Poll: 2:1 Arizona Voters Support a Soda Tax Benefiting Education

Marijuana legalization has poor support if held in a mid-term election

PHOENIX (November 20, 2017) – Last week we released poll results regarding President Donald Trump’s approval rating and the state of the current U.S. Senate race here in Arizona. We also asked several other issue questions. Please note, none of these issues tested are on the ballot for 2018, although our results could lead to an interesting debate.

We conducted a survey of six hundred likely 2018 General Election Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on likely 2018 turnout participated in this survey with a +/-4% MOE.

We begin by looking at the top-line results of the first issue question regarding a soda tax:

Respondents by an almost 2:1 margin support a tax on soda where the proceeds would go directly to education with less than 10% having no opinion. Half of Republicans would be in support, and a plurality of 2/3rd’s of Democrats and Independents support the hypothetical measure.

Females were overwhelmingly supportive and far less opposed compared to males.

·       Male support/oppose       51% / 41%

·       Female support/oppose   67% / 23%

Historically, rural Arizona is more Conservative than Pima and Maricopa counties. Much to our surprise, when looking at the geographic breakdowns, rural Arizona respondents were the most supportive of such a measure, which goes against the grain given conservatives are the most ardent opponents to tax increases.  67% of rural respondents support the measure while only 24% oppose. This may say more about the perceived condition of rural education as it does political ideology.

“According to respondent’s soda is the new ‘sin’. Just like cigarettes and alcohol, people don’t mind adding taxes there for the greater good,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “Cubs win the world series, Trump gets elected president and a Bloomberg policy has 59% support in Arizona – this is the year of the possible.”

The second question dealt with legalization of marijuana:

Legalization of marijuana for personal use was on the ballot last year in Arizona. However, it failed to pass by less than 3-points even though a large amount of money was spent in support of the measure. If this measure was on the ballot for 2018 it would underperform compared to the 2016 election results.

“Legalizing marijuana in Arizona is much less viable in a mid-term election however there is a strong chance we will see them take another run at it in 2020,” said Noble.

Finally, the remaining issue questions asked:

By more than a 2:1 margin respondents opposed non-U.S. citizen students receiving the benefit of in-state tuition at an Arizona University. 85% of Republicans and half of the Independents were in opposition, although half of Democrats were in favor. Interestingly, 25% of respondents who have some college education or are a college graduate held a negative 37-point opinion.

 

Methodology: This automated survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 9th, 2017, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, geographic location and gender however age leaned heavily towards 55+ respondents due to it being automated. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4%.

Poll: Dangerous Slopes Ahead for the GOP in Arizona

One year into Trump’s Presidency, it’s viewed as Unsuccessful

PHOENIX (November 15, 2017) – We have just passed the one-year mark since President Donald Trump was elected, and a lot has happened… One major event for Arizona was incumbent Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake dropping the bombshell that he will not be seeking re-election.

While we are still one year out from the 2018 General Election we wanted to see where Trump stands with likely voters and evaluate the state of the U.S. Senate race.

As we saw in Virginia, how voters feel about the President can have a huge effect on turnout, and results. In Arizona, the GOP faces some dangerous slopes.

We begin by looking at the top-line results of one particular question:

One of the most important factors in any mid-term election is the voters’ perceived performance of the president affecting down-ballot races.

Currently, more 2018 Arizona voters view Trump’s performance for the first year as unsuccessful.

We conducted a survey of six hundred likely 2018 General Election Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on likely 2018 turnout participated in this survey with a +/-4% MOE.

It is important to bear in mind that our likely General Election survey sample has a Republican +12-point advantage over Democrats. Despite the 12-point GOP advantage in the poll, the President’s first year is still viewed as unsuccessful.

Republicans and Democrats are polarized on this question (which is no surprise given the current political climate) however the all-important Independents view his first year as unsuccessful by a staggering 22-point margin.

Also, when it comes to gender, females were in the red by 10 points compared to males who were 3 points in the black.

When that data is graphed, it shows some dangerous slopes for the GOP.

As soon as the question reaches self-described moderates, the President’s numbers go negative and stay that way. That one chart spells a lot of trouble for the GOP – with a 22-point negative among Independents, and a majority of moderate voters viewing the President’s first year negatively, GOP candidates face hard choices: If they distance themselves from the president, they risk losing conservatives; but without moderates and without Independents, it’s hard to see a pathway to victory. Especially, when 40% of the overall sample self-identified as “moderates.”

Now, looking at the personal impact to Arizona voters that Trump’s first year in office and its effects we find a possibly better picture with a +3-point margin for respondents who thought they were better off compared to those who are worse off. But the question becomes, how long will the 28% that say things stayed the same be okay with that? We think it is inarguably true that what propelled Donald Trump into the White House was a desire for change… Yet in our polling, 61% of Arizona likely voters say things are the same or have gotten worse. Bad news if the GOP doesn’t change that perception.

We see similarities between this question and the previous performance question with gender. Males were +11 and females were -7 if they felt they were better off. On a positive note, respondents in rural Arizona are +12 when it comes to being better off although the Arizona rural counties demographically are almost always the most conservative-leaning compared to Pima and Maricopa County.

Moving on, before we get into the head-to-head matchups for the Arizona U.S. Senate Primary and General election, let’s see where the main contenders sit regarding name ID and favorability.

The key findings were among the two Republican challengers regarding party affiliation and geographic location.

·       Kelli Ward has 85% name ID among Republicans; with 59% favorable and 26% unfavorable.

·       Martha McSally has 60% name ID among Republicans; with 48% favorable and 13% unfavorable.

·       Among Independents Kelli Ward has 80% name ID; with 36% favorable and 44% unfavorable.

·       Martha McSally has 56% name ID among Independents with 29% favorable and 27% unfavorable.

Based on geographic location Martha McSally has 97% name ID in Pima County where much of her current congressional district covers although she is far less known in Maricopa county (57%) and rural Arizona (44%).

Arizona’s Maricopa county has almost 2/3rd’s of the 2018 General Election vote but that is also where Kelli Ward is underwater with a 34% favorable / 47% unfavorable rating. Although she performs much stronger in rural Arizona with 45% favorable / 31% unfavorable.

Continuing with the subject of Kelli Ward and Martha McSally, if the election were held today, who would likely Republican primary voters vote for? Don’t worry, we have the answer.

Currently, Ward has an advantage of +7-points over McSally where Ward’s most notable strength derives from males, high school or less education level, rural Arizona, and self-identified “very conservative” voters – basically, Trump’s base.  McSally’s strength lies in self-identified “somewhat conservative” and “moderate” voters and a +30-point advantage in Pima County.

And last, but not least – the U.S. Senate General Election matchups.

Republicans hold a +12 Republican likely voter advantage in the 2018 General Election, and that’s how we conducted this poll, with a +12 Republican advantage.  But in both matchups, the Democrat is winning by a very slim margin. McSally has the best chance being 1-point behind Sinema with Ward close by trailing by 3-points, but they’re both in the margin of error.

So, why is a Democrat leading when Republicans hold a +12 point advantage? The answer is slopes.

Whether it was Ward or McSally against Sinema, support based on political ideology was almost identical for either potential GOP nominee. This chart probably looks familiar because it basically mirrors Trump’s numbers in this lens.

 

Summary: As we start to move into the mid-term elections Trump’s support/approval among Independents is severely lacking; plus, some of his Republican base is still not fully onboard compared to the Democrats who are unified in their disapproval. The Republican primary fight between Congresswoman McSally and former State Senator Kelli Ward is currently in Ward’s favor, however, having campaigned state-wide for the past 3 years it appears she is well defined and may well have hit a ceiling among Arizona voters.

McSally has the advantage of being able to define herself and starts with far less of the negatives Ward currently brings to the table. We will be seeing a very competitive GOP primary and the exact opposite of the Democratic primary where Kyrsten Sinema faces little resistance. With Arizona having a late primary election date the Democrats hold the high ground.

“Republicans on the ticket in traditional ‘toss-up’ or ‘right-leaning’ races should prepare for the fight of their lives come 2018,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “The factors to look at ahead will be whether the U.S. economy is positive or negative and if Trump/Republicans can score major legislative wins on taxes, border security, healthcare or education.”

“Grab your popcorn because the Arizona U.S. Senate will be the race to watch in 2018,” said Noble.

Among the other results:

There are many issues important to Arizona voters however the top 3 issues are education (28%), illegal immigration (27%) and healthcare (24%). These issues will be the driving forces in the 2018 elections due to Arizona’s proximity to the border, uncertainty in health care law and the consistent coverage on our education woes. The biggest takeaway when looking at the demographics of these results was education being the top issue for Independents (38%) and Democrats (41%). The top issue among Republican voters was illegal immigration at 44% while only 14% of Republicans said education was the most pressing issue facing Arizona.

 Methodology: This automated survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on November 9th, 2017, from a likely 2018 General Election voter sample. The sample demographics accurately reflected party affiliation, geographic location and gender, however, age leaned heavily towards 55+ respondents due to it being automated. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4%.

The Republican primary matchup question asked Republican/Independent respondents a qualifying question if they were going to vote in the 2018 Arizona Republican primary. 323 passed the qualifying question and we weighted the results for 90% Republican and 10% Independent, with a MoE of ± 5.45%.

La Paz County Republican Chairman’s Bullying Power Play

By Calamity June

It’s been a few months since we had even thought about Russell Sias, the “Chairman” of La Paz County. We put “chairman” in quotes because, with fewer than 5 elected Precinct Committeemen in all of La Paz County, Mr. Sias effectively holds court over a committee of one.

La Paz County GOP Chairman Russell Sias

There are no party operations in La Paz, no voter registration efforts, no get out the vote activities.

Earlier this year, the only other elected state committeeman resigned from the party.

Mr. Sias’s term as chairman has been an abject failure.

One thing he seems very skilled at, however, is working to divide the GOP, sending incoherent screeds and angry missives to Frosty Taylor’s Fake News Briefs and clamoring for…well it’s not very clear what it is that he’s actually clamoring for, but electing Republicans surely isn’t high on his list.

Oh, and let’s not forget…Mr. Sias also signs off all of his e-mails with a quote from Adolf Hitler.

Which brings us to today, the final meeting of the AZ GOP Bylaws Committee. Under a mandate from Chairman Jonathan Lines, Bylaws Chairman Kathy Petsas has run the most inclusive and transparent Bylaws Committee in recent memory. Every County and Legislative District was invited to appoint a member, to ensure a diverse, strong committee membership to review and, in some cases, overhaul the party’s bylaws.

Despite his utter failure to grow the party or preside over even a semblance of Republican activity in La Paz County, chairman Sias was offered the opportunity to appoint a Bylaws Committee member.

La Paz CountyThe individual he chose to appoint, however, was ineligible to participate. Not only was she not a duly elected state committeewoman (despite signing a document claiming to be one), she seems to be running for elective office OUTSIDE of La Paz county. This is not even to mention the abusive and diversionary activities that this particular individual engaged in, her prior arrest record or her complete lack of decorum.

Aware of his failure, Mr. Sias, at the 11th hour, attempted to appoint HIMSELF to the committee. Once again, no dice. The Bylaws Committee has been meeting for nearly a year, has worked collaboratively to consider dozens of amendments and revisions, and is nearing the end of it’s work. The deadline to appoint new members came and went months ago. This attempt to end run the rules should not have been tolerated, and it wasn’t.

So, thanks to Mr. Sias’s neglect, La Paz County is not represented on the Bylaws Committee.

This morning, despite not being on the Bylaws committee and not participating in any previous bylaws activities, Mr. Sias drove from Quartzsite to Phoenix with the express purpose of creating division and distracting the Committee from it’s goals. He must have known that, after a year of work, he could not just insert himself on to the committee and expect to be productive.

No, Mr. Sias is a bully, and he came to Phoenix thinking he could bully the Chairwoman. Was he ever wrong.

While she would have been well within her rights to prevent Mr. Sias from even attending the meeting, Chairman Petsas allowed the committee to determine whether or not Mr. Sias could attend as an observer.

Owing to his overwhelming unpopularity, even that vote was close…by a 10—9 margin, the committee allowed Mr. Sias to observe.

In response, Mr. Sias…drove away, in a truck bearing Montana license plates. Proving once again he has no real interest in promoting our party or our candidates here in Arizona.

We all know what will happen next. Tomorrow’s Fake News Briefs will be filled with lies and slanders about Chairman Petsas. Other members of the committee will be called out personally and shamed. Mr. Sias’s tactics as a bully and a liar will be on full display. And Fake News Maven Frosty Taylor will dutifully play her role as recording secretary.

Hopefully she’ll have the decency to leave out the Hitler quote.

Activists and Former Campaign Staff Apologize for Propping Up Kelli Ward

This from two staffers with the Kelli Ward for Senate campaign.

As Ward “kicks off” her campaign in Scottsdale, her campaign’s former Chief Strategist Dustin Stockton and Press Secretary Jennifer Lawrence speak out.

Two prominent grassroots activists issued an apology to America First activists and the people of Arizona for helping legitimize the candidacy of Kelli Ward. The two former Breitbart reporters ran Dr. Ward’s campaign from May until September in 2017 serving as Chief Strategist and Press Secretary.

“Dustin and I began helping Kelli when she ran against John McCain in 2016. Over the years we advocated for her with grassroots groups, activists, and media from around the country. After running her campaign, we’ve realized that our successful efforts to legitimize her campaign was a mistake. We are sorry to the #MAGA activists and the people of Arizona because they deserve better candidates”

Kelli Ward is hosting a “campaign kickoff” in Scottsdale Arizona tonight featuring Laura Ingraham and J.D. Hayworth, despite the fact that she formally launched her campaign against Senator Flake before the 2016 general election had even concluded. Before Stockton and Lawrence took over her campaign, Ward was regularly described as a fringe candidate in the media and with conservative political groups and donors. Ward was generally seen as a weaker candidate than both AZ State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt and former AZ Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham.

“We hadn’t anticipated taking over Kelli’s campaign when we visited Arizona around Easter,” Stockton said. “Her campaign was such a disaster that we saw an opportunity to prove how much we can help struggling campaigns and we did just that. Unfortunately, she showed that she isn’t up to the task of standing up to the pressure that causes so many candidates to betray voters when they get to Washington.”

“Even Jeff Flake was a solid conservative as a member of the House before he betrayed his base in pursuit of his ambition in the Senate,” Lawrence finished. “We have a responsibility to our fellow America First activists to prevent another heartbreak at the hands of a politician’s blind ambition. We’re going to make sure that Arizona gets Senators that will make America First activists proud. Stay tuned.”

Congressman Andy Biggs Speaks Out on US National Debt

Thank you Congressman Andy Biggs for this statement:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs commented on the U.S. national debt passing twenty trillion dollars:

“Late last week, the U.S. national debt topped twenty trillion dollars for the first time in history. Instead of debating how Congress could take action to reduce the risk of default and substantial payments our grandchildren will inherit, Congress continues to encourage reckless spending and unaccountable taxpayer-funded programs. Rather than making the hard choices now, we are forcing Americans into an even tougher situation in the future because of this rising debt.

“It will take courage to cut government spending in order to deal with our national debt. If we are to follow through with our commitment to reduce expenditures and create economic stability for our future, we must immediately take action. The time for words is over.”

Speaking from One Woman to Another

Speaking from One Woman to Another – A Response to Karina Bland of the Arizona Republic

by  Sheila K Muehling

Over the last few years, I have asked myself many times why women are being used as political tools.  Why now, why not 40 years ago?  Why not 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Before President Obama was elected I don’t remember a great deal of talk about women and what we want or don’t want.  My question is “Are women really ready to become active? Are women really ready to put in the effort?”  As a woman who has always been involved, I would like to share my thoughts.

Unlike the majority of people I know, I still receive the Arizona Republic and the Wall Street Journal newspapers every morning. Last week I opened the paper and on the front page was printed a rather unpleasant picture of President Trump and Joe Arpaio.  And to top off the specter of it all to the left an opinion piece from Karina Bland. What was the name of the piece, “Women want to get active; can they unite?” I would really like to know why this opinion piece was position on the front page but I think it doesn’t take much to understand that decision. However, as I read the article Karina started with her September 22nd evening observations of the Trump rally. She shared that everything on the streets was orderly and the protesters were handing out water, clearing sidewalks for wheelchair bound participants, giving out lollipops and making sure people were not overwhelmed with the heat. It was a picture of LALA land.  Of course early in her piece (above the fold) she positioned her comment about Heather Heyer who was the young women killed by the white-nationalist and how someone was carrying a sign that read “Heather deserved a better president.” Karina goes on to talk about the happy protesters who only wanted to exercise their rights but in speaking about the Trump supporters she throws in their use of “the middle finger.”

At this point, I would like to take a trip down memory lane before I finish my thoughts and share how I feel about Karina’s column.  As a woman, I too grieved over another loss of life – the two men who stood on a roof in Benghazi and prayed that their country would not leave them to die. Their country did not answer their prayers. Our President went to bed and then off to a fundraising event.  I grieved for a young man who knelt on the sands of a foreign country and had his head cut off. Our President went golfing.  As a woman and a mother of sons the age of these three men, my sign should have read “They deserve to have a better president.”

President Trump did not have control over a vicious man who decided to run down a crowd. President Obama had total control over a military that could and should have at least tried to save those lives.  The press has spent two weeks talking about how terrible the bigoted and racist Trump is but if you go back and look the press spent only a short time holding Obama responsible for the deaths in Benghazi or the beheadings of American men.

Karina continues her article with comments on the “Women’s March Events” where she sites five million women were involved in the month of January. I don’t know how many women were involved but I do know that the mess that was left in Washington after the “women” marched was despicable. Google and look at the pictures. If the behavior of the women in Washington was what Karina is promoting, as a woman, I will pass.

Karina goes on to talk about a group called “Nice White Ladies”. There was something about wanting to fix racism and finding it as difficult as talking to a manager of Whole Foods.  I read her description of that group and I am still trying to figure out the point.  Again, I think I will pass.

Then Karina addressed the conservative women who were at the rally. They questioned the negative press about the President, they told her that the Republican party was made up of all races and how race was not the issue. They were focused on healthcare and tax reform. Wow, that is a novel idea.  One woman shared that she felt the President loved and supported this country and was willing to help make it better. One woman told her she felt that Arpaio worked to make our state safer for her children and grandchildren.  The women who spoke to her talked about getting involved in the school board and the local town government.  Many were sickened by the removal of our history and asked how are our children are going to learn if they never see. They all chimed in that they were tired of sitting back and were ready to get involved.  Hey, I think this is a group I can relate to.

Suddenly the protesters came back into focus.  Karina told of seeing signs that said, “Old white men have been in charge too long” and “The future is female”. There was even a woman who had a T-shirt that said, “Legal Observer” just to make sure if anyone got in trouble they were there to help. Give the protesters comfort to know their legal rights were being watched.  We used to call those type of lawyers “Ambulance Chasers.”

But let’s go back and look at what her article was supposed to be about. It was getting women to become active and uniting them. My question is how did this article unite anyone?  I am around women and men for that matter every day.  I bring up current events and nine out of 10 of the people I am talking to haven’t a clue what I am talking about. No one I know reads a paper like the Wall Street Journal but they all believe everything Facebook says.

If you want to get involved then make a commitment.  Signup to be precinct committeemen and go to the meetings. Read the bills posted at the state capital and research what they mean. When Common Core was marching through the state capital I begged women with school children to listen to me and research the information. I even created an extensive PowerPoint that I was willing to send them to watch. But out of the hundreds of people I spoke to not one asked to see it. They had other things on their mind like working out, or yoga, or the vacation they were planning.

Don’t believe what is posted on the Internet and on Facebook without researching it first. Really stupid things come up on Facebook. Go to city government meetings because that is where many issues that affect you and your family start. Attend the school board meeting once in a while. When there is an election research the candidates. Just because they can afford the signs and the TV ads doesn’t mean they will represent you and your loved ones.  Go to the local debates and ask questions of the candidates.  And please, don’t become hero worshipers and groupies.

So Karina, if you are reading my article, from one woman who is involved to another, the next time you write an article about women getting involved, leave the media spin in the coffee room and talk about real life and how women can get involved. It doesn’t start at a rally to protest the President of the United States.

TJ Shope, Frank Pratt Named 2017 Legislative Champions by League of Arizona Cities and Towns

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker Pro Tempore T.J. Shope (R-8) and Senator Frank Pratt (R-8) last week were named 2017 Legislative Champions by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

The Legislative Champions award is given to legislators to honor their outstanding public service and dedication to local governance.

“I am honored to be named a 2017 Legislative Champion by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Shope. “Our work together ensures that communities across the state continue to grow into better places to live, work, and play.

“I am thrilled to be honored by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns,” said Senator Pratt. “Their dedication to support city and local leadership at the legislature is an asset to our state.

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a membership-based organization comprised of municipalities throughout Arizona and provides a bridge from local cities and towns to the state legislature.

Shope Pratt

TJ Shope & Frank Pratt

Is Illegal Immigration the Fault of President Donald Trump?

by  Sheila K Muehling

Over my lifetime there have always been people entering this country illegally. As a small-town Midwestern kid, I was never affected by anyone coming in and working or living in my hometown. My father was a local contractor and a union member. His men were hired from the union hall and as far as I knew, they were just regular American workers.

Immigrant WorkersOver my lifetime there have always been people entering this country illegally. As a small-town Midwestern kid, I was never affected by anyone coming in and working or living in my hometown. My father was a local contractor and a union member. His men were hired from the union hall and as far as I knew, they were just regular American workers.

As a young adult living in Chicago I still was not affected by illegal immigrants. We had large Polish communities, Hispanic communities, Little Italy, the Chinese community and most of the Southside of Chicago was the Black community. I hired men and women who lived all over the city and unless they did a poor job, they worked and got paid along with everyone else. If they were a payroll employee, they never received cash and they always paid their taxes.

When President Reagan passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986,   my support was with the President.  As a person who ran a business in the construction industry I knew many of my sub-contractors hired workers who were illegal. Because they were not my employees I didn’t worry about it.  Once the law passed I was happy to share the information with anyone who was not legal and help them to complete the paperwork to become citizens. I made a big deal of the new law and to my surprise some of my own employees secretly took advantage of the IRCA. Only after they became citizens and obtained a social security number of their own did I realize how many were illegal and using a false or stolen social security card.

After the law was passed the problem was that many throughout the country did not take the opportunity to become citizens.  Thousands stayed in the shadow from fear of the government but more importantly, many didn’t come forward because they didn’t want to pay taxes.  The fact was most of the sub-contractors I hired used illegals as cheaper labor. Not because they paid them lower hourly pay, but because they didn’t have to match the Medicare and Social Security taxes, and they didn’t have to pay unemployment or union dues. When the law passed many of those companies made the effort to get all of their people to come forward but I remember that many who would work on my jobs suddenly disappeared.

After the IRCA the government promised to fix the border issues but we all know that did not happen. People continued to hire illegal immigrants. Women loved having them clean their houses and keep their yards manicured. Many became nannies and many worked in eldercare. The farmers wanted them to pick the crops, the builders wanted them to clean up job sites and haul materials. My experience was most Americans hired Hispanic workers because they are hardworking and respectful not because they were cheap. I knew people who considered their domestic help part of the family.  But no matter how much Americans loved the illegals they were in the long run still illegal and the problem became bigger and bigger. Sooner or later it had to break.

I am a strong supporter of President Trump and I am proud to be standing with him. However, we have to find a way to fix this problem and calm the country down. Many of the protesters in Charlottesville, Boston and Phoenix were not there because of the Hispanic population they were there because they are of the mind that Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist. I would also guess that better than 50% were there because Hillary Clinton lost. If 10% of those protesters ever spent one minute working with our state social services that try to help children and families, they would understand the problem is not this President. The problem lies with the previous administrations dating all the way back to President Reagan who never did anything to improve and promote the current immigration laws and that includes Barack Obama.

Instead of promoting the likes of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, stand with people like me who are demanding the government address the system of legal immigration now.  Let’s hold Democrats and Republicans alike to their promises during campaigns to reform the system. Let’s be committed enough to vote out the politicians who use excuses for doing nothing.  Americans should stand together on this issue.

Jon Gabriel on the Trump Pardon of Arpaio

Fellow Conservatarian friend and blogger extraordinaire, Jon Gabriel, gets a shout out for his great work on Ricochet, Sunday Square Off and his recent op-ed in USA Today. Be sure to sign up for a subscription to his blog for ongoing great content.

Here’s his recent media appearance on Sunday Square Off.

Also, check out Jon’s recent op-ed in USA Today:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is no conservative and no hero, no matter what President Trump says

President Trump asked the crowd last week at his Phoenix rally, “Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Had the hall been filled with an accurate cross section of Arpaio’s former constituents, the answer would have been a resounding “no.”

Jon Gabriel

Jon Gabriel

Nevertheless, Trump pardoned the ex-sheriff on Friday, though he had not been sentenced and had shown zero remorse for his crime. America’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” was convicted of criminal contempt of court last month after refusing to obey court orders. This most recent legal battle involved numerous federal attempts to get Arpaio to stop racially profiling residents of Maricopa County.

Not only did Arpaio refuse, he bragged about it: “Nobody is higher than me. I am the elected sheriff by the people. I don’t serve any governor or the president.”

Many conservatives outside of Arizona celebrated his headline-grabbing antics, but they don’t know the real story. I’m a conservative Maricopa County resident who has lived under Arpaio throughout his decades-long reign. Arpaio was never a conservative; he just played one on TV.

I saw his love of racial profiling firsthand, especially on my daily commutes through the tiny Hispanic community of Guadalupe, Ariz. When conducting these “sweeps,” helicopters buzzed houses, an 18-wheeler marked “Mobile Command Center” was planted in the center of town, and countless sheriff’s deputies stood on the roadsides, peering into the cars rolling by. Being Caucasian, I was always waved through. The drivers ahead and behind me weren’t so lucky.

Washington’s laxity in border enforcement led many right-of-center Americans to appreciate more robust enforcement, even when it regularly included authoritarian scenes such as the one in Guadalupe. But even if you turn a blind eye to the human cost of such race-based enforcement, Arpaio’s other misdeeds are legion.

During one three-year period, his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t properly investigate more than 400 alleged sex crimes, many of them involving child molestation.

In all, the department improperly cleared as many as 75% of cases without arrest or investigation, a fact outlined in a scathing report by the conservative Goldwater Institute.

When local journalists delved into Arpaio’s dealings, he had them arrested, a move that ultimately cost taxpayers $3.75 million. We paid $3.5 million more after the sheriff wrongfully arrested a county supervisor who had been critical of him.

About the same time, Arpaio sought charges against another supervisor, a county board member, the school superintendent, four Superior Court Judges and several county employees. All of these were cleared by the courts and also resulted in hefty taxpayer-funded settlements for his targets.

As a U.S. District Court judge presided over a civil contempt hearing, Arpaio’s attorney hired a private detective to investigate the judge’s wife.

On the pretext of going after an alleged cache of illegal weapons, a Maricopa SWAT team burned down an upscale suburban Phoenix home and killed the occupants’ 10-month-old dog. There were no illegal arms, so they arrested the resident on traffic citations.

Arpaio’s staff concocted an imaginary assassination attempt on the sheriff, presumably for news coverage. Taxpayers had to pay the framed defendant $1.1 million after he was found not guilty.

The sheriff’s department misspent $100 million on the sheriff’s pet projects, and wasted up to $200 million in taxpayer money on lawsuits. Yet he still found money to send a deputy to Hawaii to look for President Obama’s birth certificate.

All these antics, and many more, finally persuaded Maricopa County voters to oust the sheriff by a whopping 10-point margin. They selected his Democratic opponent, despite choosing Trump by 3 points in the same election.

Convicting Arpaio of contempt of court is similar to busting Al Capone on tax evasion. It was merely the tip of the iceberg considering his numerous violations of the public trust.

The sheriff bragged in a TV interview that he would “never give in to control by the federal government.” Unsurprisingly, Arpaio ran to the federal government for help when he found himself in legal trouble. And he got it, from a president who is just as committed to truth, justice, the rule of law, conservative principles and his oath of office. That is, not very committed at all.

Jon Gabriel is editor in chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic. Follow him on Twitter at @exjon.

 

 

 

Jeff Flake: We Can All Agree We Need Secure Borders

Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake recently posted the following opinion piece on Medium.

We can all agree — the President, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and people all across the country — that we need secure borders. I also agree with the president that having a secure southern border requires physical barriers. The question is: what type of physical barriers are best? And how can technology and surveillance fill the void when physical barriers are not feasible?

I’ve been working on this issue with some of my colleagues for years. The bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 (which I helped author) provided for 700 miles of fencing, including “double fencing” in some areas. This was in addition to doubling the number of border patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000 as well as providing a host of other technological and border infrastructure improvements and significant additional resources to prosecute illegal border crossers.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump spoke extensively of “building a wall” along the southern border and his first budget asked for funding for “bricks and mortar” for a wall. I understand what he’s trying to accomplish, but there are there better ways to secure the border than a “brick and mortar” wall.

The closest thing we have had to a “wall” along the southern border were the surplus Vietnam War-era “landing mats” that are turned upward and placed end-to-end through some of the border communities. Because border patrol agents couldn’t see what was happening on the other side of the wall, rocks were often thrown over them, causing injury to agents and damage to border patrol vehicles. Consequently, these walls have largely been replaced with fencing.

It’s important to understand what sort of fencing we are talking about. It’s not a short chainlinked fence or a barb-wired fence you’d see on a ranch. We’re talking about a solid steel structure that often rises 20 feet above the ground but has narrow gaps allowing border patrols agents to see through to the other side.

I was pleased that during his visit to Arizona this week, President Trump traveled to the border community of Yuma, where “landing mat” walls have been replaced with fences, to great effect. I would invite the President to visit other stretches of the border in Arizona where walls have been replaced by fences in border communities. I should note that in some remote, mountainous areas, even border fences aren’t feasible because of the landscape. In these spaces, sensors, camera towers, and drone surveillance can help fill the void.

There are other issues with border walls. For example, the San Pedro watershed near the town of Naco in southern Arizona empties northward across the border into Arizona. A brick and mortar border wall would be either be breached during the monsoon season, or it would flood border communities on the Mexican side of the border. Even the current border fences in that region need storm gates to allow debris to escape northward through the border fence after a good rainstorm.

If the “border wall” is simply a metaphor for increased border security, which includes a mix of fencing, sensors, towers and drone surveillance, I strongly support the President. Arizonans have been working on this issue for years, and the downward trend in illegal border crossings over the past few years has been encouraging (owing both to better border security and an improving economy in countries south of our border).

But an actual brick and mortar border wall is not the most effective or efficient way to secure our border and keep Arizona safe.