For the Love of Tucson: Sign the Community Letter to the President of TEP

Looking ahead to a bright future for Tucson

“We are looking ahead, as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come.” – Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons

Climate change is real and it’s progressing faster than scientists first predicted. We aren’t talking about some distant dilemma. The devastating impacts are already being felt around the world. In Tucson, we are experiencing record temperatures – every year hotter than the last. There is no more time to waste. We need to get carbon dioxide below 350 ppm immediately.

Sustainable Tucson is greatly concerned about TEP’s unambitious goal of transitioning to 30% clean energy by 2030. TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. These RICE units would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.

Renewable energy, supplemented by energy storage systems, is a better option for many reasons. But TEP has refused to consider it – even though the Arizona Corporation Commission strongly urged TEP to turn in this direction.

Our advocacy team and other community members have been actively fighting the permit process for installation of the RICE units. Duane Ediger took a week off of work to study the TEP’s permit to see if it met the Pima County code. With the help of the Sierra Club, Duane uncovered some inconsistencies that he shared with the community so we could submit relevant comments to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality.

While awaiting a response, Duane worked with Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light to draft a public letter to David G. Hutchens, President of Tucson Electric Power Company.

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AZ teachers know their math and economics, AZ legislators not so much

As state policy makers weigh their options in response to the “Red for Ed” movement that is organizing the teacher protests, some conservatives and their allies are once again, like a broken record, blaming administration costs as a reason teachers in Arizona have among the worst pay in the nation. It’s just right-wing propaganda. Analysis shows no link between school district administration costs, teacher pay:

A “messaging guide” by the State Policy Network, a network of conservative think tanks, that aims to discredit the nationwide movement to increase teacher pay urges conservatives and anti-union activists to turn the conversation to how “red tape and bureaucracy” and “administrative bloat” suppresses teacher pay.

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But an Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of school district spending data compiled by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office shows no correlation between how much a school district spends on administration and how it pays its teachers.

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Shocking! Arizona Republican proposes a tax increase to support public education

This is like discovering that a species believed to be long extinct, like the dodo bird, is still alive and well and living in a small flock on some remote uninhabited island somewhere.

There is actually one Republican in the Arizona legislature who proposes to perform his constitutionally mandated duty under the Arizona Constitution and is willing to raise taxes in support of public education. Shocking! Republican lawmaker pitches $1 billion tax hike to prevent Arizona teacher walkout:

A Republican state lawmaker has a plan he hopes will prevent Thursday’s statewide teacher walkout and, at least temporarily, solve Arizona’s education funding crisis.

It involves a tax hike.

More than 50 Arizona school districts — and counting — will close during Thursday’s statewide #RedForEd walkout as educators push for higher pay and the restoration of $1 billion in cuts to education funding [over the past decade].

Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, told The Arizona Republic on Monday afternoon that he will introduce a budget amendment — whenever Republican legislative leaders introduce a budget — for a three-year, 1-cent education sales tax increase.

The plan would require the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey [i.e., the “Two-thirds For Taxes” Amendment, Prop. 108 (1992).]

The proposal would provide the state’s public district and charter schools with $880 million a year more in discretionary funding, and require the state to fully fund Arizona’s kindergarten students. It also could provide the state’s public universities with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra funding, though the exact amount remained unclear.

Campbell said his proposal would serve as a “temporary bridge” to allow voters to potentially approve in the 2020 election a long-term tax measure for education.

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CD2 Candidate Barbara Sherry Warns about Chemtrails, Breaks Promise to Support Primary Winner

Congressional candidate Barbara Sherry opposed expansion of Davis Monthan airbase becuase of "the chemtrails."

Congressional candidate Barbara Sherry opposed an expansion of Davis Monthan airbase because of “the chemtrails.”

Staking out a position as a fringe candidate, Barbara Sherry, who is running for Congress in Tucson’s CD2, warned about chemtrails from Davis-Monthan airbase, broke a promise to support the winner of the primary, and rambled about pecan trees, Nazi Germany, and potholes.

She spoke at a meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson, where attendees chuckled at her assertions. Adopting the style of a standup comedian, she would announce her positions and joke, “there went another 30 votes out of the room.”

Sherry has 25 years in the banking industry including JP Morgan Chase, she coached the mortgage team at Wachovia, and she sold stocks and bonds. She lives on a ranch in rural McNeal, AZ,

Chemtrails

Sherry said, “I do not at all support any expansion of Davis-Monthan. I’ll tell you why. I’ve done a lot of study on this. The chemtrails that come off the airport are micro, they’re entering the people who live around Davis-Monthan, and that’s usually soldiers and their families. They will get in your lungs. You will have emphysema, you’ll be listening to those commercials on TV, you’ll be seeing those lawyers in your house. There’s been a study, I believe it was Berkeley, when people live near military bases with high-velocity jets such as are there, that is killing your health. It’s killing your health as much as if you work in a mine. Pay attention people.”

The chemtrail conspiracy theory is the false claim that long-lasting condensation trails, called “chemtrails” by proponents, consist of chemical or biological agents left in the sky by high-flying aircraft and deliberately sprayed for purposes undisclosed to the general public.

However, she said supported Fort Chiricahua “100%.” She said, “Our next war will be in cyberspace. If you do a lot of reading like I do, the Chinese have pledged in 2035 they will lead the world in artificial intelligence. They have satellites now with equipped with arms to grab our satellites. You’ll see what it’s going to be like one day when your electricity goes down and you have no more electricity.”

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CD 8 Special Election Day

The CD 8 special election today is just the first in a “two-fer” election this year. November is the grand prize. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and “two-fer” special elections.

Donald Trump won this district by 21 points. A single digit finish for Democrat Hiral Tipirneni is still a “win” because it will attract DNC and outside group money this fall that she has not received in this special election.

The New York Times takes notice today, Special Election: Republicans Are Dominant But Still Nervous:

We’re watching Tuesday’s special election in Arizona closely, not because we expect the Democrats to stage an upset (the congressional district is solidly Republican), but because Republicans are showing concern over the outcome. Here’s what makes this House race interesting.

The district is deeply red.

Debbie Lesko, a former Republican state senator, is facing the Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a doctor, in the race for the Phoenix-area seat that is reliably Republican.

After the district lines were redrawn in 2012, the district has voted Republican in the past three elections, and it has supported Republican presidential nominees by large margins.

Donald J. Trump won the district by more than 20 percentage points in 2016. Four years earlier, Mitt Romney had won it by almost 25 points.

The Eighth District seat was vacated by Representative Trent Franks, a Republican who resigned after he was revealed to have offered $5 million to an aide in exchange for carrying his child.

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Van Jones Says Democrats and Progressives need to work on Winning and Not Take Anything for Granted.

Van Jones

CNN commentator and author Van Jones said that for Democrats and Progressives to win elections, they cannot just sit and wait for the people to follow them because the masses agree with them on the issues or because most agree that President Trump is unfit to serve. Instead, they need to speak out and make their views known and remain continually persistent and vigilant for the causes they believe in.

He spoke at the Fifth Annual Lecture Series on Delivering Democracy at the Fourteenth Street Pilgrim Rest Baptist church in Phoenix.

Jones said that Democrats and Progressives also can not take any group for granted. The poor white person in Appalachia wants the same life for their kids like the poor black person in the projects. People who believe in God also believe in helping the needy and oppressed. Democrats and Progressives would be wise to reconnect with these groups they have forgotten. If Democrats and Progressives can do all of these things (and it should not be a heavy lift), Progressives and Democrats will have a lot to celebrate after the next few election cycles as long as they remember that they can never stop being proactive and fight to move the country forward.

The lecture was sponsored by the Arizona State University Center for Race and Democracy and hosted by the congregation of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church Ministries. Jones is a community and environmental activist, and former White House Aide to President Obama, and he offered his views on bringing different races, classes, and the religious and secular worlds in our country together.

At a packed Church hall, the congregants gathered for the fifth year to hear Van Jones’ views on Race and Democracy. Many still remembered the contributions of their late Pastor, Bishop Alexis Thomas, and progressive (both secular and religious) activists from organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, East Valley NACCP, The Pat Tillman’s Veterans Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Red for Ed, and Outlawing Dirty Money (an irony because one of the sponsors of the event is APS)

After an excellent performance by the church choir and music group, the event started with the pivotal question, broadcast on a video “What is Democracy?” Following several varying answers from respondents on the video, the key message is that Democracy is the “responsibility of the people” to maintain.

Dr. Stanlie James, the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement, echoed this sentiment by relaying the current issues our countries citizens’ face such as the incident with two African American patrons at a Philadelphia Starbucks (Mr. Jones would later ask in his presentation why the police did not arrest the person that made the erroneous/false complaint) or the rising mortality rate of African American Mothers in a “First World Country.” Calling the Center on Race and Democracy “an oasis in the desert” where these issues can be discussed, she cited support from the Obamas as proof that this center is doing good works.

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