Letter to the United States Senate on background checks
I am writing regarding the National Rifle Association’s position on several firearms-related proposals under consideration in the Senate.
S. 649, the “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013”, introduced on March 21, contains a number of provisions that would unfairly infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. This legislation would criminalize the private transfer of firearms by honest citizens, requiring friends, neighbors and many family members to get government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution. The NRA is unequivocally opposed to S. 649.
In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks. This includes the misguided “compromise” proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer. As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools. Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.
Rather than focus its efforts on restricting the rights of America’s 100 million law-abiding gun owners, there are things Congress can do to fix our broken mental health system; increase prosecutions of violent criminals; and make our schools safer. During consideration of S. 649, should one or more amendments be offered that adequately address these important issues while protecting the fundamental rights of law-abiding gun owners, the NRA will offer our enthusiastic support and consider those votes in our future candidate evaluations as well.
We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools. Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.
Should you have any questions on these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director
Don, every year I look forward to your April Fools issue. The other day someone handed me a folded Sonoran News and told me the April Fools page was great.
I unfolded the paper and just laughed out loud as I read it. First of all, there is a little clown from Pennsylvania who is running our town and he picked a slate of buffoons who talk about fiscal responsibility but can’t seem to fill out their campaign financial forms. How funny!
Then there is a piece about a lawyer who was able to put a non-resident on the ballot and then got a resident Cave Creeker, with a solid reputation of service, removed from the ballot. The lawsuit was initiated by a guy who barricaded a horse trail, hit a mule with his truck and ironically, is supported by the horse people on the slate! This whole episode was probably covertly orchestrated by the lead equestrian on the slate, who somehow thinks this will get him to Washington, D.C. This is hysterical stuff, Don!
Then I was horrified. I realized I had unfolded the newspaper the wrong way and was reading the actual news. Oh my God! What kind of a joke was played on Cave Creek? How did we fall for it? I wish we could just laugh about the April Fools articles, but the real news is stranger than comedy and that’s sad. I’m sure when the town hops in bed with Chutz and company we’re going to get more than just a good night’s sleep.
Sweet dreams, Cave Creek,
Arizona Gift Clause
Mayor Jim Lane
3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Scottsdale City Councilmembers
3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Dear Mayor Lane and City Councilmembers:
Residents in Scottsdale have asked me to review the city’s most recent amended lease agreement with PGA Tour/Tournament Players Club for compliance with the Gift Clause (Art. IX, Sec. 7). As you may know, the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution prohibits cities from subsidizing private businesses. The Arizona Supreme Court recently clarified the Gift Clause law in Turken v. Gordon (the CityNorth case), which I litigated with my colleague Clint Bolick at the Goldwater Institute. I am concerned that Scottsdale’s agreement with the Tournament Players Club violates the Gift Clause. I am also concerned that the agreement violates the city’s own charter, which appears to impose a more strict requirement than the state Constitution. Under the Gift Clause, the value of the public benefits of a contract may not be “far exceeded” by the value of the public expenses; under the Scottsdale charter (Art. I, Sec. 3(O)), the benefits must be “substantially equal” to the expenditure.
The agreement with the Tournament Players Club weighs heavily against the city. It requires that the city borrow up to $15 million for renovation projects – projects for which the Tournament Players Club was previously obligated to pay. The city’s cost to repay $15 million, after interest, will be over $20 million. In exchange for this expenditure, the Tournament Players Club agrees to pay the city additional rent – but only by less than $200,000 per year. At the end of the 20-year lease, the city may recoup less than $5 million.
The gap between the city’s costs and revenues is not made up in public benefits from annual events. In fact, the Sixth Amendment to the agreement (Sec. 10.1) recognizes that the Tournament Players Club is not obligated to hold annual events. For events that are held, the general economic impacts cannot help to offset the city’s expenditure because they are “indirect benefits.” According to the CityNorth case, indirect benefits cannot be considered.
Indirect benefits are general economic impacts that are anticipated but not specially required by a contract, like paying taxes according to state and local rates or promoting tourism for a city. By contrast, a direct benefit is a contractual term for a specific required amount, like a set payment for rent or a minimum amount of generated tax revenue for a city. A financial expert I consulted to evaluate the city’s direct benefits compared to its costs for the agreement with the Tournament Players Club estimated a loss to the city of $15 to $20 million or more over 20 years.
On a more fundamental basis, the use of public assets for a golf course – particularly one with limited public access and high user fees like Scottsdale’s – is a questionable public purpose. At the least, the city should guarantee that it will recoup direct benefits in exchange for its $20 million expenditure. I encourage the Council to conduct an independent financial analysis that conforms to the boundaries of the Gift Clause and its charter, and issue an independent legal opinion of the validity of the city’s agreement. If the city finds that its agreement puts taxpayers at an unreasonable financial and legal risk, as I have found, I encourage you to renegotiate terms for guaranteed, direct public benefits equivalent to the city’s expenditures.
Several years ago, the City of Tempe added new terms to a tax credit contract with Sea Life Aquarium after I filed a Gift Clause lawsuit on behalf of taxpayers; however, Tempe incurred substantial legal costs and fees for the necessary litigation. I respectfully request that the Scottsdale City Council review its agreement and amend it as necessary to protect its constituents.
Carrie Ann Sitren
Attorney at Law
Your most important single vote
With the outcome of the primary election, we will now have five remaining candidates on the ballot, in the runoff, for four seats on the town council. The way our runoff election process works, the four top vote getters will be elected. You will be given the ability to cast as many as four votes on your ballot.
Consider casting ONLY a vote for the candidate or candidates you wish to represent you.
Casting a vote on your ballot for someone you do not feel strongly about representing you will lessen the likelihood your preferred candidate will be elected.
Use your vote wisely; use it to provide Cave Creek a strong town council that has the Town’s interests above their own personal interests.
A lot of rhetoric, innuendos and half truths about the performance of the present town council and town staff have been used to create as much dust in the air as possible. Let the dust settle and what specifically has been said?
A number of the challengers are unhappy with the cost of the water company and the financial transparency of the town. If you check the town’s website and review the audited financials for 2012 (cavecreek.org page 8, and the balance sheet 37), you will see that the water company is an asset worth far more than the encumbrance owed.
Property taxes have never been a desire of any council I can remember, and by state law only the voters can impose a tax on themselves. The only vote from the present council, regarding property taxes, was to allow the citizens of the town to determine if they wanted to impose a property tax on themselves (similar to the way the citizens imposed a tax to pay for Spur Cross). I would hope our future councils will preserve this right.
“We Need More Transparency in Government” is a campaign slogan you can’t disagree with. It sounds like “Hope and Change.” It rolls off the tongue easily, but what specifically is being asked for with “Transparency in Government?” Is it not a town website with published financial statements, agendas for planning commission and town council, coupled with a town staff that you can meet with regarding any issue, or by walking into town hall and requesting the information? This is what we have!!
Use your vote and use it wisely.
Consider that only one of the candidates has council experience. That one candidate has been involved in the town as a volunteer for over 10 years, not just talking about preserving open space, but working to provide and maintain it. Consider that Thomas McGuire has demonstrated his dedication and love of our town through his service.
Consider casting one vote and cast it for Thomas McGuire.
Eight years a citizen of Cave Creek
Clarification of the FairTax is in order
I have read from several forums where people state the poor and middle class will suffer under FairTax. The poor and middle class are not put into hardship with this transparent tax. In fact, these two groups are better off with FairTax as they will have more spending money and can choose when to pay taxes. How would these groups make out under FairTax?
First, by having all the money in their paycheck. Second, the Prebate provides money back up to the poverty level for the person and family. The Prebate is based on the Department of Health and Human Services. For a family of four, the prebate amount is $7,135, or $595 monthly.
Thus, the family has their full paycheck plus $595 monthly for new products and services. This Prebate money is money to offset the tax on basic needs, such as food and new clothes. Remember, used products are not taxed. Everyone would receive the Prebate based on family size and not income.
The FairTax removes all federal income, payroll, self-employment, alternative minimum, capital gains, estate,gift, and corporate taxes. Also, the FairTax rate is roughly equal to the Combined Federal Tax Rate of 14.91 percent, Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance, also known as Social Security, rate of 6.31 percent, and Hospital Insurance, or Medicare, rate of 1.78 percent.
Therefore, products should cost about the same as they do now. The prices may go down as the companies' realize savings by not paying the 'old' business taxes, mentioned above. In addition, the FairTax would generate revenue from the underground economies while stimulating the overall economy.
Please contact your Representatives telling them you want FairTax. For more information go to www.fairtax.org, or search for FairTax in your favorite search engine.
Dr. Walter Wesley Snyder V
The 2013 Cave Creek Pro Rodeo Board of Directors and committee members would like to thank the rodeo fans, the volunteers, the Town of Cave Creek, their sponsors and advertisers, the PRCA and WPRA contestants, Cervi Championship Rodeo Company and all contract personnel, all media partners and anyone who supported us for making the 35th Annual Cave Creek Fiesta Days Rodeo and all Fiesta Days activities a tremendous success!
Board of Directors
Rattlesnake bite advice useless
Why can’t we ever get useful advice regarding rattlesnake bites? Every article you ever read suggests that avoiding rattlesnakes is best, by not walking in areas where rattlesnakes are common and, if one is encountered, not provoking them. Then, if, in spite of these precautions, you do get bit, every single article suggests you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Did anyone not know that? Why must we be treated like idiots?
If any author does go farther, the only advice is what we should NOT do, such as not sucking the venom or cutting the wound or applying a tourniquet. But there is never any useful advice about what one SHOULD do if medical attention is not close at hand. I am interested in this because I frequently hike alone in the mountains around Phoenix (BTW, attractive female companions of any age – I am 67 – are always welcome). For example, is it better to walk quickly or even run, to the nearest point of rescue? Or is it better to conserve energy by walking slowly? If one can reach a potential rescuer by cell phone, is it better to sit down and wait, and, if so, how long?
Information on these questions would be very useful.
Obama’s attempts to expand his power
It is no secret that since Obama has become president that the powers of the federal government have continued to expand at a very fast pace. From increasing government intervention in health care to harmful regulations that harm job creation, the current occupant of the White House has been expanding the power that he wields.
Recall Obama made so-called recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Congress was not even in a recess.
Or when his Environmental Protection Agency arbitrarily declared carbon dioxide, a gas essential to life itself, to be a “harmful pollutant” covered under the Clean Air Act.
One could go on about what Obama has thus far gotten away with, but widely unknown is the attempts to grab power that were stopped. Obama has been challenged by the Supreme Court on several issues and has lost. Even Justices that he named to the highest bench in the land have ruled against some of his policies.
A new report from Sen. Ted Cruz highlights the Obama’s attempts at grabbing power. According to the report, there have been several cases that could have drastically led to Obama and his government cronies packing an unbelievable amount of power in a time when the government is incredibly bloated with power already.
One case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. EEOC, could have allowed the federal government to interfere with whom a church chooses as their minister.
Another case, United States v. Jones, would have allowed the government to become the Big Brother feared in many futuristic movies by attaching a GPS to one’s car and following their every movement without having any evidence that the person has committed a crime. There are many more cases like that highlighted in the report.
As the report notes, “If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation.”
This report should serve as a reminder that you should never lose focus on what the government is doing ¬ and how they are expanding their power.
In an age where many rely on the government, it is dangerous to allow them to have power beyond imagination. After all, people are flawed. And the intentions of many government officials, while often good, never live up to expectations. Sen. Cruz’s report shows that a power drunk government is stepping much too far over the boundary with the powers that they seek to have.
Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com
"The smell test"
Something smells really bad. The southern border of the U.S. is leaking illegal immigrants worse than ever now that they know the criminals in the current administration will do NOTHING to close it down tight.
Included among those crossing the border, are many extremely undesirables such as human traffickers, drug traffickers, cartels members and killers.
As a reminder ... Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered in Arizona, was killed EIGHT MILES INSIDE OUR BORDERS!
Meanwhile, eternal liars and bullshit artists such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Janet Napolitano are trying to sell you on how safe the border is ... It's an OUT AND OUT LIE.
At the very same time Obama and his traitorous friends in Congress want to DISARM OUR country thereby leaving us with our "privates in our hands" and no way to protect ourselves against these heavily armed intruders.
Now why would that be?
There are many things seriously wrong and all of them begin and end on the doorstep of B. Hussein Obama. His radical political allies and friends, along with his policies, have weakened us as a nation.
Open your eyes, ears and mind. Nothing Obama does passes the "smell test."
"In God We Trust"