Tempe’s Private Little Fiscal Cliff

By Michael Gibbs

Lemmings

What Tempe Council believes

I can’t think of the right adjective to use. Discouraged? Shocked? Appalled? Dismayed? Incredulous? That’s how this week’s Tempe City Council candidate forum left me feeling.

At one point candidate Matt Papke responded to a question by expressing concern about the city’s finances. Several current members of the council dismissed the issue by telling the audience that, by law, the budget has to be balanced. The attitude went beyond nonchalant–they implied that the city’s debt is a GOOD thing.

When Papke showed that in the last ten years alone Tempe’s debt has increased three-fold to nearly three quarters of a billion dollars his opponents made fun of him and one even asked if he had a mortgage on his house. Another stated flatly that you cannot run a city without incurring debt.

It’s this kind of thinking that has driven the entire nation to a $17 trillion dollar deficit, the only difference being that Tempe doesn’t have a printing press in the basement to make more dollars! No wonder Tempe is digging an ever deeper hole despite having the highest property taxes in the valley–it’s run by a bunch of profligates with no regard for their fiscal responsibilities. The spendthrifts in Detroit must be very proud to have Tempe following in their footsteps.

Danny Ray’s Campaign Piece Provokes Questions on the Gubernatorial Race

Yesterday I was visited by a member of Danny Ray’s campaign team here in northeast Mesa and was provided with this piece of campaign literature.

Danny Ray for Mayor Mesa

Of course, I’ve watched the voters of Mesa authorize the mayor and council to take the city deeper into debt through bond elections – against my advocacy and wishes.

But what really provoked my interest was who has been in leadership over the years approving increases in the budget and amount of debt.

Having been the former Communications & Outreach Director for AFP-Arizona, I jumped over to the local government scorecard put out by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Arizona to refresh my memory on how the City of Mesa scored. Here’s a screenshot of their performance from 2008-present:

AFPFCityMesaScorecard

 

As you can see, no one on the current council scored anywhere close to taxpayer-friendly. This confirms what Danny Ray has been campaigning on but it also reveals something about the former mayor and his effort to get a promotion to Arizona Governor.

While I like the fact that Danny Ray seems to be an anti-establishment candidate, I’m now wondering just who took Mesa in the direction its currently going and how that might be injected into the gubernatorial race.

Just sayin’

Phoenix Earns High Marks From NFIB

City judged one of five best in nation for welcoming small business

In an e-newsletter to its more than 330,000 members nationwide today, including 7,000 in Arizona, the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s voice of small business, ranked Phoenix as one of the top five cities in the country “Opening Their Doors to Small Business.”

“Phoenix’s rebounding economy, favorable climate and entrepreneurial culture attracts many transplanted residents,” said the NFIB article. “Two years ago, the Phoenix City Council implemented reforms that shifted a significant portion of city permitting and inspection functions to the private sector and created 24-hour turnarounds for projects such as city and building permits that used to take four to six months. With quicker turnarounds, doing business in Phoenix has become faster and more convenient.”

Noted Farrell Quinlan, NFIB’s Arizona state director, “The majority of people starting small businesses and prospering here were born somewhere else. That kind of new blood and vitality means opportunities in Phoenix aren’t encumbered by an old-boys network.”

In a news release issued by Mayor Greg Stanton, he said, “This ranking is a testament to the actions we’re taking to lift small and local businesses. We’re moving in a new economic direction – one that creates real opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs.”

sal diciccio council chambers

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio added, “This puts Phoenix in a position to compete in the global economy, making us faster, smarter and better than our competitor cities. Getting 24-hour permitting and the ability to submit plans online allows businesses to open today, not months from now. The Mayor and Council recognized that it grows our economy faster when we help businesses take off quickly.”

DiCiccio, a longtime NFIB member, led the 125-member Ad Hoc Development Task Force that produced the reform recommendations for how to streamline the city’s permit process.

Phoenix has also been helped by a better state climate, Quinlan pointed out. “The state has been a leader in low tax rates and regulatory reform. For instance, Arizona simplifies the process state agencies must follow when creating rules and regulations they impose on Arizona businesses. That leadership ensures government serves as a facilitator of economic dynamism rather than a frustrator of job creation.”

Other cities making the top five list were Caspar, Wyoming; Jackson, Mississippi; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida.

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane Endorses Jay Lawrence for Arizona House

Jay Lawrence

(SCOTTSDALE) – In yet another major endorsement, Republican Jay Lawrence announced today that he has earned the support of Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. Lawrence, who is seeking an open seat in Legislative District 23, plans to succeed State Representative John Kavanagh in the Arizona House.
 
In his endorsement, Mayor Jim Lane noted:  “Jay Lawrence has been a tremendous servant to the private sector for many years. Now that he’s made the commitment to serve the public, he has my full support to represent and advocate for the best interest of Scottsdale, the District and the State. I know Jay is dedicated to Arizona and will serve our community well. I also believe we are electing a gentleman with impeccable conservative credentials who will do the right thing by his constituents and the State of Arizona.”
 
Mayor Jim Lane, who has been a Scottsdale resident for over 40 years, also remarked on his friendship with Lawrence, “I’ve been a fan and friend of Jay Lawrence for many years and look forward to cheering him on in this next chapter of a very successful career. It will also be a pleasure working with him on issues to make Scottsdale and Arizona an even better place to live.”

Mayor Lane’s endorsement now joins fellow Legislative District 23 Mayor Linda Kavanagh (Fountain Hills), along with U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon, Dr. C.T. Wright, LD 23 State Representative John Kavanagh, and others.  For a complete list of endorsements, please visit www.LD23JayLawrence.com.

Rep Matt Salmon Endorses Emilena Turley for Queen Creek Town Council

Queen Creek, AZ-  U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon endorsed Emilena Turley in her race for Queen Creek Town Council today.  

SalmonTurley“I am excited to endorse Emilena Turley for Queen Creek Town Council.  She has the right blend of business background, conservative values and real world experience that are needed  now in the council.  She will be a great asset to the town, and to the people and families that call Queen Creek home.” said Representative Matt Salmon 

As the campaign moves into the summer, Emilena Turley’s campaign will continue to meet voters, and spread her message of business growth, fiscal responsibility, open communication and family values.  “I am honored to receive Representative Salmon’s endorsement, he is a leader that I look up to, and his support of my race means so much,”. said Emilena Turley. 

For more information please visit Emilena Turley’s website at www.emilenaturley.com

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Emilena Turley was born in Chandler, Arizona in 1972 and graduated from Mountain View High School in Mesa.  She attended Phoenix College and received an AAS in Legal Secretarial Studies.  Emilena is currently an independent paralegal, where she works with attorneys throughout the East Valley.  Emilena is married to Aaron Turley, a software engineer and together, they have 8 children.  Emilena and her family moved to Queen Creek in 2010 because they love the small town feel and tight knit sense of community that it offers.

Bill Richardson: Much is at stake in the Tempe City Council race

By Bill Richardson

The signs are up and the campaign to get elected to the Tempe City Council is on.

For those of us who live in Tempe and had hoped for a giant breath of fresh air to arrive after the ex-mayor Hugh Hallman left city hall two-years ago, we’re still waiting. Real change has yet to arrive: High crime, high taxes and reduced city services are still the Tempe way.

Mayor Mark Mitchell squeaked out a win over the Hallman candidate by only a couple hundred votes; not what you would call an overwhelming victory. A win is a win but not having a wealth of popular support in a city dominated by career politician Hallman and his henchmen for nearly a decade has made reform still a distant dream.

Hallman and company, including his loyal followers on the city council, gave Tempe higher taxes, fewer services and a crime problem that has escaped remedies by the current police leadership team brought on during the Hallman years. Tempe is still struggling with the extra crime rate that according to the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Reports is double Scottsdale’s and 50-percent higher than Mesa’s.

Tempe continues to blame Arizona State University for its serious crime woes even though ASU has its own police force and university crime problems are recorded separately from ASU’s by the feds.

Beyond high taxes and high crime, there’s still a cloud of question hovering over city hall from a long list of shenanigans and the FBI undercover investigation that netted longtime council member turned convicted felon Ben Arredondo.

City council members Robin Arredondo-Savage, Joel Navarro and Corey Woods were mentioned as being present during one of the meetings with Arredondo and the FBI undercover agents posing as crooks. Arredondo, who moved from the city council to the state legislature, reportedly told the FBI agents wanting to do business in Tempe, “You guys will ask, you guys will have. I don’t know how else to say it. We’ll be just fine because not only [are we] covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.” (link)

Arredondo-Savage, Navarro and Woods were never charged with a crime.

With three city council seats open in the next election maybe change will finally come? Then again, maybe it won’t if there isn’t a change in the face of the city council.

The two incumbents who were part of the Hallman council hope to keep their seats of power and influence.

Shana Ellis a two-term member wants to stay, as does one termer Arredondo-Savage. Onnie Shekerjian is not running for re-election. Wanting to replace Arredondo-Savage and Ellis and fill the one open seat are Lauren Kuby, Matt Papke, Ernesto Fonseca, David Schapira and Dick Foreman.

For the first time in a long time Tempe voters have a real choice about the future of the city. Without term limits and a flood of fresh blood, the Tempe City Council has become more like private clique catering to special interests than an elected body of innovative and inspiring leadership residents and business owners can believe and trust.

So will voters stick with the incumbents that have helped take Tempe to where it is? Or will they elect new members to the council who can help take Tempe in a new direction to wipe out the failures of the past and restore trust in local elected officials that has been stolen from voters thanks to scandal and an array of and cozy deals generated out of Tempe’s “tax and spend” city hall?

Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at bill[dot]richardson[at]cox[dot]net.

Tempe Council Candidate Matthew Papke Leads The Pack In Cash On Hand

On the verge of the deadline to file for Tempe City Council tomorrow - Wednesday, May 28th - the number of candidates who have qualified for the ballot (pending any challenges) has increased to four. The list now includes left-wing activist Lauren Kuby, current council member, Robin Arredondo-Savage, Ernesto Fonseca and independent conservative activist, Matthew Papke. Both Kuby and Papke qualified for the ballot early in the process.

While Kuby may be the current favorite among liberal political circles, her latest campaign finance report reveals she is running third place when it comes to cash on hand. Slightly ahead of her is Arredondo-Savage who is seeking re-election and obviously holds an incumbent advantage.

But what is most surprising is the fundraising capacity of Matthew Papke who dwarfs his rivals with cash on hand. The non-establishment political newcomer has apparently caught lightning in a bottle raising a total of $65,742 since entering the race from a widespread base of support. According to his latest finance report, he currently has nearly $50,000 cash on hand.

What’s even more interesting is that this former US Marine is flying below the radar of both local reporters and the Republican establishment – probably because all eyes are focused on the ninth congressional district, statewide races and the multitude of legislative races.

Papke, who recently became a new father, is well-invested in the community having grown up in Tempe and now working among fellow Tempeans. His platform includes reducing the level of crime in Tempe – currently, the highest in the east valley; balancing the city budget and eliminating the tax on food (Mesa is the only east valley community with no tax on food).

Other candidates seeking the three available seats include current council member Shana Ellis, former legislator David Schapira, Republican Dick Foreman and Ernesto Fonseca.

Here are the current cash on hand tallies in the City of Tempe Council race:

Matthew Papke:    $49,034
Robin Arredondo-Savage:    $31,350
Lauren Kuby:    $30,030
Shana Ellis:    $25,124
David Schapira:    $7,232
Dick Foreman:    $3,441
Ernesto Fonseca:    $550

Matt Papke Secures Endorsement of Former Tempe Police Chief Ralph Tranter

Matt Papke Banner

Great news for Tempe City Council candidate Matt Papke who just received the endorsement of retired Tempe Police Chief, Ralph Tranter. During the campaign, Papke has emphasized his commitment to reducing crime in Tempe which has the highest rate of violent and property crime in the east valley. Tranter’s endorsement reaffirms Papke’s commitment.

As Tranter commented:

“Matt Papke understands the need for a local focus on combating criminal activity. Matt’s dad spent thirty years with me as a Tempe Police Officer and I endorse Matt fully in his pursuit of a Tempe City Council seat. When it comes to Public Safety, Matt Papke will not let budget concerns get in the way of our Police and Fire needs. Matt will place a sharp focus on local crime and work to secure our streets for the families of Tempe. Remember to vote for Matt Papke on election day. “

Please support Matt Papke in his campaign for the Tempe Council. He is the one candidate who has emphasized the fundamental importance of preserving life, liberty and property.

Visit Matt’s website at FreeTempe.com

 

Lauren Kuby, Kari Jill Granville And David Schapira Posting Campaign Signs Illegally?

Reposted from EastValleyNewsNet.

Peggy McClain 5-12-14

Back in April, Tempeans were reminded it is an election year once again.  The large campaign signs began appearing at many intersections.

There may be one problem:  Arizona Statute states these signs cannot be placed until 60 days before the election.  The primary is August 26th.

Why are these signs up?  I’m sure Lauren Kuby is anxious to win a seat on Tempe Council so she can further advance Tempe’s Agenda 21, thus allowing her to keep her important job at ASU’s Institute of Sustainability.  Bye-bye to more of our tax dollars.

(keep reading)

GSKsigns

Michael Auerbach endorsed by State Representative John Kavanagh

auerbach logo

Michael Auerbach, candidate for Scottsdale City Council, announced today that he has been endorsed by State Representative John Kavanagh.

Kavanagh, who has represented Scottsdale in the Arizona House of Representatives for nearly eight years, is supporting Auerbach because of his business background and his history of involvement with Scottsdale.

“Michael has a background and work ethic that is ideal for the City Council,” said Kavanagh, who added, “but more than that he loves Scottsdale and he is prepared to put in the long hours and do what is right for the city. I’m happy to support his campaign.”

“I am thrilled to have the endorsement of such a respected and honored friend of the taxpayers and families of Scottsdale.” said Auerbach.

Among other notables who have endorsed Auerbach is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsement from Vice Mayor of Phoenix Jim Waring

Shawnna Bolick

Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsement from Vice Mayor of Phoenix Jim Waring

Yesterday, Shawnna received the endorsement from Vice Mayor of Phoenix, Jim Waring.

“As a former State Senator I know how important it is to have elected officials who truly represent the people of Arizona but more importantly, listen to its citizens,” stated Waring.  “Shawnna not only has the passion to help lead Arizona, but she is a do-er who is not afraid to engage with her neighbors. I believe Shawnna is prepared to make tough decisions no matter how big the challenge.  I predict Ms. Bolick will be a linchpin in the Legislature in halting the federal government’s encroachment and I look forward to working with her to help advance sound fiscal policy that benefits all Arizonans.  These are just a few reasons why I believe she is the right person to represent Legislative District 28.”

“I am honored to have Vice Mayor Waring’s endorsement,” said Bolick.  “Jim has a strong work ethic and is a model for how elected officials need to stay actively engaged with constituents once they are elected.  Jim also hasn’t been shy in exposing government waste during his service in the State Legislature or on the Phoenix City Council.  Once I am elected, I know Jim will be a strong local government ally.  Like Jim, I look forward to regularly meeting with neighbors to discuss the current issues during my service to Arizona.”

About Shawnna:

Shawnna Bolick has lived in Legislative District 28 for 13 years. Shawnna and her husband, Clint, have two children, Ryne (11) and Kali (9), plus their five year old rescued greyhound, Beary Goldwater, living in the shadows of Squaw Peak.

For more information about the campaign, to make a donation or sign Shawnna’s petition, please visit http://www.BolickforArizona.com/ .

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Why is Don Shooter Giving Government Special Treatment?

Toby Farmer

Toby Farmer Asks Don Shooter to Explain Intentions of Immunity Bill

Republican candidate Toby Farmer is asking State Senator Don Shooter to explain his sponsorship and support of a bill that gives the state and state employees complete immunity when they commit negligent acts on state trust lands. Sen. Shooter sponsored a bizarre amendment in the Appropriations Committee last week to a state trust lands bill. The provision, which Shooter authored, condones negligent acts of the state and its employees.

Right now as written, Shooter’s proposal would give the state complete immunity in the future, for example, in tragic wildland forest fires such as the Yarnell tragedy where 19 hotshot firefighters were killed last summer in northern Arizona. Families of the victims and property owners currently have claims against the state alleging negligence.

Toby Farmer asked, “Is Don Shooter okay with families, business owners, property owners and victims not receiving fair compensation when the state is in fact negligent? Why is Don Shooter okay with property owners who have been harmed by the state’s actions having no recourse for recovery or just compensation?” Farmer continued, “The potential harmful ramifications for the rural portions of my district and the landowners in Arizona cannot be understated.”

In committee, other Republican members and individuals who testified expressed their concerns and opposition to the language. In regards to the immunity language, Republican Senator Rick Murphy stated, “I’m not sure the Constitution would permit it.” A lawyer for one of the deceased hotshots and several landowners harmed by the fire called the provision “regrettable” and an “insult to firefighters.”

Farmer continued, “Why should government have special protections when there is clear negligence that businesses and regular people do not? It’s a scary world where a government can’t be held liable for its actions.”

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 To learn more about Toby’s campaign, visit www.FarmerAZ.com.

Marana Mayor Ed Honea Endorses Tobin

Andy Tobin

April 1, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Marana Mayor Ed Honea Endorses Tobin

“Tobin is a battle-tested conservative hero of individual freedom…”

The wave of Pima County support continues to flood in for Andy Tobin’s congressional campaign. This week, Marana Mayor Ed Honea throws his support behind Tobin’s effort to defeat Kirkpatrick and return Arizona’s 1st Congressional District to its conservative values. Mayor Honea’s support comes the week following Marana Town Councilwoman Patti Comerford’s endorsement for Tobin’s campaign.

“There is no other candidate in the race for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District that I would consider supporting,” said Marana Mayor Ed Honea. “Tobin is a battle-tested conservative hero of individual freedom, job creation, economic development and 2nd Amendment rights. He has been fighting against ObamaCare since the law was first introduced. He battles for smaller government, lower taxes and balanced budgets everyday. Tobin is the reason we have concealed carry, E-Verify, and a ban on partial-birth abortion. It is for these reasons and many others that I am proudly endorsing Andy Tobin for Congress. I encourage anyone who values individual liberty and our Constitution to do the same.”

“I sincerely thank Mayor Honea for his support,” said Tobin. “I look forward to taking Marana’s voice to Washington and continuing the fight for Arizona’s conservative values from the first day I am elected. We have accomplished a lot in Arizona and I firmly believe that Washington will benefit from the hard work we have done here. With folks like Mayor Honea behind us, we will be unstoppable in defeating Kirkpatrick and making sure that Pelosi does not return to the Speaker’s chair.”

ABOUT ANDY TOBIN:

Andy Tobin and his wife of 28 years, Jennifer, are the proud parents of five children- three daughters and two sons. Tobin is a small business owner who has devoted his life to positively affecting his community through job creation, public service and advocating for conservative principles. Tobin’s focus has been on creating sustainable jobs, helping small businesses succeed, building a stronger middle class and putting Arizona back on track. While serving as Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Tobin drastically cut government by 25 percent, balanced Arizona’s budget and presided over the largest tax cuts in Arizona’s history, saving Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars.

Tobin has fought for your family’s freedoms, your prosperity and your community for the past six years while serving in the Arizona Legislature. He continues to lead the fight to stop the implementation of the disastrous ObamaCare. As your Representative in Congress, Andy Tobin will represent your voice, and lead the charge in fighting for you against the wasteful spending, government intrusion, and out-of-touch insiders that are taking away your freedoms.

Join Andy Tobin today!

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For more information, please contact Tobin for Congress Campaign Manager Craig Handzlik at press@andytobin.com or 928-275-1417.

 

Shawnna Bolick receives endorsement from former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.

 

Shawnna Bolick

March 31, 2014

Shawnna Bolick receives endorsement from former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.

Today, Shawnna Bolick received the endorsement from former congressman and conservative leader Barry Goldwater, Jr., the son of Arizona icon Barry Goldwater.

“With so many serious challenges facing the State of Arizona, I support Shawnna Bolick for the Legislature 110%,” stated former Congressman Goldwater, Jr. “She has one of the sharpest minds of anyone I’ve met in Arizona politics. Her bold ideas in education reform and steadfast common sense are two things I admire most about Shawnna. She has the potential to help lead Arizona into a brighter future – one that is more self-reliant, and one that holds to its independent values that I love so much about this state. Shawnna’s pro-growth, free market, and fiscal conservative ideas are the ones this state needs to get our fiscal house in order. She will bring a fresh, yet bold and principled leadership the Republican Party lacks.”

“I am thrilled to have Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.’s endorsement,” stated Bolick. “We share many of the same conservative ideals and we both believe in public service. Goldwater has been bold and steadfast in his beliefs, and the State of Arizona can trust I will lead with a similar “Goldwater” vision. I have also tapped Barry Goldwater, Jr. to be my honorary campaign chair.”

About Shawnna:

Shawnna Bolick has lived in Legislative District 28 for 13 years. Shawnna and her husband, Clint, have two children, Ryne (11) and Kali (9), plus their five year old rescued greyhound, Beary Goldwater, living in the shadows of Squaw Peak.

For more information about the campaign, to make a donation or sign Shawnna’s petition, please visit http://www.BolickforArizona.com/ .

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Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsement from Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio

Shawnna Bolick

Shawnna Bolick Receives Endorsement from Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio

Phoenix, AZ- February 4, 2014- Today, Shawnna Bolick received Sal DiCiccio’s endorsement for Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 28.  Bolick has helped Councilman DiCiccio on government and pension reforms over the past several years.

“So much of what we have achieved here in Phoenix—from pension reform to competitiveness to government transparency and accountability—has to echo at the state level or our gains will mean little.  We need smart, tough legislators who are willing to fight for the people who pay the bills.  As a tireless advocate for school choice, small business, and the taxpayers, Shawnna demonstrates on a daily basis that she has the vision and backbone we need at the State Capitol.  That is why I give my unqualified support to Shawnna Bolick, candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD-28.”

“I am honored to have Councilman DiCiccio’s endorsement.  Sal and I both care about being most prudent with the taxpayer’s dollars.  We also believe taxpayers are adults and can handle the truth.  Together, we can effectuate necessary reforms from the local and state level to ensure Arizona is on sound footing,” stated Bolick.

Shawnna Bolick has lived in Legislative District 28 for over a decade.  She has worked for education-related non-profits since the late 1990s.  Shawnna and Clint, her husband, have two children, Ryne (11) and Kali (8 ½), plus their five year old rescued greyhound, Beary Goldwater, in the shadows of Squaw Peak.

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Shawnna L.M. Bolick can be reached via email at info@bolickforarizona.com, or via cell at 602.842-1912.  For more information about her campaign, please visit www.BolickforArizona.com.

Phoenix to comply with court order, stop funding union activities with taxpayer monies

Great news for Phoenix taxpayers, Councilman Sal DiCiccio and the rule of law!

City of Phoenix Announces Today it Will Stop Using taxpayer monies to fund All Union Activities. Will Comply with Court Ruling

Last week, it was announced that the city of Phoenix will be forced to stop funding Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s (PLEA) union activities, Today, the City’s administration has decided to apply the ruling to all City of Phoenix unions. (View Court Decision and City Manager’s memo below) 

“This is big news for the taxpayers of Phoenix. Instead of using taxpayers’ money to fund union activities, we can use this money on vital City services. This money should be used to end domestic violence, end human trafficking, and put more police on the street,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

The following quote is from page 8 of the court ruling released on January 29: “This evidence supports the conclusion that the City Council abused their discretion in approving the release time at issue.” This was approved on a 5-4 vote with Mayor Stanton being the swing vote.

It is disappointing that the Mayor and Council were complicit in funding union activities which in turn supported their candidates and then, once those candidates were elected, continued to give millions of taxpayer dollars back to the unions. It was a vicious circle which has caused the large budget deficit we have seen this year.

Mayor Stanton was the swing vote to use taxpayer monies to fund union activity, the swing vote to keep pension spiking and presented a budget supporting the food tax (which was immediately proven to be false).

“It’s time for the Mayor and those council members to protect taxpayers and not the government unions,” said DiCiccio.

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To view the court decision: http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@pcc/@dist6/documents/web_content/d6statementattachmentjan2914.pdf

To view the City Manager’s memo: http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@pcc/@dist6/documents/web_content/d6citymgrmemo.pdf

Reflecting on the District 4 Council Race

By: Paul Bentz, reposted from HighGround blog

I’ve often said that the best part about campaigns is that they actually end and you know if you won or if you lost.  Needless to say, it’s also the worst thing about campaigns – particularly when you come up on the losing end.  Such is the case of Justin Johnson for Phoenix City Council.

First, let me say, Justin Johnson was the hardest working candidate that I have ever worked with.  He was the first one up in the morning and the last one out at night.  He was willing to talk to anyone and meet with whoever wanted to meet with him.  His willingness and dedication to knocking on doors, making phone calls, raising money is amazing.  He (and his entire family for that matter) has an uncanny special talent for hard work.  When he started the race, he had 6% support and he ended up earning first place in the August election.

Our internal polling had the Johnson campaign up by high single digits going into August.  The final tally, however, was much closer, and foretold of things to come.  What we found were several hundred West Phoenix voters who fell outside of the traditional participation model had made the run off much closer than anticipated.  

We adjusted our model accordingly and expanded the universe.  Once again, polling showed a lead for Johnson – confirmed not only by our internal polling, but also in the Lake Research Polling for the Independent Expenditure formed to bolster Pastor and attack Johnson.

We knew the run-off was going to be difficult – Congressman Pastor has deep roots in the community, extensive fundraising capabilities, and is probably the most liked official in all of Democrat politics.  The Democratic establishment lined up in uniform support for the Pastor campaign and went to work attacking his Johnson’s Democrat credentials (and you thought it only happened amongst Republicans).  As the Lake Research Polling suggested, the “IE needed to define her opponent quickly and aggressively.”  That they did.  The IE spent hundreds of thousands on mailers attacking Justin’s character and falsely aligning him with tea party interests.  

Despite all of that, Johnson still held a narrow lead.  

In the end, it came down to ballot collection.  As returns came in, a similar trend emerged that was reminiscent of the run off. Another massive increase in early ballots (over and above August turnout) was seen from West Phoenix precincts – 311% participation from Holmes, 167% participation from Culver/Marivue, 146% participation from Acuna/Lynwood/Riverside, 142% from Granda/Madrid and 162% participation in Hayden High/Isaac/Lewis.    
IZKfyZR

To their credit, Johnson’s campaign took on the herculean task of trying to counteract that flood of ballots all the way to the end aggressively generating returns of their own.  They spent every moment turning out their voters and reminding their supporters to vote.  Their efforts are why turnout is up across the board from August.

IEs on both sides made things messy and certainly made it a much closer election.  However, in the end, with 30 days of early voting, the results may not come down to mailers, endorsements, or even party ideology.

As we have seen more and more in close election contests, the daily grind of strategic ballot collection (particularly in low efficacy partisan targeted areas) can spell the difference between a win and a loss. Independent voters still tend not to participate at anywhere near the levels of partisan voters, and most seem turned off by the entire process.

Paul Bentz is Vice President of Accounts & Strategy with HighGround Public Affairs Consultants.