Arizona is a blasted hellscape

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Büge
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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Büge » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:07 pm

Erm... am I reading this wrong, or is his name pronounced "kill"?
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Bal
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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Bal » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:19 am

It's pronounced Kyle, his family just doesn't believe in the letter "E"

Letter Day Saints are pretty common in Arizona.

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:01 pm

I just heard Kyl on the radio indicating that he doesn't intend to stay in the Senate past the end of the year.

This puts Ducey's strategy into context: pick an uncontroversial choice, win reelection, then appoint whatever even-farther-right yes-man he REALLY wants.

If Garcia wins, I expect Kyl to have a change of heart and decide to stick around until 2020 after all.

ETA: Somebody just pointed out to me that this could mean that if Sinema wins Flake's seat, Ducey will appoint McSally to McCain's.

That would make a certain amount of sense. She'd be stronger going into 2020 than anybody else he could appoint (appointees don't generally get the incumbency advantage that elected incumbents do).

She might be slightly less reliable as a proxy for Ducey than somebody from his own office. But probably only slightly.

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Bal
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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Bal » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:09 pm

He can only do that if Kyl steps down voluntarily. The appointment is for the rest of the term. What I'm really curious about is the actual wording of the law at this point. Because normally if a Senator retires mid term, we get a special election. So would Ducey REALLY get another bite at the apple, or would we get a special election?

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:51 pm

Bal wrote:He can only do that if Kyl steps down voluntarily.


Right. Kyl has said that's exactly what he intends to do.

The appointment is for the rest of the term. What I'm really curious about is the actual wording of the law at this point. Because normally if a Senator retires mid term, we get a special election. So would Ducey REALLY get another bite at the apple, or would we get a special election?

If there's a vacancy, the governor appoints a replacement (from the same party as the departed senator) to serve until the next statewide election.

If McCain had died or resigned before the end of May, the special election would have been this year. He died after the cutoff, so it's going to be 2020. Kyl resigning wouldn't push it up; it's still not going to be until 2020. In the meantime, the governor appoints a new interim senator.

That could, hypothetically, mean Garcia gets to appoint a more moderate Republican (there's already a campaign to get Woods to change parties and run for the seat in 2020 as a Democrat, so he seems like a possible choice), but again, I suspect that if Garcia wins Kyl will suddenly change his mind and stick around 2 more years after all.

(It's also possible that Garcia could win, Kyl could resign, and Ducey could appoint a replacement as a lame duck. I can't imagine anyone who wanted to run in 2020 accepting an appointment under those circumstances, though.)

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Thad » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:48 am

Got my ballot in the mail today.

Need to research the ballot initiatives and the nonpartisan candidates, as per usual.

I also need to do more research on this:

#RedForEd Supporters Want To Oust Arizona Supreme Court Judges

Teachers Target Arizona Supreme Court Justices in Elections After Tax Ruling

Gist is this: Ducey packed the State Supreme Court (with support from the state legislature), expanding its size by two judges. Arizona judges are appointed by the governor but then voters decide whether to retain them. RedForEd wants to block retention for two Ducey appointees, Clint Bolick and John Pelander. They believe that Bolick and Pelander both voted to remove the Invest in Ed initiative from the ballot; this belief is reasonable, but not proven (the full ruling will not be released until after the election).

I need to do more research before I decide whether to support this.

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby mharr » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:16 am

Thad wrote:
Bal wrote:He can only do that if Kyl steps down voluntarily.


Right. Kyl has said that's exactly what he intends to do.

Also stepping down "voluntarily" would work just as well.

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Thad » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:40 pm

Here are my notes on the ballot props (so far; I'm open to changing my mind if I learn anything different in the coming weeks). I still need to look at judges and nonpartisan candidates.

(Pardon the straight links, but they're to make it easier to copy and paste this into e-mails and other things that don't use BBcode.)

Statewide props
https://www.azcleanelections.gov/en/ari ... opositions
(Somebody dropped the ball on Find-Replace, as the "For" and "Against" arguments refer to "Prop XXX" throughout.)
https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_2018_ballot_measures

tl;dr Yes on 127, No on everything else.

Prop 125: Related to Public Retirement Systems

This prop would amend the state constitution to allow the legislature to set lower standards for funding pensions for corrections officers and elected officials.

It's got strong bipartisan support (there's a *long* list of names in the "For" arguments) but I'm leaning No. I understand that there's a brewing budget crisis for pension funding, but it's a crisis of our legislature's own making. We've got a legislature proposing to cut back pensions because it refuses to raise taxes, anytime, anywhere, for any reason. (And regardless of how you feel about police and elected officials, you better believe that if this works, they're coming for teachers next, and every other public employee.)


Prop 126: The Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act

Okay, right off the bat? Never trust anything with a name like that.

Even reading the summary, it's clear that this is utter madness: it prevents the state, and municipalities, from raising taxes, or introducing new taxes, to fund government services. You don't even need to read the arguments to know how absurd that sounds -- but if you do, you'll notice that almost every argument under "For" is sponsored by Citizens for Fair Tax Policy, the PAC that wrote the initiative. I've seen a *lot* of bad propositions over the years, but this may be the most brazen.

Meanwhile, the arguments "Against" have as broad a coalition as the bipartisan Grand Canyon Institute, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Farley, and the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity. I hate to agree with AfP on anything, but their argument here is sound: this initiative exempts certain kinds of businesses from paying taxes, and that imposes an unfair, anticompetitive burden on other businesses which then have to pick up the slack.

This one's a hard "No." It is a bad, bad idea.


Prop 127: Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment

Current Arizona law requires that the state get 15% of its energy from renewable resources by 2025. This prop would increase that amount to 50% by 2030.

It's not perfect; that's a very aggressive goal, and I think focusing entirely on renewables to the exclusion of nuclear power could be a mistake. (While I'm certainly concerned with the waste production of current nuclear facilities, I think we need to be putting more research and energy into better, safer plant designs.)

And the arguments "For" and "Against" appear mostly to be a proxy battle between lobbying groups, with most "For" arguments being sponsored by the PAC that wrote the prop and most "Against" being sponsored by the utility companies.

That aside? I'm for it. I've got concerns, but the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. This prop isn't perfect, but it's better than the status quo.


Prop 305: Relating to Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Vouchers. An "empowerment scholarship" is a voucher. This proposition would take funding away from public schools and give it to private schools.

Nope nope nope nope nope.


Prop 306: Related to the Citizens Clean Elections Act

The Clean Elections Commission publicly funds political campaigns. This prop would prevent candidates from giving Clean Elections money to political parties.

That sounds reasonable, but the real purpose of the prop appears to be to set up an unaccountable, governor-appointed panel that can overrule decisions made by the Commission. This prop is actually an attempt by Ducey and the Republican legislature to de-fang Clean Elections and give more power, and less transparency, to outside donors.

So that's a No.


Tempe props
https://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/city-cl ... nformation
See the top link, "Publicity Pamphlet/Sample Ballot", for the "For"/"Against" arguments. (It doesn't render correctly in my browser; probably a font thing. But I got a physical copy in the mail.)

tl;dr Yes on both.

Prop. 417: The City of Tempe’s existing arts tax of one-tenth of one percent terminates December 31, 2020. Effective January 1, 2021, shall a new one-tenth of one percent transaction privilege tax and use tax, from 1.7 to 1.8 percent, be levied to fund arts and culture throughout Tempe?

This one just continues an existing tax. While I'm unhappy with the state's tendency toward sales taxes (because they're regressive), I think this is fine; I'm leaning Yes.


Prop. 418: Shall the Tempe City Charter be amended to add subsection 2.06(D), Removal from office, to authorize City Council to remove a Councilmember by an affirmative vote of 5 of 7, with due process and clear and convincing evidence, for unlawful conduct involving moral turpitude, fraud or corruption?

In a nutshell: this is, specifically, about the allegations against Kolby Granville.

"Tempe Councilman Kolby Granville was fired from Tempe Preparatory Academy in December 2017 over allegations that he gave former underage students alcohol and made unwanted sexual advances toward one." Source: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/lo ... 319752002/

Currently, councilmembers are removed from office if they're convicted of a felony involving "moral turpitude". This prop would change the standard, and allow a 5/7 vote by the council itself to remove a councilmember from office.

The publicity pamphlet has exactly one argument on the "Against" side, and it's from Granville himself. (He also has a longer version at https://mylocalnews.us/arizona/2018/10/ ... ally-does/ ). He raises a lot of the same arguments we've seen in defenses of sexual predators like Kavanaugh and Moore: he's innocent until proven guilty, and he's entitled to a trial.

That's true, but it's irrelevant. It's an attempt to muddy the waters. Yes, it's true that he's entitled to his day in court *before being convicted of a crime*. There is no right to a trial before being fired from your job for misconduct. Granville's attempt to conflate the two things, the standard for a felony conviction versus the standard for being fired from your job, is not only intellectually dishonest, it's also a clear indication that he doesn't have a good argument against why this should become law.

The state legislature is already allowed to vote to remove members from office for misconduct (just ask Don Shooter). I see no reason why the Tempe City Council shouldn't have a similar mechanism in place.

So that's a Yes.

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Re: Arizona is a blasted hellscape

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:46 pm

I looked over the judicial nominees and here's what I came up with. (I already shared a couple of these links earlier, but again, I'm sharing these notes with a few different people, so some straight links and some redundant links will be included.)

Judicial review scores are available at https://www.azcourts.gov/jpr/Judicial-P ... ial-Report . They're not as detailed or specific as I'd like, but the criteria are explained at https://www.azcourts.gov/jpr/About-JPR/JPR-Process . All judges up for retention this year score very highly; most have a unanimous score on "meets standards"; only a few have 1 "does not meet" vote; only one has more than that, and he's not in Maricopa County.

There's an effort among some Red for Ed leaders to remove the two State Supreme Court judges who are up for retention, John Pelander and Clint Bolick, on the basis of the decision to keep Invest in Ed off the ballot. Here are some resources on that story (two articles and one radio interview):

https://kjzz.org/content/703441/redfore ... urt-judges
https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/te ... g-10789635
https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2018/09 ... -justices/

I'm angry about Invest in Ed not making it to the ballot, but I don't think I support the effort to remove Pelander and Bolick from the bench.

For starters, we don't actually know which side either one of them came down on, because the full ruling hasn't been released yet. A Ducey campaign aide said that the ruling was 5-2, but we don't know if that's true, and even if it is we don't know which side Pelander or Bolick were on. (Even if we assume Chief Justice Bales, the sole Democratic appointee on the court, was one of the 2, we don't know who the other one is, and all the other judges on the court were appointed by either Brewer or Ducey.)

In particular I don't see a good argument for removing Pelander. He's not a Ducey appointee, and he'll be retiring within the next three years anyway (judges must retire at age 70; Pelander turns 70 in 2021).

I don't much like Bolick's bio (Goldwater Institute, Federalist Society, pro-school choice, anti-affirmative action -- he's a right-wing guy), but I've skimmed the rulings at https://www.azcourts.gov/opinions/Searc ... &court=999 and I haven't seen any clear red flags that the court is split on ideological lines (like, say, the US Supreme Court is).

There's an argument to be made that Ducey appointees should be rejected on principle due to his packing the court (he and the legislature expanded its size from 5 to 7 in 2016). However, Pelander was not appointed by Ducey, and Bolick was appointed before the court was expanded; it seems to me that if we want to reject Ducey's efforts to pack the courts, we should wait until the two new judges, Andrew Gould and John Lopez IV, are up for retention and vote them out, not Bolick. (There's an argument to be made that all Ducey's appointees should be rejected outright, I suppose, but I don't think it's a very strong argument.)

In summary: I'm angry about Invest in Ed not making it onto the ballot, and I sympathize with the instinct to punish judges for making that decision. But I just don't think the case for doing so is very strong -- certainly not against Pelander, and probably not against Bolick either. For starters, we haven't even seen the ruling. Additionally, I fear that if we *do* start removing judges because we don't like their decisions, that's a bell that can't be un-rung -- and before long, we can expect to see judges removed constantly for partisan reasons, and that's not any better for the independence of the judiciary than the Republicans packing the court.

There is a threshold where it's appropriate to remove a judge. But I don't think Pelander or Bolick have crossed it.

As of right now, I intend to vote "retain" on all judges. I haven't marked my ballot and could change my mind if I run across any new information, but that's the way I'm leaning right now.

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