Prop 104: Adding More Light Rail Will Worsen Traffic Congestion & Air Pollution

By Martha Moneypenney

The proponents of building more light rail portray it as a means of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. A superficial assertion that every person riding the light rail is a person not driving a car implies that light rail must be reducing congestion.

This assertion is misleading. Granted, a person riding the light rail is not adding a car to the traffic mix. However, adding the light rail trains to the street traffic mix more than offsets the subtraction of automobiles.

Light rail tracks eliminate two lanes that autos might have used. Squeezing six lanes of traffic into four lanes inevitably slows traffic.

Light rail tracks block autos from turning left into businesses on the other side of the street. Complex maneuvers involving driving further down the street and executing a U-turn also slow down traffic.

The Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail Project: Final Environmental Impact Statement prepared by Valley Metro ran computer simulations of traffic with and without light rail. Their finding was that adding light rail increased traffic congestion by almost 1%.

Now, increasing congestion by less than 1% isn’t much, but should we really spend billions to make congestion even a little bit worse?

The Valley Metro study also projected a small increase in air pollution from adding light rail to the transportation system. Again, this is a small impact, but do we really want to spend billions to make air pollution a little bit worse?

Time is our most precious resource. We shouldn’t be burdening taxpayers in order to build a rail system that will consume more of our time in traffic congestion. Neither should we be burdening taxpayers in order to build a system that will degrade our air.

Vote No on Prop 104.

Prop 104: Light Rail Reduces Transit Effectiveness

By: Howard Sprague

The notion that light rail makes a worthwhile contribution to the mobility of persons who depend on public transportation is erroneous. Light rail merely steals bus riders already using transit.

For the 10 years prior to the opening of rail service, bus ridership grew at an average rate of 5.6% per year. In 1997, there were 34.1 million passenger trips. In 2008, there were 61.9 million.

Since rail opened for business in 2009, total transit ridership growth has slowed to an average of 0.3% per year. In 2014, there were 72.1 million passenger trips on buses and trains combined. If previous rates of growth in bus travel had prevailed, there would have been 85.8 million passenger trips in 2014.

What happened? Well, the extraordinarily high cost of building light rail necessitated a reduction in funds available for bus service. Fewer buses could be supported.

Compared to buses, light rail serves a much smaller segment of transportation need. Buses can cover every corner of the city. Rail can cover only a few dozen miles in narrowly circumscribed corridors. Think of that.

Now it is touted that light rail will attract the white collar riders—the downtown crowd of bankers, lawyers, and corporate executives who won’t ride buses. This may be true, but why should the average taxpayer be forced to subsidize the rides of people who can easily afford their own transportation?

Does it make sense for people who depend on buses to have to walk further and wait longer in the burning sun just so the City can provide expensive rides for a few privileged individuals?

Vote No on Prop. 104.

Prop 104: Rail Transit Won’t Revitalize the Urban Core

By Juan Saldana

The biggest pipe dream advanced by the proponents of this $31 billion tax increase is that building more light rail tracks is an effective way of achieving urban “in-fill.” The notion that all prospective land owners are waiting for a few more miles of expensive and slowmoving trains before they upgrade their properties is ludicrous.

Aside from some limited improvements to structures near the train stops, the vast majority of the real estate near the first 20 miles of light rail track remains rundown. If the first 20 miles couldn’t rescue these eyesores, why should we expect the next 20 miles to do the trick?

Rehabilitating urban property requires money. Unfortunately, light rail doesn’t generate income for most property owners. Quite the contrary. During the construction the streets in front of businesses will be torn up for a lengthy period, making it hard for customers to get in to buy anything.

Some businesses won’t survive the construction phase. Those that do will mostly see fewer customers return, since the tracks will prevent left turns into the businesses. The loss of lanes for automobiles will add to traffic congestion—further deterring customers.

If the City were serious about revitalizing the urban core, it would opt for a more efficient means of accomplishing this—like giving small businesses in the core area a tax holiday. This would allow them to keep more of the money they earn. Businesses already in the area would be more likely to thrive. Others would be drawn to the area by the improved net income they could obtain.

If we really want to revitalize the urban core we should reject hiking taxes to fund a lame railroad and pursue sounder methods.

Vote NO.

Proposition 104 Benefits Insiders and Special Interests at Taxpayers Expense

By Scot Mussi

If you only listened to supporters of Proposition 104, it would be difficult to know what the 30 billion dollar transit tax initiative is really about. Even the ballot language written by the city tries to hide the fact that Prop 104 nearly DOUBLES the transit sales tax over the next 35 years, a multibillion dollar tax hike to fund light rail expansion that Phoenix residents can ill afford.

But the massive tax hike is only one of the reasons why Prop 104 should be rejected by Phoenix voters. As written, Prop 104 is a blank check for City Hall that allows insiders and politically connected special interests to cash in on the new transit tax. In fact, the dirty secret about this initiative is that they are not required to build any of the projects they are promising in the transit plan.

For example, the city could decide after its passage to cancel all new road projects and use the money to construct more light rail. Or City Council could approve a costly new trolley or train system that leaves the road you take to work under construction for the next five years. Entire sections of the city could lose out on transit funding to politically connected insiders at City Hall. How the money is spent will be up to the politicians to decide, not you.

The lack of transparency and accountability tied to this tax increase was by design. They could have included protections on how the money was spent or oversight to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. They chose not to, because the City wants your money but with no corresponding strings attached.

Phoenix residents should oppose this giveaway and vote NO on Prop 104.

SHOCK! Poll Shows Donald Trump Leading In Arizona Presidential Primary Poll!

MBQF

POLL: DONALD TRUMPS PRESIDENTIAL FIELD
Donald Trump holds a staggering 2 to 1 advantage over his closest opponent in AZ

(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public affairs and consulting firm, announced results of a recent survey dealing with the top ten GOP candidates for President of the United States of America.

The results from the survey show high efficacy primary Republican voters across Arizona represented by likely 2016 turnout models.

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 758 high efficacy primary republican voters, conducted on July 29, 2015, the survey calculates a 3.56% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.

The exact question was phrased, “If the election were held today for the Republican primary for President of the United States, which of the following top 10 candidates, listed in alphabetical order by last name, would you be most likely to vote for?”

AZ GOP Presidential Primary 2016 – July 29, 2015 Results

Jeb Bush – 12.1%
Ben Carson – 8.7%
Chris Christie – 1.7%
Ted Cruz – 6.0%
Mike Huckabee – 3.9%
Marco Rubio – 3.9%

Rand Paul – 1.7%
Rick Perry – 2.0%
Donald Trump – 26.5%
Scott Walker – 12.6%
Unsure/Undecided – 21%

Michael Noble, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement, “With the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates jockeying for the top 10 positions to be in the first upcoming presidential debate momentum is crucial. According to likely Arizona GOP voters Donald Trump is by far and away the candidate that most resonates, in which he also polled at a 61.3% favorability rating.”

For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-3.56%.

Phoenix Prop 104 Facts – Get Informed Before Voting!

I have decided to release the facts on Phoenix’s Prop 104. This information was acquired over the six months I worked for the City of Phoenix.

Please share this information with Phoenix voters as early ballots hit households across Phoenix.

Train Tax Proposal Details:

  • Current City Tax is 2.0%.
  • Current City Tax Expires in 2020 receding back to 1.6%.
  • If approved, Proposition 104 would continue the 0.4% AND add an additional 0.3% increase = 2.3%.
  • With state and county, total City of Phoenix tax rate = 8.6%.
  • The new tax rate (2.3%) would continue until 2035.
  • Total pricetag of Prop 104 transit proposal = $31.5 Billion.
  • Total light rail portion = $6.66 Billion.
  • Total length of rail = 41.2 Miles.
  • Total Cost/Mile = $161,650,485/Mile.
  • Fair box Recovery (Phoenix only) 19%. Most recently, the city claimed 47% (Losing 53%).
  • Light Rail Daily Ridership = 28,000 (Bus = 132,000) M-F.
  • With entire proposal, the City of Phoenix could purchase 1.2 Million Prius or 2.2 Million Smart Cars or 8.75 Million Vespas (based on MSRP).
  • 1 Mile of Light Rail could fund 2,944 Teachers.
  • Entire project could fund 573,697 high school teachers or 16,391 teachers per year for 35 years ($54,907 median pay).
  • City set an exemption of $10,000 on single-item purchases. First $10K taxes at 2.3%. After $10K, at 2.0%.
  • By creating the $10K exemption, the projects scales back to $31.5 Billion but adds an additional $300 Million in interest charges to the proposal.
  • The City of Phoenix has bought into the Obama Administration’s goal of redistributing wealth from the suburbs into the inner core of large cities.
  • Light rail does NOT create new economic development. It only geographically relocates economic activity.
  • The language of the ballot measure states that the City of Phoenix MAY spend the tax revenue on transit items. Id does not state SHALL spend the money on transit items.
  • The City of Phoenix is expected to run a $50 Million deficit in 2015-2016. Passage of Prop 104 will allow the City of Phoenix to avoid that deficit.
  • Light rail is fixed. Once the rail is in the ground, it cannot be inexpensively moved. Bus routes are flexible and can be rerouted.
  • Light rail is 19th Century technology. We live in an age with Uber, telecommuting and other innovative technologies.
  • The biggest contributors toward the MovePHX campaign (Pro-104) are developers – the corporations who will benefit directly from the tax revenues.
  • There is a better way to improve transit instead of committing $31.5 BILLION over 35 years. Too much for too long.

Dr. Kelli Ward: It’s official, I’m running!

KelliWard

Fellow Conservative,

It’s official. As you read this, I am in Lake Havasu announcing my campaign for the U.S. Senate!I’m ready to retire John McCain and give voters a fresh, courageous choice for new conservative leadership, and I hope you’ll join my effort. Together, we can disrupt the status quo and begin a new era of lower taxes, less spending, secure borders, and respect for the Constitution.I made this video for those of you who couldn’t be here tonight. Please take a minute to watch it. Tomorrow, we begin the fight to shake up Washington!

YouTube Preview Image
This campaign is just beginning, but it’s the support and encouragement of tens of thousands of Arizonans like you over the last few months that have made it possible.We can defeat McCain and the Beltway establishment. We can secure the border, balance the budget, and fully repeal ObamaCare. If we retire the out-of-touch Washington politicians like John McCain, we can stop Congress from doing government business in secret, like the “ObamaTrade” deal.If you send me to Washington, I won’t bow to the big-government lobbyists. I won’t surrender on our Constitution when the liberal politicians and judges try to re-write it. I will fight for our values, our country, and our Constitution.

But I can’t do it without you. I hope you join me and help fight to RETIRE McCain!

P.S. – If you can, chip in to help this campaign hit the ground running!

Sincerely,
WardSignature
Dr. Kelli Ward

What If Kirkpatrick Didn’t Run For Senate After All?

Has it occurred to anyone that Ann Kirkpatrick has no reason to run for US Senate against John McCain other than to oblige her party and fill a gap in the shrinking Democrat talent pool?

Honestly, I don’t see how she could remain in that race given the insurmountable gap in polling and funding between she and John McCain.

Unless, this was all just a ploy to preempt Kyrsten Sinema from jumping in the Senate race.

Kirkpatrick would be a political fool to leave a district in which she has already beat one of the more well known candidates backed by the NRCC establishment. Why would she take on a bigger risk against McCain when she already proved she can play it safe and win re-election?

Perhaps, jumping in a Senate race was a tactic to generate a little excitement with the hope of converting that buzz to some campaign cash?

If Kirkpatrick was politically smart, she’d do the same thing as Matt Salmon, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert and stay right where she is.

McCain will win his Primary. I can speak from personal experience from the losing side – been there done that, got the t-shirts to prove it.

Ann Kirkpatrick knows she’s walking away from a relatively safe district into a danger zone by taking on McCain in a general election. If she were wise, she’d stop listening to the consultants and party elites who are trying to offer her up as yet another political sacrifice to Arizona voters.

I’m willing to bet she stays right where she is.

SCOTUS Turns Down Former Rep. Rick Renzi’s Appeal of Legal Assault

jstcntblnd

Reprinted from Townhall
By Rachel Alexander

A week ago the Supreme Court turned down an appeal from former Republican Congressman Rick Renzi, who began serving a three-year prison term in February. In 2006, a left-leaning U.S. Attorney in Arizona saw an opportunity to take out the popular, charismatic conservative Congressman by going after him over a confusing and complicated land deal. Renzi was an easy target because the facts were so complex there was little chance the general public would figure out how the law was being manipulated to selectively target him. This type of targeting has become a common pattern by the left; similar tactics were used against former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, former Congressman Bob MacDonnell and a district attorney in Texas. Representing a swing district, once Renzi’s credibility was destroyed, it became easy to turn the seat over to a Democrat.

Renzi was found guilty on 17 counts of using his office for personal financial gain and taking $400,000 in corporate money from his family insurance business to fund his campaign. He was convicted of proposing a land swap deal in Congress to benefit a man who owed him money, so the man could afford to pay him back. It is true that he suggested The Aries Group purchase an alfalfa farm near Sierra Vista owned by James Sandlin, and he proposed legislation swapping out the land for copper-rich land owned by the federal government. The sale went through at fair market value, shortly after Sandlin paid Renzi $733,000. Sandlin was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

However, the government never provided any evidence that The Aries Group’s purchase of the property provided Sandlin with the money to pay Renzi back. The land swap legislation never went into effect. In fact, Sandlin paid off the debt in September 2005 with a loan he had taken out for $900,000. He did not receive the money from The Aries Group until October 2005, a month after he had repaid the debt, which he put into escrow.  Additionally, he had multiple properties he could have sold to repay the debt. He had been making regular payments on the debt since it originated over a handshake in 2003, and there was no indication whatsoever that he was going to discontinue payments. Perhaps most importantly, Renzi would not have received any benefit from the land swap. The land swap was simply not related to the debt.

Renzi’s proposed legislative land swap would have protected the San Pedro River, benefited the Fort Huachuca military base and enabled development of a huge copper mine near Superior. The alfalfa farmer renting Sandlin’s property had been using an excessive amount of water in a region that was facing chronic water shortages. Fort Huachuca was facing criticism itself over water usage and was under a federal court order to reduce its water consumption. Several people, including a representative from the Nature Conservancy, testified about the importance of the swap. Incredibly, the court disallowed evidence related to Fort Huachuca.

It all began when Resolution Copper Company acquired rights to a large copper deposit near Superior, Arizona, but also needed some adjacent property owned by the U.S. Forest Service. Since Renzi was on the House Natural Resources Committee, RCC asked Renzi which property it should purchase to swap for the federal land, and Renzi naturally suggested the Sandlin parcel, seeing it as a win-win since it would eliminate the problem of the excessive water usage. The deal with RCC fell through, and instead The Aries Group began negotiations with Renzi.

The other counts Renzi was convicted on involved a loan he made to his campaign from his insurance company. No clients were harmed, and it is common for a candidate to loan their campaign money. Prosecutors nitpicked the details of the money going back and forth between clients and Renzi in order to claim he had spent their premiums and gotten their insurance policies canceled – but not a single client was ever affected.

The court further found that Renzi failed to disclose his financial dealings related to the Sandlin debt, but in cases involving a fellow Arizona Democrat elected official who failed to report financial dealings related to decisions she made as a county supervisor, the Ninth Circuit not only looked the other way but affirmed her $975,000 award over the stress of being prosecuted.

Renzi had no chance appealing to the Ninth Circuit. Two of the three judges on his panel lean left, and the third likely does as well. Judge Richard Tallman, who wrote the opinion affirming the lower court, was appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Consuelo Callahan is considered a liberal appointee to the bench by President George W. Bush. Judge Sandra Segal Ikuta, although appointed by Bush, appears to have a history as an environmental activist lawyer and was tellingly approved 81-0 by the Senate after a more conservative candidate had been filibustered by Democrats.

The U.S. Attorney from Arizona who prosecuted Renzi was Paul Charlton, who has a long history of targeting conservatives. During the initial investigation of Renzi, his behavior became so suspicious –  likely leaking news of the investigation to the media in order to influence Renzi’s reelection prospects – that an unnamed official within the DOJ was forced to warn people in 2006 in a thinly disguised statement that it might be politically motivated. President Bush fired Charlton in 2007, but when Obama became president he kept the prosecution going. It is incredibly ironic that Charlton was not prosecuted himself and continues to get plum appointments in Arizona. He claims to be a registered Republican but supports Democrats, including the last Democrat who ran for Arizona governor.

Prosecutors attempted to obtain a sentence of nine to 12 years in prison. Since FBI agents improperly eavesdropped on Renzi’s phone conversations with attorneys and misled the judge about their activities, the federal district court judge agreed with Renzi’s attorneys that some prosecution witnesses had made false statements in court and gave him a lesser sentence. However, he refused to overturn the jury’s verdict or grant a retrial.

The father of 12 children, Renzi was very active in the pro-life movement, which likely made him more of a target. The Ninth Circuit court opinion brazenly admitted that his insurance company specialized “in obtaining insurance coverage for non-profit organizations and crisis pregnancy centers.” He worked two to three jobs at a time in order to support his family, allowing his wife to stay at home. His life and career reflect a long history of care and concern for others, donating money, time and more. The crimes he was convicted of do not reflect his character, which is more upstanding and commendable than the vast majority of people. Tellingly, at his sentencing two years ago, he did not admit guilt or express remorse.

Sadly, the U.S. Supreme Court is extremely limited as to how many cases it can accept each year. The court receives about 10,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari each year, and only accepts about 75-80. Preference is given to cases that settle some highly disputed area of law, and this did not rise to that level.

Renzi’s career and reputation were successfully destroyed over nine years of highly publicized legal proceedings against him. The community turned against him, and his children were ridiculed at school. At age 57, he will be 60 by the time he finishes his prison term.

As long as there are Democrat presidents, the DOJ targeting of conservative elected officials is going to continue. Unfortunately, conservatives are less attracted to government jobs than Democrats – including government attorney and judicial positions – they would much rather become successful in the private sector. This has allowed the left to dominate the legal profession and essentially use it to terrorize conservatives. There is a clique in the legal profession, and if you don’t go along with the left-leaning status quo, you are ostracized and despised. The higher one climbs, to judge or U.S. Attorney, the more the pressure increases.

Democrat politicians break serious campaign laws all the time, and left-leaning prosecutors and judges find excuses to let them off the hook. It is called selective prosecution and it is increasing. Now you know why your friends on the left claim, “Republicans are just as corrupt as Democrats.”

Reason TV and Prop 104: Phoenix Light Rail Fail

Meet the Thighmaster of urban public policy: Streetcars.

Municipal politicians all across the country have convinced themselves that this costly, clunky hardware can revitalize their flabby downtown economies.

That includes the fearless leaders of America’s capital city. The DC government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade trying to erect a streetcar line in the up-and-coming neighborhood of H Street. The project has been an epic disaster, perfectly demonstrating how ill-suited streetcars are to modern urban life.

Video Produced by Rob Montz, who also hosts. Camera by Todd Krainin. Graphics by Jason Keisling and Meredith Bragg.

Thanks to ReasonTV.

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Facts about Phoenix Prop 104:

  • $31.5 BILLION Proposal
  • Tax will last 35 YEARS
  • $6.66 BILLION for Light Rail
  • 41.2 Miles of new rail
  • $161 MILLION per mile of light rail
  • Entire proposal could purchase 2.2 MILLION SmartCars
  • Will shrink available funds that could be used for education, hiring or teachers
  • Mayor and Council created a $10,000 exemption to appease big business from paying full tax rate
  • Majority of Pro-Prop 104 money is from construction and developers who will benefit from contracts to build light rail corridors.
  • Current light rail is losing 53% on farebox recovery
  • Valley Metro places emphasis on increasing ridership by backing off and not enforcing payment
  • Less than 1% of Phoenix population rides light rail
  • Vast majority of riders are students, government employees, homeless, destitute or under the influence (subsidized or non-paying riders).