One successful action strategy to get out our word is to write letters to the editor. Join us two times a month to get ideas and support so you can submit your own letters or contribute to others' ideas. Contact us at indivisibletucson.com to get the Zoom link.
Arizona Needs to Stop Expanding Charter Schools by Leadawn Anderton
Arizona needs to stop expanding Charter Schools that deplete public schools of needed resources and pad the pockets of for-profit management companies and their shareholders. Currently, Senate bill 1068 proposes paying non-certified teachers in Charter Schools according to the same wage scale as certified teachers in public schools. Most Charter School teachers are not certified and not capable of providing the high standard of learning public schools do. Many Charters hire “Teach for America” recruits who receive as little as 5 weeks training. Public school certification requires 5 years of real training in education and child development. Charter Schools are not regulated by the State, an elected school board or taxpayers. They don’t offer a free education to all by not admitting or expelling students with challenges. Charter Schools fail, 25% in the first 5 years, the investors pocket the money while students suffer disruption in their learning. Tell our legislators to stop misusing our tax dollars and hurting our students.
Help Make Arizona Better for All by Eileen Hollowell The people who most directly impact daily life in Arizona are meeting again. The Arizona Legislature has started their 2022 session. Republicans have a razor-thin one vote majority in both chambers and have used this to control what bills are proposed and passed. Last year, instead of seeking bipartisan support to their most extremist bills, they packed them into the “must pass” budget bill. Since then, a unanimous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court has declared this practice unconstitutional. This year, more normal legislative processes must be followed. If we want to see our water shortages, crumbling roads and underfunded public education addressed, we all need to pay attention to what our legislators are doing. You can find your legislator at https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/, and let them know what matters to you by email, phone or using Arizona’s unique “Request to Speak” system to comment online about pending legislation. Let your legislators know you want to make Arizona better by having legislation that benefit all constituents, not just those who are members of the legislator’s political party. Together, we can make Arizona Better.
As legislators get back in action, let them know your thoughts by Thea Challow and Ana Hart Daily Sun The people who most directly impact daily life in Arizona are meeting again. The Arizona Legislature has started its 2022 session. Republicans propose and pass bills with a razor-thin majority in both chambers. Last year, instead of seeking bipartisan support for their most extreme bills, they packed them into the “must pass” budget bill. Since then, a unanimous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court has declared this practice unconstitutional. The legislature must use the regular processes this year. If we want to see our water shortages, crumbling roads and underfunded public education addressed, we all need to pay attention to what our legislators are doing. You can find your legislator at https://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/, and let them know what matters to you by email, phone or using Arizona’s unique “Request to Speak'' system to comment online about pending legislation. The nonpartisan nonprofit group Civic Engagement Beyond Voting can create a Request to Speak account if you sign up at tinyurl.com/rtssignmeup. Let your legislators know you want to make Arizona better by having legislation that benefits all constituents, not just those who are members of the legislator’s political party or a lobbying group. Together, we can make Arizona better.
Make Your Views Known by Eileen Hollowell Monday, Jan. 10 the Arizona Legislature began its 2022 session. Even though Republicans control both chambers by a slim majority they have rarely passed bipartisan legislation. Instead, they have used “must pass” budget bills to pass extreme laws, many of which did not go through committee hearings. But a recent unanimous Arizona Supreme Court decision prohibits that practice. Now the normal legislative process must be followed. If we want issues like water shortages, education and infrastructure addressed it is critical that we, the citizens of Arizona, pay attention to and comment on proposed legislation. You can find out who your legislators are and how to contact them at www.azleg.gov. Also, civic groups and political parties often offer trainings on how to use Arizona’s unique “Request to Speak” system which you can use to comment remotely on pending legislation. Make your views known to your legislators who should represent all of their constituents, not just the ones who are members of the legislator’s political party.
Arizona Deserves Better by Tina Whitley Having recently moved to Arizona, I carefully followed the 2021 Republican led AZ Legislative session, and was disturbed to find that Republican legislators are weak, feckless and irresponsible. WEAK: In both the House and Senate legislators are pawns of ALEC, a corporate funded bill mill whose goals are to defund public education and push through voter suppression bills. FECKLESS: Republican legislators did not even know what was in the ALEC bills. I witnessed that first-hand watching committee meetings. IRRESPONSIBLE: Republican legislators illegally stuffed ALEC bills into the flat tax bill, and wasted thousands of taxpayers’ dollars trying to discredit AZ’s election integrity. Worse yet, they used their razor-thin majority status to block beneficial bills, and debate on controversial bills. Do Republican legislators read, follow the will of the voters, care about health care, the water crisis, and public education? Not! Republican legislators are only committed to staying in power and spreading divisive hate speech and misinformation. Arizona deserves better. Vote out extremist Republican legislators in 2022.
Stop putting our children at risk! by Marie Nibel Our children and their schools continue to pay the price for Arizona’s poor leadership during the pandemic. Arizona is the only state in the Southwest that never had a statewide mask mandate, even during the worst of the pandemic. Our neighbors of all different political stripes got the memo that masks work, but the political ambition of Ducey and Brnovich stopped them from doing the right thing. Not only do they oppose mask mandates, but want to keep federal money from any school district that has mandated mask wearing. This money was set aside for Arizona to safely operate schools post-Covid. This puts our children’s health in danger and further underfunds their schools. All of this at a time when many of our children have fallen behind in their learning due to issues caused by schools closed for a year due to Covid risk. Ducey and Brnovich need to stop their selfish political charades and support solid health procedures and the funding required to implement them
Hope is on the horizon by Jackie Marshall and Rachel Rulmyr My family rejoiced as we watched Biden sign the Infrastructure Bill into law. We are grateful for this landmark legislation that will improve the lives of Americans across the country. Biden’s “blue collar blueprint to rebuild America” will revitalize our economy by making substantial, long-term investments in our work force. Repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, strengthening our electric grid, promoting the manufacture of electric vehicles, improving public transit, and providing broadband access to underserved rural areas will add 1.5 million jobs and increase the GDP by nearly $3 trillion for the next decade. It will improve our nation’s health by investing in clean energy, improving water systems, upgrading other public works, and promoting environmental projects. These long-awaited investments promise a more robust economy and a healthier nation, where anyone who is willing to work hard can have a good job, make a livable wage, raise a family, and enjoy a future free from hunger
A healthy nation, a healthy economy by Lorene McLaughlin and Jackie Marshall If you’re concerned about inflation, you may want to consider this. According to US Chamber of Commerce, since small businesses make up 99.9% of all US businesses, their success drives up the economy. It is not surprising that their lack of success during the pandemic has had an incredibly negative impact on our economy, an impact that has resulted in consumer inflation and has caused corporations and financial institutions to suffer as well. Federal Reserve economists agree that the current price spikes which have led to inflation is a response to the persistence of the pandemic. For two long years, we have been paying too great a price in suffering, debilitation, and death due to the pandemic. We are now paying the price at the check-out counter as well. If we want to combat inflation and rising costs, we must all do our part to defeat Covid once and for all. By doing so, we will revitalize small businesses and regain a vibrant, growing economy.
Arizona Depends on Federal Money to Solve Water Crisis by Eileen Hollowell A recent article in Arizona Central* described Arizona’s plan to address looming Colorado river shortages. Unfortunately, Arizona’s plan is heavily dependent on federal money. Governor Ducey has already used Covid relief money to pay Indian tribes not to use their water for two years. But what happens if the Federal government quits providing money to Arizona? Republican House Minority Leader McCarthy’s recent marathon speech opposing Biden’s Build Back Better bill makes it clear that Republicans will not pass legislation to address things like Arizona’s water shortage. If Republicans regain control of Congress, they will likely focus on more tax cuts for the wealthy, leaving Arizona and the rest of the Colorado river basin states to fight over a shrinking resource. Certainly, our Republican state legislature has done nothing to address our water crisis. Keep that in mind when you vote in 2022.
The Independent Redistricting Commission is failing Pima County by Jacolyn Marshall and Di Alexander How bad is the much-maligned LD17 map 10.0?Let me count the ways. It does not meet the Compact and Contiguous requirement. It stretches from Saddlebrooke to Vail, crosses county boundaries, to include parts of Pinal and Pima, and crosses geographic boundaries to include two mountain ranges. It does not meet the Communities of Interest requirement. Covering such a wide range, it has no shared school districts, water resources, parks, entertainment, or markets in common. It does not meet the Competitive requirement. With voters equally divided among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, the deviation between parties should not exceed a 3 to 4-point difference.Map 10.0 gives a 10-point advantage to Republican candidates, virtually eliminating all others from ever holding office. LD17 map 10.0 is a prime example to the kind of blatant gerrymandering the Commission was created to prevent. If you find this appalling, go to irc.gov to voice your complaint and offer your support for LD17 map 9.0 which does meet these IRC requirements.
Roe V Wade Under Attack by Leadawn Anderton No one is pro-abortion, but women have been terminating unwanted pregnancies for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Without proper assistance from knowledgeable practitioners, many of those terminations resulted in the sterility or death of the mother. I think Bill Clinton had it right when he said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Now Roe vs Wade is under attack again with Texas and Mississippi both bringing cases before the court. If Roe is overturned, 21 states will likely ban all abortions. The brunt of those restrictions will fall on the young, the poor, and the disabled, many of whom are minorities. The Woman’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755) which has passed the first vote in the House and is now on the Legislative Calendar. it standardizes the law in all states to allow safe, medical abortions up to viability (24 weeks). Contact your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to support this bill. We cannot return to the Dark Ages.
Dear Editor: What's the deal with over-the-counter rapid COVID-19 home tests? These are available throughout Europe at very low, if any cost. Instead, U.S. consumers must pay out of pocket for these tests, approximately $25 for two at local pharmacies — when they are available. As a registered nurse, I can only see that this practice limits access and is yet another contributor to pandemic disparities. Patricia J. Kelly
Written by Judy Gillies
Prescription costs for Medicare rising by Beth Smith I expect to pay my monthly bills to keep the lights on and take care of other necessities. What is getting hard to anticipate though is paying for the rising cost of my prescription drugs that allow me to continue living a healthy lifestyle. Just when I get used to paying more for one medication, another one has gone up in price. I am shocked by how much money it takes for me to survive due to these high-priced medications. Why are our prescription drugs three time that of other developed countries? For years Congress has promised to address this issue and year after year I have been disappointed by their failure to do so. Sen. Mark Kelly is working hard to change that. He was instrumental in making sure that the Build Back Better plan empowers Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have been making huge profits off my medical needs. Thank you, Sen. Mark Kelly, for fighting for me and all Arizonans.
HOW LOW CAN VINCE LEACH GO? By Thea Chalow and Misty Atkins Even though Arizonans took partisan redistricting away from legislators twenty years ago, they’re still trying to put their sticky fingers on the scale. Disturbing evidence has become public that State Senator Vince Leach drafted a letter for the Independent Redistricting Commission arguing that Saddlebrooke (where he resides) should be crammed into a cattywampus new district that excludes Democrats in order to assure Southern Arizona Republicans get a guaranteed winner at the ballot box. Had Leach signed and sent the letter himself, it would have been a blatant abuse of the IRC safeguards intended to prevent incumbent politicians from influencing the redistricting process. Instead, Leach surreptitiously arranged for the letter to go out under the name of the Mayor of Marana. If you want to read all the tawdry details, go to https://azdem.org/caught-emails-reveal-covert-efforts/ or do an internet search for “Emails Reveal Covert Efforts By Republican State Senator To Promote GOP Gerrymander.” Vince Leach is not morally fit to represent any Southern Arizonans.
Hope is on the horizon by Rachel Rulmyr and Jacolyn Marshall My family rejoiced as we watched Biden sign the Infrastructure Bill into law. We are grateful for this landmark legislation that will improve the lives of Americans across the country. Biden’s “blue collar blueprint to rebuild America” will revitalize our economy by making substantial, long-term investments in our work force. Repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, strengthening our electric grid, promoting the manufacture of electric vehicles, improving public transit, and providing broadband access to underserved rural areas will add 1.5 million jobs and increase the GDP by nearly $3 trillion for the next decade. It will improve our nation’s health by investing in clean energy, improving water systems, upgrading other public works, and promoting environmental projects. These long-awaited investments promise a more robust economy and a healthier nation, where anyone who is willing to work hard can have a good job, make a livable wage, raise a family, and enjoy a future free from hunger.
THANKSGIVING AS BEST WE CAN By Margo Nichols and Judy Gillies The violence in our rhetoric, the threats to Mother Earth Make thankfulness so much harder to support. That we’ll find a way to work together seems increasingly naive When crowds shout ugly lies and taunts and obscenities. Our time on earth is truly very brief But generations that follow are hoping for relief From the threat to vital species of pollution in the clime. Must conflict make it futile to hope for Earth sublime? Sorry for the doom and gloom, as we gather family near For one sweet day, can we put aside our fear And offer thanks, dear friends, for the grace of our rare chance To briefly share creation’s awesome magic cosmic dance?
Arizona’s Water Crisis: Plan Ahead by Eileen Hollowell A recent article in Arizona Central described Arizona’s plan to address the looming critical Colorado river shortages. Unfortunately, Governor Ducey’s plan is heavily dependent on federal money, while cutting state revenues with an ill-advised tax cut. Ducey has already used Covid relief money to pay certain water users not to use their water for two years. But what happens if the Federal government quits providing money to the states? Kevin McCarthy’s recent marathon diatribe demonstrates his expectation to oversee the House and put his repressive stamp on progress. Based on what the Republicans did the last time they were in control, Arizona should not expect any federal funding to help with water shortages. Instead, it is likely that more tax cuts will be passed benefitting the top 10% of Americans, leaving Arizona and the rest of the Colorado river basin states to fight over a shrinking resource. Certainly, our Republican state legislature has done nothing to address our water crisis. Keep that in mind when you vote in 2022.
Climate and water are interdependent by Margo Nichols Re: the Nov. 9 article 'Address climate change to save water.' I read with interest the opinion piece by local members of Mormon Women for Ethical Government addressing climate change to save water. I wonder why Congress has been unable to pass the Build Back Better legislation that contains critical funding to do just that. Commentators and legislators dither about the costs of switching from fossil fuels to renewables when most Americans know that we cannot afford not to. Only through reversing the threats to climate can we be assured of sustainable water as well as clean air, fertile soil, and all that sustains life. If you care about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit, and not just the next election cycle, you know that state and federal statesmen and women must act to save the planet before it is too late. It is insufficient to accept the science but decry the affordability of changing. Support legislators in Washington and Phoenix who bravely promote climate-saving measures. It may well be our last best chance to save Mother Earth.
Vote GOP if You Like the Climate Crisis by Rick Bramhall It seems remarkable to me that Arizonans keep voting for and supporting Republican office holders. The majority of people in this state know that climate change is real. Like all of us, they complain about the rising temperatures and fret about the drought, and the wildfires they cause. Yet they continue to put people in office who ignore this issue.
We need to switch to renewable sources of power. We need to stop giving our precious water away to large agribusinesses that turn around and export their products overseas. In short, we need to elect representatives who can see beyond today and who care about something beyond their own stock portfolio.
SACRIFICING LIVES FOR POLITICAL GAIN by Thea Challow “Arizona has caught up to New York when it comes to reported deaths per capita….” So begins a 10/25 recent news story in the Washington Postnational press.
New York’s peak death rate occurred when transmission routes and mitigation measures were unclear and vaccines didn’t exist. Today, Arizona is approaching the same death rate even though we know how COVID is spread, how masks reduce transmission, and how vaccines can protect us.
Why are we in this death spiral? Because extremist Arizona Republicans politicians are stoking the “personal freedom” movement for political gain. They rile their base by saying people should be free to go unvaccinated and maskless even if it spreads virus and kills others. Do they carry that logic to being free to drive without a license or drive drunk and kill others?
When you vote for new state leaders in 2022, chose carefully. Arizona needs leaders who will protect all our residents instead of Republicansextremists willing to sacrifice lives for political gain.