Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that led the historic effort to recall racist Russell Pearce in 2011, has announced that it’s closing its doors. CBA’s exit is unusual. Typically, an organization’s death is marked by desperate attempts to sustain itself until it ultimately runs out of money, loses its staff, and disappears. Not so with CBA. Instead, CBA has committed $100,000 to start a fund called the “Arizona Blue Campaign,” the state goal of which is to raise $5 Million, the amount it believes is needed to register 200,000 Democrats by October 1, 2016, and turn Arizona Blue.
I have huge respect and admiration for Randy Parraz, the founder and leader of CBA, which may color my view of the organization. But it seems that Parraz and CBA really did make Arizona better over the short period of its existence. I no longer believe the electoral process is an answer to our challenges. I hold out far more hope for movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter. But I’ll readily concede that when a true cancer is removed from a position of real power through the ballot box, as was the case with the CBA led recall of Pearce, our society has benefitted.
And that $100,000 CBA is using to establish a fund to turn Arizona Blue? My gut tells me CBA is right about the amount it will take to make that happen. So, CBA, an organization dedicated to change through the electoral process, chose not to consume its remaining funds on operating costs. Instead, it used those funds to jump-start the fundraising for its ultimate goal and in doing so challenged Democrats across the state to join in. That’s a classy exit, in my book.
Here’s CBA’s statement regarding Arizona Blue:
Those that do the work of voter registration, outreach and turnout know the real cost of turning Arizona Blue is about $5 million. In short we need a budget that matches the crisis. Finally, this new mission needs to be driven by a new organization with new leaders, energy and resources to make it happen. CBA will not be that organization. However, CBA will be the first organization to contribute $100,000 to this effort and we challenge other organizations, elected officials, Democratic donors, business leaders and other individuals who share our commitment to turning Arizona Blue to match our $100,000 pledge. Our goal is to reach $1.5 million in pledges by July 1, 2015.