Category Archives: Polling

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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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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VP Mike Pence’s self-debasement with an implied endorsement of crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio

A ”whiter shade of pale” Mike Pence was in Phoenix this week for the GOP tax scam tour. See earlier, VP Mike Pence in Phoenix today on GOP Tax Scam Tour.

But Vice President Pence did much more than that. He gave a big wet kiss to disgraced convicted felon, crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio, whom fellow Birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump gave his first pardon as president in order to demonstrate just how far he was willing to go to obstruct justice and to protect his circle of sycophant supporters. Was Pence’s big wet kiss meant to be an implied endorsement of Joe Arpaio by “Dear Leader” in the GOP Senate primary? (“Chemtrails” Kelli Ward and Martha McSally had a sad).

The Washington Post reported, A champion of ‘the rule of law’: Pence praises pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Vice President Pence called former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court last year, a champion of “the rule of law” and said he was honored by his attendance at an event with him Tuesday in Arizona.

During remarks at an event in Tempe, Ariz., on tax cuts, Pence acknowledged Arpaio was in the room, suggesting he had not expected to see him.

“I just found out when I was walking through the door that we were also going to be joined by another favorite, a great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law, who spent a lifetime in law enforcement,” Pence said.

“I’m honored to have you here,” the vice president added.

* * *

Arpaio’s conviction has done little to dampen the praise he continues to receive from the Republican establishment.

A recent Magellan Strategies poll found Arpaio running second in a three-person race with a 67 percent favorable rating among Republican primary voters.

Because haters gotta hate.

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The First Chapter Completed in Funding our Schools? Maybe not for Tucson.

Walking around the state capital late this morning, there were universal signs of enthusiasm, passion, and unity among the supporters, dressed in red,  for increasing school funding. People held signs advising gatherers to remember the November elections and the need to vote in people who will finish what started this week.

The well-organized and very visible Superintendent of Public Instruction campaign of David Schapira, with signs and volunteers throughout the capital park,  joined with the forces promoting the Invest in Education Ballot act, collecting signatures. The leaders of the Red for Ed Movement were not letting up, with leaders like Noah Karvelis telling reporters what will happen next.

Not satisfied with the budget that passed today, district union representatives were telling their people from their districts that the fight must still go on after a week of rest and returning to the classroom. These representatives encouraged teachers to collect signatures for the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative, by collecting at least 200,000 signatures so 150,000 will be validated. They also said that they needed to work towards electing public school advocates this November, no matter which party they belonged to.

The one area of immediate concern expressed was when a few of the educators from Tucson relayed that their districts may not reopen for a couple of reasons.

  • First, they are justifiably not happy with how the support staffs have been treated.
  • Second, they are understandably furious that Pima County, unlike Maricopa, did not have their property tax increases in the budget taken care of by the state government. Saddled with this increase, net instructor raises would be minimized and support staff would receive a net cut in their salaries.

What will happen in Tucson and the other Pima County District Schools will be revealed later. It is important that the Red for Ed Movement stick together and work to correct this imbalance this county is beset with as well as the other funding issues not addressed in this budget. It is six months to November and there is a lot of work to do.

 

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/03/arizona-teacher-strike-scottsdales-ingleside-pima-madisons-madison-park-open/577156002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-budget-legislature-teacher-strike-redfored/575753002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/03/redfored-has-changed-arizona-politcs-so-who-won-and-who-lost/577208002/

 

 

It looks like the First Chapter in Increasing Education Funding is not quite finished yet.

It appears the teacher walkout will continue into tomorrow (maybe Friday as well)  as the Legislature was unable to pass a budget as originally planned. State Representative Townsend, a foe for increasing Education Funding, indicated that the budget may not pass until Saturday. Educators and their supporters will be back at the capital and other locations tomorrow and remain there until the legislature completes its responsibilities.

While the budget process lingers, please take time to review the amendments Democrats are offering to the budget that affect education. These include measures to “cap” class sizes, give raises to support staff, and reducing the counselor to student ratio.

Finally, also review the other budget provisions in education that are being debated such as a “repeal and replace” of the voucher measure or giving twenty percent of the University increased budget to two Koch Brothers-sponsored centers (one at Arizona State University and the other at the University of Arizona).

Please contact your legislators and let them know your views on these budget priorities for our K-12 schools and state universities.

Please remain patient. This is the first step in ensuring that all so children in the state get a first-rate quality education. This is just a short delay that will hopefully be over in 48 hours. Afterward, the educators will be back at school and the movement to increase education funding will take the shape of electing candidates in November that want to properly fund schools and working to pass measures like the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-teacher-redfored-walkout-really-end-thursday-legislature-budget/574251002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/02/arizona-house-take-up-back-door-voucher-expansion-bill-today/573499002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/01/asu-ua-koch-brothers-economic-freedom-schools-arizona-budget/570667002/

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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