Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Cleaning out the backpack", or "time to prepare for the 2013 session of the legislature"

Update on 12/28 -

Thanks go out to sharp-eyed regular reader Anna Johnson, a debate host at Civil Arizona.  There were two errors in the original post - Adam Driggs is the senator from Amanda Reeve's district, and Rich Crandall was not removed from the Senate Education Committee; he only lost the chairmanship.  He remains a member of the committee.  Lastly, she clarified that Linda Gray not only did not run for reelection, she had reached  her term limits.  All areas have been clarified or corrected.

Thanks again Anna!

End update...

When I attend events where I might possibly write about them, I usually have a small backpack with me (think: bookbag).  That pack serves as a container for my laptop, camera, extra pens, notebooks, cables and power cords for anything that might require them, etc., as well as a repository for any literature or swag that might come my way during a particular excursion.

As might be expected, that leads to a backpack full of stuff, and a backpack in need of periodic cleaning out.

During the most recent cleanout of my backpack, I came across this guide to the 2011-2012 Arizona Legislature -

After perusing it, I realized that while in terms of "good government" practices, the upcoming lege probably won't be much better than the one that just concluded, the names and faces of the lege will be very different.

Part of the 50th Arizona Legislature (began in 2011), but gone from the 51st Arizona Legislature (beginning in 2013):

State Sen. Paula Aboud (D) - term-limited out of the Senate and did not run for election.

State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R) - did not run for reelection, instead opting for a (successful) run at a spot on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

State Sen. Frank Antenori (R) - defeated in his bid for reelection by former legislator David Bradley.

State Sen. Scott Bundgaard (R) - resigned from office effective January 6, 2012 over a domestic violence incident in February 2011 (he was caught assaulting his then-girlfriend by the side of a Phoenix freeway).  He is now suing the City of Phoenix and Phoenix PD, alleging, among other things, defamation.  He was replaced in the Senate by then-Rep. Judy Burges.  Burges won a full term in the Senate during the 2012 elections.

State Sen. Ron Gould (R) - Term limited out of the Senate, chose to run for Congress in the new CD4.  Lost in the primary to eventual general election winner Paul Gosar.

State Sen. Linda Gray (R) - Term limited and did not run for another office.

State Sen. Lori Klein (R) - lost in the Republican primary when her suburban Phoenix Anthem home was redistricted into a Prescott-centered district.  There were three other incumbent Republicans in that district; she chose to avoid a primary with the other incumbent senator in the district, Steve Pierce (the then-president of the Senate) and went after one of the two House seats from the district.  Both of the other Rs in the race are based in the Prescott area (current state Rep. Karen Fann and current House Speaker Andy Tobin).  Klein lost the primary, but her one term in the lege was marked by two or three terms' worth of "colorful" - she packed heat on the House floor during the 2011 State of the State address from the governor, she aimed a pistol at a reporter in the Senate lounge in order to show off the "purty l'il laser sight", and she read an anti-immigrant screed into the Senate record.  And those may be the highlights of her political career.

State Sen. John Nelson (R) - Dropped out of an R primary when fellow senator Don "Tequila" Shooter "moved" into his R-leaning district after Shooter realized that after redistricting, his own district had too many Democratic and Latino voters for his comfort.  Quotes around "moved" because there are rumors that Shooter never actually changed his residence into the new district.  However, there were no Democratic candidates on the ballot in the new district, so no one challenged his eligibility.

State Sen. Russell Pearce (R) - Became the first, and thus far only, Arizona legislator to be removed from office via the recall process.  He was defeated by 12% by Jerry Lewis (R) in 2011, who was later defeated by Ed Ableser (D) in the 2012 election.  Pearce ran for a new term in 2012, only to be defeated by Bob Worsley (R) in the primary, by 12%.   Pearce was replaced as president of the Senate by Steve Pierce, who won reelection to the Senate in 2012 but was deposed as Senate president by Andy Biggs, an ally of Russell Pearce.

State Sen. David Schapira (D) - Ran for the new CD9, but lost in the primary.  Has maintained his political presence by, among other things, campaigning for the Democratic nominee and eventual general election victor, Kyrsten Sinema.  Expected to be a factor in 2014, but I'm not sure which office he is interested in.

State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) - Resigned from the Senate on January 3, 2012, in order to focus on a (successful) run for Congress.  Replaced by David Lujan, a former state senator who promised not to run for election to a full term (and he kept his promise).

That's a turnover of 11 out of 30, or 37%, which sounds like a lot, until you realize that only 2 lost elections to return to the Senate.  The other eight chose to pursue other offices, or none at all.

The membership of the Arizona House of Representatives in 2013 will be also be very different from the House membership at the beginning of 2011 -

State Rep. Kirk Adams (R), then the Speaker of the House, resigned after the 2011 session in order to run for Congress in CD5 (East Mesa, Gilbert, most of Chandler, and other areas in the East Valley portion of metro Phoenix).  He lost in the R primary there to eventual winner Matt Salmon and was last seen running a PAC that laundered money from Big Business to some campaigns that supported/opposed ballot questions.  If he isn't indicted (and in AZ, maybe even if he is), he should also be a factor during the 2014 election cycle.

State Rep. Ben Arredondo (D) - Indicted by the feds for his involvement in a "tickets to sporting evens in exchange for influence" scandal; not the only elected official who was involved, but the only one (so far, anyway), to face legal repercussions.  He resigned from office after accepting a plea deal, and was replaced one.  The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors are required by state law to appoint another Democrat to fill a vacancy in an office held by a D, and they absolutely refused to do so.

State Rep. Cecil Ash (R) - Ran for (and won) Justice of the Peace in North Mesa.  That seat was open because Lester Pearce, Russell Pearce's brother, decided to run for a seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.  That Pearce lost in the R primary by, you guessed it, 12%.

State Rep. Tom Chabin (D) - Redistricted into an R-leaning district; unlike Shooter above, chose the honorable course of staying put and fighting it out.  Ran for State Senate, where he lost to fellow state rep Chester Crandell in November.

State Rep. Steve Court (R) - The House majority leader did not run for reelection.

State Rep. John Fillmore (R) - Ran for the Senate, but lost in the primary to Sen. Rich Crandall, who went district shopping in order to avoid a primary battle with Russell Pearce.  Crandall may be returning to the Senate, but payback came just about the time the election results were finalized - Crandall, an adversary of Russell Pearce, may have beaten John Fillmore, an ally of Pearce, but the new Senate president is Andy Biggs, an ally of Pearce.  For the 2013 session of the lege, Crandall has been removed from his long-time chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee.

State Rep. Jack Harper (R) - The long-time legislator (and God's gift to writers in need of subject material) chose to not run for reelection.  He was rumored to be eyeing a run at Secretary of State in 2014, but has announced that he is stepping away from politics for the foreseeable future (translation - until his wife gets sick of him being underfoot all the time)

State Rep. Matt Heinz (D) - Ran for Congress in the new CD2 (basically Gabby Giffords' former district); lost in the primary to eventual general election winner Ron Barber.

State Rep. Russ Jones (R) - Lost in the primary to Darin Mitchell.  Later sued, saying that Mitchell didn't actually live in the district.  A court agreed that Mitchell didn't live in the district, but declined to remove Mitchell from the ballot.

State Rep. Peggy Judd (R) - Did not run for reelection.

State Rep. Nancy McLain (R) - Ran for the state senate seat held by the termed-out Ron Gould; lost in the primary to eventual general election victor Kelli Ward.

State Rep. Richard Miranda (D) - In February, resigned from office, citing family and health concerns; in March, entered a guilty plea to wire fraud and tax evasion charges for misusing funds from two non-profits; in July, sentenced to 27 months in prison.  Replaced by Martin Quezada, who won a full term in the 2012 election.

State Rep. Daniel Patterson (D) - Resigned in early April over a domestic violence incident.

State Rep. Terri Proud (R) - Redistricted into a district with a full slate of R legislators; chose not to mount a primary battle.

State Rep. Amanda Reeve (R) - Another redistricting casualty. Ended up in a district with three R legislators and one D legislator.  One, Adam Driggs (R), ran to keep a Senate seat; the other three, Reeve, Kate Brophy-McGee (R) and Eric Meyer (D) fought it out in the general for the two House seats.  Reeve came in third.

State Rep. David Burnell Smith (R) - Lost in the 2012 primary for a House seat.

State Rep. Steve Urie (R) - Ran for and won the race for Highland District (Maricopa County) Justice of the Peace.  Could be a short-lived move if he runs afoul of judicial branch ethics standards - JPs handle eviction actions, and Urie owns a property management company.  Can you say "conflict of interest"?

State Rep. Ted Vogt (R) - Ran for reelection; lost in the general election.

State Rep.  Jim Weiers (R) - The former speaker and a payday loan czar was termed out of the House and did not run for another office.

State Rep. Jerry Weiers (R) - The brother of the former speaker was also termed out and ran for (and won) mayor in Glendale.

State Rep. Vic Williams (R) - Chose to run for the Pima County Board of Supervisors.  Lost in the primary.

That's 21 out of 60 people (35%) who were House members at the beginning of 2011 who will not be in the lege at all at the beginning of 2013.  In addition, seven House members in 2011 gained seats in the Senate for 2013 - Ed Ableser (D), Judy Burges (R), Chester Crandell (R), Steve Farley (D), Rick Gray (R), Katie Hobbs (D), Kimberly Yee (R). 

That means that 47%, 28 out of 60, of the 2011 members of the House will not be part of the House in 2013. 

Of those 28, only four lost elections (primary or general) for House seats.

The numbers mean that 14% of the turnover in the House, and 18% of the turnover in the Senate, is directly due to the will of the voters (meaning the incumbent was defeated in a bid to return to the same office). 

I may not be a huge fan of term limits, but I completely understand the desire for them.

Personal note:  Former State Rep. Ben Arredondo may be dealing with legal troubles of his own making, and in that regard deserves little sympathy, but I have three points in that area -

1.  Arredondo may have been part of a "tickets for influence" scheme, but he's not the only one.  Not hardly.  They just made an example of him.

2.  His political career may have ended badly, but no one should use that as an excuse to forget his decades of public service.  Simply put, he's done more good for his community than pretty much any ten of the pretenders on West Washington.

3.  Whatthehell is going on with the lege staff?  They have all but completely scrubbed Arredondo from the lege's website.

He's gone from the roster of members, even though when a member leaves office during a term for any reason, his/her name is left on the list with a note indicating when and why they left office.

Arredondo should be where the crudely-drawn question mark is (I may not be the best writer, but I'm a better writer than an artist :) ); note the highlighted examples of the usual procedure when a member leaves office (Adams and Burges).

There are still traces of him on the website, such as he is still listed as the sponsor or co-sponsor of bills that he sponsored or co-sponsored.  However, when you click on his name, this screen pops up -

What Arredondo did was wrong for anyone in a position of public trust, and he deserves to be held accountable for his crimes, but to remove him from the history of the lege while leaving such embarrassments as Scott Bundgaard and Daniel Patterson (violence toward women), Russell Pearce (recalled in disgrace because of the arrogant and high-handed way he conducted himself in office, including his own involvement in the sports tickets scheme), and Richard Miranda (embezzlement from two non-profits) there?

It may not be illegal, but it is wrong.

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