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