Jonathan Hoffman is a friend of mine and like some (many) of my friends, he is occasionally (often) full of crap. Bile-infused, wrong-headed, short-sighted, painfully misinformed crap.
Jonathan used to hang out with us when I did the radio show with the late, great Emil Franzi. (I can't believe Emil's been gone a year now.) Jonathan would line up guests; he once got us an interview with Andrew Breitbart. (The real person Breitbart; not the pathetic, hit-piece website that Steve Bannon ran into the ground.) Jonathan would also scour the internet to find things to bolster his and Emil's flimsy arguments. I'll give this to Mr. Hoffman: He knows all the white websites.
Oops, I mean all the right websites. After all those decades of hard-won progress, we have degenerated back to a time where white and right are interchangeable.
Republicans in Arizona have long turned their noses (and middle fingers) up to teachers. The vitriol toward teachers from Arizona Republicans is nastier and deeper than just being about money. Twenty years ago, I interviewed a Republican state legislator and asked him why the hate for teachers. He replied that teachers vote for Democrats, even though they shouldn't (his words). I suggested that maybe since teachers are on the front lines of society and see all the bad stuff on a daily basis, they might tend to be more open-minded and sympathetic. No, he said (I'm paraphrasing), they just like unions and want to make more money than they deserve.
That was the prevailing attitude until the Legislature (unconstitutionally) gutted the teachers' unions and then (criminally) stiffed teachers of a billion dollars over the next few years, claiming that they couldn't fulfill their sworn duty by paying the 301 moneys while giving ridiculous tax breaks to their big donors at the same time.
We all know the argument. Well, if teachers wanted to make a lot of money, they could have studied how to rape, pillage and screw over one's fellow man. They chose to be teachers and they must have known that, in doing so, it comes with a built-in vow of poverty.
In May, when the 65,000-strong, highly educated flash mob descended on the State Capitol, demanding that lawmakers do their damn jobs after a decade of pissing all over Arizona's teachers, Jonathan wrote a column in which he whinily asked the question, "Can teachers do that, I mean is it legal?"
They had already done it, so the question of whether they could was moot. As for its legality, Hoffman asked some clown from the Goldwater Institute, an organization that holds the distinction of being the only group that hates teachers more than Republican legislators do. The guy took a few minutes away from his main job of helping charter school operators get rich on taxpayer money to tell Jonathan that those evil public-school teachers were committing an illegal act. Well, suck it, Goldwater Institute.
Then Jonathan asked why people were taking shots at Gov. Ducey. Gee, let me see. All that faker did was cut taxes that had already been cut beyond the bone to give corporations a tax break they neither needed nor even wanted, accelerating the death spiral of public schools in the process. Then, when re-election year rolls around, he promotes a one-half-of-one-percent pay raise and declares himself "The Education Governor." Even in the Time of Trump, that's a whopper too far.
Now, Jonathan is back at it again. He's still all butt-hurt that Arizona's teachers banded together for their common good, won widespread public support in the process, and ended up getting much of what they demanded. I mean, what do they think this is? Real America?
He thinks that Arizona's teachers got more than enough money to tide them over for the next decade or two and he doesn't want any efforts to be made to bring the state's funding for public schools back up to where it was when George W. Bush was President. In his latest column, he manages to use the phrase "illegal strike" four times in five paragraphs. I think that one of the Koch brothers offered to slip him 20 bucks if he could pull it off.
Good job, Jonathan. That only makes you look petty and bitter, and only mostly maniacal.
The Arizona Constitution allows the people to pass common-sense laws when the Legislature refuses to do so. Over the years, the people have implemented Clean Elections, the bipartisan gerrymandering commission, Prop 301 for school funding and (perhaps my favorite) a constitutional amendment that says that the Legislature can't take an axe to something the people legally passed.
While some Republican legislators at least have the decency to not even pretend that they give a crap about public education, there is still a craven bunch who have the nerve to make outrageous statements. I'm sorry, but when I hear a Republican legislator say that he/she supports public education, in my head, I hear George Wallace saying, "I've never made a racist speech in my life."
Jonathan sums things up by offering a comparison between the long-suffering teachers and people of Arizona and the self-serving back-stabbers in the Legislature. He ends the column with "Who (sic) do you want creating the laws of Arizona?"
I tend to believe that even Jonathan knows the overwhelming answer to that one.