Join us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!

The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

Ban Gifts Now - Ethics Reform Now

by Sal DiCiccio

Dear Friends:

Just like you, Phoenix is excited to see the Super Bowl come to town. However, the game should not be an exciting opportunity for politicians to “score free game tickets.” Mayor Stanton promised a gift ban/ethics reform 1,110 days ago-but nothing has happened. Nothing. He even went on to promise implementing a ban before the Super Bowl, so that the politicians would be on notice.

Promises Made Must be Kept!!!!

I having been pushing a new ethics requirement for politicians at Phoenix City Hall for some time and like you was promised by the Mayor it would happen. See the photo above that is on the hall wall of my office - for everyone to see.

It looks like only public pressure on Mayor Stanton will get this across the goal line and make him keep his promise to you and your family.  Please call or write and demand that Mayor Stanton enact a gift ban PRIOR to the Super Bowl.

 

From my family to yours,

Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix City Council

District 6

Read more

Former U.S. Congressman to lead organization's efforts to educate and inspire future leaders

 

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (January 6, 2015) - The Joe Foss Institute Board of Directors has named Frank Riggs the new President and CEO of the Joe Foss Institute (JFI). The mission of JFI is to restore civics education in K-12 schools and ensure that all high school graduates are ready for active, engaged citizenship.

 

Riggs will also head JFI's affiliate, the Civics Proficiency Institute (CPI), which has launched a national campaign called the Civics Education Initiative to encourage all 50 states to adopt the United States Citizenship Civics Test, the test all new U.S. citizens must pass, as a condition of high school graduation.

 

Riggs succeeds Dr. Lucian Spataro, who has joined an on-line education technology company as its president and COO. Spataro will remain on the JFI and CPI boards, and serve as co-chair of JFI's annual fundraiser, Stars in Service.

 

"I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to build on the solid foundation at JFI," Riggs said. "As CEO, my priorities will be expanding and branding JFI as the national leader for civics education, advocacy and engagement, and inspiring future generations to public service."

 

JFI Board Chairman Sandy Froman said, "While I am saddened that Lucian has chosen to depart, I am ecstatic that he is remaining on both boards and that we have someone of Frank's caliber to fill his shoes. Frank brings years of  leadership experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, and is ideally suited to take the Joe Foss Institute to the next level and move the Civics Education Initiative forward."

Read more

Dear Friend of Educational Choice,

Voters reject the status quo in education. They applaud bold change for children, and they want more.

That’s the message voters sent last week in the dramatic midterm election results. In each of the states where the American Federation for Children’s affiliated political committees engaged, we were able to help elect or protect many school choice policymakers to state legislative office.
• AFC and its political committees invested in a total of 259 races, including both the 2014 primary and general elections.
• Our spending totaled $4.5 million highly targeted dollars to defend, strengthen, or create school choice-friendly legislatures in nine states.
• 91 percent of our endorsed candidates won their races in the general election, and 80 percent won in the primary.
• Governors who have boldly stood up for vouchers, tax credit choice programs, and charter school expansion were re-elected, despite well-funded and relentless opposition from the teachers’ union. Governors Scott Walker (WI), John Kasich (OH), Rick Scott (FL) and Nathan Deal (GA) all won.

Governor Rick Scott’s victory in Florida is particularly striking, as his margin of victory matches the increased number of African-Americans who voted for him this election (compared to 2010). After the teachers union and school boards association sued to stop the new Education Savings Account and existing, bipartisan-supported tax credit scholarship program, Democratic candidate and former Governor Charlie Crist flip-flopped and became an opponent of these programs after having previously supported them as Governor, forcing the issue into the center of the campaign. Our Florida affiliate worked aggressively to inform parents of the nearly 70,000 scholarship program students of Crist’s support for the lawsuit that would take away their child’s scholarship.

Read more

By Bill McInturff

Public Opinion Strategies' Election Night Poll shows the 2014 election was defined by major dissatisfaction about the direction of the country, the economy, and President Obama:

1. On Election Day, roughly two-thirds (65%) of voters said the country is headed off on the wrong track.

2. The weekend before the election 64% of voters said they were dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy.

3. In the national exit polls, President Obama's job approval was 44% on Election Day, exactly matching his job approval on Election Day in 2010.

4. By a roughly two-to-one margin, people say they voted as a signal to oppose rather than to support President Obama (17% support/32% oppose).

5. Republicans enjoyed a six point edge on the generic vote for Congress (52% saying they voted for the Republican candidate for Congress compared to 46% saying they voted for the Democratic candidate for Congress).

6. In the national exit polls, Republicans carried White men by an even wider margin in 2014 than in 2010 (64% saying they voted for the Republican candidate/33% saying they voted for the Democratic candidate this cycle compared to 62%/34% in 2010).

7. While not quite as high as in 2010, Republicans captured White women by a comfortable double-digit margin this cycle (56% saying they voted for the Republican candidate/43% saying they voted for the Democratic candidate in 2014 compared to 58%/39% in 2010 according to national exit polls).

Read more

By Elect Bolick for Arizona

As you may know, we won the Legislative District 28 (LD 28) House primary. Thank you to all of our supporters, volunteers, endorsers, and donors. Without you our win would not have been possible.

The general election battle is tough, but winnable. LD 28 is the only Arizona legislative district carried by Mitt Romney that is represented by a Democrat. The Democratic incumbent barely edged out the Republican nominee two years ago. shana

Where the Democrat has the edge is cash on hand. While I had a tough primary, he faced no opponent. I saved a significant amount for the general election, but our opponent starts with a 3-1 money edge. We need to replenish our campaign funds to win -- and quickly, given the short time remaining between now and Election Day on Tuesday, November 4th.

Can I count on you to boost me over the top in November?

The policy differences between myself and our Democratic opponent are stark. He opposes all forms of school choice, while I support it passionately. He is a reliable vote for higher taxes and bigger government; I oppose both. He even voted against Right to Try, which would give terminally ill patients the right to access drugs through their physicians that could save or extend their lives.

Read more

Shawnna Bolick received Congressman David Schweikert’s endorsement for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 28.
shana
“Shawnna Bolick is exactly what Legislative District 28 needs,” stated Congressman Schweikert. “Shawnna is principled, articulate and an advocate for education and a balanced budget. She cares about people, as reflected recently when she helped neighbors navigate the Veterans Administration. I am proud to endorse Shawnna as a fighter for taxpayers.”

“I am honored to have the endorsement of my sitting congressman,” exclaimed Bolick. “Like Congressman Schweikert I want to reduce the size and role government play in our everyday lives. I look forward to finding common sense solutions while helping Congressman Schweikert put a halt on government mandates as we unleash a pro-growth agenda at both levels of government.”

Read more

As we have written about before there is much to be excited about if you’re living in or focused on south Scottsdale.  From exciting new redevelopments at 64th Street and McDowell to the success of Sky Song and even a relatively new microbrewery the marketplace is abuzz about this revitalizing area.  The location is superb, proximate to recreational and transportation amenities.  The housing stock, both old and new, is diverse. Indeed, the new residential options coming into the area from cool apartments to new single family at the old Paddock Pools site on Thomas Road will bring the additional customers that have been needed for years for new stores and restaurants.

Yet, southern Scottsdale residents have felt a bit disenfranchised over the past two decades because rarely does one of their own sit on the council dais.  Oh, there was Kevin Osterman who did win one election before losing another some 12 years ago.  And some will remember Robert Pettycrew defying the odds in 1994.  City_of_Scottsdale_Script_Logo.svg

That’s two people in 22 years.  This year all members of the Scottsdale City Council live Shea or northwards.  That doesn’t mean the southern city doesn’t get due attention.  It clearly does as described above. But why not discuss and debate how city representation can get even better?

Well, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane did just that today with an announcement that he wants to reform city governance with a new, dedicated south Scottsdale council district. And have one for the distinct personalities of the central and northern part of the cities too.

He’s calling it a “hybrid” district system that would leave the Mayor and the three remaining members of council to be elected at large.  Here is a Scottsdale Independent article on Lane’s plan. 

Read more

We believe Arizona voters should pass Governor Ducey’s landmark Proposition 123 on May 17th to settle lawsuits over the state’s K-12 public education system.  It’s a $3.5 billion injection of new money without raising taxes.  The new revenues come from future sales of state land.

The measure is an impressive, bi-partisan compromise.

Yet, some who have jumped on board, primarily from the left, want to hold it hostage as they ratchet up the rhetoric against an effort in the Arizona State Legislature to expand school choice.

Pass expanded student options they say and we may – or will – abandon support for Proposition 123 their threats go. 

Read more

Arizona State University is coming to downtown Mesa, after it already helped revitalize downtown Phoenix.

A big new regional park is coming to Gilbert, following the resurgence of its downtown.

The expansion and enhancement of Margaret Hance Park in Phoenix is impressive.

It begs the question does Scottsdale still need big ideas of its own to move the community forward?  There’s a good argument it does not for it already boasts the likes of a massive preserve, recreational wash, renowned special events, the state’s best shopping mecca and a dynamic downtown.

But there are other smart opinions that no community can rest on its laurels because as Ricky Bobby might observe, if you’re not first you’re last.

A coterie of tourism leaders often point to the Desert Discovery Center as one such idea for Scottsdale.  We view it more as innate inertia.  Just because an idea has been around awhile doesn’t make it good, or novel.  We have a Desert Botanical Garden.  The McDowell Sonoran Preserve and its trailheads are already amazing.  Do we really need people and buildings to preach what nature and wildlife already make obvious?  After all, people don’t go to the Grand Canyon for the Hopi House.

To spark a discussion on what could or should be the next big thing in Scottsdale next we proffer several ideas:

*Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, is already one of the great tourist attractions in Scottsdale and indeed, the state.  It is currently pursuing designation as a World Heritage Site from the United Nations.  Look up the list.  To be included with such giants as the Taj Mahal and Pyramids would mean instant additional prestige for the city, as well as significant economic impact.  The city should be doing everything it can to assist the process.

Read more

He Chuckled Like Jabba The Hut Before He Killed Citizen Rights

Avid Star Wars fans will remember Jabba The Hutt’s laughter at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.

That’s the way many probably feel after reading former Scottsdale City Councilman, defeated State Legislative candidate and current Scottsdale Mayoral candidate Bob Littlefield’s recent tome.

After resembling Grumpy during the early days of his quixotic quest to join his wife on the Scottsdale City Council, Littlefield proffers a sunnier disposition outlining some of the things that are good about Scottsdale before assigning responsibility alone to residents – not businesses – who helped make them happen. Jabba_the_Hutt

President Obama is in Cuba this week.  Littlefield’s reasoning reminds us a bit of Che Guevara. Or Bernie Sanders, who was in Phoenix this week.  People good.  Business bad.  It sounds more like Sweden than Scottsdale. 

Read more

As soon as Willard “Mitt” Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts he began running for President.  After losing the GOP nomination in 2008 he immediately started running again.  After being the nominee in 2012 he lost a winnable general election.  Then he started calling upon his inner Adlai Stevenson (a 3-time loser for the Democratic nomination for President) and quietly embarked on plans for a third Oval Office run. mitt-romney-35df95759d8b8e46

But then the early Jeb Bush juggernaut – to be confused with the later “low energy” WASP -- scared him out.

But that hasn’t stopped the wily Willard, always on the look out for himself.  After enthusiastically embracing Donald Trump in 2012 Wily Willy now sees opposition to him as a bank shot to the banks of the Potomac. These efforts continue on the eve of Arizona's presidential primary as well as one in Utah.  

Read more

By Scottsdale City Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp

There is little about City Council meetings that I cannot tolerate. I support freedom of speech and welcome people to come to the City Kiva and express their opinions about many subjects. My patience is very well established. klapp

Fault me if you want, but enough is enough when a Satanist group, not even based in Scottsdale, wants to disrupt our meetings by giving an invocation to the entire Council meeting audience. And it is certain this will be a disruption.

The group applied to come to the meeting in April, then backed off when the city administration approved the request. It was obvious the group was just testing our response. We had a slight reprieve, until they came back with another request recently and were given July 6 as the date to be at the Council meeting.

Read more

By Former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Betty Drake

Scottsdale, the “West’s Most Western Town,” is a place with a long tradition of welcoming and supporting the horse community. From its earliest days, there were horse ranches, horse shows, polo, rodeo, horse communities and horse trainers, many right in the middle of residential areas. Horses are part of Scottsdale’s image and culture.

Today, people lament erosion of the horse community in Scottsdale, as horse ranches leave and equestrian properties are subdivided. Areas of the city where traditionally horse ownership was high and local trails maintained are being eroded, with people moving in who block off the trails, do not own horses and often object to those who do.
The neighborhood where the Najafi Ranch is proposed has been a treasure for horse-lovers. Many people keep horses on their properties. There’s a community horse arena at Mescal Park and remnants of the internal trail system. Throughout the neighborhood, though, horse properties are being replaced with homes you could find anywhere in town. The area is in danger of losing its unique history and identity.

There have been many horse ranch and training facilities located within residential areas of Scottsdale. I have kept horses at some of these and have taken lessons at others over my 45+ years in the Valley, 30 of those years spent in Scottsdale. Look at Flying Fox Farm, Heitel Ranch, Jeffrey Wilms Training, and Camelot Farms. Looking along the Cactus Corridor.

Sandspur, at Cactus and 93rd Street, is a large facility that has been there many years, with arenas right next to single-family non-horsey homes. I boarded there and it was wonderful to be able to drive less than 10 minutes to ride. At one point it was rezoned as a subdivision but a horse-loving individual bought the property so the equine uses could remain. Other properties along Cactus have not been so lucky.

Pretty Penny Ranch was a large boarding and training ranch located in a residential area. When Pretty Penny announced that it was closing so the land could be turned into a subdivision, the horse community was up in arms.

Piece by piece. Property by property. The horses are being squeezed out of Scottsdale.

I’m a life-long horse person who just plain hates to see this happen. I can’t understand why the horse people aren’t storming the public hearings demanding that the Najafi Ranch be approved. Sure, 52 horses sounds like a lot on paper, but go look at a training barn with that many horses. It’s a reasonable number. It’s two barns.

I’ve known Francis Najafi for over 20 years. He’s a guy who does things right. There will be state-of-the-art dust control, fly control, construction and maintenance. As is typical of training ranches, a capable, professional manager will live on-property to assure that the highest standards are maintained. Najafi Ranch will be a magnificent, showcase facility, a considerable investment in our horse community and a statement that the City is committed to preserving Scottsdale’s signature horse culture.

 

 

Read more

Are all developer requests for rezonings good?  Of course not.  But nor are they all bad as Scottsdale’s current and former councilmembers Kathy Littlefield, Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips often wax ineloquent.

Take this article in today’s Scottsdale Republic.  The revitalization of McDowell Road has perplexed city planners and authorities for years.  But progress is finally at hIMG_0604and.  From SkySong to Fate Brewing Company to this new effort at 64th Street and McDowell to transform shuttered car dealerships into a mixed-use project.  What an exciting time for the corridor.

The developer behind the Entrada plan and property is one of Arizona’s wealthiest individuals.  He’s realizing as others have understood that this parcel, this area, is both blessed and underappreciated.

A quick shot west on McDowell takes you to the Loop 202.  A bit further east is the 101.  Across the street is Papago Park.  And the Desert Botanical Garden.  And the Phoenix Zoo.  And the Papago Golf Course.  Just further south is the old Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the new home of ASU baseball.  Mill Avenue is a short drive away as is the energy of downtown Scottsdale.  Be in the middle of it all isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s reality. 

Read more

*The property currently housing The Saguaro Hotel in downtown Scottsdale may be on the market

*His new Mission?  Chef extraordinaire Matt Carter is said to be joining forces with Scottsdale restaurant and bar Hall of Famer Mark Drinkwater for a new venture at Scottsdale & Lincoln

*Want to live at the new Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley?  The project’s first advertisements debuted locally last week

*With State Representative Justin Olson’s decision  to challenge Senate President Andy Bigg’s run to replace retiring U.S.Congressman Matt Salmon it means Governor Doug Ducey will have all-new legislative leadership to deal with next year as Olson was the presumptive Speaker to be. 

Read more

By nearly all accounts Arizona State Senator Debbie Lesko is an impressive public servant.  She takes on tough issues like pension reform.  And she gets results.  That’s why her peers are rightfully considering her along with Steve Yarbrough and John Kavanagh to succeed Andy Biggs as the next State Senate President.

She’s conservative without being crazy.  All this being said her philosophical inconsistency on one matter is loco, though impressively supple.

Amidst the current legislative session we are glad to see her sponsoring legislation preventing cities from curtailing Airbnb rentals.  After all, she argues, people should have the right to choose where they stay and homeowner’s likewise should be able to enjoy sharing economy property rights.  Her mooring on the subject is surely related to her affinity for school and health care choice.

Yet, Lesko’s impressive fidelity to conservatively rooted choice breaks down when it comes to energy matters.  There she untethers herself from consistency.  On this subject she strangely travels to the likes of TEP and Arizona Public Service who have somehow convinced her to pay no attention to the ideological droids she would mostly look for when it comes to solar choice.

How does one argue for all the matters above yet sponsor a strangulation of Arizona solar via new legislation SB1417 as one of her measures does, at the same time she touts Airbnb or a statewide voucher plan? 

Read more

Every day we go to work to make money or make a difference.  Those who work in our national parks, monuments and forests likely fall into the latter category.  They are there to be the custodians of God’s creativity and grace.  Getting to work at Grand Canyon National Park or the adjoining Kaibab National Forrest is the pinnacle, for many, of such dedication. provencio

There, everyone from rangers to superintendents is reminded of what President Theodore Roosevelt once said about the area:

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” 

Read more

He was so influential and impactful while head of the Scottsdale Cultural Council he was referred to as the “8th councilman.”

And judging by this recent article in the Phoenix New Times, Scottsdale needs someone like Frank Jacobson now.  Big time.

We’re not as dour as the New Times.  After all, Scottsdale’s public art program remains second to no Valley city.  And emerging events like Canal Convergence – or this weekend’s Scottsdale Arts Festival -- remind us of Scottsdale’s artistic soul, and how it can be enriched further.

There’s no doubt Scottsdale remains a great arts city.  But there’s also no doubt that online sales, recent economic challenges and even accusations that special events hurt galleries are challenging the city’s private and public cultural scene too.  

Read more

By Virginia Korte

As you probably know, my family has deep roots in Southern Scottsdale – for most of 30 years we operated a Chevrolet dealership on the corner of Scottsdale and McDowell Roads.

I have taken a special interest in helping revitalize the area and am proud of the progress being made -- including the springing up of new businesses and the sprucing up of older neighborhoods. The restoration of Southern Scottsdale has been remarkable.

It is an ongoing process.  So I want to express my appreciation to those who are investing in improving the area.  Thank you for all that you are doing.

Read more

"We need leaders like Andy in Congress who will work to secure our borders and uphold our immigration laws."
PHOENIX (March 2) – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today announced his endorsement of Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs for Arizona's Fifth Congressional District.

"Andy Biggs has stood for conservative principles each and every day he has served in the Arizona Legislature," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "We need leaders like Andy in Congress who will work to secure our borders and uphold our immigration laws. I know that Andy Biggs won't ever compromise his beliefs, and that is what makes him a perfect replacement for Representative Matt Salmon. I trust that the voters of Congressional District 5 will back the only true conservative in this race, and I'm very proud that Andy answered the call to give voters that true conservative to support. Please join me in supporting Andy Biggs for the United States House of Representatives."

Arpaio's endorsement follows endorsements for Biggs from Congressman Matt Salmon, Congressman Trent Franks, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio, and Senators Sylvia Allen, Nancy Barto, Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko, Gail Griffin, Steve Yarbrough, David Farnsworth, John Kavanagh, and Steve Smith.

"Arizona primary voters have a great respect for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's endorsements, and I am honored to have received his support for my candidacy," Senator Andy Biggs said. "He has set an incredible example for Arizona elected officials, standing for the rule of law and against unenforced federal immigration laws. I hope to work with him in the years ahead to uphold our laws and to strengthen our border enforcement."

Read more
By Governor Doug Ducey

I'm voting YES on Prop 123 on May 17 because it's vital to ensuring Arizona's teachers and students have the resources they need to succeed in the classroom.

Click here to learn more

This initiative puts $3.5 billion into Arizona's public K-12 schools over the next ten years WITHOUT raising taxes.

When it comes to public education, Arizona has some great stories to tell. Voting YES on Prop 123 means future Arizona students can keep writing those Arizona success stories.

WATCH the video above to learn more about why I'm supporting Prop 123 and join me in voting YES on May 17.

Best,

Doug Ducey

Governor of Arizona

PS - Learn more about Yes on Prop123 and how you can support it at www.YesProp123.com.

Read more

By Virginia Korte

Sustaining Our Scottsdale Way of Life

I am a consensus builder – because I believe the best outcomes are created when people come together and agree on a course of action.

That means making sure everyone has a voice in the decision-making process, no matter what the issue.

One of the things that makes our city so great and sets it apart from many other places is our ability to share our ideas with one another.  Citizens are able to not only take part in shaping our short-term objectives, but also participate in planning ahead to determine the best ways to achieve our long-term goals.

As we focus on the future, one of the most important topics is the role transportation issues play in growing our economy and sustaining our Scottsdale way of life.    

Read more

By Bill Gates

Dear Friends and Supporters:

Yesterday, I announced my intention to run for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to fill the vacancy left by retiring County Supervisor Andy Kunasek. During his time on the Board, Andy has been a great public servant, role model, and friend. Please join me in thanking him for his selfless public service to our district and our community.

I am excited about the opportunity to continue serving the great residents of District 3 and I hope you will support me as I run for County Supervisor for District 3. In the coming days and weeks, there will be more information on my campaign. In the meantime, please see my press announcement from yesterday below. Additionally, please visit my website at www.billgatesaz.com to donate to my campaign.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Bill Gates

Read more

Tom Chabin, Bill Mundell to Hold Kick-Off Press Conference
Thursday, Feb. 25 at 11am
Phoenix (Feb. 23, 2016) – Two widely respected, longstanding Arizona public servants, Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell, will kick off their race for seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission and begin their battles to restore integrity and conflict-free governance to the public body.

Media is encouraged to attend the press and public event Thursday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. at Grant Park, 701 S. Third Avenue in Phoenix.

“Arizona deserves better. As a former chair of the Commission, I know how important it is to have commissioners who are not beholden to the very utilities they’re elected to regulate,” said Mundell. “We will not take money from lobbyists, PACs or other special interests  - that’s why we are running as Clean Elections candidates.”

“The words integrity and service are often overused in today’s political arena,” said Chabin. “But when it comes to the commission that ensures fairly priced electricity, clean water and safe access to natural gas, those words haven’t been considered often enough.”

The public servants are frustrated with the influence of dark money and special interests on the commission.

“We thought we had retired from politics,” added Chabin. “But we just can’t sit and watch what is happening at the Commission and not do something. It’s an outrage that through the use of 'dark money’ one utility can literally buy its regulators. We are not for sale. Someone has to speak up for consumers.”

Chabin and Mundell have served the residents of Arizona for decades in a variety of roles, positions and appointments. Below are their brief biographies, and additional information is available at www.TomChabinforCorporationCommission.com and www.BillMundellforCorporationCommission.com.

Media contact: Stacy Pearson at 602-577-6888 or stacyp@strategies360.com

Read more

Arizona Progress & Gazette: Arizona News, Editorials & Debate