Archives for April 2016

Andy Biggs’ Fundraising Struggles in Arizona’s CD-5

By East Valley Evan

Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs has made a lot of noise about the ethics of his campaign. In the weeks since Matt Salmon announced his anointment of Biggs upon vacating his seat in the U.S. House, Biggs has claimed that he is being extremely careful in his fundraising so that no ethical questions can arise over possible conflicts with his current position as Senate President.

But that’s a pretty weak excuse for the low numbers that his campaign is posting. With only $200,000 raised so far (according to Yellow Sheets), $100,000 of which he loaned his campaign from his personal funds, Biggs is clearly struggling to find supporters to fund what will be an expensive and hotly contested campaign.

Some disagree that the number is low, given the short amount of time–a little over a month–since Biggs announced his campaign. But, if we look at the breakdown of those funds, he can only claim $100,000 from outside funds, since he gave the other half to himself. A source close to Biggs claims that this may not be the last of the cash Biggs loans himself, meaning that the Senate President doesn’t plan on increasing his fundraising efforts any time soon.

How long until his money runs out? Currently he’s self-funding 50% of his campaign with plans to keep bleeding his accounts over the coming weeks. Regardless of his personal wealth, achieved by winning a sweepstakes contest, that’s unsustainable. Furthermore, it might be a bad move to brag about the amount of money he is willing to spend to buy the race from money he did not earn.

If Biggs continues to lack support from grassroots donors in the state of Arizona, he may have to continue to self-fund. While it is admirable that Biggs’ message is that he wants to keep clean from donor influence, it seems less like the truth and more like a desperate attempt to save face under the light of such small fundraising success. If he’s really concerned about being connected with outside interests, why not push funding from more private citizens? If ethics is his aim, why not take a pledge to not take money from lobbyists at all?

Sheriff Touchy Can’t Handle Mockery of his Pansy Logo

Guest Opinion by Sam Stone

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is running for re-election after taking office a little over a year ago when his 79-year old boss – Clarence Dupnik – handed him the keys to the castle after 35 years at the helm. It was a apt promotion: Nanos had been reportedly running the office for his aging Sheriff for a number of years – proving conclusively that he could effectively maintain the bureaucratic bloat, insider favoritism, and mediocre results his predecessor had become known for.

Since taking office, Nanos has overseen at least one scandal: giving almost $20,000 to the niece of one of his detectives so she could buy the equipment to run for-profit cafes at their headquarters and the county jail.

He also defended the actions of deputies when they shot and killed decorated Marine veteran and father Jose Guerena – actions that resulted in a $3.4 million dollar settlement against Pima County.

All that, of course, while his Deputies get stiffed.

But none of that makes Sheriff Nanos mad. What really gets Chris Nanos mad? People mocking his pansy ass logo.

ChrisNanosFB1

After the first few, more people chimed in, including yours truly…

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That’s when Sheriff Touchy stepped in to regulate!

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I mean, good advice, I thought…

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And he did “like” it….

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But, no, Sheriff Touchy couldn’t let it go at that.

A couple of points:

  1. I think he’s referring (one sided-story) to the café. Maybe they had really, really good sandwiches. Or something.
  2. I wasn’t actually referring to his website, just his Pansy logo.
  3. If I was running his campaign, I’d probably be running for the hills right about…now…

Let’s hope Pima County voters do the same in November.

(In case you were wondering, Mark Napier, who narrowly lost to Sheriff Touchy’s boss in the last election, is vying for the office again.)

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

For Immediate Release

April 8, 2016

Contact: Mickie Niland, (480)-726-0543, Chairman@azld12.com

Arizona

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

To interested parties,

As Republican leaders of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, we were saddened by the news of Congressman Matt Salmon’s retirement from Congress. We wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor, and thank him for all the service he has provided to his constituents and our nation.

As the candidates to replace Congressman Salmon begin to form their campaigns, we wish to make our intentions known that we will not support, or encourage other grassroots leaders to support, any candidate running for the Republican nomination who does not reside within the current boundaries of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.

The East Valley has a long tradition of electing public officials who have known and understood our distinct culture and the values of our treasured communities. Many of our public officials and candidates have lived in the East Valley for a number of years; some for generations. East Valley constituents wish to elect candidates who are “one of us”, who truly understand us and can best represent the unique ideals that have helped to make the East Valley region what it is today.

While we respect the right of any individual to run for public office, we strongly discourage candidates who live outside of our district from running in the primary election to replace Congressman Matt Salmon.

We plan to support “one of us” in this election cycle.

Sincerely,

Legislative District Chairmen

12, 16, 25 and 26

Mickie Niland, Chairwoman LD12

Denis T. Brimhall, Chairman LD16

Ian Murray, Chairman LD25

Raymond Jones, Chairman LD26

Former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs Endorses Proposition 123

Former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs Endorses Proposition 123

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2016

Former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs Endorses Proposition 123

PHOENIX — Former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs today endorsed Proposition 123 because the initiative is a conservative, innovative solution to funding our K-12 public schools.

“I think Proposition 123 is the best, conservative solution out there to providing increased, stable funding for Arizona’s K-12 public schools,” Frank Riggs, Scottsdale businessman, former U.S. Congressman and nonprofit CEO, said.  “It will put $3.5 billion into our K-12 schools without raising income taxes, money to address critical education needs, promote classroom teaching and learning, and recruit and retain talented educators.  Please join me in voting ‘YES’ on Prop 123 on May 17; it’s innovative, it’s creative and it’s exactly what we need to support our teachers, students and Arizona’s future.”

“As a former United States Congressman, member of the House Education Committee and a small business owner, Frank Riggs knows exactly the situation Arizona faces right now,”  Sharon Harper, chairman of the Let’s Vote Yes for Arizona Schools said. “He understands that we need to fund our schools and keep teachers from leaving the state to give Arizona’s kids the future they deserve. That’s why need we need to vote YES on May 17.”

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‘Stormy Days’ Ahead for Rooftop Solar in Arizona?

Stormy Solar Panels

Arizona consumers of rooftop solar best prepare for cloudy financial times ahead if recent stormy news in the solar panel industry is any indication.

Missouri-based SunEdison is on the verge of financial collapse as it heads toward bankruptcy with $11 Billion of debt, a lawsuit by a subsidiary and an investigation by the fed.

SunRun and SolarCity are also sitting on the same bubble as they find their values halved since late last year and nervous investors losing confidence in the industry’s 20-year leasing approach for consumers.

Also adding to the volatility of the industry is a realization by local and state governments that subsidizing the industry is simply unsustainable bad public policy.

The rooftop solar industry should blame itself for its financial woes. It took on far too much rapid expansion and despite tremendous revenues, it is still facing losses. SunCity lost $769 million while Sunrun reported $28.2 million in losses. And 2016 is certain to continue that trend.

Now the industry is making efforts to cut costs in overhead, labor, advertising, etc. even as the cost of panels had dropped considerably. To come close to making a profit, these companies must continue to lock in new customers. And they must also continue to find favor with state and local governments by continuing subsidies, favorable rate policies and special construction/installation projects.

As traditional utility companies follow a more steady and stable growth model into renewable energy platforms, government regulators are becoming more wise and reluctant to choose winners and losers through policies like net metering. Instead, regulators are attempting to allow the market to adjust to normal conditions with the least negative impact to consumer pocketbooks.

With these policy changes and market adjustments, rooftop solar companies are finding that a good deal [for them] won’t last forever. Even as energy regulators make adjustments to allow the market to benefit all consumers, the rooftop solar industry has turned it into a political battle to keep their special arrangements in place.

This is the vicious cycle for rooftop solar: Cut costs while expanding the number of consumers in order to come close in making a profit – a strategy that is highly dependent on government favors and taxpayers and essentially a form of corporate welfare. As the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money [to spend].”

This brings us back to Arizona consumers of solar energy who will be the negatively affected if the rooftop solar bubble bursts. Who will maintain and warranty rooftop units if the company reneges on its contracts or worse, goes under?

That’s where the market appears to be headed and consumers better prepare for a rainy day.

WATCH: Teachers Explain Why They Support Prop 123

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Today, we released our latest ad where teachers explain why it’s so important to support Prop 123.
If Prop 123 passes, $3.5 billion will flow into school districts across the state over the next decade.

This is all possible without raising taxes and it will provide students much-needed stability so they have every opportunity to learn, achieve and succeed.

But, these teachers and students need your help to ensure Prop 123 passes.

Please sign up to volunteer using the button below, to help spread the word about why it’s SO IMPORTANT to vote YES on May 17.

VOLUNTEER FOR PROPOSITION 123

 

Cruz’s Path to Victory After Wisconsin

Ted-Cruz-WI

By Rachel Alexander
(Reposted from Stream)

The Wisconsin Republican presidential primary takes place today, and it is looking like Ted Cruz will come in first. He is leading in all the polls there, although the lead is narrow, averaging 6.5 points ahead of Trump. John Kasich, the only other Republican candidate left in the race, is far behind both. If Cruz wins the state, it will give him more momentum and increase the likelihood of him winning upcoming primaries — although it’s too late at this point for him to acquire the 1,237 delegates to ensure a primary win. Trump’s vast lead has greatly shrunk since the other candidates started dropping out of the race.

Trump claims that if Kasich were not in the race, he would win. However, the type of Republican who supports Kasich tends to be more moderate, not the vocal anti-establishment type that supports Trump. Also, polls between just Cruz and Trump have consistently shown Cruz ahead of Trump; the only reason Trump is still ahead is because Kasich is still in the race. Many conservatives who support Cruz are furious about that, and have called for Kasich to drop out. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, said he is “running a delusional vanity project masquerading as a presidential campaign.”

Trump’s lead nationally has shrunk to an average of 7.6 points in the polls. Last week was bad for him; his campaign manager was charged with allegedly assaulted a female reporter, he retweeted attacks on Cruz’s wife, and flip-flopped on abortion, saying he’s pro-choice while simultaneously saying women should be criminally punished for getting abortions. He is polling terribly with Republican women.

The politically astute site FiveThirtyEight has analyzed the polls and done the math in the remaining primary states. A block of Northeastern states have primaries at the end of April, and Republicans in those states tend to be more moderate, which doesn’t help Trump. At best, FiveThirtyEight predicts Trump will end up with 1,185 delegates after the final primary, short of the 1,237 necessary to win the nomination, which means it will be a contested convention. There are over 100 unbound or uncommitted delegates. He would need to  convince 52 of them to vote for him in the first round of voting at the contested convention to win.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The types of Republicans who serve as delegates are the party faithful types, not the disillusioned types who support Trump.[/pullquote]

If he doesn’t win on the first round, he probably won’t win. At that point, if no one wins the first vote, it becomes a brokered convention and the delegates are free to vote for whoever they want on subsequent rounds of voting. The types of Republicans who serve as delegates are the party faithful types, not the disillusioned types who support Trump. The GOP establishment and conservative base are converging to stop Trump from getting the nomination, and they will do everything they can to persuade delegates to change their votes away from Trump. It is already starting, as some of the delegates Trump thought he had won are being lured over the Cruz ground operation.

Of course, there is still a chance the delegates could be persuaded to vote for another candidate, such as Kasich or even someone not in the race. Kasich has said he thinks the GOP establishment would support him at a contested convention, and fully admits even though he hasn’t won a single state except his home state of Ohio, that he’s staying in the race because he could still win at a contested convention. He did so poorly in Arizona’s primary that he came in fourth, behind Marco Rubio who had dropped out of the race a week earlier. However, he is beating Hillary Clinton in general election polls by a decent margin. Trump is losing to her in polls and Cruz comes in very close.

However, as Lowry observed in his article calling for Kasich to drop out, “The delegate game at a convention would be, in part, an organizational contest, and Kasich’s organization is all but nonexistent. He’d make an electability case based on his good head-to-head poll numbers against Hillary Clinton, although they are elevated because no one has bothered to attack him.”

The prediction market Betfair puts Trump’s chances of winning the nomination at 56 percent, down from 70 percent last week. Betfair also puts the chance of a contested convention at 63 percent. If one of Trump’s former close advisers is right, he only wanted to come in second and doesn’t really want to be president, so it may not be a big deal if he loses.

Orchestrated Confusion Over UniSource Proposal at Lake Havasu Corporation Commission Hearing

Reading the latest news story in the Lake Havasu News Herald, it would appear that operative from the rooftop solar industry have caused just enough confusion among ratepayers that the latest proposal to bring economic sense and equity to the energy market will require yet another hearing.

Thursday, in accordance with Arizona law, the Arizona Corporation Commission conducted a hearing in Lake Havasu to hear from ratepayers over a request by UniSource to modify its rate structure in order to iron out inequities in the way customers purchase electricity from the UniSource portion of the grid.

One of those changes would be the implementation of “demand charges” – a concept that charges a customer based on the highest demand placed by that customer during a given unit of time. Most demand is placed on the entire grid during early morning hours and early evening hours when users turn on more electrical loads in their households. It is at that time that the grid experiences its heaviest loads that ultimately costs in maintenance, repairs and even brownouts. (Read my earlier post on this concept.)

The UniSource request would allow the utility company to recover the costs of this demand while reducing costs during non-peak demand times.

Additionally, the request would also allow UniSource to adjust the price it purchases (credits) energy from rooftop solar users through net metering. Currently, that rate is sold back to utility companies at an inflated rate. That inflated rate is shifted to non-solar users who pay the difference causing an economic inequity. There are far fewer rooftop solar users than non-solar users so non-solar users are burdened by this rate inequity.

If approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, UniSource’s request would not take effect until 2017 and rooftop solar users who purchased or began their leases before June 1, 2015 would be grandfathered into the proposal.

The political takeaway of this is that the rooftop solar industry has partaken of this form of corporate cronyism for too long. Because of a nationwide agenda to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, the solar energy industry has been heavily subsidized and given special breaks through policies like net metering. The industry cannot survive without some form of government intervention and when government pulls out and allows the market to adjust, these companies oftentimes go bankrupt leaving consumers on the hook and employees without jobs.

Here in Arizona, the battle to keep net metering in place is being waged at town hall meetings like we see in Lake Havasu.

NonSolarCustomers

When a utility company like UniSource proposes a innovative compromise to allow the free market to adjust properly to the benefit of all consumers, they are met with chaos and confusion orchestrated by the rooftop solar industry. These companies pay their lobbyists to circulate among a community to stoke the fears of ratepayers and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

What they won’t tell you is that they want a bigger bite at the apple of government subsidies and special deals. Meanwhile, its the ratepayers who bear the burden – those who cannot afford $40,000 systems and those who were told sunny days were ahead when they leased one.

Corporation Commissioners will conduct another hearing in Lake Havasu sometime in the next two weeks.

VIDEO: How Does Prop 123 Work?

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Today, our first TV ad of the campaign started playing statewide. Watch it below!

It’s all about how the state land trust works, how Prop 123 utilizes the trust, and what it will do for K-12 schools.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Prop 123 puts $3.5 Billion into our classrooms without raising taxes[/pullquote]

Arizona’s teachers and students depend on us — And passing Prop 123 will provide them resources and stability for the next decade.

Watch the ad below and SHARE it with your family and friends. Then, get to the polls on May 17, and vote YES on Prop 123.

Team Prop 123