Frank Riggs: The California Congressman Who Wants To Be Arizona Governor

Bartles and Jaymes called. They want their congressman back!

Frank RiggsThere’s one candidate in the race for Governor who claims to be an Arizona conservative but his political dossier reveals otherwise.

Frank Riggs may have relocated to Arizona in 2001 but the astute voter can clearly detect the odor of California politics emanating from the former congressman. Perhaps it’s just sour grapes.

Riggs, who tried to run for Arizona Governor in 2006, quit his exploratory bid when he realized he failed to meet Arizona’s residency requirement for the race.

Sound familiar?

Riggs pulled the same quitting maneuver in California – twice! When a Democrat state senator challenged him in his congressional re-election, Riggs quit and decided to run for the U.S. Senate instead. But then he dropped out of that race too, blaming his lack of fund-raising prowess and the long commute between northern California and D.C. (Tony Perry, “Riggs’ Money Woes Kill Longshot Bid for U.S. Senate,” Los Angeles Times, 4/10/1998)

But quitting his political races at the slightest nudge of a challenge is not the only indicator of Riggs’ lack of preparedness and commitment.

The former congressman also had a problem keeping his promises. According to the same article, “Riggs spent considerable time in his first term deflecting criticism that he reneged on a promise to turn over his congressional pay increase to charity (he ended up sending half to charity) and another pledge not to take contributions from the oil and timber industries” (read article). Why Riggs held on to the other half of his pay raise, and broke his promise to reject big industry cash, is open to speculation but it may be another indicator that the congressman simply had a problem handling money.

The same Los Angeles Times article stated that Riggs violated federal campaign finance laws and only dodged being penalized because the statute of limitations had run out: “A Federal Elections Commission audit of his 1990 campaign found that he had violated election law by improperly bankrolling his campaign with corporate money and loans from his mother, father and sister that exceeded contribution limits.” When honest people are desperate for cash, they usually buckle down their expenses and find ways to earn extra money – not bend the rules as a means of financial survival.

Frank Riggs House BankingKeep in mind, this is the same Frank Riggs who paraded himself alongside six other freshmen Republicans in 1992 as the “Gang of Seven.” You remember these crusaders. They took on the infamous House banking scandal that embroiled fellow members of Congress who had overdrawn their House checking accounts. There’s only one problem: if you’re going to place yourself on an elite pedestal, you’d better be above reproach yourself. It was later discovered that Riggs also bounced several checks as part of the scandal. Ouch!

But it must be noted that Riggs not only didn’t mind burdening others with his financial problems, he also doesn’t mind burdening small business with increased costs by voting to raise the minimum wage not once, not twice, not even three times. Congressman Frank Riggs voted for legislation to raise the minimum wage four times. That’s four opportunities Riggs missed to stand up for small business and free market economic principles. Today, of course, he claims to be an advocate for small businesses and free enterprise, which directly contradicts previous support for increasing the minimum wage. Can you say flip flop?

But wait, it gets worse! During one term of Congressman Frank Riggs tenure, he managed to sneak $35 Million of pork into bills to benefit his district. That’s right. All told, Congressman Riggs brought home the bacon in the form of university buildings and a harbor dredging project(read article). Doesn’t quite sound like the congressman who only two years earlier, signed on to the Contract with American opining about fiscal prudence and balanced budgets.

But even when Congressman Frank Riggs bothered to show up for work and vote (he missed a higher-than-average number of roll call votes, according to GovTrack), his conservative rating was mediocre at best. According to VoteSmart and the American Conservative Union, Riggs scored a lifetime conservative rating of 76%. To put that in perspective, Riggs’ lifetime conservative score was lower than every one of Arizona’s Republican delegation at the time – including Jim Kolbe.

And when Riggs makes bad votes, they’re not just minor swerves to the left – they’re major over of the cliff calamities. Take the January 12, 1991 vote authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq in accordance with US Security Council Resolution 678. Congressman Frank Riggs was one of three Republicans in the US House who voted against it. Arizona has already had its handful of unprincipled Republicans. She cannot afford another one – especially in the Governor’s office.

Anyone who performs a political credit check on Frank Riggs will easily discover that he scores far below the caliber Arizonans demand in their next governor. When our neighbors to the west leave California, they usually come here for a good reason – to leave behind the liberal California policies, values and bureaucratic regulations and red tape that strangled their businesses and finances. But, based on his record, Frank Riggs wants to bring those mediocre values to Arizona’s government. Republican voters in Arizona are smart and can sniff out the scent of a faux conservative. They should turn up their noses to candidates like Frank Riggs who cannot reconcile their rhetoric with their record.

Special Interests Bullying Innovative Competitors

It’s always bad when an entrenched, politically-connected special interest tries to use force to bully innovative competitors and drive them out of the marketplace.  It’s even worse when those same special interests blatantly lie to do so.

InnovationThe rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Drivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

The rideshare industry in Arizona is innovative, uses new and impressive technology, and provides customers with a new – and cheaper – method of transportation.  HB 2262 would provide a proper and fair regulatory structure for ridesharing companies and prevent government interference from crippling these innovative job creators with regulations that do not fit the services they provide.

However, opponents of this bill have resorted to lies and deception to ensure their politically-connected monopoly continues.  They have spent countless time spreading the falsehood that rideshare company drivers are not properly insured and are dangerous – which couldn’t be further from the truth.

UberLyftDrivers for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft are more insured and more heavily vetted than the cab drivers you see on the streets of Phoenix – by far.  Grassroots activists cannot allow an innovative job creator to be forced out of existence through lies and intimidation.

Please contact the following members of the Arizona Legislature and let them know the conservative grassroots believes we should be encouraging innovators who create jobs and economic prosperity in Arizona!

Then, please click HERE to ask your senator and representatives to pass this legislation and send it up to the Governor’s desk!

If you would like to engage on the rest of AFP-Arizona’s priority agenda, please go to our main ACTION PAGE to learn how you can help on all the individual issues we are working on.

Help us keep up the fight!

I hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we fight for the interests of Arizona taxpayers, consumers and producers!

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Why is Don Shooter Giving Government Special Treatment?

Toby Farmer

Toby Farmer Asks Don Shooter to Explain Intentions of Immunity Bill

Republican candidate Toby Farmer is asking State Senator Don Shooter to explain his sponsorship and support of a bill that gives the state and state employees complete immunity when they commit negligent acts on state trust lands. Sen. Shooter sponsored a bizarre amendment in the Appropriations Committee last week to a state trust lands bill. The provision, which Shooter authored, condones negligent acts of the state and its employees.

Right now as written, Shooter’s proposal would give the state complete immunity in the future, for example, in tragic wildland forest fires such as the Yarnell tragedy where 19 hotshot firefighters were killed last summer in northern Arizona. Families of the victims and property owners currently have claims against the state alleging negligence.

Toby Farmer asked, “Is Don Shooter okay with families, business owners, property owners and victims not receiving fair compensation when the state is in fact negligent? Why is Don Shooter okay with property owners who have been harmed by the state’s actions having no recourse for recovery or just compensation?” Farmer continued, “The potential harmful ramifications for the rural portions of my district and the landowners in Arizona cannot be understated.”

In committee, other Republican members and individuals who testified expressed their concerns and opposition to the language. In regards to the immunity language, Republican Senator Rick Murphy stated, “I’m not sure the Constitution would permit it.” A lawyer for one of the deceased hotshots and several landowners harmed by the fire called the provision “regrettable” and an “insult to firefighters.”

Farmer continued, “Why should government have special protections when there is clear negligence that businesses and regular people do not? It’s a scary world where a government can’t be held liable for its actions.”

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 To learn more about Toby’s campaign, visit www.FarmerAZ.com.

Toby Farmer Calls on Don Shooter to Provide Proof of Suspicious Campaign Expenses

Toby Farmer

Toby Farmer Calls on Don Shooter to Provide Proof of Suspicious Campaign Expenses

Yesterday, Republican candidate for Arizona State Senate legislative district 13, Toby Farmer, criticized reported campaign expenses in Senator Don Shooter’s most recent campaign finance filing. The Arizona Republic recently uncovered troubling items in Shooter’s finance report, which includes:

● More than $18,000 in travel related expenses including fuel, mileage reimbursement, auto repair, and lodging.

● Over $15,000 in legal fees, including $10,100 in fees directly related to his three misdemeanor charges for barging into his grandson’s classroom and confronting a school teacher last year.

● Nearly three quarters of the $43,000 Shooter raised last cycle came from lobbyists and other special interests who have business at the State Capitol.

The Arizona Republic also uncovered that in addition to his $24,000 per year taxpayer salary, Shooter collected another $8,029 directly from taxpayers as part of his reimbursement for commuting to the Capitol to conduct legislative business. This amount is on top of the more than $18,000 he transferred from his campaign account for fuel and mileage reimbursement.

“The contents of Don Shooter’s campaign finance report are extremely troubling,” said Buckeye businessman Toby Farmer, who is challenging Shooter in the Republican Senate primary. “Senator Shooter appears to be transferring personal campaign contributions from lobbyists and special interest groups and lining his personal pockets by collecting both mileage reimbursement and gas money in addition to mileage reimbursement from the taxpayers of Arizona.”

If the Arizona Republic is correct, Senator Shooter would have driven over 30,000 miles in the last campaign cycle according to the legally binding reports he filed with authorities. Remarkably, that’s enough mileage to travel around the globe one-and-a-half times.

“Remarkably, when I speak with voters in his district in Maricopa County, no one seems to know who Don Shooter is,” said Farmer. “Mr. Shooter owes the taxpayers of Arizona and the voters of my district an explanation and proof of what he is spending this substantial amount of money on.”

Earlier this year, Don Shooter notoriously made headlines when he told a local television reporter that he wouldn’t give up free tickets from lobbyists to events like the Fiesta Bowl unless the taxpayers of Arizona gave him a pay raise.

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For more information on Toby’s campaign, please visit: www.FarmerAZ.com.

UPDATE: Hospitals Paying Traitors for Their Yes Votes on OBrewercare

Monday’s, September 23′s, Yellow Sheet Report reported that the Friday, September 20 fundraiser thrown by the health care-industrial complex for their bought-and-paid-for legislators (Sens. McComish [LD 18], Pierce [LD1], Driggs [LD 28], and Worsley [LD 25], and Reps. Shope [LD 8], McGee [LD28], Carter [LD 15], Coleman [LD 16], Dial [LD 18], Goodale [LD 5], Orr [LD 9], Pratt [LD 8], and Robson [LD 18]) who voted to expand Medicaid rolls under Obamacare is expected to raise $350,000 meaning that the 13 Republican traitors for whom the event was thrown will receive almost $27,000 for their campaign warchests in exchange for their votes assuming the cash is split evenly.  The article states that the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association is holding another fundraiser for these traitors in roughly a month on October 23.  Assuming that this upcoming fundraiser collects as much as the one on September 20, the hospital-industrial complex will be halfway to fulfilling their promise to give turncoat legislators $100,000 for their campaign warchests.

To additionally show that this is a quid pro quo, note that the recipients of this campaign cash DIRECTLY matches the traitorous Republicans that voted to expand Arizona’s medicaid program under Obamacare’s provisions (HB 2010 in the First Special Session of the 51st Legislature).  Also, the Yellow Sheet reports that a lobbyist at the event stated that the fundraiser was to support those Republicans that voted for OBrewercare who would likely face primary opposition .  The unnamed lobbyist indicated that the hospital-industrial complex crony corporatists wanted to do “everything we can to assist them.”  In other words, the traitors lined the hospitals’ pockets, now, it’s time for the health care industry pay these corrupt politicans back by giving them the resources necessary to be nigh undefeatable in an election.

Keep an eye out, voters.  We could be seeing two additional fundraisers for these criminals and it will give them almost insurmountable cash to ensure that they are re-elected.  Not only did these people take money out of your pocket to line their own, but they are also trying to subvert your choice in who represents you.  You should be very angry.  Again, follow the money.  When their campaign finance reports come out, read them.  Learn exactly who is pulling their strings.  FINANCIALLY support their primary opponents!  Tell everyone you can about what you know about these criminals that are fleecing you.  Remember what you’ve learned when you go to the polls and urge your friends to do the same.

AZ Electric Utility Rates: Regulated Monopoly or Free-Market Competition?

gavel1-300x223In May, 2013, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) opened a docket to gather information on how Arizona might allow competition among electric companies. On September 11, they shut down the docket with a 4-1 vote, citing “legal issues” that were apparently just too much trouble to tackle. Maybe the ACC will tell us more about that later(?).

So until & unless a new docket on the subject is opened, it’s over.  Of course, Arizona residents do still have a choice: either sign up with the one company legally allowed to provide electric service in your area or go without electricity altogether.

APS and SRP are regulated monopolies. The ACC sets the rate of return that they are allowed to earn on their capital investment in generating stations, transmission lines, and so on*. Their day-to-day operating expenses, depreciation expenses, taxes, etc. are fully covered, dollar-for-dollar, by their customers (you and me). That’s the law.

power-transmissionIs that so bad? Yes, it can be. This is the classic problem of regulated monopolies. While their rate of return is firmly capped by ACC, what are the incentives these monopolies have to hold down their capital expenditures on which they earn that guaranteed return? And what are their incentives to minimize expenses such as payroll? Technically, there aren’t any, other than their own good will and the ACC looking over their shoulder.

So can’t the ACC guarantee that the monopolies are run efficiently?  Oh, would that it were!  No, ACC politicians can’t hope to micromanage a monopoly for efficiency.  On the other hand, if there were competition, the utility would have to run itself efficiently or lose customers to a more efficient competitor that could charge lower prices.

Even when the monopolies are run by people of good will and good intentions**, they can easily slip into inefficient behaviors when there is no overriding free-market, profit-motivated, competitive incentive to stay efficient and keep prices down.

Bell_System_1939I’ve been through deregulation before. From 1969 to 1984, I worked at Bell Laboratories, the research arm of the biggest regulated monopoly ever — the old Bell System (“Ma Bell”).  We even had our own tightly coupled manufacturing arm called Western Electric.  The old Bell System was heavily regulated at the federal, state, and (in some states like Texas) local level.

In the old Bell System our advertising proudly claimed that we provided the world’s best telephone service at the world’s lowest prices. And we really did. But the DOJ Antitrust Division broke up AT&T anyway in 1984, opening the long-distance and equipment manufacturing businesses to competition. It was traumatic for us.  It was complicated.  But the job got done, and today’s telecom industry is much more competitive, innovative, entrepreneurial, and a lot cheaper than it would be if we still had one grand national monopoly.

powerlinesWouldn’t it be nice if the same thing happened with electric power in Arizona?  It could — but not until the ACC opens another docket and attacks those “legal issues” anew.

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*Correction: As shown on the ACC website, ACC regulates rates for APS, but on SRP, ACC is only involved when SRP wants to build large power plants (100 Megawatts) or very high voltage transmission lines (115 kVolts.)  ACC also regulates Tucson Electric Power (TEP).

** Regarding good intentions:  A look at the SRP and APS websites will show that these utilities are indeed responsible corporate citizens, offering ratepayers tips, a choice of rate plans, rebates, and other assistance to help customers lower their electric bills. Both utilities and their employees are involved in conservation, and I know first-hand of their contributions to public education in Arizona. But business is business, and there’s nothing like the pressure of competition and the incentive of higher profits to drive a company to run the most efficient operation and offer the lowest prices possible.

EPA overreach at Navajo Generating Station yields bad energy policy for Arizona

By Douglas Little, Phoenix Conservative Examiner

In one of the most egregious abuses of it regulatory power, the EPA is forcing the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) located near Page, AZ to make unnecessary and costly modifications to the generation facilities that would have no measurable effect on emissions in the region.

Using the Clean Air Act as its regulatory authority, the EPA claims that emissions from NGS are contributing to haze in the Grand Canyon area and in February of this year, proposed a regional haze restriction that would require NGS expenditures of $1.1 billion on additional emission reduction controls. This claim also ignores the fact that prevailing winds in the region result in plant emissions being blown away from the Grand Canyon, not towards it.

At the same time the EPA issued their ruling, a U.S. Department of Energy study concluded there would be no visibility improvement at the Grand Canyon after the controls were added. Why would the EPA pursue such a expensive and punitive rule when it would have no perceptible effect on haze at the Grand Canyon?

Opponents of the EPA action are reporting that the EPA doesn’t care about haze at all. They say what the EPA really wants is to provide a precedent for shutting down coal-fired electric generating plants. The Obama administration has a stated objective to reduce carbon emissions and last year attempted to implement a “cap and trade” approach to regulating fossil fuels. Republicans in the US Congress voted down the enabling legislation, with some calling it a “war on coal”.

Why is the EPA going after NGS and why is NGS so critical to Arizona?

The Navajo Generating Station was constructed at a cost of $650 million beginning in 1970 and ending in 1976 when the last of the three generating units was completed. The project was sited in its current location based on readily available coal fuel, a reliable source of water for cooling and the proximity of the city of Page which could provide for many of the project’s infrastructure needs, including an available skilled labor pool. The plant is located approximately 100 miles northeast of the Grand Canyon.

The primary purpose of the NGS was to provide power to support the Central Arizona Project (CAP) which is responsible for supplying Arizona’s share of Colorado River water to central and southern Arizona. To get water from the far northwest corner of Arizona to the rest of the state, CAP built a network of pumps, pipelines and and surface canals over 336 miles in length to transport Arizona’s annual allocation of 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. The pumps must raise the water over 3000 feet to allow it to flow into central Arizona. The majority of the power generated by NGS powers the CAP pumps.

NGS has a long history of taking a proactive approach to emissions reduction. In 1999, NGS completed a $420 million retrofit that reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant by 90%. In additional overhauls conducted between 2003 and 2005, electrostatic precipitators were overhauled for reliability and performance gains. In 2007, the Salt River Project, the plant operator, conducted studies on how to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to reduce haze in the region and voluntarily installed emission reduction equipment on each of their three plants between 2009 and 2011.

Apparently, the best efforts of NGS were not good enough. The EPA rule proposed in February is one of the most stringent regional haze rules in the entire nation. It imposes a standard that is more rigorous that the standards for a brand new coal plant. At the 1600 megawatt Prairie State Energy Campus which first came online in 2012, the permitted level of NO emissions are 0.07 parts per million (ppm) while the standard for NGS, a 37 year old plant, is 0.055 ppm.

In an attempt to find a reasonable middle ground, a working group consisting of the EPA, U.S. Department of the Interior, the Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, the Navajo Nation and the Western Resource Advocates began negotiations to find a “Reasonable Progress Alternative” to the BART rule issued by the EPA in February.

These negotiations were closed-door sessions and while the working group included non-stakeholder environmental activists like the Environmental Defense Fund, they did not solicit or accept input from important stakeholders like the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the primary regulatory body for energy and water resources in the state. Arizona’s Attorney General was also excluded from legal review and comment on the proposed agreement.

Under the proposed settlement, visibility standards and haze causing nitrogen oxide standards are not even addressed. However, in one section of the proposed agreement, the Department of the Interior makes commitments to reduce or offset carbon dioxide emissions by 3% per year “in furtherance of the President’s 2013 Climate Action Plan”. It further states that “This commitment is intended to accomplish two aims: reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the workability of a credit-based system to achieve carbon dioxide emission reductions” (emphasis added).

This action by the Department of the Interior and the EPA essentially unilaterally implements “cap and trade” at NGS even though they do not have Congressional authority to do so.

The working group proposal also calls for the early shutdown of one generation unit in 2020 or the equivalent reduction of output equal to the closure of one unit from 2020 to 2030. There is no consideration in the plan for any increased cost in replacement power or an increase in water rates due to those increased power costs.

While clearly not a great deal for SRP, the Navajo and CAP, why are they supporting it? The original rule issued by the EPA would have imposed the most stringent nitrogen oxide standards in the country and would require retrofits to the generating plants at a cost of over a billion dollars. Had that rule been implemented, the economic viability of the entire plant was in jeopardy. The Arizona stakeholders felt that the EPA was holding the plant hostage under its rule-making authority. They felt that the working group agreement was probably the best deal they could get under the circumstances, enabling them to keep the plant going at least until 2035.

Unfortunately, the working group agreement has some fairly large holes in it. Many of the commitments made by the Department of the Interior may require Congressional action to implement. In the current belt-tightening by the federal government, Congress may not be willing to fund the $100 million in commitments made by the Department of the Interior. Furthermore, the agreement anticipates a dramatic increase in water rates, but make no provision for it. In addition, it does not address the loss of jobs, economic benefit and tribal revenues that will result from the terms of the agreement.

A critical reading of the proposed working group agreement seems to indicate that these regulations are not about reducing regional haze. There is no meaningful reduction of nitrogen oxide in the proposed agreement. Instead, there is a focus on carbon dioxide emission reduction. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas and has no impact on visible haze.

In addition, the agreement is an apparent attempt to unilaterally implement a “cap and trade” system for regulating carbon emissions for which the Department of the Interior and the EPA have no statutory or regulatory authority.

Finally, it appears to be a blatant EPA attack on coal-fired generating plants with the full support and encouragement of environmental activists.

Is the EPA doing all of this for a reduction in haze that the federal government’s own study said would be imperceptible to the human eye? More likely, the haze standard simply gives the EPA the opening they need to accomplish their real objectives of shutting another coal plant and promoting Obama’s energy agenda.

EPA overreach? Good energy policy? The right choice for Arizona? You decide.

The public comment period on the proposed agreement will close on October 4th, 2013.

You can go here to comment: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-R09-OAR-2013-0009-0111

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.

The Alliance of Principled Conservatives Stands for Founding Principles


In 1776 the British monarchy hired the Hessian mercenaries to terrorize the colonists in the New World. Ideas like “freedom” and “representation” were considered extreme and radical.

Today in Arizona we face a Governor willing to bypass the checks and balances put in place by our Founding Fathers. A Governor who purposely uses special privileges as a weapon against elected legislators. A Governor who is willing to subvert the spirit of the constitution, call a special session and suspend the rules just to force the largest socialistic takeover in U.S. history – the Obamacare/Medicaid Expansion – upon the people she was elected to serve.

She trampled on our rights. She took away our right to fair representation.  The end result of her actions will eventually lead to the full implementation of Obamacare which will force Arizonans to buy taxed tea ..oops.. I mean Federal health insurance.

Our Government is trampling on our freedoms at the National and State level.

The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives is also labeled “extreme” and “fringe.” URAPC has risen up with pens and clipboards in hand to stop Obamacare using volunteer grassroots Arizonans. So the Governor’s Team forms an opposing committee that throws around outrageous accusations that if URAPC is   “successful, there are a lot of people who are going to get harmed” and then threatening “we’re going to be as aggressive as possible to get out to the public.” 

  • They cannot win on the issues.
  • They cannot get a bill passed without suspending the rules, and threatening to remove the President and Speaker.
  • Now they are “aggressively” misleading a.k.a. lying to people to stop us from gathering signatures.

In spite of a well funded $150,000 campaign to stop the gathering of signatures the Alliance of volunteer Republican Principled Conservatives grows. 

Swelling the ranks are activists who have been discouraged by the lack of conviction, the lack of pride in the basic Republican tenets of limited government and individual responsibility, and the courage to stand and say “that is wrong get out of the tent.”

URAPC is committed to maintaining the deep individualist spirit of Arizona and restoring freedom from an obtrusive government by leading the way to Veto Governor Brewer’s Medicaid Expansion.

Join us today and fill out a petition today!

www.urapc.org

The “Brewer Ruins Arizona Team” – BRAT’s – to bankrupt Arizona and bring you Obamacare

Here comes the “Brewer Ruins Arizona Team” – the BRAT’s -
to bankrupt Arizona and bring you Obamacare.

Governor Brewer suspended the rules in the House to ram Obamacare and a Democrat unbalanced budget through the legislature. So it is not a surprise that the Governor’s Team intends to bend every rule in the book to prevent the Republican Party from their constitutionally defined right to collect signatures to veto her.

She rolled the Senate.
She suspended the rules and rolled the House.
Watch out PC’s – YOUR TURN.

The Fake Petition
The Governor is PAYING signature gatherers to follow the URAPC alliance to create confusion and lead people to think they have already signed a petition.
The Governor’s team of BRAT’s is weak.

  • • They do not have a real petition.
  • • They do not have a real Proposition.
  • • They are a weak alternative to the passion and commitment found at URAPC.

Details of the BRAT Petition
The BRAT’s are carrying a paper with the title: “Petition in Support of Health Care for Arizonans Who Need it Most.”

The Governor continues her strategy of paying to get her way because she cannot win on principle. Her team has hired w ell known traditionally conservative signature gatherers, folks who have worked for Senator Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe so they will not work for URAPC.

URAPC has approximately 13,000 petitions throughout the state of Arizona. Small business owners who are proud Democrats are joining the Alliance of Principled conservatives to save their businesses and the jobs they create.

Go to:  www.urapc.org to see the BRAT petition.

 

APS Continues Pressure to Quash Solar Energy Choice in Arizona

Several weeks ago when I took up the cause of energy choice via the issue of net metering, little did I realize I would strike at the nerve of the big utility energy monopolies like APS. While my intention was not to overly criticize the Republican-led Arizona Corporation Commission, several of my posts were mistakenly perceived that way when all along criticism, was meant to challenge big utilities for quashing energy choice.

Recently, Arizona Public Service Co.’s CEO Don Brandt wrote an editorial in defense of APS’ push to eliminate net metering claiming that rooftop solar consumers are a burden on other energy consumers not using solar. What’s striking in this is the audacity of APS’ top executive blaming solar users while APS pushes to widen its profit margin. The last time I checked, APS was regulated by the ACC because of its unique monopoly power in the marketplace. Thanks to the commissioners at the ACC, APS has been kept in check.

I’ve obviously struck a nerve with APS (as other utilities watch this critical discussion take place) to the point where the CEO feels the need to respond and wage a public relations battle against those who want the choice to offer back a surplus of clean, cheap energy. APS obviously feels threatened – and they should – after recent polls show energy choice is extremely important to Arizonans.

It’s time for credit and criticism to be given.

To the Arizona Corporation Commissioners I commend them for a job well done in holding the line for ratepayers, encouraging energy innovation and for the pursuit of realistic consumer-based energy choices for Arizonans. I also continue to urge and encourage the ACC to reject the pressures by big utilities like APS prowling for corporate cronyism deals.

Thanks to the Arizona Corporation Commission, solar is a great success story in our state and will be operating free of utility incentives by the end of the year. With Arizona continuing to score solar touchdowns for schools, consumers and thousands of solar jobs let’s not fumble in the red zone because APS is trying to strip the ball away.

MIHS Meets in Closed Door Session to Discuss Controversial State Contract


The Maricopa County Integrated Health Systems Board of Directors
is currently meeting in closed-door Executive Session to discuss the current legal challenge and protest filed by Magellan and United RHBA against MMIC (Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care), MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless, and Maricopa County Special Health Care District.  The current agenda shows a 30-minute spot dedicated to discussion of this subject, all of which will be exempt from records requests and exempt from public inspection.

It is not surprising that the MIHS Board is keeping a low profile and is remaining tight-lipped about this controversial contract after being awarded a possibly illegal $2 billion to $3 billion dollar contract from the State of Arizona.  This came on the heels of a controversial pay raise for MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless that raised her taxpayer salary to $500,000.

Accountability and SunshineThe board will apparently receive legal advice on the protest to the bid and discuss options moving forward.  An administrative law judge is likely to uphold the Department’s awarding of the contract, leaving a lawsuit targeting the state as a possible option.  Magellan has already filed a civil suit seeking financial damages in Maricopa County Superior Court against MIHS and MIHS’ CEO Betsey Bayless.  Magellan alleges MIHS was awarded the contract improperly and used proprietary information from Magellan to win the bid.

The new contract was set to begin on October 1, 2013, but the protest and lawsuit are likely to delay implementation.  Previously MIHS responded to the formal protest with the following statement:

“We are studying those protests and will respond in the appropriate venues,” the statement said. “We are confident in the strength of our bid, and we are proud to offer a unique, collaborative approach to meet Maricopa County Medicaid recipients’ behavioral-health needs and to integrate the behavioral- health and medical services for those with serious mental illness.”

If you recall, the lawsuit also alleges “serious conflicts of interest” by MIHS because Mercy Maricopa both manages the system and provide services, which is “prohibited by the contract and by state law.” Magellan also alleges that the bidding process contained “serious irregularities,” such as the state’s bidding process being amended twice to unfairly benefit MIHS over their private competitors.  Additional claims include conflicts of interest, improper scoring, licensing problems, and disclosure of proprietary information to competitors. Magellan originally serviced the state contract since 2007.

The serious allegations require attention and deserve public scrutiny.  MIHS should be holding discussions on the contract and the protest, but they should be doing this in the face of the public.  Not behind closed doors immune from public records requests. MIHS is a government entity that collects nearly $60 million dollars in property taxes every year and is run by a publicly elected Board of Directors.  When the state awards a contract that could be worth up to $3 billion dollars, possible bias in favor of a taxpayer funded MIHS over private competitors deserves more sunshine and certainly more accountability.

If you’d like to contact the MIHS Board of Directors and demand more transparency for taxpayers, they can be reached via email as follows:

 

Net Metering: A Win-Win For Everyone

I was quite surprised by the spirited and even vociferous response to last week’s post regarding the issue of net metering and solar energy competition in Arizona. It even captured the attention of several members of the Arizona Corporation Commissioner who made their objections indirectly know to me and those following the debate over APS’ effort to bring about an end to net metering. From conservative, liberal and independent ideologues, the online comments, posts, emails and calls were remarkably supportive of consumer choice.

In case you missed it, subsidies to the solar industry are ending in Arizona over the next few months. For taxpayers, that’s a good thing. But I would also argue the ACC policymaking doesn’t go far enough. Republicans should be just as vehement about ending other energy subsidies, regardless of the source, which will ultimately usher in a thriving and more competitive energy market.

Many, like me, are trying to understand why a state rich in abundant sunshine is finding resistance in securing energy choice among those who were elected on a platform of competition and choice?

Republicans have long held that choice, diversity and competition in the energy marketplace moves us toward energy independence, wise stewardship of the environment and consumer freedom and sustainability. Choice in education is a prime example of this very philosophy that has brought student achievement and parental involvement. Why would we not apply the same logic toward energy policy?

In fact, here is what the 2012 Republican Party Platform – updated last August – says about the Republican vision on energy:

Unlike the current Administration, we will not pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. Instead, we will let the free market and the public’s preferences determine the industry outcomes. In assessing the various sources of potential energy, Republicans advocate an all-of-the-above diversified approach, taking advantage of all our American God-given resources. That is the best way to advance North American energy independence. 

We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy, but the taxpayers should not serve as venture capitalists for risky endeavors. It is important to create a pathway toward a market-based approach for renewable energy sources and to aggressively develop alternative sources for electricity generation such as wind, hydro, solar, biomass, geothermal, and tidal energy. Partnerships between traditional energy industries and emerging renewable industries can be a central component in meeting the nation’s long-term needs. Alternative forms of energy are part of our action agenda to power the homes and workplaces of the nation.

As a result of the feedback of last week’s opinion piece, I feel it necessary to expand and even advocate for a recalibration on an inconsistent Republican policy makers hold on this topic.

Yes, the GOP has been a steadfast and principled advocate for free market policies – especially when it comes to stopping the spread of the healthcare industrial complex known as Obamacare or the vast left-wing manipulation of public education. We argue with passion that we need more health care choices. We argue for charter schools and tuition tax credits.

So why then would we allow the elimination of consumer-based choice in the form of alternative energy options by policy makers in league with the monopolistic maneuvers of utility corporations?

Please don’t misunderstand me when it comes to the whole issue of corporate welfare and subsidies to certain pockets of the energy marketplace. I fully oppose government poking its nose in the role of picking winners and losers, eliminating consumer choice all at the expense of taxpayers.

That’s why I argue the point of protecting net metering – a policy that allows consumers to produce their own energy with the excess amount to be supplied back to “the grid” a win-win for everyone.

Some time within the next 90 days, APS is expected to push the Arizona Corporation Commission to eliminate this practice thus taking away the primary mechanism and incentive for taxpaying consumers to pursue energy sustainability and efficiency. This makes no sense at all other than re-erecting a barrier of protection for utility monopolies.

Will opinions like this continue to provoke fierce debate between those vying to consume, provide and blur the distinction between both roles? That’s guaranteed. But let’s remember one thing. Our state Constitution was written to protect the rights of Arizonans. With the right Republican leadership in place, energy choice, independence and consistency can thrive in Arizona.

Let the debate continue!

AZ Conservative Coalition responds to Complaint

A letter of complaint written by a Republican legislator about the Arizona Conservative Coalition’s (ACC’s) Legislator Evaluation was posted on another (not so conservative) blog.

We are used to getting complaints from legislators not getting scores as high as they want.

The ACC responded to this email. Because the email was publicly posted, we are providing our response so it is available to the public as well.

The email with the complaint and the ACC response can be read here.

The legislator and the ACC have agreed that we will work amicably together going forward, but we can’t allow the email posted to a blog (presumably without his prior knowledge) go without a public response.

The Beltway Bubble

By Sam Stone

There’s no recession in Washington, D.C. Massive building and construction projects blossom like D.C.’s famous trees. Vast, unending snakes of luxury automobiles slither along the streets. On any given day, many of D.C.’s myriad pricey boutiques and restaurants are standing-room-only.

It’s a different world.

Even the commercials are different. City buses grind around town plastered in messages sponsored by the AFL-CIO, imploring Congress to avoid cuts in federal spending programs. Ads designed not to appeal to the masses, but to provide one more avenue for lobbyists and special interest organizations to bend the ear of our elected officials, run endlessly on television.

It’s a glitzy, seductive high-profile bubble.

Spend time in D.C. these days, and it’s easy to see how so many well-intentioned Congressmen and Senators get trapped by the system. It’s not just Washington politics; it’s D.C. life. Elected officials are treated like kings: car services, staffers catering to their every need, posh apartments. The most succulent, extravagant dinners served, because of ethics laws, on a stick. And free booze. Lots and lots of free booze.

But it’s a lie.

People on Main Street are suffering. Despite one optimistic forecast after another, the recession really hasn’t gone anywhere. Although the White House and Federal Reserve Bank keep parroting the line that inflation is stagnant, prices for basic necessities like food, gasoline and heating fuel have more than doubled in recent years. Official joblessness rates grossly undervalue the problem by including people working part-time or seasonal jobs, and by assuming that anyone who hasn’t had a job recently is no longer interested in finding one. Real national unemployment is probably closer to 15% than the 7.9% our government is willing to admit to.

At home, still stuck in the bubble

Members of Congress rarely – if ever – even get to see the truth. When they do return to their State or District, it’s usually for a quick weekend of campaigning. They’re hustled from place to place, rarely stopping anywhere for more than an hour or so. They’re still surrounded by staffers whose job it is to cater to their every whim.

Even during longer breaks when Congress is in session, the routine doesn’t really change. Campaigns these days essentially never close up shop. One of the great advantages of incumbency is access to the enormous cresting waves of PAC, union and special interest donations an incumbent can secure for their reelection war chest. So while Congress may be on recess from time to time, the business of staying in Congress doesn’t stop. Instead of spending time talking with everyday citizens when they’re home, elected officials are stuck on the phone soliciting donations from groups who are only too eager to assist – so long as the recipients of their cash remember those debts the next time a vote comes down on the floor.

What’s the answer?

Term limits sound great, but until everyone agrees to play by the same set of rules, term-limiting yourself is just a way to ensure your Party leadership doesn’t take you seriously. No one becomes Chair of Ways and Means in their first term.

No, the best thing we could do is ask Congress to work less. Six months out of each year in D.C. should be plenty and, if our Representatives had to spend half of each year at home surrounded by their constituents, it’d be a lot harder for them to miss (or simply ignore) what’s really going on in America. Voters would have far more opportunities to get in front of our elected officials. And, as we saw with the Obamacare Town Halls across the country in 2010, they might be more than a little surprised at what they find.

Of course, less time in Washington also means that our elected officials would have to do less. Which, considering the mess they’re making of our nation, might be the biggest improvement of all.

Reposted from Southern Arizona News-Examiner

Thoughts on the City of Phoenix LGBT Ordinance

A few thoughts on today’s culture war battle at the City of Phoenix.

I attended the meeting for the purpose of testifying against the tax on food. I signed a card for that specific agenda item having no intention of testifying on the LGBT ordinance.

My position on this has been very clear. I simply do not believe that the City of Phoenix should inject government policy into the personal and private lives of any Phoenicians except when a crime is committed. Some liberals and libertarians would say “keep government out of our bedrooms.” OK, so how about a little consistency by keeping government to a minimum in our private business matters? What the City of Phoenix did tonight was invite a huge conflict between Constitutional rights and individual sexual identity.

By now social conservatives should realize they have lost the culture war on issues related to sexual identity and behavior. The most reasonable position social conservatives can now take is to hold back any level of government from the power position of  picking winners and losers in the conflict between sexual identity and free speech, religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Locally, social conservatives did not lose the culture battle in Phoenix tonight. Social conservatives lost the culture battle in November of 2011 when it failed to elect conservatives to the Phoenix city council.

We knew this was coming. The signs were there in 2011 when mayoral candidate Greg Stanton made wide overtures to the LGBT community and efforts to align Phoenix with San Francisco values. Anyone who dared to point it out was labeled a bigot. So goes the spirit of tolerance on the left.

(Too often, both sides fail to see this as a debate over public policy rather making it about personal attacks on individuals and their sexual identities.)

Tonight’s meeting was a reflection of the very intolerance those pushing for tolerance decry. Anyone who dared to oppose the ordinance was booed and jeered. No respect for human dignity and certainly no respect for the public policy process.

Social conservative did turn out at the meeting – certainly not in number. And those who did engage were speaking a different language to the huge LGBT majority who did turn out (probably with plenty of advance notice). Two different languages because there are two different worldviews – one based on faith, the other clearly sexual and secular in nature. There were translators in the testimonials – individuals who know the difference and can communicate between the two worldviews – Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rev. Jarrett Maupin spoke. These individuals are bilingual on issues that tangle logic and emotions.

And there was a tremendous amount of emotion – mostly from the LGBT – about living with a sexual identity that conflicts with traditional societal norms. Who was going to argue with the dozen of transgendered individuals who gave personal stories of rejection, anger and sympathy?

Which brings me to my personal feelings on the whole matter.

My pastor, my church, my Jesus preaches love. The Word commands us to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves second. There are two commandments in the New Testament. That’s it – pretty simple. My pastor (who happens to oversee five campuses in Phoenix Metro) reminds us to look past a person’s self-identity and love them no matter what. We are to love them like Christ would love them – regardless of their sin(s) (I’m not going to name them here. You can look them up.) But most important, we are to bring others into a real and living relationship with Christ allowing Christ to work in their lives toward God’s glory.

This is where I separate matters of faith from the role of the state (in this case the City of Phoenix).

If I were Mayor of Phoenix I would have rejected the idea of injecting my sliver of government into the personal and private lives of individuals. To do otherwise is asking for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This seems to be the only position a reasonable community of people can hold without forcing a cultural conflagration to take place.

Entangling sex and politics is a messy business as we learned tonight. Hopefully our politicians will take note and keep social engineering to a minimal melodramatic level in the future. Political social conservatives lost tonight but true Christianity continues to love on.

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