Saturday, November 28, 2015

Running for president in AZ: if it got to be any more insider baseball, you would need a scorecard to tell the players apart

Of course, there are so many Republican candidates, you might need one for them anyway...

One of the overlooked parts of running for president is the rather mundane task of candidates making their way onto the ballot in all 50 states.

In Arizona, candidate can make it on to the primary ballot for a recognized party by submitting nomination paperwork and either certificates of ballot status for the candidate in two other primary states or 500 valid nomination petition signatures from voters in their primary's party (Democratic or Republican) or from 500 registered voters (Green or Libertarian).

Independent candidates have a slightly different procedure to follow, and if a candidate chooses to go that route, they will have to submit ~34,000 valid signatures.  But at least they will go directly to the general election ballot.

While independent candidates have until September to submit their required nominating paperwork (the general election is in November), partisan candidate have until December 14 to do so (the primary is in March).

It's far too early for any independent candidates to have already submitted their paperwork, but a few partisan candidates have already done so.

And there is a lot of "insider baseball" going on.

On the Democratic side, so far:

Hillary Clinton - submitted certificates of her ballot status from the states of Michigan and New Hampshire.

Her campaign's local contact: Fred Duval, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Arizona, a staffer in the White House during the presidential administration of Bill Clinton, and a friend of Arizona's current governor, Doug Ducey.

In other words, an insider's insider.

On the Republican side, so far:

Jeb Bush - submitted certificates of ballot status from Vermont and Idaho.

His campaign's local contact: Lisa James, a career PR flack and a bigwig in Arizona Republican circles (an insider).

 Ted Cruz - submitted certificates of ballot status from South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas.

His campaign's local contact is Constantin Querard, a Republican campaign consultant (another insider).

Ben Carson - submitted certificates of ballot status from South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas.

Local contact: Diane Ortiz-Parsons, a former vice-chair of the Maricopa County Republican Party (another insider).

Marco Rubio - submitted certificates of ballot status from South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas.

Local contact: Mark Brnovich, Arizona's Attorney General (yet another insider).

Rand Paul - submitted certificates of ballot status from Arkansas and Michigan.

Local contact: Shawn Dow of Fountain Hills. Politically active in far right Republican circles, but doesn't seem to be an insider.

Chris Christie - submitted certificates of ballot access from New Hampshire and Michigan.

Local contact: Wes Gullet, a Republican consultant and lobbyist, former candidate for mayor of Phoenix, and former aide to Sen. John McCain (yeah, another insider).

Significant candidates who, as of this writing, haven't filed in AZ:

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Republican Egomaniac Donald Trump of New York, New Jersey, Florida, and any other place where he hasn't yet worn out his welcome

Friday, November 27, 2015

And today's bad timing award goes to: Congressman Paul Gosar and his staff

By now, everyone who pays attention to current events, or even simply watched a cable news net or even checked in on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media today, are aware of the attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that has left three people dead (two civilians, one police officer).

More details will emerge in the coming days, but one things is already certain -

Certain people (not a naming specific end of the political spectrum, because this is something that all public figures should pay attention to) should probably think before they post.

To whit:  Congressman Paul Gosar's (R-Tin Foilville AZ) posted this at the height of the drama in Colorado Springs -

Yes, while a mass shooter in CO was kicking off the holiday season by shooting innocent people and first responders with a "long gun", Gosar's staff was commemorating his birthday with...wait for it...

Long guns.

Note: on this one, his staff may just be a reflection his values and judgement.

From April 2014, from the standoff in Nevada staged by unrepentant (and treasonous?) deadbeat Cliven Bundy -

Gosar, Bundy, and State Sen. Kelli "Chemtrails" Ward

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Maybe it's all part of the marketing plan for the new Star Wars movie: AZ Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema embraces the Dark Side...

...Fellow blogger Bob Lord has written on this very topic here, far more eloquently than I can.  However, I hope can make up in brevity what is lacking in eloquence...

OK, I'm done.  No more "holding my nose" and voting for the "less bad" option in Arizona's 9th Congressional District.

Former progressive icon (and current member of Congress) Kyrsten Sinema announced her complete renunciation of the pretense of working to serve the interests of her constituents (but damn, she's always serving her own interests), or even exhibiting the most basic humanity in her conduct in office, with her vote (along with 47 other Democrats) demonizing Syrian refugees for the terrorist attacks in Paris (and, as of this writing, no Syrians, refugee or otherwise, have been shown to have been part of the attacks).

This is not the first time she has done something like this, and to be blunt, I don't expect it to be the last time.

However, I can state unequivocally that the general election in 2014 will go down in history as the last time that I will ever vote for her.

 The worst case scenario for her here is that she truly believes that demonizing people of a specific ethnic background is good for the US.

The best case scenario for her here is that she truly believe that demonizing people of a specific ethnic background is good for her.

Either way though, it's evil.

And is something that I cannot, and will not, support.

Now, I almost certainly won't vote for the R in whatever race she is in - the next time Arizona Republicans nominate an honorable public servant for any office will be the first time they do so since former state senator Carolyn Allen and former corporation commission member Kris Mayes won their primaries (2008, I think).

However, I can skip any race on the ballot.

And in 2016 (and going forward), that is what will happen in any race where Kyrsten Sinema is a candidate.

Prediction: While it is getting late in the cycle for a Democrat to mount a credible primary challenge to her in 2016, the only way she avoids a Democratic primary in 2018 is to join State Sen. Carlyle Begay tomorrow and just change her partisan affiliation to Republican.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Event this weekend in Tempe: LD26 Beer Summit & Bake Off

Please note:  the festivities will come to a close well before the start of the Democratic presidential debate that night, so there will be an opportunity to do both - during the afternoon, meet some local luminaries as they vie for our votes (for best baked goods) and during the evening, watch some national luminaries vie for our votes (for the Democratic nomination for president).

If you want to attend, or just want to show your support for local Democrats, donate here.

See you Saturday!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maricopa County GOP chair rationalizes opposition to school bonds and overrides by insulting the voters

It's popcorn time, folks...

Normally, I'm not one to post video of Rs spouting off on TV, but this was too juicy to let pass.

Watch for the phrase "The voters just don't get it!"

Short attention span musing

...The race isn't over yet, not by a long shot, but Hillary Clinton went a long way toward securing the 2016 Democratic nomination for the presidency, and toward securing a general election victory, when she faced down the bullies masquerading as Republican members of Congress this past week.

And I am hardly the only person who thinks that.

For what it's worth, I am a supporter Bernie Sanders and believe that Clinton is *far* too close to Wall Street and other 1%'ers (and their lackeys).

I think Sanders is far more concerned with working to enhance the lives of average Americans than any other candidate, D or R.

Supporting him is an easy choice.

Having said that, she did incredibly well, staying cool, calm, and collected in the face of a marathon session thinly-veiled partisan bloviating dressed up as questioning.

Her biggest gain from the session won't be in attracting hardcore supporters of Sanders and the other Democratic candidates, it will be in attracting the support of voters who are late arrivals to the primary season.  The image of Clinton facing Trey Gowdy and his merry bunch of cutthroats and not even batting an eyelash will be the main image in their minds when those voters figure out who they think is the best candidate.

...The Republican field of candidates in CD1 is growing, as Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff, and David Gowan, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, have announced their candidacies (Ken Bennett, former AZSOS, and Gary Kiehne, a businessman, are already in the R field).

Babeu seems to be appealing to the pro-LGBT nativist portion of the GOP electorate.  Lending new meaning to the term "microtargeting"...

On the other hand, Gowan has become renowned for his "tin ear", politically speaking.

In other words, my prediction is that these two will be fighting it out for third and fourth place.  Unless someone else gets into the race (which may yet happen - perennial R candidate Wendy Rogers has been establishing ties to CD1).

Then they'll be duking it out over fourth and fifth place...

...News broke Saturday that a deal has been reached in the ongoing lawsuit over the state's consistent, and unconstitutional, underfunding of the state's education system.  Details are sketchy at this point (OK, they're nonexistent at this point), but it looks likely that there will be a special session of the legislature during the first two weeks of November (after that, the calendar will turn to the holiday season, a period during which no non-Maricopa legislator wants to be in Phoenix)..

That issue will be worthy of a separate post (or posts) in coming days; today, however, it highlights the failure of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to do its job.

In LD26 (Tempe and west Mesa), there is a senate seat that was vacated at the end of September when Ed Ableser resigned to accept a job in Nevada.

Shortly after that, the Democratic PCs of LD26 sent the names of three nominees to fill the seat to the MCBOS.

Word then was that the supes were going to make the appointment at their meeting on October 21st.

They didn't.

This isn't the first time that they've played partisan games with the district - in 2012, there was a vacancy in the old LD17 House contingent (most of the old LD17 became most of the new LD26 after redistricting).  At first, the supes refused to make an appointment, and then they tried to give it to someone who had just won election to the House to start his term limits clock early.  Observers quickly figured out what the supes were intending to do, and that nominee withdrew his name for consideration for the appointment.  Ultimately, nothing happened.

At the time, while there was some grumbling over the supes' high-handed tactics, in general people didn't sweat it that much - the appointment would have mostly been pro-forma as the lege was not in session and there was not any expectation of a special session.

Now, however, things are different.

Now, a special session of the lege is imminent, one regarding what is perhaps the issue that is most significant to average Arizonans - their children's education.

Now, as this looms, one of the areas of Maricopa County is significantly underrepresented.

Well, one thing is the same - the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is shirking its duty.

The three nominees (L--R) State Rep. Andrew Sherwood, LD26 Chair Sam Pstross, State Rep. Juan Mendez

At this point, the supes don't have any regular meetings scheduled to take place before the likely dates of a special legislative session

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Russell Pearce misuses county resources: gets "admonished"

From the Arizona Republic, written by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez -
Russell Pearce, the former Republican state Senate president known for his hard-line stance on illegal immigration and controversial remarks about Latinos and women, appears to be violating the Maricopa County's e-mail policy.

On late Tuesday afternoon, he sent an e-mail from his county treasurer's account that hits on the enforcement of immigration laws, sanctuary city policies, the ACLU and the media. The e-mail was titled "NO PERMISSION SLIP NEEDED:  STATES HAVE INHERENT AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS, ENOUGH OF THE LIES BY THE LEFT AND PROFITS OVER PATRIOTISM CROWD."

Maricopa County policy defines improper use of e-mail as using it for "illegal, inappropriate, obscene, political, or personal gain purposes."


He signs off with a description of himself, "Senator Russell Pearce and former President of the Arizona State Senate, former Chief Deputy of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, former Judge, author of:  SB1070, Employer Sanctions, Proof of Citizenship to vote, No welfare for illegals, No bail for illegals charged with serious crime, English as the Official Language, No in-state tuition for illegals, etc."

In most any other state, Pearce would have been fired; in Arizona, he gets less than a slap on the wrist.

For wasting public resources on his private jihad against immigrants.

Laurie Roberts, a columnist for the Republic, has her take here (as it turns out, Pearce is a "well-rounded" winger - he hates public education almost as much as he hates immigrants)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Short Attention Span Musing

...How long will the 2016 session of the legislature be active before they start doing the hypocrisy two-step?

First, from the Arizona Republic, written by Alia Beard Rau (emphasis added) -
The Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey will have about $250 million in additional ongoing revenue to work with as they begin develop the fiscal 2017 budget over the next few months, according to the latest projections from state financial experts.

But looking further to the future, experts painted a grim picture that could complicate the ongoing debate over increasing funding for K-12 schools.

Economists who serve on the state Financial Advisory Committee said they've given up on the arrival of any post-recession boom and warned that the next recession could come within the next couple of years.

They recommended state leaders neither institute any new major tax cuts nor any significant spending increases.

Presenting the main R talking point when they rationalize continuing to underfund Arizona's education system: "We can't afford it."

However, don't expect them to let that argument stop them from blowing up the state's budget.

From the "Tax Justice" blog from the Citizens for Tax Justice, written by Sebastien Johnson -
Plans to eliminate the state income tax in Arizona continue, with State Rep. Darin Mitchell telling officials that the push will come during the next legislative session. Mitchell, who chairs the Arizona House Ways and Means Committee, says the current strategy is to fight for a flat income tax that can be slowly eliminated over time: “We want to go to a flat tax next year, and then, maybe over the next five or six years we’ll ratchet down the collection until it no longer exists. We’ll just increase sales tax, on certain items.” Mitchell expects that Gov. Doug Ducey, who ran for election on a platform of eliminating the income tax, will support his plan. Were Mitchell’s plan to actually go forward, tax fairness in Arizona would become much worse. According to ITEP’s Who Pays? report, Arizona has the 8th most unfair tax system in the country, and the bottom 20 percent pay almost three times as much in taxes as a share of their income as do the top one percent.

AZBlueMeanie and Bob Lord at Blog for Arizona offer their takes on this topic (far more eloquent and informative than mine, too); the budget update presentation from the lege's Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is available here.

...As much as I'm enjoying the spectacle of DC Republicans eating their own, also known as the fight over the speakership in the US House of Representative, there is a significant downside to it -

It is giving some of the wingnuts far more media exposure than they merit.

One example of this is Arizona's own Congressman Trent Franks.

Never known as one of the brightest bulbs in Congress, Franks seems to be focused on reducing intellectual expectations faced by Congressional Republicans.

From TalkingPointsMemo, written by Katherine Kreuger (emphasis added) -
In an interview with MSNBC, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), offered a roll call of acceptable candidates for speaker. He named Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Tom Price (R-GA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH). He even mentioned Newt Gingrich, who was speaker from 1995 to 1999.

"I hear a lot of names. All of those men are Valley Forge Americans that would serve this country very well," Franks said, referencing the winter military camp where more than 2,500 of George Washington's troops died of starvation and exposure during the Revolutionary War.
Yes, he wants the leader of his chamber of Congress to be someone who would lead the House membership to horrible deaths.

Now, skilled mediator that I am (OK, not really :) ), I propose that House Republicans, since they are unable to find a candidate for Speaker that the all like, they should compromise by choosing one that they all dislike -

Nancy Pelosi.


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Cutting Out The Middle Man 101: Goldwater Institute lawyer seeks seat on the AZ Supreme Court

...If this works, maybe a Mob capo will apply for a deputy or associate director job at the FBI...

For a long time now, Arizona's Judicial Branch has been the only branch of government in Arizona that garners any national respect.

It seems like that in every legislative session, there are efforts to make the state's judicial branch more subject to the whims (and whimsy) of the state legislature and governor (2015, 2012, 2011...I could keep this going for a long time, but since I would like to complete this post, I'll just go with "you get the picture").

Those usually fail, so certain people appear to be taking a more direct approach to subverting the judiciary.

While not perfect (nothing is, but the AZ judicial branch does a good job of cleaning up its own messes), Arizona's judicial branch is seen as honest, fair, and professional...something that will change soon if the Goldwater Institute, a Koch Brothers affiliate, gets their way.

From Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, via Arizona Capitol Times -
Gov. Doug Ducey is getting his first chance to put his imprint on the state’s high court.

A dozen attorneys and lower court judges have applied to replace Rebecca Berch who is retiring. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will meet later this month to winnow down the list and decide who to interview and, ultimately, who to nominate.

Press aide Daniel Scarpinato said Ducey does have some ideas about who should serve on the Supreme Court.

“Some of the qualities that are important to the governor are an individual with a reputation with outstanding legal ability, someone with integrity and also the temperament for a job where you need to be calm under pressure and be thorough and be thoughtful,” he said. He also said Ducey said he wants someone who “treats people with respect,” whether as an attorney working with clients or lower court judge dealing with litigants.

And Scarpinato said Ducey believes it’s important for to appoint someone “that understands the three distinct branches and the separation of powers.”

The applicants are:

- Clint Bolick, 57, from Maricopa County, an attorney with the Goldwater Institute. He has been a political independent since 2003 but prior to that was registered as a Republican;

For more than two decades, Bolick and the Goldwater Institute (and other organizations affiliated with Bolick) have at the forefront of efforts to undermine civil society (attacks on public education, public employees, workers' rights, etc.) for the benefit of deep-pocketed private interests (corporations, the Koch brothers, etc.).
Given Bolick's success at subverting both the executive and legislative branches, turning them from instruments focused on working for the public interest to ones focused on working for private interests, Scarpinato's quote about "separation of powers" could be telling -
If they (meaning Ducey and the Arizona legislature) are looking for someone to hobble the state's judicial branch to keep them from interfering with the depredations visited upon civil society by Ducey et. al., then Bolick may just be the perfect choice*.
*For them, but not necessarily for the people of Arizona.

Background on the Goldwater Institute here, courtesy the Center for Media and Democracy.

The applications themselves are available here; Bolick's makes him sound like Mother Theresa with a JD.
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media and Democracy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Candidate and committees update

Some updates -

Federal offices:

...Shawn Redd, a Navajo businessman, has filed to run for the R nomination for US Senate.

..."Cranky Pants", no treasurer listed and a committee address of a mail drop in Litchfield Park, has filed to run for president as an independent (the filing is probably someone's idea of a practical joke, but it gives me an excuse to use the phrase "cranky pants" in a post that isn't about John McCain :) ).

Note: the first day for real candidates to file the paperwork necessary to appear on the ballot for Arizona Presidential Preference Election is November 13; the deadline is December 14 at 5 p.m. (AZ time)

State level offices:

...The races for the legislative offices in LD26 (parts of Tempe and Mesa) are getting complicated.

Incumbent state senator Ed Ableser (D) is resigning at the end of September in order to move to Nevada for a job.

Current State Rep. Andrew Sherwood and chair of the LD26 Democrats Sam Pstross are among those who have indicated an interest in being appointed to serve out the rest of Ableser's term in the Senate.

Michael Martinez, a candidate for JP in 2014, and Steve Muratore, a fellow blogger (full disclosure time: while Steve and I both have our individual blogs, we both contribute to Blog for Arizona), have formed committees to run for a House seat there (probably on the presumption that Sherwood will run for the Senate seat regardless of who is appointed to serve out the term).

Expect others to step up in both races...

...Judah Nativio, a member of the Queen Creek Unified School District's governing board, has filed for a run for the Republican nomination for on of the House seats in LD16.  In 2008, in the then-LD18, he was the Democratic nominee for state senate (Russell Pearce won that particular election).

...Current state rep. Sonny Borrelli and former state senator Ron Gould have formed committees to run for the R nomination for the LD5 senate seat currently held by Kelli Ward, who is running for the US Senate seat held by John McCain.

...Pamela Powers Hannley, also a blogger and also a contributor to Blog for Arizona, has filed to run for the Democratic nomination for one of the LD9 House seats there.  Incumbent Victoria Steele is running for Congress.

Maricopa County:

...Michael Bodak has filed to run for the Republican nomination for Maricopa County Sheriff.  On his campaign website, he touts his lack of experience as his greatest qualification for the office.

...Leonore Driggs has filed to run for the Republican nomination for Justice of the Peace in the Arcadia-Biltmore justice precinct.  Normally, I don't bother mentioning JP races in these posts (though since this is my justice precinct, I might have done so anyway :) ), but she merits some attention because she is the wife of State Senator Adam Driggs.

...A committee has formed to urge US Marshal David Gonzalez to run for the office of Maricopa County Sheriff.  It is *not* a candidate committee.  Their website is here.

Local races -


...Former state senator Jerry Lewis (R), best known for defeating the infamous Russell Pearce during Pearce's recall election is running for Mesa City Council, is targeting a seat held by current council member Dennis Kavanaugh.  Kavanagh is retiring.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Maria Polletta -

After a 2 1/2-year hiatus, former state Sen. Jerry Lewis is itching to get back into politics — this time, at the municipal level.

The 58-year-old assistant superintendent of Sequoia Schools has filed to run for southwest Mesa's District 3 City Council seat, joining 36-year-old urban-development advocate Ryan Winkle in the race to replace Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh in January 2017.
...As mentioned in the above article, so is Ryan Winkle.


...Dan Schweiker, a former member of the Paradise Valley Town Council, has formed a committee for a run at a seat on the Scottsdale City Council.


...Mike Jennings, a Tempe businessman and apparently the golden child chosen candidate of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, has formed a committee for a run at the Tempe City Council.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Coolidge overturns its policy of "Christian-only" invocations

Disappointing litigious Constitutional law attorneys all over the country, the Coolidge City Council pulled its collective head out of its collective ass on Monday night.

From the Casa Grande Dispatch, written by Joey Chenoweth -

Following a week of backlash that captured the attention of people around the country, the Coolidge City Council in a special meeting Monday night voted to deny an amended resolution that would have allowed only Christians to pray before its meetings.

Council members first held a 35-minute executive session where they were able to receive legal counsel outside of the public eye. When they came back, they quickly went through the two items on the regular agenda, unanimously denying the Christian-only amendment, then allowing prayer from all faiths to start its meetings.

Just speculatin' now, ya unnerstand, but I betcha that part of the conversation during the executive session was the City of Coolidge's attorney advising the City of Coolidge's elected leaders that cranio-rectal dislodgement surgery isn't covered under the City of Coolidge's health insurance and that they would have to remedy things before more costly measures were required... 

Note: the member of the Coolidge City Council, Rob Hudelson, posted some triumphant messages to Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of the original vote; he has been silent (in those places, anyway) since the second vote.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Coming Around Again": Coolidge City Council Special Meeting on its "Christian-only" invocations policy

When I first wrote about the mess in Coolidge, where the city council there had approved a policy of allowing just Christian-only invocations before its meetings, I noted that a special meeting of the council had already been called for Monday, September 21 (tomorrow, as of this writing), but that the agenda for that meeting hadn't yet been posted on the city's website.

It has since been posted.

Event:  Coolidge City Council Special Meeting
Where: Council Chambers, 911 S. Arizona Boulevard, Coolidge, Arizona
When: 9/21/2015, 6 p.m.

In bigger print, from the city's website -
City Council
Special Meeting
9/21/2015 6:00 PM
Council Chambers
911 S. Arizona Boulevard   Pinal County   Coolidge, AZ 85128

Call to Order

1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

Executive Session

3. A(3); for Discussion and Consultation with City Attorney Fitzgibbons and Designated Representatives of the City to Consider Its Position Regarding the City's Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocations Before Meeting of the Coolidge City Council and for Legal Advice Regarding the Same.

documentDiscussion Item Printout

Return to Regular Session

Business - Regular Items

4. 15-31; a Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of the City of Coolidge, Arizona, Adopting a Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocation Before Meetings of the Coolidge City Council.

documentResolution Printout

a. RES 15-31 Invocation Policy 091715 v2.rtf

5. 15-32; a Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of the City of Coolidge, Arizona, Adopting a Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocation Before Meetings of the Coolidge City Council.

documentResolution Printout

a. RES 15-32 Invocation Policy 091715.rtf


City Clerk Sign-Off

Resolution 15-31 is the "Christian-only" invocations resolution; 15-32 is invocations resolution without the "Christian-only" language.

Best guesses ("guesses" because I have absolutely no contacts in Coolidge):

1.  There is a lot of arm-twisting going on in Coolidge this weekend, as the people on both sides of this issue seek to buttress support for the measure/persuade one or more of the Council supporters to change their vote(s).

2.  The issue will be decided during the executive session at the start of the meeting.  The votes themselves will be public, but the council members will know beforehand how those votes will turn out.

3.  If guess #2 is correct, this could be a very short meeting.  If guess #2 is incorrect, attendees should bring their sleeping bags and pillows because this one could go into extra innings.

AZCrazy: They start 'em young here...or at least, before they get to the legislature...

Note: "young" refers to political age, not chronological age

...I'd speculate about something being in the water, but there isn't enough water here...

Most of the national (and international) ridicule directed at Arizona politics in recent years has been rooted in some of the actions of the state legislature or other denizens of the capitol district, but there is a "grass roots" brand of unprofessionalism that permeates certain local and special district governing boards.

Given that many of those boards serve as political feeder routes to the lege, it isn't actually much of a surprise that the Arizona Legislature is so dysfunctional - certain members of these boards have made their "whackjob" bones before moving up the political ladder.

In recent years we've seen...

...(late 2000s) the governing board of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) devolve into a "hostile work environment" (and that's putting things mildly) because of a single member, Jerry Walker.

Walker later was a candidate for the legislature and a local school board, coming up short even in years when any other R with a pulse won their races.

...(turn of the decade) seemingly the entire town council and police department in Quartzsite go off the rails (here, here, and here, among many choices)...

...(early 2010s) the school board in charge of the Gilbert public school system taken over by some tea party types and the hijinks ensuing almost immediately...

...(this month, September 2015) the city council in Coolidge approve a policy of "Christian-only" invocations for council meetings.

The council member behind the controversial move, Rob Hudelson, is a public servant in the same way that the infamous Kim Davis is a "public servant" - he seems to want to serve up the public interest on the altar of his personal religious dogma.

His personal blog is here; don you hip boots before reading - he piles it high and deep there, and quickly.

He also has the habit of conflating his personal preferences with the will of his constituents.  To whit, from his Twitter page:

Speculation time:

Regardless of how the "Christian-only" invocations controversy plays out, this won't be the last time we hear about Mr. Hudelson.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Arizona's late-night comedy supremacy assured: Coolidge City Council approves Christian-only invocations

From the Coolidge Examiner, written by Joey Chenoweth -

Ignoring legal counsel and concerns about a possible lawsuit, a majority of the Coolidge City Council voted Monday to amend a resolution that would allow prayers before council meetings, including a stipulation that they be Christian.

Council members Steve Hudson, Rob Hudelson, Gary Lewis and Tatiana Murrieta all voted in favor of the Christian-only stipulation to the resolution, which was originally written to include ministers from any faith represented within the city limits. Mayor Jon Thompson and Councilman Gilbert Lopez voted against the amended resolution, with Vice Mayor Jacque Henry absent.

The underlying measure, as well as the amendment authorizing only Christian invocations, were moved by councilmember Rob Hudelson.  His biography from the Council's home page -

During the meeting, Councilmember Hudelson argued that the move isn't unconstitutional because the First Amendment restriction against the establishment of an official religion only refers to Congress, not city councils. 

The US Supreme Court has been known to disagree, but Hudelson thinks that the Supreme Court can be ignored when he doesn't like a particular decision.

Based on a brief phone call to the City Manager's office in Coolidge, the measure isn't final yet.  There is a special meeting scheduled for next Monday where the measure is scheduled to be approved again (agenda not posted on the City's website of this writing).

The measure is being brought back because the "Christian-only" amendment conflicts with other language in the measure; the City Attorney wanted to clean up the conflicts. 

Assuming it is reapproved, the measure will go into effect 30 days later.

According to their official budget, Coolidge spent $259,858 from its contingency fund during the FY2014/2015 fiscal year; if the measure is passed again, expect that number to increase dramatically for FY2015/2016.

Litigation gets expensive, in a hurry.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Corey Woods announces that he is not seeking reelection to the Tempe City Council

Corey Woods, a member of the Tempe City Council since 2008,  has announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2016.

He is possibly the most well-liked and well-respected member of the council (and that's saying something with that group).

Part of his "secret", if you want to call it that, is that he likes and respects people, which makes it easy to like and respect him.

In 2010, a former member of the Tempe City Council, Len Copple, passed away.

As I was composing the post on Copple's death, I realized that I literally knew almost nothing about the man.  He left the Council around the same time that I first became politically active, and my attention was focused on Harry Mitchell's first run for Congress.

Looking for some insight, and maybe a quote, I called Corey.

When I reached him, he was on his cell phone, out of his car along US60, trying to reach a garage to help him with a flat tire.

In other words, he was dealing with some pressing matters and could have easily (and very reasonably, IMHO) begged off.

However, when I told him why I was calling, he told me that he had a couple of calls to make (relating to his car trouble) and would get back to me.

And he did.  In very short order.

He took time with me to offer insight into his friend at a time when he had more immediate concerns.

Woods had, and has, a reputation as one of the "nice" ones in Arizona politics.

That evening, he proved that that reputation is well deserved.

From his FB page, posted Thursday, September 10 at 11:01 a.m. -
I have had the honor and privilege of serving on the Tempe City Council since July of 2008. The last seven years have been filled with so many incredible experiences that I will cherish forever. With that being said, I wanted to formally announce that I will not be seeking re-election to the Tempe City Council in 2016. Tempe is an innovative, forward-thinking city that is well-positioned for an exceptionally bright future. It is a place that I am so proud to call my home.

I can’t say enough good things about all of the people that I have had the privilege to work with. I have been so fortunate to work alongside a group of Mayors and Councilmembers, both past and present who are so passionate about our city. They are a remarkable group of people whose only objective is always to take Tempe to even greater heights.

I want to also extend a huge thank you to the extraordinary staff we have at the City of Tempe. They are the unsung heroes that form the backbone of everything that we do. They are incredibly intelligent, hard-working individuals that spend countless hours working on behalf of our community.

Thank you to my family, friends and supporters for always being in my corner. Each and every one of you mean the absolute world to me. Most importantly, thank you from the bottom of my heart to the residents of Tempe for providing me with the opportunity to serve. Without all of you, none of this would have ever been possible.

In service,


I don't know what his plans are, near- or long-term, but I wish him the best with whatever they are, and (somewhat selfishly) hope that future public service is part of those plans.

He's "good people", the kind that there is never enough of in public service.

Woods, at one of the many events he participated in