Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fairness: Terry Goddard's ground-breaking ad

Terry Goddard is running for Arizona Secretary of State, facing Republican Michele Reagan.

As a state senator, she supported and voted for the infamous SB1062, which would have granted legal protections to those who discriminate against LGBT folks (and others) and who base their bad behavior on religious citations.  The bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brewer at the behest of the business community (Brewer has no more use for the intended victims than Reagan, but she listens to folks with the deepest pockets).

Goddard showed his stance, and backbone, on the issue, by having an actual same-sex couple from Arizona star in his campaign ad on the issue.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first example of this in any AZ political ad, and may be the first time a non-LGBT candidate has run such an ad in the country.

No matter what, though, it hits Reagan right in her weakest area - the hate that she has wholeheartedly embraced as part of her pursuit of statewide support in the R primary.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Candidates for Arizona Governor debate education

Below is the video of the education debate between the two major candidates for governor of Arizona, Democrat Fred Duval and Republican Doug Ducey.

I'll leave it to viewers to evaluate the debate for themselves, but catch Ducey at the 26:58 mark of the video, citing comedian Louis CK's opposition to Common Core as one of the reasons that he, Ducey, also opposes it.

Does Ducey count actress Jenny McCarthy among his medical advisers?   He already has professional hater Cathi Herrod serving as an adviser on social issues.

Yes, I'm a Duval supporter. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

With Friends Like These... : Diane Douglas' multiple albatrosses

...As if her attempt at a stealth campaign wasn't bad enough...

One of the staples of any election season is the endorsement.  Organizations and individuals "endorse", or recommend voting for, specific candidates.

Generally speaking, when an organization endorses a candidate, it does so because it believes that the candidate will be supportive of the organization's agenda; individuals do so for similar reasons.  Most of the time, the endorsers believe the endorsees are "fellow travelers" on whatever ideological road they're all on.

Most of the time, endorsements are viewed as a "good" thing in some way, usually serving as a quick way of lending insight into a candidate's positions and even the general attitude that they would bring to the office that they are seeking.

However, as the example of of Diane Douglas (AZGOP nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction) illustrates, that's not always actually beneficial.

From the blog website of the Maricopa County Republicans -

 Hmmm...let's look at the sort of people think that Douglas is a good choice to run Arizona's schools -

State legislator Judy Burges - Arizona's Queen Birther

State legislator David Farnsworth - The "chicken in every backyard" guy

State legislator Rick Murphy - alleged child molester* (* = no charges were filed)

Former state legislator Frank Antenori - the anti-everything,"don't make me mad" guy

Former state legislator Jack Harper - there are many facets to this jewel of craziness, but we going to with just one (in the interests of brevity), so how about "The 'Democrats are just as bad as Saddam Hussein" guy"?

Former state legislator Lori Klein - also has many facets to her brand of crazy, but let's go with "read a bigoted anti-Latino letter on the floor of the Arizona State Senate"

Former state legislator Thayer Verschoor - possibly the least nutty of this bunch; main claim to fame is as anti-civil society Grover-crat

State legislator Adam Kwasman - Goes around proudly intimidating children

State legislator Darin Mitchell - elected to represent a district he didn't actually live in

State legislator Carl Seel - Arizona's Crown Prince Birther

Not on this list, but possibly the most significantly bad endorsement, is that of disgraced former state legislator Russell "poor women should be sterilized" Pearce.

Endorsements are supposed to speak well of the recipient, but that's apparently something that Douglas and her supporters don't understand.

Douglas has been campaigning by being all-but-invisible, appearing in public only when she is legally obligated to do so, or when the crowd is considered to be a completely safe (and deep-pocketed) R crowd.

That approach reduces the possibility of general election voters seeing the real Diane Douglas.

It's too bad for her that her supporters have such well-documented track records.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

In case you didn't know already, it's unofficially official: Sal DiCiccio is running for mayor of Phoenix next year

Sal DiCiccio, a member of the Phoenix City Council, hasn't exactly hidden the fact that he covets the office of mayor of Phoenix, Arizona's largest city.

He's become the local public face of the Rs' anti-public employee pension movement and now he's taken to applying the principles of "Obama Derangement Syndrome" to the current mayor, Greg Stanton.

In today's example, he takes something good, mildly praises it, and then uses the good thing as an excuse to disparage the target of his ire.

From his Twitter feed, posted earlier today:

Early prediction: Next year's campaign season in Phoenix is going to be Ugly.  DiCiccio will run *against*, well, pretty much everything.  He's going to spend so much time demonizing public employees, Greg Stanton, and pretty much anybody who isn't in a position to line his pockets that no one will notice he has nothing positive to offer the people of Phoenix.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why does Russell Pearce still have a taxpayer-funded job?

By now, most people have heard of the rants of Russell Pearce, former president of the Arizona State Senate - he wants to sterilize poor women.

By now, most people have heard of the firestorm of criticism of Pearce, from all over the political spectrum.

Note: Reagan is the AZGOP nominee for Arizona Secretary of State.  What a difference four years makes:  

In 2010, she was an ardent supporter of Pearce and his infamous SB1070, both co-sponsoring and voting for the anti-immigrant measure.

In 2014, not so much.

Of course, in 2010, Pearce's targets were people with skin that is darker than a golfer's tan (a group which doesn't include Reagan); in 2014, Pearce's targets are women (which *does* include Reagan).

By now, most people have heard of Pearce's resignation from his post as 1st Vice Chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

What people have not heard of is Pearce's ouster from his high-paying job ($85K/year) with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office.

They haven't heard of it, because it hasn't happened.
From the twitter feed of Dennis Welch, political reporter on KTVK, posted at approximately 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday and screen captured at approximately 8:38 p.m.

In addition to his advocating the sterilization of poor women, Pearce has used his county email account to spew much more bile targeting immigrants, poor people, and racial and ethnic minorities.

In the private sector that's so revered by GOPers, Pearce would have been shown the door long ago.

Instead, Hoskins is protecting Pearce and keeping him on the public payroll, in spite of Pearce's vile and offensive comments toward the bulk of the public that he is supposed to serve, not insult.

Personal take on this:

Pearce should not have resigned his party post, if only because that was a position that didn't receive any taxpayer support.  It was a partisan advocacy position, and Pearce was guilty of nothing more than "truth in advertising" - contempt for women, the poor, and poor women is a staple of GOP campaign platforms across the country.

On the other hand, the taxpayers are under no obligation to pay him to spew his filth.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Arizona Election 2014: Ballot questions

This year, this is going to be a simple post - there are only three state-level ballot questions*, and none were proposed through the petition process,  In contrast, in 2006, there were 18, with only six of the questions referred to the ballot by the legislature.  

* = In many jurisdictions, there will be local-level questions (school district overrides, city charter updates, etc.).  However, there are only three questions that will be every ballot in the state.

Voting decisions on two of the questions will be very easy:

- Proposition 122, referred by the lege in 2013 as SCR1016.  If passed, it would allow the AZ legislature to ignore any federal law, regulation, or rule that it doesn't like, and to bar any official in the state from supporting/enforcing said law, regulation, or rule.

This probably isn't legal anyway, but passing it would send a message to late-night comedians everywhere that they can continue to count on Arizona for a steady stream of punchline material.

In other words, HELL NO.

- Proposition 304, a proposal from the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers to raise the annual legislative salary from $24K to $35K.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  And we pay our legislators crap.

$35K isn't great, but it's better than $24K, and it might attract a better quality of candidates for the lege.  Which is something that Arizona needs.

This one is a Yes

- The tough one is Proposition 303, referred by the lege in 2014 as HCR2005.  If passed, it would create a section in AZ law called "The Patients' Right To Try Act".  It *sounds* "warm and fuzzy" good - it would allow eligible patients to make use of "investigational" drugs and medical therapies if such is made available by a manufacturer of such.  Basically, desperate patients could take a chance on unproven treatments, if they so desire and a possible treatment is made available.

Sounds good, until you realize that the measure is being proposed by the Arizona legislature in a way that cannot be corrected or repealed by a future legislature (because of the Voter Protection Act)...and the next time that the members of the Arizona legislature support an idea that is beneficial for the average Arizonan will be the very first time for the majority of them.

Cynicism now thoroughly piqued, further examination of the measure is warranted. 

Upon which one finds a few interesting facts about the proposal - 

1.  In this context, "investigational" means "not approved by the FDA".  In essence, this would allow Big Pharma (and its relations) to use desperate patients as guinea pigs for untested medical therapies.

2.  The proposal does NOT require a manufacturer to make available untested medical therapies, only provides them legal cover if they do so.

3.  It would bar state regulators from penalizing physicians or health care facilities that administer those therapies.

4.  The legislative intent section clearly states that the act applies to all patients, not just those with terminal illnesses (the language of the act states that eligible patients must have a terminal illness).

5.  The proposal would allow a manufacturer to pass on to the patient the cost of manufacturing an untested medical therapy.  If a specific therapy hasn't reach the "economies of scale" part of its existence, that number is going to be huge.

6.  This proposal (or something similar) is popping up in legislatures all over the country -  Michigan, New Jersey,and Colorado, among others.  That kind of coordination indicates that this idea has some deep-pocketed supporters.

7.  The political committee formed to support the measure reeks of "dark money" - the largest single contributor is the corporate lobbying firm "free market think tank", the Goldwater Institute (providing $35K out of $35,504.30 in contributions reported in its most recent campaign finance report) and the largest single expenditure reported in the most recent campaign finance report is to Sherpa Public Affairs of Phoenix ($14.5K out of nearly $28K)...under the heading "Reimbursements".

Since GI's sources of money are secret and the word "reimbursements" is so all-encompassing yet vague, this committee has effectively anonymized both its contributions and expenditures.  They've made sure that no one can follow the money trail here. 

To sum up: this proposal was shepherded to the ballot in a way that circumvents the already minimal oversight provided by the normal legislative process, looks to be designed more to enhance industry profits than to enhance patient outcomes, and has deep-pocketed supporters who wish to remain in the shadows.

In the final analysis: this is a No vote.

As seems to be normal for AZ elections, the questions referred by the legislature merit a no vote, while the question referred to the ballot by something other than the lege merits a yes vote. 

Note: more on a similar drug proposal that was implemented in Colorado from a contributor to Forbes.com here

Monday, September 01, 2014

Race for the AZ Legislature: a general election primer

While the races for Arizona's statewide offices garner the most attention, both from the MSM and the general public, the race for the control of the state legislature is at least as important - this state has a "weak executive" form of government where most of the real power rests with the legislature.  Statewide office holders run their areas of the state government, and the governor can act as a bit of a check on the legislature by utilizing the veto, but if the majority of the lege wants it, the state government works *against* the people of Arizona, not *for* us.

The chambers of the Arizona legislature are comfortably under the control of of the Republicans (Senate: 13 Ds, 17 Rs; House: 24 Ds, 36 Rs).  Some observers believe that the Democrats will gain control, or at least 15/15 parity in the Senate this year and gain ground in the House.

I don't believe gaining control of the Senate is going to happen for the Democrats, this year anyway, but gaining ground in both chambers is possible.

Too many things would have go right for the Ds for Senate control to change this year, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, things will improve this year.

The races for the legislature are set.  Most are over (no challenger) or unofficially over (challenger(s) present but the particular district is so slanted in terms of partisan registration or electoral history that minority party candidates aren't viable).

However, a few merit interest.

- The race for the state senate seat in LD6.

The Republican incumbent, Chester Crandell, was not being challenged by a Democratic candidate.

However, an Independent candidate, former legislator (and former Republican) Tom O'Halleran will be on the ballot in November.

The race was going to be interesting no matter what, but then Crandell passed away suddenly in August.

O'Halleran will now face Sylvia Allen.  Allen was selected by LD6's Republican PCs to replace Crandell on the ballot.  Allen is a former legislator with a long record of outlandish statements and controversy.

This race will become the most-watched legislative race in Arizona - Andy Biggs' senate presidency may depend on the outcome.

His hold on the R caucus is so tenuous that the mere loss of one vote within the caucus, even if it doesn't become a Democratic vote, could cost him the office.

As such, expected a *lot* of IE and PAC (aka - "dark") money to pour into this race supporting Allen.

- LD8 State Senate - Democrat Barbara McGuire holds the seat now and the Democrats have a slight registration advantage.  However, turnout/results is a different issue, as the district currently sends two Republicans to the state house.

This is the senate seat that most concerns the Democrats.

- LD9 State House - Republican Ethan Orr holds one of the seats in this Democratic leaning district, and his schizophrenic voting record reflects a desire to show the voters of his district that he's a "moderate" while proving to his caucus mates that he's anything but.  Democrat Randall Friese may be able to pick up this seat.

- LD28 House - Democrat Eric Meyer is one of the incumbents in this Republican-leaning district.  His seat is always vulnerable, but he has held on to it, in part, by campaigning his ass off.  This time around, the Republicans have nominated Shawnna Bolick, wife of Goldwater Institute bigwig Clint Bolick, in an attempt to wrangle the seat away from him.  She will have lots of money behind her, but it remains to be seen if her ties to GI will help or hinder her efforts.

- LD26 Senate - Currently held by Democrat Ed Ableser.  While the district is not overwhelmingly Democrat in terms of registration, in terms of results, it is.  The area hasn't elected a Republican since 2004, when (most of) it was still LD17.  So the Rs have gotten cute here.

Their candidates are running as "we're not really Republicans" Republicans.  Their sole House candidate has taken to putting up signs that have his partisan affiliation crossed out and replaced by "Arizonan".  Their Senate candidate is running as an Independent (to be fair, it may be because he believes that Arizona Republicans are too liberal).  The most noteworthy aspect of his campaign it that he has signs that are so sturdy that if they were any more permanent, they may fall under commercial sign codes, not political sign codes.

- LD18 Senate and House - Registration here says this is a "red" district, but recent results say it is "purple" (see 2012 presidential election results).  Democrats Janie Hydrick (Senate) and Mitzi Epstein (House) have an uphill battle here but a very real chance of taking not just one of the district's three legislative seats here, but *two*.

- LD23 Senate - an "open" seat, but the R candidate here, John Kavanagh, is a sitting legislator looking to move across the quad at the state capitol.  Registration numbers and electoral track record show that this is an overwhelmingly Republican district.  However, Kavanagh may be too extreme for the chamber of commerce types that dominate the Republican electorate in this fairly affluent district and the Democratic candidate, Paula Pennypacker, is a businesswoman and a former Republican who may be more palatable to them.  Not predicting an upset here, but if I was a betting man, this would be one that I would consider making a "long shot" bet on.


The Senate breakdown will be 14 Ds, 16 Rs, with Andy Biggs losing his job as Senate President.

The House breakdown will be 26 Ds, 34 Rs, with someone other than Andy Tobin in the Speaker's chair (that part of the prediction is safe, because Tobin is termed out and not running for reelection to the House).

Best case (IMO): Senate 14-15-1; House 28-32

Worst case (IMO): Senate 12-18; House 23-37

A quick and not particularly comprehensive look at the state's legislative races:

Keys to the information below:

LD(x) = Legislative district
R: = Republican candidate
D: = Democratic candidate
"R +..." or "D + ..." a number indicates the voter registration leader in that district, based on the major parties' relative registration numbers (for example, a voter registration breakdown of 40% party A, 35% Independents, and 25% party B would be shown as "A + 15%"; interestingly, in every district, voters registered as "Other", Arizona's word for Independents, come in as the first or second place group in terms of registration figures)

* = incumbent
** = current legislator who is a candidate for the other chamber

"Summary" meanings:
- over = no major party challenger
- all over but the shouting = overwhelming registration or history advantage
- likely = strong registration or history advantage for the district's majority party.  A minority party pick up here is within the realm of possibility, but highly unlikely
- leans = solid registration or history advantage, but close enough that a couple of mistakes by the majority party candidate(s) and a well-run campaign by the minority party candidate could result in an upset
- Toss up = just that; could go either way.  The coloring (light blue or light red) indicates a possible lean to the race but is not a prediction

Note: the "summary" evaluations are not scientific, and in a few instances, are based as much on "feel" as numbers.  In other words, do your own due diligence when evaluating a specific race.

LD1 R + 29%
Senate: R: Steve Pierce*

D: n/a

summary: over

House: R: Karen Fann*

Noel Campbell

D: Frank Cuccia

summary: all over but the shouting

LD2 D + 16%
Senate: R: Daniel Estrella

D: Andrea Dallessandro*

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: John Ackerley

D: Demion Clinco*

Rosanna Gabaldon*

summary: all over but the shouting

LD3 D + 19%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Olivia Cajero-Bedford*

summary: over

House: R: n/a

D: Sally Gonzales*

Macario Saldate*

summary: over

LD4 D + 15%
Senate: R: Connie Uribe

D: Lynne Pancrazi*

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Richard Hopkins

D: Charlene Fernandez

Lisa Otondo*

summary: all over but the shouting

LD5 R + 19%
Senate: R: Kelli Ward*

D: n/a

summary: over

House: R: Sonny Borrelli*

Regina Cobb

D: Joe Longoria

Beth Weisser

summary: all over but the shouting

LD6 R + 11%
Senate: R: Chester Crandell*

D: n/a

summary: Interesting possibilities here.

House: R: Brenda Barton*

Bob Thorpe*

D: Lanny Morrison

summary: Likely R

LD7 D + 33%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Carlyle Begay*

summary: over

House: R: n/a

D: Jennifer Benally

Albert Hale*

summary: over

LD8 D + 5%
Senate: R: Irene Littleton

D: Barbara McGuire*

summary: Toss up

House: R: Frank Pratt*

TJ Shope*

D: Carmen Casillas

summary: Likely R, but a possible poach for the Ds

LD9 D + 4%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Steve Farley*

summary: over

House: R: Ethan Orr*

D: Victoria Steele*

Randall Friese

summary: Poachable; Orr is an R incumbent running in a D-leaning district

LD10 D + 3%
Senate: R: Mark Morrison

D: David Bradley*

summary: Leans D

House: R: Todd Clodfelter

William Wildish

D: Stephanie Mach*

Bruce Wheeler*

summary: Leans D

LD11 R + 12%
Senate: R: Steve Smith**

D: Jo Holt

summary: Leans R

House: R: Mark Finchem

Vince Leach

D: Holly Lyon

summary: Likely R

LD12 R + 27%
Senate: R: Andy Biggs*

D: Scott Glover

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Eddie Farnsworth*

Warren Petersen*

D: DJ Rothans

summary: all over but the shouting

LD13 R + 17%
Senate: R: Don Shooter*

D: Terri Woodmansee

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Darin Mitchell*

Steve Montenegro*

D: Steve Hansen

summary: all over but the shouting

LD14 R + 12%
Senate: R: Gail Griffin*

D: n/a

summary: over

House: R: David Gowan*

David Stevens*

D: James Burton

summary: all over but the shouting

LD15 R + 21%
Senate: R: Nancy Barto*

D: n/a

summary: over

House: R: Heather Carter*

John Allen*

D: n/a

summary: over

LD16 R + 16%
Senate: R: David Farnsworth*

D: Scott Prior

summary: Likely R.

House: R: Doug Coleman*

Kelly Townsend*

D: Cara Prior

summary: Likely R.

LD17 R + 12%
Senate: R: Steve Yarbrough*

D: Kristie O'Brien

summary: Leans R

House: R: JD Mesnard*

Jeff Weninger

D: Danielle Lee

summary: Likely R.

LD18 R + 8%
Senate: R: Jeff Dial**

D: Janie Hydrick

summary: Leans R, but race to watch

House: R: Jill Norgaard

Bob Robson*

D: Mitzi Epstein

summary: Leans R, but race to watch

LD19 D + 21%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Lupe Contreras

summary: over

House: R: Sophia Johnson

D: Mark Cardenas*

Diego Espinoza

summary: all over but the shouting

LD20 R + 9%
Senate: R: Kimberly Yee*

D: Patty Kennedy

summary: Likely R

House: R: Paul Boyer*

Anthony Kern

D: Amy Schwabenlender

summary: Likely R

LD21 R + 10%
Senate: R: Debbie Lesko**

D: Carolyn Vasko

summary: Likely R

House: R: Rick Gray*

Tony Rivero

D: Esther Lumm

summary: Likely R

LD22 R + 23%
Senate: R: Judy Burges*

D: Arky Muscato

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: David Livingston*

Phil Lovas*

D: Bonnie Boyce-Wilson

Larry Woods

summary: all over but the shouting

LD23 R + 24%
Senate: R: John Kavanagh**

D: Paula Pennypacker

summary: Likely R, but a race to watch

House: R: Michelle Ugenti*

Jay Lawrence

D: n/a

summary: over

LD24 D + 15%
Senate: R: Bill Follette

D: Katie Hobbs*

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Lei Lani Cortez

D: Ken Clark

Lela Alston*

summary: all over but the shouting

LD25 R + 25%
Senate: R: Bob Worsley*

D: Steven Zachary

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Justin Olson*

Rusty Bowers

D: David Butler

Sheila Ogea

summary: all over but the shouting

LD26 D + 6%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Ed Ableser*

summary: Likely D, but the Rs are trying to get cute here.

House: R: James Roy

D: Juan Mendez*

Andrew Sherwood*

summary: all over but the shouting

LD27 D + 32%
Senate: R: n/a

D: Catherine Miranda**

summary: over

House: R: n/a

D: Reginald Bolding

Rebecca Rios

summary: over

LD28 R + 11%
Senate: R: Adam Driggs*

D: Kelli Butler

summary: Likely R

House: R: Kate Brophy McGee*

Shawnna Bolick

D: Eric Meyer*

summary: Leans R, but one to watch – Meyer is multiple term incumbent in an R-leaning district

LD29 D + 18%
Senate: R: Crystal Nuttle

D: Martin Quezada**

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Aaron Borders

D: Cece Velasquez

Richard Andrade

summary: all over but the shouting

LD30 D + 16%
Senate: R: Gary Cox

D: Robert Meza*

summary: all over but the shouting

House: R: Michael Gidwani

John Lyon

D: Jonathan Larkin*

Debbie McCune-Davis*

summary: all over but the shouting

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fun with campaign signs: Spell check edition

It's unusual here in AZ, but on occasion, when a major party candidate runs in a district that favors the other major party, the candidate facing a steep partisan headwind is a Republican.

One of the favorite tactics in such a situation is to minimize their partisan affiliation.

James Roy is the Republican candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD26 (Tempe, west Mesa, Salt River Pima/Maricopa Indian Community).  In terms of voter registration, it's not an overwhelmingly Democratic district; in terms of results it is.

As such, it has become difficult for the Republicans there to recruit candidates.  This year, Mr. Roy is the sole R candidate for two House seats in the district.

I don't know if he a "warm body" candidate or if he deliberately was recruited to "take one for the team" in an almost unwinnable district while learning to run a campaign.

If the second one is the reason behind his candidacy, well, he has a lot to learn.

One basic lesson: read proofs before giving approval to the printer.

"Rebuplican"?  Really?

On the sign, Roy talks about getting "the job done".

The meaning of that phrase is rather vague, but one thing is clear, the "job" doesn't include checking spelling.

On the plus side, at least he spelled "Arizonan" correctly.

Wouldn't want to run for office as an "Arinozan"...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

No matter how the November election turns out, there will be some MAJOR changes in AZ's political landscape...

As a result of Tuesday's primary election, there will be a slew of new faces in many of Arizona's highest profile elected offices.

Statewide offices, where every holder of an office that's in a "line of succession" office (in line for the governor's office) will be new to the office:

Office Current holder Reason for vacancy Contenders (D/R)
Governor Brewer Term limits Duval/Ducey
SOS Bennett Term limits Goddard/Reagan
AG Horne Primary loss Rotellini/Brnovich
Superintendent Huppenthal Primary loss Garcia/Douglas
Treasurer Ducey Running for governor DeWit ®

Also new at the Capitol in January:  The AZ House of Representatives will have a new speaker as the current Speaker of the House, Rep. Andy Tobin, is term-limited and running for Congress (his primary there is still considered too close to call, though he is ahead by 346 votes).


Arizona's CD7, long held by the soon-to-be retired Ed Pastor, will have a new face.  Ruben Gallego emerged from the Democratic primary.  He faces an Independent candidate and a Libertarian in the general election.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors District 5, long held by Mary Rose Wilcox, who resigned to run for CD7, will have a new member - Steve Gallardo, a state senator won the D primary in the race to serve out Wilcox' term on the BOS.  Note: for a low profile (but *very* powerful) board that almost no one pays attention to, the MCBOS has undergone a huge upheaval: Of the five people elected to it in 2008 - Don Stapley, Fulton Brock, Max Wilson, Mary Rose Wilcox, and Andy Kunasek - four are gone.  The reasons are varied, but the bottom line is that all but Kunasek are done.

Tempe's city council has three seats up for election, with two of the incumbents, Robin Arredondo-Savage and Shana Ellis, running to retain their seats.  However, only one of them will return as on Tuesday, newcomers (to the city council, not politics or community activism) Lauren Kuby and David Schapira won seats outright.  Arredondo-Savage and Ellis will face off in November for the third seat.

Mesa, AZ's third-largest city, will have a new mayor as the person who was last elected to the job, Scott Smith, resigned to run for governor.  On Tuesday, John Giles rolled to an easy victory by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.

- And none of this even begins to cover the legislature, where there are new faces every cycle.

Come January, one really will need a scorecard to keep track of the new players...

Monday, August 25, 2014

For at least one race, tomorrow is the equivalent of the general election

I saw this on Jeff DeWit's twitter feed on Saturday and I was going to absolutely *pounce* on this for the unbridled arrogance of a Republican saying that a race is over in the primary.

And then I realized that it may be arrogant...but it is true in his race.

From the candidate listing on the AZSOS' website -

With all due respect to Mr. Davis and his write-in candidacy, this one *is* over after the primary.

None of the three R candidates, DeWit, Hallman, or Pullen seem to be the type to be good, or even potentially good, public servants, so we are left with hoping R primary voters choose the least bad candidate.

Given Arizona's recent history, we know how unlikely that is.

Fun with campaign signs: Recycling edition

...And not the "green" kind of recycling, either...

One of the habits of campaigns is to not throw out *anything* that could be used in a subsequent campaign - office supplies, signs, t-shirts, whatever.

Generally speaking, frugality can be a good thing.  However, it can be taken too far sometimes.

Example - Rep. Jeff Dial (R - LD18):

Looks pretty standard - candidate name and office, and as a bonus, it even has a "Voted for Obamacare" attack sign posted next to it (it's an R primary thing - they hate the president so much that they are campaigning by linking their opponents to Barack Obama in any way that they can; it's fun to see in a two-way race when both sides engage in race-baiting mud-slinging).

It took me a second to realize that there was something "different" about this sign, and another couple of seconds to figure out what it was.

See the bottom, where it says "Republican for State Representative"?

From the AZSOS' candidate listing page -

 In other words, the sign is all about putting his name out there - his name is a huge part of the sign, while the office is in (relatively) tiny print.  People driving by will notice the name, but not the office.

Annoying bloggers with cameras, on the other hand... :)

Another dead giveaway that the sign is from an earlier campaign is the weathering.  The front side (the side facing the street) above isn't too bad; many signs, even new ones, are showing indications of exposure to the elements in AZ).

The back side, however, shows the sign's age very clearly -

Just a guess here, but it seems that Dial stored the signs from his previous campaigns outside...and this one was directly exposed to the weather.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fun with campaign signs: a bit of a mystery edition

At this point in an election cycle, it's not unusual for campaigns to have lost some of their signs. 

Sometimes they lose them to "dirty tricks" by other campaigns; sometimes they lose signs because they were placed on private property and the property owner took them down; sometimes they lose them to random (or not-so-random) passers-by who decide that they don't like a particular candidate or campaign signs in general and take unilateral action to express that dislike.

In the cases of dirty tricks or random passers-by, there is usually evidence left behind in the form of vacant sign posts and damaged signs on the ground.

In the cases of property owners, frequently (but not always) *everything* - signs, posts, etc. - is gone.

Which make what I spotted at the NW corner of McDowell and Hayden all the more curious.

The signs were down, but appeared to be undamaged other than normal wear and tear.

However, the posts that held up the signs were completely *gone* (note the holes in the ground with nothing in them) -

There were a few signs present on the corner -

Not sure if those were repaired/replaced or just weren't touched in the first place.

Normally, when signs go missing for  reasons other than a property owner taking them down, it looks like the NE corner of Granite Reef and McDowell (approximately 1/2 mile east of the signs above) -

I might have chalked this one to the property owner (there's a 7-11 on this corner), but there are other signs on the corner -

The downed signs may have fallen due to deliberate acts, or may have been downed by the weather that the Phoenix area experienced this week.

However, either way, they were still *there*.

If anyone knows, or has a good guess at, what happened with the signs at the beginning of this post (signs OK, sign posts gone), please leave a comment or send me an email at cpmaz@yahoo.com.  I'm genuinely curious...

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 -


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 -


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.


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.


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


WaPo reporter arrested

The hostile occupation of Ferguson

Ferguson police refuse to release name of killer of Michael Brown