Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jesse Kelly Finally Wins Something!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Jesse Kelly, the failed Republican candidate who pretended to care about Southern Arizona and then got out of here as fast as he could after losing two races for Congress, wasn't just an arrogant jerk when it came to dealing with the local media.

He was also pretty bad with the national guys, if this tidbit from Stuart Rothenberg is any indication:

Least Favorite Candidate Interviews of 2012

OK, so not every candidate interview is a good one. Maryland Democrat Rob Garagiola, Florida Republican Connie Mack and Arizona Republican Jesse Kelly interviewed far worse than any other candidates this cycle, so they share this award.

Garagiola, who I believe is still my state senator, came off as arrogant and smug. Those two words also describe outgoing Congressman Mack, who seemed to have a chip on his shoulder even before we shook hands. And Kelly was the least cooperative candidate I’ve ever met, refusing even to reflect on why he had lost his previous congressional race.

Kelly, who swore he never wanted to be a politician and couldn't wait to get back to running the family construction business once he had defeated the nation's libs, is now hard at work using his snake-oil-salesman charm to convince people to pour money into Citizens United.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Standing with Wolves: Center for Biological Diversity

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 4:56 PM

The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity filed formal notice of intent to sue U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent them from capturing wolves that happen to visit us or New Mexico from Mexico.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading »

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The 'Out in the Desert' Film Festival Launch Party is Jan. 4

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 2:37 PM

The launch party for the LGBT film festival, Out in the Desert, is Friday, Jan. 4 at the Fluxx Studio and Gallery, 414 E. 9th St., 7 p.m. Festival tickets and passes will be available at the party. An artist reception for the festival is Friday, Jan. 11, 7 p.m., and it officially opens Wednesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.

Jaime J performs at the lunch party, and you can also watch trailers and enjoy some of complimentary food and drink, plus be one of the first to see what's on the festival program. For more on this year's festival, go to www.outinthedesertff.org.

The 2013 festival runs from Wednesday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 27. Buy your film passes now at a reduced rate — $125 for a full pass, $60 for a 10 program pass or $35 for a F5 program pass.

Festival organizers just released a series of film trailers to give us peek of what's to come. We'll post one almost everyday until the launch party.

Here's the first from Trevor Anderson's The Man That Got Away:

... the new short film written and directed by Trevor Anderson, with original music by Bryce Kulak. It's a musical documentary that tells the true life story of Trevor's great-uncle Jimmy in six original songs. (25 minutes, Canada, 2012) World Premiere: Berlin International Film Festival (DAAD Short Film Prize); US Premiere: SXSW 2012; Canadian Premiere: Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. Produced with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton Arts Council, Bravo!FACT, NFB Filmmaker Assistance Program, and FAVA. More info at dirtcityfilms.com

Info on the soundtrack CD, featuring remixes by Chad VanGaalen, Cadence Weapon, members of Shout Out Out Out Out, DVAS and more, can be found here: itunes.apple.com/album/the-man-that-got-away/id500699270

THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY movie trailer from Trevor Anderson on Vimeo.

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The National Gun Death Rate is Two-Thirds That of Arizona's

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Last week, Slate published this short news item, looking at how firearm deaths have begun to outpace motor vehicle deaths in ten states, including Arizona. Using data from 2009, Washington, D.C.'s Violence Policy Center released a report in May that shows Arizona had 856 gun-related deaths to 809 vehicle-related deaths that year.

This led me to wonder what the gun-death numbers are in Arizona from year to year, and how those relate to national figures—and the answer, found via the CDC's Fatal Injury Report database, didn't surprise me.

Between 2001 and 2010, Arizona has had 9,117 gun deaths—a rate of 15.48 deaths per 100,000 over that time span. The national average over the same time was 10.33 per 100,000. In 2010 alone, Arizona's gun death rate was 14.57, compared to the national rate of 10.26.

The thing is, 2010 was a bounce-back year for gun-related deaths: the 931 deaths reported that year reversed the trend of decline that we had experienced since the high of 982 gun deaths in '06, dropping to a low of 856 deaths in '09.

2010 was also the year that Arizona began to allow permit-less concealed carry—an interesting coincidence.

We won't know more about the possible relationship between Arizona's gun deaths and the CCW law until mid-2013, when the CDC will release 2011's statistics. Maybe it's an aberration—but then again, maybe not. 'Til then, just some food for thought.

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More Police in Schools Often Means More Students in the Juvenile Justice System

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Barely two weeks since the shooting in Connecticut, and without surprise, we're no longer any closer to resolving our differences on assault weapons and why the NRA exists in its current incarnation. But according to the Justice Policy Institute, any strategy to avoid future tragedies of this magnitude, going the route of putting cops or armed guards in schools may cause other problems:

The increase in the presence of law enforcement in schools, especially in the form of school resource officers (SROs) has coincided with increases in referrals to the justice system, especially for minor offenses like disorderly conduct. This is causing lasting harm to youth, as arrests and referrals to the juvenile justice system disrupt the educational process and can lead to suspension, expulsion, or other alienation from school. All of these negative effects set youth on a track to drop out of school and put them at greater risk of becoming involved in the justice system later on, all at tremendous costs for taxpayers as well the youth themselves and their communities.

Yep, they have a report.

educationunderarrest_fullreport.pdf

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So Many Heroes, So Little Time

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Before our annual Heroes issue goes the way of time, and our Year in Review hits stands this week, I was thinking about heroes I didn't get a chance to write about.

Once a year we think about a group or person we want to include in the issue, and it made sense to focus on Caroline Isaacs with the American Friends Service Committee and her work exposing and educating Arizonans on the private prison industry. We've written about the issue in the past, and we plan to write more in the future — but it never seems enough.

In this coming issue, I highlight 2012's headlines on Tucson Unified School District, such as Mexican-American studies, special education and desegregation. Objections to parts of the deseg proposal are filed and now, like the case in front of U.S. District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima on the state's anti-Mexican-American studies law, Tucson waits for U.S. District Court Judge David Bury on the desegregation plan.

The past few months have been difficult for many people who support the return of MAS. As tensions continue to rise, besides suggesting some deep breaths and doing that thing your mother may have mentioned long ago—you know, wait three minutes before you open your mouth (just a suggestion)—why not take a moment to give thanks to Sylvia Campoy.

We've talked to and pointed out Campoy in our coverage on the TUSD desegregation case and her work as the Mendoza representative with Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund attorneys in the decades-old lawsuit, Fisher-Mendoza v. TUSD.

Despite what some may think, Campoy has been involved in the deseg case defending the education of all children in TUSD, as well as Mexican-American studies and changes needed for English Language Learners. This past year, Campoy has had to listen to a lot of false accusations or chisme spewed in an effort to discredit her work — what's been distressing is that that gossip has come from all sides.

Campoy and the attorneys at MALDEF deserve credit, thanks—and if you see them in town, a few hugs wouldn't hurt either. We don't know what Judge Bury's final decision will be on the different areas of the deseg plan, including if MAS will return as most MAS supporters hope it does (with core credit classes in Chicano literature, history and government with Chicano perspectives), but that doesn't mean Campoy isn't a hero.

I imagine that once Bury decides on the deseg plan and the objections before him, Campoy's work on the correct implementation of a desegregation plan in TUSD continues. I wouldn't expect anything less of a hero.

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The Café Poca Cosa Patio is Now Open

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:44 AM

I have received word that Cafe Poca Cosa's patio, which we reported on here, is open ahead of schedule. Seems it all came together quickly, and there's even a space heater in place for your comfort. Check it out for lunch or dinner at 110 E. Pennigton St.; you can call ahead at 622-6400.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Life Heats Up for Incoming TUSD School Board Members

Posted By on Tue, Dec 25, 2012 at 2:53 PM

When former Tucson Unified School District candidate Betts Putnam-Hidalgo stood before the TUSD board at the last special meeting for the closure and consolidation vote on Thursday, Dec. 20, she brought up a recent radio interview with newly elected board member Cam Juarez.

On KVOI's Buckmaster Show with Bill Buckmaster, Juarez said, "You have a different perspective once you are privy to a lot more information." Juarez explained further that he had access to a little more information from TUSD than he had as a candidate, he changed his mind and understood that school closures had to happen for the district close in on its projected $17 million deficit.

"If they don't happen now they will have to happen in the near future. One way or another it is going to be a difficult thing to do," Juarez said.

But what was special about the information Juarez was provided as opposed to the information provided the public through the series of meetings, public hearings and school master plan?

That's what Putnam-Hidalgo asked the board at the Dec. 27 special meeting, especially since the criteria for school closures didn't fit near-high performing schools on the closure list like Brichta and Sewell This past fall, at a TUSD candidates forum in front of a 700 people at El Casino Ballroom (see above video), Juarez and other newly elected board member Kristel Foster both talked about "not closing schools," but then changed their minds — at least according to the interview on the Buckmaster Show.

"What ever that information is, we need it," Putnam-Hidalgo told the board, referring to Juarez's mention of being privy to information they didn't have before when they were running for school board.

You can listen to the Buckmaster interviews with Juarez and Foster here.

The interviews, coupled with the final vote on the closures, have given the incoming board members a public-relations hill to climb in the eyes of the Internet and social media:

fosterfb.jpg


Word is the criticism isn't being taken well, and the new board members wish folks would cool it until the district's next regular school board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. That's the meeting that could change the course of this district, and possibly the more recent votes, albeit confusing, that the board took on the desegregation plan with several objections, including the inclusion of culturally relevant curriculum core classes, i.e. Mexican-American studies on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

In our interview with board member Adeltia Grijalva, she said she intends to bring that vote back up before the board during the Jan. 8 meeting when there is a majority board in support of MAS — Grijalva, Foster and Juarez.

Maybe, it's what Juarez referred to in his Buckmaster interview as the time "to start the healing process."

It's time to figure out "how to heal from school closures, how we're going to deal with deseg plan ... we can't afford to lose anymore students. If we lose more students we definitely have to close more schools in the future."

Foster, in support of MAS, said in her Buckmaster interview, "I am going in as a supporter. When you put all the politics aside, the data still stands."

"We have to rebuild our image, our trust, bring the community back to our schools. We have to bring our board and community together."

For some in the community, it means this new board has a lot of work to do, and a lot to prove.

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