Sunday, October 19, 2014

Michael Hicks’ Bankruptcy, And Why It Matters For A TUSD Board Member

Posted By on Sun, Oct 19, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Michael Hicks declared bankruptcy in August, 2007. From then until his Chapter 13 bankruptcy case was completed in April, 2012, he made payments in a court-approved plan to pay a portion of what he owed to creditors who filed a claim in the case. There’s nothing uncommon about the situation Hicks was in, and it normally wouldn’t merit mention. However, he is one of five members of the TUSD school board who oversee the district’s budget, which makes his personal financial responsibility a relevant concern. It’s especially relevant because Hicks has made the district’s finances a major part of his campaign, accusing Superintendent Sanchez of fiscal irresponsibility. He has also demonstrated a lack of care in reporting his campaign finances and recently made a statement to a group of students about college loans which was careless and irresponsible.

Here is a general picture of Hicks’ bankruptcy, taken from public records. I went over the documents with someone who understands bankruptcy documents and procedures far better than I do to make sure I presented the situation with a reasonable level of accuracy.

On August 2, 2007, Hicks filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, which provides for a court approved payment plan generally determined based on a debtor's "disposable income" after considering his living expenses, mortgage expenses, etc. At the time, he had debts totaling more than $225,000. In approximate figures (the exact figures differ on documents throughout the bankruptcy process), he owed a total of $150,000 on his home and his car, $47,000 in credit card debt, $16,000 in student loans, $7,000 in personal loans and $6,000 in medical bills. Three of the six credit card companies he owed money to sued him before he filed for bankruptcy, with one seeking garnishment. During the years he was paying down his debt, the bankruptcy trustee filed actions three times because he was delinquent in his payments. When he came out of bankruptcy on May 30, 2012, he had paid about 14 cents on the dollar on the debts other than the house and car, where he continued to make his normal payments outside of the bankruptcy plan.

Hicks has recently created a new one page campaign website, hicksis4kids.com. His earlier five page campaign website can be found at hicks4tusd.com. It includes a personal statement, part of which emphasizes “full disclosure,” “bringing transparency to the Tucson community regarding myself” and a commitment “to continue to bring fiscal responsibility to the district.”

”Those who know me, knows [sic] that I believe in full disclosure, and in bringing transparency to the Tucson community regarding myself and the business of TUSD.  It is my intention to call for and listen to public input on important matters, and to encourage fresh ideas from students, parents, teachers and tax payers.  I am confident that if we work together, we will be able to improve the TUSD experience for everyone, and provide our children with the best quality education they deserve.  I want to continue to bring fiscal responsibility to the district.”

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Marriage Equality Ruling: Candidates Speak Out

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A round-up of comments from this year's candidates on today's marriage equality ruling, which has paved the way for gay marriage in Arizona:

Congressman Ron Barber:

Today is an historic day in Arizona — a day that is long overdue — as each of our fellow citizens now has the right to make a legally binding, lifelong commitment to the person they love.

With today’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick and the acknowledgment by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne that the ruling is binding on Arizona, our state now joins the many others where a ban on same-sex marriages has been ruled unconstitutional.

I am overjoyed that all Arizonans will now be able to have the same rights and the same responsibilities that my wife Nancy and I have shared during our 47 years of marriage.


Democrat Fred DuVal, candidate for governor:

As Americans, our civil rights must never be denied. As Arizonans, we believe that liberty is a cause worth fighting for. This ruling sends an emphatic message that no one should be treated differently under the law because of who they are or who they love.

Couples in committed relationships who want to marry should not face interference from politicians of either party. Marriage equality is a just cause, and now is the time for families to celebrate their newfound freedom.


Republican Doug Ducey, candidate for governor:

Attorney General Horne made the right decision regarding an appeal. I accept the determination of the courts and will honor their decision.

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Raul Alcaraz Ochoa on Mariposas Sin Fronteras in Advocate

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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The Advocate magazine has its important place in LGBT history, but it earned some series Tucson love this week running a beautiful op-ed from Mariposas Sin Fronteras and Southside Workers' Center's Raul Alcaraz Ochoa on his work helping undocumented in detention, with this op-ed calling important attention to two friends who are transgender and their heartbreaking experiences in detention.

From the Advocate:

Recently my friend Marichuy Leal Gamino let me know, for example, that she was raped while in detention at Eloy, Ariz., in a detention center run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Marichuy, a 23 year-old transgender woman originally from Mexico, has been in detention for a year with an all-male population. Although she complained to guards that she was sexually harassed, bullied, and threatened, the on-duty detention officer told her to "deal with it."

When her cellmate sexually assaulted her and she reported it, the staff pressured her to sign a statement saying that the rape was consensual sex. Now, as advocates call for her release, she has been placed in solitary confinement, a practice that instead of “protecting” her is shown to be psychologically harmful.

Another friend, Jazmin, a transgender woman from Honduras, also wrote to me about her experiences in detention: “One time, I was ordered to strip off my clothes in front of all men. They [the guards] didn’t care that I had undergone hormone treatment and had breasts. They violated my body.”

In another instance, Jazmin’s HIV-positive status was recklessly disclosed by guards in front of a large group of detainees. Jazmin told me she wanted to crawl under a rock and that she often contemplated suicide. This isn't what she expected when she crossed the scorching Arizona desert, leaving behind family abuse, social discrimination, HIV stigma, and persecution based on gender identity and sexual orientation in Honduras for what she hoped would be a better life in the U.S.

The letters and calls don't stop. As a result, I cofounded Mariposas Sin Fronteras with my friend Rachel Winch to help people like Marichuy and Jazmin get out of detention. Our work is a constant battle of raising funds to pay bonds to get detainees released from detention, working with other groups, like the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Project to help support their asylum claims, and the Arcoiris Liberation Team in Phoenix to do public advocacy campaigns to apply pressure on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release our friends and change the abusive conditions. We also write letters of support, do visitation days, accompany detainees to court, and listen to gripping stories of fear, isolation, and resilience.

Alcaraz Ochoa and his friends need your help. Go to the Mariposas Sin Fronteras blog for details on how to donate.

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UPDATE: You Can Marry Today, Right Now at Pima County Clerk's Office

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM

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As we previously reported (see blow), yes, this morning a federal judge struck down Arizona's anti-same-sex marriage law as unconstitutional. Although previously reported that state Attorney General Tom Horne would have a press conference on Monday and, while not interested in an appeal, that would be when most counties across the state could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couple.

According to the Pima County Clerk's office, flooded with phone calls at the moment, you can come down there right now — right now and get married. They will have new license in on Monday with the language changed, but if you want to get married today, you can and just cross off what doesn't apply and then go back on Monday to get a new license at no extra charge.

Tucson Weekly will be at the Clerk's office soon, and feel free to email Mari Herreras your wedding plans, mherreras@tucsonweekly.com. Better yet, call her - 520-390-4911.

_________________________________________________________________

Tonight, in celebration of U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick's decision this morning, ruling Arizona's anti-marriage equality law unconstitutional, there will be a rally at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St., 6 p.m.

Here is Sedwick's decision:

Arizona_ruling.pdf

"The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that substantially identical provisions of Nevada and Idaho law that prohibit same-sex marriages are invalid because they deny same-sex couples equal protection of the law, the right to which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States," Sedwick wrote in his brief ruling. "This court is bound by decisions of the Court of Appeals."

When marriage licenses to same-sex couples can be issued by county clerks throughout the state is unclear, although state Attorney General Tom Horne has said it's unlikely Arizona will appeal. However, he's reportedly having a press conference on Monday. According to a Arizona Republic report, Pima County would need a few days to have new licenses printed.

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Cleo Needs a Home

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 9:58 AM

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona presents Cleo

No. 789734 — 3.5 Months Old — Domestic Short Hair — Female


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Who doesn’t love a goofy, fun, affectionate kitten? Cleo is a lively sweetheart who finds everything fascinating. She entertains herself with toys and occasionally her own tail. Surrendered to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona with her four siblings, Cleo likes to rule the roost. She’s quite regal for a kitten and has a way of attracting attention. Above all, Cleo is a love. She’s so full of affection that it pretty much overflows and surrounds everyone she meets with a warm glow. She’s saving her most eternal love for you! What do you say? Meet cute little Cleo today at the HSSA!



***As with all pets at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Cleo has a $31 adoption fee through October! Plus, every adopter gets to pick a pumpkin from the Petacular Pumpkin Patch for the chance to win a free adoption, HSSA T-shirt, pet goody bag, merchandise discount and more!

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UA Scientists Go for "One in a Million" Shot of Comet As It Passes Mars

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 9:30 AM

An animated simulation of how the rover Curiosity might see the fly-by of the comet Siding Spring.

On Sunday, Oct. 19, UA scientists are going to try to use their robotic cameras in orbit around Mars to capture an image of the comet Sliding Spring as it passes the planet. UA News has details:

University of Arizona scientists have their eyes on Mars for the fly-by of comet Siding Spring, which will pass the red planet on Oct. 19, closer than any comet has ever zoomed past the Earth in recorded history.

"We expect Mars to be bathed in the comet's coma, the gas and dust clouds that make for their famous tails," said Roger Yelle, a professor of planetary science in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, who is on the science team of NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, which went into orbit at Mars on Sept. 21.

"The probability of an encounter like this is one in a million."

MAVEN — short for NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission — is the latest addition to an armada of seven spacecraft currently studying Mars, either observing from high above or roving and digging on the surface.

During the comet fly-by, NASA has programmed its orbiters to take measurements and images, then "duck and cover" behind the planet, just in case.

"It only takes a half-a-millimeter-size particle traveling at 56 kilometers per second to injure one of these spacecraft," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tucson, You Need More Ana Tijoux: Tonight, a Community Platica at the Global Justice Center

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM

If you were lucky enough to catch Chilean hip-hop artist and musician Ana Tijoux performing in Tucson this week, then you know how lucky you were to catch her show and understand the beauty and talent of this amazing artist. But wouldn't it be cool to spend some time with her talking about her work and community? Yes, of course it would.

Look, Tucson, I don't mean to get pushy, but if I was your guide tonight, after work, head over to Pico de Gallo for some tacos and love, and then go across the street to the center to meet Tijoux and take in her observations about the border and what is sure to be a great community conversation.

From organizers:

Ana Tijoux-rapper, mother, and activist- will be performing at the Rialto on Wednesday night, and on Thursday will be offering a community conversation about politics, feminism, and the power of music to inspire social change.

The platica will be introduced by Alisha Vazquez and facilitated by Elva De La Torre from KXCI.

Ana Tijoux- cantante de rap, madre, y activista- va a tener un concierto en el Rialto el Miércoles por la noche, y el Jueves va a ofrecer una conversación con la comunidad de Tucson sobre la politica, el feminismo, y el poder de la musica para inspirar una transformación social.

La platica será introducida por Alisha Vazquez y facilitado por Elva De La Torre de KXCI.

We want to thank the following sponsors of the event:

Nos gustaria dar las gracias a las siguientes donantes:

Gender and Women's Studies at Arizona , the UofA Graduate Association of Spanish and Portuguese (GASP), the UofA Center for Latin American Studies, the Earlham Border Studies Program, and the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry

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Oh Jimmy John's: The Chain Makes Employees Sign Noncompete

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM

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They deliver those sandwiches so fast, and they do an Unwich, that lettuce wrap sandwich you eat with less guilt after eating that big bag of Doritos washed down with that bottle of wine the night before ... but then read about how they make their employees sign a noncompete and think about that nice young man or woman who delivered your sandwich. No wonder they are so damn fast.

The non-competition agreement.

H/T Jezebel:

Can you imagine the nightmare if numerous companies started doing this and it was considered an acceptable practice? Unemployment would skyrocket, the economy would tank due to a lack of spending — we'd be completely hosed. While I'm pretty sure a non-compete like this is actually legal (especially considering the US's repeated insistence on placing the needs of corporations above those of actual human beings), the amount of economic harm for which widespread use of this practice could theoretically be responsible could be catastrophic. What does Jimmy John's care though, right? Moar profit for their dickhead founder who donates to human skidmark Sheriff Joe Arpaio, mandates that employees be fired for unionization, and hunts endangered species for sport!*

We can get mad at Chick-Fil-A all we want over their stupid, regressive stance on marriage equality, but at least that's not an issue with the potential to poke a giant hole in the bottom of the shared boat of the US economy. I don't just want Jimmy John's non-compete agreement gone, I genuinely hope that whoever came up with it winds up in a federal penitentiary.

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Staff Pick

Music+Festival 2014: Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Chávez, Revueltas

The University of Arizona School of Music presents “Music + Festival 2014: Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Chávez, Revueltas.”… More

@ UA School of Music Sat., Oct. 18, 4 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 19, 2 p.m. 1017 N. Olive Road.

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Popular Content

  1. Michael Hicks’ Bankruptcy, And Why It Matters For A TUSD Board Member (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Marriage Equality Ruling: Candidates Speak Out (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. UPDATE: You Can Marry Today, Right Now at Pima County Clerk's Office (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. The Heist Pizza Parlour Has Closed (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Raul Alcaraz Ochoa on Mariposas Sin Fronteras in Advocate (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

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