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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

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press)

Perhaps it is obvious, but it is something that had been easy to forget for years in Arizona…things are a lot easier for a governor when they have a friendly legislature that will push forward (or at least not oppose) their agenda. Governor Katie Hobbs is finding out what can happen with an unfriendly legislature and is running into perhaps an unprecedented amount of obstruction.

Governor Hobbs has run straight into an obstructionist buzzsaw that is State Senator Jake Hoffman. Hoffman, who was banned by social media platforms for operating a troll farm, has turned into a more literal troll, being a consistent thorn in the side of her and her directorship appointees. Between strongly challenging them or outright blocking them from having a hearing, and then creating a brand new committee purely to sow additional doubt in Hobbs’s nominees.

After plenty of public bickering and attacks, as well as a successful attempt by Hoffman and the Senate Republicans to wait out the clock and block appointees until past Sine Die (the last day of the legislative session), it seems as though Governor Hobbs has finally capitulated; she has withdrawn all of the remaining appointees that have not had a Senate hearing.

So what’s next? A little bit of wizardry, almost certainly the brainchild of her Chief of Staff Chad Campbell: just create new positions. While directorships need Senate confirmation, apparently invented positions such as “executive deputy directors” do not, so Hobbs will instead name all of those nominees as executive deputy directors. A little end around, around political machinations and towards presumed competence in the executive branch. After a wait that was entirely too long, it looks as though the affected departments will finally get leadership.

Is that ideal? Absolutely not. While some political gamesmanship is expected in our halls of power, the obstructionism led by Hoffman seems to be the purpose; it seems less about properly vetting candidates and objecting to bad ones, and more about political gotcha-ism. The fact that hearings were never even set for these candidates, 13 in total, further underscores that point.

Much like when politicians at our national level seem to unnecessarily create a debt-ceiling “crisis” every once in a while, what is happening at the Capitol seems to be an entirely unnecessary crisis. Senator Hoffman has already shown himself to be capable of being a bad actor in the troll farm scandal, and seems to be doing so again, and this time the consequences impact all of us. For the sake of the next three years of Hobbs as Governor, we hope that they figure out a way to work together.

Scott Menzel. Photo credit: azcentral.com

Scottsdale Unified Superintendent Scott Menzel has had a relatively turbulent time leading the helm at SUSD. District meetings have had disruptions regarding COVID-related mitigation and content, and he has been the target of activists (you can read more about it all here). When you have plenty of enemies, it’s always good to have friends that have your back, and a recent award demonstrates that he does indeed have that.

The only issue? It’s from a left-leaning organization, Save Our Schools, one that played a leading role in the Red for Ed. Moreover, its team consists of a significant number of former Dem staffers and volunteers, donors, and other activists that are well known across local Democratic circles.

In all fairness, it’s not entirely surprising. The Republican Party in Arizona did underserve public education for too long, with low salaries for teachers and at one time boasting the lowest spending per pupil in the country. It was that dereliction that prompted the massive Red for Ed rallies in 2018 in the first place and helped vaunt Kathy Hoffman, a then 31 year old political neophyte, to the role of Superintendent of Public Instruction that year.

That said, 2018 was a long time ago when it comes to politics and policy, then-Governor Ducey partially got out in front of the school funding crisis and directed significant funding for public schools. But similarly-strident pushes for more vouchers have allowed groups like Save Our Schools to remain somewhat relevant.

While certainly not the most bombastic organization when it comes to policy recommendations, it does potentially toss some fuel onto the fire of criticism. Plenty of right-leaning activists and a few lawmakers have come after Menzel under the guise that he is too liberal for Scottsdale, and previous statements that he made a few years back that would certainly be considered “woke” definitely didn’t help. Being named the superintendent of the year from an organization like SOS only furthers that perception.

We’ve been relatively supportive of Menzel and think that he has done an admirable and generally positive job. But anything remotely related to politics is bound to be scrutinized in our current hyper-polarized world, and a superintendent position certainly fits the bill. Some awards might not be worth the hassle that they create, and this could certainly be one.

The world of zoning rules and regulations can be arcane, byzantine, and frankly…boring. That said, there are times when it truly matters, as it can impact quality of life both locally and for the entire state. A couple of recent developments demonstrate exactly how, and how some of our potential business neighbors may not be the best of neighbors.

A recent example of a potential problem came from Axon, a leading maker of body cameras for law enforcement officers.as well as the maker of Taser guns. For a bit of background, proceeds that are received as part of a winning auction bid of land bought from the Arizona State Land Trust is designated to go for the public good in Arizona, typically for education.

Axon put in a winning bid to expand their corporate headquarters under the explicit designation that that parcel would NOT be used for residential purposes, only for industrial and/or corporate purposes. Because of this, they were able to get a significantly lower price for the land than if they wanted to put up apartments or condos. However, a higher price would have yielded more for the beneficiaries: public education in Arizona.

Fast forward to now, when Axon is seeking to rezone a parcel of this same land for residential purposes in order to put up a whopping 2,300 apartments. A “whistleblower” reached out to the Scottsdale Progress after finding out about it and it looks to be DOA, but if not, the result would have been a workaround as a way to save tens of millions of dollars in the purchase price of the state land, as land for residential purposes is sold at a premium.

Put another way, Axon saving tens of millions of dollars would have meant Arizona’s students being short-changed millions of dollars that would have gone to their schools if Axon went about this process in a different way.

So what does Banner Health and its proposal to put an unneeded hospital in North Scottsdale have to do with this? It appears that they are pulling the same end-around on the taxpayer

The land in question that Banner is looking to use to build a hospital was originally purchased from the same Arizona State Land Trust for its minimum bid of $61.85 million by developer Marty DeRito. It was designated for “commercial and industrial uses”. Nowhere in that purchase was an entitlement to build a hospital.

Reports are that DeRito is now selling that land to Banner Health for them to build a hospital. The problem? What we just said: commercial and industrial usage doesn’t include hospitals. That would have almost certainly been a significantly higher price for state land and public education. It seems as though Banner is trying to use the same tactic to shortchange Arizona’s kids. Especially considering their status as a “non-profit”, this behavior is highly questionable. Just look at what HonorHealth paid for state land nearby: $1.75 million per acre versus about $723,000 for Banner. A stunning difference.

We all deserve better than this, and while Axon already has a foothold in Scottsdale, Banner doesn’t. We should collectively make sure that it stays that way, since we deserve better neighbors than that. Additionally, any politician that supports Banner will do so at their own peril, as any challenger can credibly say that they are not just supporting unnecessary growth but chicanery towards Arizona’s children as well.

Articles from The Patch have been everywhere recently; for those who haven’t seen them, they are positioning themselves as a news aggregator that sells themselves as a hyper-local news source. They are aggressively using the Nextdoor app in order to get their stories out to a wider audience.

No issues there…at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we also consider ourselves to be quite local and fixated on Scottsdale and Arizona as a whole. But there are serious concerns about how The Patch is operating, how intrusive it is, and how it approaches privacy and data security.

As always, the devil is in the details, and more specifically on the fine print that no reasonable people actually read. In their own words, “Patch does not “sell” Personal Information that on its own identifies you – such as your name or email address – without your permission.” As always however, the “without your permission” does the heavy lifting with this statement, as it is almost certainly buried in that fine print.

This is even more distressing when one sees who Patch is doing business with, in this particular case with one Arizona hospital that is doing its best to shoehorn its way into the Scottsdale market in the face of strong opposition against Banner Health.

It is not the best look for a company with some potentially disconcerting business practices to team up with a company that is looking to defy the will of its citizenry.

For what it’s worth, there is no fine print with our blog. We absolutely will not and never will sell or otherwise market the email addresses of our subscribers, so you can head to arizonaprogressgazette.com and hit that Subscribe button with no privacy concerns at all.

It has been a long and winding road when it comes to the much ballyhooed Scottsdale Civic Center upgrade. It has been behind schedule with early reviews being less than generous, especially with regards to shade. However, it would seem that early unveilings were a false start of sorts, and the completed project is now finalized and ready for the public.

So how do the upgrades look? They feature three new outdoor stages, kid-friendly play areas, botanical exhibits, 140 new shade trees (addressing a previous complaint about a lack of shade) and water conservation turf areas. Highlighted in the improvements are a new permanent stage at the East Bowl with a shade structure and a new centrally located 360-degree performance structure between the Civic Loop and West Bowl. It looks designed to have the capability to not only hold one-off concerts, but full festivals.

So far so good…it seems to have the makings of a legitimate venue worthy of significant events coming through, and that’s exactly what will be happening with Fall in Love with Scottsdale, a series of cultural events designed to highlight the new upgrade. Wildly beloved indie band Wilco will headline the launch; for those of you who might be a little less hip, this is a very significant pull for the city.

And that is just the opening show…the actual array of 70 different events in Fall in Love is truly impressive. From public art to wine to additional concerts to turtles (and that’s just scratching the surface), Fall in Love certainly looks to be a gigantic undertaking incorporating a wide array of different types of entertainment and culture, with events for seniors, families, and every age group in between. Pulling this off without any major hiccups might actually make last year’s Super Bowl festivities look simple in comparison.

All of this comes as a result of Bond 2019, the voter-approved spending package that passed in 2019. While the project has taken some heat with unforced errors on the planning side as well as significant cost overruns (some should have been foreseen, some a result of major inflation since passage), that is likely to be forgotten in the face of a positive result of a lasting and cherished venue.

While the roll-out was far from perfect, it certainly seems as though the end product will be worth the wait, although we wish and hope for more shade . The end result is that Scottsdale has further built its brand as a destination, not just for out-of-state tourists but for visitors around the Valley.

Photo Credit: University of Arizona Cooperative Extension








As regular readers know, water is a subject that we frequently write about; we don’t think we need to explain the importance of it to us. While the Rio Verde Foothills seems to be mostly behind us at this point, water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are ever-present concerns in our slice of desert heaven (we recommend reading our most recent piece about water levels here).

In that piece we speculated what may be the first shoe to drop when it comes to water cutbacks, and this most recent piece confirms our concerns: farming is now imperiled in Arizona.

For those of us who live in the city, it is easy to forget how critical the farming industry is in Arizona and how much of an economic driver it is, but one need only look at the vaunted “5 C’s” of our state and see that two of them (citrus and cotton) are directly tied to farming, and a third (cattle) is tangentially related. The industry is estimated to be worth $23.3 billion and is responsible for 138,000 jobs, underscoring its critical importance to the state.

So how much of a water hog is our agricultural sector? Frankly, it’s  a shockingly big one; as of 2019, it represented a staggering 72% of water use in our state. On a positive note, a small cutback in agricultural use will represent a major savings of water, but with it comes a major economic impact as well.

Farmers are now allowing portions of the fields to lay fallow, which may introduce another longer-lasting issue; bringing that land back into usage later. Even with an above-average year or two of water flow, bringing fallowed land back to life will be even more water-intensive, This could start a negative cycle of more and more land left to dry, further diminishing agricultural output as years go by.

A positive aspect of this? While it is difficult to find any, it should be noted that usage that is often considered wasteful, golf courses, is typically seen as a more efficient use of water than agricultural uses. Ergo, golf courses might be one of the last uses of water to be cut, therefore protecting our tourism sector. However, that’s a hollow positive.

Meanwhile, all we can do now is cross our fingers and pray for rain. Without a significant reversal in our drought supercycle, worse days lay ahead.

By Jessica Perez

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin, AP News

On Wednesday, September 13th a U.S. Federal Judge deemed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program illegal once again. Texas District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision has not ended the DACA program but rather brought it back to the spotlight. Currently, the DACA Renewal process is still in full effect. Yet, initial DACA Applicants have been caught at a standstill as U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been unable to process new applications since 2021.

District Judge Hanen’s most recent ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S Supreme Court, making it the third time the DACA program will be reviewed. This leaves potential and current DACA recipients to fear for their future as the Supreme Court currently holds a conservative majority. Frankly, the possibility of the end of the DACA program has become more real than ever before.

As of 2023 Arizona is home to 21,890 DACA Recipients. Under the program, eligible immigrants who were brought to the country as children are protected from deportation and are provided with work authorization for a two-year period, subject to renewal. If the program were to come to an end, a large portion of qualified individuals would be forced to leave Arizona’s workforce. This would not only impact recipients but would also affect Arizona’s economy. 15,000 Arizona workers were a part of the DACA program and were estimated to pay $92.3 million in state and local taxes each year. Despite their contributions those who have benefited from the DACA program may now have their future safety at risk.

In addition to current DACA recipients, it is estimated that 44,000 young immigrants are eligible for the program in Arizona alone. Many “Dreamers” continue to prepare themselves for the workforce as it is estimated that 10,000 undocumented youths are in higher education institutions in Arizona. Proposition 308 has made it more feasible for youth to continue their education providing in-state tuition to those who meet qualifications but may not have the proper legal status. Regardless of their achievements and readiness, USCIS is unable to process new DACA applications leaving eligible students under the threat of deportation. They are also unable to acquire work in their field after graduation as they lack the proper work authorization to do so. District Judge Hanen’s ruling once again reminds those in limbo that their future in the United States is unpromised.

While the fate of the DACA program remains uncertain. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes continues to show support. She has acknowledged Dreamers’ talents and hard work as thousands of immigrants have made Arizona their home through DACA protections, she believes “our state is better because of it”. For many young immigrants, Arizona has become the only home they know as many made the journey to the United States before they could even talk. The Supreme Court once again discussing the validity of the DACA program has not been confirmed but is likely to occur due to past events. In the face of uncertainty, thousands of DACA Recipients and dreamers continue to agonize over the destiny of the DACA program and their future.

It has been no secret that the current make-up of the Scottsdale City Council has been what could be called “growth hesitant”; that there is a concerted effort to focus on what are deemed to be unimpeachably high-quality projects to the detriment of overall growth. We have labeled them “the Council of No” before, where they sometimes seem to look for reasons to shoot down projects. We now have evidence that this ethos may be here to stay…at least until and if new councilmembers are elected.

That evidence? A vote to get rid of the Downtown Infill Incentive Plan; it allowed for developers to request shortcuts to avoid stringent rules related to development requirements in order to facilitate growth downtown. Essentially, it helps get exceptions for some of the more problematic (from both development and activist perspectives) aspects of zoning rules, such as height and density restrictions.

It was enacted in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis in order to help the area recover, which considering how the Phoenix metro area was on the front lines of the housing boom and bust there was a clear need for a shot in the arm when it comes to pro-growth policies. Considering how well Scottsdale rebounded in the subsequent decade, it’s hard to see how it was not a significant success.

What about now? Clearly, the reason for its enactment is no longer valid. It could certainly be seen as dated and unnecessary from a financial perspective (unless we are to go back into recession that is, something that’s been predicted for a couple consecutive years now). That said, it’s retractment is a new stage in the council’s growth hesitancy, both symbolic and functional.

Statements from councilmembers aligned well with expectations. Solange Whitehead expressed a perceived lack of need to incentivize additional growth. Betty Janik echoed those sentiments, stating that it was unequivocally positive news that it was no longer necessary, crediting a thriving downtown and plenty of demand from developers, although that last part has come into question recently, with only six rezoning requests this year compared to 11 over the same period in the year prior. As is expected, Tammy Caputi took the other end of the debate, stating that the city has been routinely stonewalling requests from developers.

The battle lines regarding development and growth have only grown firmer since the 2020 election, with the pro-development side in a clear minority. At this rate, it seems as though the only thing that will change that would come from future elections.

Lake Mead – Photo Credit: LATimes.com

While we often are focused on the Rio Verde Foothills as the main water story locally, but in reality the drought supercycle that has impacted the Colorado River, and thus Lake Mead and Lake Powell (representing Arizona’s water supply) had been the preeminent local story in the run-up to the Rio Verde Foothills crisis. Now that the crisis in the Foothills seems to be largely resolved, our larger water supply issues may be coming back into the forefront.

It had been a very positive spring and summer insofar as melting snowpack is related, with huge increases in the water levels at both lakes resulting from a far above-average snowpack melt. After several down years with lake levels consistently dropping, it has been an extremely positive and much needed development. But all good things must come to an end, and recent data shows that after a five month surge, water levels at those lakes have receded some

While those levels usually recede in the late summer and into the winter every year, we are still left with plenty of questions. The biggest question? Was this winter of high snowfall and plenty of subsequent run-off a one year aberration within a large drought supercycle, or the beginning of a trend of wetter winters?

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way…it’s nearly impossible to predict the weather two weeks out, let alone for the next 12 months or more. That said, it appears as though the La Niña weather pattern is over; they typically bring additional snow to the southern Rockies, which may have contributed to the outperformance in snowpack this year. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the drought supercycle is set to return.

So what is at stake? We probably don’t need to tell our regular readers, but our entire way of life hangs in the balance. Scottsdale has done its best to get in front of this issue, limiting natural lawns for front yards, but this will be a drop in the bucket compared to what may come in the future. Our farming industry may be the first major shoe to drop, considering how water-intensive it is. Tourism may be impacted in the future as golf courses are seen as luxuries and our brand takes a hit due to repeated water cutbacks.

Unfortunately, all we can do is wait and see what the next few years hold for us and monitor the water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell as time goes on. If the previous trends resume, our state could irrevocably change.

The water crisis in the Rio Verde Foothills has been the political football that keeps getting punted back and forth.(get up to date here). Politicians at all levels of government have weighed in, and the result has been slow progress. It now appears as though the stand-off is in its final stages, as the city of Scottsdale has voted to resume water delivery to the embattled area.

However, as is the case for many votes, the interesting aspects are to be found in the details, such as how councilmembers voted, their statements and their amendments. And this particular instance provided plenty of interesting information about what is happening behind the scenes.

First comes the amendment proposed by Mayor David Ortega requiring the standpipe district, the water district created in order to be the entity that makes decisions on behalf of the Rio Verde Foothills residents to come up with a “traffic mitigation plan” for any potential traffic issues. Traffic has polled as a significant concern for voters in the upcoming election, so wittingly or not this is a politically cagey move by the Mayor who is obviously running for re-election.

Not everyone is on board with traffic mitigation as a concern though; standpipe district board member Kent Thomas noted that the route is “kind of isolated – not a lot of homes around it. I’m scratching my head as to the (traffic) impact.” Also notable was the statement of concern about traffic mitigation from councilmember Tammy Caputi; as she is widely assumed to be running for Mayor, she is naturally less inclined to agree with Ortega and instead find ways to differentiate herself.

Another interesting development was Councilmember Barry Graham’s amendment to strike a line that would allow for the agreement to be renewed after the expiration of the deal in 2025. He indicates a willingness to give tough love to the district and prompt them to ween themselves off of the city. Also notable (although not surprising) development was Mayor Ortega’s parting shots at the county, calling the standpipe water board “a novel government entity and they are doing this in spite of the fact that the board of supervisors did not step up on this,” to which his foil Supervisor Thomas Galvin said that they “did step up on this issue.” It is unlikely that they will be getting each other Christmas cards this year.

But regardless of the political implications and jockeying for soundbites and attention, who are the biggest winners in this development? The residents of the Rio Verde Foothills, as Thomas estimates that the water will begin flowing by the end of the month at a very reasonable price. For a community that has been somewhat held hostage for quite some time now, a community that has had more questions than answers, few deserve a positive outcome more than them. 

It should be no surprise to any of our readers that healthcare is an incredibly important industry here in Arizona, and perhaps even most so in Scottsdale. The combination of Americans collectively living much longer than they have in the past and the fact that very many of them choose to live their golden years in our city has led to the outsized importance of the industry in our home. The numbers reflect this reality: it employs more people in our state than any other industry.

As such, we found a recent survey of the best hospitals to work for very illuminating, both in who it includes and who it leaves out. 70,000 employees participated in this survey nationally and the hospitals were ranked based on working conditions, compensation, diversity, potential for advancement, as well as if they would recommend their employer to others. Two notable Scottsdale hospitals were on the list, and one major Arizona healthcare provider was not.

As for the Good list, Scottsdale’s born-and-raised gem HonorHealth makes the cut as one of the best hospitals to work at, which should come as absolutely no surprise. Having been founded in 1962, it is a long-standing good steward in our city and a dedicated member of the community. It is clearly doing many things right, both in quality of services and in how it treats its talent.

Also on the list is the Mayo Clinic; while not originally from Arizona, its two campuses in Scottsdale and Phoenix routinely rank high in quality of care. When employees like where they work, it is often reflected in the quality of work that they do, so it is entirely understandable that Mayo is a genuinely positive place to be a healthcare provider.

However, it’s notable who is off the list of great places to work, and it happens to be the biggest single employer in Arizona: Banner Health. The company trying to make their way into the Scottsdale market was nowhere to be seen on this list. If one were to directly connect the happiness of healthcare providers with the quality of care they give (a very reasonable connection to make in our view), why would we want a lesser provider in the city to lower our quality of care, especially during a nursing shortage?

Part of the reason why Scottsdale is such a great place to live is the high quality of services that we have the luxury of enjoying in nearly every sector. When it comes to healthcare, the Scottsdale firefighters seem to have it right. We should support our existing system, not disrupt it for the sake of a hospital that just wants to expand its empire at the expense of Scottsdale.

Photo Credit: Roman Pilipey, AFP

By Kamryn Sobel

Illegal or not illegal? Earlier this summer, on June 28th, the City of Phoenix requested a Firearms Transfer Agreement to the National Police of Ukraine. The City of Phoenix selected approximately 500-600 unclaimed firearms to be agreed upon to transfer. This was approved and submitted by Assistant City Manager Lori Bays and the Police Department. The question revolving around this topic is the legality of the transaction.

The City asked for approval of the transfer through Gruelle, a private company that exports and imports cross-border. Gruelle has also dealt with a similar transfer of weapons from the U.S. city of Miami and the Ukrainian city of Irpin last August. Per the City Council Formal Meeting with the City of Phoenix, it was approved. However, should the ordinance be rescinded?

Two Republican State Representatives, House Judiciary Chairman Quang Nguyen, and Vice Chair Selina Bliss went as far as filing a complaint saying that this agreement is illegal. In a news release sent out by the Arizona House of Representatives, it claims that this transaction is violating the law and therefore should be looked at. Due to this complaint, it will force Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes to investigate. Despite the disagreements, the City of Phoenix is still planning to move forward with their plans and has refused to act upon the complaints.

According to Arizona’s state laws, or a simplified version, these unclaimed firearms may only be SOLD and not donated. The buyer should also be authorized to receive and dispose of the weapons under federal and state law. It seems it doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end of these weapons, as Ukraine is still at war with Russia. The use of these unclaimed weapons would also be going towards a real conflict as the people of Ukraine continue to struggle.

However, just like State Representatives Bliss and Nguyen said, it is the only option for public officials to follow the law. Though this situation is under unfortunate circumstances and trying to help those in need, the City of Phoenix still needs to make sure that everything is legal in the process. If something were to happen now or in the future, it is important that safety and security is the number one priority.

This is where things get tricky. On one hand, the City of Phoenix brings to light that its actions are like a previous donation of weapons by Governor Ducey in 2022. On the other hand, could they also be praying on their own downfall for the future of firearms in the state of Arizona?

Until the investigation is complete and the report is released, it is hard to tell the outcomes of this donation. Should the ordinance be rescinded, something to consider is how to deal with these events in the future.

As a firm believer of following the law, regardless of the position of power individuals may hold, helping those in need is also extremely important. With the donation of unclaimed weapons, the investigation should also be looking at how they can go about this LEGALLY so that Ukraine, or whoever the receiver, is getting the help they need. So, it is then imperative that the City of Phoenix should carefully consider the agreement, as it could prohibit similar acts in the future.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Recently the city of Scottsdale took a more open and assistive approach to homelessness, taking advantage of a grant offer by opening its doors and helping house a number of them (read the full story here). While it was a move that would clearly be seen as empathetic and compassionate, it is not one that comes without potential ramifications, both social and political. And now we learn that a state legislator is carrying that mantle of challenging if this is the right move for the city.

Indeed, State Representative Matt Gress, who represents District 4 which covers Paradise Valley and most of Scottsdale, has officially lined up on the side of skepticism as it relates to this project. He recently submitted a list of questions to Mayor David Ortega related to the initiative; as he puts it, they are questions that his constituency have asked about the project.

While the initiative is relatively small in scope, encompassing the use of 10 hotel beds, and will be funded with a $940,000 grant, the argument could be made that it is opening up a pandora’s box of collaboration with the state, potentially leading to the city being opened up further for housing the homeless. Along with that is a concern regarding a dip in quality of life, assuming that some of the issues that led to those people becoming homeless in the first place (i.e. drug abuse and mental health concerns) would spill over into the city.

While the Scottsdale city council was relatively unified in their support of this plan, with a 6-1 vote in favor and only Barry Graham voting no, this does represent yet another showdown between Mayor Ortega and other echelons of government. Regular readers will remember legislators such as Joseph Chaplik and Alexander Kolodin taking shots at him, as well as county supervisor Thomas Galvin over the Rio Verde Foothills water crisis.

Mayor Ortega, never being one to back down from a fight, clearly isn’t about to start in the face of this challenge. He responded in a way that could be construed as passive-aggressive, saying “At last count, there are approximately 9754 licensed hotel rooms within Scottsdale city limits. Your correspondence regarding 10 hotel rooms will be answered in full by staff.”

While we tend to think that the positives outweigh the negatives for this move by the city, that while there are concerns that the positive brand identity of being a compassionate and pragmatic city should outweigh those, that doesn’t mean that a conversation shouldn’t take place. It is our sincerest hope that we can have that conversation, and that it is productive and not overcome with hyperbole and negativity.

Devin Del Palacio. Photo Credit: Arizona’s Family

The Arizona School Board Association is an organization that largely falls under the radar of your average local current affairs aficionado. Typically you never hear about them unless something has gone very wrong. In that vein, a new scandal is brewing and is threatening to have many more people talk about them, what they do and why.

The most recent president of the association James Bryce was reportedly pushed out of his position and the association’s general counsel released…for what appears to be a case of doing the right thing. This stems from findings that its newly hired executive director lied on his resume and points to a larger problem of political coziness and backroom dealings.

The executive director in question, Devin Del Palacio, is well known in Arizona’s Democratic politics as a longtime member of the Tolleson Union High School District governing board. He unsuccessfully ran for the state legislature in 2018, ending up in 3rd place in a three-way Democratic primary. He ran for re-election to the school board in 2022 and barely squeaked into 2nd place by under 300 votes, with the 1st and 2nd place finishers winning election.

Del Palacio lied about his academic status in order to be eligible for the executive director job; he stated that he graduated from a college when he had spent less than one full year there. But perhaps the most interesting and damning aspect: Del Palacio used those falsified credentials in his application to be appointed to an open seat in the Arizona state legislature. Shockingly, it seems as though not even a basic background check was performed before this appointment.

Also shocking is the amount of pushback that Bryce received from the rest of the ASBA. It should be widely presumed and accepted that a material falsehood on the application you used to get that seat is grounds for termination, or at the very least a reason to ask a lot of hard questions and dig further. To have received a report demonstrating this and to not move forward with a larger investigation, but instead to gaslight the person who brought it forward and pressure them to resign is indicative of a deep rot within the ASBA.

The ASBA may have flown under the radar for a long time, but clearly that was a collective mistake that will hopefully be rectified. How over half of a governing board was willing to ignore material falsehoods and undermine the actions of someone who was attempting to shine light on them demands a true investigation, and at least on the surface seems to demand a full upheaval and real change in that board.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

In what will easily be one of the most watched and most interesting Senate elections in all of America in quite some time, the race to unseat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema just got a bit more interesting, and potentially in a way that will be much more advantageous to the Republicans next year.

Former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters recently announced that he will be taking another swing at the seat. Masters ran a respectable campaign in 2022 but ran into the fundraising buzzsaw that was Mark Kelly, losing by 5 percentage points. Considering the lopsided nature of expenditures however, with Kelly’s campaign spending over $92 million versus under $20 million for Masters, it was at least a moral victory to keep things that close.

But for anyone who has been watching Arizona politics (or even competitive Senate races), you know that this is not a normal election. As Sinema has redesignated herself as politically independent, this is currently shaping up as a hyper-competitive three-way race, with Ruben Gallego in a strong leading position on the Democratic side and the specter of a Masters/Kari Lake showdown in the Republican primary.

While Lake hasn’t officially announced her run, it is one of Arizona’s worst-kept secrets that she has been eyeing this seat for some time, even going so far as staffing up in preparation. While her fundraising wasn’t where it should have been (primarily since she figured she could eschew campaign orthodoxy), with a gargantuan email list and lessons learned, along with Masters, this would almost certainly line up to be a bruising, expensive primary.

How will it turn out? On its face, it does have the appearance of a stylistic re-run of the 2022 gubernatorial primary, with the Trump-ian candidate (Lake) against a more establishment, moderate Republican (Karrin Taylor-Robson in 2022, Masters in 2024). With Trump having a likely insurmountable lead in the Presidential primary and a primary voting base that still loves him, there is likely not much reason to think that the establishment candidate will win this time either.

Regardless of the outcome however, this is certainly shaping up to be a general election for the ages. And for us pundits who appreciate good content to write about, it’s about the best possible scenario.

By Alexander Lomax

The difference between state politics and county politics is often a large chasm of extremism; state parties are typically much more moderate compared to their county brethren (note: check out our coverage of the Maricopa County Democratic Party here to see some great examples). And true to form, any time it seems as though the state GOP seems to be headed in the right direction, the Maricopa County Republican Party (MCRP) shows that insanity still has foothold on the Republican side.

We have recently found out that the MCRP wanted to run the presidential preference primary…internally. As in, hold an entire statewide election outside the infrastructure of the actual elections system. As in, the state party would be responsible for setting up all the polling centers, performing all of the precinct votes (for a total of hundreds of thousands of votes), and performing all of the quality control.

To look at it another way, the entity which has had a rough go regarding fundraising and has precious little money in the bank would be responsible for building and executing on an entire elections infrastructure…from scratch. Why? Because the pervasiveness of the lies of election security have been so successful within rank and file Republicans in the state that this seems like a logical conclusion to many.

Thankfully for the Republicans, this absurd idea has been shot down and elections will go on as scheduled, but the fact that it even got that far is a sad sign of the times as to where the Party of Trump has gone. They are willing to throw punches at windmills, to incite further doubt in our institutions, spend a ton of money and get an inferior product purely to attempt to placate the former President. Meanwhile, recent chaos in local GOP elections have demonstrated the short-falls of hand counting.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us who believe that Joe Biden is entirely too old to lead a country, for those that think that the progressive excesses of blue states and cities are something to be avoided…where do we go? What options do we have? It is political homelessness defined.

In the epic miniseries Chernobyl, the lead character said “What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.” Was he talking about Russia or the modern day Republican party? It’s nearly impossible to tell.


by Shirley Wagner

My relationship with HonorHealth goes back to 1977, when I started working at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital as a nuclear medicine technologist.

The system has had name changes over the years, but quality patient care has always been the top priority. Physicians that practice at the hospital are innovative and forward looking.

Upon retiring, I have continued my relationship with HonorHealth by volunteering at the Thompson Peak campus. Thompson Peak Medical Center was recently awarded a 5-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Two of the five hospitals in the state awarded this rating serve the north Scottsdale community. The other hospital awarded this 5-star rating is the nearby Mayo Clinic Hospital/Phoenix.

As a longtime and involved resident of Scottsdale, I am opposed to the construction of a Banner hospital at the southwest corner of Hayden Road and the 101 freeway — it is simply not needed. The north Scottsdale area already has the highest quality hospitals with plenty of proven bed capacity and expertise to meet our healthcare needs now and decades into the future.

HonorHealth accepts all major insurances, so Scottsdale residents do not need to travel out of the area to access high quality healthcare. The water usage of the proposed hospital would add additional burden to Scottsdale’s already taxed water supply.

The traffic on Hayden Road is already very heavy, the addition of hundreds of vehicles/day would be chaotic. An additional hospital in the area would exacerbate workforce staffing shortages. An unnecessary new hospital will not create more physicians and nurses but rather further strain the workforce.

I hope Mayor Ortega and the Scottsdale City Council will put Scottsdale residents first and say no to an unwanted and unneeded hospital near Hayden and the 101.

by Alexander Lomax

Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer, AP

The jostling, jockeying and politicking between Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and the Republican-led Arizona House and Senate has made for some truly interesting watching in the short time that Hobbs has been Governor. While she has had a tumultuous time finding her feet (get up to date here), the AZ GOP has had nearly as tough a time trying to figure out how to legislate over, around or through her veto power.

One of the ways that they learned to exert their power and pressure Hobbs into concessions has been holding up her nominations for positions within the executive branch, one of the traditional checks on power between the parties. The Republican caucus has indeed embraced this with a certain degree of passion. Hobbs has wielded her veto pen early and often, and holding up her nominations has been one of the few responses that the GOP has had, and a response that they’ve embraced.

That response may have recently gotten completely out-of-hand however. Now the GOP caucus has apparently made its own committee…to review her nominees.

I think that the entire premise bears repeating: the party that so many of us gravitated towards as the party of small government just created a new government committee…to do what was already one of their job roles. State senators review appointees and votes on them. Precisely why is a new committee needed for them to do what they’ve been elected to do?

I can appreciate some good kabuki political theater as much as the next nerd, but this is just embarrassing. You signed onto a job, but instead of simply doing your job you’re creating extra bureaucracy in order to create some sort of bush-league McCarthy trials.

Then again, the fact that Jake Hoffman is in the middle of it should be of no surprise. His troll farms and manipulation of the various social media platforms by using people from across the world to pump disinformation into our politics has egregious enough to get him banned from those platforms. He must miss not being a gross puppet master in Facebook groups so he feels the need to overcompensate with this, and we all lose as a result.

The AZ GOP is missing out on an opportunity to be the grown-ups in the room. It’s not as though local Democrats have been mistake-free, far from it. But the GOP seems to be resistant to giving mature, reasonable folks a better option to vote for, as if our demographics and attitudes haven’t shifted since people came here in droves decades ago. I’m embarrassed for them.

Photo Credit: Scottsdale Progress

You probably know Scottsdale as an amazing place to eat, drink, golf, relax, and live in general. On occasion it receives the proper accolades for items that it is not particularly known for often, but rarely does the subject of pets come up. But recently, our fair city was listed as the number 1 most pet friendly city in America in a recent study by WalletHub. We won’t argue, although it is a bit surprising.

Of course, any survey is entirely beholden to the metrics it considers most important, and for the WalletHub study those metrics included some fairly agreeable ones, such as the number of dog parks, the number of dog friendly businesses, and the number of animal shelters. According to bringfido.com, there are 140 pet-friendly restaurants in the city, which is unquestionably impressive.

But perhaps the most surprising piece of information is that this all may actually turn into a political talking point in next year’s Mayoral race. Yes, dogs may be taking a seat at the Scottsdale political table along with development, traffic, and short-term rentals!

After all, this survey (perhaps not coincidentally) comes on the heels of this Scottsdale Progress article talking about the Thompson Peak dog park, part of the Bond 2019 package of debt-funded municipal projects that voters approved in 2019. While some have come under fire for going over budget (some because of inflation, some due to mismanagement) and the Thompson Peak dog park project is no different, many would likely look past a $1 million overrun in costs for a lasting and cherished facility that north Scottsdalians and their dogs will enjoy for years if not decades (assuming it lives up to its hype).

Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega was a strong proponent of the Chapparal dog park, is keen to mention his involvement in its founding, and is fond of touting its success. He has made numerous comments about his desire for more dog spaces, his general love for dogs, and even had campaign dog bandanas made for previous campaigns. It would seem to be a case where the personal intersects with the professional.

There are quite a few divisive labels that a city or area could be labeled with, ones that would appeal to some and strongly turn off others. If yours was the best area for, for instance, gun or abortion rights, you would delight some at the cost of alienating others. But not dogs…while being relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of government, making a city friendliest for dogs will have few natural opponents. It might be the most agreeable part of Mayor Ortega’s time in office!

By Monica Zepeda

As the hot Arizona sun beats down relentlessly on this record holding summer, a common complaint crosses my mind; how can we implement outdoor a/c? A bad joke, but a genuine concern for the unwalkable city of Phoenix. As the auto industry benefits from our daily steamy trek on car dependency, the bags of ruined outfits I have and bad hair days are piling high. Paired together with the arduous journey of a simple walk out of your car to your job; this is the dread-worthy walk of life in Satan’s A**hole Arizona

Our Urban Heat has a particular effect on common surfaces of rising to higher temperatures than normal. With no natural barrier to either, their frequent side effects can have a nasty bite. After my second heat exhaustion spell I was beat, I fell ill for the next whole day. Walking from my parking stop to the front door of the downtown courthouse for work was all it took.

The designs of our wonderful city can be attributed to the meddling of auto companies. There’s rich history in the layout of how far buildings are from one another. We are grid locked by a system on a mile-by-mile basis. The sun shines down without worry of buildings or shade stopping its encroachment. There are no tall sky lines to protect us either. This leads to a road to riches for auto industries and an asphalt to pick and shield ourselves up from. 

Of course, the city could help alleviate this by creating natural shade. It could make tree planting a high priority like parts of Tempe and Scottsdale have. It could kill two birds with one stone and both make the city more beautiful and help counteract the urban heat island effect. Yet for some reason, it never seems to be a priority for Phoenix; cars do…which is unfortunate.

The temperatures continue to warm up and the side effects seem to grow right along with it. The dominance of the auto industry making nothing close by in Phoenix makes the city lack walking about. 

2020 Scrum

Ne’Lexia Galloway

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.

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! 

Data Orbital is pleased to announce the results of its latest statewide, mixed mode survey of likely Republican primary election voters. The survey was conducted from July 18th to July 20th.

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.