Arizona Free Enterprise Announces 2020 General Election Endorsements

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Phoenix, AZ (October 8, 2020) – With early ballots hitting mailboxes this week, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club has released its final slate of endorsements for the 2020 general election cycle.

The endorsed candidates represent individuals who align with the organization’s principles and key policy goals.  Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical Arizona has leaders and policy makers who are able to articulate and stand up for free market principles and pro-growth policies.  This slate of candidates has proven they can and will.”

Proposition 207 – No
Proposition 208 – No

U.S Senate
Martha McSally

U.S Congress
Tiffany Shedd, CD 1
Brandon Martin, CD 2
Daniel Wood, CD 3
Paul Gosar, CD 4
Andy Biggs, CD 5
David Schwiekert, CD 6
Debbie Lesko, CD 8

Corporation Commission
Eric Sloan
Jim O’Connor

State Legislative Races
Judy Burges, LD 1 House
Quang Nguyen, LD 1 House
Deborah McEwen, LD 2 House
Travis Angry, LD 4 Senate
Joel John, LD 4 House
Regina Cobb, LD 5 House
Leo Biasuicci, LD 5 House
Walt Blackman, LD 6 House
Brenda Barton, LD 6 House
David Peelman, LD 7 House
Bret Roberts, LD 11 House
Warren Petersen, LD 12 Senate
Vince Leach, LD 11 Senate
Mark Finchem, LD 11 House
Travis Grantham, LD 12 House
Jake Hoffman, LD 12 House
Sine Kerr, LD 13 Senate
Tim Dunn, LD 13 House
David Gowan, LD 14 Senate
Gail Griffin, LD 14 House
Becky Nutt, LD 14 House
Nancy Barto, LD 15 Senate
Steve Kaiser, LD 15 House
Justin Wilmeth, LD 15 House
Kelly Townsend, LD 16 House
Jacqueline Parker, LD 16 House
JD Mesnard, LD 17 Senate
Liz Harris, LD 17 House
Suzanne Sharer, LD 18 Senate
Paul Boyer, LD 20 Senate
Anthony Kern, LD 20 House
Shawnna Bolick, LD 20 House
Rick Gray, LD 21 Senate
Kevin Payne, LD 21 House
Beverly Pingerelli, LD 21 House
David Livingston, LD 22 Senate
Ben Toma, LD 22 House
Frank Carroll, LD 22 House
Michelle Ugenti-Rita, LD 23 Senate
John Kavanagh, LD 23 House
Joseph Chaplik, LD 23 House
Tyler Pace, LD 25 Senate
Rusty Bowers, LD 25 House
Tatiana Pena, LD 27 House
Jana Jackson, LD 28 House

County, City, Town

Maricopa County
Proposition 449 – No
Stephen Richer, County Recorder
Allister Adel, County Attorney
Steve Chucri, Board of Supervisors District 2
Bill Gates, Board of Supervisors District 3
Shelly Boggs, Maricopa County Community College District Board – At Large
Laurin Hendrix, Maricopa County Community College District Board – District 1
Susan Bitter Smith, Maricopa County Community College District Board – District 3

Matt Nielsen, Mayor

Lisa Borowsky, Mayor

Merissa Hamilton, Mayor


Supreme Court
Robert Brutinel, YES
Andrew Gould, YES
John Lopez, YES

Maricopa County
Jay Adleman
Sara Agne
Scott Blaney
Lori Horn Bustamante
Rodrick Coffey
Connie Contes
Christopher Coury
Adam Driggs
Pamela Gates
Michael Kemp
Daniel Kiley
Suzanne Marwil
Scott McCoy
Paul McMurdie
Kathleen Mead
Scott Minder
James B. Morse
Jennifer M. Perkins
Adele Ponce
Timothy J. Ryan
Timothy Thomason
Peter A. Thompson
David K. Udall
Christopher T. Whitten

Congressman David Schweikert and His Moral Bank Account

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is disappointing news about an ethics scandal in the office of Congressman David Schweikert. The fine imposed by the U.S. House of Representatives (Arizona Congressional District 6) for $50,000, paid by the Congressman, is indicative of serious improprieties. While some of this seems to surround his chief of staff Oliver Schwab, the responsibility is always with the boss.

As we peruse news reports, the exact nature of the violations remains unclear. Campaign finance laws can be quite arcane and difficult, but such laws are written by Congress, are they not?

But the concern many Conservatives have is the Congressman has drunk the murky water of the Potomac, found a comfortable lily paid, and has taken up residence in the swamp; something many of us are trying to drain.

We hope that is not the case.

So, what does a Conservative do under these circumstances?

The theologian and talk show host Dennis Prager has an interesting way of framing these kinds of issues.  He says each person has a moral bank account. A person makes deposits of good deeds into the account over a lifetime. Because of the basic sinful nature of people, we all unfortunately make withdrawals as well.

There is not one of us who is perfect so we must judge a life, a career and assess the moral balance remaining in an individual’s moral bank account.

David Schweikert has been, on balance, a good representative of his Arizona District, earning a better than 98% rating with the American Conservative Union Foundation. He has not been involved in previous infractions. From a Conservative perspective, you can’t get much better than his voting record.

In the limited interactions we have personally had with him, he was always gracious and uncommonly well informed, especially on budget issues.

We regret his actions and do not mean to minimize our disappointment in him. This was all unnecessary. It is also dangerous, for Arizona is at risk of turning purple and shading towards blue. His seat is important and he should not mess with our political health for his own benefit.

He has made a substantial withdrawal from his moral bank account with this incident. However, the balance is still positive, especially because this appears to be the first time he has gotten into this kind of difficulty.

His seat is too important for Conservatives to lose, and with his moral bank account still strongly in positive territory, we will pinch our nose and vote for him again and support him, letting him know we don’t want to see this kind of problem ever again.

We suggest you do likewise.

LOCKDOWN: The New Totalitarianism

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Every political ideology has three elements: a vision of hell with an enemy that needs to be crushed, a vision of a more perfect world, and a plan for transitioning from one to the other. The means of transition usually involve the takeover and deployment of society’s most powerful tool: the state. For this reason, ideologies trend totalitarian. They depend fundamentally on overriding people’s preferences and choices and replacing them with scripted and planned belief systems and behaviors.

An obvious case is communism. Capitalism is the enemy, while worker control and the end of private property is the heaven, and the means to achieve the goal is violent expropriation. Socialism is a softer version of the same: in the Fabian tradition, you get there through piecemeal economic planning.

The ideology of racism posits something different. The hell is ethnic integration and race mixing, the heaven is racial homogeneity, and the means of change is the marginalization or killing off of some races. Fascism imagines global trade, individualism, and immigration to be the enemy while a mighty nationalism is heaven: the means of change is a great leader. You can observe the same about certain brands of theocratic religious traditionalism.

Each of these ideologies comes with a primary intellectual focus, a kind of story designed to occupy the mind. Think about exploitation. Think about inequality. Think about race theory. Think about national identity. Think about salvation. Each comes with its own language to signal one’s attachment to the ideology.

Most of the above ideologies are well worn. We have plenty of experience to draw on from history to observe the patterns, recognize the adherents, and refute the theories.

This year has given us a new ideology with totalitarian tendencies. It has a vision of hell, of heaven, and a means of transition. It has a unique language apparatus. It has a mental focus. It has signalling systems to reveal and recruit adherents.

That ideology is called lockdown. We might as well add the ism to the word: lockdownism.

Its vision of hell is a society in which pathogens run freely. Its heaven is a society managed entirely by medical technocrats whose main job is the suppression of all disease. The mental focus is the viruses and other bugs. The anthropology is to regard all human beings as little more than sacks of deadly pathogens. The people susceptible to the ideology are the people with various degrees of mysophobia, once regarded as a mental problem now elevated to the status of social awareness.

This year has been the first test of lockdownism. It included the most intrusive, comprehensive, and near-global controls of human beings and their movements in recorded history. Even in countries where the rule of law and liberties are sources of national pride, people were put under house arrest. Their churches and businesses were closed. The police have been unleashed to enforce it all and arrest open dissent. The devastation compares with wartime except that it was a government-imposed war on people’s right to move and exchange freely. We still cannot travel.

And remarkably, after all of this, what remains missing is the empirical evidence, from anywhere in the world, that this shocking and unprecedented regime had any effect on controlling much less stopping the virus. Even more remarkably, the few places that remained fully open (South Dakota, Sweden, Tanzania, Belarus), points out Will Jones, “lost no more than 0.06% of their population to the virus,” in contrast to high deaths lockdown New York and Britain.

Early on, most people went along, thinking that it was somehow necessary and short term. Two weeks stretched to 30 days which stretched to 7 months, and now we are told there will never be a time when we don’t practice this new public-policy faith. It’s a new totalitarianism. And with all such regimes, there is one set of rules for the rulers and another for the ruled.

The language apparatus is now incredibly familiar: curve flattening, spread slowing, social distancing, targeted layered containment, non-pharmaceutical intervention. The enemy is the virus and anyone who isn’t living their life solely to avoid contamination. Because you can’t see the virus, that usually means generating a paranoia of The Other: someone unlike you has the virus. Anyone could be a super spreader and you can recognize them by their noncompliance.

If Robert Glass or Neil Ferguson deserve to be called the founders of this movement, one of its most famous practitioners is Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes for Health. His vision of the future is positively shocking: it includes restrictions on who you can have in your home, the end of all large events, the end of travel, perhaps an attack on pets, and the effective dismantlement of all cities. Anthony Fauci explains:

“Living in greater harmony with nature will require changes in human behavior as well as other radical changes that may take decades to achieve: rebuilding the infrastructures of human existence, from cities to homes to workplaces, to water and sewer systems, to recreational and gatherings venues. In such a transformation we will need to prioritize changes in those human behaviors that constitute risks for the emergence of infectious diseases. Chief among them are reducing crowding at home, work, and in public places as well as minimizing environmental perturbations such as deforestation, intense urbanization, and intensive animal farming.

Equally important are ending global poverty, improving sanitation and hygiene, and reducing unsafe exposure to animals, so that humans and potential human pathogens have limited opportunities for contact. It is a useful “thought experiment” to note that until recent decades and centuries, many deadly pandemic diseases either did not exist or were not significant problems. Cholera, for example, was not known in the West until the late 1700s and became pandemic only because of human crowding and international travel, which allowed new access of the bacteria in regional Asian ecosystems to the unsanitary water and sewer systems that characterized cities throughout the Western world.

This realization leads us to suspect that some, and probably very many, of the living improvements achieved over recent centuries come at a high cost that we pay in deadly disease emergencies. Since we cannot return to ancient times, can we at least use lessons from those times to bend modernity in a safer direction? These are questions to be answered by all societies and their leaders, philosophers, builders, and thinkers and those involved in appreciating and influencing the environmental determinants of human health.”

Fauci’s entire essay reads like an attempted lockdown manifesto, complete with the fully expected longings for the state of nature and an imagined purification of life. Reading this utopian plan for a society without pathogens helps explain one of the strangest features of lockdownism: its puritanism. Notice that the lockdown particularly attacked anything that resembles fun: Broadway, movies, sports, travel, bowling, bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, and clubs. Still now there are curfews in place to stop people from staying out too late — with absolutely no medical rationale. Pets are on the list too.

If an activity is fun, it is a target.

There is a moral element here. The thinking is that the more fun people are having, the more choices that are their own, the more disease (sin) spreads. It’s a medicalized version of Savoranola’s religious ideology that led to the Bonfire of the Vanities.

What’s remarkable is that Fauci was ever in a position to influence policy through his closeness to power, and he did in fact have a strong influence over the White House in turning an open policy into a lockdown one. Only once the White House caught on to his real agenda was he removed from the inner circle.

Lockdownism has all the expected elements. It has a maniacal focus on one life concern – the presence of pathogens – to the exclusion of every other concern. The least of the concerns is human liberty. The second least concern is the freedom of association. The third least concern is property rights. All of this must bow to the technocratic discipline of the disease mitigators. Constitutions and limits on government do not matter. And notice too how little medical therapeutics even figure in here. It’s not about making people get better. It’s about controlling the whole of life.

Note too that there is not the slightest concern here for trade-offs or unintended consequences. In the Covid-19 lockdowns, hospitals were emptied out due to restrictions on elective surgeries and diagnostics. That suffering from this disastrous decision will be with us for many years. The same is true of vaccinations for other diseases: they plummeted during the lockdowns. In other words, the lockdowns don’t even achieve good health outcomes; they do the opposite. Early evidence points to soaring drug overdoses, depression, and suicide.

This is sheer fanaticism, a kind of insanity wrought by a wild vision of a one-dimensional world in which the whole of life is organized around disease avoidance. And there is an additional presumption here that our bodies (via the immune system) have not evolved alongside viruses for a million years. No recognition of that reality. Instead the sole goal is to make “social distancing” the national credo. Let us speak more plainly: what this really means is forced human separation. It means the dismantlement of markets, cities, in-person sports events, and the end of your right to move around freely.

All this is envisioned in Fauci’s manifesto. The entire argument rests on a simple error: the belief that more human contact spreads more disease and death. In contrast, Oxford’s eminent epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta argues that globalism and more human contact have boosted immunities and made life vastly safer for everyone.

The lockdowners have had surprising success in convincing people of their wild views. You only need to believe that virus avoidance is the only goal for everyone in society, and then spin out the implications from there. Before you know it, you have joined a new totalitarian cult.

The lockdowns are looking less like a gigantic error and more like the unfolding of a fanatical political ideology and policy experiment that attacks core postulates of civilization at their very root. It’s time we take it seriously and combat it with the same fervor with which a free people resisted all the other evil ideologies that sought to strip humanity of dignity and replace freedom with the terrifying dreams of intellectuals and their government sock puppets.


Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and nine books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. Jeffrey is available for speaking and interviews via his email. Tw | FB | LinkedIn

This column from American Institute for Economic Research is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the views of The Prickly Pear or of the sponsors.


Prop 207: Written by the Marijuana Industry, for the Marijuana Industry

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Prop 207 doesn’t simply decriminalize marijuana. That could have been done in a page or two. Marijuana sellers, instead, wrote 17-pages of changes to Arizona law, creating a lucrative recreational marijuana industry for themselves, at the cost of Arizonans. The sweeping changes in Prop 207 would impact current laws governing driving impairment, workplace safety, as well as protections through employers, landlords, and HOAs.

Perhaps the more egregious change is the elimination of Arizona’s DUI standard for marijuana impairment. Prop 207 rids the books of this law without replacing it with another clear standard of impairment. This makes it harder to prosecute impaired drivers, while we still lack the technology to gauge marijuana impairment during a roadside stop by police. This leaves police ill equipped to keep our roadways safe. Marijuana-related traffic deaths in “legal” states bear that out.

After Washington State legalized recreational marijuana, marijuana-related traffic fatalities doubled. In Colorado, someone died every three days in 2018 in marijuana related traffic crashes.

The tragedy on the roadways in these states shouldn’t come as a surprise, nearly 70% of marijuana users in Colorado admit to driving stoned, and almost a third, do it daily.

Prop 207 doesn’t limit the risks to roads. It ties the hands of employers who want to keep a drug-free workplace. The initiative forbids employers from taking any adverse action against employees based on their use of marijuana, and limits their ability to keep employees from coming to work stoned. Prop 207 only allows employers to prohibit employees from using marijuana and its high potency concentrates at the worksite. There is nothing stopping employees from using the drug, and then going to work stoned.

Consider the consequences of day care workers or employees at an elderly care facility.

The authors of Prop 207 put profits above kids by allowing the sale of marijuana-laced candies, gummies, cookies, and other snacks that appeal to kids. They further serve themselves by allowing advertising of such pot-snacks on TV, radio, and social media.

This, though we know marijuana use damages the developing brains or teenagers. It impacts learning, memory and coordination, causing academic failure, according to the Mayo Clinic. It inhibits brain development causing permanent IQ loss, and it hinders learning, attention, and emotional responses. And, it can lead to long-term dependence. 

study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that after the legalization of recreational marijuana, the number of cases of adolescent marijuana use disorder increased 25%. 

States that legalized recreational marijuana have among the highest teen use rates in the nation. Is this what we want for Arizona’s future?

The marijuana sellers who wrote Prop 207 are more concerned about creating and keeping a future customer base. That’s why they made using marijuana a statutory right under the initiative, and hamstrung landlords and HOAs to ensure nothing stops their customers from growing a dozen 10-foot tall plants in their back yard; and virtually no community can ban pot shops from their neighborhoods. They even included in the proposition front porch delivery, regardless of how many kids are playing out front.

You won’t find these details in their ads, on their road signs, or even in most news reports. Instead, they tout the 16% tax that they claim will bring much needed revenue to the state. But the tax is capped, and the revenue is earmarked, assuming it’s ever realized – which is unlikely.

In the six Western states with recreational marijuana, tax revenue accounts for less than 1% of state revenues. And Colorado spends $4.50 on marijuana related expenses for every $1 in marijuana revenue.

As these details emerge, support for Prop 207 drops. A recent poll shows support at just 46%, and opposition at 45%. Another poll puts likely voter support at just 47%. These are far lower numbers than early polls indicated.

As voters consider all the facts, they must remember this key point: Arizona laws passed by ballot initiatives are almost impossible to change or fix. The state legislature cannot remedy problems that arise. Arizona would be stuck with every detail of Prop 207, just as the marijuana industry intended.

Cindy Dahlgren

Communications and Media Specialist
The Center for Arizona Policy

O: 602-424-2525 | Mobile: 856-607-4208 |  Subscribe to Engage Arizona

A GREAT AWAKENING: The U.S. Relationship with China and the CCP is on the November 3rd Ballot

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

One of the odd byproducts of the Wuhan virus pandemic and its subsequent lockdown has been the growing realization of the perfidy of China, its malevolent influence on the World Health Organization and the dependence the U.S. has on that Communist nation for pharmaceuticals and other important manufactured goods. Indeed, the awkward integration of supply chains with a hostile competitor is a revelation to many.

Beyond that, others have started to notice the Chinese Communist influence on American campuses through Confucius Institutes and the increasing dependence on higher education of hundreds of thousands of full paying Chinese students.That they obtain excellent educations and go back to the homeland to plot our demise is also disheartening and a clear danger.

Then there are the multiple cases of military and industrial espionage and significant influence, if not control, of marque commercial organizations like the NBA, Nike, Disney and multiple other beneficiaries of our free enterprise and rule of law.

Many sports and media companies boycott individual states that pass social legislation they detest but see no problems at all engaging with a nation that violates treaties in Hong Kong, runs a chain of concentration camps, engages in murderous organ harvesting and runs a thoroughly dictatorial regime.

It would seem even organizations with impeccable American DNA like Little League Baseball have been penetrated and compromised.

As for American politicians, we likely don’t know the half of it. If the Biden family and the Clinton family have already been seriously compromised, we must suspect that other political dynasties have.

How far do these Chinese tentacles extend in our society? Is it healthy?

For the most part, the Established Conservative Movement (the ECM) has been slow to respond. After all, much of the initial outreach to China was by Republican Richard Nixon, whose anti-communist credentials were built around the case of Alger Hiss.

The realpolitik approach, the integration of China into multiple international organizations and the reliance on “globalization” was to a large extent the work of Henry Kissinger, who has always been very influential among Republicans. President Bill Clinton shepherded China into the World Trade Organization in 1998 only to watch China and the CCP increasingly violate trade agreements, manipulate its currency and commit rampant theft of intellectual property to the present day.

For conservatives with a libertarian slant, the mantra of “free trade” seemed dominant, even though trade relationships were uneven and intellectual property theft was rampant.

Donald Trump has been consistent on China for decades. Yet as a Republican president, he was an outsider and hence not part of either the Republican Party establishment or the network of think tanks and publications that make of the ECM. Hence, there has been considerable resistance to Trump even within his own party and certainly among many in the ECM.

To be sure, there were exceptions. Websites such as American Greatness, newspapers like the Epoch Times, think tanks like The Hudson Institute and The Claremont Review of Books and the military historian Victor Davis Hanson have been sounding the alarm on China  for some time. This is also true to some extent of the Hoover Institute. Among politicians, Senator Tom Cotton has been outstanding.

But just in the past several months, neoconservative Commentary ran articles critical of China. We think this intellectual momentum has now reached a tipping point with the June 22, 2020 Special Report in National Review, the longstanding flagship publication of the ECM. The main article written by Daniel Blumenthal of the American Enterprise Institute and Nicholas Eberstadt is summed up on the cover:

“We worked to make China a global power. For more than 40 years. Under both Republicans and Democrats. IT WAS A MISTAKE.”

Wow! The article is well worth reading.

It is likely this cover story marks a watershed event in the Conservative Movement. It is no longer a fringe idea to suggest China is a threat to the United States. The vulnerability of many Democrats, including Biden, to Chinese commercial ties and influence are features of the 2020 Presidential campaign.

Moreover, there is a kind of historical inversion which is taking place.

Trump, at first, was linked to the American First Movement prior to World War II which was “isolationist” and did not recognize the threat of either Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany. Trump thus was seen as reactionary and retrograde among think tank intellectuals.

But in a strange inversion, it was the ECM and Progressives that could not recognize China as a threat every bit as dangerous as Nazi Germany. Trump turns out to be Churchill while the establishment of both parties and much of America’s business leaders turn out to be Charles Lindberg.

Because China has been so successful at compromising international institutions, getting the U.S. free of the clutches of these international surrogates for China might appear on the surface to be isolationist but it must be done because China is increasingly recognized as a threat, not a trading partner.

If international organizations have been captured by a hostile adversary, Trump’s vision of putting America first and keeping it strong and independent is wise, prudent and necessary.

Obviously, the relationship with China and the CCP is on the November 3rd ballot. A vote for Biden is a vote for continuing the 40-year capitulation to China.

County Recorder Adrian Fontes Disrespects the Law and Voters

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Adrian Fontes won his seat for county recorder in 2016 by capitalizing on an underprepared Presidential Preference election at which no one anticipated the wave of turnout.  Despite Fontes’ unrelenting criticism of then long-time recorder Helen Purcell and lofty promises to “restore democracy,” Fontes’ record as recorder is ironically marred by utter incompetence, corruption and reckless disregard for the law and voters.

In short, Fontes has been a disaster and the electorate deserves better representation.

Fontes Has Done a Horrible Job Running County Elections, Wasting Millions in Taxpayer Dollars

Fontes’ debut election was the Primary in August 2018.  By 6:00AM 62 polling centers were not operational.   In fact, it took until 11:30 AM on voting day for all the centers to be up and running.  Though Fontes was quick to pass the buck to the contractor for the voter check in system, these were not the only operational gaffes.  Public records procured by the media showed Fontes’ office received over 200 complaints from voters.  Poll workers were untrained and unprepared, voters received incorrect ballots and many instances were cited of unsecured ballots.  And the “mundane” details required to grease a smooth election process were too tedious for Fontes to bother with – many polling stations lacked the basics including working internet, printers without toner and locations that were simply locked.

Ultimately, taxpayers were on the hook for another $200,000 for outside audits to determine why the election had been such a debacle.

Fontes has claimed he needs more resources to run day to day operations, increase outreach to the community and invest in new ballot tabulation systems.  In fact, he has squandered these tax dollars hiring useless positions like a taxpayer-funded lobbyist, personnel to run voter registration drives at Democrat-rich events, and flashy new technology that come election day failed.

Fontes Has a Complete Lack of Respect for Voters

Aside from Fontes’ just being bad at his job, the current county recorder has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the elections office and subsequently for the voters he is supposed to represent.  After a voter on Facebook had the “audacity” to question why the mail-in ballot he received did not have a clear date it needed to be returned by, Fontes told him (a fellow Democrat) to “Go f— yourself.”   Though Fontes claims he serves voters, his belligerent treatment of valid voter concerns demonstrates an actual deep disdain for being accountable to them.

This record of erratic and incompetent behavior led to the County Board of Supervisors hiring their own elections director and taking a more direct role in overseeing election day operations.

Fontes Does Not Believe He Should Have to Follow the Law

Adrian Fontes has seemed to be incapable of coming to terms with his loss of powers.  In an effort to be more relevant, this year Fontes proceeded in his cavalier fashion to unilaterally rewrite election law.  Fontes declared he would mail early ballots to all voters even those who are not on the Permanent Early Voters List (PEVL).  This was not legal.  And he was told so by the County Board of Supervisors, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State (a member of his own political party), and finally a Superior Court judge.

And as if there wasn’t enough confusion and uncertainty during these times, Fontes continued with his disregard of the law by instructing voters if they made a mistake on their ballots to cross it out and refill it.  This unlawful advice could have led to many voters’ ballots not being counted at all.  Acting upon his own authority, with blatant indifference for the law (again), a Superior Court judge (again) blocked his actions.  Of course, this was after 2 million erroneous instruction sheets were already printed at the expense of taxpayers.

It is clear when Fontes does not like a law, he simply chooses to ignore it.  Unfortunately, it is the taxpayers and voters who keep flipping the bill for his immature and irresponsible behavior.

It is obvious at this point that Adrian Fontes is not interested in the job of administering elections. Fontes sees the position of County Recorder as nothing more than a political operation to be used for the benefit of himself and his political cronies.  Voters deserve a fair, unbiased and seamless election process, something Fontes is incapable of delivering.  Come November, voters should vote accordingly.

This Blog from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is republished with permission. The opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the views of The Prickly Pear or of our sponsors.

The Tragedy of Tucson: First in a two-part series on why the Old Pueblo isn’t prosperous

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

With 1.05 million people, metro Tucson is Arizona’s second-largest metropolis. About 56% of that population is in the City of Tucson, about 36% is in unincorporated Pima County, and the remaining 8% is in the relatively nice suburbs of Oro Valley and Marana.

Once the territorial capital of Arizona, Tucson has a milder climate than Phoenix and is located in a prettier natural setting. But Tucson has fallen far short of its potential and lags behind Phoenix in key measures. It also lags behind other cities that, like Tucson, were once part of Mexico and, before that, part of the Spanish Empire. To wit:

Tucson Vs. Other Locales Poverty and Income

If the above were not bad enough, the City of Tucson has one of the highest rates of property crime in the nation. Moreover, its largest school district, the Tucson Unified School District, has some of the lowest test scores and graduation rates in Arizona. On the plus side, its University High School is one of the best in Arizona and it has some good private schools and charter schools, including the world-renown Basis schools. Generally, schools are better in the northern suburbs and in the southeastern suburb of Vail.

In a case of too little too late, residents of the city have voted for increased spending on city roads and parks, which are in terrible shape due to decades of deferred maintenance. Roads in the surrounding county are so bad that 90% of them are rated as substandard or failed. Even in wealthy neighborhoods in the Foothills to the north of the city, pavement is badly crumbled, alligatored and potholed. There are even some dirt streets just a couple of miles north of the city limit, smack in the middle of suburbia.

Blight of course goes hand in hand with poverty, but the rundown and seedy condition of much of the metropolis has nothing to do with poverty. It has to do with bad zoning, bad code enforcement, bad government, and bad maintenance of both public and private properties. Arterial and collector streets are littered, illegal signs and banners proliferate, landscaping is sparse, and tacky strip malls dominate the scenery.

In 1970, Life Magazine designated the major east-west thoroughfare of Speedway Blvd. as the ugliest street in America. Unfortunately, it is not the only ugly street in the metropolis.

Rivaling it for the top honor is Oracle Rd. (State Route 77), a major north-south artery that runs from center city, through a few miles of unincorporated county, and then through the town of Oro Valley. The ugliness of the stretch in the City of Tucson makes one weep in despair, but the stretch north of the city makes one consider suicide. The latter is devoid of landscaping and sidewalks but is full of weeds, litter and breathtakingly ugly commercial development. Judging by the condition of this state route, the state must hate Tucson, or maybe the state knows that Tucsonans will tolerate being treated as second-class citizens.

Downtown Tucson has been somewhat revitalized, but it came at the expense of a redevelopment boondoggle known as Rio Nuevo, which wasted $200 million, according to some estimates. If governmental incompetence were a salable export, Tucson would be richer than Silicon Valley.

Tucson is off the radar as a headquarters location by large corporations. This results in a brain-drain, as talented young professionals, including graduates of the University of Arizona, tend to move elsewhere for opportunities. Hard data on how many leave and where they go cannot be found, but anecdotes suggest that popular destinations are Phoenix, Denver and Dallas.

How did metro Tucson get this way? The second part of this series will answer the question in detail, but here is a preview: Tucson’s troubles were purposely inflicted decades ago on the metropolis by a cruel establishment that benefited personally from the status quo and had one overriding goal: not to become another Phoenix.

This is the real tragedy of Tucson.