by David Safier
It's speculation time here, but this is evidence-based speculation. The "Linkages" between Ethan Orr, candidate for State Rep, and car dealer Jim Click are very strong -- and I use the word "Linkages" advisedly. The question is, if Ethan Orr were elected to the state legislature, would he feel compelled to cater to Click's legislative dictates?
We may have seen a preview of what would happen if Orr were in the lege in his stand against Prop 204, the renewal of the one cent sales tax. Would Orr have taken a strong stand against the initiative if its defeat wasn't on Click's radar?
In 1996, Jim Click founded the nonprofit organization, Linkages. Its purpose is to give workforce skills to unemployed people with disabilities. It calls itself "The bridge between businesses and people with disabilities." Ethan Orr is Linkages' Executive Director.
The organization looks like it does good work. I really know nothing about it other than its website and some articles I've read. My concern is that Jim Click is the Founder and current President of Linkages, and Ethan Orr is its Executive Director. This says to me, Orr's job is dependent on Click's approval. I doubt that Orr would last long in the position if he lost favor with the Founder and President.
And this brings me to something I posted about earlier: Ethan Orr's stand against Prop 204. The explanation he gave at the Catalina Foothills Ed Forum for his objection to the initiative was uncharacteristically garbled -- something about a "profound experience" (those are his words) at an Arizona Town Hall event. I don't agree with Orr on lots of issues, but he tends to be a clear, logical thinker. This poorly presented explanation, which I have on tape and have listened to over and over, was just weird. He ended it by saying,
"The problem with Arizona education isn't funding. It's sustainable funding."
What funding could be more sustainable than a permanent one cent sales tax dedicated to education? All the way through his answer, Orr seemed to be blathering, not thinking.
The Ethan Orr/Jim Click connection may explain why Orr was against a measure he otherwise might have supported. A Howie Fischer article says the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association has contributed mightily to the No on Prop 204 campaign.
The Arizona Automobile Dealers Association asked its members to pony up $2 for every vehicle each of them moved in 2011. The result was a donation of nearly $339,000 to the anti-Proposition 204 effort, making it the second-largest single source of cash for the campaign.
According to the article, the reason the car dealers care so much is that they sell big money items. Even a penny per dollar adds up in, say, a $25,000 car purchase, where one percent would add $250 to the deal. For car dealers, they're fighting for their pocketbooks with their pocketbooks when they pony up to defeat Prop 204. Concern for our children's educations doesn't even come into the mix.
Fischer doesn't have information about specific contributers to the $339,000 fund, but it's reasonable to think Click, who tends to give money to political causes, would have given generously. The question is, how would he feel if Orr, a highly placed employee in Click's nonprofit, was going around arguing against Click's interests?
Following the same logical thread, if Orr were elected, how beholden would he be to his benefactor's legislative dictates?