SB 1214 – Getting to the Bottom of Objections

I’m just a little curious. Does anyone else find the objections to SB 1214, the legislation that would exempt CCW permit holders from the weapons bans on state college campuses, a bit creepy? I mean, what does it say about how the people who make those objections see other people?

The fascinating thing about SB 1214 is that it removes any reasonable objection to the presence of guns on government campuses by making it a privilege available only to CCW permit holders; in other words, only to those who are twenty-one and older, have had background checks, education in the law regarding the use of deadly force, training in safe firearm handling and maintenance, and have had demonstrated competency at the shooting range.

Yet, the objections remain. There exists a blind faith belief in “Gun Free Zones.” Guns remain objects of fear and disgust. You know that their argument is lost when they fall back to politically correct “yes men” – in this case, police chiefs and college presidents. Now, it is true that while the jobs of the chiefs and presidents are primarily administrative, they are also largely political, and they are occasionally called upon to give pious politically correct proclamations.

I have said this before, but it still bothers me. Why does the same state that issues the permits, reject the authority of the permits when it comes to state property? Clearly, the state does not believe in its own permit system.

Actually, though, there is a dirty little secret. Here’s how you can have fun with it: ask a gun-hating friend, “Do you think campuses should be Gun Free Zones?” He’ll say, “Of course!” You say, “Did you know that the campus police carry guns?” He’ll say, “Well, yeah, but that’s different.” You’ll say, “Why?” He’ll give you a weird look and say, “C’mon, law enforcement officers are educated in the law regarding the use of lethal force, they’ve had background checks, they have training in weapons handling, and they have to demonstrate competency at the range! That’s what makes it safe for them to be armed.” He’ll give you an even stranger look because he won’t know why you’re laughing. Before you loose his attention, ask, “Would you support requiring cops to check their weapons before entering campus to maintain the integrity of the Gun Free Zone, or are you rethinking the whole idea?” At this point he will probably try to avoid the point by changing the subject, and even get a little angry.

Feel free to keep him going as long as you can. You will not change his mind – it is like a religion – but it can be entertaining.

So, the dirty little secret is that neither side really wants Gun Free Zones. Those who dislike and fear guns want exemptions for trained and authorized government agents only, while supporters of the bill want exemptions for trained and authorized civilians too.

Alas, I must apologize. I kept describing the people who object to SB 1214 as fearing and disliking guns. This obviously is untrue, since they are quite comfortable around guns that hang from the utility belts of policemen. The difference is not the guns, but the bearers. These folks do not fear and dislike guns, they fear and dislike other people, and are calmed by an overpowering government. That’s creepy.

Want fewer innocent people to get shot? Then add more guns!

This was originally published in the Tucson Weekly

“Going postal” entered the vernacular after a slew of shootings at post offices by “disgruntled workers.” Since then, new terms like “school shootings” have found their way into the language.What do schools and post offices have in common that would enable such carnage? If you said, “Schools and post offices are gun-free zones,” move to the head of the class. I would also like to note that there are no terms like “shooting-range shootings” or “going police-headquarters,” even though there are oodles of guns at those places.

Am I suggesting that these places are more dangerous than others by virtue of being “gun-free”? Well, yeah! If that fact is not intuitively obvious to you, you can read up on the subject by getting a copy of More Guns, Less Crime, by John Lott. If you really want to get your head around the idea, get hold of a copy of David T. Hardy’s DVD In Search of the Second Amendment, which will explain why the civil-rights workers of the ’50s and ’60s were not all murdered by the Ku Klux Klan (Hint: They packed pistols!) and why the KKK was able to unmercifully harass and intimidate the black citizenry for so long. (Hint: Black citizens were kept disarmed.)

On Oct. 28, 2002, a murderer entered the UA College of Nursing and shot to death professors Cheryl McGaffic, Barbara Monroe and Robin Rogers before shooting himself. He met with no resistance. It would appear that the banning of guns from the UA campus does not necessarily make that campus any safer.

There are some who insist that “more guns” is not the answer. Well, how many guns would it have taken to save at least one of those lives? Answer: More guns.

Fortunately, an island of sanity is rising up in this sea of brain-dead irrationality. A nationwide group of more than 8,000 students called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (

concealedcampus.org ) is starting to pressure universities to allow students, with concealed-carry permits, to carry concealed weapons on campus.

Is there any serious objection to this? Should we not ask the same state government that owns the university, and issues concealed-carry permits, to trust its own judgment? The only downside that I see is that universities could expand the permit requirement to other rights, like free speech and free practice of religion.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will soon hear an appeal to a district court decision that struck down Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns. (By the way, I love the acronym “SCOTUS,” because it sounds like a disease of the nether regions.) Washington, D.C., has a virtual ban on all functioning privately held firearms. It is also the murder capital of the country … coincidence?

Hardy, a lawyer who lives in Tucson and who argued before SCOTUS (and who created the aforementioned DVD), predicted that the court would take the case. He also said that the current academic consensus–even in prestigious lefty institutions–is that the Second Amendment is an individual right. That’s bad news for the Brady Center types. Fortunately for them, members of SCOTUS put as much weight in their consciences, and their foreign policy goals, as they do in the Constitution itself. It will all boil down to whether or not “Justice” Anthony Kennedy likes the idea.

In the meantime, a mentally ill man earlier this month entered a “gun-free” shopping mall–where even the security guards were unarmed–and murdered as many people as he liked before he killed himself. A week or so later, a man who apparently intended mass murder (four guns and hundreds of rounds) entered a church, killed two people and then–oops! An armed security guard stopped the attack, and dozens of lives were saved. No “gun-free zone” there.

The fact is that “gun-free zones” do not deter violence; rather, they invite it. They provide a safe place to murder.

None of Your Business

The following is from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

Court Strikes Down State Law Prohibiting Workplace Gun Policies

By Joanne Deschenaux

An Oklahoma federal court ruled that a state law barring employers from prohibiting weapons on workplace property was invalid because it was pre-empted by federal law. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma concluded that the law ran afoul of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) “general duty” clause, which requires an employer to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”

This decision “gives Oklahoma employers relief from the ‘Catch-22’ position of having to choose between violating state or federal law,” Julie Elgar, SHRM’s Georgia state legislative director and an attorney at Ford and Harrison LLP in Atlanta told SHRM Online in an Oct. 23 interview. It also gives employers in states with similar laws a weapon to challenge the laws, she said. And, in states in which the legislature has fought over but ultimately failed to pass such laws, employers have legal ammunition when the issue comes up again, as it is likely to do in Georgia. “It’s a strong weapon to have in your arsenal,” Elgar noted.

Comment: This is the sort of thing that makes my head explode. A business is private property. There used to be rights associated with private property. Were that still the case, the business owner would develop a policy appropriate for his business, implement it, and shazaam!, resolution! Instead, the business owner, who has the biggest stake in the outcome, must sit on the sideline while state legislatures and feral… sorry, federal courts duke it out. I suppose if one is to be a slave, it’s nice to have competing masters fight over you.

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel

Our Great and Wonderful Council is back at it. They’re considering some form of cell phone ban – in cars for now.

The impetus is typical – Phoenix is doing it. We tend to have a condescending attitude toward our neighbor to the north, yet we continue to copy their bad ideas (the “light rail” effort comes to mind).

Ibarra, Scott, West, and Uncle Bob Walkup all want to see something done either at the municipal or state level. Speaking of the state level, Mr. Light Rail himself, Steve Farley, has been working on it – unsuccessfully so far.

The merits of multi-tasking in one’s car are really not the important issue. The important issue is what this effort says about how you are viewed by your elected officials. Are you an adult with adult judgment, or are you a child who will wreak all kinds of havoc without big brother’s watchful eye upon you? It used to be that laws would help us defend ourselves against force and fraud. Now they seemed to be there to micromanage our lives for our own good. Don’t eat that! Don’t discard that piece of plastic! You can have this kind of car. Keep your hands on the wheel and stare forward! Don’t think that thought or you’re a hate criminal! That’s better… good boy!

Pay attention to your neighborhood surroundings–but don’t homogenize

This was originally published in the Tucson Weekly

Greater Tucson offers a variety of places to live. From lonely parcels out past the Sierrita Mountains, to cellblock-style apartments in town, to sprawling luxury homes in the foothills, you can find it all here.Well, OK, Tucson has no true urban living, which is probably just as well, considering the state of urban environs found elsewhere. However, if you feel a deep void in your heart knowing that Tucson has no downtown reminiscent of the mid-20th century, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone: An army of politicians and bureaucrats is working feverishly to build an ersatz downtown just for you, a veritable Potemkin village known as Rio Nuevo.

In any event, I have a word of caution for those of you seeking to escape suburbia for a more rural setting: Don’t go halfway! If you do, you may end up in “American Dreamland”–an area outside of town, but not quite in the country.

A friend of mine, who used to dabble in real estate, actually coined the term. I asked him if he was familiar with properties in the area of Taylor Lane, just this side of Three Points. He grunted and said, “Yeah, American Dreamland, where every American has the right to screw up his property any way he wants.”

Now, I was taken aback and quite offended that he would have a problem with any property owner building on his property as he sees fit. I almost launched into a libertarian tirade, but refrained in light of the fact that we were in his car; he was driving; and it was a long walk back to town. As they say, “Discretion is the better part of valor.”

I do, however, understand his point. If one were to drive down Taylor Lane, one would see every kind of dwelling, from nice, well-maintained houses, to not-so-nice houses, to nice trailers with gardens, to wrecked trailers with junked cars. It’s a horrifying place if you’re into the whole Don Diamond, Daly City thing.

I was not bothered in the least by the variety and felt a certain satisfaction in witnessing that a person can still “screw up his property any way he wants.”

You may ask: “If the place is so satisfying, what’s with the warning?”

Well, one should be aware that American Dreamland has a disproportionally high number of twisted anti-social types. Please, no hysterical accusations of generalizations, broad brushes, etc. I said “disproportionally high,” meaning high in the relative, not absolute, sense.

I had a relative who lived for a while in American Dreamland. Through him, I had the pleasure of meeting a child-molesting con artist, a violent felon fresh from the Big House, and an idiot. A co-worker once told me about visiting someone in American Dreamland and watching the man across the street shoot a quail in his front yard and cook it up on the front porch. Now, I’ve done a fair amount of quail hunting, but it never occurred to me to shoot one in my front yard.

To be fair, I did meet a very nice man who owned a business in town that employed people. He used much of his property for materials storage and had a few German shepherds to keep the undesirables at bay.

It makes sense, in a way. It’s easier for misfits to live in the county, with no municipal ordinances, limited zoning and no neighborhood associations. They don’t rub up against their neighbors as much, and most of American Dreamland is within striking distance of jobs in or near town.

Again, these antisocial folks do not represent most people in American Dreamland. The point is that one must pay attention when picking a home or property. There may be consistency within neighborhoods, but not across the region.

The point is that with freedom comes responsibility, and we all must pay attention when making choices. Some people think that by homogenizing everything, from housing to health care, risk can be eliminated. They are wrong, and such attempts lead to no choice and the stifling of creativity–not to mention damage to the human spirit.

The Week in Review – 5/5/07

Dutch Rub-Out
Wolfowitz and the World Bank’s Euro-cabal.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz faces an “ad hoc committee” investigating his alleged ethics violations today, but it seems the committee has reached its conclusions even before he has a chance to defend himself. This fits the pattern of what is ever more clearly a Euro-railroad job.
On Saturday, the Washington Post cited “three senior bank officials” as saying that the committee has “nearly completed a report” concluding that Mr. Wolfowitz “breached ethics rules when he engineered a pay raise for his girlfriend.” The Post also reported that, “According to bank officials, the timing of the committee’s report and its conclusions have been choreographed for maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to persuade Wolfowitz to go.” So there it is from the plotters themselves: Verdict first, trial later.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010008

Comment: Petty and corrupt, now you know why they are called “Euroweenies.” It is sad that a continent with such a rich history would come to this. This is another anecdote that reveals the cultural superiority of the frontier as evidenced by the superiority of America to Europe, and the western states to the eastern seaboard.

When Talk Isn’t Cheap
Campaign finance regulators say speech isn’t free–it’s a form of “contribution.”
Campaign finance laws are increasingly becoming a tool to suppress political speech, and the courts are finally waking up to the danger. Last week a unanimous Washington state Supreme Court struck down an outrageous interpretation of a law that had been used to classify the antitax comments of two Seattle talk-radio hosts as “campaign contributions” subject to regulation–that is, suppression–by local prosecutors and officials who disagreed.
Washington’s highest court struck down a decision by Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham, who in 2005 ordered KVI radio hosts John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur had to place a monetary value on “campaign contributions” they made when they argued in favor of Initiative 912, a ballot measure to repeal a 9.5-cent-a-gallon increase in the state’s gasoline tax. The antitax measure ultimately lost by 6% of the vote, in part because its opponents outspent its supporters by 20 to 1.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110010006

Comment: It’s stuff like this that make people understand that government, more and more, is the problem, not the solution. Most laws we see passed nowadays are immoral, if not illegal. Here we see an immoral law stretched to illegal extremes.

AWOL
By Robert Spencer
Has it ever happened before, in the history of the world, that almost six years into a major conflict, half of the intelligentsia of a nation fighting the war was not convinced that there was even a war on? Such was the implication of a moment during Thursday’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. When asked, “Do you believe there is such a thing as a Global War On Terror,” candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Christopher Dodd raised their hands. John Edwards, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel kept their hands down.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=28084

Comment: Spencer goes on to point out that words mean things, and that it is quite dangerous to give the war cute names like “The War on Terror”, when it is, in fact, “The War on Jihad”. John Edwards (aka “The Breck Girl”) appears to be slipping from the group of those who pose as serious people, to the group of moonbats.

After Imus
No more witch burnings for PC offenses.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Don Imus, Bernard McGuirk, Trent Lott, Larry Summers, the Duke lacrosse team, Jimmy the Greek, the kid who yelled “water buffalo” at Penn, Howard Cosell, Jon Stewart, Chief Illiniwek, Jackie Mason and “South Park” all have in common only one thing: They have not been Politically Correct.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/dhenninger/?id=110010019

Comment: At last, someone has finally stepped back and looked at what has happened to our culture. The Stalinist enforcers of Political Correctness have achieved outside the government what tradition totalitarians used to do within the government.

Tucson Region
Havasupai suit over research tossed
A suit against the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and researchers claiming they misused blood samples from Havasupai tribal members was dismissed by a Maricopa Superior Court judge, but tribal officials say they intend to refile the suit.
Carletta Tilousi, a plaintiff and Havasupai tribal councilwoman, said the tiny tribe’s leaders maintain ASU researchers used blood samples authorized only for the study of diabetes instead for research into schizophrenia, inbreeding and migratory patterns.
http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/181455

Comment: O.K., we can all agree that there should be clarity, and certainly no fraud when sampling for scientific research – but I do not think that that is what is going on here. This is political. American tribes have acquired a great store of political capital that is contingent on imagined glorious cultures that existed, unaltered, from the beginning of time to 1492. That is why scientific research is a threat, and will be fought at every opportunity. I suspect that this is the primary motivation here.

Tucson Region
National prayer day in Tucson
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.04.2007
http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/181486

Comment: Uh…um…. Other than a photograph caption, there is no text to go along with this “story”? Does that seem odd to you? Do you suppose the reporter was less than enthusiastic about it? Perhaps there was not an enthusiastic reporter working for the Red Star. Just speculating. Oddly enough, there were seven comments on this story with no words.

The Skinny
By JIM NINTZEL
MARKET FORCES
One of The Skinny’s favorite haunts, the Book Stop, is leaving Campbell Avenue after four decades.
Why? Because the center’s leasing agent/part owner, Richard “Dick” Shenkarow, is a total tool.
Book Stop owners Claire Fellows and Tina Bailey are gonna walk before he makes them run, escaping to Fourth Avenue before Shenkarow raises the rent.
The unassuming bookstore, just north of the intersection with Grant Road, was full of an ever-changing collection of treasures–shelf after shelf of classics, pulp fiction, best-sellers, obscure lit mags, hideous cookbooks, old yearbooks and so much more.
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Opinion/Content?oid=oid:95664

Comment: Our friend Jim Nintzel reflects on one of the local bibliophiles favorite “haunts.” He also brings us up to date on the presidential race, including where Arizonans stand.

Why not let neighborhoods–not the city government–decide their own fate?

This was originally published in the Tucson Weekly

Back in March, our City Council put off a vote on the proposed Neighborhood Protection Zone (NPZ) ordinance. The ordinance would add another “layer” of zoning on top of existing zoning laws. The new NPZ would differ from existing zoning regulations in that each neighborhood assigns its own standards within certain guidelines, and submits the plan through the regular zoning process.Many residents, of the “owner-occupied” variety, are witnessing a profound change in the neighborhoods where they live. People are moving into these neighborhoods who have different lifestyles and customs, and just plain “don’t look like” the average, middle-income Tucson family. These interlopers are primarily college students, or, if you prefer the clinical description, “transient residents.”

Many neighborhoods, which were far from the university for decades, now find themselves alarmingly close. A look at the Jefferson Park and Feldman neighborhoods, for example, reveals property owners adding a couple of bedrooms onto a single-family dwelling, or scraping the lot to install two-story monstrosities with insufficient parking. Sometimes, these projects are within zoning and land-use regulations (barely), and sometimes, they receive “variances” from the city. This is the “mini-dorm” phenomenon.

At the risk of sounding less than maniacally enthusiastic about “diversity” in housing, I must say that I have sympathy for the homeowners. They typically spend their lives working to provide a family-friendly environment for their children and themselves. It’s no wonder that they experience a certain amount of tedium when they are awakened by the police helicopter at 2 a.m., have to pick beer bottles and other trash from their yards, and are compelled to explain a “BUCK FUSH” bumper sticker to their 8-year-old child while they walk to the school bus stop.

While most university-area residents clamored for immediate passage, some are not so sure that a NPZ is the answer. As one resident pointed out, it would be difficult to differentiate between a homeowner improving his dwelling and the building of a mini-dorm. The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and the Chamber of Commerce wanted the details hammered out among the “stakeholders” before a new law was chiseled in stone.

On April 24, the City Council voted to try a 90-day “pilot program” in the university area to work out the bugs before passing the ordinance. This is such a smart approach to developing a complex program that it could have been suggested by a Republican. Of course, had Republicans voted to pass such a plan, there would have been much growling and gnashing of teeth, but since it was the Democrats (Karin Uhlich made the motion), it’s all right–much like the trash-collection fees. But I digress.

Ironically, the City Council already has the authority to add zoning overlays. They could do it anytime. The problem, from the council’s perspective, is that any such action would invariably anger a bunch of people, and angry bunches of people do not make for happy re-elections. Better to foist it off on the neighborhood busybodies–let them catch the flak.

Speaking of existing powers … how about looking at the traditional rights of private property as a solution? Members of a neighborhood could contract with each other to develop their properties within strict guidelines. How about a 100-year usage easement? I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll bet one could figure out a contract that would serve as a model for more than a few neighborhoods. The city could sell, or even give, its property within the neighborhood borders to the neighborhood, and then the neighborhood would own the entire enchilada! The city could no longer screw the neighborhood with “variances.” It could even install gates.

No, this is not sarcasm, and yes, I understand that it is fashionable to hold a condescending attitude toward gated communities, but at some point, a choice will have to be made. Look, if you want to form an enclave against the tide, then you have to form an enclave against the tide. I just think it’s morally superior to get there through private contracting rather than government coercion.

Martha Stewart – Victim

We really need to start getting angry. If our public servants can abuse legal processes to slap around the high rollers, what keeps us safe and secure?

Martha Stewart was accused of insider trading. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case, and found no evidence of a crime. So, end of story, right? Well, no, this was a high profile case that was extensively covered in the media. Nobody wanted to look stupid, or walk away empty handed, so they had to come up with something. Not to worry. Any statement that is incorrect, or does not match answers to other, similar questions becomes “lying to a federal agent,” or, “obstruction of justice.” An indictment was born.

Getting the conviction was easy. The jurors were, in general, prejudice toward Stewart, and cared little for the law. When asked how he arrived at the guilty verdict, one of Stewart’s jurors said, “I did it for the little guy.” I suspect that the juror had no clue as what was going on, unless the FBI special agent in question was, in fact, a little guy.

More recently, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found himself in a tough spot. His investigation into who “leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent,” showed that Valerie Plame had not performed any “covert” work for over ten years, and was quite free about telling people that she was an employee of the CIA. He also learned from Bob Novak himself that Novak heard about Valerie Plame’s employment from Richard Armitage, one of the State Department’s Bush haters. Nobody from Bush or Cheney’s staff had anything to do with it. In fact, as Fitzpatrick admitted in a press conference, no crime was committed.

As we have learned, the fact that no crime was committed was of little import. He was able to “Martha Stewart” Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Louis Libby. This conviction was even easier. Since the trial was in the District of Columbia, the jury pool was five to one Democrat over Republican. All he had to do was rag on Bush and Cheney to get it. So little time was spent discussing the actual case that the jury, days into the deliberations, had to ask the judge what the heck Libby was charged with anyway.

Stepping out of the national spotlight does not appear to help. In 1996, then again in 1998, Arizonans passed, through the ballot initiative process, provisions for the legal, medicinal use of marijuana. The state legislature thwarted the first one, while the feds rendered the second pointless.

More recently, the citizenry overwhelmingly passed a property rights initiative (prop 203) that is now under assault by, get this, municipal government bureaucrats. Our public servant neighbors are requiring the signing away of Prop 203 property rights as a prerequisite to zoning changes, building permits, etc.

Now, whether or not one happens to agree with either of these initiatives, we should all get pissed-off at any government person, or agency, that shows such contempt for legal processes. If government officials flout the laws resulting from these processes, if the legal system processes become the toys of prosecutors, we are all in heap big trouble.

If we are to live under the “rule of law,” as opposed to the “rule of men,” then we need to understand what that means, and demand it. I admit that this problem is neither new, nor particularly exciting, but it is very, very, important. It is no longer a problem peculiar to Washington, or even a problem peculiar to Phoenix, it is a problem that stretches from federal prosecutors to city staff.

The War on Prop. 207

In Kelo vs. City of New London, the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to property rights. A horrified citizenry affected remedies at the state level. In Arizona, the governor vetoed the remedial legislation. Undeterred, a ballot proposition, number 207, made it to the ballot, and was passed overwhelmingly with sixty five per cent of the vote.

Arizona may be an example of the new front in the war for property rights.

Last November a property rights initiative, Prop 207, was passed by an overwhelming sixty-five per cent of the Arizona citizenry. After being betrayed by the courts, then thwarted by a Napolitano veto of corrective legislation, the people took direct action through the initiative process. This is right, fitting, and proper. Remember, it was not an opinion poll. Prop 207 is the law.

Now, no one expects the cities and counties of Arizona to be happy about it. After all, they did spend millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to defeat it. Yet, the less cynical among us might expect that, since it is the law, and the citizens overwhelmingly support it, they might start thinking about how they will comply. The rest of us wondered how the local governments would get around it. Citizens (as opposed to subjects) are truly a thorn in the paw of the government bureaucracy beast.

Well, in mere months, the rest of us have our answer. Many Arizona cities now require property owners to surrender their Prop. 207 rights in order to receive zoning changes and other land use permits. They are required to sign a waiver to that affect.

This little gem of an idea came from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, a lobbying organization representing ninety local governments, and paid in tax dollars. Now, the notion that cities need to hire lobbyists with tax money to promote their interests (as opposed to those of their constituents) is an argument for another day, though I do believe that if these cities were as enthusiastic about the interests of their constituents as they are of their own, the State of Arizona would be a better place.

Apache Junction requires these waivers for all land use transactions, and the cities of Gilbert and Chandler require them for all zoning requests. With its City Council’s recent lurch to the left, will Tucson be far behind?

Some may scoff and say, “C’mon, everyone knows that you can’t sign away rights. Those waivers are not legal under the State or Federal Constitution, and will not survive the first court challenge.” Oh yeah? What court? Remember, the highest appellate court in the land said that the City of New London’s seizing of Mrs. Kelo’s home and giving it to the Pfizer Corporation was a “public use.” That decision, by the members of the Supreme Court, is the court equivalent of the cities’ waivers.

With Governor Napolitano (also known as “JANET”) keeping the pantywaist legislators in check, there is no branch of government left to whom we may turn. That’s right, there is no knight who will ride in on a white horse and slay the beast. We have to do this, fight for the rule of law, and our rights. It has always been that way.

How, you may ask, do we “fight” the evildoers? Try these: Set up a web site where people can pledge to deny support, financial or other forms, to any elected official who allows this lawlessness in his city. Promise a serious primary challenge to any elected official who allows this lawlessness. Generate a list of such officials, and pledge support to their opponents. Ask all candidates for elected office to sign a pledge to seek compliance with ARS 12-1131 (Prop. 207), broadcast the names of those who refuse.

These are just a few ideas. There are many political operatives out there who can conjure up tactics far more juicy than these. Bureaucrats are not the only ones who can play hardball.

We have two choices. We can tame the beast, or give up, and live to feed it.

The city declined all-mail voting– but unfortunately, the issue will return

 

This was originally published in the Tucson Weekly

It appears that our City Council has negotiated a deal with the Eastborne Company. They plan to put in a huge development that will include a tract of KB Homes houses, a retail complex (complete with a “big box”), and, of course, some University of Arizona “park” of some sort. It will be located in the South Park neighborhood near Park and 36th. But hey, at least we got rid of those dang Republicans on the City Council who suck up to KB Homes, change zoning for rich developers, and allow more of those awful “big box” stores! (Har, har, har, chortle, chortle).

While most council business goes on as usual, our elected representatives were flirting with a new and very wicked idea – all mail-in voting. Thankfully, in the course of Tuesday evening’s meeting, the idea was officially abandoned …for now. Unfortunately, mail-in voting, like “light rail” and herpes, never really goes away. Remember, too, that if they do it in the Emerald City (Portland, Oregon), the Democrats will want to do it here.

This time, the discussion avoided the real issue, and focused on pragmatic problems such as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Frankly, I would be tempted to tell the swinging Richard from Washington to shove it – but that’s just me. The City Clerk is faced with the huge headache of bringing all polling places into compliance. Of course, if most of the polling places went away, so would the headache. Expect support from City Clerk Kathy Detrick next time around.

The elephant in the voting booth, about which no one is speaking, is fraud. You know, we have had pens, paper, and a postal system for over two hundred years, yet we go to the voting booths to cast our votes. Why is that?

Here’s a hint. When you are in the booth, you are alone with the ballot, you mark it, and then you put it in a locked box that is guarded by people from both parties. It’s called a “secret ballot”. Secret ballots are important because they insure that your vote reflects your choice, and not that of your spouse, employer, union representative, landlord, etc. Get it? Why do you suppose that the poll worker will not touch your ballot, and makes you put it in the box yourself?

Some say that making voting easy would encourage more participation. We already have mail-in voting on demand with the absentee ballots – but we know it’s not about participation; it’s about the F-word.

The Motor-Voter law made registering as easy as breaking wind, and now taxpayers from Hyannis to San Francisco are spending big bucks trying to remove fraudulent registrations from the voter rolls.

A number of ACORN people were indicted in St. Louis for submitting fraudulent registrations (it’s still against the law, even for Democrats). Voting by mail is an invitation for similar shenanigans a little further along in the process. There is an ACORN chapter in Tucson, by the way.

There was an election recently in which voters resoundingly defeated a ballot initiative that would have created a statewide mail-in voting scheme. In light of this fact, one would imagine that mail-in voting would now be the “third rail” of Arizona politics. Facilitating fraud must be one heck of a motivation.

One last thing, and this is something that every American knows at a gut level (Tom Danehy will back me on this). Voting with a secret ballot is the most important civic duty that a citizen can perform. It is a right that should be exercised with some gravity. It is not the equivalent of mailing in a magazine subscription – 5 years for $50.00, 2 years for $30.00, 1 year for $20.00, Libertarian, Republican, Democrat. If you increase the turnout fifty per cent with voters who do not take the decision seriously, have you improved the process, or cheapened it?

So, the next time that this mail-in vote stuff comes around, call your Councilman and tell him to knock it off, and get back to greasing the skids for developers and building “big boxes” on the South Side.