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Two words: Steve Yarbrough

Greg, ya' know I love you but... Benson is right and two more words...Eddie Farnsworth.

I've heard all the excuses and disqualifiers but a conflict by any other name is still a conflict.

I've always maintained that the problems at CPS will not be fixed until they are forced to be open AND they replace 100% of the management. The goal of CPS to keep families together at all cost is not a goal that should be had. Simply put, people don't deserve to even see the children they abuse.

Yeah, Greg, Good Guy bias....

A month or so ago you were fulminating about the Tribune reporting on Steve Yarborough, who makes more than $90k a year running an organization that funds scholarships for private schools, and how he votes on legislation affecting these schools.

At the time you said there was no problem. Now two guys with whom you disagree step forward and talk about their own involvement with industries that are affected by government.

I know both of them well. Bradley's La Paloma is a highly regarded program that provides the best placements for troubled girls in the state. And he's absolutely right. The vast majority of girls who enter his program are on drugs, are victims of every type of abuse imaginable (or unimaginable) and most of them have a mental-illness diagnosis.

Pete Hershberger used to work for Open Inn, a program that helps kids learn to live on their own because their home environment is too horrendous to allow their return. We're talking about kids whose parents are addicts, criminals,or have other serious problems that prevent them from becoming parents.

By the way, Hershberger left Open Inn because he couldn't find time to work for the program while serving in the Legislature).

Should the press report on Bradley and Hershberger's other jobs? You betcha - and for reasons that are similar to Yarborough's situation.

I believe Bradley makes a good living from La Paloma. I don't think Pete made much money, and of course Yarborough is well paid.

People should know this, and they should know about all the jobs that legislators hold because they can't live on $24,000 a year - especially if they're from outside Phoenix, and have to maintain an apartment in the Valley.

I have concluded, after too-many years of watching people - including you, Greg - take a vow of poverty to serve their constituents, that we need a full-time Legislature that is paid a living wage.

Then we can tell them that they can't hold a second job that may call their objectivity or judgment into question.

Until then, let's make them all play by the same rules.

I won't grant my guys a good guy exemption if you do the same for yours.

I will easily concede that the treatment, which is the basis for the post, is different. Considering the liberal/conservative bias of most journalists, it seems to be much more relative to that than anything else…like how they earned the money or what the conflict is. I'm not implying the folks I names weren't good guys, just that their conflict is a concern to me and should be to them, also.

While some have a conflict that is in an area that is a liberal darling, others have it in areas that are seen as conservative only. We did beat this horse a bit last time around and the players remain the same as does the need for full disclosure in any vote that would provide a personal benefit, as opposed to the general benefit that is undistinguishable, to the elected versus the public.

Sam has a very good point. I am not sure I would demand they accept no other pay. Term limits make it very hard for this to be a lifetime job and many have built businesses and positions that would be difficult to leave with no idea of when they will need another job. Such a sacrifice would be a punishment and really limit our pool. But the wage issue is absolutely a very serious issue and one we must not allow to be defeated every time it comes up.

I’ve often wondered if the Governor looks down on the legislature and its leadership, especially if the Guv has never served in the state house, knowing the salary difference is so great and that the public will not approve a raise for them.

You can see why liberals prefer the term "livable wage" to "minimum wage". With per diems included, our state legislators make more than $30k for as much as six months of work. More if they live further from Phoenix. That would work out to an equivalent of more than $60k a year for full time work and the liberals say its not enough. No one can "live" on that kind of money. I disagree. If you want to pay them more to attract better people, go ahead. But let's not pretend that you can't live on that salary.

John:

You can see why right-wingers are so fond of fuzzy math :>)

I'll grant that for out-of-town legislators, the addition of per deim can bring the $24k, up to the $30k neighborhood. Keep in mind that legislative rules cut the per diem after a certain number of days, and it keeps going down.

And, as we all saw with the recent session, the length of the session ain't any shorter, so they still need to keep paying for their rent even after per diem has started to trickle out of existence.

Furthermore, you must use that $30k to KEEP your residence back home AND get another place to sleep in Phoenix, at the height of Snowbird/tourist season.

And I don't see how you can equate that to a $60,000 salary, based on some assumption you picked out of thin air that someone will hire them for $30,000 to work part-time.

A few legislators find part-time work, but most find that their obligations between session keep them pretty busy. For that reason we're excluding middle-class people from serving - or we're forcing them and their family into gentile poverty.

I'm haunted by two memories, one old, one very recent.

The old memory involves a legislator friend of mine - a Republican, by the way, though he probably would qualify for RINO status today - who rented rooms in a motel where the clerk sat behind bullet-proof glass. One look at the clientele of the place told you why.

The other memory was from this session, when I sat at dinner with a bunch of legislators and watched one of them pretend not to be hungry - and refused to let anyone pay for dinner.

She was hungry, but she was also proud and too ethical to accept a meal that someone else was willing to buy. She couldn't afford dinner, so she nibbled on chips and dip, and probably ate a TV dinner when she got back to wherever she was sleeping during the session.

We need to pay legislators a full-time salary, John. Otherwise we're creating strong temptations to go astray.


And ask any legislator of any political persuasion whether their duties end when the Legislature adjourns sine die. They don't. There are political meetings, weekly trips to the capital to handle correspondence, constituent demands and - by the way - the need to prepare for the next election, which is always looming over their heads.

"gentile poverty"

Hey, let's keep religion out of this!

;-)

I think you meant "genteel".

By the way, I agree with you, SS (there's a first time for everything).

Even an in income of $60,000 wouldn't allow a legislator to live very high on the Phoenix hog. A decent and livable salary should be paid to those who make our laws. After all, they have to consort with many who have mega expense accounts or much larger incomes. They should be able to pay their own way and their families should not have to scrimp because the breadwinner isn't bringing home the bread. I hope some of the legislator's off duty time is spent on research. I would think that job would be hard to leave at the capitol when one goes home.

Elinor,

I have lived in Phoenix for over 25 years and have never had a household income of $60,000 (close to it some years but not over). In fact for over half of those years it was barely 2/3s of that.

I don't live high on the hog but the cars are paid for......

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

But let us not forget....they are not living on $60,000 but somewhere between $24,000 and $30,000. In 2007 not 25 years ago or even 10.

So now paying legislators "a living wage" turns into paying them $60k a year, 30 percent higher than the $38,000 median household income for Arizona? The median household income for the Valley is probably somewhat higher, but not by much since the Valley would be over-represented in the state figure since most of the population lives there.

State legislators are broken into a couple of groups. Ambitious young politicians starting out. People entering second careers. And spouses of people who make good money. No one's starving at the legislature, and giving them another $25,000 or even $75,000 a year isn't going to solve the conflict of interest problem since the kind of money available to them from lobbyists either during their terms or after can never be matched by the salary they receive as legislators.

As a well-heeled lobbyist/law student/former legislator, Greg can feel free to rip into me for my off-the-cuff observations!

Joe, you wrote, "...since the kind of money available to them from lobbyists either during their terms..."

Joe, you wouldn't be suggesting we have some 'corruption' or 'bribery' going on under the copper dome would you?

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