Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patterson helps open new UA Tech Park solar plant

TUCSON -- A new solar power plant opened at 9am today at the University of Arizona’s Tech Park, producing enough energy to power more than 500 area homes.

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29) is congratulating Amonix solar company and UA for their new plant that will offset more than 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year and consume no water during production.

“In Tucson, we are taking a step to put Arizona first again by harnessing our natural strengths to build a strong 21st Century economy,” said Patterson, an ecologist and ranking member of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “That includes making our state a leader in the development of solar power and renewable energy manufacturing — which not only reduces our reliance on coal and foreign oil, but helps create good-paying jobs right here in Arizona that can’t be exported across the border, or overseas to China.”

The new solar power plant will be a centerpiece to the university’s Tech Park on Tucson's southeast side. Amonix’s system is the first of a series of privately owned, utility-scale solar power projects that are being developed in the Tucson area. Amonix is a recognized leader in designing and manufacturing concentrated photovoltaic solar power systems that require no water in power production, use land better, and produce more energy per acre than any other solar technology.

Arizona Rep. Daniel Patterson's comments at the solar plant’s power activation event today in Tucson:

Hello and welcome. Thanks to all of you for being here today.

Hi I'm Rep. Daniel Patterson. I represent District 29 right here in Tucson. I'm an ecologist and I serve as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Today is a very important day.

Today we are taking a step to put Arizona first again by harnessing our natural strengths to build a strong 21st Century economy and create good-paying jobs. That includes making our state a leader in the development of solar power and renewable energy manufacturing — which not only reduces our reliance on coal and foreign oil, but helps create good-paying jobs right here in Arizona that can’t be exported across the border, or overseas to China.

Concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) is one of the newest forms of solar energy technology on the market today. CPV systems use optics to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a small area of solar photovoltaic materials to generate electricity. Unlike traditional, more conventional flat panel systems, CPV systems are often much less expensive to produce, because the concentration allows for the production of a much smaller area of solar cells.

Concentrated Photovoltaics (CPV) has long been touted as the next level in the evolution of solar photovoltaics technology. Thanks to its unique combination of high efficiency cells, optic elements and precise tracking, CPV is able to produce more energy at a lower cost.

We're looking at 2MW of clean solar power, that will power 500 homes a year and use no water in the power production.

Tucson is leading on embracing the future of renewable energy and making it a reality.

I want to praise Amonix, University of Arizona's Science and Technology Park, and Tucson Electric Power for creating a unique partnership that brings scientific innovation and economical benefits to the city of Tucson and their citizens.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AZ legislative session dominated by GOP nonsense

Dark ages at the Capitol

by Rep. Daniel Patterson

TUCSON -- Southern Arizonans have discussed seceding from Arizona for some time now, and after this legislative session I can see why.

Just take a look at the focus of the supermajority of Republican lawmakers this year:

• Declare an official state gun (passed).

• Birther bill, requiring presidential candidates to prove their citizenship (vetoed).

• Allow guns on college campuses (vetoed).

• Stop health care for 280,000 people, flood our emergency rooms and leave people on the streets (passed).

• Make food-stamp cards bright orange (failed).

• Eliminate health care for 5,000 seriously mentally ill (passed).

The list goes on and kept going through the middle of the session's last night, when controversial bills were debated. As most Arizonans slept, politicians were engaged in hours of debate over naming an official state firearm.

Never mind that federal unemployment benefits would expire for 20,000 families without a simple one-word, cost-free change in state law. Republican lawmakers were too busy. And now that they failed to act, our state's economy will lose $4.5 million a week from those families who are spending money to put food on the table while they look for jobs.

This legislative session has been government waste at its finest, and Republicans are the ones making the mess.

Just look at the corporate-bailout package Republicans call a "jobs bill." This bill gave away corporate tax breaks to giant, out-of-state retailers that didn't use it to create a single job here in Arizona.

Meanwhile, for three years, including this year, Republicans soundly rejected plans to deal with foreclosures. Arizona ranks second in the nation. Politicians in control in state government have done nothing at all to help middle-class families struggling to avoid foreclosure.

But they chose to continue with their massive cuts to our kids' classrooms, which repel business from setting up shop in Arizona. Even former Intel chief executive and board chairman Craig Barrett warned that "cutbacks don't bode well" for the quality education essential to attracting companies like his. It's bad for business, period.

Republican lawmakers, including many who represent Southern Arizona, voted to shift part of the burden of the state budget onto counties like Pima, requiring city and county donations to state government.

Another Southern Arizona lawmaker, Sen. Al Melvin, R-SaddleBrooke, sponsored a bill that would have allowed special interests to bypass a state power-line-siting committee and rush to build lines over rural counties and conservation areas. Fortunately the bill failed.

This is the kind of nonsense we are dealing with at the state Capitol, and Southern Arizonans shouldn't have to put up with it. This isn't the Arizona we know and love.

We need state government to work for "We the People" again. Majority lawmakers need to take a balanced approach that funds schools and creates jobs.

Most importantly, we need accountability in government.

Daniel Patterson is a Democrat who represents District 29.

- printed in April 26, 2011 Arizona Daily Star

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bad special-interest power-line bill dies in House

Protecting property rights, wildlife and open gov't.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- House Democrats and their colleagues worked late Monday to defeat a bill that would have given more power to special interests and damaged Arizona’s property rights, wildlife and beautiful lands.

SB 1517, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande (District 23) and Sen. Al Melvin, R-Saddlebrooke (District 26), would have allowed special interests to bypass a state power-line siting committee, instead use a weaker federal process and rush to build power lines over rural counties and conservation areas. It would have allowed huge power lines to be built without public hearings or input.

“I’m thankful to all of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, who saw the harmful potential of this bill to our Arizona lands,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29), Ranking Member on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The few who supported this bill were the few who supported special interests over Arizona and closed doors over transparency. That is never the right thing to do. Government should work for ‘We, the people’.”

The bill died in the House on a 14-40 vote.

- from House Dems PIO

Monday, April 18, 2011

Arizona House Democrats urge jobless aid fix

Fighting to help heal AZ economy

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Daniel Patterson and other House Democrats urged Republicans today to fix language in state law so 20,000 Arizonans do not lose their unemployment benefits as early as May.

The fix is simple, and Republicans, who control all of state government, should make the change to boost Arizona’s economy and help middle-class families find jobs, House Democrats said. They want Republicans to amend HB 2619 to include the fix.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “While the nation’s unemployment rate is getting better, Arizona’s is hovering at 9.5 percent. Republicans need to step up and fix this so Arizonans can get jobs.”

Nearly 20,000 Arizonans who are unemployed due to economic hard times could lose jobless aid in May if Republicans refuse to act on fixing language in state law. The state also will lose $4.5 million a week being pumped into the economy.

Because of the economic downturn, Congress voted to expand unemployment benefits. Workers qualify for an additional federal unemployment aid, for a total of 99 weeks. Extended benefits are those paid during the final 20 weeks of that 99-week period.

At issue is a state law that helps Arizonans take advantage of federal unemployment aid. Arizonans get extended benefits because the state's unemployment rate has remained high. But it will lose the aid because the rate fell slightly, although overall, it is still high.

The complex formula compares the current three-month average unemployment rate with what that average was two years ago. If the legislature changes the "look back" provision from two years to three years, Arizona will continue to get the federal unemployment benefits.

“I talk face-to-face with my constituents to understand their concerns about the state, and by far their number one concern is jobs,” said Rep. Debbie McCune Davis. “Choosing not to make this fix could mean the difference between a laid-off, middle-class father being unable to put food on the table and finding a job.”

Fixing the language wouldn’t cost the state at all, and although the legislative session is wrapping up, the fix can be done quickly.

- adapted from House Dems PIO

Friday, April 15, 2011

GOP craziness scaring visitors away from Arizona

Money going elsewhere: wacky Republicans keep hurting Arizona's image and economy.

UPDATE, Apr. 18: Good news: Gov. Brewer vetoes 'birther' bill.

TUCSON -- Letters I received today:

Rep. Patterson, I recently read your comments on the birther bill. I live in New Mexico and used to travel to Scottsdale in the winter. My family and I stayed in your finest hotels, shopped at your finest stores, bought several cars from Barrett Jackson, bought two cars from the Mercury dealership off of FLW, bought jewlery from Gautier, bought art at galleries and the outdoor shows, and large tent shows. We went to fine dining restaurants while we were there, and because it was so beautiful we almost bought a second home there.

Ever since Arizona went wacko right wing nut, we've never been back. My wife is Hispanic and was insulted by the legislation passed and we decided not to spend our money supporting a racist state, but with all the craziness since that legislation we've decided to never go to Arizona again. We've made Santa Barbara, California our new destination and we love it. Over the years we've put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy of Arizona, but because of its insane political ideology we will be supporting the state of California now.

If anyone ever says this type of political ugliness isn't hurting the state, give them this letter. I'm sure I'm not the only person who is boycotting Arizona because of these reasons, but now you have proof. Keep up the good fight. It sounds like you are really trying hard, and Arizona needs you.

Patrick Dalton

Dear Rep. Daniel Patterson: I read a comment that you've made, bemoaning the "Birther" bill just passed by your state legislature. You are very right that such actions have given many of us from other states a negative view of the political climate in Arizona.

My wife and I are approaching retirement age, and Arizona was one of the states we initially considered as a retirement site. However, the extreme political climate in your state, which has received so much publicity in the past couple of years, has caused us to drop Arizona from consideration.

Too bad. I love the desert.

Respectfully yours,
Paul Antokolsky

Monday, April 11, 2011

AZ House Ds thank transplant patients, urge audit

I'm on your side for better healthcare.

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- House Democrats thanked transplant patients today for fighting with them to get transplant funding restored at least until 2013 and requested an audit of AHCCCS’s handling of the transplant issue.

House Democrats said outdated information from AHCCCS led to Republicans’ justification of their decision to eliminate transplants, and the agency failed to notify some patients without notification.

“Over the past two years, and especially during the past six months, transplant patients and their families, along with House Democrats, have been fighting to save lives,” said House Democratic Whip Anna Tovar, a two-time transplant recipient. “Today, we can say that according to information that AHCCCS has posted to its website, finally, after this long fight, we have won, at least temporarily, but there is still more work to do.”

Rep. Daniel Patterson and House Democrats with Tovar, who has had two bone-marrow transplants for leukemia, have been working for the past six months with transplant patients to restore the procedures Republicans eliminated in their 2010 budget.

Since the elimination, two patients have died and nearly 100 others were unable to receive the life-saving procedures they needed. Gov. Jan Brewer called transplants “optional” and asked for funded solutions that Democrats produced but that she ignored.

Finally, after an agonizing six months for transplant patients who didn’t know if they would live or die, Brewer decided to include an “intent” clause in the budget to restore transplants, but only until 2013.

But outdated statistics from AHCCCS claiming some transplants were ineffective originally led to Republicans’ decision to eliminate them. AHCCCS also approved at least one patient they originally eliminated but didn’t inform him.

Tovar announced today she is asking for an audit of the agency on their handling of transplants to ensure these life-endangering mistakes never happen again.

So far, Sen. Rick Murphy (R), the chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, has not responded to Tovar’s letter.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Gov't killing key female lions on AZ desert refuge

Rare desert lion shot dead by gov't on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona. More are targeted, including females, in 'bighorn game farm' scheme.

Gov't shooting more rare desert pumas on national wildlife refuge. One female killed recently and another may die today.

“Mountain lions, or cougars, are dedicated mothers, and are either pregnant or raising dependent cubs for the majority (76%) of their lives.” (The Cougar Fund)

UPDATE, Mon. May 9: AZGFD and USFWS used a GPS collar to track and kill female lion KF02 on Tue. May 3.

YUMA AZ -- Updated imperiled Kofa collared lion status: Arizona Game and Fish Dept. and US Fish & Wildlife Service government officials killed the first-ever Kofa collared female lion designated as KF01 (= Kofa Female 01) day before yesterday—Saturday April 3, about a mile from High Tank 3, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

A second female, KF02 , is scheduled for death as an “offending lion” because she has killed two desert bighorn. Therefore, the agencies will have killed two female pumas, back-to-back, in the span of a week, if they can locate KF02 this week (very easy to accomplish with satellite and handheld VHF telemetry). KF01 was definitely sexually mature at an estimated 3-4 years-old and KF02 is possibly sexually mature at 1-2 years-old (Female cougars reach sexual maturity at 1.5 to 3 years old).

AZGFD most frequently kills offending lions during weekend days. KF02 may not survive the weekend.

The government had tried for 4 years to trap queen lions and now that they are finally successful, they have the potential to cause substantive harm to the Kofa cougar population by killing two potentially reproductive females in the span of a week or so.

If the government is now able to trap queen lions consistently, then it will not take long for them to extirpate that critical reproductive segment and greatly lessen the chance that Kofa will have a stable lion population, which must be part of the refuge’s biodiversity.

Some background and history on this issue.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Bipartisan HB2410 helps veterans education in AZ

Helping honor & advance US veterans

TUCSON -- Yesterday, the Arizona Senate unanimously passed and sent to the Governor HB2410 which grants in-state student status to any person who was honorably discharged from the United Stated Armed Forces.

HB2410, sponsored by Rep. Ted Vogt (R-Tucson), Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson) and others, grants in-state tuition status to honorably discharged veterans without requiring them to wait for one year’s residence in Arizona.

“Our veterans have given the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and to protect our freedoms,” said Representative Vogt, an Air Force veteran. “This is one effort to demonstrate to them that Arizona honors their sacrifice and is prepared to give them access to the best educational opportunities we can.”

“Offering immediate in-state tuition to US veterans is the right thing to do and will help many in Tucson and nationwide,” said Rep. Daniel Patterson, whose Tucson district includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Southern Arizona VA Hospital. “I'm proud to fight for America's veterans everyday at the Capitol and help pass this bipartisan bill to make Arizona stronger and smarter.”

Upon Gov. Jan Brewer's signature, the bill is effective beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.