Tag Archives: private prisons

Focus People, Focus!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

I was at a SOS AZ presentation on public education funding last night and after a slide about corporate tax credits, one young woman advocated for holding the corporations responsible for not supporting our schools. Although I would normally be one of the first to vilify corporate America for their greed at the expense of the rest of us, I think her ire was a little misplaced. Arizona corporations after all, are just taking advantage of the laws incentivizing them to act a certain way. These aren’t loopholes that corporations are paying high-powered lawyers and accountants to find for them, but incentives the Legislature has directly handed to them to. It isn’t after all, like the tax credits allow the corporations to pocket more profit, they are still paying out the same amount of money (whether in taxes or credits), they just get to choose where their taxes go.

THEREIN lies the rub. THEY get to choose where their tax dollars go…not us, the people. That’s the problem with all these tax credits and exemptions, 331 is the number I heard last night, that the Arizona Legislature has granted. You see, ideally, tax credits should be granted to incentivize behavior that voters want and that produces good for all of us. We’ve all heard the saying though, that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When all the power in a government is consolidated on one side, the tendency is not to look at the common good, but the good of “your” people. And, when it is apparent to lawmakers that they can act with impunity because they will continue to get reelected despite their failure to provide for all the people in their care, the tendency is for them to do whatever they want.

Yes, corporations also have a responsibility to care about the common good, but I really don’t blame them for taking advantage of legal incentives for directing their tax dollars where the Legislature wants. The rest of us suffer though, because these incentives reduce the size of our general fund “pie”. We also suffer because the diverted funding, essentially our tax dollars, then has no accountability nor transparency associated with it. We don’t know if it is being used for the purpose intended and we certainly don’t know the return on our investment. Continue reading

That’s right Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore . . . you’re in the meth lab of democracy, Arizona

I did a series of posts last year on the theme that Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona. Governor Sam Brownback’s faith based supply-side “trickle down” economics utopian experiment in Kansas has been an unmitigated disaster.

Even Gov. Brownback has now slowly begun backing away from his failed “trickle down” economics utopian experiment in Kansas. Pressed by Budget Squeeze, Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas Pulls Back on Tax Cuts (Brownback on Friday proposed some higher sales taxes and slowing his plan to reduce state income taxes).

I gave you fair warning that Dicey Doug Ducey, the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), now to be known as “Kochtopia,” has blind faith in the entirely disproved and discredited supply-side “trickle down” GOP economics. Doug Ducey is Arizona’s answer to Sam Brownback: a disaster in the making.

TotoDicey Doug Ducey still believes in unicorns and rainbows, despite the cautionary tale of Kansas.

That’s right Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore . . . you’re in the meth lab of democracy, Arizona, where crazy (right) winged monkeys are in charge. It is a way darker place than the Land of Oz.

Howard Fischer follows up his analysis of Dicey Doug Ducey’s slash and burn budget from yesterday. Ducey budget cut hits education, local governments, drivers:

Gov. Doug Ducey proposes to balance the state budget by cutting aid to universities by more than 10 percent, taking some revenue-sharing dollars from cities and counties, and imposing what amounts to a new tax on motorists.

Ducey’s nearly $9.1 billion spending plan, about $187 million less than this year, also cuts funding to promote tourism and dips into other state funds to the tune of $304 million.

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Left and Right come together for sentencing reforms

On Election Day, California voters approved Proposition 47, a sentencing reform measure designed to address prison overcrowding, something for which the state of California has faced several costly lawsuits and non-violent offenders have been ordered released by the courts. California Voters Pass Proposition 47 Sentencing Reform:

jail_barsCalifornia voters have approved Proposition 47, a ballot measure that will reclassify six low-level property and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. These offenses include shoplifting, theft, and check fraud under $950, as well as personal use of most illegal drugs. State savings resulting from the measure are estimated to be at least $150 million a year and will be used to support school truancy and dropout prevention, victim services, mental health and drug abuse treatment, and other programs designed to expand alternatives to incarceration.

This historic vote demonstrates support to advance a public safety strategy beyond incarceration to include treatment and prevention. The measure allows individuals currently serving prison terms for eligible offenses to apply to have their felony sentences reduced to misdemeanors and persons who have completed their felony sentence to apply to the court to have their conviction changed to a misdemeanor. Approximately, 10,000 incarcerated persons will be eligible for resentencing under the new law.

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What exactly is defamatory about Rotellini’s ad attacking NOT Tom Horne’s private prison ties?

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Democratic candidate for AZ Attorney General Felecia Rotellini has been running an ad (click here if embedded video doesn’t work attacking the Republican candidate Mark Brnovich, AKA NOT Tom Horne, for his lobbying for private prisons.

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Arizona Democratic Party Shows Its Progressive Side at State Committee Meeting

Pro-caucus424-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Progressive voices were heard loud and clear at Saturday’s Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) State Committee Meeting in Maricopa, Arizona.

Unlike some past ADP meetingswhere progressives were ignored or where progressive resolutions were tabled and not heard by the full ADP membership, the Maricopa meeting was dominated by progressives.

During the morning caucus meetings, approximately 80 members of the progressive caucus (pictured here) met in the booming high school cafeteria to hear about legalization of marijuana, the plight of Dreamers, and a host of progressive resolutions.

In the progressive caucus, members unanimously endorsed resolutions: 1) in support of a Constitutional Amendment ending Citizens United and abolishing corporate personhood; 2) in support of passage of the Inclusive Prosperity Tax (AKA Robin Hood Tax); 3) against building the Keystone XL Pipeline; and 4) in support of allowing DREAMers to have Arizona drivers’ licenses and in-state college tuition. A resolution requiring clean elections candidates to give back extra funds passed, with some dissent. In addition, with only one dissenting vote, the Progressive Caucus voted to endorse Safer Arizona, the citizens’ initiative to legalize marijuana for personal use. [Votes from the entire State Committee after the jump.]

Following candidate speeches, including a rousing address by would-be governor Fred DuVal, the full State Committee heard staff reports, caucus reports, and resolutions. During the afternoon meeting of the entire State Committee, the corporate personhood and the Robin Hood Tax resolutions easily passed the entire body. Although the Resolutions Committee recommended against consideration of the Keystone XL Pipeline resolution and the clean elections resolution on technicalities, the State Committee membership overruled the Resolutions Committee and passed the anti-Keystone Pipeline resolution easily. The clean elections resolution was tabled until the court cases have been decided and could be heard at a future meeting. An additional resolution condemning private prisons also passed with little dissent. (The DREAMer resolution was new, and therefore, not heard by the entire body on Saturday.)

In addition to the progressive votes, State Committee members enthusiastically applauded Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) activists Dan O'Neal and Barbara Njos, who were arrested in Maricopa County last week at a pro-DREAMer protest.

For long-time Arizona progressives, Saturday’s meeting was a far cry from prior years’ meetings where all progressive resolutions were stopped by the Resolutions Committee on technicalities or tabled from the floor (and allowed to die). At the January 2013 meeting of ADP, many incumbents were voted out of the party leadership.

Is the ADP turning blue?

[For additional photos from Saturday's meeting, go here.]

Immigration Reform NOW: Protestors Blockade Entrance to Eloy Detention Center

From the arrest of Congressman Raul Grijalva and other progressive representatives last week at an immigration reform rally to protesters chaining themselves to immigration detention center buses to the blockade of the Eloy Detention Center today, immigration reform advocates are turning up the pressure.

The Eloy blockade began this morning. For background information go here and for dramatic photos go here.

From the National Day Laborer Organizing Network…

Just now, protestors chained themselves in front of the Eloy Detention Center. Their action calls on the President to stop deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Through civil disobedience they say they’re exposing the inhumane imprisonment at the center of current immigration policy and the needless warehousing of the undocumented who could benefit from reform.

Many of those inside Eloy have committed no major offense and instead are victims of Congress’ 34,000 minimum detention bed mandate and the profiling of Sheriffs like Arpaio and Border Patrol required to fulfill the arbitrary quota.

 

One of the protestors, 16 year old Sandy Estrada of Phoenix, AZ, whose brother has been detained in Eloy for nearly a year after being arrested on work-related charges, says, “I’m doing this to show my brother and all the other people inside that we support them and we will do what it takes to get them out.  I want the President to know that everyone deserves to be with their families and that he can stop our pain.”

“Behind these walls are thousands taken far away from their families and the better lives they came here for.” explains Tomas Martinez of GLAHR in Atlanta, GA. “For Washington, detainees are just a number, but for us the people inside Eloy are our sisters and brothers. We want our families at home with us not behind bars just so some politician can look tough.”

 Specifically, the Eloy Detention Center, is one of the largest in the country.  The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)-owned facility has the capacity to jail 1,600 workers, fathers, and daughters in what has become notoriously horrendous conditions.  It has recently made headlines aftertwo detainees committed suicide last March and more recently when the company placed dream-eligible youth who reentered the country as an act of protest, into solitary confinement before their release.

The morning action is part of the #Not1More Deportation campaign that urges the President to be more than a bystander in the immigration debate and use his authority to provide immediate relief by stopping deportations.  Event organizers say that more protests of the kind should be expected until the President grants relief.

On Friday, campaign participants closed Operation Streamline in Tucson through similar civil disobedience.  Later today, the Phoenix-based Puente Movement is planning a rally at noon Margaret T. Hance Park (3rd street and Morseland) and march to the district ICE office (2035 N. Central Ave).

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