Archives for July 2009

Gabrielle Giffords Puts Fundraising Ahead of Accountability

Bravo Zulu to the Arizona Republican Party for putting this ad out showing the callousness of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

I suppose when you’re married to an astronaut, intergalactic connections come in handy.

Read The Bill!

This is a critical week when it comes to federal legislation – in particular, health care. The federal government, under the control of liberal members of Congress and the Obama Administration are on a mission to take over yet another area of our lives.

The organization I work with, Americans for Prosperity, is beginning a campaign this week that targets members of Congress who’s modus operandi lately has been to vote “Yay” on anything Nancy Pelosi tells them to – even if it means NOT reading the legislation. In the days leading up to the upcoming August break, Madam Pelosi may again try to thrust a vote on members of Congress before they return to their districts and begin to hear from their actual bosses, we the people.

Patients United Now, a project of AFP, has released the following ad which asks members of Congress, “Did you read the bill?”

With 1/6th of the economy at stake, Arizona’s five congressional Democrats ought to put HR 3200 on their Required Reading List. And I would encourage you to contact each of their offices and remind them who they work for and that reading legislation is part of their job requirement.

 

A Little Pre-Battle Humor

Conservatives have a huge week ahead battling the onslaught of liberalism gone takeover.

Here’s a little humor with a dash of sarcasm and facetiousness as we ramp up for the battle

Republic rebukes SCA for non-disclosure of contributors, but ignores liberal organizations doing the same thing

Note – Sonoran Alliance was asked to print this since the Republic refused to print it.

Guest Op-ed
by Timothy La Sota

Last Thursday The Arizona Republic ran an editorial heralding the release of the names of people who gave money that was ultimately used to boost Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection chances last November. (“PAC donors were deputies, friends of Arpaio,” 7/16/09). This was the second editorial the Republic devoted to promoting full disclosure in this matter.

The Republic is correct that our laws require the filing of campaign finance reports, which let the public know who is giving money to elected. It’s just too bad the Republic’s commitment to campaign openness is newfound—they have not applied the same standard with regard to those the Republic agrees with.

Several years ago a group called Mainstream Arizona formed, with the goal of ridding the world, or at least the Legislature, of conservative Republicans. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from community elites and spent it on their candidates, many of whom were also supported by the Republic.

But the group refused to register as a political committee and file campaign finance reports. Eventually they were forced to pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Attorney General’s office, but that was after the election.

Oddly enough, the Republic did not get into a lather over the lack of disclosure from Mainstream Arizona.

In 2008, opponents of the employer sanctions law pushed a ballot initiative that would have gutted that law. The misnamed ballot initiative, Stop Illegal Hiring, was funded largely by a group called Wake up Arizona. The backers of Stop Illegal Hiring refused to name Wake up Arizona’s donors, leaving the public in the dark over who was really funding it.

The Republic, a critic of the employer sanctions law, did not raise a stink about this.

Also in 2008, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce engaged in an effort to boost the election chances of their favored Scottsdale City Council candidates and incumbent Mayor Mary Manross (full disclosure: I work for the current Mayor, who defeated Manross). They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars but refused to name their donors. This matter is the subject of a pending civil complaint.

The Republic largely supported the Chamber’s candidates, but what’s more troubling is the role the Republic played in this political campaign. The Republic is a member of the Scottsdale Area Chamber, and sits on the Chamber’s executive board of directors, which presumably approved this political campaign.

The Republic made hardly a peep about the lack of full disclosure here, including about the Republic’s own role in this campaign.

By law, all these groups should have disclosed their contributors, and the Republic should come clean about what role they played in the political efforts of the Scottsdale Area Chamber.

But one thing is clear. When the Republic writes a breathless editorial demanding that another person or group disclose something, here’s what they really mean: full disclosure is good, except when it involves disclosure about the Republic’s own campaign activities, or campaign activities on behalf of those causes the Republic supports.
___________________
Timothy La Sota is the chief of staff to the Mayor of Scottsdale and former Special Assistant County Attorney

CAP Opposes Racetracks’ Bailout Campaign

Despite state legislators giving a resounding NO to gambling expansion during the regular session, proponents of expanded gambling have launched a new and more aggressive (and expensive!) public relations campaign to try to convince legislators, the Governor, and the public that casino-style gambling should be allowed off-reservation at racetracks. Because their revenues are down, the racetracks are asking the Legislature to bail them out with a proposal that would “help any racetrack in the country stay in business.” Gambling proponents promise a quick, easy way for the state to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars – but there’s much of the story they’re not telling.
 
First, allowing off-reservation gambling will trigger the “poison pill” of the gambling compacts the state has with the tribes, which means the current limits on the number of casinos and games on Indian reservations will be blown open. Arizona could look like the next Las Vegas with very few real limits on casino gambling. Already we see signs that other entertainment establishments will press for casino-style gambling if the caps are off and the tracks get casinos.
 
Second, gambling revenues nationally are spiraling downward, yet the racetracks allege they could produce $500 million and up in state revenue if legislators only would let them have slot machines and table games. Gambling is not recession proof! Lotteries and commercial gambling are declining, with casino owners filing for bankruptcy or selling casinos. People needing jobs don’t have discretionary income to waste on gambling.
 
Next, studies repeatedly show that gambling’s economic and social effects are negative, not positive. Gambling leads to increased rates of crime, divorce, domestic violence, and a host of other social ills!  Professor John Kindt of the University of Illinois estimates that for every $1 in gambling revenue, the state must spend an additional $3 in social services and law enforcement.
 
Lastly, don’t be fooled! Gambling expansion is not inevitable. In fact, the national trends show a decrease in gambling revenue, a decrease in popularity, and a decrease in gambling expansion.
 
Desperate state budget woes do not call for desperate action based on questionable promises of increased gambling revenue. In the CAP 2008 Voter’s Guide, fifteen senators and thirty-five representatives stated they would oppose allowing slots and table games off reservations. We have every expectation these members will keep their word and defeat any gambling expansion proposals. Additionally, while running for Secretary of State, Gov. Brewer answered a similar survey question in our 2006 Voter’s Guide stating that she opposed allowing slots and table games off reservations. We are continuing to work to ensure that those commitments to you, the voters, are kept and that gambling expansion is not included in any budget agreement. For more information on gambling, visit our resource page Gambling Expansion in Arizona.

Citizen Action Grows as Federal Takeover Flounders

by Gayle Plato, M. Ed.
Grayhawk Country Club sits in Northeast Phoenix, upper middle class homes, and lots of active voters. Americans For Prosperity (AFP) hosted a town hall open forum last night attended by 200-300 local citizens. AFP hosts town halls all over Arizona as do other watchdog groups. Dr. Byron Schlomach of the Goldwater Institute, a patients’ rights advocate Dr. Lee Vliet, along with AZ Representative Sam Crump and Senator Jack Harper, frankly discussed Arizona’s budget, education issues, and the evolution of Obama’s health care plan.
At about 8:30 pm last night, an elderly man, leaning on a cane, lunged from his seat, yelling like an umpire ready to toss a coach. He exploded at the liberal lady next to me.  At least thirty other attendees followed his lead with raised voices.  The audience was predominantly older people, community staples, men and women on Medicare or soon to be with a deep respect for the law.  These people played by the rules, and worked hard raising families. The man’s outburst was not an isolated incident. Dogmatic liberals tried talking points on taxpaying elders and worried baby boomers who have had it, they are mad as hell, and not going to take it any more.
I’ve been at a number of political actions: social meetings, city council sessions, school board heated debates, local community group caucusing, and the tea parties. Debate and frustration is the norm.  Last night was unusual; the tea party vibe grows as we see ineptitude and political thievery.  My specialty in counseling is group therapy for at-risk teens; I’m wired to hear agitation as my job in group sessions is to talk down raging teens and help guide the process to solution.  But most people who are scared, feeling cornered need to emotionally dump, throwing off the oppressiveness. This room was throbbing with a tone of fear.
As the Congressional debate goes back and forth regarding this vote, this Obamacare crisis of control, people cannot give in.  Dr. Lee Vliet gave the most cogent advice: keep the pressure on by calling and writing to all elected officials, and attend the rallies ( See information regarding Code Blue #2- http://arizonateaparty.ning.com/http://arizonateaparty.ning.com/).  Make every effort to announce your vote is in tact.  You vote will go to the just leaders and will swiftly be cast against the misguided gaming of liberal power machine politicians. There are many state and national watchdog, political action organizations pooling efforts; the Congress is feeling the heat and the pressure matters.
There is proof that the liberal leaders are cracking:

“The seven Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee stormed out of a Friday meeting with their committee chairman, Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), saying Waxman had been negotiating in bad faith over a number of provisions Blue Dogs demanded be changed in the stalled healthcare bill.”

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/house-healthcare-talks-break-down-in-anger-2009-07-24.html

Congressional Republicans have come together around a common message. It’s critical to honor the message, delivering it so the average person feels validated.  Top Presidential advisers David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel held a closed door meeting, as they knew the Republicans were not giving up easily.

The brilliant memo,  scaring the libs, was by pollster Dr. Frank Luntz.  He deserves a thank you note from all conservatives if this Obamacare bill flounders.  The recommendations of this message rattled the cage to the point that liberal spin doctor of the Clintonian years, Paul Begala, was called in to write a strange and desperate rebuttal.

Please see the link from Hannity on FOX TV for Dr. Luntz’ recent appearance regarding the key points all Americans and leaders need to consider when talking about the fears of single-pay health care. This is a compelling review because Dr. Luntz doesn’t just talk of his view or how he heard this or that. He brings the facts, he tabulates the views, and offers cutting edge insight about people’s worries. He is the one who has turned this around, and instrumentally tailored the cohesive message of the conservative fight against Obamacare. The subtle message is that the average citizen does matter and civil debate, standing up for beliefs can still affect change in this democracy.

Supt. Tom Horne – Conservative Leadership, More Than Just Talk

Superintendent Tom HorneThe mark of the intelligent person is that he or she never stops learning. Ronald Reagan, Phil Gramm, John Connally, Bob Stump, Jeff Sessions, Bill Bennett, and Jean Kirkpatrick were all Democrats, but were wise enough to become Republicans later in life.Why did they make this switch? Because like me, anyone who has had his eyes and ears open during the latter half of the 20th century has learned that markets work much better than governments. Additionally, a serious student of history realizes that no nation can succeed without strong families, strong law enforcement, an atmosphere of patriotism, strong national defense, a strong work ethic, and respect for high standards and high achievement. These have been the conservative principles that have guided me in public office.

Conservative leadership has been more than just talk for me. I have actually implemented conservative principles in Arizona:

  1. Established tough disciplinary standards and required character education for students;
  2. Brought back traditional American history in schools and exposed “ethnic studies” as liberal propaganda;
  3. Promoted excellence in education and held schools, teachers and students accountable for results;
  4. Voted to reduce taxes, promote law enforcement and limit abortion (I voted to ban partial birth abortion and require parental consent with a rape exception); and
  5. Permanently banned bi-lingual education

Starting from my days as a school board member and now as Superintendent of Public Education, I have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education in Arizona. As a school board president, I established some of the toughest disciplinary standards in the state and believe that this played a major role in our district’s academic success, as discipline begets academic achievement. Excessively disruptive students who interfered with the academic progress of others were no longer tolerated in the classroom and were removed. Facing less distraction, student test scores improved. As state superintendent, I promote these principles statewide.

I also established the first character education program in the state. As important as it is to graduate students who are academically capable, it is equally important to graduate students of high character who will improve the community.

As a candidate for Superintendent, I promised to bring back the traditional teaching of American history in schools. That is a promise kept. The chief historian of The History Channel recognized Arizona’s accomplishments and stated at a press conference that Arizona’s new history standards are “head and shoulders” above the other 49 states.

In my efforts to ensure equal opportunity education for all students, I exposed ‘ethnic studies’ in Tucson, in which students were divided by race, and Latino students were taught a Marxist agenda, including that they live in occupied Mexico, and are ‘oppressed.’ These classes proved detrimental to the students’ academic development and hindered their progress in school. My bill to ban these classes passed the Senate Judiciary committee on a party line vote, and we hope it will pass the legislature next year.

I have emphasized academic rigor in our classrooms because academic excellence fosters strong intellectual development. Test scores have soared while wasteful spending in school budgets has been reduced. Bureaucracy has been cut and has allowed more money to reach our students.

I supported using the AIMS test as a barometer of students’ academic potential and preparedness to maintain the value and integrity of an Arizona high school diploma and ensure that students graduating from Arizona public schools deserve their diplomas. A high school diploma must carry some meaning. It should not be just a piece of paper.

I also have the distinction of being the only statewide elected official to stand up to the ultra liberal Center for Law in the Public Interest and win for the taxpayers of Arizona. In the case of Horne v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with our office and held that it is we the people, through our elected representatives, who decide how much we spend, not an aristocracy of federal judges. Governor Napolitano, Attorney General Goddard and much of the liberal establishment opposed this move, but we won, saved Arizonans $21 million in fines, and established our state’s right to make education decisions.

As a member of the legislature, I took a strong stance against excessive taxation and voted to cut personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, vehicle license taxes, and property taxes. I supported law enforcement, which is essential to maintaining order in any civilized society.

I have also voted to ban partial birth abortion and to require parental consent for teenage abortions with a rape exception. As attorney general, I would be 100% committed to enforce any pro life bill that is or becomes law.

When I ran for Superintendent, I dared to tell the truth-bilingual education doesn’t work and only hurts those it is intended to help. I said I would end it, and that is exactly what we did. As a result, learning among Hispanic students has gone up, exactly as we predicted.

You need to have an Attorney General who will win the cases he should win. You need that so that taxpayers will be protected so that we are safe in our homes, so that we minimize the impact of federal malpractice on our borders. It requires the ability to bring professional development and technology to the Attorney General’s office, so that trial attorneys there will be winners. Winning cases for the taxpayers requires an Attorney General who is respected by the judiciary, which makes the decisions. To receive respect, you must give respect.

Arizona has been plagued with liberal political lawyers who had no substantial private practice or courtroom experience before becoming Attorney General. As an attorney with 30 years of trial experience and a history of winning important cases, I would bring a high level of experience winning important cases to the position. But most importantly, I would bring experience not just talking about conservative principles, but actually implementing them.

If I run, and am elected, I would be a different kind of Attorney General, one who would not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. No fake conservative rhetoric-instead it would be the real deal. If you have any doubt, look at what I have done over the last seven years as Superintendent of Schools. It’s not talk – it’s action, and hundreds of thousands of Arizona students and their families are better off for it.

PR: Wendy Rogers Announces for LD-17 Senate

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2009

Wendy Rogers, Lt Col USAF (retired) announced her run today for State Senate in District 17 which is comprised of most of Tempe and south Scottsdale.

Currently Rogers and her family own a small business in Tempe which has 11 employees and has been in business since 1997. She also owns a commercial office building on Rural Rd with 7 other tenants. Rogers has lived in the Valley for the past 12 years. She came here after retiring from a 20-year career in the Air Force and was one of the first 100 women pilots in the Air Force, having undergone Air Force Pilot Training at Williams AFB AZ which is now Phoenix Gateway Airport. She also served as Development Director for Tempe Preparatory Academy.

Rogers is running on a platform of “Work hard. Follow through”. Her priorities are to

  1. Create jobs
  2. Improve schools
  3. Reduce crime.

As a small business owner she will work hard to reduce government regulation now stifling small business productivity. For schools she believes in follow-through with more local control and better financial stewardship of funds. Rogers says working harder to incentivize small businesses to create more employment opportunity would go a long way to promoting personal responsibility and thus reducing crime.

Rogers and her husband have two children, both ASU scholarship recipients, the older of whom was just commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and will soon be off to Pilot Training.

Her campaign website is www.WendyRogers.org for those interested in getting involved.

County Supervisors: Do as we say, not as we do

Here are some excerpts from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ latest million dollar “CLEAN AIR MAKE MORE” advertising campaign.  They are sending people these email messages even though they are in the process of building a $347 million dollar court tower downtown, which will send regional courts downtown creating more driving for people coming from Mesa who would have formerly only driven to the Mesa court, increasing congestion and pollution downtown. Wasting your tax dollars on useless environmental campaigns they defeat by ignoring themselves.

Take Action
• Refuel after dark
Eliminate all unnecessary driving and/or combine trips
• Carpool or ride the bus
• Do not use gas powered lawn or garden equipment
• Learn more about air pollution at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com
• To find a carpool or vanpool visit www.ValleyMetro.org or call 602.253.5000

Trip Coordinators
Due to unhealthy levels of Ozone, Trip Coordinators are encouraged to email employees and activate your HPA plans. The Maricopa County Air Quality Department encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation, especially when pollution levels are expected to be on the rise.

Remind employees that they are encouraged to make more clean air. By taking small, simple steps every day, we can all make a difference. Additional tips on how to reduce air pollution can be found at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com.

What is Natural Law and How Does It Effect Handguns?

by Judge Gerald A. Williams
North Valley Justice of the Peace

The concept of natural law has returned and become a part of public debate. In its most basic form, a belief in natural law is a belief that everyone is entitled at birth to a set of natural rights that guarantee their personal safety and property. Such rights are fundamental and cannot be restricted by individuals or even by governments. Not surprisingly, this idea is not without controversy.

In the United States, the best known declaration of natural law theory is in our founding document. Our Declaration of Independence states simply and poetically: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The U.S. Supreme Court relied heavily on natural law concepts in the recent case of District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008). That case concerned a gun ban in Washington, D.C., that was extreme by any definition.

The D.C. handgun ban made it a crime to carry an unregistered firearm and the registration of handguns was prohibited. Mr. Heller was a court security officer at the Federal Judicial Center. He was required to have a handgun at work; but was not allowed to have one at home.

In Heller, the Supreme Court adopted a natural law argument and agreed, by a 5 to 4 vote, that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, restated pre-existing rights and that those rights exist with or without the Constitution. The majority believed that the Second Amendment protects an individual fundamental right to keep and to bear arms, including handguns, for lawful purposes.

But what about the “well regulated Militia” language in the Second Amendment? Doesn’t that limit individual rights? The short answer is no. The Second Amendment guarantees rights to “the people,” not to an army. If it is a collective right, then what would that right be? Some have argued that the right guaranteed in the Second Amendment really means that individuals have the right to join the military. Such an argument is absurd in part because military members neither pick their own weapons nor need a Constitutional right to carry them.

Others have claimed that the militia language really refers to the modern national guard; but a militia and the national guard are not the same thing. Many states have militia statutes that basically make everyone a member. Arizona’s Constitution declares that everyone between the ages of 18 and 45 is a member of the state militia. In contrast, the Arizona Army National Guard is a uniformed armed force that has both a federal and state mission. A guard unit generally reports to its state’s governor; but it can be mobilized and placed under federal control.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is perhaps no accident that the right to life, which includes the inherent right of self-defense, is first on this list. While many modern day Americans might find natural law arguments troubling, they were certainly clear to the gentlemen who founded our great nation. John Adams reportedly stated the following.

“Many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries even before parliament existed. We have a right to them, derived from our Maker. . . . Liberty is not based on the doctrine that a few nobles have a right to inherit the earth. . . . It stands on this principle, that the meanest and lowest of the people are by the unalterable indefeasible laws of God and nature as well entitled to the benefit of the air to breathe, light to see, food to eat and clothes to wear as the nobles or the king. That is liberty and liberty will reign in America.”

Judge Williams is the presiding justice of the peace for the Northwest Regional Court Center. His column appears monthly in The Foothills Focus