Featured Editorials

Marketplace

Scrum

Conservative's Corner


PHOENIX – Attorney General Brnovich announced today that the Attorney General’s Office awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to community organizations that provide mental health treatment and services to first responders. The organizations will assist firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement across the state.

Four different grants were awarded to organizations, including the United Phoenix Firefighters (two separate grants), EMPACT Suicide Prevention, and Marana Health Center. Over 2,000 first responders and first responder families are expected to be served statewide over the next year through direct treatment, mental health services, and training.Read More

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey announced today $300,000 in funding from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has been allocated to organizations across the state that support senior citizens, the homebound and those who are medically fragile. The funding will support organizations that have provided much needed aid to vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19, by assisting with grocery shopping, meal deliveries, transportation to medical appointments, emergency errands and social interaction during a time of physical distancing.

“Arizona continues to focus on protecting public health, especially for those most at-risk like seniors and those medically vulnerable,” said Governor Ducey. “Volunteer and community organizations across the state are working day and night to provide support for those in their care through additional food deliveries, transportation and other services — and we’re proud to support their efforts. Thank you to everyone who has donated to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund so we can protect at-risk Arizonans, and to everyone who has stepped up to help others.”

Recipients of the funding include:

  • Foundation for Senior Living (statewide)

  • Benevilla

  • Aster Aging

“We are so appreciative of this generous donation,” said Tom Egan, President and CEO of Foundation for Senior Living. “Our team has been working diligently to shift many of our programs to meal and food bag deliveries to seniors and adults with chronic health issues or disabilities. So far, we have seen our expenses increase by 25 percent and we’re anticipating the community will continue to need help throughout the summer. This donation will help offset our expenses and allow us to serve those in need.  We are so grateful to Governor Ducey and the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund!”

“We believe we are strongest when we work together,” says Joanne Thomson, President and CEO of Benevilla. “The support from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund Now will help provide much needed services to the most vulnerable population in our community. Working together we are able to help seniors with grocery shopping, emergency errands and more, we are able to provide support and friendship to caregivers who might feel overwhelmed and alone and continue to support families in our community during this time.”

“The support that Aster Aging has received from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund is truly making the difference for vulnerable older adults in the East Valley,” said Deborah Schaus, CEO of Aster Aging. “Requests for Meals on Wheels and our other basic need services have continued to grow as we strive to keep seniors safe during the pandemic.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to non-profit organizations serving Arizonans most in need statewide. The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. Arizonans can visit ArizonaTogether.org to learn more, donate and find volunteer opportunities.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has announced that following a national search, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has selected Arizona for its new U.S. advanced semiconductor factory. The project will create over 1,600 new high-tech jobs and generate thousands of additional jobs in the state for suppliers and other companies within the semiconductor industry. TSMC’s total spending on this project, including capital expenditure, will be approximately $12 billion from 2021 to 2029.

“We’re incredibly proud that one of the world’s leading technology companies has chosen Arizona for this high-tech project, one with national and global significance,” said Governor Ducey. “TSMC could have picked any place in the world to build this advanced manufacturing factory. They chose Arizona for our unbeatable business climate, already thriving tech sector and ready access to an international supply chain. I’d like to thank TSMC Chairman Dr. Mark Liu for his commitment to Arizona. We are honored to be selected for this project and look forward to building a collaborative long-term relationship with TSMC. I’m very grateful to President Donald Trump for his leadership and tireless efforts to bring more manufacturing back to our shores. I’d also like to thank Secretary Ross, his team at the U.S. Department of Commerce including SelectUSA, and the Trump administration for their partnership.”

Arizona has long been a hub for the advanced manufacturing and semiconductor industries. The state’s skilled workforce, strong supply chain, strategic geographic location, commitment to pro-innovation policies and unmatched quality of life have continued to drive rapid industry growth and economic momentum. This new U.S. facility will enable TSMC to provide enhanced service to customers and partners and increase its ability to attract global talent.

The facility will utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers per month. Construction is planned to begin in 2021 with production targeted to start in 2024. The Arizona facility will be the company’s second manufacturing operation in the United States.

Several sites in the City of Phoenix are still being evaluated for the location of the factory. The Arizona Commerce Authority will continue working with TSMC, the U.S. administration, the City of Phoenix and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council to finalize all aspects of the project.

PHOENIX — With Arizona food banks experiencing a spike in demand, Governor Doug Ducey today announced a $500,000 grant from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund for Arizona food banks to help fight hunger. Member organizations that are part of the Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank, which is receiving the grant, supply a network of nearly 1,000 food pantries and organizations in all 15 counties in Arizona, some of which have experienced a demand up to five times greater than usual due to COVID-19.

“We want to make sure nobody goes hungry as we respond to COVID-19 and get people back to work,” said Governor Ducey. “With these dollars, Arizona food pantries across the state will be able to make more food deliveries and help more families, while implementing new protocols that prioritize public health such as drive-thru pick-ups. This grant is made possible because of the generous donations to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, and my thanks goes out to everyone coming together and pitching in to help Arizonans in need.”

The Association of Arizona Food Banks/Arizona Food Bank Network is comprised of five regional food banks, including:

  • St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance

  • Desert Mission Food Bank

  • United Food Bank

  • Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

  • Yuma Community Food Bank

The food banks will use the funding to address the spike in demand, including: meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities; acquiring more packaging materials to deliver food; securing additional storage space; implementing further adaptations to promote physical distancing among clients; coordinating convenient drive-through food pick-ups; and more.

“These unprecedented circumstances have created an increased demand for our services to support Arizonans who are struggling to provide the most basic needs for their families,” said Angie Rodgers, President & CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network. “This gift from the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund will help to ensure small pantries in local communities stay open and ready for families in need during this time. We’re grateful for the support which will make a difference in our capacity to serve across the state.”

“Our deepest thanks to Governor Ducey and everyone who donated or raised money for the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund, making this gift to AzFBN possible. These dollars will help small food pantries statewide as they work to help Arizonans struggling with hunger,” said Michael McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors, Arizona Food Bank Network, and CEO, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “These charities are doing all they can to meet the increasing need, and this financial help for them truly couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund was established by Governor Ducey as part of the Arizona Together Initiative to provide financial support to nonprofit organizations serving Arizonans in need.

The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund has collected more than $8.2 million to date. In April, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation donated $5 million to support the purchase of PPE including 1.1 million N-95 masks. Additional grant announcements will be made as disbursements are finalized.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund can learn more about how to contribute at ArizonaTogether.org.

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that the Stay At Home order in Arizona will be ending on May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery. The new guidance aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.

Arizona’s new Executive Order, which takes effect on Saturday, May 16, builds on Arizona’s comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, including: ramping up testing availability and frequency; implementing tracking of key health metrics such as reported symptomatic cases and emergency room usage; standing up surge hospital capacity to be used as needed; expanding statewide contact tracing; bolstering supply chains for personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers and emergency responders; implementing enhanced safety protocols to protect those living and working in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes; and providing public health guidance for businesses and individuals to ensure continued physical distancing.

“Since the start of this pandemic, Arizona has taken a calm and steady approach to protecting health and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “Today, our hospitals have capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures; and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery — while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority. I’m grateful to all Arizonans for their partnership and cooperation during these trying times. By continuing to follow the data and recommendations of public health officials, we can continue to move forward safely and responsibly together.”

Governor Ducey also announced today an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.

The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:

  • Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

  • Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)

While never formally closed, many places of worship opted to temporarily change or suspend services in order to follow physical distancing guidelines. As they resume operations, the Arizona Department of Health Services released GUIDANCE for enhanced physical distancing and safety precautions.

View today’s Executive Order HERE.

View daily Arizona updates HERE.

Featured Editorials


By Tim Stratton

Ballots have arrived in your mailbox asking for your vote on whether to approve or reject the 2035 General Plan. For the fiscal health and wellbeing of the City of Scottsdale I urge you to vote no on the plan. There are many opinions on this plan and the spirited community debate is healthy and good to see.  I only wish it had been more prevalent as the City Council discussed the issue over the spring and summer months.  I have been concerned and critical of this plan from the beginning for its bad fiscal implications, as well as its bad effects on property values in Scottsdale.  It is nice to see some on Council finally coming around to the same conclusion.

Councilmembers Solange Whitehead and Betty Janik have stated this plan doesn’t raise your taxes.  They are dead wrong, and these statements demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of municipal finance.  Bad land use policies and policies that reduce property values and cost the City of Scottsdale revenue in the form of reduced sales and property taxes can cripple the City’s budget. When that happens, the dollars to support our great amenities and public safety budget will have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is an increase in your taxes. Don’t be fooled by their pandering and fearmongering.  These issues are tied directly to the fiscal health and wellbeing of the City and this plan creates significant long term fiscal challenges.

Contrary to the elements in this General Plan, good land use policy protects our community and allows us to maximize property tax revenues, make smart budgeting decisions, and enhance our underlying tourism and retail base; however, this plan fails to protect our critical tourism industry and says nothing about the short-term vacation rental crisis that is ruining Scottsdale neighborhoods and stealing tax revenues from our legitimate hotels and resorts.

This plan does not reflect the high standards of our community. Vote NO on the 2035 General Plan. We need leaders with vision on City Council who see the big picture of their decisions and understand the result of bad policy.  Scottsdale has a budget of $2.75 billion dollars.  It needs to be ran as such, and not like an HOA. Every decision that is made should be made through the lens of sound fiscal policy.

Tim Stratton is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council

By Ronald Sampson

We have previously written about the consistently wise actions coming out of the Scottsdale Unified School District governing board, and the many misled parents who decided to aggressively protest these moves, often in disruptive manners. Well now it seems that they have a powerful friend on their side: the Goldwater Institute.

For those who are unaware, the Goldwater Institute, named after Arizona’s own bastion of small government conservatism, has turned into a legal tool for conservative political movements which often betray the desired objectives of its namesake. In this case they are stating that SUSD violated open meeting laws by not allowing sufficient observer access and comment.

As we all know, Covid has made traditional meetings largely go away for the last 18 months, and as such the district complied with AG Mark Brnovich’s guidance when it came to remote meetings. The complainants say that they were not reasonably accommodated when it came to watching the meeting outside of the room.

They have smartphones, right? They could have just pulled up the meeting on their smartphones and watched it, correct? Were they expecting a TV to be rolled in there for their benefit?

If we’re being honest here, the Goldwater Institute has turned into little more than a smaller scale conservative version of the ACLU: once a proud, principled organization that held true to its stated mission, but now is little more than a piece of a political apparatus.

SUSD has had more than enough unnecessary difficulties based on the irrational protestors that seem to delight in making their lives miserable. They don’t deserve having a large legal organization going after them on top of that. They have been exemplary in their responses to a very difficult situation, and have earned our trust, not harassment and lawsuits.

By Alexander Lomax

You used to know if you were getting old if you had to tell kids to get off of your lawn. Perhaps now, the proper indicator of getting old is telling kids to get off that TikTok.

You are very likely aware of the TikTok app, one focused on short video content that has taken off with “Zoomers” (the generation after Millennials) and teenagers. Many “TikTok trends” have gone viral; many of them are harmless and silly dances, but some of them have been destructive. Amongst the destructive ones has been the recent trend of stealing or damaging school property, a viral trend called “Devious Licks” (sidenote: we have no idea why it is called that, and would rather not kill brain cells in the quest to find out why). According to Scottsdale Police Sergeant Kevin Quon, this troubling trend has reached Scottsdale schools with damage to restrooms and other school property, and with several police reports filed.

Some social media trends seem to be more designed to get clicks from concerned older people but are not widely adopted, such as the “tide pod challenge”. Indeed, many purported threats to civilized society are indeed designed to scare the Baby Boomer crowd who didn’t grow up with the internet and don’t have the refined nose to sniff out bad clickbait (i.e. no one is giving their marijuana edibles to your kids for Halloween. Absolutely no one). But a quick Google search demonstrates that this is a national trend with a pretty widespread and significant degree of both damage caused and self-inflicted problems for the delinquents dumb enough to show the world how they’re breaking the law.

Indeed, the Information Age has allowed for the best and brightest to excel and take technology to parabolic heights previously unconsidered or deemed science fantasy. On the flip side, it has given EVERYONE a potential voice to use, and some people would do the world a favor by keeping that voice tucked far, far away from civilized society.

So yes, social media is egging on and making viral the destruction of school property, even in our wonderful slice of desert heaven. Perhaps that instead of warning our kids and grandkids about the dangers of drugs, we should remind them about how incredibly stupid it is to break the law and put it on the internet. We can’t help but let out a big, loud sigh and say, “Kids these days…”.

By Betty Janik

Please cast your vote and return by mail. Ballot must be received by November 2 at 7 pm.
1. The General Plan 2035 is the result of a strenuous public review process. Members of Council considered hundreds of comments submitted by citizens and citizen groups. Changes were made to the GP 2035 based on these comments. It is the voice of the Citizens.

2. GP 2035 protects our treasured open space by adding 3 new categories of Major Amendments that require a supermajority (5 council votes, not 4) for zoning changes to higher density. New developments will now be required to provide open space.

3. GP 2035 REQUIRES neighborhood input on development projects, previously input was only “encouraged.”

4. Removes the infill incentive district used by developers to build taller with lower standards for design. Additionally, developers are now expected to pay their fair share of costs, not pass them on to taxpayers.

5. Guides us into the next decade with a blueprint for sustainability, reduction of the urban heat island, and smart water usage while protecting our western heritage in the Old Town Historic District.

Contrary to what our opponents are posting, General Plan 2035 absolutely does not raise taxes.

To see a side by side comparison of 2001 and 2035 Plans
https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Assets/ScottsdaleAZ/General+Plan/2035/2035_CityCouncil_FinalLegislative.pdf

For voting information visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/elections

The General Plan 2035 has been endorsed by COGS ( Coalition of Greater Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Councilwoman Betty Janik

The Valley’s business community has been paying close attention to the turn Scottsdale’s 2020 elections have meant for one of the state and country’s more outstanding cities.  Would major investments still be rewarded or reviled by the new, slower-growth governing majority?

Last night, Scottsdale’s City Council, including Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield, showed a sagacious balance of the anti-everything inmates trying to run the asylum and the more mature and sober approach needed to lead a sophisticated city.  That’s because on a 6-1 vote, the Council approved a solid plan by Toll Brothers to replace an old bar with 149 nicely designed apartments near Camelback and Miller, including a pioneering attainable housing element.  Mayor David Ortega was the lone dissenter, offering a weird critique of the plan that sounded more jibberish than justified.

This was good news because while Scottsdale’s enviable environs are still attracting healthy investments, others are bypassing the community altogether because some businesses don’t want to deal with the current politics.  Indeed, some of the city’s most notable legacy businesses are grumbling about how difficult city staff has become because they want to better ingratiate themselves with the slower growth sentiment.

The negative side of being anti-business will not be felt for years, but it will be felt.  Just like the inanity over new “apartments” across from Honor Health’s North Scottsdale campus are doing.  Anyone who has walked that site, seen what’s there and understands there is no opposition coming from anyone in the area, only support, understands the total insanity of such opposition.  As a reminder, there haven’t been any apartments built within 5 miles of the site in decades.  Decades. Whether one (more likely) or both of those projects move forward, they are of the type that would normally be on a consent agenda not the subject of any type of consternation.  Business leaders are closely watching that ridiculous saga too.

But Tuesday night was an opportunity to applaud a sound decision for a sound plan, by sound policymakers that evening, inspiring hope that balance and not more political bile will be the rule and not the exception over the coming years in a most wonderful city.

By Ronald Sampson

If you’ve been politically aware for any period of time, you have become well accustomed to political hit jobs. We all know that political attacks work (as much as we may dislike it), and that negative campaigning has an impact. That said, there is typically a limit as to what you can say, that it must have some degree of believability. If you tell voters that a certain candidate or proposition is going to make your children contract the bubonic plague and turn into murderous zombies, that ad will probably be counterproductive because a reasonable person won’t take it seriously.

There is a middle ground that is nefarious but sometimes effective though: where you prey on the voters’ ignorance and unlikelihood of doing adequate research on a subject. With that, you can fill that vacuum of knowledge with nearly any absurdity you like, and few will be too turned off by it because few voters do adequate due diligence on relatively arcane subjects (we’re all busy people with lives, after all).

Enter this mailer which was paid for by the Market Freedom Alliance, a relatively little known PAC run by a Scottsdale man named Chuck Schmidt, and seems to have gone out throughout Scottsdale this past weekend. The PAC’s website still has a petition intended to go out to President Obama, so it is safe to say that they are not a traditional player in this space.

Let’s talk about the subject of Proposition 463, the Scottsdale General Plan 2035. I invite you to take a look for yourself at what it says right here. It is a non-binding plan meant to guide growth and development plan with such controversial bullet points as “Advance Innovation and Prosperity” and “Collaborate and Engage”. This document is about as controversial as pictures with puppies. Extremely few people would disagree with the bulk of it.

What does Proposition 463 address? Well, it doesn’t address anything that this mailer says it does. It doesn’t talk about taxes, property rights, nor public safety spending. It has nothing to do with those subjects at all, and as for the other bullet point, “Lower property values”, the justification could be made that it would be beneficial for property values due to guidance for higher development standards.

So why does this mailer say those things? The betting theme is quite ironic, because what they are doing is betting on your ignorance. They are betting that you couldn’t be bothered to do an ounce of homework, and are pulling out all of the traditional boogeyman political tropes. I’m slightly surprised they didn’t talk about Antifa rioting through your town if you vote Yes.

This group is a “dark money” group, so we can’t know for certain who paid for this. It shouldn’t matter. Here is the general plan right here…give it a read, or at least a skim-through, and if you think it sounds reasonable, vote Yes. It’s that simple. Don’t be one of those ignorant voters that this group is betting on.

By Solange Whitehead

Councilmember Solange Whitehead

Scottsdale’s allure was built on exceptional design standards, world-class amenities, and an expansive amount of protected open space.  However, Scottsdale’s current general plan is decades old and is no longer protecting us.  General Plan 2035 was written with input from hundreds of residents and tackles today’s issues.  On development, General Plan 2035 creates a “Scottsdale premium” that favors the highest quality projects and protects Scottsdale’s character and quality of life.

For these reasons, Scottsdale’s staunchest resident advocates and the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) have strongly endorsed a YES Vote on General Plan 2035. But an outside group has descended on Scottsdale in an effort to undermine our community and defeat General Plan 2035.

Don’t be fooled by this outside group’s misinformation campaign.  General Plan 2035 does not raise taxes or take away property rights. General Plan 2035 does raise the bar on development by:

  • Removing a developer incentive that provided developers with discounts and allowed build taller buildings, lower design standards, and expedited approvals.
  • Requiring public input on development which today is only encouraged.
  • Establishing 3 new Major General Amendment Plan categories requiring a super majority (five votes) of Council to approve zoning applications for these land use categories. Today, those same land use changes only require 4 Council votes
  • Development will be required to provide public open space
  • Adding a new goal “require development to pay its share”

General Plan 2035 also is focused on reversing urbanization and heights in Scottsdale’s Old Town by:

  • Explicitly excluding light “rail” and “modern streetcars” as future multimodal options
  • Adding a new goal to protect “the heritage and western character of the historic Old Town District.”

Beyond development, General Plan 2035 sets priorities for taking care of all of our city’s residents. Please join me and vote to protect Scottsdale with a YES vote on General Plan 2035, Prop 463.

Solange Whitehead is a Scottsdale City Councilmember

By Larry Kush

Photo Credit: YourValley.net

During my many years of service on the Scottsdale Planning Commission, there were several meetings where city staff updated us on the progress of the revised general plan and asked us for our comments.  City Planning Staff put in untold hours of work on this plan, holding several meetings with stake holders (citizens) to explain the plan and receive input.  Eventually, the commission approved the plan, as written and passed it onto the new city council members., To a person, the city council approved the plan and sent it on to the voters.  In fact, several of them (to include councilwoman Whitehead and Mayor Ortega) have written articles on the plan encouraging the public to vote YES this November.

The new plan clearly outlines areas of the city designated as “growth areas” where mixed use projects are encouraged.  One of these areas is along the Shea corridor in North Scottsdale.  Recently, two multifamily developers have proposed new, badly needed, apartments in this area.  Councilwoman Whitehead initially supported these plans, that is, until the local NIMBY (Not in my backyard) crowd, who do not even live near the planned project, flooded the council woman with protest emails and other social media condemnations making it clear to her that she was forgetting that opposing growth is why they had elected her in the first place.  Well, you guessed it!   Whitehead immediately caved and withdrew her support of these planned communities and for good measure withdrew her previous support for the redevelopment of a failed shopping center on Osborne and Hayden Roads.  The very same project that she highly praised when it was presented at the Development Review Board meeting of which she was the chair.

The developers have all cried foul and accused the councilwoman of perfidy.  Each of them having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to please councilwoman Whitehead and the surrounding community, only to be abandoned by Whitehead at the last minute. As of this writing, each of these projects have postponed their planned city council hearings, not wishing to throw good money after bad as well as not knowing who in City leadership they can trust.

During my six-year stint in the Army during the Vietnam war, one thing that I learned about leadership was that you cannot serve two masters. If you do, you will eventually alienate both of them and lose all credibility of those you are tasked to lead.  This stated abandonment, by Whitehead, of these critically needed apartment homes is a good example of failed leadership.  The development community has learned that she is not to be trusted and the NIMBY community is angry that she supported these projects in the first place.  Ms. Whitehead is running for re-election, hopefully she will not prevail, as our city needs leadership upon which they can count.

Solange’s actions are why I will not support the new general plan (and encourage others to join me) for what is the point of supporting the plan which our mayor and several city council members (lead by Whitehead) all support while at the same time showing through their actions that they will not support the development guidelines laid out that very plan?  I, for one, cannot bring myself to join in their hypocrisy.

 

Larry Kush is a six year member of the Scottsdale Planning Commissioner, 40+ year Scottsdale resident and lifelong advocate of fair housing

By Ronald Sampson

Photo Credit: Arizona Republic

It’s the time honored trope in politics: you move out to the wing for the primary election, and pivot towards the middle for the general election. However, the danger is in going too far to one side to win a primary, only to make yourself unpalatable to general election voters as a result. This is the delicate balance that Kari Lake now finds herself encountering.

Thus far, she has embraced the hard-right approach, but with a grace that Kelli Ward completely lacks. Touting her Trump endorsement is a given, although her recent touting of an endorsement by pillow guy and noted conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, as well as disgraced former NSA head Michael Flynn are questionable at best. However, the real test of that balance came last week at an “election integrity” and “medical freedom” (i.e. anti-vax and anti-mask) rally put on by the fringe right-wing group the Patriot Party of Arizona

The group, whose founder was arrested for trespassing in a Chandler school just a few months ago, is no doubt dubious in tactics and intention. They do have some sway with the reddest of Republicans however; they were able to nab Kelly Townsend as their keynote speaker for their rally after all. But the real issue was that they had asked candidates to sign a pledge to support them before speaking. Lake didn’t sign, saying that she hadn’t had a chance to read it beforehand, which led to heckling and booing from the audience. Yes, a completely reasonable assertion that she didn’t want to sign anything before reading it was met by boos.

Herein lies the danger of placating extremists on either side: it will push you towards unpalatable extremes. After all, anything you say or do while campaigning can and will be used against you in the court of voter opinion.

Even through her popularity and clear front-runner status, Lake has made a few questionable decisions which will give cannon fodder for her general election opponent (if she makes it that far). Touting endorsements from Lindell and Flynn are among them, as is even giving a fringe group the time of day when she doesn’t need them. Lake may be well served to avoid them going forward however; if you lie with pigs, you’ll get covered in feces, and that smell may not go away soon enough. Lake doesn’t need to out-flank everyone to their right, she just needs to stay in a reasonable lane and stay disciplined in this marathon.

Photo Credit: Arizona Mirror

Many of our readers are aware of the redistricting process going on currently; the Independent Redistricting Committee, a 5 person appointed body, is currently redrawing the congressional and legislative lines in the state of Arizona, as they do every decade after the census. Every decade there is conversation about what populations go into what districts, as well as the political consequences therein.

Well the first draft of the proposed lines came out recently, and it could be seen as a middle finger to the town of Paradise Valley. The proposed map cuts PV into four different legislative districts.

That’s right…they’re proposing cutting the town of 14,000 people, one of the wealthiest areas in the state, into four districts.

This would create a confusing nightmare for both candidates and voters alike. For candidates, targeting the right voters would be unnecessarily complicated, especially with any method not as precise as direct mail. For voters, imagine trying to find out what district you’re in and who you can vote for, especially since they would very likely get errant advertisements from candidates out-of-district. As Councilmember Julie Pace wisely noted, “Four is too many, it doesn’t work. For campaigning, signage, communications, reaching out, it really is complicated”.

So how did this happen? It’s tough to say, but obviously there is a lack of PV representation in the Independent Redistricting Commission. And with PV resident Aaron Lieberman gone from the legislature, and Steve Chucri gone from the County Board of Supervisors, we have to wonder, where else is PV underrepresented.

We tend to believe that this is pure oversight, and hopefully with effective lobbying (as seems to be in place now) it will be rectified. It does make one wonder if PV is getting hurt in other ways by its current lack of representation. With as much wealth as resides in the town, it should have more of a seat at various tables.

By Alexander Lomax

In a political world where money talks and the average person can feel unheard, the right to organize and protest is critically important. We may disagree with the reasons as to why people are protesting, but the importance of it is encoded in our Bill of Rights. However, there is a good way and a bad way to do it; a productive way and a counterproductive way.

The contrast couldn’t have been much starker this weekend. As millions of women assembled peacefully across the country for the national Women’s March, largely in response to Texas’s hyper-restrictive abortion law, progressive immigration “activists” from the group LUCHA followed Senator Kyrsten Sinema into an ASU bathroom, badgering her with questions about her immigration policies as she was taking care of nature’s business.

What were they trying to accomplish, you may be asking yourself. Certainly they didn’t expect to have a productive conversation outside of a commode. Of course not, that wasn’t the point. The objective was what it seems to be so often these days, especially with more progressive and younger groups: social media clout. Shares and retweets. Attention.

Of course, the more civil of us feel largely negatively about it. I would say that perhaps it even turns Sen. Sinema into more of a sympathetic figure for those on the fence about her (and perhaps those who aren’t fans as well). And numerous left-end political candidates have clamored to defend the move, which won’t be a good look for a general election.

More overarchingly, this seems like part of a troubling trend of the social media version of Gonzo Journalism, just without the acerbic wit of Hunter S. Thompson. Twitter (and other social media platforms, to a lesser degree) has given an outsized importance to these sorts of tactics, with the dopamine hits of engagement egging them on. To be fair, this is not a phenomenon purely relegated to the political left; the right is certainly not immune. But regardless of the side, it still has the temperament of a toddler begging for its parents attention as it performs some ridiculous, silly stunt; self assured in its self importance, but clearly seen as the actions of a child by the adults in the room.

There are many gripes to be made about the corrosive impacts of social media on our society. From ingrained narcissism to political division, from body dysmorphia issues to lack of genuine interaction. But what it has turned “activism” into ranks among them. Poor, uncivil behavior without any real impact is rewarded with dopamine and self importance, real change is rendered less important than digital clout, and our society sinks further in the mud as a result.

Representative Joseph Chaplik

We think that we can safely say that you are sick of COVID. Everyone is. We all just want to be done with this, to not hear about friends and family falling ill, and for life to return back to a healthier normal. The quest towards this end has repeatedly led to both winners and losers, but we have unusually well defined instances of both in Scottsdale this past week.

First, we must commend Scottsdale Unified yet again for their recent action to extend their mask requirement until at least after fall break.While it’s proper to hope for the best, the delta variant has vanquished those hopes, so to act as if the virus has materially gone away would be foolhardy. Superintendent Scott Menzel and the entire board have walked the proper line of cautiousness throughout much of this pandemic, even as loud, angry hordes have done their best to make their unpaid jobs more difficult.

Speaking of those angry hordes, we find the organized, widespread resistance to children wearing masks to be particularly foolish. No one would ever consider children to be paragons of cleanliness. They have frequently been known as germ factories in normal times, so the fact that so many supposed conservatives are comfortable with kids bringing home a sometimes deadly but often debilitating virus boggles the mind. It just goes to show the depth that the entire pandemic has been politicized.

And that segues into who has been responding poorly to Covid, and for that we must bring up Joseph Chaplik, first term State Representative from Scottsdale’s own District 23. While Chaplik has touted himself as an economic conservative, which we applaud, it seems as though his biggest and loudest efforts have gone towards proliferating the spread of Covid and being particularly proud about it. From opining as to why people don’t wear masks to stop the spread of AIDS to authoring a bill allowing businesses to ignore mask mandates (and being exceedingly loud about the subject on Twitter), we have to wonder why he relishes being on the side of the pandemic.

It is unfortunate that politics got wrapped up with our response to Covid in the first place, although in our polarized, algorithm-driven society, we suppose it was inevitable. But some elected leaders have chosen to take a data-driven, sober approach (SUSD) and some have decided to damage the conservative brand and make Republicans look like fools (Chaplik). We wish more Republicans would take SUSD’s lead.

By Tim Stratton

Ballots will soon arrive seeking approval of the 2035 General Plan. People are asking me, “Why should I support something I have heard so little about?” That’s a great question. Why haven’t voters heard more on the 2035 General Plan? What is hiding in this 296 page document that most people will never read? Maybe the answer is that there is little in the 2035 General Plan worthy of your support. Is this the best Scottsdale can do? I hope not.

The 2035 General Plan is not an improvement over the existing plan, and is full of platitudes and empty words. In order to get the plan approved by Council it has been watered down and neutered to the point of lacking a coherent vision. Worse yet, it places the City adrift as it relates to comprehensive land use planning and invites bad decision making on zoning, will result in potential tax increases, and will lead to diminishing property values.

After much analysis I have come to the conclusion that the 2035 General Plan doesn’t warrant support. This plan focuses more on secondary issues and less on vision and action. It fails to respect and uphold individual property rights, diminishing our property values. It does not protect small businesses and promotes further government regulation and overreach. Irrespective of which side of the development debate you are on, it leaves much to be desired. Most notably, an acknowledgement of the diverse character of our community is absent by the fact that the plan fails to establish a western area overlay district. Even Phoenix recognizes the importance of maintaining a rural character in certain parts of the city. What does our plan have to say about that? Nothing. It fails to respect our diverse character.

The plan doesn’t go far enough to safeguard your property rights. All it does is create more confusion and uncertainty—two things Scottsdale can do without. The plan also pays lip-service to our older residents who wish to remain in Scottsdale. The plan mentions aging in place for seniors, but provides no action or mechanism to make this happen. Our seniors deserve better.

With all this bad land use policy comes bad fiscal policy too. Good land use preserves and protects our community and allows us to maximize property tax revenues, make smart budgeting decisions, and enhance our underlying tourism and retail base. This plan does none of these things. It fails to protect our critical tourism industry and it says nothing about the short-term vacation rental crisis that is ruining Scottsdale neighborhoods and stealing tax revenues from our legitimate hotels and resorts. It also fails to address the issue of housing availability.

Scottsdale is known for its bold leadership and has historically set the trend in Arizona. The 2035 General Plan does not reflect the high standards of our community. Vote NO on the 2035 General Plan. We need leaders with vision on City Council who are committed to developing a general plan for Scottsdale that is fiscally responsible and sets the right tone for responsible and balanced growth. Vote NO on Proposition 463.

Tim Stratton is a candidate for Scottsdale City Council

By Councilmember Solange Whitehead

Scottsdale, let’s get this job done!  On October 6th, ballots for Scottsdale’s General Plan (GP) will be mailed to voters.  I am enthusiastically endorsing a YES vote to ratify General Plan 2035 and protect all that we love about Scottsdale.  

Scottsdale’s General Plan 2035 has been a collaboration between the City and the residents. Working side-by-side with residents, has made Scottsdale’s greatest achievements possible and ratifying the GP 2035 will be no exception.  GP 2035 is a forward-looking plan that is based on and will protect the founding values and priorities that make Scottsdale an international standout.    

As residents, we know that Scottsdale is much more than a luxury destination.  It is also a great place to live.  This is not by chance and the General Plan 2035 is written to ensure Scottsdale continues to enjoy the highest standard of living in our beautiful desert environment.  The GP 2035 re-affirms a long-standing resident priority to acquire and protect acres in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and emphasizes the need to expand natural open spaces and wildlife corridors on public and private land.  It places emphasis on higher design standards for development and the need to balance growth with public benefit.  New character area plans strengthen protections for Scottsdale’s distinct neighborhoods and there is emphasis on public safety, transportation, and services for vulnerable populations.  The GP 2035 includes new sections on education and tourism recognizing that the success of each is crucial to our City’s future. The GP 2035 sets broad and ambitious sustainability goals that will protect people, the planet, and the City’s budget.  

After earning the unanimous support of the City Council, the General Plan 2035 is now in your hands.  Join me in support of a healthy and prosperous future for Scottsdale and Vote YES on General Plan 2035, Proposition 463.    

As always, I am available to answer any questions about the General Plan or any other Scottsdale issue.  

Thank you, Scottsdale Voters!

 

Solange Whitehead
Scottsdale City Councilmember

By Scottsdale Vice Mayor Betty Janik

Your Ballot to approve Scottsdale General Plan 2035 will arrive in the mail the first week of October. It represents the Scottsdale Vision, your vision, to guide our city for the next decade. It serves to direct the physical development of our City and acts as a blueprint to achieve community goals. The Plan is a collaboration of citizens, civic organizations, local businesses, and council members. Outreach included rigorous public citywide meetings, presentations to boards and commissions, hours of City Council work study sessions, and the review and adoption of hundreds of citizen proposed edits. On June 8, 2021, General Plan 2035 received unanimous approval from City Council to forward the document to the citizens for a vote.

The Plan is 291 pages divided into 3 sections: Preface, Chapters (8 in all), and an Appendix. I suggest you read the Preface which contains the all-important Vision Statement. It was rewritten at least a dozen times before Council agreed on the final version. It is an inspiring statement.

Section 2 contains eight Chapters covering an array of pertinent topics. Returning (brought back by popular demand) from the 2001 plan are the community created elements of Character and Design (Chapter 1) Community Involvement (Chapter 3),and Economic Vitality (Chapter 7). The two new community elements, Tourism and Education, appear in Chapter 7. Tourism was added to recognize the significant role tourism plays as a leading economic engine and a key to sustaining the Scottsdale image. Education was incorporated to showcase the lifelong learning options available for all ages and abilities. These community created elements are not required by the state statute but rather represent citizens’ aspirations for our great city.

New to the Plan are state mandated elements: Chapter 2 Energy and Chapter 6 Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization. The need for an energy element is obvious with the evolving landscape of renewable energy balanced with efficiency. Many of our established neighborhoods will be in need of a facelift balancing the preservation of cherished neighborhoods and a need for revitalization. I suggest you read both new elements.Read More

By Alexander Lomax

Photo Credit: The Hill

It should be no surprise to anyone who follows American politics that Arizona’s technically-Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema has made some enemies, many of them left-of-center. Her dedication to her independent, “mavericky” branding has been something that has vaulted her to national prominence, but sometimes with the love and adoration of a wrestling heel.

The progressive left has long been critical of her opposition to larger minimum wages and her obstinance regarding eliminating the filibuster. Those are subjects that are a benefit to many in the center and the right, but are things that while they may annoy mainstream Democrats, wouldn’t represent a tipping point in their tenuous support of her.

And then, for the first time as Senator, prescription drug prices came to the forefront. Her opposition to a Democratically-led initiative to decrease prescription drug prices was paired with the substantial donations she has received from that industry. And it would seem that that is the final Rubicon for her to cross.

In a simultaneously shocking and unshocking development, the Arizona Democratic Party held a vote at their regularly scheduled State Committee meeting last weekend, and with OVER 80 PERCENT of the vote, gave her a vote of no confidence. While these sorts of votes are not too uncommon in politics (John McCain faced at least one), to have such a one-sided vote to condemn a sitting Senator from your own party is…something.

And let’s be clear: Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t care. She routinely has distanced herself from the party, and seems to believe their support to be somewhat toxic. But at the same time, if you want to win a primary, it’s usually not wise to tick off all of the party members. It’s tough to win a primary when 80% of your most energized voters don’t like you.

So where does she go from here? Her re-election is still 3 years away, and a lot can happen. But at this point, any halfway competent primary challenger with a good digital game could raise 7-figures in a national campaign just by virtue of running to unseat her; she is that hated amongst the progressive left nationally. Outside of putting “sham candidates” on the ballot to dilute opposition vote, what is her best option going forward?

I’d say it’s to truly embrace being an Independent, and run as an Independent.

After all, I have to believe that she would have a better chance winning a plurality of Arizona voters in a tight 3-way race, then trying to get over 50% in a primary with an electorate that really, really doesn’t like her.  She has routinely made it clear that she doesn’t need or want the party; this would be the final step in her metamorphosis, and would allow Dems to move on to someone they don’t hate.

Projects whether they be new, or redevelopments can go on odd journeys when being evaluated in Scottsdale.  That’s because of the independent nature of each of the councilmembers, and an engaged citizenry.

But in an era when Scottsdale’s council majority has tilted more to a slower growth nature, it’s still a head scratcher what’s taking place with a project called 92 Ironwood across from Honor Health’s North Scottsdale hospital.

There, a weird office building empty for 12 years sits.  That’s not a typo.

There, current zoning allows up to 48 feet in height.  There, a plan soon coming before the City Council would redevelop the site and actually LOWER allowed heights.

There the project enjoys overwhelming support from those closest to the site – an adjacent shopping center, its small businesses, Honor Health, the two closest HOAs and even the Arizona Nurse’s Association. Opponents, decrying apartments in general but really nothing about 92 Ironwood specifically, live miles and miles away.

There, densities would be the lowest of any apartment project in North Scottsdale in 5 years.  And this would be the first such one within five miles of 92 Ironwood in 20-31 years, depending on who you are talking to.  Read More

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

We have previously covered LD28 Representative Aaron Lieberman’s announcement of his run for Arizona Governor. As a result of Arizona’s “resign-to-run” laws, his time as Representative was thusly coming to an end soon regardless, and as such Lieberman recently announced his resignation from this seat.

Legislative District 28 covers Paradise Valley as well as parts of central and east Phoenix, including the Arcadia and Biltmore neighborhoods. It has been a hotly contested “swing district” since its creation after the last redistricting process in 2012, and 2020 was the first election in which the Democrats won all three legislative seats (2 Representative and 1 Senate seats) in the same race, with Kelli Butler and Liebermann winning re-election to the House, and Christine Porter Marsh winning the Senate seat.

The process to replace him is currently underway, as the Democratic Precinct Committeepersons (local level party officials) in LD28 will convene this Thursday to submit three names to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who will then choose who will take over Lieberman’s seat for the rest of the term. After that, LD28 will cease to exist in its current form, as the to-be-determined redistricting borders will then be in play for the 2022 election.

Why does this matter? In some ways, it really doesn’t. The person chosen will caucus with the Democrats, meaning no net loss or gain of votes. Considering that the boundaries will be gone by the end of that term, there is not a clear path to running for re-election for whomever is chosen.

However, whomever is chosen can then start making contacts with various interest groups, lobbies, and well-heeled individuals which that individual can then take forward with them to either run for re-election or run for a different seat. Also, where that individual lives within the current district matters significantly. Since Rep. Butler has since moved to the Sunnyslope district in Phoenix, choosing a replacement from that area could create a crowded 2022 primary depending on the redistricted borders. Someone from the Biltmore or Arcadia neighborhoods or Paradise Valley could find themselves with a less impeded path through a primary in 2022, but a much tougher general election in a more Republican district.

Meanwhile, the Republican-led Board of Supervisors certainly has some incentive to choose someone who will have little chance to utilize that seat to turn into a fundraising juggernaut. Frictions and acrimony between the BoS and much of the AZ GOP caucus are already at an elevated level due to the recent “audit”, and they won’t be getting Christmas cards from Kelli Ward if they end up choosing the next star of the AZ Democratic Party.

Perhaps however, they’re willing to sacrifice Christmas cards for a final shot in their internal war.

 

Photo Credit: Brian Hancock

While Scottsdale governance has generally been befitting of our world class status, one way that it has fallen below expectations is their lack of ratification of a general plan in the recent past. These plans, which are supposed to be updated and ratified by the voters every 10 years, had not been updated in two decades. That will change with the recent approval of a 2035 plan by City Council; now it will be up to voters.

So why should you vote yes? First, let’s talk about what it even is.

The general plan is a set of guidelines that are meant to guide the future growth of the city; according to the city website, it “defines the community’s goals for growth, development, character, mobility and a variety of other community aspects”.

Mayor David Ortega said about it “Back in January when the new Council started the (General Plan 2035) process, I said ‘We are the body-of-the-whole to craft the final version’”. He was the only current voting member who was on the Scottsdale City Council during the crafting of the last successfully ratified plan.

The approval of the general plan will go on the ballot under the designation of Proposition 463 in a simple Yes or No vote. At this point there will be no other items on the ballot, although this is subject to change; but let’s focus on this proposition.

We are incredibly fortunate that this current council understands the value of competent planning and can largely leave aside bickering to help move the city forward. This current council makeup, as imperfect as it may be, is not led by ideologues; it is led by experienced folks with a wide variety of experiences and mild differences of opinion.

This iteration of the general plan delicately balances the needs and desires of Scottsdalians for a robust economy while preserving the beautiful backdrop of our city. For growth without disrupting the greatness of our city. It’s an excellent balance, and we should consider ourselves lucky to be led by leaders who could actually get this done.

There aren’t always easy Yes votes on your ballot, but Proposition 463 will be one of those. And we are fortunate to have the opportunity to vote Yes.

As others have observed, not all residential project proposals are made equal. Year after year, overly ambitious developers attempt to cajole planning commissions and city councils all over the country, including in Scottsdale, trying to convince them of the sometimes dubious merits of the projects they’re championing. On the flip side of that, many developers do the right thing. And have the right recipe.

So what is the correct approach? As a more overarching statement, we’d say projects that add value to the area around them. Ones that are championed by the nearby residents and businesses. Ones that the people around the proposed site are actually enthusiastic about because of the existence of the need of the project, the value-adding benefits to the area around it, and good planning.

The Scottsdale Planning Commission has had myriad positive and negative projects come in front of them, ones that encapsulate how things can be done the right way, as well as value-destroying projects forced down their throats. Very recently however, they heard two more positive examples of multifamily projects showing how it should be done: The Miller project proposed by Toll Brothers on the outskirts of Old Town and the 92 Ironwood project proposed by Jim Riggs near Honor Health’s North Scottsdale hospital.

Both of these projects have the hallmarks of quality development: heavy buy-in from local stakeholders,  inclusion of said stakeholders in the conversation, and building specs that are cognizant of the desires of those neighborhoods.

The 92 Ironwood project fills a clear and compelling need; housing for our healthcare workers, considering the large Honor Health office right nearby. This is why local stakeholders such as the Arizona Nurse’s Association came out in support, as have local businesses that would be positively affected by this. Additionally The Miller project (and Toll Brothers more overarchingly) have helped build a robust model of public support, by getting full-throated buy-in from local police and fire as well as the denizens of the shopping center adjacent to the site.

That said, there will always be noise, not the noise of construction but the noise of activism. There are plenty of people who only seem to feel alive if they are protesting something; people who don’t even live in the neighborhood but feel compelled to try to badger their city council to reject a project even if it won’t impact them in the slightest. The noise is unavoidable, but ignorable. NIMBYs are well known, but the force of NIYBYE’s (Not In Your Back Yard Either) must be acknowledged before being ignored.

We applaud the Planning Commissioners who ignored the chatter from the NIYBYE, and beseech them to continue to do so for the sake of our entire city. And in a City Council whose makeup is partially composed of councilors who got there by protesting poor growth, we ask them to take a moment to judge a project on the value they provide to actual neighborhood stakeholders. Projects like The Miller and 92 Ironwood are the template which more developers should follow going forward. They exemplify there is such a thing as good growth too.

2020 Scrum


From Data Orbital

Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, live-caller survey of registered voters. The survey was conducted from September 30th to October 1st.

The survey focused on voters’ views of the proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill and sought to gauge their position on the overall size of the spending package.

The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill does not reach majority support with Arizona voters. Overall, less than half (45.6%) of all voters expressed support for the spending bill. Independents, in particular, do not support the bill, with only 22% of Independents strongly supporting it and 18% having no opinion.

However, voters expressed that they may be open to some form of the bill, but only with a smaller price tag. A majority of Democrats (54%) as well as sizeable portions of Independents (46%) and Republicans (34%) said they would be more likely to support the bill if it came at a lower cost. In addition, of those who either “somewhat support” or “somewhat oppose” the bill as it stands, almost 60% would be more likely to support the bill if it was less than the current price tag of $3.5 trillion.

Pollster George Khalaf said, “These results clearly show why Senator Sinema is holding out against pressure from the progressive left. She is listening to the constituency of voters that elected her in 2018 – moderate suburban voters. It is clear Arizona voters are hesitant about the reconciliation package at its full $3.5 trillion price.”

This poll of 550 registered voters was conducted through a live survey that collected 60% of the results from landlines and 40% from cell phones. It has a margin of error at plus or minus 4.18% with a 95% confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures based on registration data from the Arizona Secretary of State. The poll was conducted from September 30 – October 1, 2021. 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.

By Arizona Representative Shawnna Bolick

Today, after nine months of waiting for the report on the Arizona Senate’s audit of Maricopa County, Arizona voters got answers – and more questions.

One thing was clear from the report. There are gaps and loopholes in Arizona’s election laws. These gaps must be filled and Arizona’s election laws must be brought to an unimpeachable standard of integrity.

As a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, I introduced multiple pieces of legislation in the last session that would have addressed the missing accountability and oversight identified in the report. When I proposed these bold bills, I took a lot of flak from the left. The report now makes it clear – we need those changes, and more.

I sponsored a bill establishing a chain of custody and implementing robust oversight measures, including public reporting of duplicated ballots and a county’s reasoning of a voter’s intent, electronic display of ballots being counted, and live video feed of counting centers with heavy penalties for disruption of the feed. The bill must be re-introduced. I sponsored another bill limiting the use of emergency voting centers, a tool frequently abused by Recorder Fontes. This bill must be re-introduced. I attended multiple cyber security briefings before and after the 2020 election and have frequently said that machines that can be connected to the internet should not be used in the voting context. By nature, they are susceptible to manipulation, as the report makes clear.

Secretary Hobbs behaved in a way unfitting for the office. As your Secretary of State, I commit to interpreting our laws in a way that strengthens the security of our voter registration and election processes rather than exploiting weaknesses in the law to favor my political agenda. Election integrity starts at the top.

Finally, the patchwork of laws and processes across counties likely resulted in additional irregularities. I call on the Arizona Senate to finish the job it started and complete an audit of the entire state. We need a full picture.

The work to put our elections above reproach has just begun and I will continue to lead the charge.

GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT IS TIED FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2015.

• The generic congressional ballot is tied at 42% among a sample of N=800 registered voters in a survey conducted September 1st-September 8th with a margin of error of +3.46%.
• The last time the generic congressional ballot was tied was back in October 2015, also at 42%.
• The last time this question was asked was in April 2020 where voters favored the Democratic candidate by 6 points (41% GOP Candidate/47% Dem Candidate).

• The GOP lead has moved a net 13 points with men, while women remain unchanged.

• In 2020, the generic Democrat led among three age groups. Now they only lead among one, 18-34 year olds. Given that the youngest age cohort usually drops off the most in turnout, this is shaping up to be a real challenge for Democrats.

• The difficulty for the Democratic Party can be seen in the movement of the following subgroups:
o The Republican lead among white voters has doubled since April 2020.
o Independents have moved a net nine points, and college grads have moved a net 11 points towards the Republican Party.
o Significant gains have also been made among suburban and rural voters who have each moved in favor of the Republican party by 5 & 6 points, respectively.
o Women 45+ is an important subgroup to pay attention to, they are tied at 43%.

From Public Opinion Strategies

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

BIDEN’S DISAPPROVAL RATING RISES TO 50%; VOTERS CITE BIDEN’S HANDLING OF AFGHANISTAN AS THEIR BIGGEST CONCERN ABOUT HIM.
• President Biden’s job approval slipped to 48% approve, 50% disapprove among a sample of N=800 registered voters in a survey conducted September 1st-September 8th with a margin of error of +3.46%.
• President Biden becomes only the second president with a majority disapproval rating this early in their administration along with President Trump. The Biden and Trump intensity numbers are quite parallel at this point in their presidencies.

Total Approve Total Disapprove Net Difference
Trump – Sept 2017 44% 52% -8%
Biden – Sept 2021 48% 50% -2%

Strongly Approve Strongly Disapprove Net Difference
Trump – Sept 2017 27% 42% -15%
Biden – Sept 2021 23% 42% -19%

• Biden’s current approval numbers are essentially the same as Trump’s were in October 2018, just before Republicans lost 41 congressional seats and seven Gubernatorial seats in the mid-term elections. In October 2018, Trump had a 47% approve, 49% disapprove rating. His intensity was 30% strongly approve and 43% strongly disapprove. Biden’s current overall and intensity numbers essentially match Trump’s numbers in mid-October 2018.

• President Biden has a majority net negative rating among many important swing subgroups, including:

Ranked by % Net Difference Total Approve Total Disapprove Net Difference

Congressional Ballot: Undecided 43% 52% -9%
Independents 43% 51% -8%
Midwest Region 45% 52% -7%
White Women 47% 52% -5%
Suburban Voters 46% 51% -5%

September 2021 Omni Page 2
• Voters express clear concerns about President Biden and his Administration.

Which one of the following, if any, raises the most hesitation and concern about President Biden and his administration? Would it be his…

Ranked by % Hesitation

Registered
Voters
% Hesitation
Handling of the situation in Afghanistan 42%
Handling of the border with Mexico 27%
Support for almost six trillion dollars in new federal spending 23%
Handling of COVID 19%
None of these raise hesitations or concerns 23%

• The difficulty for the president and the Democratic Party can be seen as a majority (52%) of those undecided on the generic congressional ballot express their concerns about the president’s handling of Afghanistan.
• As well, a near majority (47%) of active duty service members express concern about the president’s handling of Afghanistan.
• The concern about Afghanistan crosses traditional political boundaries as even 27% of Democrats and 26% of Biden’s 2020 voters express concern about his handling of Afghanistan.
• The one subgroup more concerned about the president’s handling of the border with Mexico are those over 65 years old (40% border with Mexico/37% Afghanistan). The border issue also scores especially high among those Republicans who self-describe themselves as identifying more with Trump than with the Republican Party (56% concerned about Biden’s handling of the border with Mexico).

By Shawnna Bolick

Good Morning,

Like many of Arizona’s voters, election integrity is on the front of many of our minds. You want voting processes that are secure, inspire confidence, ensure anonymity, and are robust and defensible against fraudulent attacks. With so much on the line in every election, criminals are motivated. Only a couple hundred of fraudulent votes can sway many local elections.

In Arizona, the Secretary of State is the chief election official, responsible for overseeing campaign finance, ballot measures like propositions and candidate petitions, and verifying the official outcomes. As a State Representative for Phoenix’s 20th Legislative District, I have been fighting to restore confidence in our elections and defending your elections. I am running for this Arizona Secretary of State because it’s high time that our elections are secure, our citizens are confident, and our Secretary of State drops the politics.

Late last week, Mayor Kevin Hartke of Chandler authorized a Mobile Voting pilot program to test cell-phone voting in future elections. I am strongly opposed to Chandler authorizing this program for future elections. Though Mayor Hartke’s proposal pushes “innovation” and making voting “more accessible”, I believe our right to vote needs to be taken more seriously. In good faith and conscience, I cannot support this latest move by one of our municipalities. Voting is a serious matter. Utilizing technology to cast a vote means we need to ensure additional security measures are enabled. But without adequate back-up systems, voting relies on the good intentions of the user. Voting by phone may be easy, but how can we ensure only voter is voting with that system. It is quite possible one-time use passwords will be thwarted. Right now, public distrust in the current system is likely at an all-time high. If those who distrust the system stop voting, that puts the results of the election in the hands of those that trust the folks running the system. I want a secure voting system that represents the citizens. At this time, voting by phone is not foolproof. We don’t want to become tomorrow’s fools who have been hacked by DefCon’s attendees.

Another example is Maricopa County Officials rebuffing Arizona Senators subpoena to audit the integrity of our 2020 presidential election. I fully support Senator Borelli’s call for Attorney General Brnovich to investigate the subpoena and bring Maricopa County Officials in line.

I support this move and strongly oppose Chandler’s cell-phone voting program for the same reason.

Both undermine the fundamental tenets of good elections.

We want elections that are:

  • Resilient to Fraud
  • Reliably and Easily Audited
  • Easily Understood by Voters and Trustworthy
  • Front- and Back-End Anonymous

E-voting, ballot harvesting, out-of-precinct voting, and resisting audits all undermine American principles of voting. Many Democrats are willing to manipulate the vote with such ideas to politically redesign a system better suited to keep them in office longer. But beyond this being deplorable, I would remind everyone that our nation’s common enemies can just as well exploit a weakness designed for Democrats—more effectively, too, as we witnessed during 2016 and the rise of the misinformation campaigns stirred up by the Chinese and Russians.

I spent some time in Yuma earlier this week to meet with small business owners and farmers to discuss the importance of water. This coming week I was invited to attend a cyber security briefing for state leaders. I take these elevated attacks and threats to our election system seriously. And our future leaders, especially our next Secretary of State in Arizona, needs to be on the cutting edge of election integrity, able to confidently navigate the present challenges. I am fighting each day to build a system which you can be confident in, and together I know we can achieve that vision for Arizona.

Finally, we have two events this week.  I hope to see you there!

September 8, 2021
5:00-7:00pm
RSVP to ben@theresolute.group

 

September 9, 2021
11:30am-12:30pm
RSVP to ben@theresolute.group