign one candidate's petition for mayor.
  • RE-ELECT MICHAEL COLLINS for Paradise Valley Mayor.

That's it. I'm not fundraising and I won't flood you with political advertising. My actions and achievements in office these past fifteen months should speak for themselves. I am a businessman not a politician. I seek no other office and feel that serving as your mayor is the ultimate honor that no other office could compare to.

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PHOENIX —  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today endorsed Proposition 123 because it's a conservative plan that invests in our teachers and students, and will ensure Arizona's kids have the funding they need to receive a great education. 

“We can make Arizona safer by better educating our kids," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "We need to invest in our teachers and students. That’s why I’m proud to support Prop 123. It’s a conservative plan to put $3.5 billion into public schools, and it doesn’t raise our taxes.”

"Sheriff Arpaio's endorsement furthers the argument that Prop 123 is a common sense solution to funding our schools," Sharon Harper, chairman of the Let’s Vote Yes for Arizona Schools said. "This initiative will put $3.5 billion into our classrooms over the next 10 years without raising taxes. It's a creative solution that even the most conservative Arizonans are supporting. Join Sheriff Arpaio and me on May 17 as we vote YES on Proposition 123."

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By Ken Bennett

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the news coverage regarding the presidential preference election on Tuesday. Numerous voters experienced long lines and waited hours to cast their vote, many staying at polling locations close to 11 PM. As Arizona election officials found out, conducting elections is a complicated and challenging task. Being Secretary of State isn’t easy.

Serving as the highest election official in Arizona is one of my proudest accomplishments. As Secretary of State, we efficiently conducted two primary, two general and a successful presidential preference election while ensuring we maintained the integrity of elections. I fought hard to protect voter ID laws in Arizona to prevent fraud and abuse all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. I reduced our budget while maintaining efficiency and protected domestic violence victims with our “Address Confidentiality Program”.

But of all the things we got done during my time as Secretary of State, I’m most proud of our commitment to service. I was speaking with a former employee of mine recently and she told me what impacted her most was my decision to remove all automated menus from our telephone system. I made that decision because I was committed to ensuring every voter spoke to a live person when they called our office - because that’s the level of service voters deserve!

I am committed to providing that same spirit of service to you as your Congressman for Arizona’s First Congressional District. I will fight for you, each and every day, to make sure we get America working again.

God Bless,

Ken

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PHOENIX — State Senator Bob Worsley has endorsed Proposition 123 citing the massive influx of new dollars for K-12 public schools without raising taxes.

“$3.5 billion in K­-12 funding without raising taxes and nearly unanimous Senate and House support — It doesn't get any better than that," State Senator Bob Worsley said.  "Kids win with this plan. Join me in supporting Prop 123.”

“Our schools need more funding, and a YES vote on Proposition 123 will not only give them funding now, but it will provide our K-12 public schools stability for the next decade,” Sharon Harper, chairman of the Let’s Vote Yes for Arizona Schools said. “This initiative will help teachers and students across the state succeed in the classroom, and we are thrilled to have Senator Worsley's support.”

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