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Raul Grijalva

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Paris talks yield an agreement on reducing greenhouse gases to combat climate change.

Count Southern Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) among those happy to see an agreement at the recent Paris talks on climate change.

The pact calls for an effort to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius in the future, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

An agreement is one thing, execution is another—but President Barack Obama told the press that the "agreement represents the best chance we have to save the one planet that we've got. So I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world."

The ink was barely dry on the agreement before Grijalva told the press that it was "the beginning of a new phase in human history" and criticized those who say climate change isn't real.

"Too many people have spent their careers pretending that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by shadowy environmental groups and Machiavellian research scientists," Grijalva added in a prepared statement. "The American public knows full well that's not the case. We all need to think beyond tomorrow's political headlines and consider how our actions at this crucial moment in history will be remembered by our grandchildren. Serious leaders no longer consider sitting on our hands an option, especially with our allies agreeing to shared sacrifices and ambitious future targets."

Grijalva said that he didn't think action would come in a GOP-controlled Congress but the Obama administration should act by taking whatever action it could without congressional approval.

"As others have noted, today is the beginning rather than the end of our common efforts to reduce our emissions," he said. "I look forward to playing a productive role in the important work yet to be done to protect our country, our people and our planet for the sake of the many lives yet to be lived on Planet Earth."

The Skinny reached out for comment on the international agreement from Southern Arizona Reps. Martha McSally (R-CD2) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) but didn't hear back as of deadline.

Aztec Advocate

Former lawmaker Clinco wins appointment to the Pima College board

Former state lawmaker Demion Clinco is the newest board member at Pima Community College.

Pima County School Superintendent Linda Arzoumanian earlier this week appointed Clinco to the District 2 seat formerly held by David Longoria, who resigned in October.

Clinco told The Skinny that he believes Pima has a key role to play in the region's economic development because "it's the gateway for so many people into higher paying jobs."

The college has been through a rough patch that included claims that members of PCC's board looked the other way rather than investigate sexual harassment claims against former chancellor Roy Flores and a host of other violations of administrative rules and procedures. After a lengthy investigation, the Higher Learning Commission announced in 2013 that Pima was on probation and in danger of losing its academic accreditation. Earlier this year, the HLC removed Pima from probationary status, although it remains on notice that it must continue to shape up or risk losing its accreditation.

Clinco said new Pima Chancellor Lee Lambert, who took over in 2013, has been moving PCC in the right direction "to remove those impediments that have left a cloud over the college. I'm looking forward to working with him."

Clinco added that his legislative experience could help the college as it lobbies lawmakers on a number of issues, including efforts to adjust a spending limit could tangle up Pima's efforts to expand in high-tech programs such as aviation training that require upfront investment by PCC.

He plans to run for a full term on Pima's board in 2016, so Clinco is giving up plans on making a return to the Legislature next year. Clinco had been considering both Legislative District 2, where he lost his seat, and Legislative District 9, where there's an open House seat with state Rep. Victoria Steele making a run for Congresswoman Martha McSally's District 2 seat.

"I think it would be pretty hard to do both," Clinco said.

Cagey Conversation

Etherton Gallery hosts a panel discussion on Arizona prisons

Etherton Gallery's current exhibition, Danny Lyons: Conversations with the Dead, highlights a collection of photographs that Lyons took of the grim realities that inmates in Texas prisons faced back in the late 1960s.

The gallery will be hosting a panel discussion on the increase in inmates in Arizona prisons, the rise in private prisons and the challenges that inmates face when reentering society after their release. The panel is at 7 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 18, and will include:

• Longtime Tucson Weekly contributor Margaret Regan, who's newest book, Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire, digs into what happens when undocumented immigrants end up behind bars—and often in private prisons. Detained and Deported was named one of the Pima County Public Library's Southwest Books of the Year; it has also received high praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, which noted that "with other horrifying case studies, Regan provides discomfiting statistics to document the rise of the detention-industrial complex."

• State Sen. Steve Farley, who has long been a critic of privatized prisons.

Lisette Flores, who serves as general counsel and policy advisor the Senate Democratic Caucus. Flores has also served as a prosecutor for the city of Phoenix and as the director of the Immigration and Legal Services Department of Friendly House, a Phoenix nonprofit that provides social and legal services.

Grace Gámez of the American Friends Service Committee, who specializes in how mothers readjust to society after being released from prison.

Your Skinny scribe, Jim Nintzel, will moderate the panel.

Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on Dish, DirecTV and broadcast. You can hear the show on KXCI, 91.3 FM, at 5 p.m. Sundays or watch it online at zonapolitics.com. This week's guests are former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton and Democratic strategist Rodd McLeod.

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