Politics

Thursday, October 18, 2018

My Pick For Superintendent of Public Instruction: Kathy Hoffman

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 2:15 PM

KATHY HOFFMAN
  • Kathy Hoffman
Kathy Hoffman and Frank Riggs are putting up a spirited fight to become our next Superintendent of Public Instruction. Their campaign websites are filled with educational plans and proposals, too many to list or discuss without getting so deep in the weeds, I'd never find my way out. The short version is, I like Hoffman's ideas far better than Riggs', but that doesn't tell you much.

So let's take another tack. Let's talk about hammers and nails.

No doubt you've heard the saying, "When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Even if the hammer you're holding isn't the best, or the only tool for the job in front of you, you're going to try and find a way to use it. You know that hammer. You like that hammer. It's the first tool that comes to mind when you have a situation you have to deal with before you consider other options.

It's the same with the ideas you tend to favor. They are going to be readily at hand when you're looking for solutions to problems you have to deal with. You'll call on them before you consider alternatives. Likewise with your personal and professional experience. You're going to lean on what you know to guide you.

So let's look at the hammer —actually the hammers — Hoffman and Riggs have in their tool belts which they would tend to favor if they became our next education superintendent.

Kathy Hoffman knows public schools. She knows early childhood education. She works with students with disabilities. She speaks fluent Spanish and Japanese. She understands the value of being bilingual and the importance of bilingual education.

If Hoffman becomes superintendent, her first instinct will be to seek out public school solutions to problems or opportunities she faces. She's going to think about Spanish (and other language) speakers as well as English speakers. She's going to consider students who have to overcome problems to reach educational success. She'll consider whether early childhood education should be a part of the solution.

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Another Forecaster Upgrades Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's Odds in Southern AZ's CD2

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 11:46 AM

National forecasters are bullish on Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's odds against Republican Lea Marquez Peterson in CD2. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • National forecasters are bullish on Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's odds against Republican Lea Marquez Peterson in CD2.
Another national forecaster has delivering good news for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and bad news for Lea Marquez Peterson in Southern Arizona's Congressional District 2.

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball is moving the race from the "Leans Democrat" column to the "Likely Democratic" column:
Democrats appear well on their way to putting away at least three of these four seats. We are upgrading the Democrats’ chances in the open AZ-2, moving it from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic, after the National Republican Congressional Committee stopped spending there. NJ-2 is one of the safest Democratic pickups in the country, and CA-49, the seat from which Rep. Darrel Issa is retiring after a very close call in 2016, has long been the Democrats’ best bet in California.
In this week's Skinny, I run down many of the challenges facing Marquez Peterson.

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Claytoon of the Day: The Art of the Murder

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 at 9:32 AM

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Claytoon of the Day: Butt In Georgia

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2018 at 9:14 AM

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Teachers: VOTE! (For Education)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 2:47 PM

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Apologies to fellow teachers. (I know, I've been out of the profession for 15 years, but once a teacher, always a teacher, even after you lose your class [badum-ching!]). I know how much teachers hate being told what to do. I always did. I keep promising I won't give teachers advice, but I keep doing it anyway. My excuse is, I spent 30-plus years in the classroom, so I'm cutting myself a little slack.

My advice to teachers is, VOTE! If you have a mail-in ballot sitting around beginning to gather dust, pick it up, fill it out and mail it in. No stamp required. If not, there's early voting at the polls. And there's November 6.

Teachers, vote for education, whatever that means to you. More on that later.

Arizona has about 50,000 K-12 teachers. Roughly 40,000 of them work in school districts, and most of the remainder work in charter schools. That's a whole lot of people whose lives revolve around governmental decisions. Include an equal number of non-teaching staff, and it adds up to nearly 100,000 potential education-based voters in statewide races, 3,000 per legislative district. That's more than enough to make the difference in close races.

For some reason I've never understood, teachers aren't reliable voters. I've heard figures as low a 35 percent show up for elections, which astounds me. Anything lower than 80 percent from a group of people who dedicate themselves to serving the public interest, who perform their civic duty every working day, seems wrong. Maybe some teachers feel like they use up their quotient of public service in the classroom, then when it comes time to vote, they think, "Screw it, it's time for the rest of you to step up while I work on tomorrow's lesson plan for your kids!"

OK, so this year, don't think about voting as another civic chore to add to your physically and emotionally draining teaching schedule. This year, vote out of self interest.

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McSally, Sinema Stress Voting Records During Their Only Senate Debate

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Martha McSally (left) and Kyrsten Sinema attacked each other’s voting records during a live debate Monday night. - PHOTO BY CHRIS MCCRORY/CRONKITE NEWS
  • Photo by Chris McCrory/Cronkite News
  • Martha McSally (left) and Kyrsten Sinema attacked each other’s voting records during a live debate Monday night.
In a debate peppered with accusations of lying and treason, U.S. Senate candidates Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema took shots at each other Monday in their only public debate of the 2018 election, each calling out the other’s voting record as proof that the other candidate is not a true representative of Arizona.

Sinema used the debate, which was broadcast live on Arizona PBS, to portray herself as an independent, echoing the campaign ads supporting her candidacy. She painted herself as someone willing to step over party lines, embracing the fact that she had voted largely with President Donald Trump’s agenda since 2017.

“Over the past six years, I’m proud to say I’ve taken the time to learn and grow and occasionally even change my opinion,” said Sinema, who has served three terms in Congress. “Over time, I think it makes sense for individuals, who are willing, to learn and to grow.”

She attempted to dodge questions about how she would have voted during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, calling the event a “circus.” She expressed disappointment with the way the Senate handled the confirmation, but ultimately said she would have voted no because it appeared to her that Kavanaugh lied under oath.

On other issues, she attempted to downplay that some of her positions are Democratic, pointing them out as good for Arizona. She referenced the price of beer cans when saying she opposed the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum imports because they hurt the state’s people.

“That’s something I think we should all agree on, that beer shouldn’t cost more,” she said.


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Claytoon of the Day: The Autocratic Club

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 9:01 AM

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Nothing Scares Republicans More Than Angry Democrats

Posted By on Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 3:41 PM

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"Channel your fury." That was the subject line of one of the hundred-plus Democratic fundraising emails in my inbox on Sunday. Was it from MoveOn? Nope. From Bernie Sanders 2020? Nope again. It was from the Democratic Governors Association.

And that's why Republicans are making such a big deal about Democrats being angry, or one of the reasons anyway. Sure, they want to use the "Democrat angry mob" attack to rally their base by conflating the Democratic Party with their usual grab bag of scary people, the immigrants and gangs and just about any people of color — you know, the usual suspects in the Republican "Be very afraid, they're coming to get you!" campaign. But as important, they don't want Democrats to use anger to rally their base. The DGA email says Democrats have to "channel all our fury into fighting as hard as we can for the next 23 days until Election Day," so Dems will vote in large enough numbers, they'll win close races. Republicans expect that kind of talk from lefties like MoveOn and Bernie Sanders. But when it comes from the usually staid, measured Democratic Governors Association, that's scary.

Anger and vitriol are supposed to be exclusive Republican weapons used to pummel Democrats into submission, according to Republicans anyway. They know anger works. It gets voters' adrenalin pumping. It's especially effective when Democrats respond as they have historically, with measured tones, using logic to explain why Republican anger isn't justified.

"See?" the aggressors crow after a weak Democratic response. "Republicans are strong, we know how to fight! Democrats are wusses."

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