Archives for February 2011

Representative Dan Schottel (1935-2011)

One of the true conservative gentlemen who had a influence on my early political life passed away this last Friday.

Daniel H. Schottel was a friend, a mentor and someone who stood unwavering on conservative principles.

When I ran for the Arizona Legislature in 1994, Dan was the one who shepherded me around introducing me to everyone and bragging I was going to be his only southern Arizona conservative seatmate. He really took me under his wing and kept a watchful eye over me.

But Dan was more than just a mentor, he was someone who knew what he believed and stood his ground. Some of my memories of him include watching him serve on the Education Committee as Chairman and keeping the AEA on the defense and pushing for parental rights and school choice.

One fond memory I have of Dan Schottel was a train ride we took from Benson to the ghost town of Charleston in southern Arizona. As the train made its way down the tracks and back in time, Dan stood looking out the window at the passing scenery. In those moments, he appeared to me like John Wayne watching over the train’s passengers.

Dan is survived by his wife Eileen and children and an abundance of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Thank you Dan for your service and having an impact on many of us. Rest in peace.

Here is his obituary which appeared in the Arizona Daily Star:

Daniel Herman Schottel 75 went home to his Lord and Savior on February 18, 2011, while surrounded by his family. Daniel was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 10, 1935. After serving in the United States Air Force, he moved to Tucson in 1957. He worked in finance and food sales before opening several small businesses Dan was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1992 where he served for eight years. The highlights of his career were serving as Chairman of Education and being appointed by the governor to the Western Interstate Commission for higher Education. in 1995. Dan is survived by his wife, Eileen; son, Carl (Jackie); daughters, Stacey and Kathe (Louis) Jahn along with six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and sister, Gloria King. Dan was preceded in death by his son, Daniel Jr. Daniel (AKA “Pops”) was a strong loyal friend who valued honesty and respect. His sense of humor and love will be deeply missed by everyone he touched. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, February 25, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite educational program. Arrangements by ADAIR FUNERAL HOME, Dodge Chapel.

Arizona Needs Bold Pension Reform Plan

by Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute

If termites were eating your house, would you do what it takes to stop the damage, or would you sweep the termites’ trails off your foundation and pretend the problem doesn’t exist?

Unfortunately, the latter appears to be the strategy some lawmakers want to follow in dealing with Arizona’s woefully under-funded government employee pensions.

In 2003, all levels of government contributed $200 million to retirement systems for government workers. Last year, they contributed $1.1 billion. That’s an increase of $370 per Arizona household, adjusted for population growth. Paying for pensions is squeezing out spending on other budget areas, such as organ transplants for low-income people, public schools, and city services like libraries and parks.

The annual reports of the state’s four government employee retirement funds tell the tale. Contribution rates from taxpayers and employees will have to rise yearly for years to come, and even then the funds will get weaker before they get stronger.

It doesn’t have to be this way. A bill that makes only modest reforms to the state pension system barely passed a state House committee recently. Lawmakers must move ahead with this package of reforms, but they must not stop there. Arizona can stop digging its pension hole by acting more boldly, following lawmakers in Alaska and Michigan with a long-term strategy to provide retirement benefits without putting taxpayers at risk.

All new government employees should be placed in a 401(k) retirement plan with taxpayers only responsible for funding regular, annual contributions. If Arizona governments were making the average private-sector contributions to 401(k) retirement plans, the savings to all governments would amount to $800 million per year.

In the end, the ultimate goals of reforming the pension systems should be three-fold: create certainty in the budgeting process; give government employees control of their own financial futures; and prevent yet-to-be-born taxpayers from having to pay for other people’s retirements.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.

Learn More:

Arizona State Retirement System: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports

Public Safety Personnel Retirement System: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports

Michigan Office of Retirement Services: Two Plans for State Employees

Alaska Department of Administration: Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

JD Hayworth on The Savage Nation Tonight!

That’s right! JD Hayworth will be filling in for Michael Savage tonight. If you plan on listening, tune in to KFYI-550 AM at 7 PM.

And if you want to tune in now (live on KSTE) and ask him questions, click here. You can also call in at (800) 449-8255.

To follow JD on Facebook, click here.

Show Me the Money… And I’ll Show You Someone Who Opposes Probate Court Reform!

PART ONE

1. Publicly Paid Lobbyists AKA Legislative Liaisons:  These folks move about from legislative office to office, wearing the cloak of the courts.  Invoking their bosses “The Supremes”, not to be confused with Diana, Mary and Florence, they are never denied access. They work on the public dole but in the case of probate reform, are anything but publicly minded.

Speaking in committee last week they gushed over SB1499 as the answer to all the courts woes.  Unfortunately, after the testimony of the multiple citizens who waited for hours to testify, 1499 was lambasted as ineffective, failed to come close to meeting the serious needs of the public, and ultimately described by Sen. Linda Gray as nothing more than a vehicle to amend in hopes of offering true reform.

The next day in the House, same story, different verse.  SB1499 is great, HB2424 is an intrusion of the legislature into the courts and should not pass.  Then the PEOPLE spoke.  It passed.

DRAT!  Good thing for these folks that they work for the pay-check fairy, AKA the government, and do not have to worry about how the money to pay them is provided.  Someone should tell them…”You know those folks who just stood in line for over an hour to register on the kiosk, then waited another couple of hours to testify, then came back to do it again the next day, taking time off of their jobs to be heard.  THEY PAY THE TAXES THAT PAY YOUR SALARY. AND PAY, AND PAY, AND PAY! THEY ARE THE REASON THE COURTS EXIST.”  That may be a new tune to The Supremes!  

2. Court Ordered Fiduciaries AKA bottom feeders…OK, not all of them: Assigned to care for those the courts deemed incapacitated, it is a darn good gig.  It’s a well paying “Job For Life”, and by life, I mean the life of the latest victim…um..er…client or until said client runs out of money, whichever comes first.  And if you think the re-stocking fee on returned merchandise at the local big box store is bad, try saying “Thanks, but no thanks” to the court’s choice of fiduciary.  If things aren’t right and you have hopes of getting a replacement, you better be ready to pay big time! 

They will defend their appointment and the right to keep your account (that is what you really are, an account) in court with THEIR high-priced lawyers and ….TA-DA—YOU PAY FOR IT!  Yep, you pay for their lawyer to tell the court why you should not be allowed to get another fiduciary.  No worries, it should only run you a few hundred thousand for their bill.  That’s part of the beauty of SB1499, it cements the stranglehold the courts and fiduciaries have over your future making it even harder to escape their grips.  HB2424, the bill written to respond to the outrageous but true accounts of current probate practice would allow the change once a year without the burden of proof being put on the “account”, or the entity formerly known as a private citizen with rights.   

AH HECK, what’s a few bedsores or broken hips, might as well stay with them.  Even if they are sucking you dry to open your mail, by the time you fight the B-ST-R-S in court, you will be broke anyway.  Either way sooner or later, you’re in the state system.  For this you saved all those years?  Maybe blowing it at the Casino wasn’t such a bad idea after all!

STAY TUNED FOR PART II: Activist Judges and Millionaire Attorneys…

Arizona Education Association advocating for Wisconsin public employees

With all the debate and discussion taking place over public employee protests in Wisconsin, I thought I’d take a look at the Arizona Education Association website to see what the teachers’ union in Arizona thought about the situation in Wisconsin.

Here is what you get when you go to their website:

Now correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that part of the AEA’s mission was “to make Arizona’s public schools the best they can be.”

So I guess my question is why is the Arizona Education Association advocating and supporting the Wisconsin Education Association Council using Arizona resources?

Time To Stand Up To The Feds On Voting Rights

by Clint Bolick
Goldwater Institute

One of the most abusive assaults on Arizona sovereignty is one of the least-known: the inclusion of Arizona among a handful of states subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Section 5 requires covered jurisdictions—mostly deep-South states—to get approval beforehand from the U.S. Justice Department for every legal change that might affect an election. That means every tiny adjustment by any government entity within these states must comply with this costly and cumbersome procedure, including election locations, voter registration forms, property annexations, and the like.

Arizona was roped into the requirement through a 1975 Voting Rights Act amendment that extended protection to people who speak a foreign language. The law outlived its purpose long ago—the Justice Department approves 999 out of every 1,000 pre-clearances—but the federal government continues to put Arizona in an undeserved penalty box.

Governor Jan Brewer has encouraged Arizona local governments to “bail out” of coverage under Section 5. With statewide redistricting looming, the potential costs and burdens for complying with Section 5 will be enormous.

Jurisdictions may opt out of Section 5 if they’ve had no voting rights complaints for 10 years. But it requires asking permission from a federal court in Washington, D.C. The cost of hundreds of local governments doing so would be hefty.

Here’s a better idea: The state should challenge the constitutionality of Section 5 as it applies to Arizona. In a 2009 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court nearly struck down Section 5, opting instead to allow a utility district to bail out.

The case for placing Arizona in the penalty box was flimsy in the first place; today it is nonexistent and a serious affront to federalism. At the same time, striking down Section 5 would leave intact other voting rights protections that apply everywhere in the country.

We have offered to represent Secretary of State Ken Bennett for free in such a challenge, and made the same offer to Jan Brewer when she occupied that post. Neither one has accepted. But the offer still stands.

Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

Learn More:

Office of the Governor: Four Cornerstones of Reform

U.S. Supreme Court: Northwest Austin Municipal Utility Dist. No. 1 v. Holder

East Valley Tribune: Permission required

E-Verify is a Tool to Stop Illegals, Right? FALSE

  Wait, isn’t e-Verify central to stopping illegals?

Well, no, stopping them at the border STOPS illegals.

Then won’t e-Verify stop illegals by not letting them get jobs?

That’s the claim, except for a couple of important points:

1) e-Verify, or in other words, “Automated Employment Eligibility Verification”, was actually the brainchild of the Council on Foreign Relations, otherwise known as the OPEN BORDERS GLOBALIST LOBBY!  (Click here to read for yourself.)

How can that be you ask?  Well, it’s central to their cross-border CANAMEXUS “labor mobility” plan.

They know that once everyone is in the work database (really the US Department of Homeland Security national id database for which e-Verify is just a user front end), that as soon as “open borders” passes, they simply flip the switch from Mexican Citizen eligible = N to Mexican Citizen eligible = Y, and VOILA, the 21 million illegals go from e-Verify clearance NO to YES …. OVERNIGHT!!!!

(Betcha Kris Kobach of FAIR who wrote SB1070 didn’t tell you about that part.  Oh, should we mention that Kris Kobach is a former lawyer for the US Department of Homeland Security who is building the national id database?)

2) The only way e-Verify works in the first place is if they have the records BEFOREHAND of everyone who is “supposed to be here”.  Well, how does the federal government get that information?  Hmmm…..

(See I Dont Care Who you Are The Government Does)

The STATES give it to them!  The states turn over their drivers license and birth certificate databases to the US Department of Homeland Security so the feds can construct a massive national id database on all US citizens.

Yes, but didn’t Arizona defeat REAL ID?  Sure, but REAL ID is only 1 of 100 or more national id programs.  In Arizona, one of the only parts of SB1070 left standing after the federal judge ruling was the section that GUESS WHAT!!!!! turned over all state citizens’ private license data (for any license), including all UNIQUE IDENTIFIERS over to GUESS WHOM??? the US Department of Homeland Security to put in their national id database!  (Betcha Russell Pearce didn’t tell you about that little detail!)

Anyway, is it any surpise the feds are doing this?  They’ve been at it for over a decade.  Too bad the teapartiers weren’t paying attention as “conservatives” they were supporting sold out their privacy,  sovereignity, and birthright to the feds for some silver pieces (attention in the media).

3) Now we have this… Of course, it was an inevitability.  CITIZENS’ BIOMETRICS NEEDED for E-VERIFY to WORK

To make e-Verify “really work”, we’re going to have to pony up the most private of private data, our personal bio-metrics to the feds to put in their national id database, including our HANDS (finger prints) and our FORHEADS (facial recognition technology). 

See Security Industry Assoiation Recommends Biometric Authentication for Federal E-Verify Programme

Are our “conservatives” like Pearce and Adams going to tell us that us law abiding citizens have to give up MORE to the feds to “stop illegals”?   

(By the way have you noticed how those you thought were “conservatives” have stopped calls to secure the ACTUAL BORDER?  Weird right?)

Summary

Real conservatives, in other words, those who are religious and opposing the mark as well as those who have never wavered from wanting smaller government, less government intrusion, lower spending and lower taxes have been sold out by false conservatives who use the illegal immigration issue as cover to push their agenda of larger government, more police power over law abiding citizens and to implement national id.

The teaparty should take note. 

Smaller government is NOT bigger government and bigger government is NOT smaller government.

Further the way you secure the border NOW is PUTTING ARIZONAS NATIONAL GUARD THERE.  Not putting all law abiding citizens into the US Department of Homeland Security’s national id database.

Don’t let this happen at YOUR State Capitol!

If you don’t believe this could happen in Arizona, take a look at these photos of the last public employees protest that took place at Arizona’s Capitol:

The good news for Arizona conservatives and taxpayers is that many are now connected to the TEA Party network. When these photos were taken, it was January 2009 and the TEA Party Movement was weeks away from starting. It wasn’t until April 15, 2009 that Arizona taxpayers showed up at the Capitol to speak up for their rights. (see Tea Party rally below)

The lesson to be taken from this? If you’re not engaged in a TEA Party, this is an encouragement to get involved.

Don’t let what’s going on in Wisconsin happen here in Arizona!

Arizona Tea Party

THE COURTS vs. THE PEOPLE Round 1: THE PEOPLE!

The Arizona State Legislature was busy as bills had to be heard in their chamber of origin by the end of the week. Among them, the competing versions of attempts at probate reform. 

DAY ONE: SB1499 sponsored by Sen. Adam Driggs, R-LD11, the product of the court committee on probate reform.  The committee, made up entirely of judges, attorneys and fiduciaries and without even one public member, was charged with “reform” after the press began to report the travesty of justice experienced by many who have entered the hallowed halls of the courts.  Sen. Driggs said in testimony that “85% of cases go well, but we only hear about the 15% that don’t.”

An observer in the audience had this to say,

85% compliance is good if you are among the 85%.  But if our murder rate was 15% would they find that acceptable?”

Jon Kitchel said in testimony,

SB 1499 is full of feel-good language but does very little to improve the system.”  

Kitchel, identified himself before the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Human Services as an attorney who “does not represent fiduciaries but works for wards”. 

Amy Love, lobbyist for the courts, spoke to the merits of the bill and was followed by Justice Ann Timmer who expounded on certain aspects.  They were followed by Susan Bitter-Smith, lobbyist for the Elder Law attorney group and Jay Polk who support the bill. 

Then the people spoke. And spoke.  And spoke. 

Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, and Kitchel spoke in opposition.  The reality of the courts played out before the committee that seemed very confused at the completely different perceptions portrayed between the court spokespersons and the people who actually have lived through the process.

  • Admittance of hearsay as sufficient evidence to keep a family in a costly legal battle for almost 2 years without an evidentiary hearing or an investigative report.
  • Court ordered physician evaluations when an existing evaluation exists, multiple doctors surveyed before a singular finding of incapacitation is rendered, with that evaluation used for the purpose of the court.
  • Refusal of the court to uphold established directives.  Legal Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney, and other legal directives are discarded with the courts inserting paid, private fiduciaries instead at the cost of millions to estates.
  • Extreme cost of restoring one’s rights or to request a change of fiduciary. The fiduciary may use the funds from the ward’s estate to maintain and defend their position.
  • Detrimental care of wards under a fiduciary when families are legally restricted from contact with the ward.  

The final speaker shook the committee and the crowded, standing room only audience.  Clair Di Pardo was named guardian in her mother’s directives, only to be dismissed by the court and replaced by Sun Valley Group (SVG).  Ms. Di Pardo showed photos of her mother just prior to being placed in a care home at the order of SVG. Restricted from visiting her mother because of her objections to the placement, four months went by without seeing her mother.  When she did, what she found was horrifying.  Showing photos of her mother’s condition to the committee, an inches large stage four bed sore that had invaded tissue to the bone and another on her heel that was turning black with no antibiotics are pain medicine being given in the care home.  Septic and dying, she had to be hospitalized to recover.  The cost of this care, $500,000.

In attempting to have her mother released from the court, she has had 9 judges or commissioners in 31 months.  

Members questioned Ms. Di Pardo then requested Judge Timmer return.  Clearly confused as to how the system could allow such a condition to occur, Sen. Gray asked the judge to explain.  Judge Timmer said she was aware of the case and gave some explanations such as judicial rotation.      

Then the vote…To a person the committee agreed the bill was insufficient and did not go far enough, stated the information they had heard from the public was compelling and demanded further review of need, and requested input from the public for the future of the bill to be successful in meeting that need.  The bill passed with only Sen. Landrum-Taylor voting no due to her belief the bill was seriously flawed in meeting the needs of the court and to protect the public.

DAY TWO: HB2424, the product of a cooperative effort of legislators, private citizens, attorneys for wards, and input from the courts and other stakeholders.  Sponsored by Rep. David Smith, R-LD7, this bill is opposed by those that support the Senate bill.

Amy Love, on behalf of the court, asked the committee to stop this bill and support the Senate bill.

The testimony of citizens, all impacted by the current implementation of the law, proceeded.  Many of the same issues were raised as in the Senate committee, however people spoke in support of HB2424 and to the remedies it provides.

The final speaker was Brad Lund.  The grandson of Walt Disney, at the age of 40 he is fighting to avoid being placed under the care of a guardian after a disgruntled distant family member filed the action with the courts.  He stated his battle has gone on for 16 months, no evidence of need has ever been offered, hearsay is the only evidence ever submitted to the court, no court investigation has ever been filed, and to date no doctor has ever declared him to incapacitated.  When asked by House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Eddie Farnsworth about the cost of his legal defense, Mr. Lund answered, “Over a million dollars.”

Farnsworth concluded as he voted referencing the courts objections,

We do not make laws for the people who do the right thing but for those that don’t.  There are bad actors in this process and we need to protect the people from the abuses we have heard today.”      

The bill passed the House with 8 “Ayes” and 1 “Present” by Rep. Tom Chabin.

Dean and Dusti

Congratulations to my two friends Dean Martin and Dusti Morris for making the news on AZFamily. But an even bigger congratulations on their upcoming wedding!