5 November 2008

Sheriff Arpaio Wins Re-election

Jon's Jail Journal
How many more unsentenced inmates will the Arpaio regime murder now he has another four years?

16 October 2008

Arizona 2008 Election Ballot Proposition Roundup

Generally, I vote NO on all ballot propositions unless I am struck that the passage is warranted and outweighs any unintentional consequences that may arise. For the 2008 election campaign, nearly all of these are framed in Orwellian fashion, and a savvy Arizona voter should note who is supporting and who is opposing each of these.

Prop 100: Protect Our Homes — Amend the Arizona Constitution to prohibit new taxes, fees, etc.… on property sales and transactions. Not a big fan of these types of future proof proclamations. NO

Prop 101: Medical Choice for Arizona — Another Orwellian branded proposition, this seems to be more of a preimmunization effort against state provided healthcare. If it was confined to just respecting those that wish to bypass a future universal health care model, I would have no problem, but I believe it to be more open ended to restrict such programs from being born. NO

Prop 102: Marriage — Amends the Arizona Constitution to stipulate that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Agree with the sentiment but lean more to the Ronald Reagan adage that government should stay out of the bedroom. NO

Prop 105: Majority Rules — This really ought to be titled "Kill ALL Future Ballot Propositions" as this would amend the Arizona Constitution to make ballot propositions pass only with a majority of all registered voters, regardless of whether they cast a ballot or not. So if only 50% of eligible voters submit votes on a particular ballot proposition, 100% of them could be in agreement but the initiative would still fail. A ridiculous proposal. NO

Prop 200: Payday Loan Reform Act — Another referendum titled in Orwellian fashion. Current law affecting payday loan industry is set to sunset in 2010 and the payday loan proprietors are acting now to insure their profitable practice of usury continues unabated. Not arguing for the total extinction of the payday loan industry but it really needs to exist a economic framework where the maximum APR is capped at something far less than 391%. NO

Prop 201: Homeowners' Bill of Rights — Provides a "warranty" for new home purchases. That home builders are against is enough for me to be for it. YES

Prop 202: Stop Illegal Hiring — Yet another questionably titled proposition. Opponents claim it's an end run around existing law designed to give employers amnesty in advance for hiring illegal workers. I think we have enough legislation on the books already and government would better serve us by enforcing the laws already in existence. NO

Prop 300: State Legislator Salaries — A proposal to raise state legislator salaries to 30K from 24K. Everyone loathes pay raises for lawmakers, but here 30K is not an unreasonable request. YES

The local PBS TV station has a roundup of the Arizona Ballot Propositions you may wish to review also.

18 January 2008

Writing the story of Arizona's future

In her 2008 State of the State address, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano lays out some bold forward thinking proposals. Though there is lots of good stuff in there, from plugging more mass transit and a Tucson-to-Phoenix rail line, to advocating measures to protect homebuyers, the most significant is the proposal to guarantee free tuition at any Arizona community college or state university for any 8th grader that keeps a ‘B’ average and stays out of trouble.

Let’s agree that any eighth grader who pledges to stay out of trouble and maintains at least a “B” average in high school will be guaranteed free tuition at any of our community colleges or state universities. Let’s act now for the class of 2012, and for every class thereafter, because the promise of these Centennial Scholars is the promise of Arizona’s next 100 years.

Rewarding students who are excelling is a good step, but we must recognize that higher education is something that all Arizona children will need to succeed. It’s a pathway to prosperity and, in Arizona, it’s also supposed to be affordable. I propose that, beginning next year, all Arizona universities guarantee that when a student begins college, his or her tuition will not be raised for four years – period. Times change and tuition will rise, but it shouldn’t go up once you’ve started your coursework. Call it a “fixed-rate” loan on the best investment we can make in Arizona’s future – our children.

Also proposed was a pledge to “lock in” tuition costs for 4 years for new enrollees.

Listening to the radio, I heard local talk hosts criticize the plan. One host boldly stated that it was a bad idea since college is definitely not for everybody. While I would agree that college is indeed not a choice for all, I think that it’s a sound decision for most.

In past times, a college education was not a prerequisite for career success. But then, that was a different age. The times of my parents, for example, serve as a stark contrast — in their day, a man without a high school diploma could easily obtain gainful employment that paid a middle class wage along with great benefits, including health care plans that dwarf what college professionals in 21st century America possess. And they made enough that Mom did not have to work, and could stay home and devote herself full time to care for children and house. But circa 2008, disparity in education is such that having a college degree means a career earnings differential of millions of dollars. I will post some research and studies on the matter when I get some time to locate them and link here, but suffice to say, it’s not even close.

Not that there are those who have succeeded without college — in fact, many of the best and brightest shunned higher education or dropped out to pursue their burning desire ahead of the pack. But that is the exception, not the rule.

Furthermore, in the global economy and universally networked society we now function in, higher order learning imperative. Dealing with rapid advances in technology and adapting to currents in information networks means emphasis on thinking skills is greater than ever. Farmers are few and long gone are days of manufacturing jobs. Plus, post high school experiences expose young adults to different cultures and different peoples, the kind of setting they will need whatever vocation they eventually engage in, post school days. Again, it’s a knowledge based economy, where we are bombarded with messages in an ever exponential increasing basis, and citizens need to be mentally armed against dogma, hucksters and intellectual fraud in general.

Finally, I offer my own experience as an anecdotal illustration — when I started college, I received grants and loans that enabled me to attend a university. That was the the time when Reagan first came to office as president, and then in successive years, those grants were eliminated or reduced by substantial means. And during my plight to achieve a bachelors degree, the cost of tuition doubled. I adapted by working multiple jobs and even taking time off to save money for school, but it’s far from an optimal plan. Had the financial requirements been as they were at the end of my education when I began college, I would not have been able to attend college. And well I know nobody (well except for family and friends) sheds a tear for me, I believe its a tragedy that young minds with potential would be denied higher learning simply due to economics.

28 March 2007

Chorpenning should be shackled during the day and only be released at night to work twelve-hour shifts changing adult briefs, colostomy bags,…

Shrimplate has posted an impassioned piece on the unpardonable scandal at the state nursing home for military veterans.
Patrick Chorpenning can resent me; for thinking, that is. For thinking that he's a liar and yet another completely out-of-touch-with-reality "administrator" that basically takes home a big paycheck and a lot of vacation time for being a stupid irresponsible jerk and bullshit artist.

With family members who serve in the nursing profession, Shrimplate's words echoed many of their gripes… …and there sure seems to be validity to charges of nepotism. A director of interior design for a nursing home? And a paid internship while positions dealing with front line patient care were gutted?

25 March 2007

Expect the max, unless you're a Republican State Legislator

Zelph, in a aznetroots post notes some blatant hypocrisy by AZ Republic columnist Laurie Roberts.
Columnist Laurie Roberts of The Arizona Republic, normally a crusader for harsher DUI enforcement, hopes they take it easy on Rep. Groe: Assuming no prior DUIs, I hope it is pleaded down so she can stay in the Legislature. She may be just what we need there.

Here, Ms. Roberts strikes a different note than she does with State Representative Trish Groe.

This sort of double talk from media blow-horns isn't even surprising anymore…

6 November 2006

Arizona Election 2006 (Part 3)

Prop 100: Illegal Immigrant Criminal Bail

Prohibiting of bail for any illegal alien immigrant charged with a felony offense (scope defined by the Legislature). Seems like immigrant bashing to me, and I am voting against, as it doesn't change the laws already on the book.

Prop 101: Local Property Tax Levies

Michael at Blog for Arizona says: An illegitimate legislative grab for power over local taxing authorities. Punishes localities which have not used the full extent of their taxing authority and could unduly limit the taxing authority of fast growing regions. Substitutes mindless flat formulas for the judgment of our local elected officials. Bad policy, bad politics, bad for Arizona. Anything that transfers such control up the ladder is not good IMV, thus, I am voting NO.

Prop 102: Illegal Immigrant Civil Lawsuits

A terrible measure, as it parlays anti-immigration sentiment into a free pass for corporate interests to abuse and exploit, and gives no recourse for the application of injustice. Vote NO.

Prop 103: English as Official Language

Not the way a free state should handle these sorts of questions. Instead of following xenophobic and ethnocentric examples of French Canada, let the free market sift the language question out. Another knee jerk anti-immigration appeal that seeps into another agenda. Vote NO.

Prop 104: Municipal Debt

Sounds like a good idea to give local governments more flexibility in financing projects other than parks and playgrounds.

Prop 105: State Trust Land

Like the smoking initiatives, this one seems a counterattack to Prop 106, which is the better of the two.

Prop 106: Conserving Arizona's Future

Backed by an assortment of organizations, from all slants of political persuasion. Vote YES.

Prop 107: Protect Marriage Amendment

Backed by militant right wing conservatives and radical fundamentalist Christian extremists, this is the anti-gay-marriage amendment. Whilst I am no supporter of gay marriage, this is nothing but hate mongering in action, will have negative repercussions for folks who are not gay, and in no way really addresses the ills that plague marriage. A strong NO.

Prop 200: AZ Voter Reward

I've written of this proposition already — at first, I was opposed, but the more I think of it, I am inclined to vote for it. With all the vote supression going on, is a measure to encourage voting so bad? Yes, I understand the charge that it will bring more unknowledgeable folks to the polls, but it isn't like the people voting already have a good grasp of the issues. Vote YES.

Prop 201: Make Arizona Smoke Free

I think it's a worthy goal. Sorry, all my friends who continue to puff away. Maybe it will lengthen your life if you are prevented from lighting up, but more essentially, spare the innocent from the health ills of second hand smoke.

Prop 202: Raise Arizona Minimum Wage

Long overdue. If you agree that a minimum wage is a necessary thing (and I realize there are Libertarians that buy into the flawed notion that it isn't and would like to return our nation back to the times of the Gilded Age), then you must wisely assess that the mark needs to be raised, and that it is about showing dignity and respect for workers at the bottom of the economic chain. This, IMV, is the real family values issue. And recent studies have illustrated that other states that have raised their minimum wage have not seen spates of job loss as opponents have charged. Vote YES.

Prop 203: Early Childhood Development and Health Fund

Prop 204: Human Farms

On this one, I agree with Sheriff Joe Arpaio and am voting YES.

Prop 205: Switch to Mail-in Ballots, Close Polling Places

An unnecessary proposition and a total diversion from rectifying real problems with transparency and accountability in the voting process.

Prop 206: Tobacco Company and Alcohol Company Anti-Smoking Plan

Same as Prop 201, except would except bars and restaurants, which is the same as what is today IMV.

Prop 207: Private Property Rights Protection Act

A reaction to the recent Kelo amendment, and I am inclined to say yay, but I understand it's a trojan horse, and supported only by out of state interests. Up in the air on this one still.

Prop 300: Illegal Alien Public Program Eligibility

Another part of the illegal alien backlash. Not really going to stem the flow of illegal immigration, just a feel good measure that's really hate filled. Vote NO.

Prop 301: No Probation for First Time Methamphetamine Offenses

NO, shuffling drug abusers into overcrowded prisons on first offense is not a restorative approach.

Prop 302: Raise State Legislator Salaries

Yes, though it's not a strong yes.

Some other scorecards you can review:

Blog For Arizona: Arizona Ballot Measure Guide 2006 for All Propositions
Andrew Tallman Views on the Ballot Propositions

4 November 2006

Arizona Election 2006 (Part 2)

Now I turn the light on the races for state offices.


An easy choice — incumbent governor Janet Napolitano (D). It is quite refreshing to have a governor for the first time in a over a generation that (a) has not been convicted of federal fraud and extortion, (b) impeached for grievous wrongdoing or (c) embroiled in financial scandal that ended up costing Arizona taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. On the contrary, Napolitano has served Arizona admirably, and shown true leadership. While I don't agree with her on a number of issues, she's been a role model for good governorship.

Secretary of State

Jan Brewer (R) has illustrated that she is a hardened foe of transparency and accountability in the elections process, instead, preferring to commit coverup in deferrence to the vote counting machine distributors. I'd like to cast my vote for Ernie Hancock (L), as opposed to throwing the vote to Israel Torres (D), who may not have a any real chance to win either, given the public indifference to serious security problems with voting machines. Torres has been invisible, seemingly drawing less attention than the Libertarian Hancock, who is a familiar voice to Valley AM radio listeners.

Attorney General

Terry Goddard (D) has proven to be a capable office holder, exercising his position in non-partisan fashion. He deserves another term.

State Treasurer

Dean Martin (R) might be the only Republican next to a checkmark (well, actually here, it's a completed bar…) on my ballot this year. Martin sounds earnest in his desire to clean up the mess left by disgraced former state treasurer David Peterson. Questions of ethics may dog Martin too.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Elect Jason Williams (D) over the ethically challenged incumbent Tom Horne (R).