Author Archives: Pamela Powers Hannley

15,000 Join Women’s March in Tucson (video)

Women's March, Tucson

Women’s March, Tucson

One day after Donald Trump became president of the United States the world saw the largest mass protest ever.

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew more participants than Trump’s inauguration the day before, and “sister marches” were held in 600 locations around the world. If you are a long-time follower of my blogging, you know that I have attended and videotaped many protests, marches and rallies. This was by far the largest protest march I have seen in my 35 years in Tucson. It was impressive.

The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino,  and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page.  (Video after the jump.)

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Women’s Rights in Arizona: March & #ERA (video)

19th-amend-voteToday, January 20, 2016, President Barack Obama became our former president.

Today, Donald Trump entered the office of president with the worst approval rating ever– 40%.

For many months, different groups have been planning post-inauguration protests, teach-ins, marches, and other activism to greet the new president. (After all, many groups were alienated by him during his campaign, and we’re motivated.)

On Saturday, January 21– here in Tucson and nationwide–women (and others) will be marching in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. (Background below.) The Tucson event will start at 10 a.m. at Armory Park, and attendees will march to the main library downtown for booths, speeches and festivities. (Details here.)

The theme of the nationwide march is: “Become the soul of the nation.” This is taken from a quote by Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.” – Coretta Scott King

We can’t continue to be depressed and bitter about the election. It’s time to push against the forces that want to keep us down. What better way to start the new year and the newest phase of the struggle than to march in solidarity, build community, and fight for equal rights?

To that end, I submitted a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) on January 12.

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Legislative Whirlwind Part 4: Lettuce & Birds (video)

Lettuce in Yuma

Here we can see miles of fields of Romaine lettuce with crews of migrant workers in the distance. In the foreground are 1000s of discarded outer Romaine lettuce leaves. Workers severely trim lettuce heads down, so they can be sold as “Romaine hearts”. The leaves will be plowed back into the ground for nutrients, but still, the waste was surprise to someone like me who heard “waste not want not” many times while growing up.

During our Yuma Legislative Tour in December, we saw miles and miles of lettuce, cotton, broccoli, seed crops, and more. We got muddy and trudged around the Romaine lettuce fields with migrant workers, and we also toured a cotton gin. (More photos are here on my Facebook page.)

After our first day of touring Yuma’s agricultural areas, we heard multiple presentations at a hosted dinner paid for by different growing/ranching industry groups and served up by 4H and JTED youth. The presentation by Paul Brierley, director of the University of Arizona Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, stuck out in my mind. He talked about using engineering technology to help growers in the Yuma area. According to the UA website, “The [Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture], based in Yuma, is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the college and the Arizona and California desert agriculture industry, dedicated to addressing ‘on-the-ground’ industry needs through collaboration and research.” The website continues on to say: “More than two dozen industry partners from Yuma and Salinas, California, have invested in the center, together committing more than $1.1 million over the next three years.”

Brierley is an affable engineer who grew up on a large farm. According to Bierley, the primary problem that industry partners wanted the PPP center to tackle was “productivity”. He talked about different ways to boost productivity by using technology. For example, Brierley said that the date palms needed help with pollination. He showed a photo of a migrant worker pollinating date trees using a machine that looked like a leaf blower strapped on his back. This human-assisted pollination worked, but to improve productivity, the UA and Yuma growers began experimenting with drones. They found that drones to be more efficient pollinators than people. Technology to the rescue: mechanical birds. (For some jobs, this is the future: people being replaced by machines.)

Another problem area that had been identified as a hindrance to productivity was birds.

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Legislative Whirlwind Part 3: 92,000 Cows

92,000 cows in Yuma

This is what 92,000 cows looks like, and this is what agribusiness looks like.

The Yuma border tour in mid-December was amazing on multiple levels.

Outside of Yuma, Arizona Legislators toured a feed lot had been owned by a local Yuma family for generations. The sign for McElhaney Cattle Company can still be seen at the entrance and on some of the equipment. In recent years, it was sold to a Brazillian corporation, which has invested millions and greatly expanded it, according to our tour guides.

Down from a normal population of 100,000 cows, we saw 92,000 cows standing and lying around in pens– with nary a cowboy in sight. We were told that the cowboys check all of the cows every night because of the heat. Although the temperature was pleasant on the December day that we visited, there were no feed lot workers anywhere– except for the couple on the bus giving the tour. The guides said these cows are tracked by computer. Is Hal tending the herd?

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Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

ADEQ

ADEQ removes gas storage tanks from a defunct gas station. One tank is on the truck, while the other is still in the ground.

Did you ever wonder what happens to the storage tanks when a gas station closes? In Arizona, taxpayers often fund removal of the tanks– not the companies that installed them.

When I was  professional photographer, one of my favorite subjects to photograph was industry, because of the sheer scale of the machinery and striking angles of industrial settings. Consequently, I jumped at the chance to watch two massive gas storage tanks being removed from an old, out-of-business gas station. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has a gas tank storage removal program, bankrolled by a special fund set up by the Arizona Legislature.

I think that is great to remove hazardous waste– like old gas storage tanks– and I would support more funding for ADEQ so they could step up the pace on the clean-up. According to ADEQ staff, there are hundreds of defunct gas stations and other industry-related environmental clean-up projects around Arizona that ADEQ is responsible for. Shouldn’t corporations take more responsibility for cleaning up their own environmental messes? Many “Mom-and-Pop” convenience stores/gas stations probably don’t have the funds for gas tank removal and clean-up after they close their doors, but corporate-owned gas stations should be cleaned up by the corporate people who own them, in my humble opinion.

As a Mom, I can’t remember how many times I have said: “You made that mess. You clean it up.”

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro-- watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

Legislative Reps. Kirsten Engel, Pamela Powers Hannley (far left) and Kelli Townsend (right) with ADEQ staff (center) and Senator Andrea Dalessandro– watching gas tank removal on a chilly December morning.

This is the second blog post in a five-part series on my first few weeks as a representative-elect:

Legislative Whirlwind Begins: Tours & Meetings, Oh, My! (Part 1)

Legislative Whirlwind Part 2: ADEQ Gas Tank Removal in Phoenix

Legislative Whirlwind Part 3: 92,000 Cows

Legislative Whirlwind Part 4: Lettuce & Birds

Legislative Whirlwind Part 5: Migrant Workers

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Since the election, my Powers For The People blog has officially shifted gears from campaigning to educating voters. Think of this as my version of the “Farley Report”– except delivered via a blog instead of email. (I also have an email list, which you can join here.)

If you want to follow my Legislative update blog, click on this image and every blog post will be delivered to your email inbox. (If you are on gmail, you may have to retrieve it from the “promotions” tab the first time.)

Powers For The People

Click on “Follow Powers for the People” on any page of my website to follow my Legislative update blog posts “A View from the Left Side.”

Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.

Legislative Whirlwind Begins: Tours & Meetings, Oh, My! (Part 1)

Arizona House

Newly elected members of the Arizona House, Dec. 2016.

Since Dec. 1, newly elected members of the Arizona House have received a whirlwind of invitations for meetings, trainings, luncheons, dinners, tours, coffees, workshops, receptions, BBQs, caucus meetings, briefings, orientations– and more. For half of December, I was out of Tucson — with multiple trips to Phoenix and a field trip to Yuma. On the street, supporters ask me when I start working. Even though the inauguration isn’t until next week, I have been working for weeks as your “representative-elect”.

Instead of publishing a lengthy article on “how I spent my Christmas vacation”, I’m breaking up my December tales into five parts: meetings (not as boring as it sounds), the ADEQ field trip to a defunct gas station, and three segments about the Yuma agricultural tour (92,000 cows, lettuce and birds, and migrant farm workers).

Here is the first installment in the five-part series.

New House Member Orientation

Most of the 23 new Republican and Democratic members of the Arizona House attended an orientation at the Capitol in the beginning of December. We comprise one of the largest (if not the largest) Freshmen classes, since several of us beat incumbents. (Maybe… just maybe… we could break the gridlock mold because we are such a big group.)

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