Thursday, September 25, 2008

Patterson & Heinz command and win LD29 debate

Arizona Capitol, Phoenix

TUCSON -- Watch last night's district 29 State House debate. Democrats Daniel Patterson and Matt Heinz, both popular clean elections candidates, dominated the issues, offered real solutions to help people, and won the debate.

Issues discussed include the economy, state budget, education, Prop. 201, Prop. 105 and transportation.

If the 'watch' link above doesn't work, click here and open district 29 from the list.

McCain should debate economy, stop posturing

The debate should go on

TUCSON -- The desperate and flailing John McCain should keep his word to the American people and participate in the important presidential debate Friday night with Barack Obama in Oxford, Mississippi.

If McCain truly wants to focus on the Wall Street bailout deal, after more than a year of ignoring his responsibilities to Arizonans and votes as Senator, debating clearly about the deal and the economy in front of a huge national audience is a great way to have influence.

The real truth may be McCain doesn't have much meaningful to say on the economy, and he wants to avoid a debate during this economic crisis caused by failed GOP deregulation and policies he's long supported.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush-Cheney EPA & Interior skip oversight hearing

Bush to Interior Sec. Kempthorne, 'I'm the decider, to hell with the legislative branch.' EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson got the same message.

WASHINGTON -- Flipping a corrupt toxic middle finger to Congress and open government, Bush's scandal plagued US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior today dodged an important US Senate oversight hearing on the environment.

Senators blasted the callous, reckless and secretive Bush agencies as 'cowardly' and 'a danger'. To watch it, click on the link above and then click on the webcast link.

Will the administration face any big consequences for not talking to Congress? As Congressional leaders agree to let the off-shore oil drilling ban expire, many Americans wonder if lawmakers have the courage to truly pressure the administration and Republicans.

Feds suppress public voices in land fee decisions

On Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, the Coronado National Forest has never consulted with the public about controversial expanded fees

DURANGO CO -- The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition today released a report charging the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management with intentionally suppressing public involvement in the implementation of access fees on public lands.

The report, entitled "The Fix Is In," provides examples from around the country showing that the federal advisory committee process that is supposed to bring the public to the table when fee decisions are being made is instead keeping the public out.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) requires that new Forest Service and BLM fees, as well as fee changes, be recommended for approval by Recreation Resource Advisory Committees, or RecRACs, before they can be implemented. Committee members are appointed by the Forest Service and BLM to represent a variety of public lands users. The FLREA requires that the agencies document general public support for each fee proposal they submit, before the RecRAC can recommend approval of the proposal.

The most fundamental problem with the process, according to Western Slope No-Fee Coalition President Kitty Benzar, is the committee selection process. "Members are supposed to represent the public, but they are hand-picked by the Forest Service and BLM. They are from groups that are beholden to the agencies for their particular recreational activity, and are likely to do the agencies' bidding," she explained.

To date, the RecRACs have approved at least 523 fee increases and 228 new fee sites in less than two years. Only 27 fee proposals have been turned down.

"It's a rubber-stamp operation," said Benzar.

The report cites and substantiates numerous cases where fee proposals have been approved without the required documentation of public support, and even in the face of documented public opposition. Other problems with the process include:
  • Meetings held on weekdays when ordinary citizens can't conveniently attend.
  • Meeting dates and agendas withheld from the public and changed at the last minute.
  • RecRACs holding meetings by telephone or attending members-only field trips, in violation of open-meeting regulations.
  • Communications from the public to RecRAC committee members being filtered, censored, and misrepresented by agency officials.
  • Minutes documenting decisions made by RecRACs delayed for months before publication, and not including specifics of recommendations or individual vote tallies.
Three case studies describe efforts in Idaho, Colorado, and Illinois that succeeded in blocking some fee proposals. In those cases, according to Benzar, "Ordinary citizens took it into their own hands to do what the Forest Service and BLM had failed to do. They got the word out about the fees that were proposed, when and where the RecRAC would be meeting, and how to submit comments. These federal agencies have even more tools available to get the word out, if they really want to. Why aren't they?"

Benzar asserts that the agencies are intentionally making minimal efforts to involve the public because when the public is really involved, many fee proposals will fail.

"Opposition to public lands fees remains strong nationwide," she said. "This should be taken into account by the RecRAC committees and the agencies, not suppressed or ignored. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are presenting Congress and the public with a false picture of public involvement in fee decisions."

- from WSNFC

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Congress OKs Great Lakes deal, but is it too weak?

Will the Great Lakes Compact truly protect?

WASHINGTON -- The US House of Representatives today moved to approve the eight-state Great Lakes Compact. Two Canadian provinces are also part of the agreement, which is supposed to ban big diversions of Great Lakes water outside the basin. But a veteran member of Michigan's congressional delegation opposed the agreement as too weak.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) represents Michigan's 1st Congressional District, which has more shoreline – 1,613 miles – than any other congressional district in the continental United States and is the only congressional district in the nation that borders three of the five Great Lakes.

Stupak criticized the agreement because it allows for the diversion of water in containers smaller than 5.7 gallons. This exemption, fears Rep. Stupak, creates what he calls a 'bottled water loophole' that could allow the lakes to be depleted.

Stupak, who voted against the bill, also fears that the bill's creation of a federal definition of Great Lakes water as a 'product' would subject the water to international trade agreements such as NAFTA, GATT and WTO, and open Great Lakes water to possible privatization.

The US Senate passed the bill last month, which now goes to the President to become law.

- some info from CSM

Monday, September 22, 2008

Congress must be careful and fair on $1.5T bailout

Will the bailout boys accept a fair deal?

WASHINGTON -- As Bush's bunch bullies Congress to act swiftly on their proposed $700B+ bailout of big financial firms that made bad decisions, Congress should be careful and ensure any package also includes real relief for average Americans being hurt by this bad economy. Prior to the plan announced late last week, the Bush/Cheney administration had already spent over $800B of our money on bailouts of big corporations, bringing the total price tag to over $1.5 trillion. That is a huge amount of money that could provide healthcare, foreclosure relief and other needs for working people.

This could be a tough vote for many members of Congress just before the election. I predict the package will pass, but will it include enough real economic help for taxpayers, and measures to help prevent a financial meltdown from happening again, not just big bailout bucks for Wall Street fat cats?

No matter what, Bush's action shatters the myths that less regulation is wise or Republicans are champions of the free market. This may need to be done to avoid an economic depression, but there's nothing free about spending $1.5T on a bailout of reckless financial companies.

'Battle in Seattle' film opens in US, but not AZ yet

Activists make history. The WTO has never fully recovered since being shut down in Seattle

TUCSON -- The new movie 'Battle in Seattle' about the Nov-Dec 1999 World Trade Organization protests opened Friday at limited theaters across the US, but none in Arizona, despite the fact that 75+ Grand Canyon State activists, including me, my wife and others with the Sonoran Justice Alliance, had important non-violent roles in Seattle.

Hopefully this important film will make it to the big screen in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma, Flagstaff and other AZ theaters soon. Click here to add to the 'demand'.

Watch the intro below.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Patterson for Rep wins more eco & family support

Patterson wins more support to go to the State Capitol

TUCSON -- We're pleased to announce I've won the official endorsements of the Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, and Planned Parenthood Arizona, in our clean campaign for State Representative in our south and southeast side district 29.

As a dad and ecologist, family and environmental issues are very important to me, as they also are to people across Pima County and Arizona. With your support, I will work collaboratively in the Arizona Legislature to help improve conservation, family planning and quality of life.

Calexico plays great benefit show for Rep. Giffords

Calexico's Joey Burns with band

TUCSON -- Calexico and Mariachi Luz de Luna played an excellent benefit show downtown at the Rialto last night for Gabrielle Giffords for Congress.

My wife and I had a good time. The band really pumped out the sound, with 15 musicians on the stage at times.

Nice job by all the organizers having a meaningful political event that was also fun and artistic.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Outdoorswomen: help control off-road abuse in AZ

Off-road 'wreck'reation often disrupts hunting opportunities

TUCSON -- Before I head out for Saturday campaigning, a quick post about something you can do to help our state.

Like many people, are you sick and tired of reckless off-roaders tearing up Arizona's fragile land and waters? Well, you can do something about it.

The State Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Group (OHVAG) is seeking a new member for a three year term. To ensure minimal diversity of representation (AZ State Parks currently unfairly mandates that 5 of the 7 seats be for off-roaders) the group is seeking one member from the hunting or fishing community, preferably a woman, to represent hunting and fishing interests. At this time no hunters, anglers or women have currently applied. Now is your chance to step up, serve and have influence.

Take action now, because this group badly needs a fighting conservation voice, and applications are due September 26.

More information and an application.

- adapted from AZGFD

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tucson leads nation with 80+ Park(ing) Day parks

Support urban sustainability

TUCSON -- Today is Park(ing) Day, and Arizona's finest city leads the nation with 80+ street parks created. Tucson is enthusiastically supporting this effort.

My daughter Ruby and I got some ice cream, and sat at a nice park(ing) spot on 4th Av. After that we did some art and hung it up for all to see. Everyone was enjoying the scene and smiling, including people driving by. It was eye-opening for many to see just what you could do (a lot) in the space just one car takes up.

Park(ing) Day also helped some local officials highlight the need for more park space in Tucson.

"Councilor Regina Romero wants to highlight the fact that parks, and natural resource parks in particular, are far below average in Tucson. The national average for parks is 10 acres per 1000 population. Tucson has 6 acres per 1000 people. Our park land mass should be 10 percent for Tucson and we only have 2 percent," says Diana Rhoades, Ward 1 Council Aide.

Other reports: Star, Citizen

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Interior OKs new Vegas-Lake Mead sewage pipe

Scientists studying Lake Mead have found numerous synthetic organic compounds, and also documented endocrine disruption in fish

LAKE HAVASU CITY AZ -- The scandalous Bush/Cheney Interior Department is teaming up with metro Las Vegas to allow new sewage effluent dumping in to Lake Mead, which could further harm water quality for wildlife and people downstream in Arizona, California and Mexico.

Mohave County AZ Supervisor Buster Johnson, a Republican, said the move damages water quality.

“Hundreds of millions of gallons of effluent being dumped into our drinking water at a time when we are trying to clean up the river and protect our drinking water in Mohave County shows the lack of concern for downriver users. I have tried to get other users of the river water to voice their concerns but the Phoenix mayor’s office and others have remained silent,” Johnson said.

Lake Havasu is the collection point for the Central Arizona Project, the major drinking water supplier for Phoenix and Tucson. The lake is also the collection point for the Metropolitan Water District, which serves millions in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Johnson is concerned with the chemicals that remain in effluent even after treatment.

“Since I spoke against this project with respect to the amount and concentration of pharmaceuticals that will be forced down river on us, new information has been released that shows the risk to the public could be worse than originally thought,” he said.

- adapted from havasunews.com

Border environment film 'Wild v. Wall' debuts Sat

TUCSON -- This Saturday, go see 'Wild versus Wall', an important new film that details the unique and diverse imperiled natural areas along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It shows how wildlife and the borderland habitat they depend on is harmed by the feds' current and planned border walls.

The film also directly challenges the unprecedented and sweeping powers given to the Department of Homeland Security to construct walls and other infrastructure without regard to local, state and federal laws. The Bush/Cheney DHS has already invoked this dangerous waiver for over 500 miles of borderlands, and has dispensed with over 30 public-health and environmental laws in the process, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Archeological and Historical Preservation Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, among others.

Watch the short intro version here.



Activists have been engaged in this issue for a number of years and will use this film to raise national awareness of this dire situation. "This is an issue that many individuals and groups have been reluctant to address," said Sean Sullivan, Chair of the Sierra Club Borderlands Committee, which produced 'Wild versus Wall'. "Unless we bring attention to the destruction happening on our southern border and change public sentiment, wildlife and their habitat which often lies on both sides of the border will be forever marred by a reckless and irresponsible border policy."

'Wild versus Wall', with special guest Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ7). Saturday, Sept 20, 10am-noon. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E Speedway Blvd., Tucson. Admission: $10-20 (suggested donation). Proceeds will support the Sierra Club Borderlands Protection Campaign.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arizona leaders say Prop 200 is no reform, vote no

Stop unethical predatory lending

PHOENIX -- Proposition 200, a measure on Arizona’s November ballot, is a ploy by out-of-state predatory lenders to have their exemption from Arizona’s 36% interest rate cap extended indefinitely, said Attorney General Terry Goddard and other bi-partisan community leaders at a press conference Tuesday.

Read the whole story. Vote no on 200.

- adapted from Arizonans for Responsible Lending

AWC: Kofa ruling ignores public input on wildlife

Kofa refuge: ecosystem or game farm?

As a conservation-minded hunter, I share recent news from the Arizona Wilderness Coalition.

PHOENIX -- In a decision made on September 5th in the United States District Court, Judge Mary Murguia ignored the public’s right to know about a significant project to install artificial water structures in a federally designated wilderness area. The case was brought by conservation groups against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) because the agency failed to notify and involve the public in the decision for a new water installation project and their use of motorized equipment to construct this permanent structure within a federally designated wilderness area.

Read the whole story.

- adapted from AWC

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Support equal rights and marriage with no on 102

Former US Rep Jim Kolbe (R-AZ8) dumped Tim Bee after he cast the deciding vote to ram Prop 102 on the ballot

TUCSON -- Today in the mail I got a giant misleading hit piece against equal rights. The special interests pushing Proposition 102 are spending a lot of money to try to force their views in to the state constitution.

As a straight married family man who supports equal rights, I will vote no on Prop 102, and so should you.

Arizonans already rejected this issue in 2006, and we should do it again in 2008.

Tim Bee and the Arizona Legislature were wrong to push this divisive and unneeded measure on to the ballot again. This type of rigid social conservative ideology does not belong in our state constitution.

Monday, September 15, 2008

GM's future will be seen Sept 16 with Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt concept model

UPDATE, 9/23: Chrysler shows plug-in hybrids.

UPDATE, 9/16: New photos of Volt production model.

DETROIT -- As the economy continues to slide, General Motors will unveil it's official production version of the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt on Tuesday.

The Volt could help the US economy by reducing oil demand, and helping restore American leadership and industrial powerhouse GM.

The Volt would be especially attractive with a small clean diesel as it's engine, allowing drivers to use non-petroleum biodiesel fuel.

My family and I in Tucson may even sign up soon and try to lease a Volt when available, depending on costs. As a frequent critic of GM, I applaud their efforts on the Volt and hope it succeeds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pima should keep Sox agreement, get AAA team

Pro baseball should replace Sox at TEPark

TUCSON -- Pima County officials should keep the Chicago White Sox in their 2012 lease deal, or risk losing the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in Major League Baseball spring training.

If a new MLB team cannot be found, Pima County and baseball boosters could push an alternative for the ChiSox to help bring in a AAA Pacific Coast League team at TEPark to replace the Tucson Sidewinders, instead of youth baseball, which would be exciting to the parents and not many more.

RELATED NEWS, 9/24: NYT on Sidewinders (now Aces) move to Reno.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Solar panel factory to open on south side in LD29

I support green energy to help our economy and environment

TUCSON -- In an encouraging sign for Arizona's economy and energy future, Germany's Solon AG will open a solar panel manufacturing factory in October on south Country Club Road in district 29.

This factory will offer hundreds of good paying 'green collar' jobs in 2009.

My family and I produce solar power on the rooftop of our south downtown home, and I'm proud to have the endorsement of the Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter.

Friday, September 12, 2008

AZGFD joins many in saying no to unfair Prop 105

Gov. Napolitano and AZ Game & Fish officials earlier this year

TUCSON -- The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has unanimously voted to join me and many other Arizonans in opposition to Proposition 105, an initiative that will be on November’s ballot for consideration by Arizona voters.

The anti-democracy Proposition 105, also known as the so-called “Majority Rules” initiative, would require any future ballot initiative that imposes additional taxes or state spending to be approved by a majority of all registered voters – not just a majority of those casting votes.

- adapted from AZGFD

Thursday, September 11, 2008

LD29 town halls planned to listen to people

Helping people, solving problems and building bridges for positive change

TUCSON -- When serving in the State House, with your support, I plan to cooperatively participate in town hall meetings in district 29 to listen to people, share updates from the Arizona Legislature, and work to solve problems.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drill this: GOP Interior ethics, sex & drugs scandal

McCain & Bush big smiles for big oil

UPDATE, 9/11: from PEER: INTERIOR ETHICS SCANDALS INVOLVE MORE THAN “A FEW” — Widespread Industry Penetration of Interior Tatters Kempthorne Ethics Vows.

WASHINGTON -- As Congress prepares to debate expansion of drilling in taxpayer-owned coastal waters, the Interior Department agency that collects oil and gas royalties has been caught up in a wide-ranging ethics scandal -- including financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct.

In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.

"A culture of ethical failure" besets the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo.

Two of the highest-ranking officials who were targets of the investigations will apparently escape sanction. Both retired during the investigation, rendering them safe from any administrative punishment, and the Bush/Cheney Justice Department has declined to prosecute them on the charges suggested by the inspector general.

Read the whole breaking story in NYT, Houston Chronicle and Washington Post.

- adapted from NYT

Vote Dalessandro for AZ House in district 30

Andrea (at right) listening to voters

GREEN VALLEY AZ -- Voters across LD30 here, and Sierra Vista, Tucson foothills and far east side, Sahuarita, Rita Ranch, Vail, Sonoita, Elgin, Patagonia, Amado and Corona de Tucson should vote Oct 2 -- Nov 4 for Andrea Dalessandro for State Rep.

A math teacher and later an accountant, Andrea has the experience and the know how to manage the budgeting process and deliver sound fiscal policy needed during this rough economy.

Andrea Dalessandro is a fine candidate and you should vote for her.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Steve Nash helps Phoenix Suns go green & solar

'Green' Steve Nash and the Suns stick it to the Spurs

PHOENIX -- The Suns are moving toward clean solar energy to help power their arena, as pushed by MVP guard Steve Nash.

This is a great 'lead by example' story more pro teams should follow. Go Suns!

Perhaps the clean energy will help the Suns win the NBA championship in 09?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A good idea for Arizona, vote yes on Prop 300

Vote yes on Prop 300

PHOENIX -- Vote yes on Arizona Proposition 300, also known as the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers, in the fall election Oct 2 -- Nov 4.

The proposition would increase the salary of legislators to more of a living wage, helping make the legislature more professional and open more possibilities for more people to serve.

Better legislators will make better decisions to help the economy, which will benefit everyone.

Prop 300 is appearing on the ballot as recommended by a commission referral process. Vote yes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Grijalva backs Patterson for AZ House in LD29

Rep. Grijalva and Nominee Patterson at education event Sept 5

TUCSON -- US Rep. Raul M. Grijalva backs Daniel Patterson for Arizona House of Reps in district 29.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Economy and jobs hurt by McBush/Cheney GOP

Democrats offer hope to heal our economy

TUCSON -- Americans are suffering as the wrecked US economy continues to sink, with the average unemployment rate rising to 6.1%, the highest level in five years.

In many places across Arizona and the nation, unemployment is much higher than 6.1%.

We cannot afford more Republican failures on the economy.

Vote Democratic this fall to help build a fair, prosperous and sustainable economy that stops the 'race to the bottom' and rewards hard work, not just wealth.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

BLM whistleblower wins appeal on toxic NV mine

PEER helped win justice for Earle Dixon, who was fired for trying to protect public health and the environment

WASHINGTON -- A federal review panel has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) illegally dismissed a manager overseeing the cleanup of the Anaconda Mine for raising serious worker safety, as well as serious radiation, air and water pollution problems, according to a final order released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), where I serve as Ecologist and Southwest Director.

Earle Dixon, the Project Manager for the Anaconda Mine at Yerington, Nevada, clashed with top BLM officials for raising issues that were being ignored because they would drive up clean-up costs and raise political hackles.

Read the full story...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

District 29 Dem voters choose Patterson and Heinz

Thank you, LD29 voters!

TUCSON -- My family and I, as well as our campaign steering committee, are very thankful to the voters of LD29 for choosing me in the Sept 2 primary. Matt Heinz is the other winner in the LD29 Democratic primary.

Now it's on to winning the general election in November, and changing the majority in the State House to the Democrats so we can improve Arizona's economy, education, healthcare, energy, environment and quality of life.

Big thanks to my campaign steering committee, including Judy Nagle, Colette Philip, Elaine Richardson, Sky Jacobs, and my wonderful beautiful wife Jeneiene Schaffer. We also thank our many great volunteers and endorsing organizations, and ask for your continued help to win in November.

I extend sincere respect and thanks to my friend Rep. Tom Prezelski, along with Rep. Linda Lopez and retiring Sen. Vic Soltero.

I also offer my respect and thanks to the four other fellow Democrats in the LD29 primary.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

AZ humane voters back Patterson, VOTE TODAY!

Vote Patterson today to help make Arizona a more progressive state

TUCSON -- We've won another endorsement, from Humane Voters of Arizona. I'm proud of all our endorsements.

Be sure to VOTE TODAY! Polls open until 7pm. Find your polling place here.

Democrats and Independents in district 29 on the south and south east sides, please VOTE DANIEL PATTERSON for State Representative to solve problems, help people, build bridges for positive change and improve our economy, education, healthcare, equal rights, energy and environment.

Daniel Patterson: family man, leader, ecologist

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor day, political courage, baseball, vote Tues

Vote Tuesday, Sept 2

TUCSON -- My family and I will be at the Tucson Labor Day Picnic today from 10a-2p at the Reid Park band shell. I am proud to have won the endorsement of all Arizona's major unions and labor orgs in this primary election. Stop by and hear my speech about economic justice around noon. I'll also be on the John C. Scott show at 690 AM between 11a and noon today.

The Weekly finally has a piece about how other candidates lack the courage to take the Project Vote Smart 'Political Courage Test'. In the LD29 State House race, only Tom and I took the test.

I'm in the Citizen today about the Sidewinders baseball team leaving town. My family and I have always enjoyed going to games, which is the best thing you can do to support local baseball. Due to the rain-out last night, the 'Winders play a double-header today starting at 3:30p.

Finally, after months of campaigning, tomorrow is the important primary election. Democrats and Independents on the south and south east sides in district 29, VOTE PATTERSON, please. I am feeling pretty good about our position to win the primary, with your support. If you have an early ballot you haven't returned yet, take it to your polling place tomorrow. Bring ID to vote. Polls are open 6a-7p, and you can find your polling place here.