Thursday, July 24, 2008

Odd and Ends

...Courtesy an email from MCDP...

Two new candidates have stepped forward to run for office in the West Valley.

- Out in Sun City, Leigh Strickman, a small business owner and PC, has filed to run for the District 4 County Supervisor seat currently occupied by Max Wilson. She is running as a write-in candidate and will need 600 people to vote for her in September to make it on to the ballot in November. If you want to volunteer, you can reach her campaign at or call 623-698-8004.

- And in Litchfield Park (also District 4), educator Randolph Lumm is running for the Maricopa County Community College Governing Board. He needs to collect 2500 sigs to qualify for the ballot, so anyone interested in helping him should contact the West Dems office at (623) 249-7407 to volunteer.

...In a sign that perhaps certain Republicans don't really get the whole "politics is about people" thing, as in "real people with real concerns", CD5 candidate David Schweikert is following up his June fundraiser at the Scottsdale Gun Club with a fundraiser in a gated community in north Scottsdale at the end of this month.

By contrast, Harry Mitchell (D-CD5) spent much of the same period either working for or honoring people for whom weapons and protective walls are more than a conspicuous assertion of social status.

On Sunday, July 13, he participated in the unveiling of a "permanent display" that serves as "a visual reminder of the sacrifices members of the military and their families are making." (EV Tribune). He followed that up on Tuesday, July 15 by chairing a hearing of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee into the Department of Veterans Affairs' outreach efforts for veterans who are at risk for PTSD and/or suicide. (AP via SF Chronicle coverage here.)

A quick perusal of Schweikert's campaign website finds rhetoric that is heavy on Club for Growth/Republican neo-con talking points and light on any concerns for CD5 or the people who live here. In fact, other than pro-forma mentions of Barry Goldwater and "Arizona values," this website would serve for any GOP candidate from Maine to California, and serve with very few changes (mostly on the contact information pages.)

And he's the presumptive Republican front-runner here. The other candidates are worse.

...Over in California, Der Governator is proving that he's a true, dyed-in-the-wool Republican - he's ticked off at the California legislature for its failure to pass a budget (as well he should be!), so does he vent his anger at the legislators who are failing to do their jobs? Of course not - that's not the Republican way.

Nope, instead he is trying to cut the pay of every state employee to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour. (SF Chronicle)

Given that most of the affected employees are covered by contracts (union or personal), don't expect this one to go far. On the other hand, picking on working people, especially people who work for the government, will surely endear Schwarzenegger to the radical corporatist wing of his party.

...On Tuesday, the 11 candidates for municipal office in Scottsdale met in two separate forums sponsored by the East Valley Tribune. Trib coverage of the Mayoral forum here; coverage of the Council forum here.

The forums will be replayed on Scottsdale's City Cable 11 on the next two Sundays from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

I'm not going to do a full write up of the event (a bit of dozing off during the mayoral portion of the program and a format with a lightning round combine to make that an overly ambitious idea), but I do have a couple of quick observations -

- Lisa Borowsky did better Tuesday than she did at last week's COPP-sponsored forum. She wasn't spectacular by any means, but her voice didn't get drowned out this week, either.

- Joel Bramoweth needs to learn the meaning of the word "succinct." After watching his performance, one sharp-tongued observer opined that if Bramoweth is elected to the Council, the rules that dictate a three-minute time limit for public comments may need to be expanded to Council members, too.

Yes, I was that observer. :))

- Ron McCullagh is running a campaign straight out of the Republican playbook. Right now, he's reading from the page labeled "When in doubt, scare 'em." However, this being Scottsdale, instead of citing the usually boogeymen of illegal immigrants and terrorists to engender fear among the audience members, he went with "payday loan businesses" and "massage parlors."

Hey, it *is* Scottsdale after all. :))

- The biggest disappointment, and this applies to the entire cast of council candidates, was their lack of original ideas on addressing Scottsdale's traffic crunch. When asked about when they thought was the best solution available, they all paid obeisance at the "light rail is dead" altar before advocating for more buses and existing transit options.

While their answers varied a bit in length and vocabulary, they could all be summed up thusly -
"Let's close our eyes and click our heels together three times while saying 'let's do more of the same things that aren't working now and hope that the problem will go away before we have to do something substantial.' "
Given that early ballots go out at the end of next week, time is getting short for any epiphanies on the part of the candidates; don't expect any improvement between now and the election.

Note: I called CityCable11's Dennis Grzelak (the manager). According to him, at this point in time, there are no plans to make the video of the forums available online; if you want to view them, catch one of the Sunday rebroadcasts.

...Sometimes bloggers can make an impact... (thanks to Jobsanger in Texas for the heads-up on this) -

It seems that blogger TxSharon of Bluedaze has been keeping track of the environmental damage caused by energy giant Chesapeake Energy and similar companies. with nice, full-color pictures of some of their pollution.

Chesapeake Energy has responded to her diligence by referring to her as a "radical" and stating that "free speech" is all fine and dandy, but it shouldn't apply to people not directly affected by a given issue. (TxSharon doesn't live in the area of Ft. Worth most directly affected by Chesapeake's actions.)

In other words, they apparently believe that witnesses to a crime shouldn't say anything about it, only direct victims should.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, as near as I can tell, Chesapeake doesn't have much, if any, presence in AZ, but this situation still calls for attention.

It's ok to go viral with this. (hint, hint :) )


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