Category Archives: Governor

Referendum to block ‘vouchers on steroids’ bill is on track to qualify for the ballot

Good news is so rare these days, but here is some good news . . . let’s hope. Arizona group says school voucher bill repeal is on track:

A group that opposes a major private school voucher expansion bill signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says it is on track to collect enough signatures to place the law on hold.

Save Our Schools spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker says the group isn’t releasing an exact count of the number of signatures it has collected. But she said the all-volunteer effort should have well above the minimum of 75,000 signatures by the Aug. 8 deadline.

“We know we have enough petitions out in the field, we know exactly who has them and we have enough out that if there was such a thing as 100 percent we could be getting more than 150,000 back,” Penich-Thacker said in an interview late last week.

Opponents say vouchers siphon money from the state’s underfunded public schools and the expansion will allow wealthy families to use state cash to send their children to private and religious schools. They also say vouchers won’t cover total costs at many private schools, meaning people of average means won’t be able to use them.

* * *

If the effort succeeds, the voucher expansion will be put on hold until voters can weigh in during the November 2018 election.

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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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7 Unexpected Things I Learned During My First Ramadan Dinner

Iftar Ramadan dinner TucsonBeing a product of Iowa, the corn state, I had never been to a Muslim Iftar dinner — the feast celebrated at the end of the of a month of fasting by Muslims worldwide — including Tucson.

To be sure, I’ve been to many Christmas Eves, Seders, Thanksgiving dinners, Fourth of July picnics and Easter sunrise services. But my first Iftar dinner was last Friday night, June 16 at the Sema Foundation in Tucson, where 150 faithful Turkish Muslims gathered in the community event.

The invitation said, “With love & gratitude, we request the pleasure of your company for our traditional Ramadan dinner. Let’s all celebrate friendship together.” My friends and I were honored to go.

Here are 7 unexpected things I learned during my Ramadan dinner.

1. It is a beautiful family event with mothers, fathers and little ones running around. It reminded me of my own family. The signs in the community hall said, “Welcome. Welcome.”

Unsure of where to sit, I decided not to barge into a table of women or all men talking. We saw three seats at a family table and immediately felt at home. I wore a clean white shirt out of respect and felt embarrassed that I had worn shorts.

How could Trump think to impose a travel ban on these wonderful people? Thank God for the Federal Courts that have stymied his evil plan.

I talked with Oğuz, a soft-spoken, stocky man visiting from Los Angeles. I followed his cues and did not touch the delicious spread of dates, hummus, pita bread, dolmades that were clearly tempting everyone. We all waited until the sun went down at 7:38 pm.

2. The meal begins with a sip of cold water. Oğuz said Iftar literally means “break-fast. Anyone from an Orthodox family (Russian Orthodox in my case) knows that healthy adults fast during spiritually significant times, including abstaining from drinking, eating, immoral acts and anger. Muslims also encourage other acts of worship such as prayer, reading the Quran and charity.

3. Fasting for a month makes people appreciate the richness of their daily lives, by denying themselves sweets, earthly pleasures, and even water. We know how precious water is in Arizona.

What insanity possesses the White House to ban these warm, spiritual, welcoming people?

Meanwhile, plates of delicious salad, potatoes, lamb, and rice were served by young women who had covered their heads. There were two beautiful calls to prayer, sung by men with trained, expressive voices.

4. Rather than build mosques which would upset some Tucsonans, the Muslim community blends in and shares their culture at festivals like Tucson Meet Yourself in October. Who hasn’t ordered a baklava with a strong Turkish coffee?

5. They do not build multi-million-dollar garish, marble clad, Trump Tower-like edifices. Islam is a major worldwide faith, not a cult. There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015 – roughly 24% of the global population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate.

Kurdish fighters from the People"s Protection Units (YPG) chat with members of US Special Forces.

Kurdish fighters confer with members of US Special Forces.

6. Oğuz explained that he is a Turkish Kurd, a people who are the fierce fighters working with American forces to wipe out ISIS terrorists. The Kurds have surrounded Raqqa, Syria, and are within two miles of the ISIS headquarters. Things would be going better but Syria’s dictator Assad is bombing them.

Oğuz’s mother is in Turkey, but he says he cannot visit her. Oğuz is part of a resistance movement against monstrous dictator Erdogan, who put his name on an arrest list. The tyrant has detained 150,000 teachers, journalists, police officers, judges, and civilians.

7. The Turkish people did not bargain for this and most informed Americans do not blame them for the takeover by a murderous dictator. This is just as the rest of the world does not blame the majority of ordinary Americans for the would-be dictator who occupies the White House. They understand.

Oğuz is supporting Democrat Steve Farley for Governor, who on June 5 kicked off his campaign to rebuild education in Arizona. As the elected Precinct Committeeman in #238, I too support Farley. Neither of us had name cards, so we wrote down our contact info on pieces of paper.

On the way out I talked with a man holding a tiny baby. I told him I was a senior citizen and looked forward to talking with my son in Chicago on Father’s Day. He said he was 35, was working hard to support his family and his 5-month old child.

I told the father that his son would carry him in his heart as he made his way through life, just as I hold my own father in my heart. My 33-year-old son is a productive citizen of Chicago, with his own apartment and a beautiful long-time girlfriend. I can’t wait to talk with him.

Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: there’s hope for us yet

Holy shit! Pigs really do fly!

Something remarkable, truly amazing happened in Brownbackistan fna the state of Kansas this week.

A Tea-Publican controlled legislature overrode the veto of its Tea-Publican governor to increase taxes and to reverse Gov. Sam Brownback’s failed “trickle down tax cuts” eutopian experiment in Kansas.

The Wichita Eagle reports, Lawmakers override Brownback veto of tax increases, rolling back 2012 cuts:

Lawmakers rolled back Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy over his objections Tuesday night, forcing into law tax increases to fix a budget shortfall and provide more money for schools.

The legislation ends the “march to zero” income tax cuts that Brownback heralded for much of his time as governor.

(Sound familiar? Our own Koch-bot Governor Doug Ducey also promises to reduce taxes every year with the goal to drive income tax rates to “as close to zero as possible.”)

Income taxes will rise across the board but most tax rates will remain lower than they were before the 2012 tax cuts. The increases are expected to generate more than $1.2 billion for the state over the next two years.

The Senate and House voted 27-13 and 88-31, respectively, to override Brownback’s veto. The action took place on the 109th day of the legislative session and paves the way for lawmakers to wrap up their work quickly, potentially this week.

The override represents a blow to the legacy of one of the most unpopular governors in America, amid speculation that he may not serve out his remaining time in office but instead take a federal position.

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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.