Friday, August 29, 2008

Probably not the finish Gibbons was looking for

Did anyone see the full-page ad for Russell Pearce in today's tribune? Bold with big pictures of Levecke, Sproul, and Gibbons outlining how they were connected. That should help neutralize any last second attacks that those guys are planning. Also, released was a statement from Farnsworth linking Gibbons to the budget backing Republicans:

Friends of Gov's Budget Pick Hershberger, O'Halleran, Gibbons
Protect Arizona's Future Banks on Republican Big Spenders in Contested Primaries

MESA – With the help of four Republicans in the House and four Republicans in the Senate, Governor Janet Napolitano was able to pass a devastating budget containing over $2 billion in borrowing and spending gimmicks. Her plan included $1 billion for university construction to be paid for through taxes collected from increased gambling, and revenue-raising traffic cameras that will issue speeding tickets to pay for reckless state spending.

A group called Protect Arizona's Future has spent over $120,000 to support Republicans who helped pass the budget and recruit other friends to replace those who have been critical of the Governor's borrow and spend policies. Two of the Republicans who helped pass the current budget are Representative Pete Hershberger and Senator Tom O'Halleran. One of their recruits, immigration lawyer, Kevin Gibbons, is challenging Representative Russell Pearce for the District 18 Senate Seat.

Protect Arizona's Future is using deceptive signs to support their candidates. They claim that they "Fight for Lower Taxes" and support "Strong Republican Values" when in fact, they voted against the 27 other Republican legislators who refused to support the Governor's irresponsible budget. If you review the rankings from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers or the Goldwater Institute, you will see that the candidates backed by Protect Arizona's Future are truly not friends of the taxpayer.

Their tactics are especially troubling in Legislative District 18 where Protect Arizona's Future is supporting Kevin Gibbons, the candidate who has been bankrolled with big dollars from Democrat supporters, employer sanctions opponents, groups that support open border policies and other state-wide special interests.

Russell Pearce has been an outspoken critic of this budget and has challenged the Governor to cut her reckless government spending programs. He has been a perennial champion in reducing the growth of government and protecting the taxpayer.

Protect Arizona's Future and the special interests have thrown their support behind Kevin Gibbons, in an attempt to knock off a real conservative in the primary and replace a voice of fiscal responsibility with yet another big spending. Clearly, Gibbons is the Democrat's choice in this Republican primary.

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric put forth by the Friends of the Governor's Budget. Russell Pearce is the only Senate candidate for District 18 with the proven leadership skills and experience necessary in reversing our state's fiscal crisis.
This was probably not the finish that Gibbons and his campaign would like to see. The Mesa Deserves Better folks have tried to pin the budget on Pearce, which is funny since Pearce was one of the ones most firmly against the budget. Clearly, these connections and a lack of understanding of who Kevin Gibbons really is will hurt him as Election Day comes after a long Labor Day weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mesa Campaign Finance Update

Below is the latest campaign finance filings for all of the legislative candidates in Mesa. Its helpful to see who is donating to what campaign and also see how much cash on hand they have and what they spend their money on. At the request of a few, I have also included the independent expenditures in District 18.

District 18
Russell Pearce
Kevin Gibbons
Judah Nativio
Mesa Deserves Better
Judgment Matters
Protect Arizona's Future
The People of AZ

Cecil Ash
Steve Court
Kanani Henderson
Ron Middlebrook
Tammie Pursley

District 19
Chuck Gray

Kirk Adams
Rich Crandall
Kathy Romano

District 21 (Partially in Mesa)
Jay Tibshraeney

Warde Nichols
Steve Yarbrough
Phil Hettmansperger

District 22 (Partially in Mesa)
Thayer Vershoor
Eddie Farnsworth
Joe Bedgood

Andy Biggs
Adam Armer
Bob Brown
Laurin Hendrix

Following the Money in District 18

The Tribune reports that four groups have pumped over $38,000 into their efforts to defeat Russell Pearce. From postcards to TV commercials, this appears to be an unprecedented effort to defeat a legislative candidate. The story says:

"The most generous donors to the campaigns to block Pearce's nomination make their living in the fast-food industry."

To that point, made the following connections:

Franchisers spend $33,780 attacking Russell Pearce and his Employer Sanctions Law
"Mesa Deserves Better" and "Stop Illegal Hiring" Bankroll Campaign for Cheap Labor

MESA -When it comes to attacking Russell Pearce and his employer sanctions law, fast food franchise owners Jason Levecke and Mac Magruder have taken a three pronged approach: fund Pearce's opponent, subsidize a misleading personal attack campaign, and finance an initiative to weaken laws.

In all, the proponents of punishing Pearce and gut his employer sanctions law have directly spent $33,780. Here is their latest spending:

Magruder Family
$780 to Kevin Gibbons, Pearce's opponent
$10,000 to Mesa Deserves Better
$9,500 directly to Stop Illegal Hiring

Levecke Family
$4,000 to Mesa Deserves Better
$9,500 directly to Stop Illegal Hiring

"Now that the curtain has been pulled back, it's clear that these fast food franchisers are only looking to line their pockets. I think it's disturbing that they are spending so much money to attack me," said Rep. Pearce.

According to campaign finance reports, Magruder and Levecke's personal donations make up nearly half of the funds given to "Mesa Deserves Better," the controversial group targeting Pearce with misleading personal attacks. Affiliates of their "Stop Illegal Hiring" campaign donated the remaining funds, along with giving an additional $1,860 in donations to Kevin Gibbons.

Their ill-fated "Mesa Deserves Better" personal attack campaign on Russell Pearce and his family has been decried by hundreds of supporters, the East Valley Tribune, the Arizona Republic, and even Governor Janet Napolitano.

Russell Pearce is being challenged for the Arizona State Senate by immigration attorney Kevin Gibbons, who has outspent Pearce through donations from special interest groups. Democrats, and proponents of weakening the employer sanctions laws.

"The ultimate goal of this group is to roll back immigration policies and weaken Arizona's Employer sanctions laws by any means necessary," said Pearce. "Their proposed law eliminates required use of E-Verify and its 99.7% accuracy rate in favor of the Federal I-9 process, which is prone to more fraud. They want to gut the law and make sure I am not around to do anything about it."

# # #

So, not only are these guys trying to attack Pearce, but they are trying to make changes to the current employer sanctions laws. You can read the language from their initiative for yourself here and you can see who is donating to their campaign here.

Sign sweep nabs 350 signs

The first volunteer sweep of "nuisance signs" nabbed 350 signs around town. Great work and a great job by Mesa to find people willing to help out with this cause. Fewer signs lead to less clutter and more pride in the community. As more people become interested in the community, we'll start to see more people invest in their homes and fewer people who think its okay to have a port-o-potty in their front yards.

While its easy to complain about the problems we have in Mesa, we must also focus on the things that are getting better and the efforts in which the city has success.

A mixed bag for Gateway

Its a mixed bag of news for Gateway Airport today. Allegiant Airlines has agreed to a $3 million dollar loan to help expand the passenger terminal. However, Vision Airlines has also announced that they are no longer going to offer service.

It looks like this news is more good than bad, since Allegiant flies to 15 cities, while Vision only flies to two out of Gateway. Rising gas prices and the state of the economy probably have a greater deal to do with the exit of Vision, but it does impact the perception of the long-term success potential of the airport when people are forced to close up shop.

As the development around the airport continues, we'll probably see more changes. Hopefully, one of the next steps will be to lure one or more of the other major carriers to offer some smaller flights into the area and begin to offer it as a viable alternative for commercial and corporate travel.

ETA: I did indeed mean more good than bad. Thanks for the catch.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back and Forth

Maricopa County Party Chairman Tom Husband responds to Congressman Flake regarding JT Ready. Congressman Flake turns around and responds right back to Husband. People point to Russell Pearce saying that he is what is wrong with the Republican party, but what is really wrong with the party is that everyone has decided that it is right and proper to beat each other up in a public forum. Despite calls for civility, the infighting continues.

Clearly, the Congressmen have no respect for the party system or the PCs. Why not go to Randy Pullen or to Tom Husband with this information and ask them to investigate? Why do this in such an open way? The open letter is just to get the media attention for Gibbons keeping Pearce in a negative light as much as possible. It just so happens that this comes out after the media ignores the second mailing from "Mesa Deserves Better" because their first postcard was so over the top.

Its almost like they were thinking, "Well, that didn't work as well as we had hoped. Let's get Flake to bring up the issue and get some more press out of it."

But they would never coordinate with a candidate's brother-in-law, would they?

Of course, pay no mind that Nathan Sproul has donated to Flake, Shadegg, and Franks. Or that he has given $13,000 to Flake's campaign since 2004.

I'm sure its all coincidence.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where does Steve Court stand?

Sonoran Alliance and Thoughts on Mesa both have posts about the correlation between people who are supporting Steve Court for District 18 House and those who are supporting Kevin Gibbons for District 18 Senate. This is a subject we mentioned before with the issue of them sharing sign posts.

The blogs go on to point to a recent question from District 18 Chairman Matt Tolman, who asked each House candidate who they were supporting in the Senate race:

Cecil Ash: I am supporting Russell Pearce for the Senate. The fact that you endorse candidates does not mean that you agree with them on every issue. Notwithstanding that, I have supported Russell in the past and intend to do so this election, as I see no reason to change. I believe he genuinely tries to do what’s best for Arizona and I agree with him on most of the issues. He has been a catalyst in getting the illegal immigration issue recognized, and dealt with, and he has also fought hard for a balanced budget and reduced spending. These are my positions as well. Any one who talks to him personally would know that he is very knowledgeable on many issues, more so than most legislators. I do not always agree on the way he approaches some things, and I’m sure he may not agree with the way I approach some things. Nevertheless, I believe I can work well with Russell.

I have many good friends who have indicated to me that they are not supporting Russell for various reasons. If so, I hope it will not be because they believe the distortions and false statements being promulgated by those who wish to oust Russell. Let his opponents object to his positions on issues or his temperament. Let them argue that he doesn’t listen or advocate that it is merely time for someone else with new ideas.

But the politics of personal destruction, the distortions and exaggerations of the truth do a disservice to the political process, and show a lack of respect for either the voter, or the promulgator’s position on the issues. Let’s win our arguments by the power of reason and the strength of our positions, without name calling or vilifying our opponents.

I believe that I could get along with Kevin Gibbons. He appears to be a good family man and I trust that he feels that he would be best for Arizona. However, I hope that he would take the high road in this campaign and elevate the debate to a discussion of the issues. I hope that in the future he will avoid disparaging Russell personally, and distance himself as well from those who do.

We get what we vote for. And we deserve what we get. There is a cause and effect in the political process. Those who vote based on lies and distortions will reap a government that is administered by liars and distorters of the truth.

Kanani Henderson:I am supporting Russell for the Senate. I believe in his experience and track record. He allowed me to shadow him at the capital this past session and I was able to see first hand how much he cares about doing what is right and protecting the rights of the people he serves. I also appreciate his hard stance on fiscal issues and the way he has not allowed himself to fall into the negativity of the current election cycle.

Ron Middlebrook:I will be voting for Russell Pearce.

Steve Court:For the first time in a while, our district has some choices for Republican candidates for both the House and Senate. I am not a big fan of politicians endorsing other politicians. I have not sought endorsements from other politicians, nor have I given endorsements.

It is the endorsement of the voters that we need to be seeking. We have good candidates in both races and I think that the best thing that the district and precincts can do is to encourage the voters to study each candidate and vote for that person that best represents their views and opinions. I believe that any of the House candidates could work with either of the Senate candidates to represents district 18 well.

As you can see, three out of the four say that they are going for Pearce. Court doesn't give answer. When it comes to legislature, the last time I checked, representatives were asked to vote Yes or No. It doesn't seem to be a great idea to be wishy washy out of the gate. The legislature is already chock full of people who can't make a decision.

ETA: Court has added the following comment to the stories:

"As I drive around town, and I do that a lot, to try and set up new signs, I see just as many of my signs in yards with Pearce as I do with Gibbons. I see my signs in yards with Ash, and I see my signs in yards with Middlebrook. I don't dictate who my supporters vote for, I am just pleased when they support me. To set the record straight, I am not running with Pearce, Gibbons, Ash or Middlebrook."

Well, that certainly clears things up... or not. You'd think that with the Republic coming out for Gibbons, this would be as good of a day as any to announce your thoughts one way or another. Sounds like he is going to single-shot himself in the house race.

Will he vote for someone in the Senate? Will he admit after the fact who he voted for? This smacks of one of those scenarios where he stays quiet throughout the whole race and then after the fact, he will go to the winner and say, "I was telling people to vote for you all along."

Flake finally goes to bat for brother-in-law

Well, Congressman Jeff Flake has finally come to the aid of his brother-in-law, Kevin Gibbons who is running for Arizona State Senate against Russell Pearce. See, the people attacking Pearce have been trying to connect Pearce to JT Ready, a local nut job who has some questionable affiliations with rasict groups. Ready's indiscretions were discovered months ago, but Flake, Shadegg and Franks have decided that the issue was finally worth addressing (Tribune story here), when the election is less than two weeks away and there is nothing that really could be done about it. Quite frankly, I am surprised for Flake to publicly jump into this game.

What is interesting to me is the timing. So, its revealed that someone from a congressional office is looking at and Mesa Issues and others, and suddenly two days later, Flake strikes back with a couple month old allegation. Is it coincidence, or did the line about term limits get under his skin?

And secondly, are we really to believe that Flake didn't know about Ready until last week? If that is the case, he must have some terrible researchers on his campaign staff. A simple google search shows the connection as mentioned in the New Times from nearly a year ago. I believe that this issue even came to light during the time when Pearce was exploring a race against Flake.

It seems utterly impossible for him to not know about it. This appears to me to be a backhanded slap at Pearce in an attempt to boost his brother-in-law who is behind in the polls.

Arts Center to get Marquee

The Mesa Arts Center is getting a digital marquee. Do they need it? Probably. Is it good timing? Probably not.

The city is strapped for cash and many people are having a hard time filling up their gas tank. Perhaps now was not the time to tell voters that you had $200,000 socked away in art center improvement funds. I am sure that the fund is dedicated revenue, and I would even bet that some of the money was donated. However, the key here, once again, is perception.

To the average person, it looks like Mesa is paying for things that we don't need while it can't afford basic services. The response from Kavanaugh, while accurate, comes off as procedural and bureaucratic. Tell me its going to increase revenue, tell me its going to revitalize downtown, tell me that it will attract bigger acts. Tell me something more than, "The money was there, so we spent it."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Someone in Congress is interested in Mesa

The folks over at put out a release today. Apparently, over the past month, someone from the U.S. House of Representatives has visited their site 22 times in 30 days on the Government dime. If you take weekends into account, that seems like a daily visitor to me. It just so happens that Kevin Gibbons has a relative in Congress.

This made me curious, so I took a look myself. Over the same period of time, the "information systems u.s. house of representatives" has visited Mesa Issues 24 times in the past month. See for yourself:

I did a little digging and I got very little traffic from that server, until about June of this year. Since then, it has been a constant stream, with it picking up the past 30 days or so. Do I think that a Congressman is looking at my site every day? I would be honored, but I doubt it. I wouldn't be surprised if an intern or a staffer is looking around the blogs under the auspices of keeping up with what is going on. However, that only works if its someone who represents Mesa. If so, who is doing the looking?

Either someone just got hired in June, or these guys only started paying attention once campaign season started to heat up.

There are other races going on?

Sometimes it feels like the only race that appears to be going on this September is the District 18 Senate race. Well, the Tribune has devoted some equal time to some of the other races around town. They are covering the fairly quiet District 19 race and they are also covering the crowded field of the District 18 house race.

They are also running the obligatory story about how early ballots have impacted elections. They use a District 18 spin to the story, which is fine, but I would have liked it if they would have put in some District 19 numbers as well. There are still a lot of ballots out, but it makes you wonder how many people are going to vote this time around. After all, this is a September election, and when you first open up your early ballot, there isn't very many contested races listed. In Mesa, short of the congressional race in CD 5 and a few legislative races, the Republican ballot is just a lot of fill in the lines. Same goes for the Democrat ballot with the exception of the County Attorney race.

A bad weekend for Kevin Gibbons

This was probably not quite the weekend that Kevin Gibbons had in mind in the middle of a heated election.
First, as reported by Thoughts on Mesa and East Valley Immigration, there is a whole crop of signs that have popped up with Kevin's name on them and the border crossing warning sign. The reports are that these signs are all over the place.

Secondly, not did the Republic stand up to defend Pearce, but Governor Napolitano and the East Valley Tribune did as well. Since Gibbons has done very little to establish himself and what he stands for as a candidate, most people view him as the "Anti-Pearce" candidate. The problem is, then he is associated with other anti-Pearce activities like the personal attacks put forth by "Mesa Deserves Better." Also, as I mentioned before, the fact that he donated money to a domestic abuse shelter and the ADL only shows that he probably knew what those guys were going to do before they did it.

Finally, to make matters worse, the Pearce campaign fought back by taking steps to connect the dots between Gibbons and the groups who are going after him. You can see the card posted on
A couple of people who were on the fence because of the allegations against Pearce last week said that they saw this and it finally realizedwhat was going on. Basically, Pearce passes laws to make it harder to hire illegals immigrants. Businesses are mad about it, so they go after Pearce directly. Meanwhile, Gibbons, a nice enough guy by most accounts, is caught in the middle between an undefined platform of his own and an unpopular position set forth by the people who have helped fund his campaign. Bottom line, Pearce is getting a lot of attention from unlikely sources, and Gibbons appears to be doing very little to counteract it.

Did I detect a niner in there?

Mesa Police are ditching the police code, opting for plain English to explain to the dispatchers what is going on. This will make future episodes of Cops in Mesa easier to watch because they won't be talking jargon into their radios all the time.

Interestinly, I was unaware that there is not a uniform book of police codes. You'd think that, at least in the East Valley, they would have gotten together and discussed what the different codes meant so the different police departments would be able to work together. This seems like one of those Government inefficiencies that should be fixed. Glad to see that Mesa is taking a proactive step in this area.

Welcome Back Dunkin Donuts

Glad to see that Dunkin Donuts is making their way back into Mesa. With places like Starbucks and Krispy Kreme faltering, Dunkin Donuts could really help Mesa's coffee and donut needs. However, you wouldn't catch me out there for a 4:45 am Grand Opening.

A while back, I was looking to bring donuts to a morning event, it took me a long time to find a donut shop. All of the shops that I knew along the way had been shut down. Hopefully, this will make a sweet morning treat a little easier.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

District 18 Senate Blogger Roundtable - Finale

With so much happening in the heated District 18 Senate Race, I thought it would be good to put together a round table discussion about the race and get some people who cover Mesa’s opinion on the issues. East Valley Immigration, Adams and Jefferson, Thoughts on Mesa, and the Sonoran Alliance have agreed to participate. So, here is the fifth and final installment of the District 18 Roundtable Discussion.

5. Make a prediction on how you think the race will ultimately turn out.

East Valley Immigration: Pearce wins by a good margin. The immigration stuff is too big for Gibbons to overcome.

Thoughts on Mesa: I believe the race will ultimately turn out in Pearce favor. Before that happens though I believe that we will see a lot more negative mail pieces.

Sonoran Alliance: Russell Pearce will ultimately win this election. The attack on Russell will backfire even though he is outspent by his opponent and political action committees. Russell knows his district and he knows his voters. West Mesa voters will back Russell because he is one of them and an attack on Russell is seen as an attack on them. Gibbons and his supporters will leave the political scene quietly with some never getting involved in politics again.

Adams and Jefferson: I predict that Rep. Pearce will win this race, but it will be close and may weaken him politically.

Mesa Issues: Pearce wins, but the polling will motivate some more people to come out against him. He must realize that this is not a ringing endorsement, but rather a great time for him to mend the rifts in the party and make friends. You must always be gracious in victory.

On that note, I want to thank the bloggers who agreed to participate in this roundtable. I had a lot of fun reading everyone's answers and I truly believe it really has been interesting and insightful. Hopefully, the readers feel the same and we can do this again sometime.

Mesa's November Election

Well, the first news out of the November Election is good news for the proponents of the bonds and only so-so news for the fans of the "slum landlord" law. The arguments for the measures have been filed and there were only pro arguments filed in favor of the bonds, without any filed against. No arguments were filed either for or against for the slum landlord law.

With the arguments due so far in advance, you wonder if people aren't paying attention, or if the groups for and against have even formed yet. I predict that there will still be a significant amount of discussion regarding the bonds and the tax that could potentially be attached to them. It will be interesting to see if there will be a different reaction to a short term finite tax for particular items vs. the notion of a permanent property tax like the one that failed in 2006.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

District 18 Senate Blogger Roundtable - Part 4

With so much happening in the heated District 18 Senate Race, I thought it would be good to put together a round table discussion about the race and get some people who cover Mesa’s opinion on the issues. East Valley Immigration, Adams and Jefferson, Thoughts on Mesa, and the Sonoran Alliance have agreed to participate. So, here is the fourth installment of the District 18 Roundtable Discussion.

4. If you had one piece of advice to give to one of the candidates, what would it be?

Sonoran Alliance: Russell Pearce - Stay very visible and continue to communicate to the voters in your district. They respect you and expect you to stand and fight for them. Running and hiding from the hit pieces will create doubt in their mind and validate the hit pieces. Fight for your supporters and they will fight for you. Kevin Gibbons - Get to the know the voters of district 18. Running a campaign from a distance won't gain voters. Elections are about addition and the more you meet and listen to voters, the more support you will gain. Also be adamant about why you are running. This is not about becoming someone. It's about doing something.

Thoughts on Mesa: Don't attack people personally. It is OK to attack on the issues but not on family.

Mesa Issues: For Kevin Gibbons - be honest about why you are running, who is helping you and where your money is coming from. Acting like you are above everything is going on after you gave money to the Domestic Violence Shelter and the ADL shows you had an idea about what was going on and where people were going to attack Pearce.

Adams and Jefferson: For Kevin Gibbons - When you are asked a question in a debate - just answer the question. It is impossible to find out what you really think about the issues because you never answer the question that is being asked.

East Valley Immigration: Talk about the issues instead of trying to insinuate another message. It seems like Gibbons is running the I'm not Russell Pearce campaign which means I know nothing about him. That tells me that the candidate is an empty suit.

Meet the Mesa Public School Board Candidates

Five people are going for three spots on the Mesa Public Schools Board in the November Election. All of the candidates are fairly young with Peterson being the oldest at 51. This is a very interesting time to be on the MPS board with the recent cuts and the potential for more in the future. It could be an opportunity for someone to really show some leadership and make a name for themselves by helping turn the board around. It could also be a chance for someone to get a lot of people mad at them. Here are the candidates:

Steven Peterson
Age: 51.
Profession: Chief financial officer for mining equipment company.
Quote: "I want to keep Mesa schools viable for our school children."

Michael Nichols
Age: 42.
Profession: Retired from military.
Quote: "I've got experience (as school volunteer) and would like to do good for the community and education."

Lance Entrekin
Age: 42.
Profession: Attorney.
Quote: "I wanted to get involved, and read in Arizona Republic about all the financial difficulty they were having."

Ben Whiting
Age: 35.
Profession: Dentist.
Quote: "I'm excited about where Mesa schools are at now and excited about something better in the future."

Kate Ali'varius
Age: 39.
Profession: Former school principal, now publisher of Edukid newspaper.
Quote: "I have two premier values, the community and education."

Expect to read more about these people in the mail, but don't expect a lot from them in the mailbox. As an unpaid volunteer position, its not a traditional candidate campaign like you would expect.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pearce Heavily Favored - Updated

This just in: the people who told me about a poll in District 18 were right. Turns out there was a poll and it shows Russell Pearce with a substantial lead over Kevin Gibbons of 51% to 13%. That is a margin of 38 points.

And this took place over the same weekend where Pearce was all over the newspapers and negative postcards were in everyone's mailboxes. The pollster states that the smear efforts may have backfired. The guys behind "Mesa Deserves Better" even admit that there is credibility in the poll.

Gibbons attempts to play it cool stating that he thought Pearce would have an even greater advantage and he is going to go after those who are undecided. Well, according to the poll, that may not be enough. He is going to have to peel off some Pearce supporters and hope to do it fast before they vote their early ballot.

UPDATE: The Arizona Republic has a link to the actual poll. I don't really know what I am looking for, but it looks like Pearce is solid across the board. Here is a quote from someone from Sonoran Alliance's converage:

"See the survey for yourself. It looks to me like a single subject survey with rotated order of names. It also looks like a primary voting Republican sample balanced for turnout.
In other words, it looks like a legitimate overwhelming defeat is about to take place."

MPS releases cut list.

Mesa Public Schools has released detailed list of cuts just in time for the school year. I am particularly disappointed to see science camp on the list. Let's hope that they are able to find some ways to get private donation or other help with some of these programs.

Otherwise, they'll have to replace, "there is no better place to learn" with something like, "hey come on, we're trying over here."

The Latest on District 18

I have heard from a couple of people around town that they were polled over the weekend about the District 18 race. Has anyone heard anything about that? It would be interesting to know the results and who was conducting it.

Also, the Independent expenditures are still getting a lot of attention, this time with even the Arizona Republic standing up to defend Pearce. This is like the oil coming to water's defence. I have heard that there will be even more hits in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile, Gibbons's campaign has been quiet after sending out 5 mailers in a week, most people have seen nothing while the attacks on Pearce took place. I am going to assume that he saw the dark clouds forming and thought it was best to get out of the way. Probably a good idea on his part.

District 18 Senate Blogger Roundtable - Part 3

With so much happening in the heated District 18 Senate Race, I thought it would be good to put together a round table discussion about the race and get some people who cover Mesa’s opinion on the issues. East Valley Immigration, Adams and Jefferson, Thoughts on Mesa, and the Sonoran Alliancce have agreed to participate. So, here is the third installment of the District 18 Roundtable Discussion.

3. How do you think the influx of independent expenditures from different groups are going to effect the race?

Mesa Issues: Well, as it already has, it’s going to draw a lot of attention to the race. However, in the end, I wonder if it’s not too little too late. If they really wanted to take out Pearce, it’s going to take a long time to create doubt within his faithful.

East Valley Immigration: I think it's going to get a lot more negative and you'll see more lies and half truths. I think people will be annoyed at the constant barrage of the same literature. It's funny, they aren't supposed to work together but by looking at it, you can't tell which are Gibbons and which are the independents. I must have gotten 5 or 6 just this last weekend!

Thoughts on Mesa: We are seeing that now with the negative mailers that are being mailed out. I.E.s will probably change the mind of a very few people. I think however they will have the opposite desire and turn people off. People don't like negative campaigning, political junkies love it but the public doesn't.

Sonoran Alliance: An influx of independent expenditures will only work against the group funding the IE's. We believe that the Sproul/Mesa Deserves Better attack pieces will backfire. Any outside groups advocating for or against will only work against the goal of the IE. West Mesa voters do not like being told how to vote by outsiders.

Adams and Jefferson: They will further polarize the district. Since the expenditures are mostly directed against Rep. Pearce - he is going to take a fairly nasty public beating.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

First look at the Bonds

While the September Primary is the hot election to talk about, there is also a November General Election looming on the horizon. Nationally, we'll be selecting a new President. In Arizona, we'll be dealing with several statewide races, ballot propositions, and local legislative races. Also locally in Mesa, we'll be voting on the slum landlord law and two bonds.

Gary Nelson has the first look at the bonds, starting with the fire station portion of the public safety bond. I would bet, since he took such a limited view in this story, that its going to be part of a longer term series of stories. Clearly, the need is there, and I'd expect it won't be long before we hear more people telling this story. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a rehash of the property tax debate from a few years ago, or if people are more willing to support bond proposals for specific projects.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the bonds for yourself, the City has a page set up that has all the details.

Help clean up the streets

The City of Mesa is looking for volunteers to help pick up nuisance signs. To volunteer, forms are available at Contact Mesa's code compliance director, Mike Renshaw, at (480) 644-4706 for information.

Too bad the same can't be done for all of these political signs.

District 18 Senate Blogger Roundtable - Part 2 UPDATED

With so much happening in the heated District 18 Senate Race, I thought it would be good to put together a round table discussion about the race and get some people who cover Mesa’s opinion on the issues. East Valley Immigration, Adams and Jefferson, Thoughts on Mesa, and the Sonoran Alliancce have agreed to participate. So, here is the second installment of the District 18 Roundtable Discussion.

2. What do you think is the greatest handicap for each candidate?

Sonoran Alliance: Russell Pearce's greatest handicap is not having access to large donors. Russell has relied on grassroots support in every bid while shying away from big business. Because money is the mother's milk of much larger campaigns and Russell has not had to rely on big money in the past, this will not work against him. Kevin Gibbons greatest handicap is the fact that he comes from business and specifically, the legal arena. His association with the anti-employer sanctions groups and immigration attorneys is an even bigger handicap than Russell's lack of access to big money. Gibbons is also perceived as an outsider and coming from upper class interests which does not bode well with a community of long-established families..

Mesa Issues: Its going to be hard for people to get past the fact that Gibbons and his donors are double dipping in donating to his campaign and for the independent expenditures. If he has changes to the employer sanctions laws, he better speak up now, instead of letting others speak for him. For Pearce, he has to not follow each one of these allegations down the rabbit hole. That is part of the reason that they are doing this is to keep him off his game and prevent him from matching up directly with Gibbons.

Thoughts on Mesa: Gibbons – his ties to those fighting the employer sanctions laws and his own attempts at personally attacking Pearce.
Pearce – He talks too much and gets off subject.

East Valley Immigration: Pearce- people think he only is about immigration. He's actually a big player in the no-tax crowd. Gibbons- He's all for open borders and has aligned himself with by taking money from big time Democrats.

Adams and Jefferson: I see three main challenges for each candidate:

Russell Pearce
His strong position on illegal immigration has allowed his opponents to accuse him of being a racist.

He has angered a lot of powerful people across the state who have organized a concerted effort to remove him from office.

He is a Clean Elections candidate which limits his financial resources and also gives the Gibbons camp an opportunity to challenge his conservative credentials.

Kevin Gibbons
His list of campaign contributors include Democrat party activists and othergroups who directly oppose key principles/platforms of the Republican Party. This has angered the Party and led to the MCRC endorsement of Russell Pearce in this primary - a very uncommon thing for them to do.

His supporters are more "anti-Pearce" than "pro-Gibbons" which isn't the best motivation for voters

He has snubbed the LD18 Precinct Committeemen who are now mad as hornets at him and will be working with their friends and neighbors to make sure the Rep. Pearce is sent to the Senate.

Friday, August 8, 2008

District 18 Senate Blogger Roundtable - Part 1

With so much happening in the heated District 18 Senate Race, I thought it would be good to put together a round table discussion about the race and get some people who cover Mesa’s opinion on the issues. East Valley Immigration, Adams and Jefferson, Thoughts on Mesa, and the Sonoran Alliancce have agreed to participate.

So, here is the first installment of the District 18 Roundtable Discussion.

1. Which candidate (Pearce or Gibbons) do you think has greater negatives right now?

Adams and Jefferson: Kevin Gibbons - he is taking on a "favorite son" in the district and will have difficulty proving himself to be more conservative than Mr. Pearce in an incredibly conservative district.

Thoughts on Mesa: Even though a negative piece came out on Pearce about a 28 year old divorce filing, I think that most republicans can see what is going on by the "open boarder" and "cheap labor groups" supporting Gibbons. I still firmly believe that Gibbons has the greatest negatives.

East Valley Immigration: Although Gibbons is making a run at smearing Pearce, I think when you consider the fact we are in a Republican Primary, Gibbons has the most to lose. He has come off looking like an open border, democrat taking special interest money. I know my neighbors in Mesa don't exactly line up that way.

Mesa Issues: I think that the independent expenditures were fired up because they saw that Gibbons had clearly been put forth as the outsider with a lot of questionable connections. Gibbons has spent considerable time trying to put Pearce down more, when in fact, he should be trying to play up his positives. I predict that from here on out, Gibbons will go positive and allow his colleagues to do the mudslinging.

Sonoran Alliance: One would think that Russell Pearce has the highest negatives with the recent independent expenditure hit pieces against him but it is quite the opposite. Kevin Gibbons negatives are greater and continue to increase as more attacks on Pearce occur. Even before the attacks on Pearce, Gibbons was considered an outsider with ties to business interests trying to thwart the employer sanction laws. One must remember that West Mesa neighborhoods are a very tight-knit community and an outside attack on someone so closely identified and respected is seen as an attack on the whole community. Over the years, Pearce has earned the respect of many people in his district and knows more people than his opponent anticipated. Gibbons has an uphill battle trying to earn the respect of a community that which knows he has not been apart of. The revelation that Gibbons did not participate in previous elections will hurt him. Gibbons' ties to immigration legal services is also a problem with voters who have seen their community negatively affected by illegal immigrants and cheap labor. Finally, there is also a perception that Gibbons comes from a higher class status and was handpicked by individuals seeking political power. West Mesa voters are very protective of their community and elected officials and are not likely to be told what to do. Kevin Gibbons has an uphill battle and it only gets more difficult with each hit piece on Russell Pearce. I believe that Mesa Deserves Better's tactics are backfiring back on Gibbons.

Apparently Mesa Deserves Personal Attacks

I don't know if you have been following the latest two day saga regarding the attacks on Russell Pearce. Espresso Pundit first broke the story on Tuesday night that a group called Mesa Deserves Better was attacking Pearce with a very nasty postcard. In fact, I think its one of the nastiest political mailings I have ever seen.

Sonoran Alliance did a great job of covering the story throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday. Ultimately, Russell's wife LuAnne sent out the following statement to put the issue to rest:

"Recently opponents of our State's employer sanctions law made despicable,misleading and false attacks on my husband and our family. Twenty-eightyears ago a petition for divorce was filed on my behalf. The allegations inthis 28 year old document are not true and the petition was shortlythereafter withdrawn.

The people behind this "Mesa Deserves Better" committee are not honorable.Their only purpose is to destroy my husband's good reputation, to hurt ourfamily and to repeal the law which prevents them from hiring individuals whoare in this country illegally. I urge everyone to reject these meanspirited people and all who are affiliated with them. It is apparent thatthey will go to any length and use any measure to further their ownpolitical agenda.

My husband is a good man, a man of faith who taught our children andgrandchildren the meaning of honor and duty to God, Family and Country. Ihope all voters in District 18 join me in supporting my husband for StateSenate and rejecting these misleading and false attacks."

-LuAnne Pearce

The real issue here is who is behind the attacks. We found out that its the guys who own fast food restaurants around town (including the ones that take pesos) and the people behind the efforts to change the employer sanctions laws.

When I read the story, today, there was an advertisment showering money all over the place, which I thought was an ironic statement since these guys appear to be dumping a lot of money to target Pearce so they can hold on to more of their money by being able to hire whomever they want.

Anyway, it doesn't look like this is the end of the personal attacks on Russell Pearce. So, when they say that "Mesa Deserves Better" what they are really saying is that Mesa deserves to suffer throught a month of terrible mudslinging and personal attacks. If they don't like Russell Pearce because his strong positions on immigration, they should go after him on that. If the people of the district agree with them, they'll certainly follow.

I certainly don't agree with Russell Pearce on everything, but its the notion of not sticking to the issues that really disgusts me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cease and Desist

According to Sonoran Alliance, Thoughts on Mesa, and others, the RNC has issued a cease and desist order against the firefighter group using the Republican Logo to promote their candidates in contested Republican Primaries. I posted a Kevin Gibbons sign paid for by the group earlier this week.

The Sonoran Alliance and The Real Kevin Gibbons have made a game out of it, asking people to submit their favorite photoshops to the signs. There is some great stuff so far. The also launched another new cartoon yesterday which is a pretty funny look at the folks that have been donating to Gibbons so far.

Smith to lead Williams Gateway Authority

Mayor Scott Smith is making waves again, this time as the chairman of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport governing board (Tribune version here). With so much going on in the Mesa portion of the development in the next year, this makes a lot of sense. It also speaks to how much has been done in the past few months that the board is willing to elect a political newcomer to take the helm.

Hopefully, Smith will be able to lead the board towards quality development of the area surrounding the airport. This may also mean that the folks on the board are more lined up in favor of Smith's vision of the area, instead of being married to the council's previous vision that they tried to push through before they left office. This is an exciting time in Mesa future development.

CSI: Mesa

Mesa Police are launching a new program that will help train citizens and to help as crime scene technicians (The Republic version is here). I hope that this is an innovative way to get volunteers involved in something interesting that will also help take the burden off of local police.

It looks like they have put the safeguards in place to make sure that quality is not an issue, and lets hope that this will allow the police to focus on more serious crimes. A few years back, I had my car broken into, and it took police nearly half a day to come check my car. It was hot out, and when they took prints on my car, they ended up burning film into the exterior. It certainly can't get much worse than that.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Targetting Russell Pearce

The Tribune is covering all of the latest developments in the District 18 Senate race, including this YouTube that was launched by a firefighter group blasting Pearce for speaking out against other Republicans including Kevin Gibbons' "respected" brother-in-law. In the story, the president of the firefighters criticizes Pearce for his treatment of other Republicans. I didn't know that unions really weighed in on internal party struggles.

Sonoran Alliance has covered the video as well, and the story has a heated comment section with groups basically lining up for an against Pearce. No real word from the detractors on how they feel about Gibbons beyond the fact that he is not-Pearce. Interestingly the same group of firefighters are responsible for the Pro-Gibbons signs that were mentioned earlier in the week and some pro-Hershberger signs that popped up in Southern Arizona.

Looks like they must have gotten a good deal on Yellow floresent ink. Claiming border protection by an incumbent with a spotty history on illegal immigration and newcomer who happens to be an illegal immigration lawyer seems to create a bit of a credibility gap.

Taskforce nabs 130 gang members

A crackdown in the East Valley has nabbed 130 gang arrests, bringing the total up to 457 gang arrests this year. This raid not only included hispanic gangs, but white supremacy groups as well, who guarded their meth lab with an explosive device. Its hard to believe that these types of activities take place in our community, but they do.

The media continues to make this a Gascon vs. Arpaio event trying to compare these taskforces to the Sheriff's sweeps. The fact is both kinds of activities are needed in Mesa to help reduce crime. We need to focus on specific activities as well as the overall safety of our community. Although their personalities clash, both the Chief and the Sheriff are helping Mesa, despite claims to the contrary from both sides. Hopefully, these groups can find a way to work together and continue to make our city safer.

How is Mayor Scott Smith doing?

Saw an interesting little survey on the homepage of the Mesa section of AZcentral over the weekend. Its probably still there, but in case it goes away, the basic premise is they asked how people think that new Mesa Mayor Scott Smith is doing on the job after two months.

I was surprised to see that nearly 56% of the people thought he was doing a good job. About 30% said that it was too soon to tell. Only 1% said that they longed for the former council (ouch). Based on other surveys in the past on the AZcentral homepages and the general attitude in the comments sections, its a fairly impressive feat.

Maybe people were just so sick of the old council that they are enjoying a breath of fresh air, or maybe Smith really is getting a lot done and people are feeling that change is really going to happen. Most likely, its a combination of both.