Author Archives: Larry Bodine

Rep. Grijalva to Host Forum with Immigrant Rights and DACA Experts

Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva will host a public forum on Saturday, Sep. 23, with immigration and DACA experts to discuss the rights that immigrants and DACA recipients have in the United States.

This will be an opportunity for Tucson’s immigrant community to learn more about their rights as immigrants.

Speakers include:

  • Billy Peard – ACLU Arizona
  • Margo Cowan – Immigrant Rights Advocate
  • Rep. Grijalva’s Immigration Casework Team

Congressman Grijalva and guest speakers will also discuss current legislative proposals in Congress to codify DACA into law. Rep. Grijalva’s casework team will be available for private consultation after the forum.

WHEN:  Saturday, September 23, 2017, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

WHERE: El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, 101 W. Irvington Rd. Bldg. 1, Tucson, AZ 85714

Please confirm attendance to Sayanna Molina at Sayanna.Molina@mail.house.gov or 520-286-6963

 

Anti-Public School Lecture Set at Koch-Funded UofA Class in Tucson

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

The Koch Brothers “Freedom Center” lecture against public education and in favor of privatization of education is set for Thursday, Sept. 21 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

The lecture, entitled “Public Goods and Education,” will be delivered by libertarian professor Jonathan Anomaly in Social Sciences 332 from 12:30 to 1:45 pm on Sept. 21. Anomaly was imported in 2017 from Duke University, where he founded the Heterodox Academy website, set up to fight a perceived liberal bias in universities.

Because the lecture is political propaganda, it has caused concern among Tucson’s elected leaders. The Koch Brothers’ extreme right-wing agenda has sabotaged public education in the state and promoted school vouchers to funnel taxpayer money into for-profit private and religious schools.

In August, more than 111,000 Arizona parents and voters signed petitions circulated by Save Our Schools Arizona in opposition to a new state law creating school vouchers that undermine public schools. The measure to veto the law is set to be on a referendum ballot in November 2018.

The abstract of Assistant Professor Anomaly’s talk describes education as a “good,” like a box of cereal, which students “consume.” The lecture makes a bogus economic analysis of  “markets for education,” as if it were a product to be bought and sold.

The lecture is a diatribe against unions and “bureaucrats with monopoly power.” It is a clear example of how dark money politics are subverting higher education in Arizona.
Continue reading

How Would You Answer Nancy Pelosi’s Letter?

“In light of all we have to lose under the Trump-Ryan agenda, success is our only option. But for that to happen, we need your ideas as well as your support.”

As a regular small-amount donor to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), I regularly get form letters from Nancy Pelosi. The latest one included the Official Democratic Unity Survey.

For me, the top priority issue is opposing the plan by the Trump Administration and Paul Ryan to privatize Social Security and Medicare. I have worked for 50 years and contributed my share, so I’ve earned these benefits. There are 98 million people in the US over age 65 who likely feel the same way.

But I wonder which of the 10 identified issues YOU think Democratic House candidates should focus on to win the 24 seats needed to take the majority back in the House. What would you add?

You can answer in the comments or go to www.dccc.org/unite2018.

▢ Access to health care for all Americans.
▢ Keeping America’s promise to our seniors.
▢ Wall Street reforms and fighting corporate greed.
▢ Challenge Trump policies that threaten the human and civil rights of refugees and immigrants.
▢ Climate change and protecting our planet.
▢ Defending a woman’s right to choose.
▢ Protect and defend the rights of the LGBTQ community.
▢ Exposing and blocking attacks on voting rights.
▢ Increasing the minimum wage and reviving the American Dream.
▢ Investigating the Trump Administration.

Frankly, I was disappointed to see that the economy was not spelled out as an issue. It’s the one issue that will win elections. Remember Bill Clinton saying, “It’s the economy, stupid“?

Raising the minimum wage is part of that. You can disagree with me, but I think the Democrats need to spend less time on hot-button social issues, and more on economic development.

Farley Wins Debate with Garcia in Race for Governor

Prepared and articulate, Democratic candidate for governor Steven Farley won a friendly debate with David Garcia at the Maricopa County Democrats convention in Phoenix on Aug. 19.

You can disagree in the comments, but Farley was clearly the candidate who can beat Doug Ducey:

  • He had specific answers about funding education and where to get the money. Garcia gave general answers and anecdotes.
  • Farley has actually been elected to office 6 times over the last 11 years.
  • Garcia lost in the 2014 race for Superintendent of Public Instruction to Diane Douglas, who did not campaign publicly.
  • Farley is a sitting state senator and Garcia is an ASU professor.

Hundreds of precinct committeemen and officers attended the event, which was live-cast on the party’s Facebook page and moderated by Brahm Resnik of NBC channel 12 news.

.6% Education Sales Tax

Farley: opposed, because it’s a regressive tax that hurts the poor. “The Arizona chamber of commerce says every year that we need to fund education and we need more corporate tax breaks, guess which one the legislature has listened to. These business leaders are calling for a 1% increase in your sales tax, but they should start calling for a tax increase on themselves. If they are sincere about improving our education system, they should share some of the burdens and not just let middle-class people take it again.”

Garcia: in favor, with an increase to 1% or 2%, but with additional dollars coming from closing tax loopholes. Continue reading

Schapira to Fight Right-Wing Conspiracy to Destroy Public Schools

David Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

David Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

At first, David Schapira thought that Republican state legislators didn’t get it. He thought they didn’t realize the damage caused by taking $1.1 billion out of our public school system.

But after six years in the state legislature, he realized he was wrong.

“They do get it,” he said. “They are intentionally working to dismantle the public school system in Arizona.”

Speaking at the Tanque Verde Valley Democrats meeting, Schapira warned ominously, “Our public schools are on life support. If Diane Douglas is re-elected, she will let our schools die,” he says.”

A mountain of a man at 6-foot-5, he vowed to fight back. Schapira is a Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, which oversees the state of Arizona’s public school system and directs the state’s Department of Education.

Schapira, age 37, knows how to get elected. He’s a Tempe city councilman, a former state representative and senator. As the leader of the Senate Democrats, he served on the Education Committee for six years.

Importantly, he’s a teacher. He has taught school high school, worked as a school administrator and has been at East Valley Institute of Technology for the last four years.

His proudest achievement is the Tempe Free Preschool program for low-income families, launched in April 2017.  “I’ve seen education from every perspective it can be seen from,” he says.

Douglas not qualified Continue reading

SOS Arizona Collects 100,000+ Signatures to Stop Voucher Law

A plan by Gov. Ducey and the AZ Legislature to undermine public schools with a voucher program will be put on hold, thanks to Save Our Schools Arizona.

Thousands of parents and other volunteers collected more than 100,000 signatures to halt the law, which puts taxpayer money into private and religious schools.

According to AZCentral.com:

That’s enough to put the law on hold while the secretary of state determines whether the group has the 75,321 valid signatures needed to force a public vote on the law in November 2018.

The signature-vetting process will take nearly two months.

“Based on the committee’s forecast of how many signatures it has turned into the secretary of state, that is normally going to be sufficient to suspend the operation of the law,” says state Elections Director Eric Spencer.

The fate of the voucher law may now go before voters in a referendum that can take place in November.

SOS Arizona correctly argues that taxpayer funds should pay for public district schools, and not fund scholarships for wealthier people who can afford private schools.

“The power of the people is stronger than money,” said Melinda Iyer, a member of Save Our Schools. “Education is the great equalizer. It’s the bootstraps that people pull themselves up by.”

Volunteers braved the blazing Arizona summer to collect signatures for months, and in recent days vetted signatures to be sure they met the new “strict compliance” standard for public initiatives.

“It was the right issue, and the right time, and now here we are making history together. Watch the news Tuesday night to learn our final count!” SOS Arizona said in an email. “Whether you filled out 1 petition or 160, whether you donated $5 or $500, you can rest easy today knowing that your work–this summer and in the year to come–will preserve the future of public education in our state.”