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KILL THIS BILL!

If you care about the astronomy industry in Arizona, you should give Gov. Jan Brewer a call to urge her to veto a bill allowing electronic billboards with glowing lights.

HB 2757, which is a big giveaway to the billboard lobby, passed the Senate on a 20-8 vote last week and is headed for Brewer's desk.

State Sen. Frank Antenori, who is one of four Republicans competing for a chance at the congressional seat that was held by Gabrielle Giffords, is a supporter of the legislation.

"I guess you could even say in a crazy way it's good for the environment, because it doesn't waste all that plastic or vinyl or whatever that the image is printed on, and all the toxic chemicals that are used to create it," Antenori said.

While that's certainly one way of looking at it, we're more concerned about the light pollution that's going to make it harder to keep Arizona's astronomy industry alive, since that creates high-paying jobs in a high-tech field.

We'd say that state Rep. Bruce Wheeler of Tucson got it right when he called the bill yet another giveaway to special interests.

"We have to be very careful what were doing here, because we're talking about a $250 million business, and there's a new telescope that may not come here," Wheeler said.

Let's not let this one go through without a fight. Dial the governor, toll-free, at (800) 253-0883, and ask her to veto HB 2757.


VIEW FROM THE RIGHT

With less than three weeks before the April 17 Republican primary in the Congressional District 8 race that will decide which GOP candidate will go up against Democrat Ron Barber in the June 12 special election, the GOP candidates had another forum at Canyon del Oro High School earlier this week.

State Sen. Frank Antenori, 2010 nominee Jesse Kelly, former fighter-pilot Martha McSally and marketing business/UA sports broadcaster Dave Sitton are all eager to repeal Obamacare (if it's not tossed out by the Supreme Court) and replace it with a less-regulated private-insurance market. (We're pretty sure that won't do much for people with pre-existing conditions, but if they wanted health care, they shouldn't have gotten sick.) All of them say taxes need to be lower, even though they're worried about the deficit. All of them say that burdensome regulation is killing jobs, even though corporations are enjoying record profits, and the private sector is adding jobs.

And all of the candidates believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman, with Antenori and Kelly—who are normally critical of allowing an over-reaching federal authority dictate what is right—promising to push an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to block gays from enjoying equal rights in matrimony.

Antenori revealed the grand plot of liberals in this country: "The family is the core unit that makes this country great. And if you dismantle it, like the left loves to do—they love to divide and conquer. They love to pit us against each other. They love to tear apart families. They don't want families. They want individuals that they can control. So the key thing to that is for them to destroy families."

Sitton, meanwhile, offered this history lesson about the traditional nuclear family: "We didn't make this up. Disparate cultures throughout the history of mankind determined that it be a man and a woman that would be declared a marriage. A variety of religions—different religions—it's the one thing that mankind has agreed on most."

That's certainly true, if you ignore the part of history where marriage was little more than a business transaction between families; women were essentially property; and polygamy was an accepted practice.

But The Skinny's favorite moment came when Kelly repeated his new assertion that the United States has more in oil reserves than Saudi Arabia.

Kelly has been floating that particular line in recent weeks. When The Skinny questioned where he came up with this rather dubious assertion, campaign spokesman John Ellinwood shared a Fox News story in which a former Shell Oil executive suggested the same thing.

Kelly isn't the only one who has been making the claim; presidential not-so-hopeful Newt Gingrich said in February that "by one estimate, (we) have three times as much oil in the United States as there is in Saudi Arabia."

Gingrich's assertion was rated as "mostly false" by PolitiFact, the Tampa Bay Times' bullshit-detecting website.

We went into this in more detail at The Range, our daily dispatch, where we have unlimited space and an opportunity to link to other sources, but here's a condensed version: It is possible that there are oil reserves locked up in what's called oil shale, or rocks that release oil when heated. But actually tapping that oil is virtually impossible with today's technology, and even if it could be extracted, it requires heating the rock up to more than 650 degrees Fahrenheit, so you're expending a lot of energy—and it's gonna cost a lot of money to get it, so it's not going to lower your price at the pump.

In other words: Saying that the U.S. has more in oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is a load of crap designed to make people believe that there are easy solutions to the significant energy problems facing the nation.

FWIW: The Young Republicans who sponsored the debate had a straw poll afterward to decide a winner. Antenori came out the big winner, nabbing 48 votes (or 40 percent). McSally came in second with 30 votes; Sitton was in third with 22 votes; and Kelly came in dead-last with 19 votes.

It cost a couple of dollars to cast a vote, so it's possible that Jesse's supporters are just cheapskates.


DOMESTIC DRAMA

After accusing state Rep. Daniel Patterson of domestic violence, his ex-girlfriend and former campaign manager apparently recanted the charges via Facebook on Sunday, March 25.

"I had a breakdown recently," Georgette Escobar wrote on her Facebook page. "I'm now stabilized and working on getting better. Daniel Patterson never hit or committed domestic violence against me. I never needed an order of protection against him. I'm sorry. I disagree with the ethics complaint, investigation and charges against him. He should be found innocent."

To recap: In February, Escobar and Patterson got into a scuffle that resulted in the cops showing up at his place; eventually, charges were filed against him in Tucson City Court.

Patterson, who tried to claim legislative immunity to avoid the case during the legislative session, denied abusing Escobar, but his fellow Democrats in the Arizona House of Representatives quickly called for his resignation and filed an ethics complaint against him.

Meanwhile, Escobar split town and was arrested on charges of meth possession in La Paz County.

State Rep. Ted Vogt, the Republican chairman of the House Ethics Committee, tells The Skinny that the ethics investigation into Patterson is continuing.

Patterson complains that the investigation feels like a "fishing expedition," and the Democrats were too quick to judge him.

"I didn't do those things," Patterson says. "I'm glad she corrected her statement."

Rep. Chad Campbell, the House minority leader, said via email that he was standing by the call for an investigation.

"We asked the Ethics Committee to investigate a pattern of behavior, not just a single incident," Campbell said. "We have to let the process takes its course."

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