Archives for May 2009

Arizona Right to Life Condemns the Murder of Kansas Abortion Provider Dr. George Tiller

Arizona Right to Life is committed to the protection of all innocent human life through peaceful and lawful methods.

The Associated Press has reported that Dr. George Tiller, one of the few providers in the United States of late term abortions, was gunned down in his Kansas church this morning at approximately 10:00 am. Dr. Tiller died at the scene.

Witchita Police have announced that they have a suspect in custody.

Arizona Right to Life extends its deepest condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family and joins in the call for his assassin to be captured and brought to swift and legal justice.

At this time the motive for the murder is unknown. It is speculated that Dr. Tiller was murdered in an act of anti-abortion violence.  Arizona Right to Life unequivocally denounces the murder of Dr. Tiller, regardless of the motivation of the killer. Since its inception, Arizona Right to Life has always maintained a strict policy of non-violence. We condemn any and all acts of violence as a means to end the abortion conflict, and reject any association with organizations or individuals who do employ violence in their efforts.

Arizona Right to Life will continue to work faithfully through Educational, Legislative and other peaceful, legal methods to bring a full restoration of the right to life to all innocent human beings, from conception to natural death, and a provision of protection for women, the elderly, the handicapped and others who would be victimized by radical anti-life efforts.

Jesse Kelly on Drudge

Look who’s buying advertising on Drudge Report. And I’m not talking about the wierd lady on Britain’s Got Talent. This is the latest screenshot.

In case you can’t read the ad at the top of Drudge Report, it’s an ad for Jesse Kelly’s campaign committee. Jesse is running for Congress in Arizona’s congressional district 8 against the astronaut’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords.

This race is going to get very serious.

Inflationary Interest Rate Creep Targets the Valley

by Gayle Plato

You may be bored with my quantitative easing talk and with my economics blogging, but this doesn’t get any more real. We are at Mortgage Implosion Ground Zero in Phoenix: every one of us is either upside down in a property or knows a loved one who is going belly up. Get ready, because the experts are NOT forecasting lots of positives. Do not believe the recovery story pushed out by the Obama Administration just yet. We are seeing the interest-rate hike I noted was coming. I just had hoped we’d have a bit more buy and sell of homes to actual residents and not just investors dropping cash on foreclosures and short sales.  

 On May 27th, the mortgage market was so volatile that banks and mortgage bankers across the nation had a number of price changes which then led to a shut down on the ability to lock loans around 1pm PST. Banks could not keep up with the lightning jumps of interest rates.

There might be a real concern for anyone not locked, or waiting out the refinance process. Short sales are notoriously slow in process, and meanwhile the average guy or gal realizes their rates have jumped. Some individuals in the middle of deals will be wooed to take 3/1 and 5/1 arms, and this too is a risky endeavor. For those of you thinking refinancing the little bit of equity will save you, get ready. Banks are nervous. Truth is, a number of people are going to see rates jump while waiting and then be told they don’t qualify. Banks are going to stall out as they want to wait and see if the rates drop back. What bank wants to lock when there are hyper leapfrog rates?

It’s the desperate fact than many people cannot turn any deal down as the biggest investment they have is dropping like a stone in value. For those of us who live in the outer reaches of the Valley, we also see gas prices are creeping again. It makes us wonder; how do we pay for it all? Many are just giving up.

Look at the major bankers and lenders giving up because they are not getting paid. Advanta just turned off the taps, a major lender to individuals but more aggressively to small businesses. Did you get the letter this week saying hey, ‘use it or lose it with your credit line, oh and we cut it?’ Advanta is liquidating because they are facing huge losses. Advanta is an example of a deflation.  The average guy and small businessman is in deflation.

But then inflation does not first hit the grocery store or the gas station, because this ‘bubble” of supposed growth is  governmental growth. It’s the Fed pumping in cash, buying up all of the trash loans. Remember the US Government owns Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and can absorb the Sham-Wow of toxic debt.  That money then eases in through stocks. Notice stories saying the stock market is better and it has gone up these months. It’s the FED Pump and it’s artificial—QUANTITATIVE EASING.

Know this: since January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama took office, the 10-year Treasury bond rate jumped from 2.35% to 3. 46%; all interest rates are based off of this number. Therefore, interest rates are up 47% in just over four months. The bonds themselves went down in value. That’s why major mortgage backed bond holders (Asian markets) are asking very sternly, why are you, US Treasury, buying your own debt?

The US Dollar dropped in value during his same period of time 8.6%. So not only did the ten year bond value go down, the US dollar it’s valued in went down. This is a double loss for China and other major bond holders. So the US Government is literally borrowing huge amounts from China but only in short term. All  the long term buy is US buying US. It’s the snake eating its tail once again.

“Rates are all over the map as lenders assess the damage and price cautiously.  Now, it is a mad dash to only focus upon the loans that are locked and have a chance of funding. If the locked loans are not funded quickly and the interest rate complex continues to experience this extreme of volatility, serious losses can occur.”

‘With respect to yesterday (5/27/09) in the mortgage market — yes, it is as bad as you can imagine. No call can be made on the near-term, however, until we see where this settles out over the next week of so. If rates do stay in the mid 5%’s, the mortgage and housing market will encounter a sizable stumble. The following is not speculation. This is what happens when rates surge up in a short period of time”
Other References

Arizona Right to Life Always a Worthy Cause

Received this request from John Jakubczyk of AZRTL- 

 “I would not post this message except that it is serious. The organization needs a quick infusion of funds to handle some annual expenses that are now due. Combine that with a one time capital expense to upgrade our data base software and a drop in regular donations and we have a serious and urgent need for your help.
Please consider sending something ( $25, 50, or 100) to help us continue the important work here in the state. Thanks.”

From the AZRTL site:

A non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)4 organization, Arizona Right to Life is committed to articulating and protecting the right to life of all human beings, born and unborn. This is accomplished by educating people on the value of every human life and by promoting and supporting pro-life legislation, public policy and elected officials. Arizona Right to Life is the oldest, largest and strongest pro-life organization in the State of Arizona.



Sonoran Alliance Awaits GOP Denouncement of $225K Tax Hike Campaign

With the revelation of the Governor’s business supporters raising $225,000 dollars in order to target Republican legislators to back a “Balanced Budget” instead-read “RAISE TAXES” proposal, many of us are dismayed that Republican leadership appears to be “in the loop” on the strategy (perception is reality?)

If the party really wants to stand for the principles of reducing taxes, getting spending under control and a return to the party’s cornerstone of being fiscally responsible, then why is leadership silent on this campaign?

One would expect that the party would denounce any campaign to target itself and violate the principles that have cost the the party elections at the federal level over the last two election cycles.

Sonoran Alliance would ask that the GOP stand up against efforts to undermine these principles and reinforce the perception that Republicans are fiscally irresponsible and believe that the way to prosperity is by taxing and spending.

We’re waiting for the denouncement…


On a side note, this has got to put the good folks over at KFYI-550 and KNST-790 in an awkward position. We’re willing to bet that “Building a Better Arizona” will dump a good portion of the $75,000 into both of these radio stations beginning the week of June 8th. These are stations with high profile personalities – Bruce Jacobs, Barry Young, Rush Limbaugh, JD Hayworth, etc. who were outspoken in the April 15th Tea Party Movement. Now they’re going to find themselves running ads that run against the grain of everything they’ve been preaching against – raising taxes, bailouts and citizen activism.


And yet another side note. We’re wondering where the Republican Congressional delegation is on this “House Divided” scenario. With the national debate raging over the heart and soul of the party and the need for the GOP to get back to the principles of fiscal responsibility, will our congressional delegation side with legislative Republicans against the $4 BILLION tax hike or with business and community leaders a.k.a . “Building a Better Arizona” who provide access to major fundraising resources? We believe Congressman Flake has already gone on the record opposing the tax hike. I guess we’re waiting for members of the remaining GOP delegation to show their cards…

Survivor: America…are we being voted off the island?

Before I get to the point of my rambling, it is difficult to find a level of importance in the issues before us when the deep sorrow felt by the Martin family overshadows most of my thoughts. There is rarely a couple that is so symbiotically connected and functional as Dean and Kerry. Our human condition limits our ability to physically affect much in such times. The enormity of the losses suffered this week requires our prayers; that is in fact the best we can give and is sufficient to cover all hurts.
I, like many conservatives, find myself totally perplexed at the current state of the State. There is no denying “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is no longer recognizable in the Statism controlled America. Such an out of date vision has been replaced by something foreign to the wise men that penned our founding documents and struggled to overthrow tyranny.

Traditional cultural attitudes and standards are changing rapidly. The paradigm left-shift has moved us from a capitalist economy to a pseudo-socialist with a touch of commune-ism thrown in for good measure. Did the founders envision a national movement to define marriage when they were debating the Bill of Rights? Is that why we have the 10th Amendment? They gave us all they had, or congruent with their vision, and figured everything else was covered by #10?

So, what is a true-believer to do? I am not alone in my belief that the reason our Republic has survived and thrived through a rebellious origin, repeated attempts at military overthrow of the new government from foreign invasions, a civil war that would have destroyed a weaker society, and survived World Wars and a Great Depressions to be the world standard of liberty…is because of the words of those “old school” fellows such as Jefferson and Franklin. I can’t help feeling that as we erode the foundation of our foundation we are charting our own course for a speedy demise of America. Name and geography not withstanding; America is not defined by our borders and our flag but by our liberty which is defined by our Constitution.

In this wilderness the need for leaders is evident. Lots of folks are auditioning and lots are happy to be a part of the chorus. Loud and often is not the definition of leader. Conservatives must stop defining success by which fellow conservative they took out last and embrace the idea that cooperative thought based on the 80-90% agreement is how this country was founded. Our angst is being played out daily in the bitter bickering within while the left rolls on and rolls over the Constitution. Is it possible to lay down our knives, put away the sarcasm, leave the guns at the door and offer our country a chance to survive? That does not mean suppress our will or surrender our values but to channel it toward absolutely attainable success in reaffirming our inalienable right for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Gaming On the Budget

Sonoran Alliance has learned that a poll conducted earlier this year (February, 2009) by Arizona Opinion (Margaret Kenski), also included questions about voter attitude toward using gaming as a source of revenue to solve Arizona’s budget crisis.

According to a source close to details on the polling data, public opinion toward gaming has improved markedly since a poll was taken a year ago by another reputable pollster, Public Opinion Strategies. Both pollsters surveyed 600 likely voters.

Sonoran Alliance was able to obtain a summary of the results for each of these polls. Kenski’s poll further drilled down into specific legislative districts where gaming was prevalent and active. Districts with horse and dog track gaming operations were more supportive and comfortable with the gaming proposal because of their familiarity with gaming.

Here are several of the questions asked in the May 2008 Poll:

“As you may know, Arizona is facing budget deficits. In general, which of the following options do you support most to eliminate the deficit…”

10% – Raise taxes
43% – Decrease spending   …or…
37% – Find a new source of revenue for state government?

“As you may know, Arizona will have a budget deficit of two billion dollars or more next year. State economists are forecasting additional deficits in succeeding years too. Rather than raise taxes or cut existing programs, some people suggest that part of the solution would include allowing casinos at the six existing horse and greyhound tracks in Arizona. This is projected to raise between $500 million to one billion dollars in tax revenue annually for the state and help close the state’s budget deficit and allow for tax cuts or spending for key state programs in future years. In general, would you say you support or oppose allowing casinos at six existing horse and greyhound racing tracks in Arizona to address the budget deficit?”

The levels of support were 61% in favor, 36% opposed and 3% undecided.

Arizona Opinion’s poll included the following questions:

“In general, which of the following options do you support most to help eliminate the deficit?”
(1. Raise taxes, 2. Decrease spending; or 3. Find a new source of revenue for State government.)

15.3% – Raise taxes
33.3% – Decrease spending
30.3% – Find new source of revenue
19.7% – Mix, other
1.3% – Don’t know, refused

“There is another proposal that is intended to help fix the State budget deficit rather than raising taxes or cutting important programs. Allowing casino gaming at the six existing horse and greyhound racetracks in Arizona would raise between $300 million and $500 million in tax revenue each year for the State. This money could be dedicated to closing the State’s $3 billion budget deficit, cutting taxes or providing additional funding for state programs. In general, would you say that you support or oppose allowing casino gaming at Arizona’s six existing horse and greyhound racetracks to help Arizona taxpayers solve the State budget deficit?”

38.8% – Definitely support
24% – Probably support
8.7% – Probably oppose
24.3% – Definitely oppose
4.2% – Don’t know/undecided/refused

The levels of support were 62.8% in favor, 33% opposed and 4.2% undecided.

Both polls tested arguments for and against the proposals, using language most likely used by opponents and advocates.

After hearing all sides of the issue, the levels of support and opposition varied only slightly.

Of all the arguments tested pro and con, the one people most agreed with was the following:

“One of the Indian tribes plans to spend $550 million to build Arizona’s largest casino in Glendale right next to the University of Phoenix football stadium and 200 miles from its main reservation. If a tribe can build casinos away from their main reservation, it seems only fair to allow the horse and greyhound racetracks to have casino gaming at their six locations, making the playing field a bit more level and helping both the racing industry and state revenues.”

So as you can see the big question is will the Governor and Legislature place another option on the table? Rather than resort to a “temporary” sales tax increase, will the Governor advocate for sources of revenue in order to make up lost revenue?

Long (and dull) Knives Distract From Real Story

The blogosphere is alive with reports of a coordinated effort to spend $225,000 in 17 districts, hoping to pressure lawmakers of both parties into supporting Governor Brewer’s efforts to raise the sales tax.  The group conducting the effort is called Building A Better Arizona 2012 and the consultants who designed the campaign are High Ground, who are also consultants to Governor Brewer.  Several media sources got their hands on an email that contained the plan, as well as a list of the two dozen or so people who received it, all of whom are either close to the Governor or to the BABA2012 effort.

Much of the coverage is on the effort itself and the effects it will have on Brewer and her relationship with Republicans at the Legislature.  One blog though, usually a source of intellectual nourishment, decided to take the opportunity (yet again) to take shots at AZGOP Chairman Randy Pullen, who was one of the names copied on the email.  Sean Noble’s “Noble Thinking” blog has a history of anti-Pullen bias, and Noble himself has been on the attack against the GOP boss since Pullen first ran for the office back in 2006.  The other twenty-plus people who also received the email weren’t even mentioned in Noble’s blog post, titled “AZ GOP Gov. Brewer And Team Launch Campaign Against Republican Legislators“.  Remarkably, in Noble’s coverage, the AZ GOP actually gets top billing as the leader of the effort, besting even the Governor herself, whose role in all of this is altogether clear.

Noble writes “It is stunning that Pullen is participating in a campaign that literally goes after incumbent Republican legislators when we are going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.”  The rhetoric here is standard political spin from an experience hand.  With the entire Legislature elected every election, when are we ever not “going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.”?  Never.  But his language is designed to imply that Pullen’s involvement is made so much more shocking because of its timing.  We could note that the campaign targets Republican and Democrat districts, which would make Noble’s portrayal of this effort strictly as anti-Republican as yet another exaggeration, except that to do so is to miss the much larger error.  Randy Pullen and the AZ GOP will have no role in this effort, and Noble could have found that out by just making a phone call and asking.  That’s what the bloggers over at Gila Courier did as part of their coverage, and its a long distance phone call for them.

We expect that AZ GOP personnel (including the chairman) are participants in meetings where the Governor and her agenda are represented and discussed.  The same goes for legislative meetings.  So we can’t say as we’re surprised to see AZ GOP names on the list of recipients of the email.  But when an email is sent out asking for “input on the strategy”, that’s a pretty good sign that the recipients haven’t signed on to anything and that the plan itself is not final.  It certainly is enough that a good reporter or blogger would know to make some phone calls and perform some fact checks before accusing any of the recipients of leading the charge.

The real story here is the steadfast dedication that Governor Brewer is showing to the passage of a tax increase at a time when even the crazies in California won’t vote to pass one.  You could write some good stories about the internal debate at the Legislature, or even about the lack of support that the tax hike is getting from Democrats.  Now that is unusual.

Instead, Noble pulls out the long knives to try and take another slice off of his old nemesis, GOP boss Randy Pullen.  Two victories as State Party Chairman later, we’re pretty sure that Pullen is over Sean Noble.  Noble, and his readers, would be well served if Noble would finally get over Pullen.

Governor Brewer Shills To Launch $225K Media Blitz

Here’s another one from the file of “WE TOLD YOU SO!”

Sonoran Alliance has obtained the following Memo which is being circulated by Governor Brewer’s outside consultant, Chuck Coughlin of High Ground, to major business interests and supporters of the Governor’s five-point proposal which includes a temporary $1 BILLION tax increase.

As you can see, the memo was emailed to prominent business leaders who have signed on to Governor Brewer’s $1 BILLION tax increase.  Leaders include, David Martin, President of the Arizona Associate General Contractors (coincidentally a client of High Ground); Martin Shultz, Vice President of Government Affairs of Pinnacle West; John Rivers, President/CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association; Roc Arnett, President of the East Valley Partnership; Todd Sanders, Vice President of Public Affairs and Economic Development of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Thomas Franz, President/CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership; Connie Wilhelm, President of the Home Builders Association of Arizona; Russell Smoldon, Lobbyist with SRP; Ronald Shoopman, President, Southern Arizona Leadership Council; J. Doug Pruitt, Chairman/CEO Sundt Corporation; Jack Lunsford, President/CEO, WestMarc; Tom Farley, CEO, Arizona Association or Realtors; Glenn Hamer, President/CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Lisa Atkins, Vice President/Public Policy, Greater Phoenix Leadership.

The memo was also emailed to Republican Party leadership including Chairman Randy Pullen and Executive Director Brett Mecum.

The memo includes a list of “targeted” legislators and a timeline of strategic events. One name you won’t find on the target list is LD 3, Senator Ron Gould.

Here is the text:

This is a Strategy Timeline based on the rapid implementation of elements designed to create a concentrated and sustained effort to encourage legislative support for a balanced budget approach. The purpose of detailing the elements of the campaign plan is to provide you with a draft timeline, so we can coordinate the successful implementation of the plan. The strategy and messaging may change based on the shifting climate of the legislature.

The focus of this effort will be targeted at the following legislative districts: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27 and 30.

Week of June 1
· Press Conference: Beginning June 3rd. Press Conferences with Governor and Business leaders announce support for the budget in regional press conferences across the state.
· Editorial Boards: Beginning June 3rd. Coordinate with meeting with statewide editorial boards to coincide with press conferences.
· Phone Call 1: Tentative Scheduled: June 4th. Autodial phone call to targeted districts encouraging voters to learn more about the budget and contact their legislators.
· Launch Website: Tentative Scheduled: June 5th. Launch website with budget details and the ability to speak out and contact legislators.
· Email Blast 1: Tentative Scheduled: June 5th. Launch campaign with statewide blast encouraging them to visit website and contact legislators.
· Newspaper Ad 1: Encouraging voters to learn more about the budget and contact their legislators.

Week of June 8
· Launch Radio Commercial: Beginning June 8th. Supporting education and Arizona’s ability to stay competitive in the global marketplace.
· Phone Call 2: Tentative Scheduled: June 10th. Live dial phone call to voters regarding education and giving them the opportunity to be turned directly over to their legislators.
· Email Blast 2: Tentative Scheduled: June 10th. Supporting education and Arizona’s ability to stay competitive in the global marketplace.
· Postcard Mailing: Tentative Scheduled: June 10th. Supporting quality education.
· Newspaper Ad 2: Supporting education with testimonials from education leaders.
· Media Outreach: Set up talk-show interviews, television and other statewide media opportunities to broaden the message. Support the messaging effort through op-eds and letters to the editor.

Week of June 15
· Radio Commercial: Continue supporting education message or launch a final push message.
· Viral Message: Tentative Scheduled: June 15th. Web video touting interviews/messages from supporters and community leaders.
· Phone Call 3: Tentative Scheduled: June 16th. Final targeted push message thanking legislators or challenging them to support the budget.
· Email Blast 3: Tentative Scheduled: June iih. Final targeted push message thanking legislators or challenging them to support the budget.
· Newspaper Ad 3: Final targeted push message thanking legislators or challenging them to support the budget.

This budget contains items that were previously approved as part of the Phase 1 outreach budget. The detail listed here is for all remaining expenditures to continue
public outreach while implementing the new strategies outlined above.

Radio Buy – $75,000
Radio Production – $5,000
Newspaper Advertising – $30,000
Phone Calls – $25,000
Mail – $30,000
Graphic Design – $4,000
Website and Consulting -Integrated Web Strategy – $10,000
ClearComm (2 months at $9,000) – $18,000
HighGround (2 months at $5,000) – $10,000
Email Outreach – $18,000

Total: $225,000

The campaign is being funded and launched by a group called Building a Better Arizona – the name the group took from Governor Brewer’s march 4th speech to the legislature, “Building a Better Arizona.” The group is headed up by David Martin who is a client of High Ground and the President of the Arizona Associated General Contractors. According to the Arizona Associate Contractors website,

Incidentally, the campaign launches next Wednesday (June 3rd) the day before the Governor’s Salute to the Legislature Dinner.

The entire memo can be read here.

More Sad News – Austin Michael Martin

We are grieved to report that Treasurer Dean Martin’s son, Austin Michael Martin, has passed away. Please continue to pray for Dean and his family.

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