Merry Christmas from Senator Sylvia Allen & Family

Christmas Time

It was an unknown author who wrote these profound words about Jesus Christ: “I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this one solitary life.”

Jesus Christ’s birthday is celebrated by the world in this month of December.  He lived in a dusty corner of the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago.  From the beginning of his  birth among the animals was the beginning of his humble life. For there was no room for him in the Inn.  He had no money.  He was not a sport hero or starred in a blockbuster movie, or was elected to a position of power.  And, yet, more than one billion people today proclaim to be his followers.

From my earliest memories, I knew who this man was, for I was taught as a child, “Jesus Loves Me.”  My mother read Bible storybooks to me about his compassion for the sick and the suffering and how he healed the blind, lame, and lepers.  He even raised the dead.  I had a picture of him holding the little children.  My heart knew he loved me.   

He was a master storyteller who wove moral lessons through the stories he told so that you had to ponder and think upon them.  To illustrate the forgiveness of God, Jesus related the tale of the prodigal son, who threw away his inheritance in loose living and worldly things until, broken, shamed, and repentant, he returned home to find his father rejoicing that, “once you were lost, but now are found.”

Jesus urged his followers personally to help those in need – the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the imprisoned, saying that whatever they did“for one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.”

He asked them to forgive the faults of others and He laid down the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

He forbade murder and adultery, anger and hatred, and encouraged prayer, fasting, and sacrifice. “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”

What was at the center of all he taught?  Love. “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Not only love God but also love your neighbor as yourself.  Then he asked us to even love our enemies as he loved his, for on the cross he said, ”Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

My early memories of Christmas were wrapped up in sound, smell, and taste.  There just is something about the air that is even different.  A child feels an unexplained excitement and anticipation that stays with them into adulthood. 

My mother wanted us to remember Christmas not as a gift-giving day but one of celebration of the Life we were honoring. “What gifts can you give Jesus?” was her question to us one Christmas in 1960.  I wasn’t much in the mood to answer her question.  I was feeling sorry for myself because, truth be told, we were a family living on meager means, and I knew that I wouldn’t get much in the way of presents that year. 

My mother told us of a family whose father was very ill.  There were three little girls in the family.  We took some of our old dolls and made them over with new hair and beautiful doll clothes that my mother and I sewed.   I felt the excitement building.  We made pies and cookies and put together a food basket.  After dark, my sisters and I crept up to the door.  We placed our offering on the porch, knocked, and ran.  We had pre-picked a bush where we sat shivering with anticipation as we watched to see what would happen.  The door opened, and a little girl cried out. “Mommy, there’re presents!  Words can’t describe how much better my young 12-year-old heartfelt.  My mom said I felt the spirit of Christmas. 

When it was my turn to bring the spirit of Christmas to my own children, we had many wonderful experiences, but my favorite was with a homeless man who lived in his truck parked in a vacant field.  For months we would drive by and the kids would comment on how sad it was that he had no home.  When we gathered together to pick our Christmas service, my young son said, “Mom, the man in the truck!” 

We made goodies and  wrapped a flannel shirt and packed them in a basket and at the last minute I put in a Bible with the Christmas story marked.  I told my oldest son to be ready to jump out and place the box on the ground at the back of the camper.  I was worried that we might frighten him, so I wanted to be quick.

On Christmas Eve, when we drove up, all was dark and quiet.  I wasn’t sure if he was there, but my son quickly got out and placed the box.  As he jumped back in the car, the back of the camper door flew opened and, as I sped away, my daughter yelled out the window,  “Merry Christmas, we love you!”  The kids sang all the way home.  We had the Christmas Spirit – the Spirit of Christ.

Now I am making memories with my grandchildren this year we help at the Salvation Army warehouse.

Whatever attitudes people hold towards Jesus Christ, whether they believe him to be the Son of God or just a great teacher, there is no question that, if his teachings were faithfully followed and lived by everyone, the world would be a better and more peaceful place to live.  Christmas gives us a chance to change ourselves and to remember a babe born of Mary.

What gift will you give?

Merry Christmas to all of you from the Allen Family!!!

Senator Sylvia Allen on National Popular Vote

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

I am getting a lot of email about the National Popular vote asking me to change the way the electoral college works in our state.  How the Electoral votes are appropriated is only one of two of the powers the state Legislators have been given in the US Constitution.  The other is Article V which allows the states to propose amendments to the Constitution.

The National Popular Vote debate is picking up steam since Trump does not have a majority of the total national vote when adding up all votes cast in each state.  Some of the argument is that voters feel their vote does not count and that if your state is not part of the battleground states you are at a disadvantage.  One email said, “I’m tired of hearing that Ohio and Florida are the only states that matter in presidential elections.  What about Arizona?  Our votes should count too…”

I took a very hard look at this issue last session.  I read the National Popular Vote manual and had many discussions with legislators and my constituents.  Here is how I reasoned it out in my mind from the discussions that were held last year, from what I studied and read, and from my understanding of our government.

This national government was created by the states.  Sovereignty is held by the states.  The way to look at the Electoral College is that it is the States electing the president by the majority vote of the people who live in each state.  As in every election cycle, the President is elected by a majority of each state’s electoral votes, which means the majority vote cast by the people in their respective states elected the President by their electoral votes going for that candidate.  When you think about it, this is the way we preserve Federalism.  Looking at the map in any election you will see that the majority of the states, by the majority vote of their citizens, did elect the President.  Arizona did elect the president by the majority vote of our citizens, which means Arizona does count.

A true popular vote will only mean that highly populated states would prevail and the smaller states would not have a voice in the election which would mean that the citizens in those states would be at a disadvantage.

This nation was founded as a Republic using democratic processes to elect our leaders, but we are not a true Democracy.  We are a nation ruled by law the federal and state constitutions. Educating our citizens on the founding principles is so important, as our Founders said, that without it we will not remain free.

Senator Sylvia Tenney Allen serves as President Pro Tempore in the Arizona State Senate. She is a native Arizonan representing Arizona’s 5th Legislative District.

Death of a Reformer

By Rachel Alexander

Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey fired his top reformer last month, Tim Jeffries, who he’d recruited to head the Department of Economic Security in February of 2015. Jeffries came in and cleaned up the agency, firing corrupt employees and improving morale, but once those terminated workers complained to the left-leaning Arizona Republic, the paper went all out to take him down with baseless smears, and the governor eventually deserted him.

With a background in the private sector, Jeffries went about reforming government at the “speed of business.” When Ducey took office almost two years ago, he instructed state agency directors to reduce their agencies by 2 percent. Jeffries is probably the only agency director who accomplished that goal, terminating 475 employees and eliminating some of those positions. Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, DES had become a bloated agency, the second largest in the state with over 7,000 employees and several hundred temporary workers and high-priced contractors.

Jeffries had the Arizona Attorney General’s Office bring charges against a corrupt state legislator who fraudulently obtained $1,726 in food stamps. Democratic Rep. Ceci Velasquez “falsely claimed she had two dependents, gave a false address and allowed two other people to use her food stamp benefit card.” A grand jury indicted her on three felonies for welfare fraud. The investigation had started under Jeffries’ predecessor, but went nowhere since he was afraid to touch it. Why are elected officials above the law? No Arizona public official had ever been investigated and prosecuted for food stamp fraud prior to Jeffries’ directorship. The AG’s office eventually caved, letting her plea to a mere misdemeanor charge and probation. Velasquez plans to run again for the Arizona House in 2018 after her lone misdemeanor clears.

Velasquez’s friend, Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada, launched a Twitter firestorm bashing Jeffries and defending Velasquez, predicting Jeffries’ demise. Jeffries set up a meeting with Quezada about the situation, but for well over an hour, all Quezada could do was act as an apologist for Velasquez. He talked about her lower income level and the poverty of her constituents, and claimed she was being targeted. Jeffries responded, “The only people that DES targets for investigation are those who steal from the poor. I’m not a policymaker, I’m a policy implementer. So if you and your elected colleagues want to pass a law that allows members of the House and Senate to have food stamps they’re not entitled to, then you pass a law to do so. Until then, DES will investigate anyone and everyone who rips off the poor.”

Once the media decides it doesn’t like you, it throws a bunch of accusations together with the words “controversial” and “scandal.” Craig Harris, a reporter with the Republic, is known for putting together sloppy paragraphs with a flashy headline, repeating the same baseless claims over and over throughout multiple articles. Additionally, the Republic suffers from a failure to separate between news and opinion articles. Republic opinion writer Laurie Roberts, also known for her hit pieces on conservatives, tag teamed with Harris against Jeffries. She became increasingly hyperbolic with her histrionics, titling one column “Booze Before Blood.” It was a cruel jab at Jeffries, because she knew fully well that one of the men who killed his brother drank alcohol before killing him.  

The paper piled on Jeffries and his revamped management team for firing 475 employees, accusing him of terminating employees who didn’t deserve to be fired. Yet none of this reporting addressed the specific reasons the former employees were terminated, including the fact most of the employees were at-will employees and only one of them had sued the agency over it. The Republic and other newspapers could not stand Jeffries blunt-spoken style; Jeffries did not hesitate to call some of the fired employees “bullies, liars, racists, sexual harassers, and multi-year bad actors.” Instead, the biased articles discussed how many of the employees were women, seniors, and minorities even though the percentages released were in line with DES employee statistics.

The reality is there was a lot of unseemly, unethical and criminal activity taking place. After Jeffries was terminated, an employee emailed him, “I want to thank you for your selfless service to all employees, clients and taxpayers during your time at DES. It was obvious to most employees how you gave back and touched many people with the true intent of helping the poor and those who serve them. I’ve worked at DES since 2008 and believe me the agency as well as anyone who has ever paid taxes owes you a debt of gratitude. Most of those a**holes that got fired were stealing from the poor or manipulating those who bust their a** to serve them.”

The Republic is now sympathetically covering the attempts of the terminated employees to regain their jobs.

Ironically, Jeffries was fired in part for merely carrying out the governor’s orders — something probably all the other agency directors failed to do. They were instructed in the governor’s “8 Expected Traits of an Agency Director” to “Be wedded to a ‘promote the best; weed out the worst’ philosophy.” They were told, “The Bell Curve is a near-universal phenomenon. Figure out a way to eliminate the worst 10% of any category. … If there are employees who are clearly under-performing and ill-serving the taxpayers, then take steps to replace them with someone who will do better.”

Jeffries slashed the case backlog by approximately 60 percent at Adult Protective Services. He increased the percentage of employees who said they were satisfied with their jobs from 62 percent to 78 percent. Positive colleague engagement increased 300 percent. In other words, employee morale tripled. He created a fun, caring work atmosphere. He put together inspiring, lighthearted videos featuring the employees and outlining their accomplishments, often making fun of himself to give his “cherished colleagues” a laugh or two. One observer told him, “My guess is that for the vast majority of your employees, for one bright shining moment, they were somebody doing incredibly important work for an agency that they could be proud of.”

A DES employee told him it’s a shame the public doesn’t know that “you created merit payments, you brought back tuition, you raised wages on the front line and regularly visited staff around the state to address issues for clients and employees alike.” Jeffries describes himself as an “anti-bureaucrat,” telling National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “I shepherd this agency like a multimillion-dollar nonprofit.”

The Republic extensively covered a series of allegations against Jeffries, but virtually all of them are false. He was accused of compiling a “do-not-hire” list of fired DES employees — but it was really another agency which created the list, the Department of Administration.

He was wrongly attacked for his Catholic faith, which I addressed in a previous article. Government employees do not check their First Amendment rights at the workplace door; when I worked for Arizona State Government, our Bible Study group legally used the email system to schedule our meetings. Jeffries is told he’s bold about his faith, but he says, “I’m just pursuing my faith and honoring my First Amendment rights.”

Leah Landrum-Taylor, a former Democratic state legislator who worked for Jeffries and reportedly wanted his job, told the Republic that Jeffries bought alcohol for employees during work hours in Nogales, but it was a lie; Jeffries has a time-stamped photo of him with Landrum-Taylor in the Nogales DES office after the time she stated the party started. The restaurant visit took place for colleagues after their respective work hours. Every DES client was kindly served that day in Nogales and throughout Arizona. The paper also smeared him for using the “governor’s plane” for the trip, however the three state planes are owned by the Department of Public Safety, and the interagency agreement for DES to use air assets was in place prior to Jeffries’ arrival. Furthermore, other Arizona agency directors use the planes too.

The Republic and other media sources have repeatedly featured DES employee Andy Hall, who Jeffries had terminated shortly after Hall criticized the DES press secretary for emailing employees about his latest disagreement with Jeffries. The Republic didn’t bother to report that “Hall is a know it all, never afraid to challenge, grate and insult people,” a source told me. Hall “sent two insulting emails to the DES press secretary” and ranted online frequently about DES and Jeffries. Regardless, as an at-will employee, no reason was required to fire him.

Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, over 30 DES service centers had armed security guards to protect employees and clients. After the terrorist attack in San Bernardino took place at a social services center for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Jeffries directed his inspector general to transition the contract guard security force to a newly formed DES Protective Services. This group would continue the paramount mission to protect DES employees and clients. This group would also be better trained and more cost effective, thereby positioning DES to expand the number of service centers with armed protection. The Republic slammed him for implementing this common-sense measure, even though DPS guidelines were followed throughout and the effort to protect DES employees and clients was highly transparent.

This is a classic example of how the left is able to take down the brightest, innovative conservatives; through smears, insinuations and outright lies. Since Jeffries’ departure, many of the significant projects have been halted. It is the poor, disabled and downtrodden who will suffer as government returns to moving at the speed of a glacier, fired “bullies and bad actors” return, and agency morale plummets. The bright shining moment for thousands of DES employees is dimming.

For more information, see Arizona’s Poor Lost When Jeffries Was Axed

Arizona LD23’s Very Own Obama-Pelosi Duo – Part I

Saying something is one thing, when knowing full well it isn’t, has become synonymous with the Obama-Pelosi style of governance. The classics, “You can keep your doctor” or “We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it” come to mind. Who knew we had the very same type of “leadership” right here in the good ol’ GOP?

Obama Pelosi

The brouhaha over what has become widely known as an illegal organizational election in LD23, clearly rigged to set-up outgoing Jim O’Connor for guaranteed votes in his quest to be the next AZGOP Chairman, has exposed both O’Connor and his mouthpiece Lynne Breyer as the closest thing to the dastardly duo from DC as anything seen in a while.

O’Connor’s scheme to tip the scale in his favor, insuring the LD23 state committeemen votes would go to him and not one of the other candidates, has shined a bright light onto his level of integrity (or lack thereof) revealing an Obamaesque character – entitled, arrogant, and above the rules.

Lynne Breyer, playing the part of Nancy Pelosi so well, makes sure the scheme comes to fruition. The speculation that O’Connor has promised Breyer the Executive Director post may have merit in that she has been the spokesperson, defending O’Connor, in the claims of illegal and unethical actions around the election.

So, what is Breyer’s role in aiding and abetting O’Connor’s desperate attempt at rigging the election? Her best efforts as spokesperson with a “nothing to see here” story, when taken in totality tell of a blatant, duplicitous attempt to skirt the system, violate the statute and bylaws while using paper proxies to get the job done. (The side note is the glaring apathy within that district and the general demise under O’Connor of what was once a powerhouse district.)

In the MCRC Briefs Breyer said there were “202 PC’s present in person or by proxy” She said “of the 356 elected PC’s in LD23, only 81 sent proxies. That is a mere 22%.” Whoa – hold on for a minute. Here’s what that really means:

154 of the elected PC’s in LD23 did not show up to vote at all – 43%!

Only 122 PC’s attended in person to vote – 29%!

Do the math: The numbers don’t lie. Only 122 people attended in person, revealing the officers and state committeemen in LD23 were actually elected by “a mere” 29% of the PC’s. This begs the question of why was turnout so low? Is it apathy or lack of notice? Either way – be it Obama and Pelosi peddling the ACA or O’Connor and Breyer covering the tracks of their dirty tricks – the truth comes out eventually.

Update: The spelling of Lynne Breyer’s name has been corrected.

LD23 Responses on Recent District GOP Election Outcome

The following statements were provided by precinct committeemen in LD23 on their recent election and our post:

LD23 PC Ronald A. Smith:
I whole heartily agree with Boe James‘s argument that Dr. C.T. Wright deserves a position as State Committeemen. I therefore have submitted my resignation as an elected State committeeman from LD 23 and have requested that Dr. Wright be appointed in my place. “Tweek alert” While retired Naval Officers ponder a problem, former enlisted Marines adapt and overcome.

LD23 Credentials Chair Lynn Breyer:
In life, there are two sides to every story. This is the side Boe James did not tell in his letter Saturday. I’ve run the credentials committee for the past three LD23 Chairmen. I run it by the book! And because of that position, I know many, if not most, of the PCs in LD23. Let me tell you, LD23 is afloat with wonderful, hardworking and dedicated Precinct Committeemen. Many of them hold down jobs, are invested in other organizations and give 100% to the position of Precinct Committeeman in LD23. They volunteer for whatever is needed in an engaged LD. Every one of those who submitted their names to become State Committeemen were well worthy of election. LD23 had 119 seats to fill. There were many more applicants than that. Some of the PCs are fairly new to the district. The people they voted for were likely those they have met at events/meetings or while working with LD23 to help candidates. It’s normal and rational to vote for those you know and work beside. The 202 PCs present in person or by proxy voted the way they saw fit. I doubt any one of them voted against anyone, including Dr. Wright or Mark Lewis, both admirable men named by Boe James. These are busy men and don’t get to all the events and so are unknown to many. It’s unfortunate that everyone who submitted to run could not be elected. If LD23 made the rules, they would have been. But the rules were followed and 119 were fairly elected. I take exception to anyone who would engage in the shaming that has become so much a part of the political landscape. It’s neither constructive nor serves any good purpose.

LD23 Shenanigans Continue

Submitted by a trustworthy Precinct Committeeman in LD23.

Dr. C.T. Wright

Dr. C.T. Wright

Unfortunately in LD23, for the 2nd time in 4 years DR. C.T. Wright (who last year won the Barry Goldwater award and was the President of the Best Republican Club – the Fountain Hills Republican Club) was not considered a good enough Republican by LD23 leadership and other PCs to be elected as an LD23 State Committeeman.  What a disgrace, what a shame.  Good enough to be an Elector in 2012.  Good enough to win the Barry Goldwater Award Good enough to be asked by President-elect Trump to lead the invocations at all his Arizona rallies, but not good enough to lead the invocation at the LD23 organizational meeting (even though he gave the invocation at all other LD23 meetings) and not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  But that is LD23.  What a disgrace, what a shame.

It is also noted that Mark Lewis, a LD23 PC who won a county-wide election in November, was not chosen as a LD23 State committeeman. Good enough to win county-wide, but not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  Hum.

So these fine individuals who are good Republicans and many other longtime loyal PCs (such as Paula and Bruce Linker and Larry and Joanna Hagan, for example) will NOT be able to vote for or against their own (immediate past) District Chair, as he runs for State Chair.  Nor will they be able to vote on other matters such as resolutions and By-Law changes that are proposed at the state Mandatory Meeting.  Wow.  What a shame.  What a disgrace within LD23.

 

Sessions’ First Move at DOJ Should be to Clear Rep. Rick Renzi

Reprinted from The Hill
By Rachel Alexander

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

Once Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is confirmed as Attorney General, he must work with Congress to clean up the corruption within the Department of Justice. One of the first cases he should review is the prosecution of former Congressman Rick Renzi.

As a former Assistant Attorney General for the state of Arizona and a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, I have never seen a more egregious political prosecution as well as corrupt electioneering by a foreign interest than the DOJ’s crusade against Renzi.

 

Some may remember that Renzi was convicted in a split verdict on some corruption counts involving two proposed federal land exchanges. What I’ve found since casts grave doubt on the legitimacy of the investigation, prosecution, and conviction.

Rick Renzi

Rick Renzi

The DOJ’s investigation of Renzi originated with a South African citizen named Bruno Hagner, who was the head of Resolution Copper. The foreigner wanted Renzi to give his company the right to mine on federal lands that were sacred to Renzi’s Native American constituents. When Renzi sought to change Hagner’s proposal to mitigate the environmental fallout and help the Apaches, Hagner decided that he wanted someone else to hold Renzi’s congressional seat. Hagner launched a plan to take out Renzi that he called “Operation Eagle,” which involved paying off a retired FBI agent to pass along false allegations against Renzi to Tucson FBI Agent Daniel Odom.

Odom took the case to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino, whose wife was former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s general counsel. A savvy politico, who saw the potential political threat Renzi posed to Napolitano, Restaino seized the opportunity to pursue a Republican congressman along with Odom.

Odom soon identified Philip Aries, who had also approached Renzi about a potential land exchange, as a potential witness he could manipulate. But during their initial meeting, Aries told Odom that he had developed his land exchange proposal with one of Renzi’s aides — not with Renzi himself. Still, Aries agreed to try to get evidence by recording phone calls with Renzi, but he soon backed out. That’s when Odom told him that he could be paid if he could help the government prosecute Renzi. Aries agreed to continue. He eventually testified that he hoped to be paid for his help, that getting $10,000 would be a “home run,” and that getting $25,000 would be like “winning the lottery.”

Evidence that a witness has a financial stake in the outcome of a case must be turned over to the defense. Restaino and Odom knew this, but they concealed the evidence about Aries’ financial motives from Renzi and his defense team. As a result, the jury never knew that the principal witness against Renzi expected to be paid for changing his story to convict him. Hiding evidence of a witness’s bias is prosecutorial misconduct, plain and simple.

That’s not the only misconduct, though. The DOJ used a wiretap to record Aries’ calls with Renzi, and the FBI also recorded Renzi’s calls with his lawyers. Remarkably, the DOJ illegally recorded, monitored, and reviewed attorney-client privileged calls. The FBI even prepared transcripts of several privileged calls, which only emerged when the defense exposed the misconduct in an extensive evidentiary hearing. The courts eventually ruled that the DOJ had lied to the court supervising the wire tap and that it had illegally spied on Renzi. It suppressed the entire wiretap, which did not contain anything incriminating anyway.

If the evidence against Renzi had been overwhelming, then maybe we could attribute the DOJ’s misconduct to overzealousness. But the evidence of corruption was fabricated. The land exchange proposals Renzi supported involved a property that conservationists and the military alike had sought for years because of its importance to Fort Huachuca. In fact, prior to the trial, the district court forced the DOJ to admit that Fort Huachuca was “essential” to national security and that Renzi’s efforts to preserve the water was “in the public interest.”

Renzi filed a motion for a new trial, and the judge ruled that the evidence proved that the FBI had concealed “important” information about its meetings and offers of money with Aries, that Odom had induced Aries to continue cooperating by dangling a financial reward, that Aries believed that he deserved a reward for his cooperation, and that the prosecutors’ argument about Aries having not received “one thin dime” was, in the court’s words, “disingenuous” and “misleading to the jury.” Yet bizarrely, the court dismissed its own findings, saying they were “immaterial,” and denied the request for a new trial.

Renzi appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear his case in March. Renowned litigator Kelly Kramer, co-head of Mayer Brown LLP’s white collar criminal defense practice, and Sidney Powell, one of the nation’s best defense attorneys and author of the book Licensed to Lie, are his attorneys.

It is imperative that Congress and the new Attorney General look into this outrageous case. Renzi has been fighting this political witch hunt and clear electioneering by the DOJ, a foreign interest and the retired FBI agent the South African was paying for 10 years now, a gross abuse of taxpayers’ dollars. Correcting this wrong against Renzi would send a strong signal that this administration is going to have zero tolerance for corrupt prosecutors – and corrupt wealthy foreign interests. As for Congress, if it can happen to Renzi, it can happen to any member of Congress.

Jennifer Reynolds: Arizona’s Common Core Rebrand is Just Lipstick on a Pig!

by Jennifer Reynolds, publisher of Arizonans Against Common Core.

A Rebrand of Common Core is coming unless we stop it through our combined voices speaking against the proposed 2016 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. Very little has changed with these 2016 Standards and we will still have Common Core!

As suspected the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and State Board of Education (SBE) are trying to “Rebrand Common Core” with their latest 2016 draft of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. The ADE Working Groups were tasked to review and incorporate our public comments which have been ignored. Our pleas to take out the “prescriptive examples and developmentally inappropriate standards for ELA and Mathematics” have been brushed aside, and the ADE Working Groups proceeded with the 2nd rewrite with very little changes to the Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (aka Common Core). If you put lipstick on the Common Core pig, it is still a pig!

Here are the reviews that our combined groups- Arizonans Against Common Core, Opt Out AZ and “Mommy Lobby AZ”- submitted to the SBE K-12 Standards website on October 3 for the draft 2016 ELA and Mathematics Standards. Parents voices were NOT heard, our comments were NOT incorporated, and here we have another “Rebrand of Common Core” if we let this happen just like we saw in 2013 with the renaming of Common Core to “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”

WE NEED YOUR VOICES at the Arizona Standards Development Committee Meeting on December 14:

December 14, 9am at the ADE building (1535 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85007). If you have commented on the draft 2016 ELA and Math standards AND/OR if you are fed up with what is happening in your child’s classroom with the Common Core standards and testing please show up and let your voices be heard. Nothing will change in Arizona if the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards are approved by the Arizona Standards Development Committee and the State Board of Education which will happen with a subsequent vote. Common Core will be here to stay if we don’t rise up and stop it!

CAN’T ATTEND THE MEETING? Who to contact about the Rebrand of Common Core?

Governor Ducey initiated the “Arizona Standards Development Committee” to “review and replace the Common Core Standards”(http://education.azgovernor.gov/edu/arizonas-academic-standards) on March 23, 2015 and these are his direct words, “As you know, I am against Common Core and spoke out against it on the campaign trail. That has not changed. Like you, I have high expectations and am for high standards for our students. We cannot excel without them. So, Arizonas standards must reflect the goals, expectations, and input of Arizonas parents and teachers. I encourage every Arizonan to get engaged in this process of creating new standards and assist the State Board of Education in the work ahead. Attend public meetings. Make calls. Write letters. Use social media. Make your voice heard. If like me, you are opposed to the federal governments increased involvement in our K-12 system, this is the quickest, best and most responsible way to fix it. If Arizona is going to be the best place in the nation to educate a child, then Arizonans must lead the way.” (http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/im-arizona-standards) ”

Contact Governor Ducey’s Senior Education Policy Advisor Dawn Wallace: dwallace@az.gov or 602-542-1316.

Diane Douglas ran on the campaign promise to “Stop Common Core.” Contact Superintendent Douglas and her staff who ran the ADE Working Groups and who are “Rebranding Common Core:” Superintendent Diane Douglas: Diane.Douglas@azed.gov or 602-542-5423

Carol Lippert, Associate Superintendent, High Academic Standards: Carol.Lippert@azed.gov or 602-364-1985.

Jonathan Moore, Deputy Associate Superintendent, K-12 Standards: Jonathan.Moore@azed.gov or 602-364-2810.

Suzi Mast, Director of K-12 Mathematics Standards: Suzi.Mast@azed.gov or 602-364-4030.

Sean Ross, Director of K-12 ELA and Humanities Standards: Sean.Ross@azed.gov or 602-542-6342

Executive Director at the State Board of Education (SBE)- Karol Schmidt: Karol.Schmidt@azsbe.az.gov or 602-542-5057

Let our voices be heard that “WE WILL NOT ACCEPT A REBRAND OF COMMON CORE on our watch!”

For our precious children,

-Jennifer Reynolds
http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com/

If you are just now waking up to the WAR that has been going on all around you for the last 5 years, READ MORE HERE

Lipstick on a Pig in LD-28

By Farmer Ted

For the past several weeks the entire state has been inundated with campaign commercials mostly from the Beltway power brokers. For individuals in state legislative races, opposition research teams are publishing past voting records and mailing them to registered voters.

Sometimes you can tell who is losing and who isn’t when the hate email arrives in your inbox. Perfect example: Mary Hamway, a “Republican” candidate for Legislative District 28.

Mary Hamway

Mary Hamway

Mary is a tax and spend liberal and continues to run from her liberal voting record on Paradise Valley Town Council. If she knew she was going to be a career politician with higher aspirations than the town council she should have made sure those closed-door executive sessions didn’t amount to her voting for tax increases.

As Hillary Clinton likes to say: she has a public and a private persona. Hamway definitely seems to be taking a page from Clinton’s playbook. In Mary’s case, her mail pieces in the primary touted she was a “conservative.” Now, in this month’s public forums sponsored by district school boards and the valley interfaith community, Hamway tells the left-leaning crowd how she is proud to have raised Paradise Valley’s taxes even though those tax dollars generated were for the general fund (i.e., new marquees for the town), not for public safety as she tries to lead others to believe.

In these same public school type forums, Mary never discusses how she and her husband had the financial means to send their son to a private school and did. Unfortunately, for those voters who live in a lower socioeconomic part of the district, Hamway wants your family to suffer if you’re relegated to a D or F-rated public school. She is okay with Peter robbing Paul to pay Mary, though, so look for her to support tax increases.

Interestingly enough when an independent expenditure committee mails literature to educate voters, Hamway’s tentacles light up, including her campaign chair, Kathy Petsas. Petsas attacks anyone who is against Mary. Add Scott O’Connor, former legislative district 28 chairman, to the mix.  O’Connor seems to think anyone against Mary is coordinating with an outside political committee. It is a pattern with Scott. It is unfortunate to see it continue into another election cycle.

Hamway often calls on Scottsdale Unified School District school board member, Pam Kirby, to spread lies about her Republican opponent. The emails sent around Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Madison School Districts are deplorable and Kirby and her busy body parent council Moms should be ashamed of themselves. You would think Kirby would attack the Democrat, but she attacks the second Republican in the race. Did the Democrats recruit Hamway to run to shore up the second seat in 28?

Not so proud, Mary, but these Alinsky-style tactics are what voters in 28 should expect if they elect Hamway. Not only does Mary want to take away your guns, but she also wants to stifle your speech.

As November 8th nears, it is certain Hamway cannot handle the pressure. Even worse, her liberal tendencies have shown true blue as she was proud enough to post a photo on October 17th on her Facebook page with Deb Stark, the Democrat who is finishing the rest of former Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates’ council term. Sorry, Chris DeRose, she doesn’t back the only Republican in the city council race!

Prop 205 Warning! Marijuana Edibles Pose Danger to Your Children

Last week, a spokesperson for Yes on Prop 205 appeared on Prescott’s KYCA radio to propagate the myth that legalizing recreational marijuana will make our schools better and our communities safer. When confronted with the question of why their campaign signs fail to mention marijuana, he could not – or would not – answer the question. Listen here.

While it may be the pro-pot campaign’s purview to manipulate Arizonans, we believe voters should have as much information as possible when considering a policy with so many extreme and irreversible societal and public safety ramifications.

In that regard, No on Prop 205 has released new campaign signs to highlight the dangers posed by legalizing marijuana – specifically, edible forms of marijuana – to Arizona children.

Placed throughout Maricopa and Pima Counties, the signs feature pictures of edible marijuana that is virtually indistinguishable from popular store-brand, drug-free candy. Next to it, the question is posed: “Would you be able to recognize marijuana? Would your children?”

NO on Prop 205

NO on Prop 205

While there is no shortage of problems with Prop 205, one of the most troubling is that it would authorize the production and sale of highly-concentrated marijuana edibles – with NO limits on potency. It would also allow these products to be blatantly advertised and even sold near preschools and youth clubs. It’s no wonder the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix soundly opposes Prop 205.

In marijuana-friendly states, accidental pot ingestion by youth has increased by more than 600 percent. It’s no wonder; if YOU can’t tell the difference between gummy bears and ganja – how will your children?