Category Archives: Gun Policies

Martha McSally Exposed as the Worst Kind of Politician

Martha McSally video

Even among the hard right, McSally’s announcement video ad was received as confusing, weird, and ultra-Trumpian.

On a beautiful day in January, retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, the elusive Arizona Republican Congresswoman from Tucson, who has incredibly not held a Town Hall in close to three years, stood in front of a small crowd of VIPs congregated in a private airplane hangar (east of Tucson) and declared her candidacy for Arizona Senate. Her rally was an over the top, hyper-nationalistic “barn burner” of an occasion, where McSally told the crowd that she was ready to – as they say in the Air Force: Fly, Fight and Win.

McSally dressed up in her old A-10 flight suit, awkwardly rattled off some sort of racist stuff about the Mexican-American border, Sharia Law, and Trump’s Wall – then hopped in the back seat of a shiny WWII T-6 vintage trainer plane. She was then flown, by another pilot to Phoenix and Prescott for further campaign rallies – it was over-the-top self-aggrandizement.

U.S. Rep Martha McSally, a two-term Republican from Tucson and a former Air Force combat pilot is running for the same Senate seat which U.S. Senator Jeff Flake will retire from following his fiery rebuke of President Trump’s fascist tendencies on the Senate floor. The three-candidate, dogfight of a primary pits McSally, (the clear choice of the GOP establishment), against pardoned Sheriff Arpaio of Fountain Hills and conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward, a former state senator from Lake Havasu City, both of whom will be battling to win the party’s conservative base. Just last week, McSally was endorsed by our state’s former governor, Jan Brewer.

Confusing and weird

In the digital ad that accompanied her “Fly, Fight, Win” campaign rallies, McSally walks among aircraft and bizarrely declares:

“I refused to bow down to Sharia Law, and like our president, I am tired of DC politicians and their BS excuses – I am a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grown a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”

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AG Candidate January Contreras Will Protect Vulnerable Populations

January Contreras

January Contreras

Over cups of coffee and water at the Tucson Café Passe (the bratwurst is good as well), Democratic Attorney General Candidate January Contreras, a fourth generation Arizonan, described the reasons she is the right person to lead the state’s justice department starting in January 2019.

An experienced jurist and advocate, Contreras, a wife of 24 years and mother to two sons, has an extensive record of public service. Mentored (and still guided) by former Attorney General, Governor, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, she has served as a Deputy County Attorney for Maricopa County and Assistant Attorney General. In these capacities, Contreras prosecuted criminals, people, and entities that committed health care fraud against vulnerable citizens like the elderly in nursing homes.

Furthermore, under former Governor Janet Napolitano, her duties also included policy advisor and serving as the Assistant Director at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) where she fought proposed cuts to the system. Joining Governor Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration, Contreras helped establish the Council on Combating Violence against Women and served on other task forces designed to further advances for women and children.

Returning to Arizona, Contreras founded ALWAYS (Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services), an organization dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and child abuse. When necessary, Contreras would help the victims for free.
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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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Thank God it’s Sine Die!

The Arizona legislature adjourned around 12:26 a.m. Friday morning. This farce is finally over.

The AP reports, Arizona Legislature closes session with big issues undone:

The Arizona Legislature adjourned its 2018 session early Friday, leaving without taking action on two of Gov. Doug Ducey’s biggest initiatives of the year, a water policy overhaul and an ambitious school safety proposal (called it!) that fell victim to concerns about the civil rights of gun owners.

The March for Our Lives student led movement for gun safety can now turn its organizational skills and energy to defeating the legislators who thwarted their efforts to save students lives in the election this November.

The Republican-controlled Legislature also failed to repeal a contentious school voucher expansion law that is set to be on the November ballot after opponents of the 2017 measure gathered enough signatures last summer to block its implementation. The fate of the voucher expansion was caught up in a momentous push by public school teachers who rose up in early March and eventually went on strike, forcing the Republican governor and lawmakers to award them with big raises and more school funding in the budget, although not enough to meet the demands of teachers who are ending a six-day strike and heading back to class on Friday.

Republican Sens. Kate Brophy McGee and Bob Worsley both went on record Thursday opposing any repeal, with Worsley calling the issue “kryptonite” and Brophy McGee simply saying “it needs to go to the ballot.” With all Democrats opposed, there was no way it could pass the Senate.

“The huge grassroots group, and I’ve talked to them multiple times, checked with them multiple tomes, they’re willing to take it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said. “That’s where they want it to go.”

“It’s honoring the people who got it to the ballot,” Brophy McGee said, noting that opponents of expansion of the voucher program gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

Teachers and other education advocates banded together as Save Our Schools Arizona and gathered more than 100,000 signatures to block the universal voucher bill last summer, a move that kept it from taking effect until voters statewide could weigh in.

They argued that private school vouchers siphoned money from the state’s cash-strapped public schools, while backers said they give parents a choice about where their children attend school.

There has been talk all session of majority Republicans repealing or replacing it to negate the ballot measure.

The organizational skills and energy of the #RedforEd movement of the past few weeks can now turn to the campaign for the Prop. 305 referendum and defeating all of those legislators who voted for this “vouchers on steroids” bill and the governor who signed it. You will be needed to offset the massive dark money campaign coming from the “Kochtopus” school privatization forces, and the Center for Arizona Policy and the American Federation for Children.

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Governor Ducey’s school safety plan gutted by Republicans beholden to the gun lobby

We all knew this was going to happen. Arizona Senate waters down school safety bill:

State senators voted Tuesday for what was crafted as a comprehensive school and public safety plan — but not before Republicans removed a key provision designed to take guns away from dangerous people.

SB 1519, given preliminary approval on a voice vote, still allows police to ask a judge to have someone brought in for mental evaluation. And judges remain able to order temporary removal of weapons if there is “clear and convincing evidence” the person is a danger to self or others.

But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa (this asshole again) removed language that would have allowed family members, school administrators, probation officers, behavioral health professionals, roommates and “significant others” to go to court to seek what are known as Severe Threat Orders of Protection.

This amendment guts this bill, period,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

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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/.