Scott Smith Leads In Latest CD-5 Poll

DataOrbital

(Phoenix, AZ) – There has been much speculation over who will run to fill the seat of retiring Congressman Matt Salmon in Congressional District Five. Senate President Andy Biggs is currently the only candidate in the race and announced his campaign with the endorsement of Congressman Salmon.

Even though a number of prominent east valley figures have already taken a pass at the seat, a recently conducted poll shows President Biggs does not have a lock on the seat and that this race is still wide open.

Data Orbital, a Phoenix based consulting firm, today announced the results of a survey conducted of likely Republican primary voters in CD Five. The live poll showed former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith with a 7% lead over President Biggs among likely Republican primary voters. Former Mayor Scott Smith has yet to announce whether or not he will seek the seat.

The question was worded as follows:

Q: If the Republican primary election for Congress in District Five were held today, who would you be most likely to vote for?

Scott Smith – 33%
Andy Biggs – 26%
Undecided – 41%

George Khalaf, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement: “It is clear that President Biggs came out with strong momentum following the endorsement of Congressman Salmon but results show that this race is far from over. Mayor Smith has a solid base of support among east valley Republicans and would be a formidable candidate should he choose to run.”

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This live poll of 500 likely Republican voters in CD Five has a margin of error at plus or minus 4.33 percent, with a 95 percent confidence interval. Respondents were weighted on a number of different demographic figures and responses came evenly from cell phones and landlines. For any questions please contact George Khalaf.

Scott Smith Supports Obamacare Expansion

From the 60 Plus Association

Scott Smith supports the Obamacare expansion which will cost Arizonans hundreds of millions of dollars.

Say NO to Scott Smith

Mesa’s Debt Bomb, thanks to former Mayor Scott Smith

By Gene Dufoe

This brief study of the City of Mesa FY2014/15 Budget has been compiled by Mesa resident Gene Dufoe. Mr. Dufoe is a retired Boeing engineer/manager who possesses the following degrees: BSAE, MSAE, and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance. He is a Precinct Committeeman in LD25. Dufoe supports Danny Ray for Mayor of Mesa, Dr. Ralph Heap for the LD25 Senate seat presently held by Bob Worsley, and Diane Douglas for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Note:  There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  Total will be $580,000,000.  See the City Council Resolution

LOOKING AT THE CITY OF MESA BUDGET FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR 2014-2015

Normally, the City of Mesa publicizes only the millions of dollars of Total General Obligation Bonds, Total Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, Total Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding, not the total bonds obligation or the interest obligation.  However, both need to be exposed.  The City of Mesa Total Bonds outstanding is $1,710,800,001 for FY2013/2014 vs. $1,220,778,673 for FY2008/09.

The scheduled interest to be paid through 2037/38 is $302,539,619 for only the General Obligation Bonds issued during Scott Smith’s administration.  This is nearly three times greater than was paid on the General Obligation Bonds issued under the previous administrations.  The comparison of the Utility Revenue Bonds is even worse, $71,360,274 vs. $327,537,942, or 4.6 times greater.

During Mayor Hawker’s service from 2000 to 2008, several bond issues were refinanced from earlier administrations, and the total interest paid was only a fraction of the repaid principal.  However, the financial situation of Mayor Smith’s term of office from 2008 to his recent resignation in June, 2014, has placed the City of Mesa in worsening financial terms for the future.

Without considering the interest on the General Obligation Bonds, Utility Revenue Bonds, Street & Highway User Revenue Bonds, and Excise Tax Obligations, nearly $500,000,000 of additional bonds have been approved during Mayor Smith’s period of service.  Interest on the General Obligation and Utility Revenue Bonds will add $630,000,000 through 2037-38, totaling more than $1.1 BILLION additional debt added during Mayor Smith’s time in office.  The interest on the $114,650,000 Street and Highway User Bonds and the $216,115,000 Total Excise Tax Obligations outstanding in FY2013-14 will add to the $630,000,000 interest total; however, the exact amounts were not readily available.

In addition to those bonds outstanding (and the bonds which have been authorized, but not yet sold), the Proposed Five-Year Capital Improvement Program has $680,392,701 which needs future authorization.  These proposed bonds, needing future authorization, will likely be voted on in the next 3-4 years.  Per the FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary, the City is not obligated to a project by inclusion within the CIP.  Each project is considered individually by the City Council during the year.

The reason that the interest scheduled was so much higher during Mayor Smith’s years in office is that both the length of the bonds were extended, and the payment of principal was also substantially delayed until the last years of the bond life.  For example, under the previous mayor, $11,705,000 2005 General Obligation Bond life was 18 years and the total interest scheduled was $4,128,700 or Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 36.9%.

However, under Mayor Smith, the $30,865,000 2010 General Obligation bond life was 20 years, the total interest scheduled to be paid is $26,416,950 and Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.59%.  The reason was no principal was scheduled for the first 9 years, principal payments of $1,115,000 to $2,500,000 were scheduled for the tenth to the nineteenth years, and in the twentieth year, the principal payment of $13,225,000 was scheduled.  The Total Interest Paid/Principal Repaid = 85.6%.

However, that is NOT the worst.  The Utility Revenue Bonds which are paid by the City of Mesa residents through the Secondary Property Tax and the monthly utility bills are managed by the City of Mesa’s business portion, called Enterprise Fund.  The Enterprise Fund transferred $173,606,136 to other current obligations of the city, per the City of Mesa Summary of Estimated Revenues and Expenditures, FY2014/15.

For the $50,380,000 2010 Utility Systems Revenue Bonds, the City of Mesa has scheduled interest payments of $3,073,280 annually for 24 years with no principal payments for the first 23 years with the entire principal scheduled $50,380,000 for the 24th year.  The total interest scheduled is $73,380,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 134.2%.

Slightly less bad for the taxpayers are the $36,385,000 2014 Utility Systems Revenue bonds in which the City of Mesa has scheduled estimated interest payments of $1,819,250 annually for the first 23 years with no principal payments for the first 22 years; principal payments of $20,000,000 in the 23rd year and scheduled interest payment of $829,250 and principal payment of $16,385,000 in the 24th year.  Total interest $42,620,000.  The ratio of Total Interest Paid/Principal repaid = 117.43%.

If the voters do not approve the State Imposed Expenditure Limitation Home Rule Continuation, then the City of Mesa will need to eliminate $184 million from the budget, starting with FY2015-16.  The one-time override alternative allows for exceeding the state imposed expenditure limitation for one fiscal year.  If the State Auditor General determines a city has exceeded the expenditure limitation, a portion of its share of the state income tax allocation is withheld.   The penalty is assessed as follows:

Exceeding by less than 5% – penalty will equal to amount of the excess.

Exceeding by more than 5%, but less than 10% – penalty will be three times the excess.

Exceeding by more than 10% – penalty will be five times the excess or 1/3 of the state income tax allocation, whichever is less.  If the State limitation has been exceeded by more than 10%, the expected penalty to apply to FY2014/15 would be $17.7M (based on one-third of the FY2014/15 state-shared revenue).

The FY2014/15 budget does not allow the City to address the backlog of needs considered to be lifecycle or infrastructure replacements.

The contributions to the vehicle replacement fund do not address the full annual need nor do they allow for a reserve balance to mitigate future years where needs may spike.

The aging of buildings, technology, equipment, etc., requires scheduled upgrades/replacement.

A special commission of private-sector, public-sector, and retired personnel should be formed to make recommendations to the Mayor and the City Council for actions to be taken.  It is time for the City of Mesa to cut all but the absolutely essential services and reduce the city payroll, plus have active and retired city employees pay a larger portion of their medical, dental, and vision expenses.  By contrast, most private business employees pay a high percentage of medical, dental, and vision expenses; retirees have paid for their entire medical, dental, and vision expenses for many years.  Recommendations for the Arizona State Retirement System, Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, and Elected Officials Retirement Plan should also be considered.  Privatization of some or all of the services provided by the Enterprise Fund should be part of any such study.

References

  1. City of Mesa Executive Budget Plan 2014/15 & FY2014/15 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Cost Comparison
  2. Secondary Property Tax – Resolution No. 10478
  3. FY2014/15 Legal Budget – Resolution No. 10473
  4. FY2014/15 Capital Improvement Program – Resolution No. 10472
  5. FY2014/15 Final Budget City Council Report
  6. FY2014/15 Final Budget Summary
  7. FY2014/15 Home Rule – State Imposed Expenditure Limitation – Home Rule Continuation Presentation
  8. FY2008/09 Community Report Average Homeowner’s Annual Cost Comparison
  9. FY2008/09 Tentative Five-Year Capital Improvement Program
  10. FY2008/09 Final Budget City Council Report
  11. Pledged Debt Analysis For Continuation of Impact Fees City of Mesa, Arizona, prepared by Duncan Associates, April 16, 2013
  12. Preliminary Official Statement dated May 15, 2014; $37,550,000 City of Mesa, Arizona, General Obligation Bonds Series 2014, APPENDIX B
See Also Questions from Mr. Dufoe and answers from Ryan Wimmer, Mesa’s Office of Management and Budget:

1.  General Obligation Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa GO refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

Series

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS191242-MS166550-MD322389.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217101-MS192409-MD373504.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52419-MS223977-MS616035.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP609526-EP476667-EP877042.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EA522649-EA407230-EA804180.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2.  The General Obligation bonds (Various Purpose) are as follows:

What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Bonds – Various Purpose bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236093-MS211401-MD411149.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52250-MS223608-MS615968.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259729-MS235037-MD458462.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270908-MS267339-MD528351.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281039-MS280291-MD568491.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431918-EP339205-EP735523.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2011       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER460776-ER359128-ER755820.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP644009-EP503264-EP904180.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666235-ER517392-ER919995.pdf (see page 8 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

3.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility refunding bonds over the past six years?  When are the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188305-MS163613-MD316547.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2002A    OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS197504-MS172812-MD334877.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217102-MS192410-MD373506.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006 (both issues)  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52416-MS223973-MS616031.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS254547-MS229855-MD448008.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270955-MS267402-MD528506.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608885-EP476146-EP876514.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012 Taxable Refunding.  OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP615721-EP481744-EP882241.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

4.  Utility Systems Revenue Bonds (Utility Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Utility Improvement bonds when issued?  When are the bond annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2002       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS188116-MS163424-MD316173.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203914-MS179222-MD347345.pdf (see page 12 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222295-MS197603-MD383623.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS235923-MS211231-MD410807.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52220-MS223454-MS615938.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259549-MS234857-MD458102.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2008       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS270681-MS267070-MD527833.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS281167-MS280466-MD568877.pdf (see page 9 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2009 WIFA Loans – WIFA loans are not rated by the rating agencies.  Redemption schedules are attached.   (See 2009 WIFA loans.)

2010       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP431713-EP339023-EP735345.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP643903-EP503173-EP904086.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the second cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER666086-ER517255-ER919851.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2014       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP820778-EP635288-EP1036999.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

5.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (refunding) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street and Highway User Revenue Refunding Bonds over the past six years?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS217103-MS192411-MD373508.pdf (see page 14 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS230312-MS205620-MD399580.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2012       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP608850-EP476109-EP876480.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2013       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP759947-EP589453-EP990970.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

6.  Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds (Street Improvement) What was the bond rating for the City of Mesa Street Improvement bonds when issued?  When is the annual bond principal installments being redeemed and at what interest rate?

2003       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS203840-MS179148-MD347197.pdf (see page 13 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2004       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS222376-MS197684-MD383785.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2005       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS236032-MS211340-MD411027.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2006       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS52253-MS223605-MS615966.pdf (see page 10 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates)

2007       OS: http://emma.msrb.org/MS259518-MS234826-MD458040.pdf (see page 11 for ratings and the cover page for principal maturity and interest rates).

7.  Excise Tax Obligations Outstanding

Were the 2010 Highway Project Advancement Notes redeemed at the July 1, 2014, optional redemption date at par? Yes.

What was the bond rating for the 2010 and 2011A City of Mesa Highway Project Advancement Notes since they were issued?

2010 – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP430767-EP338370-EP734691.pdf (see page 10)

2011A – OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP571936-EP448917-EP848828.pdf (see page 14).

What was the bond rating for the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority obligations when they were issued?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/ER583308-ER453122-ER855821.pdf (see page 15)

What is the rating, purpose, refunding, and interest rate paid on the Excise Tax Revenue Obligations issued in 2013?

OS: http://emma.msrb.org/EP751300-EP583298-EP984886.pdf (see page 13 for ratings, the second cover page for interest rates, and “Optional Redemption” on pages 2 and 3 for refunding provisions)

Regarding the purpose, from the cover page:

The City of Mesa, Arizona (the “City”) Excise Tax Revenue Obligations, Series 2013 (the “Obligations”) will be executed and delivered in the principal amount of $94,060,000 for the purpose of providing funds to (i) acquire and construct the Project (as defined herein) and (ii) pay costs of execution and delivery of the Obligations.

See “The Obligations” on page 2 and “The Project” on page 4.

8.  Have any of the overlapping jurisdictions informed the City of Mesa that they were in danger of not meeting their bonded debt obligations under the “Direct and Overlapping General Obligation Bonded Debt Outstanding” category? No.

9.  What is the schedule of planned sales of any authorized, but not issued, City of Mesa General Obligation bonds, Utility System Revenue bonds, Street and Highway User Revenue bonds or Excise Tax Obligations notes since 2013?

General Obligation and Utility System forecasted issuances are attached.  (SeeAuthorized Bonds – Issuance Forecast.)  There are currently no plans to issue Street and Highway User Revenue or Excise Tax bonds.

Have there been any additional refunding issues replacing series issues since 2013? No.

10.  Are there be any City of Mesa General Obligation Bonds issues, Utility System Revenue Bonds issues, Street and Highway User Revenue Bonds issues or Excise Tax Obligation notes to be submitted to the voters on the November, 2014 ballot?

There are four utility system revenue bond authorization questions on the November 2014 ballot, one each for Water, Wastewater, Natural Gas, and Electric.  See the City Council resolution at: http://mesa.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1821143&GUID=DB2A249F-5A7B-459F-A506-2A6379B8B9EC.

Election Complaint: Scott Smith Failed to Disclose Travel and Event Gifts

Smith ComplaintFriday afternoon, Mesa resident and city hall activist Gene Dufoe filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State arguing that former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith failed to disclose travel and event gifts, a requirement candidates must follow when seeking public office.

The complaint provides a detailed list of travel expense gifts that Smith did not claim on his personal financial disclosure form when he submitted the forms on May 21, 2014.

Exhibits in the complaint detail expense reports filed with the City of Mesa in the year leading up to his announcement for Governor. Those same gifts are also required to be disclosed with the Secretary of State when becoming a candidate.

Smith’s failure to disclose the gifts draws into question whether he may have any conflicts of interest issues related to seeking the office of governor.

Dufoe’s complaint states:

Whether Mr. Smith was justified in accepting these gifts is not the issue here; the only issue is that he failed to report them. Arizona has several important reasons to require candidates to disclose gifts. One reason is so that voters may assess whether a candidate is beholden to special interests. The disclosure may reveal the leanings of the candidate on policy issues. It also reduces the possibility of corruption, or the appearance of corruption. Here, the United States Conference of Mayors is a policy-driven organization, and voters have a right to know that they have flown Mr. Smith all around the globe, put him up in nice hotels, and fed him at nice restaurants.

With Wednesday’s controversy over the use of government resources during a campaign trip to Yuma now drawn into question, this latest complaint may reveal a pattern of shielding important financial information from the general public.

In 2011, several Arizona lawmakers were caught up in a controversy surrounding unreported gifts received to travel and attend sporting events. That investigation led to the conviction of the Fiesta Bowl CEO, John Junker. (Arizona Republic article)

Due to conflict of interest issues, the Secretary of State’s office will forward the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for an investigation.

To read the complaint letter, click here.

A Governor and Three Candidates to Yuma

There’s a rumor going around that Wednesday’s trip by Governor Brewer and three statewide candidates who she has endorsed was piggybacked on to official business – paid for by Arizona taxpayers.

What has given this rumor legs is modern technology.

According to two sources, Michele Reagan, one of the three candidates sent out a tweet including a photo of her on a plane with an official state seal in the background. Once the photo was tweeted it was quickly deleted.

Brewer’s trip to Yuma was covered by local Yuma media.

Holly Sweet of the Yuma CBS affiliate, KSWT reported that Brewer had official business with Yuma city hall before heading to a political rally at the Kress Ultra Lunge with Scott Smith, Randy Pullen and Michele Reagan – all candidates who she has endorsed.

Christy Wilcox also reported on the visit:

http://youtu.be/jfQRUbRBS3w

The Yuma Daily Sun also covered the event which included a number of photos.

The Governor’s official website also posted nothing about an official visit to Yuma on her public calendar.

All this begs the following questions:

If media reported Governor Brewer making the trip as a meeting with Yuma City Hall, why would that visit not be listed on the official calendar?

Did Governor Brewer, Scott Smith, Michele Reagan all travel together to Yuma?

Did all three candidates travel with Governor Brewer together aboard an official government or chartered plane to Yuma?

If all three candidates traveled to Yuma with the Governor on an official state plane or chartered plane, will their campaigns reimburse the taxpayers of Arizona?

Is Governor Brewer lending the weight of her office to assist those candidates she has endorsed?

Finally, were there any members of the media who traveled with the Governor or the three candidates to and/or from Yuma?

We hope each of the campaigns and the Governor will clear up these questions.

 

Take The Quiz! Who Said It?

Who Said It!

It’s time to have a little fun and see if our readers can tell the difference between Fred DuVal and Scott Smith. We’ve pulled a number of quotes from or about each candidate on issues important to Arizonans. We’ll post the issue followed by the quote and then let the readers guess who said it. (And no using Google search to cheat!)

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

A. “…we cannot continue with a broken system that keeps millions of people living in the shadows of our communities.”

B. “he supports driver’s licenses for young immigrants awarded work permits under a new Obama administration program. He also praised the U.S. Senate’s Gang of Eight for working on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

DREAMERS

A. “My first action as governor will be to rescind Gov Brewer’s Executive Order against driver’s licenses for Dreamers.”

B. “The federal government’s half-steps on immigration are not doing us any favors, taking us further from the goal. These side discussions, such as the driver’s licenses discussion, are a distraction. The end game is a fair and just immigration process that includes allowing our DREAMERS to become legal.”

SB 1070

A. On Gov. Brewer “I think she got 1070 wrong…

B. “It’s not exactly the law I would have written.”

COMMON CORE

A. “I believe (Arizona’s) College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) accomplish these objectives, and I support their implementation.”

B. “I fully support Common Core and applaud Governor Brewer’s efforts to ensure the implementation of these vital standards despite opposition from some members of her party.”

C. “And what we have proposed here, whether you call it common core or ready achievement or whatever, I don’t care the label you put on it, we have to do it. …”

D. “Rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington, D.C. approach to education, Common Core is a perfect example of how states can lead the way on improving education.”

OBAMACARE MEDICAID EXPANSION

A. “It would be a terrible mistake not to expand Medicaid on federal dollars.”

B. “I supported the governors Medicaid restoration because she did what was best for Arizona.”

TAXES / BUDGET

A. “After the massive cuts to K-12 schools, defunding all-day kindergarten, and ending the once-cent sales tax that funds our children’s schools, the last thing the folks at the Capitol should do is to set another tripwire on our children’s road to opportunity.”

B. “Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a state legislator cutting spending without raising taxes.”

ENVIRONMENT

A. “It’s the Senate’s turn to pass energy-climate legislation.”

B. “I welcome the opportunity to join with 1,000 of my peers in this truly bipartisan effort to improve not only the environment, but our communities and our nation.”

POLITICAL LEANINGS:

A. “…a self-described moderate, said serving in the House would be a “wonderful opportunity to reach across the divide.”

B. “He will allow himself to be called a progressive, but takes pains to note the lowercase ‘p’…”

 

Feel free to post your answers in the comments!

Scott Smith Flips and Withers over Kyoto Protocol

The race for Arizona governor took to the national airwaves on Hugh Hewitt’s show today as the conservative talk show host took the former Mayor of Mesa to task over his record on the Kyoto Protocol.

The conversation originated as Hugh Hewitt discussed his op-ed in the Washington Examiner in which he made the case for electing Doug Ducey as Arizona’s next governor – “Unlike his ice cream, Doug Ducey won’t melt in Arizona’s political heat

Hugh lambasted Ducey’s main foe Scott Smith and Governor Jan Brewer as big government Republicans (Brewer endorsed Smith last week for his support of expanding Obamacare in Arizona.) In addition to Obamacare expansion, Hugh mentioned Smith’s support for Common Core and the Kyoto Protocol. Scott Smith Twitter trolls then began attacking Hewitt online which prompted more discussion about Smith’s record.

Scott Smith then tweeted to Hewitt to let him on the show so he (Hewitt) would learn something

Smith Hewitt Tweet

Hugh cleared the phone lines and invited the mayor to call in to discuss his positions.

Scott Smith called in and Hewitt then proceeded to cross-examine him on why he supported the US Conference Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (Kyoto Protocol) as the 1,000 signatory.

SmithUSConfKP

Smith then tried to argue why he signed off as the 1,000 mayor but wouldn’t mount a defense why he opposed provisions of the document.

Here’s the full audio of the call:

As the audio reveals, Scott Smith flipped and flopped over his support for the Agreement but then withered over his objections.

Hewitt pressed Smith if he even reviewed the the press release announcing his support of the agreement and why he didn’t demand a retraction, correction or clarification of his signature on Kyoto Protocol Agreement. Smith’s answer was he didn’t review it and didn’t want to cause waves.

Any listener who heard the exchange is left to believe that if Mayor Scott Smith was willing to sign off on the Kyoto Protocol without any protest, what kind of leadership could we expect from a Governor Smith when the EPA begins pressuring Arizona?

Call it a flip, flop or a wither. We don’t thing Scott Smith is up to the job of Governor.

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A follow-up: Negotiations appear to be taking place via Twitter for Smith to call in again to the Hugh Hewitt show on Tuesday. We’ll wait and see if that actually happens.

Scott Smith’s Pursuit of Big Pay Raises

At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.

Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.

Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.

Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.

During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.

If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.

During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.

One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.

The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.

Mesa Mayor & Council Compensation Footnotes

One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.

Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.

Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.

But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.

Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.

For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.

Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.

Scott Smith: His multimillion-dollar foreclosures, settled class action lawsuits, unpaid tax liens

What Scott Smith doesn’t want you to find out…

S-Files

2 multimillion-dollar foreclosures, 2 settled class action lawsuits, $78,000 in unpaid tax liens

PHOENIX (August 4) – Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith wants to make business records an issue in the Arizona governor’s race, but refuses to address questions about his business background. Today, The S Files looks into his record as a homebuilder, including two multimillion-dollar foreclosures and two settled class action lawsuits.

“Scott Smith and his campaign keep underscoring that he ‘pays his debts’ and ‘keeps his promises,’ but, with two multimillion-dollar foreclosures, two settled class action lawsuits and $78,000 in outstanding tax liens, his record shows that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Melissa DeLaney, spokesperson for the Ducey campaign. “If his plan to “Build a Better Arizona” is anything like his background as a homebuilder, it’s bound to be equally as defective. Arizona voters deserve better.”

SOLCITO LANE INVESTORS LLC
In January 2010, a $4.2 million note was called by a bank with regards to the development of a property by Solcito Lane Investors LLC. Scott Smith is co-owner of Solcito Lane Investors and he personally guaranteed the loan. The property sold at auction in April 2010 for $3.5 million – resulting in a $700,000 loss to the lender.

GW INVESTORS I, LLC
In May 2009, a $5.54 million note was called by a bank with regards to the development of properties by GW Investors I, LLC. Scott Smith again personally guaranteed the loan. The property sold at auction for $2.5 million, resulting in a $3 million loss to the lender.

2 CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SETTLEMENTS

Scott Smith’s homebuilding company, Great Western Homes, settled two class action lawsuits with residents of Stonegate Estates, located in Mesa.Both cases were eventually settled but, curiously, no details on the settlements are available.

The plaintiffs claimed that Great Western Homes’ poor building standards led to:

  • Defective architectural building resulting in water intrusion through several sources, including:
    • Defectively constructed stucco exterior
    • Roofs with defective installation
    • Windows with defective installation
    • Defectively planned, designed and constructed grading and drainage systems, and block wall failure

Resulting in:

  • Defective architectural elements resulting in water intrusion and damage
  • Defective grading and draining systems resulting in cracking, deterioration and weakening of building components.

State Rep Paul Boyer Files Complaint with Clean Elections, SOS over Scott Smith Campaign Coordination

Randy ReddState Representative Paul Smith filed the following complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office along with the Citizens Clean Election Commission regarding illegal campaign coordination between the Scott Smith campaign, Better Leaders for Arizona and Randy Redd. In the complaint, Boyer alleges that Smith’s campaign and the independent expenditure committee illegally coordinated an attack against Doug Ducey using ads. The complaint states that Smith’s committee and Better Leaders for Arizona violated Arizona Revised Statute § 16-911.

Here is the complain in entirety:

August 1, 2014

 

Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Citizens Clean Elections Commission
1616 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

I submit the following campaign finance violation complaint against the following individuals and committees:

1.         Scott Smith
            Smith for Governor
            PO Box 5057
Mesa, AZ 85211

2.         Jim Simpson
            Virginia Simpson
            Better Leaders for Arizona
            6022 N. 51st Place
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

3.         Randy Redd
            52 W. Red Fern Rd
San Tan Valley, AZ 85140

In late July, 2014, Better Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure committee making expenditures in the Arizona governor’s race, released on its website a video advertisement featuring Randy Redd.  Mr. Redd is a failed Cold Stone Creamery franchisee.  The advertisement included commentary from Mr. Redd complaining about his failed experience as a Cold Stone Creamery franchisee.  Mr. Redd blames his business failure on gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey.

On August 1, 2014, the Smith for Governor Campaign issued a press release featuring Mr. Redd.  The press release tracks the same talking points that Mr. Redd used in his advertisement with Better Leaders.

The definition of independent expenditure is found at ARS § 16-911.  That statute provides that an expenditure is not “independent” if:

1. Any officer, member, employee or agent of the political committee making the expenditure is also an officer, member, employee or agent of the committee of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure or an agent of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure.

2. There is any arrangement, coordination or direction with respect to the expenditure between the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employee or agent of that person.

Or

4. The expenditure is based on information about the candidate’s plans, projects or needs, or those of the candidate’s campaign committee, provided to the expending person by the candidate or by the candidate’s agents or any officer, member or employee of the candidate’s campaign committee with a view toward having the expenditure made.

The facts illustrate several reasons for your agency to open an investigation to see whether the Better Leaders video and Smith press release are not “independent” of one another.  Both communications featured the same person, Mr. Redd, who complained about his failed Cold Stone franchise.  In both communications, Mr. Redd follows the same basic script.  In both communications, Mr. Redd blames Doug Ducey for his personal business failure.  Both communications were released close together in time.

Applying the facts to the law also justifies an investigation.  By providing services to both committees, Mr. Redd may be acting as a member, employee, or agent of both by supplying them with similar information about his experience.  He may be directing information on what content about his failures that each committee should include in the ad, based on the “plans, projects or needs” of Smith’s campaign.  It is reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign helped direct the Better Leaders expenditure through Mr. Redd and a pass-through, by requesting that they post the video a few weeks prior to Smith issuing his press release.  It is also reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign worked directly with Better Leaders to coordinate this “double punch,” with Better Leaders’ video followed by an aggressive press release and media campaign by Smith.

In conclusion, I ask that your agencies open an investigation into Better Leaders, Smith, and Mr. Redd based on the apparent lack of “independence” between the video and press release.

The contents of this letter are based on my personal knowledge.  I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Sincerely,
Paul Boyer