Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pre-filed House Bill seeks to penalize political sign stealers

Back in August, LD18 Republican state Rep. Bob Robson was accused of stealing campaign signs set up to disparage him. Right-wing blog site Sonoran Alliance, in a post date August 13 said,
What is it with the Tempe/Chandler area?
Former State Senator Harry Mitchell was caught stealing the campaign signs of Gary Richardson many election cycles ago.
This time Obamacare Republican Bob Robson was caught stealing signs from his opponents. And his escape was caught on video.
I’m sure those who caught him will sign an affidavit affirming to the theft. [...]
On Saturday night, August 9, 2014 at approximately 9:45 p.m. at Dobson and Warner Roads one Bob Robson, of the Robson/Dial get elected whatever the cost partnership, was out in force with an accomplice involved in a sign stealing caper and got caught.
Robson and Dial have been removing and destroying signs for about one month now. There have been in excess of 130 signs missing or destroyed. The signs in question are the public information signs that point out who voted for the Obamacare Expansion debacle thrust upon our state with the red “Arrow of Truth”. The arrows were pointed at the Robson Dial signs to inform the public of who it was in LD18 that did the dirty deed to Arizona and the AZGOP. (italics in original, bold added)
The signs at issue were something to similar effect as this image from a mailer sent out to people in LD15 this year.

I hope Rep. Carter (R-LD15) is not offended by my using this image. After all, she won reelection despite the campaign against her by RWNJs. Actually, so did Robson.

Nevertheless, Carter's seat mate, John Allen (R-LD15) has pre-filed HB2002 which aims to close what Robson's opponents no doubt consider a loophole that let the Chandler representative off the hook.

The Arizona Republic in September reported,
The sign scrum is yet another indication of the high tensions swirling around the Legislature's vote in 2013 to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover 300,000 low-income Arizonans. Robson, along with 13 other Republicans, joined Democrats to approve the expansion proposed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Opponents vowed to seek retribution at the polls, working to defeat what they called "legis-traitors."
As part of that opposition, the Arizona Taxpayer Action Committee installed signs stating "voted for Obamacare" with an arrow pointing at the campaign sign of certain Republicans. These signs, which the committee calls the "arrow of truth," were reportedly removed by Robson Monday as Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies witnessed the act. [...]
The citation is for tampering with a candidate's sign, but Ryan said the "arrow" signs Robson is alleged to have removed do not meet the state law's requirement of being a candidate sign. There is no candidate named "arrow," he argued.
Which brings us to Allen's HB2002, which intends to modify ARS §16-1019 by removing nine words and adding a subsection J.
A.  It is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or knowingly remove, alter or deface any political mailers, handouts, flyers or other printed materials of a candidate that are delivered by hand to a residence for the period commencing forty‑five days before a primary election and ending seven days after the general election. [...]
As if, of course, John Allen doesn't have anything better to do with his time on the taxpayer dole than to make it easier to nail his political opponents during an election campaign.

Typical penalties for conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor are fines. According to ARS §13-802, the maximum fine for a Class 2 misdemeanor is $750.00.
B. A sentence to pay a fine for a class 2 misdemeanor shall be a sentence to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not more than seven hundred fifty dollars.
According to ARS §13-707, if sentenced to imprisonment, the maximum for a Class 2 misdemeanor is four months.

Raising voter awareness is what those "arrow of truth" signs are about anyway, right? Well, given that there is NO cost to taxpayers for earned local news media coverage -- and alleged sign stealing always seems to get news coverage -- why should taxpayers be made to pay for local law enforcement investigations and possible imprisonment?

Doesn't this put Rep. Allen's apparent vindictiveness into perspective?

And that's without even considering that when the Arizona Legislature passed "Obamacare" (which was really the Medicaid restoration), it saved rural Arizona communities from having their hospitals shutdown. We can pretty much count on the RWNJs to fail when it comes to figuring out the ramifications of the dumb ass legislation ideas they propose.

Netroots Nation 2015 -- Discounted Registration Fee available

Through Friday, December 12, a discounted registration fee is available for attending the Netroots Nation '15 conference in downtown Phoenix. The conference will be held July 16-19 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Highlights for Netroots Nation 2015 include:
  • 80 panels and 40+ hands-on training sessions
  • Local activism
  • A progressive film Screening Series
  • An Ignite themed keynote, featuring fast-paced talks from movement leaders
  • Annual events including our pub quiz, comedy show and candidate reception and much more to be announced!
Please join me in Phoenix for NN '15. If you, like me, intend to be a leader in a Progressive Uprising for the 2016 election season, don't miss NN '15!

In the meantime, check out the NN '14 keynote.

Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stamp MONEY out of politics

Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation. -- Robert F. Kennedy

On Monday, I joined the ranks of the Stamp Stampede.

"The Stampede is about giving voice to the 80% of Americans that realize that unlimited campaign "contributions" are corrupting our democracy and want to get money out of politics. " -Graham Nash


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Maricopa County Democratic Party reorganization completed UPDATED 10:30pm MST 12-8-14

Yesterday (Saturday, December 6), elected Democratic precinct committee members in Maricopa County elected a new executive committee for the 2015-2016 election cycle.

With pretty much no drama (only one contested race), the new officers are:

  • Kelli Butler, chair
  • Steven Slugocki, 1st vice-chair
  • Randy Keating, 2nd vice-chair
  • Robert Donat, secretary
  • Jacqueline Adams, treasurer
  • Jessica Gonzales, sergeant-at-arms
These people have experience in the trenches. Kelli and Randy were, during the 2013-2014 cycle, LD chairs (28 and 26 respectively). Steven was re-elected as 1rst vice-chair.

Though Arizona Democrats, especially in Maricopa County, fared better than our counterparts in traditionally Blue States, nobody is satisfied that we failed to pick up ground in the legislature or that we lost all of the statewide office races. 

To highlight the perspective, Republicans in Arizona are apparently taking heat (in-fighting) for not picking up any seats (net gain) in the legislature.


In related news, now that Kelli Butler holds the MCDP chair position (which automatically makes her a member of the Arizona Democratic Party state committee), her state committee position from LD28 becomes open.

Because LD28 now has an open SC seat, there is a process for filling it. We already know that Rodney Glassman wants to be a member of the state committee, which is a requirement when a person runs for ADP chairman.

LD28 chairman Gary Gilger will make a recommendation to current ADP chair Bill Roe. Bill is not required to accept that recommendation but will appoint an LD28 elected PC.

When I criticized Glassman, on this blog and on Facebook, a few people took offense.

There is a plethora of data demonstrating Glassman's lack of fitness to serve in any leadership position in the Arizona Democratic Party. 

What had come up at the LD28 reorganization meeting about Glassman was that he had held a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith. If that had been all there was to the situation, it may not have been a big deal. But there was substantially more to it.

On the subject of support for Scott Smith, Glassman touted his long time friendship with the former Mesa mayor. I get that. Friendships, including those reaching across the aisle, can be a good thing. But the pertinent facts include that Glassman's family (financially rich as a result of a long history of predatory lending to small family farmers in California) donated (at least) $10,000.00 to Smith's failed campaign. But a paltry $100.00 (from Sasha, none from Rodney) to support Fred DuVal in his race against Scrooge McDucey. If anyone could have afforded to contribute 10 grand to help the Democratic candidate for governor, it's Rodney and his family.

Compiled from the Arizona Secretary of State's website:

Glassman Family (brother Jeremy. mother Linda, father Robert):
* total to Republicans: $6,500 ($6,000 for Smith; $500 for Jeff Dial)
* total to Democrats: 0

Rodney Glassman:
* total to Republicans: $2,000
* total to Democrats: $ 145

Sasha Glassman:
* total to Republicans: $2,950
* total to Democrats: $1,055

Detail by individuals, dates, and amounts below (all info retrieved from AZ SOS website):

* Foothills Democrats 03/19/2014 $40
* Smith Governor 2014 04/27/2014 $2,000
* Democrats of District 28 10/07/2014 $5
* Garcia 2014 10/15/2014 $100

* Landrum Taylor 2014 10/06/2013 $100
* Robert Meza for State Senate 2014 10/07/2013 $440
* Dial 2014 10/20/2013 $500
* Larkin for Legislature 10/20/2013 $100
* Vote Reagan 2014 12/10/2013 $100
* Anna Tovar for Senate 01/11/2014 $100
* Marquez for Arizona 04/01/2014 $15
* Smith Governor 2014 04/27/2014 $2,000
* Bob Worsley for State Senate 05/19/2014 $250
* BARTON4AZ 07/28/2014 $100 (rwnj Brenda Barton)
* Felecia for Arizona 2014 07/30/2014 $100
* Elect Eric Meyer 09/07/2014 $100
*Fred for AZ 10/25/2014 $100

As you can see, Glassman had his mother and his wife each contribute $500.00 to the Republican opponent of LD18 Democratic senatorial candidate Janie Hydrick. $1,000.00 to help defeat a Democratic candidate for state senate. Is that a big deal? Of course, he will say, rightfully no doubt, that said Republican, Jeff Dial, is also a close friend.

Why any Democratic activist would think somebody like Rodney would be a good candidate for ADP state chairman is beyond me.

Wait, there's MORE! 

To qualify for election as an LD28 precinct committeeman, Rodney submitted a nominating petition with ten signatures of voters, the minimum required in this case. The only problem is that two of the ten were and still are not valid signatures of Biltmore precinct Democratic voters. One is a registered Independent voter. Another is not registered to vote at the Biltmore precinct address listed on the petition.

Either Rodney was just careless in collecting and not verifying his signatures or he knew the two signatures were invalid, in which case one would rightfully question his integrity. Whichever it was, it seems quite clear that Rodney's not qualified for the position to which he aspires.

Barbara Serbin, whose signature is on line 3, was not and is not registered to vote at the address she listed on the petition, or anywhere in the Biltmore precinct.

Geoffrey Balon, a criminal defense attorney, has his address restricted on the voter roll (which is why I redacted it here), but he was and apparently still is registered as an Independent, not a Democrat.

The bottom line in all of this with Rodney is that he's pissing into the wind with his campaign to get elected ADP state chairman.

UPDATE           UPDATE           UPDATE

Previously, I forgot to add that Glassman's PC nomination paper has at least one pertinent, relevant detail that might matter, especially to my Progressive friends.

On May 27, 2014, Rodney Glassman submitted to Maricopa County Elections this nomination paper stating that he was putting himself forward as a candidate for the office of Precinct Committeeman for the Biltmore precinct and LD28, subject to the action of the DEMOCRAT Party. In other words, with as much information as is available to demonstrate that Glassman is #Bad4AZ, it really all boils down to the fact that he even uses the Republican epithet for the party he wants to represent.

Do I really need to make it any more clear than this?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Redistricting -- Holes in the Harris plaintiffs' SCOTUS brief?

If somebody with no law school training, like me, can find what looks like huge holes in the arguments put forth by counsel for convicted felon Wes Harris and his merry band of co-plaintiff misfits, imagine what a genuine legal eagle-eye can do with it.

First, they repeat a worn out claim (on page 2 of the brief) that has held no water from the start.
Proponents of the measure creating the IRC claimed divesting Arizona’s legislature from the redistricting process and vesting sole reapportionment authority in the IRC would remove partisan interests from the redistricting process.
Variously, opponents of independent redistricting have also stated it as intended to "take the politics out of the process." Neither is true. Neither expectation is realistic. And neither characterization is at all reasonable or fair. Instead, independent redistricting puts authority where the Framers of the Constitution always ultimately intended, which reflects genuine legitimacy that resides in the People's sovereignty.

Indeed, from the start of the 2011 redistricting cycle, Republican partisan interests -- besides posturing the entire time for litigation -- were heavily active in politicking to intimidate and influence the commissioners and staff.

On page three, an example of hyperbolic rhetoric, "the IRC asks this Court to uphold its unequal legislative districts until the next reapportionment almost a decade from now." By the time oral arguments are held, no earlier than the last week in February 2015, four years will have passed since the current commissioners were sworn in and began their work. Six years hence is not "nearly a decade from now."

Thor then proclaims, without making an argument supporting it, that the population deviations were not the result of "traditional race-neutral districting criteria."
We agree the Equal Protection Clause affords some degree of minor deviation from strict mathematical equality when necessary to accommodate traditional race-neutral redistricting criteria. States may draw districts with minor population disparities so long as those districts will not “deprive any person of fair and effective representation in his state legislature.”
In other words, we reserve the right to do the same thing the IRC did when we get the opportunity to control the IRC (or when the legislature (fingers crossed) regains the authority to draw district maps). We just don't like them doing it. And because they claim they had a lawful purpose for doing so, we just want you guys to say they were wrong. This, naturally, then becomes an argument for allowing Republicans to more brazenly suppress minority voting rights at some indeterminate time in the future.

Next blatantly obvious breakdown in Thor's brief,
The district court offered only two justifications for the IRC’s unequal districts: partisan advantage and a perceived need to gain Justice Department preclearance. We show above (and in the Jurisdictional Statement) that it was not necessary, as a matter of fact or law, to have unequal districts to obtain Justice Department preclearance. This is so even if preclearance under §5 was still a valid consideration after Shelby County.
In arguing that the district court was wrong to rule in favor of the IRC, Thor says "We show above... that it was not necessary, as a matter of fact or law, to have unequal districts to obtain Justice Department preclearance." He really is only saying that he "showed above." That doesn't mean that his argument actually was a logically, rationally or legally sound showing thereof.
We are left with the IRC’s desire to achieve partisan advantage as the only remaining justification explaining why it unequally apportioned Arizona’s legislative districts. The district court correctly assumed partisan advantage was not a legitimate objective.
The IRC has denied that partisan advantage was a motive for creating districts with unequal population. But the district court ruling said that the appearance thereof exists anyway. And Thor says they "correctly assumed partisan advantage was not a legitimate objective." I don't think that's what the district court ruling said. Judge Wake alone suggested it was not a legitimate objective.
...after Shelby County, partisan advantage is the IRC’s only possible justification for adopting unequal legislative districts.
Well, the district court ruled otherwise, and did so after SCOTUS issued the Shelby County ruling.

Thor and friends are not saying, "the district court was wrong" and we'd like you, the Supremes, to reconsider. They are simply stating that because of Shelby County the IRC should have known it had to do the legislative district map over again.
That did not happen in Arizona, where the IRC’s redistricting scheme allows voters in Hispanic-plurality districts to wield significantly more political influence than those in non-Hispanic-White-plurality districts.
It may be beside the point (the point Thor wants to make, anyway) that Hispanic-plurality districts in the Arizona Legislature really do NOT wield "significantly more political influence than those in non-Hispanic-White-plurality districts." But this argument (by Harris and friends) has been shown (in posts on this blog) on more than one occasion to not really be factually correct.

The underlying foundation of the Harris argument is that overpopulating non-minority districts dilutes the voice of the voters in those non-minority districts. The fact remains that the voice of the minority voter is STILL subjugated and suppressed during legislative sessions.

Because of Shelby County, SCOTUS may not buy an argument suggesting minority voters' rights have been intentionally suppressed. That doesn't mean, however, that elected Republicans in Arizona aren't really still vigorously opposing minority voter rights.

Here's the kicker. This brief makes a technically correct but brazenly and intentionally false claim about the interests behind the lawsuit.
Individual Arizona voters who have been unequally treated are bringing this challenge under the one-person, one-vote principle and ask this Court to vindicate their right to equal protection. This case is not a challenge by a political party or group claiming the IRC’s redistricting scheme makes it more difficult to elect representatives of its choice in certain districts. (emphasis in original)
Why not, Thor won't be sworn to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," will he? He's not going before SCOTUS to testify, but rather to argue. Further, even though Thor wants to exercise a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand, right after the above passage, he invokes the Arizona Legislature's pending case before the same court from three different angles.

First, since he says "constitutional deference traditionally accorded a state legislature is not applicable where (as here) the redistricting was not done by the state legislature." Second, in the brief's conclusion, Thor asks the court to stay this appeal pending its decision in the Arizona Legislature case. And third, when they do decide the other case, they want the district court's ruling vacated and this case remanded to the district court for a do over.

Ultimately, if (and it's a big IF) having Wes Harris (previously convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm) win this case would have the end result of drawing legislative districts more competitively, as measured by electoral results, I'd be all for it. But until somebody figures out how to turn the key and get a higher Hispanic voter turnout, the most likely result might just be another iteration of a GOP supermajority in both chambers of the legislature.

For a multitude of reasons, that's not a good thing for Arizona.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Redistricting -- Harris plaintiffs and AZ Legislature filed SCOTUS briefs

In Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, an 18-page brief -- Opposition to Motion to Dismiss or Affirm -- was filed recently. The gist of the brief is a complete rewrite of the outcome of the week-long March 2013 trial. Rewriting history. That's probably the best way to characterize the hissy fit convicted felon Wes Harris and his fellow plaintiffs authorized their counsel, now led by "Thor" Hearne to put in writing.

Besides rewriting history, it appears Thor is beseeching the nine Justices to try the case de novo.


In Arizona Legislature v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, lead counsel Paul Clement's 86-page brief argues, with regard to the People having approved Prop 106, that the Legislature has been injured. From page 11 of the brief, in the first section of the summary of argument:
Here, the Legislature has been completely deprived of that power, which is now in the hands of the IRC. The divestment of the Legislature’s constitutionally-conferred redistricting authority clearly constitutes an actual, concrete, and particularized injury to the Legislature. The Legislature’s injury is directly traceable to the IRC’s usurpation of the Legislature’s redistricting authority, and a favorable decision by this Court will plainly redress the Legislature’s injury by restoring its constitutional authority.
States and other State-level entities routinely seek redress in federal court when deprived of rights or powers conferred or protected by the federal Constitution. There is no reason to treat a state legislature differently when it has been deprived of a power specifically conferred upon it by the federal Constitution. That is especially so when, as here, the unconstitutional usurpation is worked by an initiative, rather than through the ordinary legislative process. Whatever issues might be implicated by a scenario where a legislative party complains of a “self-inflicted wound,” here there is no possibility of repeal or resort to political remedies to redress the injury worked by Proposition 106 and the IRC-drawn maps. The Legislature’s injury was not caused by the Legislature, and it cannot be remedied by the Legislature. Recourse in the federal courts is both permissible and appropriate.
The absurdity of this summary is astounding. "Divestment of the... redistricting authority clearly constitutes an actual, concrete, and particularized injury to the Legislature." Those poor babies. If only their mothers were around to give them hugs and hot chocolate!
"That is especially so when, as here, the unconstitutional usurpation is worked by an initiative, rather than through the ordinary legislative process."
Wouldn't that statement more properly and fairly have been stated thus? "That is especially so when, as here, the "unconstitutional" usurpation is worked by the People, rather than through the ordinary legislative process?" This is rhetorical legerdemain.

Upon perusing the caption, table of contents and table of authorities I briefly felt somewhat intimidated. But that subsided when I read the summary of the Legislature's argument.

There's not much more I can do to digest and regurgitate the contents of these two briefs tonight (this morning). So, I leave you with this excerpt from Foreword: Out from Under the Shadow of the Federal Constitution: An Overlooked American Constitutionalism (page 24). (Notes for source citations included at the linked article)
In drafting and revising nineteenth century constitutions, American constitution-makers repeatedly acknowledged that "alter or abolish" provisions were "practical" principles that gave American republics their "distinctive character." In Virginia's 1829 convention, James Monroe observed,
"Ours is a government of the people: it may properly be called self-government. I wish it may be preserved forever in the hands of the people. Our revolution was prosecuted on those principles, and all the Constitutions which have been adopted in this country are founded on the same basis."  

Speaking of "alter or abolish," here's what Monroe was referring to in the quote above. You might recognize these words, an excerpt from arguably the most sacred political document in the history of our republic.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
I don't know how many millions of Americans have read or pondered these words over the course of the last 238 or so years, but I understand that many in contemporary times have expressed deep frustration with various aspects of American government. In the 1860s, some states even went so far as to attempt succession from the Union. We know that didn't work out well for those states and for many soldiers on both sides. Anyone conversant in current affairs knows that civil disobedience and armed rebellion are in the minds of many Americans today.

Many others, including perhaps dozens of members of the Arizona Legislature today, have openly called for an Article V convention to amend the US Constitution even now. Just last spring, House Concurrent Resolution 2027, proposing that very thing, was approved by the Arizona House of Representatives but died in the Senate. Further, voters just last month approved Prop 122 as an expression of frustration with American government.

Was not Prop. 106, which established the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a conscious act of the People of Arizona to alter the federal AND state government because of longstanding and continuing oppressive acts by both Congress and the state legislature?

Is the long history of abusive partisan gerrymandering, wherein legislative officeholders choose the voters most likely to protect their incumbency, a "light and transient cause?" Or is that longstanding pattern rather a "long train of abuses and usurpations?"

As I see it, the Legislature's own argument demonstrates the very same "absolute Despotism" which drove the Founding Fathers to revolt against King George in 1776.

Maricopa County Democrats reorganizing this Saturday

The deadline for submitting candidate statements for advance posting on the Maricopa County Democratic Party's website -- for the impending reorganization -- passed this afternoon. Unless a surprise candidate emerges for any of the offices, the slate will be:

  • Kelli Butler, running for MCDP Chair. Former LD28 chair; ran for Arizona Senate in 2014.
  • Steven Slugocki, running for reelection as MCDP First Vice-Chair.
  • Randy Keating, running for MCDP Second Vice-Chair. Past chairman of LD26 Democrats.
  • Jacqueline Adams, running for MCDP Treasurer. Currently serves the Arizona Democratic Party as operations manager.
  • Robert Donat, running for reelection as MCDP Secretary.
  • Jessica Gonzales, running for MCDP Sergeant-at-Arms. Has served as Second Vice-Chair for LD30 Democrats.
I recommend you read each candidate's statement, posted online. The link, again, is the Maricopa County Democratic Party. This is Kelli (in the middle).

Kelli, along with Steven and Randy as chair and vice-chairs will set a clear vision for building Democratic LD organizations, developing volunteers and future candidates for elected offices. All of these candidates are strong, smart and care deeply about what matters for everyday Arizonans. 

I support this team. 

It's sunrise in Arizona. We're turning Arizona BLUE.