Thursday, July 31, 2008

Judy Nagle; view Patterson for AZ Rep slideshow

Proven community and government leadership to serve the people of district 29 and Arizona

TUCSON -- We are thrilled to announce respected and connected long-time Tucson Democratic activist Judy Nagle has joined our strong and popular campaign.

"It’s a pleasure to work for Daniel Patterson. He is a true leader who practices what he preaches – protecting the future for our children," says Judy Nagle, Patterson for AZ House campaign manager. "Daniel stands out from the other candidates with his leadership abilities, his ease in handling difficult situations, his deep desire to improve the economy and school system for both the students and the teachers. Daniel Patterson is the best candidate for LD29 and I know voters will see his strong qualities and vote Patterson in the primary."

Please view our clean campaign's slide show.

Fred Ronstadt back at city hall, thanks to Walkup

Fred Ronstadt trying for a political comeback?

TUCSON -- Former Republican city councilman, Fred Ronstadt, who lost his seat in the last election to Democrat Nina Trasoff, has been appointed by Mayor Bob Walkup to serve with me and others on the Planning Commission.

There is credible speculation from city watchers that Walkup may be trying to help Fred re-emerge on the city's top commission so he can make a run for Mayor next time, possibly against Trasoff.

This story broke here first. Likely more news on this later.

Election month is here in the Arizona primary

Vote Patterson, Democrat for State Rep. The time for change is now!

TUCSON -- The primary election voting season has started!

LD29 voters, I ask for your vote for State Representative.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Albert Gallego, family man, friend and leader, RIP

Santa Cruz Church in our neighborhood

TUCSON -- Albert M. Gallego, age 77, died on July 24, 2008 at University Medical Center.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Bertha "Bodie", his daughters, Norma Jean Gallego of Phoenix and Patty Durazo of Trabuco Canyon, California, his grandchildren, Armando Jr. and Monica Marie, and great-grandchild, Alyssa Nicole.

Albert was born in Tucson to Guadalupe and Jose Gallego on January 4, 1931. He is preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and three sisters. He attended Tucson High School and served in the US Navy.

Albert went to work for Magma Copper Mine and later started his own business, Al's Electric. He then worked for the Federal Government as an electrician and retired in 1992. Albert was president of The Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association for several years and was involved in various city projects at the time of his death. He was a member of "Los Viejos Amigos", a social club started 15 years ago.

Some of his interests included coaching Little League, girls softball and dancing the jitterbug. Albert was also a big fan of the U of A Wildcats! He was happiest when spending time with his family and friends. His wonderful sense of humor will be missed and he will be remembered for his ability to make friends wherever he went. Albert will be forever in our hearts.

Mass will be offered at Santa Cruz Church on Wednesday, July 30 at 10:30 a.m. Interment to follow immediately at Holy Hope Cemetery.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Protection considered for pretty Arizona snake

The Tucson shovel-nosed snake mostly eats scorpions, and is threatened by habitat loss

TUCSON -- Good news on a local conservation issue I've worked on for years, the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced today it is considering legal protection for the imperiled Tucson shovel-nosed snake.

The beautiful Tucson shovel-nosed is an indicator of the overall health of the Sonoran Desert, and as our natural web of life suffers, so does our own quality of life.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A special sixth birthday for our daughter Ruby

We love Ruby

by Jeneiene Schaffer

TUCSON -- Our little girl Ruby turned six today. We celebrated by having a nice lunch at Sushi Garden and then a really fun party at Skate Country. I've always enjoyed living in Tucson since I moved here eleven years ago. But raising a child here makes me even more aware of the pleasures and challenges that face parents. Every year Ruby and I have a ritual. The day before her birthday we go through the toys she no longer plays with and we give them to charity. Usually Casa de los Ninos. Even on a low non-profit salary, we still have more than most children in our neighborhood. And, we are careful and kind to remind Ruby to remember those who are less fortunate.

No other joy in my life has even come close in comparison with the joy my daughter gives me everyday. I am thankful to that higher spirit for bringing her into my life. It is a serious thing being a responsible parent, but as she grows so do I, in so many ways that I never thought possible.

Happy Birthday, little boo!

Environmental protection staff gagged in Bush era

Bush and his attack dog at EPA, Administrator Stephen Johnson

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering its staff to "not respond to questions or make any statements" if contacted by congressional investigators, reporters or even by its own Office of Inspector General, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The order reinforces a growing bunker mentality within an EPA that is the subject of a growing number of probes into political interference with agency operations.

Read the whole story. Other coverage, CNN.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

In leaders, real integrity, values & respect matters

Patterson: trustworthy values and ethics

TUCSON -- We are working very hard everyday on the campaign trail, and it feels good. Our popular campaign for State Representative in LD29 has earned a good position to win the primary, and we're not letting up.

“Daniel Patterson will be an excellent representative in the Arizona House of Representatives for Legislative District 29," says John Adams, US Army General (ret.). "It is my privilege to endorse his candidacy.”

In this campaign and in public office, solid values and real integrity matters, and I have both. Personal responsibility and a true commitment to family matters, and I have it. Voting matters, and I have done it. Service in the district matters, and I have served for years. Respect and listening matters, and I have it. Leadership, relationships, smarts and political experience matters, and I have it all.

"…I can attest to the fact that Daniel is a strong and resounding voice for all of us who live here. Daniel... was active long before he announced his candidacy for state representative. Daniel cares about children and the future issues they may face,” says Mary Rogers, TUSD teacher and LD29 voter.

My strong proven long record of effective neighborhood, community and government leadership in Tucson speaks for itself. We are running our clean campaign with high ethics, and will continue to.

“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, Arizona Senator, businesswoman and Gov. Napolitano cabinet member (ret.). “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.”

Some things have changed during my many years of public service in Tucson across the south and southeast sides in district 29, but one thing that hasn't changed is my hope, optimism and constant pursuit of the common good.

“A vote for Daniel Patterson is a vote to put another friend of teachers and public education in the legislature,” says John Wright, Arizona Education Association President.

Thank you for your support of our campaign to solve problems, help people and build bridges for positive change in Arizona.

“In this large field of candidates, Daniel Patterson stands out as a qualified leader. I ask you to join me in my support for Daniel Patterson for the State House in district 29,”
says John C. Scott, Tucson political radio ringmaster and former State Senator.

The time for change is now!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

AZ Republic covers campaigns, Patterson Q & A

I will listen, work and communicate well at the State Capitol

TUCSON -- Read my candidate Q & A today in the statewide newspaper, the Arizona Republic.

As a strong and compassionate communicator and listener, I respond to nearly all candidate questionnaires we get, and we get a lot. When serving you in the State House, I will always listen carefully and be fair.

We ask for your support in our clean campaign to solve problems, help people and build bridges for positive change. Please VOTE PATTERSON in the LD29 primary July 31-Sept 2.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AZ nurses back Patterson for Rep on health care

Nurses recognize Patterson offers hope and compassion on health care

UPDATE, 8/22: Patterson wins another big healthcare endorsement.

TUCSON -- Our healthy campaign has picked up another big endorsement, this time from the Arizona Nurses Association.

When I'm in the Arizona Legislature, with your help and vote in the LD29 primary, I will work to build bridges to expand coverage and cut the costs of health care.

"The Arizona Nurses Association Political Action Committee (AzNA-PAC) is pleased to inform you that the PAC will endorse your primary race," says LeAnn Larson, Tucson nurse and AzNA-PAC Chair. "We appreciate your interest in nursing issues, and your willingness to work with registered nurses to improve the health care of the people of Arizona. We wish you luck in your campaign."

Since 1919, the Arizona Nurses Association has been helping nurses navigate an increasingly complex healthcare environment. AzNA is the largest and most widely recognized professional nursing organization in Arizona with members from all practice roles and settings. While many organizations talk about what they will do for their members, AzNA has been delivering results benefiting nurses for over 85 years.

I am thrilled to have the backing of Arizona's nurses, and I will be a leader and listener on health care reform in the State House.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Coverage of Patterson and LD29 race picking up

Vote Patterson in the primary July 31-Sept 2

TUCSON -- The coverage of my popular State House campaign and the LD29 race is heating up.

We also have won another big endorsement that will be announced here tomorrow.

Some of the new coverage...

Tucson Citizen
and another one. Citizen: 'Campaigns with sizable organizations, such as... Patterson's, could have an edge.'

Tucson Weekly and The Skinny (scroll down to the 'Money...' section). Weekly: '...hard-charging opponents in the Democratic primary... Daniel Patterson, checks for $19,382 more than a month ago.'

Sonoran Alliance 'Patterson was well prepared and mentioned his union endorsements. My guess would be... Patterson as ...nominee for the Democrats.'

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain's environmental attacks and violent temper

Mad McCain has never been a friend of the environment or Native Americans

TUCSON -- Below are some sections from an important new article about John McCain's anti-environmental record and threatening temper.

From Star Whores: How John McCain doomed Mount Graham, by Jeffrey St. Clair: More tellingly, the University got its way because it has powerful politicians in its pocket, ranging from Bruce Babbitt to John McCain, and they used them relentlessly, especially the vile McCain.

The university tapped McCain to push through congress the so-called Idaho and Arizona Conservation Act of 1988. This deceptively-titled law was actually a double-barrel blast at the environment: it gave the green light to illegal logging in the wildlands of Idaho and for the construction of the Mount Graham telescopes, shielding them from any kind of litigation by environmentalists or Apaches. To help sneak this malign measure through congress, the University shelled out more than a half-million dollars for the services of the powerhouse DC lobbying firm Patton, Boggs and Blow.

Arizona sacred sky island Mt. Graham harmed by McCain

The bill passed in the dead of night and, in the words of one University of Arizona lawyer, it gave the astronomers the right to move forward "even if it killed every squirrel".

It also exempted the project from the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws that might have made it possible for the Apaches to assert their claims to the mountain, giving the University of Arizona the dubious honor of becoming the first academic institution to seek the right to trample on the religious freedoms of Native Americans.

In the spring of 1989 with the squirrel population in freefall, the Forest Service, which oversees Mount Graham as part of the Coronado National Forest, began to raise questions about the project. Worried that the astronomers' road might spell the squirrel's demise, Jim Abbott, the supervisor of the Coronado forest, ordered a halt construction at the site. The delay infuriated McCain.

On May 17, 1989, Abbott got a call from Mike Jimenez, McCain's chief of staff. Jimenez informed Abbot that McCain was angry and wanted to meet with him the next day. He told Abbott to expect "some ass-chewing". At the meeting, McCain raged, threatening Abbott that "if you do not cooperate on this project [bypassing the Endangered Species Act], you'll be the shortest tenured forest supervisor in the history of the Forest Service."

Unfortunately for McCain, there was a witness to this encounter, a ranking Forest Service employee named Richard Flannelly, who recorded the encounter in his notebook. This notebook was later turned over to investigators at the General Accounting Office.

A few days later, McCain called Abbott to apologize. But the call sounded more like an attempt to bribe the Forest Supervisor to go along with the project. According to a 1990 GAO report on the affair, McCain "held out a carrot that with better cooperation, he would see about getting funding for Mr. Abbott's desired recreation projects".

Environmentalists lodged an ethics complaint against McCain, citing a federal law that prohibits anyone (including members of Congress) from browbeating federal personnel. The Senate ethics committee never pursued the matter. When the GAO report, condemning McCain, surfaced publicly, McCain lied about the encounter, calling the allegations "groundless" and "silly"

In 1992, environmentalists Robin Silver and Bob Witzeman went to meet with McCain at his office in Phoenix to discuss Mount Graham. Silver and Witzeman are both physicians. The doctors say that at the mention of the words Mount Graham McCain erupted into a violent fit. "He slammed his fists on his desk, scattering papers across the room", said Silver. "He jumped up and down, screaming obscenities at us for about 10 minutes. He shook his fists as if he was going to slug us. It was as violent as almost any domestic abuse altercation."

Witzeman left the meeting stunned: "I'm a lifelong environmentalist, but what really scares me about McCain is not his environmental policies, which are horrid, but his violent, irrational temper. I wouldn't want to see this guy with his finger on the button."

Read the full story.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In USA, Isabel Garcia has free speech right on Joe

Just because you work for the government doesn't mean you can't speak out

TUCSON -- Arizona human rights activist Isabel Garcia is being unfairly attacked over her strong views and actions on immigration reform.

The few screaming for her to be fired from her job with Pima County are extreme with their anti-American views in this case. There's nothing patriotic about trying to squash someone's rights.

This is the USA, and Ms. Garcia has a protected free speech right to criticize the government, just as Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a right to express his views.

Free speech is number one on the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. Read it sometime before you next talk about 'freedom'. Just because someone expresses strong views does not mean she should lose her job.

It's fine to criticize Isabel if you don't agree -- she's tough and can take it -- but show some respect for her use of our American free speech rights. After all, it's your rights too.

We can disagree without being so disagreeable. We'd all be a lot better off if we'd all listen more.

In other news today related to Pima County, there's more hitting the fan on the 'rigged' RTA election and election integrity.

Conservation Voters back Patterson for State Rep

AZ environmental voters back Patterson for House

UPDATE, 7/26: Why voting for environmentally strong candidates is important.

TUCSON -- Our popular campaign just keeps getting stronger. I am very pleased to report today that we've won the support of the Arizona League of Conservation Voters.

With my over 15 years of 'lead by example' work on energy, water and environmental policy and solutions, I am proud to be the best environmental candidate in the LD29 State House race, with a proven effective record.

As the political arm of the conservation community in Arizona the League works to foster common-sense conservation policy at the state level, increase accountability amongst our elected officials, build bridges between conservation organizations, and hold our elected officials accountable for their performance as our representatives.

We also won another big endorsement today that we'll announce Friday.

The time for change is now! See all Patterson's endorsements, and vote in the primary election July 31-Sept 2.

UPDATE, 7/23: More coverage of the LD29 debate.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Patterson for House wins backing of AZ AFL-CIO

Rebekah Friend and AZ unions back Patterson

TUCSON -- The big endorsements of our strong campaign just keep coming in. I'm proud to announce that I've won the backing of the statewide AFL-CIO. Earlier we won the endorsement of the Pima Area Labor Federation.

"The Arizona AFL-CIO General Board voted unanimously to endorse your candidacy... based on your commitment to the issues most important to working families," said Rebekah Friend, Executive Director. "This official endorsement represents more than 165,000 union members and families here in Arizona. We are committed to our support and look forward to a successful campaign. We wish you the best..."

A vote for Patterson for State Rep in the LD29 primary July 31-Sept 2 is a vote for working people and an better economy.

Thank you, AFL-CIO and union members!

Watch the LD29 debate.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

4 day week could save money & energy, help staff

Bill Bell and his staff at the AZ Dept. of Administration are investigating schedule options

PHOENIX -- I appreciate that Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) is considering a 4 day work week for state employees. This could save money, cut traffic, pollution and energy use, and also help employees and their families.

Pima County and the City of Tucson should also consider the '4-10' schedule option. This is not a new idea. The State of Utah is already doing it, many other states are considering and fed agencies have had this option for years.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watch Patterson on the issues at the LD29 debate

Daniel and wife Jeneiene after clean elections debate

TUCSON -- If you missed the LD29 debate last night, watch it here.

We are very pleased that the debate provided several opportunities to show voters why I am the best qualified candidate, with clear solutions and a long proven track record of effective public service in district 29 and Tucson.

Democrats and Independents, we ask for your vote for Patterson for State Representative in the LD29 primary July 31-Sept 2. The time for change is now!

See all our current endorsements, and please join our positive clean campaign.

Thank you!

Feds right on dunes plant, wrong on border ORVs

Students from AZ Western College enjoy the dunes on a trip I led in 2006 DRP photo

YUMA -- In a surprisingly honest move on an issue I've worked on for many years, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has rejected efforts by the off-road vehicle lobby to remove protections for endangered species on the Algodones Sand Dunes (aka Imperial Dunes or Glamis), but that may not stop BLM from continuing to pursue a destructive plan for the dunes web-of-life.

“Keeping protections for the Peirson’s milk-vetch is scientifically defensible and a good move,” said Ileene Anderson, a respected botanist in southern California, “but more is needed to ensure the plant doesn’t just teeter on the brink of extinction. We need to stop off-road vehicles from tearing up habitat and running over the plants.”

The Peirson’s milk-vetch is found only on a small portion of Southern California’s Algodones Dunes, where it ekes out life amongst the abrasive shifting sands. It has purple-pink, pea-like flowers and produces large, inflated pods, which blow off the plant, shedding seeds. The Algodones Dunes, also known as the Imperial Dunes, have become a hub for off-road vehicle enthusiasts, who tear over the shifting sands at high speeds, killing the plants and animals that live in this fragile ecosystem. The Bureau of Land Management which is responsible for protecting the dunes, allows hundreds of thousands of off-road vehicles to tear up the habitat, creating a destructive and high-crime 'Mad Max'-like scenario between October and May and threatening the survival of the milk-vetch and other wildlife.

“The Bureau of Land Management needs to put in place additional protections for the milk-vetch, including significant new restrictions on off-road vehicle mayhem, to prevent this special plant from going extinct,” added Anderson.

Located in the western Sonoran Desert, the scenic and remote Algodones Dunes are the largest dune ecosystem in the United States, spilling into Mexico on their southern end. They harbor at least 160 different animal and plant species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The dunes are heavily damaged, with as many as 250,000 off-road vehicles driving across the dunes destroying vegetation, wildlife habitat, and polluting the air on most weekends from October to May. The heavy off-road 'wreck'reation has also resulted in criminal problems that stress law enforcement and burden local emergency services. The free-play areas swarming with ORVs on the southern end of the dunes along the Mexican border are a conduit for smuggling. Smugglers blend in with off-roaders and make their illegal, sometimes deadly, beeline to Interstate 8, much to the frustration of the Border Patrol.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has been working with BLM and other staff for nearly a decade to try to bring balanced multiple-use management to the dunes.

- some info from CBD


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Progressive AZ Dem wins more big endorsements

Linda Hatfield and PALF say vote Patterson to help jobs, the economy and working people

TUCSON -- I'm honored to announce the backing of the Pima Area Labor Federation in my clean campaign for State Representative in LD29.

Chaired by Linda Hatfield, the Pima Area Labor Federation represents thousands of union members. The Federation works with local and national labor and community organizations around policies and initiatives in support of worker rights. PALF works for strength and solidarity across the labor movement.

PALF is an important and effective alliance of 23 unions, including the United Steel Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSME), Communications Workers of America, International Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and National Writers Union.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time for change is now on AZ economy leadership

AZ food bank tries to keep up with hunger during this leaderless bad economy

TUCSON -- The Arizona economy keeps going down, likely you've noticed. My family and I are feeling it, along with most people on the south and southeast sides, and across the state.

The July Arizona economy reports look gloomy. Tucson losing many of its non-stop flights at TIA is a bad sign, and will harm Pima County and southeastern Arizona. The mortgage and lending industries are in critical condition. Prices are rising and unemployment claims are way up. People are not paid enough or getting adequate benefits.

Just one big expense can put many working people over the edge, into big debt and worse. I know firsthand. My wife and I don't make a lot, and we have a child to support.

Economic surprises can hurt. Our main water line broke this morning and our water is shut off. Right now I have a plumber -- good guy from UA local union 469, which has endorsed my campaign to help jobs and the economy -- working on an unexpected major job I couldn't do myself.

This repair is essential. My family and I must have water. But it is a substantial expense.

Luckily, we are fiscally responsible and careful with money and have a small savings, but if not this could be a major financial problem.

I'm running for the State House to serve you as an experienced smart hardworking leader who listens and understands, and will help our economy with a fiscally responsible public investment view that restores economic justice.

I will promote and encourage responsible business and investment in Arizona that provides good sustainable jobs. I am a friend of workers, and will continue to be at the capitol. I've also helped run a successful business.

The time for change is now! Arizonans deserve new leadership to stop the economic 'race to the bottom', and build a strong, sustainable, fair and prosperous economy that will help working people and businesses thrive.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Campaign releases new promos for LD29 primary

Patterson hits the airwaves to help take back the Legislature

TUCSON -- Daniel Patterson for Arizona House has teamed up with political radio legend John C. Scott on two new radio spots, to help win the race for State Rep in district 29.

Please visit and listen to 'the time for change is now' and 'there is only one choice', which will soon start to air daily across southern Arizona.

Check out the LD29 Democratic debate this Thursday, July 17, 7-9pm, PCC District Office Community Board Room, 4905 E. Broadway.

Democrats and Independents, call 740.4330 to get your vote by mail ballot.

Winners and losers at recent Pima Supes debate

Donna Branch-Gilby is a Democratic candidate for Pima County Supervisor

TUCSON -- Mike Bryan at Blog for Arizona reports on the recent lively, and somewhat nasty, Pima Supervisors race debate.

Mike offers some important and interesting coverage not yet reported anywhere.

T.I.M.E. bullying with lawsuit on true tax raise stat

APS lobbyist Marty Shultz is helping push the unfair, unbalanced transportation sales tax increase plan

PHOENIX -- Big money promoters of a plan to increase the state sales tax by 17.8% are suing the Arizona Legislature over a true statement. This is an absurd bully tactic, and their bogus lawsuit should be dismissed.

I strongly support improvements to Arizona's transportation infrastructure, but I cannot support this plan, as proposed. The Sierra Club also does not support it because it is much too heavy on big roads, and too light on long-overdue needed investment in mass transit.

I also cannot support increasing the sales tax on working people during this tough economy. Sales taxes are already approaching 10% in some Arizona communities, which is too high. Raising sales taxes to pay for transportation projects, especially when a deal was cut with developers to let them off the hook for needed impact fees, is unfair.

Sales taxes are unfair, harming lower income people more. Sales taxes are also very volatile, cutting revenue when the economy goes down and people spend less.

Growth should pay for itself, most Arizonans agree, and the so-called T.I.M.E. plan is more of the same old 'free pass' for developers, while you and I get the bill. No thanks.

I stand for improving Arizona's transportation system, with more emphasis on transit and less on giant roads, and paying for it in a fair way.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obama wise to follow JFK with stadium speech

Obama's huge stadium speech will be a hit

DENVER -- Sen. Barack Obama made a good call this week with his decision to make the Democratic nomination speech in front of 76,000 people at Denver's mile high football stadium.

The last Presidential nominee speech at a stadium in front of such a big crowd was in 1960 by John F. Kennedy at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

It worked for JFK, and it will work for Obama.

Having this historic event at the stadium will allow as many people as possible to be there, which is good for democracy, Obama and the Democrats.

I have many friends in Denver and I'd like to be there, but I'll be in Tucson focused on winning the primary election in my race for State House in Arizona LD29.

Watching at home with my family, we'll likely see and hear Obama better than we could from the 40 yard line.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gramm's insult shows McCain wrong on economy

Uncaring rich out-of-touch Republicans: DC/Arizona millionaire John McCain and his pal Texas millionaire Phil Gramm

TUCSON -- Top John McCain advisor Phil Gramm, former Republican Senator from Texas, says we are in a 'mental recession', and just a 'nation of whiners'.

What a disgraceful insult from the McCain camp! Once again, the McCain campaign clearly shows how removed from reality they are.

People in Arizona and across the US are hurting in this very weak economy, and we must elect compassionate understanding leaders who will listen and work to restore economic justice and prosperity to business and working people.

On the economy, a top issue in this election, Republicans just don't get it, or even seem to care.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Save and recount RTA ballots

Without a full recount, the RTA election cannot be considered valid

TUCSON -- The election integrity issue continues to be red hot here, as wisely pushed by the Pima County Democratic Party.

There is now a sworn witness alleging the 2006 Pima County Regional Transportation Authority vote was rigged. Watch the video.

Pima County, Arizona AG Terry Goddard and all leaders must find a way to fully recount all the RTA ballots, which must not be destroyed.

The RTA is collecting millions of dollars in local sales taxes, and it affects all of us and our quality of life. Some RTA projects are controversial, and being implemented in ways not fully disclosed to the public prior to the election, especially the planned widening of Grant Rd., and 22nd St. in my neighborhood, the Kino/22nd St. grade separated interchange, and the $75-100M 1-mile extension of Aviation Highway through three north downtown neighborhoods.

Given this witness and new information on possible vote tampering, a failure to verify the RTA election will badly dog the RTA, and all its projects, for years, undercutting needed public support for transportation improvements.

I call on RTA Director Gary Hayes and the RTA board to immediately support a full recount. I don't expect this type of courageous action from RTA, but it's the only ethical and right thing to do.

Election integrity is essential to our democracy. Without it, we have nothing.

The time for change is now! And action is needed at the State Capitol.

I will work hard in the Arizona Legislature to strengthen election integrity, so that everyone can vote without hassle, so that every vote counts, and so that we can trust the outcome of all elections.

More good coverage.

UPDATE, 7/11: In a letter today to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, RTA Director Gary Hayes supported a full recount, but did not offer to put projects on hold until when and if it can be done. Nevertheless, a good move in the right direction from RTA.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

White House outdoors group critical of Bush policy

White House hunting council criticizes Bush/Cheney's poor eco policies

TUCSON -- The iconic cartoonist Walt Kelly first penned “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us” for an Earth Day poster in 1970. In an ironic echo of these words from his puckish possum Pogo, a Bush-appointed sporting panel convened to promote hunting has identified an array of administration policies as the biggest threats facing wildlife, according to a series of official “White Papers” released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Back on August 17, 2007, President Bush issued Executive Order 13443 directing national park, forest, refuge and BLM public land systems to write “a comprehensive Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan.” This plan was to be developed under the guidance of a Sporting Conservation Council made up of groups such as the NRA and Safari Club International, named by outgoing Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

In April 2008, the Sporting Conservation Council created a series of “White Papers” to aid federal agencies in “development of a comprehensive ten-year Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan called for in the EO” wrote Council officer Phyllis “Twinkle” Seitts in her June 6 transmittal letter.

While politely phrased, the White Papers unambiguously identify a series of Bush policies as the major “challenges” or “problems” facing hunters and wildlife, including –
  • Loss of wetlands due to actions “in 2001 and 2006 by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers [which] have had the effect of removing wetlands protections that have been in place for more than 30 years”;
  • Oil and gas drilling on federal wild lands which has become “a major wildlife concern in significant parts of several western states…”; and
  • Politicized science and underfunded wildlife management, causing declines in biodiversity. “Federal land management planning decisions continue to hamper the ability …to effectively implement wildlife management projects” and conservation efforts.

The White Papers also cite the anemic response to climate change, border policies (such as walls) which inhibit “trans-boundary” wildlife management and deteriorating agency culture and capabilities.

Read more

Other coverage: Jackson Hole Daily (WY)

Also, on another topic, read new news on big solar projects planned for BLM public lands.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bush DHS racing to finish border militarization wish

TUCSON -- The unethical lame duck Bush/Cheney administration is sparing no one in their costly race to finish border walls and other unwise militarization projects.

The Texas Observer has an important article out on Ken Merritt, who was forced out of the US Fish and Wildlife Service for resisting harmful and ineffective border walls on National Wildlife Refuges in south Texas.

Ken Merrit
Here in Arizona, wildlife refuge managers are concerned about DHS plans for Boeing's giant surveillance towers, which have been shown to not work, in protected national wilderness.

People, wildlife and habitat are suffering as the feds shamefully build a new 'Berlin wall' against a friendly neighbor and essential economic trading partner. The only thing Bush's border walls won't stop is people seeking a better life for their families.

Wildlife-friendly vehicle barriers, which are proven effective, are a much better option for controlling illegal border traffic.

Border walls are a made-in-DC 'do something' project for politicians and bureaucrats to point to. As Bush/Cheney/Chertoff and others point, to try to deflect criticism away from their failures, people and wildlife die.

America desperately needs holistic immigration reform to allow people to legally cross at ports of entry to work and visit family in the US, and to stop the deaths, suffering and damaging, failed militarization of our southern border.

UPDATE, 7/10: Related coverage on border walls from the Sierra Vista Herald (AZ).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Congress must stop feds' unfair land & forest fees

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) is leading the charge in Congress to stop Bush/Cheney's excessive fees

TUCSON -- This Fourth of July weekend, read an important article on declaring independence from unfair public lands and forest fees.

The fees affect millions of Americans during these tough economic times, including people in southern Arizona wanting to visit Mt. Lemmon, Sabino Canyon, Madera Canyon and the Coronado National Forest.

I appreciate my Congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7), and others for taking on this issue of environmental and economic fairness, and hope Congress will move for full relief soon.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

ORV ban, restoration work start on AZ monument

Vekol Valley, SDNM, part of BLM's National Landscape Conservation System

TUCSON -- The Arizona Republic reports and quotes me today about a problem on the Sonoran Desert National Monument I've long worked to improve.

I'm thankful to be helping realize a popular solution here.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Americans celebrate 232nd Independence Day

Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, July 4, 1776

TUCSON -- Today, my family and I proudly join all Americans in celebration of 232 years of independence from the crown. Let freedom ring, and let's reclaim some of it in the 2008 elections.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama advisor Gen. John Adams backs Patterson

Adams endorses Patterson

TUCSON -- Another big endorsement today for Daniel Patterson for AZ State Rep (D-LD29). We are very proud and honored to have the backing of progressive General John Adams.

"Daniel Patterson is a thoughtful, energetic, and effective advocate for better government at the state level. A longtime resident of Tucson, he understands the important issues in his district. An ecologist by education and experience, he will ensure effective stewardship of our environment," said Adams. "A father of a young daughter in public school, he will focus on restoring funding and programs for our lagging public education system. He will address the needs of families in his district, focusing on the economic and health needs of those who most need state assistance. And he will earn the voters' confidence. Daniel Patterson will be an excellent representative in the Arizona House of Representatives for Legislative District 29. It is my privilege to endorse his candidacy."

Brigadier General John Adams retired last year from the U.S. Army after a decorated thirty year career. Among his many accomplishments, General Adams served as the Deputy United States Military Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff of Intelligence on the U.S. Army Staff, and as Deputy Director of European Policy for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. General Adams also served tours in Korea and Rwanda, and holds Master's Degrees in International Relations, English, and Strategic Studies.

Gen. Adams advises Sen. Barack Obama on national security issues.

See all Patterson's endorsements.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Candidates win 'phoney' awards for being in touch

Good leaders are reachable

TUCSON -- Local reporter Dave Devine at the Weekly just had a great contest to call state legislative candidates to judge how in touch they are with constituents.

This Fourth of July, I'm happy to announce I won the top 'Phoney Award' today from the Weekly for being very in touch.

Both my Republican opponents finished last, failing to return two calls in a week from a constituent.

From the July 3 issue: 'As America celebrates the 232nd anniversary of its revolt against an unresponsive British monarchy, the Tucson Weekly for the seventh time proudly presents its Phoney Awards to local public servants.

'This year, the nominees for this prestigious award are Southern Arizona candidates running for seats in the state Legislature. The list of categories was determined by their response time to a phone call from a constituent.'

On my direct and immediate responsiveness to a constituent call, the Weekly said, '...that kind of response deserves special accolades.' and '...unlike that by King George III, lets people talk directly to their potential political leaders.'

New leadership needed to help Arizona economy

The time for change on the economy is now

TUCSON -- The Arizona economy continues get worse, according to the ASU School of Business, which reports in June the Arizona Business Conditions Index was below 50 for the seventh time in the last nine months. An index less than 50 suggests a contracting economy.

Many bad decisions have helped caused this crisis. Arizona needs new leadership to help improve the economy and quality of life. The time for change is now.

The Arizona Republic reports today: State revenues are down 7 percent this year, and the trend just keeps getting worse.

According to the Rockefeller Institute, at least 14 states are currently experiencing declines in revenues. Arizona's figure includes the effects of an income-tax cut. But even without that, the state would rank toward the bottom in terms of revenue production.

According to Moody's, Arizona is one of nine states currently in a recession.

Over the last year, personal-income growth in Arizona ranked 42nd among the states. Customarily, Arizona is near the top.

According to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the mortgage delinquency rate in Arizona is 20th highest among the states and the foreclosure rate is 10th.

Overall, Arizona's job creation has been sluggish. Since the housing and construction peak, Arizona has has lost 42,100 construction jobs, and produced only 16,500 new jobs.

The non-urban areas of the state have lost around 35,000 non-construction jobs during this period. Areas outside Phoenix and Tucson have an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, considerably above the national average.

ASU reports: In June, four of the five components of the Arizona Business Conditions Index had a reading of less than 50. It was the ninth straight month that the value of the purchased materials inventory level was less than 50. The new orders received index was less than 50 for the seventh time in the last nine months, and the employment index registered less than 50 for the fifth time in the last seven months. The production/business activity index also was less than 50.

The prices index exceeded 77 - a very high value - for the fourth consecutive month, showing continued inflation and increase in costs.

The time for change is now. Arizonans deserve new leadership to stop the economic 'race to the bottom', and build a strong, sustainable and prosperous economy that will help working people and businesses thrive.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

State House campaign update: we're in the money

We're in to win, to solve problems, help people and build bridges for positive change

TUCSON -- I'm pleased to report our clean campaign for State Representative (D-LD29) will have $20,000 in the bank for the primary by tomorrow.

AZ Young Democrats start young voter revolution

I support YDAz

TUCSON -- Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ7) and the Young Democrats of Arizona invite you to join the Young Voter Revolution, which officially kicks off today at 452 S. Stone Ave. from 5-7pm. Check the details.

As a younger family man and progressive Democratic candidate for State Rep, I'll be there.

The Young Voter Revolution is the YDAz campaign to take young voter excitement for Democrats and turn it into victory in 2008.