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Random Musings



what it sounds like, with a focus on politics, golf, and other stuff.



Updated: 2017-11-07T05:25:35.901-07:00

 



Committees update

2017-03-11T23:10:02.957-07:00

Yes, it's only 2017, but many candidates are already stepping forward for races in 2018.In some cases, it's out of necessity - the races are so involved that an effective campaign needs time to sufficiently get up to speed (i.e. - fundraise).In other cases, it about trying to clear the field (i.e. - minimize viable opposition).In a few cases, it's about getting in some practice early on so that when campaign season gets fully up to speed, they'll be in full throat when they bay at the moon (we *are* talking about AZ, after all :) ).Things will change before the cycle is over.  Some of the current candidates will discontinue their candidacies, and other people will jump in.Also, races for seats in the legislature are still in almost complete flux; those will be covered at a later date.  This post will be all about races for statewide offices and seats in Congress.On to the meat of this post (where a city is included - "Candidate X of city ABC", the city is based on the committee address)...In CD9, seat currently held by Democrat (in name, anyway) Kyrsten Sinema, Irina Baroness von Behr of Tempe has filed for the race for the Republican nomination.  She was last seen running for a seat on the Tempe City Council, where she finished a distant last.Talia Fuentes of Tempe has filed for the race for the Democratic nomination in CD9.  Her filing with the FEC specifically states that she the seat in CD9, but her website only discusses CD5.Dave Giles of Gilbert has filed for another run at the Republican nomination in CD9.Edna San Miguel of Tucson has filed for a run at the R nomination in CD3 (currently held by *D Raul Grijalva).*Edited; a reader at Blog for Arizona spotted an error on my part.  Originally, I stated that the seat was held by Republican Paul Gosar.  I regret the error and thank Mr. Cizek for noticing and bringing it to my attentionBrianna Westbrook of Sun City has filed for a run at the D nomination in CD8 (currently held by R Trent Franks).Noah Dyer of Phoenix has filed IRS paperwork and AZSOS paperwork for a run at the Democratic nomination for governor.Pat Quinn of Tucson has filed IRS paperwork for an independent run for US Senate.Stacie Banks of Phoenix has filed for an independent run for Superintendent of Public Instruction.Tom Forese, currently a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, has filed for a run for the R nomination for State Treasurer.Randy Grivel of Glendale has filed for a run for the R nomination for Arizona Corporation Commission.Katie Hobbs of Phoenix, currently the Democratic leader in the Arizona State Senate (and my representative there) is running for the D nomination for AZ Secretary of State.Kathy Hoffman of Glendale has filed for a run at the D nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction.Tracy Livingston of Peoria, wife of wingnut state legislator David Livingston, has filed for the R nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction.Greg Stanton, currently the mayor of Phoenix, has filed for a run at the D nomination for AZ Secretary of State.  Caveat:  The committee to do that may just be a "placeholder" committee.Stu Starky of Phoenix has filed for a run at the Green Party nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction.Former state senator Kelli Ward is mounting a campaign to oppose Jeff Flake in the R primary for US Senate.Rumors, or at least stuff that has been said but can't yet be confirmed by agency filings:Rumors have current AZ Treasurer Jeff Dewit considering a run against Flake for the R nomination for US Senate.  While he has not officially stated his plans for 2018, he has stated that he will not be running for reelection as state treasurer.  If the US Senate thing doesn't work out, he may part of the Trump administration's bench, getting called in to fill a vacancy when turnover there inevitably occurs.[...]



Fasten Your Seatbelts, The Ride Is About To Get Bumpy - AZ Budget Time Is Nigh

2017-03-06T19:15:29.437-07:00

Traditionally, a session of the Arizona legislature is suppose to be 100 days long.

It's not a requirement, in terms of the law or legislative rules, but it's definitely seen as something to strive for. During most years, the 100th day of a session falls in mid- to late- April.

This year, the 100th day falls on April 18th.

The one specific duty that the lege has is to formulate a budget for the state.

Of course, being the lege, their focus is on doing many things *to* the state before doing anything *for* the state...and they use that budget that is supposed to be for the state as a vehicle for doing things to the state, but I digress...

So naturally, they wait until they are well more than halfway to the hundred day goal before even considering a budget.

From Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic -








Arizona Legislature - The coming week

2017-01-15T12:11:12.690-07:00

They lege has "improved" its website, making it considerably more user-unfriendly.  As such, the format of this post may change over time as I figure out the best way to utilize the new website.Notes: All committees meetings and agendas are subject to change without notice, and frequently do.  If you plan to travel to the Capitol to observe or weigh in on the consideration of a particular measure, check with the lege ahead of time to confirm that the meeting that you are interested in is still on schedule and your item(s) of interest is still on the agenda for that meeting. Meeting rooms designated "HHR" are in the House of Representatives building. Meeting rooms designated "SHR" are in the Senate building. When the phrase "looks harmless" is used, it only means that any harm to AZ that would be wrought by the bills on the agenda isn't apparent to me as of this writing.  However, if you notice any nuggets of ugly that I miss, please leave a comment that makes me and other readers aware of the situation.Most bills are assigned to at least two committees - one standing committee and the chambers' rules committees.  A few are assigned to more than that because they cover areas that fall under the jurisdiction of more than one standing committee.  A select few are assigned to three or more standing committees.  That's the way that a chamber's leadership tells it membership that it doesn't want a particular bill to pass. Because of the MLK holiday, many of the committees that meet on Mondays will not meet this week or will meet on days other than Monday.   House side -Appropriations - Tuesday, 9 a.m., HHR1.  House Appropriations and Senate Appropriation will be holding a joint meeting to receive the governor's 2017 budget proposal.-Appropriations Subcommittee on Education - Wednesday, 9 a.m., HHR4.  Budget presentations from Community Colleges, the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind, and the State Board of Education -Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare - Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR5.  Budget presentations from JLBC, AZ Secretary of State, AZ Treasurer, and the state Exposition and State Fair Board.-Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources - Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR5.  Budget presentions from JLBC, AZ Attorney General, Criminal Justice Commission, and Department of Juvenile Corrections.Commerce - Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR1.  Two bills: HB2039, relating to apartment finders fees and tenants,   and HB2067, exempting assistants from real estate (and similar) licensing requirements.  Looks harmless.Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources - Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR3.  Some bills from Rusty Bowers:  HB2093, that looks "sneaky bad", HB2095, compelling the granting of perpetual rights-of-way across public lands to private property, and HB2131, relating to emissions standards.  I don't really understand the impact of it, but since it is from Bowers, I assume it is bad.Federalism, Property Rights and Public Policy - Tuesday, 2 p.m., HHR4.  A couple of "tin foil hat" bills - HB2097, relating to the legislature overriding any federal executive order, regulation, etc. that it considers to be "commandeering"; HCR2006, a call for an Article V convention that would change the US Constitution in a myriad of ways, all being conservative "cause celebres" (legislative election of US Senators, voter ID laws, term limits for members of Congress and members of the Supreme Court, etc.).Government - Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR1.  I don't understand all of the bills, but one to watch: HB2026, an "omnibus" bill of changes proposed by the Arizona Secretary of State,  Traditionally, omnibus bills are supposed to contained only "non-controversial" changes, but these can be havens for mischief when not carefully examined.Health - Thursday, 9 a.m., HHR4.  Looks harmless so far. Judiciary and Public Safety - Wednesday, 2 p.m., HHR4. On the agenda: HB202[...]



2017 AZ Lege: Heads up - the train's a comin'

2017-01-08T12:27:10.384-07:00

This post is an information post with almost no "commentary" (but me being who I am, there may be one or two instances of wiseass-ery :) ).Scheduled start: January 9, 2017 (tomorrow, as I write this)  Approximate end: Third full week of April ("approximate" because while the 100th day of the session will fall during that week, and 100 days is the unofficial target for the length of a legislative session, 100 days is *not* a requirement).Leadership:House -RsSpeaker - JD Mesnard.  Previously: David Gowan (ran for Congress, lost in primary)Majority Leader - John Allen.  Previously: Steve Montenegro (elected to state senate)Majority Whip - Kelly Townsend.  Previously: David Livingston (reelected to the state house, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)DsMinority Leader - Rebecca Rios.  Previously: Eric Meyer (ran for state senate, lost a close race)Assistant Minority Leader - Randy Friese.  Previously: Bruce Wheeler (did not run for reelection)Minority Whip - Charlene Fernandez.  Previously: Rebecca Rios (now minority leader)Senate -RsPresident - Steve Yarbrough.  Previously: Andy Biggs (elected to Congress)Majority Leader - Kimberly Yee.  Previously: Steve Yarbrough (now senate president)Majority Whip - Gail Griffin. Previously: GriffinPresident Pro Tempore - Debbie Lesko.  Previously: Sylvia Allen (reelected to the state senate, but no longer part of leadership; not sure why)DsMinority Leader: Katie Hobbs.  Previously: HobbsAssistant Minority Leader: Steve Farley.  Previously: FarleyMinority Whip: Martin Quezada,  Previously: QuezadaMinority Whip: Lupe Contreras.  Previously: ContrerasFirst bill: SB1001, from State Senator John Kavanagh.  In a rare (rare for Arizona legislative Republicans, anyway) "good government" proposal.  If enacted, it would protect from civil liability a person who breaks into an unattended vehicle in order to rescue a minor or a domestic animal.However, Kavanagh has already offset the potential good of that bill with his proposed SB1009, making the theft of an American flag a felony (current law is that theft of property valued at less than $1000 is a misdemeanor under most circumstances)SB1001 may be the only "good government bill proposed by Kavanagh (or any other Republican) during the 2017 session, though they might try to get sneaky about some of the bad government bills -Kavanagh himself has already proposed SB1022, adding to the criteria of the types of hate crimes that police gather data on.  The criteria he wants to add?"[P]olitical affiliation, beliefs or opinions".Look for his proposal to criminalize dissent during next year's legislative session, or even as a striker later this session.Another example is from Kavanagh's seatmate, Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita.She has proposed HCR2002, which only seeks to repeal the provisions in the AZ Constitution that essentially bar the state legislature from tinkering with or overturning laws approved by the voters (aka - Prop 105)Another "sneaky bad" one to watch: HB2043, from Rep. Heather Carter.This one would both facilitate the privatization/profitization of the state's mental health system (by allowing the director to lease property held by the system to private parties) while exempting those leases from requirements that the prices be fair, be in the public's best interest, and be public information.Predictions::The lege will pass pro-gun legislation this year.The lege will pass anti-LGBTQ legislation this year.The lege will pass anti-women legislation this year.The lege will pass anti-poor/working poor/middle class legislation this year.The lege will pass anti-POC legislation this year. Doug Ducey will sign most of those measures.Having said that, most of the neo-secessionist/dog-whistle proposals that we've seen is recent years won't be found in this year's lege - most of them were motivated by their hatred of the black guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, not an animus towar[...]



Trump analogy time: Less "Hitler" and more "pre-Hitler"

2016-11-19T22:16:47.265-07:00

Godwin's Law, courtesy UrbanDictionary.com: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 forfeited the argument.For the purposes to discussing the president-elect, Donald Trump, and/or his administration and advisors, I'm going to have to violate Godwin's Law, or simply consider it suspended for the duration.The comparisons are too obvious to ignore.The comparisons of Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler seem to me to be both a case of overreach and being premature.  He hasn't even taken office yet.Nope.  While it's not a perfect analogy (any analogy is an imperfect comparison between two entities), right now he looks to most closely resemble Paul von Hindenburg.Paul von Hindenburg, courtesy EncyclopediaBrittanica.comVon Hindenburg was the second president of Germany (after WWI).He wasn't Hitler (in fact, he died in 1934, years before the Nazis' greatest evils were fully realized).However, he was the one who welcomed Hitler into the mainstream of German politics by making him Chancellor of Germany in 1933.Unlike Trump (who was basically a draft dodger), von Hindenburg was a former field marshal in the German army in WWI.Like Trump, he was reluctant to accept the responsibilities of his office.Unlike Trump, he apparently cared about the country he was charged with leading.Like Trump (who will be 70 on Inauguration Day in January), he wasn't exactly a young man when he first took office (76 years old).No where did I find evidence of von Hindenburg being held responsible for the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis; what he did was give them access to the levers of power in the early and middle 1930s. Fast forward to 2016:Trump is bringing in some utterly vile people around him, people like Mike Pence, Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, and others, all people who shouldn't be allowed near a position of public responsibility much less one of public trust.Right now, none of them appear to be Hitler-like (though at least a couple of them look like wannabes), but when Trump leaves office over his ethical issues (of course, given his age, the term "medical issues" may serve as the preferred euphemism) look for one of them to at least try to assume dictatorial powers.To critics:Yes, I know this was (and is) a quick, almost superficial, look at one, very specific, part of the entire ugly situation.Which is all that it is intended to be; in 50 years or so, historians will produce some very erudite and intellectual treatises that will use many more words to say the same thing.[...]



Election Night 2016

2016-11-08T21:50:19.950-07:00

9:50 -

There were 19 school district-related ballot questions in Maricopa County.

Right now, it looks like 15 will pass, 3 will go down, and 1 is still to close to call.

This is actually much better than average here.



9:30 -

In Scottsdale, all incumbents are on their way to reelection.

9:21 -

It looks like the AZ lege will tighten.  My read on races right now:

AZSenate - 14 R, 13 D, 3 too close to call.  If all three races in the "too close to call" category go D, then control flips.  16 - 14 R seems more likely, but this is far from over.

AZHouse - 33 R, 26 D, 1 too close to call.  The Rs retain control.

9:20 -

The Maricopa County Sheriff's race has been called for Paul Penzone!

8:06 - early votes only:

Maricopa County Sheriff: Penzone up over Arpaio big
Maricopa County Recorder: Fontes up over Purcell
CAWCD - Arboleda, Graff, and Holway all in the top 5
LD18 legislature - Bowie (senate) and Epstein (house) ahead
LD28 Senate - Meyer slightly ahead of Brophy-McGee
US Sen - McCain thumping Kirkpatrick
CorpComm - Not looking good for Mundell or Chabin
LD6 - Bagley (D) and Allen (tin foil) - too close to call
Ballot measures -
     Prop 205 (legalizing recreation marijuana) - losing
     Prop 206 (raising minimum wage) - winning


...is shaping up to be a lot like election night 2000.  Florida will be keeping us holding our collective breath...

Once AZ results start coming in, this post will be updated, with an focus on statewide, legislative, Maricopa County, and Scottsdale races.




Election 2016: It's almost over

2016-11-05T14:00:59.257-07:00

In case you haven't noticed the wall-to-wall (but oh-so selective) media coverage, the incessant TV and radio ads (and spots on other media), the late night comedy, the hate-filled shouting, or have simply avoided even opening your mailbox for the last month or so,

There's an election coming up on Tuesday.  

:)

While millions of Americans have already voted (full disclosure time: I am one of those millions), millions more will be voting Tuesday.

If you haven't already done so, please make sure you vote on Tuesday.

In addition to a race for president that features two main candidates who present the starkest difference between two candidates for that office in US history, there are scores, in fact, hundreds, of down ballot races that have even more effect on our daily lives that are also up for election.

If you don't know where your polling place is (AZ only) -

Arizona SOS' polling place locator is here (This one should include all polling places in all counties, so if your county isn't listed below, use this one. It works for me here in Maricopa County)

Maricopa County's polling place locator is here

Pima County's polling place locator is here

Coconino County Elections page, including a list of polling places, is here

Apache County Elections page, including a list of polling places, is here

Santa Cruz County polling places are listed here


Other things to keep in mind in Arizona:

If you have an early ballot, it can be dropped off at any polling place in your county on Tuesday, and it will be counted.

If you vote in a precinct other than your own, you will have to cast a provisional ballot and IT WON'T BE COUNTED.

If there is a long line at your polling place, report it to your county party, and if you want your vote to be counted, STAY IN LINE.  If an elections official encourages/suggests that you leave and come back later, this is an attempt at voter suppression.

Period.



2016 may not be over quite yet, but positioning for 2018 has already started...

2016-11-01T20:12:10.943-07:00

From the Arizona Republic, written by Laurie Roberts - 
What is it with these politicians and their ambitions?

Last week, it was Kelli Ward announcing that she’s running once again for the U.S. Senate in 2018 – this time trying to knock off Sen. Jeff Flake.

Now comes Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, filing campaign papers to challenge Secretary of State Michele Reagan in 2018.

Stanton’s decision makes sense – even though it would be nice to get through 2016 before the angling begins for 2018.

Stanton, in a press release, says he's not really running for secretary of state. He just needed to create a state campaign committee in order to transfer remaining funds from his city campaign committee before Nov. 4, when a new state law will bar him from doing so.

As mentioned in the article, Stanton may not run for secretary of state - the governor's spot is also up for election in 2018.

Right now, Doug Ducey, the incumbent governor looks likely to run for and win reelection.  However, a lot can happen between now and the beginning of 2018.

(image)
Stanton (pic courtesy Phoenix.gov)

Not least of which is the election next week, which will impact who seeks what office in 2018.





Win or lose the election, Trump has already become the nation's "enabler in chief"

2016-10-29T19:55:17.823-07:00

I am not saying that Trump did any of this, or even directed one (or more) of his followers to do these things.  I don't have evidence to that effect.

But while I don't believe in accusing someone, even someone like Trump, of doing something reprehensible without some actual evidence (guess that means that I'll never be director of the FBI), neither do I believe coincidence.

From the Twitter feed of Ashley Killough, a producer/reporter for CNN -
Screenshot of the Tweet:


From pics taken by Elizabeth Rogers, a friend, and friend of the blog, near 32nd Street and McDowell in Phoenix.  The graffiti is new, going up in the last couple of days or so -





Arizona: It's a dry hate.





Ballot time in Arizona

2016-10-17T06:44:15.257-07:00

...and elsewhere, as well, but since I live in AZ and my ballot covers AZ, that means this post will focus on AZ (or at least my little part of it).There are races here in Maricopa County and elsewhere in the state that are important and interesting, but this post only covers those that are on my ballot.President - This one is easy -Hillary Clinton is easily one of the two or three most qualified people to ever run for president.Donald Trump is a buffoon (which is a word I use to describe someone when I don't want to use the more colorful part of my vocabulary).And I thought this even before Trump's recently unearthed admission of a seduction technique that can best be described as "rape".US Senate seat representing AZ -Ann Kirkpatrick is nowhere near liberal enough to suit me, but she genuinely works to represent her constituents.In addition to supporting Donald Trump until it was no longer "cool" to do so, John McCain has never met a war he didn't monger.Another easy choice.US Congressional seat, representing CD9 -Skipping this race.There are two Republicans in this race.  Be it in this race or ones where an R is running and is uncontested, I will be skipping the race.  Even in Arizona there are Republicans who are decent human beings and are (or were) honorable public servants.They can no longer get through primaries here.LD24 seats in the Arizona Legislature -They face no challengers, but Sen. Katie Hobbs, Rep. Lela Alston, and Rep. Ken Clark do a great job representing the people of LD24 and merit an expression of our support and thanks.Arizona Corporation Commission -This is Arizona's utility regulator, and when the CEO of the largest regulated utility endorses three of the candidates, vote for the other two, and only the other two.Those are Bill Mundell and Tom Chabin.Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 1 -Skipping this race.Maricopa County Assessor -Skipping this race.Maricopa County Attorney -Diego Rodriguez.County Attorney isn't just a "staff" job, where the person holding the position must have a particular skill set (the lawyer stuff), but must have integrity,Bill Montgomery is the incumbent.  Ask him on which side of the bars we can find Sean Pearce.Maricopa County Recorder -Adrian Fontes.A county recorder doesn't do much that directly impacts voters, except for RUN ELECTIONS.The current recorder, Helen Purcell, has held the post for decades (literally!).It has been decades since an election here went of without a hitch.It seems that in every cycle, something new goes wrong, but there is one constant - she always blames someone else for the problems.The height of her chutzpah in this regard may have been when she blamed incredibly long voting lines during the presidential primary on voters actually, you know, "voting".Maricopa County School Superintendent -Michelle Robertson.There are two candidates on the ballot.Both are teachers.One hates public education and Common Core (in short, he's Diane Douglas with a Y chromosome...and she is unfit to be state superintendent of public instruction).The other one is Michelle Robertson.She's highly intelligent, highly educated, and student-focused, and will make a great leader and advocate for Maricopa County schools.Maricopa County Sheriff -Paul Penzone, in another easy choice.The incumbent, Joe Arpaio, a nationally-renowned nativist and publicity junkie, is facing criminal charges over the way he operates the agency.Penzone is a decorated career public servant.  Arpaio has been reduced to bald-faced lies.It should be a walkover for Penzone, but it won't be - too many of Arpaio's supporters know he is a hater, but he hates the same way that they do.Maricopa County Treasurer -Joe Downs.Like Robertson above, he's smart and knows his stuff.Unlike his opponent, he doesn't believe in using public reso[...]



Some primary surprises (and some "not surprises") on Tuesday...

2016-09-03T20:36:48.496-07:00

Note: All results are tentative and subject to change as late-arriving mail in ballots and provisional ballots are counted.  Most races seem settled, though there are a few that may flip.  And at least a couple seem headed for recounts...Note2: Results from Maricopa County-specific races are from the website of the Maricopa County Recorder; results from races that cover other counties or the entire state are from the website of the Arizona Secretary of State.Note3: The geographic descriptions used are for reference only, to give a general idea of where a district is located.  They are not, nor are they meant to be, definitive descriptions of the geographic area covered by a particular district.I actually think that the a few of the primary results will serve to help Democrats make some gains, but this is turning out to be a weird electoral cycle.In other words, no predictions. On the Democratic side......In CD2 (Tucson and Southern AZ), former legislator Matt Heinz defeated former legislator Victoria Steele....In LD7 (Northern AZ including the Navajo nation), current state legislator Jamescita Peshlakai defeated Steven Begay for the nomination for state senate....In LD26 (Tempe and West Mesa), a contentious primary resulted in Juan Mendez (Senate), Athena Salman and Isela Blanc (House) defeating David Lucier (Senate), Celeste Plumlee (incumbent), and Michael Martinez (House).  While the Democratic nominees are likely to win in November, it remains to be seen if some feathers (on both sides) are permanently ruffled....In LD27 (South Phoenix and SW Maricopa County), incumbent state senator Catherine Miranda defeated her stepdaughter Maritza Miranda Saenz for the Democratic nomination for state senate.  Catherine Miranda is so well-respected and personally popular that people are already lining up to take her on in 2018....In LD29 (West Phoenix), State Rep. Martin Quezada defeated incumbent State Sen. Lydia Hernandez, who is known as a Republican in everything but name....In LD30 (West Central Phoenix and Glendale), the three way race for two nominations for the House is still too close to call, with newcomer Ray Martinez in second place, 144 votes ahead of incumbent Jonathan Larkin....In LD9 (North and NW Tucson) friend and fellow blogger Pamela Powers Hannley won the second Democratic nomination for a House seat.Congrats Pam! On the Republican side......In the primary race for Maricopa County Recorder,  beleaguered incumbent Helen Purcell is ahead of apparent 9/11 Truther (based on some of his tweets) Aaron Flannery by 185 votes.  This one is close enough that a recount may be needed here, which would involve another beleaguered incumbent, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan....In the primary race for the Republican nomination in CD5, state legislator (and renowned would-be tinhorn dictator) Andy Biggs is leading perennial candidate Christine Jones by 9 votes.  Regardless of how this one turns out, expect a recount here.  No matter how enthusiastically Biggs declares victory....In a bit of a surprise to many observers, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu won the Republican nomination in CD1.  He's a "colorful" character, so much so that the DCCC is already running TV spots in the race....In the primary race for Maricopa County School Superintendent, incumbent Don Covey came in a surprising third in a three way race.  And it wasn't even a close third...Democrat Michelle Robertson awaits in November....In the primary race for the nomination for Desert Ridge Justice of the Peace (far northern Phoenix), incumbent Clancy Jayne came in third in the three way race.  He's not a liberal or even a moderate by any definition, but even Republicans consider him to be an "unpleasant person"....In the prima[...]



Early voting has started in Arizona...

2016-08-09T20:47:22.775-07:00

...and while it is a primary election, all voters, even unaffiliated ones, can, and *should* participate... From an email from the City of Mesa -Early voting for the Aug. 30 Arizona Primary Election began on Aug. 3 and ends on Aug. 26. Voters on the Permanent Early Voting List and voters wishing to receive an early ballot who are not registered with a declared political party must contact Maricopa County Elections at (602) 506-1511 to request which ballot they want to receive (Republican, Democrat, Green or non-partisan if it is a ballot for [non-partisan] candidates only). Voters, not registered with a party, who plan on going to the polls to vote can request the ballot they want upon arrival at the polling site.While this email focused only on Maricopa County (home county of Mesa), the procedure is the same in other counties, except election questions should be directed to the relevant county's elections department. Maricopa County's list of early voting sites is here.Pima County's list of early voting sites is here.Pinal County's early voting sites are the offices of the Pinal County Recorder; the list of those offices is here.Yavapai County's early voting sites are the offices of the Pinal County Recorder; the list of those offices is here.Yuma County - early ballots can be dropped off at the county recorder's office here.Santa Cruz County - contact the Elections Department at 520-375-7808 for early voting information.  The full list of voting centers for the election is here.  Note: Santa Cruz County's website is vague, but I do *not* believe these are also early voting locations.Coconino County's list of early voting sites can be downloaded here.For the other counties, please contact their elections departments for the relevant early voting information.[...]



"Dark money" doesn't always mean bribing elected officials; sometimes it means buying them while they are still only candidates

2016-08-06T13:08:36.607-07:00

Normally, I am loath to comment on any primary race, even a Republican primary race - the "lesser of two evils" is usually still pretty evil.However, I will make an exception when the observation that I make is about the conduct of the candidate, and not the content of his/her positions on the issues*.* - An exception to that exception: When a candidate self-identifies as a Democrat but holds positions or exhibits an attitude toward the public that says "Republican".Then, they're fair game...The race that is the subject of this post is actually a three-way race for two seats (AZ House of Representatives), but the principle is still applicable.In Legislative District 1, centered around Prescott, there are three candidates running for the two Republican nominations to the House -Noel Campbell, an incumbent (the other House incumbent there, Republican Karen Fann, is running for the AZ Senate seat there; she's unopposed in both the primary and the general)Chip Davis, a long-time Yavapai County supervisorDavid Stringer, a businessmanThis isn't about any of the positions on issues (suffice it to say, I wouldn't vote for any of them).Nope, it's about one of them.Campbell, the incumbent, is running as a "Clean" candidate.  In the two campaign finance reports that he has filed this year, he reports raising $2070 from individual contributors, and making $0 in loans to his campaign. (Note: to run as a Clean Elections candidate for a seat in the legislature one has to obtain $5 contributions from at least 250 voters in the district)Davis reports raising almost $43K from individual contributors and $10K in a loan to his own campaign.Stringer reports raising $0 from individual contributors and loaning his own campaign more than $89K. (Relax - he's got the money to afford this; his financial disclosure statement indicates that he has more than $1 million in cash and assets available)Stringer *has* accepted at least one outside contribution for his campaign -Thanks to the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting for shining a light on this"American Federation for Children" sounds good in an "Awww shucks, they're for kids" sort of way.However, a little research turns up the fact that AFC is an "astroturf" (fake grassroots) group that exists to push for the privatization (and profitization) of education in the U.S.From SourceWatch -The American Federation for Children (AFC) is a conservative 501(c)(4) advocacy group that promotes the school privatization agenda via the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other avenues. It is the 501(c)(4) arm of the 501(c)(3) non-profit group the Alliance for School Choice.  Former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was charged with multiple crimes stemming from abuse of his office, is on staff at ASC as Senior Advisor to its Government Affairs Team.In the organization's own words, ASC is "a leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs."The anti-public education bent isn't something that's new to Stringer.From his own campaign website -Stringer became especially active when he helped spearhead the campaign that lead to the defeat of the 2013 PUSD school bond and budget override. [...]



Bernie and Hillary: A few thoughts

2016-07-26T19:49:59.186-07:00

Hi everybody!  It's been a while since I posted (work getting in the way) and an even longer while since I posted something that was pure commentary.With the start of Democratic National Convention however, it's time for some commentary.To supporters of Bernie Sanders:Don't be asses.Hillary Clinton won the primary.Throwing a temper tantrum now, booing Hillary Clinton, booing Bernie Sanders himself after he pleaded with his supporters to support Clinton, isn't going to change the results of the primary.Look, we can support Clinton, or not, as our individual consciences dictate.But, whatever we each decide for ourselves, it doesn't help anyone to be asses about it.To supporters of Hillary Clinton:Let me be up front about it -I am not Hillary Clinton's biggest fan.When I cast my vote for Sanders in the primary, I voted for the person I thought would do the best job of working for the people, *all* of the people of America.I haven't heard or seen any evidence that shows that criteria to be an incorrect one, or that my evaluation using that criteria was incorrect.In short, I'm still a Bernie fan.With that caveat/disclaimer out of the way, on to the "commentary" portion of the program.As with the message for Sanders' supporters, the message can be summarized thusly -Don't be asses.Longer version:Candidate Clinton's biggest weakness is not her.It's not even her husband (he's still great on the stump, though sometimes, his leash should be shorter).It's you.There's a certain arrogance in her camp.  A rather off-putting arrogance.A big part of that arrogance is manifested in a "How DARE you?!?" attitude toward anyone who isn't wholly and unthinkingly in the Clinton camp.I've heard this from people, Hillary supporters, who I've known, liked, and respected for years. Speaking personally, I do NOT respond well to "How DARE you?!?".Not even people that I have heretofore liked and respected. In this, I don't claim to speak for anyone else, but something tells me that I am not alone in this feeling.Oh, and another thing that I don't respond well to: "By not voting for Clinton, you're voting for Trump".That's just a modern version of "if you aren't with us, you're against us".Which was complete crap when George W. Bush said it.It's still complete crap. Among Sanders' supporters, there are people who will never vote for Clinton, no matter what.Among Sanders' supporters, there are people who will look at Trump and then cast their vote for the Democratic nominee, no matter what.Among Sanders' supporters, there are people (like me) who want to vote for Clinton, but can be pushed away.While I will never vote for Trump (he's evil) or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson (they're ideologues who fail the "will work for the people of America" test), I *can* skip the race completely (I've already decided to skip the CD9 race in November).And while one person not voting in the race won't make a big difference in the race, thousands or hundreds of thousands skipping the race could definitely impact the race.My recommendations: Don't gloat, don't belittle Sanders supporters, don't denigrate people whose opinions are different than yours.Leave that to Republicans and other Trump supporters.To the Clinton campaign (and her supporters):Don't *demand* the votes of Sanders' supporters; *earn* them.  Failing that, at least ask for them (without the guilt trip stuff added in).Give people a reason to vote *for* Hillary Clinton, not just reasons to vote *against* Donald Trump.Surrogates like Elizabeth Warren (and wiseasses everywhere) can handle that chore (let's face it, Trump's main contribution to pop culture is a steady stream of punchline material.)Caveat: Trump will, a couple of times, offer up somet[...]



Michelle Reagan, Arizona Secretary of State or 21st Century "Not Ready For Prime Time Player"?

2016-06-08T21:49:54.993-07:00

...Of course, unlike the real Not Ready For Prime Time Players, people are laughing at, not *with* her...Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, the state's chief elections officer, has had a tough few months.First up: there were some massively long lines during Arizona's presidential primary in March.  Those lines were in Maricopa County, so the elections officer there (County Recorder Helen Purcell) took much of the heat for that, but some, inevitably, ended up on Reagan.Then in May, in the weeks leading up to an incredibly close special election, her office failed to follow state law and send voter information pamphlets to hundreds of thousands of voters.Now, this week, she is refusing to follow state law requiring her to issue updated manuals for election workers.Now, I'm not going to pile on Secretary Reagan (well, not too much), but part of her job is to help people become voters.She seems to be failing in that regard (as well as in the above areas) -Phoenix ComicCon 2016, Friday night.  Pic courtesy Rebecca WiningerAnd it isn't like she just plumb forgot about Phoenix ComicCon.  From Twitter -That's not the only part of her job she's failing at (though elections are a *big* part of that job).From the AZSOS' "Media Center" page -Note the "@REALAZsos" Twitter handle; it doesn't match the "@SecretaryReagan" handle for the tweet above.So I checked out the one linked on Reagan's official website.Does anyone read Russian (at least, I think it's Russian)?[...]



Arizona dodges the "late night monologue punchline" bullet for once*

2016-05-12T21:12:46.528-07:00

* - Well, maybe; the people behind the state's latest embarrassment don't seem like that they have gotten the "Wait, people have heard about this.  Never mind" message.From the Arizona Capitol Times, written by Hank Stephenson -America’s civil rights legacy has been “hijacked” by blacks, and revisionist history unfairly denigrates “English-speaking white citizens” even though they freed the slaves and ended segregation, according to a group planning a “civil rights conference” on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives later this month.The American Unification Movement is an anti-immigration group headed up by Los Angeles-based activist Ted Hayes, who has teamed up with local conservative activist Ron Ludders to host the all-day event at the statehouse on May 21.Shortly after the original story was published, this update was appended to the story -UPDATE: About a half-hour after the story below was published, the Arizona House of Representatives said that the American Unification Movement event had been canceled.Sounds good...but the American Unification Movement doesn't seem to have gotten the message.Their latest post on their Facebook page -From the front page of their website -Hmmm...yes, it's possible that the webmaster/communications folks at AUM are a little slow (and to be fair, this whole thing exploded in the face of David Gowan, the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and the person who approved this wasteful use of public resources, just this afternoon) but it is also (very) possible that the Speaker's office said whatever they thought would make the controversy go away.In other words, keep an eye on the Capitol on May 21.[...]



The sine die watch is on at the legislature

2016-04-25T20:00:59.491-07:00

Guess what time of the year it is?Hint:Multiple sources, meaning mostly lobbyists and members of the media (because my "insider" sources are Democrats, who are told less than the media), are reporting that the state's budget will be done this week, and with it, the 2016 session of the Arizona legislature.Sounds simple, but the ride is going to be at once rough and stultifyingly boring.There is going to be a lot of "hurry up and wait" this week at the Capitol.  The budget negotiations take place between the governor's office and the "leadership" of the legislature.Democrats and rank-and-file Republicans aren't welcomed to the table.  However, things could still go sideways at the lege.If that happens (which seems unlikely at this point), don't be surprised if they finish up work on regular bills this week, adjourn sine die (sending everyone home), and bring back the lege in a short special session to pass a budget.The pressure to adjourn is partially brought on by a legislative deadline, requiring the lege to adjourn sine die by April 30 (Saturday).However, that deadline can be extended by a simple majority vote, which is something that the Republican majority can usually achieve, easily.The more practical deadline is related to fund-raising - members of the lege aren't supposed to accept contributions from lobbyists during the legislative session, this *is* an election year after all.In other words, they all want to get the hell out of Dodge (Phoenix) and get on with the real reason that they are involved in politics - $$$. Anyway, as of this writing, no budget-related bill have been posted on the lege's website.Some of the tweets from the day, some from when the Tweeters thought the budget might come down today, and some after their hopes were dashed -[...]



The Maricopa County Recorder's Office isn't telling the truth to Spanish-speaking voters? It must be a day ending in "y",,,

2016-04-24T12:36:36.077-07:00

Arizona has a "special" election coming up for the voters to consider two ballot propositions placed before them by the legislature (which, for most observers, should be definitive evidence that both are bad for Arizonans - this *is* the Arizona legislature that we are talking about here).Proposition 123 would allow the legislature to continue to shirk its duty to properly fund education in Arizona by letting it tap into the state's land trust at a faster pace than is currently allowed.Proposition 124 would reward the legislature for it habitual underfunding of the pension system for public safety employees by placing more of the financial burden of the system on those public employees.Early ballots have started reaching mail boxes this week, and there are already problems.And to the surprise of almost no one, the problems are in Maricopa County.Of course.From KNXV-TV, written by Melissa Blasius -ABC15 has learned thousands of early ballots mailed in Maricopa County this week have a major mistake in the Spanish translation of Proposition 124.Proposition 124 is a proposal to make changes to police and firefighter pensions.  However, the boldface short title of the proposition in Spanish indicates it’s about education funding.  The wording in the title for Proposition 124 appears identical to Proposition 123, which is also on the ballot.Beneath the incorrect title for Proposition 124, there is a more lengthy explanation that appears to appropriately describe the pension reform ballot measure.Spokespeople for both the Arizona Secretary of State and the Maricopa County Recorder say they were unaware of the problem until ABC15 brought it to their attention Friday morning.They, meaning Michelle Reagan (Arizona Secretary of State) and Helen Purcell (Maricopa County Recorder), respectively, the overseer of elections in the entire state and the overseer of elections in the state's most populous county, want people to believe that this is a minor mistake that can be corrected by reprinting the ballots to be used for in-person voting and sending post cards to the recipients of early ballots.Which might be an adequate response...if there weren't problems with all elections in Maricopa County.Most of the time, Purcell, Reagan, et al. place the blame for problems with elections square on the shoulders of the people they seem to despise most - the voters.Apparently, certain elected officials are surprised when voters actually vote in elections that don't have those specific elected officials on the ballot.Of course, there are a few examples of official malfeasance/sustained incompetence that even they can't blame on the voters; when caught, they just "pooh-pooh" (minimize) the impact of their bad acts on the voters.Like they have in this situation.Full disclosure time: I have already voted "No" on both propositions and returned my ballot.  My reasons for voting against Prop 123 have been stated before this.  As for Prop 124, while a number of people that I wholeheartedly respect actually support the measure, I cannot bring myself to support of anything that the legislature puts on a ballot.Somewhere...someday...the modern Arizona legislature may spawn an idea that actually benefits all Arizonans, and not just their deep-pocketed masters.When (if!) that comes to pass, the related post will have a title that starts with "Well, there's a first time for everything".Anyway, a few pictures of my ballot, to illustrate the problem -Prop 123; please note the Spanish language short title.Prop 124; please note the Spanish language short title.Prop 124's Span[...]



Proposition 123: Read the fine print, folks

2016-04-16T23:13:13.092-07:00

In a few days, early voting will start for May's special election when the voters will consider Proposition 123, a plan approved by the legislature to get the voters to get the lege out from under a court order to properly fund public education.Since I may be the only observer in the state to not weigh in on the measure, it's time for me to do so.For readers with short attention spans:It's more than a bad idea; it's a scam.  I am voting against it and recommend that you also vote against it. For readers with longer attention spans:When Arizona became a state, millions of acres of land were set aside in a trust administered by the state.  It was allowed to sell off a portion of those lands every year with the revenue being earmarked to help support a number of beneficiaries, primarily public education in Arizona.If approved, the measure would allow the governor and the legislature to sell off state trust lands at a faster pace, bringing down the overall value of the trust, ostensibly using the increase in short term revenue to bolster public education funding here in Arizona.The measure is something that is actually *bad* for Arizona public education, and even worse, it doesn't look like that the authors of the measure ever intended help public education.People as ideologically diverse as five current and former Arizona state treasurers and former congressman Ron Barber think this is a bad idea.These aren't people with whom I am often in agreement (including Barber, they are, one and all, far too conservative), but they are right on this.Their evaluations of Prop 123 are far more eloquent than anything I can come up...but that won't stop me from chiming in with a few points. :)Firstly, it's a scheme to sacrifice the future to pay for the present.There are fables/aphorisms/fairy tales/whatevers to that fit here -For people who are weary of the constant battle to support education in Arizona, or have just become so desperate to temporarily stave off further damage to the state's education system, there's the one pointing out the lack of wisdom in "eating your seed corn".From TheFreeDictionary.com (linked above) -To eat the corn which should be saved for seed, so as to forestall starvation; - a desperate measure, since it only postpones disaster.any desperate action which creates a disastrous situation in the long-term, done in order to provide temporary relief.For the people who look upon the state's trust lands with covetous eyes, there's the one about a goose and some golden eggs.From UMass.edu -One day a countryman going to the nest of his goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played on him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found that it was an egg of pure gold.Every morning the same thing occured, and he grew rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing. Greed often overreaches itself.Secondly, there's the people who are supporting the measure oh-so enthusiastically, almost piously.Sharon Harper, the chairman of the political committee formed to spend money, is the CEO of Plaza Companies, a large real estate firm/speculator, and W.J. "Jim" Lane is the mayor of Scottsdale.  A place where the most appropriate Christmas gift for the majority on the city council (of which he is the undisputed leader, both legally and practically) would be lip splints.N[...]



Maricopa County Election Fiasco: Was it an exercise in "Two Birds, One Stone" or was it an exercise in "All Politics Is Local"?

2016-04-01T19:39:53.235-07:00

...Or maybe it was an exercise in "it's not what you know, it's *who* you know"... Ya know, maybe Maricopa County Elections, in the persons of Helen Purcell (County Recorder) and Karen Osborne (Purcell's Director of Elections) didn't deliberately set out to disenfranchise minority and lower-income voters last week (something that they are still claiming they didn't do).They have claimed that they determined the geographic distribution of the county's 60 polling places based on cost.However, looking at some other data suggests that at least one factor, aside from cost, may have been part of the considerations involved.This analysis from Phoenix' channel 5 points out the one that most people have already noted - the areas with the most polling sites tended to be whiter and more affluent than those areas with a dearth of polling sites.Having said that, I'm not going to go there.Well, not *too* much :)Turns out that in addition to having the money to buy bigger houses and whiter neighbors, the residents of the areas looked upon with favor by Purcell et. al. have the money to buy themselves some neighbors that hold elected office.To whit: Of the 13 county-level elected officials*, both county-wide and board of supervisors (who are elected to represent districts), only three live more than four miles (by road, not "as the crow flies").Don Covey, county school superintendentAndy Kunasek, District 3 on the Board of SupervisorsMichael Jeanes, county clerk of courts* = In Maricopa County, justices of the peace and constables are elected from 26 districts; for the sake of brevity, they aren't included here. They are "county-level elected officials" but there are too many of them.  Plus, as important as they are to general public in terms of day-to-day life, in terms of Maricopa County politics, the local PTB don't give them much more regard than the PTB give to the general public.Of those three, two (Covey and Kunasek) are retiring.  Jeanes may be an elected official, but he is as low profile as low profile gets here.  For most people, *not* being able to name the clerk of courts is a good thing (I can, but I'm a political geek; you make the call about whether or not that's a "good" thing :) ).Of the rest......County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lives less than three miles from not one, but two (2!) polling places (Fountain Hills and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation)...County Supervisor Denny Barney (District 1) lives just over two miles from his nearest polling place in Gilbert (as a bonus, Senate President Andy Biggs lives just over a mile from the same polling place; not a "county" official, but one with some influence nonetheless)...County Attorney Bill Montgomery lives just two miles from his nearest polling place, also in Gilbert...County Supervisor Clint Hickman (District 4) resides 3.3 miles from the nearest polling site in Goodyear...County Assessor Paul Petersen resides less than a mile from the nearest polling place in Mesa (as a bonus, his predecessor Keith Russell, now a justice of the peace, lives even closer to the same polling place) ...the previously mentioned Andy Kunasek lives a little less than 4.5 miles from his closest polling place in Paradise Valley.  He's retiring, though.  On the other hand, County Supervisor Steve Chucri (District 2) resides a little more than a mile from the same polling place.  And he's not retiring....The soon-to be-retired Charles "Hos" Hoskins, Maricopa County Treasurer, resides a little less than 3.5 miles from his nearest polling place in Peoria...County Sc[...]



Maricopa County has election problems: It must a day ending in "y"

2016-03-27T12:12:07.898-07:00

Monday morning, the state legislature (in the form of its House Elections Committee) will hold a hearing to look into the fiasco that was the in-person voting process in Arizona's Presidential Preference Election (presidential primary) last Tuesday.On Tuesday, some voters stood in line for hours (literally!) to cast their ballots.  The delays were so long that many national (read: based on the East Coast) MSM operations were literally calling the races here right after showing video of the still-long lines at some of Maricopa County's polling places.The chief elections officer in Maricopa County, County Recorder Helen Purcell, responded the way that she usually does whenever there are problems with voting in Maricopa County -She blamed the voters.Of course, her statement only served to increase the torrent of criticism already being directed her way.   By Wednesday, she had backed away from her statement, but the damage had already been done.While the state legislative hearing is almost certainly going to be a "pro-forma" exercise (lots of talk, little or no substantive action), there is already a call for a federal investigation.Purcell and her apologists have been trying to spin the mess that she (and they) created as something caused by their quest to save money.  They had cut the number of polling places in Maricopa County from 200 to 60 and the larger-than-expected voter turnout then caught them unaware.Something like this actually happens every couple of years here in Maricopa County, just more isolated (2012, 2010, the pushing of easily disenfranchised voters toward provisional ballots during every election. etc.)Every couple of years, there are reports of long lines and ballot shortages at one or another polling place (or places).Which doesn't actually sound too bad, until you remember two things:1.  Election problems may only occur here every couple of years, but elections only take place every couple of years.  In other words, there are issues with every election here, and those problems are always blamed on the voters (the one exception that I can think of:  In 2012, her office was caught giving out Spanish-language election information pamphlets that listed the wrong election date (English language versions had the correct date).For that one, she just minimized the impact of her office's "mistake", saying that it didn't matter because it affected few voters.2.  The areas affected by the problems are usually (OK, seemingly "always") heavily minority populated or otherwise Democratic-leaning.In a bit of a twist, that second point where she may find some real push-back this time - while the areas most negatively affected by her placement of polling stations this year tended toward being mostly populated by minority populations, some of the polling stations with inordinately long lines were in Republican-leaning, Anglo-populated, areas.Because of that, many of the state's Republican elected officials are already throwing her under the proverbial PR bus.  People like Governor Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Michelle Reagan, persons heretofore known for their anti-voter sentiments and actions, have soundly criticized Purcell.They are outraged (OUTRAGED!) that people who might ever support them were inconvenienced by Purcell et. al.Of course, there was nothing but the sound of crickets emanating from these distinguished personages over Purcell's regular disenfranchisement of ethnic and racial minority voters.Still, to go along with t[...]



Don't bother staying up late to see the results of the Arizona presidential primary

2016-03-22T20:32:18.705-07:00

The Presidential Preference Election in Arizona (what we folks here call our presidential primary) is over.  At least it will be after some stragglers in Maricopa County vote.

(The consistent ineptitude/malice of Maricopa County's chief elections officer, Helen Purcell, can and will be the subject of a separate post in the near future.)

The MSM pundits will soon declare one or the other candidate to be the "winner", even though most of them know full well that pledged Democratic delegates in Arizona are awarded proportionally, with candidates needing to reach 15% of the vote to earn any delegates.

Given that there are two main candidates (Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton) running fairly evenly (with Clinton ahead) nationwide, both should attain that 15% threshold easily.

Based on that, the "winner" will be expected to earn more than half of Arizona's pledged delegates, but nowhere near all of them.

Except that it's not quite that simple.


The Arizona Democratic Party does, in fact, award its pledged delegates proportionally, and 15% is the minimum vote threshold needed by any candidate to receive some.

Where it gets complicated is in the fact that delegates are awarded based on *Congressional District* and the 15% threshold applies to each district's votes.

From the Delegate Selection Plan crafted by the Arizona Democratic Party -











To sum up, mathematically, a candidate could "lose" statewide, but still end up with more pledged delegates than the "winner" if he or she wins in a couple of districts by a large enough margin to shut out the other candidate while finishing far behind the other candidate in the other districts, but still earning enough of the vote in those places to break the 15% threshold.

Or to sum up the "sum up", don't go to bed thinking you know how the Arizona primary turned out.

It won't be "over" until all of the district level results are tallied.






Arizona Legislature: The coming week

2016-03-20T10:34:30.888-07:00

One takeaway from this week's planned agendas at the Capitol:There's now proof that when a legislator tells you that one of the schemes to take authority away from the federal government is all about their love of "local control", they're lying about that "love".According to the latest update from State Senator Steve Farley, we should start hearing rumblings about a state budget soon.  He noted that there may be some recalcitrant Republicans who "feel they got rolled last year on the budget and are determined not to make that mistake again."My prediction:Though some of the Rs mentioned above may try to gum up the works as they hold out for some earmarks in the budget, it's an even-numbered year (aka - an election year).  They all want to get out of the Capitol and start campaigning for reelection.  Plus, the leaders of each chamber are running for Congress this year (Senate president Andy Biggs: CD5; House speaker David Gowan: CD1).  In other words, there will be a flurry of activity behind the scenes, the budget will be revealed "suddenly", railroaded through the lege in three days with a minimum of public input, and "sine die" will take place shortly thereafter (not much of a prediction there; that's the way the lege has operated for years).Let this be the first public sine die date prediction:  Thursday, April 14.We've reached the part of the legislative session where the committee process is over - except for the chambers' respective Appropriations committees.So far, this week's meeting of House Appropriations looks harmless ("so far" is a big caveat - at the Capitol, things can change quickly), but Senate Appropriations?Not so much.Among the measures up for consideration this week:- A proposed striker to HB2163, overruling any local ordinances regarding pet stores and puppy mills- HB2501, a scheme to move any and all health-related boards and commissions under the purview of the state Department of Health Services and giving the director of DHS veto power over any regulations proposed by those entities- A proposed striker to HCR2014, a proposed amendment to the state's constitution to have the voters renounce their vote in 2006 establishing a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage and further, bar municipalities from establishing local minimum wage levels- HB2690, a proposal to remove the licensing and oversight of pawnbrokers from county sheriffs and local agencies and give that responsibility to the Arizona Department of Public SafetyThe rest - Notes: All committees meetings and agendas are subject to change without notice, and frequently do.  If you plan to travel to the Capitol to observe or weigh in on the consideration of a particular measure, check with the lege ahead of time to confirm that the meeting that you are interested in is still on schedule and your item(s) of interest is still on the agenda for that meeting. Meeting rooms designated "HHR" are in the House of Representatives building. Meeting rooms designated "SHR" are in the Senate building. All House committee agendas can be found here. All Senate committee agendas can be found here. Committee schedule (mostly just copied and pasted from the lege's website.  The agenda links work, as of this writing, but may not later in the week if an agenda is modified in some way): Agenda Date Committee Time Room HTML Document 03/24/16 Government and Higher Education 9:00 A.M. HHR [...]



It's "Demonize The 'Other' Time" at the Arizona legislature

2016-03-14T20:08:20.526-07:00

...Not that it's ever *not* "Demonize The 'Other'' Time" down at the state capitol...In this week's schedule post, I warned that strikers (strike everything amendments) could pop up at any time.Turns out, I was being prescient - many committee agendas were updated on Monday...and the week is still young.What may be the most nativist measure proposed by this bunch (and that's saying something) is a striker now added to Wednesday's agenda for the House Judiciary Committee.That meeting was already scheduled to start at the painfully early (by legislative standards, anyway; for normal people, it's early, but not outrageously so) of 8 a.m. because of the long and ugly agenda.And with Monday's changes to the agenda, it is now longer and uglier.Committee chairman Eddie Farnsworth has agendized a striker proposal to SB1452 -A proposal to demonize refugees and organizations that aid them.The text of the proposal -A.  For five years after RESETTLING a refugee, A refugee resettlement agency is liable for both of the following:1.  The indemnification of this state or any political subdivision of this state for the cost of prosecuting a refugee received by the refugee resettlement agency for resettlement in this state.2.  Damages or injuries suffered by a victim that are proximately caused by any criminal act committed by a refugee received by the refugee resettlement agency for resettlement in this state.B.  This state, a political subdivision of this STATE or a victim of a criminal act committed by a refugee may commence a civil action against a refugee resettlement agency for any damages or injuries that are proximately caused by the refugee's criminal act.C.  On or before July 1 of each year, a refugee resettlement agency shall report to the department of insurance on a form prescribed by the department its financial capacity to meet any obligations imposed under this section in an amount up to twenty-five million dollars. D.  If a refugee resettlement agency fails to make the report prescribed in subsection C of this section, the department of insurance shall impose a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars per refugee relocated in this state by the refugee resettlement agency in the previous five years.  Each day after July 1 that a REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT agency fails to comply with subsection C of this section is a separate violation.E.  For the purposes of this section:1.  "HIGH-RISK COUNTRY" MEANS ANY COUNTRY OR TERRITORY THAT IS either of the following: (a)  DESIGNATED AS A STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE.(b)  IDENTIFIED AS HIGH RISK BY A UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AGENCY, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION or THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE.2.  "Refugee" means any person who is a citizen of a high-risk country and who has been granted either of the following:(a)  refugee status pursuant to 8 United states code section 1157.(b)  ASYLUM pursuant to 8 United states code section 1158. 3.  "refugee resettlement agency" means any nongovernmental agency that RECEIVES refugees for resettlement in this state. Sec. 2.  EmergencyThis act is an emergency measure that [...]



Arizona Legislature: The coming week

2016-03-12T21:32:54.458-07:00

This is the last week when bill proposals can be heard in committee (there are a few ways around that rule, but the ways involve some serious sucking up to legislative leadership and/or the chairs of the respective chambers' Appropriations Committees).In short, there's a *lot* of ugly on committee agendas this week.This is also a very good week to pay attention to agenda changes - bills will be added to or removed from agendas with nearly no notice, strikers will be proposed out of nowhere, and meeting times will be changed. Some examples, meaning that as long as this list may be, it's not even close to being comprehensive:- A striker to HB2113, seeking to overturn any and all municipal bans on "puppy mills" (Senate Natural Resources, Monday)- HB2579, barring municipalities from regulating "nonwage compensation", such as requiring sick pay (Senate Commerce and Workforce Development, Monday)- HB2652, removing any labor protections for people like Uber and Lyft drivers by inserting language into state law that makes them "independent contractors" (Senate Commerce and Workforce Development, Monday)- HB2445, allowing motor vehicle insurance providers to "non-renew" insurance policies for almost any reason (Senate Transportation, Tuesday)- HB2300, barring the state or its political subdivisions (counties, municipalities, etc.) from enforcing or assisting with the enforcement of any federal law, rule, policy, etc. that they deem as infringing on the 2nd Amendment- HCR2043, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to allow the legislature to override the Voter Protection Act; more on this one from AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona here (Senate Federalism, Mandates, and Fiscal Responsibility, Tuesday)- HB2517, barring counties, municipalities, etc., from enacting or enforcing rules, regulations, ordinances, policies, etc. that may restrict or inhibit the formation and operation of businesses, except under limited conditions (Senate Government, Wednesday)- HB2537, Doug Ducey's scheme to pack the Supreme Court with pliable judges (Senate Government, Wednesday)- HCR2023, another proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to allow the legislature to override the Voter Protection Act (Senate Government, Wednesday)- HCR2035, a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution to hamstring the authority of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (Senate Government, Wednesday)- HB2043, exempting profits from speculation in gold and silver coins (calling those things "specie legal tender") from taxation, but making financial losses from such speculation tax-deductible (Senate Financial Institutions, Wednesday)- HB2480, limiting the amount of "additional state aid" for education that the state can appropriate for education (Senate Finance, Wednesday)- HB2115, attacking public employees by barring them from receiving a pension or severance pay if they are found to have "misappropriated" public funds.  The bill does not require that such an allegation be proven in court before the penalties are imposed (Senate Judiciary, Thursday)- HB2123, gutting conflict of interest rules applied to members of the Arizona Corporation Commission (aiding their former colleague, Andy Tobin, a former House Speaker and current member of the ACC) (Senate Judiciary, Thursday)- SB1516,  well, their title for this nugget of ugly is "campaign finance amendments" but it should be titled the "dark money pr[...]