Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 General Election is all about APS; Republican voters should be very concerned

Yesterday afternoon, Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts asked the question, "Why is APS doling out cash to get Mark Brnovich elected?" It's an excellent question.

Unfortunately, Roberts didn't come up with an answer.

It's not really a legitimate rhetorical question if the audience/readers cannot answer it for themselves. There is, however, a clear answer available. Voters -- especially Republicans whose interests are being subverted -- need to become aware of the background, reasons and the stakes involved.


What would conservative voters do if they realized that the officials they have elected -- and think they want to elect now -- were looking out for socialist interests instead of the interests of those Republican voters?

From a Forbes magazine article on utility death spirals dated December 2, 2013,
Generally speaking, utilities socialize the cost of maintaining the electric power grid across their customer base. The costs imposed on each customer is a function of the size of the customer base. If the number of customers increases, the costs allocated to each customer should decrease. If the number of customers decreases, the costs allocated to each customer should increase. [...]
Rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines or advanced energy storage technologies can technically provide customers with 24/7 power, but at a cost that is virtually certain to be an order of magnitude larger than what those customers would pay for grid-supplied power.
Well, a year ago it may have seemed to many that alternative technologies would come "at a cost that is virtually certain to be an order of magnitude larger than what those customers would pay for grid-supplied power." But the cost for such systems is dropping rapidly.

So what does all of this have to do with APS and the 2014 general election?

Over the last three years, APS has increasingly been acting like a cornered animal fighting for survival.

In the 2012 election, special interests (including Arizona Public Service and Southwest Gas) dumped a boat load of cash that successfully influenced the election of three corporation commissioners, all three Republicans -- Bob Stump (re-election), Bob Burns and Susan Bitter-Smith. The outcome: the five member Corporation Commission consists now entirely of Republicans. APS apparently wants this year's Republican candidates Tom Forese and Doug Little to help "regulate them."

In the summer of 2013, Arizona Public Service was outed as having dropped a ton of money on a campaign to pressure the Corporation Commission into assessing fees on homeowners with rooftop solar. The Corp Comm ruling was intended to provide "some relief" to APS for revenue lost because distributed generation (residential rooftop solar) has disrupted APS' business model. Big time disruption. A year ago, I wrote,
But we turn back to Arizona's most obvious competitive economic advantage -- solar electricity generating capacity. If only the doors are not kept closed by Big Money lobbyists for the monopoly utilities.
It's not altogether far-fetched to consider that the recent trial balloon -- put forth by the Arizona Corporation Commission about the possibility of reopening the door on deregulation -- was a chess move by the monopoly power companies, in particular APS, to shut the door before the knob could even be turned to open it.
After all, that's all those monopoly enterprises have to protect their economic interests. If you refuse to implement the innovations that will revolutionize your industry, all there is left is to appeal to those who can protect the monopoly. For APS, that's the Arizona Corporation Commission. For Salt River Project, that's the Arizona Legislature. In light of this year's passage of the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill (HB2573), rather than investing in technology advances, expect them to invest in incumbent state lawmakers committed to protecting the interests of those monopolies. [...]
Now, just how imminent is this disruptive innovation that could bankrupt Arizona Public Service if it doesn't respond to the competitive threat?
If (since?) APS already has captured its own regulators, why would it need to have the state Attorney General in its pocket?

In 2006, the ACC enacted Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) rules mandating that regulated utilities must produce at least 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. The ACC was able to do so because the Attorney General (according to briefs filed by the Goldwater Institute in Miller v Arizona Corporation Commission, a lawsuit challenging the REST) reviewed and approved the rules.
Before the REST Rules became effective, the Attorney General was required to review them pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 41-1044(B) specifically to determine whether the Rules were within ACC’s power. The Attorney General was required to disapprove of the Rules if they exceeded ACC’s authority... Nonetheless, the Attorney General approved the REST Rules on June 15, 2007, and they became effective on August 14, 2007.
What would a cornered raccoon do if it succeeded in capturing the entire Office of the Attorney General? Might APS have another lawsuit challenging the REST rules up its sleeve? Might a crony elected to be AG be capable of greasing the skids by re-reviewing the REST rules and declaring them outside the constitutional authority of the ACC?


Last Friday, APS "graciously" hosted a briefing for Democratic candidates for the Arizona House and Senate. Few, if any incumbent Democrats attended. By the way, APS and Salt River Project have, for many years, have had their way with lawmakers.

The purpose of the briefing appeared to some in attendance to be APS explaining what they do to provide electric power to Arizonans. Notably, candidates understood APS had told them solar power would never be capable of meeting the demands of Arizona communities. Because peak demand generally occurs after 6pm, even in summer the sun is already at too low of an angle to produce enough electricity to meet the demand.

My question then was, "what did they say about storage?" The reply, "NOTHING." That struck me as incredibly bizarre, since APS' own website brags in a post dated October 9, 2013, solana begins serving customers; providing power at night.
... the Solana Generating Station has successfully passed final production tests and entered commercial operation on Monday. At 280 megawatts (gross), Solana is the world’s largest parabolic trough plant and the first solar plant in the United States with thermal energy storage allowing for electricity to be produced at night.
Unlike other solar-powered electrical plants, Solana produces electricity at full capacity for up to six hours after sunset, using Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology with solar thermal storage. Solana is Abengoa’s first utility-scale solar plant in the country to begin operation.
Could APS' "briefing" have been anything other than an indoctrination and propaganda session designed to co-opt and capture more Democratic lawmakers before they even get elected. Of course, APS may have provided a similar briefing to Republican candidates.


So, why IS APS pouring out so much money to purchase itself an Attorney General, AND a Corporation Commission, AND Democratic lawmakers like Catherine Miranda?
Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called "captured agencies".
Isn't it obvious? APS is doing it -- because it can.

Because APS apparently believes its chances of survival are better with a captured Arizona government than by focusing on implementing the technology that is rapidly making its business model obsolete.

Beware of the risks of allowing Mark "I am NOT a CROOK" Brnovich to become APS' personal Attorney General.


By the way, a little birdie told me that John Kavanagh was invited to appear this week on Sunday Square Off with Brahm Resnik. He apparently declined because he refuses to again appear in public with his opponent, Paula Pennypacker.

I'd also like to give a shout out to Arizona Eagletarian reader Kim Bartman along with the Fountain Hills Times. Kim wrote a letter to the editor published this week citing the recent blog post about the Kavanagh Kingdom and providing a link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tell Cathi and Mike Herrod that they don't own the women of Arizona -- UPDATED 4 pm MST 10-22-14

See UPDATE at the bottom of the post

Ten days ago, the Arizona Eagletarian posted a call to FIRE Maricopa County Superior Court judge Michael Herrod.

Not long after the post was published, a poster calling her self Sarah posted a comment:
In the performance of his job duties, is he a capable and impartial jurist? Even though his wife is a lobbyist with views that I find wrong at best and abhorrent at worst, if he is capable and impartial in his duties, what grounds do I have not to vote for his retention?
To which, I replied that Sarah doesn't have to justify her vote to anyone. So, who am I to say what grounds she must use for deciding her vote?

Yesterday, Arizona Republic resident curmudgeon Doug MacEachern wrote an op-ed expressing horror over the suggestion that Herrod should be fired because of "guilt by association." He opens with,
A campaign is underway to oust Judge Michael Herrod of Maricopa County Superior Court. It has nothing to do with Herrod's record as a judge. It has nothing to do with Herrod himself. He is married to Cathi Herrod, whose opposition to abortion and support for traditional marriage has rendered her a Koch brother to the left. For the crime of being married to such a person, they wish to run Judge Herrod from the bench. Politics of personal destruction, anyone?
The claim that the campaign to remove Mr. Herrod from the bench has nothing to do with Herrod himself is a brazen misrepresentation of the facts. It is also a red herring.

Red Herring seems to be MacEachern's favorite fallacy.
The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or characters towards a false conclusion. A red herring might be intentionally used, such as in mystery fiction or as part of a rhetorical strategy (e.g. in politics), or it could be inadvertently used during argumentation.
In this case, as with the other recent Republic op-eds claiming "guilt by association" it represents a shiny object used to distract.

IF MacEachern had interest in enlightening rather than deceiving his readers, he could easily have included key facts. Namely, that Michael Herrod served on the board of the Center for Arizona Policy. Including subsequent to his appointment to the bench. Is that not political activity? Does it not violate his code of judicail conduct (see Canon 4, and NOTE below)?

Arizona environmental activist Steve Brittle yesterday posted to Facebook that he filed a complaint against Herrod because of this political activity. The complaint was dismissed but immediately thereafter, Herrod resigned his spot on the CAP board.

Does not Judge Michael Herrod's OWN political involvement in CAP completely undermine MacEachern's claim that the campaign to deny him retention has nothing to do with the judge himself?

Enjoy this song for a moment. Then consider why Judge Herrod's involvement in CAP matters.

The Center for Arizona Policy is a Christian Dominionist advocacy organization.

One of CAP's primary areas of focus is on eliminating the right of women to exercise individual sovereignty, or ownership of her own person. Of course, they would rather not have people recognize that as their intent. On CAP's page on Defending Life,
Promoting life is all about standing for those whose voices have been silenced. From the preborn child, to the medically incapacitated, to the young woman with a crisis pregnancy, creating a culture of life in Arizona is critical to protecting the most vulnerable in our society and is central to the mission of Center for Arizona Policy (CAP).
We may never fully know the devastating impact the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade has had on our nation. Yet as the dangerous practices of the abortion industry are being exposed and the stories of men and women who have been forever scarred by abortion are told, more people are beginning to understand the consequences of abortion on demand.
If the Herrod's were at all concerned about individual sovereignty, they could focus their effort on measures to reduce the need for abortion services. But that would require them to acknowledge that the government they want to establish has no right to tell a woman when she is or is not allowed to have sex. They could focus instead on making birth control and contraceptives available to young people.

The bottom line is that Cathi and Michael Herrod need to get the message the women in the video are trying to send them.

By the way, MacEachern seems to suffer from selective amnesia. The Center for Arizona Policy paid for Cathi Herrod to put the following blurb in the official publicity pamphlet advocating passage of the 2012 Proposition 115.
Vote "Yes" on Proposition 115! This measure is a step forward to improve the accountability and transparency of how judges are selected in Arizona.
It's important to note that the measure is supported by judges and attorneys. Proposition 115 is a consensus measure agreed to by judges at every level, the State Bar of Arizona, and legislators from both major political parties. As an attorney and longtime advocate of judicial reform, I support Proposition 115 because it offers reasonable and necessary changes to the current system.
Proposition 115 improves judicial selection by making these needed changes:
- Removes the requirement that the judicial nominees be selected according to party affiliation. Party affiliation should not be a factor in evaluating the qualifications of judges. This requirement has often resulted in limiting the number of qualified individuals who apply for and who are nominated for judicial positions.
- Increases the number of qualified, meritorious judicial nominees sent to the Governor. The current system, whereby the selection commissions often limit the number of nominees to three, unnecessarily limits the nominees available to the Governor who is duly elected by the people. Using commissions to limit those they deem "meritorious" is one of the biggest concerns about the current system. Proposition 115 fixes this issue.
-Expands the process for nominating attorney members to serve on the commission thereby making the process more accountable to the people.
Whether you favor the current merit selection process, election of judges, or a different federal model to select judges, I urge you to vote YES on 115. For more information on judicial selection in Arizona, visit

Cathi Herrod, Esq., President, Center for Arizona Policy, Phoenix

Paid for by Center for Arizona Policy
She didn't call attention to, but no doubt was fully aware that Prop. 115 sought to amend the Arizona Constitution Article VI, Section 42 on Retention evaluation of justices and judges. Currently that section states,
The supreme court shall adopt, after public hearings, and administer for all justices and judges who file a declaration to be retained in office, a process, established by court rules for evaluating judicial performance. The rules shall include written performance standards and performance reviews which survey opinions of persons who have knowledge of the justice's or judge's performance. The public shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity for participation in the evaluation process through public hearings, dissemination of evaluation reports to voters and any other methods as the court deems advisable. 
Cathi Herrod wanted this language added to Section 42,
Shouldn't Mrs. Herrod have really been more careful in 2012 about what she was asking voters? Despite the failure of Prop. 115, she's getting what she asked for with the voters demanding now that Michael Herrod be removed from office.

Make no mistake, the Herrods will not suffer financially when he's removed from the bench. He'll be able to (lawfully) make more money than he does as a judge. What they will suffer is the people reclaiming the authority from one Christian Dominionist judge to further hinder the freedoms of Arizona citizens. I'm not suggesting I know anything about how he has exercised his authority or about the decisions he has made. But his political activity is political activity.

Nobody could rightfully imply that Michael Herrod controls anything his wife does. But it's not too difficult to imagine them sitting down to dinner and talking about what he has learned in his time on the bench. What new ideas might he give her for a new piece of legislation to further undermine womens' rights?


NOTE: Rule 4.1 includes this language (in comment paragraph 7)
A judge or judicial candidate must not become involved in, or publicly associated with, a family member's political activity or campaign for public office. To avoid public misunderstanding, judges and judicial candidates should take and should urge members of their families to take reasonable steps to avoid any implication that the judge or judicial candidate endorses any family member's candidacy or other political activity. 
What constitutes reasonable steps? From the American Bar Association in 2010,
Once upon a time, firms built “Chinese Walls”—a barrier between the conflicted attorney and the rest of the firm. The theory was that because the conflicted attorney did not see any memorandums or documents or anything else from the current case, the firm no longer had a conflict and could undertake representation of the client causing the conflict. The time of the Chinese Wall has passed, however. 
How can anything resembling the Chinese Wall be possible with two attorneys, Cathi and Michael, one an aggressive political lobbyist, the other a judge, sharing a home and a dinner table?

Michael Herrod should not have been appointed to the Superior Court bench in the first place. He was appointed (by Jan Brewer) in 2011. The fact that Brewer's press release on the 2011 appointment conspicuously fails to disclose Herrod's connection to his wife's political activity makes the cronyism incredibly conspicuous.

But having been appointed, it is most definitely within the appropriate scope of the voters of Maricopa County to hold him ACCOUNTABLE for his violation of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct.


Mother Jones has a story that's intriguingly timely for this situation.

A paragraph from This Is How Judges Humiliate Pregnant Teens Who Want Abortions illustrates the significance of having Michael Herrod make decisions on the Family Court bench.
It isn't supposed to be this way. In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that a girl's parents can't exercise an absolute veto over her right to an abortion: States requiring parental notification or consent had to provide an escape hatch. The court did not mandate what form this escape hatch should take. Maine, for example, allows a physician to decide whether the minor is competent enough to make her own decision. But that's not good enough for anti-abortion activists. Led by Americans United for Life, the legislative wing of the pro-life movement, they've advanced laws to put the decision in the hands of judges instead.

This afternoon, a JoycevsJesus posted a comment questioning the veracity of the allegation about Michael Herrod. I replied to the comment by referring to the image embedded in this post which contains the text of a complaint filed by a citizen with the Commission on Judicial Conduct. That complaint indicates the citizen had personally inspected IRS tax filings during a visit to the office of the Center for Arizona Policy. That's more than just speculation.

However, record of the CAPs annual filings with the Arizona Corporation Commission further document Mike Herrod's political activity as a member of the CAP Board of Directors. Mr. Herrod, according to documents linked in the original post, was appointed to the Superior Court bench in May 2011 by Jan Brewer. The image below is of CAPs annual filings dated May 11, 2011, the day the Corporation Commission received the report.

The press release from Gov. Brewer's office -- announcing the appointment of Mike Herrod to the bench -- is dated May 13, 2011.

In addition to the previously reported documentation, this document should remove all doubt.

Monday, October 20, 2014

About Scrooge McDucey's plan for AZ -- Can we learn from Kansas' failed experiment?

Despite the horrendous future that another Republican governor portends for Arizona, a poll by Republican leaning McLaughlin & Associates, dated October 14, shows Fred DuVal and Scrooge McDucey in a statistical dead heat. Reviewing a previous post on McDucey,

Who are the "conservative-minded governors" McDucey has sought out to learn from? Scott Walker and Sam Brownback? Ohhhh, PUH-leeze.
How exactly does building a campaign operation that functionally deceives the electorate at every turn, on every uncomfortable question from reporters and citizens, demonstrate fitness for holding that office? Shall we even discuss McDucey's pre-election disclosure of how he will justify abusing his office? "Strategic agility." That sounds like something he came up with from a Bullshit Generator. What it really means is that he reserves the right to do the exact opposite of what he promises.
That the Republic even dares to write the words, "He speaks of the need to streamline an executive branch that sprawls across an organizational chart," shows contempt for the historical record of the 1990s when the Symington administration wreaked havoc on Arizona. Fife's entire administration was geared to doing that exact same thing.

A favorable result in this election will turn on the level of turnout and the degree to which we get our message out.

Please spread the word!

Time to DUMP Yarbrough!

Despite a Republican voter registration advantage in LD17, Kristie O'Brien has the opportunity to defeat self-servative Steve Yarbrough and kick him out of the Arizona Senate.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Major Flaw in the work of Charles Murray, one of Scrooge McDucey's heroes

Recently, the Arizona Republic's Bob Robb wrote a short blurb for a quick hit on the opinion page of its print edition. He said something to effect that those who would trash academic Charles Murray (co-author of The Bell Curve) say more about themselves than about Murray.

Recall that Scrooge McDucey, when speaking to the June 2014 gathering of Koch brothers' cronies, lauded Murray who was in the room at the time. A quick Google search returns several references Robb has made to Murray and his work over the years.

Murray's controversial work has been used as justification for treating low-income and minority Americans as unworthy of the full rights due any other citizen. This is, disturbingly, the antithesis of an egalitarian America.

Arizona Eagletarian reader Lee Poole thinks there's a different way to view Murray and his work.
When conservative commentators like Robert Robb defend the work of academic Charles Murray (whose degrees are in History and Political Science), they fail to understand that their error has little or nothing to do with "political" correctness, and everything to do with scientific correctness. 
This debate mirrors the debate about Darwin vs. Genesis--namely, are we going to accept as intellectually valid the act of equating science with religious or cultural mythology?
The simple fact which Dr. Murray dances around -- and which is brilliantly confronted head-on in such scientific literature as "The Race Myth" by Dr. Joseph L. Graves* (his PhD. is in human biology) -- is that "race" is a fundamentally anti-scientific (and therefore, fundamentally mythological) concept. 
There is no such thing as Negroid DNA, Caucasian DNA, Asian DNA or Hispanic DNA, period. This isn't just a matter of personal opinion, regardless of what anyone sitting on any editorial board anywhere on the planet may choose to believe. 
"Race" is a fundamentally pseudo-scientific mash-up of notions which have their origin in geography and regional culture, and any attempt to classify humans according to such notions is inevitably an example of "garbage in/garbage out" analysis, regardless of the credentials of the analyst. In this case, it is too easy to point out that Dr. Murray is operating outside his skill set. It really is just that simple. 

Most Americans still believe that there is some biological legitimacy to our socially constructed racial categories. However, our modern scientific understanding of human genetic diversity flies in the face of all of our social stereotypes. -- Joseph L. Graves
Additional Note:

At the beginning of 2014, John Kavanagh was enthusiastically spouting nonsense about how we should NOT make a state university education available to all who want it, who would be academically capable of succeeding. That notion appears linked to the work of Charles Murray and has been written about by Robert Robb in 2002, 2007 and 2009.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Fred DuVal rebutted Kavanagh's views in a guest post on the Arizona Eagletarian calling it an attack on opportunity.

Rally to Move #AZForward -- Saturday

Join LD26 and Maricopa County Democrats as we RALLY to celebrate the election that will serve as a turning point in Arizona's long history of political embarrassment.

Print out the image above to have coupons for a free burger and drink.

There will be only 10 days left until the end of election season.

Let us together encourage the Rising American Electorate to make their voices heard at the polls.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Guest post -- Republicans ruled by Power and Party

Written by state Rep. Andrew Sherwood (D-LD26/Tempe) 

As the 2014 election draws closer, it’s important to remember that an election is a job review for elected officials. Let’s review.

The 51st legislature did almost nothing to achieve a healthy, educated, prosperous Arizona. 
Instead, we got phony proposals, starved agencies, and bad legislation – all as a result the extremism of the Republican majority.

Some are zealots and some were too frightened to object.

So how did the GOP spend its time in the legislature? Some was spent on a bill to have government patrol the bathrooms of our state. Every Republican voted for it. Some was spent trying to control women’s health care. Republicans also want the state to meddle with our medicine. So much for getting government out of our lives.

Education -- after 30 years of Republican control, no state spends less on students and we remain at the bottom of national education rankings. While Democrats pushed to restore K-12 education funding, Republicans argued to put guns in schools.

What about jobs? Each year, Republicans lower taxes and the result is “sub-par” economic growth. Tourism is at risk. Construction is stagnant. Housing is dormant again. Transportation is scraping by. Economist Elliot Pollack called Arizona’s recovery “anemic.”

What about democracy? Republicans oppose it. They passed HB2305, the “voter suppression bill”, which added more hurdles for seniors, rural residents, and minorities to register and vote. Don’t forget that Democrats helped the 2013 effort to collect signatures for a “citizen veto”.
Then there is the so-called Republican leadership. A national embarrassment. The School Superintendent was recently ousted for insulting Latinos and the poor as an anonymous blogger. His hidden life had been going on for years.

Tom Horne’s unethical behavior got him banned-for-life from securities trading, but that hasn’t taught him any lessons. Horne has been under investigation nearly his entire term and we hear constantly about FBI and state investigations detailing his violations of campaign finance laws and the mismanagement of the AG’s office.

12 News anchor Brahm Resnik asked the Republican nominee for governor if he would have supported the Medicaid restoration. That’s a reasonable question, right? He repeatedly refused to answer. What kind of governor would Doug Ducey be if he refuses to answer tough questions?

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed SB1062 to legalize discrimination. 
It caused a national firestorm of ridicule and scorn. Lasting damage was done to Arizona’s reputation. Not a single Democrat voted for it.

Individual Republican members have been accused of child abuse (Senator Murphy), of writing laws to pad their own pockets (Senator Yarbrough) and of living in a different district than the people they represent (Representative Mitchell).

These people don’t deserve their offices.

But not all legislation since the last election was unethical or underwhelming. Remember the expansion of health care where we get our own taxes back from the feds? Thank the Democrats for passing that bill.

Republicans would rather have given away your tax dollars to other states than accept the political reality that providing health care is morally and fiscally responsible.

Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, got grilled while testifying in support of the expansion. Why? Opposition to the expansion consistently boils down to the same source: ideology.

Meanwhile, supporters of Medicaid always cited the same reasons: the math. I know because I serve on the Appropriations Committee where Glenn testified. Math vs. ideology; which is best for Arizona? Math- best of all, it’s working.

Let’s get rid of the extremism in politics. Make sure to vote early or on November 4th.

A version of this post appeared in the October 18 edition of a community section in the Arizona Republic.