California ‘Dream Team’ Wants Arizona’s LD-6

By Eddie Whipple

For years Arizona has had to fight off the influence of Californians who want to meddle in our way of life.

“Don’t California my Arizona,” is a rallying cry for many conservatives who want Arizona to remain a state of low taxes with few government regulations, where families and businesses can thrive with limited governmental intervention.

However, more and more we have seen an influx of California-influenced political ideas invading our desert and mountain regions.

Just two years ago, Tom Steyer spent tens of millions of dollars to reengineer our electric grid by mandating solar consumption and significantly increasing our electric bills. Thankfully, voters up and down the state soundly rejected that bad idea. Steyer did not begin the effort to bring bad California ideas to Arizona. And sadly, his resounding defeat wasn’t the end, either.

Now, in Legislative District 6, which covers the White Mountains area, along with Flagstaff, Sedona, Payson and parts of Yavapai County.

The “California Dream Team” of Felicia French, Coral Evans and Art Babbott is running to take out the two current members of the Arizona House and Senate candidate Wendy Rogers. And LD6 isn’t your typical district. It’s one of the biggest targets for Democrats to flip from red to blue. Republicans hold 31 seats in the House, with the 29 Democrats closer than at anytime in 60 yeas from having control of the body. In the state Senate, Republicans hold 17 of the 30 seats. Capturing these seats is the lynchpin to the Democrats taking over the state House and leading them on the path to the same outcome in the Senate.

French, who is taking on Rogers for the Senate seat, loves her some San Francisco area cash. According to campaign finance records, she has received at least $18,000 from more than 100 Bay Area donors. And her campaign rhetoric matches her liberal donors. 

She buys into the wackiest of liberal policies. She supports cutting beef production by 50 percent to cut down on global warming. Cows, she reckons, contribute to global warming. Never mind that ranching is one of the most important industries in the district.

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans never met a tax increase she couldn’t support. She once said at a Hillary Clinton rally she would be a “hard-bent progressive.” She’s living up to her own words. She once compared celebrating Columbus Day with waving the Confederate Flag and she wants to replace that October holiday with Indigenous Peoples Day. She has supported the Invest In Ed income tax proposal that would increase taxes on small business owners and create California-like tax structure that will drive away businesses and residents. She has supported property tax increases in Flagstaff for many of her years as mayor. One of her top priorities in the Legislature she once said was to increase the gas tax.

Babbott, a Coconino County supervisor and running as an independent but aligning with Democrats, has spent decades supporting Bernie Sanders’ various runs for office. He first began donating to Bernie’s campaign as early as 1990. In 1987, Babbott said the self-described “Radical Socialist Mayor” was doing a “great job.” He’s given nearly $1,000 over the years to Bernie’s campaigns and supported his 2016 run for the presidency.We’ve seen the evidence that French, Evans and Babbott are as liberal as they come. Now it’s up to the voters to take that into consideration when they fill out their ballots. The direction of the state is may just come down to these three Democrats.

My Final Rebuttal – Guest Opinion

By L. Burke Files

To Sylvia Allen, Gary Morris, Peter Aleshire, and the AZ Republican Party;

In my opinion, the three of you and the party are a great disappointment.   No, you will listen, you immediately decry this “attack” as a Rogers person, and you would be correct. I am a 20-year friend of Wendy and Hal. I get it. I, however, am sharing my view and background in advance. It is a technique in argumentation called authenticity, something you have forgotten.

Senator Sylvia Allen, you were once the fresh face of the rural independent spirit.  Your gaffs about ethnicity and sexual orientation are hurtful, but expected.  You have not traveled, and you have not seen how the citizens of the world view American. America is Eldorado. We are the famed city of gold on the hill. They want to be here; they want to become Americans. My grandfather was an immigrant, and he well remembered his reception in Chicago when he went looking for work. Little signs in the window said NINA. It meant No Irish Need Apply. He was at first angry, but soon realized the country was so rich the NINA businesses did not need his money.  Your time has passed, you have forgotten the golden rule  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Republicans are the party of Lincoln, not Wilson. To me you now more or less resemble Norma Desmond looking for your last close-up. You could have gone out on top. Now you will just go.

Gary Morris, Gila County Republican Precinct Chair, you are the epitome of what the party has become. The AZ Republican Party has become a sclerotic assemblage of the status quo.  In this tyranny, there is enormous inertia, so much so only a crisis real or imagined will produce real change.  If you can open your eyes, you will see the crises, it will be in November, and you and others like you are the authors of the tragedy. Your role was to advocate for who the party members chose, Gary – it’s not your choice. It is the choice of the voters. Your tireless advocacy for Allen has removed you from the party Chair to become the foppish incumbent cheerleader. 

Peter Aleshire, you disgust me.  I am a huge proponent of the First Amendment and especially investigative journalism. The third estate is what keeps democracy between the lines. My advocacy for the First Amendment is not virtue signaling, I have, as a financial investigator, supported the work of the ICIJ and OCCRP in their worldwide efforts to combat fraud and corruption.  Don’t buy it? Try searching my name. I have little hope you’ll get that right, as you certainly were unable to Google or check the facts in the campaign. Your posting of manufactured articles only to take them down and allow them to be used by Sylvia Allen and Gary Morris is a fraud upon journalism.  You could have sponsored a debate between the two candidates, but no. You have betrayed the truth, you have betrayed the hope of finding the truth, and your actions are the ultimate betrayal of those whom you serve, your readers. 

As for the Arizona Republican Party, you are tone-deaf, economic, and legislative morons. When I see a debate and the talking lines are who are more loyal to the party, it echoes a bad movie scene where the prisoner clerks in a gulag are debating who is more loyal so they can get an extra ration of gruel.

After this election cycle, this Republican of 40 years will drop his registration to become an independent.

This is my opinion, so be it.

L. Burke Files
Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.

Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris Should Be Fired

Guest Opinion by RC Montana

It was such sloppy “journalism” if you can even call it journalism. The Payson Roundup briefly posted a story on July 22, 2020 titled “Republicans Launch a Rare Attack on a Candidate [Wendy Rogers] in their Own Primary“. The thing is though, the Payson Roundup took the article down after 12 hours because they likely suffered blowback, much as they did in June 2020 when they had to take down another flimsy article about Rogers due to several of the people, who the paper had claimed supposedly endorsed Rogers, said they had not.

The Roundup didn’t print that June story, because Rogers’ campaign never claimed those endorsements in 2020. Imagine that.

But this time, their second try at baseless flimsy “journalism” was predicated on Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris’s unsubstantiated claims about Rogers, which were mass-emailed – completely un-fact-checked – to all Gila county precinct committeemen. How’s that for staying publicly neutral in a primary? 

Then the Payson Roundup reporter breathlessly gobbled up Gary Morris’s rant even though uncorroborated. Chairman Morris’s mass email was a smear job packed with unsupported statements very much like the Steele Dossier on Trump.

The Payson Roundup’s Peter Aleshire was given a chance not to publish it, but he did. How did Peter Aleshire even justify it, since he’d had to take his previous, similarly inaccurate article down a month earlier? 

PETER ALESHIRE’S ARTICLE HAS NONETHELESS BEEN ARCHIVED AND IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST!   

So now you’re caught up to date. Here is my take on the lackey, Gila County GOP Chairman Gary Morris, who violated every rule of civility and decorum as a county chairman. He caved to the establishment GOP. He is a reprobate for peddling lies he should’ve fact-checked first. He was warned, yet mass-emailed out misinformation anyway, violating sacred tenets of basic leadership. The Gila County Republican Committee should fire him. 

Mr. Morris wonders who Wendy Rogers will be “beholden to?” Is he kidding? Wendy Rogers has not taken one penny from a PAC or a lobbyist. On the other hand, Rogers’s opponent Sylvia Allen is almost entirely funded by special interests.

Gary Morris continues to perpetuate the lie about Rogers’ residency even though the AZ Secretary of State wrote unequivocally that Rogers is from Flagstaff. To whom are you beholden Chairman Morris? 

How can this chairman, in his right mind, suggest that Rogers would be “weak” going into the general election campaign? She has fundraised more than any other state candidate in Arizona.

Gary Morris and the GOP establishment are scared to death of Rogers because they can’t control her. They know she won’t permit a Red-Flag bill or that idiotic National Popular Vote to get past her.

Here’s what they really can’t stand: Wendy has outworked and out-campaigned a rusty fixture in the state legislature – Sylvia Allen – who has been there far too long, and thus has completely sold out and caved to special interests.

Gary Morris’s time could be better spent by learning how NOT to get lost in the woods. Fire him!

Sylvia Allen Admits to Signing Petitions She Didn’t Circulate

By the Ghost of William K.

Recently obtained video from a Superior Court hearing shows State Senator Sylvia Allen admitting to signing the circulator side of petitions that she did not personally circulate.

According to Arizona law, the backside of every petition must be signed by the person circulating the petition. In election challenges, judges have been known to remove candidates from qualifying for the ballot for failing to properly circulate petitions, including falsifying a circulator signature.

Responding to Coronavirus without limiting freedom

The spread of the coronavirus has been rampant across the globe crippling countries like Italy, Iran, and South Korea where government-run institutions are the ones solely responsible for fighting the outbreak. But, luckily for residents of the United States, our nation operates a bit differently. Because our healthcare system adheres to free market principles, we have the ability to have private industry collaborate with the federal government to help combat the coronavirus which was categorized just last week by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic.

Every day in America, researchers from biopharmaceutical companies are working endlessly to solve the world’s most sophisticated medical issues. As the global leader in medical innovation, the world looks to us in times of crisis. The reason being is our free market approach to healthcare has led to massive private investment and unprecedented funding for the research being carried out by the best and brightest scientific minds in the world who are incentivized to work right here in America.

Simply put, thanks to our private healthcare system that has resulted in decades of massive investment from biopharmaceutical companies, the U.S. is uniquely positioned to lead the charge against the coronavirus today and any other epidemic that may threaten our society tomorrow.

The irony of large scale epidemics like coronavirus is the clear realization of why we have the system that we do. Lamentably, several legislators on Capitol Hill have forgotten the importance of our free market approach both domestically and globally.

For example, just last year a bill led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi made its way through the House of Representatives that, if it becomes law, would decimate funding for new biopharmaceutical research and development. HR3, more commonly known as “The Lower Drug Costs Now Act”, would stifle future innovation by implementing socialist style government price controls on biopharmaceutical companies as a way to drive down high drug costs.

The adoption of government price controls in the pharmaceutical space is not only short-sighted but flat-out dangerous to public health. People often ask, “why do we pay more for drugs in the U.S. compared to other countries”, the answer is because we invest more in cures and treatments than any other country, and today, everyone should be very happy about that fact.

It’s terrifying to think what the coronavirus outbreak would look like if HR3 had passed 20 years ago. If we are to survive outbreaks and even outpace them, we must have our research teams working at full capacity at all times. In a world of uncertainty, there is no such thing as over-preparedness.

Rural Arizona Doesn’t Need Surprises on Mental Health Care Access

By Timothy Alan

Each year, I plunge into the wilderness for weeks at a time. The experience is a salve for my mental outlook. “Getting away from it all” is an effective wellness strategy. But it’s important to remember, serious issues like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse disorders do not resolve themselves with a temporary escape.

Treatment is essential. Unfortunately, in rural Arizona, mental health services can be incredibly hard to come by—and sadly, help could soon become even more difficult to access.

That’s because new legislation in Congress could worsen our state’s already severe shortage of mental health professionals. Elected leaders in Washington are moving rapidly on a plan to add price controls to the health care market. The proposal was crafted to relieve families of the risk of large, surprise medical bills for out-of-network health care services, but legislators’ good intentions cannot erase the detrimental consequences they would engender by enacting this law.

Price controls on any market are a recipe for shortages. When applied to food, the result was the bread lines of the former Soviet Union. When used on medicines, price controls contributed to the violent upheavals in Venezuela. If we add price controls to America’s health care system, including many behavioral health services, similar outcomes will follow.

This is unacceptable. Already more than 2.8 million Arizonans live in areas with too few mental health professionals. Our state is meeting less than 12 percent of the existing need for behavioral health services and would require nearly 200 more practitioners to catch up.[1] We won’t attract them if we have price controls.

I deliver wilderness-based therapeutic care for troubled teens and youth, and I can tell you, most of my clients with mental health challenges struggle to get help. A lack of psychiatrists and other providers is a problem we share with small towns, frontier regions, and remote communities across the nation, and it is putting our children in jeopardy. In fact, the suicide rate for young people in rural areas is almost twice as high as in urban regions.[2]

Without sufficient mental health experts, rural hospitals and clinics cannot provide life-saving emergency and inpatient psychiatric care for patients in imminent danger. And because the prognosis for mental illness improves with early treatment, our inability to direct behavioral health services to children, teens, and young adults condemns too many residents to more severe illness than they’d likely have suffered with more timely intervention.

Although my focus is on mental health, the effects of federal price control legislation would extend much farther into the health care system. Rural patients would be less able to access air ambulances to speed them to urgently needed care. The number of specialists, from heart doctors to trauma surgeons, would plummet from already low numbers. Patients would have to travel great distances for care, and non-critical cases would be shunted aside until a patient’s situation reaches crisis levels.

These outcomes are as predictable as they are life-threatening. Price controls never turn out any differently. It’s unclear how our elected leaders stumbled so far off course in their efforts to address health care affordability, but they need to return to their senses and protect—not endanger—Arizonans’ access to care.

Timothy Alan is a behavioral health specialist with ANASAZI.

[1] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/mental-health-care-health-professional-shortage-areas-hpsas/?currentTimeframe=0&selectedRows=%7B%22states%22:%7B%22arizona%22:%7B%7D%7D%7D&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/03/09/the-suicide-rate-for-young-people-is-much-higher-in-rural-areas/

Arizona Conservatives bash FDA for regulatory assault on e-cigarettes

Arizona’s own Goldwater institute has joined a number of center-right leaders in urging Trump’s FDA to stop government overreach into personal health decisions. The coalition is calling a proposed crackdown on e-cigarettes a regulatory assault. Conservative groups nationwide are calling on President Trump to halt FDA commissioner Gottlieb’s panic driven regulatory action.

“FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s effort to curb the $6.6 billion electronic cigarette industry and an even larger reduced risk tobacco alternatives market is inconsistent with your clearly articulated deregulatory objectives and will destroy jobs, limit consumer freedoms, and harm public health.  

This week, a Washington Post op-ed bashed the FDA over its recent crackdown on vaping and e cigarettes

As the column noted, “Last week, a large trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine and led by British researchers showed people trying to quit cigarettes were almost twice as likely to succeed if they used e-cigarettes instead of conventional nicotine-replacement therapies such as patches and gum.”

Nevertheless, FDA commissioner Gottlieb shows no sign of backing down. In an interview Sunday, he said that while the FDA supports the role of e-cigarettes in helping adults quit smoking, “it’s now clear that widespread and sometimes reckless marketing of these products has come at the expense of addicting a new generation of kids on tobacco.”

This is irresponsible at best, and completely inaccurate. Vaping technology is not marketed to kids, and is a great resource for adults who wish to quit smoking.

The letter to President Trump was signed by more than a dozen conservative groups, including Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, ALEC action, Americans for Tax Reform among others. A copy of the letter can be read here.

Scottsdale Parent Chides Columnist, Scottsdale School District

To: Laurie Roberts, Arizona Republic Columnist

I read the article you wrote in the AZCentral regarding HB 2002 and wanted to reach out to you to inform you that Mark Finchem’s bill and bills other legislators are working on to protect our children in the K-12 schools are absolutely needed. Activism is permitted in the classroom and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

I am a parent with a son in the Scottsdale Unified School District who, for the past 15 months, has been providing credible evidence of activist curriculum and teaching instruction that is allowed to continue because of Arizona’s weak education laws and the state’s lax education accountability system.  All levels of district leadership, including Governing Board members, have been provided ample opportunities to remedy these issues, but they simply refuse to compel district leaders to comply. In fact, certain individuals in leadership positions who should be the gatekeepers are the very ones ushering more of the activist curriculum in. District leaders permit teachers to pollute the academic environment by pushing various social, economic, or political adult-themed political narratives with “curriculum” of their choosing. This is beyond inappropriate.  Districts are not in compliance with, nor have they been for years, basic state statutes like A.R.S. 15-721 and statutes that  relate to Arizona’s unique decentralized “local control” structure codified in A.R.S. 15-351.

My sister has been a teacher for 25 years, and clearly there are many teachers who are doing their job well. Those teachers should be singled out, the exceptional ones given bonuses and elevated to leadership positions, while the activist teachers and district leaders should be shown the door. Parents are leaving the public schools in droves, particularly in Scottsdale, and it is precisely because of the low quality curriculum, and lack of leadership and oversight.  

The issues’ I’ve identified sadly extend to the Arizona Department of Education and our state teaching colleges like ASU. I’ve been communicating for months with various legislators, State Board of Education members, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and even Dawn Wallace, Governor Ducey’s Office of Education Director and providing them with specific evidence of issues that need to be investigated and addressed. The State Board of Education is looking into what investigatory powers and oversight authority they have with respect to districts not in compliance with state statutes and situations of activism that go unaddressed at the local level, in addition to issues within the ADE. 

The Superintendent and Governing Board have the duty to ensure that all activities and all personnel are in accordance with the laws of the state of Arizona, the rules of the Arizona Administrative Code, and the adopted policies of the Governing Board, among other critical responsibilities. This is not happening.

The type of curriculum at the Scottsdale Unified School District is night and day different from what my daughter encountered at her charter school just a few miles away. Hers was deep reading with complex themes that dealt with virtue and vice, but pointing children toward uplifting sentiments so that they developed a strong moral compass. The charter school also had a very strong History program (not Social Studies) and read many rich primary source documents that the students discussed via Socratic seminars. My daughter and her classmates were all writing 10 – 15 page papers in their junior and senior years, which is in stark contrast to my son drawing his name in block letters and never writing one proper literary analysis paper in his entire time at SUSD. I was completely comfortable with the curriculum and the professionalism with the teachers and leadership at my daughter’s charter school, while I feel distrustful and extremely disturbed by what I see occurring at the public school my son attends. 

Something is seriously wrong.

I’ve provided a local reporter with the Scottsdale Independent significant documentation and copied her on many, many emails to district leaders and Governing Board members. You can read the article to get a feel for some of the issues, but I have significant documentation to support the allegations. My work experience as a CPA with a fraud and litigation background has trained me to build a documentation trail and that’s what I’ve done. Other parents have formed a separate parent group as state mandated Site Councils that should serve as the parent oversight are not functioning as designed by district leadership. The entire system was so poorly designed from the beginning and is broken. Parents are to have “local control”, but that’s a false narrative. Rather, problems continue to get brushed under the rug by district leaders who don’t want to be held to account.

There are parents across this state who are, in fact, communicating serious issues within our K-12 system, and we’re just now getting legislators to take parents’ concerns seriously. These legislators are being courageous and working to safeguard the children and attempting to reinstate academic scholarship in the classroom. Parents need the State Board of Education members to also work to better understand what parents face at the local school district level, and institute a whistle blower policy, a Parental Bill of Rights framework, and a much stronger accountability system. 

Parents are going to continue to push their legislators and other state agencies to take the issue of K-12 education seriously. The kids deserve better.

I spoke with another investigative reporter this evening who has asked me to provide him evidence of examples of some of the problematic curriculum and other issues within the ADE. If you would like further details, I can be reached at (480) 250-3355. 

~ Kristen Williamson

The Ugly Truth About Proposition 126

Proposition 126 is not a tax cut. It is not pro-business. It is not good for Arizona.

Arizonans will have the choice Nov. 6 on whether to pass Prop 126, a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to permanently exempt the service industry from sales taxes. What may sound like a generous proposal to cut taxes is, in reality, an unfair handout to privilege some businesses over others.

  • Prop 126 benefits the service industry while narrowing the tax base, making it more likely that, when push comes to shove, marginal income-tax rates will be raised on everyday Arizonans. Indeed, if the state ever needed to raise revenue, it would be cut off from a significant sector of the economy, forcing it to turn to raising much higher taxes on everyone else.

After all, Prop 126 is not a tax cut. It is a roadblock to keeping tax rates low across the board. It would hamstring our state’s lawmakers, making it much more difficult for them to craft flexible, uniform and fair tax policy.

  • What’s more, Prop 126 is not “pro-business” — it is pro-some businesses, and not others. There are several other ways Arizona could make it easier for businesses to thrive. Doling out special benefits to some while sticking others with the bill is unfair. It’s also bad policy.

While Prop 126 would affect all 7 million-plus Arizonans, it would help only some. During a time when our state’s economy is dynamic and rapidly growing, we need a tax policy flexible enough to keep our taxes low and treat Arizonans fairly.

We won’t get that with Prop 126. On Nov. 6, Arizonans should send this amendment packing.

Torkelson: Voters asked to retain Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick

On his first day at the Arizona Supreme Court, Justice Clint Bolick posted a sign in his office. It had two simple rules he expected staff to follow.

Rule One: Call me Clint; Rule Two: There are no other rules.  Although the first rule was never followed, I can think of no better example of the humility with which Justice Bolick has approached his job as the 44th justice of the Arizona Supreme Court—always taking his work, but never himself, seriously.

I had the honor and privilege of serving as Justice Bolick’s law clerk for almost two years. From the moment he took the bench, he demonstrated a passion to execute his civic duty and fiercely protect both the federal and state constitutions. He did this every day with a smile, a venti Starbucks hot chocolate, and respect for his colleagues and attorneys who argued before him.

Of the attorneys who argued before him, those surveyed gave him a 100 percent score on legal ability, integrity, and administrative performance.  The high marks extended to those that worked behind the scenes, as well.  Court staff joked he needed a Supreme Court greeter vest because he always stopped to say hello to everyone.

In November, voters will be faced with a survey of their own.  On the back of the ballot Arizonans will determine whether to retain Justice Bolick on the high court.  This vote is based upon whether he has the judicial temperament, ability, and skill to remain on the bench.  I know Justice Bolick exhibits these characteristics because I saw it every day without waiver.

Since his time on the court, Justice Bolick has written 32 opinions. Of the 15 times he wrote for the majority, 14 of them were unanimous opinions. This amounts to hundreds, if not thousands, of pages where Justice Bolick outlines exactly how he came to his decision.  Importantly, in not one of those decisions will you find “the party’s identity” a deciding factor.

And there is no reason you would.  Justice Bolick is the only Independent to ever serve on the Arizona Supreme Court.  Indeed, independence is the cornerstone of his jurisprudence. The only common denominator throughout his writings is the plain language of the law.  What it says is what it means.  If you don’t like what it says, look to the Legislature.

Some say true bravery comes in dissent.  Justice Bolick has never shied from writing in opposition.  In fact, he began his first dissent praising our freedom-loving state, while noting the very words on the Supreme Court building, “Where law ends, tyranny begins,” informing readers of a “draconian” Arizona law affecting a homeless man.

Beyond judicial temperament, ability, and skill, Justice Bolick also has an unparalleled dedication to our great state.  I remember two times where Justice Bolick was overcome with excitement. The first was when the Pokémon Go craze was at its height and some of the clerks found a Pokémon on his desk.  The second was when he found out he would once again be teaching, this time Constitutional Law at ASU.  Teaching, in any form, has always been a source of pride for Justice Bolick.  It is why he insists on hiring an intern to work alongside his clerks every semester in chambers. There are countless mentees, just like me, who are forever grateful to learn from him.

Before November, I hope you read his opinions (azjustice44.com) and watch the oral arguments (azcourts.gov). There you will see a justice whose impartiality and independence allows him to look beyond party and political favor to address each case anew.  When you reach the back of your ballot consider what Arizona needs in the black robe.  Then, grab a hot chocolate and join me in voting to retain Justice Bolick.

Ashley Torkelson is currently an attorney serving in the United States Air Force. The views expressed are those of Ms. Torkelson only and not those of the United States Air Force or Department of Defense.