Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gone hunting

White tailed deer (male).

TUCSON -- We had a good Thanksgiving.

I'm gone hunting early Fri AM on our annual Arizona fall deer hunt.

Go Arizona, beat ASU Saturday in football. Bear Down, Wildcats!

Monday, November 23, 2009

AZ legislature finishes 4th special session of 2009

Tough days at the Capitol.

UPDATE, Nov 25: Arizona Daily Star agrees with me: locals best for Tucson's Rio Nuevo board.

UPDATE: House Democratic news release: GOP votes to cut millions more from schoolchildren, families during crisis.

PHOENIX -- The AZ House and Senate today finished the special session, featuring $300M more in cuts to schools and services to poor and disabled people.

The latest big cuts to kids and families were supported by all Rs. All Ds opposed due to the one-sided unfair nature of the cuts and failure to consider fair ways to raise needed new revenue. I spoke strongly on the House floor against the GOP's latest big cuts to schools.

Two bills passed with bipartisan support, one to repeal a flawed law passed earlier this year, and another to 'fix' agency budgets and fund Science Foundation Arizona.

The agency fix bill also had an unrelated section to remove local control of appointments to Tucson's Rio Nuevo board and give control to Gov Jan Brewer, Speaker Kirk Adams and President Bob Burns, all Maricopa County Republicans. Nearly half the Rio Nuevo board won't even have to live in Tucson. I voted 'yes' on this bill because of the other supportable provisions, but I opposed and spoke against state infringement on Tucson's local control. I'm not thrilled about all that has happened with Rio Nuevo over the last decade, but I support keeping control within Tucson's business, neighborhood and government communities.

See more of today's details @RepPatterson on twitter.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Congress must ensure unemployment benefits deal

People in unemployment line at DES office in Tucson.

TUCSON -- I've asked our US Reps from SoAZ to ensure Arizonans will qualify fully for needed extended unemployment benefits.

From Phoenix NBC 12 News, Nov 19:
The jobless benefits extension that Congress passed and the president signed more than two weeks ago was supposed to be a lifeline for tens of thousands of unemployed people in Arizona.

But state and national experts on jobless benefits say that emergency extension doesn't go nearly as far as promised. At this writing, none of the more than 65,000 people in Arizona eligible for the 20-week extension will get it.


Apparently, many members of Congress never realized the law expires before all 20 weeks of extended benefits can be used.
Read the full story.

I'm hopeful and confident Congress will fix this soon as people desperately need this help during a bad economy and continued job losses.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AZ House Dems urge balanced budget plan

AZ House Dems continue to push for real solutions.

Thu. Nov 19: Updates @RepPatterson on twitter and facebook.

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Glendale) isn’t making good on her promise to protect education and the most vulnerable during the special session, but House Democrats said they will.

Brewer has joined ideological Republican lawmakers in cutting their way out of the state budget mess instead of working in a bipartisan way with Democrats on a comprehensive approach using common-sense solutions.

“It’s disappointing to see that Gov. Brewer has given up on her promise to protect education, families and the most vulnerable,” House Democratic Leader David Lujan said Wednesday at a press conference. “Our state’s fiscal crisis is bigger than just cuts and we all need to work together toward a realistic, comprehensive solution for a stronger Arizona.”

In an attempt to fix part of the budget, Brewer plans to work with Republican lawmakers to implement cuts to children’s classrooms, middle-class families and the most vulnerable. In the special session bills, Republicans plan to cut $144 million from K-12 education and about $155 million from DES.

A comprehensive approach includes using common-sense ideas, such as generating revenue when needed and cutting where it’s necessary; it is unnecessary to make deep cuts to things like education, which will build a strong economic future for our state.

For example, lawmakers could choose to restore staff and funding to the Department of Revenue to collect millions in unpaid taxes owed to the state or broaden the sales tax base for a more stable revenue system. The state could also securitize the lottery and tobacco settlement, which could generate up to $1.4 billion without raising taxes.

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leg. special session starts Tue; down on the border

Arizona House of Representatives building, Phoenix.

TUCSON -- I'll be at the Capitol in Phoenix as part of the 4th AZ legislature special session of 2009 starting Tuesday. We need some fair bipartisan agreements for the common good, but I'm not optimistic the GOP majority or governor will start to work with us.

Follow me on twitter or facebook for the quickest updates from the special session.

I find the situation at the Capitol very frustrating and totally unacceptable. I will keep on working for solutions and change, but 2010 could continue to be rough overall for the public interest.

I am happy to report our 2010 re-election campaign is going well. Big thanks to all my great constituents and other supporters.

Finally, something better to report. I was in the desert & mountains today investigating gov't agencies, public land, border & wildlife issues southwest of Tucson. Saw lots of great birds, 13 deer and a cute javelina family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Considering AZ legislative special session & beyond

Arizona State Capitol, PHX

TUCSON -- As I'm considering the likely Nov 18 legislative special session and the bills we'll probably vote on -- agency 'fix', Science Foundation AZ $18.5M funding, $500M 'cut only' budget change -- I also think of the frustrating bad situation we're now stuck in.

My friend veteran lawmaker AZ Rep. David Bradley (Tucson-LD28) has an important recent op-ed,
'State leaders must act fast to avoid Titanic-like disaster,' we should all read and consider.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tucson thanks veterans for service and sacrifice

Veterans Day Parade in Tucson.

TUCSON -- Thank you, veterans & families!

We'll be at Tucson Veterans Day events to respect & honor vets who've served and sacrificed in the armed forces.

As a State Representative who serves on the Arizona House Military Affairs Committee and represents all of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, I'm proud the parade and concert at the VA are both in my district 29.

Similar to Earth Day, everyday should be Veterans Day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nov 10 remember Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck

WHITEFISH BAY MI -- I was born & raised in the Great Lakes and I remember the giant storm of Nov 10, 1975, and the wreck of ship Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior, 29 sailors dead.

Monday, November 09, 2009

America's Mexico Wall 20 years after Berlin's falls

America's Mexico Wall

TUCSON -- I remember the historic days when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. I was 18. It was great.

America and the world are celebrating the fall of the wall 20 years ago.

But in recent years the US has built an ugly, hostile and destructive wall on the Mexican border, which blocks just about every animal except homo sapiens.

Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!

EPA orders experts to remove private climate video

Obama's EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered two of its experts to remove a video they posted on YouTube about problems with climate change legislation backed by the Obama administration or face "disciplinary action", according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The couple had received clearance for posting the video but EPA took issue with its content following publication of an op-ed piece by the two in The Washington Post on October 31.

The video, entitled "The Huge Mistake", is by Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, two EPA enforcement attorneys speaking as private citizens. The video explains why the cap & trade plan endorsed by President Obama will not accomplish its goals, let alone effectively curb climate change.

"EPA is abusing ethics rules to gag two conscientious employees who have every right to speak out as citizens,"
stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who has re-posted the original video and its script. "EPA reversed itself because someone in headquarters had a tantrum about their Washington Post essay."

Williams and Zabel, who are married to each other, go to great lengths in the video and other writings to provide disclaimers affirming that their views are personal and do not represent the agency. However, EPA now objects to them even referring to their on-the-job experience as the basis for their views.

"How is government supposed to be transparent when public servants are forbidden from discussing the nature of their work?"
asked Ruch. "EPA and every other federal agency should have simple, clear guidelines so that government workers can express themselves freely without political prior restraints."

In August, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued an all-employee statement saying the agency will operate as if in a "fishbowl" but left ambiguous whether and how employees may publish papers or communicate with Congress and the media. By contrast, a few agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have dispensed with any pre-approval of employees' unofficial expressions, as long as they are accompanied by a short disclaimer.

- adapted from PEER

Friday, November 06, 2009

Follow RepPatterson on twitter and facebook

Get news & views also on twitter.

TUCSON -- As I have busy days sometimes I release more information faster on twitter and facebook.

The latest: RepPatterson Sounds likely 4th special session of 09 @ AZ Legislature Nov 18. Not sure I support suspending rules & rushing Rs unfair budget 'fix'.

I won't be neglecting this blog, but you may want to also 'follow' or 'friend' me for quicker news & views sometimes. Thanks for visiting and hope you have a nice weekend.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Celebrating 11/4 historic date of change election

President Obama & Rep. Patterson, Arizona, Feb 09.

TUCSON -- This evening my family and I celebrated 11/4, the anniversary of my election to the Arizona State House, and also of Barack Obama as US President 1 year ago in 2008. We had a good party about it in LD29 at the good Dr. Laura's house.

Thanks to the many people who have already supported our 2010 election campaign. If you have not already, we kindly ask for your help. We still have some room in the special early donors club.

Please send $140 max to: Daniel Patterson for AZ, POB 172, Tucson AZ 85702. Any US citizen may donate.

Thanks,
Rep. Daniel Patterson

Rs may rush 4th special session to cut $500M more

How will Speaker Adams try to run special session?

PHOENIX -- Word is getting around that Gov. Jan Brewer (R) will likely call legislators back for a 4th special session of the 49th Arizona Legislature on or around Nov 17.

A Republican legislator told me today the majority leadership's deal with Brewer will likely pursue about $500M+ in big new mid-year budget cuts, primarily aimed at schools and DES. They may also ask lawmakers to agree to waive legislative rules, and rush a full vote on complicated large budget cuts in one day, instead of the required three days.

I'm not sure I'll support waiving the rules, unless perhaps it is negotiated as part of a fair bipartisan budget deal with the Rs. A bipartisan agreement is what Arizona needs, but frustratingly, it seems unlikely right now since GOP lawmakers are still going it alone and not working with Dems, even after 10 months of their failed unilateral strategy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

GOP's one-sided ad hoc committees harm Arizona

Freshman GOP Sen. Sylvia 'the earth is only 6000 years old' Allen is busy on bad ad hoc committees.

PHOENIX -- Arizona's legislative Republicans, who currently control and mismanage the agenda at the legislature, have formed several 'ad hoc committees' during the off season at the Capitol. These West Washington Street dwellers don't seem to spend much time in their districts talking with people about problems, or hold other jobs outside the legislature like real citizen lawmakers.

Most, if not all, of these ad hoc 'committees' are stacked with less experienced politicians, industry insiders and bureaucrats looking to drive a particular hostile agenda they couldn't move in the regular legislative session, and collect more money in mileage and per diem.

One of the worst is the so-called 'energy and water development' ad hoc committee, chaired by Sen. Al Melvin (R-LD26) and Rep. Dave Gowan (R-LD30). No disrespect intended to anyone, but neither of these Republicans has energy or water policy expertise or serves on relevant real legislative water and energy committees, nor does anyone hand picked by GOP leaders for this ad hoc committee. Lawmakers with energy and water expertise are not invited or consulted. Instead of dealing with pressing energy issues, Melvin's group has mostly discussed how taxpayers should further subsidize the hugely expensive and risky nuclear industry.

The Republican-run ad hoc 'mining regulations' committee, chaired by Sen. Sylvia '6000 year old earth' Allen (R-LD5), seems focused on trying to shovel more taxpayer subsidies and loopholes to big mining corporations, many of them foreign-owned, and won't even mention the well established broad public concerns about the history of pollution, ripoffs and conflicts with mining in Arizona.

Fair and balanced, these ad hoc committees are not.

The truth is the legislature is very divided, with Representatives and Senators for millions of Arizonans trying to do the right thing for the common good. The problem is an arrogant and badly out-of-touch GOP majority that only listens to itself and empowers its more extreme members, shutting out everyone else and the broad public interest.

The good people of Arizona are best served when both sides of the legislature try to work together, and I the Democrats have been trying, but closed-minded Republicans are not listening and our great state is suffering because of it.

Let's hope nothing real emerges from these bad one-sided ad hoc committees of 2009.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Brewer continues to brown down AZ Gov's office

Brewer sounds like Palin: 'Drill, baby, drill!'

FLAGSTAFF AZ -- Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Glendale) continued her anti-conservation record today with opposition to protecting the Grand Canyon National Park region from uranium mining.

Many Arizona lawmakers want Grand Canyon area public lands protected and are supporting US Interior Dept. and other proposals for permanent conservation. C'mon, Governor, work with us to guard the symbol of our great state, the Grand Canyon, which is also a huge environmental and economic benefit to Arizona and America.

Shaun McKinnon of the Republic covers the latest on his water blog.