Innovative Investor, Pivotal Group Acquires Assets to Launch One of Country’s Largest Webcast Companies – GlobalMeet
The Phoenix Based Entrepreneurial Investment Firm Plans to Expand The Presence of GlobalMeet and Offerings
The renowned and resourceful Pivotal Group, a Phoenix-based multi-strategy investor and leader in technology, real estate and other business investments, just announced a major asset acquisition of the country’s premier interactive webcast company, which will launch under the name GlobalMeet. The assets were previously a part of PGi, which was located in Atlanta.
The assets were purchased for an undisclosed 8-figure sum last week.
Founded by Francis Najafi, who is part-owner of the Phoenix Suns, Pivotal Group has been an active investor in technology companies including: SnapNurse, Network Solutions, NX Systems, Global Capacity and Megapath. In addition to its technology investments, Pivotal Group envisioned, owns, and operates the internationally acclaimed Promontory, a luxury lifestyle mountain community located in Park City, Utah offering its residents and members unparalleled access to exceptional and award-winning amenities for every season.
With expertise to assess complex investments, Pivotal Group focuses on opportunities and companies that lead in their market segments, show growth potential, and exhibit attractive margins. Pivotal funds its investments with internally generated capital, allowing speed, flexibility, and patience to deliver today’s most innovative products and services to the market.
“We look for highly differentiated and unique platforms to invest in and partner with management. That’s why we are thrilled to have acquired the assets that are now used to operate the GlobalMeet business,” said Francis Najafi, Founder and CEO of Pivotal Group. “The global presence of GlobalMeet in the marketplace and its expected growth over the next decade is significant. We are elated to elevate the GlobalMeet business by expanding its offerings and footprint as a global leader in the webcast industry.”
Michele Dobnikar, President of GlobalMeet, commented, “The asset acquisition and deployment by Pivotal Group is a testament to GlobalMeet being the most scalable and secure interactive webcasting platform for any global company. We are excited by this new endeavor, enabling us to bring even greater levels of services to the world’s largest companies as their go-to virtual event platform.”
As the premium webcasting solution for large audiences or high-touch events, GlobalMeet is poised to accomplish the straight-forward goal of empowering people and businesses to communicate confidently. The company will strive to meet the ever-changing communications landscape with versatile technology and real-world expertise, focusing on executing polished, versatile communications at scale.
Under Pivotal Group, GlobalMeet looks to grow its footprint. Its services allow for live and on-demand / pre-recorded video and audio webcasts for up to 100,000+ attendees via a proprietary, scalable cloud platform. Five of the USA’s largest US banks will use GlobalMeet as their webcast company of choice. Similarly, 23% of the world’s top 40 banks will use the GlobalMeet Webcast platform. It will also be used by numerous other businesses around the world.
A Win For Taxpayers And The Private Sector. Innovative New Arizona Technology Spreading Nationwide, Revolutionizing The Way Companies Bid On Government Projects
New Technology, Database Pioneered In Arizona Levels Playing Field For Businesses While Giving Governments More Options For Bidders, Vendors
(PHOENIX) A new platform developed in Arizona, Capital Pipeline, is revolutionizing the way the private sector connects with government when it comes to building infrastructure, creating opportunities and tax savings. Getting information to bid for government projects can often be complicated and tedious to the point that opportunities are needlessly missed, and costs are needlessly excessive. That’s because companies must spring into action the moment a government RFP (request for proposal) is issued with limited time to plan and research. Few companies have the resources to do so. Until now.
An Arizona company, developed and founded by a female leadership team, is changing this byzantine dynamic. Capital Pipeline has developed software that scans public records nationwide for capital improvement projects. Its newly expanded software has amassed a database that lists more than twenty-five thousand capital improvement projects valued at more than $264 billion. These are not RFP’s but budgets and other planning documents that can precede RFP’s by months if not years.
Why is this important? When a government agency issues an RFP, there is often a mad scramble to put in a bid with very limited time to investigate things such as budgets, specifications, and geography. That puts these projects out of reach for many businesses, limiting bidders and consequently driving up costs for governments.
Capital Pipeline has leveled the playing field. It’s subscription-based platform allows clients to peak behind the curtain of upcoming RFP’s so they can hire staff and allocate resources as needed. And this year it has expanded its data base exponentially.
The Arizona League of Cities and Towns and the Nevada League of Cities have signed on as partners because it makes the bidding process more competitive driving down costs, potentially saving taxpayers millions.
The national database includes information on nearly every project funded through the federal government’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 51 states and territories, as well as local capital improvement projects in 14 states including Arizona and Nevada. From paving potholes to planning transportation hubs, the data is laid out in a user friendly format. And the list of data sources is constantly expanding as more governments participate. The new database has led to a 280% increase in searches using the platform in February.Read More
Teen Bands From Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers Joins Arizona Bike Week on Sunday, April 2nd starting at 10am in the PowerYard at WestWorld
The Teen Bands Join Other Big Acts Performing at AZ Bike Week. Plus Daily Stunt Shows, Scenic Charity Rides, Contests, On-Site Camping, and More!
Arizona Bike Week 2023 welcomes six teen bands from Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers competition Proof is in the Pudding. The bands will be performing at WestWorld on Sunday, April 2nd, in the Arizona Bike Week PowerYard. The young musicians will be on stage from 10am until 5pm, with a presentation of a donation to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock from Arizona Bike Week in the afternoon.
Every fall Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers holds a competition called Proof is in the Pudding where teen musicians can enter as a band or solo artist. The competition features over 300 musicians ages 12 to 25 from all genres and it is the most well-known music competition in Arizona. The winning soloist and winning band get to open for Alice Cooper at his annual Christmas Pudding Show.
Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers is a non-profit organization founded by international rock star Alice Cooper and his wife Sheryl with a primary mission of making an everlasting difference on the lives of teens in the community by offering a safe and engaging environment during non-school hours. The centers offer free music, art and dance lessons, as well as vocational programs, and fellowships that help teens discover their passion through self-expression, and creativity. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 20 can get involved in the centers.
Arizona Bike Week has attended the Proof is in the Pudding finals each year since 2014 and selects bands from the competition and provides them the opportunity to play at AZ Bike Week.
“Alice and Sheryl Cooper’s commitment to helping young people develop their creativity and talent is truly inspiring. We try to support the centers in any way we can,” said Lisa Cyr of Arizona Bike Week.
Single Concert and All Concert Passes are on sale now for the four-night music festival in the RockYard. This year’s headlining bands are Staind, Billy Idol, Megadeth and Texas Hippies Coalition. Visit www.
With an expected attendance of over 75,000 people, AZ Bike Week is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country. Arizona Bike Week’s tremendous concert lineup has played a big role in making the rally an annual excursion for riders from all across the country. But music fans arriving on four wheels are welcomed warmly by the biker community as well.
You can come early to check out the rest of the rally festivities in the PowerYard where gates open Wednesday and Thursday at noon and 10am Friday through Sunday. Tickets are just $15 for the entire week of PowerYard admission. Concert tickets are sold separately and include complimentary PowerYard admission.
For those who want to camp, there are RV and tent campsites available as well.
Other fan favorites to check out at AZ Bike Week, daily charity rides, Stunt Shows, Bike Shows, All Out Dyno Drags, Factory Demo Rides, After Hours Parties, plus bands from the local music scene performing day and night in the PowerYard.
WestWorld of Scottsdale is located at 16601 North Pima Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260.
For more information on Arizona Bike Week call (480) 644-8191 or visit www.Azbikeweek.com.
The Valley’s Top School for Autism – Gateway Academy – Presents Stand Up For Autism at CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace Thursday, April 20th at 6pm
Celebrate Autism Awareness Month and join the Valley’s top school serving students with High Functioning Autism and 2E students for a night of laughter and live comedy.
On Thursday, April 20th, 2023 Gateway Academy will host Stand Up For Autism starting at 6pm at CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Comedians Jann Karam and Brian Kiley will co-headline the evening, along with other special guests. There will also be a silent auction and raffle with all proceeds going to the non-profit Gateway Academy.
“We are thrilled to be raising funds for our STEAM program and celebrating our exceptional students during Autism Awareness Month with a night of comedy and entertainment,” said CEO and Executive Director at Gateway Academy O. Robin Sweet at Gateway Academy. “This is one of Gateway Academy’s biggest fundraisers of the year, so we hope everyone will come out and help support our amazing students.”
Jann Karam is an Arizona native and attended Arizona State University. She is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and artist. Karam has made appearances on NBC’s Tonight Show and the Late Show with David Letterman. She was also on HBO’s Young Comedians Special, Seinfeld and many more. She headlines across the country as a stand-up comedian and regularly tours with SNL alumnus Dana Carvey.
Brian Kiley is a comedian and an Emmy® Award-winning writer. He is a staff writer and the head monologue writer for Conan O’Brien. Kiley has made several appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He performs regularly at clubs in L.A.
Tru Steinburg, son of comedian Andy Steinburg, will be the Emcee for the evening. Tru is a graduate of Gateway Academy and is currently attending the Scottsdale Community college’s culinary arts program. Tru and his father have hosted the Stand Up For Autism event in the past.
COYOTES AND FANATICS TEAM UP TO LAUNCH COYOTESSHOP.COM, A STREETWEAR-INFUSED HOCKEY E-COMMERCE STORE WITHIN NHLSHOP.COM
The Arizona Coyotes announced today that the Club has launched Coyotesshop.com. This one-of-a-kind store blending culture, fashion, and hockey is being launched in partnership with Fanatics as part of the NHLShop.com One Store program. Coyotesshop.com is the future of Coyotes retail – a destination for consumers to discover new product drops, access exclusive merchandise, and find information on the inspiration behind the design from its creators. The new e-commerce store is open around the world, yet rooted in Arizona’s vibrant community and diverse culture, and inspired by local artists, creators, and musicians.
“Launching Coyotesshop.com is truly a milestone for the Coyotes,” said Alex Meruelo, Jr., Chief Brand Officer of the Arizona Coyotes. “Arizona has a diverse culture deeply rooted in sports, fashion, and style, and with Coyotesshop.com and through this partnership with Fanatics, we can make our Desert Collection designed by Rhuigi available to fans globally. This collection blends Arizona’s unique cultural elements with a street flair through the lens of the sport of hockey that is part of our plan to continue to innovate the Coyotes’ brand, with the ultimate goal of creating a Coyotes World that will allow us to super-serve our fans.”
Coyotesshop.com will be at the forefront of streetwear and Arizona culture, with street style and fashion at the core of each design. The new shop will include the full line of products developed by Creative Strategist and global fashion designer Rhuigi Villaseñor, including the Coyotes’ Desert Night third jersey and the complete Desert Collection containing hats, hoodies, t-shirts, and more. The Coyotes held a launch party on March 19 at Riot House in Scottsdale with Rhuigi. On March 20th, the Coyotes and Rhuigi will host a creative workshop with a class of young fashion designers at Nowadays in Tempe, Arizona.
“I am honored to collaborate with the Arizona Coyotes organization to reimagine the brand alongside culture and design. To me, it feels like a part of the world that lives beyond just the game and enters the world of classic, iconic streetwear. It’s not just a brand, it’s a lifestyle brand in my eyes,” said Villaseñor.
The coyotes e-commerce store at Coyoteshop.com is part of NHLShop.com, operated by Fanatics, and will carry seasonal lines, limited drops, and future collaborations with brands and designers.
To say that it has been a tumultuous first half year of the Governor Hobbs administration would be an understatement. In the process of alienating many in her own caucus she has lost several high-level staffers, both through their own mistakes and being unwilling or unable to carry out the mission in the midst of what some saw as failed budget negotiations (get up to date here).That chaos pales in comparison to the administration’s most recent departure however.
Last week, Governor Hobbs’s Chief of Staff and longtime right hand staffer Allie Bones abruptly resigned. This marks the fourth high-level staffer departure in five months and by far the most important. While it was technically a resignation, sources say that Bones was forced out as a result of widespread dissatisfaction with her performance. The final nail in the coffin resulted from the budget negotiations; having already alienated much of the Democratic caucus, notable donors and stakeholders were also deeply uneasy with Hobbs’s inability to get concessions from the GOP. Bones was the fall-person.
It’s worth noting that Bones had been a very good friend of Hobbs for two decades. It would be unfair to say that her continued promotions were purely nepotistic by nature; after all, as her Chief of Staff as Secretary of State, Bones presumably did a good enough job to help Hobbs rise in the ranks. But one does have to wonder if Hobbs spent enough time sourcing talent, as many of her primary hires came from the small local Democratic bubble, and were a group of people who never had to reach across the aisle to get anything accomplished.
While we have noted extensively that Hobbs’s hands are somewhat tied when it comes to negotiation (her hard power is relegated to veto power insofar as the legislature is concerned), this is clearly a new low point in the administration and points to a deeper issue; can Hobbs negotiate at all? The Democratic caucus was quietly seething at the lack of caps for school voucher use, despite how their use could negatively impact the budget. While the administration touted an increase in education funding, and much of the caucus went along with this selling point, not everybody was so enthusiastic.
However, this shouldn’t be too surprising. We shouldn’t forget that in a fairly unprecedented move, Hobbs declined to debate Kari Lake before the general election. It is well known that she is adverse to open conflict. The hardball tactics and political brass knuckles that Republicans have refined when budget talks begin are simply not in Hobbs’s toolbox, and apparently not in Bones’s either.
We are not even 1/8th of the way through Hobbs’s term in office; there is quite a bit of time to right the ship. Hobbs has a lot of work to do however. She absolutely needs staffers with the “iron fist in a velvet glove” mentality that she sorely lacks and the ability to court Republicans effectively. Without this, she runs the risk of destroying her chances of achieving a majority in the 2024 elections.
By Alexander Lomax
Here we go again…Kari Lake manages to get in the news again. Lovely.
To give some added context, the ongoing embarrassment that is Lake’s election denialism has been nearly completely smacked down in the courts (courts which have been largely packed by Doug Ducey, i.e. not exactly leftist ideologues) but the most recent judgment left one little kernel of hope for Lake. One item of her challenge was not explicitly knocked down, whether or not Maricopa County properly verified signatures on ballot affidavit envelopes, so this item will have its day in court.
Already, Lake and her team are running with asinine items. A statement that signatures couldn’t be 100% matched (because much like snowflakes, no signatures are going to be completely the same) was used by Lake as proof that the system is broken instead of a common sense statement. Her supporters are doing everything they can to invoke doubts in the system and attacking those who aren’t buying in. Even with nearly no chance at success, they are determined to muddy up our democracy anyway.
So Lake will get her day in court. But anyone with half a brain will know that it won’t work out like her supporters want; there will not be a recount, Katie Hobbs will still be Governor, and nothing will change. The best thing that will happen (or worst thing, depending on your perspective) is that there will be imperfections pointed out in the process, and then the Lake camp will manipulate it to further sow doubt. Rinse, repeat.
Since it will not work out in their favor, they will also almost certainly attempt to find something, ANYTHING to cling onto to further divide. Unfortunately, it is likely that this will play out through the next election cycle to set her up for a Republican primary going forward. Perhaps for the US Senate? Probably for the US Senate…God help us all.
There are many legitimate reasons to disfavor the Democratic Party. But we can’t be surprised when a majority of voters prefer to stand with them as compared to a party who’s local ringleader is focused on undermining faith in an imperfect but critical and functional aspect of society. So buckle up for the next few years of the Lake Show…I’ll be off to the side, hoping for non-toxic options on the Republican side.
Arizona has typically had a reputation for being tougher on crime than states on the Pacific coast. Rarely do you hear about violent criminals released without bail or shown extreme leniency only to commit more crimes and the results have generally led to safer streets. However, a recent tragedy not only underscores that we are not perfect in that regard but also illustrates what is at stake.
You have probably heard of the murder of Scottsdale resident Lauren Heike, senselessly killed while hiking by a man named Zion Teasley. What is less talked about however is that the killer was a violent felon who should have been behind bars at the time of the murder.
Teasley was arrested in 2020 on multiple charges, including armed robbery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and aggravated assault after a number of convenience store robberies. However, he was given an early release with probation, thus setting the stage for him to be back on the streets and able to commit this heinous crime.
Teasley previously said that he had been drinking heavily due to depression, presumably designed as a reason why he would commit armed robbery and aggravated assault. But plenty of people drink too much but have enough sense not to rob convenience stores with weapons. While we would like to think that everyone can be rehabilitated into society and become model citizens, that is simply not the case. While he was young and had a lot of potential ahead of him, a three year prison sentence doesn’t seem heavy-handed considering the crimes.
And this exemplifies the current schism between leftist policies compared to the rest of the country; many areas that are led by district attorneys who prefer leniency to justice, that have judges appointed by leaders who are led by the same ideologies have these sorts of issues. And the result is policies that put a preference towards aiding the perpetrator instead of justice and safety.
This tragedy should not go unnoticed, and the victim should not be unheard. When justice isn’t properly doled out, the impacts can be very, very far-reaching. So when pundits talk about “restorative justice”, we must keep in mind that there are two sides to the coin of every crime, both a perpetrator and a victim. And while we shouldn’t immediately give up on perpetrators as being purely without potential societal value, we should never forget to prioritize the victim first.
Maricopa County elections have had a very interesting last few election cycles. They started in 2016 with a new County Recorder (Adrian Fontes) who was then in charge of all aspects of county elections. After a poor execution of in-person voting for the 2018 primary, Fontes then decided to punt responsibility of in-person voting to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, a very bold move that was looked on with disfavor from many in his own party at the time but has since proven itself to be wise.
Meanwhile, in 2020 Maricopa County elections received even more heat from the former President, incredulous that he lost the state and needing a scapegoat. Fontes took quite a bit of that heat, even though he lost his re-election campaign to Stephen Richer (if you’re going to fix an election, you would probably start with your own, ehh?). Cries of a stolen election turned into angry shouts as in 2022 the Trump-backed statewide GOP candidates all lost, and vague misunderstandings of the election process became feet in the doors for unhinged conspiracy theories.
Mind you, the elections were then being run by a Republican County Recorder and a Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors, and there is no rational incentive for them to fix the election for their political opponents, but a good conspiracy theory isn’t about to be stopped by reason or common sense.
Perhaps in response to this came the newest news from the Elections Department: they will have a new communications team. This communications team will be separate from the Recorder’s office, and will be aligned with their different obligations: the Board of Supervisors and new communications team focused on in-person voting communications, and the Recorder’s team focused on vote-by-mail and related communications.
At the outset, it seems to be a further fragmentation of the entire process. What used to be housed entirely within the Recorder’s office is now even more fully split in two. If consolidating assets means streamlining processes, then fully undoing it would seem to imply potential bureaucracy and inefficiencies.
That said, running elections for a county of over 4 million people is always going to be messy, as every single election bears out. Hearing Stephen Richer and Bill Gates from the Board of Supervisors, both respectable public servants but neither being charismatic giants, explain the intricacies and difficulties of elections as outrage brewed was…sort of painful.
Obviously the devil is in the details as to who they hire, but it very likely can’t be worse than Richer and Gates. Better communication could have gone far to eliminate usurping conspiracists and supported the efforts to do the job right without partisan interference. It could have deepened Arizona’s reputation as a bedrock of democracy and functional and fair elections. So if that is how it might play out, then I think we all can agree that it would be a welcome change.
In November 2024, Arizona voters will decide if they want to re-elect Kyrsten Sinema to the US Senate, but this time as a registered Independent. She will likely have strong competition on both sides of her: while the Republican side is still wide open, Congressman Ruben Gallego is now in the poll position on the Democratic side. But will she even run, and what might it look like?
The first thing that jumps out is that as an independent, she would not need to run in a partisan primary. Her only election would be in November, and as such she would avoid a potentially costly primary battle.
However, there is a significant downside when it comes to her independent status, and that is the signature hurdle necessary to make the ballot. All candidates need to procure a certain amount of signatures from registered voters in order to get on the ballot. While partisan candidates need only collect signatures from a total of ½ of 1% of voters who could hypothetically vote for them, independent candidates need to obtain a total equaling or exceeding 3% of eligible voters who are not registered with a specific party. Considering that unaffiliated voters are the largest bloc in Arizona, that is not a small amount (approaching 50K signatures), but not an amount large enough that Sinema’s nearly unlimited funding can’t overcome.
The timeline for non-partisan candidates is the same as partisan candidates: those signatures must be submitted between 120-150 days before the primary election in early August. Ergo, she would need to submit those signatures between March 10th to April 8th of next year.
As Sinema likely keeps her options open for the time being, one thing to keep in mind is that regardless of funding, large amounts of signatures do not come immediately. Online signature gathering and a robust email list will help expedite that, but it’s also safe to say that most of her database is likely Democrats (who could not sign for her). Her resources will make that process much quicker than most, but she could not simply wake up on April 7th, decide to run, and have those signatures immediately appear. There is a degree of planning that is necessary.
While ballot access is a significant challenge for independent candidates, Senator Sinema could easily cross that bar. Then again, she may decide to instead take a 7-figure lobbying job and move into a life of unmitigated luxury and behind-the-scenes power. Would anyone blame her?
Photo Credit: Time MagazineBudget time at the Arizona Capitol is always an interesting place to be, but perhaps no more so than now. It had already been a rough month or so for Governor Katie Hobbs (get up to date here), but the budget negotiations (or relative lack thereof) look like they will make “tamale-gate” look like a walk in the park.
The unrest started in earnest earlier in the month as Hobbs’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Legislative Director Rebecca Beebe resigned with nearly no warning nor any humiliating misstep that would prompt a “resign or be fired response”. While many in the local political orbit were trying to figure out what prompted this, some of the subsequent negotiations related to the budget made it quite obvious.
Soon word crept out that Hobbs seemed to completely capitulate to the Republicans on caps (or lack thereof) on school vouchers. After talking on the campaign stump, for years previous and even until February her desire to end the school vouchers program, she couldn’t manage to negotiate any cap or limitations whatsoever on the vouchers program, one that will certainly be a heavy weight on the budget for years to come. She couldn’t extract a single thing for her side.
Mind you, Rebecca Beebe’s role directly before joining the Hobbs’ administration was lobbying on behalf of public schools in the legislature. Whether she was unwilling or unable to help her boss violate a significant portion of her life’s work is unclear, but it was clearly an affront. But more than that, public school funding has been the most important topic for Democrats in Arizona for years. To have one of their own on the 9th floor only for them to fold like a lawn chair on their singular legacy issues of importance has got to be crippling.
As for leadership on the Dem side…to say that they had thoughts on this matter would be an understatement. According to a joint statement from Rep. Mitzi Epstein and Sen. Andres Cano, “No responsible legislator from either party should be willing to bankrupt our state, neglect the homeless, let our rural areas run out of water and fail to raise teachers’ salaries or even keep public school funding on pace with inflation in order to give wealthy families in the richest ZIP codes a government subsidy to reduce their child’s private school tuition”. Yikes. Quite a repudiation.
While there are both positive and negative things to say about Hobbs, one thing that many would NOT say about her is that she is tough or aggressive. As a reminder, she was the candidate who refused to debate Kari Lake because Republicans and Democrats alike understood that Lake would have wiped the floor with her. Unfortunately for Dems, that lack of toughness is now becoming extremely apparent when it matters most; perhaps it’s something that they should have considered when nominating her.
In the meantime, between ostracizing Latinos as well as educational advocates, her fan group is dwindling by the day.
Politics always needs its rising stars; those who come from seemingly out of nowhere to have captured the attention of an area, who have the CV and background to compel many to support him, and who are creating the sort of relationships that imply that their first win is simply the beginning of many. And it seems as though the city of Peoria might have created the Arizona Republican Party’s next rising star.
New mayor Jason Beck has the sort of story that grabs the attention of GOP king-makers: he has lived in the city for 20 years, is a former Marine and currently is head of one of the city’s largest companies, TYR Tactical, a manufacturer of body armor for law enforcement and the military. Married with six sons, he has the sort of attractive family that works great on political mailers and TV ads.
His campaign initiatives walk the delicate balance of GOP aspirations and pragmatic. He speaks to streamlining government, something that many new Congressional candidates speak to but will never achieve, yet for a city like Peoria seems within the realm of reasonable. “No new taxes” is another common refrain, but for someone who routinely is able to balance budgets one would have to assume that it will work better than George HW Bush’s iteration.
Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of his campaign was his criticism of Peoria’s pursuit of jobs; he compared the city to “the last kid picked on the dodgeball team” with regards to economic development, and it’s a salient point. For all of the corporations you hear of bringing jobs to Arizona, you never seem to hear about them planting their flag in Peoria. It would seem as though they have not been aggressively courting said businesses, and who better to do that than someone who is running a highly successful business?
Of course, campaign promises are easy to make. One could say that they will make the streets of Peoria paved with gold if they were to be elected. It’s difficult to ascertain how far towards achieving those goals he’s gotten the city only a few months in. But identifying the pertinent issues is a good first step, as opposed to the more extreme attention-seekers of the GOP who may instead promise to stop illegal immigration or audit the elections, both actions which are far outside the scope of the job.
Obviously Beck needs to succeed to some degree in his current role before going on to bigger and better things. But he certainly does seem to be precisely the sort of person who has the potential to rise through the ranks, and as such makes Peoria a city to watch over the next few years.
The Valley’s Top School for Autism – Gateway Academy – Presents Art for Autism Charity Auction at Larsen Gallery Saturday, May 20th at 10:00am (3705 N Bishop Lane in Scottsdale)
Larsen Gallery Will Donate 25 Pieces of Artwork for the Auction with 100% of the Proceeds Going to Gateway Academy and Artlink is Putting Out a Call to Artists To Participate
Join Gateway Academy and Artlink for Art for Autism Charity Auction at Larsen Gallery on Saturday, May 20th starting at 10:00am. The event begins with an exhibition at 10:00a.m. and then the auction starting at 12:00p.m. Bids will begin at $100. All guests are welcome, and consigners and bidders are especially encouraged to participate in this charity auction.
At the auction — Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy music, local and emerging artists, nibbles, and drinks while making a positive impact as proceeds from this charity auction will be split 50/50 between the local artists and Gateway Academy, a non-profit school serving students with high-functioning autism.
CEO and Executive Director at Gateway Academy O. Robin Sweet says, “With the support of Artlink and Larsen Gallery, The Art for Autism Charity Auction is going to be a fantastic event filled with art, music, food, and more. All while increasing exposure for local Arizona artists and providing much needed support to our incredible students here at Gateway Academy.”
The host of the event, Larsen Gallery has been a leader in the secondary art market for 30 years. For this special auction Larsen Gallery will also donating 25 works of art for the auction and will give 100% of the proceeds to Gateway Academy.
“Gateway Academy is serving an incredible purpose here in the community by giving students with high functioning autism a place to belong and a safe place to go to school. We are absolutely honored to help them raise some valuable funds for their school and we hope everyone will join us at the gallery on May 20th for a very special auction,” said Scott Larsen, owner of Larsen Gallery.
A call to artists is also being facilitated by Artlink, which is also inviting artists from throughout Arizona to participate. Artists interested in participating should visit artlinkphx.org for details.
Larsen Gallery is located at 3705 N Bishop Lane in Scottsdale, AZ, 85251.
To view additional event details and preview all the lots as they become available, please visit https://gatewayacademy.us/art-for-autism/.
For more information about Gateway Academy, and its services call (480) 998-1071 or visit https://www.gatewayacademy.us/
Locally Owned Mochilero Kitchen Will Open in Scottsdale Horizon Shopping Center off Frank Lloyd Wright and Thompson Peak Parkway
Offering vibrant and authentic Mexican cuisine, Valley-based and family owned Mochilero Kitchen is proud to announce expansion into the North Scottsdale this May.
After recently celebrating the three year anniversary for their Peoria location, Mochilero Kitchen will open its second location next month in the Scottsdale Horizon Shopping Center off Frank Lloyd Wright boulevard and Thompson Peak parkway.
Mochilero Kitchen is owned and operated by brother and sister duo Jorge Cota and Meliza Miranda. The pair got the inspiration for their restaurant after Cota took a long research trip to Mexico in 2019. There he visited 23 out of the 32 different states trying as many authentic dishes he could find throughout the region.
Along the way the Arizona chef met with families, chefs and spent time in the restaurants, markets and also the homes of the people living in villages and coastal towns.
“We went with the mission to get inspired so we could take the most popular and traditional dishes you find in those coastal towns and bring them home,” said Cota. “Here we’re able to put our own twist on the dishes and really create something special.”
Cota and Miranda successfully opened their first Mochilero Kitchen in Peoria in April of 2020, just as the pandemic was hitting.
“It was tough start, but we went day by day and in the end we persevered and learned a lot during those three years,” said Miranda. “Never did I think we would be opening our second location this soon but the response has been tremendous and we are so excited to show Scottsdale diners what our vibrant and authentic Mexican cuisine is all about.”
Miranda comes with a decade of experience working in the beverage industry as a state manager for Constellation Brands. She’s especially proud that Mochilero Kitchen in Scottsdale will offer more than 30 different types of tequila and mescals, among other fine wines and spirits.
Cota, who’s resume includes a decade of experience in chef roles at the Ritz Carlton, Phoenician and JW Marriott, runs Mochilero like a scratch kitchen where everything is made to order, fresh daily and using only the finest ingredients. He spends his time in the back of the house, focusing on the flavor profiles and stand-out dishes like his Classic Mole, which was a dish he grew up eating from his grandmother who was from southern Mexico. Another favorite at Mochilero Kitchen are the variations of tacos, including a vegetarian mushroom taco that gets rave reviews and the Mariscos, a raw seafood offering that is cooked in lime juice.
“These are the most authentic and savory dishes you will find from the different various regions of Mexico,” said Miranda. “When you combine our cuisine with the atmosphere, I think we have created something that has a very traditional warm feeling and is family friendly, and timeless all at the same time.”
Mochilero Kitchen will also offer acoustic entertainment some weekend nights. The restaurant is open for lunch starting at 11:00a.m. and the dinner menu starts at 3:00p.m seven days a week.
The Scottsdale restaurant will also be looking to hire 60 new employees for its new location in the coming weeks and a job fair is being planned in May. Please visit https://mochilerokitchen.com/ for more information.
Mochilero Kitchen in North Scottsdale is located at 14850 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Unit 117 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260.
Mochilero Kitchen is also located in Peoria at 6791 West Happy Valley Road, Suite 100 Peoria, AZ 85383.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Gives Heartfelt Send Off to “Indy The Tiger Club” Who Will Be Headed To Her Forever Home at The Wildcat Sanctuary In Minnesota
Police Say the Tiger Cub Was Seized After Someone Tried to Illegally Sell the Animal Online
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is giving a heartfelt send off to “Indy” the tiger cub Wednesday at its North Scottsdale sanctuary. This will be Indy’s last day at Southwest Wildlife as she is headed to her new permanent forever home in Sandstone, Minnesota at The Wildcat Sanctuary.
The young cub, who is now 5 months old and weighs 90 pounds, made local and national news earlier this year after police say a Valley man illegally listed the tiger cub for sale on social media and tried to sell her. Police arrested the man and he is currently facing charges for owning it and trying to sell her. Indy was temporarily being cared for at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale while the case was being resolved.
Southwest Wildlife says they are proud to have taken care of the animal the last few months and now is excited for Indy’s next chapter.
“This is what we do here at Southwest Wildlife. We take in animals that have been injured or inadequately cared for so we can get them rehabilitated and healthy until we find their new forever home,” said Jamie Haas Oliver, Development Manager at Southwest Wildlife. “It’s always our hope and goal to get the animal re-introduce and released back into the wild but in Indy’s case she will be headed to a Wildlife Sanctuary where they specialize in caring for Big Cats and she can live out many years ahead.”
In 2021, The Wildcat Sanctuary (where Indy is headed) took in 4 big cats seized by the Department of Justice from Tiger King Park, made famous by the Netflix series.
“Our sanctuary provides transport and proper lifetime care, all at our own expense, to ensure tigers like Indy grow up in a proper and safe environment,” said The Wildcat Sanctuary Founder Tammy Thies. “We’re so grateful for the care Southwest Wildlife gave Indy during the court case. She’s a healthy, happy tiger because of them. As an accredited sanctuary, we commonly assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other authorities on cases like these. Tigers and other big cats are still being sold and trafficked illegally in the United States.”
The Wildcat Sanctuary staff will drive 3,400 miles round-trip to pick up Indy. At the new sanctuary, she’ll live out her days with 130 other rescued big cats who call the sanctuary home. She’ll enjoy a large, free-roaming habitat with a heated indoor bedroom, pools, caves and plenty of enrichment to keep her happy and her senses challenged. And the sanctuary hopes to introduce her to other tigers once she is big enough.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit and relies on 100-percent donations and grants to rehabilitate and care for animals. To donate visit www.southwestwildlife.org.
Similarly, The Wildcat Sanctuary invites the public to support Indy’s transport and care by donating at WildcatSanctuary.org.
The public can also watch Indy grow up on the The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
About Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
Southwest Wildlife, accredited by the American Sanctuary Association (ASA), rescues and rehabilitates wildlife that has been injured, displaced, and orphaned. Once rehabilitated, they are returned to the wild. Sanctuary is provided to animals that cannot be released back to the wild.
Linda Searles officially founded Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in 1994. Since then, SWCC has rehabilitated thousands of sick, injured, orphaned or displaced wild animals. More than 70 percent have been successfully released back into the wild. Specially trained staff and volunteers are on call to respond to any wild mammal emergency that may arise.
For more information, visit http://www.SouthwestWildlfe.org or call (480) 471-9109.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was not on the ballot for Phoenix’s November 2022 elections, nor on the ballots for the March 2023 run-offs. Yet she managed to perhaps be the biggest winner of those elections. Why is this? While the races for council districts 2 and 4 were uneventful, the races in districts 6 and 8 have completely upended the dynamics of the council.
District 6’s seat had been occupied by Sal DiCiccio, longtime conservative firebrand and frequent thorn in the side of both Mayor Gallego and all of the Democrats on the council. He chose not to run again, leaving the door open for a newcomer. District 8 had been occupied by Carlos Garcia, a diehard progressive far to the left of Democrat Gallego, frequently being an opposing voice against Gallego’s more moderate initiatives.
In the November elections, longtime police officer Kevin Robinson and former DiCiccio Chief of Staff Sam Stone were the top two in an eight-person race in District 6. Garcia placed first in the initial District 8 election, followed very closely by former Assistant Attorney General Kesha Hodge Washington. In the run-offs, Robinson kept his lead to win, while Hodge Washington closed the narrow gap and beat out Garcia.
Mayor Gallego was a strong supporter of both Robinson and Hodge Washington. Both of her candidates won, and just like that, usurpers on both ideological sides of her were replaced with moderate allies, and the council goes from a majority Democrat (yet with widely disparate views) to half of the council being close Gallego allies and her vote being the tie-breaker.
So what is at stake? Plenty. For starters, a beleaguered police force that had been under fire from Garcia now has one of their own in the council and a Mayor that has no interest in defunding them or going soft-on-crime. Her ideas for affordable housing will come to the forefront, which should mean a green light for additional development. A more direct approach to homelessness is likely to occur, thus probably preventing the city from spiraling towards the fates of many western cities beset by inaction. And her fingerprint will be on any sustainability issues to ensure Phoenix’s future.
This is now the Kate Gallego Council. The next two years (if not longer) will be a direct reflection of her initiatives, her views and her power. While Phoenix is technically a “weak mayor” system, that is now a misnomer. There is nothing weak about her position now, and Phoenix will rise or fall on her back.
This delicate dance of trying to please all sides just enough to be effective is now entering a significantly higher stakes phase now: the annual budget. It will very likely be filled with priorities for the GOP, but unlike standard bills Hobbs cannot simply continue to veto and go on with her day; a stalemate in perhaps the most important job of the legislature will very likely be blamed on Hobbs if that is the case, and would make negative attention from individual vetoes look like child’s play in comparison.
And now comes the dance that has been performed many times before, but typically with a Governor of the same party. It’s not uncommon for a Governor to threaten a veto of the budget if they don’t get some of their pet projects passed through the legislature. But typically those pet projects come from the same team. There may be quibbles, but everyone is working towards a common goal with mostly common friends. Not this time.
Typically Hobbs could count on whatever backing was desired from the Democrats at the Capitol, and that might still largely be the case. But the aforementioned “tamale”gate” veto very likely ruffled some feathers; almost certainly not a deal-killer for support but an unfortunate miss early on. While the GOP will by nature be in opposition, it’s not an election year, so Governor Hobbs has that going for her. There will be less immediate need to attempt to paint Democrats as obstructionists.
Perhaps one of the most interesting yet unspoken of subcontexts is the potential alignment of the Hispanic Democratic caucus, more specifically “the Z’s”, named as such by the regularity of having the letter Z in their last name (more so last session, but still rings generally true). This was a group that last cycle was known for voting with the Republicans on numerous bills to the dismay of the more progressive members of the caucus. With Governor Hobbs committing that tamale-related unforced error, it is not out of the realm of possibility that what is left of “the Z’s” start cutting deals with Republican members of the legislature.
This is the biggest hurdle of the first year of Governor Hobbs’s term. Subsequent versions will likely be more streamlined, as the learning curve is still steep and fluid. But what happens this time around will likely give some interesting insight as to alliances that may last and grudge matches that may persist.
The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board has been a bit…messy recently. You can get completely up to speed here. There has been a clear schism between two factions within the board, and recent developments have made that schism even more obvious and contentious.
The conservative members of the board Carine Werner and Amy Carney are now saying that they are feeling “muzzled” in this new report. Since they are in a relative minority, as being the two staunch conservatives in a group of five, this should not be incredibly surprising. Votes for school boards often do become partisan in nature, and this is no different.
The details of the alleged muzzling are the sort of minutiae that nearly no one except the most dedicated observers know about or care about. It is related to an addendum to a code which would prohibit board members from serving on committees related to the work of the superintendent, which Werner apparently was in a non-voting capacity. She defended herself by saying that the parents were asking, and she is doing her duty to them.
As we had mentioned before, the two new board members are…new. There is always going to be a learning curve, and this particular one has seemed steep for them. It would appear that patience is running thin with the staff, as the mention of the board’s attorney cutting them off is notable. For those who run for office under the guise of disruption, this is common: you simply don’t know what you don’t know from the outside, and it’s much easier to say that you’re going to “drain the swamp” or whatever sloganeering you want to use than actually accomplish it.
And what Carney and Werner are attempting to do, in some way, is rather admirable. They are attempting to increase transparency in an opaque process, a process so opaque that they regularly have shown a relative lack of understanding. If we take them at their word, then the spirit of this is admirable. But demonstrating a relative lack of understanding of a process is not the way to make change.
In the meantime, the conflict between those two and the rest of the board becomes even more obvious, as the insertion of the language that caused the ruckus in the first place could easily be seen as a shot at Werner. Democracy works best when votes aren’t continuously down party lines, and it is our sincere hope that these rivalries die down, that the voting factions get less tribal, and our leaders are able to see issues through the prism of best judgments instead of “our side vs their side”.
Mochilero Kitchen Hosts Job Fair Monday May 15th, Tuesday May 16th & Wednesday May 17th From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Locally Owned Mochilero Is Looking to Fill 45+ Positions For Its New North Scottsdale Location This May
The Locally Owned Restaurant Opens Later This Month and Will Offer Vibrant and Authentic Mexican Cuisine to North Scottsdale
Locally and family owned Mochilero Kitchen is bringing its popular authentic Mexican cuisine to Scottsdale and to get ready for the grand opening the restaurant is looking to hire more than 45 new employees.
Mochilero Kitchen, which opens later this month will be located in the Scottsdale Horizon Shopping Center, near Frank Lloyd Wright and Thompson Peak in Scottsdale.
The restaurant will hold a job fair on Monday – May 15th, Tuesday – May 16th and Wednesday – May 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
They are looking to hire at least 15 servers, 12 hosts, 5 bartenders, 5 food runners, 5 bussers, 5 cooks.
Mochilero Kitchen is scheduled to open at the end of the month and then it will be open 7 days a week from 11:00am-10:00pm.
The restaurant, which specializes in vibrant and authentic Mexican cuisien is owned and operated by brother and sister duo Jorge Cota and Meliza Miranda. The Scottsdale location comes after Miranda and Cota recently celebrated the three year aniversary of their Peoria location. This will be the pair’s second Valley location with more expansion planned in the coming years.
Miranda comes with a decade of experience working in the beverage industry as a state manager for Constellation Brands. She’s especially proud that Mochilero Kitchen in Scottsdale will offer more than 30 different types of tequila and mescals, among other fine wines and spirits..
Cota, who’s resume includes a decade of experience in chef roles at the Ritz Carlton, Phoenician and JW Marriott, runs Mochilero as a scratch kitchen where everything is made to order, fresh daily and using only the finest ingredients. Cota spends his time in the back of the house, focusing on the flavor profiles and stand-out dishes like his Classic Mole, which was a dish he grew up eating from his grandmother who was from southern Mexico.
Another favorite at Mochilero Kitchen are the variations of tacos, including a vegetarian mushroom taco that gets rave reviews and the Mariscos, a raw seafood offering that is cooked in lime juice.
“These are the most authentic and savory dishes you will find from the different various regions of Mexico,” said Miranda. “When you combine our cuisine with the atmosphere, I think we have created something that has a very traditional warm feeling and is family friendly, and timeless all at the same time.”
Mochilero Kitchen will also offer acoustic entertainment some weekend nights. The restaurant is open for lunch starting at 11:00a.m. and the dinner menu starts at 3:00p.m seven days a week.
Please visit https://mochilerokitchen.com/ for more information.
Mochilero Kitchen in North Scottsdale is located at 14850 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Unit 117 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260.
Mochilero Kitchen is also located in Peoria at 6791 West Happy Valley Road, Suite 100 Peoria, AZ 85383.
In regard to your latest opinion, I offer the following.
The cost estimates for the projects that are part of the 2019 Bond Election were prepared in the 2018-time frame and as you noted no one predicted the rampant inflation that is a result of Covid and other governmental spending. In addition, some of the projects have had scope changes which has increased the costs.
The voters approved three questions and the amounts of the Bonds authorized for these three questions cannot be increased. Any additional funding to supplement the shortfall needs to come from other sources. The city sold property in the vicinity of Bell Road and 94th St in an amount of approximately $40 million dollars. These funds, at the discretion of the Council, have been used to fund shortfalls on certain projects. General Fund and other sources can be used but this may not necessarily be the best use of the funds.
As you state options for consideration include removing certain projects from the 2019 Program. This has happened in the past. For the Bond 2000 program there were projects that were removed because of lack of funds. One of those projects was Pinnacle Peak Road, Pima to Scottsdale Rd. Funds for this project were shifted to the Indian Bend Rd, Hayden to Scottsdale Rd. There were other projects in the Bond 2000 program that were also not completed. Read More
By Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin
Government agencies possess a lot of sensitive data—some of it private in nature—and one of our core jobs is making sure that data is secure and cannot be compromised.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where privacy is more difficult to achieve than ever, whether you’re an individual or a large organization.
We know social media companies gather loads of personal information on users to better customize the content they serve. And we know TikTok is not alone in doing this. But there are national security and privacy concerns when TikTok’s interests interfere with the best interests of Maricopa County’s residents.
Today we are banning TikTok in particular, for three reasons:
TikTok is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Beijing, China based technology firm, ByteDance. And we know that in China, what the government wants, the government gets. If the communist government tells ByteDance to hand over the sensitive data of Tik Tok’s American users, who will stop them? We can’t risk that.
Tik Tok has been found to have security vulnerabilities that could expose County-owned or County-leased devices to malicious actors. These vulnerabilities are unique to this app.
We are a proactive government. When something needs to get done, we don’t wait. We take action.
Several county governments of our size—such as Harris County, Los Angeles County, and Clark County—still have active TikTok accounts. Several other counties don’t post content on the app, but they have not banned TikTok from government devices.
We note that several state-level governmental entities in Arizona have banned TikTok from government devices through executive orders. But we will go further. Rather than just issue an order or directive, the Board is voting, on-the-record, so that County residents know where each of us stand. Maricopa County is the largest and first jurisdiction, in Arizona, to vote for a TikTok ban on government devices. Of the five largest counties in America, Maricopa County is the first to ban TikTok on government devices.
Further, the resolution we are approving today extends beyond TikTok because we know there are other applications that may pose cybersecurity risks to the County. The Board has asked our Office of Enterprise Technology to produce a yearly report, identifying other apps that pose cybersecurity threats and may need to be restricted. If we need to act in other cases, we will.
People are free to make choices about which apps they use and assess their own risk tolerance. But public servants must be held to a higher standard. I believe the privacy of our residents—and the security of their government—necessitates a ban on TikTok from Maricopa County’s devices.
By Councilmember Betty Janik
Recently, I received emails asking me to “reject” the Maricopa Association of Governors (MAG) recommendations on techniques to reduce ozone levels in Maricopa County. First, what is MAG? It is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). By state statue MPO is the policy board created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process including plans for managing ozone, carbon monoxide and particulates. MAG is our MPO. While MAG oversees planning and managing policy, the county and the state are entrusted with regulating policy.
Now let’s get back to the emails. The email from “votervoice” claimed specific MAG recommendations included a ban on gas powered cars, gas powered water heaters, etc. No ban has been recommended. A slick video was also referenced that had a kernel of truth mixed in with gross exaggerations of reality. It is totally reasonable that many who received the email believed it and were very upset. All too often we see the unbelievable unfold before our eyes and there is the ever-present messaging of social media with little regard for accuracy or truth. Let’s clarify the ozone issue:
Based on solid scientific evidence, our Government Relations Director has communicated to us that:
The region has serious air quality issues. As a region and a state, we must present a plan to improve our air quality to avoid federal intervention.
Here are some of the pertinent MAG Talking Points on Ozone Nonattainment from April 20, 2023:
– The Maricopa County area has been reclassified from Marginal to Moderate ozone nonattainment.
– The Federal Clean Air Act and the EPA require our region to meet the federal ozone standard by the summer of 2024.
– MAG’s Technical Air Quality Committee, compromising technical staff from member agencies and the business community, has reviewed an initial list of potential measures to reduce ozone. This list of potential measures has NOT yet been considered by MAG policy committees.
– Discussion on potential new ozone control measures will continue this spring as part of MAG’s planning responsibilities.
To learn more, go to pages 47-78:
When we receive messages on hot button issues, please remember many are false. Know that there is more that unites us as a community than divides us. We all share common goals that include a safe environment with clean air and a reliable source of water, among others. We need to build on these threads of unity that bind us as a thriving city. Unfortunately, the current emphasis appears to be on the differences of opinion on how to achieve our goals rather than identifying common ground from which compromise and solutions can be generated. I ask you to always focus on the issues and be respectful of others with differing points of view. Refrain from attacking individuals. By listening to all perspectives, we will be better able to attain satisfactory outcomes that benefit the greater good.
By Walter Isaacson
Every week during my Tulane class on the digital revolution I send the class a note. Fwiw, here is the final note I sent this semester commenting on the historic nature of what has just occurred in the field of artificial intelligence:
But one poem I like is William Wordsworth’s “The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement.”
It has a wonderful pair of lines: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very heaven!”
It is relevant, of course, because our class in 2023 got to share a head-snapping moment in history together, the sudden birth of a revolution: The AI Revolution. We got to see, as the poet said, how it appeared to enthusiasts at its commencement.
Technology revolutions usually start with little fanfare. No one woke up one morning in 1760 and shouted, “OMG, the Industrial Revolution has just begun.” Even the Digital Revolution chugged away for many years in the background, with hobbyists cobbling together personal computers to show off at geeky gatherings such as the Homebrew Computer Club, before people noticed that the world was being fundamentally transformed. The Artificial Intelligence Revolution is different. Within a few weeks in the Spring of 2023, millions of tech-aware and then ordinary folks noticed that a transformation was happening with astonishing speed that would change the nature of work, learning, creativity, and the tasks of daily life.
We got to share that moment and to use it to think through the central question in this course: Was Ada Lovelace right in saying that humans and machines working closely together would be the future, or was Alan Turing right in saying that someday machines will be able to think in ways indistinguishable from humans and we may all be left behind? There is no sure answer, but your challenge, which I hope this course prepared you for, is to figure out how to navigate and survive and thrive in a future where you get to apply your creativity to add value.
Walter Isaacson is a former editor of TIME Magazine and former CEO of CNN
Not just around the country, but around the world people often have a singular first thought that pops into their mind when they are asked about Arizona: it’s a desert, it’s dry, it’s hot, or something of the sort. Water has always been a significant question mark, but that has intensified in recent years as water levels at our biggest sources of water have been at critically low levels.
In what has seemed to be a perennial string of bad stories about a worsening situation, it seems as though we have finally gotten some good news. Water flow from the Colorado River after a heavy snow season in the Rockies has meant that the water levels at Lake Powell have rebounded very significantly this year. Finally a reversal to the consistent dropping of the water levels from Powell and Lake Mead.
According to officials, Lake Powell’s water level is about 50 feet higher than last year, and Lake Mead’s about 22 feet higher. Obviously one data point, or one year in this case, does not make a trend. Moreover, both are only about 26% full as of now, so the long cycle of drought is certainly not officially over and the future of Arizona (and much of the southwest) is not out of the woods yet.
Predicting the weather a week out is difficult enough in most places other than the Valley (I think we can go out on a limb and say that it will probably be sunny and warm next week), but attempting to predict with high confidence if this high snowfall season will repeat in subsequent years is of course nearly impossible. It can be considered a brief alleviation to the worst case scenarios of drought plans across the state, but municipalities can’t reasonably spike the football in the assumption that all is well.
As Arizona continues to be one of the most in-demand places for people to move to, even one year of reversing drought is extremely welcome. But we can’t for a moment assume that everything is alright, that our already strained resources can withstand the massive recent influx.
While Arizona is a great place to live and we don’t want to discourage people fleeing oppressive taxation on the left coast or oppressive snowfall from the north, it would behoove our state to consider alternative water sources, perhaps including technology such as desalination techniques, to think even more strategically and long-term. If this one year is an aberration and the drought continues, an attempted exodus of millions from one state is not an ideal option for anyone involved.
Short-term rentals (STRs) have long been a contentious subject in Scottsdale; its status as a vacation destination has meant that plenty of people renting out their homes with extremely little oversight or regulation to tourists who are unconcerned about the surrounding neighbors. The resulting issues have been a common source of grievance for many residents and is a subject we have covered often, which you can find here.
We have long been on board with more robust regulation, as lobbying at the state level hamstrung efforts from local municipalities to impose local control and deal with the issue themselves. That said, the invisible hand of the markets and economics will often be a stronger mitigating factor than government, as the Super Bowl recently showed.
As you’ll remember, the Super Bowl was held in Glendale this year, and Scottsdale lit up at the prospect of being one of the centers of tourism catering to out-of-town visitors. And apparently a strong oversupply of STRs led to very disappointing profits for those owner/operators during the Super Bowl. Alas, everyone had the same idea, which by nature will turn it into less of a good idea. Supply vs. demand, Economics 101.
The economics of STRs have often been a bit tenuous; if you are in a high demand area, great, but few things are guaranteed. But as noted in the article, this seems to be a possible last straw for some people in their usage of the property; if they couldn’t make great money during the Super Bowl, well known as a potential goldmine, and there is obviously so much competition in the area in this same space, what are they doing remaining in that space?
The great possible news is that if even a fraction of these homes go up for sale or for rental, the downward push on rent and housing prices when it is so sorely needed wouldn’t be negligible. At over 5,000 STRs in Scottsdale alone in 2021 and a statewide number that is likely to be an order of magnitude more, a decrease in that number would be a significant flood of homes on the market, an undeniably positive development for many in the state who are struggling with housing costs.
By nature, we do not prefer a heavy hand from government. In this case it was more necessary due to, ironically enough, a heavy hand from state government in the name of doing away with local control. STR regulation has been horribly mismanaged for quite some time. But one concept that you can nearly always trust (much more so than government) is basic economics. And it seems as though the economics of the STR market has gotten out of whack, and the invisible hand is pushing it back. It’s about time.
Maricopa Dems Have Their Own Saturday Night Massacre: Embattled Executive Director Fires Nearly Everyone
Students of history (or older readers) will remember the Saturday Night Massacre: it was the last gasp of the Nixon administration and its attempt to cover up the Watergate scandal. In it, Nixon ordered his Justice Department officials to fire the Special Prosecutor in charge of Watergate, which led to a string of resignations as a result.
The Maricopa County Democratic Party seems to have had its own version of the Saturday Night Massacre in what seems to be embattled Executive Director Ne’Lexia Galloway’s attempt to protect her own job in the midst of underperformance, internal dissatisfaction, and a potential financial scandal. As a reminder, Galloway is engaged to be married to Bruce Franks Jr., the disgraced former Missouri State Rep/battle rapper/campaign grifter who played a significant role in tanking Julie Gunnigle’s campaign for County Attorney (get up to date on him here).
In a bombshell recent action, we’ve learned that Galloway personally fired every member of the staff except for one older, part-time employee nearing retirement (i.e. someone not deemed a threat). Their last day was at the end of February. The positions that were eliminated were organizing director (the person in charge of reaching out to potential voters), political director, and campaign director. While short term jobs are not renewed immediately after an election, to have such critical roles eliminated in a battleground county with all countywide seats up for election next year is unprecedented.
Some might say that money is a significant issue, and they are indeed light on cash, with only $16K available at the end of February. However, insiders say that part of this cash crunch is a result of gross mismanagement of funds, including a large allocation of cash sent out for what was supposed to be for mailers; but those mailers never went out. Insiders say that Galloway pushed for this vendor because the pricing was so cheap, but the pricing was so cheap because it didn’t account for the large majority of the costs: postage. A true rookie mistake. Now the party is attempting to claw back those funds, and numerous district chairs are extremely displeased.
Adding to that awkwardness? The fact that one of Galloway’s first actions after becoming the ED of the county Democratic Party was a highly public attempt to attack her former boss Ruben Gallego. Galloway spent several days hyping up a major announcement she was going to drop, only for it to be this statement, amounting to little more than a Gen Z’er who is amazed to learn that their boss won’t fawn over every single idea that a new college graduate has. This is much, MUCH more awkward of a dynamic now that Gallego is the presumed Democratic candidate for the US Senate race in 2024.
Additionally, the friend’s list seems to be narrowing, as the county party became an official sponsor of an event that Galloway’s fiance Franks Jr. put on which neglected to invite the Kesha Hodge Washington, a Democrat and favored candidate of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Attempting to purposely alienate the most powerful Democratic elected official of a local seat is…highly risky.
So in summary, it has been bad decisions compounded by bad performance followed by bad financial management that has led to this place: where threats were all around and where money was tight, so Galloway decided to solve both issues at once. And now they will be hamstrung regarding organizing for the future, and their brand has taken a real hit. Her hire has turned into a one-person disaster.
Good governance depends on at least two strong parties that are led competently and have compelling messages. We have seen parts of the Republican party in Arizona devolve into conspiracy theories, and now we are seeing the local Democratic party devolve into power struggles designed to paper over incompetence and underperformance. Much like the Saturday Night Massacre, it’s a sad state of affairs. We can only hope that much like that event, it leads to a wholesale change in leadership and an entirely new direction.
Political Party Reorg Time: Newly Electeds are Tipping Scales in the Race to be the Next AZ Dem Chair
By Alexander Lomax
Now that midterm elections are out of the way, next comes the tradition of political parties having their “reorganization” meetings. What this entails is all of the dedicated party apparatchiks coming together to vote on who should be in their party’s leadership. At the county level, Precinct Committeepeople (PCs) come together to vote on county party leadership. PCs also vote to see who will be on the State Committee, the members of which then vote for state party leadership.
Often, these events are dry and long, full of procedural votes on their party platform, or votes for such boring and generally meaningless positions as 2nd Vice Chair of the county party or the like. Often, leadership will run for re-election, and unless they are particularly unpopular, any opposition will be token opposition. There often aren’t a ton of surprises. However, the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, Raquel Teran, is not seeking re-election, which means a power vacuum. And with any power vacuum, it won’t go unfilled for too long.
Even more interesting and impactful is the fact that the Dems have had big wins, winning the US Senate seat, the Governor’s race, Secretary of State, and (pending recount) the AG’s office. There is actual power to be had in roles like this. So when those newly electeds all coalesced behind candidates quickly, our ears were perked.
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo threw his hat in the ring; as the only Democrat of the five member board for several election cycles, he has not had much impact on local politics or policy, and while he has been a mainstay in the local Dem scene he hasn’t been too influential. Therefore it was intriguing to see Governor-elect Katie Hobbs giving her endorsement to him. While his other support seems to have been lackluster, having Hobbs on his side is not to be trifled with. Along with that is a member of her transition team stating that it is her right to anoint the next Chair, which…received pushback.
The next Chair shall not be anointed, however: longtime local union organizer Yolanda Bejarano has stated her intention to run. While many people announce an intention to run, hers is followed by a who’s who of local Democrats backing her: Senator Mark Kelly, Secretary of State-elect Adrian Fontes, presumptive Attorney General-elect Kris Mayes and Congressmen Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego have all announced their support.
Quite the intriguing development, where Arizona’s incoming Governor is nearly alone in her support of the party’s next Chair. It seems as though Bejarano, an organizer by trade, organized around Gallardo/Hobbs and consolidated support extremely deftly. Meanwhile Gallardo, a candidate in a safe blue seat with no primary challenges for ages, didn’t understand the game that he was playing and assumed that being friendly with one person was enough.
While the votes still need to be tallied, it certainly looks like Bejarano is in the driver’s seat, and with that a deep understanding of organizing and less of the social justice dedication that Teran (or at least gave lip service to).
And now, we wait to see the glorious show that the race for the AZ GOP Chair shall undoubtedly provide!
The survey tested all Republican candidates whose names will appear on the ballot for Governor in the upcoming August 2nd Republican primary.
With mail-in ballots already being returned, Kari Lake shows a commanding 11-point lead over Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake is pulling away from the field as a poll conducted by Data Orbital earlier in July showed Lake only 4 points ahead of Taylor Robson.
Pollster George Khalaf had this to say about the latest results, “With nearly 250,000 Republican ballots returned, it is clear Kari Lake has maintained – and grown – her lead in the Gubernatorial race. We have seen the Undecided rate steadily drop from 28% in late June to 12%, with a little more than a week until Election Day. With what we are seeing in our polling, and every other public poll released on the Governor’s race, one thing is clear: Kari Lake is on her way to securing the Republican nomination.”
This poll of 550 likely primary election voters was conducted through a combination of live survey and text to web that collected 32.4% of the results from live caller landlines, 34.2% from live caller cell phones, and 33.4% from text to web. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.26% with a 95% confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based on prior primary election voter turnout figures. The poll was conducted from July 18 – July 20, 2022. All non-released questions would not reasonably be expected to influence responses to all released questions. The questions released are verbatim from the survey provided to respondents. Toplines and demographic data can be found here. Crosstabs for this survey can be found here.