Phoenix ID scam includes ease in illegal voting

January 20, 2016

Last week the daily’s front page article went into frenzied overdrive as it pushed a costly and disastrous plan to grant ID cards to illegals in Phoenix.

Rife with incendiary language, the report claimed Republican legislators were attempting to “handcuff” a “grassroots effort” to extend identification cards to “city residents” — including, of course, illegal aliens. The alleged rationale behind this scheme is to allow freer access to banking services, provide the ability to report crimes, access city benefits and volunteer at their children’s schools.

Who knew residents needed ID to ride a city bus or be a home room mother in their child’s classroom?

Crime reporting is an old saw that is hauled out whenever the issue involves normalizing illegal invaders. Because they are here unlawfully, they allege they are less inclined to report crimes in their neighborhoods, fearing their own status will become an issue. Crime reporting does not require identification, as evidenced by the silent witness program — based on reporting anonymity — that has been an effective crime fighting tool used by law enforcement since 1979.

The baloney is too thick to cut with a sharp knife as the word “grassroots“ is sprinkled liberally throughout the news report giving the illusion that this is a all-encompassing, citizen based effort. It is not.  The issue is promoted by activists with an agenda.

The homosexual contingent is supportive, saying such a card would allow them to indicate the gender they prefer.

As expected, columnist EJ Montini backed up the report by declaring “Lawmakers launch attack on cities, immigrants.”

Like clockwork a few days following the initial report, a ‘My Turn’ column by Maricopa County District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the lone Democrat on the Board of Supervisors, appeared and the main thrust was revealed. Headlined, “Key solutions to increase voter turnout,” Gallardo advocates for expansion of identification that can be used at polling places.

Who’da guessed?


“Anyone but McCain” resolution passes easily at GOP meeting

January 17, 2016

John McCain walloped in advance of quest for a sixth six-year senate term

Although John McCain’s sycophants tried their best to ward off another embarrassment — this one before his final senate campaign — elected precinct committeemen of the Maricopa County Republican Committee handed the senior senator his head in his hands again. By a vote of 921 to 582, they voted to pass the “Anyone But McCain” resolution. 

Amid the routine items such as election of members-at-large* at the statutory meeting Saturday, was a vote to remove McCain-aligned officers. Maricopa County GOP chairman Tyler Bowyer, a conservative, was retained by 1,074 votes. But First Vice Chair Jenni White was recalled by 1,083 votes as was Second Vice Chair Aaron Borders — recalled by 1,070 votes. White and Borders represent the McCain establishment wing of the party. There was no vote on the by-laws because the full content had not been sent in the call letter to committeemen.

Tucked in among the fiery speeches, patriotic video and a routine by the Buffalo Soldier re-enactors, was the effort to rescue John McCain from another censure-like vote such as the embarrassment he suffered in 2014. Using delaying tactics, ‘points of order,’ quorum calls and parliamentary ‘calls for division,’ his operatives worked diligently to table votes counter to McCain — even calling for suspension of the vote.  They were unsuccessful. He was trounced by 61 percent of ballots cast. Due to their shenanigans, the meeting needlessly continued on until nearly 8:00 pm.

Committeemen were required to register before the 9:00 am. deadline — with most elected GOP PCs arriving long before, in order to get credentialed and receive ballots. The packed parking lot attested to the 1,006 attendees, carrying 989 proxies.

Highlights included speeches by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Kelli Ward, both punctuated by standing crowds and thunderous applause. Numerous county officials were in attendance and addressed the PCs, along with U.S. Reps. Trent Franks, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert who all sensed the ire in the air. Though they touted their conservative credentials, all were silent on the subject of the ‘Anyone but McCain’ resolution. Salmon made a point of referring to himself as a founding member of the Freedom Caucus. Franks reminded the assemblage that he “has attended every county meeting for the last 20 years.” Salmon, stated, “I’m proud to stand before you today and say I’m not part of the establishment,” and said it’s time for the Republican Party to stop being seen as the party of the Chamber of Commerce.

Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, now the host of the “Joe Walsh show,” was anything but mute as he addressed the growing calls for Republicans to stifle their anger.  He boldly announced, “I’m here to deliver a message: Stay angry!” Walsh added, “The stupid Republican establishment tells us, don’t be angry.  Let me tell you something, stay angry and never apologize for your anger. It makes me angry that 234-year-old John McCain is still in the U.S. Senate.” Walsh noted, “It’s not just Republicans who are angry, most of the country is angry — this is not the country we grew up in.”

McCain, who will be 80 by Election Day, is running for yet another  six-year term.

* Members at large who won election are Linda Brickman, Mark Spencer, Wes Harris, Tom Morrissey, and Joshua Askey.


Robert Graham attempts to protect low level McCain operatives

January 11, 2016

If you’re an elected Republican precinct committeemen who will be attending the Mandatory Meeting of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) this coming Saturday,  Jan. 16, 2016, you no doubt received this baffling letter emailed Sunday, Jan. 10, from Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham.

Read it carefully. For all of his smooth word play touting party unity, it’s actually Graham who is engaging in attempts to sabotage the leadership of Maricopa County Chairman Tyler Bowyer.

This is not the first rodeo for cowboy Graham. A July 30, 2015 post titled, AZ GOP Graham misleads, blames; ignites war with LaFaro, includes a similar letter which he emailed under the heading, “Dispelling Rumors.” As we noted at the time, it should have been titled, “Fancy Footwork by a Clumsy Dancer.” Graham, closely linked to John McCain, obviously has a problem with Maricopa County chairmen, who represent the conservative wing of the party.

In the recent Jan. 10, letter Robert Graham attempts to protect low-level McCain operatives Jeni White and Aaron Borders as he undercuts the leadership of Maricopa County Chair Tyler Bowyer.  The split between the two grew to monumental proportions when Graham employed spiteful retribution aimed at Bowyer for having the audacity to buck Graham and his McCain-led establishment allies, when Bowyer hosted and appeared onstage at the July 11, 2015 Phoenix event featuring presidential candidate Donald Trump. That kind of independence doesn’t play well with those who want to dominate the party and, like John McCain, consider the conservative base “crazies.”

Graham was one of the few Republican precinct committeeman who did not attend the Trump event. Neither did he have anything positive to say about it afterwards. Many will recall that Borders clumsily angled to become the chair of Trump’s Arizona campaign. A poor working relationship with Trump’s national staff caused him to be rejected. Borders overplayed his hand, alluding to greater abilities than he possessed. Jeni White has a reputation for undercutting conservative leadership at every turn.

The question to ask is why is state chair Robert Graham even involving himself in these issues?

He has shown a propensity for interfering in MCRC affairs. Contrary to his claims of simply wanting to get Republicans elected, his purpose is actually to elect McCain aligned officials and ensure protection of low-level McCain operatives as he has done in LD 30 and in his letter advising precinct committeemen not to vote in Saturday’s MCRC election.

Robert Graham has also failed to fulfill his responsibility as state chairman by refusing to assemble bylaws and resolutions committees in advance of the upcoming meeting.

At Saturday’s meeting, Maricopa County GOP PCs will have the opportunity to determine the leadership they desire in the crucial coming year. There is a clear choice between the saboteur tactics of First Vice Chair Jeni White and Second Vice Chair Aaron Borders or the conservative leadership of chairman Tyler Bowyer.

You know what to do.


Guess who needs a pay raise?

December 23, 2015

These appointed members* of the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers would like Arizona taxpayers to pony up a $15,000 raise for those whose salaries have stagnated. That’s not an amount to be divided. That’s eachYearly.

No, these benevolent commissioners are not talking about Arizona’s underpaid state legislators who earn $24,000 a year and haven’t had a raise in nearly 20 years. The last time the voters saw fit to give a modest pay increase to the people they entrust to write our laws was 1998.

The commission’s generosity, by way of their hands in our pockets and in a unanimous vote, is aimed at Arizona’s judiciary and is constructed to conveniently skirt voter approval. The recommendation has been sent to Gov. Ducey’s office for inclusion in his Jan. 15, 2016 budget proposal.

Don’t waste sympathy on the judges and justices whose last pay increase was in 2008. The daily reports that Arizona Supreme Court justices currently earn $155,000 a year. The chief justice makes $160,000 yearly. Court of Appeals judges currently make $150,000, and statewide Superior Court judges $145,000.

The judicial pay hike proposal carries an estimated price tag of $1.4 million. The cash strapped state would pick up half the cost of the increase for 14 counties, while Maricopa County taxpayers would be required to cover the full amount for its judges.

Though the judiciary claim to be outside of the political process, they are on the ballot for retention, and are included in the Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan. Their compensation, retirement and benefits package is enviable.

Judges are not unwittingly plucked from the legal community and forced to serve in these posts.  They apply for the positions, preparing lengthy applications and going through an interview process before an appointment commission and — if they’re lucky — with the governor, who makes the final selection.

Check out the Survey of Judicial Salaries compiled by the National Center for State Courts. There are two charts included. Rest assured none of the children of judges are eating gruel or going shoe-less.

 * John Bouma, Dennis Mitchem, Karen S. Johnson, Joe Kanefield, Brian Kaufman.


Flake, Hughes, dog deaths case back to Grand Jury?

November 13, 2015

With the weather cooling to the point of making Arizonans remember why we’re grateful to live here, most of us prefer not to dredge up recollections of the merciless summer heat in the Valley.

But the sweltering 106 degree scorcher of June 20, 2014 is exactly where we need to focus our attention. It is being reported that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge is considering whether another grand jury should take another look at the case of the gruesome heat related deaths of nearly two dozen dogs crammed in a steamy utility room at the Green Acre boarding kennel in Gilbert. County Attorney Bill Montgomery sat on this case for an unconscionably long time.

If a new indictment is issued against vacationing kennel owners Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, what about the actual caretakers Logan and Austin Flake who were entrusted with running the facility and tending the family pets left in their care while Logan’s parents were in Florida?

The foursome was indicted October 16, 2014. From there, a scorecard is needed to keep up with who was charged and who was dropped.

Then as a grandiose 2014 Christmas Eve gesture, Montgomery dropped charges of animal cruelty against all four defendants, leaving a single fraud charge against the Hughes.

A Maricopa County Grand Jury reinstated charges against the Hughes May 6. The Flakes were mysteriously excluded. Politics abounds. Did we mention Austin Flake is the son of Sen. Jeff Flake?

When they returned from their vacation, Todd Hughes initially told the pet owners their dogs had all run away.  Later he and his wife MaLeisa claimed the deaths were the result of an accident when a dog chewed through an air-conditioning electrical cord, disabling the unit. The dogs died agonizing deaths, suffocating in the small room where they were left overnight without cooling, food or water. When the dead and dying dogs were discovered the following morning, the Flakes did not call for veterinary assistance, opting instead to hose down the dogs and then callously pile their carcasses in a shed.

The indictments caused Brigham Young University to expel Austin Flake, which allowed him to recast himself and his wife Logan as victims and sue the taxpayers of Maricopa County for $8 million dollars. If this obscene settlement is awarded, it will ease the reentry into the single world for the now divorcing Jr. Flakes. 


AZ and MC GOP: Grownups in short supply

November 7, 2015

In what appears to be a badly timed ongoing saga as crucial 2016 elections approach, the competing egos and general disarray within the AZ and Maricopa County Republican Party leadership is setting party activist’s teeth on edge.

Briefs Editor Frosty Taylor rightly refers to this past Wednesday night’s Maricopa County Republican Committee’s Executive Guidance Committee meeting (MCRC EGC) as a “Donnybrook.”

Just prior, she posed a series of pertinent questions, asking, “What is really going on behind the scenes? Many of us would like to know, but the answers have been less than forthcoming.

Meanwhile defining political battles that will determine the future of our state and its most populous county fall prey to arrogance and pettiness.

We’ve written extensively about the overreaches of state chair Robert Graham, whose close ties to John McCain-have riled many Arizona Republican activists. A few examples are here, here, here, and here.

Maricopa County GOP has also been in turmoil under the iffy leadership of chairman Tyler Bowyer. After less than a year in office, and being secretive on issues ranging from financial disclosures to where the EGC meetings will even be held, he survived a no-confidence resolution Wednesday by a single vote. The document titled “Resolution for Vote of No-Confidence with Call for Independent Audit,” charged Bowyer with “chronic deceptiveness and duplicity in word and deed.”

Party officers ran on their leadership abilities. Honesty was assumed. We’re ready to see some integrity displayed.


But, but….it’s for the children

October 20, 2015

Never ending tax increases

A recent editorial in the local newspaper clearly defines the definition of going ballistic. At issue is the Maricopa County Republican Party’s opposition to the nearly thirty school districts across the Valley asking for voters to approve school bonds and overrides.

This is the October 16, 2015 press release that caused the commotion:

Republican Party of Maricopa County Calls For Sweeping Reforms To Override Election Laws

The Maricopa County GOP is calling for sweeping reforms to school district override election laws, in order to ensure that the voting public is no longer misled regarding how the money will be spent should the tax increase be approved.

The overwhelming majority of voters in Arizona are unaware that school districts are only legally obligated to spend override monies on the priorities outlined in the official voter pamphlets and promoted by pro-tax political action committees in the first year. After year one, school districts are free to waste the override dollars on whatever non-essential, non-classroom purposes they choose.

“Legislation to correct the widespread voter confusion as to how override dollars can be spent and the manner in which those expenditures are communicated to the public prior to the election is long overdue,” said Republican Party of Maricopa County Spokesman Jake Hoffman. “As a former elected school board member, I have sat in public meetings where in response to that these very district leaders intend to squander the money on non-classroom expenditures.

County GOP leadership is right. Regardless of the habitual, plaintive pleas from schools and cities for ever more funding, citizens are not golden egg laying geese. Arizona school children and the education they receive are too important to be left to these bait-and-switch tax schemes pushed by public school district administrators under the guise of teacher pay and smaller classes.

In a suspiciously timed August election — when low city voter turnout is guaranteed to be even lower — residents of Phoenix were asked to double the city transit tax over 35 years and spend $31.5 billion on an unaccountable light rail expansion — which is actually used by less than one percent of city residents. Thanks to solid union voting blocs — police, fire fighters, unionized teachers and city employees — this unconscionable monstrosity passed as special interest groups disproportionately skewed the vote to the left.

Now we are being told that a disaster of apocalyptic proportions will be visited upon our children if we don’t loosen up even more cash via higher property taxes. It’s a never-ending saga.  As cash-strapped families are forced to get by on less, school districts think they are exempt from such belt-tightening.

Schools are teaching climate change instead of American history and recycling rather than the U.S. Constitution. Cursive is gone, ensuring the end of handwriting. College students can’t find Japan on a map, and if your math challenged child lands a job at McDonald’s he can push the pictures on the computerized screen in front of him to process the order and dump the correct change in the customer’s hand. Public school grads are unable to count back change. 

We did find some humor in the newspaper’s editorial tantrum. They are still miffed that GOP County Chairman Tyler Bowyer hosted Donald Trump’s Phoenix appearance. They call Trump a “gadfly mogul” whose comments are offensive to the voters the Republican party needs to win elections  — as if the newspaper liberals care whether we win elections. The censure of John McCain in numerous counties and by elected statewide Republican delegates also doesn’t sit well with the editorial board. The editorial says it was because “McCain had the good sense to pursue immigration reform,” code jargon for amnesty. 

The Arizona Republics ranting fools fool no one.


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