Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Redistricting -- Meeting on May 2nd

Following up on last week's meeting, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission this morning sent notice that it will meet on Thursday, May 2nd at 2:30pm at its office, 1100 W. Washington, in Phoenix.

The agenda is virtually identical to last week's as the April 25th meeting saw no resolution to any of the issues presented at that time. However, since last week's meeting, the legislature did pass and the governor did sign a supplemental appropriation bill for $635,226. That will allow the AIRC to keep the lights on, staff paid and attorneys still working on the various lawsuits still outstanding.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Republicans say the darnedest things!

Those of you who've been following the Arizona Eagletarian since the summer of 2011 will be familiar with the name Kelly Townsend. Among her wacky verbal exploits, she testified at the first redistricting open hearing back in July 2011 addressing redistricting Commissioner McNulty as if she was Chairwoman Mathis.

In running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives, Townsend used Clean Elections funding but successfully wormed her way out of a required public debate with other candidates in legislative district 16 in Gilbert. Her deft maneuvering to avoid demonstrating just how incoherent she can be enabled her to win election.

It's no wonder really, as the Republican voter registration advantage in the East Valley district is overwhelming. (Republicans have 40.0 percent, Independents 37.0 percent, Democrats 22.3 percent, with the rest Libertarian, Green or Americans Elect party registered voters)

It's difficult for me to believe she is able to construct a coherent argument or even make a clear statement when speaking. However, a tea potter from way back, she obviously can read from a script (probably furnished by Constantin Querard). Nevertheless Townsend has succeeded in making it clear she is not a fan of independent redistricting.

So, it came as no surprise when I learned Thursday that, during floor debate on the supplemental appropriation bill for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, she made an outrageous and clearly false claim. Townsend states her purpose as being to call attention to the IRC's history of "misappropriations of funds." She goes on,
I would also like to mention that they had to hire a second mapping consultant to teach the first mapping consultant on how to be mapping consultant...
It's blatantly obvious that Townsend, when she's not reading from a script during this debate, puts words together that only loosely relate to the situation she is trying to describe. The bottom line, however, is that her claim about hiring a second mapping consultant, etc. is a bald-faced lie. That's beyond the first brazen misrepresentation (about misappropriation of funds).

Get Microsoft Silverlight

On September 4, 2012, Debra K. Davenport, Auditor General for the State of Arizona, issued her final report on a full examination of the financial records of the AIRC.
The Auditor General is appointed by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, a bipartisan committee composed of five senators and five representatives. Her mission is to provide independent and impartial information and specific recommendations to improve the operations of state and local government entities. To this end, she provides financial audits and accounting services to the State and political subdivisions, investigates possible misuse of public monies, and conducts performance audits of school districts, state agencies, and the programs they administer.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (Commission) is established by the State Constitution to create congressional and legislative districts every 10 years. This special audit focused on all paid and accrued expenditures the Commission incurred during fiscal years 2011 and 2012, including a description of and the purpose for professional and outside services, travel, other operating expenses, capital equipment, and noncapital equipment. The Office of the Auditor General does not make any recommendations in this report. (emphasis mine) 
Also from the Arizona Eagletarian on September 5, 2012:
In other words, after several thorough examinations (not only by the Auditor General), NOBODY found ANY impropriety in the administration of the financial affairs of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission as conducted from when members were sworn in (February 2011) until the end of the period examined by the auditors.
Had Townsend continued to ramble on, another member of the House may have rightfully called a Point of Order to put an end to her fabricated nonsense. But since she kept it to roughly two minutes, she got away with it. As a matter of rule, members of the House are not allowed to even suggest a colleague is misrepresenting the truth, or otherwise disparage each other.

Thankfully, this was all recorded.

Tragically, without massive increases in the number of Democratic voters in LD16, the only way Townsend will be ousted is if GOP activists call her on her bullshit enough and put up a credible candidate to beat her in a primary election.

In the meantime, this information can and should be used to fire up those voters. We will need them in order to win statewide offices up for election in 2014.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Redistricting -- April 25 meeting recap

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission met for about an hour and a half on Thursday afternoon with the (geographical) focal point being its office on Washington St in Phoenix. Commissioner Freeman was the only member attending in person. The other four participated by conference call.

Discussion, none of which occurred in executive session, revolved around requests made by the two Republican commissioners. Rick Stertz has requested that for additional litigation he be allowed to have separate legal counsel other than Joe Kanefield and Mary O'Grady. He made that request in writing and I have requested a copy of that letter (or memo or email, which ever it is). Scott Freeman has requested access to various commission documents that he says he has been prevented from seeing heretofore.

Both Stertz and Freeman indicated they wanted to discuss those issues openly with the public able to listen and observe even though Kanefield and O'Grady recommended going into executive session.

Rather than provide a blow-by-blow account, I'll summarize by saying that they got as far as making a motion to authorize each member to obtain separate counsel. The motion was not voted on because of concerns expressed that members wanted to think about and explore before the next meeting.

AIRC staff expressed concern about whether authorizing individual counsel was fiscally justifiable, given recent (at least verbal) push back from legislative leadership. Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl quotes House Speaker Andy Tobin:

The Legislature made quick work Thursday of bills that hand $635,226 to the commission, which is charged by voters with drawing political boundaries for legislative and congressional races. The commission needs the money to defend itself against three lawsuits arising from its work in 2011-12.
House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, called the legal costs “absurd” but nonetheless sponsored the bill appropriating the money. The state Constitution requires the public to pay the commission’s legal fees, which are mounting as the three cases, including one filed by the Legislature, proceed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is mostly about lawyers now,” Tobin told House members.

Speaking of a next meeting, because there was no decision on anything on the agenda yesterday, the AIRC is looking to set up a meeting as soon as they figure out a time all five commissioners will be available, likely sometime next week.

For wonky types (like me?) you will likely find the discussion interesting to listen to yourself once it is posted online. Staff said shortly after the meeting adjourned that they expected to have the recording posted Thursday evening. At this time, however, it still is not up. When it is, you will find it at this link.

Also on Thursday, the legislature passed a supplemental appropriation for the AIRC in the amount of $635,266.

I also heard that during floor debate on this bill in the House (committee of the whole), one Republican member claimed that the AIRC had to hire a mapping contractor to train Strategic Telemetry (its mapping contractor) on how to draw district maps. I will be looking for the video from that debate and hope to post it for your viewing pleasure as soon as possible.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bob Edgar 1943 - 2013, a true hero

Bob Edgar, CEO of Common Cause, a tireless advocate for the American values of fairness and openness in government, died suddenly at his home in Virginia today.

From CommonCause.org:
"We are deeply saddened and shaken today by the passing of Bob Edgar," said Common Cause Board Chair Robert Reich. "Bob will be remembered for his decency, kindness, compassion and humor. His deep commitment to social justice and strengthening our democracy is his greatest gift to Common Cause and the nation. Our hearts are with Bob’s family, his wife Merle, and sons Andrew, David and Rob, and their families."
I am humbled and truly thankful to have been able to meet Bob three weeks ago when he was in Phoenix for a showing of the United States of ALEC.

Along with Lisa Graves from the Center for Media and Democracy, Bob had been making the rounds shining light on ALEC throughout the country. Bill Moyers, producer of the United States of ALEC video posted a tribute which included an interview Bill did with Bob along with Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen back in 2008.

Common Cause, under Bob's direction, joined an amicus brief supporting reinstatement of Colleen Mathis to the chairmanship of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission back in the fall of 2011.

Like all who knew Bob Edgar, I am deeply saddened today. We lost a genuine hero.

Redistricting -- meeting April 25

On Thursday, April 25, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will meet at 2pm (Mountain Standard Time) at its office in the Evans House, 1100 W. Washington in Phoenix.

On the agenda: legal advice (much of which is likely to take place in executive session) regarding the various lawsuits still pending as well as the possibility of suing the legislature to provide funding necessary to pay bills, if the legislature is reluctant to provide the needed funding), executive director's report on budget related issues (including the need for an additional supplemental appropriation... to pay legal bills) and on recent staff activities. There will also be a call for public comment.  

As to budget issues, the Associated Press reported yesterday that:
The Legislature approved an emergency $500,000 appropriation in January. The commission is now asking for between $635,000 and $720,000 to pay legal and other bills through June 30.
A House committee gave permission Monday for the late introduction of another supplemental appropriations bill.
House Speaker Andy Tobin says the bill will call for just over $635,000 is extra funding.
Today, Tobin introduced HB 2665 which calls for $635,226 in additional funding for the current fiscal year AND provides that the AIRC will be allowed to pay current year bills with money appropriated for fiscal year 2013-2014. Beside the fact that HB 2665 has not been debated or voted on yet, no fiscal year 2013-2014 funding has yet been authorized.


On Earth Day (yesterday), I heard from a fly that had been on a wall overhearing a conversation with David Cantelme. This fly tells me the GOP plaintiffs' counsel figures the three-judge panel will likely hand down its ruling in the Harris case by the end of May. The federal court previously had shown keen sensitivity to the tight time frames necessary to not throw the 2014 legislative election into chaos, so it makes sense they would want to get the ruling out as soon as possible.

This fly on the wall also suggested Cantelme does not expect the Congressional district lines to change at all based on Leach v AIRC (still pending in Maricopa County Superior Court).

The fly said that Cantelme is optimistic about his chances in Harris and figured the outcome will depend on how Judge Clifton sees it, since he thinks Wake is on his side and Silver is not. One last thing, and this is likely to be among the questions discussed in executive session on Thursday, is that if Cantelme prevails, he believes there will be an appeal to the US Supreme Court.


Local redistricting expert Tony Sissons of Research Advisory Services authored a guest editorial posted today by the Arizona Capitol Times (not behind a paywall). Sissons set forth a methodology for crowdsourcing a new legislative district map in the event the federal court invalidates the current lines.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why have you never heard of Henry George?

Okay, maybe you have heard of him, but until very recently, I had not. Not while earning my bachelor's degree in business administration (major in accounting) from Arizona State. Not from labor leaders, though I was a member of the United Telegraph Workers in the 1970s; nor from AFSCME, though I was a member in the 1990s.

George first published Progress and Poverty, subtitled "an inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth... The Remedy," in 1879.

Wikipedia's article on George starts:
Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the "single tax" on land. He inspired the economic philosophy known as Georgism, whose main tenet is that people should own what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly the value of land, belongs equally to all humanity. His most famous work, Progress and Poverty (1879), is a treatise on inequality, the cyclic nature of industrialized economies, and the use of the land value tax as a remedy.
Albert Einstein is quoted (on the back cover of my copy of Progress and Poverty) as saying:
Men like Henry George are rare, unfortunately. One cannot imagine a more beautiful combination of intellectual keenness, artistic form, and fervent love of justice.
American philosopher and education reform advocate John Dewey is quoted (also on the back cover):
No man, no graduate of a higher educational institution, has a right to regard himself as an educated man in social thought unless he has some first-hand acquaintance with the theoretical contribution of this great American thinker.
So, WHY have we never heard of Henry George until now?

Perhaps what Leo Tolstoy had to say is instructive:
People do not argue with the teaching of George, the simply do not know it. And it is impossible to do otherwise with his teaching, for he who becomes acquainted with it cannot but agree.
People will freak out in fear of Marxism and many WILL argue against it. We know the pitfalls of communism and that as a system of government and economics, it is not sustainable. But the best they can do with Georgism is to ignore it and hope it will go away.

Georgism does NOT advocate government ownership of the means of production. It does not disavow capitalism. But it DOES revolve around concepts that, when enacted in a community, an economy, a government, naturally remedies the now grossly widening gap between the .001 percent and the rest of us.

George's granddaughter, Agnes George de Mille wrote in a preface to the Centennial edition of Progress and Poverty (1979):
Inevitably he was reviled as well as idolized. The men who believed in what he advocated called themselves disciples, and they were in fact nothing less: working to the death, proclaiming, advocating, haranguing, and proselytizing the idea, and even, when lacking inspired leadership, becoming fanatically foolish so that the movement which touched greatness began to founder. It was not implemented by blood, as was communism, and so was not forced on people's attention. Shortly after George's death, it dropped out of the political field. Once a badge of honor, the title, "Single Taxer," came into general disuse. Except in Alberta (the richest and most prosperous province of Canada) and in Australia and New Zealand, his plan of social action has been neglected while those of Marx, Keynes, Galbraith and Friedman have won great attention, and Marx's has been given partial implementation, for a time, at least, in large areas of the globe.
But nothing that has been tried satisfies. We, the people, the whole people, are locked in a death grapple and nothing our leaders offer, or are willing to offer, mitigates our troubles. George said, "The people must think because the people alone can act."
We should note that Milton Friedman was the architect of the structural economic changes ushered in at the beginning of Ronald Reagan's first administration, notably deregulation and the doctrine that all government services should be privatized. We know with tremendous certainty that it was Friedman's ideas that widened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots to the obscene proportions we have now.

In Arizona, going back almost 25 years now, state government has decreased its reliance on a state property tax. Without knowing anything about Georgist economic theory, even I could see that what replaced it -- reliance on sales taxes -- put undue burden on lower income families. It was and is incredibly regressive.

So, really, what needs to happen now? Well, Progress and Poverty is 565 pages long, so there's obviously quite a bit of insight to be gleaned and it will take more than a couple of hours reading to get there. It seems reasonable, at this stage of the game, that reinstituting a statewide property tax is probably something that should be put on the drawing board. But to develop a platform that can sway the electorate to put lawmakers in office who will be willing to move in that direction will take some time and a good bit of effort. It can be done in time to begin defining the issue for the 2014 election season.

American journalist and author John Kieran said,
No one should be allowed to speak above a whisper or write more than ten words on the general subject (economics) unless he has read and digested Progress and Poverty.
As difficult as this last week was for America and Americans, the power of social media was on display in a big way, in identifying and ultimately locating the Boston Marathon bombers. But more than that, activism via social media has pretty much become a force of nature, as demonstrated by outrage regarding the US Senate vote on closing the gun show loophole for background checks, and about the President Obama's budget proposal including Social Security cuts in the name of Chained-CPI.


The fact of the matter is that Georgist economic theory has not really gone away. There are Henry George Schools of Social Sciences in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and maybe elsewhere.
At the Henry George School you will discover the true cause of problems such as low incomes, poverty and unemployment. You will understand why so few are so wealthy, while others go without basic necessities.
Discover How the Economy Really works by participating in our tuition-free courses and seminars.
But it is unclear whether or to what extent, Henry George Schools of Social Sciences have grasped or are planning to implement online courses and seminars (webinars).

And as bloggers and Occupy activists learn about George's remedies, those bloggers and activists will obviously be able to help spread the vision of what CAN be done to level the playing field so that the promise of a job providing a living wage can reach every American family.

Let's make it so.

WE are the leaders we've been waiting for!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Place at the Table?

On Thursday evening, Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability presented A Place at the Table,

The documentary smacks the viewer in the face with awareness of hunger in contemporary America.

Not very long ago, a contrarian friend took issue with a statement someone (it might have been me) made on facebook about people suffering food insecurity in Arizona. At least that is kind of how I remember it. This friend, in my view, was parsing words. In his view, he was saying that nobody in Arizona starves to death.

Of course, technically, he's probably right. But is that really the point that needs to be made?

The problem of food insecurity in Arizona and in America hides, out of reach of our ready awareness, perhaps because most of us have our own problems, pressures and everyday stresses to worry about. But, as the movie points out, in the 1970s, hunger, or food insecurity, was all but eradicated in our country.

We need to realize the cost to all Americans for letting children go hungry. Long term costs -- most obviously in public health and safety problems -- will far overshadow the immediate cost to make sure all children are well nourished every day.

The near term problem is certainly NOT a lack of food.

After the showing, Greg Peterson from The Urban Farm, Debra Emmanuelle from Green Papillon, Bob Evans from United Food Bank, and Beverly Damore from St. Mary's Food Bank discussed food insecurity in Arizona with a near full house at the Valley Art Theater in Tempe.

From a resource sustainability perspective, Peterson's vision -- to have a garden growing food in every yard -- will make a huge dent in the problem. The movie, however, while discussing the need for a political fix, all too briefly alludes to the bottom line. That is to say, WHY in what we believe to be the richest country in the world*, are so many people living in poverty?

I'm reminded of a saying by Brazilian Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

What needs to be done to provide a lasting solution?


* When gauged as a measure of Per Capita income, by the latest calculations, the United States is apparently only 7th richest.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Always playing "catch up," or can we get out in front?

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court opened the floodgates with its decision in the Citizens United case.

In 2012, the richest Americans who were most determined to purchase the American Presidency (and Congress) put forth great effort to fulfill the promise of Citizens United. In the end, in many cases, they were frustrated in that pursuit, in large part because of the role of social media.

At the beginning of the 2013 Arizona legislative session, certain people (and groups) asked me to help with research (like bill tracking) and in writing for op-eds, letters to editors and social media content. The idea seemed intriguing and for a short time, I went for it. Within just a couple of weeks, however, it became apparent that traditional grassroots activism during legislative sessions was sometimes an exercise in futility and looked increasingly like people trying to play catch up in a foot race with Big Money.

The challenge at this point in history is figuring out how to get ahead of the curve.

Two books I'm now reading provide key insight, Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government (by Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, currently serving as California Lieutenant Governor) and Plutocrats: the Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else (by Thomson Reuters digital editor and financial writer, Chrystia Freeland).

The first important insight is that despite pushback from those resisting change, the technological revolution of government is and will be unstoppable. The only questions to be asked relate to how much how soon and, how to maintain data security/process integrity. Those questions WILL be answered. They will NOT stop the revolution.

The book Future Shock was written and became a worldwide best seller when I was in high school. While I never read it, the concept was always at least on the back burner for me. Therefore, I have been aware  for more than 40 years that society would be and is experiencing technological change at accelerating speed. Reflecting back on those 40-plus years, it's very easy to recognize many of the changes that we now cannot (easily) live without.

For me, looking back on my work in a telecommunications systems control center overseas for the US Air Force as a (very) young adult, highlights this reality. From 1974-76, the now starkly archaic dedicated teletype "orderwires" we used operated at the lightning speed of 110 baud. Later in the 1970s, working for Western Union Telegraph Company, I and my co-workers were amazed at high-speed modems operating at 9.6kbps (9600 baud). When I first got on the Internet in the mid-1990s, dial up phone modems typically maxed out at 56kbps. Today, 56K is archaic.

Western Union's history dramatically illustrates the capitalistic idea of "adapt or die." As we've seen over the last few years with newspapers, technological advances can be incredibly disruptive. But they cannot be stopped.

There are plenty of places and directions to go in follow up to this essay. 

For now, suffice it to say that WE who RIGHTFULLY OWN American government must mandate the direction political system re-invention must go. In so doing, we can and we will reestablish the role of the voice of the American People, but we must embrace the vision of change rather than keep doing things the way we've learned to do them up to this point. 

What will such a re-invention of American politics, lawmaking and public policy determination look like? That's a question for MANY others. Others who will embrace the need for change, who will engage their imagination and who will speak up and write essays, editorial columns and books setting forth their vision.

We already know what it does NOT look like. It does not look like the Tinfoil Hat Brigades being advocated by the Wes Harrises of the world (or the John Birch Society). 

The US Armed Forces are already setting the example for institutional change. The 12-page report, "Adapt or Die: the Imperative for a Culture of Innovation in the United States Army" is key. Of course the military is a large institution and is not always willing to let everyone know what it is up to. The Pentagon has made no secret, however, about its view that energy is a matter of national security.

Seemingly "under-the-radar" American military bases have been installing massive solar power generating capacity. Equally important, the Army and Marine Corps are developing portable solar applications

In the meantime, we must Move to Amend the United States Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tinfoil Hat or Black Helicopter Brigade?

Tinfoil Hat or Black Helicopter Brigade, take your pick.

State Sen. Judy Burges, one of the brigade members, held a hearing last week in the Arizona Senate to discuss United Nations' Agenda 21. Of course, this is not exactly new, or necessarily news, in and of itself.

However, in 2012 and again this year, she introduced bills to outlaw Agenda 21 and prohibit any state government agency, employee, or political subdivision (defined in the bill as "this state, or a county, city or town in this state including any special districts authorized by a county, city or town") from complying with said UN declaration.

Naturally, it's easy to dismiss Mrs. Burges and others in her brigade. After all, the need for sustainable energy and a sustainable economy are well established ESPECIALLY in central and southern Arizona deserts. But we really do need to put Burges and her cohort in perspective.

First, Burges' bill may have originated as model legislation (not from ALEC but instead) promulgated by the John Birch Society. At this time, the JBS web page on Agenda 21 is quite sophisticated but there is no direct reference to model legislation. However, it does cite the Arizona legislation as well as Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire and Oklahoma all as having had legislation introduced. In its Agenda 21 Rollback Manual, JBS instructs activists to determine if their lawmakers are "members of, or affiliated with, other organizations (such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Sierra Club, World Conservation Union, World Resources Institute, Zero Population)..."

Lumping the Sierra Club in with the Council on Foreign Relations is likely meant as a signal (not unlike that of the Manchurian Candidate) to get JBS followers to believe and reflexively act as if environmental activism is a plot to undermine the freedom of Americans (and the Constitution of the United States). Except that during this hearing, former state Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-6000-year old Earth) comes right out and claims that to, in fact, be the purpose and goal of the UN Declaration.

I wish this was as unlikely as it seems absurd. I wish it was reasonable to just laugh off and dismiss Judy Burges and the rest of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade at the Arizona Legislature. But make no mistake, those people are True Believers in their cause.

Here are highlights from last week's hearing:

From Sen. Steve Farley's (D-Tucson) Friends O' Farley report dated April 16,

In the middle of all this, Rep. Bob Thorpe, (R-Flagstaff), decided to "joke around" by inviting the audience, "Please refrain from laughing and clapping, but here in Arizona if you do have your Colt 45, please feel free to shoot it into the air." Note that the Senate Floor was directly above the hearing room. You can see a video of him saying this here. Later he helpfully pointed out another target of ire, Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr, in the audience, so they would know who she was.  

I doubt Farley is aware of the "dog whistle" nature of Thorpe's comments about Bahr. Hopefully, even though he made the video available, he will not dismiss these folks as harmless cranks. To what extent they are capable of harm, I do not know. But right in the front row of the gallery sat Wes Harris, who has the honor of being the first named plaintiff in the Harris et al v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the case that recently wrapped up trial proceedings in federal court).

In 2012, SB1507 died in the House after having been approved in committees and in debate on the House floor, but not being scheduled for a Third Read vote. Recall that in 2012, the GOP enjoyed a supermajority in both chambers. The Senate had already approved it by a vote of 21-9.

This year, the Senate approved SB1403 by a vote of 16-13. It is currently languishing in the House with no action currently scheduled in that chamber. Last week's hearing was in the Senate with Burges apparently hopeful to light a fire under the House on the issue.

Do not dismiss Wes Harris. He clearly is determined to make an impact on public policy in Arizona, so it would be a gross miscalculation to underestimate him (them) as nothing more than a nuisance.

I would be remiss if I didn't specifically call attention of the three-judge federal court panel now working on writing its opinion and ruling in Harris et al v the AIRC. Judge's Neil Wake, Richard Clifton and Roslyn Silver now have all written documents and briefs, trial transcripts and a whole lot of evidence to think over and carefully consider. But THEY will be remiss if they don't consider who exactly is asking them to overturn the legislative district map adopted by the AIRC.

Harris' lawsuit is nothing but an effort to undermine the will of the People of Arizona for purposes Wesley Harris demonstrates in the highlight video from the Tinfoil Hat Brigade hearing in the Arizona Senate last week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Medicaid Expansion in Arizona

Other than the lingering question of whether legislative district lines will be modified for the 2014 election cycle, enactment of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is among the top public policy issues yet to be decided in the Arizona Legislature this year.

However, as a practical matter, the issue HAS already been decided whether journalists, pundits and activists of various flavors are ready to accept the fact yet or not.

Phoenix Business Journal's Mike Sunnucks writes:
While it appears conservative opposition to Brewer’s full-court press may not be enough to stop the expansion, anti-abortion advocates want to include language in the Medicaid bill specifically restricting funds from being used for abortions and for any AHCCCS money to be allocated to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is backing the Medicaid expansion.
Sunnucks also wrote:
While some business groups are aggressively in governor’s camp, others talk about political realities.
“Regardless of if we expand Medicaid in Arizona or not, the federal government will spend the money and Arizonans we will have to pay for it. We are trying to make the best out of a bad situation,” said Arizona Small Business Association CEO Rick Murray in a blog post on his group’s website. 
I have to wonder if Sunnucks' apparent hedging wasn't just being "politically correct" according to his employer's editorial requirements. Murray's statement sounds to me like he knows we need the expansion in our state whether vocal (i.e. obnoxiously hostile) conservatives are ready to accept it or not.

What do those hostile conservatives have up their sleeves? Recently, copies of a mailer targeting Gov. Brewer's legislative point person, state Rep. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek) on Medicaid expansion were apparently left on the desks (on the House floor) of members.

The mailer was apparently paid for by one of the Koch Brothers' favorite "charities," Americans for Prosperity. The local chapter of which is headed up by Tom Jenney.

This morning, on Channel 12's Sunday Square Off, local broadcast reporter Brahm Resnik spoke with Gov. Brewer's chief political adviser Chuck Coughlin about the issue. Coughlin said "the legislature's own economist, Marshall Vest, said, 'adopting this program will be the most significant enhancement to the state's economy in the short term.'" Naturally, Coughlin demurred rather than sound overconfident about the adoption of the expansion.

However, even though Coughlin, Brewer and others have discussed (see video clip below) that Arizonans have twice voted to extend Medicaid (AHCCCS) coverage beyond what state officials previously wanted, the bottom line -- from Brewer's point of view -- is the very easily foreseeable impact on Arizona's overall economy by bringing in billions of additional federal dollars. Conversely, the adverse impact, especially on rural Arizona health care infrastructure, to refusing the federal funding is likely catastrophe.
In the meantime, a coalition of business leaders began running television advertisements promoting Ms. Brewer’s plan as a lifeline to hospitals, particularly in rural areas, where the number of Medicaid recipients is large, as is the number of uninsured seeking care in emergency rooms.
So, why do I think the fight is all but finished?

For one thing, chief GOP bully Cathi Herrod's letter to Brewer and legislative leaders concedes the point with the only caveat that Herrod wants assurance that expansion will not enable any government money to be used to fund abortions.

Second, House Speaker Andy Tobin issued a memo to all Members of the House subsequent to distribution of the Carter hit piece.
This is a reminder that the custom and practice of the House regarding the distribution of papers to members’ desks on the Floor has been that, except for routine business from the Chief Clerk, any distribution must have the prior approval of the Speaker’s Office. Additionally, it is always inappropriate to enter and leave materials in members’ offices without their permission. Just like impugning a member on the Floor is prohibited, the distribution of materials to members’ offices of a derogatory nature towards House members is also prohibited.
One might expect the People's Representatives to have a sense of dignity and decency by the time they get elected from any legislative district. We have come to understand that when it comes to Tea Party affiliations especially, that's not necessarily the case in Arizona. Hence Tobin having to put his foot down to ensure he maintains order in the House.

While I could go on and on, my last point will be that Brewer has held press conferences on the Capitol lawn on more than one occasion already. She has made it abundantly clear that this issue is one of two top priorities she has for this legislative session. Despite all of her foibles and shortcomings,

Further, Brewer's adviser Coughlin was behind development of this YouTube video explaining the governor's position.

And then there is the recent saga of former Arizona Department of Veterans' Services director Joey Strickland.

Brewer's chief of staff, Scott Smith demanded Strickland's resignation apparently because the former Army Lt. Colonel had offered former state Rep. Terri Proud a job as an administrative assistant.

Proud was an outspoken Tea Party affiliated Republican. She was also clearly a RWNJ. And that is about the kindest thing I can say about her. Bottom line is that she was and apparently still is "radioactive," politically speaking. Brewer took a lot of flak from veterans' groups about Strickland being forced out. But she did not even blink. There was not the slightest indication of wavering on her part.

In comments on local news websites regarding the issue, I speculated -- and still believe very emphatically -- that the entire situation with Proud was a "shot across the bow" to lawmakers who dare to oppose her on this issue.

Jan Brewer holds all the cards. She has veto power over legislation and she's not afraid to use it. She has not yet had to resort to it. Tea Party affiliated GOP lawmakers who dare to go toe-to-toe with her on her top policy issues will suffer political consequences that could make Tom Jenney's threats (see the mailer above) look like junior high school pranks.

Brewer is nothing if not clever and determined.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Redistricting -- What's in the final briefs?

If THIS is the best he can come up with, David Cantelme has been wasting a whole lot of time and a whole lot of taxpayer and Republican special interest money over the last two years.

Plaintiffs' opening brief has two pages of Table of Contents, two more pages at the start for a Table of Authorities and then the narrative starts like this:
The IRC diluted Plaintiffs’ votes. No legitimate interest of the State of Arizona justified or compelled the vote dilution. To this end, Plaintiffs have alleged that the IRC:
     systematically overpopulate[ed] Republican plurality districts and
     systematically underpopulat[ed] Democrat plurality districts with no
     lawful state interest justifying such deviations from equality of population
     among Arizona legislative districts.
Opening with the conclusion they HOPE the three-judge federal court panel will agree with them on. The Republican National Committee (who footed the bill for Cantelme's "expert" witness and who knows how much more) and others spent an awful lot of money on a hope and a prayer. But they certainly did not prove any factual basis for those allegations.

Ultimately, this appears to be about questions of law. I can't claim any degree of insight on how those questions will be parsed and answered, but it really appears to me that the bottom line was to discredit the entire process of Independent Redistricting any which way they could. On that bottom line question, I can't see how they can get away with their fiendish plot.

Further, plaintiffs' brief says:
The United States Supreme Court stated the equal-protection test 49 years ago in Roman v. Sincock:
In our view the problem does not lend itself to any such uniform formula, and it is neither practicable nor desirable to establish rigid mathematical standards for evaluating the constitutional validity of a state legislative apportionment scheme under the Equal Protection Clause. Rather, the proper judicial approach is to ascertain whether, under the particular circumstances existing in the individual State whose legislative apportionment is at issue, there has been a faithful adherence to a plan of population-based representation, with such minor deviations only as may occur in recognizing certain factors that are free from any taint of arbitrariness or discrimination. (emphasis added)
Plaintiffs' citation (above) would seem to completely discredit any claim they would have regarding questions of law. Recall that the burden of proof in this case is completely on the plaintiffs to demonstrate that there was -- according to this case law -- any taint of arbitrariness or discrimination. Rather than argue on my own whether they succeeded (which I certainly do not believe they accomplished) I'll quote from the brief filed by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in a moment.

At the end of their 46-page brief, here's what Cantelme and friends say they want the court to do:
Here, the Court should order the IRC to reconvene and begin anew the four-step process for redistricting Arizona’s legislative seats. ARIZ. CONST. art. 4, pt. 2, § 1(14). The order should direct that district boundaries should be adjusted only to satisfy the criteria set forth in Article 4, part 2, § 1(14) of the Arizona Constitution, and that the IRC make a good faith effort to avoid deviations in district population. It should not employ population deviations among districts unless doing so is an incidental result of applying the redistricting criteria set forth in § 1(14). Using population deviations to obtain preclearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is not permitted, and neither is using population deviation in order to create influence districts, cross-over districts and coalition districts. At a minimum, the Court should order that the IRC reverse the change made to LD 8 at its December 19, 2011 meeting that resulted in underpopulating that district and impacting the surrounding districts of 11, 12, and 16. See generally TE 405. See Department of Justice Redistricting Guidance at 76 FR 7470 at 7472 (“Preventing retrogression under Section 5 does not require jurisdictions to violate the one-person, one-vote principle.”) (citing 52 FR 488 (Jan. 6, 1987)). TE 34. The Court should set reasonable time limits on the IRC’s task to create a substitute plan. Should the Court determine that there is not sufficient time for the IRC to create a substitute plan in time to hold the 2014 primary elections, it may order the use of a temporary plan until the IRC is able to finalize and obtain preclearance.
And, oh, by the way, IF we win, we are going to ask the Court to make those mean people at the IRC pay us for all the time WE spent on this lawsuit. That, of course, is a HUGE "if." And I'm not sure how much hubris it takes for Cantelme and Liburdi to demand that Arizona taxpayers foot the bill for their quest to undermine independent redistricting, but it sure takes a lot of gall.


The AIRC brief, 42 pages long, begins:

Plaintiffs cannot prevail without proof that the minor population deviations in the legislative map resulted solely from the promotion of an unconstitutional or irrational state policy. Before trial, Plaintiffs promised the Court that they would prove that “a policy of increasing the Democratic Party’s strength” (i.e., partisanship) was the cause of the minor population deviations and that a broad conspiracy drove the process and dictated the outcome. (See Doc. 176 at 2.) Yet by the end of the trial, lacking any direct evidence of bad intent, they now urge the Court to strike down the legislative map because the Commission did more than Plaintiffs say was required to comply with the Voting Rights Act; because an unnecessary exercise of discretion, even for a constitutionally valid purpose, is enough to infer an improper motive; and because the final population and registration numbers, despite explanations throughout the record of their causes, lead directly to the conclusion that compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other constitutional requirements was nothing more than a pretext for creating a Democratic map. As the trial has shown, however, Plaintiffs’ theory is contrary to the clear facts, decades of case law, and well-established principles governing redistricting and the proper role of courts in the process. More specifically, Plaintiffs’ claims fail because (i) they cannot overcome the accepted presumption of constitutionality for legislative plans within a ten-percent deviation; (ii) the record of Commission proceedings, clearly the best evidence of the Commissioners’ intent, explains all of the decisions made, the permissible reasons for such decisions, and the effect of those decisions on the final map; (iii) ignoring the record and relying only on their characterization of the final population figures, Plaintiffs cannot satisfy their burden to show that the Commission acted with a discriminatory purpose; (iv) absent a radical departure from governing law, the Commission’s good-faith efforts to satisfy the Voting Rights Act constitute legitimate reasons for the minor population deviations; and (v) the notion that the final map is evidence of a Democratic conspiracy is viable only if the Court concludes that the alleged conspirators were inept and sought to guarantee their entrenchment as the minority party in Arizona for as long as the map remained in effect. Plaintiffs did not meet their burden. (emphasis added)
As if that wasn't enough,
Plaintiffs’ “pretext” claim is fatally weakened by a second critical fact. The Court must not look at discriminatory impact from only one angle, but instead must evaluate the complete picture to see whether there truly is a discriminatory impact. Viewed objectively, the legislative map is a Republican friendly map, with Republicans winning 17 out of 30 senate seats and 36 out of 60 house seats in 2012. (Ex. 549.) Republicans are overrepresented relative to their two-way registration. (Exhibit 448 ¶ 12; Exhibit 447 ¶ 37.) And the Republicans will likely retain control of the legislature for the decade. (Trial Tr. at 327.) The idea that the Commission would overpopulate Anglo Republican districts for the purpose of invidious discrimination, yet create a map that ultimately over represents Republicans in the Legislature makes no sense unless it was part of a wholly illogical Democratic scheme to entrench itself as the minority party.
That paragraph also goes to my belief that this entire lawsuit was about nothing more and nothing less than undermining the concept and practice of independent redistricting. Further, taken in the larger context of Republican efforts (in Arizona AND other states) to undermine the Voting Rights Act make this whole scenario into theater of the absurd.

The lessons of American history are smacking us upside the head pretty hard right now. From the start, enshrining civil rights in the founding documents has been one thing, but adapting everyday life something different altogether. My only consolation in this lawsuit is that in the event plaintiffs prevail and the current legislative district map is invalidated, a MORE competitive and more balanced map that doesn't so blatantly favor Republicans can be fought for and enacted.

Getting to the conclusion (also from the AIRC brief),
This Court determined this was an “extraordinary” case and allowed discovery of the Commissioners and staff on issues central to the federal claim. See Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 218. Plaintiffs have had unprecedented discovery yet have been unable to find their “smoking gun.” This should support a strong inference of the absence of discriminatory intent. In sum, Plaintiffs have failed to prove that the Commissioners purpose was to harm Republicans rather than to achieve preclearance. 
For the foregoing reasons, the Commission respectfully requests that the Court dismiss Plaintiffs’ claims and enter judgment in the Commission’s favor.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Harris v AIRC -- closing briefs

For your reading pleasure, Harris (plaintiffs represented by Cantelme) final written argument (46 pages) and that filed by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission are now posted and available for you to download and read.

After I spend some time looking them over, I'll post my impressions. However, at this time I do not know when we can expect the decision of the three-judge panel to be handed down or how they will parse and answer the questions of law that the lawsuit presented. We do know that based on various pre-trial pleadings and decisions, the judges know the timetable for Arizona elections officials is tight and if they will require changes to the legislative district maps, they will likely rule sooner rather than later.

No final argument briefs yet

The clock just struck midnight.

As of about 10:35 pm Wednesday evening, I had received word that counsel for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission was still working on the final written brief in the Harris v AIRC lawsuit -- even though the deadline was supposed to be close of business yesterday (Wednesday).

At about 7:30 pm, I had also received word that counsel for plaintiffs (Harris et. al.) were also still working on their final brief.

No doubt, all the attorneys will be wiped out (tired) for the regular work day (Thursday), but I still hope to get copies and post them as soon as possible.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Redistricting trial -- final argument deadline

When the trial wrapped on March 29 in Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the deadline for filing final argument briefs was set for close of business today (April 8).

Of course, therefore, I was excited when the day came that we would get to see what would be in those final arguments. Alas, today it is not to be.

Last Friday, counsel for both sides stipulated (agreed) to a request for a two-day extension of the deadline. One might be tempted to infer that since the stipulation was written and submitted to the court under the heading of plaintiffs' counsel (Cantelme & Brown, along with Michael Liburdi for Snell & Wilmer), that those attorneys may have been desperate and having trouble cobbling together a coherent final argument. If that is the case, counsel for the AIRC was gracious in agreeing to the stipulation.

There is, however, no tangible evidence (that I am aware of) to support such an inference, leaving it only as idle speculation (on my part).

So, I will revisit the issue of what will be in the final argument briefs on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Guilt by association?

The Arizona Eagletarian, along with the Center for Media and Democracy, Common Cause and others has documented the tendency of Arizona's ALEC-owned Republican lawmakers and Corporation Commissioners to engage in Crony Capitalism and rampant backroom deals on numerous legislative measures that result in wholesale betrayal of the interests of everyday (Main Street) Americans and Arizonans.

One reason there is less outrage about ALEC and its influence in Arizona is because of the SPIN those ALEC-owned lawmakers put on their association with and influence by that Big Business lobbying CABAL, as shown in the KPHO news report by Adam Longo on Thursday evening. Former state Rep. Amanda Reeve (ALEC-LD 28... she lost her seat because voters in that district preferred the Democratic candidate Eric Meyer) is quoted as saying ALEC is a "Good service for the legislature" and it "provides a forum to meet and discuss issues with industry leaders and fellow lawmakers from different states."

Of course the ALEC-owned lawmakers are going to do their best to make it sound innocuous. Good grief, who expects them to own up to selling out Main Street Arizona.

Then you have people who post comments to online stories, writing that (state Sen.) John McComish told her ALEC is not an evil organization. That person wondered just what kind of bad things ALEC is responsible for in Arizona.

The bottom line is that the secret to ALEC's success is the secrecy of its tactics. When we shine the light of accountability on exactly how the lobbying cabal raises and spends its money, and then identify specific legislation and executive branch decisions tainted by that money and the closed door dealings, it is no wonder those lawmakers say "nothing to see here, just move along."

In November 2012, with defeat of the two most vocal opponents -- on the Arizona Corporation Commission -- to development of the Rosemont Copper Mine (Sandra Kennedy and Paul Newman), the ACC is now (for all intents and purposes) a wholly owned subsidiary of ALEC. That means no Corporation Commissioner is going to stand up for clean air, clean water and protecting tourism interests that are brazenly threatened by Rosemont. Before the mine can start operation, the ACC must approve a high tension power line right-of-way to the copper mine site. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, whose director serves at the pleasure of Arizona's Republican governor, must also (and may already have) approve permits for the project.

All of this stands in contrast to the documentary film report Investigative Media's John Dougherty produced in 2012 about the Canadian owners of the company seeking those permits to wreak havoc on the environment in southern Arizona.

Cyanide Beach lays out, in excruciating detail, just what happened with a mining project those same owners developed and abandoned in Sardinia. There is no indication that the Rosemont project has any protections built in to prevent the same kind of problems here that took place on that Italian island.

So, Dougherty has announced the online release of Cyanide Beach. Now, I am thrilled to present it to you here. It is worth the 25 minutes of your time to view it.

If you want to understand the ramifications of having a legislature and Corporation Commission act as subsidiaries of ALEC, Cyanide Beach gives you a prime example. Is that how you expect those you elect to represent YOUR interests?

And speaking of euphemism and innocuousness, what do you think was told to the citizens of Mayflower, Arkansas when they bought homes or when Exxon/Mobil's tar sands pipeline was being proposed and built through their town?

Sure, let's just give ALEC-owned lawmakers (who enjoy tremendous benefits during those free trips to luxurious resorts) the benefit of the doubt that they have YOUR interests in mind when they cast votes on legislation and mining development projects (etc.).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

ALEC exposed even more! UPDATED 1:10 pm MST 4-5-13

The morning after last night's showing of the United States of ALEC in Central Phoenix, Center for Media and Democracy executive director Lisa Graves, along with Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar and several key Arizona activists held a press conference at the Arizona Capitol to release an updated edition of ALEC in Arizona.

The 50-page document spells out, in exquisite detail how ALEC is able to exercise undue influence over public policy and lawmaking by wining and dining Republican legislators.

Brief highlights:
Every member of the current 2013 Republican leadership, in both the Arizona state House and Senate, is identified as a current or recent ALEC member. Arizona consistently has one of the highest concentrations of ALEC legislators of any state in the United States – at least 49 of the 90 legislators in 2011-2012 were members of ALEC. This report identifies 35 current legislators as known to be current or recent ALEC members. Following a high turnover election in 2012, in which 29 new legislators were elected, the actual number is likely much higher, but ALEC refuses to disclose to the public the names of the public officials that are “members.” (emphasis added)
Some of the ALEC “model” bills found in the 2013 Arizona legislature would:
  • Defund Arizona’s public school system by expanding vouchers and charter schools
  • Eliminate the collective bargaining rights of organized workers
  • Change laws dealing with class action lawsuits so corporations and manufacturers can escape liability for injuring or killing Arizonans
  • Change state laws to strip the power of organized workers and labor unions in negotiating contracts and make it harder for workers to fund their unions
  • Move to eliminate Arizona’s public retirement security system and require employees to opt into risky defined contribution plans
  • Undermine reforms in the federal Affordable Care Act that would expand healthcare coverage to Arizonans
  • Oppose legislation to limit gun violence and make it harder to protect against gun deaths
This report adds new findings to two previous reports about ALEC’s influence in Arizona, released in November 2011 and April 2012. ALEC bills introduced in past Arizona legislative sessions, include the controversial SB 1070 immigration law, several voter suppression and voter ID bills, a prison privatization bill, and anti-environment bills that promote a polluters’agenda.
The framers of Arizona's Constitution made certain that a mechanism for corporate accountability for harming citizens and workers was clearly included in the founding document. That has NOT stopped ALEC-owned lawmakers from finding ways to chip away at those constitutional protections.

The link above will take you to the full report. We must not allow ALEC to continue undermining the rights of Arizonans.

By the way, at last night's event, panelists remarked about Arizona being a "subsidiary" ALEC. The event focused on members of the Arizona Legislature. Perhaps the NEXT edition of the ALEC in Arizona report should explore the way the Arizona Corporation Commission is effectively now a WHOLLY OWNED subsidiary of ALEC.


Coverage of yesterday's press conference by Phoenix news team from KPHO Channel 5

  CBS 5 - KPHO

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

ALEC (was) Exposed this evening

And ALEC will continue to be exposed -- by US -- at every opportunity we get!

At Playhouse on the Park, a theater/auditorium attached to the VIAD center just north of downtown Phoenix, Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar and Center for Media and Democracy executive director Lisa Graves held a showing of the documentary The United States of ALEC (see embedded video below), followed by a panel discussion/Q&A session. We watched a 41-minute cut of the movie. Bill Moyers, who produced the documentary, has aired a 31-minute version. At this time, the 31-minute version is embedded below. I am hoping to get permission to embed the longer version and will post about it at such time as it becomes available. (photo courtesy Laura Copple)

The panel, from left to right: Joe Thomas, VP of Arizona Education Assn, John Loredo of Arizona Labor Table, Sam Wercinski ex. dir. of the Arizona Advocacy Network, Frank Piccioli of AFSCME Local 2960, Rebekah Friend ex. dir. of Arizona AFL-CIO, Lisa Graves and (standing) Bob Edgar.


Lisa Graves, addressing a very pertinent question from state Rep. Juan Mendez (D-Tempe), said that ALEC has an easier time influencing lawmakers in states which employ part-time legislators and have minimal staff. That, not coincidentally, happens to include Arizona.

In the past, I have taken the view that our state lawmakers do not earn a full-time salary and should not expect to get paid what would amount to a living wage. Currently, Arizona pays each member of the legislature $24,000/year plus a Per Diem to address expenses while they are in session. There have been plenty of editorials suggesting we "get what we pay for."

I may have to rethink how I view the situation in light of Graves' insight. And so, will consider the topic and write about it in the future.

In the meantime, as Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar, quoting activist Grace Lee Boggs, suggested -- in order to counter the influence of that corporate lobbying CABAL (ALEC) -- that "We are the leaders we've been waiting for!"

Rise UP!


Following up, in the morning some of the members of tonight's panel will hold a press conference:

Press Conference: In-Depth Report on ALEC Ties to Harmful Legislation to be Released Thursday
PHOENIX – Members of a broad coalition of concerned citizens and organizations will hold a Thursday morning press conference to shine a light on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s extremist agenda at the Arizona State Legislature. The Center for Media and Democracy, in partnership with Common Cause, Arizona Working Families, People for the American Way Foundation and Progress Now will make available an updated joint report, “ALEC in Arizona: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in the Halls of Arizona’s Legislature.” The new report examines the extensive influence that ALEC continues to wield in Arizona despite public national controversies and large-scale defections from corporate sponsors.
Arizona has had one of the highest concentrations of ALEC-affiliated lawmakers in the nation. ALEC’s corporate executives, lawyers and lobbyists, along with member legislators, draft, lobby for, and secure passage of a wide array of bills designed to promote corporate interests. Due to rising public outrage and exposure, major corporations and organizations have recently begun to drop their sponsorships of ALEC, including Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds and KRAFT.

WHAT: Press Conference to shine a light on ALEC’s influence in pushing legislation in Arizona aimed at attacking workers’ rights and enriching specific industries. .

WHEN and WHERE: 11 a.m. Thursday, April 4, outside the Arizona State House

DETAILS: Community leaders will speak out at a press conference at the Arizona State House about ALEC’s influence in Arizona. The speakers will identify specific ALEC legislation that is moving through the Arizona Legislature and how it will impact Arizona families and communities. Speakers include:
· Lisa Graves, executive director for the Center of Media and Democracy, which performed principle research on the report.
· Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause
· Hon. John Loredo, member of Arizona Working Families and former House Minority Leader.
· Sam Wercinski, Arizona Advocacy Network.
· Marisol Garcia, a teacher from Phoenix