Archives for December 2008

James to run for AZGOP Chair – AZGOP turns guns on itself once again

Espresso Pundit is reporting that Lisa James will again be running for Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.  James, who lost to current chairman Randy Pullen in 2007, was the Arizona Chairman for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

The most interesting comparison is between the current state of the Arizona Democrat Party and the Arizona Republican Party.  The AZDEMs have actually created Facebook groups to try and figure out what went wrong in Arizona in 2008, plus they’re losing their Governor whose arm-twisting was their only source of fundrasing not named Pederson.

Yet at present, the AZDEM Chairman faces no challengers.  Now compare that to the AZGOP, which actually gained seats in the face of Obamamania and massive outspending, and which is sending Jan Brewer to the 9th Floor.  Instead of building on these successes and moving forward, why are some Republicans ripping the scabs off of the 2007 wounds and fighting that old fight again?  Is it just the AZGOP being the AZGOP again?

Or, is it just certain players within the AZGOP who are up to their own tricks?

Given the high degree of cooperation between Pullen’s State Party and John McCain’s Presidential Campaign (after he secured the nomination), and the thawing of relationships between Pullen and Kyl, the former seems less likely.  The later theory gets a serious boost when yesterday’s interestingly-timed Capitol Times story is read.  The article quotes extensively from Kevin DeMenna, the lobbyist who was the driving force between Kirk Adams’ ouster of House Speaker Jim Weiers, and Nathan Sproul, each of whom spoke at length about what DeMenna called ““…a grassroots fight for the soul of the party”.  He spoke of the recent defeat of LD11 Chairman Rob Haney approvingly and said “The Republican Party has bottomed and we are recovering… (District) 11 is the canary in the mine.”  Each indicated that the battle would move next to the Maricopa County Republican Committee elections on January 10th, then to the State Convention on January 24th.

With hired guns like DeMenna and Sproul driving a rematch of the 2007 State Chairman’s race, we can be sure that the race will be nasty and vitriolic.  It will be interesting to see how certain Arizona conservatives line up this time, especially in light of gains made by pro-life conservatives under Pullen’s watch and James’ advocacy for Giuliani, the only pro-abortion GOP candidate in 2008.  All eyes are on Len Munsil, who reportedly still fosters gubernatorial ambitions, and Congressman Trent Franks, whose convention speech on behalf of James in 2007 is largely credited for making the race as close as it turned out to be.  Will politics trump policy?  We’ll all know in six weeks time.

Lisa James In

Both Politico Mafioso and Espresso Pundit have now confirmed that Lisa James will indeed run for Arizona Republican State Party Chairman next year.

She is scheduled to announce her candidacy at the Yavapai Republican Organizational meeting this morning in Prescott.

Here is her bio as it appears on the Gordon C. James Public Relations website:

Lisa James began her career in politics working in the Illinois Legislature for State Representatives and Senators, as well as the Assistant Clerk of the House. She managed and worked on several campaigns in Illinois before moving to Washington, DC where she joined the Republican National Committee in the political department serving state and local governments. She has worked as an advance representative for President George H.W. Bush and worked on the 1992 Bush/Quayle campaign.

In 2000, Lisa was a member of the Arizona George W. Bush for President Advisory Board. She served as the director of Arizona Victory 2000 where she was directly responsible for the management of all Victory 2000 efforts in Arizona.

In 2004, Lisa was chairman of the No Taxpayer Dollars for Politicians Ballot Initiative before she served as the Arizona executive director for Bush-Cheney ‘04. As executive director, she was responsible for all campaign efforts in Arizona. Lisa also served as the director of coalitions for Senator Kyl’s 2006 re-election effort before serving as the director for the Arizona Republican Party Victory 2006 campaign.

Lisa has been involved in many community activities including serving as the chair of the Teaming Up for Kids Luncheon benefiting Florence Crittenton, the corporate board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, Crisis Pregnancy Center Gala committee member, Maggie’s Place Baby Shower Committee Member and other charitable events. She co-chaired the successful Arizona Winning Women Fundraiser for the Arizona Republican Party featuring Mary Matalin and RNC co-chair Ann Wagner. She was a member of the 2003 Presidential Rank Awards Program Meritorious Executive Review Board. Lisa received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.

Lisa is married to Gordon James. They have four children and reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.

James announcement sets up the likely rematch between herself and Randy Pullen.

Blago-Rahm-Gate

News reports continue to swirl around President-Elect Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and embattled Democratic Governor, Rod Blagojevich. What did Emmanuel discuss and when did he discuss it?

Conservative pundits are also all over the air waves trying to explain to the American people that this is what they tried to warn the electorate about before the election. Simply put, this is a classic example of the Chicago political machine in full form.

So why should conservatives have expected anything but this hard-ball style of politics – especially after Obama placed one of the most Machiavellian politicos in charge of his staff?

Chief of Staff to the President is figuratively a heartbeat away from the most powerful man in the world. In this case, Rahm Emmanuel will be the closest and most influential advisor to President Obama.

If Emmanuel did indeed attempt to influence Blagojevich in the choice for Obama’s replacement, don’t expect him to be the fall guy. Chiefs of Staff of his caliber will put several people between himself and any scandal. We can probably expect someone to resign over this but it won’t be Emmanuel. He’s too careful and clever to leave his poltical fingerprints.

AZ State Bar to ban attorneys’ free speech, freedom of association re gay issues

This is outrageous. The Arizona State Bar Association is about to make a change to the attorneys’ oath of admission that will prohibit them from ever saying anything negative relating to gay issues or refusing to associate with persons of alternative sexual preference. The phrase is written so broadly, it could prohibit a Christian attorneys association from excluding gay attorneys from their membership. Here is the proposed revised oath, with the proposed addition in red –

“I will not permit considerations of gender, race, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, or social standing to influence my duty of care.”

This violates two clauses in the First Amendment, the right to free speech and the right to freedom of association. Such a fringe-left position would never be passed by the people in a democratic election. The bar should not be permitted to bypass our democratic system – as the courts unfortunately frequently do – and make law.

Fringe-left elements have taken over State Bar, this is just one more outrageous maneuver by the far left to force their views upon all attorneys and use their mandatory dues to promote their own pet causes. The State Bar recently passed an ethical rule prohibiting attorneys from criticizing judges. Unfortunately, that clear violation of free speech has not yet been challenged in the courts and struck down. Until then, it is impossible for attorneys to get information out to the public about judges, they’ve had to get it out anonymously using unofficial websites like azjudgesreview.

The State Bar gives thousands of dollars from members’ dues every year to fringe left groups like Chicanos por la Causa that are actively working against the interests of political conservatives and Christians. Thousands more go to promote “diversity” so much it’s silly. There’s not just the Arizona Minority Bar Association, there’s the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association, the Asian Bar Association, the Black Bar, the Native American Black Association, and the Women Lawyers Association. All of these separate entities regularly give reports at Arizona State Bar board meetings.

The bar has finally gone too far by trying to prohibit new attorneys from having dissimilar views on gay issues. There is no reason why a controversial fringe political view needs to be in the oath to become an attorney – other than to squelch conservative views and prohibit conservatives from becoming attorneys. All that should be in the oath should be swearing loyalty to the U.S. Constitution and Arizona’s Constitution, and upholding the laws of the land.

This is why the bar needs to be a voluntary association. It should not be permitted to dictate the viewpoints and political goals of all attorneys in Arizona, and take several hundred dollars from each attorney every year which then goes to fund the bar’s left wing causes. All attorneys in Arizona do not share the same political views. This is still a red state, and the bar’s fringe left management is not fairly representing the views of its members. Let’s hope the bar does the right thing and does not add the offensive language. Otherwise there are plenty of free speech organizations that are standing by ready to sue the bar.

Jerry Brooks Announces for Maricopa GOP Chair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2008

Jerry Brooks Announces Bid for Chairman: Promises an Effective, Inclusive Organization Focused on Winning Elections

(Chandler)  Jerry Brooks announced today his candidacy for Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee.

“I am running for Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee because I believe the Republican Party needs new direction,” said Brooks.  “I have been a Precinct Committeeman since 1978 and I have always worked effectively with all elements of the party.  I have served in elective office and I have managed and assisted many campaigns for other Republicans.  I know that it takes unity of effort to win.”

Brooks stressed the need for new leadership to achieve unity quoting Michael Reagan, “…it seems we find reasons not to get along and not to present a united front in the face of our opponents.”

“The Republican Party was once devoted to winning elections.  In two years, Arizonans will elect a Governor and other statewide offices.  Will we elect a Republican Governor?  Will we hold John McCain’s seat in the U.S. Senate?  I believe we can, but it will take new, effective and positive leadership to achieve our goals.”

“With your support, I will work for an open and inclusive Republican Party—one in which the grassroots base, young professionals and the business community all feel welcome.  I will do my best to bring all Republicans together and return to the days when the Republican Party enjoyed the confidence and respect of the people we are trying to serve.”

Brooks was elected Mayor of Chandler from 1984 to 1988 and was a member of the Chandler City Council from 1982 to 1984.  He served as Director of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and was the Vice Chairman of the Maricopa Association of Governments.  Brooks retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel.  His private sector career includes positions as Vice President of Talley Technical Services and Director of Government Relations for New Construction at Motorola.  Brooks managed John McCain’s 1982 campaign for Congress.  He is the Chairman of the Legislative District 21 Republican Committee.  Brooks and his wife, Sheila, reside in Chandler.

Democrat Phoenix Mayor Gordon having it both ways on immigration

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is asking the federal government for more money for border security (just a couple of weeks after he asked the federal government for bailout money). This is the same Phil Gordon who turned Phoenix into a sanctuary state a few years ago, giving Arizona the highest rate of illegal immigration in the country. Gordon would be better off fully repealing Phoenix’s sanctuary city ordinance, which has ony been partially modified under the direction of a team of liberal prosecutors since he implemented it. Phoenix is still considered a sanctuary city. You can’t have a sanctuary city policy and expect the rest of the taxpayers across the country to pay for that policy.

Lobbyist-Attorney attacks Brewer’s transition team for including – lobbyists

Democrat Party chairman and lobbyist/lawyer Don Bivens is attacking Jan Brewer’s transition team for including lobbyists. Someone from BOTH the lowest-rated professions is criticizing someone else for their connections to one of those professions. Of course Bivens’ lobbyist background wasn’t reported in the so-called mainstream media. If this is the best the Dems can come up with to criticize Brewer, please, please retain Bivens as chair.

MCRC Acts To Prevent Coup in LD4 – Faces Threats of Retaliation

Party insiders have been watching, some with amusement and others with great concern, as a handful of individuals led by Phil Corbell have sought to claim control over the LD4 Republican Committee.  LD4’s Organizational Meeting, where new officers would normally be elected, was short-circuited when Corbell and his supporters voted down the Tally and Credentials report, preventing the meeting from continuing.  When the meeting was adjourned, the theatrics ensued.  Corbell convened his own meeting in the parking lot and had himself elected Chairman, with other supporters claiming the remaining offices (ostensibly 1st Vice Chairman David Fitzgerald III, 2nd Vice Chairman Renee Houlihan, Secretary Jane Schutte, and Treasurer Mary Platt).  The fact that the actual meeting was over meant nothing, as did the requirements that organizational meetings be called by the LD’s acting chairman, that proper notice be given, that a quorum be present, that tally and credentials take place, etc.  While the stunt could have been considered all in good fun, it took a serious turn when Corbell convinced a Justice of the Peace that the actions were real and actually had his group “sworn in” to their offices.  Corbell then began calling meetings and attempting to conduct legitimate business with his self-proclaimed title of chairman.

The Maricopa County Republican Committee was quick to remind the PCs in LD4 that the election was not valid and, since December 6th passed without elections and the office positions are technically vacant, have even called for an election to fill the position of Chairman for December 17th.

Which is where the rhetoric and activity has gotten both nasty and dangerous.  MCRC Chairman Tom Husband has been the recipient of vitriolic emails accusing him of every malfeasance imaginable and Corbell has cranked his attacks on the Republican Party “to 11”, declaring Arizona Republicans to be the equal of Illinois Democrats “when it comes to corruption”.  Corbell’s assault on the local LD4 GOP appears to be widening to an attack on the County GOP as well as he claims that he has asked for the help of Democrat Attorney General Terry Goddard to “represent LD4 PCs against the Maricopa County Republican Party”.  He also hints that the FBI will be getting involved, that civil rights complaints will be filed with federal authorities, and writes that he has raised with state attorneys “questions as to the way finances of LD4 have been used, and now how MCRC finances are being used.”

Corbell’s accusations and threats have extended to the December 17th meeting that has been called for the election of an LD4 chairman.  Corbell considers the meeting to be illegal and argues that his election is validated because at a special meeting that he called “as chairman”, the attendees “recertified” their own “election”.  But Corbell saves special threats for those who are considering attending the December 17th meeting, as he warns that “for those who do participate in the illegal meeting, a judge can view it as their admission that they, as an elected precinct committeeman have admitted they have broken State Law and not fulfilled their duties to organize and elect all officers by the first Saturday in December.”  He also adds that “The meeting called by the Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman for Dec 17, 2008 that he will chair, to elect one LD-4 officer is illegal.  Participation is such a meeting will join those participants to his illegal actions.”  In other words, stick with me or else I’m coming after you too, and I’m bringing my new BFF Terry Goddard.

The escalating rants from Corbell have been extremely unsettling to many PCs in LD4, some of whom only recently became PCs.  The destruction promised by Phil Corbell should he not get his way makes volunteering to help a political party a very unattractive proposition, so concern among GOP hierarchy is evident for what kind of damage Corbell might do to the GOP’s grassroots in LD4.  Corbell has already been censured by the MCRC EGC and penalized by a loss of his PC voting rights and rights to carry proxies at MCRC events as a result of prior acts against the party, but he continues to agitate within his own legislative district.

Another negative side effect is that most of Corbell’s base of support has been coming from those PCs aligned with Ron Paul.  Corbell, and to a lesser extent former LD4 Chairman Lyle Tuttle, has convinced many in this group to follow him, and as the road gets rockier and nastier, many in the this group may finally be realizing that their reputations are getting sullied by being associated with Corbell.  This is unfortunate as most within this group would otherwise feel right at home with the extremely conservative groups that populate LD4.

Several questions remain concerning Corbell’s antics.  It appears to be a federal crime to give false information to a federal employee (like a judge) in order to convince them to do something they should not otherwise be doing (like swearing in people who are not entitled to be sworn in).  Whether there are state or county statutes that apply to Justices of the Peace is unknown.

According to GOP sources, it also appears that Phil Corbell has twice attempted to carry and vote the proxy of a dead man.  Once, he even succeeded.  There may be legal penalties for knowingly presenting and voting legal instruments that are so obviously invalid.

For now, attention will be on the reorganizational meeting being held on December 17th.

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.