Voter suppression and unnecessary tinkering with elections have been themes in the Legislature this session.
SB1154 was defeated last week but passed the House today on reconsideration. This bill changes the primary date from the end of August to the beginning of August.
At first blush, this doesn’t seem to be a very big deal. Having the primary at the end of August makes it very close to the general election. Having the primary at the beginning of August gives candidates more time to win the general election l, but it could artificially suppress the primary vote, in my opinion.
If the primary is at the beginning of August, mailed ballots will go out around the Fourth of July. What do Arizonans like to do in July? Leave town! Also, the vast majority of college students will not be in town to vote in July/early August.
We should be facilitating voting — not pass laws that will make it more difficult for some groups.
For many years, author and historian John Nichols has been coming to Tucson for the Festival of Books. In addition to his popular appearances at the Book Festival, Nichols has a tradition of speaking on Saturday evening at a free event hosted by Progressive Democrats of American (PDA Tucson) and the Pima Area Labor Federation (PALF).
2019 is no exception. Nichols will appear at the IBEW Hall on Saturday, March 2, with doors open at 6 p.m. and the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley will warm up the crowd with local political news from the Arizona Legislature. Powers Hannley was recently named “most valuable state Legislator” by The Nation magazine.
Nichols is a consummate storyteller and political historian. He writes for The Nation and is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and Democracy Now. He is the author of Uprising, Dollarocarcy, and more recently Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guid to the Most Dangerous People in America.
If you have never heard Nichols speak, I urge you to take advantage of this free event– away from the crowds and parking hassles of the University of Arizona. Here are a few video clips from past years. The 2019 event is sponsored by PDA Tucson, PALF, and Our Revolution- Arizona for Bernie Sanders. Facebook event here.
I won’t be downtown for the birthday party because I am giving a talk on the Equal Rights Amendment on Saturday night in Tubac, but I hope you all will check out the festivities and the live music on the streetcar and along the route. Here are a few photos and a video from opening day.
The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino, and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page. (Video after the jump.)
Today, January 20, 2016, President Barack Obama became our former president.
Today, Donald Trump entered the office of president with the worst approval rating ever– 40%.
For many months, different groups have been planning post-inauguration protests, teach-ins, marches, and other activism to greet the new president. (After all, many groups were alienated by him during his campaign, and we’re motivated.)
On Saturday, January 21– here in Tucson and nationwide–women (and others) will be marching in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. (Background below.) The Tucson event will start at 10 a.m. at Armory Park, and attendees will march to the main library downtown for booths, speeches and festivities. (Details here.)
The theme of the nationwide march is: “Become the soul of the nation.” This is taken from a quote by Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.” – Coretta Scott King
We can’t continue to be depressed and bitter about the election. It’s time to push against the forces that want to keep us down. What better way to start the new year and the newest phase of the struggle than to march in solidarity, build community, and fight for equal rights?
To that end, I submitted a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) on January 12. HCR2012 is the House bill, and Senator Martin Quezada submitted the same bill in the Arizona Senate (SCR1003).
The ERA needs only three states to ratify it before it can become the next amendment to the US Constitution, and Arizona is one of the 15 states that never passed it. Former Supreme Court Justice and former Arizona Legislator Sandra Day O’Connor was the first person to propose passage of the ERA in Arizona back in the 1970s. It’s time to finish the job. The ERA was originally proposed in 1923, and women need Constitutional protection now more than ever.
Unfortunately, the House version of the ERA is currently wallowing on Speaker J.D. Mesnard’s desk and has not been assigned to a committee. (Bills are killed by not being assigned to a committee, by being voted down in committee or by being voted down on the House or Senate floor. The Senate bill has been assigned to government and rules. You can use the Request to Speak system if it gets on the agenda or comment any time via email and telephone.)
The ERA deserves to be heard in committee and debated on the floor of the Arizona House and the Arizona Senate. If you agree, please call or email your representatives and senators and urge them to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Women will not have equal pay or full equal rights in the US without passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Even at the highest income levels, women make less than men. Overall, Latinas and African American women make far less. This is a societal economic issue; it’s not a “women’s issue.” When 51% of the population makes less than the prevailing wage, that suppresses the economy statewide and nationwide. When people have money in their pockets, the economy thrives. When people are scraping by due to low wages and high debt, the economy lags. It’s time to turn this ship around and give women equality and Constitutional protection.
Laughing Liberally political comics regularly perform around town. Tonight– July 31— the comics will perform at Hotel Congress at 8 p.m. The twist for tonight’s event will be the addition of tabling politicians like myself. Come on down! Have a laugh, meet the candidates, and enjoy an evening of politics and laughs.
In honor of tonight’s event, check out my one and only Laughing Liberally performance from 2012. I had the honor of blogging the 2012 DNC for the Huffington Post. Hear about my experiences below, and come to Hotel Congress tonight to catch some laughs and meet fellow progressives.
In this time of turmoil and division, how about a bit of Americana and togetherness?
Tomorrow is the 53rd annual Camden-Palo Verde 4th of July Parade. According to Palo Verde Neighborhood lore, two women cooked up the 4th of July parade idea as a way to keep the kids busy on a hot summer day.
In 2004, when I downsized my life (after being laid-off) and bought my little 1933 adobe in the Palo Verde Neighborhood, I had no idea about it’s place in history. Victor and Sylvia Sloan were the original owners of our house, and Sylvia was one of the parade founders, along with local singer Andy Hersey’s grandmother, who lived down the street.
Fifty-three years later, the parade is still going strong. The neighborhood association does a great job of organizing this event. They even bring out display boards with historic photos of the parade. There are old B&W photos of women with beehive hairdos sitting on our front porch smoking and watching the children.
Pancake breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. at 3412 E. Fairmont (west of Palo Verde). Parade registration for the parade begins at 8:30 a.m. at the same location.
Jim and I will be there with treats and bike stickers. Too bad our grandchildren are out of town. 🙂
Wear a costume, decorate your bike, build a float! Come on down.
The Tucson Peace Fair is happening this Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Reid Park Bandshell. My husband Jim and I have tabled at the Peace Fair for many years first with the Progressive Democrats of America and last year as Arizonans for a New Economy (Arizona’s public banking initiative and a member of the Tucson Peace Center).
We will be at the Peace Fair again this year with our public banking materials and new flier What Wall Street Costs America (and Arizona). What does Wall Street cost America: a lot! According to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), Arizona pays $312 million per year in interest on Wall Street debt, and the state’s total debt service is over $800 million per year! To learn more about the Public Banking Institute’s What Wall Street Costs America project, go here.
Tucson was a happening place back in 1981 when I moved here. Earthquakes in California and blizzards in the Midwest had prompted waves of migration to the sun belt. The town was bustling, and everyone was from somewhere else. Opportunity was in the air– as evidenced by all of the things that started in the early 1980s that we still enjoy today– the Tucson Weekly, KXCI, the Tucson Kitchen Musicians, and (until recently) Access Tucson.
Unfortunately, before I moved here, no one warned me about “right to work” states. All I had to go on was my Dad’s warning: “They didn’t like unions” out there.
With a bachelors degree and eight years of experience, I had been making $8/hour (with health insurance, paid sick time, and paid vacation) as a professional photographer working for a swanky graphic and product design agency in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to moving, I mailed resumes hawking my writing, photography, and graphic design skills to Tucson agencies and got a number of job interviews. I received two job offers pretty quickly, but when I told them I expected to make what I had made in Ohio, they literally laughed in my face. “You’re not going to make that here! You’ll be lucky to make $6/hour.” (That guy was right. I was offered $6/hour by both potential employers. I turned them down and opted for $25/hour as a freelancer– early shades of the local gig economy.)
In Columbus, I had been making about 2.5x the $3.35/hour minimum wage and was told to expect 1.8x the minimum wage in Arizona– even though our rent ($250/month) in Tucson was significantly higher for a much smaller and less stylish place than we had in Columbus.
Let’s Do the Math
What’s with the history lesson you ask? This is actually a math lesson…
Not ones to let grass grow under our feet, my husband Jim and I attended the Pima Area Labor Federation’s (PALF) 19th Annual Labor Day Picnic.
Usually we’re tabling at the Labor Day picnic, but this year, we circulated among the crowds of unionists, family members, and supporters and gathered signatures and $5 Clean Elections contributions. I had a great time talking with people at the different booths and reminiscing about my Dad’s days in the SteelWorkers in the 1960s. I was raised union, and I stand with them.
The picnic was HOT as usual but well attended. It’s is always a fun family event with tug-of-war, a hot-dog eating contest, dancing, and kids’ activities. And, of course, there are always fiery political speeches. This year, unionists were particularly riled up about the Teamsters’ bus strike in Tucson.