Monday, April 30, 2012

Grijalva and Sharpton on SB1070 and the Supremes

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, discusses what he heard at the Supreme Court oral arguments on Arizona's SB 1070 immigration "crackdown" law on "PoliticsNation With Al Sharpton" April 25 on MSNBC.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

May Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting

PDA Tucson:  Economic and Social Justice Team
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 10 AM – noon, Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 E. First St.

1.1        Approval of Minutes
1.2        Announcements
1.3        Agenda Modifications

Old Business
2.1     Meeting at Primavera Foundation           Richard
2.2     Usage
          2.2.1   Commercial Bank
          2.2.2   Community Banks and Credit Unions
          2.2.3   Hebrew Free Loan Societies
          2.2.4   Public Banks

New Business
3.1     Hotel Arizona Project
3.2     Meeting with Mayor on May 8th
3.3     Review of Economic Plan from Last Summer (See below)
3.4     Next Meeting:  June 2, Ward 6 Office, 10 AM – noon
          I’ll be on vacation.  We need a chair. 

·       Establish a meaningful way to fund public education guaranteeing not only basic skills acquisition for all but also vocational education geared toward new and emerging fields
·       Strengthen the offerings and the modalities of Adult Basic Education
·       Require workforce development providers hire highly qualified faculty, utilize student-oriented learning systems, and develop curricula and on-the-job-training experiences that lead in meaningful directions
·       Ask educational providers to develop new curricula leading to national credentials
·       Work with unions to develop and enhance training experiences
·       Develop a community investment bank with funds from local public and private sources to strengthen the economy and the prospects of our residents
·       Utilize private funding to create a program to launch micro-enterprises
·       Create high quality and affordable childcare facilities so parents can work with confidence that their young are nourished
·       Solicit donations of computer equipment so that a network of “computer shacks” can be opened around the county offering not only training but safe recreational experiences for our residents.
·       Require that all work receive meaningful compensation so that a person can live in this community with dignity
·       Enhance protections for workers in regard to compensation, working conditions, safety, and health
·       Pass a progressive rent reduction ordinance to stimulate small and large business start-ups as well as the development of not-for-profits.  In other words, if a rental space is not let in a specific time frame, say 3 months, the asking price of the rental will be lowered by a specified factor, perhaps 15%.  Further reductions would happen at specific intervals and at specific levels. 
·       Improve air service in order to move people and materials in and out of Tucson more efficiently as well as to and from more destinations.  This capacity will only make Tucson more attractive for job development. 
·       New Ideas
·       Improved direct air service
·       Looking at UA Materials Sciences, glass industry
·       Using artisans to anchor and develop neighborhood centers

Obama endorses Rep. Raul Grijalva for Congress

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva announced his endorsement by President Barack Obama in Grijalva’s bid for reelection. President Obama released the following statement: “Congressman Raul Grijalva is and always has been a strong ally for working families in Southern Arizona. From day one, he has been a tireless champion for good-paying jobs, education, and health care for his constituents. That is why we need his dedication and vision back in Congress to continue the fight with me to provide every family an opportunity to reach the middle class. I need you to cast your vote for Congressman Grijalva in this August’s primary.” “Republicans want to continue doubling down on the failed economic policies of the past. We can’t afford to turn back the clock, and that’s why we need a pro-jobs champion like Congressman Raul Grijalva back in office to keep moving Arizona forward.” Congressman Grijalva is running for reelection in Arizona’s newly drawn 3rd Congressional District. “I am humbled and honored to have the President’s endorsement,” Grijalva said.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grijalva on SB1070 and ALEC

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva discusses the role of ALEC and private prison lobbyists in creating Arizona's SB 1070 immigration crackdown law and talks about what it's cost Arizona since passage. These are highlights of a longer radio interview that originally aired on the Randi Rhodes Show.

Friday, April 27, 2012

More than 60 attend PDA open primaries debate

More than 60 Southern Arizonans turned out to hear two UA profs politely duked out the open primaries question in a debate sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of American (PDA) Tucson Chapter.

For a full report, check out this blog post: PDA open primaries debate: Emotion vs Facts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Join the debate: Should Arizona adopt the open primary system?

Years of gerrymandering and cronyism have left Arizona with one of the most ideologically conservative, Teapublican Legislatures in the country. Instead of balancing the budget and funding programs (like education) that will help Arizonans succeed, they waste time grandstanding on extremist issues.

For years, disgruntled Arizonans have been voicing their dissatisfaction with politics as usual by leaving both the Democratic and Republican Parties in droves. Voter registration in Arizona is split approximately in thirds-- with Republicans having the most registered voters, followed by Independents, and then Democrats. Some predict that by November 2012, there will be more Independents in Arizona than Republicans.

So, if so many Arizonans don't belong to either major party, why does Arizona still have an election system based upon two parties?

That is the question many Arizonans are asking themselves these days. A bipartisan group called Open Elections/Open Government has organized a ballot initiative to put the question of top-two open primaries on the November 2012 ballot.

Under the current system, Republicans and Democrats hold separate party primaries (funded by taxpayers) to elect their candidates. Democrats vote in the Democratic Primary; Republicans vote in the Republican Primary; and Independents must request one ballot or the other. One winner from each party then competes in the general election.

Under the top-two primary system, all primary candidates-- regardless of party affiliation-- will participate in the same primary, and everyone can vote. If you like a Green for one office and a Republican for another-- no problem-- you can vote for both of them on the same ballot. The top-two vote-getters-- regardless of party-- compete in the General Election.

Do you think having a top-two primary system would help Arizona?

To help people decide the answer to this question, Progressive Democrats of Arizona (PDA) Tucson Chapter is sponsoring a debate on open primaries for our next membership meeting on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at Hotel Tucson City Center (St. Mary's and Grande). 

Former State Legislator Ted Downing (pro) and former Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy (con) will be our debators. Attendees will have a chance to ask questions and vote on the open primaries question before and after the debate.

For more background on open primaries and to learn what is happening in other states, check out "Will Open Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?"

The program begins at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation to offset expenses.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fair Elections Now Act

This act has both Senate (S 750) and House (HR 1404) versions which are very similar in content.  Basically a line is drawn at $100 per voter per candidate for federal primary and general elections.  Very substantail public funding is provider for qualifiers:  for House seats one needs 1,500 contributors ($5.00 to $100) and for a Senate seat 1,500 plus 500 per instate CD, same financial limits.  Only in-state residents may participate.  The Senate bill has all of 15 co-sponsors and the House version 79 co-sponsors.  These provisions are similar to the Arizona Clean Elections Act which just survived the effort by the Arizona legislature to eliminate it. Instead a deal was struck to eliminate the matching funds in accord with the recent Supreme Court dicision, although there is still public funding of a significant amount for qualifiers (for instance, 220 $5.00 contributers for a House seat).

Every candidate for Senate and the House should be pressed to support of this bill, which, if passed, would go a long way to cutting back on the river of money flowing unrestricted into the political process.  Two problems:  it is voluntary, and there is only low level support by those already in office (shocking, isn't it?).  But there is strong support by a large number of prominent past legislators and others.  Check out the group Americans for Campaign Reform (;  there are 50 on the advisory committee, from the  right (Peter Peterson) to the  left (Walter Mondale) and many others inbetween.   Sen. Bob Kerry is the ACR Chair.  His quote:  "You say you want to serve your country by running as a candidate for Congress today?  Show me the money.  Otherwise, you will be shown the door."

To me this issue is #1 with the Glass-Steagal reinstatement #2 of the questions we should press the candidates on, among others of course. 

Rick Graap,  Clean Elections IOT

Senator McCain and Re-Instatement of the Glass-Steagal Act

I had written Sen. McCain about the financial meltdown and the recognized fact that the "reform" of financial institutions by the Dodd-Frank Act did not solve the problem, and, in fact, that the banks are larger than ever.   The ex-CEO of Bank of America on a Moyer's interview a couple of months ago said that the same activities that led to the meltdown are still going as before, and that the same meltdown could well happen all over again.

Sen. McCain, in no doubt a form letter on the issue, agreed to the above comments and said that in his S. 1720 bill there  is a repeal of Dodd-Frank.  I checked the bill out on Thomas and found that, indeed, one of the 79 portions includes that repeal.  However, most of the other 78 portions have some of the most egregious proposals imaginable.  Among them is a proposal to amend the Clean Air Act to declare that CO2 and methane are not air pollutants and that his "Energy Tax Prevention Act" is to "prohibit...the EPA from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action related to...the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change".  This just touches on the issue but gives you the idea.  Read the whole thing if you want to see where his mentality is on that and multiple other issues.

I spoke to his aide in D.C. and he said that he is pushing to "reinstate the original provisions of the Glass-Steagal Act" as his letter stated.  That is the good news and that he is trying to round up support; the original effort was buried in committee in 2009.  These efforts are not likely to have any success until the next legislative session, if then, but at least he is committed to try. 

So here we have the latter effort, truly commendable and needing to be done, and the former S. 1720 which is a lengthly laundry list of ultra-conservative stances that boggles the mind.  Go figure!

Rick Graap

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Economic and Social Justice May IOT Meeting

Our next meeting will be:
Saturday, May 5, 10 - noon, in the East Room of the Ward 6 Office, 3202 E. 1st St. 
Please join us!