Friday, April 18, 2014

Al Melvin: purveyor of fuzzy geography

Al Melvin may claim that Common Core educational standards embrace "fuzzy math", but he may not be one to speak - his knowledge of Arizona geography is fuzzy.  At best.

State Sen. Al Melvin (R), wants to be governor of Arizona.

It's no secret that I have many problems with that, but I never thought that I would have to say this:

He doesn't know enough about Arizona geography to be qualified to visit the governor's office, much less occupy it.

On Thursday, he tweeted this -







Anthem?  "[J]ust north of Florence"???

From Google maps -

Yes, I suppose that technically speaking, Anthem is north of Florence, but not "just" north.

Getting curious, I looked up the event in question.

From the Facebook page of the Pinal County Republican Party -


The route between Anthem and the forum address in Florence, also courtesy Google maps -



Under normal circumstances, I would not publicize a Republican event.

I chose to do so in this case because if Al Melvin continues to labor under the delusion that the event is in Anthem, he will end up traveling to Maricopa County.

That would ruin a potentially great weekend.  For any Maricopans who cross his path.

Tom Horne getting his nativist freak on in the R primary...again.

Hey, it worked in 2010, right?

Arizona's attorney general, Tom Horne, has some ethical issues, as we all know.  In fact, calling them "issues" may be understating things.  A lot.

The Horne situation is so dire that the poobahs of the Arizona GOP found someone to challenge Horne in the R primary, Mark Brnovich.

The feeling seems to be that the best chance for the AZGOP to hang on to the AG's office is to nominate someone other than the incumbent.

Now, Horne is not the type to go away quietly - if he were that type, he probably wouldn't be facing the issues that he's facing.

To that end, he has re-formed the bigot band for a fundraiser.

In 2010, Arizona enacted the infamous anti-immigrant measure, SB1070.  While it was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, all-but guaranteeing her election that year, the bill was crafted by then-state senator Russell Pearce and his ally, Kris Kobach, now the secretary of state in Kansas (and then, as now, a major figure in the nation's nativist movement).

Then the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Horne fully embraced the measure and its spirit of hate.

That embrace helped to propel Horne to a general election victory over Democrat Felecia Rotellini.  She was the lone bright spot for Democrats in a down year - by a wide margin, she was the strongest contender of any of the Democratic candidates for statewide office in Arizona.

"Strongest" to the point that many observers felt that in almost any other election cycle, she would have defeated Horne.

Fast forward to 2014, and Horne is up for election again, and Rotellini is looming in the general election, and she has four years of Tom Horne as AG to run on (in addition to her own strong record).

So, facing strong opposition in both the primary and general elections, Horne is turning to old allies for help.

Courtesy KPNX's Brahm Resnik -



The most frightening this about this event isn't that it will be an assemblage of some of the biggest bigots to hold elected office in recent memory (plus one of the least-talented successful actors ever), or that there are people who will actually *pay* to rub shoulders with the same.

Nope.  The most frightening thing about this event is this one line -

"Tom will also be playing "Rhapsody in Blue" on the University Club Piano"

There's no indication if ear plugs will be available for the guests.  Or if music critics will be allowed to attend.


PS - what's with this? -


That star looks kinda familiar.

OK.  Very familiar.


Possibly not the best choice for a candidate for elected office in Arizona.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hardball week at the AZ lege: JD Mesnard tries to intimidate the House membership...

...and I don't mean that Chris Matthews is in town this week, either.

Last year, the Republicans in the legislature passed a bill, later signed into law by the governor, that raised limits on campaign contributions in Arizona by more than a factor of 10.  In an effort to not being seen as doing that (raising the limit so much), they cleverly raised the limit approximately five-fold, per election, and then made the primary and general elections separate elections for campaign finance purposes.

That has been interpreted by the AZSOS, county elections departments, and other agencies that oversee and conduct elections to mean that candidates must form separate campaign committees for the primary and general elections, and that campaign finance reporting requirements apply to both committees.

This year, a couple of prominent Republican candidates have run into issues with that ("Reporting?  Transparency?  Minor details!  Only for the little people!") and have convinced State Rep. JD Mesnard, (R-Chandler) to run a "fix" bill.  That bill is expected to pass, but it needs a 2/3 vote to be immediately enacted upon the governor's signature.

His bill, as introduced, had an "emergency" clause (immediate enactment), but it did not garner 2/3 support in the House, so while the bill passed, it passed without the emergency clause.

Without that clause, the bill won't become law until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, late enough for the affected candidates to not avoid more trouble.

The bill is now in the Senate, where the emergency clause has been reattached.  However, even if it passes the Senate with a 2/3 vote, the bill must return to the House for a re-vote.

Now, Mesnard is not just *any* member, he's the Speaker Pro Tempore.  He acts as Speaker when the actual Speaker, Rep. Andy Tobin, is out of town or otherwise unable to perform his duties.

And as Tobin is running for Congress and has been out of town a *lot*, Mesnard has been acting as speaker, a *lot*.

Many, possibly including Mesnard himself, view this period as his "apprenticeship", a preparation to become speaker next session.

Apparently, he's working on the "ruling with an iron fist covered by a velvet glove" part of his training course.

One problem: he forgot the velvet.

He sent out the following email regarding his measure:

From: "J.D. Mesnard" <JMesnard@azleg.gov>
Date: April 14, 2014 at 7:30:16 PM MST
To: ".All House Users" <AllHouseUsers@azleg.gov>, ".ALLSUSER" <ALLSUSER@azleg.gov>
Subject: RE: HB 2665 - two-committees issue / emergency clause
Dear Colleagues,

As you know HB 2593 from last session was interpreted to require separate committees for the Primary and General elections.  While that was never the intent of the bill (a point that is not really in dispute), we have nevertheless been dealing with that hassle ever since.  Subsequently many of you have come to me, from both chambers and both sides of the political aisle, asking me to move a clarification/fix bill through this body as quickly as possible.  I have done my best to oblige.  After soliciting input from many of you and incorporating feedback from earlier drafts of the bill from anyone who wished to provide it, I introduced HB 2665.

The bill resolves the two-committee issue moving forward while addressing the various scenarios that different people face because of the two-committee requirement we’ve had since last September.  At the same time, I have done my best to keep the “politics” out of the bill.  My goal was to have a clean bill that was bi-partisan or, really, non-partisan in nature.  After all, we all benefit from having this issue resolved as quickly as possible.  To that end, I included an emergency clause in the bill so that we would not have to continue dealing with two committees once the bill is (presumably) signed.  As you are probably well aware, there were not enough votes to preserve the emergency clause during the House vote.  Sadly, the bill passed largely along party line for reasons that I still don’t understand to this day.  It subsequently moved over to the Senate where an emergency clause was added back on in committee.  I am hopeful that the emergency clause stays on there as I would very much like to put this hassle behind us.  This is a sentiment that many of you have shared and expressed for the last several months (and I am certainly looking forward to the end of some of your pestering…er, I mean, pushing for this fix!).  If the emergency clause gets on the bill then we will have immediate closure.  If it does not, then we will continue to deal with this hassle for a few more months.  I do not see why we would choose the second option for ourselves.  The bill is good policy; it should not be controversial.  It is about one issue and one issue only: one committee or two.  The emergency clause is about whether we all want to continue dealing with the two-committee headache for months longer or to end it now.  I prefer the latter.  But it’s up to you.

I am sending this email because there have been a variety of rumors floating around about what is or isn’t happening with my bill.  Some even seem to think I have some sort of “nefarious” motives.  I find this perplexing given my openness and best efforts to be as fair as possible with what should be a non-controversial bill that we all want to see pass.  In addition, some outside entities have encouraged some of you to try to leverage the bill for something else.  As I have said from the beginning that I want this bill to be clean, and have tried to keep partisan issues out of it, I will, likewise, not allow it to be leveraged for something else.  HB 2665 will stand on its own merits.  I simply want to resolve the two-committee issue as quickly as possible, as I know you all do.

So it comes down to this:  If the emergency clause gets on in the Senate, and I have enough commitments on the House side to preserve it, you have my word that I will not allow anything else to be included/attached to the bill.  This has been my promise from the beginning and has not changed but I am reiterating it now so that it is crystal clear.  If, however, the bill moves forward as a “partisan” bill, with insufficient support in the Senate/House to preserve the emergency, then I will, regrettably, be forced to treat it as a partisan bill.  As such, I will no longer be concerned about keeping it clean of other partisan policies that some may be interested in adding to the bill.  The choice is yours.

Thank you for your time and consideration!  Please let me know if you have any questions…

Sincerely,

Representative J.D. Mesnard
Arizona House of Representatives, District 17
602-926-4481

In essence, his threat to the Democratic members of both chambers is that they make running for office easier for his allies or he will attach some of the voter suppression clauses from HB2305 to the bill, making voting more difficult for average Arizonans (apparently, he doesn't consider them to be his allies).

Since Mesnard is not the only R rumored to be angling to be the next speaker (Eddie Farnsworth, not exactly "Mr. Charm" either), this kind of move could come back to bite him in the ass.

Members, D or R, have their own bases of support, and egos, and generally don't respond positively to threats.  It could cost him some support for the speaker's post next year (assuming he wins reelection from his safe R district).

And voters, D or R (or something else) generally don't like having their ability to vote threatened by elected officials for the benefit of the electeds' allies.

And they may just take it out on members seen as supporters of Mesnard.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

AZDems and AZGOP and transparency: A study in contrasts

...In an apparent attempt to limit the perception of "crazy" that surrounds the AZ GOP field of candidates for governor, local GOP officials blocked the media from attending and reporting on a candidate forum held in Gilbert.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Parker Leavitt -
Organizers of a political event touted as an "Open Mic Forum" for Republican gubernatorial candidates and held at a public high school closed the session to the media Thursday evening.

The event was sponsored by two East Valley GOP committees and held at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.

In addition to barring the media, the announcement for the forum also stated that it was open only to Republican PCs and their invited guests.

Even though it was an event held in a public venue (a high school), the public wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms.

From the event's Facebook page (emphasis added) -
We are excited to announce the opportunity for folks to come meet and ask questions of ALL the Republican Arizona Gubernatorial Candidates. Come prepared with questions in this once-in-an-election cycle opportunity! All Precinct Committeemen and their guests are invited

Tyler Bowyer, organizer of the event, posted a comment in defense of the "no media or general public" policy on another AZ Republic story covering the controversy -
I was the organizer, and we didn't have room for the general public. It was a party event and normally would have been happy to invite the public had we a bigger building. The format was such that media and the general public were not admitted.  

Full comment (in case anyone believes that the above was taken out of context):






Further down in the same thread, he also reiterated the "no media or general public" policy - 




 In contrast, the Arizona Democratic Party held a meeting of its state committee a few days later (today, April 12, 2014).  

Public welcome, even though there was a guest on the agenda that is considerably higher profile than any of the GOPer candidates for governor - 

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the once (and future?) Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

More fun with social media: Doug Ducey boasts about his college fraternity affiliation. Maybe he shouldn't have.

On Wednesday, Doug Ducey, Arizona State Treasurer and a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, tweeted this -



Member of PKA?  Probably not something to brag about. 

From KSAZ (Phoenix channel 10), dated September 4, 2013 -
Tempe Police have confirmed that a 19-year-old boy beaten nearly to death early Monday morning was a member of ASU fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. The suspects are members of rival frat Pi Kappa Alpha.

The 19-year-old remains in the hospital. He underwent several surgery Wednesday morning, and Sgt. Mike Pooley says his injuries are so severe, he will need multiple surgeries. 

While another Twitter user pointed out PKA's violent record, as of this writing, Ducey has not responded, or clarified or removed the tweet.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

2014 March Badness AZ Edition: Fourth Round and Championship


Well, we've reached the time in the whackadoodle tourney where all we have left is the Freaky Four.

People who in nearly any other state would be the "craziest of the crazy"; here, they are just among the craziest.



-->
1AJ Lafaro





Lafaro


8Ally Miller






Lafaro

4Michele Ugenti





Ugenti


5Andy Biggs





Bay at the Moon - Urban
Lafaro
3John Kavanagh





Kavanagh


6Russell Pearce






Huppenthal

2John Huppenthal





Huppenthal


7Gilbert School Board








Melvin
1Al Melvin





Melvin


8Adam Kwasman






Melvin

4Cathi Herrod





Herrod


5Chester Crandell





Bay at the Moon - Rural
Melvin
3Bob Thorpe





Brown


6Jim Brown






Shooter

2Don Shooter





Shooter


7Brenda Barton









1Andrew Thomas





Thomas


8Jim Lane






Thomas

4Carl Seel





Burges


5Judy Burges





Black Helicopter
DiCiccio
3Kelly Townsend





Townsend


6Ethan Orr






DiCiccio

2Sal DiCiccio





DiCiccio


7Andy Tobin








Horne
1Steve Yarbrough





Yarbrough


8Jeff Dial






Murphy

4Debbie Lesko





Murphy


5Rick Murphy





Go Along To Get Along
Horne
3Kelli Ward





Yee


6Kimberly Yee






Horne

2Tom Horne





Horne


7Frank Antenori





Summaries:

Melvin over Lafaro.  On paper, this looked to be a matchup of two equals, a la UConn vs. Notre Dame in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, but while Lafaro made it look close for a while, the depth and breadth of Melvin's nuttiness carried the day, and took him to victory in the "Bay at the Moon" half of the bracket.

Horne over DiCiccio.  While Horne emerged from the Go Along to Get Along region, he overcame the victor of the Black Helicopters region by demonstrating that there is a fine line between insanity and stupidity.

And he is stupid enough to keep giving his girlfriends and other women in his life taxpayer-funded jobs for which they are other than qualified.


Championship Matchup -


-->


Melvin































Melvin






























Horne

Al Melvin fought off the game Tom Horne to win the (least) coveted "champeenship".

The game started off relatively quietly, with Melvin opening with his constant (and rather obsequious) pandering to tea party types to try to gather their support for his candidacy for governor.

Horne stayed close by reminding people of his anti-immigrant policies and actions, both as AG and State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

It stayed neck and neck for most of the first half of their tussle, then it seemed as if Melvin drank some spiked tea, and rattled off support for white supremacists,  a proposal to ban Common Core education standards in AZ, support for using slave prison labor, turning AZ into a nuclear waste dump and using the revenue to pay for public schools, more support for white supremacists, and attacking President Barack Obama with false quotes.

That flurry propelled Melvin to a strong lead well into the second half.  Horne fought back valiantly, citing the fact that he gave his (alleged) girlfriend a publicly-funded job, committed a hit-and-run accident while leaving his (alleged) girlfriend's condo after an (alleged) nooner, was found to have violated campaign finance laws during his quest to win the AG's job during the 2010 election, and gave the wife of a political ally an unadvertised job for which she doesn't meet the minimum qualification requirements.

However, in the end, Melvin closed out the win with an interview he gave in support of the discrimination protection act, SB1062.

It was an interview that will go down in the annals of politics as the most negative of negative examples, what *not* to do while running for office.

He sounded uninformed and unintelligent, and may have been the final nail in the coffin for the bill.

Horne looked on, shrugged his shoulders, and announced that even he couldn't top that, killing a proposal by supporting it enthusiastically.

That was enough to carry Melvin, the man who would be governor, to the championship of the 2014 AZ March Badness Tournament.

He didn't even need to trot out his opposition to algebra.

Note: in most states, winning something like this would probably mean that the "winner" probably doesn't have a snowball's chance in Phoenix in July of getting his party's nomination for governor, but this is the state the elected Ev Mecham.

In other words, hold on to your hats because the ride could get a little bumpy.

Monday, April 07, 2014

2014 March Badness AZ Edition: Third Round

Down to the freaky four, and the "nitty-gritty"...


-->
1AJ Lafaro





Lafaro


8Ally Miller






Lafaro

4Michele Ugenti





Biggs


5Andy Biggs





Bay at the Moon - Urban
Lafaro
3John Kavanagh





Kavanagh


6Russell Pearce






Huppenthal

2John Huppenthal





Huppenthal


7Gilbert School Board









1Al Melvin





Melvin


8Adam Kwasman






Melvin

4Cathi Herrod





Herrod


5Chester Crandell





Bay at the Moon - Rural
Melvin
3Bob Thorpe





Brown


6Jim Brown






Shooter

2Don Shooter





Shooter


7Brenda Barton









1Andrew Thomas





Thomas


8Jim Lane






Thomas

4Carl Seel





Burges


5Judy Burges





Black Helicopter
DiCiccio
3Kelly Townsend





Townsend


6Ethan Orr






DiCiccio

2Sal DiCiccio





DiCiccio


7Andy Tobin









1Steve Yarbrough





Yarbrough


8Jeff Dial






Murphy

4Debbie Lesko





Murphy


5Rick Murphy





Go Along To Get Along
Horne
3Kelli Ward





Yee


6Kimberly Yee






Horne

2Tom Horne





Horne


7Frank Antenori










Summaries:

Lafaro over Huppenthal to win Bay at the Moon - Urban region.  A spirited matchup, but Huppenthal's teflon hide was dissolved by Lafaro's acid-tipped barbs.

Melvin over Shooter to win the Bay at the Moon - Rural region.  A nip-and-tuck matchup, in doubt until Melvin sank a buzzer-beating three-pointer - he running for governor against Barack Obama.  Last time I checked, Obama is not a candidate in AZ in 2014.
DiCiccio over Thomas to emerge from the Black Helicopter Region.  Thomas was ahead until DiCiccio offer to make a helipad part of his planned freeway extension.

Horne over Murphy, taking the Go Along to Get Along region.  Murphy was at a disadvantage in this matchup from the start - Murphy is one of many legislators, while Horne is the head of an entire state agency.  While Murphy has been waging a jihad against CPS all session, he needs to convince a majority of colleagues to jump on the crazy train with him.

On the other hand, when Horne wants to do something bad or apparently corrupt, he doesn't have to convince others to go along with him; he just issues an order, and it is done.


A final foursome of two one-seeds and two two-seeds?

My prognostication skills are incredible, aren't they?

:)