Featured Editorials




Cooper’s Warhol Was Found Several Years Ago Stored in His Garage. The Silkscreen “Electric Chair” is Now Expected to Fetch Millions of Dollars and Could Become State’s Highest Selling Artwork to Date

© 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.)Larsen Gallery is pleased to announce rock legend Alice Cooper will sell his prized Andy Warhol at the 2021 Fall Larsen Art Auction on October 23rd, 2021. With an estimated value of $2.5 million to $4.5 million, the artwork could become the highest selling painting in the state of Arizona.

Photo Courtesy: Chris Loomis

The musician famously re-discovered the piece several years ago in the garage of his Scottsdale residence, much to the surprise of the art world and the rocker himself. “This silkscreen was given to me during some crazy years and I had completely forgotten I even owned it,” said Cooper, who by luck found the painting perfectly preserved.

The piece is a vibrant red Little Electric Chair acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series from 1964-65.  Warhol’s Little Electric Chair is based on a press photo from the 1950s of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Russians. Warhol used source material from newspapers and police photo archives for this series which subjects included suicides, car accidents, etc.

In the early 70s, Cooper and Warhol became friends at the famous Max’s Kansas City in New York City.

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Billions In Marijuana Dispensary Cash Need Not Be On The Streets
AZ AG Mark Brnovich Helped Establish Framework For Business Model

(PHOENIX) Arizona startup ALTA has opened for business and is addressing a security and tax collection crisis impacting Arizona’s multi-billion dollar cannabis industry.

Banking laws make it nearly impossible for the state’s legal marijuana industry to utilize typical financial services. After months of successfully meeting regulatory requirements, ALTA, is now providing financial services to dispensaries that allows them to pay bills and conduct transactions without the risk of being all cash.

The State of Arizona has approved ALTA’s patented digital payments technology clearing the way for dispensaries to pay bills, suppliers, and make other transactions securely and electronically.

ALTA was created thanks to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s FinTech Sandbox program. The Sandbox program allows innovative start up financial technology companies to test out their business models as they get licenses and regulatory approvals. Now that it has officially launched, ALTA has successfully exited the Sandbox.

“The Sandbox program has allowed ALTA do to something incredible.  We created a digital exchange that allows for instant payments using a digital asset that replaces cash, and everything adheres to existing banking regulations.  There’s not many companies in the world that can say that!” said Wessel.

Now that it has successfully launched in Arizona, ALTA is planning to expand into other states.

“The utilization of ALTA is going to revolutionize how business is being done in cannabis.  It makes it so much easier  for retailers, wholesalers and vendors to conduct transactions.  It’s like Venmo for businesses.  We’re excited to be one of the first businesses to use ALTA in Arizona” said Rami Sweis President and Founder of Oasis Cannabis AZ.

“Given the lack of clarity at the federal level regarding banking in the cannabis industry, we are pleased to have the option to work with companies like ALTA, who provide services for our rapidly growing industry.,” said Harvest House of Cannabis CEO Steve White.Read More

Arizona’s Premier and Only Kentucky Derby Event with Live Horse Racing and Betting — The Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub: Presented by Sanderson Lincoln Returns Better Than Ever Saturday, May 1st to Turf Paradise

The Expanded Event Now Includes 3 Separate Areas Including Air-Cooled Scottsdale Polo Style Tents, Winner’s Circle and Pavilion Experiences with VIP and Front Row Tables; Tickets Now on Sale

(PHOENIX) – Arizona’s most exclusive and only Kentucky Derby Party with LIVE thoroughbred horse racing and on-site private betting returns to Turf Paradise in Phoenix on Saturday, May 1st with a bigger and more socially distanced experience. New for 2021 enjoy three different experiences inside The Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub: Presented by Sanderson Lincoln.

All event details can be found at ThePoloParty.com/Derby. There is limited capacity and CDC and Turf Paradise protocols will be followed.

Guests can enjoy the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge which includes reserved tables in the covered, air-cooled Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge track-side tent near the finish line. It includes amazing views plus convenient access to Turf Paradise betting terminals, no-host bar inside the tent for Mint Juleps, champagne, cocktails and close proximity to food trucks for additional refreshments and 65” TVs to watch the Kentucky Derby and live horse racing at Turf Paradise. Space is limited. Tables for two start at $250 and go up to $2,000 for a front-row table of 8. Some table options include complimentary bottles of Veuve Clicquot or Chandon Champagne, rose centerpieces, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub guests can also enjoy a new experience for 2021 called the Ketel One Botanical Pavilion.  It includes reserved tables in the covered Ketel One Botanical Pavilion open-air tent. It is near the finish line but further off the backstretch than either the Black Label Lounge or Winner’s Circle tickets.  The Pavilion is close to the action and tables include a bucket of Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz Seltzers plus convenient access to Turf Paradise betting terminals, 65” TVs to watch the Kentucky Derby and live horse racing at Turf Paradise, no-host bar inside the tent for mint juleps, champagne, cocktails and close proximity to food trucks for additional refreshments. Space is limited. Tables for four start at $275 and go up to $400 for a front-row table.

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The Modern Hillside Estate Sold for $4.4 Million on the Edge of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, Arizona’s leader in luxury real estate, is proud to announce the sale of award-winning interior designer David Michael Miller’s Paradise Valley estate. The hillside contemporary estate was designed by acclaimed architect Ned Sawyer.

This exclusive property is the former home of renowned interior designer David Michael Miller and was completely remodeled by him in 2016. Miller has established his accredited career in the Southwest and initially began design in Phoenix. Since 1989, he has led his own interior design firm called David Michael Miller Associates. Miller is known for his ability to make living spaces “quiet.” He emphasizes ridding spaces of unnecessary visual noise and allowing the architecture to speak for itself.

Luxury agents Grant Almquist, Joe Bushong, and Chad Christian of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented Miller, while luxury agent Suzi Miller of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer.

The home is located at 6200 E. Hummingbird Ln, Paradise Valley and is a total of 4,559 square feet. The estate sold for $4.4 million and is rested on the Northeast slope of Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley.

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Harry M. Lourimore launches new real estate firm to create and expand excellence in residential land development

(PHOENIX, Ariz.) – One of the most active and successful land and home building executives in Arizona, Harry M. Lourimore, recently announced the launch of his new company Lourimore Land & Development.

Lourimore Land & Development is focused on becoming a leading residential developer in the Phoenix marketplace by applying its real estate and development expertise to a variety of residential and mixed-use asset classes. Currently, Lourimore is focused on creating single-family residential opportunities for home builders and building vibrant multi-family communities within the Phoenix marketplace.

“Our mission is to create enduring communities of high quality and distinct character through thoughtful design and execution. They will reflect our commitment to excellence and our passion to make positive contributions to communities,” said Harry Lourimore, Founder and President of Lourimore Land & Development.

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Featured Editorials

By Alexander Lomax

All across the world, people are yearning for a return to everyday life, or at least whatever that will look like in 2021. Along with the return of staples of normalcy, we have seen a pent-up energy being released in less-than-ideal ways. Jumping onto the courts and fields of professional sports, throwing items at players, and throwing temper tantrums on flights seem to have become the new normal in our post-Covid world.

Here in Scottsdale, our ability to act like mature adults will be tested in spades; Scottsdale City Hall will allow limited capacity in-person to their meetings.

What could possibly go wrong, you may ask? Well, perhaps you read my musings a few weeks back about the children cosplaying as adults who disrupted a recent Scottsdale Unified School District meeting. They refused to wear masks and were angry about “critical race theory”, the new cause du jour for “conservatives” looking for something to be angry at; never mind that it is not taught in our schools nor was it on the meeting’s agenda. Facts should never get in the way of misplaced anger!

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By Phoenix Fuel

To get through those long, hard days sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement. And while at times that may be hard to find, some individuals can prove to be a source of inspiration.

Daniel Aldana is known as a man who defied the odds. Seven years ago, Aldana was faced with a life-or-death situation having to undergo more than twenty surgeries and almost lost his life three times after being hit by a Jeep along the freeway in Chandler. Recovery wasn’t easy as his left leg was constantly infected and kept him sick. Eventually, Aldana made the tough call to amputate his leg using his strength and bravery to get him through the difficult time.

However, the loss of his leg did not stop or even slow down Aldana from reaching his dreams to build custom trucks. So he went on to apply for a lift technician position at Lifted Trucks in Arizona. When it came time for his interview, the employees at Lifted Trucks had no idea Aldana’s circumstances. At the time, Aldana was wearing pants and was a strong man who would get the job done. Since he has started working at Lifted Trucks, he continues to encourage and amaze his co-workers each and every day.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

If the weather feels a little toastier than usual, that’s because it is. This past weekend temperatures skyrocketed and reached 110 degrees for the first time in 2021, kicking off a weeklong excessive heat warning with temperatures expected to reach 117 degrees. There’s a reason it’s called “the Arizona Heat.” This means bad news for firefighters who are already overwhelmed as they tackle major fires across the state including the raging Telegraph Fire just south of Globe.

The 2021 fire season is already showing signs of being “severe” and expected to be on par with last year’s season, which was the worst first season in a decade. Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new for Arizona’s northern residents.

The Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2011 burned nearly 469,000 acres and destroyed 1,200 homes. The Wallow Fire burned over 538,000 acres, surpassing the Rodeo-Chediski Fire as the worst forest fire in Arizona’s history. These memories run deep for the residents of the White Mountains.

So what are Arizona’s officials doing to prepare for a grueling summer season?

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By Chris Campbell

The American economy is teetering on the edge of a historic crisis. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, countless businesses have closed, and thousands of Americans have lost their jobs. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but as we work to get people vaccinated and attempt to return to normal, we know the road to recovery will be long.

In fact, the Pew Research Center found that about half of non-retired adults say the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis will make it harder for them to achieve their long-term financial goals. This means that their education and retirement savings have all taken a hit, setting Americans back years in some cases. To help the American economy recover, we must ensure that lower-and middle- income Americans can get back on their feet financially. To do so, we must strengthen their ability to save for these important milestones.

Our members of Congress will be critical in this effort, as their votes and policies enacted will affect American families for years to come. And yet, some members of the Senate recently proposed a policy that would continue to wreak havoc on the savings of everyday Americans. The proposed financial transaction tax would tax any savings account that is traded on the stock market, impacting millions of Americans with 401ks, 529 educational savings accounts, or pensions.

The proposed tax is being introduced as a means to regulate irresponsible trading by big bankers and hedge fund managers on Wall Street. But the implications the tax would extend beyond that, landing on the shoulders of American families across the country. We do not deserve to be lumped into the same category as these Wall Street traders just for making fiscally responsible decisions and providing for the future of our families.

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By Alexander Lomax

Last week you may have read my missive about the supposed adults who recently shut down a Scottsdale Unified School Board meeting because of their petulant refusal to wear masks. Well if you thought that the uglier side of Scottsdale would simply be a one-hit-wonder under this new regime at City Hall, I have unfortunate news.

Perhaps you heard about the recent decision by ICE to temporarily house some refugees at a Scottsdale hotel. As you can imagine, there were quite a few Scottsdalians that were quite displeased by this. But I have to ask…why?

If you look at the fine print, you’d see that the hotel would serve as a mere stop in transit, that those stays would last for under 72 hours before said migrants are put onto a bus or a plane to some destination. I think it is safe to say that there is enough security to ensure that those refugees won’t be leaving the premises to go to Scottsdale’s shops and restaurants (with what money??), or otherwise, be mingling with the citizens of Scottsdale.

One of the statements from the organizer of the protest speaks volumes, however; “I’m worried that Biden’s agenda of inviting illegals in order to have them vote Democrat later when they become citizens,’ she said. ‘I worry that’s going to have a horrible effect on America and Americans because they don’t have the same values, they don’t know the constitution and they don’t believe in the Second Amendment.’”

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A year ago Scottsdale was on its back.  Its largest industry, tourism, had been leveled.  Tax revenues were plunging.  Scottsdale Fashion Square had been violated by looters and lunatics.  Small businesses were boarding up their storefronts when they weren’t closing. The future seemed bleak.

Then it wasn’t.

Hindsight often tells us if key decisions by government were right, or wrong.  It now, fairly clearly, shows that Scottsdale’s leaders led by City Manager Jim Thompson got it right, with foresight.

It couldn’t have been easy.  Government decision-making during COVID, by nearly all states and cities, has seemed like jazz. Improvise as you play, and hope it is good music, and policy.

While conscientious about public safety, Scottsdale’s City Council and Manager sagaciously displayed a critical regard for its business community, unlike so many others across the state and country.

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve remained open, in marked contrast to Phoenix’s approach, providing relief and recreation.

Parks allowed for youth leagues of all kinds to get outside and rediscover the joys of competition and camaraderie.  Again, in stark contrast to the Phoenix way.

Special events at WestWorld and elsewhere were allowed to proceed, creating revenues and responsible revelry.

As a result of its “can do attitude” Scottsdale became a place for those around the country to escape to, much like destinations in Florida.

The result is a more rapid recovery and a red-hot housing market second to few, which is now enriching every homeowner in the city.

History is shaped by those in the captain’s chair when crisis calls.  Scottsdale is very lucky to have had those in office and position during the past year’s trauma.  Next time you see them, thank them.  It was a job very well done, even in hindsight.

By Jersey Boy

Former Channel 10 anchor Kari Lake’s decision to dive into politics is fascinating but not groundbreaking. Arizona broadcasters have a long history of running for and winning elected office. Before he was a talk radio host or a member of Congress, JD Hayworth was a sportscaster on Channel 10 from 1987 to 1994.

In the 80’s and 90’s Ed Phillips was a familiar face and voice. Prior to his election in 1990 as an Arizona State Senator, he was a meteorologist for channels 12 and 10, as well as radio station KTAR.  After two terms he went back to weather serving as Channel 15’s meteorologist until 2003.

Nina Trasoff was a well-known anchor and reporter at KGUN TV in Tucson before winning a seat on the Tucson City Council in 2005.

“One-Eyed Jack” Williams was a colorful Governor of Arizona and Mayor of Phoenix in a political career that spanned the 50’s and 60’s.  Before getting into politics he was an announcer, newscaster and later Program Director at KOY Radio in Phoenix which at the time had one of the most powerful signals in Arizona. He served two terms as Phoenix Mayor and three terms as Arizona Governor. Back then the terms for both offices were two years.Read More

IN PARADISE VALLEY . . . recent Paradise Valley Mayors have had an unspoken tradition of serving two terms then passing the baton.  In a community of the competent this type of voluntary term limits is novel and refreshing.  With Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner expected to follow suit, Paradise Valley’s next center dais sitter will likely be elected in just over a year.  Current speculation has Town Councilwoman Julie Pace expected to face off against often embattled and long-serving Councilman Paul Dembow.  Pace was the top vote-getter just two years ago while Dembow limped to re-election in 2018.  The contrasts and fireworks would likely be significant should these two forge a run.  Pace would begin as the heavy favorite, perhaps with odds besting even Floyd Mayweather’s last night against Logan Paul.

IN SCOTTSDALE . . . three City Council seats will be up for grabs in 2022.  Incumbents Solange Whitehead and Kathy Littlefield are expected to run again and will be decisive favorites.  Linda Milhaven is term-limited leaving just one open seat.  Though strange things often happen in Scottsdale council races – think Guy Phillips and masks, and years ago how Tony Nelssen shocked the field – we think Littlefield and Whitehead are close to locks. That will leave some combination of impressive challengers like Christian Serena, Paula Sturgeon , Tim Stratton and perhaps others to battle it out for the remaining slot.

By Phoenix Fuel

The anticipation of Christmas morning is shared by young children, and sometimes adults, year-round. The excitement of opening something new and spreading a little joy to others. But why limit that good spirit to one day? Luckily, one young boy in Tempe woke up to a Christmas miracle a little earlier than expected.

4-year-old Gerald Philbrook’s toy gator tractor was stolen from his family’s home in early April. Disheartened, his father, Peter Philbrook, posted in a local Facebook group that his son’s battery-operated gator tractor was stolen from their complex, saying he would do whatever he could to come up with the reward money. To him, the bond he shared with his son building the tractor outweighed any amount of money. For Gerald, it wasn’t just an average toy, but more symbolic with meaningful stickers covering the tractor in memory of his father’s friend and grandmother.

Patrol Sergeant Andrew Brooks’ wife came across the Facebook post and shared it with her husband. Sergeant Andrew Brooks rallied together Tempe officers in order to find the stolen tractor. After efforts to find the vehicle failed, Brooks was able to find another way around the situation. With the financial support from an area Walmart, the Tempe Officers Association was able to buy the boy a sparkling, new tractor.

It was just like Christmas morning for the 4-year-old. Along with his new toy tractor, Gerald was given a personalized license plate with his name displayed on it and a new replacement of his peace sign sticker.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s been almost six months since Scottsdale welcomed its newly elected city council members, who all earned their seats at the Nov. 3 General Election, including Councilwoman Tammy Caputi who gathered 58,561 votes in last year’s election.

Tammy Caputi has been a Scottsdale resident and business owner for over twenty years and has three children attending local public schools. Tammy is the President and Owner of Yale Electric West, a wholesale supplier of lighting and electrical products. She’s a Fellow with the Flinn-Brown Center for Civic Leadership. She also served the last three years on the Scottsdale Development Review Board. She’s currently the Chair of SCOTT, an organization dedicated to expanding public awareness of important local issues and empowering citizens to act.

We had a chance to catch up with newly-elected Councilwoman Caputi to see how things have going being on the City Council, issues facing Scottsdale and her hopes for the city’s future.

  • Having served on the City Council for the past few months, how has the adjustment been in the new role?

Adding the responsibilities of being on City Council to a full-time job, 3 school-age kids, and existing community involvement has been a challenge, but I am enjoying every moment. It certainly helped having already served on the Development Review Board, and knowing much of the city staff and community stakeholders in advance. I love how every day has brought new and different issues to work on- there hasn’t been one dull moment for sure!

  • What are you most looking forward to being on Scottsdale City Council?

I have a voice and a seat at the table as we move our city into the future and eventually hand it off to our children. Together we will find both new and existing ways to keep Scottsdale historic, unique, competitive, forward-thinking, and an example for the rest of the Valley.

  • How do you believe we can best retain the essential character of Scottsdale and still address key issues around infrastructure, tourism, and growth?

Balance, data, and kindness.

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by Alexander Lomax

Politics has been inundated with unrealistic promises since the beginning of politics. It is easy to promise, especially when your average voter often doesn’t understand what’s possible to achieve within a given political framework. Delivering on those promises is a different matter though.

Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega has had a relatively smooth first few months in office when it comes to following up on his campaign promises. After a unanimous vote for Scottsdale’s non-discrimination ordinance, it appears as though Mayor Ortega and the council have come to an agreement on one of the other pillars of his campaign, the General Plan.

For those who are unaware, Scottsdale is required to generate a General Plan every decade; it is a non-binding document meant to set expectations and guide the city in the realm of development and community. The council had been unable to come to an agreement on a plan the last time it was up for renewal, so the city had been sans plan for a decade.

This was no small task; after all, as just mentioned, the Council was unable to come to an agreement the last go-round. However, it seems as though this is another win for Ortega.

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By Phoenix Fuel

Photo credit: SheKnows.com

It has been said that a small act of kindness can go a long way and can inspire others to do the same. And thanks to the generous efforts of one community leader, this one simple act made all the difference to a Phoenix mother and her son.

Michelle Campuzano is a single mother to her son David with special needs. At the age of three, David’s brain stopped developing and has endured over 30 brain surgeries. Now at age 24, David’s ability to get in and out of the car has become increasingly challenging. That’s when Craig and Vicki Bell, owners of Bell Auto Service, decided to extend a helping hand and offer some kindness to a family in need.

Having experienced similar circumstances within their own lives, The Bells originally got a wheel-chair accessible van in 2007 to assist their special needs son Tyler. In early 2020, Tyler lost his battle to lung disease. Seeing a fellow caregiver family in need, the Bells decided to donate their van to Michelle and her son.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s been over five months since Scottsdale welcomed its newly elected city council members, who all earned their seats at the Nov. 3 General Election, including Councilman Tom Durham who gathered 58,194 votes in last year’s election.

Mr. Durham and his wife have lived in Scottsdale since 2015. He became interested in local politics in 2018 during the controversy surrounding the Desert Discovery Center. He served as Treasurer of the Protect Our Preserve PAC, the effort behind Proposition 420. Since moving to Scottsdale, he has served as a mock trial coach teaching trial skills, teamwork, and the rules of evidence to high school students.

We had a chance to catch up with newly-elected Councilman Durham to see how things have going being on the City Council and new issues facing Scottsdale residents.

  • What has been the best thing and the worst thing about serving on the City Council?

 The best thing is meeting with and talking to people about the future of Scottsdale.  We all love this city and want it to prosper and be the best place to live in the country.  We have different visions of how to bring that about and it is exciting to see how people are engaged in our future.  Balancing the various interests of different citizens is difficult but it helps to make this an exciting place to live.  I am also interested in what makes organizations “tick” so I enjoy learning about the various aspects of city government.

The worst thing is that there is a lot of reading to do.   I have read the General Plan front to back at least three times.  On important issues, such as parking and the Kimsey, I read the staff report several times.  In preparation for the parking issue, I read the 2015 Walker Parking study at least twice.  And we all have additional reading for the Committees we are on–I am on the Audit Committee and it presents some complex reading.  Since I was a lawyer, I am accustomed to reading and gathering information through that form, but there is still a lot to do.  

  • What are your top priorities on Council? Do you intend to introduce new items and if so what are they? 

Getting the General Plan passed comes first.  We have already passed the Non-Discrimination Ordinance.  I think all of us want to do something about short-term rentals, but state law makes that a tough nut to crack.  Other issues I am interested in including ethics and campaign finance reform.

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By Alexander Lomax

Throughout my lifetime I have seen more than a few instances of parents acting more immaturely than their own children. This phenomenon went on steroids in Scottsdale recently, however, as a group of about 100 adults decided to crash a Scottsdale Unified School Board meeting and refused to wear masks when they were asked to. Once it was clear to the board that the mob was going to remain unreasonable, the board called the meeting to an end.

The surprising part was that those adults were there not to make a statement about masks; they were there to protest “critical race theory”. For those of you who are uninitiated, critical race theory is the new cause du jour for the Sean Hannity/Tucker Carlson wing of Republicans. It is a theory that dictates that there is racism which is structural within many of the levers of power in our society, and that is something we should at least be aware of. This action was just one instance of a larger movement nationally, and while I have serious doubts that SUSD could ever turn into a haven of Wokeness, even the possibility of the depiction of a white majority being anything less than beloved spreaders of freedom and prosperity apparently demands a trigger warning these days.

It’s also worth mentioning that critical race theory is not taught in SUSD, nor was it on the docket or in consideration. Much like questions about the validity of the 2020 elections, a bunch of people allowed themselves to get whipped up in a ridiculous fervor of irrelevance and misplaced anger.

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By Lincoln Tatum

In 2016 Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane told a group of publicity seeking Satanists to go to hell. While he didn’t use those exact words he did tell the Satanic Temple Incorporated Scottsdale did not have to give the out of town satanic temple the opportunity to lead a city hall  invocation at a council meeting. At the time, other communities such as Phoenix chose to avoid the controversy by suspending their invocations.

The Satanists argued that because other faiths are accommodated, they should have a turn. Scottsdale rather creatively and correctly noted that all are welcome to conduct a prayer at the Scottsdale Kiva as long as they had an actual presence in Scottsdale, whether it be a temple, mosque, synagogue, or church.

The Satanists had no real presence in Scottsdale. The group had simply been going from city to city making their bizarre requests. It was a form of harassment just to make a point.

Ruling after ruling sided with Scottsdale and on May 19th the 9th Circuit upheld the ruling saying the Satanic Temple failed to prove Scottsdale discriminated against it based on religious beliefs.

Here is a link to the ruling. https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/satanictemple.pdf

A publication calling itself the Friendly Atheist is not very happy about the decision. Instead of scolding the Satanists for wasting taxpayer money to make a point, the publication instead chose to beat up on Scottsdale for standing its ground. The Friendly Atheist said Scottsdale spent $176,000 defending itself.Read More

By Gilbert Guru

More than 10 million children in low-income communities are forced to live each and every day without clear vision. EyeCare4Kids provides the solution and is helping kids in the Valley see the leaves on a tree: clearly and affordably.

EyeCare4Kids has been in the Valley for years offering kids affordable eye care, and its mission just became easier. For the first time, the charity has opened an on-site eye care facility in Glendale, located at the Alhambra Family Resource Center off Maryland Avenue with services ranging from eye exams to glasses, free of charge.

Many of us may take eyesight for granted, either you have 20/20 vision or your insurance covers your glasses. However, there are many kids in the Valley, and across the world, that live their lives without clear sight. It inhibits all aspects of their lives from not being to read the whiteboard in class to not being able to see the ball in youth sports.

Ric Rios, an optometrist in Paradise Valley, told ABC15 in an interview that “80% of what we learn in school comes through your vision, and a lot of children who are misdiagnosed with learning disorders and behavior problems simply can’t see.”

The time of the Valley’s children thinking they are broken or unimportant because their parents cannot afford eye care is over.

Glasses can have an immediate and positive impact on children by increasing performance in school, and increasing confidence. Access to clear vision should not be limited and hindered by access to affordable eye exams and glasses, the Valley’s underrepresented youth needs to see, and they need to see clearly.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

It’s been over five months since Scottsdale welcomed its newly elected city council members, who all earned their seats at the Nov. 3 General Election.

Councilwoman Betty Janik gathered 59,753 votes in last year’s General Election, making her the top vote-getter among all city council candidates.

Born and raised in Chicago, IL Councilwoman Janik and her husband moved to Scottsdale over 17 years ago. Her long-standing resume of public service spans across the Scottsdale community including serving as co-founder of the Protect Our Preserve PAC, the citizen-led committee behind Proposition 420. She served as the President for the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) and a member of the 2019 For The Best Scottsdale PAC, the campaign that spearheaded the passage of three city bond questions for $319 million.

We had a chance to catch up with newly-elected Councilwoman Janik to see how things have going being on the City Council and her hopes for the future of Scottsdale.

  • Having served on the City Council for over five months, how has the adjustment been in the new role? 

The adjustment to my new role in Council has been challenging and rewarding.  There is much to learn and time is of the essence.  I am still a work in progress trying to balance all the time demands.

  • What has been the best thing and the worst thing about serving on the City Council?

The best thing about serving on Council is working on a compromise with fellow citizens and Council members to achieve the best outcome for all.  The biggest problem is finding that common ground with citizens who are at the extreme ends of the spectrum and fail to consider they are only 1 of over 250,000 voices in our city.

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By Alexander Lomax

Depending on your general views of governance as well as whether you agree with who is in charge at the moment, the separation of federal, state and local rules and regulations can be seen as both positive and negative. This has been pushed out to the forefront with the Covid pandemic: grumbling can be found across the political spectrum, about lackadaisical or overly constrictive state and local restrictions depending on your location, and concerns that federal guidance is both too lax and egregious overreach.

Meanwhile, reasonable folk just want a policy that allows us to move closer towards normalcy while following science, best practices, and common sense. And speaking as someone in this bucket, I feel compelled to give Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega credit where it is due for deftly walking the line of sanity and soundness in his Covid responses since his inauguration.

A day after he took office, he reinstated Scottsdale’s mask mandate at a time when the state was leading the country in new cases and deaths. While it seems common sense, common sense isn’t often so common in politics; previous attempts to do this had been thwarted and were only possible with new council members. However, bolstered by CDC guidance he reversed course recently, rescinding the mask mandate. With Scottsdale’s vaccination rates amongst the best in the country, it was a reasonable and prudent decision that balanced data with both our public health needs and our collective desire for normalcy.
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By Alexander Lomax

I’d like to think that we all could agree that the more people get vaccinated, the quicker we can have a legitimate return to normalcy. It shouldn’t be controversial; that was probably ADOT’s assumption when they put up digital highway signs saying “Want to return to normal? Get Vaccinated”.

But never doubt state Senator Kelly Townsend’s ability to jump into a subject and make us all a little stupider in the process.

Townsend, who routinely represents the tin foil hat constituency of Arizona, tweeted a picture of the sign with a comment that said “Seen in Communist China today. Oops, I mean Arizona”.

Where to start? I don’t even know. Her comments are often a 7-layer burrito of Stupid, offering many different ignorant snippets to single out, and I try to keep my diatribes to a readable length. I will say that with what is clearly a proud embrace of anti-vaxxerism, I believe that she has won the crown of Chief Tin Foil Hatter of our state’s legislature.

I have often wondered: does she really believe the BS that she spews? In the past, I have seen her be somewhat thoughtful and more nuanced than I would have previously thought. She seems to know her constituency fairly well, so perhaps she’s mirroring her voters.

One thing we do know however is that counties that voted for Trump have significantly lower vaccination rates than other counties, and comments like this from “leaders” are certainly a significant reason why.

Words can have real consequences. People will die because of stances like this. I’d like to think that Townsend could understand that, but I’m not sure that she wants to.

By Alexander Lomax

The eyes of the nation are on Arizona, and it’s not pretty.

Certainly, you are aware of the election audit farce going on right now. Well since my last rant about it, we’ve had a few new developments that have put Arizona neck-and-neck with the likes of Florida when it comes to embarrassing stories.

Perhaps you’ve seen former AZ Representative Anthony Kern serving as a volunteer for the audit. Well, that same Anthony Kern was widely photographed taking part in the insurrection at the US Capitol in January. How are we supposed to have any faith in the audit when at least one of the volunteers showed such obvious, demonstratable bias? The fact that that man has access to our ballots (some of which likely had his name on them) is disturbing.

Ohhh, and did you hear about the bamboo ballots? One of the fraud observers told reporter Dennis Welch that the auditors were looking for bamboo fibers on ballots, to attempt to prove the conspiracy theory that 40,000 ballots (presumably pre-filled for Biden) were shipped here from China. Where could one possibly start with this? The ridiculous notion that China would send pre-filled ballots as part of a grand conspiracy with the County Recorder and Board of Supervisors? The inherently racist and ignorant idea that anything from China must be produced with bamboo? Are they really chasing down every ridiculous conspiracy theory they can?

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2022 Scrum

May 20, 2021

RE: Race For Arizona Secretary Of State

Dear Beau:

We are writing as concerned citizens who hope you will continue your service to our community by running to be Arizona’s next Secretary of State.

We believe that our state, and our nation, are in a crisis. Confidence in our electoral systems is at a historic low. In 2016 and 2020, huge swaths of the electorate refused to accept the results, and this has had a chilling impact on the ability of our elected officials to do their jobs and serve our state. We are on a dangerous path, and we need a leader who can restore faith and confidence in our electoral process.

You have been a leader in our community for over thirty years. You run a large business enterprise and have worked with dozens of Arizona companies and organizations. You understand how to manage people and systems to get everyone working on the same page. You have the kind of real-world experience that our state needs to make sure that all of our citizens have full and complete confidence in our voting systems and our electoral process.

The lack of confidence in our elections is an existential threat to our democracy, and that is why it is so important to have someone of your background, knowledge and experience serving as our next Secretary of State. It is time for real and principled leadership in that office, and we hope that you will answer the challenge and enter the arena.

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Phoenix, AZ (May 24, 2021) – Following the enthusiastic reception to its release of a 2020 Presidential Results Dashboard, Data Orbital is pleased to release its Corporation Commission Results Comparison by precinct in Maricopa county for 2020.

“As a down-ballot, largely partisan race, Corporation Commission results have always provided a unique window into the electorate and given us previews of trends in certain areas year over year,” said Data Orbital President George Khalaf. “After the 2016 election cycle, our corporation commission race analysis predicted the districts that would end up seeing close races and seat flips in the 2018 cycle.”

The interactive and color-coded dashboard allows results to be selected by Maricopa county Legislative District (and voting precinct) along the following breakdowns.

  • Districts where Republicans won the slate
  • Districts where Republicans won the vote total, but split the slate
  • Districts where Democrats won the vote total, but split the slate
  • Districts where Democrats won the slate.

Additionally, the results can be viewed by both Democratic and Republican advantage and Republican gains and losses from 2016 to 2020.

George Khalaf offered the following statement on the results. “It’s clear that the Corporation Commission race remains a good predictor of partisan performance. Suburban districts like Legislative Districts 17, 20, and 28 that showed weak Republican slate performance have largely continued to slide. The most intense case of this is District 17 that encompasses parts of Chandler. It showed significant performance gains for Democrats while not registering any notable gains for Republicans. We will update this dashboard as part of the redistricting process to provide analysis on projected results within newly drawn lines.”

Data analysts, candidates, politicos, and interested citizens can view the dashboard here.

Phoenix, AZ (May 03, 2021) – Data Orbital is pleased to release its Presidential Results Comparison by Legislative District for 2020.

After tracking the early vote returns and the post-election ballot counting, Data Orbital did a dive into the election results to determine the breakdown by Legislative District in the Presidential race. Their vote count tracking garnered national media attention as all eyes watched Arizona in the contentious last days.

But in the months following the election, many are looking to unpack the results and glean data that could predict future movement and trends.

This latest interactive dashboard allows voters to select a district and see the district results compared to the statewide results. The district results covered are for the 2012, 2016, and 2020 elections.

The districts are color-coded to indicate districts that saw Republican increases in both 2016 and 2020, those that decreased in 2016 and 2020, and those that decreased in 2016 but increased in 2020.

“While the statewide results for President were extremely narrow, there is more to unpack when you look at specific legislative districts. While a majority of Republican-dominated districts saw President Trump’s performance worsen from 2016 to 2020, a majority of the Democrat-dominated districts saw President Trump’s performance improve from 2016 to 2020. This mirrors similar patterns nationally where we saw President Trump outperform his 2016 numbers in Hispanic districts.”

Data analysts, candidates, politicos, and interested citizens can view the dashboard here.

Stay tuned for a Maricopa County precinct dashboard, analyzing the results of the Corporation Commission race – a down ballot, largely partisan race that we have used to see voter behavior changes over the past three cycles.

Arizona Treasurer’s Office Continues to Break Multiple Records & Outperform Large University Endowments Nationwide 

PHOENIX, AZ – According to a just-released report, the Arizona Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund (PLETF), managed by the Treasurer’s Office, outperformed the long-term average returns of some of the largest university and college endowments in the country.

“This extraordinary performance translates into more money for our beneficiaries, including K-12 public schools, and less taxes for Arizona taxpayers,” Treasurer Kimberly Yee said. “I am proud of our exceptional, internal investment team at the Arizona Treasury, which is among the best in the country. This report is evidence of their hard work paying off for the great state of Arizona.”

When comparing the 10-year returns of the PLETF to University Endowments for FY20, Arizona’s endowment ranks in the upper 75th percentile and beats some of the top public and private universities in the country including Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Southern California, Michigan State, Northwestern University, and University of Chicago to name a few. When comparing the 10-year returns of the PLETF to Public University Endowments for FY20, Arizona’s endowment ranks in the upper 90th percentile and beats the likes of University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Berkeley, Ohio State University, and many more. The information was compiled and released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

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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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