Skip to content

Vote No on Maricopa County Prop 449

Maricopa County Proposition 449 extends a tax that is solely for the Maricopa County Special Health Care District. The reason that I recommend a no vote is because special taxing districts are a bad idea. Very few voters know anything about any of these special districts, let alone anything about the elected politicians who govern them. This means, essentially, no accountability and more bureaucracy to manage these special districts. We already have an elected Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County. These supervisors are charged with managing the spending for Maricopa County and they should be the ones responsible for all country government facilities, including the county hospital.

I am guessing that anyone reading this cannot tell me the name of any of the politicians who control the spending of this special health district. But an even better example of this special tax being an “inside job” that very few voters know anything about is to look at the “Informational Pamphlet” sent to voters. There were 37 arguments “for” the proposition and none against. Furthermore, all 37 arguments were paid for by Valleywise Health. That is, not a single person or entity cared enough about this measure to pay for their own submission to be published.

Let’s put the county hospital back under the control of the Board of Supervisors where it belongs. Vote no on Prop 449.

Phoenix, Give Yourself a $1.4 million tax cut on Nov 3rd

Phoenix voters: Can you remember the last time a tax cut was on the ballot? Neither can I, but we can give ourselves a 1.4-million-dollar tax cut on November 3rd. This is because there will be a request by the City of Phoenix to exceed the state spending limit which was passed way back in 1979. For political wonks, it was primarily sponsored by Senator Ray Rottas. I was a lobbyist then and helped him get it through the legislature. But…….unfortunately, Ray had to add some “wiggle room” into the bill in order to get enough votes. That wiggle room allowed the various political jurisdictions in the state to override the spending limits if they would take the issue directly to the voters every four years. Is anyone surprised that Phoenix has done that every four years since the first vote in 1981?

But you have the chance on November 3rd to restore some sanity to government spending and give yourself a huge tax cut. The proposition is Number 444.

Just vote NO!

Yes, Virginia, Roads Can Be Private

Those of us who call ourselves libertarian believe that government has only one legitimate function, protecting our liberty. This basically means national defense at the federal level; police and courts at the local level. Everything else should be private and operate in the world of competition and cooperation, not in the government run world based on taxation and coercion.

Most people can accept “privatization” of some services such as trash pickup and certain infrastructure but they baulk at the idea of private roads, even though these same people are aware of private freeways, called toll roads, and private local roads, usually controlled by homeowner associations. However, the roads in between these two extremes, what we usually call arterials, the roads we use to get from one place to another in a city, must be government controlled.

Not so. I just returned from visiting friends in North Oaks, Minnesota, a city of more than 5000 people where ALL the roads and ALL the lands are private. Homeowners own the lands front of their home up to the middle of the adjacent roads and they grant an easement for the roads. When you enter North Oaks there is not a gate but there is a sign which informs you that you are entering an area that is entirely private and that, if you do not have a reason to be there, you are trespassing.

You may not be surprised to learn that there is almost no crime in North Oaks, there is no graffiti, there are no people sleeping in tents along the roads, and there is none of the other objectionable features that we have come to associate with government owned property. This negative phenomenon is sometimes referred to the “tragedy of the commons.” When property is owned in common, e.g. by government, there is less incentive to take care of it than when it is private.

Could all roads be private? Yes, Virginia. Could all land be private? Certainly. Government could lease land that it needs from private owners. Current government owned land could be sold with deed restrictions for uses we want to maintain such as parks and monuments.

Finally, I was struck when visiting North Oaks to see the contrast between the conditions there and the destruction and riots of nearby Minneapolis where I went to high school. There is a lesson here.

Justice Montgomery should recuse himself on the marijuana issue

So far, Justice Bill Montgomery is not recusing himself from voting on the ballot measure to legalize marijuana, even though, as County Attorney he was the most vocal opponent of legalization and lead the fight against the last ballot measure. He certainly should recuse himself now that he is on the Supreme Court. To make this issue even more smarmy, some will remember that Montgomery’s group that was opposing the marijuana legalization was largely funded by John Kapoor, the now convicted felon who headed Insys Therapeutics, the largest producer of fentanyl, a drug that, unlike marijuana, is extremely dangerous and addictive. Obviously, Kapoor did not want any competition from marijuana.

William Perry Pendley for BLM Director

The Left has released its dogs on Trump’s possible appointment of William Perry Pendley to head the BLM. They are wrong. Pendley is a good choice for BLM director, and precisely for the reasons that are criticized by the Left. The federal government owns far too much land and, as Pendley has advocated for years, most of it should be sold. This would bring needed revenue to the government for the sale price of the land and would reduce the huge expenses of managing the land. It would also increase the revenue to the local taxing jurisdictions. But the most important benefit is simply the recognition that private interests always manage real estate better than any government entity. For example, forest fires occur almost exclusively on government managed lands, not on the vast acres of privately managed forests.

Contrary to the allegations of the Left, the BLM lands were NOT intended to be retained in perpetuity and “managed” by the federal government. One indication of this fact is that the BLM was originally called the GLO, General Land Office. These lands were intended to be sold. Leftist bureaucrats always want to maintain and expand government power. Part of that goal was embodied in the name change of the GLO to the BLM.

Appointing Pendley to the BLM post is one small step in reducing the federal government overreach and in respecting the sovereign status of our western states.

Metro Center closes: Is Lt Rail still needed??

One of the main justifications for the northwest extension of Light Rail was to connect with Metro Center Mall, at one time the only large two-story mall in Arizona. Now that Metro Center is closing, we should reexamine the northwest Light Rail extension. This would save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, especially because this extension requires an extremely expensive crossing of Interstate 17.

Defund Police Unions, not Police

The villain in the practice of retaining bad cops is the police union, not the police management. We should defund the unions, not the police. Just think about it for a minute: Police management has an incentive to get rid of or discipline bad cops. Police unions have the opposite incentive; they exist only to protect the cops. I saw this play out repeatedly during my time on the Phoenix Civil Service Board, the agency that disciplined cops in Phoenix appealed to. No matter how egregious the offense, the police union was there to argue against termination or against harsh discipline. Let’s focus our attention and our remediation where it belongs.

Gov Ducey: There is no Systemic Racism in the PhxPD

Last week one obnoxious reporter tried twice to get Governor Ducey to say that there was “systemic racism” in the Phoenix Police Department. This was after another reporter (maybe it was the same one) tried to get Ducey to admit that he suffered from “white privilege.” The farthest the governor would go is to say that “I am learning.” I want the governor to know that, after living in central Phoenix for 45 years, and after serving on numerous Phoenix commissions and committees, including as chairman of the Phoenix Civil Service Board (where we heard appeals of Phoenix PD disciplinary actions), and after knowing most of the chiefs of police during that 45 years, there is no systemic racism in the Phx PD.

I do not know the current chief, Jeri Williams very well, but I have had some personal interaction with her, and I have closely followed her actions in the press. As a result, I have the utmost confidence in her management.

I hope that the next time the governor is asked this question about systemic racism he will say that he knows of no such thing, even while acknowledging that that there are always a few bad apples in every barrel and that he is all for dispensing the appropriate discipline when they are found.

The Military should not act as Police

It is extremely dangerous, and unconstitutional, to use the military for policing. The military and the police have opposite functions. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. The role of police is to serve and protect. To use the military as police will inevitably result in more people being killed and more things being broken. At the other extreme, we see police forces around the country being “militarized” through use of weapons such as tanks and heavy firearms and military vehicles. This will cause the police to view protesters as the enemy, rather than as people who they should protect and serve.

Double the Number of Service Academy Grads—cost free

All military service academies are four year, intensive, resident, programs. Does anyone seriously believe that it takes four years of such an intensive program to create great officers for our military? Of course not. After all, there are more officers produced from other less intensive officer training programs, such as ROTC, than from the service academies and many of the products of those other programs, nevertheless, go on to serve in the highest levels of their respective services. The extreme example of this is what we in the Air Force called the 90-day wonders, graduates of OTS, the Officer training School, many of whom go on to achieve high rank.

Here is my suggestion: Why not make the service academies two-year programs and instantly double the number of military academy graduates? Two years should be more than enough time to instill the proper attitude and skills. Students could enter the academies after two years at another college, probably after also serving those two years in the ROTC. They would then also have completed the grueling “beast” indoctrination and would come to their final two years as more mature adults, who are more likely to have the additional knowledge and commitment required for a long military career.

Such a system would also reduce the perceived “differences” that are inevitable between “Academy grads” and the officers from other commissioning sources. This is likely to be beneficial to both the new officers and to the taxpayers. Let’s give it a try. As an Air Force Academy grad myself, I suggest the pilot program (pun intended) be at the Air Force Academy.