My Concerns with Jim O’Connor

By Chris Herring

As the newly elected MCRC Chairman I feel it is vitally important that the relationship between the county party and the AZGOP be healed. Discord between the two has festered for too long, makes the party weaker, and is a public black eye to the conservative cause.

Chris Herring

Chris Herring

Key to a healthy working relationship is a foundation of trust. Trust that no matter our disagreements we all work towards the same goals, Republican victories, not personal ambitions.

Unfortunately I now have serious concerns regarding my ability to trust one of the candidates who may direct the AZGOP if elected.

Below you will see outlined multiple occasions over the last several months where I was purposefully lied to and misled by Jim O’Connor. The below have nothing to do with his personal politics or his goals for the party, on which O’Connor stated to me personally that we largely are in agreement. These examples show that with repeated actions by Jim, I cannot trust what he tells me face to face, looking me in the eye.

On September 7th Jim pulled me aside in the office of the AZGOP to discuss his intent to run for AZGOP chairman. I told Jim during this conversation of my intent to run for county chairman. Jim was aware that I was thinking about running and that was one reason he wanted to talk to me. He wanted to assure me that he would stay neutral no matter who may run against me. He said it was important he stayed neutral because if we both won we would need to work together. I agreed with him. Unfortunately he was lying.

After the meeting I was pulled aside by another person in attendance and informed that Jim was attempting to recruit a candidate to run against me and was trying to organizing meetings for people to meet the possible candidate. The exact opposite of staying neutral as he went out of his way to assure me just hours before. I never asked him to do that. He intentionally pulled me aside to try and deceive me.

Over the next two months I was contacted on multiple occasions by PCs across the county stating that Jim had personally talked to them and shared his negative feelings about me. Fortunately for me some of the people he was speaking with knew me personally and knew that the misinformation he was spreading was false.

Finally I had enough. I reached out to Jim through mutual friends and asked him to speak. I shared the information I had been told about him talking to others about me. Jim responded that he “had concerns” but had never reached out to me about them. He also shared that he had indeed been trying to personally recruit someone to run against me but despite significant effort hadn’t found anyone. This conversation took place on December 1st.

I invited him to ask anything he wanted and he spent over 2 hours doing just that. When we were done Jim said he felt we were far more aligned than he thought, I had addressed all his concerns, and he had no plans to back anyone else for county chair. Wonderful.

Unfortunately that was also untrue. Jim left the call stating he would set up meetings for me to meet other PCs so they could get to know me. Of course this never happened.

Twice more I met with Jim in December both on the phone and face to face, meetings he initiated. I asked about meetings he said he would arrange, he said he still would and praised me on the good job I was doing on my campaign.

Unfortunately he was secretly helping my opponent. I didn’t share with Jim but I was already aware that his continued outreach to me was disingenuous. But I wanted to see if he would come clean or continue going out of his way to lie to me.

As the election approached I stopped talking to Jim. Unfortunately he didn’t stop his deception. The day of the election he expressed well wishes and praise to me. After the election PCs came up to me and shared that Jim was personally going around to PCs during voting asking them not to vote for me.

It’s fine that he opposed me. It’s an election, people pick sides. But how can I trust someone who consistently went out of their way to privately pull me aside and then repeatedly lie and try to convince me I should trust him, when he was actively working against me.

If deception, deceit, and back room shenanigans are what you want for the AZGOP then vote for O’Connor. But don’t expect this county chair to trust a thing he says or does. I’m done believing his lies.

Chris Herring
Chairman, Maricopa County GOP

 

Former PC and State Committeewoman Calls Out AZGOP Candidate Jim O’Connor

The following guest opinion was submitted. Jim O’Connor is welcome to respond.

After reading a post in the MCRC Briefs by Jim O’Connor, I sent him this email. This is based on my personal dealings with him.
Dear Jim,

I saw the article that you wrote for the MCRC Briefs and have included it at the bottom of this email. As I’m sure you can imagine, my first reaction upon finishing the piece was to chuckle, then after a re-read my thought was that “Jim must be trying to get into the fiction writing business.​” I was shocked at what I read. You said, regarding the divide within our party that:

“It existed when I first began participating in my LD and continues to this very day.”  WHAT?

I was a PC and I never noticed a divide within our party or our LD. That all began after you got involved with the District.

“Both sides use the same tools to engage in this fruitless battle: Proxy abuse, attitudes and facial expressions at meetings (that would scare off new PC prospects), some party leadership who show favoritism to certain PCs, just to name a few.”

I think this statement reveals just how low you will stoop to try and win an election.

PROXY ABUSE…that is your middle name. FACIAL EXPRESSIONS…yep,  just the way you glare at those whom you deem unworthy, whom you believe are RINO’s, whom you believe are not Christian enough…I could go on and on especially since I have been on the receiving end of those LOOKs.

For a man who wears his Christianity on his sleeve, you are the most judgmental person I have ever met.

“The issues to be addressed by the EC are: By-Law Review, Proxy Abuse, Technology, Teleconferencing, PC Recruitment And Training. I invite you to join with me to create a formidable organization focused on registering Republican voters, recruiting new PCs, and working to get good Republicans elected.”

I love this…. Bylaw review: it took you and your crew well over 4 years to put out a set of Bylaws. You wanted your fellow PC’s to have to swear an oath to be loyal to the LD. You wanted to blackball anyone who might have been a Democrat in their past or who might have supported one. The operative word being MIGHT…and you began purging our District of those who fought you on these damaging ideas.

Proxy Abuse: for a man who has made it his purpose to recruit PC’s who do not attend meetings and who do not participate in anything, but who will hand over their proxy’s so that your chosen crew will be elected. For a man who puts out lists of blackballed PC’s so that those carrying the illegal proxy’s will only vote for those on your list…it is disgraceful. You are not a leader.

Training: The first training session I went to that had been arranged by you was about 5 years ago. You remember, it was on the topic of how to speak to someone with different views. I made sure to arrange my schedule so that I could attend what I was hoping would be an interesting and informative morning. What did we get? Well, it turned out that you fell for the nonsense of a women who told you she was an expert in dealing with controversial topics…but instead we heard about her family and how her bridge club did not like her because she had better clothes tha​n​ they did…yep, that was a good day.

The second time I attended one of your training sessions, just last year, it was supposed to be about how to be a good PC. Again, I rearranged my schedule and sat and listened to an older gentleman regale us with stories of his life. I’m not sure the word PC was ever uttered. Again, another flop for the O’Connor team.

I can only hope that you lose this election and don’t take our State down the tubes as you have done to our Legislative District. LD23 used to be winners. We used to have fun in LD23. We used to make a huge difference. Now, under your poor guidance, LD23 is a  loser – loser in recruiting PC’s and everything else. Honestly, I cannot think of one positive thing you have done.

In summary, this article you posted in the MCRC Briefs appears to be an autobiography of you.

Joan Lang
Former PC
Former State Committeeman

===========

Original message:

From the Briefs: By Jim O’Connor

There is no denying that there has been a fundamental divide within our party in Arizona. We all have to say that out loud because it is TRUE. Any attempt to cover that up with clever language by either side of the divide, will lessen our chances of curing the problem under the next administration. It existed when I first began participating in my LD and continues to this very day. So I invite all of us to get real as an alternative to getting even. Both sides use the same tools to engage in this fruitless battle: Proxy abuse, attitudes and facial expressions at meetings (that would scare off new PC prospects), some party leadership who show favoritism to certain PCs, just to name a few. If I go on with this laundry list, I shall fail to make my point.

These destructive behaviors must stop. A thorough audit of our State Party is long overdue. And by audit I mean much more than a financial audit. We need the soon to be elected Executive Committee (EC) to be empowered to act. These 84 members represent every County and Congressional District across Arizona. The issues to be addressed by the EC are: By-Law Review, Proxy Abuse, Technology, Teleconferencing, PC Recruitment And Training. I invite you to join with me to create a formidable organization focused on registering Republican voters, recruiting new PCs, and working to get good Republicans elected. After all, ours is a Republic, if we can keep it.

Guest Opinion: Why Jim O’Connor Should Not Be The Next AZGOP Chairman

If you are not telling the truth about insignificant things, what else are you not telling the truth about?

I really am a nobody in politics. I have no power now, nor did I want any when I was a precinct committeeman, precinct captain and state committeeman representing the Del Joya precinct within LD23. I just wanted and still want to do my small part to help stop the encroachment of leftist, socialist policies that the Democrat party has attempted and will continue to attempt to cram down our throats when given the chance.

As a result of my grassroots political involvement, I have an experience I want to share with you. I am writing this in the hope that enough people will read and consider this before voting for the very important position of AZ GOP chairman.

Background to the following: Del Joya is the same precinct where Jim O’Connor, candidate for AZ GOP chairman, resides. Early on in my grassroots career, we worked together, including on one or two occasions, joined together to complete our signature petitions.

It was September of 2014 and another primary election cycle had come and gone. It was my responsibility, as PC Captain, to contact the PC’s in my precinct so that we could come together to elect a new captain. Reviewing the list of newly elected PCs, I realized that there were quite a few I had no contact information for—so I called Jim, figuring he could help. But Jim told me he could not because he did not know who these new PCs were.

Ok, so he didn’t know. No problem! I would track down the information myself so I enlisted the assistance of a super-sleuth friend. As a result, I was able to contact all of our PCs and a meeting was scheduled at my home.

The evening of the meeting arrived. Two of the individuals Jim claimed not to know showed up first. We introduced ourselves and got to talking. In the course of our conversation I learned that Jim did indeed know these two individuals. How did I find out? Because these first arrivals informed me that they had been working with Jim on some political activities in the past. Hmmmm…

I was able to speak to Jim about this matter at a later date. At first he denied it. But after explaining to him the facts as they were, he was forced to admit his transgression. He even said to me “Cheryl, as one Christian to another can you find it in your heart to forgive me?”

I know, I know. You might be thinking that this is no big deal—after all, it’s just a little white lie, right? But why did Jim claim he did not know these people? Why did he not want to provide this information? Why was he making me work harder than I had to in order to perform my PC Captain duties? Which leads me to my closing comment… The truth is this: There absolutely was no reason to lie to me about such a small matter. If you are not telling the truth about the little things, what else are you not telling the truth about?

A few experiences already have been shared on this website and on Facebook. And I know that there are numerous other people who have similar stories to tell. We can only hope they will share them. Bottom line is this: Jim O’Connor is not the man he so very well presents himself to be and he should not become the next AZGOP chairman.

Thank you for your time.

Cheryl D. Pelletier
Lifelong Republican and Resident of LD 23, Del Joya Precinct

Gayla Coletto Responds to Jim O’Connor’s MCRC Post

Let’s get the facts straight. Jim O’Connor has listed some lies and one truth.

  1. I was on the credentials table – Truth
  2. I didn’t check Jim’s proxies because Kathy Schneider credential his precinct. – Lie
  3. The Chairman of LD23 approves any material that is distributed to the PC’s. Everyone in the room had the list out in plain site, so why didn’t he object? I have list from other elections that he distributed but, he told me to keep it private – He lied not knowing about the list.
  4. He told me he had 9 proxies. – He’s lying

In regards to MCRC briefs controlled by Frosty, who received but never posted my letter. Yet allowed Jim to respond to my letter when he claimed he didn’t approve of proxies. This is why I’m going to the Sonoran Alliance with my letters as they don’t silence critics.

Why would O’Connor control the election of state committeemen you ask, it was to help him get elected for the State Chairman’s position.

Gayla Coletto

My Turn: Jim O’Connor Practices Unfair, Unethical Elections

By Gayla Coletto

I’m a member of LD23, a state committeemen, treasurer, state delegate, national delegate, Precinct Committeeman and a trusted citizen who has volunteered for many jobs including being on the credentials teams at all LD23 elections as well as at the county and state elections.

I have seen and witnessed the collection (harvesting) of proxies by many including the chairman. The GOP pushed a bill through to stop the democrats from harvesting ballots yet at our elections they harvest proxies giving the person who collects them unethical voting power. With 119 people on a list approved and distributed by the Chairman Jim O’Connor who he himself brought in 9 proxies.

The unfair practice at LD23 by a chairman who distributes a list to new and old PC’s of who to vote for has resulted in an unfair election punishing anyone who Jim O’Connor can’t control.

Because of his unethical practices many hard working committeemen have left the LD. If this practice continues it will destroy the GOP from the bottom up.

Jim O’Connor must answer to these allegations for the sake of the party and our country. This corruptions must stop and a new election for state committeemen must take place before the state election next month.

Guest Opinion: Arizona Board of Education Rubber Stamps Common Core for 7 More Years

State Board of Education Ignores  Governor, Parents, and own Policy and  Rubber Stamps Common Core for another  7 Years

After a raucous 2014 election year for the office for Superintendent of Public Instruction only 16,034 votes separated the outcome of the 2014 election results between Diane Douglas and David Garcia. One would like to suggest Douglas’ opposition to the top down federal one-sized-fits all standards helped ensure she was the victor. This was a coup for the parents who despised the unconstitutional federal outreach in their children’s classrooms – later only to learn the fox was in the hen house all along.

A quick history lesson on Common Core in Arizona. In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards for all public schools throughout Arizona. As these standards were being implemented, parents and practitioners alike started to have difficulty learning and teaching them.

This classroom battle came to a head in 2013 inciting a Republican primary challenge to then-Superintendent John Huppenthal who was fully engaged in implementing these standards that had to be rebranded to “college and career ready” due to public outcry.

Like so many top-down government mandates, implementing Common Core became a gravy train for special interests who only care about their profits, not about the outcome of our children’s future. These same corporate entities joined local business chambers to ensure they helped elect pro-Common Core candidates for local and statewide offices.

Meanwhile, grade school children who loved math started to hate math. Other children who loved writing, started to hate writing. Parents knew something was wrong.  In some instances, parents with higher degrees in engineering and math could no longer help their children with basic arithmetic homework.

As with the other 49 states, Arizona retains the authority to approve and modify its academic standards. More importantly, there is no federal law requiring the adoption of specific standards. Yet, 46 states originally adopted common core.

To address this, Governor Doug Ducey directed the State Board of Education (SBE) on March 2015. His direction was for the State Board of Education to “make right the situation…with full transparency.” Direction was given for “teachers and parents to bring [standards] forward together.”

In response, the Arizona SBE created a review process that included 17 members representing different sectors of communities across Arizona. Six of these members were parents from various parts of Arizona. This group was called the Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC), consisting of educational experts and parents. Its task was to recommend updated standards to the SBE per the Governor’s request.

However, for the past year and a half the standards were only being reviewed by “technical professionals” and lobbyists in closed-door meetings. These individuals were largely pro-common core individuals. Multiple requests were submitted to the Arizona Department of Education to include parents or people with opposing viewpoints, but these were turned down each time.

On December 14th, the ASDC was scheduled only 3 hours to review and possibly approve hundreds of standards. Up to this point, the ASDC had no substantive discussion on the standards and very little time to study the latest version of the standards.

After two and a half hours of presentations and public comments, the ASDC had 30 minutes to discuss and feel comfortable recommending hundreds of pages of standards. They were concerned that many issues with common core remained. Further, there was no evidence that hundreds of public comments were received or one standard changed by public comments. Many of the ASDC were concerned.

Thus, the parents requested additional time to discuss the standards and voted 8-7 vote to delay approving any current recommendation of these newly revised standards to the SBE until at least January 2017.

It should be noted that the clear expectation from ADE and the SBE staff was for the ASDC to rubber stamp the draft and not ask too many questions. At the same time, the Executive Director and President of the State Board of Education posted an agenda item on the SBE’s December 19th  agenda for the SBE also to rubber stamp the standards. Most of them had never read these “new” standards in any substantive detail.

On December 19th, the SBE shocked the public and the ASDC by rubber stamping the recommended standards. The request of the Governor to have standards brought forth by teachers and parents were largely ignored. Not one person in opposition appeared to speak in public because they trusted that the SBE would respect the direction of the Governor and the ASDC to do their job and recommend standards to the SBE.

In a shocking irony, the very person—Diane Douglas–who promised to “stop common core”, recommended the ‘revised’ standards; standards virtually identical to the common core state standards foolishly adopted by the SBE in 2010.

It is no wonder why President-elect Donald J. Trump is in line to become our next President. No one trusts the government. If a process is in place it should be adhered and there shouldn’t have a go-around if the vote doesn’t fall in your favor. Our Republic doesn’t exist to be overrun by bureaucratic tyrants.

As members of this subcommittee we waited patiently for the review and public commenting period to end. We welcomed proponents of these standards to our public meetings and only gave them the deepest respect at our meetings even though they didn’t always model the best public decorum they would want their children or students to convey.

We call upon Governor Doug Ducey to request that the SBE reconsider the vote; respect the public; and follow the process established.

We also call upon Governor Ducey to seat people on the SBE that truly respect the parents of our State who are deeply concerned with the direction of public education in our State.

Respectfully Submitted By

Scott Leska; Public School District Elected Board Member
Grant Peterson; Middle School Parent
Dr. Richard Rutkowski; Business Community Member
Olga Tarro; Elementary School Parent
Maureen Tozzi; Business Community Member
Shawnna Bolick; High School Parent

Jennifer Reynolds: Arizona’s Common Core Rebrand is Just Lipstick on a Pig!

by Jennifer Reynolds, publisher of Arizonans Against Common Core.

A Rebrand of Common Core is coming unless we stop it through our combined voices speaking against the proposed 2016 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. Very little has changed with these 2016 Standards and we will still have Common Core!

As suspected the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and State Board of Education (SBE) are trying to “Rebrand Common Core” with their latest 2016 draft of the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Standards. The ADE Working Groups were tasked to review and incorporate our public comments which have been ignored. Our pleas to take out the “prescriptive examples and developmentally inappropriate standards for ELA and Mathematics” have been brushed aside, and the ADE Working Groups proceeded with the 2nd rewrite with very little changes to the Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (aka Common Core). If you put lipstick on the Common Core pig, it is still a pig!

Here are the reviews that our combined groups- Arizonans Against Common Core, Opt Out AZ and “Mommy Lobby AZ”- submitted to the SBE K-12 Standards website on October 3 for the draft 2016 ELA and Mathematics Standards. Parents voices were NOT heard, our comments were NOT incorporated, and here we have another “Rebrand of Common Core” if we let this happen just like we saw in 2013 with the renaming of Common Core to “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”

WE NEED YOUR VOICES at the Arizona Standards Development Committee Meeting on December 14:

December 14, 9am at the ADE building (1535 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85007). If you have commented on the draft 2016 ELA and Math standards AND/OR if you are fed up with what is happening in your child’s classroom with the Common Core standards and testing please show up and let your voices be heard. Nothing will change in Arizona if the 2016 ELA and Mathematics standards are approved by the Arizona Standards Development Committee and the State Board of Education which will happen with a subsequent vote. Common Core will be here to stay if we don’t rise up and stop it!

CAN’T ATTEND THE MEETING? Who to contact about the Rebrand of Common Core?

Governor Ducey initiated the “Arizona Standards Development Committee” to “review and replace the Common Core Standards”(http://education.azgovernor.gov/edu/arizonas-academic-standards) on March 23, 2015 and these are his direct words, “As you know, I am against Common Core and spoke out against it on the campaign trail. That has not changed. Like you, I have high expectations and am for high standards for our students. We cannot excel without them. So, Arizonas standards must reflect the goals, expectations, and input of Arizonas parents and teachers. I encourage every Arizonan to get engaged in this process of creating new standards and assist the State Board of Education in the work ahead. Attend public meetings. Make calls. Write letters. Use social media. Make your voice heard. If like me, you are opposed to the federal governments increased involvement in our K-12 system, this is the quickest, best and most responsible way to fix it. If Arizona is going to be the best place in the nation to educate a child, then Arizonans must lead the way.” (http://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/im-arizona-standards) ”

Contact Governor Ducey’s Senior Education Policy Advisor Dawn Wallace: dwallace@az.gov or 602-542-1316.

Diane Douglas ran on the campaign promise to “Stop Common Core.” Contact Superintendent Douglas and her staff who ran the ADE Working Groups and who are “Rebranding Common Core:” Superintendent Diane Douglas: Diane.Douglas@azed.gov or 602-542-5423

Carol Lippert, Associate Superintendent, High Academic Standards: Carol.Lippert@azed.gov or 602-364-1985.

Jonathan Moore, Deputy Associate Superintendent, K-12 Standards: Jonathan.Moore@azed.gov or 602-364-2810.

Suzi Mast, Director of K-12 Mathematics Standards: Suzi.Mast@azed.gov or 602-364-4030.

Sean Ross, Director of K-12 ELA and Humanities Standards: Sean.Ross@azed.gov or 602-542-6342

Executive Director at the State Board of Education (SBE)- Karol Schmidt: Karol.Schmidt@azsbe.az.gov or 602-542-5057

Let our voices be heard that “WE WILL NOT ACCEPT A REBRAND OF COMMON CORE on our watch!”

For our precious children,

-Jennifer Reynolds
http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com/

If you are just now waking up to the WAR that has been going on all around you for the last 5 years, READ MORE HERE

Prop 205 Warning! Marijuana Edibles Pose Danger to Your Children

Last week, a spokesperson for Yes on Prop 205 appeared on Prescott’s KYCA radio to propagate the myth that legalizing recreational marijuana will make our schools better and our communities safer. When confronted with the question of why their campaign signs fail to mention marijuana, he could not – or would not – answer the question. Listen here.

While it may be the pro-pot campaign’s purview to manipulate Arizonans, we believe voters should have as much information as possible when considering a policy with so many extreme and irreversible societal and public safety ramifications.

In that regard, No on Prop 205 has released new campaign signs to highlight the dangers posed by legalizing marijuana – specifically, edible forms of marijuana – to Arizona children.

Placed throughout Maricopa and Pima Counties, the signs feature pictures of edible marijuana that is virtually indistinguishable from popular store-brand, drug-free candy. Next to it, the question is posed: “Would you be able to recognize marijuana? Would your children?”

NO on Prop 205

NO on Prop 205

While there is no shortage of problems with Prop 205, one of the most troubling is that it would authorize the production and sale of highly-concentrated marijuana edibles – with NO limits on potency. It would also allow these products to be blatantly advertised and even sold near preschools and youth clubs. It’s no wonder the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix soundly opposes Prop 205.

In marijuana-friendly states, accidental pot ingestion by youth has increased by more than 600 percent. It’s no wonder; if YOU can’t tell the difference between gummy bears and ganja – how will your children?

When A Lie Travels: Comparing Alcohol To Marijuana

By Seth Leibsohn

Seth LeibsohnThis November, several states will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and the proponents of legalization have seized on a seemingly clever argument: marijuana is safer than alcohol.  The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, an effort of the Marijuana Policy Project (or MPP), has taken this argument across the country.  Their latest strategy is labeled Marijuana vs. Alcohol.  It is a very misleading, even dangerous, message, based on bad social science and sophistic public deception.

Citing out-of-date studies that go back ten years and more, even using that well-known scientific journal, Wikipedia, the MPP never references current research on the harms of today’s high potency and edible marijuana, studies that come out monthly if not more frequently.  Indeed, their Marijuana vs. Alcohol page concludes with a 1988 statement about the negligible harms of marijuana—but that is a marijuana that simply does not exist anymore, neither in mode nor potency.  Today’s marijuana is at least five times more potent, and sold in much different form.  And the science of marijuana and its effects on the brain have come some distance since 1988 as well.

So out-of-date is the science and knowledge of marijuana from thirty years ago, it would be malpractice in any other field to suggest that kind of information about a drug having any contemporary relevance at all.  One almost wonders if the MPP thinks public health professors still instruct their students on how to use microfiche to perform their research as they prepare to write their papers on 5K memory typewriters.

It is simply misleading in a public health campaign to cite dated research while at the same time ignore a larger body of current evidence that points in the opposite direction of a desired outcome.  At great potential peril to our public health, political science (in the hands of the marijuana industry) is far outrunning medical science.  But the danger is clear: with the further promotion, marketing, and use of an increasingly known dangerous substance, public health and safety will pay the price.

Consider three basic problems with the industry’s latest campaign:

I.  Comparisons of relative dangers of various drugs are simply impossible and can often lead to paradoxical conclusions.  It is impossible to compare a glass of chardonnay and its effects on various adults of various weights and tolerance levels with the inhalation or consumption of a high-potency marijuana joint or edible.  Is the joint from the 5 percent THC level or the 25 percent level?  How about a 30 mg—or stronger—gummy bear?  A glass of wine with dinner processes through the body in about an hour and has little remaining effect.  A marijuana brownie or candy can take up to 90 minutes to even begin to take effect.

Consider a consumer of a glass of wine who ate a full meal and waited an hour or more before driving and a consumer of a marijuana edible taking the wheel of a plane, train, automobile, or anything else.  The wine drinker would likely be sober, the marijuana consumer would just be getting high, and, given the dose, possibly very high at that.

True, marijuana consumption rarely causes death, but its use is not benign.  Last year, an ASU professor took a standard dose of edible marijuana, just two marijuana coffee beans. The effect?  “[E]pisodes of convulsive twitching and jerking and passing out” before the paramedics were called.  Such episodes are rare for alcohol, but they are increasingly happening with marijuana.

Beyond acute effects, the chronic impact of marijuana is also damaging.  Approximately twice the percentage of regular marijuana users will experience Marijuana Use Disorder than will alcohol users experience Alcohol Use Disorder—both disorders categorized by the Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM).[1]   Marijuana is also the number one substance of abuse for teens admitted to treatment, far higher than the percentage who present with alcohol problems.  In fact, the most recent data out of Colorado shows 20 percent of teens admitted for treatment have marijuana listed as their primary substance of abuse compared to less than one percent for alcohol.

Still, the Campaign persists in its deceptions—as if they have not even read their own literature.  One online marketing tool it recently deployed was the “Consume Responsibly” campaign.  Delve into that site and you will find this warning: “[Smoked marijuana] varies from person to person, you should wait at least three to four hours before driving a vehicle.”  And: “Edible marijuana products and some other infused products remain in your system several hours longer, so you should not operate a vehicle for the rest of the day after consuming them.”  Who has ever been told that they should not operate a vehicle for four hours, much less for the rest of the day, if they had a glass of wine or beer?  Safer than alcohol?  This is not even true according to the MPP’s own advice.

Beyond unscientific dose and effect comparisons, there is a growing list of problems where marijuana use does, indeed, appear to be more harmful than alcohol.  According to Carnegie Mellon’s Jonathan Caulkins: “Marijuana is significantly more likely to interfere with life functioning” than alcohol and “it is moderately more likely to create challenges of self-control and to be associated with social and mental health problems.”

Additionally, a recent study out of UC Davis revealed that marijuana dependence was more strongly linked to financial difficulties than alcohol dependence and had the same impacts on downward mobility, antisocial behavior in the workplace, and relationship conflict as alcohol.

II.  The marijuana industry pushes and promotes the use of a smoked or vaped substance, but never compares marijuana to tobacco.  Indeed, the two substances have much more in common than marijuana and alcohol, especially with regard to the products themselves and the method of consumption (though we are also seeing increasing sales of child-attractive marijuana candies).  But why is the comparison never made?  The answer lies in the clear impossibility.

Consider: Almost every claim about marijuana’s harms in relation to alcohol has to do with the deaths associated with alcohol.  But, hundreds of thousands more people die from tobacco than alcohol.  Based on their measures of mortality, which is safer: alcohol or tobacco?  Can one safely drink and drive?  No.  Can one smoke as many cigarettes as one wants while driving?  Of course. So, what’s the more dangerous substance?  Mortality does not answer that question.

Alcohol consumption can create acute problems, while tobacco consumption can create chronic problems.  And those chronic problems particularly affect organs like the lungs, throat, and heart.  But what of the chronic impact on the brain?  That’s the marijuana risk, and, seemingly, society is being told that brains are less important than lungs.  Nobody can seriously believe that, which is why these comparisons simply fail scrutiny.

This illustrates but one of the problems in comparing dangerous substances. As Professor Caulkins recently wrote:

“The real trouble is not that marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol; the problem is that they are altogether different…. The country is not considering whether to switch the legal statuses of alcohol and marijuana. Unfortunately, our society does not get to choose either to have alcohol’s dangers or to have marijuana’s dangers. Rather, it gets to have alcohol’s dangers…and also marijuana’s dangers.

Further, marijuana problems are associated with alcohol problems.  New research out of Columbia University reveals that marijuana users are five times more likely to have an alcohol abuse disorder. Society doesn’t just switch alcohol for marijuana—too often, one ends up with use of both, compounding both problems.

The larger point for voters to understand:  The marijuana legalization movement is not trying to ban or end alcohol sales or consumption; rather, it wants to add marijuana to the dangerous substances already available, including alcohol.  This is not about marijuana or alcohol, after all.  It’s about marijuana and alcohol.

We can see this effect in states like Colorado, with headlines such as “Alcohol sales get higher after weed legalization.”  And, according to the most recent federal data[2], alcohol use by teens, as well as adults, has increased in Colorado since 2012 (the year of legalization). If alcohol is the problem for the MPP, in their model state–Colorado–alcohol consumption has increased with marijuana legalization.  Legalizing marijuana will, in the end, only make alcohol problems worse.

III.  The legalization movement regularly cites to one study in the Journal of Scientific Reports to “prove” that marijuana is safer than alcohol.  But this study leads to odd conclusions in what the authors, themselves, call a “novel risk assessment methodology.”  For instance, the researchers find that every drug, from cocaine to meth to MDMA to LSD, is found to be safer than alcohol. (See this graph).  By the MPP standard, we should thereby make these substances legal as well.  But, seeing such data in its full light, we all know this would be nonsensical.

Further, the authors specifically write that they only looked at acute effects and did not analyze “chronic toxicity,” and cannot judge marijuana and “long term effects.”  Indeed, they specifically write in their study the toxicity of marijuana “may therefore be underestimated” given the limitations of their examination.  Yet, legalizers ignore these statements.  Always.  It simply does not fit their narrative.

What long-term effects are we talking about?  To cite the New England Journal of Medicine: “addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes, cognitive impairment,” and “increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders.”  Now think about what it will mean to make a drug with those adverse effects more available, and for recreational use.

Finally, the very authors of the much-cited Journal of Scientific Reports study specifically warn their research should be “treated carefully particularly in regard to dissemination to lay people….especially considering the differences of risks between individuals and the whole population.”  But this is precisely what commercialization is about—not individual adult use but making a dangerous drug more available to “the whole population.”

Given what we know in states like Colorado, we clearly see that legalization creates more availability which translates into more use, affecting whole populations—Colorado college-age use, for example, is now 62 percent higher than the national average. [See FN2, below].

And the science is coming in, regularly.  Indeed, the same journal the MPP points to in its two-year old “novel” study, just this year published another study and found:

“[N]eurocognitive function of daily or near daily cannabis users can be substantially impaired from repeated cannabis use, during and beyond the initial phase of intoxication. As a consequence, frequent cannabis use and intoxication can be expected to interfere with neurocognitive performance in many daily environments such as school, work or traffic.

That is why these comparisons of safety and harm are—in the end—absurd and dangerous.  In asking what is safer, the true answer is “neither.”  And for a variety of reasons.  But where one option is impossible to eliminate (as in alcohol), society should not add to the threat that exists:  One doesn’t say because a playground is near train tracks you should also put a highway there.  You fence off the playground.

That, however, is not the choice the MPP has given us.  They are not sponsoring legislation to reduce the harms of alcohol, they are, instead, saying that with all the harms of alcohol, we should now add marijuana.  But looking at all the problems society now has with substance abuse, the task of the serious is to reduce the problems with what already exists, not advance additional dangers.

If the MPP and its Campaigns to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol are serious about working on substance abuse problems, we invite them to join those of us who have labored in these fields for years.  One thing we do know: adding to the problems with faulty arguments, sloppy reasoning, and questionable science, will not reduce the problems they point to.  It will increase them.  And that, beyond faulty argument and sloppy reasoning, is public policy malfeasance.

[1] See http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2464591 compared to http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2300494

[2] 2011/2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health compared to 2013/2014.

Guest Opinion: Single Shot Syms

By Cactus Cantina Chats

With ten more days remaining until the August 30th primary election let’s focus on Legislative District 28 (LD 28).  Republican primary voters have a real chance to nominate a successful, well-educated female candidate to serve on their behalf in one of two legislative House seats for the next two years.  Maria Syms is the only candidate running in LD28 with the potential to win in November and serve honorably for the State of Arizona.  Please use your two votes to push her through the Republican primary.

Let’s take a look at Syms’ competition for the two House seats, and then evaluate Syms’ impressive background:

Ken Bowers, Jr. is the final candidate running for the Arizona House. It is quite difficult to know too much about who he is and where he stands on the issues because he has also decided to ignore candidate surveys issues by different associations and groups representing causes or industries throughout Arizona. He seems to only care about reforming Arizona’s correctional system and hasn’t given much thought to the broader issues facing Arizona’s future.

Alberto Gutier, III is an active PC in LD28.  Unfortunately, he has not taken the time to fill out any candidate surveys or set up a website sharing his viewpoints on the issues. Nice guys typically don’t finish first in a competitive legislative race.

Mary Hamway is an uber liberal Republican In Name Only (RINO) candidate who is a retread from the 2014 election cycle. Hamway has spent so much time as a Paradise Valley town councilmember raising taxes and cutting funding for cops that she single-handedly jeopardizes a prosperous future for Arizona.  Since Mary lacks the spine to vote publicly she and several of her other Big Government crony councilmembers rely on closed door executive sessions so they don’t have to truly make a public statement of town council matters.  Hamway talks out of both sides of her mouth if you can bear to listen to her speak.  Hamway has been an arduous proponent of Medicaid expansion and common core over the past several years.  Hamway self-funded her 2014 loser campaign to the tune of nearly $100,000. After she lost to Bolick, she had her husband make a $500 campaign contribution to liberal pro-choice Democrat Eric Meyer. It is not surprising Hamway has been endorsed by the former Mayor of Paradise Valley, Scott Le Marr, who once served on the Planned Parenthood board.

Matt Morales is a moderate Republican precinct committeeman (PC) in LD28 who has been a registered lobbyist on behalf of the vaping and gaming industries.  Need we highlight any more of his resume to illustrate that he is not a conservative choice.  Morales likes to tell his fellow Republican voters how he encouraged Kate McGee in 2010 to use her maiden name “Brophy” to get elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.  In 2014, Morales boasted of being Adam Driggs’ campaign manager.  At the same time Morales worked on an Independent Expenditure (IE) to benefit only McGee and Driggs in the general election.  Considering there was one additional Republican on the ballot for the other House seat this speaks volumes to Morales’ lack of character in electing Republicans to two House seats. One last point: it is laughable that Morales’ campaign signs say “conservative” and “personal freedom.”  He answered the Arizona Voter Guide’s survey which is sponsored by Center for Arizona Policy as supportive of a living Constitution.

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

Fortunately, LD28 has Maria Syms as their only conservative choice!  She has taken the time to thoughtfully share her views on the issues in support or opposition against many policy issues facing Arizona.  Syms has served honorably on her short time on the Paradise Valley Town Council.  There aren’t many city elected officials who don’t vote in lockstep to vote for a tax increase, but Syms is one who has encouraged thoughtful conversation while holding the line on tax increases. If she wasn’t running for the Legislature she would be a perfect addition to Arizona’s Justice system.  Her past job titles include: Assistant U.S. Attorney, Senior Adviser to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich plus she is a Mom of three children spanning the school choice spectrum so she fully grasps education and opportunity for all!

When you vote by early ballot, or vote in person on August 30th please only vote for Syms! She is the real deal and the only choice to represent LD28 honorably.