Tuesday, May 26, 2009

R.I.P. Kerry Martin and Nathan Alexander

My deepest sympathy to State Treasurer Dean Martin, over the death of his wonderful wife Kerry during the birth of their son. My own brother Professor Nathan Alexander went to heaven on Sunday, leaving behind daughter Elisa. His obituary is here. We found out later that Dean's son also went to heaven and we grieve with them.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CAP: Governor Brewer Calls Special Session to Rescue Students!

On Wednesday, Governor Jan Brewer reached an agreement with legislative leaders to call a special session for "Lexie's Law." This legislation would establish a new corporate scholarship tax credit so that displaced and disabled students like Lexie Weck, who has autism, can still attend a private school in the fall. Because of the March ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court that struck down scholarships for students with special needs, most of these students would be forced back into public schools this fall where their needs were not being met. The legislature is expected to pass "Lexie's Law" next week. Check out CAP's blog for legislative schedule and more information.

Arizona House Leader Promoting Gambling Expansion!

House Majority Whip Andy Tobin has proposed a massive increase in legalized gambling in an attempt to fix the state budget. CAP has notified legislators of our strong opposition. During a tough economic time, it does not make sense to expand gambling when the social and economic costs of gambling outweigh the benefits by 3 to 1. If Mr. Tobin's budget proposal passes, it would allow slots and table games at racetracks, which would "blow the caps" on current gambling restrictions on Indian reservations. This likely would result in Phoenix and the entire state becoming virtually the next Las Vegas. If you haven't already, please take time to respond to CAP's action alert - legislators need to hear from you today on this critical issue!

County Attorney Andrew Thomas Addresses Planned Parenthood Cover-Ups

In response to Live Action Film's video exposé showing Planned Parenthood failing to report sexual abuse, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas issued a press release this week to warn Planned Parenthood that failing to report such cases is illegal. He called on all abortion clinics to follow state law and help protect victims of sexual abuse. Only time will tell whether Planned Parenthood finally decides to follow the law. The Thomas press release acknowledges that Planned Parenthood initially requested training for their employees yet they have not responded to follow-up calls to schedule the training.

Praise God for CAP Family Dinner!

Wow - amazing - grateful - thanks be to God - those are the words I use to describe the excitement and energy at CAP's Family Dinner Tuesday night with 1,200 people, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Jan Brewer, and over 40 state legislators. Governor Mike Huckabee gave a powerful message, defending life and reminding Arizona that this is a unique opportunity to stand strong for faith and families without compromising. Check out the podcast on our website. You can order the DVD online.

Legislative Update

The Senate has joined the House in passing budget bills through their respective Appropriations Committees. Hopefully this means the legislature finally will pass the 2010 state budget next week. Meanwhile, pro-life and pro-family bills continue to be held hostage by the failure to pass a budget. While it is encouraging that the budget is moving forward, it is essential that lawmakers do not forgo this unique opportunity to send pro-life legislation to Governor Brewer's desk.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Arizona Senate Appropriations Passes 2010 Budget Sans Tax Increases

by Patrick Gleason, Americans for Tax Reform

Cheerful news to report out of Arizona:

Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a budget FY 2010 that closes the state’s $3 billion deficit. Lawmakers closed the gap through privatization, spending cuts, asset sales, bonding, and fund sweeps.

Most importantly, the plan does not include any tax increases.

Arizonans thought they were entering an era of conservative executive leadership when Janet Napolitano left for DC and was replaced by Secretary of State Jan Brewer. However, shortly after taking office, Gov. Brewer proposed an 18%, billion dollar per year sales tax increase in the middle of a recession. It is unclear who is advising her to do this but they apparently never took Economics 101.

In a move that will help expedite the state’s economic recovery, the Senate budget plan also includes permanent repeal of the state property tax. The state property tax had been suspended but is slated to come back at the end of this year. Permanent repeal will provide Arizona residents $250 million in property tax relief this year by preventing its reinstatement. Now that’s stimulus.

Gov. Brewer, who is apparently desperate to lose her first gubernatorial primary, has not only stuck by her calls for a tax increase but has promised to veto any budget sent to her by the legislator that does not sock it to Grand Canyon State taxpayers.

Stay tuned for the latest on this budget fight that is of national importance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

County Attorney Calls on Abortion Clinics to Report Sexual Abuse of Minors

Videotapes of Activities at Planned Parenthood Facilities at Issue

In response to recent events at local Planned Parenthood clinics, County Attorney Andrew Thomas is publicly calling on Planned Parenthood to report sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement and to train and instruct all staff members to do so. Thomas has taken this action after an adult, posing as a 15-year-old impregnated by a much-older adult, visited two Planned Parenthood clinics and was offered an abortion for a fee at both facilities. The encounters with Planned Parenthood were videotaped at two Phoenix Planned Parenthood Offices.

Under state law, A.R.S. § 13-3620, medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, as well as people who are responsible for the care or treatment of a minor are required to report instances of sex crimes or abuse in which the victim is a minor. Thomas is recommending that new legislation be passed to make clear the statute applies to nonprofessional employees and workers at medical or abortion clinics, such as clerical and triage staff, not just licensed medical professionals.

Thomas stated, “Medical professionals are required to notify law enforcement when they learn a child has been the victim of sexual abuse. That obligation applies to those working at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood should honor the letter as well as the spirit of the law by plainly instructing their employees to report alleged sexual abuse of minors to the proper authorities, and by making sure these instructions are followed.”

Just prior to the release of these videos to the local news media, Planned Parenthood contacted the Phoenix Police Department and inquired about whether they could receive training on these matters. The County Attorney’s Office has notified Phoenix Police that prosecutors from its Sex Crime Bureau would be available and willing to fulfill this request in coordination with Phoenix Police. However, Planned Parenthood has not responded to follow-up calls from Phoenix Police regarding this request for training.

Sheriff Arpaio blasts County Supervisors for power grab at PAChyderm

Sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke to the PAChyderm Coalition last night about illegal immigration and the County Supervisors' power grabs. He said the Supervisors are trying to take away the County Attorney's constitutional authority, and watch out, they'll come after the Sheriff's constitutional authority next. He warned the audience to beware of politicians who try to take over other powers. He said the Supervisors didn't like him enforcing illegal immigration laws, so he went to the legislature to get the law changed, and did. After that, the Supervisors have still tried to stop him from enforcing illegal immigration by withholding money from him. Fortunately, after battling the Supervisors, he was able to keep the $1.6 million from the legislature for combating illegal immigration. They still took $11 million from him, and they took away the County Attorney's legal department.

Arpaio said that Democrat Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox was the main one opposing his funding. He compared the food at her restaurant to the food at his jails, and noted that her restaurant has received three violations, enough to put it out of business.

Goldwater Institute: Guns can't trump property rights

Nickby Nick Dranias
Concerns about safety and liability undoubtedly prompt some property owners to ban storing guns in cars parked on their property. But that does not justify using the right to bear arms as a means to limit private property rights. Recently introduced legislation in Arizona threatens to do just that.

private propertyArizona House Bill 2474 would protect the right to carry, transport and store weapons on private property--effectively trumping the owner's property rights. Advocates of limited government should avoid creating a conflict between property rights and gun rights. Bills like this lead down a slippery slope. Forcing private property owners to abide behavior that we like provides the basis to force them to abide behavior we abhor.

The Founders regarded property rights as the foundation of all individual rights--including gun rights. Rather than permitting gun owners to invade private property, the law should recognize that individual rights entail individual responsibility. The best solution would hold property owners accountable when their anti-gun policies contribute to criminal acts that could have been prevented by lawfully armed citizens.
Nick Dranias holds the Goldwater Institute Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan chair for constitutional government and is the director of the Institute's Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Center for Constitutional Government.
Learn more:
Goldwater Institute: Private Property Rights
Arizona Legislature: HB 2474

Goldwater Institute: "I'm Sick of Coloring for a Master's Degree"

Mattby Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.
A recent article in the Weekly Standard about a conference held by education academics included the following deeply revealing passage about the ability of Arizona State University to prepare teachers for real-life classroom challenges:

empty classroomMost surprising was a paper presented by Cory Hansen, an education professor at Arizona State, in a Teach for America session...Hansen recounted the things that she and her fellow professors had learned while teaching education courses at night in an evening master's program for Teach for America teachers staffing elementary classrooms in some of Phoenix's worst neighborhoods.

Teach for America teachers, already overworked and beset by myriad real-life problems at their schools, had little use for abstract ideological theorizing and demanded quick, practical training: real lesson plans and classroom-management techniques that worked. In their course evaluations they brutally criticized the program, which had been adapted from the traditional education program at Arizona State: "Some professors talk down to us." "I'm sick of coloring for a master's degree."

Starting the next semester, she said, the professors completely revamped the Teach for America program. After the conference I called Hansen and also Heather Carter, who directs the Teach for America program at Arizona State, to hear more about the changes they had made. "We needed to make really valuable use of their time," Carter said. "This is what you have to do in alternative certification programs. We have to give them coherence, teach them how to teach specific things." Both Carter and Hansen said that the changes they made for Teach for America have given them insight into possible changes in their traditional program.

I recently had the opportunity to see ASU President Michael Crow detail his plans to restructure of the College of Education. Hopefully the new organization, which separates teacher preparation from the "abstract ideological theorizing," will better prepare teachers for their vitally important jobs. Good for Dr. Crow, it is long overdue. But it begs the question: why do we have "Coloring for a Master's Degree" programs at all?
Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.
Learn more:
Goldwater Institute: The Trouble with Triviality

Goldwater Institute: Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Becomes Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow

Arizona native Mary Peters brings cabinet-level experience to policy organization
Phoenix--Former Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters has joined the Goldwater Institute as a Senior Fellow. Ms. Peters served as transportation secretary for President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009. Prior to that, Peters was the Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. She also spent 16 years at the Arizona Department of Transportation, which she headed from 1998 to 2001.
"We are thrilled to have Secretary Peters join the distinguished group of Goldwater Institute Senior Fellows," said Darcy Olsen, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. "With her unparalleled knowledge of transportation issues, she can offer much-needed, private sector-based solutions to our nation's traffic problems."

Goldwater Institute Senior Fellows are selected for their exceptional knowledge, commitment to principle, and personal integrity. Fellows support the Goldwater Institute by sharing their experiences and expertise with resident scholars, assisting with research design and projects, reviewing research, writing reports, and participating in Institute roundtables, forums and conferences.

The Goldwater Institute also recently added as Senior Fellows: Dr. Veronique DeRugy, economist at the Mercatus Center; Dr. Fred E. Foldvary, economics professor at Santa Clara University; Dr. George Reisman, Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics; and Todd J. Zywicki, law professor at George Mason University.

Other Senior Fellows include Robert C. Balling, Randy Barnett, Benjamin Barr, James D. Gwartney, Alan Charles Kors, Dan Lips, Carrie Lukas, Stephen Moore, Robert G. Natelson, Michael J. New, Jeffrey Parker, Steve Pejovich, David Schmidtz, Bradley Smith, Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith, and Gordon Tullock.

For more information on the Goldwater Institute Senior Fellows, visit http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/aboutus/seniorfellows.aspx.

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Goldwater Institute: Freedom triumphs in Tempe

Last week's ruling by Maricopa Superior Court Judge Robert H. Oberbillig in favor of Tom and Elizabeth Preston goes beyond rectifying their thwarted efforts to open a tattoo studio in Tempe. It vindicates every Arizonan who ever has been subjected to an arbitrary decision by a government official.

tattoo needleTattoos evoke widely divergent reactions. Some people view them as edgy and counter-culture; others see them as artistic expression. Regardless, there is no question that the industry has gone decidedly mainstream. These days, you're as likely to see your suburban, middle-class, college-age daughter or grand-daughter going into a tattoo studio as you are to see a member of Hell's Angels. The Prestons have inked soldiers, police officers, teachers, and even missionaries.

The Prestons are honest, hard-working people who have operated a successful tattoo studio in Mesa without a single complaint for over 15 years. When they applied to open a studio in a vacant storefront in a Tempe strip mall, city staff and a hearing examiner agreed the studio met the applicable standards and issued a use permit. The Prestons then signed a five-year lease, invested thousands of dollars in improvements, and prepared to open for business.

None of that mattered to Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman or the City Council. Ignoring its own policies, the Council revoked the permit, based not on any evidence that the studio would harm the neighborhood but on the "perception" that it would.

The trial court ruled that the Prestons had a valid permit that only can be revoked for "good cause or public necessity"--a standard the City cannot meet. On a broader scale, the ruling tells cities that they must obey their own rules. The Council now will have a second chance to do the right thing. Here's hoping that this time, the City welcomes a legitimate business to the still-vacant storefront, rather than treating honest entrepreneurs as outcasts.
Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
Learn more:
Goldwater Institute: Preston v. Hallman

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

County Treasurer threatens to sue Board of Supervisors over pricey court tower

The investigation shows how the county is digging into your tax dollars to build a new state of the art courthouse with a hefty price tag.

County records reveal the $347 million courthouse will be lined with marble, travertine, decorative porcelain tile, and wood floors.

"That report raised additional concerns about improper conduct by the Board of Supervisors, not the least of which is the refusal of the Board to provide public records to a major television network, effectively denying the public of the right to know how their tax dollars are spent," the news release continued.

Read more

PAChyderm latest legislator evaluations are up

Top Senators: Harper, Verchoor, Pearce, Paton
Top Representatives: Burges, Seel, Crump, Biggs, Montenegro, Hendrix, Gowan, Antenori

Monday, May 18, 2009

Networking events from NetworkingPhoenix.com

Are you looking for an SEO company to help you get found?? Search no further...my friend Justin is the person for you. Visit his site for more info or contact him through our site.

Here is your chance to get some Public Relations!! I'm putting together a press release that talks about how NetworkingPhoenix.com is helping local companies generate new business. Do you have a testimonial for me? If we use your write up and get picked up by the media, you have good chances of being interviewed as well! Due date is by E.O.D. this Wednesday.

Starting this month, I will be hosting one of Danielle Hampson's Web TV shows, The Every Day Woman Show. If you have a woman owned business or a business that caters to women and are interested in being interviewed, contact either Gelie or Danielle for questions.

We have a few more spots left for our LinkedIn seminar tomorrow...sign up quick if you want to attend. We'll be having more soon if you can't make this one.

Below are this week's featured events and some great upcoming events. Enjoy! Monday

Using LinkedIn to Make Money - Are you ready to take action to bring in more business? In this new class, Christine and Gelie will teach you how to use LinkedIn to increase exposure for your business, generate new leads and add to your bottom line.

Mastermind Roundtable - Meet for breakfast with this group of highly motivated, like-minded professionals and share ideas on how to increase sales, grow your business and dominate your markets.

AZJBA - Our mission is to establish long-term relationships in order to become the network hub for any of your business needs within the Greater Phoenix Jewish community. Join us today!

The PinkedIn Party brings together hundreds of professionals to interact and move their careers forward by connecting the pink slipped with companies that are hiring and recruiting.

Arizona Business Circle - Expand your network, share contacts, and build business through referrals at our meetings at the elegant Va Bene in Chandler.

Arizona Power Networking - Relax and enjoy happy hour at our first networking meeting in Sedona hosted by the amazing Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa.

North Scottsdale Chamber - Meet & Mingle with the North Scottsdale business community. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards.

Scottsdale Chamber - Build Relationships. Generate Leads. Create Buzz. Join us for our wide-open, No Rules Networking, and network with 100 plus business professionals.

Arizona Technology Council and KTAR 92.3 presents After 5: Face to Face Live! Don't miss this opportunity to network with Arizona's technology community.

Chat, Chew, and Chocolate - Meet with the fabulous women of the Northeast Phoenix chapter for some fun, friendship and inspiration with a side of chocolate!

Scottsdale League for the Arts - Promote your business in a social atmosphere at the SLA's Third Thursday's Social!

Members of the Tribe 2 - Can being a member in a networking group change your life? Come visit MOT2 and find out!

Scottsdale Club - Want to meet local business professionals in a laid back no pressure environment? Then come join us poolside at our beautiful resort for a Networking Event you will remember!


Gabriella Vega Fundraiser Dinner - Little Gabriella was recently and unexpectedly diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect. Please help her family with a $5 donation while enjoying dinner in this community effort to aid Gabriella.

Taxpayers irate over $347 million court tower

Good article by investigative reporter Josh Bernstein on the pricey court tower. Some excerpts -

County records obtained by ABC15 reveal the $347 million dollar courthouse will be lined with marble, travertine, decorative porcelain tile, and wood floors.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is already conducting a criminal investigation into the project, its price tag, the bidding process, and how it’s being funded.

"I'm quite concerned," said Maricopa County Treasurer Charles Hoskins.

Maricopa County has refused ABC15 access to thousands of public records.

ABC15 has learned that not all the money is going towards construction.

Back in February of 2007, 15 county officials traveled to Philadephia and New York to tour the courts.

The trip included sightseeing and expensive dinners along the way, but the county could not tell us who exactly paid the travel or the food.

Maricopa County's Presiding Judge, Barbara Mundell, who was part of the trip and played a major role in the court tower project, declined our repeated requests for comment.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Commission on Appellate Court Appointments looking for attorney to sit on board

from the State Bar -

At a special meeting of the Board of Governors held on May 15, 2009, a decision was made to open up the previously closed application period for a seat on the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments currently held by Scott Gan (Mesch Clark & Rothschild PC, Tucson). Applications will be accepted at the Bar office up to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 22, 2009. The Board of Governors will meet on May 29, 2009 to decide which applicant or applicants will be forwarded to the Governor for her nomination to the Commission.

Currently, this position is open to attorneys statewide who have been in practice at least five years. There are no restrictions with regard to political party affiliation. Certain criteria may change, however, depending on potential nominations to the Commission by the Governor in the interim.

Commission members review the applications of persons seeking to fill vacancies on the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court. After reviewing the applications, the Commission conducts interviews of selected applicants and forwards to the Governor a list of names for her consideration.

Link to interactive application: http://www.myazbar.org/AZBarInfo/ApptCommitteeNews.cfm?id=86

AFP: Please help us fight the Brewer Tax Increase!

Gov. Jan Brewer and the majorities at the Arizona Legislature have done a good job of working together to go back and fill the gap in the FY2009 budget.

Unfortunately, Gov. Brewer is still stuck on the idea of raising taxes in order to solve the FY2010 budget deficit crisis, as shown in this statement released today:


Also, Gov. Brewer’s spokespersons and surrogates are appearing at town halls, legislative district meetings, business club meetings and other venues around the state, arguing in favor of the tax-increase proposal. If you are planning to be at a public meeting anytime soon, please print, copy, and distribute copies of our latest talking points against the tax hike plan:


Tom Jenney

Arizona Director

Americans for Prosperity

(Arizona Federation of Taxpayers)



(602) 478-0146

CAP: IRS VICTORY: Pastors Can Speak Out on Issues!‏

Despite attempts by some to silence pastors and churches on the important moral issues of our day, this week the IRS upheld the rights of a group that held public policy conferences for pastors in 2006. The pastors were encouraged to vote their values and to encourage their members to register to vote and to vote their values. The IRS found that this did not qualify as "political intervention" and therefore did not jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the nonprofit group that held the conference. This ruling is a victory for free speech and means that, once again, the right of pastors and churches to speak out on moral issues has been affirmed. Pastors can fulfill their biblical duty to address moral issues without fearing repercussions from the IRS.

Out-of-Wedlock Births on Rise
In a room full of ten American babies, it is likely that four of those children were born to a single mother. The latest reports from the National Center for Health Statistics show that out-of-wedlock births are sharply on the rise, currently at 40% of all births. That number has doubled since 1980. The sharp increase results from women in their 20s and 30s intentionally deciding to have children without getting married. This news yet again shows the devaluing of marriage in our culture. It also shows how much our society has moved away from the knowledge that children do best with a mom and a dad. Note that this isn't about single parent households resulting from death or divorce. No, this increasingly new societal norm says it no longer matters whether children have a mom and a dad. Yet study after study continues to show that the best way to raise a child is with two married parents. Better school performance, less drug use, and more successful futures are just a small sampling of the overall benefits typically received by children raised by their married parents instead of cohabitating or single parents. Read more on our blog.

CAP on the Radio
Part of CAP's mission is to communicate truth to the citizens of Arizona. One way we are doing this is with our new radio feature, Family News Minute. This daily policy-focused feature is played on stations throughout Arizona as well as being posted on our web site. Listen for these unique spots on the radio or visit On the Radio to listen online. If you don't hear Family News Minute on your favorite Christian radio station, let the station know you'd like to! You also can hear my weekly commentary on Family Life Radio on the FLR stations throughout Arizona.
We'll See You on Tuesday Night!
Our office is extremely busy preparing for our CAP Family Dinner with Mike Huckabee next Tuesday. We are thrilled that so many of you will be joining us for this special evening. While online registration is closed, you can still purchase tickets by calling our office today before 5 p.m. or on Monday before noon. There will be no walk-up registration at the event.
Good News/Bad News at the Capitol
The good news is the Legislature and Governor agreed to a budget bill addressing yet another shortfall in the current fiscal year budget. The bad news is the Legislature and the Governor still have not agreed to a budget for the 2010 fiscal year. And, yes, this means that the Arizona Senate still is not hearing any bills, including pro-life and pro-school choice legislation passed by the House.

Pro-Lifers Are the Majority
The results of a new Gallup poll released this week show that the majority of Americans are pro-life. The poll showed that 51% of Americans identified themselves as pro-life, while only 42% identified themselves as supporting abortion. Read more on our blog.

Sheriff Arpaio to speak at PAChyderm Wednesday

new pachy logo
E-Mail azpatsfan@cox.net and Make Your Reservation Now!

Mark Your Calendar! Wednesday Night, May 20, 2009,

An evening with Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Picture of Sheriff Joe Arpaio


The PAChyderm Coalition Is Proud To Present

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
E-Mail azpatsfan@cox.net and Make Your Reservation Now!
El Paso Bar-B Que Grill
43rd Ave and Peoria Glendale, AZ

The Sheriff's is scheduled to speak later that night in Scottsdale and asked if he could speak 1/2 hour earlier which we are happy to accommodate.

Dinner Starts At 5:30 PM

*** TIME CHANGE - Meeting Starts at 6:30PM***

Friday, May 15, 2009

Republican Professionals Politics on the Rocks a success with Andrew Thomas

Thursday, May 14, 2009

PAChyderm Legislator Evaluations have been updated‏

The top Republicans in the Senate this time around were Harper, Verschoor, Pearce and Paton. In the House, they were Burges, Seel, Crump, Biggs, Montenegro, Hendrix, and Gowan. Great work!

Goldwater Institute: When corruption becomes so common, it no longer seems corrupt

Arizona's Auditor General recently released a report detailing how the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) fraudulently put employees of three non-profits on the district's payroll: the Arizona Community College Association; the Arizona Business and Education Coalition; and the East Valley Partnership.

magnifying glassHere's how the scam worked: The non-profit boards would make a high-level hire. That board would then inform MCCCD of the hire date and pay rate and the new non-profit employee would be added to the payroll. All direct costs to MCCCD would be invoiced to the non-profits, which then eventually reimbursed MCCCD. These "employees" never reported to MCCCD supervisors, who supposedly had authority over them.

This sweetheart deal allowed employees of these groups to receive state-funded employee benefits. And because all of these groups aggressively pursue taxpayer money for higher education institutions, in effect, the arrangement had taxpayers subsidizing efforts to send more taxpayer money to community colleges. The Auditor's office points out that by paying the employees and waiting for reimbursement, the MCCCD essentially gave short-term, interest-free loans to the non-profits, too.

Sometimes, corrupt practices become so common that they are no longer considered corrupt. The reply to the report by the MCCCD chancellor makes clear that he doesn't see the big deal, claiming "the conclusions in the Report are the result of 'incomplete and erroneous' information."

Once again, the need for greater transparency in government spending is evidenced. If taxpayers had easy access to MCCCD's payroll data--even if it were only a list of employees--this misuse of public resources could have been discovered and stopped sooner.
Byron Schlomach, Ph.D, is director of economic policy at the Goldwater Institute.
Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Tattoo Studio Wins Opening Round in Tempe Legal Battle

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert H. Oberbillig gave Tom and Elizabeth Preston an opening round victory in their battle to open a tattoo studio in Tempe.

The court ruled that the Tempe City Council unlawfully revoked their special use permit to open a studio called Body Accents in a vacant storefront in a strip mall at 1524 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Tempe. The permit was awarded by a city hearing examiner and upheld by the city's Development Review Commission before the City Council voted on August 28, 2007 to revoke the permit due to what Mayor Hugh Hallman called a "perception" that the studio would contribute to neighborhood deterioration. In the meantime, the Prestons had signed a five-year lease and invested between $25,000-$30,000 preparing the studio to open in reliance on the permit.

The court ruled, "Even the City's own ordinances and rules reflect that this permit is valid," and that the Council may revoke it only on a showing of "good cause or public necessity."

The Prestons own and operate a tattoo studio in Mesa called Virtual Reality, which has not received a single complaint in over 15 years of continuous operation.

"The Council's action was a travesty," remarked Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, which represented the Prestons. "The Prestons followed the city's rules and made a significant investment, only to be sent packing by the City Council on the basis of crude, outdated stereotypes."

The court sent the matter back to the City Council to reconsider in light of its ruling. Meanwhile, the storefront remains vacant, and the Prestons still would like to open a studio there.

"This ruling is a victory for the rule of law," declared Bolick. "If the City can lawfully treat the Prestons this way, then every small business owner in Arizona is at risk of arbitrary government action."

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Goldwater Institute report on public officials promoting themselves

The Goldwater Institute has issued a report criticizing public officials for promoting themselves. 99% of the reports they issue are outstanding. Unfortunately this falls in the 1% that's not quite accurate. Most of the report was pretty good, but the section related to Andrew Thomas was way off. Liberty's Apothecary dissects the report here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Plan from John Munger & Lisa Graham Keegan for education

By John F. Munger and Lisa Graham Keegan

In Arizona's traditional K-12 education system, low test scores, dropout rates and other statistics make it clear that too many of Arizona's schools are failing.
Some education interests frame the issue of educational reform as throwing more money at Arizona's education model. However, even if we stipulate that Arizona schools are at the low end of national expenditures, investing more money in a bad model makes little sense.

The number of dollars spent does not correlate to educational results and achievement for our children. If it did, Washington, D.C, New Jersey and other notoriously bad school systems would show the best results in the country. In Arizona, for example, per pupil spending has increased from an inflation-adjusted $1,214 in 1945 to $9,707 today. But test scores have not improved.

Charter schools spend $7,800 per pupil. Of the top 15 high schools in Arizona, 14 are charter schools and one is a traditional K-12 school. Charter schools do have fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, that does not account for the fact that 14 of our top 15 schools are charter schools.

America's overall inflation-adjusted education spending has increased 73 percent since 1980, student/teacher ratios fell by 18 percent, class sizes were the smallest ever, but student assessment scores did not improve. More money alone does not correlate to improved education. Our state's classrooms

The $9,707 is an "all-in" figure that includes buildings, capital costs and some separately accounted for programs. With facilities costs separated, Arizona spends about 58 cents of its education dollar directly in the classroom and operations. Teachers are paid about $2,000 of the almost $7,000 the state spends per student.

Where is the other $5,000 going? Certainly not to teachers.

Yet the most important factor that influences improvement in student achievement is quality of instruction.

Arizona's teachers historically have been selected from among the bottom third of high school applicants to college. They must earn a degree in education, where they are required to learn little substance of the subjects they will teach. Their education is primarily in pedagogy, the raw process of teaching.

Elementary teachers must pass professional and content-knowledge tests and high school teachers must have 24 hours of college credits or pass content tests in the subjects they teach. No Child Left Behind requires teachers to be "highly qualified," which requires content testing and coursework. The subject competency tests, however, are at about the fifth-grade level, well below the college level.

Bill Gates could not teach our kids computer science without taking pedagogy tests and doing student teaching. Absurd. Great teachers, meager pay

Meanwhile, the great teachers are not paid well enough and too often are held back by seniority systems and Draconian contractual terms that reward longevity and not quality of service.

Quality teaching is not the priority under the current model. If that were the first concern, we would openly embrace young teachers who are excelling instead of handing them the first pink slips.

A designated teacher of the year was given a pink slip this year. Why? Because union contracts with some school boards dictate pay and preclude retention of teachers based on success with students. That is ridiculous.

Unfortunately, Arizona will not allow experts in their fields to teach because, while they have a degree or deep knowledge in substantive areas our kids need to learn, they do not have a university degree or training in raw pedagogy.

Graduates in the top echelons of America's most elite schools, experienced business executives and others are not fully certified for lack of an education degree.
We have wonderful sources for more great teachers in proven programs like Teach for America and the Teacher Advancement Program.

Some "fast-track" programs that teach the required pedagogy skills are available to experts in their fields; however, more are necessary to get these experts in front of our state's classrooms. Accountability counts.

In addition, our system does not require adequate accountability of principals and teachers. If Arizona were serious about school achievement, we would allow school leaders to hire and fire the staff at their schools and hold the principal accountable for student progress.

The district office determines who has seniority and teachers ask for schools based on seniority. The principal is given little discretion. Laws for teacher dismissal require that we work with failing teachers for about three years before they can be dismissed.

We believe:
• Teachers matter. Enormously.
• Quality instruction matters. Enormously.
• Clear and appropriate academic goals matter.
• Regular assessment of progress matters.
• Gauging teachers by the progress their students make is essential.
• Recruiting academically gifted teachers matters.
• Paying excellent teachers professional salaries and gradually increasing their control over the school environment is critical. Reform works.

We know such reforms work when we look at other states and countries that have focused on improving quality instruction and have revolutionized their educational system.

In 1998, for example, Florida spent about the same per student as Arizona. Floridians adopted a set of reforms similar to those outlined here that created revolutionary improvements in its schools.

Florida's poorest children (free-lunch eligible) alone outscore the statewide average for all Arizona kids, although the two states spend roughly the same amount per student. Florida spends less per dollar of personal income than Arizona.

Percentages of Florida students scoring basic or better on national assessment tests went from 53 percent to 70 percent while Arizona went from 51 percent to 56 percent.
Arizona can have a world-class educational system. But we must implement educational reform that focuses on quality instruction and the other factors outlined above.
We must flatten our educational administrative behemoth drastically to reduce costs and reallocate most power — the real power to hire, fire and budget — to principals, where it belongs; and then hold them accountable to parents.

To maximize availability of the very best teachers for our children, we must open up the teacher-certification processand actively recruit the very best qualified teachers we can find, who have real knowledge of the subject matter they are to teach.
If they do not have training in pedagogy, we should expand available training and mentoring.

And let's start spending more of our money to find, recruit, hire, highly reward and incentivize great teachers. Great teachers should be making six-figure salaries.
Money could be available by eliminating waste in our school administrations. Back to the $5,000 of each student's allocation not going to teachers.

Why not start by offering the very best teachers the chance to take on a few more students in return for that additional $5,000 per student; and the school gets the other $2,000 as its incentive. Take it slow and test it with each teacher, a few additional students at a time.

Giving more students to the best teachers, in return for "bonuses" of $5,000 per additional student, could incentivize the best teachers and open more enrollment in our best schools.

Finally, we can do many things that cost no money but that have been important factors of reform in Florida.

• End social promotions and hold students and parents responsible for disruption and student failure;
• Establish a student assessment system that would will allow us to judge performance of our schools and students, with real consequences for failure; and
• Encourage development of effective charter schools.

Throwing more money at a dysfunctional system is neither politically acceptable to the public nor smart. It is certainly a very hard sell.

We need reform. And Arizona's school leaders can do almost everything described here without new laws. But if school systems will not do it, then new laws might be needed to force reform.

Once the public regains confidence in the state's education system, in its ability to spend money correctly and in the ability to determine exactly what our state needs more money for and why, then the additional money will be much easier to get.

On StarNet: Ending social promotion is one of the reforms mentioned in the opinion piece by John F. Munger and Lisa Graham Keegan. The results of an Arizona Daily Star investigation, published last May, showed thousands of middle and high school students across Tucson are advancing to higher grade levels every year even though they flunk core subjects. Read the stories in the Star investigation and find a searchable database of area schools at www.azstarnet.com/socialpromotion.

Quality teaching is not the priority under the current model. If that were the first concern, we would openly embrace young teachers who are excelling instead of handing them the first pink slips.

John F. Munger and Lisa Graham Keegan are members of ImagineArizona, developing innovative public policy. Write them at johnmunger@imaginearizona.com

CAP: First ever LGBT day at the ballpark

Parent Alert!

If you have tickets for the June 27 Arizona Diamondbacks game, you probably want to reconsider. A fun, family experience at the ballpark for "70's Night" won't be much fun once your children start asking you what words like "transgender" mean. Equality Arizona has announced the "first ever LGBT day at the ballpark" for the June 27 Dbacks game versus the Los Angeles Angels at Chase Field. LGBT stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender." Similar to activities sponsored by many community organizations, including churches, an organization called "One Community" has organized a group outing to the ballpark. For every group ticket purchased, $5 will be donated to homosexual advocacy groups including Phoenix Pride Scholarship Fund, Equality Arizona, Aunt Rita's Foundation, and 1-in-10 nonprofit organizations. If you want to take your family to the ball game, I encourage you to pick a different day than June 27.

Students' Rights Bill Passes House!

On Wednesday, the Arizona House passed HB 2357, Students' Religious Liberties Act, with a 37-23 vote. This bill ensures that students' rights are protected in public schools, allowing them to speak freely of their faith. The bill will also assist school officials in knowing what speech is or isn't permitted in a school setting. The bill is one of seven CAP-supported bills that now await Senate action as President Bob Burns continues to hold legislation until the budget is completed.

Where will you be on May 19th?

Everywhere I go, people are telling me how excited they are to join CAP on May 19th to have dinner with Mike Huckabee. This 2009 CAP Family Dinner will be one of our most important as we listen to a man who is helping lead the pro-life, pro-family charge in America. We hope you can join us and Gov. Mike Huckabee for the CAP Family Dinner on May 19th.

Celebrating Life on Mother's Day!

This Sunday is a special time to remember our mothers and thank them for the sacrifices they have made for us throughout the years. I'm looking forward to spending Sunday with both of my children and my mom. One of the biggest decisions that each of our mothers made was to choose life instead of abortion. But, unfortunately, too many women are not choosing life. Recently, Planned Parenthood has been doing a special Mother's Day donation drive, claiming that no other organization supports mothers like this pro-abortion organization does. It is tragic to think that people across America will donate money to an organization that wants to prevent the joys of motherhood by taking the lives of preborn children.

Don't lose hope; there's plenty that we can do! Thanks to the work of crisis pregnancy centers, more children are saved and able to be raised in a loving home. I encourage you to use this Mother's Day weekend to pray for the many women facing unplanned pregnancies to find wisdom, strength, and grace. Pray also for those post-abortive women who have not yet come to know God's love and forgiveness. Then, consider volunteering your time at a local crisis pregnancy center within the next month.

Governor Says "No" to Planned Parenthood.

Abortion advocates recently blasted Gov. Brewer for excluding materials provided by Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Expo & Conference. Planned Parenthood said excluding them was "alarming and potentially dangerous" - an absurd statement from an organization with a consistent track record of deceiving women. As recent videos released by Live Action Films revealed, Planned Parenthood cares little about protecting women and young girls and is willing to ignore the law in the face of potential sexual abuse. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood opposes the Abortion Consent Act (HB 2564), which would provide basic information to women considering abortion. CAP applauds Gov. Brewer's decision not to include information from an organization that has repeatedly put its pro-abortion position above the needs of women. There are plenty of entities and practitioners capable of providing sound information on the subject of women's health for the Expo.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coalition for a Consevative Majority meeting - May 11

Our next CCM meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 11th, 2009 6:30 pm
American Italian Club
7509 N. 12th Street
Phoenix, 85020

Come learn about exciting developments this month, experience part of the budding "Constitution and Civic Boot Camp" that we're launching as a backdrop of all civic activism that we are engaged in.

There was a misprint on Frosty's newletter this month and Dr. Steve Carol was our speaker last month. We have some exciting developments at the legislature that we'll share.
Arrive at 6:30 for sandwiches and socializing; pledge promptly at 7:00 pm. Our focus is to educate, train and empower conservatives for effective civic action. Your RSVP helps us gauge food needs.

Robert A. Zuluaga - President
Arizona Chapter Coalition for a Conservative Majority
Cell: 602-692-8100
Voice: 520-777-9298