Category Archives: Announcement

AZ Senate Candidate Ralph Atchue Advocates for Families and Small Businesses of LD 11

Ralph Atchue sees himself as an open-minded problem solver

Ralph Atchue sees himself as an open-minded problem solver

A former Air Force veteran, union steward, and postmaster from the Chicago area, LD 11 State Senate Clean Elections Candidate Ralph Atchue has launched a grassroots campaign pledging to be a consensus builder.

Atchue advocates a robust forward-looking program that includes investments in public education, comprehensive tax reform, green energy, and transportation innovations like a high-speed rail line from Tucson to Phoenix and later Las Vegas.

Gaining perspective on the competing positions from both labor as a union steward and management as a postmaster general, Atchue sees himself (unlike his opponent for the State Senate, Vince Leach) as a problem solver who can forge inclusive consensus among all stakeholders by bringing them together, discussing the issues, and arriving at compromise solutions that will be agreeable to all parties.

By prioritizing progress, individuals, families, and small businesses, Atchue believes that the residents of LD 11 will be better served that way rather than emphasizing the reactionary and obstructionist interests of the Dark Money groups that Leach subscribes to. (See AZ’s Worst Legislator: Vince Leach, not a Servant of the People in LD 11)

Seeing himself as an open-minded problem solver rather than being tied to any ideological program, Atchue’s campaign looks to attract all parties: Democrats, Independents, and Republicans who want common sense solutions that provide for the greater long-term good of the district. Independents and Republicans have joined Democrats in volunteering to help his campaign as they strive to knock on 2,000 doors a month to bring the candidates inclusive message.

Atchue’s positions on the issues are as follows: Continue reading

Fully Funding Education is the Top Issue as LD 18 Democrats look to take both State Representative Seats in 2018

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

State Representative Mitzi Epstein

Education, Education, Education. That is the top issue for all three candidates competing for the two Representative seats for LD 18 as they vie to continue the trajectory of making this district increasingly blue in this year’s election.

As reported in a previous overview of LD 18, it is a district that includes Ahwatukee-Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, and Mesa. Socioeconomically, it is a mostly upper-middle-class district. It is where the main campus of Mesa Community College is located as well as technology powerhouses GoDaddy and Intel.

Jennifer Jermaine

Until recently, the district has predominately elected Republican candidates for its local seats. Democrats made their first electoral gains in the district this decade with victories for State Senator Sean Bowie and State Representative Denise “Mitzi” Epstein in 2016.

The party hopes to continue this trend by re-electing Bowie and Epstein to their current positions and electing either Jennifer Jermaine or LaDawn Stuben who will run against Republican State Representative incumbent Jill Norgaard.
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Moving Forward: What is next for Red For Ed?

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting.

Fresh off the week-long statewide teacher walkout, Red for Ed co-leader Noah Karvelis answered questions on what his organization accomplished and where its members will channel their energies in the coming months. Karvelis expressed happiness with the movement they were able to energize, the “empowerment” Arizona teachers harnessed in the walkout, and the down payment in increasing funds towards our state schools. This was more impressive given that the Red for Ed Movement did not negotiate directly with Governor Ducey or any of his allies.

He acknowledged the contributions of other leading Red for Ed Team Members like Derek Harris, Rebecca Garelli, Dylan Wegela, Vanessa Arredondo, Heather Nieto, Brittani Karbginsky, Kelley Fisher, Kellee Wolfe, and Cat Barrett,

Moving forward,  Karvelis (who is also the campaign manager for Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Kathy Hoffman), said that the goals for Red for Ed are to bring education funding to the level where it was in 2008. What passed the State Legislature last week was still $700 million short of restoring parity to our education funding needs. To that end, the movement will champion and campaign for the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.

Saying the wealthy should pay their “fair share,” Karvelis expressed reservations about a sales tax to fully fund education, calling it “regressive.” He favors Invest in Education coupled with other measures that would bring in funds from a “devoted revenue source” such as income tax increases with a trigger to adjust funds for inflation.

On other education-related issues, Karvelis conveyed that support staff should perhaps be salaried instead of hourly wage employees. Furthermore, he indicated that a $100,000 grant to the Koch sponsored-centers at Arizona State University and University of Arizona was “highly problematic” and indicative of an organization using public funds to “proliferate their agenda.”  Finally, on Proposition 305, Mr. Karvelis wrote that school vouchers with public funds were a “direct attack on public schools and public education.” He also stated that “public dollars should be spent on public schools, not on vouchers for private and charter schools.”

Mr. Karvelis and his team should be congratulated for the positive change they have helped usher in for Arizona’s public schools. Congratulations and thanks should also be extended to everyone that was willing to fight for better conditions for Arizona children’s schooling. As Karvelis and the other members of Red for Ed would point out, there is a long road moving forward. There are pro-education candidates to support in the November elections.

Voters need to read where each candidate, from both parties, stand on the issues of moving children’s education forward to help make an informed decision. There are ballot initiatives to fight for and against. Finally, there are dark money and open reactionary interests to ward off. If the people make fully informed decisions and objectively evaluate where the candidates stand on the issues, the sun should rise on a bright day on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

 

 

Differing Plans for Different Philosophies to Solve the Education Funding Crisis in Arizona

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

Teachers are on Day Four of their walkout

As the educator walkout continues this week, there are currently five published plans that have been offered to solve the funding crisis our education community faces in this state. Each plan has positive features to one or more groups. All of them have drawbacks to one or more groups. Hopefully, mature public servants on both sides will get together and try to fashion a plan based on aspects of part or all of these proposals that will enable the children and educators to return to school.

Plan One: Invest in Education Act Ballot Initiative

What is the scope of the plan? To place an initiative on the November ballot to raise the state income tax on high earners to raise monies to fully fund schools. People earning from $250,000 to $499,000 would pay an additional 3.46 % in state taxes or $17,265.40 maximum. People earning $500,000 or higher would pay an additional 4.46 percent or $22,300 minimum.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Superintendent Candidates Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira, Gubernatorial Candidate David Garcia, Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Increasing the state income tax for high earners.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan? It is a steady and consistent revenue stream that would not be susceptible to an economic downtown like a sales tax.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? As designed, it only raises close to $700,000,000 of the $1,000,000,000 needed to fully fund schools. Also, as columnist Laurie Roberts points out, it does not ask any of the other income groups to contribute. This initiative puts the added burden solely on high-income earners. This could potentially galvanize the corporate right and create a highly charged partisan fight, waking up the conservative base just as the Blue Wave hits in the November elections.

Plan Two: Governor Ducey’s Plan

What is the scope of the plan? To give teachers a 20 percent raise in stages by 2020.

What is the name of the person/groups that support this plan? Governor Ducey and his allies in the legislature.

What is the financial method utilized to solve the education funding crisis in Arizona? Revenues based on economic performance and possible reallocation from other sensitive budget areas for the needy. This may also include the shifting of property taxes to local communities where they are forced to pay more.

What is at least one positive aspect to this plan?  Most of the teachers would get a raise.

What is at least one negative aspect to this plan? First, it does not fully fund education or even the teacher raises. How are the teacher raises determined in the local districts?  Where are the raises for support staff?  Where are the monies for capital improvements and investments? They are not there.

Second, the funding apparatus, even in its revised form is both unclear and unstable. Updated proposals relayed that the Governor would divert funds from other areas of need like prescription drugs to fund the raises, which would be pitting one group of needy recipients against another. Furthermore, the Governor’s proposals depend on a consistently strong state economy. There are no provisions, other than raiding other budget areas, like prescription drugs, if there is a downturn.

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BlogForArizona returns to health

By Michael Bryan

Some of you (specifically, those using WinTel computers) may have noticed that clicking on a link here at the blog took you to a highly suspicious dialogue box about having to address some bogus security concern. We got hacked and some black-hatted son-of-a-bitch inserted malware into our server.

I’m glad to report that we have resolved the problem and taken steps to make it a great deal harder to do so in the future. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused our readers and please be assured that visiting us is now safe. As far as we can tell the only way that your computer could be compromised is if you believed the rather amatuerish exhortation to visit another site, download software, or call a number for further instructions. Just a general note: don’t ever do such things 🙂

Thanks for patience and support. This incident cost us several hundred dollars and we will soon provide a donation button to help us defray those costs if you feel you would like to pitch in to help cover that expense.

Best Regards,

Michael Bryan and the BlogForArizona crew

April 14 Meet & Greet with January Contreras for Arizona Attorney General

January Contreras

Saturday, April 14, 10:00 a.m.:   Precinct 167 Meet & Greet with Special Guest January Contreras, candidate for Arizona Attorney General.”

All are invited to join us at the home of Rebecca Cramer at 2016 E. Water Street, Tucson, AZ  85719, to hear from  January.  Precinct 167 is located in central Tucson between Campbell Ave. and Tucson Blvd. near Grant Rd.  Contact Lori Tochihara at (520) 360-0357 to RSVP.

For more, read January Contreras Campaigns for Consumer Protection in Attorney General Race.