• Pretty soon breathing will be “welfare”

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 29 July, 12:13 PM  0 
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    My last post was about Governor Brewer’s “Letter to Fellow Republicans” and the response it got from an outfit called United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives, which claims to be formed of Arizona Republican precinct committeemen in opposition to the Medicaid expansion. Here’s the entire response. Emphasis mine.

    Brewer and the Rogue Republicans versus Reagan and the PC’s.

    Recently Governor Jan Brewer sent an email to “Fellow Republicans”. The drumbeat is old. She takes credit for every piece of legislation the conservative super-majority had to drag her kicking and screaming to sign. She continues a litany of the same old tiring message blatantly treating the precinct committeemen like uninformed, low information voters. Bolding words and underlining and underlining and underlining she once again goes on a tirade of how she only wants to help ensure that crony-capitalism rules the day in Arizona completely ignoring the fact that Obamacare in no way fits in the Republican Party platform. Invoking the words of Ronald Reagan she ignores his conservative message along with the message in the resolutions that every legislative district in Arizona, but one, passed.

    Glaringly absent in the Governor’s repertoire is SB1070. SB1070 is the landmark legislation of Arizona that encompasses our true individualistic spirit and the Governor does not mention it once. State sovereignty exists in the fiber of every Principled Conservative but is lacking in the Governor. She has the audacity to claim that the super majority win in 2010 was due to her one cent sales tax increase, Prop 100, instead of the tireless work of the PC’s fueled by the energy of SB1070!

    The Governor rants for 453 words attempting to justify why she had to shove Obamacare down our throats, completely ignoring Ronald Reagan’s simple statement, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

    The PC’s question if she read the resolutions where they state, “Supporting the big government takeover of our health care system, even for a short term gift of federal funds, does NOT reflect the values of the Republican Party or the interests of the taxpayers of Arizona.”

    She cannot win on the issues so she tries to bedazzle with facts and gloomy predictions of sickness and death when we believe in the Ronald Reagan idea that, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

    She predicts State ruin and attempts to bedazzle with facts throwing around “millions” and “billions” and attempts to differentiate between State and Federal taxes when all the Principled Republicans are asking is what happened to the Ronald Reagan idea, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

    The GOP PC’s understand this and included it in their resolutions, “The long term and evolving costs of the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion will surely bankrupt Arizona just as surely as Obamacare will bankrupt the USA.”

    She then proves that she has not lost her mastery of deceit by stating the fact that “Arizona’s Medicaid program is NOT Obamacare” when she knows full well that she is implementing the Federal Medicaid Expansion, aka Obrewercare and it IS Obamacare. Does she expect us to forget the emails, letters in the mail and herself in interviews telling us we have to accept “Obamacare as the law of the land?” We made it clear we understood this to be an untruth and we said, “The US Supreme Court explicitly ruled that each State is free to reject implementation of the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion and Insurance Exchanges.”

    The PCs reject Brewer’s socialized medicine because they embrace Reagan’s conservatism believing that “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

    The PC’s could not have been clearer “We urge Governor Brewer, and all Republican legislators, to hold the line against enabling the socialist takeover of our health care system and insurance industry by rejecting the Medicaid expansion.”

    When one reaches the end, one cannot help but wonder why this letter is addressed to Republicans when she has gone so far left that she is proving Ronald Reagan correct when he said, “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    So now she demands we “move on” and attempts to lay guilt on the heads of the PC’s she has tramped all over. Her arrogance would astonish if we had not recently witnessed her suspending the rules and rolling our conservative leaders. Governor Brewer, the 20% carries more weight if it entails throwing someone under the bus.

    Let us not forget the ending of the Pima GOP resolution:

    “Governor Brewer is correct that “elections have consequences”. She is wrong in believing that it means that we must roll over and forsake our core values as the Arizona Republican Party whenever Republicans lose a national race.”

    “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
    John Parker, Battle of Lexington, 1775.

    Governor Brewer – you fired the first shot. The PC’s pleas to not fire fell on deaf ears. It is indeed time for you and your band of rogue republicans to “move on”.

    Boy, that Ronald Reagan sure was pithy, wasn’t he? And of the main reasons he maintains number one conservative icon status years after his death is that he brought right wingers the beautiful gift of the Welfare Queen. The myth originated in 1976 in the New Hampshire GOP primary, when Reagan claimed a woman in Chicago who had “80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and is collecting veterans benefits on four nonexisting husbands.” “and she’s collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax free cash income alone is over $150,000″. The Welfare Queen was the perfect repository for the racial animus and economic insecurity of white voters. Reagan’s wild account of the crafty and profligate welfare grifter from Chicago didn’t quite pan out when reporters looked into the facts of the case but that didn’t stop Reagan from going around the state whipping those primary voters into a raging fury over it and the GOP has never looked back.

    That NYT/Washington Star from 1976 I linked makes it clear that Ronald Reagan had been deeply hostile to social safety net programs for a long time. Democrats today like to tell a fantasy story that he wouldn’t be acceptably conservative in today’s Republican Party but that’s hogwash. Reagan had to work with Democrats and appeal to mainstream America when he was in power, but if he were reanimated as fresh-faced Congressman Ronnie Reagan (R) from some district in the Midwest in 2013, he’d fit in easily with Paul Ryan’s crowd without having to change a speck of his original rhetoric.

    At least I can say that 30 years ago – as I recall being a young person growing up in the Beltway area when the Reagan administration was on the warpath against “welfare”, as well as dumping people out of mental institutions and into homelessness on the streets of DC – you actually had to be on the dole, as in not working for pay, to be derisively deemed “on welfare”. Lots of households back then, as today, got things like food stamps, housing assistance, health care, free school lunches, etc., including my own family when we were going through a bad time. But if one or both parents in your family had a job then your family was, by definition, not “on welfare”. At that time the Earned Income Tax Credit was touted by many prominent conservatives as a way to encourage low income people to stay in the job market.

    In other words, holding down a job used to mean something. Something has happened to that idea among conservatives in the past couple years that is truly warped. It came to the fore in the 2012 election when Candidate Gingrich called President Obama the “Food Stamp President” and suggested poor black kids should work as janitors. Then the tape of Candidate Romney spouting off about the “47%” emerged. Then there was my encounter with the guy at the backyard party.

    After I facepalmed, I tried to explain to him that a lot of households getting foodstamps are headed by low wage workers, who toil at places like the mail-order warehouses described above or Walmart or McDonalds. This seemed not to phase him at all. He went on to describe his grand plan to rescue the US economy, which was this: A five year lifetime limit on all public assistance. The problem, he explained, was that food stamps and Medicaid were sapping the resolve of low-skilled workers to better themselves. The knowledge that the gubmint gravy train would come to an abrupt halt would inspire fast food workers to enroll in community college or trade school to train for better jobs. I asked him how that would work for people with kids who can barely afford childcare let alone college classes and more childcare while they’re in class. What if the person suffered a major illness or injury? Also, what if the person did get the training but no high-skilled job materialized? None of this mattered. He was on a roll. The five year limit would create – wait for it – bootstraps! Yes, he actually got so animated in discussing his great idea that he made the motion of pulling up imaginary bootstraps from his expensive leather shoes. I asked him if what he thought would happen to workers who had exceeded their five year limit, still worked at a low wage job, and still needed help with groceries and health care. He shrugged it off. “Oh well!” “So they can just go ahead and die, then?”, I asked. “Not my problem!”, he replied.

    Like Backyard Party Guy, the Arizona Republicans opposing the Medicaid expansion (which for the most part will simply restore health coverage that low income residents had before recent state budget cuts) are expanding the definition of “welfare” to include any assistance going to someone, no matter how long that person stands on her feet working every day. No matter how many buses she has to take to get to that job. Even if she works more than one job. No matter who in her family depends on her meager paycheck. Providing her with health care puts her in the disdained, and ever-expanding, class of “welfare recipient”.

    Yeah, pretty soon breathing by a poor person will be considered “welfare”.

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    SB1070? What SB1070?

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 25 July, 9:47 AM  0 
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    I’d heard that Governor Brewer had sent a “Dear Fellow Republican” email around a couple weeks ago but I hadn’t followed what an uproar it was creating amongst the activist base of the AZ GOP until today. Here’s Brewer’s letter from July 12th, which purports to deliniate her many conservative accomplishments as Governor and reassure her Fellow Republicans that the Medicaid expansion is not really part of the Kenyan Usurper’s Communist Takeover (good luck with that), while pleading with the activists not to ruin everything in 2014 because they’re mad about Obummercare:

    Dear Fellow Republican,

    When I assumed the Office of Governor in early 2009, the State of Arizona faced the largest budget deficit per capita in the entire country. We were saddled with a nearly $3 billion dollar deficit left behind by our former Democrat Governor as she fled Arizona to make a further mockery out of our nation’s border security. As I said at the time, it felt like I had arrived after a great big party was over, all the guests were gone, and someone handed me the bill and told me to clean up the mess!

    With the help of the our Republican-majority legislature, we cleaned up the state’s fiscal house and put money away in our state’s Rainy Day Fund. Recently, the Legislature passed a budget that is balanced in Fiscal Year 2014 and keeps the state’s $450 million Rainy Day Fund intact. Our General Fund spending ($8.8 billion) increased marginally–just 3.4% compared to Fiscal Year 2013–making it one of the most conservative budgets in the entire country. Indeed, in addition to the Rainy Day Fund, we have a carry forward balance of $697 million! Through our hard work, we also have ensured that our state budget will be structurally balanced by Fiscal Year 2016 with a $100 million surplus.

    I also kept my word and made sure that the temporary one-cent tax, which was supported by 64% of the Arizona electorate in 2010 as Proposition 100, stayed TEMPORARY. Keeping my word, I opposed Proposition 204 (last year’s attempt to PERMANENTLY extend the tax) and ensured that Prop 100 expired at the end of last May. Additionally, we passed effective election reforms to prevent fraud and have stood strong on the need to secure our border and enforce our nation’s immigration laws.

    When it comes to conservative leadership and fiscal responsibility, Arizona proudly remains a model for the rest of the country.

    I remind you of these things because, while I know that some of you do not support my efforts to restore Arizona’s Medicaid program, it’s important to remember that I am governing all of this state with Republican principles.

    The bottom line for me as your Governor is this: Arizona voters have TWICE approved making childless adults who earn less than 100% of the federal poverty level eligible for the state’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

    When I took office in 2009, these program costs were soaring and eating away at our state’s General Fund obligations. Hospitals across the Arizona were facing bankruptcy because when citizens without insurance get sick, they still show up in our emergency rooms where hospitals are required to care for them.

    The question I had to resolve was how to cover these populations, as required by voter mandated state laws, for the least amount of state money.

    Under federal law, if Arizona expands our coverage by an additional 63,000 Arizonans (moving our eligibility level from 100% of the federal poverty level to 133%), the feds will pick up 100% of the costs for the first three years of the program.

    So over three years, rather than spend $1.3 billion of state funds to cover Arizona’s obligation–which would have covered fewer Arizonans–I decided to accept federal funds to protect our precious state resources. I also insisted that if the federal commitment changes, Arizona’s financial obligation will change as well. If federal reimbursement rates drop below 80% of the entire program costs, Arizona’s new law will AUTOMATICALLY TERMINATE. Just as we did in 2009, when the state was broke, we reduced AHCCCS enrollment. We are prepared to do that again if the federal government does not keep its word.

    Let me be very clear: if we had not found a way to restore coverage to those citizens required under state law, we almost certainly would have been challenged in court and been forced to restore this Arizona voter approved coverage. Such a ruling by the courts would immediately drain Arizona’s Rainy Day Fund and burden the General Fund for many, many years to come.

    Arizona’s Medicaid program is the most successful program in the country. Arizona’s per patient obligation is half that of other states that do not use our cost containment model (which was created by Republicans over 30 years ago). Arizona’s Medicaid program is NOT Obamacare. It is, in fact, a large part of the solution as the most efficient, cost-effective Medicaid system in the country.

    I have asked our Congressional delegation to ensure that other states adopt our cost-effective model of service as a way of bringing our burdening national debt under control (a copy of this letter can be seen at http://restoringarizona.com/about-the-issue/additional-documents).

    In closing, I appreciate those of you who have supported me as I made this tough policy decision. And I respect those who disagree. But I cannot emphasize enough that kicking 63,000 Arizona citizens currently enrolled in AHCCCS off of health care–including those in the middle of cancer treatment–would have been disastrous for Republican’s chances at the polls in 2014.

    As surveys have shown time and again, the citizens of Arizona overwhelmingly support my Medicaid restoration effort. I reminded many a Republican who disagreed with me over Prop 100’s temporary one cent tax in 2010 that we won two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature just months later. It is my hope that our Party can reclaim those majorities in the fall of 2014. To continue efforts to potentially hurt and intimidate those who stood with me only puts Republican’s chances for electoral success next year back into harm’s way.

    This may mean little to those in “strong” Republican districts, but with every statewide office currently in Republican hands, Democrats are looking for ways to tip the scales on a statewide level to increase Democrat turnout.

    Ronald Reagan often used the quote, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.” As fellow Republicans, we agree even more than 80% of the time. We are allies.

    It is time to move on, work together for a united front in 2014 and focus on the key issues that face our state including the economy, quality education, and public safety. If we work together, I know we can once again sweep every statewide office and two-thirds majorities in both houses of our State Legislature just as we did in 2010.

    Thank you for giving me the honor of your attention and for your dedicated service to our Grand Old Party and the Great State of Arizona!

    Sincerely,
    Governor Jan Brewer

    What stuck out for me right away was how Governor Brewer took care not to mention that which assured her electoral prospects in 2010 more than anything else when she signed it into law that April, and likely helped the rest of the GOP statewide slate considerably as well: SB1070. Turns out not the only one who noticed the omission. The anti-Medicaid expansion group United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives noticed it too.

    Glaringly absent in the Governor’s repertoire is SB1070. SB1070 is the landmark legislation of Arizona that encompasses our true individualistic spirit and the Governor does not mention it once. State sovereignty exists in the fiber of every Principled Conservative but is lacking in the Governor. She has the audacity to claim that the super majority win in 2010 was due to her one cent sales tax increase, Prop 100, instead of the tireless work of the PC’s fueled by the energy of SB1070!

    She was their bestie 3 years ago when they were putting billboards in her honor all over the state for “Doing the Job the Feds Won’t Do” but now she’s off with her new BFFs at the Chamber, who don’t think overt anti-Hispanic bigotry is a good look for 2014*.

    *But let’s never forget how they were fine with it in 2010.

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Brewer’s legacy quest cannot erase SB 1070′s destructive fallout

    posted by James E. Garcia at 27 June, 10:12 AM  0 
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    Gov. Jan Brewer’s support of Obamacare, at least as it has to do with the expansion of Medicaid in Arizona, is a good thing. As many as 300,000 people living in poverty may be helped as a result of the plan’s approval. Now if we could only get her to admit that SB 1070 was one of the worst pieces of…,er, legislation… in Arizona’s history, and that she never should have signed it into law. We must never forget that the lives of hundreds of thousands of good and decent people were disrupted or destroyed as a result of the passage of that bill–authored by Russell Pearce and inspired by dark force of bigotry. The vast and overwhelmingly majority of undocumented immigrants are good people, not “drug mules”, as Brewer described them in her campaign-stump justification for supporting the bill. The governor may be trying to mold her legacy now as she enters the waning days of her governorship, but even this one undeniably good act cannot forgive the shameful, hate-mongering support of 1070 that led to her election even as it emboldened the racist fervor of Pearce’s xenophobic loyalists.


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    James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and Phoenix-based media communications consultant. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, magazine and newspaper editor, foreign correspondent, and television, radio and online commentator. He is the owner of Creative Vistas Media, co-founder of The Real Arizona Coalition (therealarizona.org), immediate past chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the author of more than 20 plays.

    James E. Garcia's Website: http://therealarizona.org/


    Is bipartisanship possible in Arizona?

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 18 June, 5:39 PM  0 
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    The news media in Arizona are understandably surprised and intrigued by Gov. Brewer hugging AZ House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (no love lost between those two) at the signing of the Medicaid expansion Monday.

    I’m as cynical as they come but I thought that was nice. And look, I’m not opposed to bipartisanship on principle. This is for the simple reason that it is not a principle. It is neither a value nor a policy position either. Like its cousin “compromise” it is a strategy, a tactic or tool that can sometimes produce a good result, as we saw with Arizona’s Medicaid expansion (or restoration of what we had before, if you prefer). Other times the result is not so good. Deregulation of the financial markets, the Patriot Act, the Iraq invasion, and the sequester were all bipartisan. So color me unimpressed with bipartisanship’s overall record of success in the past couple of decades. But some do place a high premium on parties working together and feel that bipartisanship is key to getting the most optimal legislation with the least strife. Both President Obama and my Congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema, seem to favor the approach whenever possible. Bipartisanship polls very well with voters too.

    The current configuration of the Arizona Legislature is undoubtedly better, due to having some more Democrats in each chamber than last session, when the GOP had veto-proof majorities in both chambers. I do think it’s premature and misguided to take the Governor’s Medicaid stance and the defection of some Republican lawmakers to her side as some sign of a brighter and more moderate future. Those rogue Republicans have not turned into moderates, and they demonstrated as much immediately after the Medicaid vote to join their colleagues in voting for a voter suppression bill aimed at Democratic voters. So no, I wouldn’t be singing kumbaya just yet. Those who face a real primary threat have all of next session to get back in the good graces of primary voters. And if bipartisanship is your thing, note that out of 282 bills sent to the Governor’s desk, a mere five were prime sponsored by Democrats. That’s not very bipartisan, is it?

    So how to get to the magical state of bipartisanship longed for by so many in Arizona? Hmm, that’s a toughie… Oh right, elect more Democrats and have them take over at least one chamber. The Senate seems to be the most feasible. I’d prefer Dem majorities all around (because there’s no evidence from blue states that Dems go ideologically cuckoo when they run things) but at least with a split body we would see some sanity. Yes, maybe gridlock too but even that beats the flurry of lousy legislation we’ve been getting the past few years.

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Brewer’s legacy

    posted by Tom Patterson at 14 June, 12:17 PM  0 
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    It’s too bad that Jan Brewer was never so aggressive in pursuit of her professed governing principles as she was in forsaking them.

    Admittedly, fiscal conservatives were put in a tough spot by the clever move the Obamacare folks pulled off. States had to turn down a ton of short-term federal money to avoid expanding their already swollen Medicaid rolls. In every state,that meant disappointing your supporters in the hospital/healthcare communities and inviting media scorn. It was still the right thing to do but, as Trent Franks and others pointed out, giving in was in some sense understandable.

    But Brewer disgracefully went far beyond reluctant acquiescence. She didn’t agree, with regret, to sign a bill placed on her desk. Instead, she poured her political heart and soul into a tough battle, giving Obamacare a lifeline. .She threatened, she vetoed and, yes, she bullied. Several national commentators were appalled at the extraordinary measures she took to get her way. No governor of either party went so far in the cause of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansions.

    Why did she do it? Who cares, really. She seems to think this will be her legacy and she’s probably right.

    But there’s no way to sugarcoat it. Just one person rolled her own parties legislative delegation to give life to Obamacare at a time when a serious blow could have been struck. She greatly expanded the welfare state and left to future policymakers the hard questions of how to fund it, when the federal support diminishes. She single-handedly added to the federal debt.

    Little things like Limited Government and Personal Responsibility were conveniently dismissed when, you know, money was on the table. So much for the dignity of states in the federal system. See you around, healthcare freedom.

    Yep, that’s quite a legacy. At least Democrats are happy.


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    Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley. He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate. He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.

    Tom Patterson's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/pattersontomc/


    In which credit is given

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 31 May, 1:03 PM  0 
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    Linda Valdez is one the better columnists at the AZ Republic so I was surprised to see her play the “both sides” card and chide Democrats for being insufficiently praise-ful of Governor Brewer’s Medicaid expansion.

    It’s time to give her some credit.

    The Left should not follow the hide-bound example of the Right, which seems incapable of recognizing any good in a politician the base hates (Obama).

    Democrats should give credit where credit is due.

    And Brewer deserves some.

    Okay Linda, we will. Oh wait, we already are! I’ve done posts expressing appreciation for her stance and so have other liberal bloggers. Our Democratic state legislator asked us at a recent Dem district meeting to be sure and call Governor Brewer’s office and thank and support her for it. I’ve seen numerous prominent Dems laud the Governor over her Medicaid decision. You know who were out on the State Capitol lawn the Governor had her pro-expansion rally? Lots of Democrats. When I called Valdez out on Facebook about her claim here was her reply:

    Donna, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I haven’t heard much from the left in support of her on this. I’ve heard support for the idea of expansion. I continue to hear the usual carping, grousing and often petty insults aimed at her from Dems. It really is beginning to remind me of the GOP on Obama.

    Reminds me of the people who, after all that has happened, still think President Obama isn’t trying hard enough to compromise with Republicans in Congress. I won’t deny liberals carp about Governor Brewer despite her Medicaid stance but I’m not buying that it rises to the level of umbrage – screeching how she’s a traitor and making death threats to pro-Medicaid lawmakers – that we’re seeing from the right. At any rate, the exchange ended well because I took it as a challenge to prove that Democrats and liberals are, in fact, giving Governor Brewer credit on this issue. I posted the following as my Facebook status:

    Linda Valdez of the AZ Republic says that Democrats/liberals aren’t praising Governor Brewer enough for her Medicaid expansion. She claims she’s hearing lots of “carping” and that we’re…wait for it!…starting to sound just as bad as the GOP. So I’d just like to state for the record that I am glad that Governor Brewer is pushing for the Medicaid expansion and hope she succeeds. How many of my Democratic and liberal friends in AZ agree with that statement?

    As of this writing that post has 37 likes and 41 comments, about 75% of which are positive. The complaints are about other things Brewer has done or questioning why she should be thanked effusively for simply doing the right thing. A fair point to which I can only respond that we really need this Medicaid expansion and if saying nice things about our term-limited Governor (who still has a 50% approval rating) about this one thing helps make that happen, so be it. You don’t have to pretend to like anything else she’s done. And remember that the wingnuts’ are losing their freaking minds over this. That alone is enough to make me Team Brewer on this.

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    DREAMers Driving Freedom

    posted by James Garcia at 19 May, 4:51 AM  0 
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    A federal judge has let stand, for now, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to bar undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers, from securing state drivers licenses, even as Congress negotiates proposed legislation that most expect will ultimately allow these young people to remain in the country and earn a path to U.S. citizenship.

    While the ACLU lawsuit against Brewer continues, I think it’s important to take the long view on the governor’s senseless and mean-spirited decision to impose the ban in the first place.

    Consider, for instance, that by the time a child born today in Arizona to a Latino immigrant becomes an adult, he or she will be among the more than 50 percent of the people in the state of Latino origin. And immigrants arriving here that same year (around 2030-2035) will account for a larger percentage of our nation’s population growth than births.

    With that in mind, I take at least small comfort in knowing that Gov. Jan Brewer’s open hostility toward immigrants, however unforgivable and destructive, is the desperate, anachronistic and futile gesture of an ultimately doomed ideology which clings to the belief that the preservation of “white privilege” is somehow synonymous with the “founding fathers” mythologized vision of democracy.

    To put it bluntly, some people just don’t believe “brown” people are good enough to be Americans. This, to echo George W. Bush, is at best its own form of “soft bigotry”—soft, but no less shameful.

    The irony is that as I watch DREAMers challenge what must be an often intimidating and sometimes outright terrifying gauntlet of obstacles, I see in them a quintessentially democratic spirit inspired in great measure by the ideals of democracy that most Americans abide by today.

    In other words, DREAMers, particularly those who have risked everything, including their physical freedom, and stepped out of the shadows are generally the sort of people who believe they are fully American. In my view, by struggling to remain in the country they love, DREAMers are embracing and advancing our Constitutionally protected principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Unlike the DREAMers, I was born in the United States. But it’s fair to ask: “When did I really become American?” Did it happen at the instant of my birth? Did it happen the day as a school child when I first recited the Pledge of Allegiance? Or was it the moment when I gazed awestruck into the foggy screen of black-and-white TV set as Neil Armstrong took “…one giant step” onto the surface of the moon?

    Becoming American, truly American, is less about serendipity and more a product of intellectual maturation. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution granted me citizenship at the moment of my birth on U.S. soil (though my mother also was a citizen), but I did not earn and probably did not deserve that designation until I finally came to understand that liberty cannot exist without human dignity.

    While we should never forget that “American liberty” and “slavery” were once regarded as compatible concepts, our understanding of liberty today is, at its core, part of the genius of our modern-day interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Despite their relative youth (or perhaps because that unfettered idealism), DREAMers get this like few other people I know.

    So, to deprive DREAMers of their desire to remain in the United States is to deny them their de facto right to citizenship, human dignity, and, yes, liberty.

    And deporting them is just plain un-American.

    - James E. Garcia is a journalist, playwright and communications and media consultant in Phoenix, Arizona. He blogs at azcvoices.com/politics and americanlatino.net.


    More Posts by James Garcia

    James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and Phoenix-based media communications consultant. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, magazine and newspaper editor, foreign correspondent, and television, radio and online commentator. He is the owner of Creative Vistas Media, co-founder of The Real Arizona Coalition (therealarizona.org), immediate past chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the author of more than 20 plays.

    James Garcia's Website: http://www.therealarizona.org


    Brewer’s Medicaid proposal is conservative? Really?

    posted by Tom Patterson at 17 May, 5:26 PM  0 
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    Gov. Brewers Medicaid program is fiscally conservative. So say her commercials. The claim is underlined and italicized so it must be so.

    Well, let’s see. Her program draws down a substantial short-term subsidy from the federal government, so if your definition of conservative is getting goodies from government so you don’t have to spend your own money until later, then I guess it’s conservative.

    On the other hand, the governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility undeniably expands the ever-growing welfare state. It increases the national debt by spending more money we don’t have. (No, the money does not just go to other states if we don’t spend it.) It raises the number of people dependent on government.

    Most importantly, it throws a lifeline to Obamacare, the most costly and intrusive federal program of our time, just at a point where it seems about to unravel on its own, because of its inept design. Gov. Brewers “conservative” proposal puts Arizona on the side of those states who take the bait of federal money and thus foist Obamacare on an American public that doesn’t want it but can’t figure out how to get out of it.

    That’s conservative? I’m not into labels and litmus tests, but come on. That’s just a crock.


    More Posts by Tom Patterson

    Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley. He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate. He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.

    Tom Patterson's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/pattersontomc/


    The crazy is strong in some Medicaid expansion opponents

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 14 May, 6:32 AM  0 
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    Christine Bauserman, whose Facebook page proudly boasts all her conservative and Republican affiliations, believes that poor people getting health care in Arizona is a Marxist plot. She wrote a hilarious LTTE to the AZ Capitol Times about it.

    Just how desperate are Gov. Jan Brewer and political wizard Chuck Coughlin to force Obamacare on an unwilling Arizona? Dwindling resources, loss of votes, and lackluster public support seem to be a reason for the fraught Republicans to enlist the support of a Saul Alinsky based organization. What exactly do Brewer and Coughlin want the Occupy Wall Street types to do?

    Brewer graces the Industrial Areas Foundation website (under IAF in Action), attending an event at the Valley Interfaith Project. With the Republican governor are Senate Majority Leader John McComish and Rep. Heather Carter.

    IAF, established in 1940 by Alinsky, “trains community organizers in the tactics of revolutionary social change.” It is a Chicago-based community-organizing network consisting of 59 affiliate groups, and Valley Interfaith Project is one of those groups. IAF is not a grassroots network; its local affiliates are created as the result of careful planning by its national leadership.

    So was this meeting with the governor who signed SB1070 a result of careful planning by its national leadership? What are they planning — the implementation of Obamacare in Arizona, which is second only to Texas as a leader in states’ rights, or the defeat of the Republican majority in the 2014 elections?

    Valley Interfaith Project proudly proclaims a Marxist mission defining itself as “a nonpartisan organization of dues-paying member congregations, schools, unions and nonprofits committed to building relational power through organizing people for sustainable social and economic improvement.”

    At the meeting, McComish states, “If you don’t have these kinds of gatherings, organizations lose momentum.” This is Republican leadership in our state Senate? The majority leader, a Republican, is publicly spurning his party and the legislative district he is supposed to represent, which happens to poll as the highest legislative district in Arizona at 78 percent as being “less likely to re-elect a legislator who votes for a hospital tax to fund the expansion of Medicaid.”

    Christine is, of course, strongly “pro-life”. Which, as we know, means “Those babies are gonna get born dammit!” – but then – “Health care? You want health care? What are you, some kind of commie?” Christine also appears to lack basic reading comprehension, since she ends her letter with this:

    While governors of states like Florida, with legislators rejecting Obamacare, are facing the fact there is a system of checks and balances and branches of government are indeed separate, Brewer refuses to accept the fact that the public, including Democrats, overwhelmingly reject Obamacare and any new taxes.

    Sorry Christine, that poll was of GOP primary voters only. But thanks for that letter, it was a riot!

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    More Posts by Donna Gratehouse

    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Killing solar, all in the name of principle

    posted by Julie Erfle at 9 May, 1:54 PM  0 
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    Governor Jan Brewer likes to call herself the “Solar Queen.” She often talks about her own personal use of solar power and the fact that under her administration, solar industries have been booming in Arizona.

    But just as they are doing with Medicaid expansion, Tea Party Republicans, in the name of principle, are set to deal a major blow to our economy and crush one of this state’s thriving industries.

    In January the Arizona Corporation Commission ended tax credits for businesses that install rooftop solar panels, which has effectively ended the incentive for businesses to go green.

    Though some may believe solar subsidies are government hand outs, I’m wondering how it differs from the other energy subsidies we give away. What makes fossil fuel and nuclear power subsides okay but clean energy subsidies bad? If we’re going to offer energy subsidies, doesn’t it make sense to subside an energy that’s renewable?

    Ending corporate tax breaks may be just the beginning of solar’s demise in Arizona. The biggest and most contentious fight, the possible end of “net metering,” is just around the corner.

    Net metering deals exclusively with Arizona’s residential customers, specifically those 25,000 Arizonans that have installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on their roofs. Many of these solar roofs exist in the very conservative suburb of Sun City and make Arizona second only to California in numbers of rooftop solar installations.

    Residents with rooftop solar are allowed to “bank” the excess power they produce and use it during those times when the panels are not producing or under-producing the energy needed by that household.

    Of course, the power isn’t actually banked but rather put back on the grid for other customers to use. Often times, the excess power coming back onto the grid is used during peak hours (noon-7pm), when electricity is most expensive. If a customer has put enough power back on the grid that he/she has an abundance of banked electricity, APS will rebate the customer at the end of the year.

    APS, like most energy monopolies around the country, isn’t a fan of net metering because it cuts into their profits. They are encouraging the Corporation Commission to end net metering and effectively end Arizona’s rise as the solar capitol.

    The newly elected, all Republican Commission has been very complacent when dealing with APS, which is somewhat surprising considering it was a Republican commission that first implemented Arizona’s renewable energy standards. But the party has changed, and many politicos believe they will now grant the utility’s wishes and put an end to net metering.

    The impact of that stretches beyond the many thousands of residents who currently benefit from rooftop solar. Without net metering the incentive to install a costly technology goes away. It also harms a growing Arizona industry, not to mention the damage done to our environment by an overreliance on fossil fuels.

    It is widely expected that if net metering ends, many of our solar installation companies will leave business-friendly Arizona and move to California, taking with them thousands of jobs, and Arizona’s growing dominance in solar will come to a screeching halt.

    But it’s all in the name of principle. Principles that put fossil fuels over solar and monopolies over customers.


    More Posts by Julie Erfle

    The story behind this blog begins in 2007 when, on an ordinary September morning, my world was unexpectedly smashed to pieces. A drugged-up gang banger with multiple arrests and outstanding warrants crossed my husband’s path. As my husband and his partner attempted to arrest him, he pulled a gun and shot my husband twice in the back of the head. The murder of a Phoenix police officer is big news. Bigger still is the fact that this happened at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant in a border state rife with contentious immigration battles. As I listened to the politicians and pundits spin my husband’s death to further their interests, my journalism background came into focus and I found myself doing my own research into the causes and possible solutions to our nation’s immigration problems. I also gained an awareness of what it was like to be on the opposite side of the lens. I had been a member of the media, and now my family was the subject of the story. When I went public with my views on immigration, I was drawn even further into the political web of Arizona politics, and though I shied away for a time, I felt I could no longer be silent. And so I created this blog, my editorial on the challenges facing our state and our nation. My expectation is that it will be used as a source of reasoned debate to elevate our discussions in a thoughtful and informed manner while seeking solutions to complex problems. I hope the differing opinions expressed by myself and others will both challenge and motivate individuals to work for the greater good.

    Julie Erfle's Website: http://politicsuncuffed.com/


    Coldhearted Gov. Brewer

    posted by Jana Bommersbach at 2 May, 12:55 PM  0 
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    In light of everything happening in this country about gun violence–all the tragedies, including our Tucson heartbreak–the first gun-related bill Governor Jan Brewer has signed this year DEMANDS cities sell back guns that are voluntarily given up by citizens. Sell them back. Not destroy them, as police forces have been happy to do. But put them BACK IN CIRCULATION.

    You don’t get any more coldhearted than that. You don’t insult Gabby Gifford any more loudly than that. You don’t spit in the faces of all those dead children and school leaders in Newtown than that. You don’t say any more clearly or crassly that it’s the GUNS you’re trying to protect, not the PEOPLE. You don’t broadcast more clearly that you’re a fanatical gun nut who should never have been trusted with a public office.

    Oh please, isn’t her term almost over? I can’t take much more of this Wicked Witch of the West.


    More Posts by Jana Bommersbach

    Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona's most acclaimed journalists. The Arizona Press Club has recognized her lifetime of achievement with its highest honor--The Distinguished Service Award. And the Society of Professional Journalists have inducted her into the Order of the Silver Key as an "inspiration to the state's media community." She has been Arizona Journalist of the Year and twice was recognized as the nation's top city magazine columnist. Jana is a communications expert who has won accolades in every phase of her career: journalist, author, broadcaster and speaker.

    Jana Bommersbach's Website: http://www.janabommersbach.com/


    Money can’t buy you love, but it CAN buy you a legislator

    posted by Julie Erfle at 18 April, 9:26 AM  0 
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    In the last presidential race, a handful of billionaires handed over millions to their favored candidate to try and sway the outcome of the race. One such billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, gave $95 million to political committees supporting Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates.

    Imagine how many lives could have been improved, even saved with a $95 million contribution to charities in need.

    I don’t think any of us are delusional enough to believe that a donation of that scope and size isn’t given without an expectation of something in return. Money buys power, and in politics, power means influence and influence means votes. Wealthy donors on both sides of the aisle are buying votes. It’s that simple.

    In Arizona, our legislators are looking to lap up some of that money. With guidance from Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and the Goldwater Institute, Republican J.D. Mesnard sponsored a bill to increase individual contributions to legislators more than ten-fold. That’s TEN times the previous donation limit.

    HB2593, signed into law by the Governor last week, does several things to ensure wealthy constituents and powerful PACs (Political Action Committees) have the power to buy legislators.

    The revised law allows individuals to give $2500 to candidates for a primary election and another $2500 for the general election. The prior limit was $488 total. There was no distinction between primary and general.

    Put another way, if it takes $50,000 to run a successful state legislative race, candidates need only appeal to 10 individual donors. In reality, that number could be even less because the bill also changes the limits on PAC money.

    Before, PACs had a $2,000 limit. It was raised to $5,000.

    But what’s even more insidious is that PACs no longer have a limit on the total number of dollars they can give in an election year. In other words, instead of being able to influence a handful of races, powerful PACs can now influence as many races as they want.

    Limits on the total amounts given by individuals have also been eliminated, meaning an individual can give $5,000 to as many candidates he/she wants as well as many thousands of dollars to PACs, political parties and independent expenditures.

    The Republicans who support this legislation say it’s a way to combat “dark money.” Please. Do they really think voters are gullible enough to believe that? This bill does nothing to shed light on the donors behind “dark money,” nothing to end the money laundering that occurred in the last election.

    What the bill does is thwart the will of Arizonans who voted to make it more difficult for a handful of wealthy individuals to buy elections. Arizonans approved Clean Elections to try and remove money as the deciding factor in a race. Regardless of whether or not the bill is deemed constitutional, it is clearly NOT written in the interest of furthering the will of a voter-approved initiative.

    This bill isn’t about the will of the voters. It’s about making life easier for legislators. They don’t need to appeal to a wide majority of citizens, just a small minority of wealthy donors with an agenda.

    It’s a win-win for legislators and special interest groups and a lose-lose for representative democracy.


    More Posts by Julie Erfle

    The story behind this blog begins in 2007 when, on an ordinary September morning, my world was unexpectedly smashed to pieces. A drugged-up gang banger with multiple arrests and outstanding warrants crossed my husband’s path. As my husband and his partner attempted to arrest him, he pulled a gun and shot my husband twice in the back of the head. The murder of a Phoenix police officer is big news. Bigger still is the fact that this happened at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant in a border state rife with contentious immigration battles. As I listened to the politicians and pundits spin my husband’s death to further their interests, my journalism background came into focus and I found myself doing my own research into the causes and possible solutions to our nation’s immigration problems. I also gained an awareness of what it was like to be on the opposite side of the lens. I had been a member of the media, and now my family was the subject of the story. When I went public with my views on immigration, I was drawn even further into the political web of Arizona politics, and though I shied away for a time, I felt I could no longer be silent. And so I created this blog, my editorial on the challenges facing our state and our nation. My expectation is that it will be used as a source of reasoned debate to elevate our discussions in a thoughtful and informed manner while seeking solutions to complex problems. I hope the differing opinions expressed by myself and others will both challenge and motivate individuals to work for the greater good.

    Julie Erfle's Website: http://politicsuncuffed.com/


    Hey, Jan, here’s someone you should fire, if only you could

    posted by Mike McClellan at 12 April, 10:50 AM  0 
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    If the Guv is hot to trot to use that red pen and fire someone, I have just the person, someone involved in the Don Shooter/charter school scandal.

    No, not Shooter.  As an elected official, Crazy Don can’t be fired, except by his constituents, most of whom are Tea Party Nuts anyhow.

    And maybe the legal system will exact a little justice and penalize Shooter for, ah, disrupting an educational institution or assaulting a teacher.  Or both.

    Nope, the person the Guv should red line out of office is the charter schools person who made the call to the school after the incident.

    Someone from the Arizona Charter School Association.

    The person, according to the police report, Shooter contacted to smooth things over:

     ”The police report says that Shooter later called the Charter School Association to make it aware of the incident. A representative of the association called the school and offered her ‘assistance in resolving the situation quietly and between the school and Mr. Shooter.’ “

    In other words, keep this out of the media. 

    Gee, would the fact that Crazy Don is the Senate Appropriations Chair have something to do with the speed with which the Association reacted?

    Unfortunately, that group is a private one, so Red Pen Jan can’t deep six the official.  But when you go on the group’s website, you find a bunch of Arizona Heavy Hitters on the Executive Board, folks like Goldwater Institute’s Clint Bolick, Lisa Graham Keegan, Birther Ken Bennett, and a boatload of charter heavyweights.

    Maybe those folks should look into the tampering by one of their officials and can her ASAP.  Because it looks like they are more concerned with bucks than the law.

    Surprise.


    More Posts by Mike McClellan

    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    “Off with his head!” commands the Queen of, er, Brewer

    posted by Mike McClellan at 4 April, 9:39 AM  0 
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    So now we know how the Governor will wield her at-will power she seemed obsessed with having.

    You might remember that the Guv set up a nice little deal for state workers — change to “at will” and you’ll get a raise.

    Wonder how those employees who leaped at the offer are feeling today.

    Because we saw how the Queen of Arizona will use — or, more accurately, abuse — her power.

    She apparently didn’t like what Arizona Veterans’ Service Director Joey Strickland did in hiring former State Rep (and Democrat) Terri Proud (you can read the story here).

    Apparently infuriated, her Chief of Staff went off on Strickland, who by all accounts has been an effective director.

    And — boom! — he “resigns.”

    Petty?  Sure.

    Abuse of power?  Of course.

    Politically motivated?  Most certainly.

    Sending a message to other at-will workers?  No doubt.

    Stupid?  Obviously.

    In other words, situation normal, all . . .


    More Posts by Mike McClellan

    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    Another education reform mired in incompetence

    posted by Mike McClellan at 29 March, 9:46 AM  0 
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    As a retired teacher, I keep up with what’s going on in education.

    And, of course, what’s going on is Common Core, the set of math and English standards adopted by 46 states, including us.

    Theoretically, those standards will raise the achievement levels of our kids, as the new standards require more earlier and require more analytical thinking.

    I’ve looked at the standards (you can see them here), and there’s nothing to get upset about (though our paranoids somehow have connected Common Core to a U.N.-led one world government . . . I’m serious). In fact, the high school English standards pretty much reflect what any good English class should focus on.

    But another part of Common Core is more troubling:  How do we know the kids actually are receiving a more rigorous education?

    Here’s the problem.

    Part of the Common Core sales pitch was that it would give individual states an idea of how they compare to other states, with some kind of common testing.

    That testing, as an article in today’s paper reports (here), is a problem.

    First, states aren’t even required to use the same test.  Which means?  No basis for comparison.

    Second, the test, which will replace AIMS, will no longer be part of a graduation requirement.  When AIMS first appeared, its testing wasn’t a graduation requirement either.  And — surprise — kids didn’t take it seriously.  At most schools, when it later  did become a requirement, scores jumped.  If we want our kids to take it seriously, it has to have more weight than some amorphous connection, possibly, to their grades in math and English.

    Third, the consortium that most states seem to favor for testing,  PARCC, has yet to create even a pilot test.  I’ve become part of their network, and receive occasional updates from them. They’re still in the “let’s figure out what the test will look like” phase. Maybe this summer (summer!?)  they will field test a math and English assessment.

    My problem with that is, teachers usually have an assessment done prior to teaching a unit.  This seems more like “teach now, we’ll figure out what to test later.”  Not the smartest.

    Finally, the testing is to be done on-line.  And — surprise, part II — Arizona is behind in both the hardware and bandwidth to adequately do so.
    The Guv’s asked for $20 million to assess and provide what’s needed to those schools lagging behind, but who knows what will happen in the leg.
    Meanwhile, if the state underfunds this, already-underfunded schools will have the bill for the upgrades.

    Or they can do paper and pencil tests — which slow the entire process down, taking away instruction time and adding more testing time.

    I’m all for raising the expectations for our kids, pushing them to achieve more.  But at least at the testing level, incompetence seems to abound.

    And that ain’t good.


    More Posts by Mike McClellan

    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    The governor gets worked up

    posted by Tom Patterson at 10 March, 4:33 PM  0 
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    “I don’t want dead people in the streets,” Gov. Brewer proclaimed to KFYI listeners, in the course of touting her Medicaid expansion. Well, you’ve got to admit there’s nothing more disgusting than the sight of a bunch of people lying around who just keeled over from losing their government supplied health insurance.

    The guv must be studying Barack Obama’s manual on how community organizers whip up hysteria. She doesn’t quite have the knack, though, like when she comes up with whoppers like “if your mother or son is on chemotherapy, that person will be taken off”. Really?

    It doesn’t work that way in the real world. In her hypothetical, the person would almost certainly become eligible for Medicaid because of the catastrophic costs incurred. Low-income people needing primary care can access community health centers, county clinics and charitable facilities. Life isn’t easy for those at the bottom of the income scale, but on the other hand, it’s hard to show any great difference in health outcomes due to Medicaid.

    This artificial bump up of the Medicaid population for three years with money we already know is going to run out has another unintended effect. It keeps us from developing more cost-effective ways of providing medical care for the poor. Publicly funded Health Savings Accounts, more utilization of physician extenders and direct provision of services all more sense then use-it-or-lose-it insurance for all.

    In the meantime, the governor would be well advised to dial it down. She might even consider a little respect for those willing to act on the principles she used to claim – until the money was dangled.


    More Posts by Tom Patterson

    Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley. He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate. He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.

    Tom Patterson's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/pattersontomc/


    Brewer’s budget gambit

    posted by Tom Patterson at 28 January, 10:32 AM  0 
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    Here we go again. Harkening back to freespending governors of the past, the so-far prudent Jan Brewer wants to juice up the revenue forecast so that she can spend more in her budget.

    Most Arizonans probably don’t get that heavily involved in the arcana of budget construction. The way it works is that the budget is “balanced” when appropriations for the next fiscal year are matched by the projected income. Of course, nobody knows exactly what the income will be so, so the possibility of some chicanery is always out there.

    That was one of Janet Napolitano’s favorite tricks: pretend the revenue for next year is going to unexplainably go through the roof and spend your imaginary good fortune before reality sets in.

    Now Gov. Brewer once to pretend we’re going to have an increase in tax revenue of over 5% next year, when revenue growth so far this year has been less than 4%, according to Bob Rob. That would give her $260 million more to spend than the Legislature is recommending. It’s just like finding free money.

    You might think that after all the heavy lifting she and the legislature did to repair the fiscal damage from the Napolitano years, she wouldn’t want to go down this road again. Yet the urge to spend other peoples money while getting the credit for it yourself is well nigh irresistible.

    The real solution to the problem would be a law authorizing the Treasurer or some neutral third-party to set the revenue level for the budget. He/she would be accountable for it. The squabbling and fudging would end.

    Meanwhile, why not err on the conservative side? Extra money in politics is never a problem. If nothing else, taxpayers always appreciate being able to keep more of what they earn. Deficits are just a way of making someone else pay for your stuff.


    More Posts by Tom Patterson

    Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley. He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate. He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.

    Tom Patterson's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/pattersontomc/


    Americans for Prosperity AZ is having a meltdown over the Medicaid expansion

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 17 January, 6:18 AM  0 
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    Someone please get Tom Jenney a valium. I didn’t think it was possible to get this upset over the poors getting health care but the President of AFP-AZ is simply beside himself with fury.

    In its 2012 decision in NFIB v. Sebelius, the same court challenge that Brewer proudly joined, a 7-2 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds from States that did not participate in the Medicaid expansion under ACA/ObamaCare. The expansion is entirely voluntary for States. If Arizona makes the mistake of voluntarily opting into the Medicaid expansion under ACA/ObamaCare, we will have only Arizona politicians to blame…

    …Expanding from 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 138 percent of FPL is not “just slightly” — full participation in the Medicaid expansion would add 250,000 Arizonans to Medicaid/AHCCCS. More important than the fiscal cost to federal and state taxpayers is the human cost of railroading tens or hundreds of thousands of Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system. As the Manhattan Institute’s Avik Roy explains, “Studies consistently show that patients on Medicaid have the worst health outcomes of any group in America—far worse than those with private insurance and, in some cases, worse than those with no insurance at all.” Please read more about this crucial point here: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ir_8.htm and here: http://tinyurl.com/gottliebwsj

    Be sure to read the link and see how Jenney gets increasingly, and comically, irate in his imaginary argument with the Governor’s office. Jenney can’t help but make it obvious to everyone that he seethes with resentment over anything the government does to make poor people’s lives better, but his attempt to disguise it by making the risible claim that people in poverty or slightly above it will be made worse off by qualifying for Medicaid than they are by being uninsured is shockingly disingenuous. The links are to Manhattan Institute research where they demonstrate poorer outcomes for Medicaid recipients than privately insured patients or those who pay entirely out of pocket for some medical conditions. Media Matters explains here why such studies are flawed and it’s a bad idea to derive sweeping conclusions about the value of Medicaid from them.

    AFP and other conservative critics of the ACA Medicaid expansion propose replacing it with block grants to states, making vague promises of greater innovation and efficiency. But make no mistake, block grants are a humongous cut to the program. And Governor Brewer’s announcement is one more step away from that, hence the hissyfit.

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    More Posts by Donna Gratehouse

    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Expand Medicaid in AZ: WWA’sD?

    posted by Mike McClellan at 15 January, 9:30 AM  0 
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    So the Guv (you can read her speech here) has proposed an expansion of our state’s Medicaid program, taking advantage of the fed’s largesse, providing us almost $8 billion to basically return our program to its pre-recession status.

    As Brewer pointed out, in our current form, hospitals absorb the cost of uninsured patients, but then that cost is, unsurprsingly, transferred to the rest of us, in the form of higher hospital bills and higher insurance premiums.  She noted that as is, “This amounts to a HIDDEN TAX estimated at nearly 2 Thousand dollars per family, per year.”

    Beyond that, we all know it’s cheaper to deal with medical problems at their inceptions rather than in emergency rooms after the problems have escalated.

    And to ensure that Arizona’s not left with shouldering the bill for expansion somewhere down the road, Brewer insisted that her plan will have an opt out if “Obamacare” is what she calls a “bait and switch.”

    She even proposed a way to pay our share of the expansion without tapping into the General Fund.

    The reaction to all this?  Democrats cheered; Republicans looked ill.

    So the question becomes, “WWA’sD?”

    That is, “What will the Andy’s Do?”  The Andy’s being House Speaker Andy Tobin and Senate President Andy Biggs.

    The first Andy is less a flame-thrower than the second, which means the House might be more favorable to Brewer’s plan.  In the Senate, though, it’s a different story:  Biggs previously came out against Medicaid expansion, period.

    So how will he handle any bill Brewer  pushes?  Will he make sure it’s DOA or will he give it a fair shake?  And can the Guv peel off enough Republicans in both Houses to get what she wants?

    My guess?  Biggs is overruled, a few Republicans will go along with the Democrats, and Brewer gets her wish.

    I hope.

     


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    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    Some (tentatively) good news from the Capitol today.

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 15 January, 9:29 AM  0 
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    Governor Jan Brewer surprised the audience of her State of the State speech this afternoon by calling for expanding Arizona’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Well, it’s not really so shocking considering how everyone from the Chamber of Commerce to the hospitals to the Children’s Action Alliance has been begging her to do it. But 10 other GOP governors have refused the expansion so it was reasonable to fear that Brewer would join them, especially since the Governor opted out of creating a state-based health insurance exchange.

    HuffPo:

    Brewer placed her decision on Medicaid in the context of the main economic development theme of her speech. She told lawmakers that she did not want to forfeit the federal funds to other states that have agreed to expansion, singling out such neighboring states as California and Colorado. She said that the Medicaid expansion, which she described as “just slightly beyond” what voters had previously approved, would insert $2 billion into the Arizona economy.

    She also promoted Arizona’s Medicaid expansion plan as “the gold standard” for the nation.

    Interesting how Brewer didn’t mention that the Republican governors of New Mexico and Nevada opted into the Medicaid expansion, but there’s a good chance that had an influence as well. Without the expansion, Arizona would be nearly surrounded by states accepting the generous federal funding (the exception is Utah, where the hospital lobby has a weirdly fervent attachment to “free market solutions”).

    It would have been great had Brewer also put her pro-Medicaid stance in a pro-life context, since making health care available to the hundreds of thousands of Arizonan adults and children who don’t currently have it would, you know, save a lot of people’s lives. Democrats can certainly seize that moral high ground and maybe nudge some Republican legislators into doing the right thing. So, too, can certain groups invested in *ahem* the “sanctity of life”.

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Bells should toll for the victms we lost and the lost souls never found

    posted by James Garcia at 21 December, 9:11 AM  0 
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    Gov. Brewer has asked that the bells in state government buildings toll 26 times for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre and that we observe a moment of silence in their honor. It’s a laudable gesture, at least at first blush. I agree that the 26 victims should be memorialized in the wake of this incomprehensibly horrifying atrocity. But I’m disturbed by what I read as a conscious political calculation reflected in the governor’s ostensibly well-intentioned decree. There were, of course, 28 people who died in Newton last week, not 26. The killer’s mother was the first person he shot to death. Like the children and employees of Sandy Hook Elementary, she, too, was a innocent victim. But I believe a bell should toll for the perpetrator, Adam Lanza, as well. Not to memorialize his heinous actions, of course, but because he is, like us, a human being. We cannot know now what went through his mind seven days ago during his murder spree, but it is safe to assume his thoughts were disturbed, distorted and almost certainly rooted in severe mental illness. No man in his right mind could have done what he did. As such, absent any evidence that suggests Lanza was thinking “rationally” last Friday morning, we also should should toll a bell for him and the countless, wounded souls who wander among us every day in clouds of darkly, damaged thoughts and emotions.


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    James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and Phoenix-based media communications consultant. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, magazine and newspaper editor, foreign correspondent, and television, radio and online commentator. He is the owner of Creative Vistas Media, co-founder of The Real Arizona Coalition (therealarizona.org), immediate past chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the author of more than 20 plays.

    James Garcia's Website: http://www.therealarizona.org


    What’s Driving Brewer’s Ban on Giving DREAMer’s Licenses

    posted by James Garcia at 18 December, 12:59 PM  0 
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    During my brief sojourn at the ACLU, I am proud to say that I assisted in communicating to the nation the organization’s lawsuit challenging the governor’s executive order that banned DREAMers from receiving driver’s licenses in Arizona. Aside from being unconstitutional, the governor’s decision was nothing less than cruel. It also servies no practical public service. What does Arizona society gain by telling DREAMers who are legally authorized to work in the United States under their “deferred action” status they are barred from driving a car that would make it possible for them to go to work. The GOP nationally has finally begun to understand that attacking immigrants will only widen the gap with Latino and other mnority voters. So why is it so difficult for Arizona’s statewide Republican leaders to read the bilingual writing on the wall.


    More Posts by James Garcia

    James E. Garcia is a playwright, journalist, university lecturer, and Phoenix-based media communications consultant. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, magazine and newspaper editor, foreign correspondent, and television, radio and online commentator. He is the owner of Creative Vistas Media, co-founder of The Real Arizona Coalition (therealarizona.org), immediate past chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise, and the author of more than 20 plays.

    James Garcia's Website: http://www.therealarizona.org


    Tonight is likely a mixed bag for education supporters

    posted by Paul Bentz at 6 November, 9:40 AM  0 
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    The good news for education supporters:  With the high turnout due to the Presidential cycle, it’s likely that a lot of the school bonds and overrides will pass.  This is great news for the school districts looking after every penny and already trying to find ways to do more with less.  I was pleased to work with the Yes for West-MEC committee to help get the message across on how career and technical education is important for a competitive work force.

    It used to be that bonds and overrides were slam dunks.  Facing defeat in some recent years, school districts have done quite a bit to push their needs and get more people involved in the decision making process.  This has made their plans even better and even easier to sell to the voters.  They’ve also come to understand that they have a better chance of passage in a General Election cycle.

    The bad news for education supporters:  There is a pretty good likelihood that Proposition 204 is going to fail.  I have a lot of friends who are supporting Prop 204 and many others I know will vote for anything that supports education.  Unfortunately, that is probably not going to be enough to permanently extend the 1 cent sales tax forever. 

    The proponents will blame the “dark money” that the opponents spent from mysterious donors to defeat the initiative, but the truth is, Proposition 204 was a flawed product.  The “dark money” had nothing to do with the Arizona Republic coming out against it.  It had nothing to do with Governor Brewer, the Arizona Chamber, or many others who oppose it as well. 

    They opposed it because of its different filling buckets, payout thresholds, and handouts to a Christmas tree variety of programs.  In the end, it was too complicated to explain – and that lead to muddy ballot language.  Add in the lack of real reform, tax concerns, and threats to the tax code, and in the end, it suffered under its own weight.

    Ironically, the demise of Prop 204 is why I believe more of the bonds and overrides will pass.  Those who usually take the time to come out against the bonds were busy fighting 204.  That mean, many of the school supporters were able to conduct their campaign without opposition.


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    Paul Bentz is Vice President, Accounts and Strategy at HighGround, Inc., one of Arizona's leading public affairs companies. Paul has more than a decade of experience in campaign management creating and directing mail, web, collateral, and grassroots strategy for local initiatives, statewide issues and candidate campaigns.

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    The horrors at CPS: Talk to the Governor

    posted by Mike McClellan at 31 October, 1:06 PM  0 
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    While the front page of today’s paper features a story about Gov. Jan Brewer’s “rock star” status among the Republicans (a testimony to the talents of Brewer’s Brains, the folks behind the scenes who protect her from the Big Bad Press and tell her what to think and say), the Op-Ed page features an editorial that takes an inadvertent swipe at the rock star (you and read the article and the editorial here and here).

    A well-deserved one, at that.

    In “CPS must be more vigilant,” the paper argues, among other things, “Lawmakers, who will respond to a request for more caseworkers next year, need to keep in mind that an underfunded, overworked agency has not been able to keep up with its current monitoring requirements.

    “CPS caseworkers failed to make required monthly face-to-face visits with 22 percent of the children in state custody, according to the state’s most recent report.

    “That’s a dereliction of duty that cannot be tolerated. CPS needs the resources to do the job right.”

    And why don’t they have those resources?

    Our “rock star” governor and her Republican buddies in the legislature.

    Two years ago, CPS was as dysfunctional as it is now, and it was clear that part of the was due to an extraordinary low number of caseworkers, putting even more pressure to perform on the already pressure-packed jobs of the existing poorly-paid caseworkers.

    So what did the Governor and the legislature do?

    As Laurie Roberts noted at the time (you can read her column here), they cut the budget for CPS.  And created a commission to “study” the problem.  Even as the new director, Clarence Carter, the legislature and the Governor knew that the caseworkers’ loads “exceeded the recommended levels by sixty percent or more.”

    In other words, less money and rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic that is CPS.

    So here we are, two years later, with a CPS still not working, with the Governor and legislature still not responding to its needs, and with an editorial telling us that “Lawmakers, who will respond to a request for more caseworkers next year, need to keep in mind that an underfunded, overworked agency has not been able to keep up with its current monitoring requirements.”

    Which is no different than it was two years ago.

    What does the “rock star” governor  have to say about that?

    Don’t count on a comment.  The governor’s too busy going around the country getting adored by her legion of fans.


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    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    A question for the Governor and Senator McCain in the wake of Agent Nicholas Ivie’s death

    posted by Mike McClellan at 3 October, 10:32 AM  0 
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    It didn’t take long for politics to merge with the murder of Border Patrol Agent Nick Ivie.

    His murder once again highlights the dangerous job those men and women perform every day.  With luck, his murderers will be captured or killed.

    But our governor, Senator McCain, and other Republicans leapt at the chance to get a few digs in at the Obama Administration.

    What I noticed about all their comments, though, was the missing question:

    How do those guns get in the cartels’ hands in the first place?

    After all, Mexico estimates that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily across the border.

    So, Governor Brewer and Senator McCain, how do so many guns get there?

    Part of the answer is this:  Because we allow unlimited purchase of guns.  Here in Arizona, a person can purchase “as many weapons as they want “as long as they’re 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. There are no waiting periods and no need for permits, and buyers are allowed to resell the guns,”  according to Fortune magazine.

    The article notes, “By 2009 the Sinaloa drug cartel had made Phoenix its gun supermarket and recruited young Americans as its designated shoppers or straw purchasers  . . . [the ATF began investigating] a group of buyers, some not even old enough to buy beer, whose members were plunking down as much as $20,000 in cash to purchase up to 20 semiautomatics at a time, and then delivering the weapons to others.”

    Now, why do we allow this to happen?  Why are our laws so lax?  Why can straw buyers walk into a gun store and purchase a load of assault rifles?

    Three letters.  N-R-A.

    The NRA opposes any limits on gun purchases.  And that opposition is tantamount to law in our state.

    So I guess we should ask Governor Brewer and Senator McCain this question:

    Will you support a law that would restrict the number of weapons a buyer can purchase at a single time?  Will you even take that little step to dim the number of guns run across the border each day?

    Or are you so frightened of the NRA that you’d rather have the cartels continue their access to unlimited guns, courtesy of the NRA and your fear?


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    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    Thank You, Governor Brewer

    posted by Jana Bommersbach at 25 September, 10:10 AM  0 
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    …For fueling Hispanic “get out the vote” efforts.

    Our Mean Girl Governor has turned into a Democratic secret weapon by denying Dream Act students an Arizona driver’s license. That is so backward; so vindictive, so wrong that it is showing Hispanic-American voters why they MUST vote on election day.

    Just think what a great poke in the eye it would be if Hispanics turned this state from red to blue in November.

    Republicans are scared of Hispanic-American voters, as well they should be, since they are heavily supportive of President Obama. You don’t have to be a political scientist to see why: Republicans have blocked any effort at comprehensive immigration reform to support instead a “deport them all” stand that has torn families apart. Republicans even refuse to support the Dream Act to give a break to teens and young adults brought here as children. These kids identify as Americans and have lived as Americans their whole lives and now are being told, because their parents are undocumented, that they aren’t anymore. Thankfully, President Obama has given them at least a temporary reprieve, but count on Republicans to squash that if they take control of the White House.

    Mean Girl Jan Brewer is a good example of how Republicans see Hispanic-Americans. She doesn’t care the president has given these kids a break–she certainly isn’t going to; demanding the state not issue them driver’s licenses and trying to block their right to a more-affordable in-state tuition. And she maintains her hardline stand on SB1070, even though much of it was declared unconstitutional.

    It’s painfully obvious that Mean Girl Brewer knows nothing about Hispanic culture. Has she ever once wondered why Hispanics work so hard? Has she ever once wondered what they value? Both can be answered with one word: Family. So any attack on the family, and certainly any attack on the children, will not be met with silence.

    Don’t be surprised if we have a higher Hispanic turnout in Arizona this year than ever before. THAT’s how an American voter deals with a Mean Girl bully.


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    Jana Bommersbach is an acclaimed and respected journalist whose work has encompassed every facet of the profession: she's been a reporter and editor for both weekly and daily newspapers; she's written a book and is a major contributor to an anthology; she's written columns and investigative stories for magazines; she's appeared on television with both political commentaries and investigative stories.

    Jana Bommersbach's Website: http://www.janabommersbach.com


    Mean Girl Governor Jan Brewer

    posted by Jana Bommersbach at 14 September, 12:54 PM  0 
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    Remember the “mean girl” in school—the bully who thought she was better than everyone else when everyone knew she didn’t have many friends because she was mean, cruel and selfish?

    Every time I hear Gov. Jan Brewer speak—either in person or print—that mean girl comes dancing before my eyes. Because that’s how she acts. And that’s why the kind of friends she DOES have, aren’t the kind most of us would want.

    The latest evidence is her opposition to young undocumented students who have a chance at an education, thanks to President Obama. His new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program does exactly what its name says: It gives a break to those who were brought here illegally when they were just children and now have grown up as Americans and want to go to college. The deferral program says these kids now cannot be charged the enormously more expensive “out of state” tuition, and can go to state colleges as “in state” students.

    Here’s the difference: In-state studentsin Arizona pay $76 per credit hour; out of state students pay $317 per credit hour. It’s simple math to see why the out-of-state tuition rate is unaffordable.

    In 2007, in its first streak of anti-immigrant hysteria, Arizona voters said these undocumented kids HAD to pay out-of-state tuition. I’ve always thought it was obnoxious that some state voters would think the way to handle the “border issue” was to throw kids out of college or prevent them from going there in the first place.

    To my way of thinking, there must be a special place somewhere nasty for folks who are so vicious. Just saying.

    The Maricopa County Community College System has already announced it’s letting these kids pay in-state tuition because of the president’s program, and the Arizona Board of Regents is considering the plan. But Mean Girl Governor Brewer thinks the President’s temporary reprieve is wrong and she doesn’t want these kids getting in-state tuition.

    We should all tell her how horribly wrong she is. Again.

    Let me just say this: The days of the Tea Party folks like Mean Girl Governor are numbered, as America wises up to their ways. We are not a nation of such bullies, and that they temporarily seemed to gain a foothold is just an abberation in American politics.

    So someday soon when we tell Mean Girl Governor to go away and not bother us anymore, I’ll be really happy. As will all those kids who just want to get an education.


    More Posts by Jana Bommersbach

    Jana Bommersbach is an acclaimed and respected journalist whose work has encompassed every facet of the profession: she's been a reporter and editor for both weekly and daily newspapers; she's written a book and is a major contributor to an anthology; she's written columns and investigative stories for magazines; she's appeared on television with both political commentaries and investigative stories.

    Jana Bommersbach's Website: http://www.janabommersbach.com


    Republicans sure like to spend our money, don’t they?

    posted by Mike McClellan at 4 September, 8:12 AM  0 
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    When they’re not suing the federal government, or being sued, or tagging along on other states’ lawsuits, our legislative Republicans find other ways to waste our money.

    Like with private prisons.

    Like the new private prison we may or may not need.

    You know, the one run by a company with close ties  to two of Brewer’s Brains, her advisors who tell her what to think and say.

    The advisors?  Paul Senseman and Chuck Coughlin, the former once Brewere’s mouthpiece, the latter a well-known practitioner of  the political dark arts.

    Coincidentally, the company both have connections with, CCA, got the contract for a new private prison.  Nothing new here:  Brewer’s Version of Crony Capitalism in action.

    But here’s where it gets good:  We’re gonna pay CCA almost $66 per prisoner per day in the new prison.  State-run prisons like the new one cost us $48 per prisoner per day.

    So why the $18 per prisoner per day difference (which amounts to $17,000 per day, which, over the course of the year, is a BIG difference)?

    Simple says Brewer-picked prison director Charles Ryan:  The $65 per day includes costs for constructing the prison.

    One problem:  The new prison is already built.  By us.  CCA will use existing facilities to house the new prisoners.

    Oops!

    Now it seems that our prison-friendly Republicans have a dilemma:  On the one hand, they love privatizing and they love privatizing prisons.  On the other hand, they like to advertise themselves as guardians of the public’s money.

    Which version of Republicans will win out?

    Easy:  Enjoy the “new” prison, fellas.  Oh, and send your contributions to . . .


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    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    Well today was sure a banner day in racism, huh?

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 26 August, 5:49 PM  0 
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    Mitt Romney coming out as a Birther today at a rally in Michigan drew some deservedly sharp rebukes on the internets. Of course, it also drew out the kind of petulant defensiveness I’ve grown to expect from my Republican associates. Here’s a sampling of tweets I got:

    empowering stupidity by engaging with stupidity not only validates original stupidity but it lowers you to same lvl

    you crack me up! You are like the girl who cried wolf, except instead of wolves all you see is sexism & racism.

    bc two days ago Obama made a crack about the dog on the roof? Looks like Harvard egotism from both to me

    The quote was “I’ve never been asked for my birth certificate” it was a joke. Please save your faux outrage for someone who cares

    Enjoy playing in the gutter with the lowest form of idiot republican, it reflects well on you.

    These are all from the same Republican. Honestly, you’d think Obama had been the one who told a Birther joke…

    Oh wait. (sigh) Yes, the President and his supporters have mocked the absurd Birther conspiracy. Explaining humor to right wingers is rather like explaining algebra to a Chihuahua but I’ll try: Making fun of Birthers for being stupid racists isn’t the same as pandering to said Birthers and feeding their irrational frothing hatred of the black man in the White House.” I know. It’s no use. Here’s popular conservative blogger Ann Althouse issuing a defense of Romney that reads like it might have come from some algorithm that generates denials of racism for Birthers:

    Anyway, it’s obviously not racist. In fact, it’s more racist to call it racist. To see it as racist, you have to have a background belief that to think of someone as a natural-born citizen is to think of him as white. Who thinks that?!

    And it’s also not “birther” to say what Romney said. A birther is someone who thinks or isn’t sure that Obama was born in one of the United States. But the joke doesn’t depend on the listener being a birther. You simply have to understand that people had enough questions about where Obama was born that they wanted to see the proof. People don’t have those questions about Romney, so no one ever asked him to prove it. That’s all Romney said.

    Right, only a real racist would be appalled by Presidential candidate Romney eliciting a big cheer at a rally full of angry Birthers by hinting that their idiotic racist conspiracy theory about the President might be true. Althouse went on to post this in the comments section:

    There’s also the fact that the state Obama was born in is Hawaii… so immensely far from the rest of the country (and, at the time of his birth, only recently a state).

    Oh yes, she went there. “Hawaii isn’t really part of America” there.

    And then there’s Governor Brewer, who did this remarkable interview with the New York Times.

    The photograph of you confronting the president has become quite famous. If you could do it over again, would you avoid wagging your finger?
    He’s the one that chose to make a brief encounter about something petty that showed his thin skin. I agree it was unfortunate, but it happened, and I moved on…

    When you signed Arizona’s immigration law in 2010, you cited concerns about growing border violence. But according to the F.B.I., violent crime dropped in Arizona almost 14 percent the previous year.
    As the saying goes, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Fifty thousand people in Mexico have been murdered. Puerto Peñasco, 60 miles south of our border, just had five people and a police officer killed. That is like part of Arizona, and it is spilling over into our state.

    Finally, there’s this item about the Attorneys General of six states, including Arizona, suing to remove the preclearance requirements imposed on them by the Voting Rights Act because, basically, it’s impeding their ability to pass racist voter suppression laws.

    I mean, wow, it’s not that racism ever really takes a rest in this country but it sure got a workout today!

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    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    Who wins? Arizona Gov. Brewer? Dreamers? Obama?

    posted by Terry Greene Sterling at 17 August, 6:31 PM  0 
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    protestors 1024x768 Who wins? Arizona Gov. Brewer?  Dreamers? Obama?

    Photo by Terry Greene Sterling

    What’s a Dreamer?

    A Dreamer is an undocumented immigrant under the age of 31 who was brought to the USA as a child and has lived here for at least five years.  Under a June administrative order by the Obama administration, Dreamers who have graduated from high school or college, and who are not a threat to the United States, can apply for  temporary relief from immediate deportation via “deferred action,” a form of  legal and time-tested prosecutorial discretion.

    (According to the office of Gov. Jan Brewer, about 80,000 Dreamers live in Arizona. About 1.7 million Dreamers live in the United States.)

    On Aug. 15, Dreamers began applying for their two-year reprieve. If they pass musteristrative directive issued by Presdient Barack Obama will be given work papers and Social Security cards by the federal government. They will be able to work and pay taxes to the federal government and the state of Arizona. But Gov. Jan Brewer believes they should not drive to work, and wants to bar them from getting driver licenses.

    This is part of her executive order, issued on Aug.  15, the  day the Obama directive took effect. The order also says Dreamers can’t get state-funded benefits — like unemployment or being licensed by the state. (Dreamers don’t qualify for federal benefits, like Medicaid or Food Stamps, except in rare, rare circumstances. That’s thanks to federal, not state, law.)

    Most of Brewer’s executive order simply parrots existing  law, but there is one part of the order that is the subject of a heated legal debate — the driver license part. Dreamers say they need to be able to drive to work in a sprawling metropolis like the Phoenix metro area,  with limited public transportation.

    But it looks as Dreamers may get to drive after all, despite the governor’s executive order that they should be denied licenses. The reason: Experts say the governor confused legal terms, and because of this her executive order may have contradicted state law.

    I wrote about the arguments, and talked to Brewer’s spokesman, for an article that ran this morning in The Daily Beast.

    Watching the television coverage and listening to pundits on the radio, I’m a little stunned at the degree of misinformation coming from both sides.


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    Journalist Terry Greene Sterling has lived in Arizona most of her life, and has reported on the political brawls and human tragedies that have long made Arizona the focus of national news. She was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch, and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English. The author of Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone, Sterling has been honored with more than 50 national and regional journalism awards. She was named Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, Arizona’s highest journalism honor, three times. She was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times for 14 years before branching out on her own. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and Writer-in-Residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Preservation Magazine. She tweets @tgsterling and blogs about immigration in Arizona at terrygreenesterling.com.

    Terry Greene Sterling's Website: http://www.terrygreenesterling.com/


    Governor Brewer’s Magic Wand

    posted by Mike McClellan at 17 August, 6:30 PM  0 
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    Sure as shootin’, as soon as the President’s de facto Dream Act went into effect, our Guv went into action:

    No special rights for the now-sorta legal illegals in our state, said the Guv. No benefits.  Not even driver’s licenses.

    The Guv was mad as hell and she wasn’t gonna take it anymore.

    Which was confirmed by one of her Brains, spokesman Matthew Benson (you can read about this here).

    Her action?  According to some immigration attorneys, she can’t deny licenses to “deferred action” illegal immigrants, since we in Arizona have been granting licenses to that class of immigrants for decades.  In fact, one lawyer says that the Guv’s action was “contrary to state law.”

    Big deal.

    Because, says Benson, ”The ‘dreamers’ here, they don’t have any congressional authorization. President Obama just waved his magic wand and made this happen. But it wasn’t authorized by federal law or the Congress.”  (Benson, of course, ignores the fact that since a 1952 law was passed, the Executive Branch “has discretionary authority over deferred actions, not Congress.)

    Hmmm . . . let’s see, let’s see.  The Pres unilaterally authorizes an action unauthorized by law or Congress.  He just “waved his magic wand.”

    And the Guv?  Well, she has a wand, too, apparently.  So she waves it, and unilaterally authorizes an action unauthorized by law or the legislature.

    To sum up:

    President’s wand Bad.

    Guv’s wand Good.  

    Of course.


    More Posts by Mike McClellan

    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


    Arizona Gov. Brewer vs Dreamers

    posted by Terry Greene Sterling at 16 August, 2:54 PM  0 
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    On Aug. 15,  thousands of Arizona’s undocumented kids– youngsters who were  brought to the United States as children and had graduated from high school or college and had committed no crimes — began the process of signing up for “Deferred Action” under a special rule change granted by President Barack Obama. The new federal permits will  allow them to live, and work, and study legally in the United States. But as the so-called “Dreamers”  filled out the forms that would give them two-year permits to be in the United States,  Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order denying them state driver licenses and state ID cards.

    BrewerSOTUS 051011 thumb 640xauto 3056 Arizona Gov. Brewer vs Dreamers

    Jan Brewer Photo credit: Creative Commons/@ADLavinsky

    In a nutshell, Brewer’s order denies Dreamers  state identification cards or driver licenses, because she reasons, such kids remain  in the country illegally even after they get their papers that say they are in the country legally.

    The order also forbids the kids from receiving other state benefits not tied to the federal government, which amounts to, well, hardly anything.

    Bottom line: Federal immigration officials will give Arizona Dreamers work permits and social security cards, but  Brewer wants to discourage  them from working  by preventing them from driving to work.

    And if Brewer is correct, if there really are 80,000 Dreamers in Arizona, wouldn’t it be wiser to encourage  80,000 kids to work and/or study in college and pay taxes to the state of Arizona for years to come?

    Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, laid it out what she sees as the legal folly of Brewer’s order  in an email Soler sent reporters this evening:

    “Brewer is distorting federal law and inaccurately interpreting state law,” writes Soler. “This order conflicts with state and federal law because people who are granted deferred action will, in fact, have authorized presence in the United States and under Arizona law people who have authorized presence are eligible to apply for Arizona state identification. .”

    “She is perpetuating the myth that deferred action applicants are somehow submitting fraudulent documents and that is completely false.  Not only is she singling out young people who are eligible for deferred action, but she also is excluding other categories of non-citizens who are authorized to be in the country, including victims of domestic violence, from obtaining state-identification while their immigration applications are being processed.”

    Brewer is an astute politico, and her move signaled something large  and something small.

    Large: She gave a nod to voters uncomfortable with irreversible demographic changes in Arizona, and blind to the benefits of such changes.

    Small: She  also gave a not to herself. She’ll depend on these voters to buy her book and pay her speaking fees when she steps down from the governor’s office at the end of the year. Or when she gets a cabinet post if Romney wins.

    But  while  Gov. Jan’s  on the speaking circuit or in D.C., the fallout from her “executive order” will  have to be hashed out in court.

    At our expense.

    Here’s  brewer’s order.

     

     

     

     


    More Posts by Terry Greene Sterling

    Journalist Terry Greene Sterling has lived in Arizona most of her life, and has reported on the political brawls and human tragedies that have long made Arizona the focus of national news. She was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch, and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English. The author of Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone, Sterling has been honored with more than 50 national and regional journalism awards. She was named Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, Arizona’s highest journalism honor, three times. She was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times for 14 years before branching out on her own. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and Writer-in-Residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Preservation Magazine. She tweets @tgsterling and blogs about immigration in Arizona at terrygreenesterling.com.

    Terry Greene Sterling's Website: http://www.terrygreenesterling.com/


    Note to Arizona’s GovernorJan Brewer: Hang out With Mexicans

    posted by Terry Greene Sterling at 18 June, 7:15 AM  0 
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    Governor Jan,

    You need to hang out with Mexicans.

    You won’t  of course. You  can’t afford to politically. The people who support you would likely not approve, because they don’t hang out with Mexicans, either.

    But Governor Jan, if you’d spent the day yesterday with Dreamers, those kids you derided as “illegal immigrants”  in your press conference, you would see them as a national treasure, not as a threat to America.

    Yea, you were right. President Barack Obama’s administrative order was completely political. Yesterday he gave  Dreamers, non-criminal undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who have lived here for at least five years and were brought to the country illegally as children by their parents,  temporary deferment from immediate deportation and a chance to stay in the United States to attend college or serve in the military, and to work here.

    But if you’d hung out with Dreamers in their Phoenix headquarters, you would have seen that regardless of the president’s motivation, his actions give America a boost. We need them.

    In Arizona, many Dreamers excel in science and math and have engineering degrees. A while back, Angelica Hernandez (we’re good friends, full disclosure) was the top graduate in Mechanical Engineering class at ASU. She’s going on to  a prestigious Califronia graduate school for a Master’s degree.

    Not a single taxpayer dollar was spent on Angelica’s college education.

    She is really really smart, and, more importantly, driven. She is who she is despite the obstacles of poverty and racism. She never once hated the people who created those obstacles.

    Instead, she boned up on complicated science and math, hoping one day to contribute her engineering acumen to a nation suffering from a shortage of engineers. The president’s administrative order gives her a chance to do that.  She actually looks forward to working and wants to pay taxes.

    If you’d come down to the Arizona Dream Act Coalition offices on Friday, you  would have met Daniel Rodriguez.

    Here is his picture.

    IMG 1046 300x225  Note to Arizonas GovernorJan Brewer: Hang out With MexicansHe’s a born  leader who is attending law school.  Hours after the Senate failed to pass the Dream Act in 2010, I saw him by chance in a coffee shop with Dulce Matuz. (She’s  another Dreamer who would go on to become  one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2012.) These two young people weren’t feeling sorry for themselves in the wake of the failure of the Dream Act, which would have given them a pathway to citizenship if they attended college or joined the military. Instead, they were planning their next political strategy.

    Dreamers have been increasingly politically active and have been honest about their immigration status. The president gave them this small break because he knew their  drive, honesty and patriotism have earned them a place of honor in the hearts of many Americans of different ethnicities.

    So the president was shrewd in making a political move that granted these kids relief from deportation so they can continue their studies and bolster the  middle class or keep America safe from terrorists.

    The nation is changing. Dreamers are emblematic of that change. And many natural-born Americans  are happy to have them here.

    Indeed, the National Journal reported recently on a Pew Research Center study that tells us something about white Americans. The study, which was started in 2002 and continues today, indicates that the majority of college-educated white Americans and/or white Americans younger than 30 do not see “newcomers from other countries” as a “threat to American values.”

    Those who feel threatened by Dreamers are older whites who grew up before America was integrated, and/or high-school educated whites who think Dreamers  will take their jobs.

    Dreamers are way,way too educated and driven to take the jobs of high-school educated whites, but they will certainly hire them. And  they’re training in health care professions to take care of the older whites, who, when they get to know Dreamers, will likely not  be so freaked out.

    So long story short, Governor Jan, you were right that the president’s move was political, and yea, it will give Dreamers a break from  an SB 1070 stop, detention or arrest. But SB 1070 is already being seen for what it is — a political emporer-has-no-clothes law aimed at getting votes by  scaring white Arizonans  over nothing. We have long been in  an era of record-low illegal immigration. And even if the Supreme Court okays it now on narrow issues, just wait until the high court rules on SB 1070′s civil-rights violations.

    And even if Mitt Romney beats Barack Obama in November, don’t count on Romney rescinding Obama’s Dreamer order. Unless there’s comprehensive immigration reform that gives our nation’s law abiding long-term unauthorized immigrants some sort of relief, that Dreamer order will likely stay, no matter who is president.

    Romney, like Obama, is a politico. He understands that  Dreamers are respected and loved by many American voters.

    You’d know why, Governor Jan,  if you hung out with Mexicans.

     



    More Posts by Terry Greene Sterling

    Journalist Terry Greene Sterling has lived in Arizona most of her life, and has reported on the political brawls and human tragedies that have long made Arizona the focus of national news. She was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch, and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English. The author of Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone, Sterling has been honored with more than 50 national and regional journalism awards. She was named Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, Arizona’s highest journalism honor, three times. She was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times for 14 years before branching out on her own. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and Writer-in-Residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Preservation Magazine. She tweets @tgsterling and blogs about immigration in Arizona at terrygreenesterling.com.

    Terry Greene Sterling's Website: http://www.terrygreenesterling.com/


    Don’t be so quick to take credit for that, Governor

    posted by Donna Gratehouse at 13 June, 9:28 AM  0 
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    Governor Brewer crowed on Twitter today:

    CNN features AZ as nation’s #1 spot for biz startups and entrepreneurs! The Arizona Comeback continues!

    Which we are no doubt supposed to attribute to her administration’s and the Legislature’s masterful handling of our state’s economy. To be sure, the CNN Money piece does rely heavily on ye olde tax cut magic to explain the high number of start-ups in our state.

    1. Arizona

    2011 startup rate: 520 per 100,000 adults

    Arizona is a sizzling spot for startups. People were more likely to launch businesses here than in any other state in the country last year.

    Arizona has benefited from a steady stream of entrepreneurs migrating from less business-friendly states like California. The lure? Business and property taxes are low, as are workers’ compensation costs, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority.

    What’s more, the labor pool is highly educated, as schools such as Arizona State University and the University of Arizona churn out a steady stream of science and technology grads. The state encourages firms to upgrade employees’ skills, giving grants to those that offer in-house job training.

    That’s key, since tech firms dominate Arizona’s new business landscape. Software and semiconductor makers are big here, as are solar, clean-tech and renewable energy technology firms. More traditional fields like retail and tourism also are hot.

    Oh, so the People’s Republic of California must really be struggling to create new businesses these days, what with them being so hostile to entrepreneurs and all. So where do those wine-tippling socialist lawsuit-happy elitist welfare queen hippies fall on CNN’s list? You’ll find them aaaaaaaaaaall the way down here:

    3. California

    2011 startup rate: 440 per 100,000 adults

    You might think California’s lingering budget woes, high unemployment, burdensome taxes and regulations, and highly litigious culture would spook people thinking about launching a business here.

    Whatever. The Golden State has a history of embracing entrepreneurs that shows no sign of letting up. Silicon Valley continues to be the launch pad for innovative web, biotech and geeky startups galore. Hollywood’s robust entertainment industry sparks many new film- and TV-related firms.

    Necessity is another driving force: California has a large population of immigrants and long-term unemployed, and many are creating small businesses as a way to earn a living, said Loren Kaye, president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education.

    Indeed, many firms with low startup and overhead costs launch and grow successfully in California, said Kaye. And, he said, they typically aren’t walloped by high taxes and reams of regulation until they grow big.

    Texas, which got the #2 spot, also had 440 startups per 100K adults. Which means California is really tied for #2 but I guess they got points deducted for being such smelly commies. So let’s examine this: As a per capita percentage Arizona is starting new businesses at a whopping rate of 0.08% higher than California. In raw numbers (based on Census figures) Arizona is starting 25281 businesses a year and California is starting 124,383. In other words, California is starting nearly 5 times as many new businesses as Arizona.

    CNN Money offers no real evidence to support its contention that Arizona is spawning a lot of start-ups per capita because of low taxes and a supposedly more welcoming business climate and, no, the fluffery from the AZ Commerce authority doesn’t count. And based on my own (admittedly anecdotal) observation, it seems that, as in California, lots of new businesses in Arizona are being started by long-term unemployed people who got tired of pounding the pavement and waiting for something to open up in their field so they decided to take their chance on self-employment. Which can mean anything from high-level technical consulting to selling costume jewelry.

    But let’s revisit the admission that completely undermines CNN Money’s and Jan Brewer’s claim that low taxes and light regulation are causing entrepreneurs to come to Arizona in droves:

    Indeed, many firms with low startup and overhead costs launch and grow successfully in California, said Kaye. And, he said, they typically aren’t walloped by high taxes and reams of regulation until they grow big.

    Most startups will run at a loss the first few years in business and thus pay no taxes in whatever state they’re located. So anyone placing corporate tax policy at the forefront of the business location decision is really putting the cart in front of the horse. And small businesses (the vast majority of start-ups) never cite over-regulation as a challenge to their success. Worker’s comp is a factor only if you actually have employees, which excludes the 3/4 of US businesses that have no payroll. In other words, tax cuts and deregulation overwhelmingly favor large, established corporations. In other words, the (arguably) good news that Arizona is #1 in new business starts most likely has practically nothing to do with Governor Brewer and the Republican majority Legislature.

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    More Posts by Donna Gratehouse

    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD, and an adventurous streak led me to join the Navy. I moved to Arizona in 1997 after serving 10 years in the Navy to work in semi-conductor manufacturing. I got involved in national and Arizona politics in 2003. I ran for 2006 State Senate in Ahwatukee and was a Delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. I now live in North Central Phoenix with my boyfriend, Mark, and our three dogs. I've been blogging for Democratic Diva since 2007 about local and national politics with a strong emphasis on women's issues.

    Donna Gratehouse's Website: http://www.democraticdiva.com/


    A Good Brewer Veto

    posted by Mike McClellan at 29 May, 8:46 AM  0 
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    Some in the Republic have taken the Guv to task for her veto of the Student Service Learning bill.  This was the bill — proposed by a Tempe student — that would provide a governor’s commendation for any student graduating high school who had accrued 200 or more hours of volunteer work (you can read about it here).

    In her veto letter, the Guv gave this guff:  ”"In this bill, one branch of government is obligating another branch of government to do something it already can do.”

    The bill’s sponsor, State Senator David Schapira, smelled politics, believing the Guv nixed the bill because he and the student who suggested it are Democrats.

    Whatever.

    But the bill should’ve been vetoed.  Here’s why:

    Too often, too many kids chase those volunteer hours for one reason — to build a resume.  In other words, too many of these students have the “What’s in it for me?” attitude.

    And giving them a commendation only reinforces that.

    Look, it’s great to encourage kids to give back to their communities in some way.  But do we have to always attach a reward for something that should be reward enough?

    The Governor’s Commendation would only say to the kids, “Do something nice, something helpful, and of course we’ll recognize that effort.”



    More Posts by Mike McClellan

    Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.

    Mike McClellan's Website: http://azcvoices.com/politics/author/mikemcclellansblog/


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