Intrigue follows Ben Toma, appointed to LD 22 AZ House

April 27, 2017

In the aftermath of state Representative Phil Lovas’ recent resignation from a Legislative District 22 House seat, the elected precinct committeemen of the district nominated three people to fill the vacancy.  The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors made the final pick, selecting Ben Toma. A warm congratulatory message was sent out by AZ GOP chairman Jonathan Lines.

Since the name Ben Toma was unfamiliar, we did a little research and found a litany of items in local newspapers.

In an August 31, 2016 election, Vice Mayor and Mesquite District Council member Bridget Binsbacher was victorious over Peoria City Council challenger Ben Toma, as reported in the Peoria Times.

Toma’s loss might have had something to do with this earlier Sept. 18, 2014 Arizona Republic report that he was being investigated. He was eventually cleared of the charges.  Ben Toma was previously appointed to the Peoria City Council.

The perennial appointee is obviously a man to watch.

 

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AZ legislators’ bill suspends refugee resettlement program

February 3, 2017

Refugee resettlement has been in the forefront of national news since Pres. Donald Trump issued an executive order suspending the program for 120 days until adequate vetting of those from terror sponsoring nations is in place. The president is of the opinion that American security is more important than political correctness.  After the Boston marathon carnage, San Bernardino, Orlando and a host of other bloody attacks by resettled but unwilling to assimilate refugees who bear allegiance to ISIS, few disagree with that premise as evidenced by recent polls.

Rasmussen Reports indicates most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from seven Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.  The recent survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.

The Arizona legislature is also responding to the issue with SB 1468(click link to read) which amends Title 1, Chapter 2, Article 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes with the addition of Section 1-272, relating to refugee resettlement. It was introduced by Sens. Judy Burges and Sonny Borrelli and Reps. Mark Finchem, Anthony Kern, Vince Leach and  Don Shooter. The bill indefinitely suspends Arizona’s participation in the resettlement program and imposes a fine of $1,000 a day per refugee on any charity or group providing services to refugees.

Pew Research Center notes that with 4,110 resettled in Arizona in 2016, our state is number six among the top ten states to receive the largest number of refugees.

Before leaving office Barack Obama announced that 10,000 Syrians would be allowed entry the following year. As of Nov. 19, 2016, 31 Governors across the country were concerned enough by the potential for terror that they opposed the entry of new Syrian refugees according to this CNN map. (scroll down.)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued this press release stating his immediate plan to halt the placement of any new refugees in Arizona a year ago.

The ‘flash mobs’ protesting these reasonable restrictions have been mobilized at airports around the nation by the same activist groups that protest a security wall along our southern border or other efforts to protect our nation and citizens from harm. John McCain’s longtime financier, Socialist billionaire George Soros, a leftist, open borders proponent, has funded numerous such anarchist organizations to create havoc. We saw them burn down Ferguson, Missouri, terrorize and ultimately shut down those who dare to engage in free speech on university campuses, and screech vulgarities on the mall in Washington, D.C. on the day of President Trump’s inaugural.

Today Paris is once again under attack. This time by a machete wielding man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he attacked French soldiers at the Louvre Museum.

It’s past time to wise up. Arizona’s legislators are on the right track.

 


Gov. Doug Ducey reprises gimmicky “court packing”

November 30, 2016

Back in 1937 —  when most of us were but a gleam in our dad’s or granddad’s eye — Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt, just coming off a reelection victory, announced his audacious plan to expand the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court. He touted his scheme as making the court more efficient. Critics, including his  own Vice President and many congressional Democrats who joined with Republicans, charged that Roosevelt was trying to “pack” the court with liberal like-thinkers and  neutralize the impact of Supreme Court justices hostile to his far left “New Deal” — which he feared the court would disassemble.

Here Franklin Roosevelt in one of his radio addresses known as Fireside Chats, makes his case for increasing the number of Supreme Court justices with what he blandly referred to as the “Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937.” It became more widely known as “Roosevelt’s court packing plan.”

Fortunately, Roosevelt’s efforts to persuade failed.

Arizona Gov, Doug Ducey faces no such hostility. Yet he has just enlarged the 5-member Arizona Supreme Court by two members. The move gave him the ability to appoint the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, which he can point to in future campaign ads. We take no issue with the appointees Andrew Gould, a former superior court and court of appeals judge, or Solicitor General  John Lopez, who lacks any judicial experience — but the process that placed the two Republicans on the high court is suspect.  The new justices are Ducey’s second and third appointments to the Supreme Court. In January he appointed Libertarian leaning, registered Independent Clint Bolick. According to a news account, the unnecessary expansion will “cost an additional $1 million dollars each year, and came despite objections from Chief Justice Scott Bales, who wrote Ducey to veto the legislation.”  The bill HB 2537, signed by Ducey was the brainchild of East Valley state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, an educator.

The State Courts building, dedicated in 1991, was built to eventually accommodate two additional justices, but there is currently no pressing need.

Ducey used the same argument that Roosevelt used saying the expanded bench would allow the court to take on more cases and ensure swift justice. In fact the Supreme Court, known as the court of last resort, is very selective in the cases it chooses to take and most of the research is done by law clerks. It hears all death penalty appeals.

In contrast, the Courts of Appeals — Arizona has two — review all civil and criminal cases properly appealed from Superior Courts.

Whether court packing is done by Democrats or Republicans, it remains equally suspect.


Americans for Prosperity: 2016 AZ Legislative “Heroes” MIA

June 25, 2016

Legislative Scorecard awards no “Hero of the Taxpayer” designation in latest report

On its website, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity writes that it works to improve the well-being of Arizona citizens by passing legislative policy reforms that expand economic freedom. The 2016 Legislative Scorecard is the 33rd annual scorecard put out by AFP-Arizona and the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers. The Scorecard assigns weights to bills according to their projected dollar impact to Arizona taxpayers, consumers, and producers ($1 million equals one point). The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget was scored according to how many millions of dollars the Legislature and Governor voted to spend above $9.4 billion — including supplemental spending increases to the FY 2015-2016 budget. Legislators are penalized on the Scorecard if key bills do not come to floor votes, but the Scorecard does allows for substitute bills that have similar policy impacts. The weighting of bills is adjusted for a probability factor and for a long-term policy value factor. AFP-Arizona traditionally assigns a triple weight to tax bills, using the Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s three-year Fiscal Notes when available.

All House and Senate members are listed and scored using these designations:

90-100% = Hero of the Taxpayer

70-79% = Friend of the Taxpayer

30-49% = Friend of Big Government

10-29% = Champion of Big Government

80-89% = Champion of the Taxpayer

60-69% = Not Bad

50-59% = Needs Improvement

0-9% = Hero of Big Government

There’s a lot to see here. The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity Legislative Scorecard makes for interesting reading and provides a guide for tracking your legislators prior to marking your ballot. The site includes a brief description of each House and Senate bill as well as State Legislative Objectives for the 2016 Session. The Top Bills of the Session are also included.


Gov. Ducey signals new direction for criminal illegals

April 1, 2016

Republican governor calls new law “a sensible public safety measure”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed HB 2451 into law. The legislation requires illegal aliens convicted of a felony to complete 85 percent of their prison sentences — exactly as American citizens must do — before they are turned over to immigration authorities (ICE) for deportation.

In a statement, Gov. Ducey said:

“This bill is about fairness and holding everyone to the same standard of justice by eliminating a policy that currently results in two justice systems. If you break the law and commit a crime in Arizona, we expect you to serve your sentence, no exceptions. While some have tried to play politics with this law enforcement issue, the reality is this is a sensible public safety measure that ensures we have one justice system that applies to all. Public safety is the number one role of government, and in light of reports that criminals released early without serving their full sentence are committing crimes in our communities, we must stand for the rule of law.”

Good move, Governor.

The local newspaper, the Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republicis already busy characterizing this law with its favorite adjective, “controversial,” as it reports on the protests by “immigrant rights advocates.” 


AZ Gov. Ducey signs ballot harvesting / felony bill

March 10, 2016

Ballot harvesting — an issue that gained prominence after a three-year mission exposing it by former Maricopa County Republican chairman A. J. LaFaro — was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Stating HB 2023 maintains election integrity, Gov. Ducey, noted the bill will allow judges to impose a one-year prison term and up to $150,000 fine for the practice employed by political operatives who collect mail-in ballots requested by other voters.  

Here‘s an example of ballot stuffing caught on video. When questioned, the man carrying the boxful of ballots to be put into the voting machine says, “Go F**k yourself, Gringo!”

It’s no surprise the daily newspaper’s left-wing columnist EJ Montini finds a way to characterize this bill that maintains voter integrity, as “voter suppression.”

Liberals always have a sensationalized fallback position when it comes to questionable voting practices.  The guarantee of secure elections should be a fundamental expectation of each and every voter. American citizens, even Democrats, should accept nothing less.


How secure is your mail-in ballot?

March 2, 2016

The Arizona Daily Independent carries a disturbing report exposing the vulnerability of “secure and private” ballots cast in the March 22, 2016 Arizona Presidential Preference Election. The article is titled, “Arizona ballot harvesters can benefit from cheap stationary.” 

The report states, “While nothing can be done now to prevent abuses in the PPE, the discovery of the security lapse bolsters arguments for HB 2023 which will make ballot harvesting a class six felony.”

Knowledge is power.  Take time to acquaint yourself with this information.  We’ve covered this crucial issue and related ones  in previous posts:

February 9th, 2016: AZ GOP Chair Robert Graham’s ballot harvesting amnesia

August 28th, 2015: Alarming! 100%+ voter registration rates

October 28th, 2014: Democrats engage in voter fraud, ‘ballot harvesting’

March 13th, 2012: Voter fraud? “We’re not the police”