Thursday, November 20, 2014

First reactions to the President's speech on immigration

Mine: "What?  No mention of deporting Ted Cruz and Justin Bieber?"

Republicans (via Fox News):  "Impeach him!"

Democrats: (via MSNBC): "Canonize him!"

My real reaction: 

An OK start, but it doesn't address the root causes of undocumented/illegal immigration - economic reality.

A good job in Mexico pays less than a lousy job in the US.

The immigration issue won't change until the economics driving it change (and that's not a wish that the Rs get their fondest dream of having all jobs in the US lousy jobs).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Luckily, self-awareness isn't required for members of the AZ lege

...Well, *lucky* for them, anyway...

Saw this on my Twitter feed today:

At first, I was a little confused as to why this was on my feed, as I don't follow RedState (I know, you're shocked ;) ).

Then I noticed that it was, in fact, a retweet from someone that I *do* follow on Twitter.

Rep. David Livingston (R-Peoria). 

As a member of the state lege, he is part of the government that he and RedState believes is so disrespectful; as the newly-elected House Majority Whip, he is one of the most powerful people in the most powerful branch of Arizona government.

I'm guessing that he wasn't being ironic when he retweeted RedState's tweet, so either he is so self-UNaware that it borders on irony, or he believes that the people who buy into this stuff are idiots.

Obviously, I can't speak for him (not a mind-reader here), but I'm not going to sell him short - he can do both.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2015 Arizona Legislature leadership and committee chairs

In the Arizona House of Representatives -

Democratic leadership:

Rep. Eric Meyer, Minority Leader
Rep. Bruce Wheeler, Assistant Minority Leader
Rep. Rebecca Rios, Minority Whip

Republican leadership:

Rep. David Gowan, Speaker
Rep. Steve Montenegro, Majority Leader
Rep. David Livingston, Majority Whip
Rep. Bob Robson, Speaker Pro-Tempore

Committee chairs (because the Rs are the majority in the House, all committee chairs are Republicans):

Agriculture, Water and Lands – Representative Brenda Barton, LD-6
Appropriations – Representative Justin Olson, LD-25
Banking and Financial Services – Representative Kate Brophy McGee, LD-28
Children and Family Affairs – Representative John Allen, LD-15
Commerce – Representative Warren Petersen, LD-12
County and Municipal Affairs – Representative Doug Coleman, LD-16
Education – Representative Paul Boyer, LD-20
Elections – Representative Michelle Ugenti, LD-23
Energy, Environment and Natural Resources – Representative Frank Pratt, LD-8
Federalism and States' Rights – Representative Kelly Townsend, LD-16
Government and Higher Education – Representative Bob Thorpe, LD-6
Health – Representative Heather Carter, LD-15
Insurance – Representative Karen Fann, LD-1
Judiciary – Representative Eddie Farnsworth, LD-12
Military Affairs and Public Safety – Representative Sonny Borrelli, LD-5
Rules – Representative David Stevens, LD-14
Rural and Economic Development – Representative T.J. Shope, LD-8
Transportation and Infrastructure – Representative Rick Gray, LD-21
Ways and Means – Representative Darin Mitchell, LD-13

In the Arizona State Senate -

Democratic Leadership:

Sen. Katie Hobbs, Minority Leader
Sen. Steve Farley, Minority Whip
Sen.-elect Lupe Contreras, Minority Co-Whip
Sen.-elect Martin Quezada, Minority Co-Whip
Sen. David Bradley, Minority Leader Pro-Tem
Sen. Barbara McGuire, Rural Liaison

Republican Leadership:

Sen. Andy Biggs, Senate President
Sen. Steve Yarbrough, Majority Leader
Sen. Gail Griffin, Majority Whip

Committee chairs (as with the House, all Rs):

Appropriations                                                      Sen. Don Shooter
Health & Human Services                                    Sen. Nancy Barto
Natural Resources                                                 Sen. Steve Pierce
Energy                                                                   Sen. Gail Griffin
Education                                                              Sen. Kelli Ward
Commerce & Workforce Development                Sen. Kimberly Yee
Judiciary                                                                Sen. Adam Driggs
Transportation                                                       Sen. Bob Worsley
Federalism, Mandates & Fiscal Responsibility    Sen. Judy Burges
Financial Institutions                                            Sen. David Farnsworth
Government                                                          Sen.-elect John Kavanagh
Finance                                                                 Sen.-elect Debbie Lesko
Public Safety, Military & Technology                 Sen.-elect Steve Smith
State Debt & Budget Reform                               Sen.-elect Jeff Dial
Rural Affairs & Environment                              Sen.-elect Sylvia Allen

One brief commentary:  Is it just me, or did they go out of the way to give nearly R with a pulse a committee this time around?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hey, Douglas supporters: Ignorance doesn't become you

When Diane Douglas, a single-issue "negative" candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, she shocked most observers.

She had no campaign platform other than an almost implacable opposition to the set of education standards known as "Common Core.

She did almost no campaigning, other than a few appearances at "safe" events.

She had almost no support among the state's education or business communities.

She still won.

And now, her supporters are coming out of the woodwork to proclaim the reasons behind their support for Douglas, and, in a surprise to no one,  the "reasons" are stunningly ignorant.

From a letter to the editor, published in the Arizona Republic on Friday, written by Ray Himmelberg -

Using history and experience as a guide, I prejudged and saw Democrat next to Garcia's name and inferred a willingness to raise my taxes without proper oversight and unfettered deference to the teachers union. the state level in Arizona, there are only two entities with the authority to raise taxes, and neither one is the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

One is the legislature, and they would rather see the roofs of AZ's schools cave in and crush AZ's students than increase any tax.

The other is the voters of Arizona themselves, who have shown themselves willing to do just that.

Now, like any other citizen, from the governor to the newest resident of AZ, the SPI can suggest or support a proposed tax increase.  However, he or she doesn't have the authority to do anything to increase taxes.

As for Mr. Himmelberg's stereotyping of all Democrats?  Let's leave that for another time.

In his letter, Mr. Himmelberg displays a propensity for ignorance and simplistic "reasoning".  In this, he is consistent, at least.

In 2012, he wrote another letter to the editor, this one asserting the premise that Arizona residents who don't blindly love the state shouldn't criticize it.  They should just leave.

These are the kind of people who help keep Arizona in late-night monologues.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Political Hot Stove Season: Time for some 2016 speculation

2014 results are in and the wounds have been licked (still sore, but not sore enough to distract from thinking about 2016).

It's time for a little speculation (these are pure WAGs; no actual journalism went into the making of this post :) ) -

US Senate:

Republican incumbent John McCain is "leaning toward" a run for another term.  If he chooses to not run, there will be a free-for-all on both sides, and even if he *does* run, there will be a primary on the R side - the tea party types feel that he is too liberal (apparently, pushing for a foreign policy of "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" means McCain is too merciful for their tastes) and will attack him from the right.

Since 2016 is a presidential election year and should be a stronger year for Democrats, there will be some strong candidates for the Senate race.  And if McCain doesn't run, that "some" will become "many".

At this point, it will be a bit of a shock if Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema doesn't take a long look at the race.  She's young, smart, and very focused on making it to higher office.  In most minds, it's not a matter of "if" she is going to run for the US Senate, but "when".

Other possible candidates:  Richard Carmona, the 2012 Democratic nominee for the US Senate seat currently held by Jeff Flake; Felecia Rotellini, the 2010 and 2014 Democratic nominee for Arizona Attorney General.  While she came up short in both races, she's seen as a good candidate who was swamped by Republican waves in both years.  In a D-leaning or even neutral year, she will be a formidable candidate.

CD2 - Whether or not Democrat Ron Barber pulls out this election (he's currently down 179 votes to Republican Martha McSally), 2014 is likely his last election.

Likely candidates:

State Senator Steve Farley - possibly as smart as Sinema, and certainly as ambitious.  Has long coveted a seat in Congress; 2016 may be his year.

Randy Friese, surgeon for Gabby Giffords after her shooting, and leading (faux) moderate Republican Ethan Orr for a seat in the state house of representatives by 182 votes.  Seen as the favored candidate of the Giffords machine (and have no doubt, the former Congresswoman still has some major influence in the district).

CD9 - If Sinema bolts for a Senate run, this competitive district will see brutal scrums on both sides of the ballot.  And even if she runs for this seat again, it would not be surprising to see primaries on both sides of the ballot.

On the Republican side of the ballot, I have no idea who will run, but I don't expect the nominee to be Wendy Rogers again.  She's come up short in three consecutive cycles (2010 state senate general, 2012 R Congressional primary, 2014 Congressional general), two of them being Republican "wave" years.  I don't if her desire to run for and hold elected office has faded, but 2016 Republican primary voters will probably turn to someone seen as less damaged.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, well, there are whispers about Sinema not exactly being a favorite of most of the grassroots activists in the district.  In other words, if she again is seen as "triangulating" in an effort to portray herself as Republican-lite, she will face a challenger.

And if she goes for a Senate seat, all hell will break loose on the Democratic side of the ballot.

Potential candidates include (but are not limited to):  LD24 legislators Chad Campbell (outgoing House Minority Leader), Katie Hobbs (incoming Senate Minority Leader), LD26 State Senator Ed Ableser, former and current members of the city councils in Phoenix and Tempe.

2015 special:  The winner of the mayoral race in Phoenix will be the mayor of Phoenix; the runner-up will likely mount a 2016 run for federal office, House or Senate (depends on what McCain does).  The likely candidates are incumbent Democrat Greg Stanton and Republican Sal DiCiccio.  Considering that DiCiccio fronted the failed anti-public employee ballot measure that went before Phoenix voters last week, he may reconsider.

Back to 2016 -

Other possibilities:  One or more sitting Democratic state legislators may take a run at a seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.  Four out of the five supervisor districts are stacked in favor of the Republican incumbents, but in a presidential election year, with the expected "bounce-back" Democratic turnout, a candidate with name ID, access to money, and experience running a campaign?  Feasible enough for a look.

Both major parties will be holding their "reorganization" meetings in January; the results of those will serve as an indicator of the directions of the parties and also the ambitions of potential candidates - those folks who plan on a run at higher office will attempt to exert some influence over the makeup of their party's hierarchy.

On the Democratic side, don't be shocked if the Sinema machine works to get one of their allies the chairmanship of the state Democratic party to aid her potential run for Senate.

On the Republican side, long-time ideological bomb-thrower and chair of the Maricopa County Republicans AJ LaFaro will probably attempt to become the chair of his party's state organization...because he believes that the AZGOP's current anti-choice, anti-LGBT, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-education...hell..anti- "everything" stances are still too liberal.

More to come...

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Very tough night for Democrats

Maricopa County results, courtesy the website of the Maricopa County Recorder, as of 10:20 p.m.(some of these races are close enough that they could flip :

CD9 - D incumbent Kyrsten Sinema ahead of R perennial candidate Wendy Rogers by >11%, 97% reporting.  Sinema's going to win.  Not a surprise.  Early on, she was seen as vulnerable, but nobody from the Republican "A" team stepped up.

Legislative races:

No big surprises, but one disappointment:  In LD23, Republican John Kavanagh is cruising to winning the Senate seat there over Democrat Paula Pennypacker by more than 25 percentage points.

On the plus side: In LD28, Democratic State Representative Eric Meyer looks to be withstanding a challenge from Republican Shawnna Bolick, wife of Goldwater Institute bigwig Clint Bolick, and the beneficiary of lots of IE money.

County races:

Biggest surprise - In a non-partisan race for a seat on the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) governing board, Republican former legislator Jean McGrath trounced incumbent Randolph Lumm by nearly 40 percentage points.  The highlight of her legislative career: proposing a bill that would have barred opposite sex visitors in the dorms of the state's universities.  Wonder if anyone has informed her that Maricopa County's community colleges don't have dorms?

Ballot questions:

Proposition 480, Maricopa Integrated Health System bond question (funding for rebuilding the county hospital system):  Passing by more than 160K votes.

Proposition 487, City of Phoenix question, gutting public employee pensions: Falling by nearly 26K votes.

State results (and a smattering of races that aren't statewide, but are outside of Maricopa County), mostly courtesy the website of the Arizona Secretary of State, as of 11:45 p.m. :

CD1: Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick ahead of Republican challenger Andy Tobin by just over 5K votes, 211 of 327 precincts reporting.  Kirkpatrick will win.

CD2; Democratic incumbent Ron Barber ahead of Republican challenger Martha McSally by 247 votes, 136 of 194 precincts reporting.  Too close to call.

AZGov:  Republican Doug Ducey ahead of Democrat Fred Duval by ~141K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.  Ducey will win. :(

AZSOS: Republican Michelle Reagan ahead of Democrat Terry Goddard by ~53K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.  Likely Reagan win.

AZAG: Republican Mark Brnovich ahead of Democrat Felecia Rotellini by ~75K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.  Likely Brnovich win.

AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction: Republican Diane Douglas ahead of Democrat David Garcia by ~26K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.  Considering that Douglas basically hid from the public during the campaign, this one will be an embarrassment if it holds up.

LD2 State Representative:  Upset in the making as Republican John Ackerley is ahead of Democratic incumbent Demion  by ~2K votes for the second spot there, 55 of 57 precincts reporting (two are elected; Democrat Rosanna Gabaldon is easily holding on to the other seat).

LD4 State Representative:  Another upset in the making with Republican Richard Hopkins ahead of Democrat Charlene Fernandez by ~600 votes for the second spot there, 56 of 59 precincts reporting (two are elected; Democrat Lisa Otondo is holding on to the other seat).

LD6 State Senate:  In a race that could determine the presidency of the state senate, Independent Tom O'Halleran is ahead of Republican Sylvia Allen by ~450 votes.  Word is that if O'Halleran wins, current Senate president Andy Biggs will be replaced by former Senate president Steve Pierce, and that if Allen wins, the status quo will be maintained.

LD9 State Representative: Too close to call.  250 separate the three candidate for two spots.  Currently incumbent faux moderate Republican Ethan Orr trails Democrats Randy Friese and Victoria Steele, 53 of 57 precincts reporting.

Proposition 122, the neo-secessionist "nullification" measure:  Ahead by ~22K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.

Proposition 303, called the "Right to Try Act" (would allow drug companies to sell untested drugs to desperate terminally ill patients):  Ahead by ~600K votes, 1319 of 1566 precincts reporting.

Proposition 304, legislative pay raise:  Falling by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

Pima County Proposition 415, bonds to fund improvements to Pima County's Animal Care facility: Passing easily.

Nationally, Tuesday sucked for Democrats (mostly).  There will be time for a full recap on Wednesday, but here's a bit of a preview:

Dear Massachusetts Democrats, never, EVER, again nominate Martha Coakley for anything.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day 2014

Calls made, doors knocked, lit dropped, signs posted.

Voting underway. 

Holding breath.

For those who haven't watched TV...or listened to the radio...or read a newspaper...or opened their the last month, there is an election today.

If you are registered to vote in Maricopa County, the county recorder's polling place locator is here.

...Back to our previously scheduled breath-holding...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Michele Reagan Can't Answer Why She Voted for Birther Bill

Making Jan "Brain Freeze" Brewer look like the paragon of eloquence...

Finish the Ballot - vote for the judges

As the above video, prepared by the Arizona Bar Association, explains, in the state's three most populous counties, judges are first selected for the job based on merit (explanation video here).  After that, they are periodically subject to "retention" election - if a judge gets more "no" votes than "yes" votes, he or she loses the job.

Most voters aren't familiar with individual judges (and that's mostly a good thing - the easiest way to become familiar with a judge is to have to appear in court).  Even politically active people (like me) are only a little more knowledgeable about the members of our judiciary, in that the names of the five justices of the state supreme court are slightly familiar.

To help voters learn how well judges are doing their jobs, the state's Judicial branch has set up the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review (JPR).

One of the things that JPR does is survey the people who interact with our judges and solicit feedback on the judges' professionalism, fairness, and the way that they operate their courts.

The judges are then evaluated by JPR and given a grade of "meet" or "does not meet" performance standards.

JPR's performance reports on the individual judges are here.

One judge in Maricopa County and one in Pima County earned a "does not meet" evaluation.

If you have an early ballot, they should be put in the mail by October 31 so that they reach the county recorder by November 4.  Otherwise, bring your ballot to any polling place on Election Day.

The state bar association has created a contest for Instagram videos that encourage people to "Finish the ballot. Vote for the judges!"

More information on the contest here.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Candidates and social media: A couple of examples of what *not* to do

You'd think that after a number of AZ legislators made a pilgrimage to Bundy-land in Nevada and embarrassed themselves, and the state, by bragging about it on Twitter, AZ pols would be careful about what they put out on social media.

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

...On Thursday, Arizona Republicans held an event in Mesa headlined by Doug Ducey, the AZGOP's 2014 gubernatorial nominee, and Mitt Romney, the national GOP's failed 2012 presidential nominee.

 And the Rs were excited, almost giddy.

Which showed in their tweets from the event.

One from Congressman Matt Salmon -

Apparently, the Congressman believes that Ducey's and Romney's records on finance and employment issues...stuff that created jobs for bankruptcy attorneys and unemployment case workers...are things to boast about.

Which, of course, is his opinion, one that he is entitled to have and express.

Me?  I think he just provided wiseass bloggers an opportunity to remind people of Ducey's and Romney's contemptible and predatory behavior toward people who work for a living.

...However, while the above tweet is not unusual for a Republican (lauding bad behavior by another R), Michele Reagan, the Republican nominee for AZ Secretary of State, tweeted something that definitely falls into the "gaffe" category.  She tweeted this pic from one of her fundraisers -

Reagan, center, with Samy Bouzaglo (L) and Amy Bouzaglo (R)

In case you don't remember them, Samy and Amy are the proprietors of the now-infamous Amy's Baking Company.

More interestingly, neither one can actually vote for Reagan - Samy is a non-citizen and cannot vote, and Amy is a convicted felon who hasn't had her civil rights restored (so far as I can find).

To be fair to Reagan, she apparently realized that this tweet wasn't the brightest idea, and removed it -

Fortunately, a friend screen captured it first. :)

The Arizona Democratic Party sent out a press release about this, and true to form, the Bouzaglos did not react well -

Unlike Reagan, however, at least they haven't pulled down their tweets.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rally to Move AZ Forward!!

This coming Saturday, October 25, from 4 - 7 p.m., join many of the great candidates for office this year at Mesa's Riverview Park (2100 W 8th St, Mesa, Arizona 85201) -

In addition to Fred Duval, some of the other candidates expected to be there include Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, State Representative Juan Mendez, David Garcia, Democratic nominee for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Jim Holway, Democratic candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission.  Also expected to appear: many legislative candidates from districts in the area.

It should be a fun time for all, and it is taking place just before the ASU football game against the University of Washington (start time: 7:45 p.m. @ UW, televised on ESPN).

The rally is being put on by the LD26 Democrats (most of Tempe, west Mesa, Salt River Pima/Maricopa Indian Community) and the Maricopa County Democrats, but it is open to all who are interested in meeting some great candidates and helping to Move AZ Forward....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Address: What You Need to Know About Ebola

In the midst of all of the media and GOP fear-mongering over the two cases of Ebola contracted in the US, the text President Barack Obama's remarks on the topic, from his weekly address (October 18, 2014) -

Today, I want to take a few minutes to speak with you-directly and clearly-about Ebola: what we're doing about it, and what you need to know.  Because meeting a public health challenge like this isn't just a job for government.  All of us - citizens, leaders, the media - have a responsibility and a role to play.  This is a serious disease, but we can't give in to hysteria or fear-because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need.  We have to be guided by the science.  We have to remember the basic facts.

First, what we're seeing now is not an "outbreak" or an "epidemic" of Ebola in America.  We're a nation of more than 300 million people.  To date, we've seen three casesof Ebola diagnosed here-the man who contracted the disease in Liberia, came here and sadly died; the two courageous nurses who were infected while they were treating him.  Our thoughts and our prayers are with them, and we're doing everything we can to give them the best care possible.  Now, even one infection is too many.  At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective.  As our public health experts point out, every year thousands of Americans die from the flu.

Second, Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch.  It's not transmitted through the air like the flu.  You cannot get it from just riding on a plane or a bus.  The only way that a person can contract the disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of somebody who is already showing symptoms.  I've met and hugged some of the doctors and nurses who've treated Ebola patients.  I've met with an Ebola patient who recovered, right in the Oval Office.  And I'm fine.

Third, we know how to fightthis disease.  We know the protocols.  And we know that when they're followed, they work.  So far, five Americans who got infected with Ebolain West Africa have been brought back to the United States-and all five have been treated safely, without infecting healthcare workers. 

And this week, at my direction, we're stepping up our efforts.  Additional CDC personnel are on the scene in Dallas and Cleveland.  We're working quickly to track and monitor anyone who may have been in close contact with someone showing symptoms.  We're sharing lessons learned so other hospitals don't repeat the mistakes that happened in Dallas.  The CDC's new Ebola rapid response teams will deploy quickly to help hospitals implement the right protocols.  New screening measures are now in place at airports that receive nearly all passengers arriving from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.  And we'll continue to constantly review our measures, and update them as needed, to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep Americans safe.

Finally, we can't just cut ourselves off from West Africa, where this disease is raging.  Our medical experts tell us that the best way to stop this disease is to stop it at its source-before it spreads even wider and becomes even more difficult to contain.  Trying to seal off an entire region of the world - if that were even possible-could actually make the situation worse.  It would make it harder to move health workers and supplies back and forth.  Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track.

So the United States will continue to help lead the global response in West Africa.  Because if we want to protect Americans from Ebola here at home, we have to end it over there.  And as our civilian and military personnel serve in the region, their safety and health will remain a top priority.

As I've said before, fighting this disease will take time.  Before this is over, we may see more isolated cases here in America.  But we know how to wage this fight.  And if we take the steps that are necessary, if we're guided by the science - the facts, not fear-then I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak here in the United States, and we can continue to lead the world in this urgent effort.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Arizona Election 2014: Time to vote...

Well, early ballots started hitting mailboxes in Maricopa County last weekend (mine is already filled out and returned) signaling that the election cycle is almost over.

While some people are "issues" folks (choice, women's issues, LGBT, etc.), I am a "candidate" guy - I can disagree with someone on a particular issue, but so long as I think that someone is working for the best interests of his/her constituents, I can respect and support that someone.

Which means that for me anyway, in most years it is easy to be a Democrat in Arizona.

While I can't and won't claim that every or even any Democratic candidate is a perfect human being, I can say that as a group, they're decent human beings and try to be honorable public servants.

In contrast, it's been close to a decade since Republican primary voters supported any candidate who is either decent or honorable.  For example, the Republican caucus in the state legislature is now divided into two groups - the "bay at the moon" caucus and the "go along to get along" caucus.

To be sure, a few have slipped through time...but once they exhibit any of the traits of public servants, they face a primary challenge from the right.

With that as a preface, here are my votes for the 2014 general election in Arizona, in the order the offices appear on my ballot (foreshadowing: this is one of the years where I'm proud to be a Democrat) -

- Congress (CD9) - Democratic incumbent Kyrsten Sinema v. Republican perennial candidate Wendy Rogers

I've made it clear before that Sinema is not exactly my favorite Democrat.  I supported another candidate in the 2012 primary (David Schapira, now a member-elect of the Tempe City Council) and may support another candidate in a possible 2016 primary. However, she has done some exemplary work on behalf of her district and Arizona's veterans.

In contrast, her opponent Wendy Rogers (who *is* a veteran, as she will be sure to tell you if you ever are within earshot of her) has wholeheartedly embraced that standard GOP platform of fear and demonization.  She shows absolutely no sign of being concerned with the welfare of the people of CD9 or Arizona.

In short, Sinema may not be perfect, but she is head and shoulders above her opponent.

Vote goes to: Sinema

- Arizona Governor - Open seat.  Democrat Fred Duval v. Republican Doug Ducey.

Because this is a race for an open seat, the campaign has been all about what the candidates *will do* in the office, not what they *have done*.

Duval has pledged to protect the state's education system from further cuts by the legislature and to see that the state pays the court-ordered funds that were improperly cut by the lege in past years.

Ducey, on the other hand, wants to increase the amount of public money funneled to private and charter schools, and has pledged to fight the court-ordered funding repayment.

Summary:  Duval is someone who brings a "us" perspective to the table, Ducey brings a "what's in it for me" attitude.

Vote goes to: Duval.

- State Senate (LD24) - Incumbent Democrat Katie Hobbs v. Republican Bill Follette

This one may be the easiest race on the ballot - Hobbs is smart and has worked her tail off for the district; Follette is running as "The Democrats' Republican".  Really.  Check out his signs.  That's all he's got.

Vote goes to: Hobbs

- State Representative (LD24) - Democrat Lela Alston (incumbent), Democrat Ken Clark, and Republican Lei Lani Cortez (vote for 2)

Another easy one.

Alston and Clark are longtime public servants who have performed admirably in every position that they've held; Cortez is running as a Republican who has checked off every box on the GOP's "groupthink" checklist.

Vote(s) goes to: Alston and Clark

- Arizona Secretary of State - Open seat.  Democrat Terry Goddard v. Republican Michele Reagan

Goddard is a former mayor of Phoenix, former Arizon Attorney General and arguably, the most qualified candidate for any office this year.  His concern for Arizonans is endless, his work ethic is boundless, and his integrity is unassailable (didn't even need a thesaurus for that sentence :) )

Reagan is a state legislator who has crafted, sponsored, and/or voted for the most oppressive legislation to come out of the Capitol in recent years - SB1070 (anti-immigrant), SB1062 (anti-LGBT), and HB2305 (anti-voter) - and also lies about the political process in Arizona.

Vote goes to: Goddard

- Arizona Attorney General - Semi-open seat (meaning that the incumbent lost in the primary).  Democrat Felecia Rotellini v. Republican Mark Brnovich.

Rotellini is an experienced prosecutor and former head of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions.  She has spent much of her career in consumer protection roles.

She has pledged to work to fight things like domestic violence, human trafficking, and fraud (and other crimes) directed toward Arizona's senior citizen and veterans.

Brnovich has worked for the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the corporate lobbying group "free market think tank" Goldwater Institute.

Brnovich has pledged to fight things like...federal law.

Summary: Rotellini was impressive in 2010 when she was the Democratic nominee, and after four years of the incumbent's sleaze and arrogance, she's even more impressive.  Plus, she takes the job of AZAG seriously, looking to protect Arizonans.  Brnovich apparently sees the job as being more about enabling the neo-secessionists in the legislature and less about serving the people of Arizona.

Vote goes to: Rotellini

- State Treasurer - Open seat.  Only one candidate, so I skipped this race.

- Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction -Semi-open seat.  Democrat David Garcia v. Republican Diane Douglas

Garcia is an associate professor at ASU, a veteran, and a nationally renowned education researcher.

Douglas is a former school board member in Peoria.

Garcia supports a well-rounded program to help improve Arizona's K-12 system.

Douglas is a single-issue candidate - she vehemently opposes the set of education standards known as "Common Core".

Summary: Not that the other races were difficult to decide, but this was the easiest choice among the statewide races.  Some offices have to go beyond partisanship, and even some Republicans consider Garcia to be the most qualified person to ever run for this office.

Vote goes to: Garcia

- State Mine Inspector -  Only the incumbent, Republican Joe Hart, is on the ballot.

Vote goes to:  Manny Cruz (write in).  Cruz was the 2010 Democratic nominee, and was gearing up for a 2014 run until he was diagnosed with cancer.  He passed away in May of this year and is still missed by the many people whose lives that he touched.  I know the vote won't count, but it is the right thing here.

Arizona Corporation Commission - Open seats.  Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Jim Holway v. Republicans Tom Forese and Doug Little (vote for 2)

Kennedy is a former member of the ACC and the state legislature.

Holway has had a long career in education and government service, focused on the environment.

Forese is a state legislator.

Little is a career corporate cog.

Summary:  Kennedy and Holway have years of experience in public service.  Forese and Little have a campaign that is being funded by APS, one of the corporations that is regulated by the ACC.

Vote(s) go to: Holway and Kennedy

- Maricopa County Assessor and Clerk of the Superior Court - the Democrats skipped these races, so my votes went to the two Libertarian candidates.  Maybe if the Libertarians get enough votes, the Ds will stop skipping low-profile races like these.

- Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board - "At Large" seats - Eddie Tiggs, Mario Diaz, John Heep, and Tracy Livingston (vote for 2).

Not a strong vote "for" here, but while Mario Diaz has issues (like his ties to "Republican is everything but name" state legislator Catherine Miranda) and I couldn't find out much about Tiggs, Heep and Livingston are tea party types who will work to undermine public higher education in Maricopa County.

Votes go to: Tiggs and Diaz.

- Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board - Laddie Shane, Francesca Thomas, Kim Hartmann, and Pam Kirby (vote for 2)

This is one race that I know almost nothing about, so I went with the recommendation of a friend who teaches for SUSD and voted for Hartmann and Thomas.

- Local school district ballot questions -

1.  Continuation of a "maintenance and operations" budget override for SUSD.  Considering what the legislature and Doug Ducey (if he wins his race) have in mind for Arizona's K-12 system in the new year, this one was an easy "Yes".

2.  Authorizing SUSD to dispose of some real property on 44th Street in Phoenix.  No.

- Scottsdale City Council - Dennis Robbins, Linda Milhaven, Jennifer Petersen, David Smith, Cindy Hill, and Kathy Littlefield (vote for 3)

In August, I completely skipped this race as none of the candidates are outstanding, but the August election eliminated the two candidates that I considered to be the weakest.  Looking at the race again, I still am not particularly enamored with any of the candidates, much less three of them.

Then I received a mailer where Scottsdale mayor Jim Lane announced his endorsement of three of the candidates (Robbins, Milhaven, and Petersen).

I ended up voting for two of the others.

I'm not exactly a fan of Jim Lane.  In case you couldn't figure that out for yourself. :)

- Maricopa County judge retention ballot - too numerous to list individually, but there is one of special note: Michael Herrod, husband of Cathi Herrod, head of the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy.

- Statewide ballot questions - previously covered here.

To recap briefly:

Proposition 122 - "No" - it's an effort to mobilize the neo-secessionist vote; if passed, it will serve only to keep us as a national punchline.

Proposition 303 - "No" - it's an effort to use the "awwwwwww" effect to get people to change AZ law to allow drug companies to bypass the FDA and sell untested drugs and medical treatments to desperate patients.

Proposition 304 - "Yes" - it would raise legislative salaries from $24K per year to $35K.  Bottom line: you get what you pay for, and we pay our legislators crap.

- Maricopa County ballot questiion - Proposition 480

Would authorize the county health care district to issue $935 million in bonds to rebuild and expand the county's nationally-recognized hospital and health care system.

Vote: Yes.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fun with campaign signs: On the cheap edition

One of the regular occurrences of any campaign season is the sighting of a "write-in" candidate.

They're just like regular candidates, except they aren't on the ballot and (usually) have no money.

Most write-in candidates "campaign" by asking friends to vote for them; a few, however, have some limited financial resources and will try to campaign more traditionally, say, by putting up some signs.

One of the ways that campaigns with limited resources try to save money is to have signs that are only printed on one side.

Another way that campaigns (all campaigns, not just those of write-in candidates) look to save money is by using rebar as sign posts; it's less sturdy than the normally-used fence posts, but it's also less costly.

All of which is fine...until the downsides of one-sided and rebar combine -

Found at the SE corner of Rural and Baseline in Tempe
The other side of the sign -

The candidate on the sign, Joe Hui, is an official write-in candidate for Corporation Commission.

Bonus "Fun with campaign signs":

I live in one of the few Democratic-leaning legislative districts in Maricopa County (LD24), which means that we see the Republican candidates who run on the "Republican?  Who me?" platform -

Found at McDowell and Hayden in Scottsdale
This sign is so effective that if I hadn't already voted for Katie Hobbs and returned my ballot, I would...still vote for her.  I don't have a high opinion of Democrats who triangulate and
run for office as "Republican-lite", but I'm fair about it - I don't have a high opinion of Republicans who run as "Democrat-lite", either.

Plus she is AWESOME. :)

Bonus2:  Dear...well, *everyone* -

Spell check is your friend.   Whether you are a candidate/campaign, or an anti-candidate/anti-campaign, whether it is a website, press release, campaign lit, or street sign, or something else, proof read everything before you send it out.

Including stickers that you attach to a candidate's signs -

Found at McDowell and Hayden in Scottsdale.
Ignoring the "vandalized sign" part of this picture, for now (that's a possible class 2 misdemeanor), there are two stickers now affixed to the sign.  One is easy to see - "communist".  Pretty sure it isn't true, but it isn't as much fun as the other sticker -

I think that they (whoever "they" may be) are trying to accuse Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of being an "atheist" here.

Not sure what an "athiest" is, though.

OP-ed: Take it from the parents who know her, Douglas “scarily unqualified” to lead Arizona schools

This was published previously in the Peoria Times and the Arizona Republic's West Valley section.

It is printed here with the permission of the authors (h/t to ProgressNow Arizona) -

To every single voter in Arizona:
 As long-time education advocates in Peoria and Cofounders of Peoria United Parent Council in 2004, we have had long-term first-hand experience with Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Diane Douglas.

We want to make this warning crystal-clear to voters: Diane Douglas does not even remotely have the skills to do the job.

Several years ago, before she ran for the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) Governing Board, Diane was a member of our parent group. At the time, she seemed to be willing and able to make reasoned decisions and prepared to review all sides of an issue.

However, much to our chagrin and dismay, once she was elected to the PUSD Governing Board, an astonishing Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation took place.  Her dangerous extremism, and overwhelming anti-public-education, anti-teacher agenda came rushing to the forefront. Her micromanaging of educators and overwhelming partisanship — in a non-partisan position — was so volatile and divisive that it became nearly impossible to get even the most mundane day-to-day business of the district done, let alone provide additional support to kids and teachers.

Diane is an anti-everything candidate.  She repeatedly scorns the benefits of higher education.  She opposed every effort to provide adequate funding for our district.  While she was a PUSD Governing Board member, she lead the opposition against Prop. 100, the temporary statewide one cent sales tax initiative intended to provide a modicum of additional support to education. Fortunately, Prop. 100 was overwhelmingly approved by voters and supported by our Republican Governor, Jan Brewer.

Diane’s ONLY "experience" in the classroom is second-guessing thousands of highly educated, hard-working, overwhelmingly competent professional teachers in the district on a daily basis. And, no, teaching people how to make stained glass does not count. Yes folks, this esteemed candidate for the most powerful education position in Arizona most recently worked as an instructor at the local strip mall’s stained glass shop. An honest job, but hardly the background required for providing high-level educational leadership and policy direction for the state.

Please listen to the people who know her best. Don’t put Diane Douglas, who is scarily unqualified for this important state-level position, in charge of the future of our children’s and grandchildren’s education, and hence the future economy of Arizona. By any measure – professionalism, cooperativeness, experience and so much more -- David Garcia is the far more qualified candidate to lead our schools.

The above accurately describes our eight plus year experience with Diane Douglas, however, we are no longer spokespersons for PUPC.

Jan Wilson and Kim Price Olsen, Peoria Parent and Grandparent