Blog Archives

GERRYMANDERING: The Movie is Coming to the Valley on November 16

While this event isn’t directly related to downtown Pheonix spoecifically, its subject matter affects us all, regardless of where we live.

The Arizona Competitive Districts Coalition is working to expose power politics in Arizona’s decennial redistricting process. Join them for our kickoff event on November 16th featuring Jeff Reichert, acclaimed director of “Gerrymandering.”

Arizona Competitive Districts Coalition and Research Advisory Services, Inc. present:


with special guest: Jeff Reichert, Director of “Gerrymandering” who will do a brief presentation and answer questions about the movie!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 6:30pm

Arizona Historical Society, 1300 North College Avenue. Tempe, AZ  85281

Suggested donation: $10

Limited Seating, so please RSVP today to:

Want more information about the movie?  Visit the GERRYMANDERING Facebook page or

Five Reasons YOU should Gerrymandering, The Movie:

5.  When mapmakers have more of an impact on an election than a campaign or candidate, the system is broken.

4.  Arizona citizens should pick their representatives. They shouldn’t pick us.  Learn the things politicians don’t want you to know about the redistricting process.

3.  “Gerrymandering” will show you how redistricting affects all Arizonans, whether you vote or not.

2.  Think Arizona politics are dysfunctional? Learn how it got this way and what you can do to change it.

1.  “Gerrymandering” is the single most important movie you’ll see this whole year (with apologies to fans of the new Harry Potter movie).

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Councilman Simplot!

Call him crazy, Tom Simplot is going Over The Edge for Special Olympics Arizona.

On November 10th, District 4 councilperson Tom Simplot will be rappelling from the 17th floor of the One Lexington condominiums in midtown Phoenix.

He is currently collecting pledges from family, friends and constituents who are not brave enough to go over the edge themselves.   Please help Tom reach his goal of at least $1000. All donations made are 100% tax deductible. All proceeds from this Over the Edge event will benefit Special Olympics Arizona.

Visit his event webpage for more information and to support this great cause.

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FREE Screenings of ‘9500 Liberty’ in downtown Phoenix TOMORROW

On Sunday, August 22nd, Stateside Presents and Artists for Action will present two free screenings of 9500 LIBERTY, presented with Spanish subtitles, at The Third Street Theatre at Phoenix Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona.

With the recent federal injunction halting the most controversial aspects of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, Prince William County, Virginia remains the only jurisdiction in the United States to have implemented a law requiring police to check the immigration status of people they suspect are undocumented.

The award-winning documentary 9500 LIBERTY reveals how this became law and the ensuing aftermath. Film critic Roger Ebert recently praised 9500 LIBERTY warning Arizonans of the potential impact of the controversial immigration law. Law enforcement leaders around the country have pointed to the film as an effective survey of the public safety impacts of laws like SB1070.

9500 LIBERTY was recently presented at the Police Executives Research Forum convention in Philadelphia, PA, and at the Major County Sheriffs’ Association convention in Anaheim, CA.

9500 LIBERTY is directed by Coffee Party founders Eric Byler and Annabel Park. Byler said the film and the movement both promote “civil, fact-based, and solutions-oriented dialogue” as “the best way to approach divisive issues like immigration.”

“A few years before Arizona passed its new immigration law, a similar law was passed and then repealed in Virginia’s Prince William County. The documentary “9500 Liberty” tells the fascinating story of how that happened, and possibly foretells what lies ahead for Arizona. In Virginia, the law was eventually overturned by a combination of middle-class whites, Republican office holders, the police chief, Latinos and economic reality.“ Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

“This engrossing documentary traces ugly repercussion in northern Virginia when a resolution is passed requiring cops to question anyone they have ‘probable cause’ to suspect of being an illegal alien.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

“There are certain films in certain times that make it exceedingly difficult to shut out the world around you. 9500 Liberty is one of them.” Bill, Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic

“With an uplifting turn of events and some extraordinary acts of conscience, 9500 Liberty is as dramatically charged as any fiction movie. And ultimately, it’s as powerful a booster of the democratic process as anything Frank Capra ever imprinted into our collective memory.” Desson Thomson, The Wrap

“9500 Liberty is a well made, engaging example of the documentary form, a film in which compelling storytelling transcends politics.”


9500 LIBERTY (with Spanish subtitles) Sunday, August 22, 2010 – 4 PM and 7 PM Third Street Theatre at Phoenix Center for the Arts 1202 N. Third St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (map)

For more information, please send an email to

Panel Discussion to Follow Screenings with Director Eric Byler

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Arizona voter registration deadline at Midnight


If you want to vote in the primary election on August 24, 2010 today is the last day to register. You have until midnight to do it. If you have an Arizona driver license or official ID, you can register online. Otherwise, you can download the registration form and hand-deliver it to the County Recorder’s Office in downtown Phoenix at 111 S. 3rd St (map).

If you aren’t sure if you are registered to vote or not, you can check that here.

How To Register to Vote in Arizona:

  1. In order to register to vote, you must be a citizen of the United States and 18 years of age or older preceding the next general election.
  2. To register to vote in Arizona, you must be a resident of Arizona 29 days preceding the next general election.
  3. You must not have been convicted of a felony or treason, or if so, your civil rights must have been restored. You must not have been declared incompetent by a court.
  4. Proposition 200, passed by the voters of Arizona at the 2004 General Election requires that proof of citizenship must be submitted with all new voter registration forms. One of the items listed here is all you need to fulfill this requirement.
  5. If you meet the requirements in steps 1-4, there are four ways you can register to vote: print a form, request a form, pick up a form, or register online.
  6. You can print a voter registration form from your computer.
  7. Mail the completed form to: Maricopa County Recorder, 111 S. 3rd Avenue, STE 102, Phoenix, AZ 85003-2294.
  8. You can have a voter registration form mailed to you by calling 602-506-1511, T.D.D. 602-506-2348.
  9. You can obtain voter registration forms from any Elections office in Maricopa County, or from a City or Town Clerk’s office.
  10. You can also obtain voter registration forms from libraries throughout Maricopa County, at some banks, at some grocery stores and at U. S. Post Offices.
  11. If you have an Arizona driver license or official non-operating identification license, you can register to vote online at this web site.
  12. If you are registered to vote in Arizona, you must register again if you moved from one residence to another, if you have changed your name or if you want to change political parties.


  1. If you are a registered voter you will receive voter information packets well before any election.
  2. If you don’t receive voter information, your address on file might not be correct and you should contact the County Election Department.
  3. You should receive a voter registration card in the mail after your application has been processed.
  4. Prior to an election, you will receive information in the mail directing you where to go to vote in that upcoming election.
  5. Make sure you have the proper identification with you when you go to the polls to vote.
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Happy Statehood Day, Arizona!

Census release ranks Arizona’s poverty rate 13th highest in nation

[Source: Christine Rogel, Cronkite News Service] — Arizona’s poverty rate stood at 14.7 percent in 2008, 13th highest in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday.  In all, 935,000 Arizonans were estimated to live in poverty, defined by the federal government as less than $14,489 per homeowner under 65.  That was up from 876,000 in 2007. “It’s worrisome because behind the numbers are real people and families struggling, and during the recession it has gotten worse,” said Timothy Schmaltz, coordinator for Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition.  “We’re living in a state where we have food boxes, but they’re smaller than they were a year before because they are serving more people.”

The national poverty rate was 13.2 percent in 2008, up from 13 percent in 2007.  Mississippi had the highest rate at 20.8 percent; New Hampshire’s was lowest at 7.8 percent.  In Arizona, Yavapai and Greenlee counties had rates that fell below the national average: 12.9 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.  Maricopa County’s rate was 13.4 percent.  The report said that one in three Apache County residents lived in poverty, giving that county the 45th-highest rate among more than 3,000 counties analyzed in the report.

Elizabeth Segal, professor of social work at Arizona State University, said that cuts in social services due to the state’s budget crisis have exacerbated the problem of poverty.  She said early childhood education is key.  [Note: Read the full article at Census release ranks Arizona’s poverty rate 13th highest in nation.]

Arizona ties for 6th most desired state to live in

[Source: Phoenix Business Journal] — Arizona tied with North Carolina and Washington as the sixth most desired state to live in, according to a new poll.  U.S. residents were asked where they would choose to live if they did not live in the states where they are now by the Harris Poll, by Harris Interactive.

California topped the list, followed by Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and Colorado. Rounding out the top 15 states were: Tennessee, No. 9, Oregon, 10, New York, 11, South Carolina and Massachusetts, tied at 12, Georgia, 14, and Montana, 15.  New York City topped the Harris Poll this year as American’s No. 1 city to live, followed by San Francisco, which tied with Denver at the No. 2 spot, and San Diego was No. 4.  New York City has topped the list every year except once since 1997.  Phoenix was not listed.

“The most popular states and cities where large numbers of people would like to live tend to attract tourists and business,” according to a Harris news release.  “They are places where people like to take vacations and where companies like to have their offices and factories.”  The Harris Interactive poll of 2,498 U.S. adults took place Aug. 10-18.  [Note: Read the full article at Arizona ties for 6th most desired state to live in.]

Arizona expected to lose jobs for another year

[Source: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services] — Arizona will continue to lose jobs for probably another year, the state Department of Commerce predicted Thursday.  Senior economist Jack York said the number of people working at the end of this year will be 178,500 less than when the year started.  That translates to a loss of 6.8%.  Both those figures set new records — and by large margins.  The biggest loss in pure numbers was recorded last year when the number employed dropped by 57,400.  And in pure percentages, the biggest drop was at the end of World War II when employment declined by 2.9%.

State officials figure that most of the jobs that they predict the state will lose this year already are gone. But they are figuring another 70,400 will be out of work by the end of the year.  But that won’t be the bottom: York said job losses will continue through at least the first half of 2010.  He predicted, however, that hiring will pick up in the third quarter of the year, spurred by federal stimulus projects, war spending and even some increased consumer spending.  That late-year boost, York said, should limit year-over-year losses in 2010 to 17,400.

York was less willing to predict just how high the state’s jobless rate, currently 9.1%, will go before subsiding. But Lisa Danka, a deputy assistant director at the agency, said double-digit figures would not be surprising.  The last time Arizona’s jobless rate topped 10 percent was July 1983.  Not surprisingly, York said state’s beleaguered construction industry will continue to suffer, with the 2009 job losses likely hitting close to 50,000.  Part of that, he said, is related to the fact that population growth has slowed.  [Note: Read the full article at Arizona expected to lose jobs for another year.]

Arizona earns “F” in family financial prosperity

CFED MapThe Corporation for Enterprise Development‘s (CFED) Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty, and the financial security of families in the United States.  The Scorecard assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well residents are faring and what states can do to help residents build and protect assets.  Arizona was one of five states to receive an “F.”

According to CFED, there are many policies that Arizona could enact to improve its climate for asset building and preservation:

  • Support Entrepreneurs: To encourage small business ownership and reduce race and gender disparities, Arizona should fund organizations that provide technical assistance and loans to microenterprises.
  • Curb Predatory Mortgage Lending: To remedy its high foreclosure rate, the state should curb unscrupulous lending practices, enforce sound underwriting and ban prepayment penalties.
  • Improve Education: To improve math and reading proficiency and increase the number of high school graduates, Arizona should increase school spending, especially in high-poverty districts.

Worsening USA unemployment