12 March 2010

March 2010 LD22 Meeting

Last night I was fortunate to attend the Republican Legislative District 22 meeting again for the fourth time, and I got to hear from some very interesting speakers who are gearing up their campaign runs. The meeting was held at the Freestone Park Recreation Center in Gilbert, in a small community room which filled up rather quickly with district 22 members. After picking up the obligatory sheaf of papers for the meeting agenda, last meeting's minutes, flyers on upcoming events, and candidate literature, I went around to talk to people doing the petition signings, which is usually my favorite part of such gatherings: picking the brains of the other volunteers.

In attendance were Mesa City Councilman Scott Summers, LD22 House Candidate Brett Petillo, Fulton Brock from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Horne, candidate for Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and representatives from the No on Prop. 406 campaign and Jeff Smith for Congress (CD-6).

Once the meeting was called to order, the LD22 leadership performed an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance before getting right down to business. First to speak was a man named Kevin Ross, one of the representatives regarding the No on Prop. 406 campaign and resident expert on the Gilbert "Ground Zero Anti-Tax Rally." The group, a TEA party movement (Taxed Enough Already):
is holding this rally to try and get the Arizona Legislature and Gilbert Town Council to stop hiking tax rates for Gilbert citizens (and, well, everyone else). If you are interested, though I won't be going since it's my father's birthday, the event is tomorrow, Saturday March 13, from 10am to 3pm at the Gilbert Municipal Center (50 E. Civic Center Drive in Gilbert). The event promises to be a very family-friendly affair including face painting, sign-making workshop and contest, tee-shirt design contest, and most importantly, little to no political speechmaking beyond Mr. Ross's promise to let J.D. Hayworth and Jan Brewer have the microphone if they showed up and chose to use that time. If any of my readers out there are going to attend, I would really enjoy hearing how it goes - post some comments on this blog about the event!

After Mr. Ross had finished, Supervisor Fulton Brock of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBS) took the podium to speak about the new controversial courthouse towers that are being built for Maricopa County to alleviate some of the overcrowding going on in the judicial system here in the county. Other bloggers and news outlets have been talking about how the MCBS is wasting taxpayer money on building this new complex - lining it with marble, cherry wood, gold-plated this or that, individual courtrooms for each judge, etc. At the same time putting the taxpayers of Maricopa County into deeper debt.
However lavish that may sound, Supervisor Brock reassured the crowd that the building was being built with "sturdy materials... just right for high-volume public buildings." It's not going to be decked out in gold or marble, but it will include copper and other Arizona-y materials whose prices have dipped so low thanks to the recession that they are cost-effective right now. Most importantly, however, is the reassurance that Brock gave that the building is paid for. No debt incurred. He threw out some statistics on the little-known (see: paid attention to) fact that Maricopa County, despite being larger than 12 states in the Union, has no debt.

Sup. Brock also took some time to answer questions, one of which I thought was important to mention: centralization of the court system. There was talk in recent months of the County closing down the East Valley branch of the court system to save money, and piling that caseload on to the already overcrowded downtown court complex. By building this new tower, the County Board expects to move all the criminal cases to downtown and centralize them while leaving the East Valley Courthouse open to deal with purely civil cases. They're not closing it, they're trying to streamline it by not tying up the court here in this part of town with hefty crimial suits and by not making civil suit victims drive all the way into downtown every day for their day in court. Good plan? Well, according to Bill Montgomery, he's not too crazy about centralizing things, but we'll all wait and see if things work themselves out.

Okay, so after Sup. Brock finished his Q&A time - and he did eat up a decent amount of time - current Supervisor of Public Schools Tom Horne, a candidate for Arizona State Attorney General, got his time to speak. Now, what I know of Tom Horne is how much teachers in Arizona dislike him. My mom being one example, she and others I've heard from think his policy of reforming standards in schools every few months and not providing teachers the tools to keep up (essentially an unfunded mandate) is hurting the schools and kids more than helping them learn. And let's be honest, the schools being a dump is not all Janet Napolitano's fault, however much we want to pin it all on her. So I'm skeptical about Horne doing a proper job if her were to be elected to the AG position.

But nevertheless, Horne spoke on his record of defending the Arizona school systems from the perils of the English Language Learner court decisions, trying to get rid of racism in Tucson (I bet you didn't know the school curriculum in Tucson splits kids up by race to teach them "cultural studies"), and his future positions on issues like immigration, and Batman-esque crime fighting. (Although, I must say, when asked about his position on National ID cards, he really didn't have a clue what the guy asking the question was talking about.) I especially liked the quote about Horne being the "Shadow Republican Attorney General in Arizona." Here's Tom Horne:
After Horne, candidate for Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery spoke about himself, his beliefs, and his candidacy. And - you heard it here first - Montgomery broke the story that "there is a strong indication that Andrew Thomas will be running for Attorney General" this year. Thomas being the current Maricopa County Attorney, of course.

While Montgomery is only running an exploratory committee at the moment, if (see: when) Thomas moves on, Montgomery intends to seek first appointment to fill his vacant seat, and then election to that seat come November. Before I say much more, I first met Bill Montgomery in Flagstaff in 2006 when he was running for a different public office, and he certainly seemed like a really honest, good person. And despite his impressive credentials (only candidate in the running to have experience at every judicial level of the Arizona court system, graduate of West Point and ASU Law School, victims' rights advocate, Gilf War veteran, etc.), the best way to see this for yourself is to go to a meeting at which he'll be speaking. If you're not a fan after that, you're probably a Democrat! (Just kidding!)

Montgomery also took a few audience questions, and I scribbled down the ones I thought were most relevant to readers of this blog:
1. Who influenced you and your ideology most?
- His graduation from West Point and his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, his cadet honor code that "a cadet shall not lie, cheat, steal, or support those who do," and the great men who had graduated there before him such as Eisenhower, Patton, Grant, and McArthur.

2. If Sheriff Arpaio were booted out of office, how would you handle illegal immigration with his successor?
- He would work with the new Sheriff to continue prosecuting illegal immigration cases within the guidelines of his office, and would point out to the new guy that because of Arpaio's policies illegal immigration is down 18% over four years, and at the same time, crime rates are down 18% over four years. Coincidence?

3. Regarding photo radar, what's your position?
- He prefers that officers conduct traffic enforcement, not cameras, though he would prosecute criminal speeding cases if they were properly served and came before his office.

Mr. Montgomery speaking:
And one for my scrapbook:

After these candidates had their time to speak, the district leader, Chad Heywood, spoke briefly about old business regarding Robert's Rules and another person handed out a sample LD22 Republican Party Platform document which I'm still digesting. The current LD22 platform is something like 67 pages, and the leadership wanted to make it more concise and less wordy. The one they passed out is only 8 pages long, but sets out the core beliefs of the LD22 GOP in topics like Government and Laws in General, Taxes Jobs & Economy, Law & Justice, Reform, Education, Children & Families, and International Affairs.

All told, it was a very informative meeting. It was good to see Bill Montgomery again, and I was glad to hear from him and the other candidates at the meeting. If I can, I'll plan on getting to my LD19 meeting this month and posting some on that for you all to read.

As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.


  1. I applaud Horne for the stance he took with the TUSD. I can't wait till he's our state's next Attorney General! Go Tom Horne!

  2. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described