Category Archives: Primaries

A New Chapter Dawns on the Fight For Education Funding

The leaders of the Educator Walkout (Red for Ed and the Arizona Education Association) signaled that the teachers and support staff would return to the classroom on Thursday if the Governor signs a budget that provides a raise to teachers and monies to go towards support staff and other urgent school needs.

Is this the perfect solution to Arizona’s school funding woes? No, this is simply a down payment on solving the needs our Public Schools have in providing a first-rate quality education to the state’s children.

With the closing on this chapter where the walkout brought the Governor and legislature to agree to a teacher raise and additional monies for schools, a new one will start to be written on Thursday as educators return to the classroom.

There is a ballot initiative to fund education through taxing high-income earners that must be debated and voted on.

There is an election in November where voters will have a chance to choose Progressive Candidates in a new Superintendent for Public Instruction, a new Governor, and many new legislators. If chosen by the people, these public servants will continue what started this last week and fully funding our schools by following the ballot initiative, closing corporate tax loopholes, or both. They will chart a new course to take our schools into the Twenty-First Century where our students are actively engaged and challenged in safe and modern buildings with educators who are well compensated.

These future opportunities for the children and their schools are in the next chapter that still needs to be written. It can not happen without the people banding together to help to write it so please remember to participate, engage in the process, and vote this November. Nothing can happen without you.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/01/redfored-teachers-stay-legislature-debate-arizona-budget/569229002/

 

 

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/.

The lie of trickle-down economics that led to the #RedforEd teacher revolt

Flagstaff’s the Arizona Daily Sun editorialized that the governor and the GOP cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith when it comes to public school funding. Our View: Ignore Ducey and go for a dedicated school funding tax:

The first days of most strikes are easy.

Now comes the hard part.

Last week’s opening days of a statewide teacher walkout over pay and school funding were predictably high on energy and hope.

But as most labor leaders know, a walkout is about much more than just those walking the picket lines. It’s about winning the hearts and minds not only of community opinion leaders but of business owners and neighbors, too. There are bills on which to ask forgiveness, kids to ask the neighbors to care for and the sleepless nights that come with putting your career on the line. If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take an equally strong community to get their teachers through a work stoppage that is about all the right goals, even if the tactics turn out to be wrong.

The goals, of course, are to get every Arizona child the best education possible. That means giving students and teachers the best tools within the resources available. Better pay is thus a means to an end – it attracts the best teachers, stems rapid turnover and stabilizes a key sector of the local workforce. If other states with similar economic capacity have been able to do right by their teachers, why not Arizona?

The answer is more political and cultural than economic. Empty-nester retirees fleeing high-tax states and with little personal stake anymore in public education have encouraged conservative ideologues to pursue trickle-down tax cuts and privatized school choice, despite evidence that neither is working. Net corporate tax revenues on which public schools depend are off dramatically after a decade of tax cuts, and vouchers have served mainly to transfer public dollars to private and religious schools, regardless of educational outcome.

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A Pyrrhic Victory in Arizona Congressional District 8 for Republicans

Hiral Tepernini and Debbie Lesko

Dr. Hiral Tepernini got 82,318 votes, or 47.4%, but lost closely to Debbie Lesko, who got 91,390 votes, or 52.6%.

There was only one bit of good news for Republicans in the Arizona Congressional District Eight Election yesterday evening. Their candidate, soon to be Freedom Caucus Member Debbie Lesko, did win. Everything else was bad news for them. The reasons are as follows:

  • President Trump won this district by 21 points. Lesko won by only a little over five. The Democrat, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, and her team ran an excellent race, campaigning on health care, retirement security, and funding public education. She made inroads among Republicans and Independents outperforming how Secretary Clinton did in virtually every precinct.
  • The Democrats put up a fight. Dr. Tipirneni was the first Democrat to fight for this seat in six years. She and her people are smart and should learn how to build on their performance last night just in time for the electoral rematch this  November.
  • Enthusiasm is with the Democrats and Progressives for a variety of reasons ranging from an awakening for progressive solutions and disenchantment/disgust with what the President and his allies on the national and state stage offer.
  • The Republicans spent over a $1,000,000 in a “safe” district. The Democrats are probably hoping they drain their bank accounts on more of these “safe” districts. With her performance, Dr. Tipireni will probably get more attention from the National Party and small donors who see a very “gettable” seat in November.
  • This was the most conservative district in the State. Imagine what other strong Democrats can do, if recruited, in the other Congressional Districts in Arizona.

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New Poll: Sinema Beats McSally, Ward or Arpaio in US Senate Race

Sinema vs McSally, Ward, Arpaio

Regardless who the Republicans choose as their candidate for the Arizona US Senate seat, a new poll shows Democratic Congress member Kyrsten Sinema winning against them.

The survey by OH Predictive Insights and ABC15 says that the key reason is independent voters, who have a very negative view of GOP leader President Trump, and the negative view that voters in general have of Republicans Kelli Ward, Joe Arpaio, and Martha McSally.

And this is despite the 12% advantage that the GOP has (1,223,219 registered Republicans) over Democrats (1,090,310 registered Democrats) in Arizona. The survey sample reflected the Republican +12-point advantage over Democrats.

Democrats are unified

“The issue we are consistently seeing in the numbers is that Democrats are unified, Republicans are less united, and the all-important Independent voters are trending anti-Republican/Trump” said Mike Noble, managing partner at OH Predictive Insights of Phoenix. “The factors to look for will be if there are enough voters that do not view Trump favorably that still vote the Republican party.”

The survey did not mention Democrat Deedra Abboud, an attorney and Muslim-American community activist, whom Sinema faces in the August 28 primary.

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Ann Kirkpatrick Says Economic Growth, Healthcare, Gun Safety Will Win Back Tucson’s CD2 Seat

Ann kirkpatrick at the March 24 March For OUr Lives against gun violence.

Ann Kirkpatrick (2nd from left) at the March For Our Lives against gun violence.

In an exclusive Blog for Arizona interview, Democratic Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick identified the big issues to win back the seat in Tucson’s CD2: the economy, healthcare, gun safety and immigration reform.

The district is rated as “leaning Democratic” and was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, who beat Donald Trump in CD2 by 4.9%. Many Democrats (and Republican opponents) see her as the front-runner to win the August 28 primary with a field of at least seven other Democrats.

Total donations of $1.3 million

She advanced her lead by raising a total of $1.3 million in donations with $850,000 cash on hand. Results for other candidates will be released soon by the Federal Election Commission.

Kirkpatrick had two record quarters in a row for donations. In the 4th quarter of 2017, she raised $400,000 and in the 1st quarter of 2018, she raised $535,000. Fundraising is a key measure of a candidate’s strength because it pays for staff, office space, phone lines, computers, travel, events, and campaign materials. A candidate with low fundraising is not a serious candidate.

A Congress member for CD1 in northern Arizona from 2013 to 2017, Kirkpatrick has key endorsements: Emily’s list, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and unions representing electricians, building trades, typesetters, and food and commercial workers.

At least 6 of the other Democratic contenders will appear at a candidate forum on Thursday, May 3 from 6:30 to 8 pm at Catalina High School, sponsored by Represent Me AZ. Kirkpatrick had notified the event sponsors that she could not appear because of a long-scheduled private meeting.

Growing the economy
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