Tedski’s convention memories – Part 2, Balloon Drop

J Ross BrowneI was going to wait to do a second post until my brother posted. He’s been negligent and I won’t pay him for the week.

One of the examples of some of the silliness that goes on at conventions is the traditional balloon drop. In 1996, the drop became more interesting for one Arizona delegate.

Michael Crawford, who would later serve on the Tucson City Council, was a delegate that year. Crawford has a degenerative muscle disease that has confined him to a wheelchair as long as I’ve known him. The Arizona delegation that year was up in the upper rows of the United Center, which were not very accessible for him. An arrangement was made for Crawford to be able to watch the convention with the Ohio delegation, who had a place on the floor.

The balloon drop came. I don’t know if it was unusually big or not, but Crawford, lower to the ground and not very mobile, got buried in balloons. As he disappeared under the balloons, panicky Ohio delegates struggled to pop them to free him.

In the mean time, Crawford told me later, he thought the whole thing was funny. He didn’t know that the delegates were trying to free him.

Side note: that year, the venue that the Republicans had their convention in had too short a ceiling for a drop. They arranged for a way to release them from various locations on the floor.

Tedski’s Convention Memories, Part 1

J Ross BrowneWhat, you think that I’m going to let my brother take this place over? I’m still paying for the web space here, goldurnit. Plus, it’s my lunch break.

Tonight will be a speech by Arizona’s own Raúl Grijalva, who had a prominent role this year as one of the few congressional endorsers of Bernie Sanders’s campaign. This prominence has induced an epidemic of dyslexia among our national media, which manifests itself in some rather confounding pronunciations of his name.

(Memo to Rachel Maddow: It’s Ra-OOL Gree-HAL-Vah. Not that hard.)

Raúl’s first appearance before a national convention was back in 2004. That year, he was extensively courted by the John Edwards campaign, but he chose to go with Howard Dean owing to his strong identification with opposition to the war in Iraq. Despite Raúl’s work on behalf of Dean, Edwards had Raúl give his nomination speech for Vice President.

We in the Arizona delegation were all holding up Grijalva signs, even though I think a couple of delegates from Phoenix didn’t know who he was since he was still relatively new. Grijalva gets up there to speak, and as he got out his first words, he stumbled and seemed a bit confused.

I felt bad for him, even though he gave a pretty rousing speech after that, echoing Edwards’s “two Americas” theme and asking “where’s the compassion?” It was only weeks later that I found out a bit of the back story on the speech’s opening.

Raúl had a hard hitting speech written, but it was kiboshed by the Kerry campaign. After all the edits, he ended up with a rather dull recitation of pre-approved talking points. He went up to the podium to give the speech, he started reciting the first line and looked up to realize that his original speech was the one in the TelePrompTer. He was a bit startled at first, but happily read the speech he wanted to give in the first place.

The way I got this story is a reminder to me of sometimes how little you know about the back stories while you are in the convention hall. Sometimes the big stories are hard to find out about too while you are in the delegate bubble. My brother wrote about the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. In this age of ready social media, that stuff can get out to delegates quickly. But it wasn’t long ago that it was actually harder to get news in the hall than outside.

In 1992, I was an usher at the convention. My job was to stand at the entrance to a large hospitality suite and only let congressman, senators, governors, big city mayors in with one, yes sir we said one, guest in. I got to find out two things at that time: how many governors and mayors think they needed a phalanx of their own armed security with them in a hospitality suite surrounded by Secret Service, DC Capital Police and NYPD, and that DNC staff, at that time anyway, didn’t count Phoenix as a “Big City.” I still remember a couple of people turning away a confused Paul Johnson.

I chatted with Secret Service and other volunteers, usually about bad encounters with politicians. But, I didn’t hear much news. On Thursday, Ross Perot dropped out of the Presidential race. It was the biggest political news of the day. It would have been the talk of everyone, right? Especially in a gathering of half of the most addicted of political junkies in the country.

Me? I only found out about because they gave two of us a break and told us we could go into the suite and watch Bill Clinton’s acceptance speech. In the speech, Clinton dropped a quickie line about welcoming Perot’s supporters. I turned to the other volunteer.

“Did he drop out?”

He shrugged. I didn’t know for sure until I picked up one of the free “convention special” editions of National Journal on the way out.

Tom’s Convention Diary, Day 0: Tony Award Winners Dressed Like Mark Lindsay

Kicks just keep getting harder to find.
Kicks just keep getting harder to find.

Due to popular demand, I will be temporarily reviving this here blog for the duration of the Democratic National Convention. For those who do not know, I was elected as a delegate for Senator Sanders back in the Spring. I arrived in Philadelphia late yesterday afternoon, when I was greeted by Lin-Manuel Miranda dressed up as Mark Lindsay.

The big news materialized some time while I was in the air en route to the City of Brotherly Battery Throwing from Tucson, so I got to hear about it when I landed: Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be resigning effective at the end of this week.

It should be made clear that Wasserman Schultz’s resignation at this point is largely symbolic. The nomination having been secured by Secretary Clinton, day-to day operations at the Democratic National Committee will be taken over by her people and she would have largely been a figurehead anyway. However, this was a demand by Senator Sanders,’ and shows a recognition that the party as an institution recognizes that her approach was a problem. This is the first of the twelve steps.

According to the teevee news in the hotel lobby this news has thrown the Convention “into chaos.” I suspect that this is just an effort to make a story where none exists, as this has not been my experience so far. The reactions I have heard from my admittedly small sample of delegates range from shrugs to jubilation, even from Clinton’s supporters whom one would expect to feel differently. I was surprised to hear one longtime Arizona Democratic stalwart who had reason to know what he was talking about, a Clinton supporter from day one who was still trying to dissuade me from supporting Sanders, dissing the chairwoman as unlikeable. Clearly, there are a lot of people who are less than impressed with her outside of those of us on the left who she worked so hard to dismiss and insult.

It should de made clear that I do not think that the emails support the contention that the primaries were “fixed” by the DNC. Having worked to build support among constituencies all over the country for decades, Senator Clinton had every possible advantage in her quest for the nomination. That Sanders was able to organize a credible challenge that gave her a significant scare speaks to the power of his message and his ability to mobilize supporters. At best, if these DNC staffers did what they talked about, it would have been gratuitous and unnecessary. Nonetheless, what came out is pretty damning about attitudes toward the Democratic rank and file at the DNC and does not speak well of her leadership.  Even former DNC chair Terry MacAuliffe, whose approach to politics is much closer to Wasserman Schultz’s than Sanders, said on NPR that he would never have tolerated  this sort of behavior among his staff during his tenure.

It is unlikely that this resignation would have happened without at least the tacit approval of the President and Secretary Clinton, so there seems to be broad recognition that Wasserman Schultz’s approach was not necessarily well-suited to building the coalition necessary to win this election. Clearly, there is much more to this job than fundraising prowess and the ability to passionlessly repeat talking points on MSNBC.





Flooding the Sistine Chapel

Once in a while, I come out of hiding to post here at my old haunt. It has to be something big, however.

There are plenty of policy outrages that have happened in this legislature so far, the evisceration of our education system being the undisputed number one on the list. It is something else, though, that is the best illustration that the crew running the place care more about ideological wins and short term profits than Arizona as a place.

Darin Mitchell has introduced HB 2570, which would limit the ability of local government to regulate landscaping. It may seem a minor point, but these are the rules that protect our iconic saguaros.

The Arizona Republic cites a variety of rules in the Phoenix area that protect native plants, but we in Tucson have the native plant ordinance as well. It mandates that developers (including the city itself) have to replace plants that are taken out for development. The city also partners with Tucson Electric Power for the Trees for Tucson program, which puts up native trees to increase our natural canopy. The growth in our natural canopy (planting non-native palm trees has only a negligible effect on it) has can lower power bills, mitigate flooding and even make it more pleasant to walk to the store on a July day.

Still, most of the attention of this bill has focused on protections for a non-shade plant: the saguaro. Yes, having to pull them out and move them, or having to “mitigate” them is a pain in the nalgas for builders. But, think for a second why people move to Arizona. Let me give you an example. Here is the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau web page:

Scottsdale Screenshot

See that? Saguaros, saguaros, saguaros. You notice what you don’t see? Tract homes, strip malls and parking lots. Funny that.

By the way, that’s from a city that’s on the edge of the saguaro’s range. Still, the saguaro is so identified with our Southwestern deserts that they feature them. For years, we had a problem with Las Vegas cactus-napping saguaros because they wanted in on the action too. They are what makes us look different than suburbs in Orange County, Dallas or Denver.

These rules aren’t just there to protect the saguaro, but also exist to protect the broader environment and save water. Non-native plants tend to be higher water use, thus harder to maintain. I’d bet that the property managers that have to keep up landscapes for all those subdivisions that Mitchell is building would appreciate not having to maintain a conifer forest out in some tract of desert. Non-native plants can also cause other problems. The amount of money and labor both governments and property owners have had to spend on controlling buffel grass is a testament to that.

Most importantly, we live in a desert with sparse water resources. It’s taken decades, but we are finally getting both a local government and business culture that understand the challenges we face. We are in a unique place, and our policy needs to reflect that.

If you think that saguaros and the laws that protect them are a nuisance, I gotta wonder if you understand what it means to live in Arizona and whether you really give a damn about this place.

Tucson’s Charter Review Committee Seeks Public Comment

Some folks reading this know that I serve on the Tucson Charter Review Committee, a body which has been meeting since August to hammer out a set of recommendations  for changes to Tucson’s 70+ year-old charter. I have been reluctant to write here about our deliberations, even though the meetings are open to the public, because we are trying to operate by consensus, and I did not want to risk being perceived as undermining the committees work by acting on my own.

The committee now has a set of recommendations and we are seeking public comments. There are two public hearings this week where members of the public may address the Committee directly regarding its recommendations:

March 10, 2015, 5 p.m. – El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, 101 W. Irvington Road

March 12, 2015, 5 p.m. – Morris K. Udall Regional Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road

Written comments may be also submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by email sent to Cityclerk@tucsonaz.gov , or by surface mail to: City Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 27210, Tucson, AZ 85726.

The public comment period ends on March 20.

The recommendations are as follows:

The Committee’s recommendations fall into the following three categories:

1. Recommendations to Define Responsibilities and Improve Accountability. Tucson’s Charter, contains an unusual and confusing patchwork that spreads accountability for executive functions diffusely among Mayor, Council, City Manager, and Department Directors. The Committee is recommending four changes to the Charter to better define responsibilities.  These changes are intended to make City Government more effective and allow Tucsonans to better hold City Government accountable.
2. Recommendations to Eliminate Unnecessary Fiscal Restrictions. Tucson’s Charter contains a number of inflexible restrictions on the City’s ability to manage its finances. The Committee is recommending two changes to the Charter that would modify or eliminate certain restrictions in the Charter that do not provide meaningful protections to taxpayers.
3. Recommendations to Address Important Omissions and Cleanup Issues.  The Committee observed important omissions and technical cleanup issues with Tucson’s Charter.  The Committee is recommending three changes to the Charter intended to reflect the Tucson community and its values, as well as changes in the lives of Tucsonans since the charter was first created in 1929.

Recommendations to Define Responsibilities and Improve Accountability.

A. Changes to the Mayor’s Responsibilities.
Under the current Charter, the Mayor is the elected chief executive of City Government and is responsible for setting the Council agenda and presiding at Council meetings. Despite having a vote to break ties on most issues before the Council, the Mayor does not count toward a Council quorum and cannot vote on several significant matters, including the removal of the City Manager, Police Chief or Fire Chief.  The Committee is seeking public comment on 2 alternative recommendations to change the Mayor’s responsibilities:

Alternative 1. Amend the Charter to grant the Mayor a full voice and vote on all matters before the Council and for the Mayor to count toward a council quorum.
Alternative 2. Amend the Charter to eliminate the Mayor’s vote, but give the Mayor the a vetoover  all actions passed by the City Council. Council could  override a mayoral veto with a supermajority (5 votes).

If Alternative 2 is recommended for referral to voters, the Committee is also considering recommending the addition of a seventh Council Member, elected from the City at large, to avoid tie votes and to make it easier for Council to override a Mayoral veto.

B. Changes to Council Elections.
The current Charter includes a unique election system for Council Members in which candidates for Council are nominated by their political party in ward-only primary elections and party nominees then compete in citywide general elections.

Recommendation: Retain the partisan elections but make the general elections ward-only for the six council seats.

C. Changes to Department Director Appointment and Removal Process.
The current Charter contains a confusing patchwork of responsibility for appointment and removal of Department Directors and an equally confusing patchwork that makes some Department Directors “at will” employees but grants others civil service protections.

Recommendation 1. Change appointment and removal procedures as follows:
*Council appoints and removes the City Manager, City Clerk, City Attorney, and Magistrates with a majority vote (under Alternative 1 the Mayor would vote, under Alternative 2 the Mayor could veto the Council’s decision subject to override by the Council);
*Granting the City Manager authority to appoint all other Department Directors with approval by a majority vote of the Council (under Alternative 1 the Mayor would vote, under Alternative 2 the Mayor could veto appointments subject to override by the Council);
*Granting City Manager sole authority to remove Department Directors.

Recommendation 2. Make all Department Directors “at will” employees exempt from Civil Service Protections, except that the Police Chief and Fire Chief will retain their limited advisory civil service appeal rights. No change would be made to the civil service protections of rank-and-file employees.

D. Mutual Respect for Council-Manager Form of Government.
The current Charter does not explicitly require the City Manager and Department Directors to respect Elected Officials’ policy setting and oversight. Nor does the current Charter require Elected Officials to respect the City Manager’s responsibility for implementing policies and delivering services. Mayor and Council adopted a Code of Ethics Ordinance in 2013 that contains this requirement.

Recommendation. The Committee recommends incorporating Code of Ethics Ordinance’s mutual respect and noninterference requirements into the Charter.

Recommendations to Eliminate Unnecessary Fiscal Restrictions
The current Charter contains inflexible restrictions on the City’s ability to manage its finances that do not provide meaningful protections to taxpayers.

A. Modify the Property Tax Cap.
The Charter currently imposes a combined cap on primary and secondly secondary property taxes of $1.75 per $100 of assessed value.

Recommendation. Modify this restriction to apply the $1.75 limit only to the primary property tax. This is not a tax increase.

B. Eliminate Prohibition on Pledging Sales Taxes.  The Charter currently prohibits Tucson from using sales tax revenue to secure bonds financing.

Recommendation. The Committee recommends that this restriction be eliminated from the Charter. This is not a tax increase.

Recommendations to Address Important Omissions and Cleanup Issues
The Committee observed important omissions and technical cleanup issues with the current Charter.

A. Preamble.
The current Charter does not contain a preamble.

Recommendation. Add a preamble to the Charter to encourage interpreting and implementing the Charter in a manner consistent with valuing Arts and Culture, the Environment, Diversity, Transparency, Prosperous Economy, and Equal Protection of all Tucsonans.

B. Enumerated Powers.
The current Charter includes two extensive lists of enumerated powers that are very specific. At times the Charter’s specificity is used to argue that the City lacks the authority to take certain actions. This problem has been emphasized to the Committee by the arts and culture community.

Recommendation. Add specific language to the enumerated powers that makes clear the City has express authority to undertake and fund arts and culture projects. The Committee is also considering adding express reference to the City’s authority to act to implement such additional values as improving the Tucson economy, improving the environment, improving Government transparency, and improving access to government.

C. Cleanup.
The Charter exclusively uses masculine pronouns, has several numbering mistakes, and refers to departments, positions and technologies that no longer exist (i.e. Transportation Director for Superintendent of Streets).

Recommendation. “Clean up” the Charter to be gender neutral, repair numbering, and identify correct titles and departments; modify problem enumerations of powers and duties topics that refer to technologies or practices that have changed or are likely to change over time.

Coming Soon To A High School Near You


Instructions: Please choose the answer that best completes the sentence and fill the corresponding bubble on the answer sheet with a number two pencil.

1. The first Spanish-speaking residents of what is now Arizona…

a.) …arrived by the middle of the 18th century and their descendants are still here.

b.) …overwhelmed the state after the 1986 amnesty.

c.) …were running drugs and taking jobs from good Americans.

d.) …keep speaking Spanish to each other within earshot of me. PLEASE MAKE THEM STOP!

2. The “rule of 31” is…

a.) …language in the State Constitution that defines a quorum in the House of Representatives as 31 members and requires 31 votes to pass a bill.

b.) …a pseudo-constitutional mandate that requires 31 votes from members of the majority party to pass a bill in the House.

c.) …a series of tax breaks and regulatory carve-outs to attract a Baskin-Robbins Megastore to the East Valley.

d.) …a reference to NASCAR driver Jeff Burton.

3. The first African-American in the Arizona State Senate…

a.) …was Cloves Campbell, Sr., Democrat of Maricopa County.

b.) …I dunno…that girl who just started working for the DOE…Lee something.

c.) …would be a Republican if he were alive today.

d.) …was Terry McMillan.

4. The branch of government that serves as the final word on constitutional matters is…

a.) …The judiciary.

b.) …The House Rules Committee.

c.) …The Speaker Pro-Tem of the House of Representatives.

d.) …The Goldwater Institute.

5. The only thing that the state legislature is required by the constitution to do every session is to…

a.) …pass a balanced state budget.

b.) …cut taxes.

c.) …secure the border.

d.) …bring God back into our schools.

6. Raúl Castro…

a.) …is the oldest living ex-governor in the United States and the only Mexican-American ever to serve in Arizona’s highest office.

b.) …is Fidel’s no-good brother.

c.) …is a Congressman from Tucson.

d.) …would be a Republican if he were alive today.

7. Arizona’s twenty-four Indian Tribes…

a.) …have a special government-to-government relationship with the State.

b.) …are subordinate to the State.

c.) …are fabulously wealthy and get too much free stuff.

d.) …what? Didn’t John Wayne kill them all?

8. Arizona’s “right to work” law…

a.) …bans the so-called “closed shop” which requires labor union membership as a condition of employment.

b.) …makes labor unions illegal.

c.) …means that everyone who really wants a job can get one if they just look hard enough.

d.) …means that legislators are entitled to lobby on the side.

9. Miranda v. Arizona refers to…

a.) …a landmark United States Supreme Court decision which requires law enforcement to notify an individual of his or her rights when being questioned.

b.) …a pain in the ass.

c.) …a floor speech given by State Senator Catherine Miranda, Democrat of Phoenix.

d.) …an unfortunate incident at Canyon Ranch involving Cynthia Nixon.

10. Arizona native César Chávez is best known…

a.) …for organizing farm workers in Arizona and California to fight for better working conditions.

b.) …as the greatest Mexican boxer of all time.

c.) …for leading the Mexican Revolution.

d.) …as someone who would be a Republican if he were alive today.

Scoring: If you answered “a” to all the questions, congratulations! You actually know what you are talking about. An answer of “b,” “c” or “d” to any question may be factually incorrect, but is acceptable if you can defend your position with a smug sense of self-assurance and call anyone who disagrees with you anti-business, soft on crime, or uncivil.

It’s GOTV weekend, so things get stupid

2014-10-31 17.05.12The stupidity has reached such a crescendo that I am violating my self-imposed blogging moratorium, or “quarantine,” as Chris Christie might call it.

I got a last minute hit piece on Ron Barber yesterday decrying his vote for the Ryan Budget.

Ah, where to begin on this.

First off, Ron Barber didn’t vote for the Paul Ryan budget. What he voted for was a budget deal negotiated by Patty Murray and Paul Ryan referred to as some as a “mini-budget deal.” It was not the Paul Ryan budget touted in his “Path to Prosperity” plan which is referenced every time a Republican candidate wants to feign seriousness about the budget. Most of the elements of Ryan’s budget were not in the deal, which led to a lot of grousing from conservatives at the time.

Even the people that sent out the mailer acknowledge that they don’t mean the actual Paul Ryan budget, but only in the fine print.

2014-10-31 17.05.33

Since it was not the Ryan Budget, many of the cuts decried in the piece (Medicare, Food Stamps) were not actually cut in the plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a fan of this deal when it was made (although, predictably, my troubles are from the left). I also know it is far better than the Ryan Budget. As a matter of fact, the criticisms in the piece are spot on about the Ryan Budget. Say, what kind of “scary” candidate supports the Ryan Budget?

Oh yeah, Martha McSally.

Maybe this group that wanted to call out candidates for supporting the Ryan Budget will come on out and run a piece decrying her for being so scary. Say, who sent out this piece anyhow?

2014-10-31 17.37.23

I would welcome their opposition to Paul Ryan, but something tells me they aren’t very sincere about it.

POST SCRIPTS: I’ve got a couple of extra observations to throw in here.

  • Have you noticed how Republican candidates are quick to align themselves with the Ryan Budget, but cry foul when they get called out for supporting the details of the plan? It’s like they haven’t read the thing.
  • The mailer apparently went to Democratic voters. Independent voters are on a different mail program. This is a last ditch effort to peel liberal voters away from Barber. Given how poorly Matt Heinz did as the lefty challenger to Barber last time, I think more liberal voters have already resigned themselves to Barber’s pragmatism.
  • Oh, by the way: Ron Barber is a Trotskyite overspending Obama coddler and he supports this horrible, granny murdering, poor bashing budget? Could you guys pick a knock against the guy and stick with it?
  • I received this along with two mailers from my local Republican legislative candidate after I’ve already voted. Keep spending that money, boys.

Twelve Gen-X Republicans Who Will Have Some Explaining To Do Some Day Soon

Dirty_DozenThe worst day of my six years in the legislature was also the last day of my last session: June 27, 2008.

This was the day that the Senate passed SCR 1042, which referred to the ballot a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The change was unnecessary and strictly political. Arizona law already forbade such marriages, so the referendum ultimately had little practical effect other than to poison the public dialogue to advance the agenda of some sick and cynical people.

I could go on for a while about the ugliness that led up to 1042’s passage, like the promises that leadership and rank-and-file Republicans broke with the legislation’s opponents so that the bill could advance, the bizarre glee of the measure’s supporters (this did not include lobbyist Cathi Herrod, who continually bore her permanently sour countenance as she watched from her command post in the gallery), and the overall bigotry behind the whole thing. Suffice it to say, supporters of the bill went through a lot of trouble to get this passed. One could admire the parliamentary skill at play here if only it was about something useful like fixing potholes or building a hospital.

The bill got the votes of every single Republican present save two: Representatives Jennifer Burns and Pete Hershberger, both of Tucson. Burns had already announced that she was not running for reelection. Hershberger went on to lose a Republican Senate primary to the famously grumpy Al Melvin. If this issue was a factor, it was only one of many as Melvin had beaten another well-regarded moderate Republican in a primary for the same seat 2 years before. Based on my subsequent conversations with him, I think I can safely say that Pete has few if any regrets about any of this.

It would be easy to dismiss the passage of this as the act of a bunch of frightened old people who were intimidated by a modern world that they no longer understood were it not for the fact that twelve legislators under the age of 40, all Republicans, three in the Senate and nine in the House, enough to change the final outcome, were among those who voted for this. In other words, people who should have had an eye to the future rather than the past supported this even though they knew better.

At the time, I remember saying that the folks under 40 who voted for 1042 were all going to live to feel foolish about their vote. Society was moving in the opposite direction, and the future would not look kindly upon those who stood in the way of progress. We were people who all grew up around folks of our parents and grandparents’ generation who lived through the days of legal segregation. We would hear the lame excuses of older people who told us that while they all knew that the way that African-Americans were treated was wrong, they just had to go along with it in the name of expedience. As usual, evil triumphed because so many ostensibly good people found excuses to do nothing. The fact that the older generation was still (and is still) making excuses many years later indicates that they were embarrassed by their part in allowing it to continue.

Despite the court decision, the debate over same sex-marriage in Arizona is by no means over. Opponents have made it clear that they will continue to fight, but they are rapidly looking more like the Japanese holdouts who were still waging war from caves in the Marianas years after the surrender. It is clear where the issue is going, and it is happening much faster than even the most hopeful among us ever thought it would.

This was a very different issue than most of what we dealt with in the legislature. Unlike our arguments about taxation or whatever, this was one where, as what happened with SB1070 two years later, the legislature singled out one constituency for stigmatization, as the folks to blame for the problems the rest of us were having. They targeted our fellow human beings for crass, cynical and craven reasons. They all knew exactly what they were doing.

This is the part where someone says “Hey Tom, that was 6 years ago. Why still hold a grudge?” The reason is simple. I have seen nothing in the intervening time that shows that any of these folks have regret over their vote in 2008. Based on the fact that three of these individuals: Senators Adam Driggs, Rick Murphy and Michele Reagan, recently voted for the clearly anti-gay SB1062, it is safe to say that they still think that political considerations trump the dignity of our neighbors. So far, none of these individuals has had a George Wallace moment where they admit that they were wrong.

Now that it is clear that they are on the wrong side of history, they all better start thinking up what lame excuses they are going to be making. Their grand-children’s generation is sure to ask questions.

Tom’s Cheat Sheet

Posted by popular demand, here are my proposition recommendations:

Proposition 122: No

This is complete bullshit. It allows the state to ignore federal laws that they legislature does not like. This sort of thing comes up every few years and seems to be a way to provide an excuse for the state to sue the federal government (unsuccessfully, in all likelihood) and provide work for a clique of otherwise unemployable think-tank attorneys at taxpayer expense.

Senator Goudinoff put it best many years ago: “I thought we already settled this question on a hill in Pennsylvania.”

Proposition 303: No

This allows terminally ill patients to access experimental drugs. Though this sounds good and is very constrained, it effectively absolves doctors of liability for handing out medications of dubious value and opens the door to all sorts of quackery and bad science.

Proposition 304: Yes

This raises legislator’s salary to $35K. Though I know that you hate the legislature, and you should these days, please keep in mind that there are a lot of good, hard-working people there who deserve better than a paltry $24K a year.

If you think that $24K is more than the legislature deserves, then keep in mind that you get what you pay for and maybe it is you that deserves a legislature that does not take its job seriously.

Proposition 415: Yes

This would authorize a $22 billion bond to build a new animal care center. The current overcrowded facility has been obsolete for decades and is scattered about an unruly warren of modular buildings, making it difficult for the staff to do its work.

The opposition to this is, with all due respect, knee-jerk and stupid. These folks would be equally opposed to a bond to build a school, a fire station, or a bridge and they deserve to be rebuffed and ostracized. This thing will cost the average taxpayer about $3 a year at most, and it is critical to the health and safety of a community where stray animals are a serious problem.

Proposition 420: Yes

This allows TUSD to sell surplus land, whether it is land that has been abandoned due to a school closure, or simply land that was purchased years ago for projects that never happened. No one will deny that the revenue is necessary, and this is a no-brainer.

Today In Cognitive Dissonance: Adam Kwasman Edition

The audio tells us that that the candidate represents “a new generation of leadership.” The video shows him schmoozing with an octogenarian sheriff who owes his career to voters in Sun City.