Saturday, October 03, 2015

Cutting Out The Middle Man 101: Goldwater Institute lawyer seeks seat on the AZ Supreme Court

...If this works, maybe a Mob capo will apply for a deputy or associate director job at the FBI...

For a long time now, Arizona's Judicial Branch has been the only branch of government in Arizona that garners any national respect.

It seems like that in every legislative session, there are efforts to make the state's judicial branch more subject to the whims (and whimsy) of the state legislature and governor (2015, 2012, 2011...I could keep this going for a long time, but since I would like to complete this post, I'll just go with "you get the picture").

Those usually fail, so certain people appear to be taking a more direct approach to subverting the judiciary.

While not perfect (nothing is, but the AZ judicial branch does a good job of cleaning up its own messes), Arizona's judicial branch is seen as honest, fair, and professional...something that will change soon if the Goldwater Institute, a Koch Brothers affiliate, gets their way.

From Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, via Arizona Capitol Times -
Gov. Doug Ducey is getting his first chance to put his imprint on the state’s high court.

A dozen attorneys and lower court judges have applied to replace Rebecca Berch who is retiring. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will meet later this month to winnow down the list and decide who to interview and, ultimately, who to nominate.

Press aide Daniel Scarpinato said Ducey does have some ideas about who should serve on the Supreme Court.

“Some of the qualities that are important to the governor are an individual with a reputation with outstanding legal ability, someone with integrity and also the temperament for a job where you need to be calm under pressure and be thorough and be thoughtful,” he said. He also said Ducey said he wants someone who “treats people with respect,” whether as an attorney working with clients or lower court judge dealing with litigants.

And Scarpinato said Ducey believes it’s important for to appoint someone “that understands the three distinct branches and the separation of powers.”

The applicants are:

- Clint Bolick, 57, from Maricopa County, an attorney with the Goldwater Institute. He has been a political independent since 2003 but prior to that was registered as a Republican;

For more than two decades, Bolick and the Goldwater Institute (and other organizations affiliated with Bolick) have at the forefront of efforts to undermine civil society (attacks on public education, public employees, workers' rights, etc.) for the benefit of deep-pocketed private interests (corporations, the Koch brothers, etc.).
Given Bolick's success at subverting both the executive and legislative branches, turning them from instruments focused on working for the public interest to ones focused on working for private interests, Scarpinato's quote about "separation of powers" could be telling -
If they (meaning Ducey and the Arizona legislature) are looking for someone to hobble the state's judicial branch to keep them from interfering with the depredations visited upon civil society by Ducey et. al., then Bolick may just be the perfect choice*.
*For them, but not necessarily for the people of Arizona.

Background on the Goldwater Institute here, courtesy the Center for Media and Democracy.

The applications themselves are available here; Bolick's makes him sound like Mother Theresa with a JD.
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Media and Democracy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Candidate and committees update

Some updates -

Federal offices:

...Shawn Redd, a Navajo businessman, has filed to run for the R nomination for US Senate.

..."Cranky Pants", no treasurer listed and a committee address of a mail drop in Litchfield Park, has filed to run for president as an independent (the filing is probably someone's idea of a practical joke, but it gives me an excuse to use the phrase "cranky pants" in a post that isn't about John McCain :) ).

Note: the first day for real candidates to file the paperwork necessary to appear on the ballot for Arizona Presidential Preference Election is November 13; the deadline is December 14 at 5 p.m. (AZ time)

State level offices:

...The races for the legislative offices in LD26 (parts of Tempe and Mesa) are getting complicated.

Incumbent state senator Ed Ableser (D) is resigning at the end of September in order to move to Nevada for a job.

Current State Rep. Andrew Sherwood and chair of the LD26 Democrats Sam Pstross are among those who have indicated an interest in being appointed to serve out the rest of Ableser's term in the Senate.

Michael Martinez, a candidate for JP in 2014, and Steve Muratore, a fellow blogger (full disclosure time: while Steve and I both have our individual blogs, we both contribute to Blog for Arizona), have formed committees to run for a House seat there (probably on the presumption that Sherwood will run for the Senate seat regardless of who is appointed to serve out the term).

Expect others to step up in both races...

...Judah Nativio, a member of the Queen Creek Unified School District's governing board, has filed for a run for the Republican nomination for on of the House seats in LD16.  In 2008, in the then-LD18, he was the Democratic nominee for state senate (Russell Pearce won that particular election).

...Current state rep. Sonny Borrelli and former state senator Ron Gould have formed committees to run for the R nomination for the LD5 senate seat currently held by Kelli Ward, who is running for the US Senate seat held by John McCain.

...Pamela Powers Hannley, also a blogger and also a contributor to Blog for Arizona, has filed to run for the Democratic nomination for one of the LD9 House seats there.  Incumbent Victoria Steele is running for Congress.

Maricopa County:

...Michael Bodak has filed to run for the Republican nomination for Maricopa County Sheriff.  On his campaign website, he touts his lack of experience as his greatest qualification for the office.

...Leonore Driggs has filed to run for the Republican nomination for Justice of the Peace in the Arcadia-Biltmore justice precinct.  Normally, I don't bother mentioning JP races in these posts (though since this is my justice precinct, I might have done so anyway :) ), but she merits some attention because she is the wife of State Senator Adam Driggs.

...A committee has formed to urge US Marshal David Gonzalez to run for the office of Maricopa County Sheriff.  It is *not* a candidate committee.  Their website is here.

Local races -


...Former state senator Jerry Lewis (R), best known for defeating the infamous Russell Pearce during Pearce's recall election is running for Mesa City Council, is targeting a seat held by current council member Dennis Kavanaugh.  Kavanagh is retiring.

From the Arizona Republic, written by Maria Polletta -

After a 2 1/2-year hiatus, former state Sen. Jerry Lewis is itching to get back into politics — this time, at the municipal level.

The 58-year-old assistant superintendent of Sequoia Schools has filed to run for southwest Mesa's District 3 City Council seat, joining 36-year-old urban-development advocate Ryan Winkle in the race to replace Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh in January 2017.
...As mentioned in the above article, so is Ryan Winkle.


...Dan Schweiker, a former member of the Paradise Valley Town Council, has formed a committee for a run at a seat on the Scottsdale City Council.


...Mike Jennings, a Tempe businessman and apparently the golden child chosen candidate of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, has formed a committee for a run at the Tempe City Council.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Coolidge overturns its policy of "Christian-only" invocations

Disappointing litigious Constitutional law attorneys all over the country, the Coolidge City Council pulled its collective head out of its collective ass on Monday night.

From the Casa Grande Dispatch, written by Joey Chenoweth -

Following a week of backlash that captured the attention of people around the country, the Coolidge City Council in a special meeting Monday night voted to deny an amended resolution that would have allowed only Christians to pray before its meetings.

Council members first held a 35-minute executive session where they were able to receive legal counsel outside of the public eye. When they came back, they quickly went through the two items on the regular agenda, unanimously denying the Christian-only amendment, then allowing prayer from all faiths to start its meetings.

Just speculatin' now, ya unnerstand, but I betcha that part of the conversation during the executive session was the City of Coolidge's attorney advising the City of Coolidge's elected leaders that cranio-rectal dislodgement surgery isn't covered under the City of Coolidge's health insurance and that they would have to remedy things before more costly measures were required... 

Note: the member of the Coolidge City Council, Rob Hudelson, posted some triumphant messages to Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of the original vote; he has been silent (in those places, anyway) since the second vote.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Coming Around Again": Coolidge City Council Special Meeting on its "Christian-only" invocations policy

When I first wrote about the mess in Coolidge, where the city council there had approved a policy of allowing just Christian-only invocations before its meetings, I noted that a special meeting of the council had already been called for Monday, September 21 (tomorrow, as of this writing), but that the agenda for that meeting hadn't yet been posted on the city's website.

It has since been posted.

Event:  Coolidge City Council Special Meeting
Where: Council Chambers, 911 S. Arizona Boulevard, Coolidge, Arizona
When: 9/21/2015, 6 p.m.

In bigger print, from the city's website -
City Council
Special Meeting
9/21/2015 6:00 PM
Council Chambers
911 S. Arizona Boulevard   Pinal County   Coolidge, AZ 85128

Call to Order

1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

Executive Session

3. A(3); for Discussion and Consultation with City Attorney Fitzgibbons and Designated Representatives of the City to Consider Its Position Regarding the City's Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocations Before Meeting of the Coolidge City Council and for Legal Advice Regarding the Same.

documentDiscussion Item Printout

Return to Regular Session

Business - Regular Items

4. 15-31; a Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of the City of Coolidge, Arizona, Adopting a Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocation Before Meetings of the Coolidge City Council.

documentResolution Printout

a. RES 15-31 Invocation Policy 091715 v2.rtf

5. 15-32; a Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of the City of Coolidge, Arizona, Adopting a Written Policy Regarding Opening Invocation Before Meetings of the Coolidge City Council.

documentResolution Printout

a. RES 15-32 Invocation Policy 091715.rtf


City Clerk Sign-Off

Resolution 15-31 is the "Christian-only" invocations resolution; 15-32 is invocations resolution without the "Christian-only" language.

Best guesses ("guesses" because I have absolutely no contacts in Coolidge):

1.  There is a lot of arm-twisting going on in Coolidge this weekend, as the people on both sides of this issue seek to buttress support for the measure/persuade one or more of the Council supporters to change their vote(s).

2.  The issue will be decided during the executive session at the start of the meeting.  The votes themselves will be public, but the council members will know beforehand how those votes will turn out.

3.  If guess #2 is correct, this could be a very short meeting.  If guess #2 is incorrect, attendees should bring their sleeping bags and pillows because this one could go into extra innings.

AZCrazy: They start 'em young here...or at least, before they get to the legislature...

Note: "young" refers to political age, not chronological age

...I'd speculate about something being in the water, but there isn't enough water here...

Most of the national (and international) ridicule directed at Arizona politics in recent years has been rooted in some of the actions of the state legislature or other denizens of the capitol district, but there is a "grass roots" brand of unprofessionalism that permeates certain local and special district governing boards.

Given that many of those boards serve as political feeder routes to the lege, it isn't actually much of a surprise that the Arizona Legislature is so dysfunctional - certain members of these boards have made their "whackjob" bones before moving up the political ladder.

In recent years we've seen...

...(late 2000s) the governing board of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) devolve into a "hostile work environment" (and that's putting things mildly) because of a single member, Jerry Walker.

Walker later was a candidate for the legislature and a local school board, coming up short even in years when any other R with a pulse won their races.

...(turn of the decade) seemingly the entire town council and police department in Quartzsite go off the rails (here, here, and here, among many choices)...

...(early 2010s) the school board in charge of the Gilbert public school system taken over by some tea party types and the hijinks ensuing almost immediately...

...(this month, September 2015) the city council in Coolidge approve a policy of "Christian-only" invocations for council meetings.

The council member behind the controversial move, Rob Hudelson, is a public servant in the same way that the infamous Kim Davis is a "public servant" - he seems to want to serve up the public interest on the altar of his personal religious dogma.

His personal blog is here; don you hip boots before reading - he piles it high and deep there, and quickly.

He also has the habit of conflating his personal preferences with the will of his constituents.  To whit, from his Twitter page:

Speculation time:

Regardless of how the "Christian-only" invocations controversy plays out, this won't be the last time we hear about Mr. Hudelson.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Arizona's late-night comedy supremacy assured: Coolidge City Council approves Christian-only invocations

From the Coolidge Examiner, written by Joey Chenoweth -

Ignoring legal counsel and concerns about a possible lawsuit, a majority of the Coolidge City Council voted Monday to amend a resolution that would allow prayers before council meetings, including a stipulation that they be Christian.

Council members Steve Hudson, Rob Hudelson, Gary Lewis and Tatiana Murrieta all voted in favor of the Christian-only stipulation to the resolution, which was originally written to include ministers from any faith represented within the city limits. Mayor Jon Thompson and Councilman Gilbert Lopez voted against the amended resolution, with Vice Mayor Jacque Henry absent.

The underlying measure, as well as the amendment authorizing only Christian invocations, were moved by councilmember Rob Hudelson.  His biography from the Council's home page -

During the meeting, Councilmember Hudelson argued that the move isn't unconstitutional because the First Amendment restriction against the establishment of an official religion only refers to Congress, not city councils. 

The US Supreme Court has been known to disagree, but Hudelson thinks that the Supreme Court can be ignored when he doesn't like a particular decision.

Based on a brief phone call to the City Manager's office in Coolidge, the measure isn't final yet.  There is a special meeting scheduled for next Monday where the measure is scheduled to be approved again (agenda not posted on the City's website of this writing).

The measure is being brought back because the "Christian-only" amendment conflicts with other language in the measure; the City Attorney wanted to clean up the conflicts. 

Assuming it is reapproved, the measure will go into effect 30 days later.

According to their official budget, Coolidge spent $259,858 from its contingency fund during the FY2014/2015 fiscal year; if the measure is passed again, expect that number to increase dramatically for FY2015/2016.

Litigation gets expensive, in a hurry.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Corey Woods announces that he is not seeking reelection to the Tempe City Council

Corey Woods, a member of the Tempe City Council since 2008,  has announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2016.

He is possibly the most well-liked and well-respected member of the council (and that's saying something with that group).

Part of his "secret", if you want to call it that, is that he likes and respects people, which makes it easy to like and respect him.

In 2010, a former member of the Tempe City Council, Len Copple, passed away.

As I was composing the post on Copple's death, I realized that I literally knew almost nothing about the man.  He left the Council around the same time that I first became politically active, and my attention was focused on Harry Mitchell's first run for Congress.

Looking for some insight, and maybe a quote, I called Corey.

When I reached him, he was on his cell phone, out of his car along US60, trying to reach a garage to help him with a flat tire.

In other words, he was dealing with some pressing matters and could have easily (and very reasonably, IMHO) begged off.

However, when I told him why I was calling, he told me that he had a couple of calls to make (relating to his car trouble) and would get back to me.

And he did.  In very short order.

He took time with me to offer insight into his friend at a time when he had more immediate concerns.

Woods had, and has, a reputation as one of the "nice" ones in Arizona politics.

That evening, he proved that that reputation is well deserved.

From his FB page, posted Thursday, September 10 at 11:01 a.m. -
I have had the honor and privilege of serving on the Tempe City Council since July of 2008. The last seven years have been filled with so many incredible experiences that I will cherish forever. With that being said, I wanted to formally announce that I will not be seeking re-election to the Tempe City Council in 2016. Tempe is an innovative, forward-thinking city that is well-positioned for an exceptionally bright future. It is a place that I am so proud to call my home.

I can’t say enough good things about all of the people that I have had the privilege to work with. I have been so fortunate to work alongside a group of Mayors and Councilmembers, both past and present who are so passionate about our city. They are a remarkable group of people whose only objective is always to take Tempe to even greater heights.

I want to also extend a huge thank you to the extraordinary staff we have at the City of Tempe. They are the unsung heroes that form the backbone of everything that we do. They are incredibly intelligent, hard-working individuals that spend countless hours working on behalf of our community.

Thank you to my family, friends and supporters for always being in my corner. Each and every one of you mean the absolute world to me. Most importantly, thank you from the bottom of my heart to the residents of Tempe for providing me with the opportunity to serve. Without all of you, none of this would have ever been possible.

In service,


I don't know what his plans are, near- or long-term, but I wish him the best with whatever they are, and (somewhat selfishly) hope that future public service is part of those plans.

He's "good people", the kind that there is never enough of in public service.

Woods, at one of the many events he participated in

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It may be time to resurrect the "Kyrsten Sinema" party...

 ...if only in the interests of "Truth In Advertising"...

Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D...for now-CD9), early in her political career, was a darling of the liberal set.

Years ago, she was more of a Green than a Democrat because the Democrats in her area were too conservative.

However, even then, her political acts gave insight into her political anyone who cared to notice.

Her first run for the state legislature in 2002 was as a member of the "Kyrsten Sinema Party".

As that move, electorally speaking, was something other than a complete success, for 2004, she changed her registration to "Democrat" (the former LD15 was a Democratic-leaning district), and she was off to the races.  She won a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.

In 2012, she left the AZ lege behind (having since moved to the Arizona State Senate) and mounted a successful run for a new Congressional district based in Phoenix.

She entered Congress as a Democrat but almost immediately upon taking office, started acting and voting like a Republican.

For instance, in 2013 she helped shepherd through committee HR992, a bill basically written by financial industry lobbyists to water down the already weak regulation faced by the financial industry (think: enabling the Mob in a rewrite of RICO), later voting for the measure when it reached the floor of the House.

Now it's 2015, and she is still aiding and abetting the House Republicans, this time with their push for an America that's in a state of "Forever War".

From the Arizona Republic, written by Rebekah L. Sanders -
Liberals are fuming over U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema's vote against the Iran deal, and some want her out of office., a grassroots organizing group, told The Arizona Republic it may support a primary challenge to the Arizona Democrat for opposing the international agreement that seeks to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the latest in a string of votes the lawmaker has cast with the GOP.
After voting against the Iran deal, she voted for lifting sanctions against Iran, a seeming contradiction.

Until you look at the money.

What do financial industry types (and their lobbyists), defense industry types (and their lobbyists), and the business interests (and their lobbyists) who stand to reap profits from opening Iran's markets all have in common?

Deep pockets.

Pockets that have the kind of depth that seem to catch the eye...and soul...of Sinema.

A couple of years ago, when she so eagerly catered to the whims of the financial industry, I wrote a post criticizing the move.

At the time though, I still held out some hope for her.

Now, I just wonder one thing:

When is she going to make it official?  When is she going to go back being the lead (and possibly only) member of the Kyrsten Sinema Party?

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It's time for a new version of Godwin's Law, this one applying to slavery analogies

With internet-based political discussions (and real world ones, too), there is a "law" called "Godwin's Law".

The definition, according to -
A term that originated on Usenet, Godwin's Law states that as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin's Law has effectively forfieted [sic] the argument. 

Basically, a "Nazi" or "Hitler" analogy is used when a person involved in an argument wants to associate something they disagree with to what was recognized as perhaps the greatest evil of the 20th century.

Thanks to the push back over the use of that tactic (basically, the users lose all credibility), desperate debaters started searching for another over-the-top analogy to use, one that hadn't developed the rhetorical baggage of the "Nazi" analogy.

Apparently, they have found one.

America's "Peculiar Institution", slavery.

...Sometimes it's Republican women in Oklahoma equating the social safety net to the ropes used in lynchings...

...Sometimes it's Sarah Palin comparing deficit spending and the national debt to slavery...

...Sometimes it's Ben Carson expounding his position that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery...

...Sometimes it's Rand Paul likening a Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare to pro-slavery decisions of previous courts, such as in the Dred Scott case...

...Or maybe even sometimes it's someone like Trent Franks declaring that African-Americans were better off being slaves than living in modern society...

There are many examples, too numerous to list them all here, but the latest example shows that the trend is continuing unabated.

Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Theocracy Policy (CATP) issued a press release against Planned Parenthood, likening abortion to the slave trade.

From her press release -
...Children are not commodities to be bought and sold – like the slave trade.

Yes, they went there.  They even put it in the headline -

They (meaning CATP) tweeted about this, pushing the press release.  Naturally, I responded to the tweet with my natural, and naturally profound, wit :) -

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Random find: Arizona's loyalty oath

Oh, the things you find when you aren't looking for them...

While doing some regular general research, I came across this interesting nugget on the website of the Arizona Secretary of State -

Arizona has a loyalty oath?

Curious as to what officeholders in AZ have to swear to be loyal to, I opened up the form on the SOS' website, expecting something from the McCarthy era.  It wasn't quite that bad, but...

OK, it's pretty much boilerplate stuff, basically very mundane.

But I noticed one thing, a significant omission.  Do you see it?

Here, let me help -

Quoting the highlighted text:
...I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona...

Based on this oath, for Arizona officeholders, supporting (and protecting and defending, and ?obeying?) federal laws is optional.

Yes, it's just another way that the neo-secessionists at the state capitol can thumb their noses at civil society in general and the federal government in particular.

But, on the bright side, doesn't the phrasing of that oath mean that when the Republican leadership at the Capitol (including the governor, leadership of the lege, and their staffers/lackeys), by their brazen refusal to follow Arizona law, and a court order to do so, and properly fund the state's education system, they have, in effect

Voluntarily resigned their positions?

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I'm thinking logically, and while I'm not a lawyer, I know enough about the law to know that it can rarely be described as "logical".

Note: this isn't something thought up solely by Arizona's Secretary of State, Michelle Reagan; it's part of Arizona state law.

And per that law, it applies to "any person elected, appointed or employed, either on a part-time or full-time basis, by this state or any of its political subdivisions or any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district, public educational institution or any board, commission or agency of any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district or public educational institution."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some say "pro-life". Some say "anti-choice". I say "hypocrite".

This may surprise regular readers (OK, not really :) ), but I know a lot of "pro-choice" folks; I don't know any who are "pro-abortion".

By the same token, I know many "anti-choice" people, but very few who truly qualify as "pro-life".

The loud people who oppose even the idea that women should have control of their bodies and access to complete healthcare services, including abortion services if they so choose, like to proclaim themselves to be "pro-life",  as they see themselves as "protecting" fetuses.

The people who disagree with them often refer to those people as "anti-choice" because most of them seem to stop caring about those fetuses once they become living children.

The anti-choicers say that "life begins at conception" but act is if life becomes irrelevant at birth.

This past Saturday (8/22/2015), there were protests and counter-protests at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country, including here in Arizona.  Their putative motivation for the protests this weekend was some selectively-edited and now-debunked videos that allegedly showed PP execs talking about selling body parts from aborted fetuses for profit.

On Saturday, the anti-choicers' show pony/headliner was Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, himself definitive evidence that someone can be "anti-choice" without being truly "pro-life".

A few examples:

- His handling of the Sean Pearce case.  In late 2013, Pearce, a senior deputy of one close political ally (Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) and the son of another close ally (disgraced former state senate president Russell Pearce), was driving his Chevrolet Tahoe at more than twice the posted speed (specifically, 81 mph in 40 mph limit zone), when he hit another vehicle.

The driver of the other vehicle was killed in the accident.

After a "thorough" investigation, Montgomery decided that no charges were warranted.

Even though everyone that I know (including people who work inside the justice system) who saw the video of the incident said "prison time", or something close.  Meaning that any "normal" person (i.e. - not politically well-connected) would have been looking at some serious prison time.

But not Sean Pearce, the son of one of Montgomery's friends and a senior underling of another one.

Pearce was cited for excessive speed, and because the prosecution failed to inform the judge in the matter that someone died as a result of Pearce's actions, he was allowed to take a defensive driving course.

Meaning that he didn't even get points on his auto insurance record for killing someone.

He didn't quite get off scot-free for the death, but it was damn close.

- Then there's the case of Joshua Pearce, brother of Sean and another son of Russell.

In 2010, an infant daughter of Joshua Pearce suffered a fractured skull.  When the incident was investigated, police found that the stories of Joshua Pearce and wife did not jibe with the stories told by their other children.  In addition, a doctor determined that the injury could not have occurred the way that Pearce said it happened.

Still, the investigation was closed after Mesa PD and the office of Maricopa County Attorney determined that no charges were merited.

- Turning to the now-infamous case of Debra Milke.

In 1990 (well before Montgomery became county attorney) Milke was convicted in the murder of her son.  The police and the prosecution alleged that she conspired with two men to kill her son and had confessed to doing so.

The confession was unrecorded and was witnessed by only one detective.

It later came out that the detective had a history of lying and falsifying evidence to make cases, that the prosecution was aware of that record, and that the prosecution failed to disclose that record to the defense, as they were required to do.

In 2013, the conviction was overturned by an appeals court because of the misconduct by the prosecution.  The case was returned to the MCAO for further disposition.

Montgomery's office started the process to re-prosecute her.  When another judge ruled that the misconduct in the first prosecution was so egregious that jeopardy had attached and that she could not be retried.

In an attempt to return Milke to prison and death row, Montgomery appealed that ruling.  And lost.

- And then, of course, there is the Jodi Arias case.

After a long and incredibly expensive trial, Arias was convicted of the 2008 murder of her boyfriend.

Montgomery sought to have her sentenced to death.

The first sentencing jury deadlocked between imposing the death penalty and a sentence of life in prison, mandating that she receive a sentence of life in prison (death sentences must be unanimous).

Montgomery could have accepted that and moved on to other cases, but he wanted her to die.

So he appealed the sentence verdict, looking for a second sentencing trial.

He got that second sentencing trial, trying to have Arias killed.

And after the second sentencing trial, after running the costs for her prosecution and defense into the millions (both paid for by the taxpayers)...the second jury also deadlocked.

The prosecution gets only two bites at the sentencing apple, so Arias was sentenced to natural life in prison (aka - life without the possibility of parole).

So, to sum up -

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", yet lets one killer off, seemingly to help a couple of political allies.

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", but tried to have someone who was wrongfully convicted put back in prison and on death row after her conviction was vacated because the prosecution in her case cheated.  Horrendously.

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", but he has forced the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars in a futile quest to have someone that he doesn't like killed.

And when it comes to protecting children, their health and lives seem to take a back seat to his personal political calculations.

In other words, Bill Montgomery's words may say "pro-life".

However, his acts (both of commission and omission) tell a veerrrry different story.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

AZSOS Michele Reagan to Clean Elections Commission: "Do as I do, not as I say"

...In her case, what she says is all about transparent and honest elections; what she *does* is most assuredly not about about transparent and honest elections.

Oh yeah - as Arizona's Secretary of State, she is the state's chief elections officer.

Then-Senator Reagan in 2011, speaking in Scottsdale against the redistricting process

From the Arizona Republic, written by Mary Jo Pitzl, dated 21 August 2015 -
The turf war between the Arizona Secretary of State and the Clean Elections Commission is continuing, but on a slower timetable and with softer, yet stern, rhetoric.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Michele Reagan told the five commissioners to “tread lightly” as they consider a rule that could force disclosure of so-called “dark-money” contributors.

“I believe you have noble intentions,” Reagan said. “You want to be able to rein in groups if they corrupt our election system.”

But, she continued, the way the commission is trying to do that would set a precedent that she called “extremely troubling.”

Now, when Secretary Reagan was "Senator Reagan" and only a candidate for AZSOS, she talked a good game (OK, it was an "alright" game, and then only if you didn't listen too closely...but I digress).

From the Arizona Republic, written by Mary Jo Pitzl, dated 31 October 2014 -
Reagan, as chairman of the Senate Elections Committee, sponsored a bill this year that would have required disclosure of the "identifiable contributors" who are the original source of money for an independent-expenditure committee. This would have cut through the layers of intermediary groups that have merely passed along campaign cash to the committee. Senate Bill 1403 also would have required all political ads, signs, brochures and other materials to list the top three contributors.

The bill passed her committee on a unanimous vote, then never surfaced again.
That last part, the "never surfaced again" part, was a distinct pattern for Reagan during her time in the state senate - not only did 2014's SB1403 "mysteriously" die in committee, so did a slew of her election "reform" bills in 2013.

Her "reforms" were almost all about voter suppression and while Reagan's bills died, the voter suppression clauses were folded into the now-infamous HB2305.

She wasn't listed as one of the sponsors of the bill (plausible deniability?), but she was one the conference committee members that help to turn a previously (relatively) innocuous bill into a true nugget of ugly.

That bill was passed and signed into law by then-Governor Jan Brewer.

It was then subject to a petition effort to refer it to the 2014 ballot to be overturned (or upheld) by the voters.

The petition drive was successful, more or less.

Enough signatures were gathered to freeze implementation of the measure and refer it to the ballot.

The lege, still having a few active brain cells under their tin foil tricorner hats and realizing that having on the ballot something that would serve to highlight GOP voter suppression efforts would be very bad (for them, anyway), promptly repealed HB2305 during the early days of the 2014 session, rendering the petition drive/ballot referral moot.

Reagan's conflict with the Citizens Clean Election Commission seems to rise from the fact that they aren't willing to be paper tigers, unwilling to do anything to upset the dark money-fueled gravy train that so many at the state capitol so enthusiastically ride.

Maybe if, instead of just talking a good game, Reagan was interested in doing her job conscientiously and honorably, it wouldn't be necessary for the CCEC to intervene.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Donald Trump: Legit candidate or shiny object?

Some people think that GOP candidate for president Donald Trump is "sucking the air out of the room", making it impossible for the other candidates in the field to be heard or gain traction.

I think that instead he is providing cover for them.  They get to say some of the most insane, bigoted, and hypocritical things but with public and MSM attention focused on Trump's latest bout of racism/misogyny/general misanthropy, only the GOP base hears the dog whistles of the rest of the field.

In other words, Trump is this cycle's Shiny Object.

In a week where Trump declined to repudiate two of his followers who assaulted and urinated on a homeless Hispanic man (Trump said only that his followers were "passionate"), the other candidates said and did (there is an anti-immigrant theme here, but their hatred is of the "well-rounded" variety):

- Ted Cruz - Went after former president Jimmy Carter the day after Carter announced that he has cancer

- John Kasich - Called for the banning of teacher's lounges in schools because he thinks that all teachers do there is complain

- Bobby Jindal - Wants to prosecute the mayors of "sanctuary cities" for any crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in their cities

- Rick Santorum - Stated that Congress can override the US Constitution and end "birthright citizenship"

- Ben Carson - Wants to further militarize the US border with Mexico

- Rick Perry - Flat out lied about improvement in high school graduation rates in Texas during his tenure as governor there

- Chris Christie - Likened the furor around Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for emails sent as part of her official duties as Secretary of State to his involvement in "Bridgegate"

- Jeb Bush - Embraced the nativist wing of the national GOP by defending the use of, and using, the ethnic slur "anchor baby"

- Marco Rubio - Doubled down on his embrace of "tinkle down" economic theory while speaking in Detroit, which may be the epicenter of the economic destruction wreaked upon the middle class by previous purveyors of "tinkle down" (OK, this is, relatively speaking, the mildest insanity of the week; still, it shows that Rubio is not ready for prime time)

- Carly Fiorina - Tried to weasel her way into gaining support from the anti-vaxxer wing of the GOP by advocating making vaccines for non-communicable diseases optional.  One problem: every one of the main vaccines given to children as part of going to school is for a communicable disease

- Scott Walker - Said #BlackLivesMatter doesn't matter and isn't worthy of his attention

- Rand Paul - Announced that his campaign for president is toast.  Oh, it's not *officially* over, but the KY GOP declared that he can run both for the nomination for the presidency and for reelection to his seat in the Senate.  Which is their (and his) way of saying that Paul has no chance of winning the presidency

- Mike Huckabee - Signaled that a potential Huckabee administration won't have need for a Secretary of State, just a Bible reader

- Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, and George Pataki?  Not even GOP voters know that they are running

In most cycles, nearly every single one of the above examples would be cause for a major uproar; in the Year of Trump, they are barely a blip on the MSM's, and voters', radars.

So yes, Donald Trump is the 2016 presidential cycle's Shiny Object.

Pic courtesy Penn State U.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Rebranding" Arizona - another suggestion

This one would highlight both Arizona's wine industry and its cattle industry -

In vino, veritas; in Arizona, bullshit.

The Phoenix New Times has published a list of what they think are the 10 best suggestions, but I, oh-so-humbly, think mine is the best.

Though their list is pretty good. :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Doug Ducey's "plan" to fix Arizona: Don't fix anything, just say nice things about it

Last week, news broke that Arizona lost out on two corporate relocations, mostly because of Arizona's decrepit and declining education system and its hate-filled political subculture.

Doug Ducey, Arizona's governor, has responded, not by urging the lege to fully fund the state's education system or taking steps to rein in the wingnuts at the state capitol, but instead by...wait for it...

"Rebranding" Arizona.

More specifically, an advertising agency, one with ties to Ducey that date back to his involvement with Cold Stone Creamery (noted as one of the worst franchisers, in terms of SBA loan defaults*) has been contracted to come up with a new slogan that puts Arizona in a more "positive" light.

Now, I think its clear from the above that I think that Ducey is treating his office like a siphon, using it to direct public money to the deep pockets of his allies.  However, being someone who loves Arizona in spite of its flaws, I want to help.  Maybe if I (and other people) contribute...

No promises that these will be viewed as "positive", however. :)


Arizona: come for the sunburn, stay for the melanoma


Arizona: come for the dehydration, stay for the heat stroke


Ditat Deus**, sed Exhaurias Republicans (which I think is Latin for "God Enriches, but Republicans Impoverish"; if that isn't quite correct, well, my Latin is admittedly horrible)


It's a dry hate

Anyone who has their own ideas to offer is welcome to leave suggestions in the comments section or to communicate them directly to the governor's office here.

* = not totally relevant to the main topic here, but it shows that Ducey's attitude of "to hell with the little people; after I get the money, they can take their chances" is not a new one.

** = Ditat Deus is the state's motto currently (and since before it became a state).  I'm suggesting that we update it to reflect current reality.