Bill Richardson: Much is at stake in the Tempe City Council race

By Bill Richardson

The signs are up and the campaign to get elected to the Tempe City Council is on.

For those of us who live in Tempe and had hoped for a giant breath of fresh air to arrive after the ex-mayor Hugh Hallman left city hall two-years ago, we’re still waiting. Real change has yet to arrive: High crime, high taxes and reduced city services are still the Tempe way.

Mayor Mark Mitchell squeaked out a win over the Hallman candidate by only a couple hundred votes; not what you would call an overwhelming victory. A win is a win but not having a wealth of popular support in a city dominated by career politician Hallman and his henchmen for nearly a decade has made reform still a distant dream.

Hallman and company, including his loyal followers on the city council, gave Tempe higher taxes, fewer services and a crime problem that has escaped remedies by the current police leadership team brought on during the Hallman years. Tempe is still struggling with the extra crime rate that according to the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Reports is double Scottsdale’s and 50-percent higher than Mesa’s.

Tempe continues to blame Arizona State University for its serious crime woes even though ASU has its own police force and university crime problems are recorded separately from ASU’s by the feds.

Beyond high taxes and high crime, there’s still a cloud of question hovering over city hall from a long list of shenanigans and the FBI undercover investigation that netted longtime council member turned convicted felon Ben Arredondo.

City council members Robin Arredondo-Savage, Joel Navarro and Corey Woods were mentioned as being present during one of the meetings with Arredondo and the FBI undercover agents posing as crooks. Arredondo, who moved from the city council to the state legislature, reportedly told the FBI agents wanting to do business in Tempe, “You guys will ask, you guys will have. I don’t know how else to say it. We’ll be just fine because not only [are we] covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.” (link)

Arredondo-Savage, Navarro and Woods were never charged with a crime.

With three city council seats open in the next election maybe change will finally come? Then again, maybe it won’t if there isn’t a change in the face of the city council.

The two incumbents who were part of the Hallman council hope to keep their seats of power and influence.

Shana Ellis a two-term member wants to stay, as does one termer Arredondo-Savage. Onnie Shekerjian is not running for re-election. Wanting to replace Arredondo-Savage and Ellis and fill the one open seat are Lauren Kuby, Matt Papke, Ernesto Fonseca, David Schapira and Dick Foreman.

For the first time in a long time Tempe voters have a real choice about the future of the city. Without term limits and a flood of fresh blood, the Tempe City Council has become more like private clique catering to special interests than an elected body of innovative and inspiring leadership residents and business owners can believe and trust.

So will voters stick with the incumbents that have helped take Tempe to where it is? Or will they elect new members to the council who can help take Tempe in a new direction to wipe out the failures of the past and restore trust in local elected officials that has been stolen from voters thanks to scandal and an array of and cozy deals generated out of Tempe’s “tax and spend” city hall?

Retired Mesa master police officer Bill Richardson lives in the East Valley and can be reached at bill[dot]richardson[at]cox[dot]net.

Tempe Council Candidate Matthew Papke Leads The Pack In Cash On Hand

On the verge of the deadline to file for Tempe City Council tomorrow – Wednesday, May 28th – the number of candidates who have qualified for the ballot (pending any challenges) has increased to four. The list now includes left-wing activist Lauren Kuby, current council member, Robin Arredondo-Savage, Ernesto Fonseca and independent conservative activist, Matthew Papke. Both Kuby and Papke qualified for the ballot early in the process.

While Kuby may be the current favorite among liberal political circles, her latest campaign finance report reveals she is running third place when it comes to cash on hand. Slightly ahead of her is Arredondo-Savage who is seeking re-election and obviously holds an incumbent advantage.

But what is most surprising is the fundraising capacity of Matthew Papke who dwarfs his rivals with cash on hand. The non-establishment political newcomer has apparently caught lightning in a bottle raising a total of $65,742 since entering the race from a widespread base of support. According to his latest finance report, he currently has nearly $50,000 cash on hand.

What’s even more interesting is that this former US Marine is flying below the radar of both local reporters and the Republican establishment – probably because all eyes are focused on the ninth congressional district, statewide races and the multitude of legislative races.

Papke, who recently became a new father, is well-invested in the community having grown up in Tempe and now working among fellow Tempeans. His platform includes reducing the level of crime in Tempe – currently, the highest in the east valley; balancing the city budget and eliminating the tax on food (Mesa is the only east valley community with no tax on food).

Other candidates seeking the three available seats include current council member Shana Ellis, former legislator David Schapira, Republican Dick Foreman and Ernesto Fonseca.

Here are the current cash on hand tallies in the City of Tempe Council race:

Matthew Papke:    $49,034
Robin Arredondo-Savage:    $31,350
Lauren Kuby:    $30,030
Shana Ellis:    $25,124
David Schapira:    $7,232
Dick Foreman:    $3,441
Ernesto Fonseca:    $550

Lauren Kuby, Kari Jill Granville And David Schapira Posting Campaign Signs Illegally?

Reposted from EastValleyNewsNet.

Peggy McClain 5-12-14

Back in April, Tempeans were reminded it is an election year once again.  The large campaign signs began appearing at many intersections.

There may be one problem:  Arizona Statute states these signs cannot be placed until 60 days before the election.  The primary is August 26th.

Why are these signs up?  I’m sure Lauren Kuby is anxious to win a seat on Tempe Council so she can further advance Tempe’s Agenda 21, thus allowing her to keep her important job at ASU’s Institute of Sustainability.  Bye-bye to more of our tax dollars.

(keep reading)

GSKsigns

Update on Arizona’s 9th Congressional District

It’s been awhile since I’ve written some original content so I’m gonna throw a quick overview on Arizona’s CD-9 – the crescent-shaped district located in Phoenix.

So who’s in?

On the Democrat side, Kyrsten Sinema, Andrei Cherny and David Schapira have all announced. Schapira won’t get very far. He’s got the excitement of Bradypus variegatus (everybody’s scrambling to Wikipedia) and no money raising skills. On the contrary, Kyrsten has made the contacts and trips to DC having rubbed elbows with DNC mukety-mucks and Obamatons. Andrei “I-can’t-wait-to-get-the-hell-outa-here” Cherny recently abandoned his chairmanship at the Arizona Democratic Party taking his mediocre fundraising skills with him. This leaves the ADP in a frantic scramble to replace him from among a rapidly diminishing talent pool. My assessment: Cherny and Sinema battle for the heart of Arizona leftists while it remains on life support. Close call in the August Primary but I’d have to guess Sinema eeks out a win. Cherny heads back to Califormia.

Travis Grantham

Now let’s talk about Republicans. Republicans actually have some great talent to put up. Some have ooodles of money, some are damn hard workers and others are simply looking for a career change to make a bigger difference. First to enter the race was Travis Grantham, a Gilbert resident, businessman and Air National Guard pilot. Grantham originally staked out a shot east of the new CD-9 but reoriented his trajectory not wanting to get caught in the crossfire of Adams vs. Salmon. Smart move but Grantham doesn’t live in the new CD-9 (although there’s nothing illegal with that.) He has a chance and is sitting on almost $120K.

Wendy Rogers

Next to file is my personal favorite (sorry gents, I always gravitate to the lady candidates), Wendy Rogers. Wendy actually lives in the district and has done so with her family for many years. She’s a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel who works harder than anyone I know when it comes to anything she sets her heart on. Wendy has a loyal following of supporters not only here in Arizona but across the country who can be counted on to raise the money needed in a lickety-split second for this race. Wendy is a perfect match for the district.

In the wings waiting are Steve Moak, Vernon Parker, Gary Pierce and Martin Sepulveda. Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley has also been mentioned but with such high negatives and an already announced re-election campaign underway, his political days are numbered.

Steve Moak

Steve Moak ran in 2010 finishing 2nd in a 10-way primary. He’s likely got the cash but many question if he’s far more risk averse this time hesitant to charge up his 2012 campaign coffers.

Vernon Parker

Paradise Valley councilman Vernon Parker is also eyeing the race. Parker also ran in the crowded 10-way 2010 primary finishing 4th place. Parker is also seeking re-election to the Paradise Valley Council leaving many to question his motivations in seeking any public office. He is expected to decide any day.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce also wants in on the action but he’s just settled into another term on the ACC. He’d have to step down under Arizona’s resign to run law given his term expires in 2014. Pierce has obviously run statewide but financed his ACC race using “Clean Elections” money. His ability to raise money for a federal campaign is probably one of the biggest factors he would have to weigh.

Gary Pierce

That leaves former Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda as the last candidate considering. Sepulveda is a fiery US Navy combat veteran who have a great deal of respect for (we even had our own little political brush-up during the 2010 US Senate primary. What is it with us US Navy guys?) Given a sizeable number of Republicans reside in this portion of the district, Sepulveda would be competitive. He also served as a surrogate for our senior senator during the 2010 Republican primary. That kind of help could come in handy with the fundraising if the door is open.

Martin Sepulveda

That’s my assessment. I really can’t say who I’d like to see win the Republican primary but I do know that this will be a very competitive race with plenty of political drama. I can’t wait for the field to be set.

Is Democrat State Senator David Schapira Violating Federal Election Law?

He’s already made it official but you won’t see any official paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission by Democrat State Senator David Schapira.

The current State Senator is exploring a bid for Congress in the Tempe area.

Schapira already has a website up and running with the appropriate FEC disclaimer, “Paid for by David Schapira Exploratory Committee,” but anyone searching the FEC website cannot find that his campaign has filed.

Now it might just be that David Schapira has not yet raised and exceeded the $5,000 threshold amount for candidates “testing the waters” that requires the campaign to file a Statement of Organization with the FEC.

That may speak volumes about the viability of Schapira’s interest in seeking office in the anticipated congressional district 9 where he resides.

Candidate Schapira announced the formation of his committee on Monday, November 21st which was over three weeks ago.

Given that it takes only two donors (usually a husband and wife) excited about a candidate’s prospects maxing out their donations at $5,000, perhaps Schapira has discovered that the waters he’s testing may be in the doldrums? Regardless, given that he has been raising money (according to his website) and spending money (for his website), he may be in violation of federal campaign law(s).

David Schapira, Political Overstater, Professional Underwhelmer

By Bartholomew Stimpson

David Schapira recently announced the formation of an exploratory committee for congress in the new district taking shape in Phoenix-Tempe. Is this the same David Schapira who currently “serves” as a state senator from legislative district 17?

Is this the same David Schapira who wants the voters to send him to congress so he can concentrate on education issues because of his state legislative experience? The same David Schapira who rails against real solutions to education which produce better outcomes through tuition tax credits and charter school competition?

Is this the same David Schapira who claims to be a high school teacher?  You know, the temporary-two-year-certificate-9th-grade-math-teacher-who-doesn’t-even-hold-a-math-degree David Schapira? He only held that  job because family pulled some strings. Unfortunately for him, he was not renewed because students complained he talked too much about politics instead of doing his job – teaching math. Let me guess. He bad-mouthed his Republican legislators over reasonable budget cuts in education? I guess the math didn’t add up for him to get renewed.

Or is this the same David Schapira the small business owner?  You know, he shuttered his ASU midnight delivery business DevilDash.com because he didn’t know how to run a business, or maybe because he sold condoms and Beer Pong to underage students as a state representative which didn’t look good for a state legislator. And I almost forgot to mention that Schapira sold pregnancy test kits to underage ASU students as part of his condoms and beer pong package. Makes good sense if you’re gonna go binge drink and hook up for some casual college sex afterwords. But doesn’t bode well if you’re trying to lead as a role model in the legislature. Oops.

Or maybe Schapira’s ratings on RateMyProfessor.com didn’t quite stand out. Students didn’t take kindly to his condescension, impatience and lack of responsiveness too well. Not qualities voters are looking for in a congressman.

Schapira has a lot to boast about on his work experience too. At age 31, he’s never had a real job that he’s earned on his own.

And what legislation has “lawmaker” David Schapira passed for the good of his district? What jobs has he created for his district? Ask Michael Crow how much he’s really “helped out” ASU while in the legislature.

Lauded by anyone else for his specific record of achievement? Oops, he says he’s hamstrung because he’s a minority in a Republican-controlled state senate. Then why should he expect to get anything accomplished in Washington, D.C. as a minority US congressman?

If this is the same state senator David Schapira, then voting for congressional candidate David Schapira is like throwing good money after bad. It simply makes no sense to reward someone with a lackluster underachieving, under performing record.

Explore all you want David Schapira but the people of this new congressional district deserve way better.

Statement by President Pearce on Ethics Committee Appointments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2011
CONTACT: Mike Philipsen

“Today I received a letter from the Senate Rules Attorney (attached), informing me that three members of the Ethics Committee were recusing themselves from the Committee while the panel considers an ethics complaint filed against the three on September 20, 2011. The letter also explains that under Senate Ethics Committee Rule 17, as President of the Senate, I have no choice: I am required to temporarily replace the three members.

Therefore, I am announcing the appointments of Senator Linda Gray, Senator Robert Meza and Senator Jack Jackson, Jr. to the Senate Ethics Committee. Committee member Senator Andy Biggs will serve as Ethics Committee Chair while the three members are temporarily replaced. Senator Biggs is leaving early Friday morning for a commitment at Harvard University. When he returns on Monday he will meet with staff attorneys on this matter.”

Wendy Rogers responds to David Schapira

In case you missed it, The East Valley Tribune ran a guest opinion by State Senate Minority Leader David Schapira on Tuesday. We won’t retread that article here but we will provide some space for the woman who should have been elected to that seat.

David Schapira is 100% Wrong
By Wendy Rogers

David Schapira, D-Tempe is 100% wrong.

I’ve owned an actual bricks-and-mortar business of 10 employees for 14 years. Employers like me pay 100% of unemployment insurance taxes in Arizona, not Schapira’s mythical employees “paying into the system”.

Unemployment insurance is an insurance product where experience ratings determine my business’s relative tax versus other employers’ taxes. The more my former employees draw Unemployment, the higher my set-aside rates are. Employers never see that money again, regardless of how well we take care of our employees. Moreover, employers like me pay Unemployment to both Arizona (dedicated toward the first 26 weeks of benefits) and the federal government. Combined – Arizona and the feds charge employers more than 3% on the first $7,000 of pay for each of their employees.

It’s true, extended benefits currently are being paid from the fed’s general fund – which these days means more debt; but how that debt is reimbursed is still “our problem” as businesses and taxpayers. We don’t differentiate between a dollar taken as federal tax vis-a-vis state tax as the governor and legislators do. They seem to think if it doesn’t come out of state funds; it must be free, right?

Bottom Line: Keeping Arizonans on Unemployment prolongs the ill effects and adversity of our sick market. It aggravates job recovery by spiraling down a deepening debt which makes recovery even more uncertain.

David Schapira should recognize who’s really paying for these benefits instead of making specious claims about pots of “free money”.