Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Limited Government Group Blasts Napolitano

Arizonans In Action blasts Governor Napolitano for her the meet and confer status she granted to state employees on her way out. Here is the information from their release:

Arizonans In Action Opposes Governor Order to Confer Special Status on Unions

"This order circumvents the legislature and is nothing more than a payback to special interest groups and unions in the waning days of the Napolitano administration."-Nathan Nascimento, Executive Director of Arizonans In Action.

Phoenix, AZ-Arizonans In Action (AIA) Executive Director Nathan Nascimento today condemned outgoing Governor Janet Napolitano for issuing an executive order granting public employees "meet and confer" status with government agencies.

Nascimento said that the order "circumvents the legislature" and was "nothing more than a payback to special interest groups and unions in the waning days of the Napolitano administration."

The order is designed to increase union activities by mandating agency supervisors to sit down with union representatives at least four times a year. "That is just the first step," said Nascimento. "The next will be to begin issuing greater demands upon the agencies, and begin rapidly organizing a brand new union infrastructure within the government to make good on those demands."

"If Governor Napolitano truly believed that this was an important issue to Arizonans, why did she wait until days before she is set to leave office and why did she slide it in under executive order. This is an end-run around the legislature, who would normally enact such workplace rules. Lawmakers ought to be outraged, as should the people of Arizona," he added.

The order expedites the process of union organization by allowing for a ballot election to organize if 30 percent of the workplace requests it.

AIA is calling upon incoming Governor Janice Brewer, who is set to replace Napolitano when she becomes the new Secretary of Homeland Security in late January, to repeal the executive order when she takes office.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Brewer Names Deputy Chiefs of Staff For Finance and Operations

This just in from the Brewer Transition Team:

Brewer Names Deputy Chiefs of Staff For Finance and Operations
Secretary of State announces more senior staff appointments
as she prepares for transition to Governor’s Office
PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer today announced two more Gubernatorial senior staff appointments, naming Tom Manos as Deputy Chief of Staff for Finance and Brian C. McNeil as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.

“I am honored to have such qualified individuals join my team. Mr. Manos and Mr. McNeil have extensive backgrounds in the field of finance and operations that will serve Arizona well during these difficult economic times. I have every confidence that they will guide us in our efforts to restore efficiency and fiscal responsibility,” stated Brewer.

Manos has served as Maricopa County’s Chief Financial Officer for the last ten years, and has been with the County since 1984. During this time, he had responsibility for the County’s Real Estate, Procurement, Risk Management and Parks departments as well as the Maricopa County Stadium District. Mr. Manos also served as Executive Director of the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority which has provided financing for over 400 projects, including financings for affordable housing, hospitals and other non-profit borrowers.

Mr. Manos is former President of the Local Government Auditors Association and has been a board member of the YMCA. He is a native of Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Finance.

Brian McNeil has served as Executive Director of the Arizona Corporation Commission since 1999. Prior to joining the Commission, he was the Deputy Director for Budget and Policy Development at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

McNeil has previously served as a gubernatorial policy advisor, as Director of Operations and Economic Advisor at the Arizona State Senate, as a Principal Forecast Planner for Saudi Arabian Parsons, Limited and as a Fiscal Analyst at the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

He is an Arizona native and holds a Master of Public Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics, both from Arizona State University. McNeil serves as the Executive Officer of the 492nd Civil Affairs Battalion of the U.S. Army Reserve. He has deployed twice to serve in Iraq.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More "Meet and Confer" Info

Espresso Pundit posted an open letter that the AFSCME sent to state employees. It's a good read and needless to say, a setback for Governor Napolitano's plans to have state employees' union reps at the the table during budget talks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Upcoming Goodbye Party?

Mary Jo Pitzl had a story today giving a likely goodbye date for Gov. Janet Napolitano.

With Barack Obama being sworn in on the January 20th, the word is that his top officials will be sworn in very shortly thereafter (possibly that afternoon), with confirmation hearings happening in early January.

January 20th is just a month away and there is definitely a lot to do here in Arizona. The question of who the Legislators will be dealing with and when just got a little bit clearer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can I get your autograph?

In her new found fame, I am sure Janet Napolitano is signing quite a few autographs for eager admirers. The one she signed yesterday is definitely attracting the most attention.

I received the following email today, and after seeing the news today that she signed the order, I'm sure the SEIU and other Democrat groups are as giddy after getting this prized autograph.

Incoming Republican leaders had called on Napolitano to not sign any executive orders prior to leaving but their calls were obviously not heeded.

As we previously noted, there are many who feel this particular order is payback to many who have been supportive of her this past year. Here is an email we received that gave even more details on the alleged payback:

2008 was a very active year when it came to Democrat and Union fundraising. While much of the attention was paid to Barack Obama raising over $750 million, Arizona interests were busy as well raising and spending millions.

Democratic donations were spread throughout multiple parties but there were certainly a few that stuck out among the crowd.

AZ Families United for Strong Communities is the local arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In the 2008 cycle the SEIU Committee on Political Education (COPE) contributed $360,000 to the local chapter. This money was then distributed to the Arizona Democratic Party ($210,000), Protect Arizona’s Future PAC ($30,000), Arizonans for a Healthy Economy ($50,000), and other local Democrat candidates.

Protect Arizona’s Future and Arizonan’s for a Healthy Economy were two PAC’s that Tim Hill, President of the Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, acted as Chairman for.

Protect Arizona’s Future reported 2008 contributions totaling $198,955 coming from both individual and corporate/PAC contributions.

Arizonan’s for a Healthy Economy reported $550,475 in contributions from both individual and corporate/PAC contributions.

Arizona List PAC is a third PAC who contributed money to Arizonan’s for a Healthy Economy. They collected $39,385 in contributions in 2008 and 98% of their contributions they gave out went to Arizonan’s for a Healthy Economy. Most of their funds raised were from individuals with notable names like Governor Janet Napolitano included in the list.

Protect Arizona’s Future was also actively involved as the only donor to The People of Arizona PAC whose only expenses were focused on the defeat of Rep. Russell Pearce and Jack Harper, and for Sen. Tom O’Halleran. They received $72,500 from Protect Arizona’s Future and spent all but $960.

Some are questioning if Napolitano has traded the "meet and confer" order to the unions today in exchange for the support she received in her failed attempt to secure additional legislative support during the 2008 Elections.

The other question that is out there is how much money did the unions contribute to Napolitano's Competitive Edge PAC which gave money to other causes deemed appropriate by the Governor?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Illinois politics in our backyard?

There are some waves being made at the capitol today and a people are jumping at the chance to weigh in. It was announced that soon to depart Governor Janet Napolitano is preparing to sign an executive order allowing over 25,000 state workers to select union representatives who would have a guaranteed place at the table when discussing all thing HR.

Considering that employees currently have that right, just not in a guaranteed manner, there are a few that are saying this is payback for the Unions heavy involvement in this years campaign cycle.

Le Templar from the Tribune chimed in with this piece about why Napolitano waited 6 years to start worrying about the communication lines between rank-and-file employees and management

AZ Republican Party Chair Randy Pullen sent out the following press release regarding the executive order.

PULLEN: Payback for Unions Should Be Investigated

Phoenix, AZ—Arizona Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen today said the expected “meet and confer” executive order from outgoing Governor Janet Napolitano was a clear example of political payback for campaign contributions and should be investigated.

“While the Democrat governor of Illinois has been arrested for attempting to sell President-elect Obama’s seat in the United States Senate for a million dollars, we have a situation that reeks just as bad here in Arizona,” Pullen said.

“Just weeks before leaving office when she doesn’t have to govern with favors to unions on her back and doesn’t have to deal with the political fallout, Arizona’s Democrat governor is now saying ‘thank you’ to the unions for their campaign cash,” explained Pullen. “Arizona is a right-to-work state and the governor is changing a long standing policy because she knows it won’t matter to her political future in Arizona. The legislature has repeatedly refused to pass similar bills.

“I believe when all the checks are added up, we’ll find the amount that labor unions contributed to the Arizona Democrat Party, to Arizona Democrat candidates and to independent expenditure efforts for Democrats is well into the millions of dollars over the past six years,” said Pullen. “Organized labor contributions to Democrats in Arizona in just the 2008 election cycle alone exceeded a million dollars. Clearly the attorney general should investigate.

“If there was ever discussion of this before the elections between the governor’s office and the unions, then it is just as dirty as what is going on in Illinois and has no place in Arizona,” Pullen said.

Since the November 4th elections, the Obama-elect team has been repeatedly rocked by a growing cloud of scandal. Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel is tied in media reports to individuals at the heart of the Blagojevich matter over the sale of Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. This week, reports broke over a growing scandal involving President-elect Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, who allegedly received campaign contributions and lavish convention parties in exchange for million-dollar state contracts.

# # #
CONTACT: Sean R. McCaffrey
Executive/Communications Director
Arizona Republican Party
3501 N 24th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Office: (602) 957-7770
Mobile: (602) 885-5815
Fax: (602) 224-0932
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/smccaffrey/

Friday, December 12, 2008

Democrat's strategy for Brewer

The Democrats appear to have a two pronged approach to the handling the ascension of Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer to the 9th floor.

First, attack members of Brewer's transition team for being lobbyists. Ironically, the current Democratic Party chairman is a lobbyist, as is former party chairman and Napolitano superfan David Waid.

Second, there is a concentrated effort to flood the BrewerTransition.org site with a standard set of talking points and Democrat friendly suggestions. Here is a copy of an email that was sent to our attention with an explanation that people have been sending this form letter to the transition team:

Comment: To fix the economy please follow the plan to be outlined by Governor Napolitano in her state of the state address.When the Republican legislature sends you a bill to allow guns in schools or bars for the 5th time (not an exaggeration), please follow Governor Napolitano's responsible lead of vetoing the bills.Please don't get rid of all day kindergarten.Please do pick Laura Knaperek to replace you as Secretary of State.
Name: (name removed)


What we learn from this is apparently Napolitano is going to outline an economic fix in her State of the State address. Perhaps this is one of the reasons she is sticking around.

Secondly, they plead for the continuation of Napolitano's policies including gun control and all-day kindergarden.

Finally, they ask for Laura Knaperek as Brewer's replacement. The rumor is that this action is not out of benevolence, but rather becauce they believe Knaperek is beatable by a Democratic Secretary of State candidate.

Napolitano in 2012?

Governor Janet Napolitano is not ruling out running for office again one day. Its not clear if she was insinuating that she would come back to Arizona to run for something, or if she was talking about national politics.

The latest rumor is that she is keeping her Arizona residence and voter registration so she can mount a campaign against Senator Jon Kyl in 2012. If you recall, Napolitano pal and former Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pedersen tried unsuccessfully to unseat Kyl in 2006.

The question is, why would she then allow her public calendar to be so empty if she eventually wants to come back? As we mentioned before, she only had one event this week. However, Benson updated the story to mention that she had 5 events last year, and 13 events her first year in office over the same week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brewer Transition Office up and running

The Brewer transition team announced the office was open today. A quick call to 602-542-3438 confirmed that it is up and running. No report yet from anyone who has been up to the 3rd floor to see what is going on, but until this transition is complete, we'll be the "Eye on the 3rd and 9th Floor."

There must be a reason

Governor Napolitano is not going to call a special session to fix the budget.

She is not staying to make public appearances.

Even the Republic has said their final "Good bye."

The result is people are wondering what is keeping Governor Napolitano in the top spot until January. Are there concerns with her appointment? Is she giving her employees time to find other jobs? Is she making sure that her newest childrens book is distributed?

With Brewer waiting in the wings, it may turn out to be an uneventful beginning to the legislative session.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jan Brewer's digital outreach

Jan Brewer announced her transition team on Friday and the launch of a new website, http://www.brewertransition.org/. What's more, a quick visit to the sight shows that Brewer is now on Facebook, Twitter, and she even launched a video page on her site called "BrewTube."

Senator Jack Harper is already on Brewer's facebook page lavinshing compliments.

Ironically, Politicker compares Brewer's transition to that of the Obama administration.

By Friday night, she had a video of her press conference on the web:

It will be interesting to see how Brewer continues to utilize these types of tools throughout the progression of the transition as well as when she takes the Governor's seat.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rumor is...

Rumor is that Senator Jack Harper was seen slinking around the Secretary of State's office today around the time of the announcement of Jan Brewer's transition team. Word is that a few cameras gave him some face time on their way out.

The question is if Brewer will be willing to do the same.

Brewer Announces Transition Team

Secretary of State Jan Brewer named her chief of staff, the people who will serve on the transition team, and the launch of a new website: http://www.brewertransition.org/.

Her long time deputy Secretary of State Kevin Tyne will rise to the job of Chief of Staff in the Governor's office. There were no other positions mentioned nor any leads on Secretary of State candidates.

Here is the release that the Brewer Transition Team issued:

Brewer Announces Transition Team, Chief of Staff and Web Site
Secretary of State gathers government experts, community and business leaders to aid in gubernatorial transition

PHOENIX – Secretary of State Jan Brewer announced a diverse team of qualified individuals from both the public and private sectors to help her with her transition to Governor of Arizona today. The members of this team have pledged their expertise and time to Brewer’s commitment of ensuring a seamless transfer of authority.

Also today, Secretary Brewer named her long-time top aide, Deputy Secretary of State Kevin Tyne, as her gubernatorial chief of staff. Tyne will guide the day-to-day operations of the Governor’s Office.

“For the past six years, Kevin Tyne has served the people of Arizona as my Deputy with honor, devotion and dedication,” Brewer stated. “He is widely respected throughout state government. He enjoys my full confidence and trust in this vital position.”

Before his position as Deputy Secretary of State, Tyne served as Brewer’s Chief of Staff when she was a Maricopa County Supervisor. Tyne worked for eleven years in Washington, DC, first with Senator Bob Dole’s presidential campaign and later on Capitol Hill for eight years as the legislative director for Congresswoman Susan Molinari (R-New York).

The Director of Transition will be J. Charles Coughlin, a former gubernatorial deputy chief of staff. Jay Heiler, a former gubernatorial chief of staff, will serve as Deputy Director of Transition for Personnel. Douglas Cole, also a former gubernatorial deputy chief of staff, will be Deputy Director of Transition for Operations and Communications.

“I am looking forward to working with Governor Napolitano and her staff as we immediately face challenging tasks,” said Brewer. “Not only am I seeking input from my Transition Team, but I encourage citizen input and involvement by accessing my transition web site: www.BrewerTransition.org. I also encourage those interested in serving in my administration to contact us through this site.”

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Transition Director Chuck Coughlin. “Secretary Brewer has charged her team with seeking and reviewing agency briefing materials; interviewing current administration officials; making personnel recommendations and making general recommendations on state government policies and operations.”

The members of the transition team announced today include:

Bas Aja, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association

Lisa Atkins, Greater Phoenix Leadership, fmr. congressional chief of staff

Richard Bark, Gallagher and Kennedy, fmr. chief of staff to House Speaker

Linda Blessing, fmr. executive director of AZ Board of Regents, fmr. AZ Dept. of Economic
Security director

Drew Brown, DMB Associates, Greater Phoenix Leadership board member

Ernie Calderon , Calderon Law Offices

Douglas Cole, HighGround, Inc., fmr. gubernatorial deputy chief of staff

J. Charles Coughlin, HighGround, Inc., fmr. gubernatorial deputy chief of staff

Lori Daniels, small businesswoman , fmr. House Majority Leader and Senator

Lisa Hauser, Gammage and Burnham , fmr. gubernatorial general counsel

Jay Heiler, educator and consultant, fmr. gubernatorial chief of staff

Eileen Klein, United Healthcare VP, fmr. chief of staff to House Speaker

Andy Kunasek, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman

Dan Lewis, Senior VP, Bank of America, fmr. US senatorial staff member

Cheryl Lombard, Nature Conservancy, fmr. congressional staff member

Alan Maguire, Economist, Maguire Company, fmr. Sr staff to 4 Senate Presidents and 4 Speakers of the House

Tom Manos, Maricopa County Chief Financial Officer
Brian McNeil, AZ Corp. Comm. executive director, fmr. gubernatorial policy advisor

Jim Pignatelli, UniSource Energy Corp. President & CEO,

Bill Post, Pinnacle West CEO

Richard Silverman, SRP General Manager

Kevin Tyne, Deputy Secretary of State and incoming Chief of Staff

Paulina Vazquez-Morris, fmr. Maricopa County Special Healthcare District Board Member, fmr.
general counsel to AZ Board of Regents

Bob Walkup, City of Tucson Mayor

Connie Wilhelm, Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona

Ted Williams, AZ Behavioral Health Corp. President, fmr. AZ Dept. of Health Services director

Steve Zabilski, St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director

The Transition Team will be divided into six issue areas headed by Assistant Transition Directors: Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Richard Bark; Natural Resources, Environment & Infrastructure, Lisa Atkins; Education, Paulina Vazquez-Morris; Health & Human Services, Brian McNeil; Economic Development, Fiscal Policy & Budget, Lori Daniels; and General Government, Andy Kunasek.

Lisa T. Hauser will serve as Legal Counsel to the Transition Team.

The Transition Office will be located in the Executive Tower of the State Capitol on the Third Floor. The office begins operations on Monday, December 8th and may be reached at (602) 542-3438.
“I thank the transition team members in advance for volunteering their time and efforts,” said Brewer. “I am truly grateful for their assistance in these economically challenged times.”

Thanks for the compliments...

Usually when the story starts, "was picked up on an open microphone," things can get juicy.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell just happened to be wearing one of those dastardly microphones when he was heard "complimenting" President Elect Obama's pick for Homeland Security secretary. He said Janet Napolitano was perfect for the job since the job requires "no life" and that Napolitano obviously fits that bill because she has no family.

So according to the story, we've learned that Governor Rendell has not been to Napolitano's website and seen her hobbies like mountainclimbing and movies.

I wish my friends said nice things like that about me.

Janet Cams may speed their way to the ballot

We are still 2 years and 153,365 valid signatures away, but voters may get the chance to weigh in on whether traffic cameras will dot Arizona highways and intersections.

Two businessmen announced yesterday they are going to work towards a referendum on the 2010 ballot that would get rid of the cameras that, depending on which side you are on, are a cash cow or a safety device.

This all hinges on whether or not the group can get enough valid signatures to make the ballot. We saw how hit or miss that was this election season. Having over a year and a half to get ready surely doesn't hurt.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Napolitano staying through confirmation

The biggest question regarding the official news that Governor Napolitano is going to leave to take the post as Secretary of Homeland Security is when she is going to leave office in Arizona.

Based on her official statements, it looks as if she is going to stay until she is confirmed, leaving her as Governor until late January or early February. This would allow her to give a final state of the state speech touting her accomplishments and keep her in the middle of the budget debate. She will continue to offer her own budget solutions despite being faced with an even more conservative legislature this time around.

The fall out of this decision has raised some rancor in the conservative community:

Len Munsil: If you care about Arizona, or the Nation, resign now.

Espresso Pundit: "That selfish decision will leave make Arizona's transition much more difficult."

Sonoran Alliance: "I call Janet Napolitano irrelevant at this time."

The biggest thing to watch is how the new legislators treat the presence of Napolitano if she does indeed decide to stick around for the first few weeks of the new legislature. There are two ways that this is likely to go: they could avoid her until she leaves, or they could fire up several of the immigration of the bills of the past and take a run at passing them on to her so her immigration position is more solidified before she goes on to run Homeland Security.

Either way, it could be a very interesting January.

Have Fun!

Great cartoon from Politicker:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Now, its official. Napolitano is leaving.

President-Elect Obama has announced his national security team with Governor Janet Napolitano as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. There are two versions of Napolitano's official statement:

Here is the one from the Governor's office:

PHOENIX – Governor Janet Napolitano has accepted an offer from President-elect Barack Obama to become Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The Governor has released the following statement:

“I am humbled and honored by President-elect Obama’s invitation, and I am proud to accept it. I believe that when called upon to serve – particularly at such a critical time in the history of our country – it is my duty as a citizen to step forward and say, “Yes.”

“This affirmative answer was, by no means, an easy answer. Over the past six years, together, we have accomplished a great deal in Arizona. My pride in this state, my love for it and my dedication to it will never change.

“Arizona is also facing a time of challenge, and I intend to carry forward with my most important responsibilities as the leader of this state. In just a few weeks, I will deliver my State of the State address, and shortly thereafter, I will present to the Arizona Legislature a balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010.

“Upon my confirmation as Secretary by the U.S. Senate, I will tender my resignation as Governor of Arizona. Secretary of State Jan Brewer will take over the challenging job as Arizona’s governor during this difficult time, without having sought this office. She will need your support, and I pledge her mine. Specific members of my staff will be designated to oversee the Arizona transition, to ensure that power and responsibility are transferred seamlessly.

“To the people of Arizona I say, “thank you.” You entrusted me to run this state to the best of my ability, and I have tried with all my being to do so. I will continue to work for Arizona and Arizonans, but from a different place and with a different charge.

“In my first inaugural speech, I said, “Our strength lies in our diversity and it lies in our heritage. And we must draw on both of these gifts in the days ahead.” Those words are still true and still useful today. We will face change together, and continue to stand together as “One Arizona.”

Here is the one from the Arizona Democratic Party:

Dear Friend,

This morning I was proud to accept an offer from President-elect Barack Obama to become Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

I believe that when called upon to serve - particularly at such a critical time in the history of our country - it is our duty to step forward and say, "yes."

This was by no means, an easy decision. Over the past six years, we have accomplished a great deal together. We moved our state in a new direction strengthening our schools with voluntary full-day kindergarten, higher teacher pay and higher standards for our students. We expanded access to children's health insurance and saved Arizonans millions of dollars with one of the largest free prescription drug discount programs in the country. And we're rebuilding Arizona's economy with a focus on high-wage, high-tech jobs of the future.

On the political front, we surpassed one million registered Democrats for the first time in history. We reached another milestone by electing four more Democrats to Congress, sending a majority to Washington this January. And we've built a Democratic Party that's stronger, smarter and better positioned for victory in 2010 than ever before.

Arizona is facing a challenging time, and I intend to carry forward with my most important responsibilities as the leader of this state. In the weeks ahead, I will deliver my State of the State address, and shortly thereafter, I will present to the Arizona Legislature a balanced budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010. Upon confirmation as Secretary by the U.S. Senate, I will tender my resignation as Governor of Arizona.

My pride in this state, my love for it and my dedication to it will never change. I will continue to work for Arizona and Arizonans, but from a different place and with a different charge. Thank you for your continued friendship and support.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Drive Safe and SLOW Down on I-10 and I-40

We want to wish everyone a very safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend. If you are one of the lucky heading out of town, or to the malls for Black Friday, it might be easier to drive a little slower- or more costly if you have a lead foot.

The Janet Cams will be out in force throughout the weekend.
The entire fleet of 42 Speed Vans and the 20 or so fixed cameras will be adding pictures to your family photo album if you are driving 10 MPH or more over the speed limit.

Happy Turkey Day and Black Friday to everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Now that it appears that Governor Napolitano will be leaving to head up Department of Homeland Security, Republicans are starting to look like they will coalesce behind Jan Brewer in 2010 if she does decide to run as the seated Governor. This may mean a clear primary path for Brewer as the Dems fight to determine a contender. Ironically, this would be a reverse of the typical heated Republican Primary with the Democratic candidate skating to the General.

Here is the short list of likely Dems to challenge Brewer:

Phil Gordon - Phoenix Mayor
Jim Pederson - Businessman
Terry Goddard - Attorney General

There has been some questions lately of if Mayor Gordon would seek Attorney General to give Goddard a clear shot at the post. Its not clear if there are any deals in the works or how the office races would shake out or how many of the Republican Gubernatorial challengers would now set their sights on the Secretary of State's position.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at GovRace2010@yahoo.com.

Media and Dems Predict Impending Darkness on the Horizon

Espresso Pundit has a great aricle about the fears that have arisen from having Republicans at the helm of the legislature and the Governor's office. The imagery of the impending hoarde of Mordor coming to take back the bastion of hope and tranqulity that has been ruled by Napolitano seems to fit well with their ccontant warnings of what may come.

The doom and gloom coverage continues in the Republic with "Uneasiness grows over how Brewer might cut budget." What is interesting is that according the media, the budget shortfall and the problems that have come along with it are now a reality, but they have never truly placed blame for the problem in the first place. Several months ago, everyone expressed their concerns about the budget, but very few in the media have placed the blame squarely on Napolitano.

Now, the budget problems have come home to roost, and Jan Brewer may end up being the bad guy by making the cuts that are needed to balance the budget. In some ways, if Napolitano decides to leave, she will have gotten off relatively light compared to the systemic problems that are currently found in her budget.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting to know Jan Brewer

The Arizona Republic gives a little insight into the life and politics of Secretary of State Jan Brewer. They give a little bit of the personal touch along with some background on her history. Since a lot of people around Arizona are probably not as familiar with Brewer, this is likely the first insight into the would-be Governor. On the other hand, The Tucson Citizen and Daily Star want you to know that they have concerns.

There is also speculation as to the future of the "Janet Cams" under the potential Brewer Administration after a Redflex employee dismissed an inquiry from the Secretary of State earlier this year via post-it note.

How long would Napolitano stay?

Although Governor Napolitano continues to get the star treatment and the long good-byes, its not clear how soon she might actually step out the door, if she decides to leave. There are still some factors at play, including the fact that she still has not been formally announced. However, the large majority of the media and many around Arizona seem to be resigned to the fact that Napolitano is leaving.

In the face of the current Arizona budget crisis, some belive that the time cannot come quick enough for her to leave. However, there are others who belive that she will stay until she is actually confirmed. This would put a damper on Republican's hopes of having a more friendly Republican Governor to deal with during the budget talks.

The question is: how long can she stick around before people start thinking that she has worn out her welcome? It is true that she is a popular Governor, but people tend to want breakups to be quick, not something that is allowed to fester over time. If its announced that she is leaving, how long can she govern as a "lame duck" when its clear that someone is around the corner to take her place?

It makes sense that she would like to clean up the budget mess before she leaves town, so she doesn't look like she is walking away from a problem. Would she still be the media darling if she looks like the one standing in the way?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Leaving on a positive note

Even noted Napolitano critic Representative Russell Pearce is saying nice things about the Governor as she gets tapped for the Homeland Security Job. Although Napolitano also came to Pearce's defence during the Primary Election, don't expect these two to be sharing an ice cream sundae anytime soon. Pearce couldn't help but give a backhanded compliment:

"I think she's a good person to have in that office," he said Thursday afternoon. "But I say that recognizing that this is a radically left-leaning administration."

The kinds words will continue to flow from friends and critics alike as Napolitano ponders her future. The Tribune has already put together a slideshow celebrating Napolitano through the years. You can almost hear "Its so hard to say goodbye to yesterday" playing in the background as you click through.

Howie Fischer must be exhausted

Republicans aren't the only ones jumping for joy at the idea of Governor Napolitano leaving to take a job in Washington. Capitol Media Services' Howie Fischer has already started making a cottage industry about writing about the transition:

Brewer known as tight-fisted, partisan

Napolitano often critical of Homeland Security

Republican lawmakers aim to work on budget

Three stories since the news broke yesterday. His keyboard must be smoldering. Expect the news to continue to flow through an official announcement from Napolitano and the ensuing transition that would have to be made by Team Brewer. What is typically a slow month for Capitol reporters may have just become a whole lot busier.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Changes in influence?

Politicker has a couple of interesting articles covering the potential switch in Governorship:

Brewer will be the 5th Secretary of State to become Governor

McCain congratulates Napolitano on possible DHS offer

Speaking of Politicker, it will be interesting to see if they change their influence list. As we pointed out, there were 5 out of the top 10 who were Napolitano insiders. At the time, we said:

"It will be interesting to see if the top of this list changes after the November election. If the Governor is successful in her initiatives and her handpicked candidates win, you'd expect to see even more on the list. If Obama wins and she makes tracks for DC, you have to wonder if their influence will diminish."

Clearly, the Governor was not successful in her initiatives and her handpicked candidates did not win. It looks now like she is going to make tracks to take a spot in Obama's cabinet. What does that do of the influence of the people who were on her staff? What about the lobbyists on the list who used the Governor to get a leg up? As the Napolitano train leaves town, what becomes of their influence? Also, who's influence will increase with the ascension of Jan Brewer?

Governor Brewer?

The notion of Governor Jan Brewer has the local Democrats lamenting. Here is the initial fall-out from the news that Napolitano may be leaving:

Random Musings: I *really* hope that CNN is wrong on this one..

Man Eegee: This makes me physically ill.

Daniel's News and Views: Napolitano should say 'no, thanks' on DHS Secretary

RRR: Gack…Governor Brewer?

It's Official....sort of

Well, as we've been saying for a while now- Janet Napolitano will be cutting her stay in Arizona short in exchange for a chance to serve in the historic Obama administration.

CNN first broke the story that Janet will be named the new Secretary of Homeland Security. Her office and people are still being quiet about it but I'm sure we'll get full confirmation and all the juicy details shortly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Janet's Choice: Will she settle for a showdown in 2010?

It looks like Holder has been tapped for AG. Some believe that he is being floated out to take the heat as the first Obama appointee paving an easier way for the others. However, the much more likely scenario is that the transition team has secured his place and the job is his.

Two former Clinton guys does not a change make, add Hillary Clinton to the mix as Secretary of State, and there may be some concern among his changelings. Napolitano and Richardson may help deflect some of these concerns.

However, the choice may have gotten more difficult for Janet. If she is willing to stay here and receive the concilitary note and JLBC report from Speaker-Elect Burns, she would be primed to take on McCain for the Senate Seat in 2010. We would certainly expect a lot of help from the Obama camp in that race, taking on his former opponent. If Janet can show she can also take on and beat the Republican Presidential Candidate in his own state, it may help her national cred.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Janet's Choice: Perhaps Homeland Security or Energy

It appears that Obama's push for Holder as Attorney General is gaining steam. Since we saw the report from MSNBC earlier today, the story has been picked up by several other news outlets:

Yahoo: Holder accepts Obama Justice offer: senior Democrat

NBC: Holder tagged for attorney general

CNN: Obama chooses Eric Holder to be Attorney General

Fox News: Eric Holder Being Vetted as Obama Attorney General

Now, the question is, can Holder withstand the Senate confirmation and his part in pardoning millionaire fugitive Marc Rich? They are likely letting this leak now so that there is time to vette the story through the media and allow his part in that scandal to be softened by the media's kind treatment of Obama and the inspirational story of the first African American Attorney General.

Where does this leave Napolitano? Its likely that she was aware of the pick, and her reaction over the next day or so will likely tell us if they have a different spot in mind for her within the Cabinet.

Janet's Choice: Are options cooling off?

Espresso Pundit suggests that the SNL treatment of Governor Napolitano combined with her reputation of not being a team player will hurt her chances of being appointed to Obama's cabinet.

Newsweek/MSNBC is also reporting that Eric Holder has the inside track for Attorney General in a story that fails to even mention Napolitano. Though she is still being bandied about as a name for Homeland Security.

However, here at home, Napolitano continues to foster change by appointing the 1st Hispanic for the top post in the Arizona National Guard and was able to receive some kudos for taking the time to engage the state budget problem.

It feels like a collective breath is being held across the state to see what will happen next.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Governor about to take some tough scrutiny

Napolitano is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the reauthorization of ADEQ. She went out on a limb last year with efforts to increase emission standards and taking part in the Western Climate initiative. Now, ADEQ faces sunset at the legislature and they are taking their pound of flesh for her circumventing them last year.

Also, the Governor has offered up her suggestions to fix the budget gap including selling lottery revenue and pushing off agency expenses. It is reported that the spending suspensions could save up to $300 million, however, it does not appear that Napolitano has offered up any actual cuts. She is also banking on $50 million in revenue from the speed cameras, which comes out to the issuing of at least 277,777 speeding tickets (not including the cost Arizona is paying to the operators).

Combined with the impression of some that Napolitano is preparing her departure, it is likely that the scrutiny will only increase over the next few weeks.

Live from New York...

Governor Janet Napolitano has made it big - still no news about the Obama cabinet - but she was parodied on Saturday Night Live. Kristen Wiig came out during host Paul Rudd's monologue wearing a pantsuit and a wig with a gray patch. Rudd tried to convince the audience that the new parodies would be just as good as Fey's Palin impression.

We are still trying to find the video online for your own judgement, but Wiig has a good starting point on her Napolitano (ETA, you can see the video here). Napolitano should be flattered, at least she isn't being played by Will Ferrell like former Attorney General Janet Reno.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Musical Chairs - Goddard as Governor?

Sonoran Alliance is encouraging everyone to get familiar with Article 5, Section 6, of the Arizona Constitution so we can all follow along with the order of succession if Napolitano decides to leave. If she does decide to leave, Secretary of State Jan Brewer would become governor and she would then be able to name her replacement as Secretary of State. Though not limited to pick someone of her own party, one would assume that Brewer would appoint a Republican.

Former Congressman and radio host JD Hayworth offered up an interesting and much more convoluted scenario which would yield a very different result. You can listen for yourself by clicking on this link and then going to about the 10 minute mark.

He illustrates a scenario in which Senator John McCain would be offered a position in Obama's "postpartisan" cabinet. If McCain took it, Napolitano would then appoint a Republican to fill his seat. Napolitano could then pick Secretary of State Jan Brewer. Then Napolitano would then be free to leave to join the Obama administation elevating Attorney General Terry Goddard to Governor.

To expand on this, Goddard could then appoint whomever he wanted to AG and Secretary of State. One would assume he would elevate Democrats to both of those positions.

While highly unlikely, it is an interesting scenario. However, this would be predicated on the fact that McCain would be willing to go work for Obama (which seems doubtful) and that the Obama administration would want two high profile Arizonans on the Cabinet.

Janet's Choice: The New York Times Treatment

We launched "Janet's Choice" to follow Governor Napolitano's decision on if she will stay in Arizona and serve out her term or if she will go to Washington and join Obama's Administration. We'll continue to follow this story until an official decision is made.

Governor Napolitano has now received the New York Times treatment profiled as a "potential member of the administration." They have her listed as a candidate for both Attorney General and Homeland Security.

In addition, the article touts Napolitano's popularity in Arizona and her "nonpartisanship." In the baggage department, the article does not mention the current $1 billion deficit in the state or any of the trouble she has had trying to increase her influence in the current election. The Times calls her endorsement of Obama "crucial," bucking the Clintons in the early part of the Primary season.

As more of these profiles pop up, it lends credence to the notion that the administration is ramping up their picks and trying to tell their story prior to making formal announcements.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Napolitano Going to Washington!

While that headline may appear soon announcing a permanent trip to Washington, this Janet trip will be a short one.

Napolitano is in Washington D.C this week to appear in front of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to ask them to approve a public works program similar to the ones put forth in the 1930's.

She'll also be asking for more Federal dollars for Medicaid programs the states use to provide free health care for the needy.

While she continues to navigate questions regarding a Cabinet Appointment, she did open up with "I'm obviously always willing to serve my state and my country." She does not have any plans to meet with President-Elect Obama while in Washington but I'm sure this trip doesn't dim the spotlight on her appointment possibilities.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Janet's Choice: Napolitano serious contender for AG

We are launching "Janet's Choice" to follow Governor Napolitano's decision on if she will stay in Arizona and serve out her term or if she will go to Washington and join Obama's Administration. We'll continue to follow this story until an official decision is made.

According to Politico, as reported by Politicker, Napolitano's name is one that is coming up most frequently as a candidate for AG. She is also still being floated for Homeland Security and Secretary of Education. One would guess that she would jump at AG, its not clear if she would leave for the other two.

However, her decision may be a little bit easier, with the observation that conservatives did well in Arizona and Team Napolitano's efforts to bring more moderates and dems to the legislature was roundly rejected. It also may be to her and the rest of the Democrat's advantage to sit back and let the Republicans figure the shortfall out. Just like with the transportation tax initiative, she may end up winning again by losing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Traffic Cameras inspire

On the lighter side, someone sent along this new store touting Napolitano's traffic cameras which are popping up all over Arizona. it will be hilarious if someone gets their picture taken sporting one of these. We're tempted to buy a 50 pack and send them to the legislature.

Mum's the word

"Seal up your lips and give no words but mum."

- Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 2

The Battle of St. Albans that ends Henry VI part 2 appears to be a very fitting source for the quote for the current silence of Governor Napolitano on her future plans. In the first battle of St. Albans, was the first battle in the war of the roses. With the help of allies, the Duke of York defeated the Duke of Somerset and also caputured King Henry VI. York then appointed himself Constable of England and had complete power.

In the modern version, with the help of allies like Napolitano, Obama has vanquished his foe and captured complete power away from a failing leader. In both cases, the men were able to place who they wanted in positions of power. However, Obama gets to be the leader in title and in spirit, while Richard of York came close as protector of the realm, but never wore the crown. Richard's power and influence continued for many years, two of his sons served as king, Edward IV and Richard III. His great granddaughter is Margaret Tudor - the mother of the Tudor Dynasty.

We spread this wiki-knowledge to make a point about the far-reaching potential of Obama and his legacy. The fundamental question is: would it be better to bring the proclaimed "best and brightest" of the Dems to Washington to help bring his change, or should he leave them in their home states to try to build power locally?

Napolitano is the epitome of this conundrum. By all accounts, she is a rising star among the party and she has been popular at home. The Republic says that she has earned a spot, and for the most part, they have encouraged her to go to Washington. Tedski disagrees saying that she should stay and run for the Senate in 2010.

Which direction would give Obama a chance to turn his victory into a legacy?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Republic makes case for Napolitano

The Arizona Republic is now openly lobbying for a cabinet position for Janet Napolitano. In sort of a preemptive farewell, they have taken to touting her experience and the fact that she has earned a spot.

This type of lobbying doesn't usually happen on its own, nor does it make it into the paper without some sort of inkling of what is to come. Even the Boston Herald says that Napolitano has not committed to staying in Arizona. When a local story starts to gather a little bit of national attention and the home town newspaper is putting in a good word, more and more signs are pointing to her departure.

Especially with the Legislature going even more Republican and electing leaders that are less likely to cut a deal, the temptation to leave must be pretty great. Some are saying that its a done deal if she is offered Homeland Security or Attorney General.

Uniting the Republican Party?

Nathan Sproul, the guy behind mudslinging so heinous that Janet Napolitano defended Russell Pearce against it, is now looking for people to help him unite the Republican Party. Here is a copy of the email from Sonoran Alliance:

From: Nathan Sproul
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 12:07 PM
To: ‘Tim J. Casey’; ‘Hugh Hallman’; ‘Sean Noble’; ‘Mike Haller’; ‘Kirk Adams’; ‘Lisa James’; ‘Andrew C. Pacheco’; ‘Jose Esparza’; ‘Jason LeVecke‘; ‘Cathi Herrod’; ‘Steve Voeller’; ‘Kevin Demenna
Subject: Party Leadership


I have spoken to or emailed many of you privately about my concerns for the future of our Party. Specifically, how does our Party in Arizona become a party that unites fiscal and social conservatives to put forward an agenda that moves Arizona in the right direction.

One of the most important aspects of this is electing a State Party Chairman who unites all factions of the Republican Party. I know this is extremely late notice, but I would like to invite each of you to join me for lunch at Monti’s on the corner of Rio Salado and Mill to discuss the future of our Party. I am paying for lunch, but as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Please let me know if your schedule permits you to attend. Thank you.

Nathan Sproul

Lincoln Strategy Group
80 East Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 814
Tempe, Arizona 85281

Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen's term is about to expire. After the very open and public chairman race that split the party last time around, it makes sense that Republicans would like to bring people together to try to make a smoother transition. However, its interesting that this effort would be driven by the people who did some of the nastiest attacks on fellow Republicans. Also, it should be noted, that his rump group doesn't include any of the people in the base who elected Pullen last time around. Here is the breakdown of the email list:

Tim J. Casey - Lawyer
Hugh Hallman - Mayor of Tempe
Sean Noble - Shadegg's Chief of Staff
Mike Haller - Flake Staffer
Kirk Adams - Speaker of the House
Lisa James - PR person and candidate for Chair in 2006
Andrew C. Pacheco - Lawyer, former AG candidate who lost to Thomas
Jose Esparza - Southwest Gas, Arizona Latino Republican Association
Jason LeVecke - Fast Food Franchiser, Patron of several of Sproul's failed initiatives
Cathi Herrod - Center for Arizona Policy
Steve Voeller - Arizona Free Enterprise Club
Kevin Demenna - Lobbyist

We understand that it is an open invitation to these people, but we do wonder if this is a group that has met before or if its a collection of like minded people. With Sproul's name being mud in the immigration debates, it would be interesting to see if Adams, Hallman, Shadegg or Flake are going to publicly support his efforts.

With a potential open Governor's seat in 2010, both parties want to be ready for a heated battle. The questions some Republicans are asking is if Sproul is the one who should lead the charge.

Consultants Gone Wild!!

It continues to be a bad month for Napolitano and those surrounding her. Espresso Pundit broke an excellent story yesterday about an email that politico (and former Janet appointed Deputy Director of the AZ Dept. of Commerce) Joe Yuhas sent to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema who finished second in her race along with her Dem colleague Rep. Lujan.

An email from a consultant to a legislative candidate isn’t something to normally post on…except when the email is confirmation of potentially illegal activity.

Sinema commented to Espresso Pundit that the email was unsolicited and was not followed up on or discussed further. It’s always interesting how these emails leak out and it causes one to question if this was the only one sent that day.

Regardless of whether this was isolated, there is the potential of illegal activity. Some would say it might be karma considering that at the time the email was sent there was talk of a potential Democrat swing in the House only to get to Election Day and lose 3 seats in the House and 1 in the Senate.

There are ways to “propel” people into leadership roles and breaking the law certainly isn’t one.

Here’s a copy of the email.
------ Forwarded Message
*From: *Joe Yuhas jyuhas@riester.com
*Date: *Wed, 29 Oct 2008 17:48:06 -0700
*To: *Kyrsten Sinema
*Conversation: *Legislative IEs
*Subject: *Legislative IEs

Knowing of your obvious interest in the legislative races around the state,
I want to CONFIDENTIALLY share with you an effort we're carrying out on
behalf of "Arizonans for a Healthy Economy"-the Professional Firefighters of
Arizona-led IE that involves a number of progressive organizations. Feel
free to pass on-but DISCREETLY-to colleagues you deem most appropriate.

Tim Hill and Bill Whitaker have done a great job here, and we have really
appreciated being a part of the effort. Of course, my *personal* hope is
that this also helps propel you and others into the leadership role we
desperately need.

These TV spots on running fairly heavy on cable TV systems across the state.
In Yuma, we're also on broadcast local stations.

To view the ads:
1. Go to www.YouTube.com
2. In the upper right corner, click on "Sign In"
a. Username is: az4he
b. Password is: firefighter (all lowercase)
3. Once you are logged in, on the upper right, click on "Account"
4. Click on "My Videos"
5. All videos will be available - they are titled by Legislative
District. Press play for each of the videos you would like to view.

Essentially, you will see the same ad-a "template" designed to reduce both
production costs and thereby limit the tripping of additional Clean Election
dollars for the opposition.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions
Joe Yuhas
*Partner and Executive Director - Public Affairs*
T: 602-462-2203
C: 602-410-3343

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mending fences before she leaves??

Governor Napolitano, in what may be her last official act as Arizona Governor, has called a special lame duck session to address what she now admits is a $1.2 Billion hole in the budget.  

This isn't just a blip on the radar and it will be very interesting to watch how those legislators who are cleaning out their offices this week react.  Will they hold their allegiances now that there are few political ramifications?  

Contrary to what's being said, Janet's change of direction on the special session seems to be political given the fact that a few of her original budget supporters will not be back in January to be on her side.  The fact that she might not be here in January I'm sure also weighed heavily on her decision.  This somewhat frees her from the black cloud of massive budget shortfalls or the perception that she's leaving the state and the new legislature high and dry for greener pastures.  

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

With Napolitano named to Obama's transition team, the question remains on if she will stay in Arizona. While Dems fear a Brewer administration,
there are questions on if Brewer would be a lock on the 2010 nomination with so many potential Republicans who want to throw their hat in the ring. Politicker has also put together their short list of possible candidates for Governor in 2010.

Here is their short list:

Phil Gordon - Phoenix Mayor
Jim Pederson - Businessman
Harry Mitchell - Congressman
Terry Goddard - Attorney General
Johnny Basha - Businessman

Jan Brewer - Secretary of State
Mary Peters - U.S. Secretary of Transportation
John Shadegg - Congressman
Andrew Thomas - Maricopa County Attorney
JD Hayworth - Former Congressman
Dean Martin - State Treasurer
John Munger - Tucson lawyer and former GOP Chairman

Currently, the only one who appears to be missing from the Politicker list is Sheriff Joe Arpaio who will probably make his regular flirt with the office, especially after holding off a tough competitor and winning handily. He may ride his "this not my last campaign" as far as it will go.

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at GovRace2010@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Napolitano on Obama Transition team - speculation begins

In the day after the election, Governor Napolitano has been named to President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team. And as we have mentioned before, the speculation has already started. Over the next few weeks, we'll be treated to the will she, won't she - Ross and Rachel type talk.

With a billion dollar shortfall looming at home and a chance to get in on the ground floor of the ballsy-named Change.gov administration, the indicators don't appear to be good for Janet fans here at home. We have reports stating that she is saying that she will be staying put. However, it would seem foolish for her not to jump at the AG or Homeland Security post if it were offered to her.

More bumps in the road for the Governor's team

While there is definite celebration by Democrats nationally, there was not as much to cheer for here at home in Arizona. It was speculated that the Governor's decisive vistory in 2006 and the larger turnout for Obama would allow Democrats to make some major headway in Arizona. So far, its not looking so good for Team Napolitano.

First, her hand picked candidate for Maricopa County Attorney General, Tim Nelson, was beaten out by Andrew Thomas by a 51.6% to 44.1% margin.

Second, bolstered by warnings from some Republicans about the Democrats' chances, they had a strategy to focus a lot of money on "swing" districts in an attempt to get a majority in the State House. Long story short, their effort fell flat and the Republicans appear to be poised to gain back a couple of seats that were lost after 2006.

Third, a week or two before the election, Napolitano's popularity along with democratic efforts to drive turnout were supposed to be able to make Arizona competitive. In fact, a week before the election, Obama and McCain were supposed to be neck and neck - thus, embarassing Senator McCain and boosting Dem's chances of taking the Senate seat in 2010. McCain was able to take Arizona with a 53.7% to 45.1% spread - gathering 1,012,878 votes in 2008 to the 959,830 that Napolitano got in 2006. That's more than 53,000 more votes than Napolitano in her landslide victory.

Finally, Prop 101, the healthcare initiative she decided to take on after the failure of her transportation and state trust land initiatives failed, is still too close to call. To her credit, it looks like her wish might come true and the initiative may meet narrow defeat despite the missteps of her No campaign.

All in all, the boldness and the scope and depth of these plans should certainly be commended. However, it doesn't look like the efforts combined with the failed primary efforts to secure moderate Republicans has succeeded.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Will she stay or will she go?

Election Day is finally here. Recent surveys and other indicators (270towin.com already calling the race for Obama according to their map) show that Obama is likely the next President of the United States. So, then the question really becomes "Does Governor Napolitano stay or does she go?"

Team Napolitano's hype machine has fired back up giving her credit for putting the Dems before the Republicans on the ballot this year. They are also setting her up as a major factor in swing districts such as District 12 the day before the election. Is this to make sure that she leaves on a high note, or is it an attempt to build her clout for a Senate run in 2010?

Though she was skipped in Obama's infomercial, she has been out stumping for him across the country and is still on the cabinet list. She is also being hailed as a winner in this election because she was an early Obama supporter and helped bolster his campaign and help it gain credibility.

Anyway, on the day of one of the biggest elections in modern history, the Presidency will likely be decided, but it will most likely create murkiness here in Arizona.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Another fumble for Team Napolitano. As if dropping the ball on the two initiatives weren't enough, the Governor's team has screwed up again, this time, displaying the state seal in a postcard decrying Prop 101. According to the Yes on 101 committee, the display is a violation of state law and “any person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a Class 3 Misdemeanor.”

As we mentioned earlier, we saw opposing Prop 101 as a way for her to remain relevant this election. However, this is probably not what she had in mind.

What is even more interesting is that Napolitano has appeared in a barrage of recent Democratic slate mail encouraging change at all levels of government. In the postcards, the same picture of Napolitano is used, but with the state seal photoshopped out.

So the Democratic party appears to be keeping up better with the law than Napolitano's hand picked team.

Janet Cams making friends

Well, the Janet Cameras are finally up and running. We have received reports from all over the valley that the portable cameras are up and moving daily - sometimes more than once in a day. A blog has already popped up which is keeping track of locations.

What is interesting is that people are noting a distinct lack of speed limit signs on some of the highways, which makes it sort of difficult to keep track of speeds. Perhaps they should be required to post a speed limit reminder with the traffic camera warning so people could actually make sure they are heading at the right speed instead of slowing down to 45 mph or lower to make sure they don't get pinched.

All of this and still a potential $1 billion budget deficit this year. We hope someone is keeping close watch on the citations. We are anxiously awaiting one of the legislators who voted for the budget and the speed cameras to get pinched and pay the $165 fine.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Still think Napolitano is staying?

While the economy is faltering and the state budget is unravelling, where is Governor Napolitano?

Kicking off events in the East Valley for Harry Mitchell (who was not very brave when it came to the bailout plan) and travelling to Reno to support Obama. The economic crisis actually has an interesting effect for Napolitano: it makes her popularity in Arizona sink and she can be partially to blame, but it increases Obama's popularity because most people nationally blame the White House for the current mess.

So as the economy worsens, which horse do you think she jumps on? If Obama wins, do you think she stays in Arizona and takes responsibility for the budget, or does she go to DC to help bring about "change?"

Gov's budget plan not welcomed with open arms

JLBC did not welcome the Governor's budget plan with open arms. The biggest issue? There are members who believe the shortfall that will be as high as $1.2 billion, whereas the Governor thinks the shortfall will only be about $800 million or 1/3rd lower than the doomsday scenario.

My question is, why not plan for the worst and hope for the best? With the economy supressed as it is, it wouldn't be the end of the world to have a little money left over at the end instead of having to revise the budget over and over. Its like having a mortgage to big to pay, but cutting back on groceries, expenses, gas, trying to make ends meet before admitting you have to sell the house.

Even the Republic admits that there are troubled times ahead:

"If anyone thought this budget fix was going to be easy, not to mention the looming deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, this is an early warning sign of choppy waters ahead."

Wonder if they are ready to say that trying to spend increased lottery winnings and other schemes may not have been such a good idea. Especially since lottery winnings are down.

Napolitano's Pick for Maricopa Attorney General Hit with Barrage

Tim Nelson has not been able to get his story straight since Andrew Thomas starting going after him on his record regarding the Death penalty. Thomas has gotten Nelson off of message, it will be interesting to see how long he will stay that way. Here is the latest from the Thomas campaign:


County Attorney Thomas Asks Tim Nelson to Come Clean About Fighting the Death Penalty for Convicted Double Murderer; Three Days of Inconsistencies Lead to Demand

Nelson Still Hasn’t Explained Campaign Claims That Death Penalty Undermines Public Safety

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 2, 2008 - Since revelations that he fought the death penalty for convicted double murderer Jose Ceja, County Attorney candidate Tim Nelson has provided three days of tortured inconsistencies in attempting to explain away his representation.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas today demanded that Nelson finally level with the public about the circumstances.

*Earlier this week Nelson’s campaign claimed he was “trying hard to remember how all of this happened.”(PolitickerAZ.com, 9/30/08)

*Nelson then claimed he and his firm were “…appointed by the court to be the legal representation on Ceja's case.”(PolitickerAZ.com, 9/30/08) THIS IS FALSE. NELSON AND HIS FIRM VOLUNTEERED TO REPRESENT CEJA. THEY ASKED TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE CASE NINE MONTHS AFTER CEJA’S EXECUTION TO RECOVER FEES. (Application for Approval of Appointment as Counsel, filed 10/6/98).

*According to a political website that interviewed Nelson’s campaign manager, Nelson was an “associate” at the law firm at the time, essentially implying that he had no choice but to defend Ceja (PolitickerAZ.com, 9/29/08). But at Wednesday night’s county attorney debate Nelson claimed to be a partner then: "In fact, I was a partner there at the time of the Ceja case." (MAN Debate, 10/1/08).

*With various media and in forums Nelson said he only did “research” on the case and "I happen not to have written any briefs" (MAN Debate, 10/1/08). BUT PREVIOUSLY HE ADMITTED TO A MUCH LARGER ROLE: "I wrote a legal appeal making a final argument for life imprisonment for Ceja's crime." (PolitickerAZ.com 9/30/08)

It’s time for Tim Nelson to stop playing games and to level with the public on this key issue. He sought to prevent the execution of a convicted double murderer in the only death penalty case he has ever been involved in," Thomas said.

“There are plenty of people in law enforcement who oppose the death penalty on philosophical or religious grounds. For whatever reason, Nelson doesn’t want to level with me, the media or the public about his involvement. To claim that he was somehow forced to do this is blatantly false. I have worked in big law firms myself and if anyone, at any time, had asked me to stop the execution of a double-murderer I would have immediately said no thank you,” said Thomas.

Thomas said Nelson has still failed to explain claims during his attempt to spin his Ceja representation how the death penalty actually undermines public safety.

Ceja brutally murdered a Phoenix couple. He shot the wife two times in the chest before dragging her to another room and shooting her four more times in the head. He shot the husband four times. He kicked the victims as they lay dead or dying. He later threatened to kill his own wife.

Ceja was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.

Nelson volunteered to represent Ceja, and to fight his death sentence even though Ceja’s own wife wanted him put to death.

Nelson argued that Ceja had already endured “torture” by spending so much time on death row. He said the death penalty wasn’t warranted after Ceja had allegedly exhibited his “non-violent behavior by living without incident on death row,” and with “honor and dignity.”

This, despite Ceja’s wife reporting publicly that he had threatened to kill her from death row. This, despite Department of Corrections records listing 18 disciplinary actions for Ceja including “throwing objects” and “rioting.”

For more information please contact Jason Rose or Jim Sharpe.

Two of the more interesting observations from the release: First, blogs like PolitickerAZ.com are now treated as sources for credible information. They treat their stories like the news, and in fact, in some ways are getting better stories and better access than the regular media.

Second, where is Napolitano in all of this? This was her hand picked guy. She came out with some other folks in favor of Nelson a few weeks back, but she appears to be fairly quiet since then. If their goal is to beat up on Thomas about domestic violence, why isn't she taking the lead?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Governor eyeing a Rally?

Like a bad penny, the discussions about the failure of the transportation initiative and the state-trust land initiative keep turning up. In this fairly quiet time following the Primary Election, there hasn't been much to talk about. However, it looks like Governor Napolitano is looking for ways to rally.

She is going to join Obama in Florida to campaign for him. This will help get her back in the news, especially with her cheerleaders since they are all breathlessly announcing that Obama is "back on message."

She was also recently named New Dem of the Week by the Democratic Leadership Council. This type of positive attention will help her get past the failures of late and help bolster her position against the impending budget issues that are heading her way in the wake of sagging revenues.

Finally, she is taking aim at Prop 101, the so-called "Medical Choice" initiative. The initiative is considered to be confusing by some and it now is raising questions about if it has the potential of hurting the healthcare options for the poor. On the surface, she sounds like she is fighting choice, but the devil, they say, is in the details. If Napolitano can stick to arguing about the unitended consequences of this initiative and stay away from the socialized medicine aspect, she may have found a way to be relevant in this election.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is Napolitano losing her mojo?

Even the Arizona Republic is starting to wonder what is going on with Governor Janet Napolitano. In an out of character review, the oft-fawning paper questions if Napolitano's powers are waning in the wake of failed initiative efforts and departing staff positions. Will she return her focus to the state with the Presidential contest is over?

One of the most interesting points from this article is the notion that for the first six years, the Governor, while doing very little, has been able to gather the perception of a juggernaut. She won on all-day kindergarden and well... that is about it. CPS is still a mess and the surplus that she bragged about gathering is now dust in the wind from a controversial budget that depends on borrowing and lottery winnings to make ends meet.

Some have argued that the key to her "dominance" was doing very little, making calculated moves with incremental success. It was enough success to get re-elected by wide margins. However, now in her second term, her team is trying to do more to leave a legacy and implement their agenda. Meanwhile, the Democrats are also depending on her cache to help sweep more Dems into office this cycle.

Basically, its her show, she's the star, and the world is waiting on her to get things done. The first test - the ballot initiatives - was a miserable defeat. It was the Governor's plan, executed by the Governor's people and a combination of strategic errors and inexperience doomed both.

Next up, the Novemer election. Assuming Tim Nelson wins the Primary today, he'll become the symbol of the Governor's influence on candidate races. Clearly, Nelson is her pick and he is even on record claiming that her name is what is helping him raise the big money. We'll see if he is able to topple Andrew Thomas.

Friday, August 29, 2008

2010 Watch

We're combing through the rumor mills, news stories, and blogs to give you the latest on the Governor's race in 2010.

Is Jan Brewer thinking about 2010?

She has been front and center a lot lately with the initiative qualification process. She is defending herself against the allegations made by Democratic Party Spokeswoman Emily DeRose. She also challenges Napolitano on Obama's fiscal policy. She is also in the Arizona Capitol Times spotlight. She is also off to the RNC, which as the highest ranking Republican from the Nominee's home state, she'll likely play a role.

Is she getting ready for 2010 or the potential rise to power in 2009 if Obama wins and Napolitano jumps ship?

If you have any juicy gossip or more information, please let us know at GovRace2010@yahoo.com.

A question to the Home builders

A quick look at the transportation initiative campaign finance report shows that the committee raised about $1.1 million and spent a little over $1 million on their petition gathering effort. In all, the committee paid $617,323.69 to Petition Partners and $324,682.23 to Ziemba Waid.

The committee only received $27,129.34 from the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. As we have pointed out, they feel that they have met their obligation through the donation and the signatures. Ironically at the time, their campaign said:

"Tom Ziemba, the campaign consultant, criticized Wilhelm's decision to do her own petition circulating. Ziemba said the campaign needs financial support, not signatures."

Looks like they could have used the signatures.

However, our real question is, did the Home Builders ever agree to give the money instead? If so, are they now off the hook because the initiative crashed and burned?

Napolitano at DNC

Washington Post reports on Napolitano's big day jitters.

The Arizona Republic heaps on even more praise.

The AP points to Napolitano to defend Obama's speech.

No comment yet from the Star Trek villain from whom she stole her outfit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Napolitano in Denver - Her initiatives are in the tank

While Governor Janet Napolitano goes around the DNC shaking hands and meeting delegates, her Transportation and State Trust Land initiatives have been permanently removed from the ballot.

The State Supreme Court upheld the ruling last week that the challenges to the Secretary of State were not filed in time. The result is that Prop 103 "Conserving Arizona's Water and Land" and Prop 203 "Transportation Infrastructure Moving Arizona's Economy" will not be on the ballot.

Espresso Pundit is covering the Channel 12 round table where Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson Emily Bittner-DeRose is claiming that Secretary of State Jan Brewer somehow "fixed" the process to skew the sample. While the statement is ludicrous, don't think that this is the last time that the finger is going to be pointed away from the people who were really responsible. The fact is, the Governor and her handpicked people dropped the ball on these initiatives. Ultimately, they didn't fail because of the sample, they failed because they didn't challenge in enough time.

We're sure that not taking the signatures from the Home builders to make a point seems very foolhardy at this point. It would be interesting for them to run some validity checks on their sample to see how they did compared to the abysmal results that those guys were able to achieve.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Governor 0 for 2 on initiatives

The State Trust-Land initiative has been officially kicked off the ballot. It joins the transportation tax increase as initiatives supported by the Governor that are having a hard time making it onto the ballot. It appears that the same lawyer who is representing the Transportation plan will also be working to get State-Trust back on the ballot.

With the Medical Choice initiative making it back, Napolitano backers may be able to save her initiatives as well. The question is, how do they sell their issues to the public starting from such a depressed position?

Let's assume for a minute that one of them makes it back. The first thing that opponents will say is that these guys had to sue to get their ballot heard. What is their response going to be? If they had started to educate the public before now and had people to stand up and come to their defense, perhaps they could withstand such negative statements. However, odds are, they are going to roll out the Governor to come to their defense because its easy and she is popular.

In this case, that is not going to be enough to get them over the hump. First, she is going to have a prominent role in the presidential race, so she is going to be busy and she is going to turn off a significant base of the Arizona folks who are voting for McCain. Second, with such complicated issues, voters are going to want to know the details and how it impacts them. That isn't something you start doing after the primary. That is a process that takes a little while.

More Napolitano wheeling and dealing

Governor Napolitano has cut a deal with Honeywell to divert $1 million of their fine for polluting to her pet project, the Western Climate Initiative. This story was first broken by Espresso Pundit and has since by picked up by the Tribune and others.

Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce takes the Governor to task saying that the money should be used for environmental projects impacted by the pollution, instead of Napolitano's hand picked projects. You can read Pierce's letter here also thanks to Espress Pundit.

This is the latest example of a deal coming public that may have made it outside of Napolitano's spin machine. Between this and the secret deal with the Homebuilders that seems like it will never die, she doesn't appear to be doing as good of a job of either a) masking her agenda or b) selling the state on her big ideas.