The Veridus Weekly 10-26-18

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Check out the Purple Book at www.purplebookaz.comand remember to vote in the Arizona General Election on November 6th.

 

In Focus

Which way, Election Day? 
 
Early ballot returns provide some clues. With a solid GOP voter-registration advantage in Arizona, it’s not surprising  more Republicans have turned in early ballots than Democrats. What’s interesting is how many more have returned early ballots, especially in a year in which many observers expect historically-high Democratic turnout. As of Friday, Republicans had an 11-percentage-point edge over Democrats in terms of ballots that voters had completed and mailed back. In total, 854,000 ballots have already been voted and processed.
 
Arizona Republicans came out of the gate strong when early voting opened, but Democrats have steadily eaten into that lead in recent days. A surge of ballots from young voters and women may bode well for Democrats; “data guru” Garrett Archer of the Secretary of State’s Office said it’s possible the Republican advantage could be closed to within 9 percentage points by Election Day. During the last mid-term election, in 2014, Republican turnout bested Democrats by 12.5 percentage points.
 
Of course, these numbers only indicate who has returned ballots -- not how they voted. It’s impossible to know as of today how many disaffected Republicans may have voted for candidates of the other party (or vice versa), and the 22 percent of ballots cast by independent/unaffiliated voters are a total wild card.
 
This much appears clear, though: Without a groundswell of last-minute or Election Day Democratic voters, it’s unlikely the “blue wave” will amount to much in Arizona this fall. 


This election will be better, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes promises voters
Arizona Republic

In two weeks, Maricopa County voters will return to the polls for the first time since the bumpy August election, when many voters were unable to cast ballots for hours because of logistical issues.

The voter check-in equipment was not properly installed at 62 polling places on Aug. 28, leaving voters unable to secure ballots in the morning hours.

The chief county elections official, Recorder Adrian Fontes, continues to blame the August election issues on an information-technology contractor that he said failed to provide the agreed-upon support for the voter check-in equipment. The contractor denies this.

However, Fontes appeared before the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Monday to assure them his office has made a series of changes that he says will diminish the possibility of serious errors on Nov. 6.

Fontes is encouraging voters to vote prior to Election Day — either by mail or at any of the polling places already open across the county — but told the supervisors that his team stands ready to process an expected record number of voters Nov. 6.

[...] Read more HERE.

Arizona to focus on putting out e-cigarette use among youths
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Taking a puff off an electronic cigarette won’t be a popular activity among Arizona’s youth if state health officials have anything to say about it.

The State Department of Health Services is planning to mount an aggressive anti-vape campaign in December as well as pursue any e-cigarette businesses aiming at minors, the Arizona Republic reports.

[...] The Food and Drug Administration declared in September that it would target regulations for manufacturers and retailers of e-cigarette products that market toward children and teens. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that e-cigarettes have become an almost “ubiquitous” trend.

[...] Some Arizona schools are also taking an active approach with their own initiatives. For the past several months, Tempe Union High School District has students spearheading its “Vanish the Vape” campaign. Kids caught vaping could receive a suspension. But for some, that isn’t a deterrent.

[...] In 2013, Arizona became one of the first states to outlaw selling e-cigarettes to minors. Clerks can be fined up to $300 and businesses up to $1,000 for breaking the law.

The Arizona attorney general’s office and health officials have also conducted sting operations using youths. When the law first passed, about 85 percent of young people in these stings could get away with buying them, said Erika Mansur, an attorney with the AG’s Tobacco Enforcement Unit. She believes the rate has declined to 38 percent.

Read more HERE.

Veridus clients in the news

Proposition 127 would require more clean energy in Arizona
Arizona PBS

Veridus’ own Matthew Benson (Arizonans for Affordable Electricity) joined DJ Quinlan (Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona) on Arizona Horizon this week to debate Prop 127 -- a measure on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to require private utility companies to produce at least 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Click HERE or on the image below to watch:



US Senate hopeful Martha McSally talks jobs, economy on campaign trail
KTAR

PHOENIX — With less than two weeks away from election day, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally was on the campaign trail Wednesday speaking about jobs and the economy.

She toured the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Avondale and went inside several of the 38 training labs set for students to learn about everything from advanced diagnosis to undercar maintenance.

The 248,000-square-foot campus also has labs where students can tear down and rebuild engines, as well as labs dedicated to diesel and welding.

While on the tour, McSally heard about the need employers have for more technicians in areas such as automotive and welding.

“[Employers] are in desperate need for technicians,” Patrick Bennett, education director at UTI, told McSally when she asked about labor shortages. “We can’t provide enough students for them.”

It’s not just technician jobs that are being left unfilled. The Labor Department reported last week there were 7 million job openings nationwide at the end of August.

McSally said those job openings – coupled with a low unemployment rate – are signs the economy is booming, which she said is at the top of the minds of voters.

“They want to be able to work hard, provide for their families and get ahead,” she said. “The conservative policies that we’re working on with this administration are showing that we’re working.”

Read more HERE.

QC teacher named educator of the year in PE
San Tan Valley Sentinel 

QUEEN CREEK — After aspiring to be a physical education teacher, one area middle school teacher is being recognized by his peers for his passion.

Jerry Osborne, a middle school physical education teacher at Legacy Traditional School in Queen Creek, has been selected as one of the 2018 Teachers of the Year by the Arizona Health and Physical Education Association.

Osborne, who has taught at Legacy for seven years, said he was nominated for the award by the district subject matter expert, Kelly Montano. Osborne was celebrated at a ceremony in Phoenix on October 23.

“I moved to Arizona in 2009 to retire,” Osborne said. “I discovered very soon I don’t sit well, or retire well, for that matter. I just couldn’t stay away from my chosen profession.”

“There are many deserving candidates for this award, but none more deserving than Mr. Jerry Osborne,” said Adam McCoy, principal of Legacy Queen Creek. “Mr. Osborne is more than a teacher to his students; he is their friend, he is their advocate, and he is their inspiration to overcome all challenges and achieve greatness.”

Osborne, 63, has been teaching students for the past 38 years, 30 of which were spent in Oregon before moving to Arizona. And while he’s a physical education teacher by trade and at heart, not every day involved donning athletic socks: Osborne spent his fair share of time in classrooms such as world history, geography, English and even science and computer lab.

This year at Legacy, in addition to teaching PE, Osborne also is teaching a class for 7th and 8th graders called the Academic Intervention Group — a class designed to improve the study skills of at-risk youth. Osborne started leading the group last school year.

McCoy said Osborne’s passion, hard work and ability to inspire and motivate “changed the trajectory of their lives forever.”

Of the 12 students in the AIG program, “10 sustained grades higher than a 70 percent average, and one made such a remarkable turnaround, that he was honored at graduation as the Comeback Student of the Year,” McCoy said. “Even after 37 years of teaching, he is still in tune with the needs our youth.”

As far as his passion for physical education goes, Osborne still has it and said it’s important to model healthy living to his students, as his coaches and physical education teachers did for him when he was in school.

Osborne said: “I would say you have to be ‘all in’ everyday if you want to be a good PE teacher. Creating life long learners that are passionate about fitness, healthy life style choices, and sport competition through mutual respect (sportsmanship) is fundamental to anyone wishing to enter this educational field. It’s what I try to do every day.”


Read more HERE.

Arizona Charter Schools Association joins governor, AG, lawmakers in call for reforms
Arizona Republic

The Arizona Charter Schools Association has joined a growing list of education advocates and elected officials calling for greater oversight of the state's 500-plus charter schools.

Charter Association CEO Eileen Sigmund told The Arizona Republic that when lawmakers convene in January her group will push for more financial transparency, including disclosure of executive pay, and improved governance of charter schools.

She said, however, that the association would take a "hard line against hostile regulations that will either hurt or eliminate our charter sector."

Sigmund said her association is working with the Legislature, Gov. Doug Ducey's office, Attorney General Mark Brnovich and charter leaders to identify reforms that protect taxpayers.

The association's call for reform is significant given the organization's influence with Ducey and the Legislature's Republican majority. The association's board and members include business and political leaders with close ties to the governor and other Republican leaders.

[...] Read more HERE.

$150,000 funded to STEM Projects in TUSD classrooms
KOLD

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson Unified School District will be receiving $150,000 from Tucson Electric Power Company.

The contribution will go to the Educational Enrichment Foundation (EEF), which will fund science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) over the next three years.

The EEF will allow the TEP Power Up classroom grants to award approximately 50 projects from STEM. The TEP Power Up classroom grants can be as much as $1000.

“It’s just one of many ways TEP is working to expand educational opportunities in our community,” said Joe Salkowski, TEP’s Director of Corporate Communications and Community Relations.

TEP’s contribution, EEF will be able to fund about $70,000 for classroom grants for the 2019-2020 school year. The fund will also provide more contribution to other subjects like languages and arts.

[...] For more information about resources provided by EEF go to eeftucson.org.

TEP has also donated close to $600,000 this year to educational resources for more information on their support to education go to tep.com/education.

Read more HERE.

Maricopa Integrated Health System has a new name
Arizona Republic

The Phoenix-based Maricopa Integrated Health System, which has a 140-year local history, is getting a new name next year.

The safety-net health system will be known as Valleywise Health. The name change was approved by the Maricopa County Special Health Care District board of directors Wednesday.

The idea behind the new name is to create a more easily identifiable brand for the public, non-profit health system, President and CEO Steve Purves said.

MIHS facilities include a hospital, two behavioral health centers, an outpatient specialty center and 12 family health centers. Those facilities will adopt the Valleywise Health name and a new logo in mid-2019, officials said.

Purves said in a news release that becoming Valleywise allows MIHS to "more effectively articulate under one distinct and memorable name our bold vision to improve community health."

[...] Read more HERE.

Prop. 127, Arizona's renewable energy initiative, comes down to just 4 words
Arizona Republic

One day Arizona will be powered by the sun.

We enjoy such abundant natural light that we seem destined to throw a harness around the sun and use it to pull the greater share of our state economy.

But that day is not here. Not yet.

For now we are moving in the direction of the sun with new knowledge and new technology.  

Crusaders for clean power have put on this year’s ballot a proposal to massively accelerate Arizona’s ascension to virtually 100-percent clean energy. But there are reasons to doubt it.

What would Proposition 127 do?
Utilities are now under Arizona Corporation Commission mandate to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Proposition 127 would bump up those requirements to 50 percent by 2030, an increase the utilities say would greatly increase costs that would then be passed on to ratepayers.

Opponents, led by APS, contends the proposal’s economics would force the closure of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, which produces power for about 4 million people.

Proponents argue that’s nonsense, a scare tactic used by utilities to avoid renewable targets they will never meet on their own.

The battle of wills has resulted in the most expensive campaign in state history, with both sides spending a combined $40 million-plus to try to win.

[...]  But you can’t predict the future
Each side comes to this debate with soothsayers – their economists bearing long-term projections.

Supporters of Prop. 127 trumpet studies that say its passage will shrink electricity bills in Arizona by $4.1 billion between 2020 and 2040, while it grows jobs in this state by 15,810 by 2030.

Opponent studies say just the opposite: Rates will increase $1,900 a year and some 304,855 “job years” will vanish through the year 2060.

In his analysis of the studies, our columnist Robert Robb determined there are so many moving variables that this clash of projections is nothing but “a nutty endeavor and a useless debate.”

The Constitution is a sticking point
Besides the higher targets, what sets Prop. 127 apart from the Corporation Commission’s 2006 Renewable Energy Standard is that the ballot measure cements the mandates into the Arizona Constitution.

[...] But the problem with a constitutional amendment is that it locks in the mandates so that regulators can’t adjust them in the face of shifting realities. If, in fact, the worse case scenario happens and the new mandates greatly inflate electric bills and begin to kill jobs, the Corporation Commission could not react.

It would require time and money and another ballot initiative to make the necessary adjustments.

[...]  Bottom line: Right idea, wrong tool
While we admire the objectives of the proponents and believe they are based on good faith, and while we share their cynicism for a public utility that turned heavy handed in elections and undermined the integrity of the Corporation Commission, we believe they are using the wrong tool – a constitutional amendment – to demand progress.

Energy production is a vital industry in this state. It is the lynchpin of our economy. To lock that industry into mandates whose long-term impacts cannot possibly be predicted today whose parameters cannot be adjusted and redirect with emerging realities is simply too risky for Arizona.

The best way forward, for now, is saying no to Prop. 127.

Read more HERE.
 
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