Janet Napolitano Will Be Back

Mark Kimball has an interesting post on his Tucson Citizen blog. During an interview with the editorial board, Napolitano said she would retain her central Phoenix condominium and Arizona voter registration. When asked if she would run for office in Arizona again, she would not rule it out.

Speculation has been growing among GOP insiders that Napolitano will not run against John McCain in 2010 but rather Jon Kyl in 2012. The Citizen editoral apparently did not ask her about a challenge against Kyl. Instead, the editorial board was more interested in steering the questioning toward another run for Governor which is permitted in the Arizona Constitution only after a four year gap between two consecutive terms.

Sonoran Alliance can imagine the Governor thinking to herself, “Been there, done that” which makes a run for US Senate far more likely than a return run as Governor.

Mark our words, Napolitano will run against Kyl in 2012.

Representative Rich Crandall Responds to ECA Tax Credit

Sonoran Alliance received the following response from State Representative Rich Crandall regarding an article which appeared in last Saturday’s Arizona Republic. As our readers may remember, SA linked over to a recent post that appeared on Thoughts on Mesa.

In last Saturday’s Republic, a quote of mine was completely taken out of context leading people to believe that I was wishing to eliminate the use of ECA funds for fine arts and other supplemental activities.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  As the father of seven children, all in the Mesa Schools, I know first hand the benefits of the ECA program.  However, with that said, there are two areas that need reform.

First, the ECA program is very inequitable in form and function.  Wealthy schools and districts do very well while lower income districts do not stand a chance.  Representative Steve Yarborough of Chandler has been pushing to make it easier to donate through payroll deduction and other means but has consistently met strong resistance from those opposed to letting parents direct where some of their tax dollars are spent.  I am hoping he will try again this year.

Second, there is very little discussion given as to the best use of ECA funds.  Let me share a perfect example.  This next year, 90 students from Mountain View High School will travel to Vienna, Austria for the Haydn International Choral and Orchestra Festival.  They are following all of the rules laid out by the Legislature for ECA funding.  I was happy to vote, “yes” on their proposed trip when they brought it before the School Board a few months ago.  They are a world-class performing group and will represent us well in Europe.  Per their application, the cost per student will be approximately $3,600, with the majority of it coming from ECA contributions of friends and neighbors.  If you do the math, 90 x $3600 = $324,000.

I am sure these students will have a wonderful time in Vienna for 10 days; however, the big question is whether a trip to Vienna is the absolute best way to spend almost a third of a million dollars?  Imagine what the music program at Mountain View could do with $324,000, if it were allowed by law?  Think new instruments, one-on-one instruction, professional sound system, etc.  Or think even bigger; a professor in residency from Juilliard for spring semester or a legendary music composition program with their own recording studio.  Students for years would benefit from the $324,000, not just 90 students for 10 days.  Unfortunately, ECA rules do not allow Mt. View to think at this level; and so, they do the next best thing and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Austria for 10 days.  Do not fault them for playing by the rules.

My goals with ECA reform are clear.  First, continue to allow funding of supplemental programs that truly benefit students such as after-school reading, sports and fine arts, DECA competitions, etc. but with greater prioritization.  Second, allow ECA funds to be used for parent, out-of-pocket educational expenses such as AP/IB test fees, ACT/SAT exam fees, college application fees, etc.  It will not be easy to pass this type of reform, but with the right safeguards in place to ensure taxpayer funds are used appropriately, we can hope for the best.  Thank you.

Shadegg Opposes Auto Bailout, Proposes Taxpayer Bailouts

Congressman Shadegg has introduced a couple bills that will help real Americans, not the auto industry. Nice to see there are still some good ideas coming out of Washington. Here is his release:

Shadegg Opposes Auto Bailout, Proposes Taxpayer Bailouts

Shadegg: “I believe taxpayers should decide which businesses survive and which need to be restructured to remain competitive.”

Washington, DC— Congressman John Shadegg today issued the following statement last night after voting against the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act (H.R. 7321) and instead, introducing two economic alternatives:

“If anyone needs a bailout in this economy it’s the American taxpayer. Politicians shouldn’t be picking winners and losers; the American people should.

“I voted against the massive auto industry bailout, not because I don’t care about America’s auto industry, or the workers in that industry, but because I believe taxpayers should decide which businesses survive and which need to be restructured to remain competitive.

“The American people, those in the auto industry, and those in every other industry need help right now. While I would favor permanent tax relief, I also believe a substantial tax holiday will do more to stimulate our economy than another taxpayer-funded bailout. Average Americans, not politicians, should determine which companies deserve to be rewarded and which do not. The banking industry bailout enacted just weeks ago has proven that Washington is clueless when it comes to the American economy. And, it’s been a spectacular failure.

The bills I introduced today would stimulate the economy and be a tremendous boon for every struggling American family. Under the first proposal, individuals making less than $125,000, or couples making up to $250,000, in 2008 would owe no income taxes. Taxes withheld to date would be refunded to these taxpayers to use as they see fit. Those making over these amounts would pay income tax at 5% below the otherwise applicable rate. The alternate bill, would suspend both payroll and income taxes for the first six months of 2009.

These plans would return, on average, roughly $5,700 to $6,400 to each taxpayer. Either would cost dramatically less than the bloated $7 trillion bailout packages peddled by congressional Democrats and the Bush Administration.

“The federal government has demonstrated utter incompetence in solving our nation’s economic problems over the past three months. It’s time to put the control of our economy back in the hands of the American people.”

There is a reason is he called “Shady Slade”

Former State Senator Slade Mead today called political activist Jarrett Maupin a “pol-wannabe” and lumped him together with disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Maupin is 20 years old.  He was briefly charged with misdemeanors, but those charges were quickly dropped, with no new charges filed (at least for now.)

Blagojevich is a sitting Governor.  He is currently charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as solicitation of bribery.

Young Jarrett Maupin might or might not be a “pol-wannabe,” but comparing him with Blagojevich is a smear.

Mead has some experience with smears.

In 2002, Mead ran what is widely considered one of the dirtiest campaigns in recent Arizona political history against State Senator Lori Daniels. He accused Daniels of supporting the unpopular “alt fuels” bill, when she had actually voted against it. 

In 2006, Mead allegedly engaged in gay bashing as part of his unsuccessful campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

In 2007, Greg Patterson of EspressoPundit.com noted that Mead didn’t consider a ban on women at the “Men’s Grill” at the Phoenix Country Club to be an issue.  Patterson wrote: “Segregation and Dirty Tricks.  It sounds like Mead’s a fan of Lyndon Johnson’s early work.”

Most recently, Mead was taken to task by Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb, who wrote:  “Mead is part of a regrettably growing breed in politics, on all sides, that prefers to make up what the opposition says and believes, rather than deal honestly with the arguments actually being made.”

Maupin shoudn’t take Mead’s latest smear too personally.  Smearing is just what Mead does.  It’s in Mead’s nature.