Sal DiCiccio: BLM Mural Backpedaling

Phoenix City Councilman released the following statement Thursday evening regarding a response by City Manager Ed Zuercher to BLM activists:

This is Government Speak for: “Public would have handed us our ass if we allowed the BLM mural to happen.”

Never underestimate political self-preservation.

We Win Again!!!

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6

California ‘Dream Team’ Wants Arizona’s LD-6

By Eddie Whipple

For years Arizona has had to fight off the influence of Californians who want to meddle in our way of life.

“Don’t California my Arizona,” is a rallying cry for many conservatives who want Arizona to remain a state of low taxes with few government regulations, where families and businesses can thrive with limited governmental intervention.

However, more and more we have seen an influx of California-influenced political ideas invading our desert and mountain regions.

Just two years ago, Tom Steyer spent tens of millions of dollars to reengineer our electric grid by mandating solar consumption and significantly increasing our electric bills. Thankfully, voters up and down the state soundly rejected that bad idea. Steyer did not begin the effort to bring bad California ideas to Arizona. And sadly, his resounding defeat wasn’t the end, either.

Now, in Legislative District 6, which covers the White Mountains area, along with Flagstaff, Sedona, Payson and parts of Yavapai County.

The “California Dream Team” of Felicia French, Coral Evans and Art Babbott is running to take out the two current members of the Arizona House and Senate candidate Wendy Rogers. And LD6 isn’t your typical district. It’s one of the biggest targets for Democrats to flip from red to blue. Republicans hold 31 seats in the House, with the 29 Democrats closer than at anytime in 60 yeas from having control of the body. In the state Senate, Republicans hold 17 of the 30 seats. Capturing these seats is the lynchpin to the Democrats taking over the state House and leading them on the path to the same outcome in the Senate.

French, who is taking on Rogers for the Senate seat, loves her some San Francisco area cash. According to campaign finance records, she has received at least $18,000 from more than 100 Bay Area donors. And her campaign rhetoric matches her liberal donors. 

She buys into the wackiest of liberal policies. She supports cutting beef production by 50 percent to cut down on global warming. Cows, she reckons, contribute to global warming. Never mind that ranching is one of the most important industries in the district.

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans never met a tax increase she couldn’t support. She once said at a Hillary Clinton rally she would be a “hard-bent progressive.” She’s living up to her own words. She once compared celebrating Columbus Day with waving the Confederate Flag and she wants to replace that October holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day. She has supported the Invest In Ed income tax proposal that would increase taxes on small business owners and create California-like tax structure that will drive away businesses and residents. She has supported property tax increases in Flagstaff for many of her years as mayor. One of her top priorities in the Legislature she once said was to increase the gas tax.

Babbott, a Coconino County supervisor and running as an independent but aligning with Democrats, has spent decades supporting Bernie Sanders’ various runs for office. He first began donating to Bernie’s campaign as early as 1990. In 1987, Babbott said the self-described “Radical Socialist Mayor” was doing a “great job.” He’s given nearly $1,000 over the years to Bernie’s campaigns and supported his 2016 run for the presidency.We’ve seen the evidence that French, Evans and Babbott are as liberal as they come. Now it’s up to the voters to take that into consideration when they fill out their ballots. The direction of the state is may just come down to these three Democrats.

My Final Rebuttal – Guest Opinion

By L. Burke Files

To Sylvia Allen, Gary Morris, Peter Aleshire, and the AZ Republican Party;

In my opinion, the three of you and the party are a great disappointment.   No, you will listen, you immediately decry this “attack” as a Rogers person, and you would be correct. I am a 20-year friend of Wendy and Hal. I get it. I, however, am sharing my view and background in advance. It is a technique in argumentation called authenticity, something you have forgotten.

Senator Sylvia Allen, you were once the fresh face of the rural independent spirit.  Your gaffs about ethnicity and sexual orientation are hurtful, but expected.  You have not traveled, and you have not seen how the citizens of the world view American. America is Eldorado. We are the famed city of gold on the hill. They want to be here; they want to become Americans. My grandfather was an immigrant, and he well remembered his reception in Chicago when he went looking for work. Little signs in the window said NINA. It meant No Irish Need Apply. He was at first angry, but soon realized the country was so rich the NINA businesses did not need his money.  Your time has passed, you have forgotten the golden rule  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Republicans are the party of Lincoln, not Wilson. To me you now more or less resemble Norma Desmond looking for your last close-up. You could have gone out on top. Now you will just go.

Gary Morris, Gila County Republican Precinct Chair, you are the epitome of what the party has become. The AZ Republican Party has become a sclerotic assemblage of the status quo.  In this tyranny, there is enormous inertia, so much so only a crisis real or imagined will produce real change.  If you can open your eyes, you will see the crises, it will be in November, and you and others like you are the authors of the tragedy. Your role was to advocate for who the party members chose, Gary – it’s not your choice. It is the choice of the voters. Your tireless advocacy for Allen has removed you from the party Chair to become the foppish incumbent cheerleader. 

Peter Aleshire, you disgust me.  I am a huge proponent of the First Amendment and especially investigative journalism. The third estate is what keeps democracy between the lines. My advocacy for the First Amendment is not virtue signaling, I have, as a financial investigator, supported the work of the ICIJ and OCCRP in their worldwide efforts to combat fraud and corruption.  Don’t buy it? Try searching my name. I have little hope you’ll get that right, as you certainly were unable to Google or check the facts in the campaign. Your posting of manufactured articles only to take them down and allow them to be used by Sylvia Allen and Gary Morris is a fraud upon journalism.  You could have sponsored a debate between the two candidates, but no. You have betrayed the truth, you have betrayed the hope of finding the truth, and your actions are the ultimate betrayal of those whom you serve, your readers. 

As for the Arizona Republican Party, you are tone-deaf, economic, and legislative morons. When I see a debate and the talking lines are who are more loyal to the party, it echoes a bad movie scene where the prisoner clerks in a gulag are debating who is more loyal so they can get an extra ration of gruel.

After this election cycle, this Republican of 40 years will drop his registration to become an independent.

This is my opinion, so be it.

L. Burke Files
Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.

Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris Should Be Fired

Guest Opinion by RC Montana

It was such sloppy “journalism” if you can even call it journalism. The Payson Roundup briefly posted a story on July 22, 2020 titled “Republicans Launch a Rare Attack on a Candidate [Wendy Rogers] in their Own Primary“. The thing is though, the Payson Roundup took the article down after 12 hours because they likely suffered blowback, much as they did in June 2020 when they had to take down another flimsy article about Rogers due to several of the people, who the paper had claimed supposedly endorsed Rogers, said they had not.

The Roundup didn’t print that June story, because Rogers’ campaign never claimed those endorsements in 2020. Imagine that.

But this time, their second try at baseless flimsy “journalism” was predicated on Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris’s unsubstantiated claims about Rogers, which were mass-emailed – completely un-fact-checked – to all Gila county precinct committeemen. How’s that for staying publicly neutral in a primary? 

Then the Payson Roundup reporter breathlessly gobbled up Gary Morris’s rant even though uncorroborated. Chairman Morris’s mass email was a smear job packed with unsupported statements very much like the Steele Dossier on Trump.

The Payson Roundup’s Peter Aleshire was given a chance not to publish it, but he did. How did Peter Aleshire even justify it, since he’d had to take his previous, similarly inaccurate article down a month earlier? 

PETER ALESHIRE’S ARTICLE HAS NONETHELESS BEEN ARCHIVED AND IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST!   

So now you’re caught up to date. Here is my take on the lackey, Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris, who violated every rule of civility and decorum as a county chairman. He caved to the establishment GOP. He is a reprobate for peddling lies he should’ve fact-checked first. He was warned, yet mass-emailed out misinformation anyway, violating sacred tenets of basic leadership. The Gila County Republican Committee should fire him. 

Mr. Morris wonders who Wendy Rogers will be “beholden to?” Is he kidding? Wendy Rogers has not taken one penny from a PAC or a lobbyist. On the other hand, Rogers’s opponent Sylvia Allen is almost entirely funded by special interests.

Gary Morris continues to perpetuate the lie about Rogers’ residency even though the AZ Secretary of State wrote unequivocally that Rogers is from Flagstaff. To whom are you beholden Chairman Morris? 

How can this chairman, in his right mind, suggest that Rogers would be “weak” going into the general election campaign? She has fundraised more than any other state candidate in Arizona.

Gary Morris and the GOP establishment are scared to death of Rogers because they can’t control her. They know she won’t permit a Red-Flag bill or that idiotic National Popular Vote to get past her.

Here’s what they really can’t stand: Wendy has outworked and out-campaigned a rusty fixture in the state legislature – Sylvia Allen – who has been there far too long, and thus has completely sold out and caved to special interests.

Gary Morris’s time could be better spent by learning how NOT to get lost in the woods. Fire him!

Sylvia Allen Admits to Signing Petitions She Didn’t Circulate

By the Ghost of William K.

Recently obtained video from a Superior Court hearing shows State Senator Sylvia Allen admitting to signing the circulator side of petitions that she did not personally circulate.

According to Arizona law, the backside of every petition must be signed by the person circulating the petition. In election challenges, judges have been known to remove candidates from qualifying for the ballot for failing to properly circulate petitions, including falsifying a circulator signature.

AZ Citizens Defense League PAC Still Lives!

Sylvia Allen and Dwight Kadar in LD6 have started a rumor that my PAC is no longer up and running. Let me make this clear. The PAC is incorporated in my name, the PAC name is registered with the Corporation Commission by me, the PAC is registered with the Secretary of State by me and the bank accounts are in my name.

They have started the rumor and attempted to weaponize the AZCDL and The AZCDL PAC against Allen’s opponent Col. Wendy Rogers claiming that she used a fake Endorsement. They lied. I chose to endorse Col. Rogers for two main reasons. In 2018, Senator Allen voted for Arizona’s first STOP order/Red Flag law. In 2020, I asked Senator Allen for a “No Red Flag Law Pledge.” Both Dave Kopp of the AZCDL and I have been attacked because I asked for that pledge. 

This shows Allen’s TRUE colors and that of her cabal. Add to this the fact that Dwight Kadar filed a charge against Col. Rogers with the Sec of State’s office Accusing Col. Rogers of not living in the district. On May 29th the Sec of State rejected the baseless accusation saying their office “dismisses the Complaint with prejudice.”

If you have any questions contact Campaign Finance and Lobbying Manager, Gina Swoboda, at gswoboda@azsos.gov or (602) 364.3219 and ask for your own copy of the dismissal.

So every ad and every public statement or post after that date was known by Dwight Kadar as a lie. Yet the Allen campaign and the individuals mentioned have kept repeating the false and negative attacks. Add to that Allen’s sponsorship of the National Popular Vote bill in 2016 and racial issues makes clear it is time for a change in LD6.

Drake Mitchell
AZCDL PAC

Ducey Wants to Flatten the Curve, Not Shutdown the Great Outdoors

By Calamity June

On Monday, March 30th, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order suggesting Arizonans “stay home, stay healthy and stay connected.”  Governor Ducey went on to state Arizonans should “limit their time away from home and if they do go out, to ensure social distancing.”  Finally, Arizonans are “staying home because it’s the right thing to do.”  Governor Ducey remarked, “when you use words like shelter in place, that’s what happens during a nuclear attack.”

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

During his news conference, Ducey listed off “essential services,” and stressed how the grocery store’s shelves would remain stocked and drug stores would remain open.  Restaurants would still be open for takeout and delivery.  Furthermore, he encouraged people to only purchase a week’s worth of groceries. As President Donald Trump and others have noted, the supply chain is operable and there is no reason to hoard anything.  Don’t be greedy. 

This means our state’s hiking trails and parks can remain open for people to enjoy and get some exercise as long as we all practice physical distancing.  

US Senator Kyrsten Sinema had a phone call earlier in the day on Monday 30th with a lot of the liberal mayors in Arizona pushing them to defy Governor Ducey and issue their own “shelter in place” order. After the mayors’ call, the mayor of Phoenix issued her own directive to close all of Phoenix’s hiking trails.  

Fortunately, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio embodies the duty to present the calm during COVID-19.  God Bless Councilman DiCiccio for pushing back against Mayor Gallego every time she has pushed to shut down anything in Phoenix.  

Listen to Councilman DiCiccio on Seth Leibsohn’s March 31st radio show.  As you will hear, Councilman DiCiccio remarked how the city isn’t sanitizing the light rail or the buses. Why aren’t they closing public transportation? Why does the mayor want to close our parks and hiking trails?  It doesn’t add up.

On April 1st, City Hall is scheduled to vote on closing the city’s parks, including its hiking trails.  Also, according to the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation’s website, the mayor has decided unilaterally to temporarily close the city’s playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and sports complexes in its public parks effective Tuesday, March 31st at 5pm until further notice.

Being on a hiking trail in the Phoenix sun is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy.  Practice safe social distancing. Being outdoors is good for one’s health and wellness. It even states as much on Phoenix’s Parks and Recreation Department’s website. Be sure to call City Hall and let them know you want to keep our parks and hiking trails open during COVID-19.

Responding to Coronavirus without limiting freedom

The spread of the coronavirus has been rampant across the globe crippling countries like Italy, Iran, and South Korea where government-run institutions are the ones solely responsible for fighting the outbreak. But, luckily for residents of the United States, our nation operates a bit differently. Because our healthcare system adheres to free market principles, we have the ability to have private industry collaborate with the federal government to help combat the coronavirus which was categorized just last week by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic.

Every day in America, researchers from biopharmaceutical companies are working endlessly to solve the world’s most sophisticated medical issues. As the global leader in medical innovation, the world looks to us in times of crisis. The reason being is our free market approach to healthcare has led to massive private investment and unprecedented funding for the research being carried out by the best and brightest scientific minds in the world who are incentivized to work right here in America.

Simply put, thanks to our private healthcare system that has resulted in decades of massive investment from biopharmaceutical companies, the U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead the charge against the coronavirus today and any other epidemic that may threaten our society tomorrow.

The irony of large scale epidemics like coronavirus is the clear realization of why we have the system that we do. Lamentably, several legislators on Capitol Hill have forgotten the importance of our free market approach both domestically and globally.

For example, just last year a bill led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi made its way through the House of Representatives that, if it becomes law, would decimate funding for new biopharmaceutical research and development. HR3, more commonly known as “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, would stifle future innovation by implementing socialist style government price controls on biopharmaceutical companies as a way to drive down high drug costs.

The adoption of government price controls in the pharmaceutical space is not only short-sighted but flat-out dangerous to public health. People often ask, “why do we pay more for drugs in the U.S. compared to other countries”, the answer is because we invest more in cures and treatments than any other country, and today, everyone should be very happy about that fact.

It’s terrifying to think what the coronavirus outbreak would look like if HR3 had passed 20 years ago. If we are to survive outbreaks and even outpace them, we must have our research teams working at full capacity at all times. In a world of uncertainty, there is no such thing as over-preparedness.

“Do No Harm” in the effort to lower drug costs

As we enter a new decade, advances in medicine hold the promise for a brighter future in the battle against deadly diseases like cancer.  Advances in immunotherapy and targeted gene therapy, for example, present opportunities not even imagined just few years ago.  The challenge for politicians and policy makers is to keep these life-saving advancements coming, while at the same time keeping them affordable for patients.

Getting this balance right is especially important to the large population of Seniors we have in Arizona.

Just 15 years ago a Republican Congress and President modernized Medicare by creating a prescription drug benefit called Medicare Part D.  Unlike other parts of Medicare, Part D was designed on the free-market principles of plan competition and senior choice.  Recognizing that one size does not fit all, every year Seniors have a choice of a variety of plans who compete vigorously for their business.  In order to keep their premiums low and attract Seniors to sign up, plans have a strong incentive to drive a hard bargain with drug manufacturers to keep prices down.

Affordable Drugs

It comes as no surprise to conservatives, that Part D’s free-market model has worked.  When the legislation was passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimated both the cost of the program to Medicare and the average monthly premium a Senior would pay, for the first 10 years of the program.  The actual results were remarkable. 

Medicare spending was 35-40% less than predicted and average monthly premiums projected to be $55 or more in 2016 are in fact only $32.70 in 2020 and that is a slight decrease from 2019.  In addition to these financial measure of success, Part D maintains a Senior Satisfaction Rate in excess of 90%, unheard of for most government programs.

Despite this success, big government advocates like Nancy Pelosi want undermine Medicare Part D and its sister program Medicare Advantage, by importing government price controls from socialist countries.  What is known as an International Pricing Index (IPI) is included in her signature drug pricing legislation which passed the House of Representatives last December. 

President Trump has correctly pointed out that many advanced economies around the world which have socialist health care systems are not paying their fair share of R&D costs for new drugs.  They are freeloading on American consumers.  But the answer is to stop these unfair trade practices, not import their socialist price fixing to the US!

Socialist health systems hold down cost by rationing drugs.  They either wait a long time to make new drugs available to their people, or they are never available.  Writing in Forbes in February 2020 author Doug Schoen points out that “roughly 96% of new cancer medicines are made available in the United States, while the 16 countries used in the International Pricing Index only have 55% of new cancer medicines.  Further, patients in these 16 countries also receive these medications on average 17 months after release, whereas in the United States, patients have almost immediate access to new cancer medicines following FDA approval”.

These cold statistics translate into patient’s lives.  An HIS Markit study published in 2018 “Comparing Health Outcome Due to Drug Access: A Model in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” concludes that half of the gains in life expectancy we have made in fighting lung cancer, the number one cancer killer worldwide, would have been lost if the rationing policies found in Australia, Canada, France, South Korea and the United Kingdom were replicated in the US.”

Government price controls on drugs are not the answer.  But neither is doing nothing.  Fortunately, Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Congressman Greg Walden (R-Oregon 2) have introduced legislation to help. 

Their legislation, S. 3129 and H.R. 19, preserve the free-market competition which has worked so well in both Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage, but directs that more of the savings from negotiations with drug manufacturers flow directly to the consumer at the pharmacy counter in the form of immediate discounts.  They also cap the annual out-of-pocket spending Seniors must pay for prescription drugs. 

The legislation also takes steps to reduce the freeloading of other developed nations on our R&D and streamlines coordination between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Medicare to insure that new treatment reach Seniors as quickly as possible.

Doctors take an oath, “First, do no harm.”  That’s good advice for politicians and policy makers as well.  Taking steps to lower drug costs to Seniors is important.  But we must do it the right way or we will harm those we are trying to help.

Kelli Ward’s First Quarter to Forget

By Calamity June

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

It has been nearly 3 months since Kelli Ward took the helm of the Arizona Republican Party. While she’s changed the letterhead and, apparently, spent tens of thousands of dollars on a costly and unneeded renovation, her list of accomplishments sadly end there.

Instead, the robust fundraising that the party has enjoyed since 2013 has ground to a halt. According to the Arizona Republic, the party has seen the lowest 1stquarter fundraising total in 18 years, while spending has gone on unabated.

When Kelli Ward assumed the chairmanship in late January, she inherited a cash balance of approximately $500,000, and was poised to use that money to build bridges across  the various factions of the GOP.

Instead, she did what many feared she would. She chased out the staff that had led the AZGOP’s historic fundraising and organizational successes, replacing them with at least one staffer who had a history virulently racist statements; she squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars on vanity projects like a refurbished office; and has used her platform to take stances completely at odds with what thee party should be doing.

Her first public statement at chairman was a gratuitous attack on Governor Ducey. And tomorrow, she plans to hold a press conference to favor placing a tax hike on the ballot. In doing so, she is putting herself at odds with hundreds of loyal, grassroots Republicans, as well as many legislators and Republican elected officials. This is simply not the role of the Arizona Republican Party chairman.

Instead of attacking the governor or supporting an increase in taxes, perhaps Kelli Ward should spend more time improving the party’s dismal fundraising. She’ll have an opportunity to do just that at tomorrow evening’s legislative salute. Last year the Salute raised over $500,000. I’m sure Republican candidates across the state are anxiously watching whether Kelli Ward can match or exceed this number. (Spoiler Alert: She’ll do neither)

Grover Norquist, the stalwart President of Americans for Tax Reform, perhaps put it best when discussing Republicans who favor tax hikes of any kind.

“Republicans who vote for tax increases are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand. They don’t just hurt themselves,” Norquist said.

Norquist then laid out a scenario in which “you get two thirds of the way through your bottle of Coke and there’s a rat head in what’s left of your Coke bottle.” If this happens, Norquist explained, you’re definitely not going to finish the bottle, you may never buy Coca-Cola again, and the company brand is “damaged.”

This sounds a lot like what Kelli Ward is doing to the Arizona Republican Party. On second thought, that might now be fair. To the rat.