Author Archives: Larry Bodine

Candidates Offer Surprises as 300+ Democrats Flock to CD2 Congressional Candidate Forum

CD2 Candidates at May 3, 2018 forum

Left to right: Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Matt Heinz, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Yahya Yuksel.

Some 300 people packed Catalina High School yesterday night for the CD2 Congressional Democratic candidate forum held May 3, 2018, by the Represent Me AZ grassroots PAC. Here are the high points:

  • This forum showed what democracy looks like: an open, public and free event, as contrasted with GOP candidate forums which are closed, secretly announced and cost money to attend.
  • Yahya Yuksel

    Yahya Yuksel

    New candidate Yahya Yuksel, an attorney, stole the show with his articulate, quotable and confident presence. Born and raised in Tucson he has worked for Democratic campaigns since he was a teenager, including Gabby Giffords and Mayor Karin Uhlich. “I’m a young Democrat. I’m running because we see a broken Congress, we see constant war, and we see the economy not working for everybody. We need new ideas, not yesterday’s answers,” he says.

  • The candidates seethed with resentment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) which has offended local Democrats by picking candidates so early in the primary. “It is shameful that the DCCC has taken the task, before you have had a chance to vote to endorse a candidate,” Bruce Wheeler said to loud applause. “The outside interference is something that needs to be countered.”
  • Mary Matiella zinged Matt Heinz with the question, “What are you doing different this time to make sure you win?” In 2016 Heinz lost in his run for Congress in CD2 by 44,000 votes in a race where he relied mostly on TV ads.
  • Ann Kirkpatrick made a mistake by not attending. The forum was an opportunity to capture support and deflect criticism. She leads in fundraising, winning important endorsements, and getting the DCCC support that the other candidates, not surprisingly, begrudge.
  • Heinz zinged the absent Kirkpatrick when asked if he would endorse Kirkpatrick if she wins the primary. “It is important that the Democrats nominate a Democrat, he said to loud applause. “As soon as I hear that, I will absolutely endorse them,” he says. Heinz is the leading attacker of Kirkpatrick, criticizing her northern Arizona origin and long-ago top rating from the NRA. Kirkpatrick lives in Tucson and has a “D” rating from the NRA now.
  • Veteran legislator Bruce Wheeler is apparently running a one-man campaign. He says he personally collected 95% of his signatures to get on the ballot. Wheeler has only $8,686 on hand, so he is not raising funds effectively.
  • After a one-year campaign, Mary Matiella still stumbles over her words and has a hard time making herself clear. In a bizarre argument, she said the EEOC [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] had been disbanded and should be brought back. This is not true — because the EEOC is still actively litigating discrimination charges and enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.
  • Bill Kovacs boldly called for de-funding of ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is breaking up undocumented families captured at the border. He also says that marijuana should be removed from the forbidden Schedule 1 list of drugs. His says his mother has chronic Crohn’s disease and is a marijuana patient. “When you look at what marijuana and CBD [Cannabidiol] can do for chronic pain, it is a lifeline for America, he says. 
  • Barbara “Chemtrails” Sherry has become a fringe candidate who currently does not have the 1,274 signatures needed to get on the ballot by the May 30 filing date. She bitterly and incoherently criticized front-runner Kirkpatrick.

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GOP Holds 2d Secret Candidate Forum — Refuses to Let Reporter Attend

pima county tea party patriotsThe Pima County Tea Party Patriots held the second secret GOP Congressional Primary Debate among Republican candidates for Tucson’s CD2 — but refused admission to this reporter for the Blog for Arizona.

The covert rendezvous took place last night at Pima Community College Northwest campus on Shannon Road under heavy police guard. I saw candidates Brandon Martin and Danny Morales lurking by the front door, but front-runner Lea Marquez-Peterson skipped the closed event. The registrar said 80 people were expected to attend and about 60 were let in.

But not this reporter. “Frank,” a guy with double hearing aids fussed around at the registration table and said to wait. Then the word came, “you can’t come in.” I inquired further and a guy weighing 300 pounds in a T-shirt made out of an American flag said, “You’re the guy who came to the forum last month.”

“Yes, I am,” I said. He was referring to my attendance at the GOP’s March 24  secret CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum at the Oyster Club. It seems the Tea Party Patriots read my report Fear Dominates Secret Tucson GOP CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum and knew me on sight. They probably also read Tim Steller’s newspaper article in The Daily Star about my report.

That’s real paranoia. I’ve attended and reported on half a dozen Democratic candidate forums with no problem, including the Feb. 25 forum in Green Valley, which attracted 400 attendees.

But the Tea Party “Patriots” and the GOP don’t want a free press attending their events, even when the speakers are candidates who are running for elected public office. 

Consider what might be reported! That the candidates want Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be fired? That in the wake of mass shootings, gun laws should be loosened? That the US should pre-emptively launch a strike on North Korea? That the DACA recipients should be rounded up by ICE and deported? All of these ideas were supported by the candidates at the last forum.

It is clear that the once-vaunted Pima County Tea Party Patriots have degraded into a splinter group, becoming a secret society like the Illuminati or Scientology.

Meanwhile, I recommend you attend Thursday’s CD 2 Democratic Candidate Forum sponsored by Represent Me AZ. You’ll hear real candidates who are not afraid to let their opinions be known in public, and who welcome reporters to attend. It will start at 6:30 pm on May 3 at Catalina High School, 3645 E Pima St., Tucson, AZ 85716.

More info is at https://www.facebook.com/events/462727204182164/.

Report: $2 Billion Needed to Reach Arizona’s Educational Goals

The Grand Canyon Institute reports that a $2 billion increase in Arizona’s annual funding of K-12 public education is needed to improve high school graduation rates, improve math and reading levels, and raise the number of Arizonans who have a 2- or 4-year degree.

“Arizona has run an austerity budget since the Great Recession,” said Dave Wells, the Institute’s research director. “Achieving the Arizona Education Progress Meter’s goals by 2030 requires new and dedicated funding source There are not sufficient funds from economic growth or potential fund sweeps or savings from other government services to meet these needs.

The Grand Canyon Institute (GCI), an independent, nonpartisan think tank, conducted its analysis based on educational goals defined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter. The goals were established by Expect More Arizona and The Center for the Future of Arizona. 

The $2.1 billion annual increase in public education funding identified by GCI’s research includes investments in:

  • Early Childhood Education — $200 million to meet the needs of children under the poverty line to improve their success in school
  • Teacher Salaries — $686 million to provide a $10,000 flat raise to Arizona’s teachers to address what may be the worst teacher shortage in the country and maximize the recruitment and retention of young teaching professionals
  • Added Interventions—$250 million to achieve goals for third grade reaching, eighth-grade math and high school graduation
  • Refilling prior state investments: $991.million:
    • District Additional Assistance: $352 million
    • All-day Kindergarten: $265 million
    • New School Construction: $284 million
    • Building Renewal Funds: $90 million

Arizona Education Progress Meter

Arizona Education Progress Meter


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CD2 Candidate Barbara Sherry Warns about Chemtrails, Breaks Promise to Support Primary Winner

Congressional candidate Barbara Sherry opposed expansion of Davis Monthan airbase becuase of "the chemtrails."

Congressional candidate Barbara Sherry opposed an expansion of Davis Monthan airbase because of “the chemtrails.”

Staking out a position as a fringe candidate, Barbara Sherry, who is running for Congress in Tucson’s CD2, warned about chemtrails from Davis-Monthan airbase, broke a promise to support the winner of the primary, and rambled about pecan trees, Nazi Germany, and potholes.

She spoke at a meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson, where attendees chuckled at her assertions. Adopting the style of a standup comedian, she would announce her positions and joke, “there went another 30 votes out of the room.”

Sherry has 25 years in the banking industry including JP Morgan Chase, she coached the mortgage team at Wachovia, and she sold stocks and bonds. She lives on a ranch in rural McNeal, AZ,

Chemtrails

Sherry said, “I do not at all support any expansion of Davis-Monthan. I’ll tell you why. I’ve done a lot of study on this. The chemtrails that come off the airport are micro, they’re entering the people who live around Davis-Monthan, and that’s usually soldiers and their families. They will get in your lungs. You will have emphysema, you’ll be listening to those commercials on TV, you’ll be seeing those lawyers in your house. There’s been a study, I believe it was Berkeley, when people live near military bases with high-velocity jets such as are there, that is killing your health. It’s killing your health as much as if you work in a mine. Pay attention people.”

The chemtrail conspiracy theory is the false claim that long-lasting condensation trails, called “chemtrails” by proponents, consist of chemical or biological agents left in the sky by high-flying aircraft and deliberately sprayed for purposes undisclosed to the general public.

However, she said supported Fort Chiricahua “100%.” She said, “Our next war will be in cyberspace. If you do a lot of reading like I do, the Chinese have pledged in 2035 they will lead the world in artificial intelligence. They have satellites now with equipped with arms to grab our satellites. You’ll see what it’s going to be like one day when your electricity goes down and you have no more electricity.”

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New Poll: Sinema Beats McSally, Ward or Arpaio in US Senate Race

Sinema vs McSally, Ward, Arpaio

Regardless who the Republicans choose as their candidate for the Arizona US Senate seat, a new poll shows Democratic Congress member Kyrsten Sinema winning against them.

The survey by OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 says that the key reason is independent voters, who have a very negative view of GOP leader President Trump, and the negative view that voters in general have of Republicans Kelli Ward, Joe Arpaio, and Martha McSally.

And this is despite the 12% advantage that the GOP has (1,223,219 registered Republicans) over Democrats (1,090,310 registered Democrats) in Arizona. The survey sample reflected the Republican +12-point advantage over Democrats.

Democrats are unified

“The issue we are consistently seeing in the numbers is that Democrats are unified, Republicans are less united, and the all-important Independent voters are trending anti-Republican/Trump” said Mike Noble, managing partner at OH Predictive Insights of Phoenix. “The factors to look for will be if there are enough voters that do not view Trump favorably that still vote the Republican party.”

The survey did not mention Democrat Deedra Abboud, an attorney and Muslim-American community activist, whom Sinema faces in the August 28 primary.

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Arizona is #1 Worst State Where Dirty Money Infests Elections

Arizona at dark money epicenter“There is more dark money polluting the election process in Arizona than any other state in the US, according to the proponents of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Arizona is the worst state for elected officials owing their office to dirty money,” says former Attorney General Terry Goddard. “There is more dirty money spent in Arizona than in California. I can’t tell you who’s behind the dirty money because they won’t tell us and our laws don’t require it.”

Terry Goddard of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Terry Goddard of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign.

Goddard spoke at a forum organized by The Arizona Ground Game civic group. He and many progressive organizations are advocating an amendment to the state constitution that will require anyone that spends more than $10,000 on an election to disclose the original source of the money.

Corporations like the APS utility, super-rich donors like the Koch Brothers and dangerous groups like the NRA have teamed up to spend millions in Arizona, secretly funding Republican legislators who obediently pass anti-student, anti-consumer and anti-gun safety laws.

A notorious dark money stooge is Gov. Doug Ducey, who has attended Koch brothers summit meetings since 2011 and has secretly taken millions in dark money. Ducey has raised $500,000 for his re-election campaign since the beginning of the year, leaving him with more than $3 million on hand to spend on getting re-elected. That is 10 times more money than anyone else in the race.

“The people of Arizona have the right to know all the contributors who influenced our elections, ” Goddard says. “But our legislature has tried to make the state a safe zone for people who want to hide what they’re doing.”
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