CCUSD board members authored uninformed article
Last week's Scottsdale Republic Opinions section carried an article authored by two CCUSD governing board members, titled,in part, "Bond money a boost to ... taxpayers." Didn't CCUSD administrators provide these board members with a copy of the Official Statement for the 2006 bond issue for $15 million supposedly to build a new high school?
According to this Official Statement approved by CCUSD's board, district taxpayers are paying about $50,000 per month interest on these 2006 bonds. These taxpayers still owe about $13 million in principal payments to be paid out over the next decade.
The governing board definition of "boost to ... taxpayers" is certainly quite different from the definition opined by the district taxpayer as they open up their checkbooks to pay their property taxes.
Where does CCUSD plan to spend the $12+ million in bond funds (of the original $15 million) intended to build a new high school? Well, about $2.25 million (about 20 percent) have undefined purposes (contingencies, testing, design, etc.). Another $2 million (nearly 20 percent) will be spent on Desert Arroyo Middle School (now closed) and the former Black Mountain Elementary School (which appears to serve a variety of administrative and overflow educational activities).
Of the remaining bond money intended for a new high school, about $2.1 million (about 20 percent) will be spent to resurface and expand parking lots and about $1.4 million would be spent to repaint exteriors/interiors of district buildings. Thus, about 70 percent of the $12+ million bond money would not be spent on items directly related to the expansion of educational activities in the district.
Yet, these two governing board members claim to use this $12 million for CCUSD "to expand its buildings." Well, the only expansion funding ($600,000) appears to be for the cafeteria at Cactus Shadows High School and about $1.7 million to replace the roofing on three CCUSD facilities.
Did these two governing board members forget to mention to district taxpayers that CCUSD might be seeking at least $12.3 million in a bond issue in November 2011? Or, did CCUSD administrators forget to tell them?
Will Wreight | Cave Creek
School districts use public money to influence AZ elections
Ever wondered who’s behind those “I Vote 4 Education” signs sprouting up on street corners across Arizona? They’re sponsored by an issue advocacy group called Expect More Arizona. That group is funded by a variety of interests including the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA), which represents public officials who oversee taxpayer-funded school districts.
ASBA has been directly involved in several recent Arizona elections. The association contributed to the Yes on 100 sales tax increase campaign and, in June, donated $50,000 to the No on Proposition 302 campaign to oppose a November ballot measure that would end a costly and ineffective early-childhood program.
Wait, you might ask, isn’t it illegal to spend public funds on ballot measures? Yes, it is.
ASBA believes it is immune from that law because it is a “private” nonprofit organization. But its voting members consist entirely of school districts, whose dues come from public funds, and all of ASBA’s officers are current school board members. It’s a nifty trick: school boards that cannot use public money to campaign create a “private” organization that can.
It’s not just ballot measures: one of ASBA’s stated goals is to “advocate the core beliefs and political agenda as adopted by the membership.” That translates into a 21-page political agenda that calls for – you guessed it – more spending on public schools.
ASBA contends it uses only “private” money generated from its workshops to support its election activities. We decided to find out by submitting a public-records request to see ASBA’s finances. Guess what? Request denied. Even though every voting member is subject to the public-records law, by joining together in ASBA – voila! – suddenly they’re not.
In our view, public money should not be used for lobbying or electioneering. The misuse of public funds doesn’t get any cleaner by laundering them through a theoretically private entity. It’s an abuse of power that cries out for legislative action – and if necessary, litigation.
Clint Bolick | Director of the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute
• Goldwater Institute: Government Lobbying Payments Exceed $9 million
• Goldwater Institute: Shameless Self-Promotion: How Politicians Use Your Money to get Re-Elected
Iman and the Koran submission
I am skeptical after watching Larry King interview New York’s Iman. As I understand it, Iman appeared to present to the American public through CNN a carefully crafted veiled threat. “Move the mosque from ground zero, and Americans will suffer at the hands of Muslim extremists world wide.”
Perhaps we are condemned by our own trust and desire to do what is right and politically correct, and our enemies are exploiting this virtue. Our forefather’s concept of freedom of religion, tolerance and separation of church and state was an innocent, idealistic vision. These rose colored glasses have the ability to blind the perception and the situational awareness of this generation as we sit across the poker table from a dangerous, seasoned and cunning adversary.
Iman is a skilled manipulator, practiced at the art of deception. He is using our tolerance and respect for the constitution to shame us into taking his bait. The concept is notable.
Islam is much more than a religion. It is a theocracy. Unfriendly nations embrace Islam as their theocratic-government. The tentacles of radical Islam reach into mosques worldwide. If you read the Koran’s description of “enemies” you can’t help but realize that the enemy is none other than ourselves.
Regardless of how one may feel about the burning of Korans in Florida, this act will take the shroud off of the demeanor of the Muslim true faithful. Are they as tolerant as they would have us believe we must be? What would happen if Bibles were burned in the streets of Iran? I seriously doubt that Hillary Clinton would be warning Muslim populations not to burn Bibles because of worldwide retribution from Christians. Are there Christian churches in Saudi Arabia and Iran? Are we perceptive enough to sense the realities of this situation and are we strong enough to find the resolve to protect ourselves? History will tell the truth.
Bill Crawford | Scottsdale
An intentional loophole?
"Fathom the odd hypocrisy that Obama wants every citizen to prove they are insured, but people don't have to prove they are citizens." ~ Ben Stein
I wish that Ben Stein had also pointed out this also means that non-citizens and illegal aliens living amongst us will not have to be insured. In other words, the rest of us will continue to fund their health care as we do now.
And how is this law to be enforced? Will all traffic cops be called upon by the feds to seek proof of medical insurance as well as auto insurance? Well the feds couldn’t insist on that as it would show support for Arizona’s 1070 law. Couldn’t have that now, could we? So how about the Army asking to “see your papers?” Posse Comitatus? Shades of Nazi Germany? No way, Hosea! So with no way to enforce this law, we will have to revert to what Harry Reed describes as “voluntary compliance” – you know – like how we “voluntarily” pay income taxes.
This illustrates what happens when politicians pass laws without even reading them.
On the other hand, maybe they did read and understand this law but saw it as another way to buy the votes of Hispanic-Americans and their “soon-to-be-given-another-one-last-time-amnesty” relatives.
Or perhaps I am just getting overly skeptical in my old age.
Jack C. McVickers | Scottsdale
Obama, who are you? I really want to know …
Recently I was reading an article (again) on the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate and why he won’t produce it for the media. (Not that I would blame him for his own privacy sake).
This begs the question? Why do so many Americans question President Barack Obama's citizenship and now his religious status? Who cares? A Muslim can be an American, and be a patriot, as well as a Buddhist, a Bahia, or a Christian, Jew, German, Pole, Indian, etc. When you put religious affiliation and politics together you re-create the spirit of atrocity. Leave it alone. Your faith in God has nothing to do with your faith in your country. (I am the only one who feels my faith in the American Government slipping?)
I don’t accept that he's a Christian, or a Muslim or a Jew, because, I believe he will be whatever he needs to be to BE, to survive. One thing for sure he is a survivor! I keep waiting to hear from him on matters that MATTER … like the insanity of unjust taxes, immigration reform, national debt, the issues that will steer us as a nation one way or the other. He seems to be bootstrapping the economy and banks, and then suing the state of Arizona, using his influence to tie us to more globally accepted views and a global economy, and I don’t get how that helps us as Americans.
I believe his Global leanings and foreign policy paralysis are not because he might be a moderate Muslim, or Christian, or that he was not born here. I believe that even though he is President of America, he is not an American President. Who cares what his faith is, I perceive his global heritage and interests are anti – American and anti-nationalistic. It is like saying every Muslim is an Islamist, or every Christian is a saint, or every sinner is candidate for hell – who cares about all that fluff?
Where is Obama on the Gulf? Un-employment? A Mosque at ground zero? BTW: building a Mosque at ground zero would be akin to the U.S.A. erecting a Christian Church on the Mount, disparaging both Jews and Muslims. Again – the issues are not religious, they are nationalistic in nature.
Obama, whose President are you?
The real issues are not if you voted for Obama, or McCain. I accept we vote for whom we believe will make our country better. I just think we should sound off and let each other know as well as our government what we expect … “we the people.” Our politicians in Washington need to roll up their sleeves a little more-and get down to business, the business of making a great country for its people. If we hired them, we can fire them.
Dave Kendall; Cowboy, Patriot, Poet | Cave Creek
Peer review for Professor Stephen Hawking's "The Grand Design”
"The Grand Design" that, given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
First, let me say that I would not know a thing without the magnificent and astonishing people of his level of technical accomplishment. Because peer review is how we know where we are when handling the unknown, the I believe, the could be, the should be, and the undone, here is some peer review:
The curvature of space is not based upon gravity; it is based upon the first order of precedence composition of the universe – Equivalency. That is, the structuring of the universe that gives every point equal value, which is reflected in the magnitude/vast quantity of difference. Equal value’s realness is reflected in the fact that no matter what direction and point you start from, the same values are measured. Equivalency is mostly understood as a description of operations with numbers, but actually it is a physical description of the outcomes of the intersections that are the first order of precedence impetus for the origin of energy and matter.
Impetus … well-ell …
Bernard L. Williams | Bellingham, Washington
Dems and greens see red
Hire lawyers to stifle voter choice
As if the state Democrat Party hasn't disenfranchised enough voters with their big government, big spending ways, the junta like Democrat leadership is attempting to overrule the will of voters and boot qualified Green Party candidates from this fall's election.
Implementing a strategy that puts the courts squarely between voters and democracy, the Arizona Democrat Party has filed suit against duly elected Green Party candidates who recently won their respective primary and will be listed on November's ballot.
"Leave it to the Democrat Party to try and strong arm candidates they don't like off the ballot," said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen. "Quite honestly, it's just another attempt to stifle the voice of non-establishment candidates. We all know that an essential element of Democrat campaign strategies is to employ lawyers early and often to get their way, and having a Green candidate on the ballot who offers a better choice for voters disgusted with the Democrat Party is a direct threat to those interests."
"Democrats read the same polls the rest of us do," continued Pullen. "And these actions can only be explained by understanding the political landscape they find themselves in. They face angry voters who are fed up with bailouts, a failed stimulus and an inept team in Washington fumbling the economy. Back here in Arizona, people see Democrats voting against spending cuts to a bloated state budget and in support of boycotts and unions like SEIU and UFCW. No matter where they turn, voters know these Democrats are wrong for Arizona and wrong for the country."
"What makes this all the more laughable is that the Green Party has hired the well renowned Democrat law firm Coppersmith Schermer & Brockelman formerly headed by Andy Gordon, now with Janet Napolitano in Washington to take drag these candidates to court," said Pullen.
"This law firm has been accused of no bid contracts, conflicts of interest, and are big time supporters of Obama and Arizona's Democrats like Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell and Gabby Giffords. Of course their biggest source of income of fees is from chasing hard working Arizonans for payment of medical bills to hospitals. It's no surprise that the AZ Democrat regime has fallen back to an army of lawyers who makes most of their money representing corporate hospitals. The Democrat motto seems to be, 'when all else fails, sue.' We've seen it with immigration and now we're seeing it with their effort to limit democracy."
Arizona Republican Party
The bad old days are back
We moved to Scottsdale in 1995 and were surprised, and angered, to discover that the Scottsdale city government was completely dominated by the local real estate development industry.
Developers, zoning attorneys and lobbyists roamed city hall at will, with fists full of campaign contributions, and the city council and city staff would jump like puppets at their command. The worst was when taxpayers found themselves subsidizing projects that were so economically attractive that developers would have built them without any subsidy.
A voter rebellion, led by the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, and similar organizations throughout the city, eventually wrested control of our city government from these special interests.
Well, the bad old days are back. Marg Nelssen’s column (“City Council action invalidates General Plan,” Scottsdale Republic, Sept. 9, 2010) clearly shows that our municipal government is once again dancing on strings pulled by the real estate development industry, its lawyers and lobbyists. The city’s General Plan has been made into a mockery by the city council’s five to two vote, which snuck around established and proper channels, to give a well-heeled, politically savvy developer approval for a project on Lone Mountain and Scottsdale Roads that totally runs counter to the General Plan. Maybe, we’ll next learn that our city council has voted a subsidy to this developer, because the times are tough, and the economy is in the doldrums.
It’s time to fumigate Scottsdale city hall all over again.
William O. Sumner | Scottsdale