As prescribed in the US Constitution, every 10 years the United States conducts a census and counts everyone in the country. After the census, there is a redistricting process in which the areas that have gained population can potentially gain seats in the US House of Representatives. Population shifts nationally and statewide dictate that new maps be drawn to update representation in government at multiple levels. Historically, redistricting has been conducted by the political party in power in each state. This has resulted in highly gerrymandered and oddly shaped districts that are designed to keep the party in power in power for another 10 years until after the next census. Allowing the political parties to draw lopsided maps – literally – is obviously not a fair to the people and leads to unrepresentative government.
In 2000, the voters of Arizona passed a Citizen’s Initiative that took the redistricting process out of the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature and gave it to an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). By law, there are two Republican members, two Democratic members and one Independent member.
Arizona’s 2021 Independent Redistricting Commission has been working on new Congressional and Legislative maps for a few months now. Controversial draft maps (version 10) were passed by the commissioners on October 28, 2021.
The maps are not final, and many people in Pima County, myself included, are not happy with the Pima County’s gerrymandered districts. Tucson proper is split into four different districts, ignoring natural boundaries like Interstate 10 and multiple mountain ranges and putting urban areas in districts that are heavily rural.
Continue reading Podcast: Independent Redistricting Commission Draft Maps Ready for Public Comment (video)
One of my pet peeves is reading a cliff-hanger news story, only to be left hanging when there is no follow up. Several stories reported in my previous podcasts have had newsworthy developments since those episodes aired.
To catch you up on the details, Episode 8 is a compilation of updates.
Many of my podcasts referred to petition drives and court cases that were trying to stop bad Republican bills from being enacted. These issues were decided last week. Why last week? Because September 29, 2021 is the 91st day after June 30, 2021, which was the end of the Legislative session. Unless passed with an emergency clause or stopped by the courts or the voters, bills passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor are enacted 90 days after the end of session.
Three previous guests return to discuss the status of the contested laws – particularly the flat tax, the alternative tax to get around Prop 208, the voter suppression bills, the bills attacking the power of the Secretary of State and the power of the governor, Arizona’s latest radical anti-choice bill SB1457, and mandated COVID public health protections.
The good news is that progressives had some wins in the courts. We also had some disappointments. Needless to say, the struggle to beat back oppressive legislation continues. Of course, Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich are appealing cases that the state lost. Brnovich is even appealing the court’s ruling that Republican Legislators acted unconstitutionally when they stuff dozens of unrelated failed bills into the budget. Who is paying for these unnecessary lawsuits generated by unconstitutional or burdensome laws enacted by Republicans? You are. The taxpayer.
Continue reading Podcast: Updates from Taxes to Reproductive Rights & COVID … What’s the Latest?
I’m not the politician who strides into the room with an entourage and takes the first opportunity to grab a mic and give a speech. I’m the politician who wanders around parties and events chitchatting incognito until somebody, like my husband, tips people off and blows my cover.
Before COVID, I heard a lot of your stories with this way.
Literally everywhere I go–even to Jim’s recent Rincon Rangers High School Reunion–people tell me how much they appreciate getting an insider’s view of the Arizona Legislature through my video updates and blog posts.
Although this blog has been quiet since the end of a grueling, six-month Legislative session, I have been busy in the background.* Given the dismal state of our state government and the struggles to make progressive change in the Congress, I decided to up my communication game and start a weekly podcast. Each episode of A View from the Left Side focuses on a specific topic and includes a commentary to set the stage, followed by guest interviews. My podcast is available in podcast format through several services like Spotify, Stitcher Radio, I Heart Radio and others. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the podcast, along with my other updates.
A View from the Left Side began with a soft opening on August 20 with Episode 1: The State of Politics in Arizona. There is obviously a lot of material for a political podcast in Arizona.
Continue reading ‘A View from the Left Side’: New Podcast from Rep. PPH (video)
Eighteen months ago the Arizona Legislature shut down due to the COVID19 pandemic and the governor’s shelter in place order. Arizonans have traveled a rocky road since then.
Throughout most of the pandemic, Arizona’s government has been willing to sacrifice lives in order to hew faithfully to the right’s anti-science ideology, which dovetails neatly with the “open for business” mantra. Pressure from the Chamber of Commerce, COVID deniers, and the Trump administration caused Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to jump the gun more than once and open the state up for business too soon. In the summer of 2020, Arizona was worst in the world for COVID19.
My guests today are Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, and Rep. Melody Hernandez, who is paramedic. Humble provides a brief overview of where Arizona has been and where we are now with the pandemic. He breaks down the history, the science, the policies, the politics, and the personalities. In contrast, as a frontline healthcare worker throughout the pandemic, Hernandez tells stories of tragedy, death and perseverance.
Continue reading Podcast: COVID19 in Arizona: Where Are We Now? 18 Months Later (video)
In early August, a friend of mine invited me to like the Facebook group entitled “Stand Against Barstool Sports Rape Culture.”
It didn’t take much digging to figure out why my friend Kat Stratford had created this group. Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy has quite Internet rap sheet when it comes to sexist behavior and raunchy, misogynist comments about women. With boobs, butts, beers, and blackout parties, Portnoy built the “bro culture” and Barstool Sports. What started as a Boston fantasy sports and gambling newsletter and blog has become a multimillion-dollar, multimedia sports, pop-culture and gaming conglomerate.
On July 27, 2021, Portnoy announced on Twitter that the University of Arizona had offered him a “unicorn deal” by choosing Barstool Sports as the new naming sponsor of the heretofore lackluster Arizona Bowl, which is played at Arizona Stadium on New Year’s Eve. They will not only get multi-year naming privileges and notoriety through the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, the deal with the University also gives Barstool exclusive broadcast rights to the game. Bye, bye, CBS TV.
Exactly one month later on August 27, 2021 the Arizona Department of Gaming announced 18 of the state’s sports betting licenses and their corporate sportsbook partners. Phoenix Raceway was awarded an online sports betting license, and Barstool Sports is their partner. This contract allows Barstool Sports to run bets on the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl during the game.
Continue reading Podcast: Arizona Bowl: Using Sex to Sell Football & Gaming (video)
The United States is about 15 months out from the November 2022 election. At this juncture, there is a lot of drama going on in this country and in the state of Arizona. Social media is awash with lies, conspiracy theories, outrage memes, and anti-science rhetoric on multiple topics. Mainstream news outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, and AZ Central attempt to point out factual inaccuracies, but it is next to impossible to keep up with the volume, when the liars include the former president, his attorney and many elected officials. [Hear this commentary at the beginning of my podcast, linked below.]
There is a segment of the Republican Party that still refuses to accept the results of the November 2020 election. President Joe Biden’s win in Arizona and the involvement of many Arizona elected officials in the “Stop the Steal” movement and the January 6 insurrection put our state in the vortex of the manufactured 2020 election controversy. For months, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Senator Warren Petersen have drawn out the discredited audit of Maricopa County ballots by the Cyber Ninjas. The nation is watching as “fraudit” volunteers examine actual paper ballots to look for bamboo threads and watermarks and follow up on election conspiracy theories. Meanwhile millions of dollars is pouring in from outside sources to support these efforts and copycat efforts in other states to discredit fair elections that were audited multiple times. The Fann and Petersen fraudit is a dangerous game.
Continue reading Podcast: The State of Politics in Arizona (video)