A Civil War Era Monument That Was Never Built

By Dick Foreman

I’ve written this blog about 14 times. Seriously.

And each time it goes to the cutting room floor. My analysis of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts has been set aside by a recall issue. School Funding is a critical discussion turning into the flavor of the day but at least ideas are emerging and competing. And then Charlottesville happened and the focus lurched into a new discussion. Shall we bulldoze Confederate monuments or not? Sweet mercy sakes, I thought we had some tough challenges with public education issues, and now Confederate monuments are bumping our schools’ needs off the radar. One of my keenest advisors and observers of the Arizona political and policy scene said this to me, “I am annoyed at everything.”

Yes. I am annoyed, too. But not at everything. In fact, as I think about it, I am far more grateful for the opportunity to support the over 1 million Arizona children who have started school again this month. And, with due gratitude to Dr. Ruth Ann Marston and Phoenix Elementary School District Superintendent Larry Weeks for tipping me off, I now have a keenly refreshed perspective on this point. Perhaps you might appreciate it, too. Read on.

It is a sacred opportunity to define the mission in public education. It’s as American as our American Founding Fathers, who unequivocally endorsed it. So, understanding our roots might help, like learning the real pioneer history of public education in Arizona. What are we doing this for? Who is our “Education Founding Father?” Do we have one?

Yes, indeed we do. And he’s an incredible role model and inspiration as well.

Don Estevan Ochoa

Don Estevan Ochoa

So, I’d like to reflect on Don Estevan Ochoa, born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1831. Senor Ochoa is Arizona’s Education Founding Father. To me, this is not a debate. It is an irrefutable truth.

In a nutshell, Ochoa was a Tucson merchant who, during the Civil War, refused to shift his loyalties from the United States Government to the Confederacy in deference to the demands of the commander of the marauding army from the south. When he told them “no,” they confiscated all his worldly goods (which was a lot as he was one of the most successful merchants in Tucson at the time) and ordered him out of the Territory. Forcibly put outside the protective Tucson Presidio, he vowed to return to drive the Confederates from Arizona. And he did! Ochoa made his way through hostile Indian lands to fetch a Union battalion at the Rio Grande that returned with him, successfully restoring Arizona to the Union. He was a bonafide war hero and American patriot. And this curious fact remains true to this day; in 1875, he was elected Tucson’s first and last Mexican American Mayor.

As accomplished a career as this was, it was still not enough for Ochoa. He was also president of the school board where he upstaged the Arizona territorial legislature and a domineering Catholic bishop to single-handedly raise the funds and donate the land to build the town’s main public school. He accomplished this as a follow up to his efforts three years earlier, as chairman of the territory’s Committee on Public Education, to establish Arizona’s first public school system in Tucson.

Author Jeff Biggers wrote about Ochoa in an online piece A Mexican Immigrant’s Act of Honor for the New York Times (See A Mexican Immigrant’s Act of Honor, by Jeff Biggers, The New York Times, February 14, 2012):

In the spring of 1876, the Arizona Citizen declared: “Ochoa is constantly doing good for the public,” and concluded, “Ochoa is the true and useful friend of the worthy poor, of the oppressed, and of good government.” With the school completed in 1877, the same newspaper raved: “The zeal and energy Mr. Ochoa has given to public education, should give him a high place on the roll of honor and endear him more closely than ever to his countrymen. He has done much to assist in preparing the youth for the battle of life.”

Wow. This reads like a very sensationalized western novel. But it’s not a novel, it’s Arizona’s pioneer heritage. Maybe it’s time to finally desegregate our opinions and integrate our collective hopes.

For many, our respective engagements in public education seem hopelessly mired in what I do not affectionately refer to as political “flotsam and jetsam.” I’ll say this as positively as I can, our vision for Arizona’s educational future remains a critical thinking opportunity.

In my more pessimistic moments, it seems we’re bent on ignoring our past to get to a future that we collectively refuse to envision through consensus building. That’s a problem. What is NOT a problem is where we started. Don Estevan Ochoa was Mexican by birth, American by choice and a hero by deed. He gave up his fortune to fight the Confederate marauders. He got into politics, bless his soul. But most importantly from my perspective, he created the Arizona public education system. He started it all.

Perhaps we should build another Civil War inspired monument – to Don Estevan Ochoa. Senor Ochoa was a real Arizona Civil War hero, an immigrant, a businessman, a true patriot, a rugged pioneer, a proud Republican, and the founder of Arizona’s public education system.

Now isn’t that a heritage all Arizonans can be proud of?

NOTE: Dick Foreman is president & CEO of ABEC.

Statement By Nicole Cardon And Her Family On Today’s Passing Of Wil Cardon

Wil Cardon

Wil Cardon

August 26, 2017

“Today a father, husband, son, brother and friend to so many left our family to be with the greatest angels, of which he will now be one.

The only thing that can stop tears at a moment like this is remembering Wil’s smile which was as wide as Arizona, especially when it came to his five children.

His gregarious approach to life, business, our family and his faith enriched all who were fortunate to shake his hand.

I don’t think I ever met someone who loved people more.  Despite his success in the business and philanthropic arenas I think the moments I witnessed with his children, helping a person on the side of the road or even applying to be a high school football coach were the ones that gave him the most joy.

It is no secret Wil suffered from depression, and struggled with it.  He tried mightily for us, for himself and for all to overcome it.  Today it finally took him, as it takes way too many.

Few would want to say more about the person we will remember forever than our family, but we hope our privacy can be respected to grieve, and to plan a tribute that has come far too early.”

===

Please pray for the family of Wil Cardon.

POLL: 61.8% of Arizona Voters Believe Confederate Capitol Mall Monument Should Be Kept

High Ground

Survey reveals the complexities of navigating this controversial issue as independent and unaffiliated voters lean towards keeping monument

PHOENIX (August 24, 2017) — A statewide survey of likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters revealed that nearly 62% of voters believe that the memorial to Confederate Soldiers on the Arizona Capitol Mall should be kept. The results are derived from the same survey that showed President Trump with a 41.8% approval rating and 56.8% opposition to a pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Q.        In the past week, there has been a national discussion over whether or not statues honoring members of the Confederate Army should be removed from public spaces. Currently, there is a memorial to Confederate soldiers at the Capitol Mall, which is on public land across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Do you think this specific memorial should be kept in its current location or removed?

51.5%  Definitely Kept
10.3%  Probably Kept
6.0%    Probably Removed
26.3%  Definitely Removed
6.0%    Don’t Know, Refused

AZ Confederate Monument“These results show that this debate is not simply a partisan issue. More than 61% of independent voters and 60% of unaffiliated voters believe that the memorial should be kept.  Bear in mind, these are the same groups that currently have lower than 33% approval of the President,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll. “It is clear that this issue is complicated and deeply personal.  As the political parties continue to appeal to smaller and smaller audiences and cater to identity politics, they will find it increasingly difficult to address complex issues.  The challenge that the survey reveals is that there are mixed results with an ‘either/or’ approach.”

The survey specifically asked about the Confederate monument that currently stands on the mall in front of the Arizona State Capitol.  It did not address any of the other Confederate monuments or freeway names throughout the state.

“Instead of simply using this issue as a partisan wedge to cudgel opponents with or advance an ideological agenda, we need our leaders to lead a constructive dialogue.  Arizona is a unique state with an independent spirit and has shown time and again that it is up to the challenge to face and have thoughtful discourse on tough issues,” Coughlin concluded.

As I have said before, we must find our way back to discussing, learning, and growing from meaningful discussions about our collective past. Taking a hard and fast approach to this issue may not have the desired results for those seeking to build a General Election coalition.  It is my hope that these results will be viewed as a call to bring people together to have a thoughtful dialogue.”

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%.

Q.            In the past week, there has been a national discussion over whether or not statues honoring members of the Confederate Army should be removed from public spaces. Currently, there is a memorial to Confederate soldiers at the Capitol Mall, which is on public land across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. Do you think this specific memorial should be kept in its current location or removed?

51.5%  Definitely Kept
10.3%  Probably Kept
6.0%    Probably Removed
26.3%  Definitely Removed
6.0%    Don’t Know, Refused

The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics

Age Group:

10.8%    20 to 29
15.3%    30 to 39
19.7%    40 to 49
29.5%    50 to 64
24.7%    65 Plus

Sex:

48.0%    Male
52.0%    Female

Party:

44.2%    Republican
31.8%    Democrat
15.0%    PND
9.0%      Independent/Other

Congressional District:

11.0%    CD1
14.3%    CD2
7.0%      CD3
11.0%    CD4
12.3%    CD5
13.7%    CD6
6.0%      CD7
13.0%    CD8
11.7%    CD9

View HighGround’s post HERE.

Memorial Day 2017: Remembering Those Who Sacrificed…

By Boe James

For many, this weekend is a time for picnics, BBQ’s and fun family activities, for holiday shopping and sales or for those who have recently graduated, perhaps a time of reflection on the future and the past.

Flanders Field

But this weekend is not just the beginning of summer; it is also Memorial Day weekend.  Memorial Day is, and should be, a solemn day when we commemorate and honor our war dead, not a holiday to “celebrate”.  Originally, it was called Decoration Day and ladies (mostly) went to the military cemeteries and laid (or scattered) flowers on the graves of Civil War veterans after listening to patriotic speeches.  Today the speeches continue as does the laying of flowers at the graves of military veterans at cemeteries all across the nation.

Since the creation of Memorial Day in the wake of the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of Americans have fought and died for our country in battles across the globe so that freedom could endure and our nation prosper.  Some are fighting for our country still, in Afghanistan.  In doing so, they are carrying on the legacy of service and sacrifice forged by Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen at places like Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Guadalcanal, Midway, Khe Sanh and Khafji and most recently in such places as Baghad, Fallujah and Tora Boro.

This weekend is a good opportunity for everyone, including our recent graduates, to reflect upon the freedoms we all enjoy and upon the brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who have died so that we can have those freedoms.  Even as we honor the war dead, members of our Armed Forces are putting themselves in harm’s way and some may be dying today.  We need to remember them also as they continue to support, defend and protect America and enhance the ideals of liberty, justice and freedom.

Unfortunately, history has taught us the bitter lesson that freedom is not guaranteed. There will always be individuals, groups or nations that don’t believe in the “certain inalienable rights” of all people that our Constitution promises to protect.  This weekend we honor noble service men and women who sacrificed all for those rights.

In Flanders FieldThis weekend, let us not forget the sacrifice of those who died.  Let us not forget the deeper meaning behind the day amid the parades and barbecues that have come to herald the beginning of summer.  Let us not forget the real reason that men and women in uniform march each year.  Let us honor and remember our war dead and the sacrifices they have made.  At the same time, let us hope and pray that conflict will end.

World War I brought us the famous poem “In Flanders Field,” which was written by John McCrae, a Canadian Army Major.  That poem will be read or printed in the program at almost every Memorial Day Ceremony.  That war also brought us the Buddy Poppy as a symbol of sacrifice.  During the weekend veterans’ organizations, particularly the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), will be selling these red flower symbols to raise funds for veterans causes.  The Buddy Poppies are all made by veterans who are disabled or in nursing homes.  Buying and wearing one is a visual symbol of support for war veterans.

Maybe in the future, there will be a time when Americans will not have to make great sacrifices to stand against tyranny, injustice, hatred and terrorism. But, until that day we must thank God that living among us are those men and women who willingly join the Armed Forces and take up the cause of defeating tyranny and who possibly sacrifice their lives for our freedom.  History has shown that civilization does not thrive without freedom and that freedom does not survive without those willing to sacrifice in its name.

On Memorial Day services will be held at various locations:

  • At the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, at 8 a.m., with various speakers;  
  • In Fountain Hills at the Veterans Memorial on the south side of Fountain Park at 9 a.m., with Barbara Hatch, Executive Director of the Veterans Heritage Project and Mike Ferguson, Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart and former Commander, AZ Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • In Scottsdale at the Chaplain Statue at Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., at 10:00 a.m. with LtCol John Chavez, US Army as the keynote speaker.   

The Fountain Hills and Scottsdale ceremonies are hosted by local veterans groups.

I strongly encourage everyone to do something to reflect upon or remember the reason for this particular holiday.  It is a day of commemoration and honor and not a day of celebration.

Phoenix Veterans Cemetery

photo credit: Willie Stark

Postscript:  Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day.  Memorial Day is officially proclaimed to honor those who have died while serving in the Armed Forces in time of war, while Veterans Day is set aside to honor those who have served or are now serving in the Armed Forces.  On both days, we should be thankful for those who serve to protect our American freedoms.

Since not everyone can participate in Memorial Day services, Congress established the “National Moment of Remembrance” and asks that all Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time, on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute.  The time 3 p.m. time was chosen because it is a time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.  This Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events, rather, it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, whether alone or with family or friends, honor those who died in service to the United States.

AZSOS Michele Reagan: Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later

The Arizona Capitol Museum presents:

Remember Pearl Harbor, 75 Years LaterUSS Arizona Memorial

WHAT: 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. entry into WWII
WHERE: Arizona Capitol Museum, 1700 W. Washington Street, Phoenix
WHEN:  December 7, at the Arizona Capitol Museum
WHY: Special presentation of rare artifacts, for a solemn occasion

In remembrance of the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the AZCM is unveiling its special collection of rarely seen USS Arizona artifacts, including a never before displayed U.S. Flag rescued from the USS Arizona.   In addition, for one day only, the Capitol Museum will display several unique items including a 1918 seaman’s diary; brass and silver Navy bugle; 1940 handmade USS Arizona baseball team pennant and a historic piece of the U.S.S. Arizona itself.

Also on December 7th the AZCM will premiere its collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute.  This ongoing partnership provides the museum with a permanent online portal to showcase the gems of our collection, starting with the USS Arizona Silver Service and many other artifacts from the collection. Viewable online at: Google.com/culturalinstitute (content unavailable until Dec. 7)

The Arizona Capitol Museum is in some ways a home away from home for members of the Pearl Harbor and World War II service community.  The museum is the only place outside of Hawaii with artifacts and permanent exhibits, including the ship’s silver service, dedicated to the USS Arizona, and its loss on December 7, 1941.

Frank Schmuck: Fly Your Flag And Show Your Patriotism In The Face of Terrorism

Frank SchmuckISIS now admits responsibility for the massacre in Orlando, Florida. A Radical Islamic Terrorist did this.  He could have used a sword.  He chose to use a gun.  A terrorist used fertilizer in Oklahoma City. Radical Islamic Terrorists used box cutters and airplanes in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.  Banning implements is not the answer.

Americans need to be able to defend themselves, not have radicalized terrorists or the mentally unstable hold them hostage.  When governments make gun free zones the criminal does NOT suffer, the law-abiding citizen suffers.

ISIS does not and will not conform to a well-regulated militia. Hard working Americans can and will.

John Stuart Mill spoke this centuries ago. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse. . . . A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

War is in America – New York City, San Bernardino, and now Orlando. Who’s next? Let’s stand up and defend this great nation and ALL classes of people who live here against radicalism. Don’t let “political correctness” cause the loss of life again.  Speak up. This act of terror awoke an American sleeping giant spirit. Let us not forget freedom isn’t free. When you exercise your right to vote think about those who have experience with defending your freedoms. Without safety, rules don’t matter. This enemy doesn’t play by the same rules we do. Be vigilant. Be strong. Protect one another.

Today is Flag Day. Hang your flag proudly to show your patriotism.

Frank Schmuck, Captain
Persian Gulf War Veteran
Conservative Republican Candidate
AZ State Senate LD18

U.S. Rep. McSally Statement on Death of S. AZ Resident in Afghanistan

TUCSON – U.S. Representative Martha McSally today released the following statement after a C-130J crashed shortly after takeoff from Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan, killing six Airmen and five civilian passengers including Tombstone native Carlos Carrasco.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Carlos Carrasco,” said Rep. McSally. “I was able to visit our troops at Jalalabad Airfield in May and witnessed first-hand the critical work they were doing for our national security. Carlos died while serving alongside his peers to make all of us here at home safer, and our country and community are grateful for his brave service as we mourn his tragic loss.”

Carlos Carrasco was raised in Tombstone, Arizona and graduated from Tombstone High School in 2006.  He worked as a contractor for Northrop Grumman in Sierra Vista and was serving in Afghanistan as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mechanic and technician. He previously earned degrees in Avionics & UAV Technology from Cochise College.

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.

Arizona Republican Party Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

PHOENIX – Robert Graham, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, issued the following statement in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, a historical speech given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery after a brutal battle during the Civil War.

“Lincoln’s speech was brief but profound, and it is a solemn reminder that our nation is constantly being tested.  He reminds us that the first principle of our nation’s founding is the perpetual challenge to increase our freedom.  As the founder of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln boldly proclaimed that the work of the nation he presided over was still unfinished.  And while we have made great progress in these 150 years, the unfinished work of expanding our freedom and recognizing our equality with each other still remains.  I implore all Arizonans to join me in our party’s efforts to take up this challenge, to do everything in our power to fight for our liberty and celebrate the principle that all men are created equal.”

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen –
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.