Mesa Councilman David Luna Needs To Hear From You!

Since this is my blog, once in a blue moon I’ll ask a point of personal privilege. On this occasion, I’m posting on a specific neighborhood issue in Mesa.

Would you rather have warehouses, restaurants, apartments or homes?

I’ve held off making this post until I’ve had some information and facts on the issue. It’s time to spread the word and take some action.

The City of Mesa stands ready to approve or reject a plan to develop single-family homes on the southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads. The developer, Desert Troon and Wendell Beck, have already received approval from the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board to rezone the land from multi-use to residential but the Mayor and Council must sign off on the P&Z Board’s final recommendation. That meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 5th.

Typically, when the Council hears a planning and zoning item, the council defers to the councilperson who represents the area of the proposed item. In this case, that would be Councilman David Luna.

Last week (Tuesday, February 13), I reached out to Councilman Luna’s office requesting his position on the plan to develop the Thomas and Recker parcel. I asked for his thoughts and how he intends to vote on P&Z’s recommendation. One week later, I have not heard back from Councilman Luna.

I also asked my contact at the Red Mountain Social Club if a recent visit by Councilman Luna revealed anything about his position on the property. At their meeting on February 8th, Luna said that he opposed the rezoning and prefers to see the land kept multi-use with light commercial and restaurants on the property.

During the Planning and Zoning meeting, City of Mesa’s Economic Development Director, William Jabjiniak, pushed for the area to become class A offices and warehouses. He even disclosed that he is pushing for the construction of warehousing of up to 150,000 square feet so that Mesa can attract more industry to northeast Mesa. Jabjiniak believes the Planning and Zoning Board erred in its decision to rezone the parcel to single-family residential.

I also spoke with a neighbor in Red Mountain Ranch that also confirmed Luna’s position on the rezoning and what should be built on the land.

Those opposed to rezoning the land for homes fall into two camps. A small handful of Red Mountain Ranch residents want the land to remain vacant. the City of Mesa wants to build more offices, warehouses and light industrial on the land. Multi-use also means that high-density apartments could also be built on the land. You don’t have to look far to see what happened on the southwest area of Las Sendas where townhomes, a long-term care facility and a charter school are being built.

Because the owner of the property has sat patiently for twelve years, it’s highly doubtful that the land will remain vacant. Something will be built.

I’ve spoken with the owner and confirmed that other developers have approached him about building apartments. He told me that his goal is to build single-family homes in a secure gated community. Those plans are solid and even have a name – The Villas at Red Mountain.

Villas Red Mountain

I recognize the fact that the land will be developed and there are really only two choices – multi-use or residential.

If David Luna gets his way, the southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads will be turned into offices, restaurants, light industrial and maybe even apartments. Like many of my neighbors in Red Mountain Ranch, I believe this is the wrong place to build out more office space and warehouses. That area remains south of the 202 as part of the Longbow plan. Incidentally, during the P&Z meeting, Jabjiniak revealed that the large concrete building across from Boeing on Higley has no tenants or prospective tenants.

The choice is clear, the Mayor and Council should approve the final recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Board. The southwest corner of Thomas and Recker Roads should be developed as a quality single-family residential community. The Mayor and Council should sign off on the development of The Villas at Red Mountain.

Now it’s your turn.

Please call, email, write or visit Councilman David Luna’s office and ask him to approve the plan to rezone the land for single-family residential. Tell Councilman Luna that you don’t want to see or hear tractor trailers and fast food squawk boxes across the street at all hours. This area is right for only one type of development and that’s a quiet high-quality community.

I’d also ask you to contact Mayor John Giles and ask him to support our quiet residential community of Red Mountain Ranch.

Again, the Mayor and Council meet on Monday, March 5th at 5:45 to hear the rezoning case. The Planning and Zoning Board made the right decision when they approved request to rezone.

Please call Councilman Luna and Mayor Giles and ask them to support the plan to rezone. Then plan on attending the council meeting at 57 E 1st Street (map) at 5:45 on Monday, March 5th.

You have less than two weeks to make your voice heard!

Councilman David Luna
(480) 644-3771
district5@mesaaz.gov

Mayor John Giles
(480) 644-2388
mayor@mesaaz.gov

For information about the plans for The Villas at Red Mountain, visit their website at VillasAtRedMountain.com.

Do the January 8th Victims Justify “Takings” of Private Property?

The Arizona Citizens Defense League expresses its ongoing sympathy to the families of those taken and injured in the December 8th, 2011 attack.

in a 1/8/15 Opinion piece, Ms. Sarah Garracht Gassen of The Arizona Daily Star, presents Patricia Maisch’s idea to a call the murders, a “taking,” rather than a “loss.” We agree. The question is, “should those actions be used as a predicate for more takings of peoples’ rights?”

Ms. Maich asserts that, “It’s such a small goal…that, “every gun sale requires a background check…” No, it is not a “small goal” at all, nor does it involve any “common sense.”

First, the Right To Keep and Bear Arms is a basic fundamental right, according to the Supreme Court’s “Heller Decision.” Firearms are legal, tangible, personal property. Requiring prior government permission to transact them, turns a right into a privilege. It is already a crime to transfer a gun to a prohibited person, per Arizona Law. ( ARS 13-3102. )

Second, it is absolutely impossible to enforce a “background check.” Such rules would only obtain the compliance of those least likely to misbehave, and the non-compliance of those most likely to do so.

Third, using the actions of a disturbed man as a position of cover from which to diminish the rights of others, is disingenuous at best, and evil at worst. The American ideal of justice does not involve the punishment of the innocent for the acts of the guilty.

Fourth, it is not rational to believe that the insane or the criminal will submit to a background check, or that it would stop them from such acquisition. The Tucson and Virginia Tech killers, both PASSED background checks, and the Sandy Hook killer, bypassed the process by an act of murder.

We admire Ms. Maisch’s actions to disarm the attacker that day, and her desire to prevent future attacks. Let us be clear though: a “background check” will not affect the criminal or the crazy. All it does is register every transacted gun. This gives government a fishing license and a fish finder, for every person with an alleged “disability,” such as the retired NY Sheriff who had his 4 handguns seized recently for seeking treatment for insomnia. ( http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/02/veteran-and-former-cop-sues-after-guns-confiscated-because-he-sought-treatment-for-insomnia/ )

U.S. Violent crime rates have been in decline since the 1990’s. (http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/08/us/study-gun-homicide/ ) Far more guns are used in America to prevent crime than to facilitate it, according The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, by more than a 5 to 1 ratio. The news cycle though, is driven more by blood than fact.

The recent killings in France, a country with strict gun control, demonstrate just how well that works. In a crisis, no one was equipped to stop the murderers or help the police.

Ms. Maisch asserts that “the gun lobby…remains deathly effective at confusing guns with freedom.” The Arizona Citizens Defense League IS the Arizona gun lobby, and we have no confusion whatsoever – guns ARE freedom.

We suggest several solutions. First, focus the personnel who would do “background checks,” on known offenders. They are the ones most likely to re-offend. Second, get known, violent mentally ill people the treatment they need. Third, make sure plenty of armed, trained citizens are present in society to neutralize the threat when it occurs. Last: leave us alone.

Charles Heller is Co-Founder and Communications Coordinator for the Arizona Citizens Defense League. You can visit them online at www.azcdl.org.

Video of Nevada BLM/Bundy Ranch standoff

The standoff yesterday between Federal BLM ranges and a local rancher, backed up by an assortment of civilians, was a historic event. There have been encounters between federal forces and citizens in the past, the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 comes to mind, but nothing on the scale of what took place yesterday in Nevada has happened in recent memory. See below for two good videos of what actually transpired. (Disclosure: Linking to an InfoWars.com video does not imply agreement with all of their positions.)

 

 

Linda Gray Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

Brnovich_logo

Former Representative Linda Gray Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

Today, Republican candidate for Attorney General Mark Brnovich received the endorsement of former State Senator, State Representative, and current Legislative District 1 Republican House candidate Linda Gray.

“I am endorsing Mark Brnovich for Attorney General because of his conservative values and his commitment to protecting the issues and rights that I hold dearly,” said Gray. “I admire Mark’s strong and principled record, which includes: protecting property rights, advocating for the Second Amendment, and defending the unborn. I am proud to support Mark for Attorney General.”

Gray served in the Arizona State Senate from 2005 to 2013 and spent more than a decade at the legislature representing the Northwest Valley. She was the chair of the Public Safety & Human Services committee and Vice Chair of the Education K-12 Committee.

Mark Brnovich remarked: “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Linda Gray. She has always been a staunch supporter of law enforcement and was a leader in education and family policy during her time at the legislature.”

Representative Gray joins Representative Paul Boyer, Representative Debbie Lesko, County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and U.S. Representative Trent Franks in endorsing Mark Brnovich for Arizona Attorney General.

ABOUT MARK BRNOVICH

Raised in Arizona, Mark Brnovich is a graduate of Arizona State University. After law school, Mark prosecuted felonies in the Gang/Repeat Offender Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona and as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. Mark also served his country as the Command Staff Judge Advocate for the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arizona Army National Guard for eight years. Mark met his wife Susan while both were working as prosecutors. They live in Phoenix with their two daughters.

For more information, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com

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Rep Brenda Barton Applauds Recent Reversal in USFS Hunter RV Enforcement

Representative Brenda Barton (R – Payson) said that she was, “greatly pleased ” at the sudden change of heart by the United States Forest Service (USFS). “This is a wonderful example of how federal agencies can work with local communities to resolve issues like these.  It’s the holiday season and the Forest Service has finally gotten into the spirit. ”

The USFS has recently reversed its seemly sudden policy of restricting hunters to a 72-hour rule.  Instead, they have made it clear that sportsmen may keep their trailers set up for the regular two-week period, and in many cases covering the term of their hunting permit.

Many local economies in Barton’s sprawling rural district rely on the revenues brought to their communities by sportsmen and hunters.  Barton concluded that “…this could have had negative economic impacts on several of the local communities in my district and I truly applaud the Forest Service decision to reverse their previous action.”

About Brenda Barton:

A 5th generation native of rural Arizona, Representative Barton retired from municipal service after over 21 years. First elected to office in 2010, she now chairs the important Agriculture and Water committee in the House. Brenda has made Arizona’s agriculture industry and securing our water supply a main focal point of her work in the Legislature.  A graduate of the Dodie London Excellence in Public Service Series program, and past state director of the Arizona Federation of Republican Woman, Brenda also serves on the North American Council of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Legislative Summit.

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.

APS Wrong. Solar Saves Ratepayers, New Study Shows

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

Rooftop Solar Generates $34 Million A Year for APS. APS’ Customers – Not Shareholders – Should Reap This Benefit

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) A new study shows that rooftop solar and net metering generate a windfall for Arizona Public Service (APS). Rooftop solar generation provides APS with $34 million in benefits each year.

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) is calling on APS to give back the windfall it has made from rooftop solar energy.  $34 million a year should be returned to APS customers in the form of lower rates, not put into the pockets of a giant monopoly and its shareholders.

TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “In free enterprise, those who make the investment should reap the rewards. APS has not invested in private rooftop solar. Rather, the utility has been trying to kill the industry to limit competition. And for that, they deserve no reward.”

Net metering allows people who invest in rooftop solar to receive fair credit for the power they send back to the grid. It is a simple policy – used in 43 states today – that works very much like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill.  Solar is far and away the most popular source of energy in the eyes of Arizonans, but to APS, rooftop solar has become a competitive threat to its monopoly.  By working to get the Corporation Commission to change net metering rules, APS is attempting to kill the thriving independent rooftop solar market in Arizona in order to protect its monopoly interests and overwhelming profits.

Rooftop solar is a free market enterprise built by the private investments of homeowners and businesses that install solar panels on their roofs. School districts have also invested in rooftop solar.  Through these investments, schools are saving taxpayers millions of dollars while home and business owners are saving money on their electricity bills.

The study showing that solar provides a $34 million benefit to non-solar customers was commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and authored by Crossborder Energy. Using APS and energy market data, the study found that in addition to providing benefits to solar adopters, like control and savings, rooftop solar provides benefits all APS customers.  For each dollar of cost, rooftop solar generates $1.54 in benefits to all APS customers.

There are several ways that rooftop solar benefits all APS customers.  First, rooftop solar enables APS to spend less money on purchasing power and building expensive conventional power plants. Second, APS can also avoid or delay investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure, because electricity is being generated at the same place it is consumed.  In addition, rooftop solar saves APS money on ancillary service costs, capacity reserve costs, avoided renewables costs, and by providing environmental benefits, like lower air pollution emissions and less water use.  To learn more about the study and see the full results, click here.

To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar.

(Un)Welcome to Sedona!

By Christina Sandefur

Just six years ago, Arizonans enacted one of the nation’s strongest protections for property rights. That measure is Proposition 207, and it says the government must compensate you when regulations reduce your property value.

But that protection is under attack. Now that the state and cities can’t pass the buck to individuals and families, governments are realizing just how expensive their regulations can be. So it is unsurprising that they’re doing their best to avoid paying the high price.

The latest attempt comes from Sedona, which made it a crime to rent residential property for fewer than 30 days, and the city defines “rent” very broadly. This means property owners are subject to punishments of up to 6 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for engaging in a wide range of activities, including purchasing a time share, contracting for home improvements, and even hiring a babysitter!

Attempting to avoid Prop 207 liability, the city of Sedona tried to masquerade the ordinance as a “health and safety” regulation, which is exempted from Prop 207. But the court of appeals saw through the façade and ruled that the city can’t avoid Prop 207 by merely claiming to advance public health without offering any evidence that the regulation actually does so.

On the taxpayers’ dime, Sedona is challenging that decision in the Arizona Supreme Court. The Goldwater Institute, which has long defended property owners from government attempts to dilute or evade Prop. 207, is supporting Sedona property owners in that case. In 2006, Arizonans demanded genuine protections for their property. Cities should stop wasting taxpayer resources trying to skirt the rules and start respecting their citizens’ rights.

Christina Sandefur is an attorney with the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Giving Property Owners Their Day in Court

Arizona Business Gazette: Court: Owners must be paid for property value

Tombstone Ain’t Dead Yet

By Nick Dranias

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service got the drop on Tombstone when the City’s request for an emergency injunction was denied by Senior Judge Frank Zapata of the United States District Court. But Tombstone’s legal posse has a more than a few rounds left in the chamber.

The Goldwater Institute has already appealed the decision as a violation of the Tenth Amendment and, on May 21st, we filed an emergency motion for an injunction with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the City of Tombstone. The motion urges the Court to allow Tombstone to repair its Huachuca Mountain water system because the loss of water to the City is especially dangerous now that wildfire season has arrived. It is entirely possible that the motion will be granted in just a few days. But even if it is denied, the City won’t be firing blanks just yet. The next move is an emergency request before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who “rides” the Ninth Circuit.

Meanwhile the cavalry is on the horizon. County and rancher organizations from around the Western States are gearing up to file “Friend of the Court” briefs in support of Tombstone’s appeal. And three days after the denial of Tombstone’s request for emergency relief from Judge Zapata, U.S. Representative Jeff Flake introduced a bill entitled the “Emergency Water Supply Restoration Act.” The bill would allow state and local governments to freely and fully restore water supplies in Wilderness Areas without interference from federal agencies during a declared State of Emergency. No doubt the bill will catch the U.S. Forest Service’s attention.

Congressman Flake’s bill may have an uphill battle in the Senate, but combined with the cutting edge legal theories being used by the Goldwater Institute’s posse of public interest attorneys, no one should count out the “Town Too Tough to Die.”

Nick Dranias is the Director of Policy Development and Constitutional Government for the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Emergency Motion Pending Appeal (PDF)

Goldwater Institute: Tombstone v. United States

U.S. Congress: Emergency Water Supply Restoration Act (PDF)

Tombstone, Arizona is Ground Zero for State Sovereignty

By Nick Dranias

In a showdown between the Obama Administration and the “Town Too Tough to Die,” the U.S. Forest Service is refusing to allow the City of Tombstone to repair its mountain spring water infrastructure after the 2011 Monument Fire destroyed pipelines and catchments.

Despite Gov. Jan Brewer’s declared state of emergency to empower Tombstone to restore its municipal water supply, the feds continue to block Tombstone, citing the Wilderness Act, which was passed decades after Tombstone secured the water rights. The Forest Service’s decision risks the lives and properties of Tombstone residents and tourists due to the loss of adequate fire suppression capabilities and safe drinking water.

This is a case of egregious federal overreach. If the Forest Service can effectively seize Tombstone’s 130-year-old water rights during a state of emergency — rights that the Service recognized as valid in 1916 — no state or local government will be safe from the feds. That’s why the Goldwater Institute recently filed for a preliminary injunction to restore Tombstone’s sovereign power to restore its municipal water supply.

There is plenty of reason to believe that Tombstone will ultimately prevail. The Supreme Court is already familiar with federal overreach in Graham County, Arizona. In Printz v. United States, the Court rejected efforts by the federal government to commandeer the Graham County Sheriff into implementing a federal gun control law, writing, “the Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States.” The Forest Service is openly flouting this principle of law.

By denying Tombstone access to its water, the Forest Service is threatening to directly regulate Tombstone to death. Printz makes it clear that the Forest Service has no such constitutional power — not if the guarantee of state sovereignty means anything under the Tenth Amendment.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Tombstone v. United States

Justia.com: Printz v. United States