Scott Smith Supports Obamacare Expansion

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Scott Smith supports the Obamacare expansion which will cost Arizonans hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Mesa’s Debt Bomb, thanks to former Mayor Scott Smith

By Gene Dufoe

This brief study of the City of Mesa FY2014/15 Budget has been compiled by Mesa resident Gene Dufoe. Mr. Dufoe is a retired Boeing engineer/manager who possesses the following degrees: BSAE, MSAE, and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is a Precinct Committeeman in LD25. Dufoe supports Danny Ray for Mayor of Mesa, Dr. Ralph Heap for the LD25 Senate seat presently held by Bob Worsley, and Diane Douglas for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Note:  There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  Total will be $580,000,000.  See the City Council Resolution

LOOKING AT THE CITY OF MESA BUDGET FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2014-2015

Normally, the City of Mesa publicizes only the millions of dollars of Total General Obligation Bonds, Total Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, Total Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding, not the total bonds obligation or the interest obligation.  However, both need to be exposed.  The City of Mesa Total Bonds outstanding is $1,710,800,001 for FY2013/2014 vs. $1,220,778,673 for FY2008/09.

The scheduled interest to be paid through 2037/38 is $302,539,619 for only the General Obligation Bonds issued during Scott Smith’s administration.  This is nearly three times greater than was paid on the General Obligation Bonds issued under the previous administrations.  The comparison of the Utility Revenue Bonds is even worse, $71,360,274 vs. $327,537,942, or 4.6 times greater.

During Mayor Hawker’s service from 2000 to 2008, several bond issues were refinanced from earlier administrations, and the total interest paid was only a fraction of the repaid principal.  However, the financial situation of Mayor Smith’s term of office from 2008 to his recent resignation in June, 2014, has placed the City of Mesa in worsening financial terms for the future.

Without considering the interest on the General Obligation Bonds, Utility Revenue Bonds, Street & Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Excise Tax Obligations, nearly $500,000,000 of additional bonds have been approved during Mayor Smith’s period of service.  Interest on the General Obligation and Utility Revenue Bonds will add $630,000,000 through 2037-38, totaling more than $1.1 BILLION additional debt added during Mayor Smith’s time in office.  The interest on the $114,650,000 Street and Highway User Bonds and the $216,115,000 Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding in FY2013-14 will add to the $630,000,000 interest total; however, the exact amounts were not readily available.

In addition to those bonds outstanding (and the bonds which have been authorized, but not yet sold), the Proposed Five-Year Capital Improvement Program has $680,392,701 which needs future authorization.  These proposed bonds, needing future authorization, will likely be voted on in the next 3-4 years.  Per the FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary, the City is not obligated to a project by inclusion within the CIP.  Each project is considered individually by the City Council during the year.

The reason that the interest scheduled was so much higher during Mayor Smith’s years in office is that both the length of the bonds were extended, and the payment of principal was also substantially delayed until the last years of the bond life.  For example, under the previous mayor, $11,705,000 2005 General Obligation Bond life was 18 years and the total interest scheduled was $4,128,700 or Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 36.9%.

However, under Mayor Smith, the $30,865,000 2010 General Obligation bond life was 20 years, the total interest scheduled to be paid is $26,416,950 and Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.59%.  The reason was no principal was scheduled for the first 9 years, principal payments of $1,115,000 to $2,500,000 were scheduled for the tenth to the nineteenth years, and in the twentieth year, the principal payment of $13,225,000 was scheduled.  The Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.6%.

However, that is NOT the worst.  The Utility Revenue Bonds which are paid by the City of Mesa residents through the Secondary Property Tax and the monthly utility bills are managed by the City of Mesa’s business portion, called Enterprise Fund.  The Enterprise Fund transferred $173,606,136 to other current obligations of the city, per the City of Mesa Summary of Estimated Revenues and Expenditures, FY2014/15.

For the $50,380,000 2010 Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, the City of Mesa has scheduled interest payments of $3,073,280 annually for 24 years with no principal payments for the first 23 years with the entire principal scheduled $50,380,000 for the 24th year.  The total interest scheduled is $73,380,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 134.2%.

Slightly less bad for the taxpayers are the $36,385,000 2014 Utility Systems Revenue bonds in which the City of Mesa has scheduled estimated interest payments of $1,819,250 annually for the first 23 years with no principal payments for the first 22 years; principal payments of $20,000,000 in the 23rd year and scheduled interest payment of $829,250 and principal payment of $16,385,000 in the 24th year.  Total interest $42,620,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 117.43%.

If the voters do not approve the State Imposed Expenditure Limitation Home Rule Continuation, then the City of Mesa will need to eliminate $184 million from the budget, starting with FY2015-16.  The one-time override alternative allows for exceeding the state imposed expenditure limitation for one fiscal year.  If the State Auditor General determines a city has exceeded the expenditure limitation, a portion of its share of the state income tax allocation is withheld.   The penalty is assessed as follows:

Exceeding by less than 5% – penalty will equal to amount of the excess.

Exceeding by more than 5%, but less than 10% – penalty will be three times the excess.

Exceeding by more than 10% – penalty will be five times the excess or 1/3 of the state income tax allocation, whichever is less.  If the State limitation has been exceeded by more than 10%, the expected penalty to apply to FY2014/15 would be $17.7M (based on one-third of the FY2014/15 state-shared revenue).

The FY2014/15 budget does not allow the City to address the backlog of needs considered to be lifecycle or infrastructure replacements.

The contributions to the vehicle replacement fund do not address the full annual need nor do they allow for a reserve balance to mitigate future years where needs may spike.

The aging of buildings, technology, equipment, etc., requires scheduled upgrades/replacement.

A special commission of private-sector, public-sector, and retired personnel should be formed to make recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council for actions to be taken.  It is time for the City of Mesa to cut all but the absolutely essential services and reduce the city payroll, plus have active and retired city employees pay a larger portion of their medical, dental, and vision expenses.  By contrast, most private business employees pay a high percentage of medical, dental, and vision expenses; retirees have paid for their entire medical, dental, and vision expenses for many years.  Recommendations for the Arizona State Retirement System, Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, and Elected Officials Retirement Plan should also be considered.  Privatization of some or all of the services provided by the Enterprise Fund should be part of any such study.

References

  1. City of Mesa Executive Budget Plan 2014/15 & FY2014/15 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Cost Comparison
  2. Secondary Property Tax – Resolution No. 10478
  3. FY2014/15 Legal Budget – Resolution No. 10473
  4. FY2014/15 Capital Improvement Program – Resolution No. 10472
  5. FY2014/15 Final Budget City Council Report
  6. FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary
  7. FY2014/15 Home Rule – State Imposed Expenditure Limitation – Home Rule Continuation Presentation
  8. FY2008/09 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Annual Cost Comparison
  9. FY2008/09 Tentative Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
  10. FY2008/09 Final Budget City Council Report
  11. Pledged Debt Analysis For Continuation of Impact Fees City of Mesa, Arizona, prepared by Duncan Associates, April 16, 2013
  12. Preliminary Official Statement dated May 15, 2014; $37,550,000 City of Mesa, Arizona, General Obligation Bonds Series 2014, APPENDIX B
See Also Questions from Mr. Dufoe and answers from Ryan Wimmer, Mesa’s Office of Management and Budget:

1.  General Obligation Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa GO refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

Series

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS191242-MS166550-MD322389.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217101-MS192409-MD373504.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52419-MS223977-MS616035.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP609526-EP476667-EP877042.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EA522649-EA407230-EA804180.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2.  The General Obligation bonds (Various Purpose) are as follows:

What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Bonds – Various Purpose bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236093-MS211401-MD411149.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52250-MS223608-MS615968.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259729-MS235037-MD458462.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270908-MS267339-MD528351.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281039-MS280291-MD568491.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431918-EP339205-EP735523.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2011       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER460776-ER359128-ER755820.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP644009-EP503264-EP904180.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666235-ER517392-ER919995.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

3.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188305-MS163613-MD316547.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2002A    OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS197504-MS172812-MD334877.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217102-MS192410-MD373506.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006 (both issues)  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52416-MS223973-MS616031.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS254547-MS229855-MD448008.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270955-MS267402-MD528506.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608885-EP476146-EP876514.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012 Taxable Refunding.  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP615721-EP481744-EP882241.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

4.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (Utility Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility Improvement bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188116-MS163424-MD316173.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203914-MS179222-MD347345.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222295-MS197603-MD383623.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS235923-MS211231-MD410807.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52220-MS223454-MS615938.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259549-MS234857-MD458102.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270681-MS267070-MD527833.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281167-MS280466-MD568877.pdf (see page 9 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009 WIFA Loans - WIFA loans are not rated by the rating agencies.  Redemption schedules are attached.   (See 2009 WIFA loans.)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431713-EP339023-EP735345.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP643903-EP503173-EP904086.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666086-ER517255-ER919851.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2014       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP820778-EP635288-EP1036999.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

5.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street and Highway User Revenue Refunding Bonds over the past six years?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217103-MS192411-MD373508.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS230312-MS205620-MD399580.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608850-EP476109-EP876480.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP759947-EP589453-EP990970.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

6.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (Street Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street Improvement bonds when issued?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203840-MS179148-MD347197.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222376-MS197684-MD383785.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236032-MS211340-MD411027.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52253-MS223605-MS615966.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259518-MS234826-MD458040.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

7.  Excise Tax Obligations Outstanding

Were the 2010 Highway Project Advancement Notes redeemed at the July 1, 2014, optional redemption date at par? Yes.

What was the bond rating for the 2010 and 2011A City of Mesa Highway Project Advancement Notes since they were issued?

2010 – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP430767-EP338370-EP734691.pdf (see page 10)

2011A – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP571936-EP448917-EP848828.pdf (see page 14).

What was the bond rating for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority obligations when they were issued?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER583308-ER453122-ER855821.pdf (see page 15)

What is the rating, purpose, refunding, and interest rate paid on the Excise Tax Revenue Obligations issued in 2013?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP751300-EP583298-EP984886.pdf (see page 13 for ratings, the second cover page for interest rates, and “Optional Redemption” on pages 2 and 3 for refunding provisions)

Regarding the purpose, from the cover page:

The City of Mesa, Arizona (the “City”) Excise Tax Revenue Obligations, Series 2013 (the “Obligations”) will be executed and delivered in the principal amount of $94,060,000 for the purpose of providing funds to (i) acquire and construct the Project (as defined herein) and (ii) pay costs of execution and delivery of the Obligations.

See “The Obligations” on page 2 and “The Project” on page 4.

8.  Have any of the overlapping jurisdictions informed the City of Mesa that they were in danger of not meeting their bonded debt obligations under the “Direct and Overlapping General Obligation Bonded Debt Outstanding” category? No.

9.  What is the schedule of planned sales of any authorized, but not issued, City of Mesa General Obligation bonds, Utility System Revenue bonds, Street and Highway User Revenue bonds or Excise Tax Obligations notes since 2013?

General Obligation and Utility System forecasted issuances are attached.  (SeeAuthorized Bonds – Issuance Forecast.)  There are currently no plans to issue Street and Highway User Revenue or Excise Tax bonds.

Have there been any additional refunding issues replacing series issues since 2013? No.

10.  Are there be any City of Mesa General Obligation Bonds issues, Utility System Revenue Bonds issues, Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds issues or Excise Tax Obligation notes to be submitted to the voters on the November, 2014 ballot?

There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  See the City Council resolution at: http://mesa.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1821143&GUID=DB2A249F-5A7B-459F-A506-2A6379B8B9EC.

Poll: Who Will You Vote For As Arizona Attorney General?

WORLD’S GREATEST CAMPAIGN VIDEO

Jeff DeWit

“Go and Vote” Jeff DeWit for Arizona State Treasurer

GoAndVote

ARIZONA STATE TREASURER CANDIDATE JEFF DEWIT RESPONSE
TO AZGOP CHAIRMAN ROBERT GRAHAM ASKING CAMPAIGNS FOR POSITIVE MESSAGING

 

August 20, 2014 - Phoenix - Recently AZGOP Chairman Robert Graham issued a statement asking candidates for positive messaging that builds the Republican Party.

In response, Jeff DeWit, CEO/Investment Professional and Arizona State Treasurer candidate, has introduced his family friendly, upbeat, positive campaign video titled “Go and Vote” which can be found on Jeff DeWit’s YouTube Channel here - http://youtu.be/ToUE8zT8Tno – or through the News section on JeffDeWit.com.

“Too many negative messages are flooding the airwaves,” said DeWit.  “I hope this sets an example of a different way to encourage Arizonans to vote.  Our goal is that this will bring smiles and goodwill to Arizona voters, while showing that there is a better way to get our message out.”

Jeff’s wife, Marina stated, “Anyone who knows Jeff knows that he is very serious about being Arizona’s next State Treasurer and understands the responsibilities of the office. But what many don’t know about him is his great sense of humor, love for his family, friends and the Great State of Arizona. We hope all who view this video will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

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About Jeff DeWit: Jeff is a successful CEO/Investment Professional with over 21 years of financial experience. For more information about Jeff DeWit or his campaign for State Treasurer, please visit www.JeffDeWit.com. You can also follow campaign updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeffDeWitAZ or on Twitter at @JeffDeWitAZ.

ARIZONA RIGHT TO LIFE ENDORSES JEFF DEWIT FOR AZ STATE TREASURER

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AZRTL-Endorsement

About Jeff DeWit: Jeff is a successful CEO/Investment Professional with over 21 years of experience. Jeff started in the financial business in 1992, becoming one of the youngest licensed Investment Executives with Smith Barney Shearson. He then traded on the exchange floor as one of the youngest full members of the CME and Chicago Board of Trade. In 1999 Jeff founded ECHOtrade, and served as CEO from their Phoenix headquarters for 14 years. His passion for finance and his 21 years of experience in minimizing risk while maximizing returns in the financial markets, are perfectly suited to the job of Treasurer. For more information about Jeff DeWit or his campaign for State Treasurer, please visit www.JeffDeWit.com. You can also follow campaign updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeffDeWitAZ or on Twitter at @JeffDeWitAZ.

Governor Mike Huckabee Endorses Wendy Rogers in AZ-09

Wendy Rogers

Wendy Rogers picks up big endorsement from Governor Mike Huckabee. Rogers will “serve her nation again”

Tempe AZ – Add another big name to the growing list of endorsements. Today, Wendy Rogers picked up the endorsement of U.S. presidential candidate, Governor Mike Huckabee.

“Today, I am thrilled to endorse retired Lt Col Wendy Rogers for the United States Congress. Wendy Rogers has demonstrated a life of leadership and service to her country, which superbly qualify her to serve once again” said Governor Huckabee. “As one of the Air Force’s first 100 women pilots, as well as a current small business owner, mother and a grandmother; Wendy Rogers knows what it takes to lead to get things done, while upholding the finest of America’s values. Arizona’s 9th district voters have a well-timed opportunity to send the very best and brightest to Congress, by sending Lt Col Rogers to serve her nation again” said Governor Huckabee.

“Governor Huckabee honors me beyond words with his endorsement. I have always admired him for his clear-headed defense of our precious American values of life and freedom. His support lends us wonderful gravitas, because he is so respected and admired” said Wendy Rogers.

A 5th-generation military officer, Lt Col Wendy Rogers (ret) spent her career serving her country as one of the first 100 women pilots in the Air Force. For the past 17 years, she and her husband have met payroll as job creators in their own business, have raised two children, and now have two grandchildren.

Remove Rob Robson – Cited!

VOTE for John King and Jill Norgaard for LD18 House -  Tom Morrissey for LD18 Senate

Arizona Legislator Rob Robson, recently endorsed by Governor Brewer, was cited late Monday with a Class 2 Misdemeanor for stealing yard signs! The Maricopa County Sheriffs Department cited the thieving Legislator for violating section 16-1019A – tampering with campaign signs and set a court date for September 2, 2014 in the San Marco Court, presided over by Judge Frankle at 9:00 am.      Robson Censured

Robson received $15,000 from Governor Brewer who refers to all who have promised to keep Obamacare and Common Core in Arizona as “responsible, considerate Republicans.”  Suspending the Rules is considerate?  I call that cheating. Spending more money than Arizona taxpayers make and pay in taxes to the state is responsible?  I call that stealing. Only the Governor who calls a Special Session to pass a budget that is in-between committee could make these statements with a straight face.

Rob Robson was harshly  censured by the Republican Party throughout Arizona for a list of votes which violate the core Republican principles of limited government and individual liberties including Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Common Core, and increasing spending leaving Arizona taxpayers with a potential tax increase.  Robson cheated in the Special Session when he voted to suspend the rules of the house to force OBrewercare Medicaid Expansion on Arizona.

Robson was then BLACKLISTED by the grassroots in Arizona and two excellent conservative candidates, John King and Jill Norgaard,  stepped up to primary him in legislative district 18.

Throughout LD18 ‘Arrow of Truth’ signs begin popping up next to Robson’s signs with simple ‘Voted for Obamacare’ and an arrow pointing to the signs. The signs began disappearing so a team sat one night

Arrow of Truth

and witnessed Robson and an accomplice working as a team removing the signs and destroying them before disposing of them.  They captured the vehicle leaving the scene with a license plate clearly reading “ROBSON”. The investigation is still ongoing.

‘Tidy the Tent’ in Arizona. 

Remove ROB ROBSON.  And Don’t Dial his buddy.

VOTE for John King and Jill Norgaard for LD18 House -  Tom Morrissey for LD18 Senate

 
Christine Bauserman, Chairwomen, Alliance of Principled Conservatives

Another Attack on Charitable Giving by Local NBC Affiliate

In case you missed it, friend and conservative champion Sean Noble went head-to-head with Brahm Resnik in a Sunday Square Off exclusive.

Brahm continued to push the issue of “dark money” and Sean pushed back defending charitable donations as anonymous free speech protected by the First Amendment.

I would further the argument by noting that the media doesn’t go after the NAACP over donations made to that organization.

The bottom line is that there are patriots who want to engage in issue advocacy by donating to organizations who can message on an economy of scale basis while having that form of speech protected.

Here’s the interview:

Election Complaint: Scott Smith Failed to Disclose Travel and Event Gifts

Smith ComplaintFriday afternoon, Mesa resident and city hall activist Gene Dufoe filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State arguing that former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith failed to disclose travel and event gifts, a requirement candidates must follow when seeking public office.

The complaint provides a detailed list of travel expense gifts that Smith did not claim on his personal financial disclosure form when he submitted the forms on May 21, 2014.

Exhibits in the complaint detail expense reports filed with the City of Mesa in the year leading up to his announcement for Governor. Those same gifts are also required to be disclosed with the Secretary of State when becoming a candidate.

Smith’s failure to disclose the gifts draws into question whether he may have any conflicts of interest issues related to seeking the office of governor.

Dufoe’s complaint states:

Whether Mr. Smith was justified in accepting these gifts is not the issue here; the only issue is that he failed to report them. Arizona has several important reasons to require candidates to disclose gifts. One reason is so that voters may assess whether a candidate is beholden to special interests. The disclosure may reveal the leanings of the candidate on policy issues. It also reduces the possibility of corruption, or the appearance of corruption. Here, the United States Conference of Mayors is a policy-driven organization, and voters have a right to know that they have flown Mr. Smith all around the globe, put him up in nice hotels, and fed him at nice restaurants.

With Wednesday’s controversy over the use of government resources during a campaign trip to Yuma now drawn into question, this latest complaint may reveal a pattern of shielding important financial information from the general public.

In 2011, several Arizona lawmakers were caught up in a controversy surrounding unreported gifts received to travel and attend sporting events. That investigation led to the conviction of the Fiesta Bowl CEO, John Junker. (Arizona Republic article)

Due to conflict of interest issues, the Secretary of State’s office will forward the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for an investigation.

To read the complaint letter, click here.

A Governor and Three Candidates to Yuma

There’s a rumor going around that Wednesday’s trip by Governor Brewer and three statewide candidates who she has endorsed was piggybacked on to official business – paid for by Arizona taxpayers.

What has given this rumor legs is modern technology.

According to two sources, Michele Reagan, one of the three candidates sent out a tweet including a photo of her on a plane with an official state seal in the background. Once the photo was tweeted it was quickly deleted.

Brewer’s trip to Yuma was covered by local Yuma media.

Holly Sweet of the Yuma CBS affiliate, KSWT reported that Brewer had official business with Yuma city hall before heading to a political rally at the Kress Ultra Lunge with Scott Smith, Randy Pullen and Michele Reagan – all candidates who she has endorsed.

YouTube Preview Image

Christy Wilcox also reported on the visit:

YouTube Preview Image

The Yuma Daily Sun also covered the event which included a number of photos.

The Governor’s official website also posted nothing about an official visit to Yuma on her public calendar.

All this begs the following questions:

If media reported Governor Brewer making the trip as a meeting with Yuma City Hall, why would that visit not be listed on the official calendar?

Did Governor Brewer, Scott Smith, Michele Reagan all travel together to Yuma?

Did all three candidates travel with Governor Brewer together aboard an official government or chartered plane to Yuma?

If all three candidates traveled to Yuma with the Governor on an official state plane or chartered plane, will their campaigns reimburse the taxpayers of Arizona?

Is Governor Brewer lending the weight of her office to assist those candidates she has endorsed?

Finally, were there any members of the media who traveled with the Governor or the three candidates to and/or from Yuma?

We hope each of the campaigns and the Governor will clear up these questions.

 

Hugh Hallman Statement on Accusations of Sign Tampering

Hugh Hallman

STATEMENT BY HUGH HALLMAN ON JEFF DEWIT’S ACCUSATIONS ABOUT POLITICAL SIGN TAMPERING

Today, Jeff DeWit accused our campaign of blocking the view of his road signs to passers-by by placing our signs in front of his.

We know signs are a lightening rod for mischief. And we know that pictures can tell false stories — and the ones produced by Jeff DeWit’s campaign are no different.

To be clear — our campaign has a strict policy to never purposefully interfere with the signs of any other candidate, and to be fair with the placement of our signs near the signs of any other candidate, including competitors. This is a policy for all campaign staff and has been clearly communicated from Day 1.

Why would we take the risk of embarrassing our campaign to block one or two out of the thousands of road signs currently positioned by all candidates statewide?

Our campaign can also produce photos showing Hallman signs that have been blocked by DeWit signs, taken down and/or tampered with. But we’re not going to accuse a grown man running for office of being behind teenage shenanigans. Candidates running in an important statewide race should have more important things to worry about.

When we find instances where our signs have been tampered with, we fix them and move on. We don’t have a fit about it on Twitter.

Instead, we try to address these issues like adults. We’re not going out and making baseless accusations about anyone. If Jeff DeWit — or any other candidate for that matter — has a problem with the placement of any of our signs, we invite them to call us at 480.423.0515 and let us know.

It would also be helpful to let us know where they are, which DeWit didn’t do. Our staff went out today to make sure there were no instances of these kinds of shenanigans, spending several hours where we believed the “gotcha” photos were taken to make sure we caught any sign placements others may have done that were improper.

With less than two weeks left until Election Day, we can’t help but wonder if Mr. DeWit is looking for a distraction — any distraction — to keep voters from focusing on the concerning record of risky business by his day-trading firm, or the lack of support he has from statewide conservative leaders, or the fact that he has had to almost entirely self-fund his campaign because he can’t raise money from supporters.

But if it’s really signs Jeff is most concerned about, then Jeff, give us a call. We’re happy to discuss it like adults.

Sal DiCiccio: Arizona Republic Fails to Mention David Leibowitz’s “Dark Money”

Great catch by Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio on the article in the Arizona Republic about gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith. I’ll let Sal’s Facebook post explain:

The article fails to mention Smith’s PR person is hired by the unions and is chairman of the dark money group “Independent Voices Arizona” which is attacking other Republicans. First time in AZ history a Gov candidate has on staff a dark money person and the media ignores that fact. He is paid by the same union that brought financial chaos to Phoenix, that spent $1.1 million attacking me and my family and is fighting against financial accountability.

I will have more to say about David Leibowtz later…

Busted! Bob Robson Caught Stealing Campaign Signs!

Reposted from the Arizona Daily Independent

What is it with the Tempe/Chandler area?

Former State Senator Harry Mitchell was caught stealing the campaign signs of Gary Richardson many election cycles ago.

This time Obamacare Republican Bob Robson was caught stealing signs from his opponents. And his escape was caught on video.

I’m sure those who caught him will sign an affidavit affirming to the theft.

Here’s the story that was posted on the Arizona Daily Independent. Great job to Mike Richardson for catching him in the act!

LD18 sign war heating up

On Saturday night, August 9, 2014 at approximately 9:45 p.m. at Dobson and Warner Roads one Bob Robson, of the Robson/Dial get elected whatever the cost partnership, was out in force with an accomplice involved in a sign stealing caper and got caught.

Robson and Dial have been removing and destroying signs for about one month now. There have been in excess of 130 signs missing or destroyed. The signs in question are the public information signs that point out who voted for the Obamacare Expansion debacle thrust upon our state with the red “Arrow of Truth”. The arrows were pointed at the Robson Dial signs to inform the public of who it was in LD18 that did the dirty deed to Arizona and the AZGOP.

Robson was observed performing “Wheel Man” duties while his, still to be identified accomplice, jumped out of the truck to do his apparently well practiced technique of sign mutilation. Robson maneuvered the vehicle to pick up his henchman after he was seen throwing one sign into the bushes and the other into the garbage at Circle K.

Do to great camera work under somewhat difficult conditions, our stakeout man was able to get a video of the henchman and the vehicle that belongs to Robson make their escape, complete with the license plate lettered “ROBSON”.

The police reports have been written and the evidence has been collected. Now we all must do the right thing and expel these characterless individuals from our midst. These guys are supposed to be public officials with some manner of integrity. Not so! They must pay for the crimes [class II misdemeanors] and be punished by losing the up coming primary election.

There can be no more room in Arizona for politicians who prefer to work under the cover of darkness, and who will continue to be professional vote sellers to the best healed special interest groups.

Mike Richardson LD18 PC

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The Truth About Dark Money

By Daniel Stefanski

“Dark money” is the phrase of the current political cycle, and most who hear it have a dislike for its menacing sound because of those who have made it a millstone for select candidates to bear.

The truth about “dark money” is this:

- “Dark money” has been intertwined into campaigns because of a desire by (mostly) liberals to silence the speech of those on the right who seek to fight to influence their side of the debate. If Person A gives to Candidate B or Cause C, everyone knows who Person A is. Depending on how charged that particular campaign is, Person A could face serious repercussions/persecution for doing his part to promote our Democracy. So, rather than have Person A sitting on the sidelines, unwilling to give to candidates or causes out of fear of subsequent persecution, Group D is started so that Person A can give to it anonymously, still participate in our Democracy, and not face the insatiable wrath of the left. Some times group D is on your side, and some times it’s not, but as long as the transactions are being handled legally, all is fair in political war – especially to protect the voices and livelihoods of those who have so much to lose.

- While the right gathers all of its “dark money” without a hint of coercion, the left has its own form of “dark money” completely saturated by force and coercion. Ever heard of union dues? The left will fight with the unions on the side of their liberal candidates, and turn around to decry the right’s use of “dark money” to combat the outside spending. Hypocrites. Think of it this way…. unions often outspend conservative “dark money” groups by a significant margin. The story should be reversed, if only we had a fair and balanced media.

- No Republican should ever take up a liberal talking point to take advantage of a politically charged issue, but in this case, some Republicans have done just that. Many Republicans who bemoan “dark money” are doing so because they would like the playing field to be leveled. Wouldn’t we all? “Dark money” groups involved in Arizona political races aren’t hindering other groups from also becoming involved in the process, nor are the groups that make the news most often breaking any laws, nor are they forcing money from any of their donors.

Truth is, the most talked-about “dark money” groups are just winning the war of ideas and policy in this day and age, and the left and those Republican candidates affected by the spending can’t stand what is happening. Keep that in mind next time you hear the gnashing of teeth which accompanies the phrase “dark money.”

Hugh Hallman Campaign Bullies Opponent Jeff DeWit on the Streets

Is this the kind of leader you want protecting your tax dollars?

Here are two photos taken by Republican activist supporting Jeff DeWit for Arizona Treasurer.

HallmanDeWitSign2 HallmanDeWitSign1

HallmanDeWitSign3

As you can see the campaign team for Hugh Hallman has blocked or sandwiched DeWit’s signs in order to keep DeWit from getting his message out.

Because this was blatantly offensive, Hallman needs to issue a public apology to DeWit and fire his campaign workers for their unethical practice.

If nothing happens, it will speak volumes to the character to Hugh Hallman – a candidate who will do anything to his opponents in order to get elected.

Take The Quiz! Who Said It?

Who Said It!

It’s time to have a little fun and see if our readers can tell the difference between Fred DuVal and Scott Smith. We’ve pulled a number of quotes from or about each candidate on issues important to Arizonans. We’ll post the issue followed by the quote and then let the readers guess who said it. (And no using Google search to cheat!)

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

A. “…we cannot continue with a broken system that keeps millions of people living in the shadows of our communities.”

B. “he supports driver’s licenses for young immigrants awarded work permits under a new Obama administration program. He also praised the U.S. Senate’s Gang of Eight for working on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

DREAMERS

A. “My first action as governor will be to rescind Gov Brewer’s Executive Order against driver’s licenses for Dreamers.”

B. “The federal government’s half-steps on immigration are not doing us any favors, taking us further from the goal. These side discussions, such as the driver’s licenses discussion, are a distraction. The end game is a fair and just immigration process that includes allowing our DREAMERS to become legal.”

SB 1070

A. On Gov. Brewer “I think she got 1070 wrong…

B. “It’s not exactly the law I would have written.”

COMMON CORE

A. “I believe (Arizona’s) College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) accomplish these objectives, and I support their implementation.”

B. “I fully support Common Core and applaud Governor Brewer’s efforts to ensure the implementation of these vital standards despite opposition from some members of her party.”

C. “And what we have proposed here, whether you call it common core or ready achievement or whatever, I don’t care the label you put on it, we have to do it. …”

D. “Rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington, D.C. approach to education, Common Core is a perfect example of how states can lead the way on improving education.”

OBAMACARE MEDICAID EXPANSION

A. “It would be a terrible mistake not to expand Medicaid on federal dollars.”

B. “I supported the governors Medicaid restoration because she did what was best for Arizona.”

TAXES / BUDGET

A. “After the massive cuts to K-12 schools, defunding all-day kindergarten, and ending the once-cent sales tax that funds our children’s schools, the last thing the folks at the Capitol should do is to set another tripwire on our children’s road to opportunity.”

B. “Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a state legislator cutting spending without raising taxes.”

ENVIRONMENT

A. “It’s the Senate’s turn to pass energy-climate legislation.”

B. “I welcome the opportunity to join with 1,000 of my peers in this truly bipartisan effort to improve not only the environment, but our communities and our nation.”

POLITICAL LEANINGS:

A. “…a self-described moderate, said serving in the House would be a “wonderful opportunity to reach across the divide.”

B. “He will allow himself to be called a progressive, but takes pains to note the lowercase ‘p’…”

 

Feel free to post your answers in the comments!

Single Shot Shawnna Bolick in the LD-28 House Race

Transcript:

My name is Shane Wikfors and I have been a longtime Republican activist in Arizona.

In the race for legislative district 28 I ask you to only vote for one candidate in the house race and that candidate is my good friend Shawnna Bolick.

Shawnna Bolick is in a tough race against two big government Republicans who voted for or support the expansion of Obamacare in Arizona.

This will cost Arizonans hundreds of millions of dollars – if not billions of dollars over the long run.

In fact, The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS AND the Kaiser Family Foundation has called for new taxes in the amount of $286 Million dollars just by the end of fiscal year 2016!

Republicans, we cannot let this happen. The cost of more government is strangling our economy, our businesses and families.

There is hope.

Please vote for Shawnna Bolick in your district. And vote ONLY for Shawnna Bolick. The catchy phrase to remember is Single-Shot Shawnna.

This will ensure that she gets elected in the Primary AND that we have a fiscally responsible Republican to vote for in the General Election.

Again, Single-Shot Shawnna.

My name is Shane Wikfors and I wrote, produced and exercised my first amendment right to bring you this message. Please share it with others.

Thank You.

Incidentally, Shawnna Bolick had no idea I would create this message.