Saturday, September 08, 2012

Part one: Arizona Politics 101 - "Peanuts! Crackerjack! Scorecards! Ya can't tell the players without a scorecard!"

After writing this blog for 6+ years, I've noticed that I tend to write in a sort of shorthand, using abbreviations more often than I should and writing as if all readers know the backstory of the elected officials, candidates, players (lobbyists, mostly) and situations here in AZ (See? An abbreviation!  "AZ" is short for "Arizona").

Originally, this post was going to include the works - abbreviations, players, backstory (stuff that I tend to assume everyone already knows, so I tend to just reference it, but not necessarily explain it) - but the post was getting to be incredibly, and unreadably, long, and still wasn't close to being complete.

Time to break it into parts.

As such, the first post will be a list of abbreviations and nicknames.  It won't be comprehensive, not hardly, but it should be a good start.

Also, while there will be a few mentions of matters of a partisan nature, neither this nor the next post aren't ideological hit pieces.  I'll just be discussing some of the practical applications of power in Arizona.

If I leave out something that you believe should be included, let me know in a comment or an email.

Abbreviations -

- Any state's postal code abbreviation (AZ, CA, TX, etc.) can and will be used in place of its whole name, though I try to use the full name at least once before using the abbreviation.

- "SOS" refers to "Secretary of State".  You'll see it used often here because the SOS is the chief elections officer in most states, and this is a political blog.  In instances where "SOS" is used alone, it will almost always refer to the Arizona Secretary of State, though "AZSOS" may also be used.  For references to the secretary of state in other states, the name of the state will be spelled out or the state's postal code abbreviation will be appended to "SOS".  For instance, the California Secretary of State will either be referred to by that name or "CASOS".

- The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors = "MCBOS"; on second use in a piece, they may be referred to as "the supes"..  In instances where the board of supervisors in another county is being referenced, the name will be spelled out (i.e. - "Pima County Board of Supervisors", though on second use, a shorter phrase may be used (i.e. - "Pinal BOS" or "Navajo supes").

It should be noted that while I don't often do so, folks who write about the judicial system a lot tend to use the phrase "the supes" when discussing the supreme court, whether in their state or in the US.

- The Arizona Democratic Party and Maricopa County Democratic Party are "ADP" and "MCDP", respectively.

- The Arizona Republican Party is abbreviated as "AZGOP".  Republicans will also be referred to as "GOPers".

- "CCEC" refers to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Arizona's voter-enacted mechanism for providing public funding to candidates.  It isn't mandatory for candidates, nor is it a panacea for all that ails Arizona politically (obviously), but it provides a path for candidates to raise money without selling their integrity (and souls) to those with deep pockets and anti-social agendas.

- "ADOT" = Arizona Department of Transportation and "MVD" refers to the Motor Vehicle Division of ADOT (MVD handles the sort of stuff that most average residents of Arizona need - drivers' licenses, vehicle registrations, etc.)

- "JP" is short for Justice of the Peace.  It's a relatively low-profile elected office, but it pays very well.  Maricopa County Justices of the Peace earn approximately $105K per year, making them the second-highest paid publicly-elected officials in the state, behind only the governor.  It comes up here because a couple of friends of mine are JPs, and many electeds go for a term as a JP in order to increase their pensions (see:  Cheuvront, Ken).  Note:  the president of the governing board of the Salt River Project (SRP) makes approximately $180K per year at last check, but that person is elected by the members of the board, and they are elected by the landowners in the SRP service area.

- The Arizona Corporation Commission is abbreviated "ACC".  The ACC is ostensibly the body that oversees and regulates securities and utilities in Arizona.  I say "ostensibly" because the ACC is controlled by a Republican majority who look to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  ALEC is an organization that is dedicated to putting legislators together with industry lobbyists.

- "CAP" is short for both the Center for Arizona Policy (more on them in the next post) and Central Arizona Project.  Generally, the context of the piece will indicate which is being referenced.  That will usually be the Center for Arizona Policy because they are far more influential and active at the state capitol than the Central Arizona Project.

- "The lege" is short for "the legislature".  Used alone, it refers to the Arizona State Legislature; if another state's legislature is being referenced, that state will be specified, as in "Texas lege".

- The Arizona Capitol Times is the capitol newspaper (like the name doesn't make that clear :) ).  Usually, I just spell out the name, but on occasion, mostly to avoid being repetitive, that is shortened to "Cap Times."

- The Arizona Republic is the state's general interest newspaper (for now anyway.  They've been in decline for years, and their new "subscription fee for everything" business model may just drive readers to other sources).  It will either be referenced by its full name or by "AZRep".

- The other newspaper that is regularly referenced here is the Phoenix New Times.  It will either be referenced by its full name or "the New Times".

For other abbreviations, on the first reference in a piece, the full name will be cited first, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses.  For example - "...Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO)..."

More to come...

1 comment:

movingazforward said...

Thanks so much for these posts. Both are very thorough, informative, must-reads for everyone who cares about our state. Whether people realize it or not, political decisions affect our lives every minute of every day.

On abbreviations: You may want to add "POTUS" since Arizona is in play. I have been seeing "PBO" the last couple of days as well. I tend to prefer President Obama, though. :)