Monday, August 18, 2014

Dear Ofiicials Making The Situation In Ferguson, Missouri Worse: There's a difference between "authority" and "credibility".

The authorities in and around Ferguson, MO need a language lesson.  Here's a brief one:

Watching the activities in Ferguson, MO, starting with the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, and through the aggressive, almost war-like, response by the local police to protestors and journalists covering the events, I was struck by how the "powers that be" there (governor, county attorney, police chiefs, etc.) seem to lack a basic understanding of some significant language concepts.

Out of courtesy to them, keeping this basic -

A noun is a thing that can be possessed.  It doesn't have to be tangible to be real.  For instance, words that represent character attributes are nouns, even if the attribute cannot be physically touched, i.e. - "intelligence".

In a sentence: "His intelligence is impressive."


In Ferguson, there seems to be a bit of confusion between two words.

First up - "authority":

From Merriam-Webster Online -

au·thor·i·ty

noun \ə-ˈthär-ə-tē, -, -ˈthr-\
: the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something
: the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected or obeyed by other people
: a quality that makes something seem true or real


Next up - "credibility":

Also from Merriam-Webster -

cred·i·bil·i·ty

noun \ˌkre-də-ˈbi-lə-tē\
: the quality of being believed or accepted as true, real, or honest


In case it isn't clear enough, let me sum up the difference -

Authority, the power to make decisions and issue decrees, is granted; credibility, or believability,  is earned.

And from Governor Jay Nixon through the police chiefs and senior officers and all the way down to the lowest-ranked club-wielding patrolmen, they haven't earned squat.

Instead of protecting and serving the people of Ferguson, they have been acting in a manner to harass and assault those people.

If anything, their callous disregard of the rights of the people of Ferguson protesting the summary execution of Michael Brown (and the rights of journalists covering the protests) has only served to diminish their already scant credibility.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Former state legislator Sylvia Allen angling for a return to the lege

...And here I was, thinking that Arizona's Republicans were implacably opposed to recycling... :)

From the Arizona Daily Sun, written by Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa -
Navajo County Supervisor Sylvia Allen might find herself back in the Arizona Senate before the end of the year.

And if she does, it would be under eerily similar circumstances to her first stint in the Legislature.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, Allen announced she wanted to be the designated Republican nominee for Sen. Chester Crandell’s seat in the Nov. 4 general election.

{snip}

Allen has plenty of experience working with the Arizona Senate. According to the Arizona Republic, she was appointed to the Senate in June 2008 to fill the remainder of Sen. Jake Flake’s term.

Flake died from a heart attack after falling off his horse. Flake was also running for re-election unopposed.

Allen then ran for the District 5 Senate seat in 2008 and won. She served in the Senate until 2012, when she ran for and was elected to the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

Crandell died on August 4 as a result of a fall from a horse.

As a sitting elected official who has more than one year remaining in her term of office, Arizona's much-ignored resign to run law would apply here, assuming that she becomes to GOP nominee for the seat.

Note: I am pretty sure that the law would not apply until (and if) she becomes an official candidate for the legislature.

Note2: As of this writing, no campaign finance filings for her (desired) candidacy are on the AZSOS' web site.

General info:

From a letter to elections officials in Coconino, Gila, Navajo, and Yavapai counties (parts of each fall within Legislative District 6) from the AZSOS regarding the filling of Crandell's seat and his spot on the ballot:








Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri: How many will die before we intercede in the humanitarian crisis in our own country?

I'll keep this one short and sweet:

ISIS/ISIL is not as big a danger to Americans as are the police in Ferguson, Missouri.

As such, the following brief note was submitted via the White House's website:

Dear President Obama,

Please withdraw some troops from Afghanistan and/or Iraq, move them to Ferguson, Missouri, and deploy them to protect the people of Ferguson from their own police force.

Sincerely,

A citizen who is horrified that this is happening in 21st century America.

News:

WaPo reporter arrested

The hostile occupation of Ferguson

Ferguson police refuse to release name of killer of Michael Brown





Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams dead. Damn.


Picture courtesy Billboard

From the Los Angeles Times, written by Lauren Raab, Ryan Parker, and Nicky Loomis -
Robin Williams, a comic and sitcom star in the 1970s who became an Oscar-winning dramatic actor, died Monday at 63 in Marin County. The Marin County Sheriff's Office said he appears to have committed suicide.

The news of the beloved actor’s death rocked the nation. Channels broke into their usual programming to make the announcement, and within minutes, he dominated online trending topics. Even President Obama noted his passing.

Williams, hailed as a comic genius, was a star of movies and television for more than three decades. But he also suffered from substance abuse problems.

The actor "has been battling severe depression of late," his publicist Mara Buxbaum said. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."

There aren't many celebrities whose passing affects me.  Those that have done so in the past (Molly Ivins, George Carlin) were people who made me laugh.

Robin Williams did that in spades.

During the late 1970s, there were two "cool" TV shows - Saturday Night Live, because it was *SNL*, and the sitcom Mork and Mindy.

The "situation" in that sitcom (an alien visiting Earth and living in Denver with Pam Dawber) wasn't anything special, but the "comedy" part in that sitcom was made truly special by Williams (playing Mork from Ork).

In many regards, his comedy there was a toned-down version of his standup act ("toned-down" meaning that it was marginally less manic and with the language cleaned up for prime time audiences, but just as improv-ed).

After, and even during, his sitcom days, he transitioned to movies, the first being a big-screen adaptation of the cartoon "Popeye".

It was a humble beginning to his film career, to say the least - calling the film "overly campy" would be overly generous.

However, it serves as a good baseline - many of his future films were huge successes artistically or financially or both (Good Will Hunting, Good Morning, Vietnam), many less so (Man of the Year, Bicentennial Man), but in all of them, one could see his growth as an actor.

My personal favorite was Cadillac Man: the humor was both manic (rapid fire) and intelligent (you had to take a moment to think about, and appreciate, some of the material) which, combined with the dramatic material, allowed Williams to showcase the breadth of his skill and talent in one forum.

Not the best movie ever;  not even Williams' best.  However, it showed that even when the material wasn't great, he could deliver a great performance.

He was also socially and politically active.  His charity work was legendary, and not always high profile.

And don't tell certain conservatives (their heads may explode), but the liberal Williams did more work to support active members of the military than all of Fox News' "contributors" put together.

The outpouring of memories of Williams, from the President and other well-known people to the average person on the street, has been overwhelming and heartfelt.

Every generation, there are just a few people who can reach out an touch the hearts of millions of others;  Robin Williams was one of those very few.


To close, some of Williams' stand-up, from 2000 -



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Will tea party types/Republicans succeed in turning the governing board of Maricopa County's community colleges into a bigger version of the governing board of Gilbert's public school district?

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about some of the school board races here in Maricopa County; today, the subject is one of the other low-profile races here.

It isn't news (to observers in AZ, anyway) that the governing board of the Gilbert Public Schools District has been taken over by tea party types and what was once one of the few crown jewels of public education in Arizona has been devastated.

With the damage done there, the tea party types have set their sights on a bigger target -

The governing board of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD):

- At-large seat, five candidates for two seats (pending litigation; the board's membership was expanded by the Republicans in the legislature who were looking to make this board more "Republican".  The move was so brazen that a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law that created the new seats is winding its way through the court system)

Candidates:

- Augustine Bartning, Republican, ran for LD24 state senate in 2012 (lost).  Interesting note: 1000 signatures are required on nominating petitions for this office.   He turned in 1074.  If his petitions are challenged, that probably isn't enough of a buffer to survive a challenge.

Note: he may not be part of the takeover attempt; in LD24 in 2012, he seemed to be an almost reasonable human being.

Note2: he also may have been toning it down for the audience in a moderate, D-leaning district.

- Mario E. Diaz, Democrat, a well-respected (and well-connected) political consultant

- John Heep, Republican, also running for the Sun City West fire district board

- Tracy Livingston, Republican, wife of hardcore winger state legislator David Livingston

- Eddie Tiggs, don't know much about him

Assuming that the board's expansion survives the court challenge, the candidate receiving the most votes will serve a four-year term while the candidate receiving the second-most votes will serve a two-year term.  Future elections will be for four-year terms.


District 3, three candidates for one seat:

- Johanna Haver, whole-hearted RWNJ (pretty much an "English first, last, and only" type; that characterization may be oversimplified a bit, but only a bit)

- Reyes Medrano, Sr., don't know much about him.

- Fred Zook, don't know much about him.


District 4, two candidates for one seat:

- Randolph Lumm, incumbent, and a good one

- Jean McGrath, former legislator and current perennial candidate.  Highlight of her legislative stint: she ran a bill that would have barred overnight visits by the opposite sex in the dorms of Arizona's public universities


District 5 (two-year term; the others are four years), two candidates for one seat:

- Rick Eastman, don't know much about him

- Alfredo Gutierrez, noted author and incumbent.  Appointed to fill a vacancy.


Normally, I refrain from engaging to too much commentary in posts like this one (this started out as a strictly informative post), but it sure looks like that there is a low-profile but concerted effort to turn the MCCCD governing board into a countywide version of the governing board of the Gilbert school district.

And with the likes of Livingston, Heep (maybe), Bartning (maybe), McGrath, and Haver, they aren't being subtle about it.


General information on the MCCCD board here.
 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Maricopa County school board races are set, and some familiar names are running

The races for the governing boards of the various school districts in Maricopa County are set*.

* = Pending challenges, write in candidacies, and election cancellations due to an insufficient number of candidates.

There are 182 candidates running for 146 seats, meaning that there are some uncontested, and soon to be cancelled, races.

As the races are putatively non-partisan, there is no primary.  What races there are will be decided in November's general election.

Historically, school board seats are low profile, attracting mostly candidates that are interested in local schools.

However, there are a few folks who also know that winning and keeping a school board seat gives them the kind of grass roots/neighborhood exposure that stands them in good stead when seeking higher office. (Note: Many of the folks who hold, or hold aspirations to, higher office also choose school board work because they truly care about their local communities; there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of some of the practical political benefits of the job while trying to do some good works.)

Folks such as -

- Lydia Hernandez, state legislator, one of three candidates running for two seats up for election on the Cartwright Elementary District board

- Ron Bellus, well-connected R (former press secretary for Evan Mecham, former GM of Arizona Capitol Television [the AZ lege's version of C-SPAN], and current director of broadcast services for the AZ Corporation Commission), one of five candidates for two seats on the massively troubled Gilbert Unified governing board

- Patty Kennedy, candidate for LD20 state senate, one of three candidates running for two seats up for election on the Glendale Unified HS board

- Martin Quezada, state legislator, one of three candidates for three seats on the Pendergast Elementary District board

- Laura Pastor, Phoenix City Council member, one of six candidates for five seats on the Phoenix Union HS board (note: that board is divided into "wards", and she is the only candidate for her ward's seat)

- Judah Nativio, former candidate for the legislature, one of three candidates for three seats on the Queen Creek Unified board

- Brandon Schmoll, current constable in the Kyrene Justice Precinct, one of five candidates for two seats on the Tempe Union HS board


Notes:

- Hernandez, Kennedy, Quezada, Pastor, and Nativio are incumbents.

- Hernandez and Quezada may be running for different school boards, but they are both also running for the same legislative office: LD29 state senate

- Districts with fewer candidates than seats up for election - 

Aguila Elementary - 1 candidate, 3 openings
Avondale Elementary - 1 candidate, 3 openings
Buckeye Union HS - 1 candidate, 2 openings
Laveen Elementary - 2 candidates, 3 openings
Littleton Elementary - 2 candidates, 3 openings
Madison Elementary - 2 candidates, 3 openings
Morristown Elementary - 1 candidate, 2 openings
Paloma Elementary - 0 candidates, 3 openings
Saddle Mountain Unified - 2 candidates, 3 openings
Sentinel Elementary - 0 candidates, 2 openings
Union Elementary - 1 candidate, 3 openings
West-MEC (districts) - 4 candidates, 6 openings

In the cases where no candidate declares for a seat (and write ins are still possible, so the above list is NOT final), the Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, Don Covey, can appoint someone to fill the seat.

- The full list of seats up for election, as well as the full list of candidates, can be found on this page.


Friday, August 08, 2014

Fun with campaign signs - placement edition

I've helped place enough campaign signs to know that there are a few unwritten rules; not legal requirements, not "official" in any way, and certainly not absolute, but usually followed by most campaigns -

1.  Don't mess with the signs of other campaigns (every cycle, this one gets ignored by a few people, yet, in a funny way, those few exceptions illustrate how the vast majority of campaigns follow this one.  There is a bit of disincentive here in the sign tampering law, but violations earn just a wrist slap; more effective are the principles of "do unto others..." and "what goes around, comes around").

2.  Don't block the signs of other campaigns (this one gets tougher as the cycle grinds on, but mostly because so many signs go up that it becomes almost impossible to find a spot with clean sight lines; physics, not malice, at work).

3.  Don't block non-political and permanent signs (the reason for this post).

I live in Scottsdale, a place that is so "special" that every couple of years, there is a movement to ban "unsightly" political signs as being detrimental to the image of Scottsdale.

Some call the idea "good", some call it "incumbent protection".

Most people with more than three active brain cells call it "unconstitutional" on free speech grounds.

Political signs have been restricted for safety reasons (none in medians, no blocking of sight lines at corners, etc.), but that's it.


Still, you'd think that candidates running to represent all or part of Scottsdale would at least be aware of the tender sensibilities.

You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.

At the NW corner of Pima and Chaparral roads in Scottsdale -

OK, this doesn't look too bad, right?  There's a least four feet of clearance between the "Auerbach for City Council" sign and the "Welcome To Scottsdale" sign.

From a perspective of someone who can get close and analyze the signs (like a pedestrian), not bad at all.

However, signs aren't placed at busy intersections to catch the eye of pedestrians (and in most of Scottsdale, that would be a waste of time and effort anyway); they're put there to be seen by people passing by in cars.

So, the same corner, from across the intersection, viewed more as a driver than a pedestrian -


Hmmm.

"Welcome To"..."Auerbach"?


The situation regarding the "Welcome To Scottsdale" signs is even worse at other intersections.  For example:  NW corner of Pima and Indian Bend -



There's a reason that the anti-sign movement in Scottsdale never goes away.  This ---- is one of the reasons for that.


Note to readers:  Some sharp-eyed folks may notice the absence of signs of Democratic candidates in the pictures above.  That's not deliberate on my part; there just aren't any at these intersections.  Also, it's Scottsdale - other than the statewide candidates and the LD24 candidates (which stretches into Scottsdale south of Oak), there's only one D on the ballot, Paula Pennypacker for State Senate.

Even the most "moderate" candidates in the (allegedly) non-partisan city council race are pro-developer/chamber of commerce Republicans who are or have been members of the AZGOP's state committee.

Note2:  The unwritten rules only apply to not *messing* with other candidates' signs; there's no requirement to *help* other candidates (especially opposition candidates) either -

I didn't take down the Tom Horne sign and don't know anything about who did, but sure as hell didn't do anything to put it back up either.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Early ballot time: 2014 primary edition

Well, it's another even-numbered year, which means that it's another election year, and unless you have been living under a cactus (hey, it's Arizona, I get to use Arizona-centric metaphors :) ), you know that.

One of the characteristics of an election year is voting, and in Arizona, early ballots have started hitting mailboxes, including mine. (Note: residents of Maricopa County can request an early ballot here; in other counties, visit your county recorder's website or call their office for details.)

Being a Democrat living in south Scottsdale, my ballot is a little sparse on the contested races front, but there are a few.

First up:  A three-way race for two nominations for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD24.  The candidates -

Lela Alston, incumbent
Rich Bauer, challenger
Ken Clark, challenger

(note: the other incumbent, Rep. Chad Campbell, is term-limited and isn't running for another office this year.)

While only two of the candidates can earn a vote in the primary, leading to the possibility that the candidate who doesn't get my vote in the primary will be one of the nominees for the general election, I can state unequivocally that I will have no problem supporting (and voting for) any two of the three in the general.

Having said that, it's time to pick two.

The first one is easy.

Lela Alston is the incumbent and she has earned another term in the legislature.  She brings a civil and professional demeanor and a strong work ethic to the legislature, as well as being a strong voice for the district and for public education (not a surprise for a retired teacher).

The other choice was a little more difficult because I am not active in LD24 circles and I don't personally know either Clark or Bauer.  However, while that is not ideal, it places both on equal footing when it comes to considering their candidacies.

Under normal circumstances, I am not someone who cares about endorsements; organizations endorse the candidates who they believe will best support their organizational agendas.  Even when I agree with a particular organization's agenda, my support goes to the candidate who I believe will best work for the people the candidate is running to represent.

However, this time around, endorsements are pretty much all I have to go on as both Bauer and Clark look to be strong candidates.  Their strengths may be *different*, but they're strengths nonetheless.

Bauer has the endorsement of a laundry list of organizations and "big names", some that I wholeheartedly respect and support (Planned Parenthood of Arizona, a couple of unions and union locals) and some that I'm rather cynical about (Central AZ Home Builders, Multihousing Association, various chambers of commerce).

Clark has no "big" endorsements that I know of.  What he does have, though, is the endorsements of people that I've worked phone banks or walked precincts with.

People that I know, like, and respect and who speak from and vote their hearts carry more weight with me than organizations that look to their profit margins before speaking.

Clark gets the primary election vote.

Lela Alston, courtesy her campaign website

Ken Clark, courtesy his campaign website


Next up: State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Two candidates for one nomination -

David Garcia
Sharon Thomas


As with the LD24 race, both D candidates are stellar candidates; either one is worthy of general election support.

As good as both candidates are, I can only vote for one, and that one is David Garcia.  Of the four candidates running (2 D, 2 R), he would serve as the best advocate for public education in Arizona, and for the state's students.

And while the incumbent, Republican John Huppenthal, believes and behaves to the contrary, that *is* the basic duty of the holder of this particular office.
David Garcia, courtesy his campaign's Facebook page



Finally: Scottsdale City Council.

Eight candidates for three seats.

Michael Auerbach
Bill Crawford
Cindy Hill
Kathy Littlefield
Linda Milhaven
Jennifer Petersen
Dennis Robbins
David Smith

Where in the LD24 race I think all of the candidates are strong and worthy of vote (though I can vote for only two), in this race, I cannot bring myself to vote for even one, much less three.

I'm either familiar with them and would never vote for them, or I'm unfamiliar with them and had to do some research - some are pure tea party types, or blame public employee unions for all that ails Scottsdale, or ("political kiss of death time", from my perspective anyway) have been endorsed by Joe Arpaio.

There are a couple of candidates who fall into the "less bad" category, but this being Scottsdale, "less bad" is still "very bad".

While I reserve the right to change my stance for any runoff election in November, for now I am not casting a vote for any of the candidates.


Note to all D and non-partisan campaigns:  My ballot's in the mail.  Go ahead an take me off of all of your call, mail, and canvass lists.

Note to other readers:  I wish it was that easy. :)  Seriously, it *will* happen, but it will take close to a week, allowing time for the US Postal Service to do its job, and the staff at the county elections office to process the ballot, record its return, and for the various campaigns to get the official word.

Monday, August 04, 2014

State Sen. Chester Crandell (R-LD6) passes away

First and foremost, my deepest condolences go out to Sen. Crandell's family and friends.  Politically, we never agreed, on pretty much absolutely anything.  However, he was also very civil and even warm, even toward those with whom he disagreed.

He will be missed by many.

Picture courtesy the website of the Arizona Legislature


From the Arizona Republic, written by Alia Beard Rau -
Arizona Sen. Chester Crandell was found dead Monday afternoon after he didn't return from a horseback ride near Heber-Overgaard. He was 68.

Crandell, a fifth-generation rural Arizonan and rancher, had served in the Legislature since 2011.

Across partisan lines, Crandell was well-liked and well-respected:
  
From the Facebook page of State Senator Katie Hobbs (D-LD24) -
There may not be a lot that we agreed on, but I know that we shared the same passion for making sure we leave Arizona a better place than we found it. You did that Chester - thank you.

State Senate Adam Driggs (R-LD28) tweeted this - 
I will miss my friend Senator Chester Crandell. He was an Arizona statesman who worked w/ honor and integrity to make Arizona a better place.

Per news reports as of this writing, the investigation into Crandell's death is ongoing and no arrangements have been announced.


Now to the political details -


His seat is vacant now, and will be filled by a process where the Republican PCs of his district nominate three candidates whose names will be forwarded to the appropriate county's board of supervisors.  They will appoint someone to fill the seat until the end of the term.  Given that the legislature is adjourned and no special sessions are expected, the replacement will probably not have much to do.

As for his candidacy (he was running for re-election), he was the only R candidate, and there was no D candidate.  However, there is an Independent candidate, former state senator (and former Republican) Tom O'Halleran.

O'Halleran is *not* running unopposed now - Crandell will be replaced on the ballot in a process that has some similarity to the process to fill the Senate seat that is now vacant.

From ARS 16-343 -
A. A vacancy occurring due to death, mental incapacity or voluntary withdrawal of a candidate after the close of petition filing but prior to a primary or general election shall be filled by the political party with which the candidate was affiliated as follows:

{snip}

2. In the case of a vacancy for the office of United States representative or the legislature, the party precinct committeemen of that congressional or legislative district shall nominate a candidate of the party's choice and shall file a nomination paper and affidavit complying with the requirements of section 16-311.
However, since ballots have been printed, section D looks to apply here -
D. A vacancy that is due to voluntary or involuntary withdrawal of the candidate and that occurs following the printing of official ballots shall not be filled in accordance with this section, however, prospective candidates shall comply with section 16-312. A candidate running as a write-in candidate under this subsection shall file the nomination paper no later than 5:00 p.m. on the fifth day before the election.

We'll see if any R write-in candidate garners enough primary votes to appear on the general election ballot.  Per the AZSOS' website, they'll need at least 427 votes for that to happen.

When services are announced, or when updates on filling the seat and/or ballot become available, I'll pass them along...


Note: Thanks to regular reader (and Twitter follower) "leewah" for pointing out section D of ARS 16-343.  In my rush to complete this post in a timely manner, I did not read far enough into that chapter of the law.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The surprise #1 candidate in Republican primaries this year? Barack Obama, of course.

Arizona's Republicans are offering some very "enlightening" primaries this year. 

They are educating people on exactly what they have to offer to Arizona.

Ever more negativity.

They are not running "for" Arizona or their intended district's constituents.

Nope, they are running "against" Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even Nancy Pelosi. 

Mostly Obama, though.

The phenomenon isn't entirely unexpected in statewide races, because whether the races are high profile (i.e. - governor) or low profile (i.e. - Corporation Commission), most voters never really get to know the candidates.  Even the voters who try to become more informed about the candidates are still relatively "low information" voters.

Where it is surprising to see the attacks is against candidates who people in the relevant district *know*.

One example, from Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic -
It's no secret that dark-money forces across the state are using Barack Obama to scare off Republican voters from candidates they oppose.

{snip}

...[H]ands down, the scariest hide-the-children-it's-an-Obama-lover-in-GOP-clothing mailer is making the rounds in Scottsdale.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is attacking Republican Bob Littlefield, who is running for the House, along with Effie Carlson, Rep. Michelle Ugenti, Jay Lawrence.

"When he wanted Obamacare passed, he called upon his liberal allies in Congress," the ad says, next to the most sinister mug of Obama I've seen this campaign season. "And when he needs Obamacare funded in Arizona, he will call on liberal Bob Littlefield."

A picture of the mailer, also courtesy Roberts -



Bob Littlefield is a long-time member of the Scottsdale City Council and is very familiar to the people of Scottsdale.  This year, he is running for a seat in the state legislature in LD23, which is most of Scottsdale and all of Fountain Hills.

There is a four-way primary for two nominations and as there are no Democratic or Independent candidates, the two Republican nominees will become LD23's representatives in the legislature.

That means that the gloves are off in the primary.  There's no fear of nicking up a potential nominee so badly that he is too damaged to win the general election.

Since Littlefield seems to be leading, and certainly has the highest name recognition, the long knives are pointed straight at him.

The problem with their line of attack?

Bob Littlefield is as much a liberal as I am a Yankees fan (Hinting:  I grew up in MA.) (Saying it outright: Most assuredly *not* a Yankees fan).

What he is, however, is not "bay at the moon" crazy.  He genuinely seems to care about Scottsdale, and has supported, and likely will continue to support, proposals that will benefit his constituents, regardless of ideological orthodoxy.

He's also known for having a low tolerance for BS in general and "go along to get along" types.

All of which makes him, if not politically "likeable", at least worthy of some old-fashioned "respect".

You know, the kind that existed back when people were allowed to disagree with each other without being disagreeable.


Note: none of this is meant to constitute an endorsement.  I may live in Scottsdale, but this isn't my race.  I don't live in the LD23 part of Scottsdale; I live in one of the few precincts that is actually in LD24.

Which means that I can say proudly and loudly that my legislators are Sen. Katie Hobbs, Rep. Lela Alston, and Rep. Chad Campbell.

Not scuffing my toe, hanging my head, and mumbling "Sen. Michele Reagan, Rep. John Kavanagh, and Rep. Michelle Ugenti".


:)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Netroots Nation coming to AZ in 2015

Netroots Nation coming to Phoenix in 2015!



The convention, bringing together many of the most outstanding online voices in the progressive universe to share knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration (and also bringing in some of the stars of the progressive political world :) ), is traveling to Phoenix for its 2015 meeting.

From the history page of Netroots Nation's website -
Netroots Nation began in 2006 as the Yearly Kos Convention, planned to be a real-life gathering of the growing number of people who were gathering daily in the new public square—the virtual world—to raise their collective voice, proactively influence their government and advocate for progressive change. We rebranded in 2007, adopting the name Netroots Nation to more accurately reflect the broad makeup of our attendees and our mission of implementing programs that teach and empower online activists.

This will be the convention's first trip to a "dead red" area (aka - strongly Republican); previous conferences have been in blue, or at least purple, areas like Las Vegas, San Jose, Minneapolis, and Austin (Phoenix proper may be fairly progressive, but outside of Tempe, Tucson, and a couple of other outposts of sanity, most of Arizona is the very opposite of "progressive").

The selection of Phoenix as the site of the 2015 conference has already generated some controversy -

Markos Moulitas, the "Kos" in "Yearly Kos" (the original name of the convention) has already announced that he will not attend next year's event, because it will be in Arizona, home of the infamous SB1070 and "systemic harassment of Latinos".

While he makes some valid points, he ignores the progress that has been made here by the more progressive elements of Arizona society.  As John Loredo, former minority leader in the Arizona House of Representatives wrote in his reply to Moulitsas' announcement -

Thank you for supporting the boycott we called [over SB1070]. We called for the boycott to bring economic pressure onto the state and to force Arizona business leaders to get off the bench and into the immigration fight. It worked. The year after Senate Bill 1070 passed, business leaders testified at the State Senate and took the position that Arizona could no longer sustain the economic boycott and the legislature needed to stop passing any more harmful immigration bills. Since that point, not one immigration bill has passed at the Arizona state legislature. We accomplished our goal, and those of us who called for the boycott called it off. We hope those that respected our calling for the boycott will respect our decision to call it off.

{snip}

This is an opportunity to highlight and impact our national debate over immigration at the issue’s epicenter. Most of the national Progressive community is investing heavily in Arizona because of the infrastructure we have created and the victories we have achieved. There’s much more work to do, and it will not be easy. Arizona should be supported for everything our Latino and Progressive community has accomplished, and for what we are working to change, not punished in perpetuity.”

I admire Loredo's work and freely concede that I am nowhere near as eloquent a writer, but I can offer these points to add in support of Loredo's points about Netroots Nation coming to Phoenix next year -

1.  We (meaning AZers) can use the help.  Right now, it is very easy for non-AZers to see us as little more than a late-night punchline because the country only hears about the worst of AZ (the legislature, Joe Arpaio, Cathi Herrod, Tom Horne, etc.).  Welcoming NN to AZ would help get the word out that while our "crazy bench" is deep and broad, we have a growing movement filled with people who refuse to embrace the hate (and lunacy) held by the best-known Arizonans and instead are working to move AZ's political structure into the 20th Century (19th Century now; we'll work on moving into the 21st Century after we make it into the 20th :) ).

2. It'll piss off AZ Republicans to no end (Yes, I am a partisan hack. :) )


Note:  I have already registered to attend next year, and offered to volunteer at the event.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gaining no traction in the race for the R nomination for governor, Andrew Thomas gets his "mean and petty" on

From RealClearPolitics, a summary of polling data for the race for the Republican nomination for governor of AZ -











Obviously, there have been some shake ups in the race over time, and the pollster and the polling universe apparently make a difference in the results, but one thing has remained clear regardless of date, methodology or the conductor of the polls in question:

Andrew Thomas is well on his way to becoming just another electoral footnote (couldn't, and probably wouldn't, happen to a nicer guy).

So he has decided to attract some attention to himself (hey - it's working; I'm writing about him, aren't I? :) ) by publishing a "border plan" that can be best summed up as the "hate sampler" plan.

His "plan" is to mobilize 3000 members of the Arizona National Guard, build a fence along the border with Mexico or across the middle of the state (or both, that isn't really clear), cut funding for social safety net programs to pay for it all, roll back restoration of AHCCCS eligibility to levels previously approved by the voters of Arizona, conscript those people who still receive benefits from those programs into "community service" (his word; my word for it is "slavery"), and enact some unspecified "judicial reform" to rid him the state of "activist judges" (a group that the disbarred Thomas despises even more than he despises immigrants).

Kind of reminds me of 2010 when Barry Wong, then a Republican candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, looked at his poll numbers the R primary (perhaps not so coincidentally, at pretty much the same point in the cycle), and announced his plan to have utilities check the immigration status of their customers, and to have them shut off service to any customers who couldn't prove legal status.

The mean and petty turn by Wong didn't help - Wong came in third in the three-way race for the two nominations, by over 100,000 votes (in a race where 300,000 won a nomination).

Thomas may finish above last place in the six-way race that he finds himself in, but I expect that the candidate who finishes in third place will be looking down at Thomas.

In an R primary, "mean and petty" will *help* a candidacy (especially in a primary), but it won't *save* a candidacy (see: Wong's example).

The simple fact is that in AZGOP circles, "mean and petty" no longer stands out because almost all of their candidates go there.

Shamelessly and enthusiastically.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Is Mike Huckabee a candidate for the GOPer presidential nomination in 2016?

...Normally, I am loathe to highlight GOPer events, especially fundraisers, but the "hidden" subtext on this one is so blatant that it merits coverage...

And before anyone thinks that would be surprise, it should be noted that no real GOP "frontrunner" has emerged, the closest being Rand Paul.  Given the pattern of the last couple of presidential election cycles, being anointed the "frontrunner" more than a couple of weeks out from the start of the Iowa caucuses is something to be avoided, not desired.

Mike Huckabee is not even mentioned much as someone who is a viable 2016 candidate for the Rs (not that he's being completely discounted, either) but he's doing the things that "serious" candidates do in midterm election years -

While higher-profile candidates such as Chris Christie are trekking to Iowa, New Hampshire, and other 2016 early primary/caucus states to make appearances in front of R voters there almost a year and half before any votes are cast, he's out racking up IOUs campaigning for R electeds and candidates running this year.

To whit, from the events page of the Pima County GOP:

Now Franks, as well as Salmon, Gosar, and Schweikert, sits in a seat in a district that is so safely R that he faces no serious Democratic opposition, nor is any expected for the foreseeable future.  For him (and them) building a campaign war chest is all about looking so strong that any potential primary challengers are scared off (is Ben Quayle still looking for a job?)

Doubtless, much money will end up in Franks' coffers (and those of Salmon, Gosar, and Schweikert) as a result of Huckabee's visit.

What remains to be seen is if Huckabee, a big Bible guy, reaps benefits from the political version of "casting bread upon the waters".

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adam Kwasman mistakes bus full of YMCA campers for children fleeing violence in Central America. Goes full weasel when the truth is pointed out.

Edit, and an apology, on 7/23/2014 -

It has been pointed out to me that the story that serves as the basis of this post was done by Brahm Resnik, not William Pitts, as I originally wrote.  The name has been corrected.  

My apologies to Brahm Resnik, and William Pitts also - both do some great work and merit proper credit for their work.

End edit...

Adam Kwasman, a candidate for the Republican nomination in CD1, journeyed to Oracle, Arizona on Tuesday.

He was there to participate in a protest over immigration (OK - a bunch of nativists got together to try to scare some children who are refugees from rampant violence in Central America.  They heard a rumor that some of those children would be bused to a facility in Oracle and got their hate on) when a busload of children came by.

He moved in to let the children know what he thought of children fleeing violence.  He even tweeted about it (courtesy Arizona Republic) -



He left shortly thereafter and drove to Phoenix.

While there, Brahm Resnik, a reporter from KPNX (Phoenix channel 12) interviewed him briefly.  Kwasman doubled down on his "abrogation of the rule of law" theme from the tweet.  He was droning on and on about how scared and sad the children were.

Until he took a breath, and Resnik took the opportunity to inform Kwasman that his busload of "immigrant kids" was actually busload of "YMCA camp kids".

Kwasman's response?

"They were sad too."

Full video of Kwasman's weasel moment -





Monday, July 14, 2014

Apparently, the "patronage" job is alive and well in Arizona

...And so is "shameless hypocrisy"...

From AP, via KTVK (Phoenix channel 3), written by Bob Christie (emphasis added) -
Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has been offered a job with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office overseeing the agency's technical services department, but he may not take the job right away because he's too busy.

The Republican is a contentious figure in Arizona because he authored a series of laws that cracked down on people in the country illegally, including Senate Bill 1070. He became the only state legislator ever recalled from office by state voters in 2011.

Pearce said Monday that he wasn't looking for a job but is considering the offer from Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins to oversee the department's human resources, legislative outreach, budget and senior citizen outreach. He's not sure if he'll take the position because he's too busy at the moment, Pearce said.

The job, assuming that Pearce accepts it (prediction: he will, but may wait until the furor dies down before formally accepting the job.  As the lege isn't in session, there probably isn't much pressure on that front) will officially be about lobbying for Charles Hoskins, Maricopa County Treasurer.

However, Hoskins is a political ally of Pearce's friend and patron, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and it would be the epitome of obvious patronage for Arpaio to give Pearce a job himself.

This looks like a "wink and a nod" arrangement, but it gives Arpaio and Pearce a patina of plausible deniability.

And the "hypocrisy" part?

Pearce, the future public agency lobbyist, is a past (very vocal) critic of, you guessed it, public agency lobbyists.

But he balances that with a deep affection for (deep-pocketed) private lobbyists.