April 27, 2022
So, Ducey’s stacked Arizona Supreme Court has again paid big dividends for the wealthy and stuck a knife in the backs of voters and working families. The governor and his legislative lackeys are celebrating because their “flat tax” cannot be challenged at the ballot box. Their glee is based on a historic income tax overhaul that gives low earners pennies while millionaires get new fortunes. Oh, how pleased they are to have reduced state revenue by $2 billion per year because now they can justify more cuts to public education.
If you missed the numbers, here’s a rundown on what this tax cut means for Arizona earners: $26K to $49K get $11 per year; $50K to $75K get $96 per year; $100K to $200K get $615 per year; $512K and up get $30K per year.
In short, this tax scheme pays out over 55% of all savings to only 1% of Arizona taxpayers. If this seems unfair to you, the Arizona Supreme Court just told you to pound sand.
Aside from the absurdly blatant widening of the income gap, this decision undermines democracy and the will of voters. They’ve ruled that the state’s Constitution is now invalid when it comes to ballot initiatives related to state tax policy. They’ve validated a complete revision of Arizona’s tax code passed by the slimmest majority possible with virtually no input from those who are taxed — this is “taxation without representation” all over again.
Our only recourse to this reprehensible miscarriage of legislative and judicial justice is to elect representatives who are committed to fair and balanced tax policies. Folks, it’s time to vote Democrat to protect democracy and your wallet!
Stevi Seigla, Casa Grande
March 9, 2022
HB 2166 exempts firearms and firearm safety equipment from sales tax. Ammunition was then added to this bill, making an already bad gun bill even worse. I think that there are far more important things to consider for tax exemption.
Currently ammunition can be purchased in Arizona without a background check, in unlimited quantities, with no record of who bought it, what they purchased and where it may have been shipped. This does not make Arizonans safer. There was a recent indictment of six men who were stockpiling guns and ammunition that they were trafficking to a cartel in Mexico. HB 2166 only makes these purchases more affordable.
Data shows more than 2,000 gun deaths and injuries occur in Arizona annually. Think about the cost of gun carnage — gun violence costs in Arizona are $7.6 billion each year, of which $263.2 million is paid by taxpayers! Allowing a tax exemption on guns and ammunition just doesn’t make sense. Gun and ammunition sales are going up every year. Many guns end up in the hands of untrained individuals, making citizens less safe.
My sincere hope is that HB 2166 is opposed as it will do nothing to keep Arizonans or any person safer. Please tell your lawmakers to vote no on HB 2166 for a safer Arizona.
Margaret Baca - Casa Grande
Coward: Governor Ducey should thank Democrats
Posted Friday, November 19, 2021 11:20 a.m.
By David Coward
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Republicans put out press releases effectively taking credit for federally funded assistance that was opposed by all Republicans in Congress.
It was eight months ago when President Joe Biden signed the Democratic COVID-relief package into law, called the American Rescue Plan. Predictably, some Republican opponents of the $1.9 trillion measure started trying to take credit for the ARP almost immediately after it passed.
This hypocrisy was exposed again when reading a press release from Gov. Ducey, whose statement included a headline that read, “Governor Ducey invests $100 Million.”
Gov. Ducey is taking credit for a Democratic policy opposed by his own party — including every Republican member of Arizona’s congressional delegation — though his press release thanked GOP state officials, who had nothing to do with this bill, but not those who approved the investments in the first place. Democrats.
Now that President Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, it’s a safe say that plenty of Republican opponents of the package will soon try to benefit politically from its resources. The proudest among them, the recently censured Paul Gosar for one.
Gosar’s district, CD 4, really should not be receiving any federal funds or projects after voting against it. Maybe then the voters of his district who mindlessly elect this radical member to Congress will finally figure out that they are voting against their own self-interests. They should not continue to benefit from federal programs even after their obstructionist member of Congress votes against it. This is just rewarding bad behavior. There should be consequences at the ballot box.
To the voters in CD 4: Thank the Democrats. That goes double for Gov. Doug Ducey.
Editor’s note: David Coward is a resident of Gold Canyon. Posted in the Gold Canyon Valley Independent
September 20, 2021
Pinal County should not have been surprised by the 80,000 census undercount. While the Supervisors laughed at their counsel's observation of a 10% decrease in undocumented residents, they ignored the undercount’s serious elephantine history.
Unmentioned was the thankfully former president's 2019 Executive Order 13880 that politicized the 2020 census by imposing a biased citizenship question eventually blocked by the Supreme Court as based on contrived evidence.
I agree with the county's adviser that correcting the undercount would be long and costly, but disagree that uniting with other counties and municipalities facing loss of funding and congressional representation would hurt Pinal County's case.
In last year's final days, Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform prophetically warned that because of Trump’s politicization of the census, "the census count risks being inaccurate and incomplete."
Responding to those concerns, Republican Congressman Don Young and Democrat Ruben Gallego teamed up to extend the deadline for census data collection and processing. Implementation of those bipartisan remedial actions now demands vigorous investigation.
Pinal County should seek a similar bipartisan effort to correct the universally acknowledged inaccurate undercount.
The Census Bureau has scheduled a 2020 Census Count Question Resolution program designed to ensure housing and population counts are correctly allocated.
We should all demand our Supervisors and all Arizona local, county, state and tribal governments to participate in the CQR and vigorously advocate for our undercounted communities.
Our communities deserve all possible remedies be exhausted to fulfill the constitutional mandate for a complete and accurate census.
Roberto Reveles, Gold Canyon
September 9, 2021
The callous indifference for Pinal County’s most at-risk communities for contacting COVID-19 was exhibited by a recent 3-2 vote by the Board of Supervisors against accepting a federal $3.4 million grant to help mitigate the spread of the disease and its lethal variants. By refusing to vote for the grant money, the BOS effectively told our rural underserved communities, Native American, African American, the disabled, Hispanic, LBGTQ and other neighbors that their access to health care and information simply is not a priority.
Obtaining the grant funds is supported by the Pinal County health director, Dr. Tascha Spears, would address the health care needs that our underserved communities face now and provide vital resources necessary to address them in the future. Pinal County’s community resources are stretched thin by multiple wildfires, monsoon flooding and the continued battle against COVID-19 and its variants. With that and the recent explosion of COVID infection rates, school administrators are finding it difficult to open schools safely and business owners are facing the possibility of reduced hours of operation. Without more resources, our families and neighbors feel more vulnerable and left behind.
Health equity is a value that all Arizonans share regardless of what ZIP code they live in or what political party they ascribe to. It’s about providing care equitably to lift up communities for the betterment of all people in Pinal County.
The BOS should step up for people over politics and reconsider their decision and vote to accept the grant funds. As citizens of Pinal County you can let your supervisor know with your pen and voice that you want to lift others up so we all can rise and live in a safe and healthy community together.
Lisa Sanor, Chair, Pinal County Democrats
Lawmakers important to schools
AUGUST 26, 2021
As a member of a local school board, I get updates on COVID incidents in the district. Usually, several groups of kids are quarantined because someone in their vicinity was exposed. All the school can do is to send them home. We have no other mitigating tools at our disposal. We cannot mandate masks, even though children under 12 cannot get vaccinated.
Now several of the Republican legislators are demanding that Gov. Ducey punish those districts that mandate masks despite the law. They want to take federal money away from those districts or allow more people to take advantage of more “educational scholarships” to private schools. The public schools already do not receive enough money.
School districts want to follow the law, but the health of the students is a priority. Schools know that in-person learning is preferable to digital, but that cannot be accomplished if a good percentage of students are being quarantined because of COVID. The CDC and science have shown that wearing masks can help mitigate the virus. School districts should be able to make those decisions, not the Legislature.
Please keep this in mind as you vote for your choices for the Legislature in the November 2022 election.
Keith Seaman - Casa Grande
Comments provided 'laugh'
MAY 25, 2021
Thanks, Sen. Shope, for the laugh as well as the disingenuous comments about the need for bipartisanship and cooperation in the U.S. Senate. Your defense of the filibuster — so there can be bipartisan consensus on legislation — leads me to believe you are planning a run for federal office and want to start genuflecting to Sen. Mitch early. We all know Republicans aren't allowed to work in a bipartisan fashion by orders of the Senate leader. We also know that they have been given opportunities to shape legislation to their liking and they still vote no.
And please, keep your admiration of Sens. Manchin and Sinema to yourself because we all know that's not sincere unless they are voting with Republicans. You are citing them as defenders of democracy so tell me, where do you stand on Rep. Cheney and her comments? How about the "Big Lie"? Election (non)fraud? Cyber Ninjas? Supreme Court nominee process? Voter suppression? Jan. 6 sedition? Independent commissions? etc. etc.
Let's face it, you want to hold on to the filibuster to thwart Dems' popular legislation and defense of democracy. You don't want to lose the filibuster because Republicans believe only they should be allowed to govern regardless of what voters want. Lauding Sen. Sinema for standing up for the institution of the Senate and then stating "simply blocking the other side is not the answer for either party's goals" is the most hilarious comment of all. That's exactly what Mitch McConnell pledged to do to President Obama and to President Biden. Are you calling him out?
I know why you guys write this stuff. If Republican voters are deluded enough to believe Donald Trump should be president, they will believe anything.
Paula Maniszko, Casa Grande
MAY 18, 2021 - Supporters fooled by Trump
Seventy-four million votes for Trump in November 2020. Most by any incumbent in history and lost. This makes Trump the “Biggest Loser." The people that voted for Trump seem to be under the impression he won and was cheated out of his second term. Of course this is the “Big Lie” Trump started and his staunchest followers believe.
Of the 74M votes, 10% will always think this way. The remaining are the ones buying “oceanfront property in Arizona” or haven’t had a new thought of their own in 30 years.
The voters are not going to be hoodwinked again by the Republicans' message of hate and division.
MAY 13, 2021 - Audit of PCSO important
I recently read that a number of Pinal County residents are asking the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to conduct an audit of Mark Lamb's Sheriff’s Office. I believe there are more than enough red flags to warrant a full-scale audit.
Our sheriff is launching a subscription-based TV network — “American Sheriff Network." Where will the money come from for funding? How will Sheriff Lamb find the time to balance running this network and leading the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office?
We’ve never gotten to the bottom of Lamb’s relationship to the suspicious shenanigans involving LD8 Rep. David Cook and his purported girlfriend lobbyist. How much money did Lamb take in while promoting his so-called border posse? What became of the funding for the “gun safety training” for his poll watcher militia during the 2020 election? Exactly how much has been taken in from the federal government and how are those dollars being spent?
The taxpayers of Pinal County deserve to know if we’re getting our money’s worth from each and every county-wide agency. Sheriff Lamb has been immune to accountability despite some very questionable enterprises.
I join the growing number of Pinal County voters who demand a full and transparent audit of the Sheriff’s Office. That audit must include a thorough examination of training methods, policing policy along with every single aspect of resource use and finances. Anything less would amount to complicit malfeasance.
MAY 8, 2021 - Audit Needed for Officials
Truth, trust, transparency and accountability are words that are desperately needed to guide all levels of government today.
At recent Pinal County Board of Supervisors meetings and throughout our country, we’re witnessing expressions of distrust about the most essential principles of our unique republican form of democracy — questions about the integrity of our voting process and questions about equal justice under the law.
These stubborn questions manifested themselves in January by violence at our nation’s Capitol, a place where I worked for 24 years, and last month by a historic criminal trial of a law enforcement officer.
It’s not an overstatement to say that these dramatic incidents question the very essence of our unique American experience in self-governance — questioning the authority of the federal system itself. For most of us, that basic question was decided 156 years ago.
Nonetheless, today our country and our county continue to face confusion and division by stubborn questions that are strongly held opinions but largely based on demonstrable untruths.
I have no doubt, however, that this confusion and division can be overcome by people of good will coming together in civil dialogue to speak respectfully and truthfully.
That is why two weeks ago after listening to a number of fellow citizens who spoke about their lack of trust in our voting system, I requested the Board of Supervisors to authorize financial and performance audits of those responsible for voting and for law enforcement in Pinal County — the Elections Department and the Sheriff’s Office.
I have faith and trust that by conducting these audits we can help restore respect for our country’s most troubled institutions — voting and law enforcement.
For these reasons I again urge the board to implement those audits.
APRIL 24, 2021
Voter fraud does not exist to the extent that state legislators should waste time and taxpayer money on an insignificant problem. Can you find me 100 fraudulent votes that would have affected the outcome of any Arizona state, county or local election, when the winners are 300-plus votes ahead? With more serious problems of water shortage, failing schools, a pandemic, etc., our legislators should be focused on these.
As far as the number of racists in this country, it is far greater than what politicians tell us. My father grew up in Jim Crow Mississippi, and I have experienced it (Jim Crow) personally. And it is still practiced by many in this country. I know what it looks, smells and feels like to be the victim of these people on a weekly to daily basis. I have lived in five states in the USA and traveled abroad many times, and I know the difference. As a leader, please give supporting information or at least personal experience when speaking about racism or racists. Thank you.
In the April 1 edition of the Dispatch there was a letter to the editor in which the statement was made “… the Georgia voting bill requires verification of the voter. That's it!” That was a bit deceiving. It would take more than 200 words to list all the provisions that were included in the bill, so here’s a brief summary.
The bill included: limitations on the number of drop boxes; increased state power over counties; many restrictive measures for absentee voting; shorter time periods for requesting mail-in ballots; changes in ID requirements for absentee ballots; restrictions on third parties advocating for mail-in ballots; no more use of the mobile voting buses that were purchased to help with long voting lines; and, of course, the prohibition of individuals in most locations to give relief to voters standing in line by handing them snacks or water.
Each one of the facets of the bill have many complicated parts, but the point is that a lot more was done than just requiring verification of the voter.
There was one good thing in the bill. Early voting is expanded for most counties — maybe only by one day on a weekend, but still, good job.
Ann Turner - Arizona City
We read yet another letter to the editor decrying the “radical socialism” of the Democratic Party (R. Wells, Oct. 8 Dispatch). Not just socialism but radical socialism. Where, I ask, is this radical socialism? In what policies? In what politicians? Is a concern for well-funded and inspirational public schools radical? Is trying to secure quality affordable health care for all Americans radical? Are our public librarians really communist spies in disguise? Radical? These things aren’t even socialist. They are simply America at its best. Please stop with the blind, fear-mongering radical socialism line. Our real concern is, or should be, radical capitalism.
While tens of millions of Americans suffer the worst degradations in modern history, Wall Street just keeps humming along. Sure, there was an initial, serious blow to the markets last spring, but since then things have been moving along quite well. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. Perhaps R. Wells is correct in arguing that regular folk shouldn't be paying the bill. Amen to that. Corporate profits and the casual rich should be taxed at a higher rate to rebuild and preserve the well-being of our nation. Trump's history of tax evasion is beyond belief. Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations," makes it clear that if those raking in the profits do not reinvest in the infrastructure, the system will collapse. This is not radical nor is it socialism. It's sane and healthy capitalism, something Democrats are fighting for.
Paul Machelor - Casa Grande
Once again, Donald Trump proved how little he respects women. He believes that women will unequivocally support a SCOTUS appointment based solely on gender. Gender is hardly the criteria upon which RBG’s shoes can be filled. He makes it perfectly clear that he has no understanding of what Ruth Bader Ginsburg meant to America. As a woman, and as an American citizen, I feel insulted and dismissed.
Justice Ginsburg was the champion and lioness who fought tirelessly and ferociously to defend the dignity and rights of every American. For her to be unethically replaced by anyone who takes a completely opposite view is an outrage and an affront to every American.
Let’s be clear about what’s at stake for the next several generations of Americans. Women will lose the right to choose, be subjected to dominance by a minority religious opinion and be kept from employment and economic equality. Despite overwhelming support for the Affordable Care Act — the only line of defense for pre-existing conditions and keeping 10s of millions covered, it will be lost with no plan to replace it. American workers and consumers will lose protections and the right to participate in the economy they drive. The march toward increased voter suppression will escalate with further gutting of the Voting Rights Act. The shift toward autocracy and theocracy will undermine and dilute democracy beyond recognition. Any hope of sensible gun safety or environmental reform will be dead on arrival. Racial injustice will continue unabated.
I’m a woman who believes in much more than an insincere nod toward gender. I would ask that the Senate do the same. I’m a woman who believes America needs a Ruth Bader Ginsburg fighting on our behalf.
Stephanie Seigla - Casa Grande
There has a been a barrage of letters to the editor in recent months criticizing the Trump administration and those supporting him. I am heartened to see it. On the other hand, to even discuss this man makes me uneasy. In our entire history, there is no president (perhaps except for Nixon) who produces this effect in me, and so many others. This letter would likely be rejected by the Dispatch editor if I used language to describe how I sincerely feel about the current occupant of the White House. I can hardly type his name. Just yesterday, we read a letter from Ms. Levatino calling Joe Biden a corrupt elitist. OK. I won’t argue the fact that anyone who makes it that far up the ladder probably has some dirt on him or her.
I am a lifelong Democrat. My grandfather was a union organizer in New York. One of those guys standing up for the working man. The current occupant of the White House keeps ranting (and ranting) about his support of the little guy. I don’t see it.
I will vote for Joe Biden not because I am a Democrat but because in all my life, I have never seen a greater threat to what truly makes this nation great (which has nothing to do with red hats). Never in my life have I felt such anguish for our country. Never have we witnessed such imbecilic trash coming from what is supposed to be our highest office, an office we teach our children to aspire to and admire. Never have we seen such a lack of intelligent discussion about issues critical to the well-being of our nation. In fact, what exactly has this man done in his time in office beside tear us apart with idiotic tweets and total nonsense?
Those reading this who still support the current president and plan to vote for him, I beg you to reconsider.
Paul Machelor - Casa Grande
The two major political conventions are complete. What a stark difference. The Democratic meeting was all about bringing the country together, controlling the outbreaks of the pandemic, getting people back to work, moving forward on race relations. Conversely, the other party, formally known as Republicans and now Trumpsters, talked about gloom and doom, fear and hate and no idea how to control outbreaks of the pandemic.
The Democratic candidate comes across as thoughtful, organized and will do anything and everything for the people of the United States. The Trumpsters' candidate cannot articulate two thoughts without lying about both. #45 is a fear-monger so full of hate for anyone disagreeing with him he strikes out at perceived wrongs, resorting to calling his detractors names just like a 5-year-old.
People rationalize their support for #45 saying "promises made promises kept."
Yes, he got two judges on the Supreme Court but they have ruled against #45 more times than not.
Mexico has not paid for the border wall as promised by #45.
The so-called tax break is equal to a Starbucks coffee every day but even this will go away automatically in six years. The tax breaks for the 1% and corporations are permanent.
#45 promised to get rid of Obamacare. Even if #45 did, he has nothing to replace Obamacare, and tens of thousands of Americans would be harmed health wise and financially.
Really, do you actually think #45 cares about the American people?
Kim Allen - Arizona City
The Republican Party is in trouble, and not just because it may lose the upcoming election. It faces a threat to its very existence as a viable force in U.S. politics. The Republican base is shrinking. Older, non-college-educated white persons, Baby Boomers primarily, make up the majority of the Republican Party. But that Baby Boomer generation is declining and no longer makes up the largest portion of our population. Within 30 years, white people in general will not even be a majority in this country. The trend has been quite clear since 2008.
Republicans have lost the national popular vote in very election since then. Party leaders know all of this but are captives of Trump’s base. The Democratic Party, however, is growing. And that growth is coming from minorities, young people of all colors and disaffected Republicans, primarily suburban white women.
I am a Democrat, so why should I care if the Republican Party implodes? It is because I firmly believe in a strong two-party political system, which has served our country well throughout our history. All politicians of both political parties need to be held accountable to the will of the voters, and voters need to have viable alternatives.
What path forward for Republicans? My advice is to read Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” speech. It speaks of America as a shining beacon of light sitting on a hill with a gate open to all, who live in harmony.
The Republican Party is sick and needs to be healed. Its current condition is similar to a person who has a boil on his skin. You first treat a boil by lancing it. Donald Trump is that boil. My message to Republicans is: It’s time to take your medicine. When Trump is gone, the healing process can begin.
Diana Oleson - Eloy
This letter is in reference to two “cartoons” that have been viewed on Vince Leach’s Facebook page: one that has a woman with a baby in her arms and “Black Community” written on her hip and a donkey on the couch by her, while she is bemoaning the fact that she’s scared to leave the Democratic Party because it has told her she “would never make it on her own.” The other is picturing a white woman being robbed by a Black man, and he’s saying basically “lots o’ luck — the police have been defunded so they’re not coming to save you.”
Because of this blatant display of racist, misogynistic and insulting opinions on his Facebook page, Arizona state Sen. Vince Leach has convinced me that this is his mindset and that he does not belong in a leadership role. Not only does he express his own personal feelings and thoughts regarding the current racial crisis, he also speaks for the party, the Republican Party, on this issue as well as the issues of policing, welfare and the relationship that the Black community has with the Democratic Party.
Supporters of Mr. Leach, is this OK with you? Are you fine with saying “yes” to a guy who publicly demonstrates this kind of low opinion of Blacks and women?
Please consider openly denouncing Vince Leach, the senator for Legislative District 11. He is an embarrassment to the people of my district and should be censored at the very least and reprimanded by his party leaders. I hope his people realize that he is only reinforcing the view that the Republican Party is racist and intolerant and has a condescending attitude toward women and minorities.
Ann Turner - Arizona City
I am in tremendous fear for my family’s life and mine. It will only be a matter of time before someone I love and know ends up dead, and trust me, I would prefer never to think like that. I’m an optimist, and so I can only hope that all this time will be enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. But, it sure doesn’t help with everyone sending in letters, whining about their rights and how they shouldn’t have to take precautions. Well, if you don’t care about yourself, then think about everyone else! In your crazy zeal, you could catch the pathogen and then hug your grandma and inevitably spread it to her!
Your ignorance and “patriotism” will end up killing people! Donald Trump is a very, very good example of that. He talks like a little child and bullies people. He tweets and yaps out lies. We need unity, and above all, stability. I would prefer to stay in for many more months, as long as it helps to stop the virus from harming more people. I would hope every one of those complaining about their rights being violated and deciding to show their xenophobia gets over their selfishness and listens. And no, I don’t mean Fox News.
Cissie King - Casa Grande
Does everyone finally realize how horrible the conservatives are? How corrupt the Republican Party really is? They no longer work for our country. No, they work for Trump. Fox is just as corrupt. Trump has gotten people killed just because of his “advice.” More people will die because he said people can use this concoction. There are no medical facts backing up this. If it was true and worked, then hospitals would be using it right now. But they aren’t. And using ultraviolet light wouldn’t work either.
These are harmful to us. And so is Trump. And so, I ask all who support him: Is he worth it?
Janet Myers - Casa Grande