Friday, November 30, 2007

Love Arizona desert rains, but too warm for snow

Cold season of the past in the Santa Catalina Range above Tucson

UPDATE, 12/2: Too warm for mountain snow in the Sky Islands of SoAZ. Mt. Lemmon got only rain, so much rain that it caused rock/mud slides and downed trees, and damaged roads, powerlines, etc. A more normal snow would not be so destructive. Arizona's global warming future is now.


TUCSON -- We've been enjoying a nice slow soaking rain since yesterday.

I've been especially enjoying the rain after our very hot and dry fall for late September, October and most of November, the hottest November on record, in fact.

Rain in the desert is always a respected blessing. We can't live without it.

Our cistern is filling. The chickens are scratching in the mud.

Look to the top of Frog Mountain tomorrow for possible snow.

Thanks for the water that gives us life.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ariz., 11 other states forced to sue EPA on toxics

Families protest IWU hazardous waste pollution in south Phoenix

PHOENIX -- Arizona has joined 11 other US States in court against the Bush/Cheney Environmental Protection (Pollution?) Agency.

The states want EPA to overturn regulations approved late last year that raised by 400% the amount of toxic pollution that companies can release into the environment without having to tell the public.

More than 40% of Arizona's toxic-releasing companies stopped providing detailed reports on their releases to the public when the new rules took effect earlier this year.

Once again our state is wise fight for public health and open government by challenging the lawless, pro-pollution Bush EPA.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tribes say no to Rio Tinto Resolution Mine swap

Apache Leap AZ, public lands threatened by land swap for mining

SAN CARLOS AZ -- Earlier this month Wendsler Nosie Sr., Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Nation, testified to congress against a mining proposal for Eastern Arizona.

This land swap bill looks like a corporate give away that violates the public-interest. Congress should kill this unwise bill now (HB 3301).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bill Richardson moving up in Iowa, New Hampshire

Gov. Richardson reads to kids last month in NH

TUCSON -- My long-time favorite for President in 2008, Bill Richardson, is moving on up with voters.

The Nation magazine says: "The action is with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson."

"If the pattern holds, the New Mexican will easily overtake Edwards and could begin closing in on Obama by the time New Hampshire holds its first in the nation primary.

It is worth noting that, according to the polls, Richardson is now viewed as more experienced than either Obama or Edwards by the New Hampshire voters. His numbers are dramatically up in other categories, as well, especially on measures of trust -- the New Mexican now leads Clinton in this category.

Richardson's move into double digits in New Hampshire parallels his under-covered rise in the first caucus state of Iowa. While much of the discussion about recent polls from that state has focused on the news that Obama has moved narrowly ahead of Clinton -- they are actually in a statistical tie -- some of the most interesting movement in the first-caucus state has been toward Richardson."

More views on Richardson's rise from the Atlantic, Iowa, New Hampshire and Texas.

Interior admits MacDonald meddled with science

Interior remains troubled under Sec. Kempthorne

UPDATE, 11/28: Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ7) said today:

“I am glad to hear that the Interior Department has come clean on the inappropriate and illegal decision-making which occurred during the tenure of a former political appointee, Julie McDonald. It is no surprise that the Department has found at least seven more cases where decisions were made not based on science, but based instead on political influence and a philosophical opposition to protection of imperiled species. Like a modern-day James Watt, Julie McDonald made decisions for the benefit of industry, ignoring federal law and basic decency in the process.

“This announcement, however, continues to raise questions about any and all decisions made during her tenure, as Ms. McDonald could have been involved in many more decisions, using subtle forms of influence and without leaving behind a paper trail.

“In addition, I have no doubt that this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inappropriate manipulation of the decision-making process across federal agencies by this anti-environmental Administration. When one looks at the many resignations of federal employees who left their jobs because of political influence or were forced out for speaking the truth, this kind of behavior is no doubt rampant.

“As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, I will continue to join with my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee to investigate inappropriate and illegal decisions affecting our nation’s lands, waters, and other natural resources.”


TUCSON -- More news from Washington today on an issue I've worked a lot on, Bush/Cheney administration hostility to science and conservation.

In response to months of allegations about political tinkering within its own ranks and demands for reviews by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), the US Department of the Interior today conceded that seven out of eight decisions made during the tenure of Bush political appointee Julie MacDonald, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, warrant revision.

"Julie MacDonald, who was a civil engineer by training, should never have been allowed near the endangered species program. This announcement is the latest illustration of the depth of incompetence at the highest levels of management within the Interior Department and breadth of this Administration's penchant for torpedoing science. Today we hear that seven out of eight decisions she made need to be scrapped, causing us once again to question the integrity of the entire program under her watch," Rahall said.

Rahall has repeatedly pressed the agency to review possible political tampering within its ranks. A May 9 oversight hearing, called in the aftermath of a scathing Inspector General report, examined MacDonald's role in politicizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Following up, Rahall sent two letters, dated May 17 and June 20, to Interior's Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett, requesting a departmental review of a number of ESA listing decisions made during MacDonald's service.

The latest announcement outlines seven specific ESA decisions that Interior has determined were "inappropriately influenced" by MacDonald. The Fish and Wildlife Service had announced on July 20 that it intended to review eight ESA decisions where it appeared that MacDonald had played a significant role in asserting her own political interests to overrule scientific decisions on endangered species recovery.

"Julie MacDonald's dubious leadership and waste of taxpayer dollars will now force the agency to divert precious time, attention, and resources to go back and see that the work is done in a reliable and untainted manner. The agency turned a blind eye to her actions - the repercussions of which will not only hurt American taxpayers, but could also imperil the future of the very creatures that the endangered species program intends to protect," Rahall said.

MacDonald may be gone, but she has not been held accountable for her crimes, and there are no solid signs Bush Interior is changing its anti-science ways.

"We are heartened to hear that the Canadian lynx, the California red-legged frog, the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and other species on the brink of extinction may finally receive the protections they urgently need. However, this should be the first step in a complete investigation into the Bush Administration's corruption and political manipulation of decisions affecting our nation’s endangered species," said Leda Huta of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Huta adds, "This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of endangered species protections that have been weakened by political manipulations. The depth of the Bush Administration’s corruption and suppression of science has not yet been fully uncovered."

- adapted from HNRC

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kyl may be Senate GOP Whip if Lott resigns

Crashing the GOP: Kyl, McConnell and Lott

TUCSON -- News from Washington today is the #2 Republican in the US Senate, Trent Lott (MS) will likely resign by the end of this year so he can make more money as a lobbyist.

The corrupt revolving door in DC between industry and government never stops.

A part of this story is speculation Lott will support Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to replace him.

Readers of this blog know I am no fan of Bush/Cheney puppet Jon Kyl, but I support Kyl for the Minority Whip position.

As Whip, a conservative extremist like Kyl will show people how badly today's GOP is out-of-touch with mainstream American democratic values, furthering the demise of the Republicans in the 2008 elections.

The downside for Arizonans is Kyl will continue to embarrass our fine state nationally and worldwide with his anti-public-interest politics.

With Kyl as Whip in DC focused on national party politics, and candidate John McCain everywhere but AZ or in the Senate, Arizona will essentially have no real voice in the Senate.

Dial 202 to reach these guys, not 602.

Go Kyl! Take the sinking Republican ship to the bottom.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aussie election sign of global liberalism rising

Progressive Rudd ousts Bush pal Howard

TUCSON -- Good news from across the Pacific this weekend as our fellow global citizens in Australia voted in a new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Rudd campaigned for more action from the capitol in Canberra to improve the environment, health care and education.

The loser was current PM John Howard, a conservative warmonger who refused to sign the Kyoto global warming agreement, and close ally of Bush/Cheney.

The Australian election is a welcome sign of global momentum toward more progressive politics.

Watch for Americans to also vote more for new liberal candidates in 2008, which is good news for progressive Democrats, especially non-incumbents.

We're number one! Most influential political blog

Love these Tucson views

PHOENIX -- This blog is named #1 most influential political blog in Arizona by BNN this week.

Thanks, readers.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Kolbe: border walls don't work, political symbols

TUCSON -- Jim Kolbe, former long-time Arizona GOP Congressman (CD8), was right when he said tonight on Arizona Illustrated that border walls are 'political symbols' that 'don't work'.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nov 23 is Buy Nothing Day, not Black Friday

TUCSON -- In honor of quality personal time, my family and I will join people worldwide in celebrating Buy Nothing Day this Friday.

Instead of lining up to over-consume, enjoy the people and places you love by celebrating the true values of the season.

It's true that the best things in life are free.

Besides, most of what you could buy Friday is made in China and may be hazardous to your health.

Give the planet, and your budget, a break Friday on Buy Nothing Day.


Phoenix action at Wal Mart.

COMMENTARY: What would Jesus buy?

Tony Paniagua keeps good TV journalism alive

Local public TV reporter Tony Paniagua (left)

TUCSON -- In this day of rapidly declining media quality, some reporters still earn respect and praise. One is Tony Paniagua of KUAT's Arizona Illustrated and Reflexiones Domingo.

Tony's insightful stories on real and often overlooked important issues are a breath of fresh air over the often stagnant polluted airwaves.

His smart, calm and caring style is an asset to public understanding of the news.

Tony Paniagua is not the only good TV reporter left in Arizona, but he is one of the best.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leading political voice backs Patterson for House

Arizona Capitol, 1908

TUCSON -- Smart Arizona political commentator Matt Foraker is backing my populist campaign for the legislature.

"When it comes to respecting the planet that keeps us alive, Daniel is the real deal who puts his career and his extra-curricular activities where his mouth is. Unlike most who seek office, Daniel walks his talk. He's an excellent candidate for LD-29..."


Mr. Foraker's blog, Sustainability, Equity, Development, is rated #7 this week on the BNN most influential list.

AZGFD biologist wins bighorn highway overpasses

Desert bighorn in the Black Mountains of Mohave County

KINGMAN AZ -- Highway projects are always bad for wildlife, and the massive widening of US 93 to Las Vegas is no exception.

The exception here is that a committed biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Dept., Kevin Morgan, wanted to do something about it.

Morgan pushed for, and won, three important highway overpasses so desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife would be less likely to end up as roadkill or trapped on one side of the highway.

Nice job by AZGFD here, and also to ADoT and FHWA for cooperating.

Now we'll have to see if bighorn and other animals will actually use the overpasses enough to minimize harm to wildlife populations from highway expansion.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Downtown garden a model for urban sustainability

Sustainable living guru Brad Lancaster grinds mesquite pods in to healthy flour

TUCSON -- The family and I had a great time this weekend at the 5th Annual Desert Harvesters Mesquite Milling Fiesta and Mesquite Pancake Breakfast at the Dunbar-Spring Community Garden, just north of downtown.

The mesquite pancake breakfast was great with prickly pear, mesquite, and maple syrups; all ingredients organic.

The live music was nice along with good people, kids and native foods.

Lots of people lined up at the hammermill to grind harvested mesquite pods into delicious, nutritious flour.

The Dunbar-Spring Community Garden is a great success. It was built on a former ugly vacant lot and is now a positive, productive oasis for the neighborhood. Tucson needs more of these.

If you haven't been there, you should visit. The garden is located at the NW corner of 11th Ave. and University Blvd.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

As Arizona politics improve, so do Cardinals

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Cardinals, our state's NFL team, moved to 5-5 today with a road win over Cincinnati. This is a good record for them.

As Arizona becomes more progressive politically, the Cardinals are getting better. Is there a link?

Tedski, sorry about the Revolution.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

AZ Wildlife Refuge border wall has many critics

The only animals border walls won't block are humans

TUCSON -- I'm in an important story today on the unwise and rushed Sasabe/Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge border wall.

"The Real ID act is a big threat, and DHS wields that like a club," said Patterson, an ecologist.

The Real ID legal exemption must be repealed. Rep. Grijalva has a solution bill here that Rep. Giffords, Mitchell and others should support.

Check out this slideshow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eco-champ Grijalva moves to limit S. AZ mining

Coronado National Forest: this land is your land

RELATED NEWS, 11/19: Augusta Corp. of Canada drills scenic Santa Ritas; Pima Supervisor Ray Carroll (R) busts them for pollution.

TUCSON -- Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ7) introduced legislation yesterday to remove lands in the Coronado National Forest and certain lands owned by Pima County from future hard rock mining claims.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ8) is also supporting this bill.

"The community concerns on the current and future mining proposals in our area create the need for this legislation," stated Grijalva. "The environmental damage from mining in these special places will be too immense and I felt compelled to pursue legislation to prevent future mining."

The legislation removes from future claims Pima County-owned preserves and leased lands, where the federal mineral estate is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The legislation does not affect valid existing claims, which may be mined in the future if they are shown to contain a valuable mineral deposit.

Earlier this year, Grijalva held a hearing in Tucson to receive testimony on the environmental impact of the antiquated 1872 Mining Act and on the current proposal for copper mining on the Rosemont Ranch in Southeastern Arizona specifically. A bill to reform the 1872 Act, cosponsored by Rep. Grijalva, recently passed the House.

Pima County and Santa Cruz County supervisors, the City of Tucson, Oro Valley, and the Town of Patagonia requested that the Santa Rita Mountains be withdrawn from mining earlier this year. The Town of Oro Valley and Pima County also weighed in support of reform of the 1872 Mining Act.

- adapted from RG office

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feds' wildlife killing program faces safety review

Plane crashed during aerial gunning of wildlife

UPDATE, 11/19: WASHINGTON -- EPA moves toward banning poisons.

DENVER -- Due to a rash of accidents, mishaps and security breaches, the federal agency which conducts mass wildlife extermination will undertake a nationwide safety review, according an agency circular released today by Sinapu and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The groups are calling on the agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called Wildlife Services, to open this safety examination to public scrutiny.

The scope and severity of the security, safety and bio-hazard issues confronting Wildlife Services (WS) is staggering. In a November 5, 2007 "stakeholders" memo, WS Deputy Administrator William Clay writes that:
"In the wake of several accidents in WS' programs, WS is conducting a nationwide safety review focusing on aviation and aerial operations, explosives and pyrotechnics, firearms, hazardous chemicals, immobilization and euthanasia, pesticides, vehicles, watercraft, and wildlife disease activities. The review will be conducted by subject matter experts from WS, federal and state government, and private industry. We expect the review to be completed in the next year."

"Wildlife Services has identified so many safety problems, it is a wonder that it can focus on any one of them," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "The extraordinary thing is that all of these risks are self-imposed as a direct function of agency mishandling, misapplication and mission creep."

The groups have been calling for action against three of the greatest dangers from WS operations -

  • Aerial Crashes. Recent crashes in "aerial gunning" accidents - principally pursuit of coyotes via aircraft - have brought the death toll to 10 with more than 30 injuries. This summer, South Dakota grounded its personnel from aerial hunts after its fourth accident in less than ten years;
  • Stores of Dangerous Biological Agents. Two recent USDA Office of Inspector General audits faulted Wildlife services for inaccurate inventories, lack of controls against theft and unauthorized sales and violations of bioterrorism regulations; and
  • Highly Lethal Pesticides. Wildlife Services traps and techniques have been linked to inadvertent deaths of large numbers of wild and domestic animals as well as other environmental harms.

"Following every accident, Wildlife Services promises a review but then goes out and commits the same mistakes over and over," said Wendy Keefover-Ring of Sinapu. "There needs to be an outside review because safety is certainly not the strong suit at Wildlife Services."

The groups have petitioned USDA to end aerial gunning and have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend registration for two of the most abused wildlife poisons employed by Wildlife Services. They are also calling upon Congress to redirect the more than $100 million annual WS budget which accounted for more than 1.6 million animals killed in 2006.

- from PEER

Monday, November 12, 2007

Border Patrol attacks No Borders Camp protest

DHS agents riot against rights on the border

CALEXICO CA -- At the end of a week-long bi-national camp in the Sonoran Desert at the Calexico/Mexicali border west of Yuma, Border Patrol officers attacked a rally Sunday at the port of entry. Around 100 Border Patrol officers assaulted a group of about 30 demonstrators on the U.S. side and with pepper gas pellets, tazers, and batons. Several people were beaten and arrested; more suffered from the use of chemical weapons.

As people attempted to disperse, the border patrol chased and detained groups of them, forcing them to their knees with their hands on their heads. In one case, a person badly injured by pepper pellets shot at close range was pursued away from the conflict, pulled away from a companion wanting to treat his wounds, surrounded and beaten in the head with batons by up to 15 border patrol agents.

All who were temporarily detained on the street have now been released.

More than 500 people participated in the No Borders Camp during the week of November 7-11. The bi-national campout was billed as a networking forum for activists opposed to the militarization of the border. Previous No Borders Camps have taken place in Europe and Australia.

Activities during the camp included a rally and march on November 9 at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in El Centro CA and a memorial service on November 10 at a cemetery in Holtville CA where the remains of migrants who've died crossing the border are burred.

All activities during the camp were peaceful and intended to build connections across borders. Sunday's march was meant to culminate the border camp.

Today, as we remember veterans who fought for our freedom, we also condemn the attacks on our freedom by federal border agents.

- adapted from No Borders Camp

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bush must end military aid to Pakistan's Musharraf

Threats to democracy: Musharraf & Bush

WASHINGTON -- I, like many people in the world, am deeply disturbed and outraged by the violent assault on democracy being waged by Pakistan's President Musharraf.

Musharraf has got to go, now. Unfortunately, he is still propped up by billions in US military aid.

The Bush/Cheney administration is not doing nearly enough to force the reluctant Musharraf to hold free and fair elections. Only a swift cut off in US military aid will apply the type of real pressure needed.

Musharraf the military dictator at war with his own people

Let's face it, Musharraf is a military man. A military man is primarily only concerned with military money, weapons, total control and aid. He will continue flip his middle finger at weaker US actions.

No one really believes Musharraf will hold free and fair elections in February. He knows he'll get crushed in a real election because most Pakistanis hate him, for good reason. If he refuses to step aside on Nov 15, US military aid should be cut off completely.

I'm not even sure what we're getting for our billions of taxpayer dollars going to Musharraf for the 'war on terror'. He's Bush and Cheney's buddy, which is not surprising because anti-democratic militarists seem to like each other, but under his rule the Taliban has taken over large areas of Pakistan in the interior of the country. Not a good change at all.

Musharraf is a terrorist to freedom and his own people. America must stop supporting him in any way.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Arizona wise to join pollution lawsuit against EPA

Unhealthy global warming pollution chokes Arizona's capital city

PHOENIX -- Arizona has smartly joined California and 13 other states in a critical public-interest legal action against the Bush/Cheney Environmental Protection Agency.

Arizona's decision to join the lawsuit was announced this week as metro Phoenix suffers record heat and high pollution levels.

Tucson also has declining air quality, which like in Phoenix, is mostly due to motor vehicle pollution.

Guarding polluters instead of public health, EPA has been shamefully blocking states from take measures to protect health and the environment from tailpipe global warming pollution, which has forced states to go to court for relief.

Arizona has had a very warm fall, and our winter forecast is for continued drought. Global warming related climate change is already affecting the southwest, making it hotter and drier. Not good. Our future is at risk unless we cut global warming pollution 80% by 2050.

The feds should be in the lead on this, but of course are not helpful under the destructive Bush administration. EPA is an important agency, but staff morale is very low after 7 years of pro-pollution political interference by Bush political appointees.

Governor Napolitano has done the right thing by joining this critical fight for our future against EPA and global warming pollution.

The Arizona Legislature should support this action for clean air, not try to undermine it.

The US Congress is also starting to strongly challenge EPA's failure to cap global warming pollution.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Land use big in Pima's 08 state legislative agenda

Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and his staff run the day-to-day business of Pima County

TUCSON -- Pima County has set its state legislative agenda for 2008, as approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

I generally support the county's agenda, especially for State Lands reform.

The agenda also includes local land use and environmental authority, elimination of predatory payday loans, land acquisition around Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and reimbursement of border related costs.

These are all decent ideas, but I am concerned that given the state budget crunch, $10M for buying land around DM, and state payments to the county for border related expenses, may too costly.

The US Congress, which has failed to pass desperately needed immigration reform due to Republican stonewalling, should be reimbursing counties and states for border related expenses caused by failed US immigration policy. Governor Napolitano is right to keep pushing the feds for reimbursement of state and local costs here.

Congress should also be paying more to protect lands around national military bases such as DM, not counties or states. DM serves our national security, and all Americans should pay for military base needs, not just Arizonans.

More federal money for base support, and everything else, would be available if we'd stop wasting hundreds of billions on Bush/Cheney's failed and unethical Iraq war.

At least my Congressman, Raul Grijalva, voted in favor of debating impeachment of immoral Cheney, which would be a long-overdue good step for America.

One item not on the list that perhaps should be is maximum state support for the much needed Tucson-Phoenix daily passenger rail service.

Starting in 2009, with your help, I hope to be serving the good people of Pima County in the State House, working with the public, county and city to bring home the public-interest support we need.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Protesting students change migra policy in a day

Students activate for civil rights

UPDATE, 11/9: Channel 4 story, Daniel Patterson supports the new (TPD) policy. "Students should be able to get an education. We need to keep Border Patrol out of our schools."

TUCSON -- I give a special positive salute to the hundred or more students from Catalina High who changed local immigration policy yesterday by protesting TPD and Border Patrol actions against undocumented students at TUSD schools.

TUSD, TPD and Border Patrol made the right decision after the protest to avoid immigration crackdowns at Tucson schools. Schools must be a safe place for learning for all, not a place for heavy-handed arrests by federal agents.

In other news in the city elections, big congratulations to our new Democratic city council members, Regina Romero and Rodney Glassman, and re-elected Shirley Scott and Republican Mayor Bob Walkup.

The council has some big work to to, including more TPD oversight and accountability, and a real water and growth plan with teeth and limits, that will protect and improve quality of life.

In Golden, Colorado, near Denver, my friend Jacob Smith was elected Mayor. That's great news for his growing western town.

Related news: Dems gain in state elections

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fitzsimmons puts on funny show for Tucson Dems

TUCSON -- Political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons put on a hilarious show today at the Democrats for Greater Tucson lunch meeting.

His quote of the day was, 'If you people can't get a Democrat elected President next year, you should all be euthanized.'

His best sketch of the day was of me, followed closely by Lute Olson.

Fitz is a great political cartoonist, and very funny live. His cutting candor on the state of the media is also right on.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Tucson Innovative Home Tour a popular success

Our place

TUCSON -- Over 100 people today toured our south downtown house, aka the Santa Rita Park House, as a part of the Tucson and National Solar Tours.

The tours were organized locally by the Solar Institute, and sponsored nationally by the US Dept. of Energy and the American Solar Energy Society.

People were very in to our solar power system, water harvesting systems, fruit & shade trees, gardens, chickens, bikes and biodiesel-powered VW Passat. They really liked watching the electricity meter spin backwards as the house produced more power than it was using.

We enjoyed hosting interested people and talking with them about sustainability, quality of life, living clean and cutting global warming pollution. Most of the visitors on the tour were planning energy and water efficiency projects for their own homes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Patterson for AZ House fund raising going strong

Arizona State Flag

UPDATE, 12/5: Now up to 92% of early campaign money raised.

Some words of praise. Thanks.

"...I can attest to the fact that Daniel is a strong and resounding voice for all of us who live here. He refuses to placate the developers taking advantage of the supposed future of Rio Nuevo, and asks vital questions. Daniel is at every neighborhood meeting, even when it's an adjoining neighborhood meeting, and he was active long before he announced his candidacy for state representative. Daniel is also one of the few individuals in the community who has consistently volunteered in my fifth-grade classroom. He has facilitated many wonderful discussions on the environment and the issues of growth in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. Daniel cares about children and the future issues they may face." Mary C. Rogers, TUSD teacher and LD29 voter, Tucson Weekly

“Daniel Patterson has leadership experience and a true commitment on issues that concern all of us. It is seldom that we are so fortunate to have such a strong candidate as Daniel,” says Elaine Richardson, retired Arizona Senator and Gov. Napolitano cabinet member. “Daniel is an intelligent, hard-working man. He will bring positive values to the Legislature and serve his constituents and the State of Arizona well. Daniel Patterson will help change the tone at the State Capitol. He will serve the public interest, not special interests.”

"The first to file was Daniel Patterson, ...the southwest director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Patterson, who runs a left-leaning blog, is fiercely protective of the environment..." Tucson Weekly


UPDATE, 11/9: We are now up to 65% of early money raised, in just over a month.

UPDATE, 11/2: I'm happy to report my campaign for Arizona House has now raised 50% of permitted early funds in less than a month.

Big thanks to my diverse group of supporters.


TUCSON, 10/22 -- I'm happy to report that my campaign for Arizona House of Representatives has already raised 33% of allowed early money just two weeks since my Oct 5 filing.

Big thanks to my diverse group of supporters!

Until I reach the max amount allowed, I am asking for donations of $130 per person or less.

Please send money to Daniel Patterson for Arizona House, POB 172, Tucson AZ 85702. To be legal, please be sure to include your name, address, phone, email, occupation and employer. These donations are allowed as a part of Arizona's Clean Elections System, which I am participating in.

Off-road vehicle book 'Thrillcraft' is released

UPDATE, 11/5: My op-ed about responsible public lands management

UPDATE, 11/3: SALT LAKE CITY -- Editorial on ORVs related to an issue I've been working on for SW PEER and Rangers for Responsible Recreation.

TUCSON -- The long-awaited book about off-road vehicles in America, 'Thrillcraft', has been released.

from Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation exposes the lasting damage done to our land, water, and air from the growing plague of jet skis, quads, dirt bikes, dune buggies, snowmobiles, and other motorized recreational craft that are penetrating the last bastions of wild America. The increase in thrillcraft use is responsible for wildlife habitat fragmentation, disturbance of sensitive wildlife, soil erosion, spread of invasive weeds, loss of silence, as well as water and air pollution. With more than one hundred shocking color photographs, Thrillcraft vividly documents the destruction caused by these machines on American public lands. Essays by activists, policy experts, scientists, and others support the photographs, explain the harm done by these machines, and critique the cultural foundation of this phenomenon. Thrillcraft bears witness to the mindless destruction of our collective natural heritage and offers a vision for a future when the howl of the wind or wolf can again be heard more often than the howl of a machine.

I'm proud to say I have an essay in this book, 'Raging with Machines: Off-Road Vehicles in the Deserts of the Southwestern United States.'

Copies of Thrillcraft will be donated soon to Tucson-Pima, UA and Pima CC libraries. Check it out.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

AZ Dems help US House pass mining law reform

Irresponsible mining has left an ugly toxic mess across the west, including here in Ajo AZ

WASHINGTON -- Today in a wise move for the public-interest, the U.S. House of Representatives approved comprehensive legislation to reform the antiquated Mining Act of 1872 that has governed hardrock mining on public lands for 135 years.

The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007 (H.R. 2262) passed by a vote of 244 to 166, with 24 Republicans and all AZ Dems in support. Good move Reps. Grijalva, Giffords, Pastor and Mitchell.

This legislation, first introduced by the Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall, will put an end to the giveaway of public lands to mining companies.

It requires a royalty on valuable minerals extracted from federal lands, identifies categories of federal lands that will no longer be open to hardrock mining, establishes an overall environmental standard to mitigate the degrade of the environment, limits operations permit and makes them subject to a renewal process, and mandates lands be restored to a condition that supports its uses prior to mining.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, a member of the Natural Resources Committee, said "It is an understatement to say that the West has changed dramatically since 1872, but this law has not kept pace. Those of us from the West need this bill to pass to protect the health of our communities, scarce water supplies and our public lands, which are under continuing threat from the outdated mining law."

"In my home state of Arizona, hardrock mining has left behind a legacy of contaminated lands and rivers, abandoned mines leaching poisonous metals into groundwater, and other hazards to the public."

"A 21st century economy needs 21st century laws," said Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. "That fact is abundantly clear when it comes to the Mining Law of 1872 – an outdated and inadequate law regulating the extraction of valuable minerals from lands owned by the American people."

"The 1872 mining law was enacted 40 years before Arizona became a state," said Giffords. "It encouraged development throughout the American West, and helped transform many sleepy towns throughout Southeastern Arizona into thriving cities. But times change and our laws need to change with them. Today’s West depends on the health and conservation of our fragile environment..."

Congressman Grijalva added, "Chairman Rahall’s bill puts those standards in place, requiring clean up and reclamation of mining sites. His bill makes certain lands off limits to mining, as they should be. It also ends the free-for-all that this law has created over the years, where companies have used the patenting process to purchase inholdings within National Forests and other public lands for a few dollars per acre, only to have the federal government later buy them out for millions when they threaten to develop the land. The federal government has spent billions of dollars over the years, rebuying patented mining lands."

"I am also pleased that the Committee approved amendments I offered to allow Native American tribes to petition the Secretary to withdraw from mining lands of cultural or historical importance to them. Tribes have been just as impacted as other communities by the impacts of mining and should be able to weigh in on these important matters."

Rep. Grijalva’s amendment preserves and protects tribal rights and resources and grants tribes the same authority as states and their political subdivisions to petition the Secretary of Interior to withdraw lands of religious and cultural value to the tribes.

Earlier this year, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Rep. Grijalva held a field hearing in Tucson. The hearing provided opportunity for testimony on the mining law by local officials, experts, and the public, informing the Committee and providing insight on the economic and environmental implications associated with mining on public lands.

- adapted from RG news release