Category Archives: Education

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

The Yin and Yang mosaic

The Yin and Yang.

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

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Arizona’s Voucher Battle Continues

Cross posted from RestoreReason.com.

The Arizona Republic reported today that Save Our Schools Arizona will now hire paid circulators to “boost the chances that voters get the last word on the legislatively approved expansion” of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (vouchers.) According to The Republic, leaders of SOSAZ had intended to gather the required 75,321 valid signatures with only volunteers by the August 8, 2017 deadline. Now though, the organization finds itself with unexpected money and has decided to hire paid circulators for the last push to get at least 120,000 petition signatures for sufficient cushion.

As is often the case in Arizona though, GOP leaders in the Legislature are already working to undermine the effort. Senator Debbie Lesko, a Republican from Peoria has been the prime proponent of the effort to expand vouchers and is coincidentally (or maybe not), the Arizona Chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC.) As the likelihood of getting the repeal referendum on the ballot increases, she is planning ways to end run the effort. One of those is for the Legislature to repeal SB 1431 thereby eliminating the need for a public vote. Then Lesko and her GOP pals would just pass another expansion in the next legislative session. This move would not only require opponent vouchers to start a new referendum drive from scratch, but would also prevent the voucher vote from drawing more Democrats to the polls in November 2018.

Whether the petitions are being circulated by paid circulators or volunteers, they must contain sufficient valid signatures to qualify the referendum for the ballot. If you are an Arizona voter who hasn’t yet signed one of the petitions, please go to http://sosarizona.org/events or https://www.facebook.com/SaveOurSchoolsArizona/ to locate signing opportunities. If there is no opportunity in your area, you can email SOSAZ at SaveOurSchoolsAZ@gmail.com to make other arrangements.

There is no doubt that Lesko and her buddies will do what they can to continue to thwart the will of Arizonans, as has been their modus operandi in the past. For now though, “we the people” must do what we can, to ensure our government stays “of the people.” When it comes to slowing down the attack on our public schools, repealing the full expansion of vouchers is where we need to focus our efforts now. The 95% of Arizona’s students that attend our public schools are counting on us and the future of our state depends on our engagement. Please do your part and sign a petition this week, or for sure, by August 8th!

7 Reasons Why Bruce Wheeler Can Beat McSally

Among all the candidates running for Congress in Tucson, no one but Bruce Wheeler can say that he’s been elected three times from the district. That is the #1 reason that he can beat Martha McSally.

“I understand the district,” he said at a home reception in my own Precinct 238. “This is the district where Hillary won by 15,000 votes.”

Indeed, Wheeler was a state representative for Tucson from 1975-1977, a Tucson City Council member from 1987-1995, and state representative again from 2011 to 2017.

This gives him name recognition, which will be backed up by a door-to-door initiative and a social media campaign. Wheeler knows how to win elections.

It also gives him a leg up on other candidates like carpetbagger Ann Kirkpatrick – who has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and ex-Congressman Ron Barber  – and candidate Mary Matiella, who has the backing of Bill Roe, the First Vice Chairman of the AZ Democratic Party.

2. McSally is vulnerable this year, especially because she voted against health insurance for 22 million Americans. “I am absolutely convinced she will be defeated,” Wheeler said. “She is an enabler for Donald Trump’s policies.”

Wheeler favors Medicare for all.  Continue reading

3 Things You Don’t Know that Democrats Are Thinking About

Jobs

When Democratic candidate for governor Steve Farley said that “driver” is the #1 most threatened job, I made a mental note.

Today’s New York Times article about The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence fleshed out his thought for me. Modern technology dooms the following jobs:

bank teller

customer service rep

telemarketer

stock trader

paralegal

radiologist

factory worker

construction worker

delivery worker

driver

This is because computers, machines, and robots can do these jobs better than humans. If this is your source of income, start training for something else now.

Jobs with a future involve “people skills.” This is because artificial intelligence lacks the ability. Modern technology creates demand for the following jobs:

“service job of love” — sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous (non-paying job)

social worker

bartender

concierge

For the details, read Farley Kicks Off Bid for Governor with 3-Point Plan for Education.

Highway fatalities

If you drive on Tucson roads, you will be interested to know that 24 percent more people were killed last year in Pima County.

Prominent among the dead are:

males

vehicle drivers (as opposed to passengers)

people not using seat  belts

speeders

reckless drivers

impaired drivers

If this describes you, you may die on the road in 2017.

I can’t wait for my self-driving car, which will eliminate these demographic hazards. I want to dial in my destination and read a magazine on the way. Until this happens, I am chastened by reading

Scarlett remembers that horrible day when she got the phone call that her son had been killed by a drunk driver who was going the wrong way on the Loop 303.

US Supreme Court

Finally, Justice Kennedy may step down on Monday and there is no worse time for this to happen.

It would open the door up for nominees like Robert Bork, racist Kentucky lawyer John Bush (who equated slavery with abortion) or would-be federal judge Damien Schiff, who says anti-bullying laws are “teaching ‘gayness.'”

Hell is on our doorstep, and it’s only as far as the “on” button on a TV remote.

Scuttlebutt

Neophyte Billy Kovacs launches his bid for Congress on Tuesday, June 27 at 5:30. He offers a New Voice…New Direction…New Generation of Leadership! Interestingly, it is taking place at a bar on N 6th Ave. What does alcohol have to do with it?

After that event, I must go to the Legislative District 9 meeting of precinct committeemen. It is at 6:30 pm, 10 minutes away at the Water of Life Metropolitan Community Church.

Happy trails.

How the Senate health care bill would affect Arizona

Howard Fischer reports on an analysis by Arizona’s AHCCCS office. Analysis: Senate health-care plan could cost Arizona $2.9B or more:

The new Senate health-care plan would cost Arizona at least $2.9 billion between next year and 2026 — and perhaps as much as $7.1 billion — according to a new analysis by the Ducey administration.

Or the state could avoid most of those costs simply by cutting off health care for more than 400,000 who got coverage in 2013 when Arizona took advantage of a provision in the Affordable Care Act — the law Congress is working to repeal.

The analysis by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, shows the Senate proposal is only marginally better than the one approved by the House. That has an Arizona price tag of $3.3 billion over the same period.

The $2.9 billion is just in lost federal dollars that provide care for nearly 320,000 childless adults with income below the federal poverty level, about $11,800 a year for a single person. Plus, there are another 82,000 adults considered the “working poor,” earning up to $16,400 a year, whom the feds would no longer fund.

That’s only a piece of the picture.

If federal funding goes away, the assessment on hospitals that lawmakers approved in 2013 to pay the state’s costs for those people automatically self-destructs. That means the loss of another $2 billion over the same period, money the taxpayers would have to pick up.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature would pass “emergency” legislation to make sure that this does not happen.

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Farley Kicks Off Bid for Governor with 3-Point Plan for Education

By Larry Bodine.

State Senator Steve Farley will announce a three-point plan to restore education funding in Arizona when he publicly kicks off his bid for Governor on Monday at the Arizona Inn.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., at Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm  St. in Tucson. Event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. RSVP at https://goo.gl/2Q9rAe

At a jam-packed invitation-only fundraiser on Saturday, Farley said he was confident he could be incumbent, Goldwater Institute-backed Gov. Doug Ducey.

Introduced by former Congressman Ron Barber, Farley outlined a three-point plan to restore education funding in Arizona:

A K-12 system that is a foundation for opportunity system for all Arizonans, second to none.

“One if four children currently live in poverty. That’s not tolerable,” he said.

A university system that’s strengthened, not cut.

“That’s where the new industries will be coming from. And when people who go to university come up with new industries, they’re going to stay in Arizona. You won’t have to bribe them to come to Arizona. They’ll be here.”

A community college system that’s a lifelong institution for training and retraining.

“We’ve cut our K through 12 system by 21% since 2008. We’ve cut our university system by $2.5 billion. And we’ve cut off community colleges in Pima County and Maricopa County entirely from state funding.”

Former Congressman Ron Barber 6-3-17

Former Congressman Steve Barber said, “Some people say the Governor is going to be hard to beat. But not when you have someone who knows state government as well as Steve does. We need a solid, progressive thinker in the Governor’s office, and that’s Steve Farley.”

331 Corporate tax loopholes

Farley said the funding will come from closing 331 corporate tax loopholes that are in the sales tax code, which now bleed $13.7 billion a year from the state general fund.

“We’ve got to look at those and get rid of them. If we could get rid of $2 billion of them, we could lower the sales tax by a penny while increasing funding for education.”

Farley, age 54, is the son of two public school teachers, and said:

“Teachers work hard not because they’re getting paid well. Teachers work hard because they believe in their kids.”

“There’s absolutely no excuse that Governor Ducey and this legislature have cut our education system to the point where we have the lowest average teacher salaries in the country,” Farley said.

A captivating speaker, Farley is also smart. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College (Mass.) in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He has 11 years’ experience in the Arizona statehouse.

$9 million campaign goal

Farley said he needs to raise $9 million to fund his campaign. “Remember we’re fighting against the Koch brothers golden boy. He’s going to have a lot of money. We’re going to have a lot of money too. We may not match them. But we’ll add the money we’re going to be able to raise together with the face-to-cafe contact I’m going to try to have everyone in every town in this state,” Farley said.

“People are ready for change,” he said. “We can shine as an example for the country here in Arizona, where too often we’ve turned up as a joke on The Daily Show.”

Where is Ducey vulnerable?

“Most people don’t know Doug Ducey. And the people who know him don’t like him that much. He doesn’t feel like one of us. And the fact that he lies all the time. He says one thing but he does exactly the opposite. I’m going to remind people that he was the leader of the effort to kill $1 billion a year from education. He created the problem we’re trying to solve.”

Scuttlebutt:

Former Arizona state Representative Victoria Steele, who served for four years, will run for Farley’s vacant Senate seat. She is NOT running again for Congress.

Arizona state Representative Randall “Randy” Friese is considering a run against US Senator Jeff Flake. He is a Democratic member representing District 9 in Tucson.

There are 9 Democrats vying to run against Martha McSally:

  • Matt Heinz – Ex-State Rep., Physician & ’12/’16 Candidate 
  • Lou Jordan – Retired USAF Colonel
  • Ann Kirkpatrick – Ex-Congresswoman, Ex-State Rep., Ex-Sedona City Attorney & ’16 US Sen. Nominee
  • Billy Kovacs – Hotel Manager & Marketing Consultant
  • Jeff Latas – Airline Pilot, Businessman, USAF Veteran, Democratic Activist & ’06 Candidate
  • Mary Sally Matiella – Ex-US Asst. Army Secretary & Accountant
  • Joshua Polacheck – Ex-US Foreign Service Officer
  • Charlie Verdin – Businessman
  • Bruce Wheeler – Ex-State Rep.

Larry Bodine is a Precinct Committeeman, Precinct #238, in Tucson, AZ.