The Veridus Weekly 10-12-18

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Important General Election dates:
 
Voter registration deadline - October 9,2018
Early ballots to be mailed - October 10, 2018
General Election - November 6, 2018

In Focus

As if the constant onslaught of Federal and State political advertising flooding your airwaves wasn’t enough, Phoenix residents and media markets are now being subjected to a slew of new ads for city-level races. The City of Phoenix will have a Special Election for Mayor and a ballot proposition to decide on November 6. But unlike other General Election races on the ballot -- at least with the Mayoral Election -- we may not have a winner until March.

City Elections are different from our other Federal and State races, where the winner is the candidate who receives the most votes, regardless of the overall total. The City of Phoenix, however, mandates that the winning candidate receive the majority of the vote (in other words, 50% + 1). If the Mayoral Election does not produce a candidate with a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters are placed into a runoff election. If that turns out to be the case after next month’s election, a runoff will take place on March 12.

There are some interesting things to note about this scenario. One: the voting demographic is significantly different in March than it is in November. There is less attention to the election in March and turnout is traditionally extremely low. Also, this Special Election for Mayor fills the seat vacated by Greg Stanton, who is running for Congress. His term was set to expire in January 2020. So, under a runoff scenario, a candidate running for Mayor in 2018 may be forced to continue the campaign into March 2019 for the runoff … and then the office will again be on the ballot at the next “normal” municipal election in August 2019.

 
Phoenix trends higher among U.S. real estate markets to watch, report says
Phoenix Business Journal

When experts think of cities to watch for overall real estate prospects next year, Phoenix falls right in the middle of the pack.

A study and survey done by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute ranked Phoenix 29th in overall real estate prospects in 2019 out of 69 cities listed, a slight improvement over the city’s 34th ranking in last year’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate survey. Dallas/Fort Worth topped this year’s list, and Phoenix landed between Oakland/East Bay Area and San Diego.

The study was conducted through personal interviews with 750 individuals and survey responses from over 1,630 individuals involved in real estate.

The city improved more drastically for homebuilding prospects, jumping from 33rd on the list last year to 17th this year.

[...] Read more HERE

Democrats aim for big gains in state legislatures
The Hill

SUNFISH LAKE, Minn. — Bolstered by an unpopular Republican president and favorable winds in suburban districts, Democrats see a golden opportunity to win back hundreds of state legislative seats across the country, rebuilding a bench decimated by midterm election results in 2010 and 2014.

The favorable conditions represent the Democratic Party’s first chances to claim some control over the decennial redistricting process, which begins after the 2020 census.

Democrats found themselves at a massive disadvantage after losing hundreds of seats in 2010, just before the last redistricting process cemented Republican control of Congress.

Today, the GOP holds 67 of 99 legislative chambers across the country. The GOP holds exactly 1,000 more seats than Democrats, 4,134 to 3,134.

This year, voters will elect state legislators to fill 6,073 seats in 87 chambers.

[...] Read more HERE.

Veridus clients in the news

Matthew Benson makes his case for voting No on Prop 127 in spirited FOX 10 debate
FOX 10

ICYMI: FOX 10’s John Hook sat down with Matthew Benson (Arizonans for Affordable Electricity spokesperson) and former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes for a lively discussion on Prop 127 -- the ballot measure that would require electricity providers to generate at least 50% of their annual sales of electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Click HERE or on image below to watch:




Pinal charter schools lead county in state grades
Casa Grande Dispatch

FLORENCE — In the battle of letter grades in Pinal County, charter schools reign supreme.

The state Board of Education recently released the annual letter grades assigned to schools, giving each school an A to F ranking, in accordance with typical academic scoring. Very few Pinal schools were able to achieve the highest mark, an A.

Legacy Traditional Schools, a consortium of classical charter schools, has three campuses in Pinal County: Casa Grande, Maricopa and Queen Creek. All three campuses received an A rating.

“The high marks by Legacy students on the state’s AzMERIT test are a testament to what is being achieved in the classrooms,” said Bill Bressler, chief academic officer of Legacy Traditional Schools. “The team effort of our highly qualified teachers and staff — together with parents — is to be commended as this partnership helps students realize greater academic growth than even the state’s student-growth projections.”

Legacy students outperformed the state AzMERIT averages in English Language Arts and Math in all grades by double digits as well as state AIMS test averages in Science for fourth and eighth grade by double digits in 2018, according to Matthew Benson, the schools’ spokesman.

“In reviewing our results, we saw continuing gains for all grade levels in our 2018 AzMERIT and AIMS results compared to 2017,” said Nicole Kirkley, superintendent of Legacy Traditional Schools. “These results underscore the fact that Legacy’s back-to-basics and accelerated curriculum provides our students with a quality, well-rounded education.”

Legacy, like other public charter schools in Arizona, is funded by taxpayer dollars and is open to all students.

Other charter schools receiving A’s were American Leadership Academy in Anthem and the Eduprize School in Queen Creek.

Four district public schools received A’s in the county: Ranch Elementary School in San Tan Valley, Pima Butte and Butterfield Elementary schools in Maricopa, and the Mary C. O’Brien Accommodation District, operated by the Pinal County School Office.

The scores are weighted and are based on student performance and academic growth and on whether elementary students are ready for high school and if high school students ready for college or career. High schools also are evaluated on their graduation rates.

The majority of Pinal schools received a C: 39. However, 22 schools received a D or F; D is for minimally performing and F is failing.

Read more HERE.

Arizona Charter Schools Association Leader Addresses Criticism
KJZZ

Eileen Sigmund (President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association) spoke with KJZZ this week about actions the Association is taking to improve accountability and transparency at Arizona’s public charter schools. Listen to the interview HERE.

Let’s celebrate, protect Arizona’s Medicaid program
Sierra Vista Herald

It has been five years since a bipartisan coalition of Arizona leaders successfully fought to restore and expand one of our state’s most vital programs: Medicaid.

Arizona’s program, formally known as AHCCCS, is one of the most innovative and cost-effective in the nation, serving 1.7 million Arizonans statewide.

More than 1 in 4 Arizonans depend on Arizona’s Medicaid program, including approximately 40,000 people in Cochise County. Enrollees come from every walk of life, including veterans, individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, the elderly, children and the working poor.

Few safety-net programs do more to improve quality of life, to protect Arizona’s most vulnerable, and to ensure the vitality of our state’s health care system and, connected to that, our economy. Research demonstrates children enrolled in Medicaid have better physical health, higher rates of educational attainment, and better earnings as adults.

[...] Arizona families aren’t the only ones benefiting from the modernization of our Medicaid program. So is our healthcare system and taxpayers.

Just five years ago, Arizona hospitals like our own Canyon Vista Medical Center faced spiraling costs for providing care to patients without insurance. In 2013, those expenses totaled $876 million for hospitals statewide – a financial threat especially worrisome to smaller hospitals and those in rural communities like ours.

The bipartisan expansion of Medicaid in Arizona to cover low-income adults has significantly reduced the number of patients without insurance, helping bring uncompensated care under control. Statewide, hospital costs in caring for the uninsured have declined approximately 60 percent since 2013.

We can always do more, but Arizona’s Medicaid program is already one of the most cost-effective in the country.

The bottom line: Medicaid is helping keep patients and hospitals healthy. That’s something we can all celebrate.

Mignonne Hollis is the executive director of the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation based in Sierra Vista.

Read more HERE.
 
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