Secretary of State Completes Preliminary Review of Referendum Petitions

Michele Reagan

On August 8, 2017, Save Our Schools Arizona filed an estimated 9,078 petition sheets containing 111,540 signatures in support of R-02-2018.

The Secretary of State’s Office has completed its preliminary review of referendum petitions in accordance with Arizona law, and has determined that the committee filed 9,291 petition sheets.  Of these, 8,950 petition sheets containing 108,224 signatures remained eligible for random sampling and County Recorder review.

A 5% random sample of these signatures has been sent to the County Recorders for signature verification under Arizona law.  In order for the measure to qualify for the 2018 General Election ballot, the County Recorders must collectively validate at least 3,767 signatures (or 69.6%) from the random sample.

The deadline for County Recorder review is September 11, 2017.

Read more about Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan here.

Jonathan Gelbart Files for Superintendent of Public Instruction

Jonathan Gelbart

Tempe, AZ (August 7, 2017) – Jonathan Gelbart, former Director of Charter School Development for the nationally top-ranked BASIS Charter Schools, today announced that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. He has resigned his position at BASIS to campaign full-time.

“I’m running for this office because nothing is more important for Arizona’s long-term success than our public education system,” Gelbart said. “And our incumbent has really engaged in dereliction of duty. We need a state schools chief with a fresh perspective, the will to fight for our public schools, and the long-term vision necessary to build the education system of the future. Our workforce is facing an oncoming freight train called automation, so business as usual isn’t going to cut it anymore.”

Gelbart has managed the opening or expansion of schools for more than 8,000 children across Arizona, including the number one public high school in America according to U.S. News & World Report. Gelbart’s efforts involved building relationships with communities from Prescott to Tucson and obtaining more than $250 million in bond funds for school construction, renovation, and expansion.

To ensure broad, ongoing feedback from education professionals, Gelbart has formed an Educators Advisory Group composed of educators and school leaders with more than 100 years of combined experience in Arizona schools. “I want our Arizona school system to be one of the best in the country, and Jonathan can help us move in that direction,” said Michele Savoia, a member of the group and a psychology teacher in the Deer Valley Unified School District for 28 years.

“Arizona has the opportunity to lead the nation in creating a more flexible education system that truly prioritizes creativity, self-motivation, and critical thinking,” Gelbart added. “Schools need to treat every child as an individual human being, not a test-taking robot.”

Gelbart was born and raised in northwest Phoenix, graduated as salutatorian from Barry Goldwater High School, and earned a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University. His family roots in Arizona go back nearly 70 years. If elected, Gelbart would be the youngest Superintendent of Public Instruction since statehood.

About Jonathan Gelbart
Gelbart earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations and master’s degree in civil engineering from Stanford University in four and a half years. Through his work with the BASIS charter schools, he managed the opening of 12 campuses in Arizona and three in Texas that will serve more than 10,000 students this fall. He serves on the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute’s Millennial Council and the Tempe Neighborhood Advisory Commission. He and his newlywed wife Cara live with their rescue cattle dog mix, Kermit, at their home in Tempe.

For more information or to sign up for campaign updates, please visit www.gelbartforaz.com.

Speaker Mesnard Applauds Court Decision Allowing Initiative Compliance Law to Take Effect

Arizona Seal

JD Mesnard

JD Mesnard

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) today applauded a decision by the Arizona Superior Court allowing legislation (HB 2244) passed by the Legislature earlier this year to take effect tomorrow.  HB 2244 creates uniformity, provides greater clarity, and ensures integrity in the signature-gathering process for initiatives and referenda by compelling strict compliance with requirements set forth in statute and the Constitution.

“Because the Legislature doesn’t have the ability to address unintended consequences created by initiatives, it’s important that initiative campaigns strictly comply with the law,” said Speaker Mesnard.  “I’m pleased with the Court’s decision and look forward to the implementation of the law.”

The new law goes into effect tomorrow, August 9.

President Trump Challenges Millennial’s for Twitter Crown

OH Predictive

Almost Two Thirds of Arizona Voters Believe Trump Tweets Too Much

Phoenix, AZ (August 4, 2017) –  As social media use continues to grow, OH Predictive Insights wanted to learn more on how Arizona voters viewed President Trump’s tweeting frequency and to gather tangible data on the overall perception behind his use of Twitter.  It is safe to say that by now in the era of Trump you are aware of his preferred social media platform Twitter.

Over 700 active registered, Arizona Democratic, Republican, Independent and non-declared voters participated in this survey, which were based on current active voter registration numbers. The results are as followed:

The question was stated, “of these 4 types of people, who would you say tweets the most in your opinion?”

“It should raise some red flags when the President is running second behind millennials when it comes to their tweeting frequency,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company.

OH Predictive Insights also tested Trump’s tweeting frequency. The question was stated, “how would you rate President Trump when it comes to the frequency of his tweeting?”

“If 2 out of every 3 people you meet say you should tone it down – you may want to use Twitter more strategically,” said Noble. “Especially, when 42% of your own political party believes you that are overdoing it.”

“Arizona voters are even split down partisan lines on President Trumps tweets. Democrats and Independents clearly want the President to rest his fingers while only a plurality of Republicans say ‘enough with the tweets’,” said Wes Gullett, partner at OH Predictive Insights and GOP Strategist.

Methodology: This automated survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights on July 26th, 2017, from an active Arizona registered voter sample. The sample size was 700 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 3.7%

About OH Predictive Insights

Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers.

Reverend Jarrett Maupin Responds to Arizona Republic Article

Jarrett Maupin

Rev Jarrett Maupin (photo credit Willie Stark)

The Reverend Jarrett Maupin’s response to being the subject of an incredibly error-filled and indisputably biased article that appeared in or on media platforms controlled by The Arizona Republic today:

“I have never been more disappointed or sickened by a media report in The Arizona Republic, than I was today. To be the subject of vicious lies, fabricated scandal, and then to be publicly defamed by a series of professional, personal, and social insult quotes is a form of abuse that the leaders of our paper of record should be concerned about.

“I would like to address several outright lies in the article:

First of all, I am the leader of a years old quasi-religious non-profit social welfare organization that, in-part, functions as a church. This was publicly available information that the so-called journalists that authored this story failed to research or simply ignored. I have also served with distinction as an interim minister and associate minister at several churches.

Second, I do not and never have charged hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees to anyone that came to me with a civil rights concern. I engage in civil rights activism that is totally free and self-sustaining. Completely separate and apart from this community work, I do operate a consulting firm that is exclusively focused on political, business, and community development issues and clientele. These two areas of work function independently of each other and are absolutely unrelated.

Third, I do not and have not ever attempted to solicit money from, manage money for, or demand any sort of donation or contribution from ANY person I have ever advocated for. In fact, The Arizona Republic article states that of ALL of the people they interviewed only two people made this baseless and low accusation. Both of these people have either a personal or political motivation to make these disparaging claims.

Fourth, in the case of Ms. Lorenza Valdez, I suspect my long and unapologetic relationship with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has more to do with this than any sort of alleged mistreatment she experienced. Her new puppet-masters, the Center for Neighborhood Leadership and Puente, have long had a vendetta against the former sheriff and have, apparently, carried-over that vengeful agenda to anyone who dares to continue to call him a friend. What I do know is that until I raised awareness around the Valdez matter, neither Puente nor the Center for Neighborhood Leadership had said anything or taken any action to advocate around the matter. As for Ms. Valdez paying me any money for anything I did, I completely reject and denounce that narrative as a lie. What in fact happened is this, Ms. Valdez sought the professional services of a private investigative firm. I am not a private investigator. What I am is a shot messenger. When Ms. Valdez failed to meet her obligations to the private investigators she hired, I received calls about it. I vouched for her and even offered to have my non-profit pay expenses. I told Ms. Valdez this as well, unfortunately my offer was declined by both parties. Ms. Valdez paid the fees assessed to her by the private investigative team she hired. Upon Ms. Valdez affiliating with Puente and Center for Neighborhood Leadership, I received ONE call – out of the blue – about the monies she paid out to the private investigator and related consultants. Immediately upon hearing a request for a return of the monies, I contacted anyone on my staff who had any connection to the consultants. Almost instantaneously, the funds Ms. Valdez spent were returned to me, save for the cost of the professional photographer that was hired to document fatal injuries to her son’s body and his post-mortem state – which she requested and insisted be publicly released. I insisted on returning the monies immediately to Ms. Valdez, even though her new handlers kept suggesting that I do so when I returned from a 2 week civil rights conference in Atlanta. I absolutely REFUSED to do that and demanded that we meet a day later, on Mother’s Day, and personally handed Ms. Valdez all of her funds. We continued to meet for between 2 and 3 hours, where I was exhaustively questioned by her new handlers about strategies and political insights related to the Valdez case. I freely and willingly indulged all of their questions and left the meeting feeling confident they had asked me everything they needed to ask with respect to how to move forward with protests and political pressure tactics. This all occurred in the matter of 2 weeks or less. That is the extent of my involvement and several witnesses and consultants who were hired by Ms. Valdez and collected money from Ms. Valdez offered to and did speak to the journalist who wrote this tabloid worthy garbage. Sadly, their statements were not included in this story in any meaningful way. I never chose an attorney for Ms. Valdez and I never gave any advice about the legal issues present in her case.

Fifth, in the case of Ms. Shanesha Taylor, I have absolutely nothing to say beyond this: I have never charged or demanded a donation or contribution from Shanesha Taylor. I have never authorized anyone else to do so either. Shanesha Taylor was among all of my many thousands of contacts that were turned over to campaign staff during my 2014 run for Congress. She was, according to her, contacted and asked for a contribution. As I understand her claim, she willingly and freely gave a $500.00 contribution to the campaign. I have never had a conversation with Shanesha about this campaign contribution. I have however appeared on the Dr. Phil Show with Shanesha and she never once mentioned the alleged campaign contribution. I also set-up a media sting with CBS5 KPHO because Shanesha was making unfounded extortion claims against me while at the same time continuing to interact with me in a cordial way. More than a year ago, upon learning of these allegations, I agreed to a lunch with Shanesha during which a reporter from the aforementioned station appeared and questioned her about why she would dine or meet with someone she had such negative feelings about. Shanesha denied having made any accusations at all and stopped making the allegations. I have never – NOT ONCE – made any requests or demands of Shanesha Taylor. I continue to have deep disappointment over her apparent inability to abide or live up to the very fair and justice-oriented agreement that was reached by her attorney at the time and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. I continue to feel terrible about the murkiness and questions that remain about what she did or did not do or allow to happen to the thousands of dollars the public donated to her cause. What I do know is this, Shanesha Taylor never paid or gave me any money. Period. The only time money ever changed hands was when I first met Shanesha and gave she and her companion at the time $300.00 dollars out of my pocket to buy groceries and fuel because they claimed to have nothing. I do not regret giving to them because I gave out of the abundance of my heart as a Christian.

Sixth, as for apologizing for participating in the shoot or don’t shoot scenario with the Sheriff’s office, I will never do such a thing. Over 30 million Americans have watched and learned from that important video. Even FBI leaders have cited it as a way to encourage and bring law enforcement and the community together. The fact that I participated in a use of force scenario does no change my beliefs about police brutality and misconduct. I continue to fight for reforms more passionately and directly than any other activist I know. I did, however, gain a new appreciation for the use of compliance as a survival mechanism for people confronted with police brutality or excessive force situations. Compliance can help to keep people alive. Compliance does not, however, stop a law enforcement officer bent on violating or injuring or killing a person from doing so. I totally reject and rebuke any remarks or so-called activists who claim my open lines of communication with law enforcement damage the civil rights movement in any way. That opinion is flat on its face and reveals to me the unfortunate level of ignorance some people harbor, in spite of being in close proximity to the political and social realities that impact the movement for police and policy reform.

Seventh, how dare the author of this hit piece interview nearly a hundred people and discount the overwhelmingly positive and praise worthy things they had to say. Shame on this reporter for using the conflicted and bitter barking of two non-victims to draft such a racist and unbalanced news article. I now believe that the label racist and unbalanced probably applies to the author as well. This article was a political hit job and the unprofessional and grimy line and nature of questioning that this reporter engaged in upset and disturbed many of my closest friends and colleagues. Unfortunately for the author, they did not satisfy his sick storyline and were – without a second thought – not included in the finished story.

Eight, I want to know who at The Arizona Republic that looks like me and comes from where I come from, was in a position to try and stop or criticize this completely meritless article? What Black person is in leadership at The Arizona Republic? And was this run-by that person to prevent what happened from occurring? The answer is, there is no such person. And so, racism and petty politics around local personalities permitted our esteemed paper of record to become a rag unworthy to even wash windows with.”

“In summation, let me reiterate the fact that – with the exception of two highly conflicted persons – every single person interviewed DENIED ever having been charged money or asked for money by me or my organizers. That the newspaper INCORRECTLY stated that I have no formal church or civil rights organization, that I charge money for people facing issues of discrimination or other abuses, and that I have ever, in any way shape or form, misused my authority as an activist minister. I am unapologetically Black and adhere to the liberationist interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I represent Black, I live Black, I love Black, and I will die Black. This type of yellow, racist, “fake news” is exactly what is destroying our country. I encourage all literate people to re-read the article and use their brains. It is FULL of inconsistencies, falsehoods, truth-stretching, manipulation, racism, and spite. I had hoped never to have to give credence to President Trump’s assertion that the media is the enemy and I am still hesitant to do so, but it is clear now that certain members of the media are – in fact – the enemy and the author of this article is chief amongst them, locally.

“I pray for my followers, for my community, and supporters. I pray for my enemies and those who despitefully use and persecute me. I pray for my political opponents and their minions. I pray for the free press and their integrity. I pray for the strength to continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight.

“I condemn this news story and its author and answer all of its allusions or allegations with one word: lies.

“How many more nasty articles will the paper allow this man to write about me? How many more times does he get to try and assassinate or lynch a black leader? Why does the paper permit the printing of such irresponsible and truthless journalism?

“One thing is for certain, The Republic still treats leading niggers that they don’t or can’t control – like niggers. I, like Malcolm X, Adam Powell, Stockely Carmichael, H.Rap Brown or other colored freedom fighters before me will never apologize for my Negritude. I wear The Republic’s nigger badge with honor, as did my predecessors and other in between who dare or dared to thumb our noses at the racism of our day. I’m just glad I helped sell a few new subscriptions to the old rag and thankful for the nice portrait they ran. My undue misery just secured another paycheck for a reporter who frowned when he found out that one pair of my shoes could finance his whole wardrobe.

“Fuck being polite or politically correct. Today’s article was both the doom song of decency and the birth cries of unapologetic demagoguery. The public is tired of these kind of bullshit stories.

“This is the age of the internet and of cell phones. Nobody looks to the newspaper for unbiased and fact based news. That day is over and done with. Print what you want. Say what you want. Do what you want. I plan on doing the same without regrets or apologies. White men do and so shall I. Keep the faith, baby!”

Kevin Thompson Announces Re-Election Bid for Mesa City Council

Four years ago I announced my bid to run for Mesa City Council District 6. What a ride it has been!

My passion is serving the community, and I am grateful for the trust the citizens of Southeast Mesa continue to place in me. Without a doubt it is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had.

Kevin Thompson Family

Today, I proudly announce that I am seeking re-election for another four-year term to represent the voters of District 6.

We’ve accomplished a lot during the past three years, particularly in the areas of economic development. When I first ran for office, I promised to focus on working to bring quality jobs to Mesa. I can’t take credit for all of the growth we’ve experienced, but I continued the vision that was set in place before me, and I’ve challenged the departments within our City to do it better, more efficiently, and more effectively than anyone else. You can’t say you’re open for business if your actions don’t show it. We’ve instilled confidence in the business community and the development community, and our district continues to shine as a model for the entire City.

In just three short years since I’ve entered office, Chandler-Gilbert Community College expanded their campus at Mesa Gateway, Gateway Polytechnic was built at Bella Via, and Eastmark has become the fastest growing community in Arizona. Apple announced their Global Command Center with a $2 billion dollar investment, Dignity Health constructed a new hospital, DuPont Fabros announced plans for a giant data center campus, Niagra Bottling is bringing 50 jobs along with a $76 million dollar investment, and EuroContempo is bringing jobs and a $10 million dollar investment to Ray Road. We’ve also seen incredible growth in our industrial sector including an expansion of CMC Steel, a new facility from Matheson Tri Gas, an expansion from Fuji at their Pecos plant, and a new Metso repair facility. Not to mention we are now home to the largest Fry’s Marketplace in Arizona, a new Courtyard Marriott, and scores of new restaurants.

All of this growth however, does not mean I will serve as a rubber stamp. I continue to ask questions to insure our tax dollars are spent in a fiscally responsible manner and challenge proposals that do not have taxpayers best interests in mind. How much does it cost? Where is the money coming from? Who benefits? Are there alternatives? I will continue to ask these questions because I owe it to you and I owe it to my family. After all, like you, I’m still a resident and taxpayer of Mesa.

Regardless of whether you voted for me before, I’m hopeful that, over the past three years, I’ve instilled your trust and gained your confidence. There’s a lot left that I want us to accomplish as a District and a City, and I would greatly appreciate your support.

Vote “Thompson” for Mesa in 2018.

Bridger Kimball Announces for Arizona’s LD-11 House Seat

Bridger Kimball

Former Maricopa City Councilman Bridger Kimball Announces Bid for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD11

Maricopa, AZ –  Recently, Bridger Kimball filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to officially kick-off his campaign to fill the open house seat of Arizona’s legislative district 11. 

Kimball is a military veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps until his service was cut abruptly by a significant non-combat injury which led to an honorable medical discharge.  

Kimball is also a small business owner where he serves as president of the popular Rangemasters Shooting Range (d.b.a. Caswells Shooting Range).

In 2012, Kimball was elected to the City Council of Maricopa where he learned the value of being a public servant and working with others to make Maricopa a great place to live and raise a family.

“All my life I have wanted to serve whether it was in our nation’s military, community or government,” said Kimball. “Arizona has always been my home where, if elected, I will fight to improve our education system, protect 2nd amendment rights, support small businesses and honor our military veterans.”

Kimball is an Arizona native and was born in Mesa and has been residing in the city of Maricopa since 2003 with his wife Mary and their two amazing children, Keegan, 13, and Liam, 11.

AZGOP: Kick Rocks, Kirkpatrick

PHOENIX (May 26) — The Arizona Republican Party today launched a petition in response to the petition being circulated by Arizona democratic operatives who want to draft Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s second congressional district.

Kick Rocks Kirkpatrick

“It completely blows my mind that Arizona democrats think this is even remotely a good idea,” said Arizona Republican Party Communications Director Torunn Sinclair. “We all know how 2016 turned out for Ann — it was ugly — and when you break down the numbers to be CD-2 specific, it’s bad. Arizona voters spoke loud and clear — they don’t want her representing them. She already walked out on her constituents in her congressional district once. She doesn’t need to do it again by carpetbagging to Southern Arizona. She should stay home and hang up her boots permanently.”
The 2016 CD-2 vote counts were as follows:
McSally: 179,806
McCain: 153,649
Kirkpatrick: 143,620

Republicans Pass Budget That Raises Teacher Pay by $1,000 Above Inflation

Republicans Pass Budget That Raises Teacher Pay by $1,000 Above Inflation and Invests Over $300 Million in New K-12 Spending

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) and Senate President Steve Yarbrough (R-17) this morning applauded passage of a budget that increases teacher pay by an average of $1,000 and adds over $300 million for K-12 education.

“Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Ducey have worked hard to craft a budget that reflects Arizonans’ top priority: education,” said Speaker Mesnard.  “This budget includes a $1,000 raise beyond inflation for public school teachers, over $300 million in new K-12 spending, a massive investment in university research facilities and infrastructure, and dozens of other provisions that boost education funding.”

“Conservative budgeting over the past few years put extra money in our state coffers,” said President Yarbrough.  “With that, this year we boosted teacher paychecks, provided funding for school repairs and the construction of six new schools, targeted tens of millions of dollars to schools getting results, guaranteed yearly funding for university building projects and provided an additional $30 million to repair our roads.  We also delivered a broad-based tax cut and left the state with a structurally-balanced budget.  I’d say the people of Arizona are better off because of this state budget.”

Highlights of the budget:

·         In addition to inflation and growth increases, directs $68 million over two years for an average $1,000 raise for public school teachers.

·         Appropriates $62.9 million for new school construction projects.

·         Provides $37.6 million for Results-Based Funding for K-12 education.

·         Offsets the impact of Prop. 206 on the developmentally disabled community by directing $45 million to the Department of Economic Security and AHCCCS.

·         Demonstrates a commitment to rural transportation by appropriating $30 million to the Highway User Revenue Fund.

·         Appropriates $27 million to provide debt service to allow universities to construct new facilities through bonding that could exceed $1 billion in value in future years.

Poll: Majority of Arizona Voters Don’t Need a Wall with Mexico

Only two-thirds of Republicans support;  conversely two-thirds of Independents oppose

Phoenix, AZ (May 4, 2017) –  Arizona is the catalyst for then candidate-now-President Donald Trump where he planted the flag opposing illegal immigration and building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border. We commissioned a poll with multiple questions and the border wall question was one of them – the results were shocking.

Arizona voters surprisingly don’t find a border wall with Mexico necessary with only 37% in agreement and 62% who disagree. In a survey commissioned by KTAR News with nationally recognized polling firm, OH Predictive Insights, 401 active registered Democratic, Republican, Independent and Non-Declared voters across Arizona, based on current active voter registration numbers were sampled. Among the results:

“As Arizona’s News Station, we always want to understand how our community feels on issues key to them in the moment”, said VP/Programming Ryan Hatch.  “Polling Arizona voters on current issues like border security helps KTAR News report and talk about the news daily with an informed perspective.”

“The numbers were frankly shocking,” said Mike Noble, managing partner and chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based leading behavioral research polling company. “When you have one-third of Republicans, 70% of Independents and almost all Democrats thinking a wall is not necessary that should raise a red flag.”

Methodology: This live and automated caller survey was conducted by Phoenix based-OH Predictive Insights on May 1st, 2017, from an active Arizona registered voter sample.  The sample size was 401 completed surveys, with a MoE of +/-4.89%.  35% of surveys were conducted on cell phones and 65% via land lines. The party affiliation, geographic, gender and age demographics accurately reflect active registered voters in Arizona in this sample.

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About OH Predictive Insights: Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 602-254-5159 www.OHpartners. com