Featured Editorials



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 Alexander Lomax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Alexander Lomax

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

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

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

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

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Reaching the highest point in the world has long been an object of fascinations for many explorers, risk seekers and the above-average traveler. For some, it’s a bucket-list item. For others, it’s a physical and emotional challenge worth taking. But for some, it serves a higher purpose.

Photo by Tom Shannon/ AZ Department of Public Safety

And that was exactly the case for Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon and his team this past month. Known as “Peck’s Trek” – in honor of fallen Goodyear firefighter Austin Peck – the nine-day 80-mile hike up and down Mount Everest served as a memorial to honor our fallen Arizona heroes.

“It was our honor to bring the prayers and memories of fallen law enforcement colleagues to the top of the world,” said Chief Shannon. The trek originally was set to honor 11-year firefighter Austin Peck who died in 2019 from a rare form of cancer and long-time friend of Scottsdale’s firefighters David Grefka who also passed from cancer shortly after Peck. But it soon became something more.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

In Scottsdale, we are known for a lot of great things. Just to list a few…

Our city has been acknowledged on numerous occasions as North American’s top golf destination. Nationally acclaimed as a leading tourist destination thanks largely to events like Barrett-Jackson, spring training and the city’s five-star resorts and hotels. The city is home to nearly twenty percent of the state’s corporate headquarters and is listed number six in the United States for job seekers.

All these things combined make Scottsdale one of the country’s best places to live, play and most importantly work – especially if you are a working woman. In a recently released national study by SmartAsset, Scottsdale is ranked ninth among 200 cities in the U.S. where women are most successful.

According to the report, women in Scottsdale had the 15th highest education rate with over 57% of women 25 or older with at least a bachelor’s degree and median earnings of $60,723. Additionally, Scottsdale had the 19th-highest percentage of full-time working women earning at least $75,000 and over 38% of Scottsdale businesses owned by women.Read More

By Gilbert Guru

#NeverShutUp inspired a 10-year-old, Gavin Henss to start Giving Sole, a Phoenix-based non-profit that gives brand name, brand new shoes to kids in the foster care system.

At a Suns vs. Cavs game, Gavin created a sign that said, “King James 23 You are More than an Athlete #NeverShutUp.” The poster got the attention of Lebron James, and the internet – propelling a viral post and Lebron’s shooting sleeve as a gift. Gavin had heard in the media that athletes should up and dribble and he made the sign to show that we all have a voice – regardless of who we are.

Gavin had the idea to start the non-profit after this demonstration of fate. Gavin and his parents fostered a young girl for almost a year and ever since she left their family, Gavin had been trying to figure out to help foster kids everywhere. He had originally thought he needed to wait until he was an adult to help, but after Lebron showed that he too had a voice the idea for Giving Sole came to him. Gavin wanted to show the world that you can achieve what you do not think you can and for Gavin, an achievement is giving to others in need.

Giving Sole’s mission is to remind foster children that they are more than their circumstances and that their voices matter. The shoes are a reminder of their inherent worth – this is why Giving Sole only gives brand name, brand new shoes; no hand-me-downs ever.

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There have been some recent stories in local media about the Goldwater Institute jumping into a Scottsdale issue about access to its public swimming pools.

The organization is intervening on behalf of a for-profit Valley-based swim company called Neptune.  Neptune argues, as does Goldwater, that Scottsdale should basically commercialize its pools to favor it, over Scottsdale schools and local non-profits with a heavy concentration of Scottsdale residents and students such as the Scottsdale Aquatic Club and numerous others.

Rather than build its own pools for its own profit, Neptune is seeking to change the rules and use of local resources by locals themselves to bail its poor fortunes in the area out, after losing and burning relationships with numerous private pool properties in the Scottsdale area.

Neptune’s initial legal efforts lost badly in Maricopa County Superior Court.  Indeed, they actually lost on a motion for summary judgment. Enter, oddly, the Goldwater Institute to help Neptune’s appeal.

Not liking the criticism about its efforts from a Scottsdale parent with Scottsdale youth swimmers, a Goldwater lawyer fired back, but missed so many marks.  Bigly.

Like we can’t think of anything more tone-deaf in Scottsdale.  Basically, Goldwater’s Jon Riches’ argues forcefully for the commercialization of the city’s public resources like pools, parks and PRESERVES.


We don’t know where Riches lives but it’s clearly not Scottsdale.  If he does, or had, Riches clearly would have recalled a rather large debate that happened in 2016, 2017 and culminating in 2018 in which Scottsdale voters overwhelmingly rejected commercialization of its McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  The only thing less politically popular than the “Desert Discovery Center” and utilizing the Preserve to boost city returns might have been Michael Auerbach’s city council candidacy.

Neptune = Desert Discovery Center when it comes to use of Scottsdale’s public resources.  If Neptune’s endeavors and arguments weren’t all wet before, they surely are now.

By Alexander Lomax

In my 16 years in Arizona, I have witnessed quite a few low moments from the AZ GOP. What is currently going on with our farce of an election audit may take the cake, however.

Our elections are amongst the most sacred of rituals in our society, with a proper amount of checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy. On top of all of the traditional checks, including the accuracy of our vote-counting machines verified at 100% accuracy by all 3 county parties, we have a split government with split duties for elections. With a Democratic County Recorder in charge of mail-in ballots and the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors tasked with managing day-of voting, it was a system uniquely hedged against any games.

None of this matters, however, since a former President can’t take a loss, and an entire party is groveling to his capricious whims in the hope that he may provide the golden ticket of an endorsement, or at least not attack them.

The battle cry was transparency, but the outcome has been disturbingly un-transparent. The sources of funding for this audit are a complete mystery, as is the methodology. Observation has been strictly limited, with reporters mostly in the dark unless they were able to sneak in due to the horribly lax security.

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“Our code of conduct now matches our openness and Western hospitality. We are raising awareness, guarding individualism, providing safe work and living spaces. With sincere effort, we improve Arizona one city at a time.”

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega, speaking in support of the city’s new non-discrimination ordinance, passed unanimously on April 20, 2021

This week it took a newly constituted Scottsdale City Council to do what should have been done years previous:  pass a non-discrimination ordinance providing greater protections for the community’s LGBTQ community.

Kudos to Mayor Ortega and a unanimous City Council for a job very well done.  We won’t say it was a politically easy vote.  Look what is going on in Mesa where a similar ordinance there is being challenged by a referendum drive and possibly going to a city-wide vote.  But the policy adoption was easier, as public opinion in recent years has moved rapidly in the direction of progress.  That’s why we shouldn’t forget those who stood in the well and made their case when such ideas weren’t quite so popular.  People like former Scottsdale City Councilwoman and always leading and compelling community voice Virginia Korte.

No one in Scottsdale has been more consistent or compelling for this important change than she.

Korte introduced the idea to and for Scottsdale.  And she was indefatigable in its pursuit, even during setbacks.

Here’s something else the public doesn’t know.  Just hours after Scottsdale should have been feeling pride for what its City Council did there were rumblings that what was going in Mesa (i.e. opposition) would migrate to Scottsdale.  People concerned with not allowing the City Council’s work to be undone, notably those that spearheaded the inclusive, successful city bond campaign in 2019, talked and started to rally throughout the day.  If the fight was going to come to the city progressive patriots would be ready.  Korte was asked to lead such an effort.  As always, her decision was to help her beloved city.

While it currently appears that the Mesa fight may stay there, Korte’s willingness to captain the cause underscores what she has meant, and means, to this historic achievement.

Thank you, Virginia Korte. Godmother to this goodness.  And thank you Scottsdale City Council for making it happen.

By Scottsdale Pinetop

At one moment or another, we’ve all wished for our own fairy godparent to grant our deepest wishes. Made popular by Disney’s Cinderella, a fairy godmother is the physical embodiment of hope and is devoted to making dreams come true.

And while they may not fit the traditional depiction of a “fairy godmother”, one non-profit organization known as the DreamCatchers Foundation is dedicated to fulfilling end-of-life dreams to those within their communities. And for adult hospice patients whose final wishes are being granted, that can mean everything.

The DreamCatchers Foundation is a network of high school and/or college student organizations that work closely with local hospices within their communities to fulfill the dreams of their patients with either a memorable experience or event. For example, a “Dream” may be a sailboat ride of someone who loves the ocean, a trip to a ballgame of their favorite team or something as simple as a birthday party.

This was the case for one Arizona resident, Stella Sgro, who recently turned 100 years old on Wednesday, April 21st. Not only is that an accomplishment in itself, but Stella is also a World War II veteran who served as a drill sergeant, air raid warden and factory worker in the U.S. Army in a time when women were discouraged from serving in the military. She’s a first-generation American from an Italian family and at the age of twelve, she was struck by lightning and survived. Now, this is someone who deserves to be celebrated!

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A Message Sent On Behalf Of Scottsdale Police District 2 Command Staff 

In an effort to continue collaboration on safety in our community, we wanted to alert Old Town businesses, including bar and hotel security and staff, to be vigilant in the coming days as the potential for civil unrest could again occur within our city. The difference between this time and last year is, we are going to be dealing with full establishments and more people in the area, which could be adversely affected by any potential unrest.

We wanted to revisit the importance for each business to establish and/or refresh yourselves on a safety plan for if/when a civil unrest event occurs. Whichever strategy your business chooses to maintain, ensure that your staff understands and can follow that plan should the need arise. Protection of your staff, guests and customers should be paramount to any other potential loss or damage of property.

As we saw last year, civil unrest situations can develop quickly and with little to no warning. It is imperative that all of us remain vigilant, take ownership and communicate information to each other should there be any indication that something may occur.

We ask that over the next few weeks, you conduct a “once around,” “sweep,” (or whatever you’d like to call it) of your properties and direct areas of control. Please do this at the beginning, during and end of your shifts. Please keep an eye out for “staged items” or any suspicious items that may appear out of place.

Please make sure that equipment or loose property that is stored outside is secured and anything that could be used as improvised weapons, barricades or means of damaging or destroying property is removed from the area. Please ensure that your dumpsters are not overflowing and locked at night if possible.

Please let us know if you or your employees hear of any rumors of unrest, or people planning on inciting a disturbance.

Ofc. Daniel Safsten #1304
Downtown Crime Prevention Officer

Is a city or town the better when their teachers, police officers, firefighters, healthcare workers and others can no longer afford to live in the place they serve?  This is a question facing many Arizona cities, but most especially Scottsdale, as rising rents and home values are creating unprecedented problems.

Kudos to Arizona Republic real estate reporter Catherine Reagor for her ongoing coverage on the topic, especially an article from this past week that outlined by the problem as well as potential solutions.

While many in Scottsdale like to occupy the fault line of growth or no growth affordable or attainable housing is yet another example of how governing is far more complex.

You can read Reagor’s insightful article here.

By Alexander Lomax

As a liberal with a science background, I have had myriad things to say about this pandemic. Initially, my beef was with the politicization of it, primarily from the right. The desire to nullify it, compare it to the flu, and to reject simple modes of reducing transmittance was at least somewhat a top-down driven movement, led at least de facto by a President who simply couldn’t deal with a pandemic in an election year (or any other year, for that matter). The pendulum always does keep swinging however, and for the sake of balance and intellectual credibility, it’s time to have a talk with my fellow liberals…

I’ll preface this by saying that while I have thought about this particular op-ed for a while, what spurred me into actually writing it was a recent trip to perhaps the pre-eminent liberal hotspot of the United States: the Pacific NW. While I was there I saw fear; I saw that fear manifested via actions designed to nullify most non-existent risk. After seeing probably 25% of drivers driving with masks on, and folks being masked up while walking by themselves with no one around, all the while in an area with very low infection rates, it was clear that perhaps the pendulum had moved too far.

I was vociferous in my views that while we were still figuring out what this virus was, that caution was prudent. I was similarly loud about how if we feel confident that simple harm-reduction methods like masks and distance work, then we should embrace them. So with that spirit in mind, I will be similarly pronounced when I say…there is such a thing as being too cautious.

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By Gilbert Guru

Arizona Community Colleges are on the rise. Dr. Casey Durandet, a professor at Paradise Valley Community College, was recently one of 23 faculty nationwide to be awarded the 2021 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award. The award is a national recognition for those making a difference in the classroom, presented by the American Association of Community Colleges.

Dr. Durandet has been a physics professor at PVCC for over 20 years. According to PVCC, Dr. Durandet utilizes her experience and passion to inspire and mentor her students, especially young women pursuing careers in STEM.

Furthermore, Dr. Durandet established a scholarship in 2019 titled “Excellence in STEM” designed to help PVCC, particularly women, pursue majors in STEM. College is a burden and an inhibitor to many people and Dr. Durandet is making it more accessible and demonstrating to women that they can enter the heavily male-dominated field.

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By Scottsdale Pinetop

Rosie the Riveter – one of history’s most recognizable cultural (and feminist) icons since its inception in World War II with a message to women everywhere that “We Can Do It.”

Women have continued to play increasingly important roles in all branches of the U.S. military, as history can attest for more than 80 years. And Arizona is no exception.

Last week, Gov. Ducey appointed Brid. Gen. Kerry Muehlenbeck to serve as the first female leader of the Arizona National Guard – a major accomplishment for military women in Arizona. She will be replacing retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire.

After leaving active duty in 1977, Muehlenbeck joined the National Guard and went on to work as a civilian prosecutor in Arizona. She will now be responsible for over 8,000 guard members and employees of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. Picking up where her predecessor left off, Muehlenbeck will be continuing the state’s response to the pandemic including delivery of goods and services, build temporary medical facilities and provide supplies to the underserved Navajo Nation who continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19.

When asked about the historic nature of the appointment at a press conference, Muenhlenbeck tactfully and gracefully toed the line between feminist and professionalism by stating:

“The historical importance of being the first female adjutant general in Arizona is not lost on me. But I do hope that what I’ve done and who I am is more important than simply my sex.”

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The year was 2004.  The City Council consisted of Mayor Mary Manross and Councilmembers Wayne Ecton, Bob Littlefield, Cynthia Lukas, Ned O-Hearn, Roberta Pilcher, Tom Silverman and then Councilmember David Ortega.

That March, Scottsdale voters were asked to consider a major change to the way its City Council would be elected.  Instead of 6 councilmembers being voted in by a city-wide majority Proposition 100 offered a change to six new council districts, which in turn would elect its own representative to council.

The argument then, as we hear some making now, is that Scottsdale has become so large that it should follow the lead of Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale and others.

But Proposition 100 was soundly defeated in 2004.  With 61% voting no and only 39% yes.

A look back at the hows and whys is noteworthy and instructive.  Scottsdale voters south of Camelback were positive on districts while those north of it were overwhelmingly opposed.

The pro-district forces didn’t raise much money and were largely made up of what might be described as a pro-development campaign. Its largest donor was landowner Henry Becker, he of weird protest signs at Pima and Happy Valley Road infamy.  The 6-district construct offered to the electorate was the result of a task force.

The opposition didn’t raise much money either.  Its leadership reads like a who’s who of anti-growth activists over the years.  John Washington.  Don Badenoch. Lee Tannenbaum.  Susan Wheeler. Sam West. Patty Badenoch. Lois Fitch.  The powerful Coalition of Pinnacle Peak led donations to the “Don’t Lose Your Vote” opposition campaign.

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By Alexander Lomax

I recently spoke about Rep. Kirkpatrick’s retirement and how the race to succeed her will almost certainly become crowded. We received a bit more clarity recently with Randy Friese’s official announcement of his candidacy.

Friese joins Kirsten Engel as the two stated candidates to succeed Kirkpatrick. Like Engel, Friese has spent plenty of time in the state legislature with little to account for it, the victim of being permanently and fastidiously in the minority at the Capitol. However, Friese has another thing going for him; he was the doctor who helped treat Gabby Giffords after her 2011 assassination attempt.

Indeed, Giffords’s sphere of influence has proven to be something that her would-be assassin never could have imagined. To have treated her is enough of a catalyst to send someone to the state legislature and become a legitimate Congressional candidate (Friese), to have been an intern for her was enough to be vaulted to the state House of Reps (Hernandez Jr.), and to be married to her (along with being an astronaut, of course) enough to become a US Senator. It is as if she is the political equivalent of one of the most historic coaching trees in sports.

Will this be the last of the major announcements for Arizona’s 2nd congressional district? It may very well be. Along with the strength of both announced candidates, federal laws allow for candidates to run for seats in districts in which they do not live in. And many, MANY Democrats have already been eyeing both the 10th Congressional district which will be created this year due to our population increase, as well as the 9th district which many political insiders believe current occupant Greg Stanton will abandon in pursuit of statewide office. There will be no shortage of potential options for upwardly mobile and unceasingly ambitious folks here.

So while the chessboard has cleared up a bit, the big moves have yet to be made, and many are breathlessly waiting on them.

A number of years ago there was a creative proposal to build a New York City-inspired “High-Line Trail” down the middle of Scottsdale’s McDowell Road, up in the air, connecting the Indian Bend Wash to a new Red Rocks-style amphitheater in Papago Park.

Those familiar with the High-Line know what a remarkable recreational amenity and economic development driver the project has been.

The idea for Scottsdale was similar, but different.  And before the massive redevelopment of old automobile dealerships along McDowell.

There was a lot of discussion about a “High-Line” for Scottsdale’s southern city.  Could it too drive more economic development, tourism and create yet another spectacular walking, jogging and biking place in the community?

Some people liked the idea. The Scottsdale Republic even endorsed the concept.  Others decried the cost and disruption.

But at its interesting core the idea was really about connectivity.  Southern Scottsdale boasts many attributes with the Indian Bend Wash and Papago Park (which is actually in Phoenix) at the top of the list.  But there is nothing connecting them other than the highly-trafficked McDowell Road.  In other words, to get from one to another and enjoy both an automobile was required because to walk or bike it was not appealing.

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By Alexander Lomax

Life certainly isn’t back to normal. We all have had enough normal-ish experiences, but everyday life sort of resembles Canada; a lot of similarities but nearly everything is slightly yet noticeably different. One thing that is nowhere close to normalcy is the live music scene, which has been destroyed by Covid for obvious reasons. But are we recapturing this aspect of our lives? It is on the horizon, it would seem.

Believe it or not, there are actually a few festivals going forward this month. Party promoter Relentless Beats is being a bit of a trailblazer on that end, with two shows planned for the month. I use the term “trailblazer” with special trepidation, as I’m not convinced of the safety of large groups in one space yet, but someone has to take the risk (and I assume that they have a robust insurance policy). They are bringing ‘90’s California rock heroes Sublime to the Valley, along with another edition of their Wet Electric Festival. Their typical attendees are young and indestructible, so my greatest hope is that their older family members are already vaccinated since I doubt that it is front of mind for many who will be attending.

Chandler had a much wiser idea for its 21st annual jazz festival, happening at the time of writing this; to decentralize it and put it in 4 different spaces to reduce crowd sizes in one particular area. I recognize and value their risk mitigation attempts, even if it’s not quite the return to normalcy we’d all like. Highlands Church in Scottsdale is being similarly safe as it brings the Kingston Trio to town this month: mandatory masks and distancing.

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By Councilwoman Tammy Caputi

For those of you who missed it, Tuesday’s council meeting showed there may be reason for optimism about the future of Scottsdale. The City Council voted 6-1 to move forward with the Kimsey Project, with plans that include a 168-room hotel, 190-dwelling units, a restaurant and commercial space at 7110 E. Indian School Road. Yes, council approved a project with height, density, and apartments, and it was approved without any stipulations, exactly as the applicant requested!

This was accomplished through teamwork, compromise, and a huge amount of public outreach. I participated in many meetings with residents, staff and the developer over the past few months. The collaborative process turned this project into a winner! Community support and benefit, especially from the surrounding neighbors and small businesses made the difference. I was glad to join my colleagues in supporting this watershed project, which will set the tone for development over the next few years in Scottsdale.

More coverage and information can be found in the Scottsdale Independent.

2020 Scrum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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