Thursday, July 30, 2015

Old politicos don't retire, they just run for a different office: Candidates update

Normally, most of this would going into a pure "Committees Update" post, but many of these people have made public announcements but don't have updated committee paperwork on the relevant election authority website as yet...

...In Maricopa county, former Buckeye police chief Dan Saban announced his candidacy for sheriff, challenging incumbent Joe Arpaio.  Saban has challenged Arpaio before, running as a Republican in 2004, a Democrat in 2008, and as a Republican (again!) this time around.

He actually has updated paperwork on the Maricopa County Recorder's website.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts has some observations on Saban's renewed candidacy here.  Summary: she's not holding her breath waiting for a Saban primary victory.

Neither am I.

...In Congressional news, former state legislator Matt Heinz has joined current state legislator Victoria Steele in the race for the Democratic nomination in CD2.  Both are looking to challenge incumbent Republican Martha McSally.

With two candidates now in the CD2 Democratic primary, it's now official: there are two more candidates in a race for an occupied seat than there are in CD1, an open seat.  Incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick has already announced that she is running for US Senate in 2016.  As of this writing, while there have been rumors that Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark will run for the nomination, no Democrat has jumped into the CD1 race.

Steele, Heinz, and Kirkpatrick have already filed paperwork for their respective races, but no Democrat has filed in CD1.

...In statewide news, former state legislator "Atomic" Al Melvin is running for one of the Republican nominations for the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

He is famous for his scheme to turn Arizona into the country's nuclear waste dump and using the revenue to pay for Arizona's public education system.

If he wins a seat on the ACC, look for "glowing media reports about Arizona" to become "media reports about Arizona glowing"...

...In ballot question news, a new group, "We The People For The Unborn", has formed a committee for an as-yet undefined ballot question, but considering the hubbub generated by the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood by anti-choicers, don't be surprised if any question proposed by the new committee will be in that vein.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Short Attention Span Musing

Edited on 7/27 to correct an error

...Apparently, the leash from the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy (CATP) stretches all the way from CATP's HQ to the 9th floor (governor's office)...

Last week, a video emerged purporting to show a senior official from Planned Parenthood offering for sale tissue from fetuses that have been aborted (not going to link to it; it's easy to find if you really want to see it).

It was quickly shown to be heavily selectively edited and egregiously taken out of context (the actual conversation was about using legitimately donated tissue for legitimate medical research), but that hasn't stopped hordes of anti-choicers from citing the video when they demonize Planned Parenthood.

Which is something that they do the same way that normal people breathe.

Anyway, Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona, has jumped on the anti-PP bandwagon with a statement.  From that statement -

Governor Doug Ducey today directed the Arizona Department of Health Services to conduct a thorough review of current law and immediately promulgate emergency rules designed to prohibit the illegal sale of any tissue from an unborn child.

Since Ducey has officially deemed it OK to change public policy based on open lies, maybe it's time to play with the truth a little and see how much he likes it.

Found this picture on -

Ducey, left, and Cathi Herrod, President of CATP

Now, someone with Photoshop skills could do a better job with this than me, but this may be good enough to make my point -

The crudely-drawn black line going from Herrod's right hand to Ducey's neck represents a leash attached to a collar.

Now, to be clear, while it seems clear that Herrod and her group exert undue influence at the Capitol (9th Floor and elsewhere), to the best of my knowledge, a physical leash is not involved (meaning that the above pic is meant to be taken as a physical representation of a metaphor, not as documentation of an actual leash).

Having said that, I have to ask -

Would he like it if the above picture (or one done more skillfully) were circulated during his next election campaign?

While it is not accurate in a literal sense (like the anti-PP video), it is accurate in a metaphorical sense (unlike the anti-PP video)...

...Am I the only person who thinks that Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate (and God's gift to comedians and wiseasses everywhere), instead of being the "nightmare" for the GOP that many in the GOP seem to believe, is actually their wettest dream -

- he actually has Democrats defending Sen. John McCain (R-Never Met A War He Didn't Monger) and his military service.

- he is providing cover for the other R candidates, all of whom have gone right on with saying things that should disqualify them from ever holding *any* elected office, much less the presidency.  However, the national media is focused on Trump and his never-ending case of verbal diarrhea.

...News broke this week that Rodney Glassman, the 2010 Democratic nominee for US Senate in AZ, has changed his voter registration from Democrat to Republican.

Most people that I talked to about this A) hadn't heard the news prior to reading about it in the Yellow Sheet Report and B) weren't surprised - he was never much of a Democrat, and unless the AZGOP changes its name to the "Arizona Glassman Party", he's probably not going to be much of a Republican (though he may find some common cause with the Chamber of Commerce wing of the AZGOP).

The story mentioned that he might be exploring a run in LD28 (looking to unseat Democratic State Rep. Eric Meyer).  As of this writing, the website of the AZSOS doesn't show him as establishing a campaign committee (statewide, exploratory, or legislative).

Just to be thorough, I checked the websites of the FEC and Maricopa County; no Glassman activity in either place as yet.

Edit on 7/27:  Rep Meyer is facing term limits in the House and has formed a committee for a Senate run.  He is expected to face the incumbent senator for LD28, Republican Adam Driggs.  As such, if Glassman does indeed go for a House seat, it will be an open seat.  However, unless he is better connected within the LD28GOP and can fend off would-be competitors before nominating signatures are filed, he will face a number of challengers.  

Many of whom may view themselves as having "waited their turn" and will be reluctant to step aside for an upstart.

Having said that, a Glassman primary victory isn't impossible, just difficult to foresee.

Apologies to readers for in my haste to complete this post, I didn't check Meyer's status while searching for any Glassman committees.

End edit...

...Also this past week, the US House of Representatives passed HB3009, punishing "sanctuary cities" (cities that don't notify the feds of the immigration status of people that come into contact with "the system").  The vote fell almost completely along party lines, but six Democrats crossed over to support this nugget of nativist grandstanding.

Including Arizona's own Kyrsten Sinema (CD9).

I don't know if she was always on the nativist train (support: her friendly relationship with the infamous Russell Pearce) or if she is triangulating, trying to gain the support of people who will never vote for her anyway (support: everything she has done since gaining the office), she is looking ever more vulnerable to a primary challenge.

I don't know if one will happen in 2016, but one is coming, and soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Netroots Nation 2015: A few thoughts

...and a few pictures (of course :) )...

This week, Netroots Nation 2015, a conference of progressive activists from all over the country, took place in downtown Phoenix.

Thousands of people journeyed to the Phoenix Convention Center to share their stories, knowledge, and (hard-won) wisdom with each other over an exhausting but exhilarating three-plus days.

The most-noted high points of the conference were the appearance of progressive icons Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for an address on Friday and a "town hall" with presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland on Saturday.

There was also an emphasis on immigration actions, including a massive march and rally, protesting Joe Arpaio and his nativist policies.

Warren addressing (and "wow-ing") the conference

Both of the above pics are of the town hall crowd while Sanders was speaking

However, the best part of the conference was in meeting people who are fighting the same battles as we are here in Arizona (it turns out that Kansas can make a strong argument that the politics there are as thoroughly insane as they are here) and also learning from them about successes and yes, failure, in their fights to help make the world a little better.

Now, I can't talk about *all* of the trainings/panels/caucuses/event - at any one time, there would be 7-12 (or more) going on, and it was impossible to be in more than one place at a time, but here are a few impressions -

Best panel:

#EpicFail: A Look at GOTV Failures (So You Don’t Repeat Them)

Organizers, from the grass roots level to national organizations and campaigns, talked about GOTV ideas that sounded brilliant as proposals, but were viewed as something other than "brilliant" after they were implemented.  Like an initiative to help register voters that cost $250K, registered a whopping six voters, and saw only two of those six actually vote.


There were others, some painfully funny, some just painful.

There were three main lessons from this -

1. No matter how brilliant an idea may seem, have someone (or more than one someone) with no vested interest in it examine it, looking for flaws or unintended side effects.

2. Don't lose sight of the your intended audience; doing something that just turns off parts of the base (say, with incessant email blasts) is counterproductive.  One of the primary tenets of professional medicine is "First Do No Harm".

As it turns out, that's a good thing to remember in many fields of endeavor.

3. A fail doesn't really become "epic" unless you don't learn the lesson 
Biggest disappointment:

It seemed that all of the sessions were focused on "preaching to the choir" and how to be better at that.

My biggest pet peeve in politics is not the people that I disagree with (of course, they are wrong :) , but that's just politics.  Seriously, if you are freaked out by disagreement, stay away from politics.  It's all about disagreement.).

Nope, my biggest pet peeve are the people I refer to as "proudly apathetic" about politics.

We all know these people and may have been them at some point.  They're the people who dismiss politics as being beneath them, and not worthy of attention.

They may be registered to vote but for 23 months out of a typical 24-month election cycle, can't be bothered to pay attention to what their elected officials are saying and doing.

Can't say that the omission was much of a surprise - the conference is attended by people who are politically active and engaged and are used to dealing with people who are already at least engaged.

However, in my opinion, in Arizona (and elsewhere) the most significant reason for the election is eligible voters (registered or not) who don't vote. 

Those are the people who have to be reached by folks who are looking to improve society (or at least, their little part of it). 
Best event:

What ensues when you get a bunch of political geeks together, mix in some trivia, and stir in some alcohol to taste?


Some of the assembled Pub Quiz contestants, before the contest started.  See that cluster of people at the back of the picture on the left side?  That's the bar (putting the "Pub" in "Pub Quiz" :) )

Best non-conference related entertainment:

Four days of riding the light rail (most of which was pretty boring).
- While going home on Wednesday, two drunks got on the LR, sat across from each other and started trying to throw Fritos into each other's mouth.

They missed.  A lot.

- On Friday evening, there were three women who were returning to Tempe when they noticed it was raining.  One of them took out a pair of jeans and proceeded to wrap them around her head - apparently, she had just had something done to her hair and couldn't allow it to get wet.

Locals rate for attending Netroots Nation: $195.00
A day pass for riding the light rail: $4.00
Seeing someone walk off of the train and down the street essentially wearing their jeans as a hat while not drunk or otherwise intoxicated (I think): Priceless. 
- Also on Friday, a kid (by that, I mean that he looked like he was in his late teens or early 20s), was standing in the train car (it was an SRO trip).  He then leaned against the nearest wall.  Which had an emergency intercom box on it.

If he had jumped any higher when the train operator got on the intercom and instructed him to stop hitting the call button, he'd be a cinch to make the US Olympic team.

Other takes on NN15:

Pamela Powers Hannley wrote on a "Black Lives Matter Matter" demonstration during the "town hall with Sanders and O'Malley here and here. 

MSNBC coverage of the Arpaio protest, written by Nisha Chittal, here. 

More MSNBC coverage of NN15 in general, written by Chittal and Yasmin Aslam, here. 

AZRepublic coverage of Warren's speech, written by Dan Nowicki, here.
Random pictures from NN15:

Is anyone really surprised that an event with "Netroots" in the name had a lot people with laptops, tablets, and more?








(l-r) Brad Baumann, former ED of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA): Lily Eskelsen GarcĂ­a, President of the National Education Association; Arshad Hasan, ED of ProgressNow. Panel: Education in the 2016 Presidential Campaign
From Wednesday: Thousands of "swag bags" after being filled

An interview on the main floor of the conference

Rep. Mark Takano


























Before the start of the meeting of the Arizona Caucus

From the panel: A New 50 State Strategy: Reversing the Democratic Collapse in the States (l-r) Michael Sargeant, ED of the DLCC; E.J. Juarez, ED of Progressive Majority Washington; Nina Turner, former state senator (OH) and wearer of many community activist hats; and Monica Perez, former legislative candidate in Arizona and community activist

From: 2020 War Room: Update from the Fight to End GOP Gerrymandering, Arizona State Senator Martin Quezada

From: 2020 War Room: Update from the Fight to End GOP Gerrymandering, Arizona State Rep. Charlene Fernandez



















Renowned author and former AZRepublic columnist, Jon Talton

Guess where next year's conference will be held?

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), introducing Sen. Elizabeth Warren







Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Netroots Nation 2015 is here!

...OK, almost :)

It starts on Thursday...

The official events actually start on Wednesday with a Pool Party Kick Off but the "official" events start on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.  NN hits the ground running; there are 14 trainings and panels scheduled for 9 a.m.

They will run the gamut from "Daring to Internet While Female 2.0" through "State Battlegrounds: The Real Fight for Voting Rights" to "Arizona's Latino Civic Engagement from SB1070 to Now" (I'm leaning toward attending "Creative for All: The Keys to Creating Compelling Content", but there is so much interesting stuff going on then that I haven't fully decided yet).

There will also be progressive-themed music, traditional Native American, hip hop, folk, and more, presented throughout the entire conference.

Thursday evening, the opening keynote speeches will be given by speakers both local and national.

The speakers will include Arizona activists and leaders like Alfredo Gutierrez, Petra Falcon, Isabel Garcia, Erika Andiola, Marisa Franco,  and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (subject to change).

The speakers will include national figures like US Rep. Donna Edwards, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (yup, he's a national figure, too), Joel Silberman and the evening's host, HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski (also subject to change).

Others speaking throughout the event include (but are not limited to): Millennial Activists United’s Ashley Yates, US Reps Ruben Gallego, Keith Ellison, Mark Takano, Hank Johnson, Robin Kelly, and Raul Grijalva.

Oh yeah - there are three "big" names scheduled to speak (and the others are pretty "big" in their own right) - US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Friday) and presidential candidates US Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (Saturday at a "town hall" event moderated by journalist, filmmaker and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas)

O'Malley, courtesy Twitter

Sanders, courtesy Twitter

Warren, courtesy Twitter

There are also a number of events that are "unofficial" (not part of the official festivities, but sure to be loads of fun).  AFT has a list of them compiled here, but the ones that I am most interested in are both on Friday night: "Candidate Happy Hour Presented by ActBlue and Democracy for America" (among others, my LD's state senator Katie Hobbs will be featured) and "Chairman (Emeritus) Pub Quiz 2015: Number 9, Number 9" (watch or participate as political geeks with vast cesspools of useless knowledge knowledge of political trivia compete for fun and bragging rights)

Another event, not directly related to Netroots Nation, is a campaign event featuring Bernie Sanders on Saturday night will take place Saturday evening at the Phoenix Convention Center.


Saturday, July 18 at 7:00 PM
Phoenix Convention Center
100 N 3rd St
Phoenix, AZ

In case you didn't see the pic at the beginning of the post -


Note: The official NN15 program can be found here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Donald Trump accuses Phoenix officials of willfully endangering thousands of lives...

...or maybe Trump is just inflating the numbers of his supporters in order to boost his own ego...

The above tweet was posted this morning, but even before the event, he was engaged in shameless number inflation (posted on Twitter Saturday morning) -

Let's be clear, the capacity of the venue is 4200 people at maximum (depending on the configuration of the room, that capacity may be lower; for the sake of this post, I'm assuming that they used the configuration with the highest capacity).  From the website of the Phoenix Convention Center -

The funny thing is, a turnout of ~4500 for an event at this point of the presidential election cycle is incredibly good.

However, by needlessly puffing up the numbers in order to puff up his ego, Trump undercut his already-limited credibility.

Of course, that predilection does lend some insight into why Trump is almost as famous for his serial bankruptcies as he is for his TV show.


The entire Phoenix fire code is available here.

The Phoenix municipal code is available here.  I'm not a lawyer (in other words, do your own research if you think action in this area might be fruitful), but if Trump is willing and able to present evidence of malfeasance by "convention center officials", section 1.5 of the Phoenix City Code seems to indicate that those officials could possibly be guilty of a Class One misdemeanor.

Though with the alleged number of people allegedly endangered, someone may be able to bootstrap some felony charges...of course, if, as seems likely, Trump is just talking out of his ass, felony charges may still be warranted.

Different charges, though. :)