Obamacare’s Effect on the Middle Class: Insult to Injury

A brief rant to complain about the Democrat’s Obamacare.

My middle class family cannot afford health insurance. Simply put, the premiums are too high, the deductibles have exploded and the coverage and access to doctors has gone down.

Obamacare2When President Obama said health insurance would improve, he lied. His biggest advocate here in Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, lied.

Now my family has no coverage. We make too much money to qualify for the Medicaid expansion and we make too little money to pay the high monthly premiums – even with the subsidies!

Not only that, the new healthcare system requires individuals to give access to your bank account as a monthly debit – something I refuse to do.

I imagine there are millions of Americans who also signed up for the automatic monthly debits. When that monthly payment takes place, they better have the money in the bank or they’ll probably get hit with bank fees.

Next year when I do my taxes, I’m going to be penalized for not being able to afford health insurance. The IRS will penalize me for not signing up by reducing my tax refund (if I get one) – insult to injury!

America’s health insurance market has been made worse, far worse. Like public education, health care has been dumbed down. Middle class Americans are worse off now thanks to Democrats and President Obama.

If you’re like me, you know that elections have consequences. If you’re like me, you’ll focus your anger on the ballot box this November.

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Fred DuVal Aided the Clintons in Granting Clemency to Convicted FALN Terrorists

By Joseph F. Connor

Of all the malfeasant scandals the Clintons have committed, from lying under oath, to Whitewater to the Marc Rich pardon, little compares to the politically craven 1999 clemencies to 16 unrepentant terrorists of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN (Armed Forces for National Liberation).   Fred DuVal was the co-chair of President Clinton’s White House Interagency Group of Puerto Rico, one of the groups that actively promoted clemency for terrorists.

From 1974 to 1983, the FALN waged a merciless, bloody war against the United States, attacking civilians mainly in Chicago and New York. On January 24, 1975, the FALN’s most deadly attack, the infamous lunchtime bombing of Fraunces Tavern, a New York City landmark, killed my father, Frank Connor, 33, and three other innocent men. It was supposed to be the day we would celebrate my brother’s 11th birthday, and my 9th.

An FALN communique of that day took credit for the attack, which it called a blow against “reactionary corporate executives.” In fact, my dad was born to immigrants and raised in working-class Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, not far from several of the FALN terrorists themselves.

The FALN continued its reign of terror until the early 1980s, when 11 of its members were arrested, tried and convicted of (among other serious felonies) weapons possession and seditious conspiracy. The entirely appropriate prison terms were to run from 55 to 70 years.  During their Chicago trials, these defendants rejected US jurisdiction, claiming to be prisoners of war. Several FALN members threatened to kill or maim the judge, Thomas McMillan.

However, on August 11, 1999, President Clinton, (almost certainly in an attempt to gain favor with New York’s Latino community for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 NY senate run) offered 16 FALN members executive clemency.  The FALN terrorists did not even request their own clemency.  Freedom was engineered on their behalf by none other than then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder with the help of DuVal’s interagency group. Disgracefully terror supporters were provided a reported nine meetings with the Justice Department while victims and families like ours were ignored.  We only found out about the clemencies after they had been offered. If the unrepentant terrorists weren’t granted a month to decide to accept their freedom, they would have been released before families even knew of the offers.

Tellingly, one of the terrorists, Oscar Lopez Rivera, whose release DuVal’s office championed, was so committed to his comrades and cause that he outright refused clemency and remains in prison today.

DuVal and terrorist supporters may recite the line that these terrorists were not accused of killing or harming anyone.  In fact, they were convicted of willfully and knowingly joining a conspiracy to commit various acts of violence, including 28 Chicago-area bombings that maimed several people.

Further, all evidence indicates that those convicted in Chicago were part of the same national conspiracy that killed five people in New York, including the Fraunces murders and the New Year’s Eve 1982 attacks on Police Headquarters that left three NYPD detectives permanently injured.

The most vital role of government is to protect its citizenry.  As I said when testifying at Eric Holder’s AG confirmation in hearing in 2009, by releasing terrorists Holder (and by extension, DuVal) was playing Russian roulette with the American people.  Arizonans saw the results of that again through Operation Fast and Furious and the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.

Does Arizona want a governor who has already put cheap politics ahead of the safety of the citizens he is sworn to protect?   I think not.

Joseph Connor works in the financial services industry.  He testified at Eric Holder’s 2009 Senate AG Confirmation Hearing and is co-author of “The New Founders,” a novel bringing the American founders alive in the 21st Century.

H/T to Western Free Press.

Democrats prepare for damage control over Obamacare premiums

Interesting article recently in Politico that details how Democrats are preparing their talking points on the premium shock about to hit the healthcare market – right before the mid-term elections.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Arizona’s 1st, 2nd and 9th congressional districts where Democrats are seated and being challenged by Republican challengers. (My prediction is Tobin, McSally and Rogers will win Tuesday.)

Here’s the article written by Edward-Isaac Dovere.

Obamacare’s next threat: A September surprise

Obamacare open enrollment closed March 31. The White House’s Obamacare war room did not.

Most state health insurance rates for 2015 are scheduled to be approved by early fall, and most are likely to rise, timing that couldn’t be worse for Democrats already on defense in the midterms.

The White House and its allies know they’ve been beaten in every previous round of Obamacare messaging, never more devastatingly than in 2010. And they know the results this November could hinge in large part on whether that happens again.

So they’re trying to avoid — or at least, get ahead of — any September surprise.

Aware that state insurance rate hikes could give Republicans a chance to resurrect Obamacare as a political liability just weeks before the midterms, the White House’s internal health care enrollment outreach apparatus immediately redirected into a rapid-response, blocking-and-tackling research and press operation geared toward preempting GOP attacks on the issue.

In what aides say is a sign of a changed approach within the White House — but also heightened concerns around the midterms — they’re even coordinating with Hill Democrats, funneling localized background analysis and talking points to each state’s delegation through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. They’ve also relied on California Rep. Henry Waxman’s staff at the Energy and Commerce Committee to produce rebuttal reports, often in advance, on GOP claims about insurance.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned in implementing health care is to stay on it,” said Tara McGuinness, the White House senior communications adviser who has been spearheading the effort for the West Wing, reflecting on previous run-ins. “We are not going to let anyone distort the debate.”

(continue reading)

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.

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…

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.”

Vote for Darla DaWald to the House in LD-8 House

My message to the voters in LD-8:

My name is Shane Wikfors and I’ve been a conservative Republican activist in Arizona politics for almost 25 years.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of great candidates and I’ve seen a lot of political posers come and go. Some have gotten elected to office where they’ve done great things for Arizona while others have taken the state down the wrong path into fiscal and social ruin.

One candidate I have tremendous confidence in to do the right thing is Darla Dawald. Darla got involved because the country was coming apart at the seams and heading in the wrong direction.

Darla is a consistent constitutional conservative Republican who will reduce state spending, lower the tax burden, balance the budget, reform government institutions and say no to more federal mandates. I have every reason to believe she’ll work at restoring Arizona’s economy to an environment that attracts business, jobs and great talent.

I also believe Darla will be a strong voice and vote for strengthening our communities, our schools, our families and most important, protecting the innocent human life of the unborn.

The race for legislative district eight will be tough but the differences are simple. You can vote for candidates who ushered in Obamacare’s expansion and Common Core. Or, you can vote for a leader who will push back to another Obama big government program with a local more efficient and less costly alternative.

My choice for the house in legislative district eight is Darla Dawald. I hope she’ll be your choice too.

This Primary Election, please vote for Darla Dawald.

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

Doug Ducey – Good For Business

Doug Ducey

Lisa Rigler

Lisa Rigler – President, Small Business Alliance

As a small business owner and president of the Small Business Alliance, I get to work with some of Arizona’s most energetic entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The entrepreneurial spirit and fresh energy I see in other small businessmen and -women are qualities that I also see in Doug Ducey, and I know he will bring them to the governor’s office.

Doug built Cold Stone Creamery from a few shops in Arizona to a worldwide brand, so he’s well aware of the challenges small business owners face. He has an aggressive tax reform agenda that will attract businesses in a dynamic yet fiscally responsible way while also benefiting growing Arizona businesses.

With Doug’s leadership talents, reform-based approach to problem-solving, and positive outlook, I’m confident Arizona will have a bright future if he is our governor.

So, I encourage you to step up and cast your vote for Doug Ducey.  Whether you’re voting early at your kitchen table or you’re going to the polls on August 26th, if you’re looking for a small business champion, Doug should be your choice.

Doug can kick-start our economy, but he has to get elected first. Please sign up for a volunteer shift, put a bumper sticker on your car, and tell your employees, colleagues, friends and family: Doug Ducey for governor!

Let’s go Doug!

Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance

Rural Arizona Senator Chester Crandell Passes

By Jesse Bryant

Senator Chester CrandellTragedy has once again struck Rural Arizona with the passing of Rural Arizona’s Senator Chester Crandell. It was announced Monday, August 04, 2014, that Senator Crandell died while out riding his horse in his Rim Country home of Heber, Arizona.

It was in Heber, also, where Chester grew up and finished school in the one-room school house in 1964. He went on to attend Mesa Community College, then transferred to the University of Arizona earning a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education and afterward earning a Master’s of Education Leadership degree from Northern Arizona University.

After college, he began a distinguished thirty year career in public education starting at Westwood High School in 1972. He developed the first Vocation Agriculture program at Heber-Overgaard School District, and in 1999 helped to establish the Northern Arizona Vocation Institute of Technology (NAVIT) across rim country school districts.

While serving as superintendent of NAVIT, Chester took sevice to the next level by becoming a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives. He received a warm welcome by rural activists and became the “C” in that year’s ABC team representing the five eastern counties, including Gila, in the legislature; Senator Sylvia Allen and Representative Brenda Barton being the “A” and “B” of the team. In 2012 with the retirement of Senator Allen, he ran for and won a seat in the state senate.

Chester presented a strong voice at the capitol for all rural Arizonans and our important issues. Most recently he was working on efforts to restore control of public lands to the states, and running for a second term. His death creates vacancies in his office and on the November ballot. A strikingly similar incident occurred in 2008 when Senator Jake Flake died of a heart attack after being thrown from his horse in Snowflake, AZ. As it happened in 2008, the law requires that the Navajo County Board of Supervisors appoint a resident of Navajo County to finish the remaining few months of Senator Crandell’s term. The precinct committeemen of the Republican Party inside Crandell’s legislative district will gather together in a central location within their district, receive qualified candidates, and elect an individual to run in his place for the November election.

Chester Crandell, leaves behind his wife Alice, nine children, and many grandchildren. As an inheritance he leaves them a ranching heritage, a name marked by honor, and an example of humility. Rural Arizona mourns the loss of one of its champions and heroes, but hats come off to a fitting passing for a man of the land.

Tony Rivero: Cell Phone Carriers’ Back Room Deal Could Cost 10,000 Lives a Year

By Peoria City Councilman Tony Rivero

Tony Rivero

Peoria Councilman Tony Rivero

Many people would be surprised to find out that emergency dispatchers often can’t locate them if they dial 9-1-1 from a wireless phone. Earlier this year, the FCC proposed a rule to update their standards, which they estimate could save 10,000 lives a year. This proposed rule will help 9-1-1 professionals and emergency responders locate wireless callers more quickly and accurately.

While modernizing the existing FCC standards to correct these clear flaws in our current system seems like a no-brainer to law enforcement and public safety officials, the cell phone carriers are working on a backroom deal with the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), a public safety trade association, to delay this lifesaving rule.

People call 9-1-1 because they are in desperate need of help. All too often, these individuals are in medical distress, a victim of a crime in progress, unsure of their location, or otherwise unable to communicate. The time lost as first responders try to locate callers often leads to tragic outcomes of those emergencies.  We cannot allow another insider deal to delay the FCC’s original proposed rule by years, costing thousands of additional lives.

While we have had so many technological advances in the way we communicate, our ability to find 9-1-1 callers has not kept pace.  Luckily, the technology to correct this problem exists today, and the FCC’s proposed rule outlines a realistic two-year path to location accuracy for all wireless 9-1-1 calls.

We’re accustomed to backroom Washington deals costing us taxpayer money, but the cost of thousands of lives is unacceptable.  We need to tell the FCC to stand firm and reject any carrier-backed deal that would delay or alter the provisions of this lifesaving rule as it was proposed, so our law enforcement officers and first responders can stop searching for callers and get back to saving lives.

Tony Rivero currently serves on the Peoria City Council and is a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 21. Find out more about Tony at TonyRivero.com.