Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More news on McClung's ties to extremist groups

Over on my Tucson Citizen blog, I have posted several stories about CD7 Republican Congressional challenger Ruth McClung and her ties to extremist and often blatantly racist groups who are fundraising and endorsing her.

Will the real Ruth McClung please stand up? first brought to light her endorsement by the right wing Republican Majority Campaign and the Grover Norquist TV ad on her behalf.

The sequel: Will the real Ruth McClung please stand up? (part 2) continues the discussion of her ties to Norquist and Sarah Palin. Even though McClung signed the Norquist pledge and spouted his soundbites at the CD7 debate, she claims not to know who he is.

Desperately seeking ‘Republican Majority Campaign’, signed RM further delves into the shadowy Republican Majority Campaign and its racist ties. The title is a take-off on the 1980s cult classic "Desperately Seeking Susan" where bored housewife (Rosanna Arquette) places a newspaper ad to find her wild-child friend, Susan, (played by Madonna). Like the bored housewife, McClung want to play on the wild side with the RMC.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CD7 debates: fiery ideology vs ideas and facts

Last night's Congressional District 7 public debate revealed the stark contrast between the candidates and their followers.

Here are 2 stories that I posted on my Tucson Citizen blog.

CD7 debate: Fiery ideology vs ideas and facts

Ruth McClung: Brought to you by the Republican Party Machine

The main blog link is here: Tucson Progressive.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More news on medical marijuana, Barbara LaWall, and prohibition

Here is a sequel to my earlier story about Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall's crusade against Prop 203 which would legalize medical marijuana.

LaWall continues campaign against medical marijuana

That story and an anti-Prop 203 blog post also in yesterday's Tucson Citizen raised a number of comments about the origins of marijuana prohibition, so I posted this story today. It's amazing how many times in our history xenophobia has been used as a wedge issue to control the US population.

Alcohol and marijuana: The origins of prohibition

My new blog link on the Citizen is here: Tucson Progressive.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Goddard 'works it' in Tucson

Attorney General Terry Goddard knows that in order to beat Jan "beheadings!" Brewer in the race for governor of Arizona he has to win big in Pima County-- the one bright blue spot in a state dominated by that large red blob to the north.

Goddard has been everywhere in recent weeks. There was an impressive voter registration rally on October 4 with fellow Democrats on the UA mall, and this weekend there are back to back events.

Women for Goddard Rally and Movie at the Loft
Come to the Loft Cinema, hear Goddard speak and view the film Iron Jawed Angels, an amazing movie on the battle for the women's right to vote. (This is labeled as a women's rally, but I'm sure men can come also.)
What: Women Vote Rally
When: Saturday, October 9th from 10-11:30 am.
Where: The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd.
For more info, please contact Erika Burkhart at (303) 514-3452.

Eastside Rally for Goddard
What: Eastside Rally for Terry Goddard hosted by City Council members Shirley Scott and Paul Cunningham
When: Saturday, October 9, 4-6 pm
Where: The Children's Outdoor Performance Area, 8123 E Poinciana (next to PCC East, north of Irvington, east of Pantano).
Come join us for food, music and show your support for Terry Goddard!
Please contact Max Torres at (520) 250-0473 or Pat Weidhoff at (520) 850-6755 for more information.

Goddard Got Art
The Goddard Got Art artist reception will be this Saturday. Goddard's campaign held a art competition. Come view the winners. This is the Second Saturday, so there will be loads of other things to do also. (If you're worried about parking, check out the Pennington Street Garage, by Cafe Poca Cosa. It's cheap or free for these events.)
When: Saturday, October 9, 5-7pm
Where: 1 E. Congress in downtown Tucson

17th Annual Pima County Democratic Party Honor Roll Gala
If you're into somewhat expensive political dinners, come this event and hear keynote speaker, Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development along with Goddard and State Senator Paula Aboud who will be the master of ceremonies.
What: Pima Democrats Honor Roll Gala, featuring Henry Cisneros and Terry Goddard
When: Saturday, October 9th at 12 pm. Registration begins at 11:30.
Where : University Marriot, 880 E 2nd St. Tickets are $75 ($65 for PCs and $50 for students). To purchase tickets, visit this Act Blue web link or call (520) 326-3716.

Cycling for Goddard
So, after that rubber chicken dinner at the Marriott on Sunday, join Goddard supporters Tuesday night for the community bike ride. We tried this last Tuesday, but that huge rain storm washed out our plans. We are calling on Goddard supporters to participate in the bike ride and show their support at the same time. We will be wearing lights and Goddard paraphernalia-- signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers-- to raise awareness. Barring bad weather (again), we plan do to this for each Tuesday night ride until the election on November 2.

Rumor has it that Connie Sanchez of Blondes for Brewer may even make an appearance at the art event and the cycling event. Is she switching sides? Come find out!
What: Tucson Community Bike Ride
When: Tuesdays, 7:30 pm
Where: in front of the Starbucks on University Blvd.

Goddard is workin' it in Tucson. Help him take back our state. Volunteer and vote!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This is called not knowing what you are voting for

In case you can't read it, one of my messier neighbors has "Yes on 401, Fix City Government" sign in his front of his junk car.

This is a perfect example of not knowing what you are voting for.

You see... a few months ago the neighborhood association turned this particular neighbor-- among others-- into the city for violating the ordinances against tall weeds and grass and visible junk cars.

Should I tell him that even if Prop 401 passes, he'll still have to keep his yard cleaned up and cover-- or preferably ditch-- that junk car with the flat tires? (After all, even covered, it's an eyesore.)

Tucsonans can join the Rally to Restore Sanity or the March to Keep Fear Alive-- without leaving the Old Pueblo

I have been seriously jonesing to go to Washington, DC for the progressive rallies being held in October. After all I have a hybrid car and at least one person + 2 cattle dogs who would love to go on a road trip.

Problem is I also have a fulltime job and can't take 2 weeks off for the round trip.

Ever since I learned about these 3 rallies, I have been pining away to hear Ed Schultz, Jon Stewart, and/or Stephen Colbert address the teeming throngs of progressives on the mall in DC, but alas...

Now, thanks to the ingenuity and marketing savvy of the Hotel Congress, Tucson progressives can enjoy the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or the March to Keep Fear Alive without leaving town. The rallies begin at 9 a.m. on 10-30-10.

Personally, I think they should secure Governor Jan Brewer and Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall as keynote speakers for the Keep Fear Alive rally.

For Restoring Sanity...hmmm...definitely there are no Arizona Republican politicians who could address a rally with that title-- especially since Stewart called Arizona the "meth lab of democracy". Maybe Dave Ewoldt or Andrew Weil?

Here is a link to the Tucson rally and a link list of other states and cities that are having rallies. And, of course, in case you're not already distracted enough, you can follow it all on facebook and Twitter.

Big money could bring the end of life as we know it

Are you scared yet? Should I go on?

These right-wing puppets (and-- thanks to the Roberts' court-- the corporatists and secretly-funded big-money groups behind them) want to end life as we know it in the United States of America. They don't want to take us back to the Bush era policies or the Contract for America.

With no Social Security, no healthcare safety net, no minimum wage, and, of course, no unions-- they want to take us back to the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, when people of all ages, including small children, slaved -- literally-- in factories and sweat shops for meager wages. If you were sick, old, or poor, it was your family's responsibility to take care of you. No family? Tough luck, you're on your own.

How could these ideas have gained so much popularity? Is it the sheer power of the moneyed forces behind the Tea Party-- like the John Birch Society Koch brothers or secretly-finded groups like Karl Rove's American Crossroads, which spent $3.5 million last week? All of this money + 24/7 yellow journalism courtesy of FOX News is trying to squash the progressive advances of the Obama Administration.

Here's some background on the origins of these ideas from The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party by Frank Rich or the New York Times.

When David Koch ran to the right of Reagan as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian ticket (it polled 1 percent), his campaign called for the abolition not just of Social Security, federal regulatory agencies and welfare but also of the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and public schools — in other words, any government enterprise that would either inhibit his business profits or increase his taxes. He hasn’t changed. As Mayer details, Koch-supported lobbyists, foundations and political operatives are at the center of climate-science denial — a cause that forestalls threats to Koch Industries’ vast fossil fuel business. While Koch foundations donate to cancer hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, Koch Industries has been lobbying to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from classifying another product important to its bottom line, formaldehyde, as a “known carcinogen” in humans (which it is).

Tea Partiers may share the Kochs’ detestation of taxes, big government and Obama. But there’s a difference between mainstream conservatism and a fringe agenda that tilts completely toward big business, whether on Wall Street or in the Gulf of Mexico, while dismantling fundamental government safety nets designed to protect the unemployed, public health, workplace safety and the subsistence of the elderly.

Yet inexorably the Koch agenda is morphing into the G.O.P. agenda, as articulated by current Republican members of Congress, including the putative next speaker of the House, John Boehner, and Tea Party Senate candidates like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and the new kid on the block, Alaska’s anti-Medicaid, anti-unemployment insurance Palin protégé, Joe Miller. Their program opposes a federal deficit, but has no objection to running up trillions in red ink in tax cuts to corporations and the superrich; apologizes to corporate malefactors like BP and derides money put in escrow for oil spill victims as a “slush fund”; opposes the extension of unemployment benefits; and calls for a freeze on federal regulations in an era when abuses in the oil, financial, mining, pharmaceutical and even egg industries (among others) have been outrageous.

The Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank knowing that working Americans are aiding and abetting their selfish interests.
Has the country gone mad? Do the small guv'ment Tea Partiers think their Social Security and Medicare will be funded, while everyone under 65 will be thrown to the wolves? Fat chance. Tea Partiers, after they have used you, they'll go after your Medicare-funded scooters next.

For a look at our future, check out this book from the past-- How the Other Half Lives-- or watch Walmart: the High Cost of Low Prices.

UPDATE, October 8: Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup covers this story. (Diane, honey, mention my blog next time, OK?)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Where's the diversity?

Is it coincidence, fate, or maybe poor planning on my part that I am spending 3 evenings in a row at the Pima County Democratic Headquarters this week?

The Pima Dems Executive Committee met last night; tonight Legislative District 28 (where my precinct is) met; and tomorrow I am making phone calls for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and MoveOn. (That's me and Gabby on election day 2008, when I was also making calls for her. Wasn't that a great day!)

What really struck me about last night's meeting-- besides the vote-- was the lack of diversity in the Pima County Democratic Party's upper echelon. When I made phone calls for Barack Obama in 2008, I was in the minority on most nights. Didn't the local Dems recruit any of those 2008 black and Hispanic phone bank volunteers or walkers to be precinct committee people?

I had planned to raise the lack-of-diversity issue at tonight's LD28 meeting, but with only 1 black campaign worker for Rodney Glassman (Hi, Zeke!) and 1 Polish Mexican, tonight's meeting was older and whiter than last night's meeting. (Not that there's anything inherently wrong with old white folks; these people are hard workers. And, besides, I plan to be an old white person someday.)

Yes, I know there is an African American Democratic Caucus. Great group of folks, but I don't see many of them in leadership positions. Actually, I only saw 1 last night.

This is a problem-- and a missed opportunity. Nationwide and statewide, the Republicans are alienating many groups and particularly people of color. The "energized" Republican base-- primarily Tea Partiers-- ranges from old white folks to white supremacists on the diversity scale. Obviously, that leaves a lot of people left out.

Come on, Democrats. Let's show everyone that we really do have a big tent that all of us can fit under. We need to bring these diverse populations into the fold-- not just for their vote but for their ideas, their energy, and their leadership.

I challenge the Arizona Democratic Party to make a concerted effort to recruit more diversity to the ranks of its precinct committee members between now and 2012. This will only make the progressive movement stronger. We can do this.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Re: 'eating their young'? Oh, well...

From the get-go, tonight's Pima County Democratic Party meeting had the feeling of a showdown on Prop 401, and it was.

The room was tense as each member of the Executive Committee spoke for the allotted 2 minutes, and there was no call to the audience. Most people passed or said just a few words. Tom Prezelski and Jim Hannley, both EC members and officers in the Protect Local Control No on Prop 401, spoke eloquently against the measure.

Chairman and Prop 401 supported Jeff Rogers gave the history of the measure; first the Democrats were working with the City Council on a strong mayor charter change, but eventually he folded his efforts into those of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC), who was proposing strong city manager charter changes.

One young EC member read excerpts from a letter from the three City Council members who stood with their constituents and voted against the charter changes back in July. He asked that the EC "not throw them under the bus."

In the end, the mostly white, mostly male, mostly over 60 Democratic EC voted 19 yes, 5 no, and 1 abstain to endorse Prop 401.

Will the Democrats 'eat their young' tonight?

Jon Stewart often says that one of the biggest differences between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans (being more homogeneous) are able to keep their base marching forward in lock step, while the Democrats (who represent many diverse interests) often devolve into squabbling and "eat their young".

Tonight, I'm afraid the Pima Dems will "eat their young"-- or at least a few City Council members. Earlier in the summer, the Pima County Democratic Party Executive Committee voted to officially remain neutral on Prop 401, the City of Tucson proposed charter changes.

This was a wise decision, since the Democratic-controlled City Council vote was split on this issue back in July. Council Members Richard Fimbres, Karin Ulich, and Regina Romero listened to their constituents at well-attended public forums and voted not to send the charter changes to the ballot. Blue Dog Democrats Paul Cunningham and Shirley Scott sided with Republicans Steve Kozachik and Mayor Bob Walkup and voted successfully to send the initiative (now Prop 401) to the ballot.

Even though the Pima Dems officially remained neutral on the issue, Party Chair and local lawyer Jeff Rogers and Vice Chair and Ward 2 City Council aide Katie Bolger have been actively hawking Prop 401 for the corporatists of Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC). In addition, according to Prop 401's campaign finance reports, Bolger has been paid $2000 for her pro-Prop 401 lobbying efforts.

This is a free country, and I respect Rogers' and Bolger's right to have their own opinions and speak out for or against political initiatives-- as private citizens.

But tonight's Executive Committee meeting is another matter.

Through what appear to be parliamentary machinations, the Pima Dems Executive Committee will re-vote whether or not to endorse Prop 401 tonight at the Democratic Headquarters.

Rehashing and re-voting the Prop 401 endorsement is a waste of time. This is like rearranging the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.

Workers and the middle class are under siege in Arizona and nationwide. It's time for the Democrats to march in lock step to elect as many Democrats as possible and save our country from extremists-- not devolve into cannibalism.

Prop 401: The most polite forum... ever

The Feldman Neighborhood, which has a reputation for fiery politics, hosted the most polite community forum ever last night. Was it the gentle ambiance of the historic but hard-to-find St. Luke's Chapel, built by Josias Joesler. Or the lack of suits?

About a dozen citizens gathered in the chapel to discuss the pros and cons of Prop 401, the proposed changes to the Tucson City Charter. Local lawyer, environmentalist, and Tucson Charter Change Coalition (TC3) executive committee member, Mitch Coker spoke in favor of Prop 401. Political gadfly and former blogger, Luke Knipe represented Protect Local Control, the No on 401 committee.

The free-form, unstructured forum was dotted with controversy and consensus. There was major discussion of what the charter changes would fix, deceptive advertising by Prop 401 supporters, government accountability, the impact of shifting the election cycle, the pros and cons a stronger city manager, and the pay raises for politicians.

When asked what city government problems the charter changes would fix, neither Coker nor Shirley Kiser (one of the architects of Prop 401, along with her husband Jim Kiser) could answer the question. They waffled around what the charter changes would do but couldn't name any problems they would fix. I asked a follow-up question but still no specifics.

My point to them was that the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) has raised almost $50,000, talked with hundreds of people, and spent thousands of dollars on yard signs and a giant "Fix city government" billboard at the gateway to downtown. And they can't tell us what they want to "fix"?

Finally, since they couldn't come up with an answer, I said that I believe SALC is trying to "fix" the City Council. The proposed charter changes would dramatically weaken the City Council's power and influence over decision-making. Here's how: 1) electing the entire city government in one election (instead of stagger elections, as they are now) would allow moneyed forces (like SALC) to a sweep the entire Mayor and Council out in the same year; 2) the charter changes would take the City Council out of many hiring and firing decisions and give all authority to the unelected city manager; and 3) giving more power to the Mayor weakens the City Council.

Taking power away from the elected City Council reduces government accountability. Repeatedly Coker and Kiser gave examples of strong city manager cities that are "well run". The examples they gave were cities that had had the same unelected city manager for 10-20 years. It dawned on my later that the corporatists want an iron-clad impervious leader for the city; they want the City of Tucson to be run by a despot-- a CEO!

Unfortunately for them, we live in a democracy, and democracy is messy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

US corporations post 'near-historic' profits, as poverty and joblessness increase: Now what?

This week, the Huffington Post reported that corporate profits are at "near-historic" levels-- up 38% compared to the same time period a year ago.

It's a pretty disgusting article about how layoffs, outsourcing, and low interest rates have allowed corporatists to rake in the cash-- and hoard it-- rather than reinvest it, which would improve the nation's ecomomy.

"Since 2008, corporate profits increased 10 percent -- but revenue was down 6 percent, the WSJ [Wall Street Journal] says. To achieve the impressive quarterly results, companies have had, as the WSJ puts it, to "streamline" their operations. This means firing workers, outsourcing labor and shuttering unprofitable (or less profitable) divisions.

"The robust state of corporate profits presents a paradox: companies won't spend their money until the economy improves, but the economy won't improve until they spend their money. An increase in hiring, for example, would help drive a recovery. The New York Times reports this "chicken-and-egg" phenomenon, noting that near-zero interest rates have encouraged companies to borrow money and simply hoard it because, as the NYT puts it, 'they can.'"

This is a perfect example of how dysfunctional trickle down economic theory is.

Juxtapose this story about historic corporate profits with the stories about the widening wealth gap between rich and poor, rising poverty in most states, disappearing middle class, people living in vehicles, and states and cities going broke.

Given this scenario, how can Congressional Republicans continue to support tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and balk any time they are asked to extend unemployment?

How can Tea Party/Republicans like Sharon Angle (Nevada), Joe Miller (Alaska), and Jesse Kelly (Arizona) call for privatization of Social Security, elimination of the health care safety net, and elimimation of the national minimum wage? Angle, Miller, and Kelly are puppets of the corporatists. I can't believe that they honestly think dissolution of these programs would help the majority of Americans.

Privatization of Social Security would just give Wall Street's corporate gamblers more money to play with and another way to boost their historic profits even higher. Elimination of the health care safety net and the minimum wage and continued outsourcing of jobs would through the US into third-world status. It would be end of life as we know it. The former US middle class would become economic refugees.

UPDATE, October 6: Blog for Arizona's AZ Blue Meanie posted Update III: The New Corporate Business Model: Increase Profits, Not Jobs.

UPDATE, October 8: Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup covers this story. (Diane, honey, mention my blog next time, OK?)

Budget cuts: Arizona Legislature has it's meat cleavers and chainsaws ready

Random Musings and Blog for Arizona cross-posted a pretty disgusting story this afternoon about the Arizona Legislature's Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) meeting last week.

As we all know, after decades of trickle down economics and other short-sighted policies, the Republican majority in the Arizona Legislature has run this state into the ground economically and socially.

But wait... there's more!

According to an article in the Arizona Republic, Arizona has a "$2.25 billion deficit that needs to be wiped out in the next 20 months."

The purpose of last week's FAC meeting was to discuss the budget and the state's economic crisis. The briefing materials for the meeting are here, and the video is here.

Pondering what these right-wing extremists will do to balance the budget without raising revenue keeps me awake at night. As the other bloggers pointed out, the state's abysmal financial situation underscores the need for us to elect Attorney General Terry Goddard to the governorship.

We saw how crazy Phoenix was last spring with Republican Governor Jan Brewer at the helm and Republicans controlling both houses in the Legislature. Boycotts and loss of business due to SB1070 aside, Arizona was the laughing stock of the country with regular stories on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live. With SB1070, the birther bill, anchor babies, "Constitutional carry" gun laws, and Brewer's babbling about beheadings, we gave the satirists plenty of material.

What happens in 2011 to our quality of life and our children's future may not be easily parodied if Goddard loses. Here is a little food for thought from Random Musings:

The Republicans in the legislature are sharpening their meat cleavers and oiling their chain saws in gleeful anticipation of inflicting mortal wounds upon public education in Arizona during the next budget cycle.

"However, the presence of Terry Goddard in the governor's office will serve to mitigate the carnage.

"He and his veto pen will be there to force the anti-society extremists in the legislature to the negotiating table and force them to minimize the long-term damage.

"Of course, electing Terry Goddard only sets up a strong, but not impenetrable, defense to the worst of the lege's machinations...

"Electing more Democrats to the legislature, maybe even enough to tie or take control of one of the chambers, would go a LONG way toward stopping the R-led slaughter of Arizona's physical and societal infrastructures.

Today is the last day to register to vote in Arizona. If you haven't done so already, go to the Service Arizona website before midnight October 4, register your sorry ass, and vote on November 2.

Cycling for Goddard-- tomorrow!

Have you every been downtown on a Tuesday evening and seen a mass of lights moving toward you in the darkness? Giant lightening bugs? An alien hoard? Too many margaritas?

Nooooo, it's the Tucson community bike ride. Beginning tomorrow night, October 5, and continuing for the month of October, a few of us artistic/political types are planning to add a twist to the community bike ride.

We are calling on Terry Goddard for Governor supporters to participate in the bike ride and show their support at the same time. We will be wearing lights and Goddard paraphernalia-- signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers-- to raise awareness.

If you want to participate in the community bike ride and support Goddard, meet at the Starbucks at Geronimo Plaza on University Blvd. at 7:30 p.m. (with your bike, bike light, helmet, Goddard t-shirt or other wearable promo + LEDs, glow necklaces, and other funs stuff.) Extra signs will be available. This is a great opportunity to show our support and get a little exercise at the same time.

UPDATE, October 12: The cycling event on October 5 got rained out. We are going to ride Tuesday, October 12 and hopefully every Tuesday until the election.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And why would we re-elect these incompetents?

Arizona has been racing to the bottom on pretty much all nationwide statistics for years. Two notable exceptions are poverty and unemployment. For the #1 slot nationwide in poverty, we are officially #2, but in reality, we are in a statistical dead heat with Mississippi.

With the latest statewide budget news, Arizona should be able to easily overcome Mississippi for the #1 slot in poverty next year-- especially if Governor Jan Brewer, her lobbyist advisors, and her cronies in the Republican-controlled Legislature are re-elected.

According to the Arizona Republic:

"The deficit for the current budget year has grown to $825 million, up from $700 million, and the projected hole for the next fiscal year has deepened by $400 million, to $1.4 billion.

"It adds up to a $2.25 billion deficit that needs to be wiped out in the next 20 months."

The Republic article says that Arizona Republicans are not willing to raise taxes (AKA raise revenue) to fill the budget gap. Arizona has relatively low business taxes. The Legislature has set up these corporate give-aways to lure business to the state. The problems with scenario are: 1) trickle-down economics doesn't work; and 2) relocating businesses want more than lower taxes; they want an educated workfore, a viable infrastructure, good schools, good universities, etc.-- all of the amenities that Brewer and her cronies in the Legislature have worked to minimize or destroy. Add to this dismal list Brewer's lies about violence and beheadings in the desert, and it is easy to see why no major corporations or private citizens would want to re-locate here.

So, what are Brewer and the Republican-controlled Legislature going to do? Education, health care, and children/family services are their favorite sacrificial lambs when it's time to cut budgets, but I doubt there is enough left in these funds to fill the budget gap-- even if they wiped them out.

Remember Brewer's sales tax for education initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved last spring? Skeptics like LD28 Representative Steve Farley warned not to vote for that tax because he believed that the Arizona Legislature would spend the funds for something other than education-- or worst of all would give it away in tax cuts for businesses and the rich. Will they take those funds? Probably. They are already trying to trick voters into wiping out the land-conservation fund (Prop 301) and the First Things First voter-created child welfare program (Prop 301) which pays for itself. What kind of person votes repeatedly to hurt programs for children?

So, with these seriously dire predictions, why would the Republic endorse the Republican status quo?

Seriously, folks, in a much-ballyhoo'd "throw-the-bums-out" election year, isn't it time for Arizona to "throw the bums (ie, Brewer, Brewer's lobbyist advisors, the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature and statewide offices, and John McCain) out"?

No one but the corporatists and the rich (who receive regular give-aways from Arizona Republicans) are happy with these inept ideologues. Isn't it time for a change in Arizona politics? Vote the bums out-- and vote NO on all of the ballot initiatives that the Arizona Legislature put on the ballot (the 100s and 300s).

UPDATE, October 4: Blog for Arizona reported today that the Republican Governors' Association, who received a $1 million donation from FOX News in recent months, is investing $200,000 in Arizona races-- probably including Brewer's. They also reported that the Arizona Republican Party funds had dwindled down to $5000 before this donation. For the year, Arizona Democrats have raised $2.1 million compared to the GOP's $490,000. Now, who's fired up and who's "sitting this one out"?

Friday, October 1, 2010

SALC distributes deceptive pro-Prop 401 mailer

As to be expected during election season, I am greeted with campaign ads in my mailbox nearly everyday.

Yesterday, I received the above pro-Prop 401 card (without the circles and numbers, of course). This is one deceptive ad; in fact the statements circled in blue are blatant lies. (The items circled in yellow can be dismissed as unsubstantiated public relations claims.)

Prop 401 does absolutely NOTHING to (1) streamline city government or (2) cut bureaucracy. Prop 401 changes some hiring and firing procedures, but these changes actually strengthen the city's bureaucracy by further consolidating power in the office of the unelected city manager. No bureaucratic positions are eliminated, no budgets are cut, and no departments are eliminated by Prop 401.

Regarding (3) hold bureaucrats accountable, I contend that only elected officials are accountable to the voters-- not bureaucrats. Less government accountability is my biggest beef with Prop 401. By taking power away from the Mayor and City Council (while at the same time more than doubling their salaries), Prop 401 strengthens bureaucracy. (Yes, with Prop 401, certain department heads will lose their civil service protection, but the bureaucrats in these positions never have been accountable to voters, so it's a bit of a red herring, in my opinion.)

So, I'd like to see the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) send out a mailer that tells what Prop 401 actually does:

1- Prop 401 more than doubles the salaries of the Mayor and Council, while diminishing their power.

2- Prop 401 changes hiring and firing processes to increase the power of the unelected city manager.

3- Prop 401 eliminates civil service protection for some department heads and allows the unelected city manager to more easily eliminate staff, which also increases his power.

4- Prop 401 eliminates the off-year elections, thus, enabling the election of the Mayor and all City Council members in the same year. (This saves money, but also potentially weakens our elected officials. SALC members have big bucks; if the entire city government is up for election in the same year, they could easily flood the election with money in an attempt to take over the Democratically-controlled City Council in one fell swoop.)

The bottomline is that Prop 401 is an attempt by big business to weaken and, therefore, control Tucson city government (the way they control the Arizona Legislature). These corporatists are using money and lies to sway your vote.

One look at the Yes on Prop 401 campaign finance reports tells us who the puppeteer is behind the curtain-- big business. Yes on Prop 401 has received a handful of $100 donations, but by far the donations in support of Prop 401 are $500- $10,000 donations from businesses. What are they doing with these funds? Yes on Prop 401 has paid thousands of dollars to a public relations firm, a marketing firm, and a paid lobbyist-- to sway your vote.

In stark contract, the grassroots, all-volunteer Protect Local Control Vote No on Prop 401 group has $70 in the bank.

Don't buy the lie. Vote NO on Prop 401.

P.S.-- As a snarky side note to the PR firm, you've got a run-on sentence in the blue section at the top. :)

UPDATE October 4: The Arizona Daily Star posted a story about the groups for and against Prop 401. They reported that as of last week, Prop 401 supporters have raised $47.000, while the Protect Local Control committee has raised $320.