BY BECKY FENGER | OCTOBER 17, 2012
Since this will be my only column in print prior to the Big Election, I offer these thoughts and suggestions:
The eyes of the nation are on several of Arizona's Congressional districts, none more than rural CD 1 where Ann Kirkpatrick wants desperately to regain her seat against challenger Jonathan Paton.
The editorial board of The Arizona Republic was flabbergasted to witness the meltdown of the former one-termer as she and Paton laid out their cases in front of them. In their words, "For an hour, Kirkpatrick ridiculed, belittled, cut off and scolded her opponent in a manner that exceeded rudeness."
What's the big surprise? Kirkpatrick has been acting loopy for years now. She was already ducking debates when she ran for Congress in 2008. When she did attend, her comments made no sense. She hails from McNary, Arizona. When she talked about going back to visit her old stomping grounds, she was so sad that there was no longer a mill pond there. Well, Ann, you opposed the timber industry that brought a saw mill which resulted in the mill pond.
She grew up on the Apache Indian Reservation and said her first language was Apache. She claims she was 10 years old before she realized she wasn't Apache. Finally, in Camp Verde, when the question of abortion came up, she used both of her hands to point to her uterus and screamed, "You keep your hands off my body!"
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On the south side of Arizona in CD2, I cannot look at the race between Ron Barber, Gabrielle Giffords' community-outreach director, and Martha McSally without remembering how Barber threatened a political opponent with violence after a public panel discussion to discuss the need to reduce violent rhetoric in politics following Giffords' shooting. Sympathy for Giffords shouldn't place a man in office who physically threatened an innocent man for his opinions.
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I flew off the handle when I heard, once again, the familiar refrain from a voter who said he was just going to vote "No" on every Proposition on the ballot. Fengernails to him and all others who are too lazy to study deeply the Propositions that affect citizens' lives.
As it turns out, I like most all of the 9 Propositions this time and will vote "Yes" with two very important exceptions: Prop. 121, the "Top Two" Primary, and Prop 204, the so-called "Quality Education and Jobs." (Prop. 115 on the selection of judges is a toss-up.)
The Top Two open primary does not increase voter participation, does not result in better candidates, does not get rid of taxpayer-funded primaries (ugh), and doubles the cost of running for office due to an increased voting pool. I would vote "No" just because unions love it. No surprise: Unions have figured out how to game the system.
Prop. 204 would be disastrous were it to pass. High taxes forever which would make Arizona non-competitive, with no accountability or guarantee any money would reach the classroom. The contractors who want road construction and (worse yet) rail transit contracts are spending a ton of money to tell us this is for the kids' education. As Joe Biden would say: Malarkey!
Years ago, I would start a conversation in line at the post office (when lines were shorter than they are now) and hear people discussing how it's a good thing to give tobacco tax money to the middle class for health care or have nicer parks or any number of other things people were voting for, only to find out later that when the money ran out we would still have to fund these things by stealing from our grandkids. Same with Prop. 204. The road to hell, you know ......