Tag Archives: sylvia allen

Update: Senate Passes Bill to Hide Dark Money in Local Elections

Dark Money Vote 3-29-18Update: Arizona lawmakers (again) sided with dark-money special interests instead of voters. The Senate passed HB 2153 by a 17-13 (party–line) vote. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Doug Ducey to sign or veto.

HB 2153, sponsored by ALEC member Rep. Vince Leach (R-11), blocks local governments from enforcing their own dark money disclosure requirements.

Now’s the time to call his office at 602.542.4331 and tell him to stand with voters, instead of dark-money special interest groups and VETO HB 2153.

One of the worst pieces of legislation ever produced by the Republicans in the state legislature is nearing a vote that would lock away the source of dark money in local Arizona politics.

HB2153, introduced by right-wing Rep. Vince Leach of Saddlebrooke, bans any city or county from requiring nonprofit political groups to identify campaign contributors.

The bill is a direct response to a city charter amendment in Tempe to require such disclosures. 91 percent of Tempe voters said “yes” to the political campaign transparency measure.

Leach’s HB2153 would throw a greater cloud of darkness over dark money political campaign contributions now made in secret by out-of-state contributors and notorious right-winger donors like the billionaire Koch brothers. Continue reading

Bottom Five List – Discouraged but Hopeful

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine featured experts on K-12 education who offered their reasons for hope and despair with regard to education. It was an interesting read and prompted me to come up with my own list for Arizona. In this first of two posts, I share my “Bottom Five” list of what discourages me and what I’m hopeful about. First, what discourages me:

10. The extremely well funded efforts of the corporate “reformers.” Make no mistake about it, the effort by the corporate “reformers” to make sweeping changes to the Nation’s public education system is as much about making a profit as it is an interest in making a difference. The exact number is up for debate, but The Nation magazine says the American K-12 public education market is worth almost $800 billion. Now, everyone from basketball players to Turkish billionaires want a piece of the pie. It is no accident that the Koch brothers backed, corporate bill mill ALEC is pushing many of the reforms, and the technology magnates Bill Gates and Mark Zuckenberg are heavily involved in the “reforming.” All you have to do is follow the money and the intent becomes clear.

9.  The apathy of Arizona voters. I worked on three Arizona Legislative campaigns in the past few years and although I mostly enjoyed talking to voters, I was beyond dismayed when I learned that in 2014, not even half of the LD11 voters with mail-in ballots bothered to mail them in. These are people who are registered to vote and are on the Permanent Early Voters List (PEVL). They are mailed their ballots and can fill them out in the comfort of their home. They don’t even have to put a stamp on them, postage is pre-paid. These votes should have been the “low-hanging fruit.” Combined with the overall Arizona voter turnout of 27%, this is pathetic by anyone’s definition. Continue reading

You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know

Yes, the AZ Republic called Senator Sylvia Allen “one of the best-known lightning rods in the AZ Legislature.”  Her stated belief that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and her suggestion that church attendance be mandated as a way to “get back to a moral rebirth in this country” are just two of the reasons for her notoriety. I was shocked when I heard of her appointment as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, but it shouldn’t have surprised me.

After all, I doubt her religious fervency is the reason AZ Senate President Biggs selected Allen to be the person who will control what education proposals make it out of the AZ Senate. Rather, I suspect it is her support of charter schools like the George Washington Academy she helped found in Snowflake. Listed as the “Administrative Program Manager” on their “GWA Teachers and Staff” page, Senator Allen’s employment with this school makes me wary of her ability to be impartial when it comes to legislation that favors charter schools over traditional district (public) schools. Please know that I am not a charter “hater.” I recognize there are charter schools that fill critical needs. What I am, is realistic about the impact the diversion of tax payer dollars to privately managed charter and private schools is having on our traditional school districts and their students. Make no mistake; this is a zero sum game. When charter schools win, traditional district schools, often the hub of small communities, lose.

Senator Allen’s George Washington Academy may be located in the community of Snowflake, but it is managed by Education Management Organization (EMO) EdKey Inc., a for-profit management company that operates 18 schools in Arizona. Although its schools are technically “public” there are numerous differences between them (and all charters) and your average community district schools. For starters, the requirements for accountability and transparency are very different. Traditional district schools have locally elected governing board members that are accountable to the public. Not so with charter schools. In looking at the George Washington Academy website, they had no information about the school board on their school board page, and under school board agendas, only a statement that says: “Sorry, but that directory is empty.” I had to go to the corporate website (sequoiaschools.org) to see the names of their six governing board members, but there was no access to board agendas or minutes.

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Grand Old Privilege

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

emporers new clotheswww.phrases.org.uk

I stayed up past 3am to watch the AZ House vote on final bills before Sine Die last Friday morning. The very last bill the Committee of the Whole was debating when it was announced that the Senate would be skedaddling, thus, not hearing any more bills was SB1339, which would have forbade so-called “ballot harvesting”. It was directed at Democratic volunteers, under spurious allegations that they are stealing thousands of ballots or forging them, or something. Democratic Reps were understandably impatient with this slander and took to the floor to say so. Continue reading

Mollycoddling right wingers is insulting to them and does no favor to the rest of us.

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com


Conservative AZ Republic columnist Doug MacEachern has a habit of being willing to die on the weirdest hills, such as the time he defended a spurious anonymous complaint harassing the executive director of a pro-choice organization last November. More recently, he chided Democratic Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) for tweeting and others for reporting a direct quote of his colleague Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) proclaiming that she would like for there to be mandatory church attendance.

First, MacEachern set the table with misty nostalgia for past lawmakers from Tucson who were so pleasant. Then he expressed somber disappointment that Farley, who held such promise to continue the tradition of being “a good person to be around”, has failed to do so.

Then MacEachern called Steve Farley a jerk. Continue reading

Why would uber-social conservative Sylvia Allen push a bill to protect her (alleged) sex abuser son-in-law?

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Edited to correct the name to Senator Allen’s in the title because I apparently can’t keep right wing legislators straight these days.

Sylvia Allen

AZ Republic‘s Laurie Roberts notes the irony of Senator Sylvia Allen (R-Birtherstan) sponsoring a pro-union bill.

Turns out Sen. Sylvia Allen is a champion of unions. Who knew?

The “constitutional conservative” best known for her efforts to create state militias and close public meetings is hoping this year to boost protections for detention officers who find themselves in hot water.

Like, say, her son-in-law.

Last year, then-Navajo County Supervisor Allen tried to interfere with an internal investigation into her son-in-law’s conduct with female inmates in the Navajo County jail.

This year, Allen has moved on to the state Senate where she sponsored a bill aimed at ensuring that others don’t have to endure what she sees as a witch hunt against her son-in-law.

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