Volunteer help needed with local Girl Scouts

We are still looking for additional help to assist the Girl Scouts at Spur Cross Stables.

The local Girl Scouts will be holding their Girl Scout horse clinics at Spur Cross Stables this fall, and they have asked if we could help.  The goal is for them to earn their horse badge. While one group of girls are on a 1-hour trail ride, the other group will be rotating through four stations learning about grooming, tack, care, food, breeds, etc.

They are still working out the details for each of the four stations; however, they have their dates set.

We are looking for interested volunteers to help at the stations.

The dates are as follows from 10-1:30:

Sunday, November 1

Sunday, November 8

Saturday, November 14

Let me know if you are interested and what day/dates you would be available to help.  If you have already let me know that you are available, you do not need to reply again.

Triple R Horse Rescue



State Leg cuts, now restore!

I remember all the news articles through the spring and summer this past year about how our three state universities were trying to make adjustments due to the serious budget cuts placed on them by the legislature and the governor.  All of them vowed that they would not increase tuition but they did have to think in terms of how these cuts would alter the high educational goals of Arizona’s universities.  There were many news items questioning the wisdom of the legislature making such huge cuts to higher education.

Now we’ve arrived in the fall, and come to find out, the state has a surplus of more than $750 million in the rainy day fund.  There is a well-known song entitled, “Here’s That Rainy Day” and I think it is an appropriate tune for the legislature to hum along as the restore some of the funding to our state universities as well as to the K-12 system.  We need to make sure we are not running the appropriate funding away from the higher education system because the state made a big miscalculation in their budget making process.

Buzz Wells
Cave Creek


Some new events on the “Outpost” case

First the council and Planning Commission are being flooded with e-mails in support of it, most all with just the simple canned statement “Dear Planning Commission and City Council, I would like to see this project approved. I support the development.” Obviously these are coming from friends, relatives, employees, and business associates of the applicant and his business partners. They come from all over the valley, but few in the area anywhere near this corner and therefore not affected property owners. This comment also has nothing about the actual project, listing any merits if there are any. There are few that want Pinnacle Peak Patio back, see the next paragraph.

Second, the applicant is claiming that he will relocate Pinnacle Peak Patio to this corner, in his project. There is no agreement or change in the site plan to support this claim and the facts are that once he gets the rezoning he can build whatever he wants with no guarantee Pinnacle Peak Patio will be a part of it. Also, if Pinnacle Peak Patio couldn’t make it where it was located, in a much more desirable and populated area next to Pinnacle Peak, it is highly unlikely it would make it at this remote location. It would also be impossible to move the existing buildings, which were one of its major draws. So just another ruse to try to gain acceptance and get the rezoning passed.

Third, staff has recommended denial of both the General Plan change and the zoning change, citing most of the issues we have listed before.

We hope people show up at the Planning Commission hearing Wednesday, October 28 at 5 p.m. at City Hall and submit cards and/or speak, expressing your opinion. You can be sure there will be a parade of supporters, even more than were at the offsite hearing. The supporters will be the same people that submitted the one line e-mails, with no substance. We need to counter them with speakers who are affected property owners and that make one of the following points or some other points you may think of.

Staff recommends Denial - Staff recommended denial for very good reasons, all stated in their Planning Commission packet.

No neighborhood to serve. - This area is not in or near areas of more dense population, therefore it violates the principle of putting commercial near more densely populated residential uses.

No Need. - The need for additional commercial, especially at this location, has not been demonstrated by the applicant and other studies have shown there is already an excess of commercially zoned property in this area of the city.

Competes with existing businesses. - The proposed uses will definitely compete with existing businesses that are already struggling.

Precedent setting. - This case would be precedent setting, the first commercial development next to rural neighborhoods since Scottsdale took over planning of this area and the first commercial property in the Desert Foothills Character Area.

Pinnacle Peak Patio should not be a consideration. – No proof Pinnacle Peak Patio would even try to relocate here and even if there were, there is guarantee it will be built. Once they have the zoning they can build ANYTHING allowed in a PNC district. Also, if Pinnacle Peak Patio couldn’t make it in a much more desirable location and with all the old buildings which were a tourist draw, why would they make it in this remote location?

Dangerous Intersection – Pima and Dynamite is one of the more dangerous intersections in the city and adding these uses on the corner will make it a lot worse. Left turns out of it will be almost impossible. Their own traffic analysis shows these uses will increase the traffic by 2,569 daily trips.

Not suited for residential claim wrong. Very large lot residential is the ONLY logical use for this corner as it has virtually NO impact on the Dynamite/Pima intersection (access to the site would be from the north east, not from either Pima or Dynamite) and minimal visual impact. There are many residential sites, that are currently occupied, that are closer to power lines than this site is, some close to the very same power line corridor. Also, other allowed uses like churches and ranches can go on this site with no General Plan or zoning change.

If you can, please attend the Planning Commission hearing and speak with your concerns. Unfortunately I will not be able to be there, but hopefully you all can carry the message. While a Planning Commission recommendation for denial is important, the real decision is made by the city council and that will be on December 1.

If you want to e-mail commissioners or the city council, the contact information is below. If you can’t attend the meeting, please e-mail both the Planning Commission and City Council.

For Planning Commission, send it to their staff representative, Tim Curtis 480-312-4210 or TCurtis@ScottsdaleAZ.gov

For the city Council:

Mayor W.J. "Jim" Lane


Councilwoman Virginia Korte


Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp


Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield


Councilman Guy Phillips


Councilwoman Linda Milhaven


Councilman David Smith


One e-mail for all: citycouncil@scottsdaleaz.gov.

Howard Myers


Are dead fish worth more than struggling farmers?

The hellish drought in California has casualties. It tried to destroy farmers, and has in some cases, but guess what it really destroyed? The Delta Smelt. The much admired, or reviled, species depending on your perspective has declined beyond the point of organic regeneration. This would hardly be newsworthy, were it not for the fact that environmentalists and their supporters in government have redistributed the dwindling baitfish's suffering to human beings within and beyond the borders of California.

Like it or not, California feeds the world with her produce and dairy. This task has been made considerably harder when a series of court decisions and overzealous regulators began restricting the water that is the lifeblood of agriculture. Consumers, and the jobs they support, have borne the brunt of the consequences. With that said of the wounded, what of the dead and dying?

According to the Sacramento Bee, "A key index measuring the "relative abundance" of the troubled Delta smelt registered zero in the latest survey by state scientists, the first time that's happened since the survey began in 1959". The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported finding a sample of 9 Delta Smelt in 2014, compared to its peak of 1,673 in 1970. Whether it's just the drought or the infrastructure that should be blamed, the current policy of restricting water usage has failed to halt the species' decline.

Before you shed a tear for the death of the species, you should consider two things.

First, the fish is being preserved in various fisheries, including one at the University of California-Davis, though they could release them to their imminent demise.

Second, while environmentalists wring their hands about a species they did not create, and therefore, cannot save, an estimated 560,000 acres remain fallow for want of water. The only thing they have successfully engineered is scarcity itself.

Not only scarcity of the very species they yearned to protect, but of the produce that employs their neighbors and feeds the world. Instead of flushing 1.4 trillion gallons of water since 2008 to save what the ecosystem will not, why not flush the policy that is failing people? People who used to matter more than fish.

Congress has a duty to render justice where the federal courts failed; this can be done by restricting funds under the Clean Water Act from being used to continue in this failed experiment.

Cutting the federal chains undermines the state of California's institutionalized apathy to the plight of farmers and consumers, and begins the process of restoring damage from such a misguided policy.

El Niño's wet weather pattern will reportedly bring relief to California's drought conditions in the coming winter, but it is uncertain to what extent; even when water was plentiful before the drought, the government only allowed 80 percent of the normal water allotment to be used. What is certain is that through inaction, Congress is complicit in neglecting tens of thousands of Californians dependent on the agricultural sector, of which 35,000 were unemployed at the height of the recession.

Consumers and farmers deserve justice; not failed policy from environmentalists that can no more control the destiny of a species than they can the weather. Regardless of what environmentalists think, our obligation is to put people first.

Dustin Howard
Americans for Limited Government


Spoiled rotten: Who owns your vote?

There's a word that sets my teeth on edge, bubbling up among the commentariat every other year as election campaigns heat up. In this cycle I'm starting to hear it earlier than usual, mainly because prominent candidates -- first Donald Trump, now Jim Webb -- are rumored to be considering independent bids for the presidency.

Since the word is out there early, signifying a bad idea, I'm coming out early to combat that bad idea.

The word I'm referring to is "spoiler."

You've heard the arguments, I'm sure: If everyone in Florida who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 had voted for Al Gore instead, we wouldn't have ended up with George W. Bush (as a side note, if everyone who had voted for Harry Browne in 2000 in New Mexico had voted for Dubya instead, Florida wouldn't have mattered).

"A vote for the Libertarian is a vote for the Democrat." "A vote for the Green is a vote for the Republican." "A vote for anyone but the candidate I support is a vote for the candidate I fear."


First of all, let's get one thing straight: Your vote is yours and yours alone. It doesn't belong to a candidate until you cast it for that candidate, and you don't owe it to any candidate until he or she has -- in your opinion and your opinion only -- EARNED it. You have no obligation whatsoever to vote for someone else's hypothetical "lesser evil" instead of for your own carefully considered greater good.

Secondly, the "spoiler" phenomenon is largely a myth. As a partisan Libertarian, I often hear the claim that people who vote Libertarian would instead vote Republican if they didn't have a Libertarian option. That's sometimes true, but decades of exit polling says that Libertarians "take votes from" Democrats in about the same ratio as "from" Republicans on average, and sometimes more so (for example, in the 2013 election for governor of Virginia, Libertarian Robert Sarvis's voters said, by a two to one margin, that their second choice was Democrat Terry McAuliffe, not Republican Ken Cuccinelli).

Finally, even if "spoiling" is a real phenomenon, so what? If the candidate who wanted your vote didn't get it, maybe that candidate should have worked harder to deserve it. If there's any chance to bring one or both of the major parties around to the views of third party voters, that chance is represented by the "spoiler" factor: "What do we have to do to get back that 3%  we lost by last time?"

As you watch the 2016 campaigns unfold, keep these three things in mind. Vote your own priorities and let the chips fall where they may.

Thomas L. Knapp
William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism


Reagan’s words prove prophetic

Citizens shouldn’t fear their own government.

According to a recent survey, Americans’ #1 fear isn’t terrorist attacks, running out of money, or identity theft -- it’s corrupt government officials.

That survey is no outlier. As Mark Meckler explains in his recent op-ed, President Reagan’s famous quote -- “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I'm from the government, and I'm here to help’" – still ring true today.

See for yourself…

Land grab in Texas. Ken Aderholt’s family has been running cattle on his ranch in Texas since 1941. Is that stopping the feds from seizing it? Not a chance.

VA still mired in delays and corruption. Despite the President’s claims, wait times and poor service haven’t improved for our veterans.

10 million-word tax code. How can the American people identify corruption when the tax code and regulations are over 10 million words long?

The situation is bad, but it’s not without hope. An Article V Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that shrink the size and power of the federal government and impose fiscal restraints on Congress. Thousands have joined the Article V movement so far, but we still need your help!

By joining the Convention of States team in your state, you’ll have the opportunity to make a real impact on the corruption and over-spending in Washington. Plus, you’ll be able to connect with other like-minded Americans in your area who are also concerned with the kind of country we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren.

Convention of States volunteers have two primary responsibilities:

Contact your state legislators and voice your support for the Convention of States Project.

Spread the word to your friends and family.

That’s it!

To volunteer for the Convention of States team in your state today click here.

The Convention of States Project Team


Nobody here but us humanitarians

Recently, Johnson & Johnson ran an elaborate Internet ad on Politico begging for more government regulation over their business and products. Adorned with pictures of babies and children (babies and children use cosmetics?), they proclaimed that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) cosmetic regulations need to be modernized and updated. This will bring peace of mind to the consumer when said consumer opens a bottle of shampoo or hair straightener or hair curler.

One can envision the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson sitting around the board room when a board member makes a motion, "I move we make the world a better place by having the government impose more regulations on our business." Not likely.

More likely that this is a plan to increase Johnson & Johnson market share by using government regulation to run smaller competitors who cannot afford to comply with government meddling out of the business.

Decades ago the large timber companies in Idaho came up with a similar rent-seeking scheme. It was called the Forest Practices Act. It was claimed that the bill would make the world a better place by having the state government enact regulations that would protect the bunnies and bugs and the flora and fauna from irresponsible timber harvesting.

One of the provisions was that timber companies when logging could not build logging roads that were wider than "necessary." I asked a lobbyist for one of the largest timber companies in Idaho why they would support a bill filled with this kind of vague language. He proceeded to explain it to me. He said, "Look if we have a state inspector come along and say this road is too wide we can have three civil engineers there within a couple of hours to explain the bureaucrat why the road is just right. On the other hand if a contract logger whose main asset is his logging truck is faced with the same inspector he is out of business, which means more business for us." Nice.

This is exactly the kind of cynical greed head thinking behind the Johnson & Johnson ploy.

It is as if when Edison invented the light bulb he went to the Congress and said we need to outlaw candles and oil lamps and claim we are doing it in the name of fire prevention.

Having a superior product Edison did not feel the need to do that and was confident enough to let the market decide.

The company he founded, General Electric, had no such inhibitions about using the government to feather its nest. Having decided that is was difficult to make money manufacturing light bulbs in the U.S. and selling them for twenty five cents each they decided to make a different kind of light bulb in Communist China and sell it for several dollars each. The only way this would work of course would be to outlaw the twenty five cent bulb, which their lobbyists proceeded to get Congress to do. As in the case of Johnson & Johnson they claimed they were doing this for humanitarian purposes. They proclaimed they were just trying to save energy and save humanity from the ravages of global warming. Yeah right.

Using the government to harm your competitors is not free enterprise, it is not capitalism. It is fascism and it should be called out.

Don Todd
Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government