The judicial retention portion of the ballot

I have been meaning to get around to the judicial retention portion of the ballot, but luckily Lisa Loo, president of the State Bar of Arizona, had an op-ed in the Arizona Republic last week that does the job for me. My Turn: Do judges justice. Finish marking your ballot:

gavelYou’re not done. Gather up your strength and finish the ballot.

There are state, county and city issues where your vote will make a difference. After all, the recent Congressional District 5 primary race was decided by just 27 votes.

And while you’re voting, I ask that you not skip the judges who are on the ballot.

Focus on qualifications, not politicking

It may be something you’ve avoided in the past. You wanted to make an informed vote but you just didn’t know anything about the judges.

Don’t panic. There’s an easy way to get the information you want. Just go to

Here’s a little background. In Arizona’s three largest counties (Maricopa, Pima and Pinal) judges are chosen through a process called merit selection. In fact, it was Arizona voters who chose this system back in 1974. Up until that point, judges campaigned for election, which meant fundraising and politicking.

Voters felt there had to be a better way, and that’s how merit selection was born. Judges apply, show their qualifications and get interviewed by a panel that includes 10 public volunteers, five lawyer volunteers and an Arizona Supreme Court Justice. That panel makes a recommendation to the governor, who makes the final choice.

The process allows voters to have the last word. After a judge has been in office for a period of years, he or she must face a retention election. It’s a chance for the public to determine whether that judge stays on the bench.

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Maricopa County settles lawsuit re: long voting lines – vote early to avoid those lines

Last Thursday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced a settlement that requires Maricopa County to implement a plan to monitor and reduce wait times before the Nov. 8 general election. It must continue the program in each primary and general election through 2020. Biggest Arizona county to revamp polling to avoid long lines:

MaricopaPollLineLawyers’ Committee President Kristen Clarke says the settlement shows county elections officials are serious about avoiding voting problems.

“Arizona’s election officials have acknowledged their debt to voters and are now putting in place the reforms needed to prevent a recurrence of these problems in November,” Clarke said in a statement.

Elizabeth Bartholomew, spokeswoman for the county recorder’s office, said the plan has been in place since early this month.

The county cut polling locations to just 60 from about 200 in 2012, but it returned to the normal 724 polling places for the August state primary and for the general election. The polling place reduction and the fact that independents could not vote as they can in regular primary elections were seen as the two main causes of the problems, which saw some voters waiting for more than five hours to cast their ballots.

The lawsuit was one of several filed after problems with the March 22 election.

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Watch AZ Citizens Clean Elections debates online – LD 9 and LD 10 races

Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission held 2 debates recently in Southern Arizona.  The LD 9 House debate was held at PCC Northwest campus on Oct. 14 and the LD 10 Senate & House debates were held at PCC  District Office on Oct. 18.

LD 9:  Rep.Randy Friese (D), Pam Powers Hannley (D) and Ana Henderson (R), seeking 2 House seats.

Rep. Matt Kopec (D), who was appointed to this seat in January,  was defeated in the Democratic  primary by Hannley.  State Senator Steve Farley in LD 9 is running unopposed.

Watch LD 9 video here:

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Enjoy Hot Art at Heart of Tucson studio tour


2016 2nd Annual FALL Tour
Saturday, October 29, 2016 (11 AM – 5 PM)
Sunday, October 30, 2016 (11 AM – 5 PM)

“HOTA welcomes the general public on a free self-guided two day tour into the intimate settings of the artist’s studio! This gives artists a chance to expose & sell their work, while visitors will get the chance to learn more about the individual artist, the artistic process and support the arts! “

Complete list of participating artists in 2016:

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Remember in November

Cross-posted from

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) just released a new report on states’ investments in their public schools. “Public investment in K-12 schools – crucial for communities to thrive and the U.S. economy to offer broad opportunity – has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade” reports the CBPP. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arizona ranks 15th in the nation for the number of students enrolled in public K-12 schools, but 48th in per pupil spending, with state funding per pupil down 36.6%. In state dollars alone (per pupil), Arizona only provided 56.5% of the national average according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Education Finances: 2014 report released this year.

Greatly exacerbating the situation (especially moving forward) is the fact that Arizona is one of the five states having “enacted income tax rate cuts costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars each year rather than restore education funding.” Nationwide, states made up 45% of their budget shortfalls between 2008 and 2012 with spending cuts and only 16% with taxes and fees. Governor Ducey has promised to cut income tax every year he is in office, continuing two decades of tax cuts that that will cost the state’s 2016 general fund $4 billion in revenue. He and the Arizona Legislature may blame the recession on Arizona’s budget woes, but “more than 90% of the decline in revenue resulted from tax reductions…the remainder is due to the recession. Adding to the problem is that the Federal education aid programs shrunk at the same time. Those cuts are critical given that one in four of Arizona’s children live in poverty and Federal assistance for high-poverty schools is down 8.3% since 2010. Federal spending for the education of disabled students is also down by 6.4%. Continue reading

Political Calendar: Week of October 23, 2016

The Political Calendar is posted on Sundays. Please send us notice of your political events prior to the Sunday before your event (7 days would be most helpful). See the calendar icon in the right-hand column of the blog page for easy access to the calendar.

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Political Calendar for the Week of October 23, 2016:

Sunday, October 23, 9:30 a.m.:  “Stronger Together” DNC Bus Tour Rally with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, at Pima County Democratic HQ, 4639 E. 1st Street Tucson. Please join us for a canvass launch at Pima County Democratic HQ with the “Stronger Together” DNC Bus and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. For more information please call (520) 326-3716.

Sunday, October 23, Noon:  Get Out the Vote Phone Bank with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, at Pima County Democratic HQ, 4639 E. 1st Street Tucson. Join Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, as we work to elect Hillary Clinton as our next president and turn Arizona blue—don’t forget to bring a friend! For more information please call (520) 326-3716.

Sunday, October 23, 3:00 p.m.: Marana Democrats meeting, at the Continental Reserve Plaza, 8333 N. Silverbell Road, Tucson. For more information please contact Buddy Gill at or (408) 806-2036.

Sunday, October 23, 3:30 p.m.: Ralph Atchue, District 11 Senate candidate meet & greet, at the Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive, Oro Valley. come hear a pro-public education candidate for the Arizona state senate.

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