Lalopalooza!

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“Tucson Federal Credit Union and KXCI present Lalopalooza on Friday, December 9th at El Casino Ballroom as we celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of legendary Tucson Born Musician Lalo Guerrero who was born on December 24th, 1916. With Lalopalooza, we celebrate the joyous life and work of the father of Chicano Music – Lalo Guerrero – a prolific composer, musician, comic and inspiration to all. We also celebrate KXCI Community Radio’s 33rd Anniversary (having gone on the air on December 6, 1983.)”

The Rest of the Story…

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

The editor of the Scottsdale Independent, Terrance Thornton, recently wrote, “the idea of choice has created a competitive public school marketplace.” I agree with his premise that school choice created competition, but add that competition is, by definition, a zero-sum game. For a charter school to “win” a student a district school has to “lose” both a student and the funding associated with that student.

Counter to what those who advocate for backpack funding would have you believe, the loss of a student is not without consequences for a district. This, since fixed costs (utilities, food, and transportation), consume almost 19 percent of per pupil funding in Arizona. In fact, Moody’s, the bond rating agency, just issued a report stating that “charter school expansion poses the risk that schools will not be able to adjust to the loss of revenue, since even if the student population drops at a district school, schools still must pay for costs like transportation and infrastructure.” And, oh by the way, don’t even get me started on the whole concept of “the funding belongs to the student.” I disagree vehemently and quote fellow blogger Peter Greene who writes, “the funding belongs to the taxpayer.” Amen brother! Continue reading

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s “Don’t Wait to Fight Hate” Initiative

At last week’s “We Stand Together” event at the YWCA of Southern Arizona, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild announced his “”Don’t Wait to Fight Hate” initiative”:
http://www.mayorrothschild.com/initiatives/dont-wait-to-fight-hate/

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“Tucson does not and will not stand for hate, discrimination, or bullying of any kind.

Since the November 8, 2016 general election, communities across the country have seen a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents directed against people based on their religion, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, orientation and/or disability. But there are things individuals and groups can do to fight back.”

Click on the link above to read more, esp. the 10 steps to fight hate, from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Many people spoke at that YWCA event about how to stand up together to fight harassment against Jews, Muslims, minorities, gays/lesbians, women, disabled, etc.  There have been a few incidents recently even here in Pima County.

Voter Participation in Arizona

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s web site (last updated 11/21/16), for the November 8 General Electon:

Registered Voters: 3,588,466

Ballots Cast: 2,661,497

Voter Turnout: 74.14%

How does this compare to recent elections?

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An accurate analysis of voter participation must begin with the Voting Age Population of the State, 4,710, 448 less the number of registered voters, 3,588,466.  There are an estimated 1,121,982 eligible voters who are not registered to vote in Arizona, and thus did not participate in the election.

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According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s web site, this means there are more Arizona citizens not registered to vote than there are registered Democratic voters.

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Take those 1,121,982 eligible voters who are not registered to vote and add them to the 926, 969 eligible voters who did not vote, and there are 2,o48,951 Arizona citizens who did not participate in this election.

This number is only slightly less than the total number of ballots cast in Arizona in 2016.

When I say that “democracies die from indifference and neglect,” this is to what I am referring. This is a serious problem that needs to be remedied.

Wishing doesn’t make it so

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas just released her 2017 “AZ Kids Can’t Wait” education plan calling for pay raises to teachers, repairing school facilities and buying new buses. At the same time, business leaders such as the CEOs of PetSmart, Goodman’s Interior Structures, and Empire Southwest Caterpillar, are proposing a five-year funding phase-in of full-day kindergarten.

These are both laudable pursuits. We know Arizona has a critical teacher shortage, our school facilities are in need of repair and upgrade, and our busses are beyond old. We also know how critical full-day kindergarten is the to the long-term success of our students both in school and beyond. But, understanding the problem is only half of the solution. The other half, is providing the funding to make it happen.

In terms of the AZ Kids Can’t Wait plan, the bill is $680 million. That’s $200 million without strings attached; $140 million to boost teacher salaries; $60 million to increase rural transportation funding and help with teacher recruitment; and $280 million to begin to address district capital funding requirements. There’s nothing wrong with Superintendent Douglas’ plan, districts desperately need this help. At a press conference where she announced it, Douglas made it clear it isn’t her job to find the funding. “I don’t appropriate money“she said, and went on to make the point that, “the state has about $450 million in it’s ‘rainy day’ fund” and it is up to the governor and lawmakers to decide to spend it on education. Continue reading

Rigged elections: GOP voter suppression and the Voting Rights Act

The egomaniacal Twitter troll Donald Trump spent more than a year seeking to undermine American’s confidence in their electoral system, first claiming without evidence that the GOP primaries were rigged, then spending months claiming the general election was rigged. Trump falsely claimed without evidence that millions of illegal voters voted to explain losing the popular vote by well over 2 million votes.

Trump even suggested that his supporters might resort to “Second Amendment remedies” if the election did not go his way, Donald Trump Suggests ‘Second Amendment People’ Could Act Against Hillary Clinton, eschewing the American tradition of deciding elections by the ballot box, not bullets.

This is the man who is now in a position to impose GOP restrictions on voting in pursuit of the GOP’s mythical “voter fraud” fraud — in reality, voter suppression of Democratic-leaning voter constituencies. After Bitter Campaign, Election Positions Trump to Shape Rules on How You Vote:

Voting-RightsAfter an extraordinarily contentious election, crucial elements of the rules that determine how Americans vote will be under assault from conservatives and facing legal challenges heading toward the Supreme Court as Donald J. Trump prepares to become president.

Mr. Trump’s claims of a “rigged” election — made before he won — and his false declaration after his victory that “millions of people” had voted illegally for Hillary Clinton made headlines.

They also amplified longstanding Republican claims that rampant voter fraud justified a welter of state laws making it more difficult to register and vote. Democrats say the laws are not about combating fraud but about suppressing the vote of minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies.

Mr. Trump will have enormous power to shape future policy on voting.

Continue reading