Thursday, January 31, 2008

Democrats are closing the 'God gap'

by Jeneiene Schaffer

TUCSON -- Sitting around a campfire in the wilderness with other conservationists and assorted liberal-types, as I do frequently, I can’t help but feel the presence of Spirit. It’s a spirit of gratitude, of wholeness, and of communion. This is not an uncommon experience.

In a recent opinion piece in the Arizona Republic, a pastor speaks to the commonality of all who strive for the common good using the metaphor of wilderness protection. Doug Bland, pastor of Community Christian Church in Tempe and chairman of the Earth Care Commission for the Arizona Ecumenical Council, spoke to the Arizona congressional delegation in Washington DC to advocate wilderness designation for the Tumacacori Highlands in southern Arizona.

In his piece, Pastor Bland comments on the tradition of speaking for ‘the least of these’. “Sometimes the voiceless ones are people – homeless, hungry, abused people – but other times the ‘least of these’ include the land or a special plant or animal species.” This tradition has always been at the heart of what I have strived to share with my family, my community, and my profession.

Raised as a Presbyterian, converted to Judaism in college, followed the teachings of Buddhism for over 20 years, and have recently found fellowship amongst Unitarians, my search and yearning for that higher Spirit has been an enriching and enlightening one. But, as a liberal, for many years I have felt disenfranchised from the dialogue of community religion. I can’t even completely blame the Religious Right for this. Amongst Democrats, Independents, and even moderate Republicans, to speak of God publicly and authentically has not been, until now, considered relevant.

So, it was with great anticipation that I attended last night’s workshop: “Reclaiming the Debate on Religion and Values” sponsored by the Arizona Democratic Party. I attended with my husband and AZ State House LD29 candidate Daniel Patterson.

I was already familiar with presenter Mara Vanderslice. She was profiled in the January/February 2007 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, to which I subscribe. In the article “Closing the God Gap,” Hanna Rosin recounts how Vanderslice, founder of the political consulting group Common Good Strategies, has been successful in helping seven congressional democrats win last November. Vanderslice is a self-identified evangelical Christian, and part of a growing number who are voting Democratic.

In Michigan, she and partner Eric Sapp and Common Good staffers met with about 500 conservative and moderate members of the clergy. Time and again they would hear, “Where have you all been?” According to Sapp, “At a fundamental level they just want candidates to give God his due.”

It was clear last night that for far too long, we liberals have not been outspoken about the Spirit which guides us for the common good.

My support for Daniel is firmly grounded in a belief that he shares this democratic vision for the common good of Tucson. Regardless of which spiritual house guides your heart and personal quest for a good quality of life that we all can share together, please join me in supporting Democrat Daniel Patterson who will work to protect ‘the least of these.’

Jeneiene Schaffer is co-chair of Daniel Patterson for Arizona House

Patterson House campaign enjoying big support

Ecologist, Family Man, Leader

UPDATE, 2/1: We're #1 on the LD29 House race money list. Big thanks to all our supporters! Campaign kick-off party, March 6, 4-7pm, 300 E. University; RSVP.

TUCSON -- The Daniel Patterson for Arizona House of Reps. (D-LD29) campaign raised over $3400 by the end of 2007, as his campaign finance report to be filed later today will show. The money was raised in $5-130 amounts in less than three months.

Since Jan 1, Patterson's campaign has raised over $400 more. Daniel is running as a clean elections candidate.

"I'm in to win, and I'm very pleased with peoples' support for my positive campaign," said Daniel Patterson. "I'm running to win in district 29 because I love Tucson and Arizona, and to help Democrats gain the majority in the House. I will serve in the Legislature for the common good to solve problems and build bridges for change."

Patterson was the invited guest Monday at the Democrats of Greater Tucson, where he gave a campaign speech to frequent applause. He will be campaigning in Phoenix February 6 as part of Environment Day at the State Capitol. Daniel and volunteers are walking neighborhoods in LD29 to talk with neighbors and gather signatures and $5 clean elections donations.

Keep an eye on the campaign website:

* Daniel Patterson for Arizona House. Elaine Richardson, Hon. Campaign Chair *

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grijalva moves bill on Tumamoc, other Pima lands

Tumamoc Hill, on Tucson's west side near downtown

TUCSON -- US Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ7) reintroduced legislation on Tuesday to exchange lands in Pima County and protect state trust land on Tumamoc Hill.

The bill is called the Pima County Land Adjustment Act.

The legislation would allow the County to acquire Tumamoc Hill on Tucson’s west side and would take two private parcels into federal ownership that would then be added to the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and Saguaro National Park’s west side unit.

The new bill revises similar legislation from the 108th and 109th Congresses. The updated language adds the Bloom property, which will become part of Saguaro National Park.

The land exchange involves four parcels of land. A 1,280 acre Bureau of Land Management parcel near Sahuarita would be exchanged for a 2,490 acre private parcel near Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, and the 160 acre Bloom parcel, also in private ownership at this time. As a condition of the exchange, the private developers receiving the BLM parcel would be required to pay the State of Arizona the appraised value for Tumamoc Hill. The legislation then requires Tumamoc Hill to be transferred to Pima County for permanent protection.

"I'm proud to announce the reintroduction of this bill today, a bill that will permanently preserve important open space, especially Tumamoc Hill," Rep. Grijalva stated. "In my position as Chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee with jurisdiction over this matter, I plan to move the bill forward with a hearing early this year."

The legislation preserves the application of environmental protection laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

- adapted from RG

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vote Obama to win White House and change DC

This influential blog endorses Obama for President

TUCSON -- As an original Gov. Bill Richardson supporter, I've made up my mind to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President.

Obama has the best chance at winning the White House, and changing Washington politics.

Arizona Democrats, be sure to vote Obama on Feb 5.

Good old boys win at AZ Game & Fish with Voyles

Larry Voyles

PHOENIX -- As an Arizona hunter and conservationist, I am not happy the Arizona Game and Fish Commission announced yesterday it has hired controversial Larry Voyles as the new director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, effective when current director Duane Shroufe retires in March.

Voyles has been with Game and Fish for nearly 35 years and is currently supervisor for the department's Yuma region, which handles field operations in southwestern Arizona.

Voyles was deeply involved last year in the McPherson Tank cover-up on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and collusion with the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club to keep the illegal project secret. He has a disdain for wilderness, as does John Hervert, who will likely become the Yuma region supervisor.

Voyles is known to be anti-predator and particularly un-progressive when it comes to wildlife issues. He will be taking his marching orders from the anti-environmental Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club, which too often targets wilderness, cougars, and 'non-game' conservation. They also do not allow women to join, and are stuck in a previous century in many respects.

Disturbing public records obtained by greens last year showed a chain of emails from Voyles regarding development in the Kofa NWR wilderness, and a total lack of regards for the pumas, the refuge, and the people who were concerned about them.

Voyles was one of two internal finalists considered by the Game and Fish Commission in Monday's public session. The commission received more than 30 applications after conducting a nationwide search. Initial interviews were conducted with six people.

Voyles will lead an agency that employs more than 600 employees and is funded at more than $80 million per year from multiple funding sources, primarily the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, federal assistance from an excise tax on hunting and fishing gear, and several other sources such as the Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds), Wildlife Conservation Fund (tribal gaming revenue), watercraft licensing, and state wildlife grants.

He will work side-by-side with Shroufe until the latter's retirement in order to ensure a smooth transition and will fill out the remainder of Shroufe's original five-year contract through January 2009. In December, Shroufe requested, and was granted, commission approval to retire early this coming March after serving as director for nearly 20 years.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department director is appointed by and reports to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The director serves as the department's chief administrative officer and is responsible for the general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the department.

Voyles is a very poor pick for Director by an out-of-touch Commission that needs a major shake-up. I'm certain there were better candidates for the job, but none that have proved themselves to be such a trusted good old boy as Voyles, which is why he got the job.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Branch-Gilby v. Bronson for Pima Supervisor

Ass kickin'?

TUCSON -- Prominent Arizona Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby announced today she is running this year against incumbent Dem Sharon Bronson for Pima County Supervisor. She made the announcement at the end of the DGT meeting.

This will likely be a very good race and important primary. These women are both powerful and passionate.

Bronson has come under fire lately from Dems (and Rs & Is) for her positions favoring secrecy in the Pima County elections integrity trial, and on-going appeals and investigations.

Given the public mood for change, incumbents may have a harder than normal time this year in elections.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Campaign event noon Mon. with Dems of Tucson

I'm running to solve problems and build bridges for change

UPDATE, 1/28: It went well today. Great support from the crowd. It was nice to see Tony Paniagua of KUAT TV there. Thank you.

TUCSON -- I'll be speaking Monday about my campaign for the Arizona House of Reps. (D-LD29), as the invited speaker of the Democrats of Greater Tucson (DGT).

The meeting starts at noon at Elle, SW corner of Broadway and Country Club.

Thanks, DGT, for inviting me. Hope you can make it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

AZ off-road management bill improved for 2008

Rep. Jerry Weiers (R) is pushing the new bill

PHOENIX -- Here's some better news about an Arizona off-road vehicle management bill I'm helping work on that is moving in the State House of Reps.

This compromise bill isn't perfect, but it is a step in the right direction, and improved over last year's version.

Arpaio not welcome in Tucson; letter to GOP club

Arpaio: Ugly racism, ugly on civil liberties, just plain ugly

UPDATE, 1pm: 100+ people showed up today on short notice to protest Arpaio at the Sheraton Hotel on E. Grant Rd. Some were inside the Mitt Romney event where he was speaking, and strongly confronted him face-to-face. Good job, Tucson.



An Open Letter to the Pima County Republican Women’s Club, Joan Richardson

TUCSON -- As members of the Pima County community, we are here today to question your decision to invite Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) to speak at your event in support of Republican Mitt Romney's campaign.

As you should be aware, Arpaio bears much responsibility for the extremely volatile racial atmosphere in Phoenix and its outlying areas. We cannot permit this environment in Pima County, and are shocked that you would proudly applaud the efforts of the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” on your website.

During his tenure, Arpaio has engaged the Arizona taxpayer, and the rest of the state of Arizona, in enforcement and political measures that have not only created great racial divisions, but have cost Maricopa County more than $41 million dollars in court fees, lawsuits, attorneys’ fees, settlements, judgments, photographs of himself, videos of himself, and maintaining his personal public relations staff.

Did you know… Arpaio has arrested hundreds of workers, and together with Andrew Thomas, has charged mothers and fathers, survivors of U.S. and global economic policies with being co-conspirators to their own smuggling, resulting in hundreds of felony convictions and prison time at taxpayer expense?

Did you know… Arpaio has created private posses, where he has permitted Minutemen to join his sheriff deputies in wholesale racial profiling and repression, resulting in an explosive situation in Phoenix neighborhoods?

Did you know… Arpaio has been involved in the violation of the constitutional rights of the readers of the Phoenix New Times by demanding the identity of everyone who had visited the paper’s website and arresting the newspaper’s leaders when they publicized what had happened?

Arpaio is not welcome in Tucson or Pima County, where many of us continue to work for a community that is diverse, respectful, and appreciative of each other’s differences. We will not permit hatred and xenophobia in our communities. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Phoenix and Maricopa County who must stand up for human rights on a daily basis.

Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Tucson AZ


Lawman Dan Saban (D) is challenging Arpaio in the 2008 election, and appears to be more fair and moderate. "I'm obligated to protect your rights, not use my authority to abuse them," says Saban.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

EPA scientists condemn Johnson on global warming

Bush and Johnson: doing the dirty work to protect polluters

WASHINGTON -- Scientists, lawyers and other specialists working within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are expressing dismay about Bush/Cheney's EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson's lack of "credibility" in explaining his decision to reject a request by California to regulate greenhouse gases from automobiles, according to a joint letter from labor unions released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The basis for Johnson's December 19th decision announced in a hastily convened 6:30 pm press conference is now the focus of growing scrutiny. This morning, Johnson was grilled by members of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. His sworn testimony and answer only seemed to fuel doubts about the merits of his decision.

Johnson's bad decisions have forced Arizona, California and other states to take EPA to court, seeking action to deal with global warming pollution.

Johnson is refusing to release what have been reported to be unanimous staff recommendations that he grant the California waiver request. In today's hearing, Johnson revealed, for the first time, that he was motivated to act abruptly due to reports of inaccurate "leaks" from his staff. Meanwhile, Johnson is defying Congressional requests for full release of documents detailing the recommendations from his technical and legal staff.

The union letter sent today cites Johnson's pledges during his Senate confirmation hearings to -

  • Make "decisions based on the best available science";
  • Uphold "as open and transparent decision making process as possible" and
  • Act to 'strengthen and improve dialogue among government, the regulated community, public interest groups and the general public."

The letter concludes that Johnson's actions suggest "that you have disregarded the very principles you proclaimed in your confirmation testimony" and cast "a broad and dark shadow over the integrity of any future Agency decisions under your leadership."

"By his performance today, Stephen Johnson forfeited whatever shred of credibility he once enjoyed," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that Johnson's decision was represented as the product of months of legal and scientific deliberation yet Johnson cited the energy bill signed just that morning as the principal basis for his veto of state action. "There will be a growing chorus from Congress, his own employees and the public for Johnson to step down."

The joint letter is signed by presidents of locals from four unions: the American Federation of Government Employees, the Engineers and Scientists of California, the National Association of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union. These unions represent thousands of EPA scientists, engineers and other technical specialists.

- adapted from PEER

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BLM dunes off-road area deadly for border security

BLM allows off-roaders to mass and ride at the border, attracting dangerous smugglers to drive across and blend in with the crowds

UPDATE, 1/24: Memorial service for Aguilar.


YUMA AZ -- As has been widely reported, US Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar, 32, was killed last weekend in the Algodones (Imperial) Sand Dunes of southeastern California.

Using a dangerous tried and true technique, smugglers drove over the border in the dunes and mixed in with hundreds of weekend off-roaders on the US side.

"On weekends, when the dunes fill with riders, Mexican smugglers slip across the open border, trying to blend in with the other off-road vehicles. 'It's horrible, but not surprising,' said James R. Broxholme, a vendor of dune buggy parts. He said Border Patrol pursuits are a regular occurrence at the campground..." Los Angeles Times, 1/21/08

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which (mis)manages the dunes, irresponsibly allows extreme and unlimited off-road vehicle use along the US-Mexico border in the dunes, which is within the congressionally-designated California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA).

Smugglers know they can easily cross the border here and blend in with other vehicles, making the Border Patrol's job very hard on the dunes.

There is a solution to deadly weak border security in the dunes, move recreational off-roading north of I-8, thus eliminating their interference with the Border Patrol.

Keeping recreational off-road vehicles north of I-8 would greatly help agents' ability to detect and safely stop incursions, and reduce smugglers crossing in the dunes due to the lack of crowd camo, enhancing border security.

Law enforcement officers in this area will tell you it is much easier to spot and apprehend smugglers when they don't have to compete with thousands of off-roaders who get in the way and help smugglers blend in.

"I worked the Buttercup and Midway areas, day shift, on several holiday weekends. It was common belief among officers that smugglers would use the confusion created by thousands of ORV recreationists to blend in and move their contraband... I worked with the Border Patrol near the frontier assisting them with surveillance. Creating a buffer between recreationists and the border makes sense," says Ed Patrovsky, a recently retired BLM Law Enforcement Ranger.

BLM should help the Border Patrol by keeping ORVs north of I-8, and if they won't then DHS should use its huge power to make it happen.

Off-roaders who claim to support border security should support staying out of this area so the Border Patrol can more safely do its job.

Unless this bad BLM policy is changed soon, it's only a matter of time before more will die due to weak border security in the south Algodones Dunes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Act by 1/25 for AZ Prez primary vote-by-mail ballot

Arizona turning blue in 2008

TUCSON -- The Friday deadline is fast approaching for requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for the upcoming Feb 5 Arizona Presidential primary election.

Many counties, including Pima and Maricopa, have easy on-line ballot request forms.

Pima County ballot request

Maricopa and all AZ Counties ballot request info

Do it now and vote early by mail, so easy.

If you are not registered to vote, do it now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Big positive crowd today enjoys MLK celebration

King legacy inspires in Arizona

TUCSON -- Thousands of people turned out on a beautiful day in Reid Park to celebrate unity, hope and the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was honored to have a chance to take the stage and speak about equality and justice with the people this morning as a candidate for State House in LD29. I appreciated the warm response from voters.

I wore a suit and tie to show respect for Dr. King, and to look sharp as a candidate for office.

The vibe, music, MCs, speakers, people, food, kids, organizations and churches were all great.

Judging by all the signs, stickers and buttons, Barack Obama looked like the clear favorite of most people there today. The Obama table was very active all day.

I also saw an Obama campaign ad today on Channel 13.

Clinton's campaign had no presence at all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Old DC insider McCain on a roll with GOP voters

Mr. DC says, 'wow!'

TUCSON -- John McCain is on a roll in his quest for the GOP Presidential candidate nomination after winning in South Carolina yesterday. He could've won Nevada too, had he made more of an effort there.

I'm hoping McCain won't get the GOP pick -- although he'd be a weaker opponent for Dems than Mike Huckabee -- because Arizona probably wouldn't be considered a swing state and candidates would overlook us and our issues.

Although he's virtually stopped representing us and voting in the Senate, McCain is a DC insider for sure. He is hardly in Arizona. To call him dial 202, not 602.

I respect John McCain, but even as an Arizonan, I wouldn't vote for him over any of the top Dem candidates.

McCain has been in DC too long. He votes with ultra-conservative Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and the wishes of Bush/Cheney almost every time.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Close NV win for Clinton over Obama, Edwards lags

Close Dem race in Nevada won by Clinton

TUCSON -- It was a bad day for John Edwards across the Colorado River in Nevada. With 90% of the votes in, it looks like Edwards will get about 4%, and Clinton will edge Obama by about 5%.

I still believe John Edwards can catch fire. The real question for him must be keeping up money and volunteers as many activist Dems line up behind Clinton and Obama.

If Edwards does better in South Carolina and hangs in until Feb 5 Super Tuesday, he may still have a shot, but it is getting harder for him now.

Clinton must feel good about winning Nevada. Many thought Obama would take the Silver State. Maybe Bill's temper wasn't so harmful after all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pima Supes make Wright pick; Jaguar hits fed wall

New State Rep. Nancy Young Wright (D-LD26)

TUCSON -- Democrat Nancy Young Wright was appointed this morning by the Pima County Board of Supervisors to fill the LD26 State House seat recently resigned by Lena Saradnik after she suffered a stroke.

I have known Nancy for a while, and she'll do a fine job in the State House.

Don Jorgenson
was also a good option, but he'll get in to the AZ House in 09, along with me, when elected this fall.

Congratulations, Rep. Young Wright.

Jaguars walled out and left for dead by Bush/Cheney Fish & Wildlife (dis)Service

In other news today, the unethical Bush/Cheney Interior Dept. has abandoned endangered Jaguar recovery to instead push more 'Berlin walls' and militarization on the US-Mexico border.

The bad Jaguar decision officially came from Mr. Ben Tuggle of the USFWS office in Albuquerque. Tuggle has been involved in many politically-charged unsupportable anti-wildlife decisions, and should resign or be removed.

Greens are wondering if Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ8), with a district includes most of the important Jaguar habitat in Arizona, will say anything publicly against this terrible anti-science, anti-public-interest decision by the Bush/Cheney administration? So far, not a peep.

Giffords continues to be the only Dem border Rep. who is not yet supporting Rep. Raul Grijalva's (D-AZ7) Borderlands Conservation and Security Act, which would bring more balance and options for conservation and border security.

Of all US House members with southern border districts, Giffords stands alone with anti-environmental Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM2) in opposing the bill.

When asked last fall about her isolated position on the borderlands conservation bill, Giffords said, 'I'm fine with being with Steve Pearce on this'.

Finally today, it's only been a week, but NM Gov. Bill Richardson is back in Santa Fe fighting to protect the public-interest from BLM and destructive energy corporation greed. Glad to have you back in the southwest full-time, Bill.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rabago, AG help protect kids from net predators

Tucson kids having low tech fun planting trees

TUCSON -- The AZ Attorney General's office, lead by Asst. Attorney General Vince Rabago, has reached an important agreement with to help better protect children from internet sexual predators.

I appreciate this as the father of a young daughter.

Mr. Rabago is also Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Americans for American Energy: Just not credible

Conservationists and Roan Plateau CO threatened by energy liars

TUCSON -- In its short time since the oil and gas industry resurrected the mothballed lobbying group Americans for American Energy, AAE has compiled a remarkable track record for peddling disinformation.

Deceptive polls, unsupported economic claims, Astroturfing, false assertions of a governor’s support, equating critics with terrorists: AAE has left few dirty tricks untried in its effort to sway public opinion to favor policies that promote industry profits without regard for the cost to our water, our wildlife or our Western way of life.

Since August, AAE’s public relations office has:

-- Falsely claimed WY Governor Freudenthal supported their effort to open the Roan Plateau to energy development. Freudenthal immediately repudiated AAE and rebuked its executives.

-- Repeatedly touted a misleading and discredited Denver Chamber of Commerce poll question that implied that drilling the Roan Plateau would reduce dependence on foreign oil when the actual proposals are to develop natural gas.

-- Issued a report of an industry "study" that estimated the mineral revenues due Colorado from drilling the Roan at levels more than double those suggested by BLM while refusing to discuss the study’s methodology, data or even its authors. Subsequent data from the federal government suggest AAE overstated the “windfall” by five or six times.

-- Promoted a “survey” asking Coloradans what the state should do with the $1 billion AAE claims, without offering documentation, that Colorado would receive in the first year after the Roan is leased. Numbers released by the Minerals Management Service have thoroughly debunked the group’s claim.

Credible economic studies need to stand up to independent review, list data sources and methods, and at the very least tell decision-makers the names of the economists who authored the report. The industry "study" AAE touts does none of this. Full disclosure of data, methods and authors is especially needed as this "study" was completed by companies with a direct financial stake in the outcome.

Who are Americans for American Energy and what is their mission?

We just don’t know. Their web site claims they’re an educational nonprofit that promotes all forms of domestic energy, but their activities are focused almost exclusively on drilling the special landscapes of the Interior West like the Roan Plateau, and more recently, the red rock deserts of Utah. AAE is run out of the offices of Golden CO-based Policy Communications, led by president Jim Sims.

AAE is a 501(c)4, a designation was originally intended for "social welfare groups" that want to educate the public and lobby on issues.

Donations to 501(c)4's are not tax deductible, but in return, the donors' names aren't public record, allowing major donors to have a huge impact on races without the disclosure requirements of 527 groups.

The groups can endorse candidates, and there is no limit to the money they can spend on ads and other activity, as long as they can show that education about an issue, rather than expressed advocacy for a candidate, constitutes the majority of their activity.

While AAE claims they represent industry, their choice of messengers suggests they are more correctly defined as a GOP political action organization. We haven’t seen one industry executive, such as Mark Smith of IPAMs or Meg Collins of COGA, appear in any of AAE’s press releases. Instead, they parade a steady stream of extreme anti-environment Republican state lawmakers.

That’s actually not surprising, given AAE’s lack of credibility.

Here’s what others say:

“In light of highly inappropriate assertions made by Americans for American Energy, I am withdrawing my support for the organization and ending any relationship between the state of Wyoming and AAE. The Sept 10th communication from AAE president Greg Schnacke to undisclosed recipients contains a description of initiatives with which I wholeheartedly disagree on a number of levels. For your organization to tie this office with the policy initiatives in the communication from (Americans for American Energy) is offensive, at best,” WY Gov. Dave Freudenthal (9/12/07)

"It's a complete misrepresentation of what the governor stands for. The spirit of the comments presented is just not the way our governor does business." Cara Eastwood, Freudenthal's spokeswoman, to the AP. (9/13/07)

“We object in the strongest terms possible your repeated attempts to equate any questioning of your industry’s agenda to abetting terrorists. This is a scurrilous and irresponsible effort to muddy the waters and avoid discussion of the real issues and real values at stake.” The Mountain Mayors Group (12/14/07)

“They are so far off the map when it comes to serious fact-based discussion that it is impossible to take them seriously." Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer on Americans for American Energy. (11/28/07)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Western water & land: When Harry met Vegas

The newest and worst SoNV extreme leapfrog urban sprawl: Coyote Springs

TUCSON -- As the Nevada caucuses approach, for some modern history on Las Vegas, water and Nevada politics, read this new article from Conde Nast Portfolio.

Honest Chief, fired by Bush, returns to police force

Honest Chief Teresa Chambers

WASHINGTON -- Teresa Chambers has become the new Chief of Police for Riverdale Park, a town in Prince George's County, Maryland. Chambers, a 30-year law enforcement veteran was the former Chief of Police for Durham, North Carolina, and was the first female Chief of the U.S. Park Police.

In 2004, political appointees within the U.S. Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police, removed Chief Chambers for answering honestly questions from the Washington Post about understaffing in the Park Police and the consequences for public safety.

Her legal challenge to that action, which has significant relevance in Arizona and nationwide, is now awaiting a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Chief Chambers issued the following statement upon taking over her new duties:
"The honor of having been named as the new Chief of Police for the Town of Riverdale Park does not alter the vigorous pursuit of legal challenges seeking redress for actions taken against me as the Chief of the United States Park Police. One of the factors I considered in accepting the position as Chief of Police in Riverdale Park is the appreciation expressed by Town leaders for the values of honesty and integrity in public service, values that I will continue to uphold.

While the wheels of justice in my case continue to turn slowly, it is time for me to pin on a badge and get back to my profession - law enforcement. I am grateful to the Town of Riverdale Park for providing me that opportunity, and I look forward to being fully engaged as the town's Chief of Police."
"We are delighted that Chief Chambers is back in law enforcement just as we are sure that she will prevail in her case against the Interior Department," stated Jeff Ruch, the executive director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which is spearheading Chief Chambers' legal efforts.

- adapted from PEER

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More interest from AZ media in 2008 state races

Arizona Republic HQ, Phoenix

TUCSON -- The Patterson for AZ House (D-LD29) campaign is covered today in the dominant statewide newspaper.


Arizona Republic
-- Valley & State

Arizona candidates in the running


...Incumbent Linda Lopez, a Democrat, is term limited and is exploring a seat in the state Senate...

Daniel Patterson, an ecologist and Southwest director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, is running as a Democrat.


Our clean, populist positive campaign has also already been in the Tucson Weekly, Tucson Citizen, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Illustrated, and of course many great Arizona blogs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Get a cool Arizona political bumper sticker free

Arizona State Capitol

TUCSON -- Hot off the presses, Tucsonans get your free 'vote for a change' Daniel Patterson for Arizona House bumper sticker, in nice Dem blue.

To obtain a sticker to display with pride, just send a SASE to POB 172, Tucson AZ 85702. Specify if you want bilingual.

Tucson and Pima County residents only, please.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Obama scores big in AZ with Napolitano backing

Gov. Napolitano, Rep. Giffords and Sen. Obama

UPDATE, 12/1: Napolitano leaving AZ; welcome Gov. Jan Brewer (R)

UPDATE, 11/20: Napolitano should say 'no, thanks' on DHS Secretary.

PHOENIX -- Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will back Sen. Barack Obama today for President.

This is a big political win for Mr. Obama, and a big loss for Clinton.

Napolitano is widely liked and respected in Arizona and nationally, especially by Dems, and she has proven to be politically very smart and tough.

Janet's endorsement of Obama will help him in Arizona on Feb 5. With staff and offices in Tucson and Phoenix, Obama has been working hard to win here.

Westerners will finally get to weigh in on the Presidential race Jan 19 in Nevada.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Feds may guard Mojave lizard from off-road harm

The imperiled Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard is threatened by off-road vehicle excess

TECOPA CA -- In response to a petition I worked on with the late Dr. David Morafka, Noah Greenwald and others while still at the Center for Biological Diversity, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the Amargosa River population of the Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard, Uma scoparia, warrants consideration for protection as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The agency will now begin a one-year status review of the species.

“Off-road vehicles come at this highly adapted and unique lizard from all sides — they degrade its habitat, destroy its food source, and trample lizards directly,” said Chris Kassar, a wildlife biologist with the Center. “This is a rare and vulnerable creature that simply cannot co-exist with such off-road vehicle excess. The lizard desperately needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act to avoid extinction.”

Although this lizard can evade predators and extreme midday heat by using its fringed toes to swiftly bury itself in the fine sands of the dunes it inhabits, it remains close enough to the surface that it is still vulnerable to death or injury from off-road vehicles’ sand-digging tires.

The Amargosa River population of the Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard occupies three dunes in and adjacent to Death Valley National Park, of which the largest is Dumont Dunes. Scientists determined that the Amargosa population is genetically distinct from other populations of the species, which allows the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect it as a “distinct population segment.”

"The discovery of the Amargosa River population of the Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard as genetically very distinct was completely unanticipated,” said Dr. Robert W. Murphy, a Professor of Zoology at the University of Toronto who conducted the genetic studies. “The petition... to conserve this important population marks a significant advance for this species' conservation. And by association other dune-restricted species can be protected as well. I know that Dr. Morafka, who initiated this work, would have been very proud of this outstanding achievement."

The greatest threat to the lizard is intensive off-road vehicle recreational use, which has killed many individuals directly and destroyed habitat. Dumont Dunes and Ibex Dunes together make up 98 percent of the species’ range; the Dumont Dunes ORV Recreation Area, on US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) run public lands in the California Desert Conservation Area, attracts more than 100,000 off-roaders per year and contains the bulk of the lizard’s habitat.

Illegal ORV trespass into southeast Death Valley National Park at Ibex Dunes occurs due to spillover from Dumont Dunes. Yet the Bureau of Land Management has taken little action to protect the lizard from this rampant ORV use.

“The Bureau of Land Management is largely responsible for the decline in the species because it’s authorized and accommodated increasing, intensive off-road vehicle use over so much of the species’ range,” said Kassar. “There’s a very real possibility that continued ORV use in Mojave fringe-toed lizard habitat will lead to the extinction of this small and fragile population. Endangered Species Act listing is the best chance this lizard has of survival.”

The finding on the petition to protect the lizard, published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2008, is almost a year and a half overdue. The finding requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged with implementing the Endangered Species Act, to solicit public comment, carry out a status review of the species, and issue a proposed rule to protect the species later this year. Final protection would occur within one year thereafter.

- adapted from CBD

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

News reports say Richardson will end campaign

Thanks, Governor Richardson, for the great effort and positive issues-focused campaign

UPDATE, 1/10, 2pm: Richardson's 'thank you' speech.

UPDATE, 1/10, 11am


SANTA FE -- It is being reported that Gov. Bill Richardson will end his bid for the White House.

If true, I am bummed to see him go, but it is probably a wise move.

Returning to the great state of New Mexico as full time Governor must seem very attractive to Bill after the punishing campaign road.

If he leaves the race, watch for Richardson to eventually support Obama, as he did in Iowa.

Gov. Richardson may also emerge as the smartest VP choice for the Dems.

I've been strongly backing Richardson, but if he officially ends or suspends his campaign Thursday, I will likely move to Obama or Edwards.

Progressive Pima Supervisors make 2 good moves

In charge: Richard Elias, Pima Supervisors Chairman

TUCSON -- Yesterday was a big day politically for Pima County government, and I'm happy to report good decisions were reached.

On human rights, after hours of hearing oppostion from the community, the Pima County Board of Supervisors suggested that Pima County Sheriff Dupnik withdraw a proposal to deputize US Border Patrol agents (agreement resolution 2007-331) and return with a version that addresses some of the concerns made by the community.

In other words, humanitarians won this battle against the growing US police state, but this likely isn't over.

Given the immoral anti-immigrant wave that many state, local, and federal agencies are riding, the Sheriff's proposed deal with Border Patrol should not come as a surprise. Society has seen, over and over, what the results of such policies are by witnessing the harassment of our friends, family and allies in Metro Phoenix and Maricopa County.

Attempts to push such resolutions proves just how vigilant our communities must be, as the resolution was initially set for the consent agenda, and could have been passed without community input had the Derechos Humanos Coalition, Border Action Network and others not found out and raised the alarm.

Tuesday's action before the Board demonstrates that the Pima County community will not be careless and silent, but will continue to raise awareness and challenge injustices.

The presence was truly powerful, and it's been reported that there were more letters, e-mails, and phone calls in opposition to this resolution than can be remembered.

On election integrity, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to drop its appeal of the Democratic Party’s public records lawsuit and to comply with Judge Michael Miller’s order to release the electronic voting database of the 2006 Primary and General elections.

After considerable public comment from a packed hearing room, the Board wisely voted to go beyond the judge’s order and release records of the 2006 RTA election as well.

“This decision is a victory for open government and transparency in our elections,” said Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Vince Rabago. “We applaud Chairman Elias and the individual Supervisors for taking this important first step by releasing these public records. The decision was a good one and begins the process of restoring public confidence in elections in Pima County We look forward to working cooperatively with the County and all political parties in fulfilling our statutory oversight role."

Pima County isn't perfect, but yesterday's wise decisions made me proud to live and be politically active here.

- adapted from CDH and Pima Dems

Monday, January 07, 2008

Be downtown Tues AM for Pima election integrity

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

UPDATE, 1/8, 1pm: All requested records will be released! More details from Mike Bryan.

UPDATE, 1/8, 10:30am: In a rowdy meeting, Pima Supervisors moved in the right direction by voting to drop the appeal and comply with the court order. I was honored to be called on to speak and encourage the board to release all the records. Then I had to leave and go to work.


TUCSON -- On December 18th, Judge Michael Miller ruled in favor of the Pima County Democratic Party and ordered the release of the County's electronic voting database for the 2006 Primary and General elections.

Three days later, Pima County filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the release.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will hear from the public on whether or not to drop the appeal and release the records at their next meeting, 9am, Tuesday, January 8 at 130 West Congress, 1st Floor Hearing Room.

Arizona law gives political parties responsibility for election oversight. The use of computers, however, has effectively ended observation of the vote count.

Without access to the voting database, the public has no way of knowing if tampering has occurred or if software has malfunctioned. If no one can review voting data, there is no deterrent to electronic tampering.

- from Pima Dems

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Edwards wins as angry Clinton falls in NH debate

Manchester NH

UPDATE, 1/9: Clinton wins NH. We're in for an exciting primary season all the way to Feb 5, and maybe beyond.


TUCSON -- As I watched the ABC 'Final Four' Dem debate tonight from New Hampshire, Sen. Clinton seemed to further fall from grace.

For much of the debate she seemed overly angry and defensive, which will not help her win more support. Toward the end she calmed down, but the damage was done.

Richardson got a lot more time than before, and generally did well, although probably not good enough to get a huge boost from this debate. He made some good points about executive experience, and had the moment of the night after a Hillary rant with his joke about witnessing more civility in hostage negotiations.

Obama was smooth and calm, and made no major mistakes, although his 'you're nice enough' remark was unneeded and kinda rude.

John Edwards seemed most on target and energized. Both he and Richardson are counting on capitalizing on Hillary's slide.

Overall I score tonight's debate as: 1. Edwards, 2. Obama, 3. Richardson, 4. Clinton.

I liked how the local reporter was more aggressive with his questions than Charlie Gibson. Gibson did fine, but could've done a lot better job cutting off long rambling responses from all candidates. How about a visible timer with green, yellow and red lights, like at city council meetings, so speakers know exactly when to wrap it up?

Any of these Dem candidates could win, and would be much better than Bush or any of the Republican candidates.

But they all look tired and should take the day off and rest Wednesday.

AZ GOP budget plan cuts deep & wide; Dem plan?

State Sen. Bob Burns (R-Peoria)

UPDATE, 1/9: Govs. budget fix plan supportable, Linda Valdez, AZR


PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Republicans state Sen. Bob Burns and Rep. Russell Pearce proposed big state budget cuts yesterday.

After a quick read, I possibly could support some of their recommended cuts, including:

international trade office, $700k
greater AZ development authority, $2M
new Yuma welcome center, $2.8M

Most of the other GOP cuts are questionable, and the slash to education, job and health programs is unacceptable.

I hope the Dems in the Legislature will also advance a budget plan soon.

At least now Arizona has two plans on the table. To protect the public-interest, Dems and the Governor will have to hang tough against the Republican hackers.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Political roundup: Iowa, Obama; AZ Gov. & budget

Steely Janet

TUCSON -- My guy Gov. Bill Richardson finished fourth in Iowa, but I am still pleased with the outcome of the Dem caucuses there.

Richardson's second pick, Sen. Barack Obama, did win, and my number two pick, John Edwards, came in second. I could comfortably back either Obama or Edwards for President.

What I am most relieved by is that Sen. Hillary Clinton came in third. She cannot escape her support for Bush/Cheney's unjustified and failed Iraq war, and Iowa voters punished her for her unapologetic war votes in the Senate.

I still say don't count out Richardson. I think he'll likely be in the race at least the Feb 5 super-primary, and would be a great VP choice.

Dem voters should remember who wins the White House in these modern times -- it's Governors, not members of Congress. In this important area, it looks like the GOP is out front by backing Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Here in Arizona, I salute Gov. Janet Napolitano for advancing a reasonable good starting point for dealing with the state's budget deficit. Although it looks to be an ugly session in the Legislature as angry Republicans have already dismissed the Govs. plan, but aren't offering any reasonable alternatives.

Haven't they learned yet that this Gov. wins these fights? I guess not. On the bright side, an ugly budget fight will help Arizonans vote this fall to boot Republicans, and elect me and other Dems to change the majority and the tone in the Legislature.

I also thank the AZ Gov. for recently moving to extend health benefits to domestic partners of state employees. This is a smart and compassionate move that will help Arizona attract and keep talented state employees.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

AZ & NM wise to join CA pollution case vs. EPA

Long fight against polluting automakers: 1954 smog protest in Los Angeles

TUCSON -- Arizona, New Mexico and other states are moving smartly to join California's new lawsuit against EPA to allow states to regulate global warming pollution from automobiles.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said his state joined the lawsuit because the federal government is showing a lack of legal and moral leadership when it comes to climate change.

"The states will not stand by and do nothing while the EPA fails to protect the health and welfare of this nation's citizens," Richardson said.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said, "We will continue to move forward and will continue to work with California and the other states because, quite frankly, it's appalling that the EPA continues to stand in the way."

Global warming and related climate change is a big threat to the southwest, where it is likely to keep getting hotter and drier, adding severe stress to energy systems and water supplies. In Arizona, 2007 was the 7th straight year of drought, and 9th straight year of above normal temps.

Bush/Cheney EPA head Stephen Johnson is a disgrace to our nation, and ignoring the Supreme Court. Johnson should resign now. Bush/Cheney EPA = Environmental Pollution Agency.

I'm sure there is another job waiting for Johnson as a pollution lobbyist, through the revolving door between government and industry in Washington. At least then dirty big oil and the failing Detroit three would be paying him, instead of us suffering taxpayers.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Arizona risks economy with anti-immigrant crusade

Arizona looks backward in targeting poor immigrants

TUCSON -- It's a new year, but Arizona is still swiftly backsliding on fair treatment for undocumented workers. Not since the days of the MLK holiday denial has Arizona been so shamefully associated with boneheaded racism.

Our new 'get tough' employer sanctions law takes effect today. I agree with business and human rights advocates who are warning this law will only hurt the economy and the most vulnerable people in Arizona.

This bad law will serve as an attack platform for immigrant scapegoating politicians like Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce and Andrew Thomas in Phoenix and Maricopa County.

Meanwhile, crops in Yuma County may rot in the field as there are not enough workers to harvest them. How is that good for Arizona or the USA?

Sadly, it appears Governor Napolitano and AG Terry Goddard are also firmly seated on the runaway anti-immigrant train. I understand Janet may be pushing the issue to show the harsh consequences, but this morning one of her top staffers was on the radio talking about the new law and 'illegal aliens'. He sounded kinda like Randy Graf.

Note to Govs. office: no human being is 'illegal', and 'aliens' come from space, not Mexico.

The Governor should have vetoed it, and smart leaders in the Legislature should look hard at trying to neutralize or repeal the bad law.

In Pima County, many are troubled by continued actions by some Tucson Police officers to racially profile immigrants and call in the US Border Patrol to have them deported, as recently happened with a pregnant woman in labor.

Chief Miranda
's TPD already has deep trust problems across much of the poorer parts of the city, and this racial profiling and deportation partnership with the Bush/Cheney DHS is making it even worse. Good luck fighting violent crime when much of the city fears cops and won't talk to them with info or as witnesses.

Most people in Arizona care about fairness and humane treatment for all, but we are not well represented in government, and once again in the eyes of the nation and world Arizonans look like mean bigoted hicks.

2008 is time to rise up with compassion against immigrant bashing and put a stop to it with humane solutions.

When I am elected to the State House, I will fight for human rights for all in our state, and work to end these unwise attacks on our economy and the most at-risk people.

Arizona should have learned its lesson about racism with the MLK holiday debacle, but sadly it appears we have not.