Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Economic and Social Justice Issue Organizing Team Meeting: Dec. 10


The next Economic and Social Justice IOT meeting will take place on Saturday, December 10, from 10 AM – noon, at Revolutionary Grounds, 606 N. Fourth Ave.

At this time, I will be sharing some exciting developments from the PDA Tucson Steering Committee, and Jim Hannley and I will report on our meeting with Rep. Fillmore, the sponsor of the state banking bill.

Additionally, I'd really like to hear from you. Feel free to bring up any matters, but right now, I'd especially like to know:

1. Your reactions to the Nov. 10th Program
2. Input for a PDA Planning Workshop to be held in January to work out the road map for 2012.

Please join us on Saturday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

PDA Tucson gives 'tip of the hat' and 'wag of the finger' to City Council members

Leading up to the November 8 local election, Tucson's Mayor and Council had been using passive aggressive tactics to avoid dealing directly with the Occupy Tucson movement.

After having won re-election to her Ward 1 council seat, Councilwoman Regina Romero sent a strongly worded statement in support of Occupy Tucson's ideals and actions and introduced a supportive resolution to the City Council at their November 15 meeting.

If it had passed, the proposal would have lifted the permit and curfew regulations at Veinte de Agosto Park and created a free speech zone. The vote was 3-3, with Council members Karin Uhlich, Richard Fimbres, and Romero voting for it, and Blue Dog Democrats Paul Cunningham and Shirley Scott joining Republican Steve Kozachik voting "no". Mayor Bob Walkup, who is supposed to be a tie-breaking vote in these situations, was MIA.

Locally and nationally, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has supported the Occupy movement since the beginning. For this reason, PDA Tucson sent 'tip of the hat' letters to Uhlich, Fimbres, and Romero for supporting the Occupiers and 'wag of the finger' letters to Cunningham and Scott.

Tip of the hat to Uhlich, Fimbres, and Romero...
Thanks so much for supporting the motion.

Offering it made you appear responsive to concerned citizens. The passage of the motion would have saved City resources, not angered so many people, and created a positive precedent for the future. Occupy Tucson is already a month old and it has shown itself to be the principled, respectful movement it claims to be. The result of inaction paints the city as a bully toward its citizens.

As PDA, we support Occupy Tucson. As fellow Democrats, we count on you not to impede a movement that reflects our best traditions free speech guarantees and citizen participation. Your action reflects positively among the party faithful who expect such support from those who run for office with a D after their name.

I have communicated with Scott and Cunningham showing our disappointment with their nonsupport of your motion.

Thanks again.

Phil Lopes, Coordinator
Coordinator, Tucson Chapter
Progressive Democrats of America

Wag of the finger to Cunningham and Scott...
We are extremely disappointed in your failure to support the motion offered by Councilwoman Regina Romero regarding the Occupy Tucson movement.

Your lack of support of the motion made you appear unresponsive to concerned citizens. Passage of the motion would have saved City resources, not angered so many people, and created a positive precedent for the future. Occupy Tucson is already a month old and it has shown itself to be the principled, respectful movement it claims to be. The result of inaction paints the city as a bully toward its citizens.

As PDA, we support Occupy Tucson. As fellow Democrats, we count on you not to impede a movement that reflects our best traditions free speech guarantees and citizen participation. Your nonsupport reflects badly among party faithful who have expected more from those who run for office with a D after their name.


Phil Lopes
Coordinator, Tucson Chapter,
Progressive Democrats of America

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Time is Right and Crucial for A Carbon Tax

James Handley, eminant environmental leader and spokeperson for the Carbon Tax Center just published this very important information about one of the best opportunities to jump start the fight against the current and rapidly evolving climate disasters related to global warming caused by our excessive greenhouse gases. Remember Pogo’s prophetic warning: “We have seen the enemy and he is us!” We can and must take aggressive and urgent action. Mr. Handley writes:

Just posted on CarbonTax.org: Why Isn’t The Environmental Community Using the Fiscal And Tax Reform “Window” to Push For A Carbon Tax? It features Brookings Climate & Energy Director Adele Morris’ wake up call to the environmental community.

“A carbon tax offers a unique and powerful combination of fiscal, economic-efficiency and environmental benefits, argued Adele Morris, the Brookings Institution’s Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, at an Oct. 18 forum convened by the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute and the Tax Policy Center. Morris acknowledged the political obstacles. One of course is the failure of anti-tax politicians to distinguish between beneficial “Pigouvian” taxes on pollution and conventional taxes that burden and discourage productive activity. But another has been “tepid” support for a carbon tax from the environmental community.

“We heard that as a challenge: Why has the environmental community (with a few notable exceptions) parked itself on the sidelines of this crucial policy debate?

“Adele shared her presentation text, which we reproduce

“If you prefer video, see Brookings’ short summary of Adele’s presentation here.

"All five of the other panelists at the (bipartisan) Brookings forum advocated a Value Added Tax. Like a Carbon Tax, a VAT is a consumption tax, but without the environmental benefits of a tax focused on greenhouse gas pollution. A VAT was the main recommendation of both the Simpson-Bowles and Rivlin Domenici deficit commissions last year, despite Alice Rivlin’s efforts to include a carbon tax. And a VAT is where Congress seems likely to go, unless they hear support for a carbon tax.

"Let’s wake up the climate movement and get engaged in this policy debate. It may be the most promising route to a carbon price we’ll see for a long time.”

Best regards,
James Handley
Carbon Tax Center

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day in Tucson: Please vote

Today-- Tuesday, November 8-- is Election Day. This year the Tucson City Council passed a resolution allowing an all-mail-in ballot. If you still have your mail-in ballot, you can deliver it to a number of polling places around the city, but it's too late to mail it.

Ballots must be delivered to one of these locations by 7 p.m. tonight.

If you're still undecided, here is some background information from the Tucson Citizen.
After the August primary, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson Chapter e-mailed questionnaires to all of the candidates still left standing– Grinnell, Rothschild, and DeCamp in the mayor’s race, and Republicans Jennifer Rawson and Tyler Vogt, Green Beryl Baker, and Democratic incumbents Shirley Scott, Paul Cunningham, and Regina Romero for City Council. The 20 questions were based upon PDA’s core issues: economic and social justice, corporate personhood, universal healthcare, global warming and the environment, fair and transparent elections, and end the wars/redirect the funding.

PDA didn’t really expect the Republicans to answer our questions, and they didn’t. But we were really surprised when none of the Democratic incumbents for City Council answered them either. Only three candidates took the time to answer our questionnaire–Rothschild, DeCamp, and Baker.

Both Rothschild and DeCamp also agreed to personal interviews with 2-3 PDA Steering Committee members. Each of the interviewers scored the questions independently with a possible 2 points for each question for a total of 40 points for a perfect score (ie, the candates’ responses were well-aligned with PDA’s stance on core issues); partial responses received 1 point; and off-the-mark, woefully incomplete, or unanswered responses received 0 points.

In the end, with surprising consistency across the interviewers, the composite scores were: Rothschild 29 and DeCamp 26 (pretty darn close for a mainstream candidate vs a green).

For additional details about the candidates' answers to PDA's questionnaire and analysis regarding their similarities and differences, click here. For background on Grinnell--the Republican candidate for mayor and definitely not a progressive choice-- click here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Independent Redistricting Commission: Political Sabotage

The events of the past week by Gov. Brewer and the Repubs in the Senate in removing the Chairperson Colleen Mathis was political travesty of the most primitive kind.  It jeopardizes the entire "independence" of the process. The very reason that Prop. 106 authorizing the Commission was passed by the voters in 2000 in the first place was to prevent elected politicians from mucking around with redistricting.   Recent editorials statewide have been extremely critical. Local LTEs have been equally potent; see David Fitzsimmons article today Nov.5, really a classic analysis.  This maneuver is a classic replay of the old adage:  "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".  There is a mandatory need to replace all the Repub Senators next year;  I think that the one-third of the voters who are independents who are watching this circus will hold the key for that.

I attended the IRC meeting in Marana last evening.  By a huge majority, the speakers said their piece about the maps and then launched into devastating criticisms of this obvious political hatch job.  The  one Commissioner in attendance, Richard Stertz, had to listen to one after another of the speakers.  He is a Republican member and likely supportive of Mathis' ouster, but he really got an earful.  Brian Clymer, Sen. Paula Aboud, and Cheryl Cage were among the speakers, all offering intense criticism of the ouster.

Now is the time to flood the governor's office with phone calls  (1-800-253-0883), the newspapers and alternative media with LTEs, and your friends and lists to fire up opposition to the situation.  The best outcome would be two-fold:   Sen. Russell Pierce is voted out of office; and the State Supreme Court announces that Brewer and the Repubs overstepped their authority (not to speak of the trumped up charges) and restores Ms. Mathis to the chairmanship.   You can also submit your statement to the IRC at www.azredistricting.org

Rick Graap.  Chair, Clean Elections IOT

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Next Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting

PDA Tucson
Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, Revolutionary Grounds Coffee House, 606 N. Fourth Ave., Tucson, AZ  85705
10 AM – noon

1.0        General Matters
1.1        Welcome
1.2        Agenda Modifications
1.3        Announcements from the Steering Committee
1.3.1    We need someone to table, two microphone runners, and one time-keeper for Nov. 10th meeting.
1.3.2    Letters sent as instructed in support of the President’s Jobs Bill

2.0        HB 2221 Establishment:  Bank of Arizona
2.1        Review and discussion of bill and proposed PDA editing
2.2        Plans for Steering Committee approval, education, networking

3.0        Financial Transactions Tax

4.0        Gov. Brewer’s Day of Prayer Proclamation

5.0        Student Loan Consolidation Program

Occupy Wall Street and Save Trees

Watch this video for a great idea on how to keep Wall Street Occupied from the comfort of your own home, while making your own personal stand against junk mail.