Blogislature

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grijalva Arrested Protesting Trump's Immigration Policies

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 11:49 AM

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva being arrested in front of Trump Tower for civil disobedience. - RAÚL GRIJALVA/FACEBOOK
  • Raúl Grijalva/Facebook
  • U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva being arrested in front of Trump Tower for civil disobedience.

RAÚL GRIJALVA/FACEBOOK
  • Raúl Grijalva/Facebook
Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva was arrested during an immigrants' rights protest in front of Trump Tower Tuesday morning, along with U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

"I stood in front of Trump Tower today with a whole lot of DREAMers, immigrants and Americans to say enough to Trump and his criminalization of our immigrant communities," he posted on Facebook shortly before being arrested.

Grijalva was sitting in the street below Trump Tower with other demonstrators, holding a banner advocating for DACA recipients when he was taking into custody by the New York Police Department with his hands zip tied behind his back.

A representative from Grijalva's office said the congressman was released several hours after the arrest and now faces charges of disorderly conduct with other charges pending, according to Tucson News Now. They also reported the lawmakers had intended to get arrested at the protest.

RAÚL GRIJALVA/FACEBOOK
  • Raúl Grijalva/Facebook

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dreamers #HereToStay

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 10:35 AM

Reports came out last week that Trump will decide any day whether to keep Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA recipients, or Dreamers, together with immigration lawyers, activists and allies gathered in front of Tucson City Hall, on Aug. 29, to say they're not going anywhere.

DACA recipients and allies tell the Trump administration that they're here to stay: "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido." - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • DACA recipients and allies tell the Trump administration that they're here to stay: "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido."

The Obama-era ruling protects close to 800,000 people whose parents brought them into the country, undocumented, as children. DACA makes it legal for them to work, get a driver's license, pay in-state tuition to college and to live their lives without fear of deportation.

"We continue to hear these threats against DACA," said Jessica Rodriguez, a member of the humanitarian organization Living United for Change in Arizona. "This is not going to stop. We're going to continue to take the streets. We're going to continue to call on our officials. We are not going to stop."

Immigration attorney Mo Goldman said to focus energy toward local elected officials.

"Call out representatives like Rep. McSally, who has said that she supports the DACAmented community and the Dreamers," he said. "She's been out there. She said it, and she needs to be held accountable. She needs to be on the phone talking to the White House."

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Anti-Racist Protesters Demand Supervisor Miller Resign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 10:09 AM

About 600 protesters waving familiar posters gathered in front of Pima County’s Administration Building on Tuesday evening: Refugees Welcome, Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal. In an age where almost every week, people take to the streets to voice their outrage with the government, people are getting creative. “Dumbledore's Army accepting members” and “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” are a few of the more creative signs.

The focus of Tucsonans Against Racism Protest and Rally was County Supervisor Ally Miller, who announced her white pride on Facebook, only hours after a white supremacist mowed down a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. For the last week, citizens and fellow board members implored her to apologize for her comments.

And now it seems the time for apologies has passed, at least for the hundreds that gathered on Tucson’s downtown. People want her gone. It was no accident this rally was planned on the day Trump addressed supporters in Phoenix. Inside the Phoenix Convention Center, Trump hinted at pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for illegally continuing racist practices, and Trump decried the “very dishonest media,” blaming them for the backlash to his “many sides” statement following Charlottesville. Outside, thousands protested and were finally dispersed when police set off tear gas into the crowd. In Tucson, people chanted—families with toddlers in strollers, old ladies waving American flags, teenagers standing up for their future.

People of every age, creed and color shouted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and held their signs high as cars passed, honking their approval.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TUSD Suspense Continues

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 5:33 PM

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job.

The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez.  At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez. At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent.
The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board announced last night they were once again postponing the agenda item concerning Superintendent H.T. Sánchez’s job.

The Duffy Community Center was so packed that overflow crowds had to wait outside. For over three hours, the board and superintendent were in executive session. At about 7:45 p.m., Sánchez somberly took his seat with the board and was met by loud applause from the audience. But not everyone was clapping.

For an hour, community members spoke for and against Sánchez with either raised-voice rancor or grateful tears on topics such as superintendent turnover rates, student-enrollment numbers, Prop 301 spending, childhood bullying, dropout rates, race and unsuccessful desegregation measures.

Several people spoke in Spanish with an English translator, recounting times Sánchez had personally helped their children.

Cassandra Becerra, a mother of TUSD students, is one of Sánchez’s supporters. While waiting for the meeting to start, she told the Tucson Weekly she’s seen the superintendent in the schools and fighting for the good of the district.

“I strongly believe he’s here because he cares about this district,” she said, holding a sign with a red, white and blue drawing of Sánchez, copying the iconic “hope” poster representing Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

TUSD Sideshow

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Tucson Unified School District's newest board member Rachael Sedgwick stirred controversy by adding an agenda item to Tuesday's regular TUSD Governing Board meeting.  The item, bringing Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job into question, will be heard at a special meeting next Tuesday. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Tucson Unified School District's newest board member Rachael Sedgwick stirred controversy by adding an agenda item to Tuesday's regular TUSD Governing Board meeting. The item, bringing Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job into question, will be heard at a special meeting next Tuesday.


The TUSD Superintendent’s job is still at risk, although discussion of it was absent from Tuesday night’s board meeting.

The crowd of more than a hundred people cheered at the beginning of Tucson Unified School District’s regular board meeting when the controversial item was removed from the agenda. For an hour and a half, one after the other, community members stood at the podium to thank Superintendent H.T. Sánchez and commend the work he’s doing with the district.

Nonetheless, a special meeting has been called for Tuesday, Feb. 21, where the question of Sánchez’s job will be back on the agenda, according to Rachael Sedgwick, the board’s newest member.

At the Feb. 14 meeting, 20 people spoke in support of the superintendent and three in opposition.
Community member Brian Flagg said Sánchez is present at school events and people like him.

“He brings his family, he hangs out, and he talks to people until the last person leaves—and he does it in Spanish,” he said. “I think the guy’s got real popular support.”

On Tuesday, the board received more than 75 emails in support of the superintendent and two in opposition, according to Board members Adelita Grijalva and Kristel Foster. Supporters of Sánchez include Michael Varney, President of the Tucson Metro Chamber, and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
Sedgwick, who put the item on the agenda, would like to see Sánchez make some changes but says it’s apparent he’s not open to working with her.

“It’s really not about firing H.T.,” she said. “It's really is about exploring the different opportunities and giving him a choice.”

She would like to see the board create a performance plan to assess progress the superintendent makes with the district. In particular, Sedgwick is concerned with enrollment numbers, standardized testing scores, AP scores, graduation rates and drop-out rates.

Sedgwick also thinks Sánchez spends too much time at the Arizona Legislature.

“The superintendent’s job is really not to be lobbying the legislators in Phoenix,” she said. “I believe the superintendent does not visit the schools very often and that it means that we, as a district, have sort of lost sight about the reasons that TUSD exists.”

Sánchez could not be reached for a response.

Sedgwick says she has the backing of Board member Mark Stegeman and that Board President Michael Hicks is open to discussion.

Other board members think bringing the superintendent’s job into question right now distracts the board from more important things and opens them up to possible legal problems.

“What we’re doing here is a side-show circus,” Grijalva said. “If I’m a parent of a kindergartner or someone who’s coming from a charter school and looking for a middle or high school for my child, why would I pick TUSD? Because all I see in the headlines is this drama.”

Foster says terminating the superintendent with no backup plan is a dangerous decision, and putting that option suddenly on the agenda is not the way to solve a problem.

“We’re, right now, in the middle of a legislative session, trying to advocate on behalf of public education,” Foster said. “This shows absolutely no understanding of what we do as public officials that represent a school district.”

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Learn About the Pros and Cons Behind Prop. 123

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 1:00 PM

The Pima County Interfaith Civic Education Organization will host a debate about the fervently discussed, Gov. Doug Ducey-sponsored Proposition 123 this Saturday, April 9 at St. Odilia Catholic Church parish hall. 
1024px-voting_united_states.jpg

The proposition, which voters will decide in a state-wide election on May 17, would "increase education funding by $3.5 billion over the course of 10 years by allocating money from the general fund and increasing annual distributions of the state land trust permanent funds to education," according to Ballotpedia.com. The Arizona Daily Star reports that the lawsuit was originally filed back in 2010 after the state "failed to adjust the base level per-pupil funding according to inflation as required by a 2000 voter-approved proposition." 

Supporters of Prop 123 say it would fulfill a long-overdue debt to Arizona schools, while opponents—notably led by Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt—say the state land trust money in question already belongs to the state's schools, according to the debate's press release. 

"The Debate on Prop. 123" on Saturday will feature four speakers—two arguing for the passing of Prop. 123, and two against it. Phoenix natives J.P. Twist, Let's Vote Yes Prop. 123 chairman, and Andrew Morrill, Arizona Education Association president, will argue in support of Prop. 123, while Tucson natives Morgan Abraham, No Prop. 123 chairman, and Brian Clymer, a local attorney, will argue against it. 

The debate starts at 3 p.m. and will run until 4:30 at 7570 N. Paseo del Norte. Learn more about Prop. 123 here


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tucson Might Look Into Mandatory Paid Sick Leave, But the Arizona Restaurant Association Isn't Happy About It

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 10:48 AM

If only it were as easy as hanging up your apron and taking a sick day. - CAGI
  • cagi
  • If only it were as easy as hanging up your apron and taking a sick day.
It's a scenario most of us are familiar with: you're working at a restaurant or two or three, trying to make enough money to get through college or life in general, and flu season hits. One of your coworkers is out of town, the other is also sick and another just won't answer their phone. Even if they did answer, it's not like you can afford to lose out on tip money for the day. So, you go in, try your best not to cough on someone's quesadilla and hope the six or so hours of sleep you get after is enough for your body to repair itself. Not only is this a germ nightmare when food is involved, it's also unfortunately common when you work for an employer that doesn't offer paid sick leave.

Well, during today's study session for Tucson's City Council, which begins at 1 p.m., officials will be looking into a proposal to change it so all employers will be required to offer paid sick leave. According to supporting materials for the day's session, four states and 20 cities already have put measures into place to ensure earned sick and safe time is offered. 
 



"The purpose of these laws is to assist all workers in addressing their own health and safety needs and the health and safety needs of their families by requiring employers to provide a minimum amount of earned sick time, including time for the care of family members. Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 23-364(I), the City of Tucson has authority to prescribe employee benefits related to earned sick time within the boundaries of Tucson." 

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Friday, January 2, 2015

TUSD Found in Violation of State Law

Posted By on Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 5:11 PM

John Huppenthal, who is serving his final days as Superintendent of Public Instruction, notified Tucson Unified School District that it is in violation of A.R.S. §15-112.

The law in question prevents schools from promoting resentment towards a particular race among other, overthrowing the United States government, and advocating ethnic solidarity over treatment of people as individuals. If the TUSD is not found in compliance with the law by March 4, the Arizona Department of Education could decide to withhold 10 percent of the monthly apportionment of state aid each month until the violations are corrected.

From the press release:
“After a thorough review of materials from TUSD’s culturally relevant courses, I find that the district has failed to meet several provisions of the 2012 Settlement Agreement settlement and is once again in clear violation of A.R.S. §15-112. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned by the fact that the noncompliance appears to extend beyond classes taught from the Mexican American perspective and now also includes classes taught from the African American perspective.

“ADE staff has worked tirelessly to provide guidance and feedback as quickly as possible throughout the process so that district officials would have the resources needed to keep all culturally relevant courses in compliance with the law. This process has been made challenging by the fact that the district has failed to fully respond to several requests for information and has been inconsistent in its application of materials that have been provided.

“In issuing this finding before classes resume, I am hopeful that the district will take immediate action to comply with the law.”

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