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.
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.
Today — April 15, 2021 — Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation that legalizes sports betting, fantasy sports betting, and other off-reservation forms of gambling on a bipartisan vote. In fact, without strong support from Democrats, HB2772 and its Senate mirror bill would have died. More Republicans voted “no” than Democrats; I was one of only four Democrats who voted no. I still have serious concerns about the public health consequences of widespread gambling (particularly smart-phone-based gambling) and about the privacy of user data. This deal with the governor will allow the tribes to add online gaming and more brick-and-motor casinos with renewal of the gaming compact.