Category Archives: Governor

Arizona legislature’s first order of business: a Drought Contingency Plan

There is an old adage in the American West, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.”

The Arizona legislature has until January 31 to enact a drought contingency plan for the allocation of Colorado River water in the event a drought emergency is declared, which is expected to occur in 2020. If the legislature misses the deadline, it will result in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation launching a legal process that would likely trigger a formal, federal management takeover of the Colorado River.

The Drought Situation

The American West has been in a drought for the past 19 years with no end in sight. In fact, researchers say “the Southwest may currently be enduring its first mega-drought in more than 500 years, and it could be one of the most severe in history, new research from Columbia University suggests.” The Southwest Might Be in One of the Worst Mega-Droughts in History, Experts Say:

“The last 19 years have been equivalent to the worst 19 years of the worst mega-droughts on record,” Park Williams of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory told The Atlantic. The current drought is topped by only mega-droughts in the late-800s, mid-1100s and late-1500s.

(Photo of the Lake Meade “bathtub ring”).

While there isn’t an exact definition for what constitutes a mega-drought, climate scientists Jonathan Overpeck and Connie Woodhouse minted the classification in an American Meteorological Society journal entry which claims only droughts that lasted two decades or longer could be added to the ranking.

The brutal drought in the Southwest started around 2000, putting it on the brink of becoming a mega-drought.

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Arizona GOP renews its war on public education

Last year Governor Doug Ducey was forced into increasing his offer of a one percent pay increase for public school teachers to an incremental twenty percent pay increase over two years in response to the Red For Ed teacher strike in Arizona. Governor Ducey suggested at the time that this was just a down payment on restoring massive cuts to public education since the Great Recession and subsequent years over the past decade. Governor Ducey went so far as to market himself as the “education governor” in his reelection bid.

Now that the election is past, that down payment on public education funding talk is nowhere to be found. In his State of The State address on Monday, “the governor talked mostly about programs and initiatives he’s rolled out before, such as the Arizona Teacher’s Academy and his school safety plan. He did not propose any new funding plans, sticking to his 20 by 2020 plan and doubling down on his promise for no tax hikes. What Gov. Doug Ducey said (and didn’t say) about education in State of the State address:

Ducey said he would continue to “hold the line” on raising taxes, signaling a lack of support for any education-related tax increases, possibly like the one state Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, proposed before the legislative session even started.

The governor didn’t address the possibility of finding new revenue streams for education.

He did pledge to keep his promise to raise teachers’ salaries by 20 percent by 2020.

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New Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

Democratic Lawmakers rally at the Capital Rose Garden on the first day of the Legislative Session. Photo courtesy of Lynsey Robinson, Second Vice Chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party.

There is a new Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

It can be seen in the hallways where people crowded the Democratic offices of the House joyfully discussing the legislative prospects for 2019.

It could be seen with the female Democratic legislators wearing white to honor the suffragette movement of 100 years ago.

It could be seen in the early morning rallies with progressive organizations and legislative leaders passionately expressing hope for their ideas and proposals for the New Year.

It could be seen on the House Floor where the parties are at their closest margins since 1966 and some state offices (Education and Secretary of State) were held once again by Democrats.

Democrats, encouraged by the 2018 elections, are ready to shape the legislative agenda and propel the state in a forward direction. Thanks to the gracious invitation of Legislative District 18 (where the author is also a PC) State Representative Mitzi Epstein, this writer was able to witness the events of the day including Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address.

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GOP Culture of Corruption: Governor Ducey appoints Martha McSally to the Senate as a consolation prize

George Packer had an important piece at The Atlantic last week. The Corruption of the Republican Party (snippet):

Why has the Republican Party become so thoroughly corrupt? The reason is historical—it goes back many decades—and, in a way, philosophical. The party is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start.

* * *

The corruption I mean has less to do with individual perfidy than institutional depravity. It isn’t an occasional failure to uphold norms, but a consistent repudiation of them. It isn’t about dirty money so much as the pursuit and abuse of power—power as an end in itself, justifying almost any means.

* * *

The fact that no plausible election outcome can check the abuse of power is what makes political corruption so dangerous. It strikes at the heart of democracy. It destroys the compact between the people and the government. In rendering voters voiceless, it pushes everyone closer to the use of undemocratic means.

And so it has come to pass that Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, bowed to the demands of the contemptible Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and purposefully disregarded the will of Arizona voters in a democratically held election in November by appointing the election loser, Rep. Martha McSally, to John McCain’s vacated Senate seat as a consolation prize.

Why do we even bother holding elections if our authoritarian GOP masters feel free to do whatever the hell they want to do without any regard for the will of the voters they pretend to represent?

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An Interview with Superintendent of Public Instruction Elect Kathy Hoffman

“I am looking forward to being the voice for public education and elevating the voices of teachers and students," says Kathy Hoffman.

“I am looking forward to being the voice for public education and elevating the voices of teachers and students,” says newly-elected Kathy Hoffman.

During the 2018 election campaign in Arizona, one person personified the Cinderella theme of coming from nowhere to win statewide office.

No, it was not Katie Hobbs. It was not Kyrsten Sinema. It was the incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman.

A speech therapist, Hoffman achieved the “Impossible Dream” of Arizona electoral politics this year by her meteoritic rise to become the state’s top educator. She bested seasoned political veterans David Schipara in the August primaries and Frank Riggs in the November general elections. After Senator-Elect Sinema, she was the top vote-getter among Democrats.

A new star in the Democratic Party, Ms. Hoffman sat down with the Blog for Arizona a third time to reflect on her victory, discuss her transition, and chart a course for her first year in office. The questions and responses are below.

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