Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Short Attention Span Musing: The "That's Just Republicans Being Republicans" Edition

...Terry Goddard (D), Jan Brewer (R) and Barry Hess (L) sat down with the Arizona Republic's editorial board to talk about their visions for Arizona.  Brewer's vision: cut education, health services, the Department of Economic Security, and anything else that benefits the working and middle classes while protecting tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy.

...Ken Bennett, the appointed Arizona Secretary of State, had pledged to not endorse (at the 14:25 mark in the video) any candidates in a race overseen by his office.  However, that pledge has gone by the wayside, as the man who will run the state's elections has endorsed fellow Republicans like Brenda Burns (Corporation Commission), Scott Bundgaard (LD4 State Senate) and Steve Pierce (LD1 State Senate).

FYI - Democratic nominee for Secretary of State Chris Deschene has pledged not to endorse candidates in elections that he would oversee as SOS, and has stuck by that pledge.

...Democratic nominee for Attorney General Felecia Rotellini has demanded an apology from Republican Tom Horne and his campaign for falsely claiming that Rotellini "has never tried a case in her entire life."  The Arizona Republic article linked to "demanded" indicates that Horne is now aware that Rotellini *has* tried cases before a jury, but hasn't backed down from his statement or issued an apology.  Why should he, when the lie serves his purposes better than the truth.

...Republican candidates all over the state have kept to the master plan of running and hiding from voters whenever possible.  The latest examples of this:  Russell Pearce blowing off the Clean Elections debate in LD18 on Monday and Kirk Adams and Justin Olson doing the same last week in LD19.  In both cases, the Republicans aren't running as Clean candidates and therefore don't have to participate in CE debates, but they aren't participating in other events that put them in the same places as their Democratic opponents and voters.

...Jan Brewer's "Arizona Commission on Privatization and Efficiency" has issued its first set of recommendations on which state services and operations can be given over to private vendors, and other "efficiency" measures, in order to save the state money.

The suggestions include:

Privatizing the state's email system
Selling state parks
Hiring private companies to manage highway rest areas (if the feds approve, not likely, but anything is possible)
Purchasing software that would allow State computers to be shut down remotely

The Commission includes a number of Republican Party/anti-government stalwarts.

Mark Brnovich, chair, current the Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, and a former executive with a private prison company (Brewer just *loves* those guys, doesn't she?)

Chad Kirkpatrick, Director of the Government Information Technology Agency, and chair of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, the Arizona incarnation/affiliate of Americans for Prosperity, a corporate lobbying group

John Halikowski, Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation, a former legislative researcher working for the Republican caucus of the AZ lege.  He was instrumental in crafting legislation mandating privatization.  His bio indicates that he spent six years working in executive positions for MVD, and I'm not sure of this, but the math looks right for him to have worked there during Russell Pearce's corruption-laden administration of that agency. Will check into that...

Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a former Executive Director of the Arizona Republican Party, and a man who has never seen a public service that shouldn't be privatized in a way that maximizes some corporation's profits (whether that corporation can deliver the service as well is irrelevant)

Leonard Gilroy, a senior staffer at something called "The Reason Foundation," an organization that claims to be an independent think tank dedicated to "free market" principles, but their dedication to "free" markets isn't free.  According to Sourcewatch, much of their funding comes from industry sources and extremists like the infamous Koch Brothers.

Stan Levine, a retired chemical company CEO and a senior member of Joe Arpaio's "posse"

There were a few more, but none who were there to represent the public interest.

With an assemblage like that, is it any wonder that they want to give state parks, which are supposed to be managed for the benefit of the people of Arizona, to private corporations to be managed for the benefit of those corporations?

It all looks like it's part of the GOP's game plan of running government into the ground (by refusing to actually govern responsibly by say, balancing the freakin' budget), and when government inevitably fails on their watch, use the failure that they've induced as an excuse to further sell off public assets to private groups.



Elizabeth Rogers said...

That one on remote shut down of computers would be good actually-you could switch off the computers and save the electricity costs when state workers leave if they forget to turn of their machines.

Governing magazine had a piece on it a few years ago.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Absent tax increases or asset sales the government doesn't have enough revenue to operate all the state parks. In addition to benefiting the company with the concession the general public would benefit because the state park would be open instead of closed. Pardon me if in this one case if I call that a win-win.

Nobody benefits from a closed state park.

cpmaz said...

Elizabeth - You may be correct, but when I see a bunch of corporate cheerleaders recommending that taxpayer money be spent to buy something in particular, I wonder whose brother-in-law is getting the contract, and how much the kickback is.

Not that I'm cynical or anything. :)

Thane - The state parks were a net revenue generator before the Rs closed them down. I don't think I'm being overly cynical when I believe that it was the plan all along to make people so frustrated with closed parks that they would accept selling them off in order to open them up again.

BTW - Private companies always operate to benefit their self-interest, not the public interest.

Taking public property that was set aside with public resources and nurtured for public benefit and then transferring that property to private owners for the benefit of those private owners is a betrayal of the public trust.

Thane Eichenauer said...

The fact that government would close a profitable park to accomplish a political end is all the more reason to get government out of the park business. Government ownership of businesses such as state parks will always result in political considerations being more important than the supposed customers.

At least with private ownership of parks I know that my tax dollars aren't used to play political cat and mouse.