Nov. 15th Newsletter Repost

This Wednesday, November 18th is the big kickoff for your LD24 team. We will host it at the new McKinley Club as a celebration of our volunteers, our friends and the vision we all share for Arizona. 
Please watch this week's video update about our team kickoff and see the Facebook event here and please register at this link.

News Around the District

SAMA_Music.pngJust last week we visited ABILITY360, toured their amazing facilities and heard deeply moving stories from people with disabilities. Who knew that they have three massive pools, basketball courts, specialized gym equipment and even a climbing wall?

This newsletter is going out too soon to report the December BeAZ event, but please follow our page on Facebook for that, coming announcement soon. 

I'm going to drop by this unique fundraiser for Osborn School District's music programs, put on by the Seventh Avenue Merchant's Association on December 4th. Businesses all up and down 7th Ave will host musical acts as a way to raise money for Osborn music programs. I hope to see you there.

Brain Food

a. Last week I got in a little Twitter debate with the governor's office after I called them out for axing the state Energy Office, my old stomping grounds. As you can see in this story, the governor cut staff and moved a few grant writers to the Department of Administration. The result will be, in my view, a reduction of services for low income and elderly who need help with the cost of energy. The governor's mouthpiece told me that I did not understand, and that they would still be able to get weatherization support from the federal government. Having directed the Energy Office myself, I know that this is not completely true. When a state eliminates it Energy Office and the staff that advocates for energy issues, it reduces the effectiveness of government, not only for low in come and elderly, but also for those businesses considering a move to Arizona. The governor has made a statement through his actions about the value he places on energy efficiency, renewable energy and the needs of low income residents.

b. Here's an interesting article about the millions of plastic balls that engineers in California have distributed on reservoirs to prevent evaporation. In my mind this is trading one symptom of our environmental issues (water loss) with another symptom (covering our environment with toxic plastics). But the article also links to several other projects designed to save water in the desert. What do you think?

c. We also saw a story this week about how Saudi Arabian interests have been buying land and water rights in Arizona in order to ship high-water intensive crops, such as alfalfa to overseas markets. Here's the original article and Arizona Republic Columnist EJ Montini's comments on the development.  My posting this article on Facebook resulted in protests from one reader, saying that I was just whipping up concern irresponsibly. What this reader did not understand, I think, is that this is not a new development and the posting implying that Saudis are some kind of malicious invading force. What I wanted to convey was that the reason the Saudis are going outside of their own country for water was that they did not plan accordingly back home and their aquifers have gone dry. While Arizona has done much better than many other states in saving water, folks need to understand how the 1980 Groundwater Management Act has been corroded over the decades in a way that weakens it and our future water security. It may be time for an update. 

d. While we are talking about water, here's a really good article about how depleting a state agency (Arizona Department of Water Resources) of its critical staff could end up having a negative impact in our ability to monitor and control our water supply in the desert (oh, and cost taxpayers more). Does this sound like a recurring theme to you?

e. This is an interesting article that highlights something I've been saying for a while: election reform must happen before we can address most issues before our state and country. "Reform First" is a rallying cry that will get more Democrats and moderates active in 2016.