Archives for August 2011

Senator Jon Kyl: Stemming the Tide of Red Ink

By Senator Jon Kyl

On August 22, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero announced that Spain would be the latest European country to adopt strict limits on budget deficits and debt. Zapatero, leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, quickly secured backing for the proposal from the opposition conservative People’s Party, which means the budget limits will likely pass through Spain’s parliament by a huge bipartisan margin.

Spain’s move comes in the wake of a wider European movement towards greater fiscal restraint spawned by Germany. In 2009, with a similar wide coalition of conservatives and leftists, the Germans passed the so-called “debt brake”– a constitutional amendment that prohibits a deficit greater than 0.35 percent of GDP (to put this in perspective, our deficit as a percentage of GDP has grown to nearly 25 times as large under President Obama).

Other European economies are now following Germany’s example. France and Italy, for instance, have also proposed similar ideas in recent weeks. With Greece just a short train ride away, these countries now understand the dangers of runaway deficits and debt.

It is about time we enacted something similar here in the United States. For free-spending Europe to be more aggressive on fiscal responsibility than us says less about how far Europe has come than how far we’ve fallen. Indeed, our fiscal position has become very dire. The federal government is now borrowing more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends. Our $14.6 trillion debt will continue to grow at a quickening pace and threaten our economy, our jobs, and the American way of life itself – unless we do something now to stop it.

I personally favor a mechanism to cap spending at a set percentage of GDP. Federal spending today is about 24 percent of GDP, well over the historical average and far more than we can afford as a nation. A more responsible level would be 18 percent. But there are other ways to get at this problem. For instance, as part of the legislation passed in early August to end the impasse over the debt ceiling, Republicans insisted on including a provision that will force Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment by the end of the year. Congress should support it so that the states, through their legislatures, could vote on it.

In the 1990s, the balanced budget amendment came within one vote of the two-thirds margin necessary for passage. This year, Republicans in the Senate are unanimous in support of this common-sense idea, and some Democrats may support it as well.

Recent polling shows support for a federal balanced budget amendment hovering around 75 percent. It’s hard to think of another major policy issue with such broad support across political dividing lines.

At the same time, it’s unfortunate we even need such an amendment. Ideally, elected leaders should simply govern responsibly by making government live within its means. Yet, realistically, we know that will not always be the case.

To be sure, digging out of this fiscal crisis will be difficult – we cannot solve this with one cut, one bill, or even a constitutional amendment. It will take dedication and years of fiscal discipline, but we can get there.

Our European allies are showing us that traditional adversaries on the left and right can come together to enact sensible limits on deficits and debt. While every country will take its own way forward, some with better ideas than others, here in the U.S. it’s past time for us to act in a bipartisan way.

Sen. Jon Kyl is the Senate Republican Whip and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. Visit his website at www.kyl.senate.gov or his YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/senjonkyl.

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City of Phoenix Elections – My Picks

The City of Phoenix Elections are finalized tomorrow with the polls closing at 7 PM. Several people have asked me who I would vote for if I were a resident of Phoenix. Here are my picks and a little advice as the outcome.

Mayor: Jennifer Wright
I have know Jennifer for over a year and believe she is what the City of Phoenix needs right now. She is an extremely hard worker ( worked with her) and there is no doubt in my mind that she would give 110% to the job. She is very conservative and I believe she would be a strong advocate for Phoenix taxpayers. She was the only mayoral candidate who completed and returned the Arizona Taxpayer’s Action Committee candidate questionnaire – which earned her an endorsment. (Disclaimer: I serve on the political action committee.) But a word of healthy caution. While we all like to rally behind our own candidate choices, we must remember that whoever wins tomorrow – and my guess is there will be a runoff – we all need to get behind that candidate in the runoff election.

District 1: Eric Frederick
Eric has worked very hard on this campaign to explain to the voters that he will not be like the current incumbent who voted for CityNorth, the 2% sales tax on food, the water rate hike and budgets that gave the government unions what they want. Hands down, Eric Frederick is the choice for City Council in District 1.

District 2: Jim Waring
I’ve know Jim Waring for several years and his voting record has demonstrated a commitment to taxpayers. Jim has worked extremely hard as a challenger to unseat the incumbent who is the head of one of the biggest government unions. I believe Jim Waring will carry over his strong advocacy for smaller, leaner, more responsive government to the City of Phoenix.

District 3: Bill Gates
Councilman Bill Gates has done a good job while serving on the council. I believe he deserves another term but I also believe he deserves some help in numbers. Both Sal DiCiccio and Bill Gates have done their best to hold back the current council but this election affords the opportunity to strengthen those numbers and get the City of Phoenix back on track.

District 5: Charlie Ellis
Charlie Ellis would make a great addition to the Phoenix Council in a district that has been hurting and requires someone with more of a conservative populist approach to governance. Charlie has worked this campaign hard meeting with a diverse cross section of people across the district. He will add a grassroots voice to the council once elected.

District 7: Janet Contreras
I have also know Janet Contreras for some time now and have seen her in action. Janet would also bring a strong populist, grassroots, citizen-advocate voice to the Phoenix Council. This is just what the City of Phoenix needs at a time when government unions are attempting to extract more money from the taxpayers while people are hurting. Janet deserves your vote.

Proposition 1: VOTE NO
Passage of Proposition 1 will allow the City of Phoenix to circumvent the Arizona Constitution’s limit on government growth. That constitutional provision limits a large portion of city government spending to a population plus growth formula. Every election cycle, cities such as Phoenix, ask the voters to usurp that constitutional limit so that it can actually spend more than the conservative population plus growth formula. Well, it’s on the ballot again. This time, the voters of Phoenix should vote NO on Proposition 1 (more info).

Disclaimer: These are my personal endorsements and not that of Sonoran Alliance (which has not issued any endorsements).

 

Unions Strike Again: Vandalize Messmer Preparatory Catholic in Wisconsin

Following up on our previous report on union violence, a Milwaukee Catholic school comes under attack.

As reported by the Maclver Institute:

“Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, and the students and staff at Messmer Preparatory Catholic School were all targets of an obnoxious protest on Friday, August 26, 2011.

From this report by the MacIver News Service, it is clear the protesters (Union members, socialists, MPS officals, liberal activists) could learn a lot by emulating the behavior of the children inside the school.”

Share this video with your friends and educate them on union violence.

Sonoran Alliance Seeking Conservative Investors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, August 27, 2011
CONTACT: Shane Wikfors (480) 719-0729

Phoenix, AZ – Sonoran Alliance announced today that it is seeking business investors to further develop, enhance and ultimately monetize the website as a for-profit outlet delivering political news and opinion in Arizona.

The website will seek business investors who have a passion and vision to compete against Arizona’s existing liberal-oriented political news groups. Sonoran Alliance will also seek to offer training and experience to budding journalists seeking to serve in conservative news outlets.

“For over five years Sonoran Alliance has been a labor of love for the conservative movement in Arizona,” said its creator and editor, Shane Wikfors. “It’s time to fully mature the website as a for profit business venture and bring more conservative talent on board to make an even bigger impact in Arizona political news,” he said.

Interested business investors are encouraged to contact Sonoran Alliance by email or phone at (480) 719-0729.

Doctors Make the “Choice” Not to Do Abortions

Doctors Make the “Choice” Not to Do Abortions
There’s more to the story of last week’s announcement from Planned Parenthood to shut down abortion services at seven locations rather than meet the new safety standards under the Abortion Consent Act.

Planned Parenthood Arizona is running into the same roadblock the abortion industry is facing across the country: fewer doctors want to be a part of their life-destroying work.

Initial reports from a survey of 1,800 practicing ob/gyn doctors published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 97% of these doctors encountered patients seeking abortions, but only 14% performed them.

This finding tracks with the ongoing and growing pro-life trends throughout the country. According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans increasingly support laws to protect women from the dangerous practices of the abortion industry. The pro-life wave can also be seen in state legislatures. Americans United for Life reports that there were more than 80 pro-life laws passed this year!

On the Foundations blog, CAP Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby looks deeper into this trend and reveals the bleak reality the abortion industry faces in Arizona.

 

Community Colleges Consider “Gender Identity” Policy

This week, the Maricopa County Community College Board heard testimony on a proposal to add “gender identity” to the district’s non-discrimination policy. You may recall proponents failed a few years ago when they tried to promote a similar policy.
Read my letter to the Board opposing the policy change here. The policy’s vagueness would create confusion among faculty and students. Further, it would have a serious impact on their right to freely express their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs. This policy could also put the colleges in conflict with the new University Student Religious Liberty Act, which was drafted and supported by CAP and became law on July 20.

 

New Pro-Life Laws to Take Effect

Maricopa County Judge Richard Gama signed off on an agreement this week between the state and Planned Parenthood to allow many of the recently passed CAP-supported pro-life laws to take effect on September 12! The agreement lifts the temporary injunction Planned Parenthood filed in July to block the laws from being enacted.

While this is not the final decision on whether Planned Parenthood’s arguments will be completely dismissed, it is great news that these important provisions will be in place soon. They include:

  • Applying health and safety standards to the distribution of the dangerous abortion pill.
  • Ensuring that only doctors dispense the abortion pill.

These laws are vital to the protection of Arizona’s women. According to the FDA, 14 women have now died from taking this medication. Read more on the Foundations blog.

 

Do You Have a Heart for Education?
CAP is preparing to launch our newest initiative: School Action Teams. We’re only one piece away – we need our School Action Team Coordinator. Is this you? Do you know someone with a heart for education and foundational principles? If so, check out the job description on Career Builder.

 

An “Invaluable Experience”
We are currently looking for fall interns for our policy team. Our internship provides students a frontlines perspective of the battle to promote and defend Arizona families. In a letter from summer intern Michal Bates, he wrote “My practical experiences in meetings, the court, writing briefs, research, prayer, and community have allowed me to cast a vision for a future career.” If you’d like to join the team this fall, click here.

Sonoran Alliance Calls for Ethics Investigation into Rep Daniel Patterson

Dear Representative Vogt,

On behalf of our readers and citizens across the State of Arizona, I am writing you to request an ethics investigation into the activities, behavior and legal residency of Representative Daniel Patterson. As you are well aware, Representative Patterson represents the 29th District of Arizona.

Over the last year and beyond, it has been revealed that Representative Patterson has engaged in behavior clearly unbecoming of an Arizona State Representative and Arizona citizen. Police reports, court documents and news accounts have shown that Representative Patterson has demonstrated a pattern of aggression, violence and resistance against other citizens, family members and even law enforcement. We strongly believe that the Arizona Legislature can no longer remain silent on Representative Patterson’s behavior and therefore call for a House Ethics Committee investigation into the behavior and legal violations of Representative Patterson.

Representative Patterson’s legal residency is also in question as it has been revealed that he no longer resides in the legislative district he is legally required to represent. We would also ask for a House Ethics investigation into this matter as well.

Whether this request for an ethics investigation must be initiated by a peer legislator in the House or may be requested by a citizen of the State of Arizona, is unclear. We would appreciate your attention into how this process can take place quickly.

Thank you for your time and service

Sonoran Alliance

References:

“Where in the world is Daniel Patterson?” – Cholla Jumps

“The Family Man: In Democratic circles, rumors abound about state Rep. Daniel Patterson” – Tucson Weekly

“What will be Rep. Daniel Patterson’s defense as allegations of domestic violence arise at Arizona Democratic Party meeting this Saturday?” – Three Sonorans

“IMAGES: Domestic violence in Democratic Party with Tucson southside legislator, Daniel Patterson” – Three Sonorans

Phoenix Union Intimidation: It Can Happen Here

 

A new video from Progress Project was shown at Western Free Press. The video highlights the stalking, intimidation, and eventual shooting of non-union business owner John King. Do you think this could happen in Phoenix?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXRpY8V8jbo&feature=player_embedded

Please visit Western Free Press for more information

It’s Time to Recall Rep. Ben Arredondo in the Spirit of Consistency: Update: Who’s Next? Arredondo or Arpaio?

Watching the recall effort take place in legislative district 18 one is left wondering why other recalls are not taking place elsewhere across the state, especially in legislative district 17.

Pearce recaller and failed Democratic US Senate candidate, Randy Parraz, likes to cite public policy differences as the reason for recalling Russell Pearce but fails to mention any of the other State Senators or Representatives who also voted for these same pieces of legislation.

Mr. Parraz, why not seek recall efforts against any of the other legislators who voted for these same public policy proposals? And if your motive is to recall someone who you disagree with on public policy issues, why haven’t you made a practice of this during all the off-year elections since you cannot seem to win elections (including your own) during the regular election cycle.

Pearce recaller’s motives don’t make sense if this is only about disagreements on public policy.

That’s why Pearce recallers like to bring up the Fiesta Bowl scandal as another reason for recalling Senator Pearce. They argue that Pearce accepted in-kind donations from Fiesta Bowl representatives over several years and then voted on legislation that affected the Fiesta Bowl.

Hmmmm… I thought that’s how lobbying worked at the State Capitol, especially when it comes down to labor and teachers unions donating gobs and gobs of money to Democrats.

What Pearce recallers fail to mention and the hypocrisy is GLARING, is that Fiesta Bowl representatives also gave in-kind donations to other legislators. At the top of the list is Legislative District 17 State Representative, Ben Arredondo who actually voted a $6,450,000 MILLION subsidy to bring the Insight Bowl from Phoenix to Tempe. Maybe a little more clarification on the gifts to Arredondo from a third party is appropriate at this point. Here’s what the Arizona Republic wrote on May 13th:

Gifts to Arredondo 

Arredondo, a former teacher and coach, was running for Tempe City Council in 2001 when seven Fiesta Bowl employees made $875 in contributions to his campaign. Three years later, four employees made another $1,200 in contributions. 

At that time, the Fiesta Bowl was headquartered in Tempe and played its game in ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium. 

In 2005, the Fiesta Bowl was looking to move its sister game, the Insight Bowl, out of downtown Phoenix. Negotiations began with Tempe, which was looking to replace the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium since the Fiesta was moving to Glendale. One of the key negotiators was Arredondo, according to Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman. 

“It’s fair to say Ben Arredondo was intimately involved with ASU, Insight and the Fiesta Bowl,” Hallman said. “Ben Arredondo was continually involved in negotiations.” 

Hallman said Arredondo also was close to Husk, who, in addition to lobbying for the Fiesta Bowl, had been a paid consultant for Tempe. 

After reaching a memorandum of understanding in July 2005, the city the following year agreed to give the Fiesta Bowl a $6.45 million subsidy to host the Insight Bowl through 2013. The subsidy for each of the next two years is $850,000, while the final year’s payment is $900,000, according to the contract. 

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Fiesta Bowl said it provided Arredondo with expensive National Football League tickets, including 2009 Super Bowl tickets worth $4,000. In summer 2009, the bowl said, he called saying he wanted to go on a trip. The bowl paid all expenses for Arredondo and his wife, Ruthann, to travel to Minnesota to watch a college football game. 

“We paid for everything: the game, the hotel, the meals and the airfare,” Anthony Aguilar, the bowl’s director of community and corporate relations, told Fiesta Bowl investigators. 

Arredondo did not return calls to his house, where messages were left with his wife. Ruthann Arredondo declined to answer questions. 

On April 1, after the Fiesta Bowl investigative report had been released, Arredondo amended his financial disclosure forms for 2007, 2008 and 2009 to show he received a gift worth more than $500 from the Fiesta Bowl. The amended 2009 form indicates his wife also received a gift. The nature of the gifts was not disclosed.

Where am I going with all this? Here’s my point: The recall effort against Russell Pearce is NOT really about public policy. And it’s not even about the Fiesta Bowl in-kind donations.

The recall effort against Russell Pearce is about people who hate and don’t like Russell Pearce. It’s about working voters up into a rabid frenzy mob mentality to go after someone who you can later say, “We took down Russell Pearce!” If this was a regular election year, these frothing folks would not have anything to rally around because they’d be defending their own political turfs from an electorate that votes right of center. This is about Randy Parraz building a list of people to be exploited elsewhere against another Republican.

So my big question is why won’t the Parraz-led recallers be consistent and also recall Representative Ben Arredondo? The reality is they won’t because Arredondo votes the way they want him to vote.

My challenge is for them to stop being hypocrites and mount a recall effort against Ben Arredondo. And if they can’t find it in themselves to be intellectually honest and consistent, maybe its time for another group to form and recall Ben Arredondo.

UPDATE – November 9, 2011: 

The Recall election was a major success for Randy Parraz and crew. Election night, Parraz made the following statement to the Arizona Republic:

Parraz said he and his allies may go after other politicians whom he blames for poisoning Arizona’s political discourse, singling out Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was at Pearce’s side throughout the recall campaign.

“We’re looking at other people, like Sheriff Arpaio,” Parraz said. “If that’s the type of politics Sheriff Arpaio wants, we’ll see what happens in the new year.”

Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

NFIB: NLRB Overreaches its Authority with Punitive New Rule

More than six million businesses to be affected

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 25, 2011 — The same week the Obama Administration announced it was making an effort to scale back burdensome rules on small businesses, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal government’s labor union advocate, demonstrated an unprecedented overreach of its authority today by issuing a punitive new rule requiring all private-sector employers to post a notice in their business informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

“Just when we thought we had seen it all from the NLRB, it has reached a new low in its zeal to punish small-business owners,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Not only is the Board blatantly moving beyond its legal authority by issuing this rule, it is unabashedly showing its spite for job creators by setting up a trap for millions of businesses.”

Under the National Labor Relations Act, the NLRB does not have the authority to broadly impose rules, such as the one issued today. The statute only permits the Board to act when a representation petition or unfair labor practice charge is filed.

Furthermore, the rule sets up a “gotcha” situation for millions of businesses who are unaware of the new rule or unable to immediately comply.

The NFIB submitted a statement opposing the rule during a public comment period in February. The comments can be found at the following link: http://www.nfib.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=kMpH1o6T6uM%3d&tabid=1083

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NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

City of Phoenix Election Highlights, Lowlights & Predictions

Gullett’s Guts: A political consultant running for office takes a lot of bravery. Lose and it will forever be used against you. That Wes Gullett is even in the discussion about a November run-off is a victory for hm. Win or lose, he comes out a winner.

Quik Way To Lose Quik Mojo: Without any support from a single candidate running for Phoenix office this cycle, Proposition 2 has become a curious campaign with Quik Trip spending heavily to defend afronting a neighborhood in order to build their 27th station in the Valley. They primarily argue we are a good company, so vote for us. But as opponents pointed out in a recent mailer the U.S. Department of Justice fined them millions for discriminating against the disabled and the U.S. Department of Labor fined them nearly a million dollars for ripping off their employees. Calls to mind Homer Simpson’s most famous line.

I Used To Be Somebody: Once prolific Phoenix political consultant Gary Kaasa is no more. Claude Mattox’s inept campaign, fleeced by consultants Kaasa and Joe Yuhas, spells the end of Kaasa’s career and casts serious doubts on Yuhas’ ability to be taken seriously moving forward.

Beware Waring: He will come close to winning outright Tuesday night, but not quite. Over/Under is 15 on his margin over appointed councilperson Bryan Jeffries.

Not exactly Phoenix ’11 election related but here’s a prediction for ’14: Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates will seriously consider if not run for Arizona Attorney General.