AZ Joins the push for a convention of states

What the heck is a convention of states you ask?  Well, Article V of the Constitution allows for amendments to the Constitution to be proposed and ratified via two methods.  One of those methods is by the US Congress.  The other method is when 2/3 of the states put in an application for a Convention for “proposing amendments”.  Arizona just joined numerous other states in doing just that.

What does that mean?  There are numerous calls for constitutional conventions of one form or another.  This method requires 34 states to call for a “convention of states” for the purpose of “proposing amendments”.  In the long run, this could be good, but it could also be very damaging.  This bill was passed nearly straight down party lines.  Why was that?  Is it because Republicans care about small government while Democrats want a large robust federal government?  Some say yes, but in reality, that is half false.  Face it, power has shifted back and forth between D’s and R’s for many decades, and has the government ever really gotten smaller?  Nope.  And this is NOT just a federal problem.  Arizona has been red much more than it has been blue, however, the size and scope of state, county and city governments has continued to grow and take power from the people.

Are there democrats calling for a convention?  Absolutely.  Democrats want to amend the Constitution just as much as Republicans.  Of course they are calling for a convention.  They are not being very loud about it right now, however.  Why is that?  Because they do not have power currently!  The AZ legislature just voted to apply for a convention, even though that convention cannot happen just yet, because we do not have 34 states that have requested it yet.  Perhaps that will happen next year, perhaps 4 years from now.  What happens if the Dems have control of our state government if and when that does happen?

I have many, many reasons for not wanting to call a convention for amending the Constitution.  The chance of doing something good is nearly 0.  Yet, the chance of doing something bad is much greater.  Is it worth the risk?  How often does the city, state or federal governments do something that you like?  What is the chance that Arizona would even appoint delegates that you agree with politically?  What is the chance those delegates from the 50 states would agree to much of anything, but especially anything good?  Those pushing for a convention often talk about the corrupt behavior in Washington, and how we need to return power to the states and the people.  Really?  The same states that are corrupt themselves?  The same people that are corrupt themselves?  Look what happened when the republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling a few years back.  The people went ape crap crazy, and nothing had even really happened yet.  Imagine how insane things would get if some group of unelected individuals agreed to true fiscal restraint, and then 3/4 of the states agreed to ratify the amendment.  While we must do something, it must start with the people.  The people are now dependent upon government for “stuff”. We better teach the people before taking the stuff from them.

Perhaps one of the biggest head scratchers with these applications for conventions, is the fact that we have no clue who will be in power when the time comes.  Obama used executive order to push his own agenda regarding immigration reform, despite that not being within the purview of the executive branch.  The democrat population said nothing because it was what the wanted.  Now the republican population remains quiet while Trump expands executive power of his own… why?  Because they agree with it.  One should NEVER give or create a power for oneself, that he would not want his enemy to have.  How apropos it would be if the AZ is blue and a blue state legislature gets to choose the delegates to go to said convention.  I wonder if said blue government would not be more than willing to adjust any convention “rules” spelled out it this Republican monstrosity.

While I am a believer in both methods of amending our Constitution, I am not so naive as to believe our problems are all do to the bozos in Washington.  Rest assured, we have plenty of them right here in the Arizona Legislature… and a plenty more normal citizens.  Within the scope of this bill is the push for term limits in Congress.  Just today, Governor Ducey boasted how the “people have spoken”.  Right.  The same people that are “demanding” term limits, are the very people that continue voting in the same people.  The same people that are demanding fiscal responsibility continue calling for more services and more money to those services.  Representative Kelly Townsend stated, “Today’s passage in the Senate is a huge victory for Arizona taxpayers, and I thank the grassroots activists who have worked tirelessly to make an Article V convention a reality,”.  Grassroots activists?  Sure, there are a few of those, but the massive push (and money) comes from large think tanks funded by mega corporations and wealthy powerful individuals.  Here is a small list:

1)  American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

2)  10 Amendments for Freedom, Inc, chaired by William Fruth, President of POLICOM Corporation

3)  Americans for Prosperity

4)  Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

5)  Goldwater Institute

6)  Trilateral Commission (TC)

7)  Tea Party Patriots (TTP), funded by Freedom Partners and Center to Protect Patient Rights

8)  Career elitist politicians from both the Republican and Democratic parties

9)  Mark Levin – Sponsored by Americans for Prosperity

10) Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG)-  Michael P. Farris, Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, Head of Convention of the States (COS) Project (connected to Grover G.Norquist, a CFR member.  This is the latest organization that came on line to destroy our U.S. Constitution via a Con-Con.

11) American Constitution Society (ACS).  ACS is the main organization behind the Con-Con movement to ensure a more “progressive” constitution, having received more than $2,201,500 from Soros’ Open Society since 2002.  The funders for ACS are the Barbra Streisand Foundation, the Sandler Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

Please ask yourself a question… Do you trust delegates today with the Constitution more than you trust the delegates back in 1787?

Voting – Heads or Tails?

Wouldn’t it be nice if somehow we could see all candidates for who they truly are?  Better yet, perhaps we could see a sign that tells us the percentage of times they agree with us on political issues?  Better yet, wouldn’t it be great if the Lord will tell us where our own views are wrong and where they are correct…. as well all have those. But until the magical day, we have to rely on our own homework, our own study, and our own prayer.

I believe all that know me, know that I am politically active and a bit opinionated.  I try very hard to be fair and level headed and believe I generally succeed at being fair, but on occasion the level headed part can be questionable.  🙂

I wanted to share some of my feelings regarding our local primary election that starts today for mail in ballots and will be finalized on Tuesday, August 30th.

US Senate:  Kelli Ward

This one is pretty easy for me.  While I appreciate McCain’s longtime service, his voting record leaves me wondering why he finds it so easy to spend other people’s money.  I find myself disagreeing with him more than agreeing with him.  The Republican Primary has four people running – John McCain, Alex Melusky, Clair Van Steenwyk and Kelli Ward.  McCain has to go.  Melusky just dropped out of the race and as much as I like some of Steenwyk’s limited government views, he makes me look normal (which is not easily accomplished… 🙂  That leaves Kelli Ward, which is great, because that is who I preferred from the start.  Ward has served in the AZ Senate for 4 years representing the Kingman / Lake Havasu area; and has a very good voting record (in my opinion).

US Congressional District 5:  Andy Biggs

This one is a bit tougher, but in the end still an easy decision for me. Candidates include Andy Biggs, Christine Jones, Justin Olson and Don Stapley.  Andy Biggs has been my favorite legislator for a number of years.  I have followed his voting record in the AZ Senate and agree with him nearly all the time (which is saying something for a politician).  Andy is extremely personable and very fair.  He respects the opinions of others and is always willing to let others share their thoughts and opinions.  He is firm on his beliefs.  Christine Jones is the last person that would get my vote.  She believes in government being involved in much more than I feel it should.  While I have many reasons to support “anyone but Christine”, a bonus reason is that she does not even live in our own Congressional District 5.  Why isn’t she running against Kyrsten Sinema?  Why is she running against in a district that she does not live in, and running against conservatives?  Does she agree with the governing principles of Sinema more than those living and running from District 5?  Don Stapley seems like a nice man.  He was involved in things politically a few years ago that I am still trying to sort out.  His support is relatively low.   Justin Olson has been a pretty conservative voice in the AZ Legislature and I agree with him often.  Olson would have my support if he was running in a different race.  Current Congressman Matt Salmon has endorsed Biggs, and personally asked him to consider running.  This is shaping up to be an Andy Biggs vs Christine Jones race, and Biggs is the one I want in Washington DC.  He is very limited government, and that is exactly what we need in DC.

AZ LD12 Senate:  Warren Petersen

This one too is very easy for me.  Warren Petersen has an absolute stellar voting record.  Not only is his voting record nearly flawless, but he has sponsored a number of bills reducing needless and burdensome regulations on small business.  He truly has been a champion for we the people of LD12.  I have gotten to know Warren personally and consider him a friend.  I have a number of friends that know Jimmy Lindblom personally and know him to be a great man.  I am sure Lindblom is a great man, and he may even be a good state congressman.  But why on earth is he running against one of the most conservative legislators in the state?  Petersen has served four years and is proven and solid.  The Senate is losing an incredible conservative voice in Biggs, and the Senate cannot afford to not have at least one truly conservative voice to help add some balance to that chamber.  Please join me in supporting Warren Petersen.

AZ LD12 House:  Eddie Farnsworth and Travis Grantham

Eddie Farnsworth has proven to be a voice of fiscal sanity in a politically chaotic world.  With the vacating Warren Petersen in the House, it becomes even more important to maintain Farnsworth.  The other two running are Travis Grantham and LaCinda Lewis, both are newcomers, but both have been active behind the scenes for a number of years.  Both are good Christian people that have conservative opinions.  Lewis leans more towards bigger government and more spending while Grantham leans more towards less spending and more power and responsibility to the people.  Farnsworth is a must vote, and then please consider voting Grantham as well.

Our state finances were in shambles just a few short years ago.  We have been led by big government republicans that were more than willing to spend money and borrow if need be.  Well, the economy took a big hit, and the state could not afford to come close to meeting their obligations.  Our state leadership then started borrowing money, selling off state properties (including the state capitol building and then renting it back), and increasing taxes.  The last couple of years with the excellent leadership of Biggs, Farnsworth and Petersen, we have cut spending and not only balanced the budget but actually built up a cash reserve.  While the economy has gotten better, it is not good; and we cannot afford to fill our legislature with people that want to increase spending in so many areas.  We must continue the march towards getting out of debt and self reliance.  We cannot continue adding programs simply because the federal government agrees to pay for some of it.  That “free money” comes with strings and a major loss of control.  In addition to that, those funds can stop at anytime after the agreed upon infusion of cash.  What happens when the federal funds (really ours) dries up and stops coming?  How do we go back and stop benefits and programs the people have become dependent upon?

Gilbert Town Council:  Jared Taylor

We get to choose two in this race.  Jared Taylor is an incumbent and has been a very respected voice on the council.  He has stood for families, education and for limited spending.  Even those that vote differently than Taylor enjoy him on the counsel and appreciate his views, and find his counsel a good mix of fiscal conservatism and meeting the needs of a growing community.  I believe there are 7 or 8 people running for these two seats.  Other candidates are Jim Torgeson, Tim Rinesmith, Bob Ferron, Seth Banda, Scott Anderson and Joel Anderson.  I have talked with all of those at least a little bit with the exception of Rinesmith.  They all bring different talents and abilities to the table.  I have narrowed my other choice to Torgeson or Banda, but still have not made my final decision, but Jared Taylor is a must!

I wish you well as you contemplate who to vote for.  These are tough decisions, but are also important decisions.  I am a big believer in preparedness and self-reliance, as well as meeting the needs and wants of community, state and nation.  My goal is to find those individuals that will seek a good mix of working towards being self-reliant and helping constituents improve their community, state and nation.  I believe I have found those type people.  Good luck with voting!

Is Brexit Going to Cause a Financial Collapse?

Well, the British citizens just voted to leave the EU.  Can you believe it?  Is it real?  Why would any country want to leave the control of yet another “higher level” government?  Well, we can talk about part another day.  Today, I want to address the all the hype and the initial stock market troubles this morning.  It has been discussed for days that if those crazy British citizens somehow vote to leave the EU, that financial chaos will reign.

Can the desire for freedom of a few people on an island really cause an entire world economic meltdown?  Short answer, no, and here’s why.

First, I do not want to take anything away from Britain or their role in the world markets.  They are a major player.  However, they are still nothing more than a player on the world team.  Entire teams do not fail because one person decides he wants one less person to report to.  The team fails only if the team was operating on false premise and doomed for failure anyway.

Our entire world economy is a scam.  We have been living on tomorrow’s labors for decades and every few years we have a “correction” that brings us back down.  This is a requirement since our system frequently goes farther than it should.  That was the case in 2008, and it is the case today.

Make no doubt, a correction we will have.  But that correction is not due to the British citizens voting to leave the EU, in which they have always had one foot in and one foot out anyway.  The correction is coming because it must, because all things that go up (farther than they should) must come down.

My personal take is the “powers that be” wanted the vote for Brexit to go forward to give them a reason for a correction.  This not only gives them cover to continue to make money of the backs of the people while the market goes up and down, but it likewise allows the media to push the blame on those pesky people wanting freedom and liberty.

Yes, a correction will come, but it is not because a few people wanted freedom; and no, in the end, Britain will not leave the EU, at least they will not really leave the EU.  After the dust settles, we will have a needed correction, it will be blamed on sovereignty, and when the dust settles, Britain will be part of an even stronger EU.

Hoodwinked By the Establishment

What is it that drives a man to jump off a boat to storm a French beach while taking enemy fire?  Or, what inspires a man to stand in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square, or what moves a young woman to refuse to give up her seat on the bus, or to join a march or protest?Examples of leadership fill the history books and inspire us to action even decades later.  Are the traits the same for a person joining a popular march in comparison to the singular actions of individual?  Two traits of a great leader are they are inspiring and honest.  The most incredible trait of leadership is being able to inspire people to action.  Some use this power to inspire people to action that is detrimental to their own well being.  Not all leaders are great, because all leaders do not share the same basic required traits.  The devil can inspire man to commit incredible evils, but he sure isn’t honest.  He is the father of lies, and the Establishment, or more specifically the Political Establishment, is the son of lies.

In 2008 after eight years of war, social spending, and a massive increase in debt, the masses demanded change.  Many believed it would be John McCain vs Hillary Clinton, but the kinkpins had other thoughts.  The political establishment offered us “hope and change”.  The people demanded change, and the establishment offers us exactly what we think we want.  We, the people of this great nation, were like the fish seeing that bright and colorful spinning lure; we cannot help but take a bite!  What did the nation get with Obama?  We got eight more years of war, a grand expanse on social spending, and an ever depressive increase in debt.  Now, the nation sits in frustration far exceeding that of 2008.  The nation has been demanding change in Washington, and each election cycle the last four years has gotten it.  The Republicans gained seats and control in both houses.  The people continue to demand change.  The Establishment knows the people want a Republican this time, and there is nothing they can do to stop that… or is there?

The people, and I mean nearly all the people of the nation, are demanding “non-establishment” candidates.  The Democrats are giving about 40% of their vote to self proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders.  I do not believe that is indicative that Americans are ready to debase themselves to the extent of voting in a socialist, but it shows hows even the dems are disgusted and want non-establishment.  During the 2012 Republican primaries, Ron Paul, the bane of the establishment, garnered great traction for the non-establishment movement.  This disgust has only grown with the constant sell-out of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and even now we see more of the same with the supposed fiscal conservative “darling” Paul Ryan.  The Republicans are now even more disgruntled with the establishment and the establishment knows it.  The people are angry and the republican masses will not put in a Jeb Bush, or Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio, etc.  They are demanding a non-establishment, and the establishment is all too willing to give us one.  Enter Donald Trump to the race.  What better way to get Trump elected that for the Establishment to act like they do not like him?  Let’s look back just four years ago with Ron Paul’s election, the media gave him nearly ZERO coverage despite doing very well in the first couple of states, and in raising money.  The “powers that be” were able to derail Paul’s candidacy by basically ignoring him.  Today, Trump comes out with grand statements of not using campaign funds, but heck, he doesn’t need them.  The media follows him from place to place, quoting half truth after half truth.

Who is Donald Trump?  He is a person that loves money and power.  He loves to be able to do whatever he wants without being subject to law or punishment (this should ring some bells for my fellow mormons).  He is an immoral man that seeks to gratify his lusts at the expense of the chastity of the daughters of God.  He has a history of buying politicians and getting special favors to help him in his business pursuits.  He makes statements about not being “beholden to special interest groups”, but he IS the special interest group!  Despite his most recent “flip” to the pro-life stage, he has a long history of being pro-choice.  Here is a quick video on the subject when he was considering a 3rd party run in 1999.  He has been pro-amnesty for decades and now talks of building a wall.  He has advocated getting a healthcare system like Canada’s and even now still talks of “repealing obamacare and replacing it with something better”.

The greatest talent of  good leader, which also has potential for the greatest danger, is being able to get people to want what you want.  Donald Trump has flip flopped from Republican to Democrat to Republican, and has flip flopped on the issues, but he has always been a believer in big and powerful government, and how it can benefit big business.  Please tell me how the king of establishment is now wearing the anti-establishment hat?  This may be the greatest deception in recent years.  We, the “conservative” people of this great nation are being hoodwinked by the Establishment.  They know every “anti” Trump statement they make, only endears us closer to him.  The more they push against him, the more we embrace him… and they know it.  We somehow believe we are being righteous by not choosing the elected officials that have been bought off in nearly every important decision, and instead, are choosing one of the guys that has been doing the buying.  We should be voting out the criminals there instead of voting in new ones.  Do we really want more of the same?  Trump

Free Public Schools – A Weapon of Mass Destruction

We hear many different arguments on the cause of the deterioration in America’s education system.  Some blame teachers for being unprepared to teach in today’s changing world.  Others attribute the problems to parents and their lack of discipline and supervision; while yet many others see the problem with the youth themselves.  Some administrators, educators, and parents complain of a lack of funding.  We have no shortage of opinions on this vital struggle.  The complete lack of consensus on what should be taught only adds fuel to this all important fire.  But what is the problem?  Why are we failing?  Free public schooling reduces the quality of education, robs parents of their rightful roles, obstructs teacher efforts, inflates the costs, and contradicts the very dictates of God.

The Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, evaluates the educational systems of nations by testing and measuring skills.  Most recent results indicate the United States has continued to slide and is now near or below the average in mathematics, reading, and science.  The U.S. once provided its own supply of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, but now we see foreigners taking more and more of those jobs.  Our struggles go beyond academics; today’s high school students rarely know how to perform basic useful skills.  Few drivers can change flat tires or engine oil.  The industrial arts have all but vanished in our schools.  Skills that were once common like framing, plumbing, electrical, and welding are now neglected.  Few women know how to sew, bake or can foods.  Few of the young adults can balance a checkbook, which coupled with today’s “I want it now” mentality, may give us an explanation as to the rise of debt.  Why have the schools discontinued teaching these vital skills?

The shortcomings go far beyond the schools, as parents have gone AWOL on teaching their children.  Most homes today struggle to meet financial obligations and parents feel compelled to both be in the workforce.  More families divorce which adds great strain to the parent(s) to assist, oversee and push their children.  My parents divorced when I was young, and yet my mother was an incredible single parent.  She worked her tail off to provide for us children, but my grades suffered.  She remarried when I was 9 years old and was then able to return to being a “stay at home mom”, and my grades immediately improved drastically.  She believed the school was there to help her teach her children.  Overwhelmed parents often leave the teaching to the schools, and expect the results to be favorable.  The government runs the schools, prepares and administers standardized tests, implements teacher certification guidelines, and of course pays for the whole thing.  With the government continuing to take more and more control over what our children learn, how they learn it, who teaches it and with what methods, it is only natural for overly stressed parents to relinquish their role.

As the educational results continued to slide, the government initiated more and more requirements for teachers, schools and districts.  Teachers find themselves busier than ever with continuing education classes, newly administered reporting requirements, and being forced to teach to an upcoming test.  In order to meet the ever increasing demands, many teachers go into work early, stay late, or take work home.  Most teachers love teaching but struggle to meet school mandates and personal teaching goals, while maintaining a happy personal life.  Many teachers work more hours, while seeing weaker results in the classroom.

According to the government entity, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the total spending per child for the 2011-12 year in the United States was $12,401.  The cost of a class of 25 students equates to over $310,000.  We know teacher salaries are a small fraction of that, so where does the money go?  Funding has continued to increase more than inflation for decades.  The educational system adds more transportation programs, health checks, food programs, special education programs, early childhood development programs, and after school programs, while simultaneously decreasing the arts, life skills, home maintenance, skill labor classes, sports, and adding “pay to play” requirements.  The system polices everything, except the spending of our dollars.  If the government was to cut a check to parents for $12,401 per child per year, would parents figure out how to get better results?  If parents cut the checks directly to pay for their child’s education, would they not do all they could to make sure they had the best value for their dollar?

Whichever entity cuts the checks, likewise makes the rules.  This can lead to the teaching of false philosophies.  The early prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints warned the members to avoid free public education at all costs.  Regarding “free” schools, President Brigham Young stated, “Would I encourage free schools by taxation?  No!  That is not in keeping with the nature of our work.”  President John Taylor warned, “Shall we employ teachers that will turn the infant minds of our children away from the principles of the gospel, and perhaps lead them to darkness and death?” and President Wilford Woodruff in a letter to stake presidents as he introduced a new church school system in 1888, stated that the church school effort was, “. . .one of the most important factors in establishing the kingdom of God upon the earth.”

It has taken decades to get our educational system to its current lows, and likewise it will take years to return to good sound principles.  Free schools falsely remove responsibility from the parents and children, and they are anything but free.  Parents must return to their sacred duty and rightful role as teacher.  Whether it be home schooling, private schools, co-operatives, industrial schools or apprenticeships, it matters not, for each parent and child is different.  God knows the stewardship is ours, regardless of what the governments say.  Free public education has failed miserably.  The only option is to return the money and the responsibility back to the parents, and let them choose how best to educate their children.

Why I am a “NO” on the Higley Override.

My wife and I were discussing politics a few days ago upon which I told her it “Feels like I am trying to run up an ice covered mountain”. There are many ingredients in politics, but none bigger than confusion and passion; both of which are in great supply on this issue.  The internal struggle over on whether to post my thoughts on this one continues even as I type.  This topic seems to magnify the “jerk” in all of us.  We see article after article and meme after meme that have conflicting information.  What is the truth?  And why is there so much conflicting data?  We are talking math right?  For you math people like me, what the heck is going on??  We like math because it cannot lie, or so we thought.

A number of my fiscally conservative friends have decided to support the override.  My hat is off to them.  I disagree, but my hat is still off.  Supporting the override is much more popular than not supporting it.  After all, “it is for the children”… and “we cannot sacrifice today’s children just to fix the broken system”.  I want to lay out most of my reasons for not supporting the override.

First, we must ponder the question, “What are the real numbers”?  I do not have a flipping clue.  I have seen numbers from the state, and I have seen numbers from the district, and magically they never seem to match.    Second, “How much money should it cost to educate our children”?  The answers to this question range even greater than the previous question.  Third question (which we will not get to in this discussion), “Why has education spending per student continued to climb over the decades, while the following happens – teacher pay increases at a sleeping snail’s pace, student extra curricular opportunities decrease by the year, parental costs for those activities increase, and most important, the quality of education continues to decline”.

1 – Real Education Spending:  Biggest reason the answers differ is by design.  The state has created (by backroom deals, unrestrained judicial corruption, and nearly every government employees desire for bigger government) a monster of confusion, and the school districts have ZERO desire to address the problem.  Sadly, the districts do not even want to bring up the real problem at the state level.  Why is that?  Because it does not fit the overall push for “equality”.  Please explain to me why (and this is direct from the state of AZ) some school districts get state/federal funds to the tune of about $5000 per student per year, while other districts get upwards of $30,000 per student per year??  State law has already mandated that it is not “fair” for a schools in poor areas or rural areas to not have schools with the same physical amenities as the big city wealthy areas… so funding for schools is separate and “equal”, and when I say equal I do not mean equal per student.  Why may I ask are the more affluent areas like the Higley district receiving so much less funds from the state?  Why do our leaders on the school board not share this travesty with the people?  We in the Higley district are generally not hurting financially.  We may not be well off, but we have decent jobs, nice homes, and a very family oriented life.  Our incomes are often times higher than much of the state, and as such, we (generally) pay more in income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc, etc, etc…  So, we supply the state a higher than average amount of its funds, and yet it gives us back a lower than average amount of its funds.  Matter of fact, the Higley district ranks among the very lowest in the state for state funds (which are coming from us!).

I have heard and seen so many different numbers for our district in terms of dollars per student per year.  I have heard and seen anywhere from $5000 to about $9000 per student per year, when including every bit of income from all areas.  What is the real number?  If we choose to go with the $5000 a year number, which is the lowest number I have seen quoted, it would be $125,000 a year for a class of 25… imagine what it would be if it was closer to $9000 per student per year.  Say a teacher’s salary is $36,000 a year, perhaps a total of $50,000 a year if we include benefits – where is the other $75k going?

The system is broken and needs to be overhauled, period.  We need parents, teachers, school districts and state legislators to come together to make this right.  Continued band-aids do not fix the problem.  This has gone on for decades and we continue to have the same arguments year after year after year.

2 – Some of the schools in our district are filled only to about 70-75% of capacity.  This leaves the cost per student much higher than it could be as supporting staff (principles, aids, health, secretaries, etc) are all still needed.

3 – I know most of us greatly prefer having separate elementary and jr. high schools, but we spent the money when we didn’t have it.  Now the district is demanding more money to cover the increase in costs because we have more schools.  Those district leaders knew very well that we not only didn’t have the money to build the schools (so they made a nice deal with a contractor and signed long term leases), but they also knew that we did not have the money to run and maintain the schools.  They chose to build them anyway knowing full well that they could come back and argue how much they need more funds because we have more schools.  Granting these funds is paramount to rewarding the district for not being good stewards of the funds we have given previously.  

4 – Our district has proven repeatedly that they do not want to work with the fiscal conservative.  Last year during a highly competitive school board election we received clear evidence of the zero tolerance our district leaders have for our voice.  The “give me more money” candidates won fair and square, but it was a close race.  Whitener won handily with 5552 votes and Wojtovich was 2nd with 4853 votes.  The two “we can do better with the money we have” candidates came in 3rd and 4th with 4760 and 4404 votes.  The big rub was that one of the board needed to resign but this came too late to change the ballots to allow us to vote for three.  Considering that there were only 93 votes separating #2 and #3 vote getters, one would think that the district would simply offer the spot to Michelle Anderson.  The district offered up multiple names to fill the vacancy but not only of those names was Michelle Anderson.  The Maricopa County Superintendent gets to make the final decision.  I, along with many others, reached out to both He and Denny Barney stating our preference for the logical selection of Michelle Anderson.  My understanding was that after receiving numerous phone calls, emails and letters, that Mr Covey reached out to the Higley District asking them “why not Mrs Anderson”… The district believes there is no room for the fiscal side and pushed for someone that didn’t run, and the people did not vote for.  In the end Mr Covey chose to head the advice of the district over the voters.  Why, is it so wrong to have someone on the board that is bringing up the tough questions?  You would still have the majority.

5 – “If we do not give more money, our property values will plummet”.  This is a fallacy.  If our schools suck, yes, I can see where property values will take a hit, but not because we do not give you more money.  I recently read a comment by a leader on the Higley School Board, in which she stated, ” I know that our Strong Schools are what has made Gilbert Great.”  This statement along with other similar statements I have heard, absolutely frustrate the snot out of me.  I have heard similar statements regarding law enforcement as well, that, “We are the 2nd safest city in the nation due to our police department.”.  No!!  I got news for you, Gilbert is great because the people are great!  We are a safe city because we have great people that live here.  Our schools are great because the families that live here are good.  The parents push their children, and the children want to succeed in this world.  Good teachers are required (and appreciated), but no, it was not “strong schools that made gilbert great”.  Likewise, our schools will not sink and drive our property values to new lows simply because we do not vote them more money.  The schools will adapt and work to do the best they can with the money they have, and the students and parents will continue to do a good job and the Students will make the school great!

6 – Budgeting.  Another part of budgeting exacerbates the funding problem, is the “use it or lose it” and “these funds are earmarked for “x” category”.  Why?  Why should we be forced with spending money on something that we may not need?  Why, can we as locals, determine that we would prefer to spend the money in other areas, like teach pay?

7 – Transportation.  My fourth child just graduated from Higley earlier this year, as did the three before him.  With each succeeding child, our family costs continue to rise for just about anything that wasn’t “reading, writing and arithmetic”.  We were constantly being charged for sports, band, choir, etc, etc, etc.  I had heard comments from some in the community like “pay to play”.  While I was not one saying this, it at least had some logic.  But, if we are going to use that logic for sports, music, etc, then why are we not using it for transportation?  Why do feel like there needs to be so many buses to get students to and from school?  Call me crazy, but don’t we have more cars per family in Gilbert than nearly the rest of the entire world?  We do not want to be responsible for getting them there and back?  What a great opportunity to talk with our children!  We could also organize carpooling (which we did at my house).  Transportation is a boatload of money.  We can do better!

There is no doubt in my mind that the override is going to pass, most likely it may even pass with by a 2 to 1 margin.  However, I will be voting “NO”, and I hope many of you will join me.  We must continue to strive for better government.  We have become junkies, hooked on money and debt.  Are we, as the doctors, doing any good by giving the addicts another “fix”?  I think not.

 

 

“I seek not for power, but to pull it down”

“I seek not for power, but to pull it down”.  What would posses someone with power and authority to say such a thing?  Or more importantly to live in such a way?  When we look at the history of this world and we examine leaders of governments and nations, as well as leaders of churches or companies, we will rarely see the actions of leaders that truly seek to pull power down.  The quote comes from a man names Moroni, the chief captain of the Nephite army for a period in the Book of Mormon (Alma 60:36).  Though I am not going to be talking about Captain Moroni during this entry, I will be talking about other leaders that had similar desires and similar actions.

We all have seen many “leaders” that rule by force; and have a love and lust for power and honor.  We see it in governments, we see it in business, we see it church and sadly we see in homes.  Regardless of we are liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans, we see most leaders as power hungry thugs.  I am not going to be shy about my distaste for how President Obama leads this nation.  He seeks for more power.  He utilizes executive orders to do things that are outside of the limits of the executive powers.  But before my liberal friends start having breathing disorders, let me also state, the Bush pulled the same crap.  Why is it that men always seem to want more than what they have?  Why is it man’s natural inclination to want to be “the boss”?  Why to so many men use their size and strength to intimidate their wives and children?  Why is it so rare to find a man (and women can be guilty of this too) that truly seeks the welfare of his fellow man?

There is much debate about the Founding Fathers, and I am sure there is a vast array of reasons that helped excite them to the great cause of freedom.  All men want to be free.  All men believe they can “rule” themselves and do not need a government to force them to do “what is right”; but sadly, the vast majority of those same men, are ok with using the power of government to force others to do what they think is right.  While I can understand and appreciate many of reasons that pushed the Founders to action, I am greatly astonished that many of them, after obtaining liberty, did not immediately turn and seek power for themselves.  George Washington, often referred to as the “Father of our Country”, did not want to be president.  He did not want power, but he was willing to serve the people and answer the call for that service.  There were men that wanted Washington to be king; and yet, despite that very position that he could have taken, he was shocked that any would even desire such a thing.

I want to share a quick story about a certain King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.  He was king of the Nephite people from about 124 B.C. to about 92 B.C.  He ruled according to the strict laws of the land that had been handed down by their fathers; but he did not live on the labor of the people.  He worked with his own hands to support himself and his family.  In reviewing the history of his people and the history of a neighboring people that had been destroyed because of the lust of power of wicked men, he chose to take an “idea” to the people.  He sent a proclamation to all the people throughout the land to assemble that he might speak to them.  Among many other things that he said to them, he said, “Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people – I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.”  (Mosiah 29:13).  He then continued to admonish them to have a desire to “change the affairs of the kingdom”.  He recommended that they choose (and vote) among themselves wise men to be judges.  That they will have a small number of high judges and a larger number of lower judges (depending on the crime).  If a higher judge (that had more power) was issues unrighteous judgments, then a group of lower judges would have the power and authority to judge him.  He continued, “I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.”  and “…but that the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part.”

We the people  are starving for leadership like this.  Our nation needs it.  It must start in our own homes.  We must be men of honor and men of work.  We must seek to provide for ourselves and our family and not depend upon the labors of others; as this is a form of bondage.  I admonish us all to look inside first and foremost, and seek those ways that we can be better men (and women), and seek not for power, but to pull it down.  I wish to share one of my favorite verses of scripture before I end.  Doctrine & Covenants 121:37-46

“….We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion…”

Let us seek the benefit and welfare of our fellow man and not for power over them.

Yes, I am opinionated.