Author Archives: AZ BlueMeanie

Political Calendar: Week of April 23, 2017

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Political Calendar for the Week of April 23, 2017:

Continuing to Sunday, April 30: Pima County Fair, 11300 S. Houghton Road.

Sunday, April 23, 3:00 p.m.: David Garcia for Governor of Arizona Tucson Launch, at Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 E Toole Ave., Tucson. David Garcia is a fourth generation Arizonan, army veteran, education professor, and public school parent. Last week, surrounded by almost 500 parents, teachers, students and community leaders, he formally launched his campaign to become Arizona’s next governor. This Sunday, join us to hear why he is challenging Doug Ducey to become Arizona’s next Governor. Please RSVP to david@dg4az.com.

Sunday, April 23, 3:00 p.m.: Marana Democrats meeting, at the Continental Reserve Plaza, 8333 N. Silverbell Road, Tucson. For more information please contact Buddy Gill at maranadems@gmail.com or (408) 806-2036.

Sunday, April 23, 7:00 p.m.: Comedy for Charity Tucson presents “Thank you for serving,” at the Fox Tucson Theater, 17 W. Congress Street, Tucson. $20 buys you a ticket to experience “Fitz” of laughter with our Emcee David Fitzsimmons and our headliner Tommy Blaze. This year’s show benefits Rally Point, a local veteran’s agency that provide mental health services and other assistance to veterans in our community. Tickets available through the Fox Tucson Theater at http://foxtucson.com/presents/comedy-charity-presents-thank-serving-benefit/.

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Cartoon of The Week

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New study: ‘Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels’

ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy has a new report coming out in May on education in Arizona that it is previewing this week. Here is the summary I received by email with the highlights from its (corrected) Key Facts brief added in.

Top findings from new report show crisis levels for Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay

PHOENIX – Arizona teacher recruitment, retention and pay are at crisis levels with more teachers leaving the profession annually than bachelor of education degrees produced by the three universities, compounded by an exodus of instructors for reasons ranging from retirement to poor salaries.

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Those are just some of the data points and facts in the upcoming Morrison Institute for Public Policy report, Finding & Keeping Educators for Arizona’s Classrooms. The study’s top facts are being released today in a two-page brief, with the full report to be released in May.

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Why no state budget? Governor Ducey’s university bonding plan

This was supposed to be the week that the Arizona legislature passed a budget and then declared sine die. Didn’t happen.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required), the holdup is Governor Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal, the one he mentioned in his State of The State Address back in January but has still not fleshed out the details at this late date. Ducey’s bonding plan for universities has more questions than details:

Gov. Doug Ducey’s university bonding proposal is a vast unknown for Arizona lawmakers.

He doesn’t offer any long-term growth projections or specifics on how the state’s three universities will spend the $1 billion that the plan is supposed to generate. There is also no mention of oversight from the Governor’s Office or from the plan’s backers.

Lawmakers do understand the broad strokes of the universities’ wish list if they get the money: new buildings, research programs and repairs.

But the plan almost certainly will generate much more than needed to pay off a $1 billion loan over the course of its 30-year life, a fact acknowledged by both backers and foes, and that’s something lawmakers question.

Lawmakers are also hearing from cities and counties, which look to lose millions of dollars under the plan. Ken Strobeck, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, said the plan is opaque by design, and he’s done his own analysis that shows the universities will gain more than $1 billion.

“These are not uninformed people,” Strobeck said. “I think they knew exactly what they were doing.”

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American Bridge 21st Century radio ad against Rep. Martha McSally

The Democratic Super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century has released radio ads against three vulnerable Republican members of Congress, focusing on Donald Trump’s dangerous ties to Russia. American Bridge Releases Radio Ads on Trump’s Dangerous Ties to Russia:

The 60-second spots will run for the next seven days against Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02), Rep. John Katko (NY-24), and Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23).

Here is a YouTube link to the radio ad airing against Rep. Martha McSally. Bridge Project | Martha McSally Radio Ad.

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With new revelations in the growing scandal surfacing weekly, the American people deserve the kind of answers that can only come from a truly independent investigation operating free of politics. That’s why Americans overwhelmingly support creating an independent commission to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. But Republicans in Congress are standing in the way, instead putting their party ahead of the country.

Statement by American Bridge President Jessica Mackler:

“The country overwhelmingly wants an independent commission investigating the growing scandal surrounding Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and we’re going to hold Republicans accountable for standing in the way. Republicans who refuse to put country ahead of party are doing so at their own peril.”

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Higher minimum wage did not reduce restaurant employment after all (updated)

The Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) is the principal chamber of commerce organization that has sought to defeat and to undermine Arizona’s Minimum Wage Act first approved by voters in 2006, and reaffirmed by voters in 2016.

The ARA was behind HB 2579, our Tea-Pulican legislature’s attempt to gut the 2006 Minimum Wage Act by narrowly redefining “wages.” The ARA participated in a failed legal challenge to the sufficiency of the 2016 Minimum Wage Initiative, and after the Minimum Wage Initiative was passed by voters, the ARA participated in the failed legal challenge to overturn the will of the voters.

The ARA’s position is always that the minimum wage (most restaurant workers are paid a sub-minimum wage and must rely on the kindness of strangers for tips) is devastating to restaurant businesses. The ARA always claims that a higher minimum wage will reduce employment in the restaurant sector.

While some marginal businesses teetering on failure may have closed due to higher wage costs, those businesses have been replaced by others that are competitive at the higher wage costs. And isn’t that what “creative destruction” in a free market economy is all about?

Howard Fischer reports today that employment in the restaurant sector has gone up since passage of the increase in the minimum wage. Food sector job growth outpaces state since wage hike on Jan. 1:

Remember those claims during the Proposition 206 debate that increasing the minimum wage would lead to less hiring and people being laid off from low-wage jobs?

The latest unemployment statistics suggest that hasn’t happened.

In fact, the data from the state Office of Economic Opportunity shows that the number of people working in bars and restaurants last month not only increased but did so at a rate six times higher than the economy as a whole. Employers who run food service and drinking establishments added 7,800 new workers compared with February, a 3.3 percent boost.

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