By Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk
As Arizonans prepare for a public debate on legalizing marijuana, we encourage a close look at Colorado — the first state to fully legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana – and Ohio, the most recent state to defeat it.
Ohio—a key bellwether state—defeated legalized marijuana this week by a margin of 28 points. What Ohio made clear is that when the facts about today’s more potent and dangerous marijuana are aptly communicated and exposed, there are no good reasons left to make it both legal and more widely available – and it loses.
Perhaps recent news in Colorado is what informed Ohioans. For example: legalization advocates claimed it would help put an end to the black market and illegal sales. In just the last month in Colorado, however, we witnessed the contrary. To wit:
October 28: Officers find 6,400 illegal marijuana plants in southern Colorado forest.
October 9: 32 busted in big Colorado illegal marijuana cultivation crackdown.
October 6: DHS suspends 7 cross country runners.
October 8: Manitou Springs police: Mustangs boys’ soccer marijuana issue handled by school.
As Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs said on 60 Minutes earlier this year, “I can resoundly say that the black market is alive and doing well.”
The largest of these raids, also last month, found 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed, and more than 30 guns. Among those arrested were Honduran, Mexican, and Cuban nationals. Clearly, instead of putting an end to the black market, legalization in Colorado has created a magnet for it as legality and availability drive sales and consumption.
As just this one month in Colorado also reveals, the notion that we can solve an international drug cartel program by legalizing a dangerous product that harms our youth is, quite simply, a fraud.
As noted above, high-school marijuana use—including by those on athletic teams—is also a major problem and growing concern. Why? As explained in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors just last month: “[A]s marijuana has become more accessible and adults have become more tolerant regarding marijuana use, adolescents perceive marijuana as more beneficial and are more likely to use if they are living in an environment that is more tolerant of marijuana use.”
Legalizing an intoxicating substance for adults will not keep it out of the hands of our youth—which is why 77% more of Arizona’s youth use alcohol than marijuana today. Making marijuana like alcohol means more adolescents will use more marijuana…just like they do alcohol. And it’s critical to note that today’s marijuana is not the same as it was in decades past—it’s at least five times more potent, practically an entirely different drug.
One month in Colorado is, of course, not the whole story; we recommend reading September’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This report documents that, since legalization in Colorado, marijuana has been associated with such social fallout as increased homelessness, school suspensions and expulsions, and traffic deaths.
It couldn’t be clearer: Arizonans should not want this for its families and communities, and we certainly do not need it.
Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show on 960am/KKNT. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney. Respectively, they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.
I am proud of our schools in Arizona. A number of our high schools are consistently ranked near the top of U.S. studies. We were one of the first states to create charter schools and our Empowerment Scholarship Accounts allow parents to find the best education option for their children. These two reforms are models being emulated throughout the country. I personally have toured and seen the excellent achievement of our students and teachers throughout my district.
Friday, October 30, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed an increase of $3.5 billion over the next ten years to our schools. This will bring new money into our K-12 school system, if voters approve the plan in a special election to be held May 17, 2016.
Part of the funding will come from a new percentage level, 6.9%, distributed to the State Schools Fund from the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Funds (PLETF). The Arizona Constitution determines the portion of investment earnings the Treasurer must distribute annually to each beneficiary. Right now annual distributions are set at 2.5% of the average monthly market valuation of the PLETF from the preceding five years. The voters will be asking to approve the increase above 2.5% in the May election.
Governor Ducey was State Treasurer before being elected Governor, so he understands this trust fund and how it functions. In 2012 he developed Proposition 118, to move to a fixed rate of 2.5%, instead of a fluctuating rate used at the time. Voters approved that proposal.
Three years later, the Governor proposed to increase that amount to 6.9%, and the Legislature agreed. We spent much time in debate and talking to lawyers and staff about the ramifications of the increased percentage. I am convinced that we have been short changing our schools all these years. The PLETF is now valued at $5 billion and the consensus of those who voted yes is that we can safely pay this out to our schools and protect the principle of the fund.
Triggers are placed within the law in case we have another major economic downturn. It would require the Directors of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to jointly notify the Governor, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House that a reduction to the distribution is necessary to preserve the safety of the capital in the PLETF, if the value of the PLETF has decreased. At that point we would return to the 2.5%.
This was a complicated issue that took hundreds of hours of work by all concerned, but I am confident that we have made a very good decision in increasing the payout from the State Schools Trust Fund.
The proposal also included increased money for schools from the General Fund.
- Increases the per pupil amount by $173.26
- Increases basic state aid by $248,829,400 in FY2016 by increasing the base level per pupil amount
- Includes additional inflation of $74,394,000 in FY2016
- Increases the Permanent State School Fund distribution line item by $172,081,000
- Appropriates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction additional funding for school districts and charter schools of $50 million annually in FY2016 through FY2020
- Allows flexibility for school districts to budget the additional funding to where they feel it is needed.
None of this will increase taxes for our citizens and is being done within the capacity of what we have now.
We hear all the time how bad Arizona ranks in school spending, but those rankings can be very misleading. Other states have 95% of land privately owned and is part of the tax base. In Arizona, we are generating revenue from 13% private property. We will never raise revenues to the level of those other states.
Also, Arizona has a high population of those under 18 years of age and a large population of adults over 65 years of age. In the 18-64 age bracket where the bulk of taxpayers reside, we have a proportionally small population, so again, we will never be able to reach the revenues of other states without significantly increasing taxes.
This ranking propaganda by our critics is designed to pressure taxpayers to fund more into our schools. We are short changing our teachers and kids when we constantly focus on a ranking instead of results. Funding is important but does not guarantee a good education that depends on parents, teachers, and, most of all, students.
I wish to thank the Arizona taxpayer who is willing to give their hard-earned money to better the life of children through our education system in Arizona.
Also, Tested was School Bonds, Pot Convention and Education Tax
(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public affairs and consulting firm, announced results of a recent survey dealing with the nationally known, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who could be facing his toughest re-election battle yet. We also looked at several other current issues in Arizona, primarily within Maricopa County.
In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 559 high efficacy voters in Maricopa County, conducted on October 19, 2015, the survey calculates a 4.14% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.
The survey asked several questions of voters. The first was a basic re-elect question regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “Looking ahead to next year’s election for Maricopa County Sheriff, do you think that Joe Arpaio should be re-elected, or do you think that it is time to give someone else a chance?”
|Arpaio Re-Elect Question|
The second question was phrased, “Recently, the Republican Party of Maricopa County has decided to oppose ALL 28 school district overrides and bond ballot initiatives come this November. Arizona is one of the lowest ranked states in the United States when it comes to education. Would you consider the Republican Party of Maricopa Counties stance on these bonds as obstructionist or as fiscal prudence?”
|County GOP-No on all Education|
The third question was phrased, “Given what you know about Arizona’s education system, would you be willing to pay slightly more generally in taxes to invest in Arizona’s Education System?”
|Invest in Education System|
The fourth question was phrased, “The Phoenix Convention center will be hosting the “Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo” at the end of this month. Do you think that is a good idea or bad idea to host this event?”
|Pot Expo – Good/Bad?|
Michael Noble, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement:
“With Maricopa County voters split on whether America’s Toughest Sheriff deserves another four years, the data shows Sheriff Joe will have his toughest campaign ever. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are near evenly split. In addition, a small plurality of county voters say they are open to paying more for education. With most eyes focused on the Presidential election next November, Arizona voters have some big choices.”
For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-4.14%.
Are you tired of governments demanding more of your paycheck with negative results?
Say NO to Tempe Union High School Override (TUHSD)
All are invited to join us on Tuesday, 10-13-15 at 2 PM at the TUHSD office at 500 W. Guadalupe Tempe 85283 (NW corner of Guadalupe and Kyrene)
Let’s let the TUHSD Superintendent and Governing Board know they cannot fool us anymore. Other districts will be taking notice as these override elections are occurring in many districts.
VOTE NO: Why does TUHSD need 28,000 devices “for the students” if the student population is 13,600?
VOTE NO: This is a permanent tax increase as overhead, staff, and increased bandwidth have not been budgeted for.
VOTE NO: There is NO PARENTAL CONTROL over who your student will interact with on-line nor what content your child will download.
VOTE NO: This tax increase WILL NOT lead to more money for teachers but will lead to a decrease in teachers.
Vote YES 487/Stop Pension Abuse
How (fire/police death and disability claims) became the most important issue in the 487 campaign-and how it’s not true.
I am writing to show you how you were manipulated by the politicians (mayor & council), the opponents of pension reform and by the media covering this important issue. And, mostly because you need this information before you vote.
The issue of death/disability benefits being cut off are just not true and the media knew this was not true when they wrote their stories.
Here is the technique used to dupe you:
History and Technique
During my re-election campaign the unions filed a lawsuit in court against me, they then got the Media to write about the lawsuit. The unions then did mailers and TV to the public on the their lawsuit using the articles in the newspaper as the foundation. Yes, the unions file their own lawsuit, get the media to write about it, then use the stories written in the paper in mailers and on TV. Even though the judge quickly threw out the case, the stories were written and used as fact in subsequent mailers and on TV.
Fast forward to The Pension reform (487) campaign:
The unions get their friends on the council to change the wording on the ballot description to add the words “Police Officer and Firefighter,” they then create the death and disability connection, then they get the media to write about it and create a story, then they do mailers and TV based on the confusion that they created using the published stories as the foundation. The unions rig the ballot description, get the media to write about it, then use the stories written in the paper in mailers and TV. The media knew this was not true.
The media can claim ignorance the first time, but a second time?
Hats off to the anti-pension reform campaign for being able to successfully use the media to make an issue that was never an issue as the highlight of the campaign. Unfortunately, it creates confusion and suppresses voter turnout. The unions want to make sure you don’t vote.
And the media? Well, the same people that complain about low turnout are the same ones who knowingly help write the stories depressing turnout.
Fact: Death/disability claims are a LIFE INSURANCE plan and not a pension. They’re not even close to being part of this initiative. 487 covers only the City of Phoenix pension plan. The police/fire are covered by the state pension plan not by the city plan. Phoenix cannot opt out of that plan. Police and Fire are clearly excluded.
I thought long and hard whether to write this column, but I believe strongly every vote matters. Any delay in getting out the reality behind the politics would be doing you and disservice. The only way we will win is if the public gets the truth, please pass this on to your email list!
I am sorry that was to done to you, but you are the last ray of hope if we are going to change and reform our pension system. Our city needs your help and we need you to vote. Please don’t let them win by not voting.
Vote YES 487
Friends and supporters,
We are pleased to announce the launch of the first NO on Proposition 480 TV ad today.
Proposition 480 would impose a $1.6 billion tax increase on Maricopa County property owners for a new government run, county hospital. Many believe that the price tag for what amounts to a blank check is too high for a special district with a relatively narrow mission.
Supporters of Prop 480 don’t want to talk about the price tag. Neither do they want to explain how they are spending $600,000 of taxpayer money to run a feel good branding campaign in conjunction with the referendum campaign.
If you agree that Prop 480 is a bad idea at a bad time, please forward this ad to your friends via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. Please help us get out the word that the price of Prop 480 is just too high.
Click below to view the ad, coming to a TV near you. Also please go to our website,VoteNOon480.com for additional information.
Dear Arizona Taxpayer,
- YES on Arizona Proposition 122: Rejection of Unconstitutional Federal Actions — Prop 122 will provide Arizonans with a way to protect themselves from overreaching and harmful federal policies. AFP-Arizona strongly endorses Prop 122.
- YES on Arizona Proposition 303: Use of Investigational Drugs, Biomedical Products and Devices — Prop 303 would allow terminally ill patients in Arizona to procure experimental drugs that have not completed the full FDA trial process (but have been deemed safe by FDA). AFP-Arizona strongly encourages citizens to vote YES on Prop 303 to protect the health and safety of terminally ill patients and strike a blow for the freedom of individuals to make their own health care decisions.
- NO on Maricopa County Proposition 480 - Prop 480 would spend $935 million to fund new and updated facilities for the Maricopa Integrated Health Systems. If passed, the proposition would result in a significant property tax increase, especially on small businesses. A typical small business with $1 million in assessed valuation will end up paying $7,800 for this bond measure. Maricopa County taxpayers already greatly subsidize health care for the less fortunate, and there are already sufficient health care options, including vast private hospital systems, available to Maricopa County residents. Prop 480 has little accountability for how the money is used, and it would subsidize government health facilities in unfair competition with private health care enterprises.
- NO on Pima County Proposition 415 – Prop 415 would issue $22 million in bonds for the expansion and renovation of the Pima Animal Care Facility. Pima County taxpayers are already being subjected to a property tax levy increase of $45 million, or approximately $50 on a typical house, and the Animal Care Center has already received a $1 million increase in its operating budget for expanded shelter operations, medical treatment, and spay/neuter programs.
- YES on City of Phoenix Proposition 487 - Prop 487 would solve the City’s nearly $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability problem by moving new employees to a plan similar to the 401k plans that are common in the private sector. Prop 487 would fix the City’s scandalous $190 million pension spiking problem by limiting the excess pension benefits given to current employees.
The Tea Party Patriots join the Alliance! The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives is proud to announce the Tea Party Patriots have joined our effort to fight the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arizona.
The Alliance has captured the attention of the nation with the herculean effort of the grassroots army to defeat Governor Brewer’s ill conceived and unconstitutional legislation so it can be referred to the ballot and vetoed by the people.
Contact Christine Bauserman, Frank Antenori, or Ron Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-235-2234.