The Critical Arizonan
Keeping it critical…

Sep
03

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The Critical Arizonan sent this announcement around privately last week but neglected to post it here.  Thanks to DSW over at the Sonoran Alliance.

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Sep
03

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Do you remember in high school when you needed to think about what you were going to be when you graduated?  Whether to go to college, trade school, or work?  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  We were filled with an overwhelming fear and excitement of what the future might hold.  The purpose was to identify our likes and dislikes, our interests, hopes, and dreams.

Well, it looks like Janet has been taking a trip down memory lane.

As she looks toward the future, Guvna’ Janet Napolitano has her eyes set on expanding government, increasing taxes, and regulating freedom on the federal level too.  The Phoenix Business Journal reports that Napolitano has launched The Competitive Edge PAC, a federal political action committee as she considers a run for the United States Senate in 2010.

It has already raised, according to the article, $41,600 from Democrat donors in Arizona, California, and Nevada with another scheduled fundraiser on September 19th hosted by Lewis & Roca, LLP attorney Mary Ellen Simonson.  Most of the donations thus far has come from real estate investors and lawyers from California but also include contributions from Citigroup, Inc., the International Association of Firefighters, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Association.

The spin from Competitive Edge PAC is that this is an effort to seek out and support candidates that are in line with the agenda of Governor Napolitano.  Others are saying that this is the clearest signal that Napolitano has higher aspirations. 

Our friend and candidate for Congressional District 1 Sydney Hay had this to say:

“This appears to me to have everything to do with a future Senate run.”

“When it comes to business, it would be great if she could help her party at the federal level to understand that they — and far too many Republicans — spend too much, tax too much, regulate too much and litigate too much.”

News of the formation of The Competitive Edge PAC comes on the heels of the Arizona Republic story that the Governor’s popularity is growing and would beat out Senator John McCain in race for the United States Senate seat.  Of course this is all premature considering that a possible race is 3 years away and that the Arizona Republic is another liberal cheerleader for Napolitano.  Let us remember that McCain is not the favorite of Arizonans including The Critical Arizonan.

But, a serious consideration must be made too as to whether Senator McCain will even seek another term.  I am sure that other Republicans will have something to say about Napolitano getting that seat when and if McCain steps down.

There is also wide speculation that Janet Napolitano might be the next Janet Reno (as in Attorney General not necessarily the other stuff) and  is in consideration for a cabinet appointment if a Democrat wins the United States Presidency. 

The Critical Arizonan will keep a watchful eye on Governor Napolitano as she considers her next moves and will report back as things develop.

Aug
30

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Arizona’s Proposition 200 is upheld.  This is the voter approved initiative that requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote and legal identification to vote at the polls. 

There are still some legal challenges to hurdle but Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer feels confident that this is all drawing to a close.

Aug
27

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Alberto Gonzales resigns as United States Attorney General.

Aug
24

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“Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

It looks like the bullies on the Chandler City Council are moving forward to condemn businesses to make way for a new city hall in downtown Chandler as we discussed here yesterday.

After a vote of 4-3 on Thursday, the council decided to authorize powers of eminent domain because the negotiations, to date, have failed.

Buried in this story is this little nugget for the true intentions of their project…

Supporters of the move said a proposed $66 million City Hall project is needed to spur redevelopment in the aging downtown area along Arizona Avenue, and to relieve overcrowded city offices.

The new city hall is only one aspect of this effort.  The true intention is economic redevelopment.  So let’s be clear, we are going to take the private property of someone in order to change the businesses that line the streets in that area; that sounds like something a bully would do.

Let us remember the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

At this point, three business do not think that they have received just compensation for their property.  In fact, as we mentioned, the city intentionally low balled their first offer in order to entice them in the second offer which is still not a fair price according to the owners.

These thugs must be stopped.  Otherwise, the next victim might be you!

Aug
23

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Renzi’s not seeking reelection.  Check out my friend Greg Patterson over at Espresso Pundit for a lengthier post…

Update:  Here is the link to the Arizona Republic story today.

Aug
23

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I continue to be amazed that governments — local, state, federal — continue have the, um, guts shall we say to torment the taxpayers through increased taxes, regulation, intimidation, treachery, and so on.

This article in today’s East Valley Tribune has got me wide-eyed though.  It concerns the city of Chandler trying to build a “real” city hall downtown.  The city leaders know where they want it to go.  They are coveting the land but there a few problems — people own that land.

The land that they, the all knowing city leaders, want is currently owned by businesses including Aztec Wrought Iron and Manufacturing, Bob M’s Tires, and Lloyd’s Auto Shop.

The city council recognizes this so they decide to make them offer of chump change, low balling the price to purchase the land.  Business owners are not opposed to moving but rejected the offer proposed because it is not fair market value.

“Let’s stop messing around and let’s make a deal,” said Maynard, whose business has been in its current location near Chicago Street and Arizona Avenue for nearly a quarter of a century.

Like Gomez, Maynard said he’s not opposed to moving and just wants a fair market value for his property. Both said they need money to cover the expenses of moving their businesses to another part of town.

Some time after this, the city countered their price, doubling it to entice the business owners…

“Those numbers aren’t untrue, but there’s more to them than that,” said Sharon Joyce, real estate manager for the city. Joyce disputed claims by Gomez and Maynard that relocation costs were not included in the offers. She said the latest proposals included moving fees.

Yet, the beginning part of this article is the kicker — condemnation.  The Chandler City Council will vote tonight whether to start condemnation proceedings on the land needed to build their city hall.

Chandler is going to intimidate and threaten local businesses into getting off their land or else the strong arm of the government is going to squish them.

I understand that there is a question whether a city hall would be defined as a “public use”, the threshhold necessary to condemn property.  Tim Keller, our friend over at the Institute for Justice, has this to say:

Tim Keller, the president of the Institute for Justice Phoenix Chapter, said taking private property for a City Hall might not be the best use of eminent domain. “While the government has the power to condemn for public use, there is a question in this case of whether it really benefits the public,” he said.

One other item bothered me about this piece.  Why does Chandler need a “real estate manager” that is paid through taxpayer dollars?  To my way of thinking, this encourages two things; more eminent domain threats to local homeowners and businesses, and secondly, more government bureaucracy.  Either way, neither are good.

At this point, we can only hope that those businesses that are in the crosshairs of the city make out with a fair price for their land and aren’t forced to lose everything.

If there is one glimmer of hope, the business owners may be protected under Proposition 207 that was recently passed by voters with 65% of the vote.  As Tim Keller was quoted, there is a real question if this new city hall is a public use.  One thing I know for sure, if there is doubt about its legality, you can certainly count on the Institute for Justice and the new Constitutional Ligation arm of the Goldwater Institute to defend the right to private property.

Aug
22

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Around this time last year, I listened to a radio show that was discussing the merits of education.  The show, a quasi-conservative talk program, featured a renown educator most notably for his columns on the need for improvements in education, particularly public education. 

During the course of this show, they decided to take some calls and I recall one from a female college student.  The caller was completely excited to tell her story and experience dealing with various professors that sought to corrupt young minds forming them to become the next generation of liberals.

The guest to the talk show (the renown educator) asked her a practical yet philosophical question about the purpose of education.

The caller, in turn, responded “to learn, tee hee”.  The educator was pleased with her answer and continued to have the topical conversation.  I, the listener, rolled my eyes and gave a sigh.

The problem here is that the purpose of education is not to learn.  The true purpose of education is to seek truth.  Learning is accomplished as a benefit but it is not the sole intention.

The reason why I mention this is because of this article about home-school enrollment in today’s East Valley Tribune. 

Overall, this piece is not awful.  I am quite pleased that the Valley is well above the national averages.  However, there are quite a few reasons that were omitted as to why parents teach their children at home as opposed to public education and even private schools. 

Parents have real concerns about what schools are prioritizing as important, the material and manner in which subjects are taught, and the various mandates of the government on children and parents (like certain vaccinations, sexual education, etc.).  This list is not exhaustive but the ones mentioned are certainly worth noting.

There is the obligatory quote that all negative articles need to insert about the socialization aspect and its impact on children.  The Tribune, to its credit, does insert a counter point…

Nancy Manos, board member of Arizona Families for Home Education, a nonprofit educational corporation, said Arizona had 32,000 home-schooled students as of June 2004. She scoffs at what she calls a misconception that these children are locked away.

“In reality they’re out in the world meeting people of different age groups more than kids in schools, where they’re segregated by age,” Manos said.

One additional item that I would like to add is that children do play and interact with other children in their neighborhood, the other home-school families, outside classes, and even within their own families.  Children play with children. 

Now, the face of playing has changed over the years as well.  I remember as a boy playing all kinds of sports both organized and unorganized, war, hunting, fishing, hiking, riding bikes, wrestling, and all other “boyish” activities.  I would come home after a long day with cuts, scrapes, ticks, bumps, and bruises with a huge toothie grin ready for dinner. 

I look around my neighborhood today and I don’t see the same for the next generation of children.  I credit this to the nature of the world, not the nature of which type of school children attend.

Ok, so here is the part that irked me.  It was one of the comments that followed the article from “Selma”.  She responds…

With all this religion being incorporated into their home lessons, most of these kids are going to end up being ministers or Sunday school teachers. They’re getting alot of bible-babble instead of real science. I’m thinking that very few of them are going to grow up to be doctors, physicists, inventors and engineers. It does not bode well for our future. In 25 years, the U.S. will be back in the Dark Ages, while the rest of the world passes us by in medical breakthroughs, technology, and modern advancements.

Let’s take this piece by piece.  Selma has a problem with religion used in classroom instruction.  To this end, I am sure that Selma also has a problem with Catholic schools, Christian schools, Jewish schools, and so on, right Selma?  Of course, everyone knows that the bain of man’s existence is the absolute acknowledgement that there is a God and He wants to be known.  Oh, how selfish of Him.

Point two, apparently Selma also has a problem with those that choose ministry either lay or in service as clergy.  She doesn’t credit them as actually adding to the good of society.  I will make a note of this and send it along to Mother Theresa’s community, George Mueller’s family, the Reverends Billy Graham and Martin Luther King.

Point three, Selma suggests that very few will become doctors and scientists because their little lemming minds are filled with “bible-babble”.  Hmm, I think Selma may have forgotten the majority of history which is chock full of monks, nuns, priests, ministers, and clergy of all kinds that have added “real” contributions to society including math, science, physics, accounting, art, music, literature, philosophy, and all other subjects that are valued as easing our existence. 

Let us also not forget that generations of home-schooled children that later become productive members of society that have added countless contributions including agricultural advancments, law, and thousands of other areas.  These same children that you have already dismissed are also those that are joining the military, becoming leaders in public policy, and joining the blue collar workforce as mechanics, and so forth.

Point four, I think Selma actually proves in her posting the benefits of home-schooling.  It is blatantly obvious.  The same accusations that she accuses home-schoolers of is in fact what she is most guilty — ignorance.  She claims, in a backhanded way, that these parents and children are closed-minded, failing to see what is really valuable.  Selma, in fact, these families actually have things in perspective.  They are focused on the search for truth instead of feeding from the scraps of “education” that the government is providing.

Think about that for a moment… government providing.  It makes me shudder.

I don’t think that I even need to bring up the fact of the academic excellence and achievement that is statistically proven.  Nor is it necessary to point out the greater participation in civics, patriotism, exemplary citizenship, or charity. 

In short, home-school families should be commended for not only their commitments to education, country, family, success, and leadership but also for the fact that they don’t need the government to help them. 

You see, success lives and dies by their efforts not by government bureaucracy, government inefficiency, lack of government accountability, and social engineering.  Trust me, as a former school teacher, I know.

One last thing for Selma… when day is done and chips are down you can look to the home-schoolers to make tomorrow an even better day than yesterday.

Aug
21

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Mitt Romney, GOP hopeful and former Massachusetts Governor, is trying to sneak something else by the voters concerning his record on immigration.

Romney released a radio ad attacking “sanctuary cities” and illegal immigration giving the image that he will be tough on enforcing the border and on law and order.  He also mentions New York City as a sanctuary city, a slap at Rudy Giuliani.

But Mitt has a bit of a problem.  During his tenure as Governor, Cambridge (the fair city that is home to Harvard) declared itself a “sanctuary city”.  (Here is another updated article on its renewal status.)  Romney, Mr. Tough on Illegals, did nothing about this in his own backyard.  So, what gives Mitt?

After this brief recollection, I began doing some research and chanced upon a posting at Reason Magazine’s Hit and Run Blog.  Phil Klein of the American Spectator, c/o David Wiegel, notes that two additional cities in Massachusetts also declared their “sanctuary” status — Orleans and Somerville.

Once again, I ask myself…

“Self, where is Wonder Mitt, Champion of Border Enforcement and Scourge to Illegal Immigrants Everywhere, to do something, to right the wrong, and bring justice?”

A press release, press conference, statement, appearance, cutting off of funds, something — but alas, nothing.

Hmm, me thinks Romney is all hat and no cattle and that hat might be a dunce cap on immigration. 

Aug
20

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In today’s Arizona Republic there is a piece on Proposition 3 which Phoenix voters will have the chance to consider on September 11th.  Proposition 3 would lift the spending limits already in place to allow Phoenix to set its own spending limits.

The problem is that the current budget for Phoenix is $3.3 billion.  Phoenix must cut $1.1 billion in spending if Propostion 3 does not pass.  So, what do you think the Mayor and City Council do to encourage public support — they scare voters:

If it doesn’t pass, we would have to cut services including public safety,” Councilman Greg Stanton said. “So it’s critical that it pass.”

Of course — the ol’ cut the police, teachers, and fire services trick. 

Yet, Tom Jenney, our friend at the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, instructs Mayor Gordon and the Phoenix City Council on how to keep police on the streets and even increase their funding while still following the spending limit formula starting with cutting non-essential programs and services.

“Mayor Gordon and the City Council have been wasting our taxpayer dollars on silly programs – including a $100 million corporate welfare handout to a big developer,” Jenney wrote in a ballot argument, referring to the city’s subsidy to the CityNorth project in north Phoenix. “Phoenix needs to get back to the basics, and put public safety first.”

Mayor Gordon and City Council members, this is called prioritizing and budgeting.  We real people must actually account for our income/expenses, figure out the things we need, and live within our means.  You in government have more of a responsibility to do so because it is not your money.

Tom’s got a great primer over on his website on Proposition 3. 

I encourage you, if you support limited government or even just common sense, to vote NO on Proposition 3.