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PHOENIX – Arizona based Innonix Technologies USA LLC unveils the RespoKare® line of face masks, including the first FDA-cleared anti-viral child’s mask to destroy quickly 99.99% of human coronavirus as well as influenza and other viruses within minutes of contact with the mask. The RespoKare® line includes a surgical grade flat mask and a N95 respirator model that utilizes the same technology as the child’s mask. The Valley-based company strives to bring stronger protection to residents who are looking for the best mask on the market.

RespoKare® anti-viral mask is laboratory-tested and its patented technology is created by American scientists. It provides the wearer with active protection – the mask features an anti-viral layer of rayon material that is coated with concentrations of copper and zinc ions that destroy viruses within minutes on contact with the mask surface.   Read More

17-Year-Old Tucson Student Varadha Taggarse Offers a Karaoke Style, Sing-Along Class to Unite Seniors During a Time of Separation

(TUCSON, Ariz.) As confirmed cases of Covid-19 are on the rise in Arizona, and seniors are needed to socially isolate for their health, Arizona start-up televëda is uniting generations with their online community that allows seniors to find friendships, stay active, and combat loneliness.

17-year-old Varadha Taggarse is leading the charge with her karaoke-style, sing-along class. Taggarse is a senior at Basis Oro Valley and has dedicated her time to unite seniors. She started her work with seniors in middle school where she would go to nursing homes and perform for the seniors.

When Covid-19 hit, she was devastated that seniors would lose a lot of their social interactions and decided to combine her love for music with televëda’s platform and find a mechanism to unite seniors while their community is in turmoil.

“There was one man that would always come to class early, just to talk. He would tell me stories about his life and his struggles with the community being closed and how he couldn’t do anything. He was sad but the moment class would start, a huge smile always came on his face and I could see his whole demeanor lighten. I love doing this because I can help these seniors have a moment of happiness,” said Taggarse.

Once a week, the Tucson high school student hosts a sing-a-long class for seniors to enjoy music from throughout the decades. She takes recommendations for songs they want to sing, then she records the music in GarageBand, creates a lyric screen, and connects seniors through a shared love of music.

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Technology Uses Radio Frequency Energy Instead of Surgery

(SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA) Dr. Joseph C. Berardi, an internationally recognized plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, has brought the latest technology in the science of body sculpturing to Arizona and the Southwest.

Previously available in New York and California, Evolve by InMode, uses radio frequency energy and electrical muscle stimulation to achieve long-lasting body sculpting results with little to no discomfort or downtime.  The New EVOLVE system is the first and only FDA-cleared all-in-one system to reduce cellulite, tone muscle and tighten skin.

Evolve Tite uses radio-frequency energy to remodel skin and improve its appearance through skin contraction. The process is pain-free, non-surgical and is quick and easy.  It can even be done over lunchtime.  Treatments can be customized and tailored to address your specific needs so the end result is a slimmer appearance with no downtown.  Multiple body areas can even be treated simultaneously.

Evolve Trim is a non-invasive solution designed specifically to reduce the unsightly appearance of cellulite.  It is a quick and easy non-surgical alternative to liposuction by removing fat below the skin and smoothing cellulite using radio-frequency energy combined with a negative tissue vacuum resulting in a sculpted appearance to the treatment area.

Evolve Tone is designed specifically to increase muscle strength and tone.  It is also a non-surgical procedure which will enhance the shape of your body with no downtime, scarring or incisions.  It uses hands-free electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to stimulate involuntary muscle contractions, helping to strengthen and tone muscles on the abdomen, arms, buttocks, and more.

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**Second Highest Residential Sale in Arizona**

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, Arizona’s leader in luxury real estate, is proud to announce the closing of another record-breaking sale.  The Silverleaf estate, that was originally listed for $27.5 million sold for $21,000,000, making it now the second-highest sale in Arizona history on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Luxury Agent Ryan Hass of the Camelback Tower office at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer and closed the deal.  The buyer and seller names have not been disclosed.

The 15,000-square-foot private estate is nestled in the Upper Canyon of Silverleaf’s guard-gated community.  Built-in 2017, the property sits on 4.7 acres of Modern Mediterranean luxury. Architect Dale Gardon and Builder Salcito Custom Homes are the masterminds behind this home, that boasts of marvelous experience and luxury.

The main house offers a 6-bedroom, 8.5 baths and not only possesses a magnificent view of the city lights and desert but also a resort-style backyard with a modern deep diving pool.

A beautiful covered outdoor space opens to the resort-style backyard that houses a modern deep-diving pool equipped with water features, a spa, fire pits, kitchen, and multiple sitting areas with fireplaces and ceiling heaters that ensure stunning Arizona outdoor living and entertaining.

The estate embraces luxury living with French limestone and French Oak flooring throughout the inviting home.  Every detail has been thought of and attended to, including gorgeous modern chandeliers and state of the art living spaces.

French flooring also leads to sophisticated modern bathrooms that feature heated flooring and steam showers. A breakfast bar is expertly placed to take in the breathtaking views. Gorgeous granite brings the modern luxurious kitchen to life. Flower gardens bring an essence of home to the oasis backyard.

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Groundbreaking, Broadway-Aimed Americano! Musical Signs Agreement with New York City Group for Next Steps

(PHOENIX, Ariz.) – Americano! – a record-setting musical based on the life of a DREAMer –finalized an agreement with New York City-based Amas Musical Theatre to co-produce a live production of Americano!, starting with a two-week workshop in Fall, 2021.

For over 50 years, Amas has been a non-profit, multiethnic theatrical organization in New York, founded in 1968 by Ms. Rosetta LeNoire to create more diversity in the American theatre. The organization is devoted to the professional production of new American musicals presenting cultural equity, minority perspectives and the emergence of new artistic talents.

Americano’s story and music inspires us. We knew we wanted to be a part of its promising journey. We’re pleased to have completed our agreement after negotiations and evaluations over the past number of months,” said Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer of Amas.

The agreement between Amas and Americano! Producer Jason Rose and his Quixote Productions also provides an option for both parties to continue to co-produce moving forward.

“I believe Americano! has the chance to be the most emotionally resonant and successful musical to ever come out of Arizona,” said Michael Barnard, Artistic Director, Co-Author and Director of Americano!. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Amas as they will bring a new and unique perspective on the production. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate theatre to continue to help tell this important and timely story to audiences in New York City, and hopefully, all over the world.”

Playwright and Co-Author of Americano! Jonathan Rosenberg added, “With a new administration in the White House, now is the time for DREAMers to have a pathway to citizenship that has been long-promised but never received. I believe Americano! can assist the building of that path by showcasing to the theater-going public that experience of one courageous DREAMer, Tony Valdovinos.”

Americano! is the true-life story of Antonio Valdovinos, a DREAMer who grew up in Phoenix and learned of his undocumented status on his 18th birthday after trying to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.

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Featured Editorials


Arizona Senator Christine Marsh pushes for the passage of new Arizona bill that would prevent fentanyl overdoses

By Valley Girl

Through the best efforts of mothers who have tragically lost their children due to accidental overdose, there is a new bill reaching the Arizona Senate. The group has been advocating for the legalization of fentanyl testing strips for the purpose of saving lives.

Leading the charge is Arizona Senator Christine Marsh who lost her son, Landon Marsh (25), nearly nine months ago due to an accidental overdose. The goal of the testing strips would be to allow the ability to test pills for fentanyl contamination. Currently the distribution and use of these fentanyl testing strips could result in a felony.

At the moment, the community is on the fence about the passage of this bill suggesting that legalization of these testing strips would be viewed as condoning street drug usage. However, even without the legalization of the strips, the state health department reported there have been about 8,500 people who have died of suspected opioid overdoses since July of 2017. Advocates for the passing of the bill have stated that these deaths are highly preventable and would serve the community well to take action in preventing these deaths.

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By Alexander Lomax

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear Arizona QOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s quixotic failed attempt to overturn the results of the Arizona election. One would assume that this would be the end of this madness, right? After all, it is a majority conservative court, certainly, this is proof to the doubters that our election was legitimate, right?

Ohhh, what a charming, quaint thought.

Instead, there is a madness that has gripped a significant portion of the Republican voter base. That madness is the QAnon movement, a movement with tens of millions of followers, with our former President pouring fuel on the fire, and with what seems to be about half of the AZ GOP legislative caucus more than willing to ride the wave.

For those who are unaware, QAnon’s fundamental thesis is that the highest echelons of the Democratic Party in Washington are running a pedophilic sex ring and that Trump was destined to break up this ring after his re-election and execute many of the main players. There are numerous tentacles of “thought” in this fetid pond of conspiracy, with some sects of believers honestly believing that John F. Kennedy Jr. never really died, and instead that he would reappear and be Trump’s Vice President.

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Buried in this recent story of Catherine Reagor’s in the Arizona Republic about rising Valley rents is the fact that Scottsdale is the priciest place in Arizona to lease apartments.

On one hand that is good news as it affirms the city’s cache.  But on the other, it creates hardship for the city’s substantial workforce – or those that want or need to live closer to work as the city and Valley hardly have a notable transportation system.  This is especially true for tourism-related businesses, the city’s largest industry.  Employers and employees are not always aligned.  But on this dynamic they are.  Better housing options mean better, and happier, employees.

Some may say – so what?  This is not a city problem.  The ability to live close to Scottsdale is good enough.  Maybe they are right.  Or wrong.  But the dynamic described above is very real.

This is not a call for an affordable housing stimulus by city leaders, as helpful as that may be.  There are numerous policy considerations before going down this path.

Instead, and as often happens, the private sector is coming up with solutions in the gap between affordable housing and pricier rentals called “attainable housing.”

Some of these projects and options are already under construction in Scottsdale.  Others are being proposed.

City leaders would be wise to give them an enthusiastic evaluation and due consideration.  Because being the most expensive rental market in the Valley has its benefits.  And downsides.

Richard Nixon had an enemies list.  It only served scandal well.

That’s why we took note of Scottsdale activist Mike Norton – along with Larry Kush – who raised an interesting question in a recent opinion piece in the Scottsdale Independent.

They queried whether Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega’s desire to designate the Soleri Bridge area at the Scottsdale Waterfront a “park,” and even surround and expand it with irregularly shaped city parcels and parking lots near it had questionable motives.  You can learn more about the Ortega plan here.

More specifically, Norton and Kush asked whether the proposal is little more than an attempt to impede any future plans by Carter Unger to redevelop major family holdings along the canal?  Ortega was a leading critic of Unger’s Southbridge II and often criticized it on the campaign trail.

Southbridge II had positives and negatives.  We recognized both which left us agnostic on the proposal.  Polling showed voters were also split leading up the possibility of a referendum on the subject.  But with a new council majority constituted of people who opposed Southbridge II the likelihood of it returning in that form, or passing, any time in the near future is remote at best.

That’s why there appears to be some merit to Norton’s claim.  We agree with Ortega that some type of enhanced status for Soleri’s notable work might be advantageous.  But to expand the notion to include irregularly shaped city slivers adjacent because it will somehow aid the Soleri area or the popular Canal Convergence?  Give us a break.  How practical it will be for Scottsdale’s well-heeled crowd, literally, to clamber down the banks of the canal as they twist ankles en route to the trash receptacles and back of buildings the parcels currently house.

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By Gilbert Guru

Even a pandemic cannot stop America’s favorite pastime. The Arizona Diamondbacks recently sold out their entire spring training allotment of tickets in less than 24 hours. A home run for ticket sales. Enjoy a seventh-inning stretch and an all-American hotdog smothered in ketchup, mustard, and coronavirus at spring training tradition.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are scheduled for 14 spring training home games, and those lucky enough to grab one of the limited number of tickets hold some of the Valley’s premiere facets to experience a major sporting event safely and in person. Spring training is an open air environment, where the chance to contract coronavirus will be vastly lower than other in door alternatives. Masks and social distancing are required whenever applicable in order to conduct spring training in a safe manner. People are ready to return to normalcy and it seems spring training is a popular way to do it.

To sell out an entire allotment of tickets across 14 separate dates is no easy feat. Maybe its COVID fatigue, maybe its hope that the vaccine will work but hopefully, spring training creates a positive trend and encourages other sporting events to open safely. It is the Valley’s chance to show that the community can safely and responsibly attend an outdoor event without creating a massive spike coronavirus cases.

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Staff Report – 

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week.

  1. Stark Contrast. The Unusual Candidacy Of Nicole Garcia

Voters in Phoenix’s District Three are witnessing an unusual, if not lopsided race for City Council. Nicole Garcia continues to campaign as if she’s running in a dark red district. District Three these days is a bluish shade of purple. Incumbent Deb Stark, who recently voted against a controversial police reform ordinance, understands how to walk and talk like a moderate. She also understands that Garcia had enough support to force a runoff. Read full article here.

  1. No Trouble in Paradise. PV Mall Redevelopment Roll-Out Generates Few Fireworks In Early Going

The wrecking ball will be hitting large sections of Paradise Valley Mall at Cactus and Tatum in Phoenix. Built-in 1979, the mall is long past its heyday as it continues to lose business to online sales and more up-to-date shopping centers such as Desert Ridge. Read full article here.

  1. Kyrsten Sinema and the Big Question for Democrats in 2020 Versus Trump

Sinema’s moderate path helped her win the Senate seat in 2018 in red-state Arizona and has given her solid approval ratings with more moderate Democrats and even with some anti-Trump and pro-John McCain Republicans. Read full article here.

Arizona residents are still split to support the passage of the “Cocktails to-go” bill. 

By Valley Girl

Arizona legislators are looking to pass a new bill that allows restaurants and bars to service to-go cocktails. Most local restaurants and bars are all for the bill passing but residents are concerned with the risks of DUI’s and impaired drivers that could come if the bill is passed. For restaurants, this to-go service had made serving the public during the pandemic accessible and kept business afloat. This service was essential for businesses that rely on liquor sales for a large number of their profits. Although bars and restaurants could continue benefiting from this to-go service there are of course opposing sides.

During the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order that would allow establishments to sell to-go cocktails. The bill came to a halt when a group of bar owners spoke out about the risk in this service and took it to court. The case settled with the judge with the bar owners on the manner. And rightfully so there should be concerns since according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; every day at least 30 Americans are killed in drunk driving accidents. In Arizona alone, there were nearly 4,000 deaths due to drunk driving accidents during 2018. With numbers already being so high, there is reason to assume that with the passing of the to-go liquor bill that these numbers could escalate.

Now, businesses have taken the initiative in making sure that when these drinks leave their facility the mason jar-like containers are sealed and packed to go. Other places have even eliminated including the alcohol altogether and sending just the ingredients mixed to allow customers to pour in their own liquor at home. As restaurants and bars are doing their part in minimizing impaired driving it is up to the integrity of the customers to avoid drunk driving. The integrity of the consumer is hit or miss so the bill is seeing a backlash in accordance with citizen safety. Currently, the bill was passed by the House Commerce Committee and will find its way to the House of Representatives for due processing once voted upon.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Arizona continues to be a hot spot for new residents – even amid a global pandemic. The state is among the top five fastest-growing states in the U.S with a population of approximately 7.3 million.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2019, Arizona’s population grew by 9.3% from migration alone, more than every other state with the exception of Florida and Nevada.

But you know what hasn’t grown? Arizona’s Legislature.

Under the current system, Arizona is divided into 30 legislative districts that contain about 243,000 residents. Every district elects two representatives and one senator to represent every constituent within that district. That’s a lot of ground to cover. To put that in perspective, the only states that have a higher ratio of residents to house members are California, Texas, Florida and New York.

However, two longtime Arizona lawmakers are determined to rethink how state government works. Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R) is proposing a constitutional amendment, known as SCR 1005, which seeks to divide each of the state’s 30 districts into three House districts to expand the state House to 90 members will leave the Senate at 30 members. And he’s got the support for fellow Republican Sen. T.J. Shope.

“The more constituents one represents, the worse the representation is,” Sen. Mesnard said in an interview with Arizona Capitol Times. “There’s only so much time in the day, only so much bandwidth to try to reach out to a large number of constituents.”

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By Alexander Lomax

So many articles, musings, and rants have been based on the concept of the importance of reaching across the aisle. The two party system has a whole world of flaws, but is actually functional when the two parties are able to agree on something, ANYTHING, for the betterment of society.

While many of us on the left weren’t expecting much in the way of bipartisanship from the Trump administration, I don’t think many people predicted how much he would warp the entire concept. Instead of Democrats vs. Republicans, it was George W Bush’s “Either you’re with us or you’re against us” on steroids. Either you kissed the feet of the Dear Glorious Leader and backed away (never turning your back on him) whilst chanting about his everlasting greatness, or you were insulted like you were back in grade school and cast into a sea of ostracism and rage tweets. Somehow our hyper-partisan culture became even more grossly perverted.

In a recent and rather heartening KTAR article, it states that President Biden is considering both Cindy McCain and Jeff Flake for ambassadorships.

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By Alexander Lomax

I don’t make a habit of praising Arizona Republicans, but I do believe in positive reinforcement. It is with that in mind that I feel obligated to give a shout-out to State Senator Paul Boyer.

In case you missed it, Boyer was the ONLY Republican vote against holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt for their lack of kow-towing to the angry mob of no-nothings. Even though all local election experts, regardless of party affiliation, agree that our election was devoid of shenanigans, that hasn’t stopped the mob-catering AZ GOP legislators from calling for a full audit. Mind you, the Board of Supervisors agreed to a look from certified election auditors, but the GOP apparently wants to use the same Trumpian “auditors” who have already been laughed out of a Michigan courthouse, spending a small fortune to uncover a discrepancy of…12 votes.

The former Recorder, Democrat Adrian Fontes, lost his race, underscoring how poor he is at rigging an election. The new Recorder agrees that this was a normally-run election. The Republican-dominated Board was in charge of day-of voting. And somehow the state GOP thinks that they’re all colluding together, because something something something FRAUD!

If any of these supposed leaders had a backbone, they would tell their constituency that the former President is whipping them into a false frenzy. Backbone is apparently in short order at the Capitol though. Wasting taxpayer dollars by the million is apparently back in vogue in Arizona.

Perhaps Boyer is giving his fellow Republicans cover and is willing to fall on the sword. Perhaps no one else would vote against it otherwise. Regardless, a cheers goes out to Sen. Boyer, a beacon of honesty and decency in a puddle of filth. I’m sure that future votes from him will irk me, but for now he’s saving us a metric ton of national embarrassment.

North Scottsdale is such an incredible area that it is known not just throughout Arizona but the country too.

Many envy its beauty, hiking, neighborhoods, transportation access, golf courses and quality of life with few other locales comparing in the Valley.  Except, perhaps, northern Peoria.

Like North Scottsdale it has gone through growing pains, referenda and political angst to achieve its notable status. Shopping centers were once contested but are now thriving.  Mountain preserves have emerged.  The master-planned communities are outstanding.  For that it should be applauded.  But applause can’t be recommended for northern Peoria’s most recent polemic.

Last year, Republic Services proposed a modest “recycling and waste transfer station” on Happy Valley Road and the 303 Freeway.  Why?  Because the Northwest Valley is the largest area in Maricopa County without this important infrastructure. It is also growing rapidly. Across Maricopa County there are over 30 facilities like that now being proposed in Peoria, including in . . . North Scottsdale.

Republic Services’ original site in Peoria was wayward.  Proposed right on the heavily trafficked Happy Valley Road it was both inefficient for the area and a stretch as it proposed changing zoning from single-family residential to industrial.  Due to public outcry it wisely pulled the rezoning request.

In response to suggestions that it locate elsewhere Republic Services announced this week a proposal in an entirely different area.  Next to a power station. In a zoned industrial park.  Away from neighborhoods.  On the other side of the 303 freeway.  With no routing to the site other than a freeway off-ramp.

While many are acknowledging the improved location, and some are voicing support, not everyone is happy.  Some just seem to want to fight, just to fight, even though need and common sense dictate otherwise.  Even though public opinion polling throughout Peoria shows strong support.  Even though Peoria and nearby county residents have monthly disposal costs higher than other parts of the Valley.  Even though local recycling programs are in peril, as happened in adjacent Surprise where they were terminated.

This brings us back to North Scottsdale.

There, astride the 101 Freeway not too far from Shea Boulevard sits a city owned waste transfer station.  It lies directly across the street from the first Phoenix metropolitan location of the internationally renowned BASIS charter school group.  The tony Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood sits to the east and enduring McCormick Ranch upscale neighborhoods across the freeway to the west.

This blog pays a lot of attention to things in Scottsdale.  But we can never recall a single peep from BASIS, these neighborhoods, or anyone, about the Scottsdale waste transfer facility over the years.   Nada.

That’s because when operated responsibly they are effectively non-existent infrastructure.   Like sewers.  Or utility lines.  North Scottsdale residents understand this.

No one likes any of these things.  But they are the arithmetic of community.  Without them the basics don’t add up.  Or keep up.    Read More

By Gilbert Guru

As one famous Greek philosopher once said, “Necessity is the mother of Invention.” And during these trying times, Plato’s words couldn’t be truer. For over a year, the pandemic has turned most of the world upside down creating numerous unforeseen challenges in its wake. But it has also created a unique surge in innovation. Small and large businesses are finding new and creative ways to navigate and overcome the current situation.

Photo Credit: Scottsdale Quarter

And for one of the Valley’s notable restaurants, Culinary Dropout, that innovation comes in the form of a dome. Culinary Dropout has created a COVID-friendly way for guests to partake in indoor and outdoor dining at the same time. The “Desert Domes” launched Friday, January 29th at the Scottsdale Quarter location of Culinary Dropout. The partially enclosed domes will be available by reservation for parties of 2-6 throughout March. As of now, there are only four domes available.

The experience of Culinary Dropout will not be hindered by parties that choose to eat in a Desert Domes. Patrons have access to the full menu, can venture out of their dome to enjoy the many yard games that Culinary Dropout offers. Each dome is heated and fully furnished.

The Desert Domes are also ideal for guests that wish to eat outside but have more privacy than sitting on the patio. Guests can feel safe during their experience at the Desert Dome in the fresh air but have the privacy as if they were sitting inside. It is a compromise of safety, privacy, and dining in the era of COVID.

Hopefully, other Valley restaurants follow the lead of Culinary Dropout to create innovative solutions that combine the indoor/outdoor experience dining and create a memorable meal for guests that is COVID conscious. It is crucial for people to live their lives during our current situation, but in a way that allows for them, others, and staff to be safe. Culinary Dropout’s Desert Domes exceed in this endeavor.

Getting Creative with their senior pictures got Steven and Lincoln a meeting with Mayor Ortega of Scottsdale

By Valley Girl

Photo Credit: City of Scottsdale

As longtime best friends, Steven and Lincoln are sharing this milestone of becoming graduates during the midst of a pandemic. The two best friends both with autism graduated last year but were not able to take their senior pictures. With the pandemic, they had to find a clever, out of box idea for their senior pictures. So, Steven’s mother thought to ask Mayor Ortega if he would consider meeting them to take their senior photos. To their delight Mayor Ortega eagerly agreed to the meeting of honoring these graduates with a photo in the Scottsdale City Hall Kiva.

Even under their masks, it is nothing but smiling faces for these two high school graduates. They felt it was a special and thrilling way to commemorate overcoming great obstacles and recognizing their recent achievement. It also was about celebrating diversity as well as showing recognition to those that represent #ScottsdaleForAll. #ScottsdaleForAll can be seen on the City of Scottsdale’s social media that highlights and celebrates diversity to encourage progress in the community.

As the boys advance in life as bright individuals they will represent change and diversity as they continue their education. Steven will be studying at the University of Arizona in the field of care, health and society and as for Lincoln, he will be studying at both Scottsdale Community College and the University of Arizona. With bright smiles they go into brighter futures, we’ll be wishing Steven and Lincoln all the best luck!

By Alexander Lomax

Who needs to head to a real circus when you have Kelli Ward?

The embarrassing antics of Ward shouldn’t be news to you. She of the vaunted Chemtrails Commission, the person who has had no issue trashing an Arizonan icon, she of a certain constant desperation to stay relevant. As the saying goes, never let a good crisis go to waste, and apparently according to Ward, manufacture that crisis as need be.

Kelli has been screaming from the rafters about the specter of fraud in our elections. She memorably attempted to take the pen out of the hand of the County GOP Chair as she was about to certify the results of the tabulation machine testing, since why should the truth get in the way of a good lie?

Ward recently won re-election to the position of AZ GOP Chair by a very close vote at their recent party reorganization meeting. And in perhaps the most beautiful irony possible, the living and breathing manifestation of a chef’s kiss, her election is now being challenged as being a fraud, and she is refusing an audit. Apparently, the state party wasn’t extremely forthcoming about the vote count for certain races. And I, for one, am SHOCKED. #sarcasm

This has led to a wide range of emotions for me personally, both beginning and ending with schadenfreude. A schadenfreude sandwich, if you will.

I witnessed many Democrats truly excited over her election to Chair in early 2019, and sometimes it’s tough to tell on social media if it truly is excitement or simply being snide. I now share this enthusiasm. Between her frequent childish actions, losing both statewide races in 2020, and then this, she is an evergreen gift.

Kelli Ward for AZ GOP Chair: now, tomorrow, and forever!!

By Alexander Lomax

Xenophobia is expensive.

This shouldn’t be news to any moderate or liberal Arizonan. After all, we’re well accustomed to dealing with the fallout and brand damage from extremist bills such as SB1070. We’re probably still paying off the myriad lawsuits from Joe Arpaio’s weaponization of it. So when Trump used “Build the wall” as his clarion call in the 2016 election, the writing was already on the wall: this will cost the taxpayers mightily.

The financial result? A lack of bidding competitiveness has shown that Trump’s border wall came at a cost of FIVE TIMES more per mile than Presidents Obama and Bush. It has become the ultimate symbol of the crony capitalism that permeated the Trump presidency. Meanwhile, in a surprise to no one who didn’t vote for Trump, videos have often shown that immigrants have been able to scale the wall. The only surprise is that ladder shops haven’t yet populated the Mexican side of the wall.

There are more costs that can’t simply be paid for via borrowed money. The construction of the wall has been performed without any consideration for endangered species or ecospheres. 93 endangered or threatened species live within that corridor, and clearly issues like water tables, soil erosion, and the like were very low on the priority list. As nature has often showed us, we do not know the domino effects of our actions when we disrupt a local ecosphere.

Also in the bulldozer’s path was sacred lands of the Tohono O’odham tribe. The irony of European immigrants screwing over our most native peoples to keep out Mexican immigrants is palpable and sad. I had hoped that our subjugation of our native peoples was in the past, but I was wrong.

But hey, he kept a campaign promise. So there’s that.

By Gilbert Guru

Recreational Marijuana became legalized Friday, January 22, 2021, but going to the dispensary for the first time may be a daunting task. Read on to see what to expect when you’re expecting recreational marijuana.

For my first journey to a dispensary, I headed over to the Chandler location of Harvest because I knew all of their locations were approved to start selling recreational. First things first, be prepared to wait. I stepped into the recreational line about 10 minutes before the store opened and still waited about 30 minutes to get in. When I left the store, the line had almost tripled.

When you arrive, there will be two lines: one for recreational and one for medical. Make sure to enter the recreational line and begin your journey for recreational marijuana. Then wait.

When entering the building make sure to have an ID easily accessible because it will be checked three times. It may seem like overkill to check IDs that much, but it puts the opposition to rest. No fake ID is making it past three checks, so rest easy that anyone under 21 will be able to purchase marijuana from a dispensary.

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Newly elected Scottsdale City Councilwoman Tammy Caputi won, and serves, with a smile.  She threw a few punches on the campaign trail like they all do but she also exhibited a joy not often seen throughout the journey.

Some people shrink in the pressure cooker.  Others believe, and thrive.  Indeed, Caputi believed so much in her quest that she dug very deep into her own pockets, money well earned as a small businesswoman, to help her get across the finish line.

Notably Caputi hasn’t skipped a beat from the campaign to governing.  To look at her social media is to see a public servant blooming.

Yes, there is an admirable public service element to the efforts. But there is more.  As the youngest member of the Scottsdale City Council, mother to younger children and an entrepreneur, Caputi has a profile that resonates.  The marketplace knows it.  Caputi knows it.

What it all ends up meaning and where it goes is up to the political gods to decide.  But, for now, she is grading well in calculus.

 

By Alexander Lomax

I will never understand the opposition to legalized marijuana here in Arizona. Oddly enough, there seems to be a lot of overlap between those people and the folks who don’t want taxes on anything, which is the most vexing and confusion of dissonances.

Is this not the perfect solution? Tax revenue is generated from something that you do not use, from something that you will not pay for; it’s tax revenue generated from a magical puff of smoke, pun intended. Everyone born since WWII knows by now that marijuana does not have any serious societal effects other than munchies, so any concerns about increased spending to compensate for problems won’t be the case.

It is basically free revenue for education. Most anyone who has been paying attention to Arizona’s issues knows that educational spending is a common concern. Unless you are the sort of tin-foil hatter that thinks that Miss Smith is using her 2nd-grade classroom as a cover for Marxist indoctrination, isn’t this a good thing? Someone else helping fund Miss Smith’s classroom?

So why aren’t low taxation advocates celebrating in the streets? A significant tax that doesn’t impact them in the slightest! The burden is on someone else!

I think we should all take a moment and appreciate that Arizona took millions of dollars from drug dealers, made it taxable, and inserted it into our schools.

Staff Report – 

A recap of the top three stories on Arizona Progress & Gazette from the past week.

  1. No Trouble In Paradise. PV Mall Redevelopment Roll-Out Generates Few Fireworks In Early Going

The wrecking ball will be hitting large sections of Paradise Valley Mall at Cactus and Tatum in Phoenix. Built in 1979, the mall is long past its heyday as it continues to lose business to online sales and more up to date shopping centers such as Desert Ridge. Read full article here.

  1. Guest Editorial: Kelli Ward’s Crazy Crew

Honest question: does the Arizona GOP know how embarrassing they are? How could you otherwise explain that so many of them have followed state party chairwoman Kelli Ward’s lead into the abyss of unnecessary conflict, paranoia, and conspiracy? Surely they can read and interpret election results; Arizona voters rejected such insanity. Instead, Ward has doubled down. Read full article here.

  1. Kyrsten Sinema and the Big Question for Democrats in 2020 Versus Trump

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is very much indicative of Democrats prospects in 2020 and the fork in the road they face in their bid to beat President Donald Trump and win control of the U.S. Senate. Sinema’s moderate path helped her win the Senate seat in 2018 in red-state Arizona and has given her solid approval ratings with more moderate Democrats and even with some anti-Trump and pro-John McCain Republicans. Read full article here.

 

By Alexander Lomax

Is it too early to think about 2022? Well it seems like quite a few people would like to fast forward to the end of Governor Ducey’s term, so why? The 2016 election saw four Democrats winning statewide office in Arizona, and while the Governor’s race was a blowout a few factors very likely ensure that that will not be the case in 2020.

Since Governor Ducey will be termed out, we will have a new Governor regardless of which side of the aisle they come from. So who are the likely candidates to keep an eye on?

On the Republican side, the most likely potential candidates who seem to have gotten the most buzz from this side of the peanut gallery seem to be Attorney General Mark Brnovich and State Treasurer Kimberly Yee. AG Brnovich has been somewhat non-controversial and non-confrontational for someone looking to stand out and move up in this writer’s opinion. He certainly hasn’t been a super-villain full of antagonistic bombast towards those on the left, and combined with fundraising prowess makes him potentially formidable in a general election, but a primary is a bigger question.

Yee is an interesting option; sitting in the seat that was the stepping stone for the current Governor, she has been checking the boxes for winning a Republican primary. Her support of the past President was unwavering, and her very public support of Proposition 208 certainly got her some favors towards that end. She may have some tough questions to ask in a general election, but those actions make her a formidable primary opponent.

Read More

2022 Scrum


Phoenix, AZ (January 4, 2021) Arizona-based Data Orbital has consistently been one of the most accurate election pollsters, and the 2020 cycle has solidified that. Given an A/B rating (one of the industry highest) by political data website FiveThirtyEight and a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers Transparency Initiative, Data Orbital has long prided itself on its industry-leading work.

With a laser focus on the Presidential and U.S. Senate races this year, we are proud that our final Presidential survey was accurate within 0.29% and our U.S. Senate survey within 1.25%.

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(PHOENIX) – Americano! – a record-setting musical production based on the life of a DREAMer – has reached out to the incoming Biden Administration via a letter sent December 2, 2020 to propose a special performance at The White House.
It would help celebrate President-Elect Joe Biden’s pending reversal of President Donald Trump’s policies and follow in the footsteps of productions like Hamilton which performed for the Obama Administration.

During his first 100 days in office, President-Elect Biden has pledged to rescind President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order that sought to end the DACA program. Biden’s administration also plans to produce legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for over 1 million DREAMers.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on a temporary reprieve on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a solution ultimately being required by Congress.

Americano! is the true-life story of Antonio Valdovinos who learned of his DREAMer status on his 18th birthday when he tried to enlist in the U.S. Marines after graduating from Camelback High School in Phoenix.
Americano! completed its record setting 27-show run earlier this year on February 23rd at The Phoenix Theatre Company, breaking all-time for an original musical production. Besides the box office record, 9,048 people saw Americano! with a string of 10 sold-out performances.
The production has also garnered positive reviews from both sides of the political aisle.

“I saw ¡Americano! The Musical at The Phoenix Theatre Company. It’s the inspiring story of my friend and DREAMer, Tony Valdovinos. Great music with an important message to Arizona,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Arizona) who saw the show the same night as U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona). Rep. Gallego played an important role throughout Biden’s presidential campaign. Other notable attendees have included Gov. Doug Ducey (R-Arizona), newly elected U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.Read More

(SCOTTSDALE, AZ.) Litigation has been filed challenging the largest income tax hike in Arizona history. The lawsuit was filed by Scottsdale’s Rose Law Group on behalf of Ann Siner, CEO and Founder of My Sister’s Closet, and retired Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Buttrick.

The litigation was filed after the vote was canvassed. The lawsuit does not challenge the election but rather the legality of Proposition 208. The Arizona Constitution says the power to tax and spend state funds rests with the Legislature. Prop 208 bypasses Arizona’s elected leaders and gives the power to spend the funds to unelected bureaucrats with no oversight.

In addition to violating the rights of Arizona taxpayers, the tax hike puts the state’s economy in jeopardy.

Siner said. “Business owners are already suffering greatly because of COVID. Many are closing. Prop 208 will simply cause more businesses and their owners to leave Arizona. In the long run that’s bad for the economy and bad for school funding. I am all for getting more money to schools. But 208 is not the cure. It’s bad medicine that will shrink our economy and hurt school funding in the long run.”

Judge Buttrick said, “The Arizona Constitution was written to prevent the sort of overreach demonstrated by Prop 208.  It fundamentally upends the way Arizonans are taxed and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.”Read More

The final results of the general election are now complete, and I am thrilled with the results; I have solidly won a seat on city council! We never let up after the primary, working even harder to win this race. I moved ahead with my positive, forward-thinking message and it was all worth it. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my volunteers, friends, campaign staff and supporters- it truly takes a great and committed team.

Thank you all so much for your work and dedication and your belief in our mission. It’s been a year of full-time commitment that got us here. I’m grateful to everyone in my community who has supported me through votes, donations, volunteer hours, putting up signs, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and listening to mine. You’ve all worked hard with me every single day of this campaign. We truly “left it all on the field.”

I want to give a special shout out to my beloved husband and daughters, who haven’t had much of my time this last year, even though we’ve all been stuck at home together.

Getting elected is just the beginning. I will continue to work as hard as I can for all our residents and businesses to be a positive, forward-thinking member of our city council. Thanks again to everyone. Let’s keep the positive momentum going- this is just the beginning of our journey together- see you at the Kiva!

While there are numerous examples of ticket-splitting between Presidential preference and Congressional preference, our election night poll shows that fully 91% of voters voted a straight ticket.

That’s the highest percent in at least twenty years.

Why is that important? Considering the fact that President Trump ran significantly better than most observers expected, the straight-ticket voting resulted in the President having coattails – helping GOP’ers running under him.  The results: Senate Republicans bucked dire predictions to hold onto at least a tie in the Senate.  House Republicans not only picked up a half-dozen or more seats when they were expected to lose double-digits, but they didn’t lose a single incumbent in the general election, and Republicans didn’t lose control of any state legislative body across the country.

Click here for a brief slide deck on understanding Ticket-Splitters.