I was at the Mustang Library in Scottsdale a couple weeks ago and heard the familiar call..."Sir, are you a registered Scottsdale voter"? I enjoy talking to petition gatherers, so I walked over and found former State Representative Cal Holman sitting at a fold up table collecting signatures for a Scottsdale City Council candidate.
The last time I had seen Hal was in 1994, we had breakfast at the Pointe when I was in the legislature and he was Chairman of District 24. We didn't really recognize each other last week, but re-introduced ourselves and talked a bit about politics and the Scottsdale candidates. I signed the petition and headed home. I saw him at the same spot last week as well.
When I walked into the parking lot last week, I noticed his car--very distinctive for a parking lot in North Scottsdale--it was an older Camaro and the back was covered with half a dozen Jon Kyl and J.D. Hayworth bumper stickers. I remember thinking that guys like Cal who sat at libraries day after day were the backbone of both political parties.
I'm starting a series of stories on the ways the media overtly seeks to manipulate its readers. The first trick is the least subtle, and perhaps the most effective...simply make up a fact and repeat it until people believe it. The employer sanctions law provides a great example. Here's a great line from an op ed piece that is running nationally and appeared in today's Republic.
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano reluctantly signed the law but vows to enforce it.
That's exactly what the media want you to believe. They know it's not true, but they will push the story until it's so widely accepted that it will be the prevailing legend--just like they did with the New Deal and Rachel Carson.
You will recall however, that the sanctions provision was the brainchild of Democratic Senator Bill Brotherton; Republican leadership stripped the Brotherton amendment out of the legislation over the objections of Democratic lawmakers and then Napolitano used her State of the State address to call for renewed Sanctions Legislation.
The Washington Post is reporting that a handful of vulnerable Congressional freshmen are voting against minor procedural motions in an effort to look independent of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership.
Powerline Blog is reporting that one the top 6 perpetrators of this ruse is Harry Mitchell. In fact, Mitchell takes the con a step further by voting against approving the previous day's journal nearly two thirds of the time.
Remember that the next time you see Harry talk about how independent he is.
Here's part of the Post article.
Half a dozen freshman Democrats took to the House floor one late-October morning to cast their lot with Republicans.
Their actions went unpunished by the Democratic leadership that day, as they have on many other occasions in recent weeks. The symbolic gesture -- casting nay votes on approving the House Journal, essentially the minutes of the previous day -- would have no bearing on the leadership's agenda.
While they overwhelmingly support that agenda, the bloc of freshmen has begun casting votes against such minor procedural motions in an effort, Democratic sources and Republican critics say, to demonstrate their independence from their leadership. The number of votes that the potentially vulnerable newcomers to Capitol Hill cast against House leaders is tallied and watched closely by interest groups and political foes.
The Washington Post is focusing attention on the obscure yet essential staff--and their long-suffering families--who make congressional campaigns and congressional offices run smoothly. Sean Noble features prominently. The article includes this picture of Julie Noble and the kids
Every four years it comes, like some celestial event -- inevitable and, apparently, irresistible: campaign season.
And with it, the hordes of otherwise reasonable human beings who desert their families, their jobs and their sleep patterns to join the fray -- and who know, even as they sign up, that havoc will immediately descend on their personal lives.
Collateral damage: Sean Noble missed his daughter's first dance recital. Jason Roe was in Boston when his wife needed consoling in Washington. Catherine Cameron is a newlywed, living alone.
"I just wished he was there to unpack the wedding gifts with me," Cameron says. But the morning after their honeymoon, her husband was gone -- back to Chicago, back to Obama.
I was listening to Alfredo on Radio Campesina last week as he encouraged protesters to meet at Pruitt's furniture store for the weekly protest. I must confess that I'm at loss to understand why Salvadore Reza and his band of Day Labor advocates have chosen to pick on Pruitts.
I used to live in that neighborhood, so I've often shopped at Pruitts and at the Home Depot next to it. A few years ago, you couldn't get through the Home Depot parking lot without being swarmed by day laborers. Eventually, Home Depot posted signs and kicked them off the property. So the swarm moved to the Pruitt's parking lot. Pruitt's owner Roger Sensing asked them not to hang around in his parking lot, but they ignored him, so he hired off duty deputies to enforce the anti-loitering laws.
But instead of protesting Home Depot's decision to kick them off its property, they are protesting at Pruitts.
Mayor Phil Gordon has formally invited a furniture-store owner and the man protesting his business to meet with him in an effort to resolve their dispute.
"I am asking you both to come to City Hall, where the three of us can attempt to work through your issues of disagreement," Gordon wrote Monday in a letter to Roger Sensing and Salvador Reza.
Gordon's efforts have fallen short. I recently read a Tribune article that made me realize why Gordon and Sensing haven't been able to deal with Reza.
Reza said the only demand of the Mexican community is for the sherriff’s deputies to leave the parking lot. “I think when you have one individual, like Mr. Pruitt, hurting a community, then a community has the right not to buy from them,” Reza said.
Mr. Pruitt? Mr. Pruitt? Salvadore Reza has been disrupting Roger Sensing's life for over a year. The mayor has been negotiating for them to meet and work out a solution. Reza refuses and makes it clear that the protest is about Sensing "hurting the community." But Reza hasn't even figured out that the guy's name isn't Pruitt.
I've been looking for a rational reason behind the protests and mayor Gordon has been looking for a rational way to quell the protests, our mistake has been assuming that the organizer of the protests is rational. After a year of leading the protests, Mr. Reza doesn't even know the name of the man whose business he's ruining.
In the face of such ignorance, looking for a rational explanation or a rational solution is futile.
The Spanish side of the Republic is sinking even faster than the English side. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the La Voz website hadn't been updated in months and that the Republic is treating its purchase of the Spanish Language paper like a teenager who gets a guitar for Christmas. It was really exciting at first, but now it's stuck in the closet.
The latest blow is that Teclo Garcia has resigned and is heading back to Texas to work as a municipal lobbyist. Garcia may not be a household name, but he was an integral part of the Republic's Hispanic strategy. Here's how the Business Journal described the strategy nearly 4 years ago when Garcia was hired.
Gannett Co. Inc. is preparing to launch a new section in The Arizona Republic geared toward the Valley's English-language Hispanics. Gannett made a strong push last year into the local Spanish-language market by buying Ashland Media, owner of La Voz, a weekly newspaper.
The Arizona Republic hired Teclo Garcia of Brownsville, Texas, as editor of its new section for English-speaking Hispanics. Garcia was the editor of the Brownsville Herald, a Freedom Communications Inc. newspaper.
Meanwhile, sources tell me that the treatment of reporters for La Voz is abysmal. They continue to be housed at the original shabby La Voz building in central Phoenix and have very little contact with Republic personnel. All that talk about turning La Voz into the premier Spanish language newspaper is gone and the grim reality of their status is becoming clear.
Notice that journalists are no longer just leaving the paper, they are leaving the profession. The phenomenon is technically not turnover, it's attrition. The Republic has a strict hiring freeze, so the reporters who become spokesmen, lobbyists and PR consultants aren't replaced. Fewer people are doing more work for fewer readers.
We'll be reading plenty more such announcements. Congratulations to Teclo for getting out while the getting is good.