Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How do Southern Arizona Legislative candidates stand on progressive issues?

PDA Tucson distributed questionnaires to all candidates running for the Arizona Legislature in Southern Arizona and to all Congressional candidates, regardless of party.

It is important for Progressives to know where candidates stand on issues important to us. The PDA questionnaire was based upon the following issues: Corporate Personhood, Public Financed Elections, Women’s Health, AHCCCS, Mandatory Sentencing, Renewable Energy, Collective Bargaining, Taxation, and the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative. Our goal was to determine which candidates are most aligned with Progressive issues. Below is our analysis of their responses. 

All 30 candidates for Southern Arizona legislative seats were sent a questionnaire. Seven responses were received, all from Democrats, no Republicans responded. Democrats responding were: Bradley, Cajero Bedford, Cox, Fleming, Gabaldon, Patrick, and Steele. Democrats not responding were: Dalessandro, Farley, Gonzales, Leach, Lopez, Mach, Saldate, Sidwha, Stonebreaker, Wheeler. The questionnaire was also sent to Congressional candidates, but none of them responded. (Clairfication: PDA National has endorsed Congressman Raul Grijalva and Wenona Benally Baldenegro; so, questionnaires were not distributed to CD1 or CD3 candidates.)

There were a total of 13 questions covering . Candidates were asked to rate their level of agreement with statements on a scale of 1 to 5, one being strong disagreement and 5 being strong agreement. There was space after each question for clarifying comments.

Strong agreement on all statements resulted in a score of 65. We also gave 5 extra points for detailed comments. Only 2 candidates provided detailed answers in addition to their numbered answers-- Brandon Patrick (LD10) and Dustin Cox (LD9). To emphasize how important Clean Elections is to PDA, we also gave "clean" candidates 2 extra points. 

The candidates with the highest scores and the most complete answers were Brandon Patrick (72 points) and Dustin Cox (70 points). Here is what we learned from these candidates.

DAVID BRADLEY, Senate, LD 10. Privately financed.Score: 64 + 5 = 69. Clarifying comments were provided on almost all answers which was appreciated. He doesn’t seem to share Progressive’s total commitment to Clean Elections.

OLIVIA CAJERO BEDFORD, Senate, LD 3. Clean Elections financed. Score: 63 + 2 = 65.  Although her answers indicate support for progressive issues, the only clarifying comment was “need more information on the details” in response to the Quality Education and Jobs initiative statement. This concerns us because it seems to indicate a lack of knowledge on an issue that is important to Progressives and has had a good deal of press coverage.

DUSTIN COX, House, LD 9. Privately financed.Score: 65 + 5 = 70. He provided very detailed comments which made it easier to assess his positions. All his answers show support for Progressive issues. However, we are concerned about his answer regarding Clean Elections because it does not seem to square with his decision to finance his campaign with Private, not Clean Elections, funding.

PAT FLEMING, Senate, LD 14. Clean Elections financed.Score: 63 + 2 = 65. Brief comments were provided to some questions. We are concerned that she appears to not share Progressive’s strong commitment to repealing mandatory sentencing laws.

ROSANNA GABALDON, House, LD 2. Clean Elections financed.Score: 61 + 2 = 63. Only comment provided was “need to learn more about this subject” on statements related to mandatory sentencing, public investment in renewable energy, new nuclear plants in AZ, and taxation. She seems to lean progressive but apparent gaps in her knowledge about issues important to us are troubling.

BRANDON PATRICK, House, LD 10. Clean Elections financed. Score: 65 + 5 + 2 = 72.Detailed comments provided showed a sophisticated and detailed knowledge of issues important to us. Of all the respondents, he is clearly the candidate whose answers and clarifying comments best represent Progressive positions.

VICTORIA STEELE, House, LD 9. Privately financed.Score: 65. Although she strongly agreed with our statements, the two brief comments provided made any further assessment of her positions difficult. Although she indicates agreement with strengthening Clean Elections, she is not running with Clean Elections funding. This concerns us.

To repeat, any feedback on this effort is sincerely appreciated. Please comment on our Facebook page.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

PDA Tucson
Economic and Social Justice Issues Organizing Team
August 11, 2012, 10 AM – noon, Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 E. First St.
Members Present:  Richard Brodesky, Betty Fridena, Richard Fridena, Jim Hannley, Leslie Hunten
1.0       Welcome
1.1       Approval of Minutes—no problems
1.2       Agenda Modifications—add discussion of document from Progressive States Network

2.0       Announcements from the Steering Committee
2.1       Volunteers for Ending Corporate Personhood IOT Coordinator—Richard announced this
2.2       Volunteers for Project to Enhance Open Elections in the City of Tucson--.  After some discussion, we decided to instruct Richard to write to Tom Volgy for more information.
2.3       Begin discussion on taxation in Sept.?—We discussed the City of Tucson’s lack of revenue and reasons for not supporting the Bond election.  We talked about delinquent property taxes and how the radical right is organized to mobilize on fiscal matters.  In Sept., we will start a deliberate discussion on fiscal matters—not just taxation and see if we can move toward a progressive program. 
2.4       Possible collaboration with The Rogue Theater—The Steering Committee instructed Richard to contact the Company about events associated with their performances of Mother Courage in January 2013.  He has done so. 

3.0       Unfinished Business
3.1     Update on Public Banking Project              Jim
Jim discussed meeting with Karen Uhlich, the upcoming meeting with Steve Kozalchik, and our collaboration with Marc Armstrong of the Public Banking Institute. 
3.2     National Letter Carriers Union and Postal Bank—This group is working to re-create the postal bank to infuse revenue into the Postal service.  The PBI is involved.  Volunteers are welcome. 
3.3     Progressive Film Festival                            Leslie
Leslie is pursuing contact with the Screening room.  She’ll be looking at other venues.  There is interest on the upcoming UA films on the Bill of Rights. 
3.4     Interest in a Progressive Book Club--deferred
3.5     Messaging—We are exploring other ways to send out our ideas. 
3.6     Link to Progressive States Network—Please use the following link to view a major report which may be used as a reference.  http://progressivestates.org/sync/pdfs/PSN%202012%20Blueprint.pdf

4.0       New Business
4.1       Possible new economic alliance—The Steering Committee has asked Richard to contact other people and groups to start building a broader economic program for our area as well as greater consensus.  The team has approved of this action. 

Next Meeting:  Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 AM – noon, East Room Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 E. First St. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

August Economic and Social Justice IOT Meeting

We'll be meeting this Saturday, August 11, from 10 AM - noon, at the Ward 6 Council Office, 3202 E. First St.  Please enter through the rear door. 
We'll be continuing our discussions of our public banking project, messaging, and follow-ups from the upcoming Steering Committee meeting this Wednesday. 
I look forward to seeing you on Sat.!