Friday, August 06, 2010

Harry Mitchell vs. GOPer challengers: Public Service vs. Mudslinging and Politics As Usual

Keeping up with the compare and contrast theme of yesterday's post on the call for a special session of the legislature...

First up, an email from Congressman Harry Mitchell on the boring, but near and dear to the lives of CD5 residents, subject of home foreclosures -
Dear [cpmaz],

Our housing crisis is real; it is widespread; and it has reached deep into our economy, affecting us all. Inaction is not a responsible option.

Last weekend, I hosted my second Home Foreclosure Assistance Workshop in Ahwatukee. Arizona continues to have one of the worst foreclosure rates in the nation. One out of every 189 housing units in Arizona received a foreclosure notice during the month of June. That means that over 14,000 homes in Maricopa County alone went into foreclosure last month and gives us the third-highest foreclosure rate in the country.

Arizona Republic: Homeowners facing mortgage woes seek help at seminar.

I have heard far too many stories from people who are experiencing financial trouble, and their mortgage servicers will not take their calls until they are at least three-months behind on their payments. They feel like they are getting the run around and they want someone to help answer their questions. They feel like there is no one on their side.

That’s why I’ve been working hard with my colleagues in Congress to address foreclosures head-on. At the center of most home foreclosures is a house that has lost a lot of value, so I’ve proposed new tax incentives for homebuyers to help stimulate the housing market here in Arizona and across the country. I’ve also backed legislation that would make it easier for folks to get loan modifications when they are upside-down on their mortgage, or to refinance even if they have little-to-no equity in their home.

Foreclosure Prevention & Survival Resource Center: Online center providing links to housing, financial and consumer protection agencies.

But there’s more to be done. I believe we need more extensive tax cuts to help spur home sales and a plan that will avoid rewarding bad actors.

I will continue to fight, tackling foreclosures and decreasing home values head on. I welcome you to call my office with any questions, concerns and to see if our caseworkers can help. As always, please feel free to contact my office by clicking here or by calling (480) 946-2411.


Contrast Congressman Mitchell's efforts on behalf of his constituents with the antics of the various GOP "contenders" for a spot on November's ballot -
- Perennial candidate David Schweikert is the subject of yet another FEC complaint, this one over a hit piece that was mailed to CD5 R voters.  It doesn't have enough of a color contrast between the background and the "paid for by" disclaimer for that disclaimer to be readable.
- Tea Party-type Chris Salvino has sent out a similar hit piece, this one targeting Schweikert.  While the "paid for by" clause is pretty clear, it has other problems, as Greg Patterson at the Republican blog Espresso Pundit points out in this post.
From Patterson's post -
The piece is simple; it contains one fact that leads to one conclusion. Schweikert runs a vulture fund that preys on people, so he's wrong for Arizona. That's it.

There are only two problems with the piece and--unfortunately for Salvino--they are pretty big problems. First, the one fact on the piece is wrong. Schweikert operates a fund that buys properties--from BANKS. Hmm, that's not nearly as ominous. In fact, it ruins the entire point of hit piece. Dude, if you build a hit piece around ONE fact. That fact had better be true.

But that's not the real problem with this piece. The real problem is that Dr. Chris Salivino has no business mentioning investors or housing. That's because he opens the door for Schweikert to point out Salvino's disastrous financial history...bankruptcy, fraud, eviction notices and tax liens.
Court record regarding Salvino's bankruptcy/fraud issues here, and like the link to the hit piece above, courtesy Espresso Pundit.

- Ward himself is also sending out hit pieces, as Patterson pointed out in this post from July (Hey, I'm a registered Democrat.  I don't get the good stuff because I'm not on their mailing lists... :) ).  His piece was an attack on Schweikert in the "let's throw lots of stuff against the wall and see what sticks" school.
- Susan Bitter Smith, an industry lobbyist when she isn't moonlighting as a candidate for Congress, is the owner of a "consulting" firm that is working to override the concerns of Scottsdale residents regarding the height and density of buildings in downtown Scottsdale.  Either she has given up on winning the R nomination (a possibility) and doesn't mind alienating voters during an election year, or she figures that the campaign contributions she can wheedle out of developers will outweigh any lost votes.
During last month's Republican Congressional candidate forum sponsored by the Arizona Republic, something struck me as odd at the time, but I couldn't put specific words to it at the time, so I didn't write about it then. (The archived broadcast can be found on this page.)
Watching the mudslinging and disregard for the needs and opinions of the residents of CD5 emanating from the R candidates brought it into focus.
The few times that the candidates spoke about Mitchell directly or about what they had heard voters say about him, they said something in a pitying tone, along the lines of "his heart is in the right place" but he isn't conservative enough. 
The idea of a public official being a public servant seemed antithetical to their visions for themselves if they actually went on to win in November.
They've got no time or respect for people who view public service as an end in itself, not as a means to pursue an ideological agenda and personal aggrandizement.
Compare and contrast that with Mitchell's long career in public service, from nearly three decades as a high school teacher, through his terms on the Tempe City Council and as Mayor of Tempe, on to his four terms of service as the State Senator for Tempe and South Scottsdale, cuminating with his election to Congress in 2006.
Any questions on who I think people should vote for in November?


Thane Eichenauer said...

My question would be which of the candidates you mentioned are in favor of a policy to "Remove our military presence from Islamic countries, as quickly and safely as possible, to eliminate the incentive for al Qaeda to recruit new members."?

cpmaz said...

As far as I know, none of the Republicans favor such a troop withdrawal.

And I've never discussed the issue with Harry Mitchell, so I don't know where he stands on the matter.

Personally, I agree with the idea, but I'm not a single-issue voter, so I won't be voting for Mr. Coons.