Tag Archives: Arizona

Fixing climate change is profitable

Batteries are just one of many reasons, including electric vehicles, smart grid, solar and wind power (including pass HB 57 and you can profit by getting financing for your own solar panels), plus massive savings on health care and electricity bills; batteries are one of many reasons that fixing climate change will save us all money, clean up our air and water, expand our forests, preserve property rights, and make some people rich:

In fact, a recent report suggests that revenue from the distributed energy storage market — meaning battery packs and other storage devices located directly at homes and businesses (many of which now generate electricity through solar) — could exceed $16.5 billion by 2024. Another report predicts $68 billion in revenue in the same time frame from the grid-scale storage market. This includes large-scale battery packs, hydro-storage systems that use cheap abundant electricity to pump water uphill to drive turbines later on, or even solar thermal systems that store energy as heat in molten salt.

And it’s all happening fast, so fast your jaw will drop if you’re not paying attention. So let’s stop talking about the costs of fixing climate change. It’s not just no-cost and free, not just in the future but right now; we’re all actually going to be better off through fixing climate change: healthier and more prosperous.

Sami Grover wrote Continue reading

AZ invites CCA to help get more customers in School to Prison Pipepline

We could have slipped down this slippery slope with that proposed CCA private prison, down to where Casa Grande Arizona is, inviting CCA’s guards and dogs into our schools to collect our children as private prison customers.

Sadhbh Walshe wrote for the Guardian 13 December 2012, Arizona funnels business to CCA through its school-to-prison pipeline: Casa Grande invited a private prison firm to help make a high-school marijuana bust. Can you spot the conflict of interest?

Drug sweeps of schools are not uncommon occurrences in the recent past in America, much to the chagrin of civil rights advocates, who see such sweeps as an efficient means of diverting certain kids to prison — in some cases, even before they make it to adolescence, via the much-criticized “school-to-prison pipeline”. What was unusual about this particular raid, however, is that, among the team of law enforcement personnel and canines put together by the local Casa Grande police department, there were prison guards employed by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the country’s largest for-profit prison company, which owns and operates several prisons in the area. CCA was also kind enough to provide their sniffer dogs for the raid.

What’s even more unusual about this is that pretty much nobody in a position of authority in and around Casa Grande seems to think there’s anything wrong with that.

That’s where “jobs, jobs, jobs” with no consideration of the consequences leads you. Some jobs are not worth having. Private prison jobs are among them.

The state of Georgia spends a billion dollars a year locking people up, many of them for minor drug offenses, and around 85% of them for drug-related offenses. What if instead we spent a fraction of that money on drug counselling and mental health care, and the rest on public education? Then we’d have healthier people more prepared for real jobs.


PS: Owed to Dante Acevedo.

Approved minutes … must be posted on the city’s website —Arizona Open Meetings Law

Here’s an idea, found in Arizona’s Open Meetings Law: 7.8.1 Form of and Access to the Minutes
The approved minutes of all city or town council meetings must be posted on the city’s website within two working days of their approval, A.R.S. § 38-431.01(E)(2) . In no event should minutes be withheld from the public pending approval. Minutes must be reduced to a form that is readily accessible to the public. See A.R.S. § 38-431.01(D). A public body of a city or a town with a population exceeding 2,500 people shall, within three working days after any meeting, post on their website a statement showing legal actions taken by the public body or any recordings made during the meeting. A.R.S. § 38-431.01(E)(1). Posted statements and recordings shall remain accessible on the website for at least one year after the meeting. Id.§ (J). In addition, any recordings and minutes are public records subject to record retention requirements.
No barn door exception for “if” the municipality has a website. Cities over 2,500 population also have to post recordings if they made them. Expand all that to counties and appointed boards and authorities, add it to Georgia’s sunshine laws, and then we’ll be solar cooking!


CCA offers to buy prisons from 48 states

Desperation or disaster capitalism by CCA? Trying to get as entrenched as possible before more people catch on that private prisons don’t save money for states?

Andrew Jones wrote for Raw Story yesterday, Private prison company offers to buy 48 states’ prisons

In exchange for keeping at least a 90 percent occupancy rate, the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) has sent a letter to 48 states offering to manage their prisons for the low price of $250 million per year, according to a letter obtained by the Huffington Post.

The company says it’s a way for states to help manage their current budget crisis. “We believe this comes at a timely and helpful juncture and hope you will share our belief in the benefits of the purchase-and-manage model,” CCA chief corrections officer Harley Lappin said in the letter.

What does CCA want in return?
…a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full….
So if a state, such as Georgia, was thinking of sentencing reform, or of getting on with decriminalizing drugs, either would become quite difficult after signing such contracts.

Here’s CCA’s offer letter, complete with a blank to fill in for the state.

Maybe CCA is realizing that it’s coming to the end of its rope on its old tricks, such as these, pointed out by Chris Kirkham in HufffintongPost yesterday, Continue reading

Attorney refuses to work with “tainted” town of Quartzite

Remember that letter from the Arizona Attorney General to the Town Attorney of Quarzsite? Well, there are alleged problems with the Town Attorney, as well.

Parker Live wrote 13 January 2012, Attorney refuses to work with Town of Quartzsite,

Local attorney Matt Newman is apparently refusing to do further business with the Town of Quartzsite, “at any hourly rate”, calling the current administration “tainted.”

This comes after Public Defender Michael Frame refused to work on cases involving the Town’s Attorney Martin Brannan, citing conflicts of interest and what he believes are politically-motivated actions against his clients by Brannan and the Town.

Newman adds his voice to this dissent in a Refusal of Appointment, saying:

It is my belief that the current administration of the Town has created an inherent conflict of interest by appointing the Town Prosecutor as the Town Attorney and Town Parliamentarian. It is also my belief that the current administration is specifically targeting certain individuals for prosecution due to their political views.
His letter continues, elaborating on why he doesn’t want to do business with the town. This wasn’t just a personal letter or a letter from his law firm, by the way, it was a court motion.

So a Council can manage to get such a bad reputation that a lawyer won’t do business with it.


Quartzite Council cited by Arizona Attorney General

We haven’t looked in on the little town of 3,000 odd people of Quartzsite, Arizona, lately. Its goings-on continue to seem eerily applicable to our own county of 100,000 odd people.

On 9 December 2011, the Attorney General of Arizona, Tom Horne, issued a statement Re: Open Meeting Law Complaint against Town of Quartzsite Common Council (the “Council”), saying that the town Council had violated the state Open Meetings Law (OML) four times:

  1. by not warning Jennifer Jones before removing her on 28 June 2011;
  2. by holding a Council meeting on 10 July 2011 in which they excluded the public by actually locking the doors of their meeting room;
  3. by failing to post minutes of the emergency meeting on its website as required by Arizona Law (yes, Arizona law, like Texas law, requires posting minutes on the web) and by not including a required statement of the emergency requiring the meeting;
  4. and by failing to post withing the required three working days minutes for the 10 July 2011 emergency meeting, nor for seven of its work sessions, nor for its 14 June 2011 regular session.
This one wasn’t a violation, but may be at least as important:
The purpose of the OML is to require public bodies to meet publicly and openly so that al persons so desiring may attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings.
Why, I believe that’s the same in Georgia!

It seems back-room meetings are bad: Continue reading

Something seems familiar in Quartzite

Somebody else got arrested in Quartzsite, AZ, according to The Desert Freedom Press 2 September 2011:
Local Realtor Doug Gilford has gained notoriety as the blogger and videographer who filmed the unlawful removal of Desert Freedom Press Publisher Jennifer Jones, from a June 28th town council meeting. The video has been viewed almost two hundred thousand times on Gilford’s YouTube channel.

Yesterday afternoon, around 3:30 Gilford was at the counter in Town Hall, filing an open records request for town hall feed surveillance tape when Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson confronted Gilford. Apparently feeling threatened, Gilford set his camera on the counter but didn’t hit record, when suddenly Johnson snatched it from across the counter. When Gilford called for police assistance, he ended up being arrested instead of Johnson.

Well, I suppose there are several morals here, such as never set your camera down, never go into a public office alone, etc.

But that’s not what seems familiar. Oh, here it is: Continue reading

Quartzsite police chief puts most of the dept. on leave for whistleblowing

They were complaining about the conduct of the police chief. He also put them under curfew and selective house arrest. This is the town where activists were dragged out of city council meetings and arrested by that same police chief, over the protests of the mayor.

Tory Rangel wrote for abc15.com 21 July 2011, Town of Quartzsite puts more than half of its police department on leave

An Arizona town has put more than half of its police department on leave and officers tell ABC15 they feel it’s retaliation for speaking out against their boss.

William Ponce said he now feels he could lose his job with the Quartzsite Police Department after he, and eight other officers, came forward and accused the police chief of misconduct and abuse of power.

“I feel this is retaliation against the officers that signed this letter and came forth speaking out against corruption,” said Ponce.

After complaints from officers, DPS launched a criminal investigation into allegations Chief Jeff Gilbert had workers run criminal background check on people he didn’t like.

Maybe the chief felt he had to look into their character. I wonder if he made them all take drug tests?

That was a week ago. As of yesterday, Continue reading

Private Prisons don’t save money in Arizona

For this Sunday, a video of a church person spelling out The Pitfalls of Private Prisons; story by Caitlin Harrington for Arizona Public Media, July 20, 2011.
Arizona recently greenlit a new private prison slated to host over 5,000 beds.

Private prison supporters have long argued that private prisons save the state money. Now new research by the American Friends Service Committeesuggests Arizona’s private prisons are generally costing the same amount, if not more than state prisons.

“There’s an abundance of evidence that private prisons aren’t saving us money, are not entirely safe, and are really not good for the state of Arizona,” says Caroline Isaacs, program director of the committee, tells Arizona Illustrated.

Caroline Isaacs, program director, American Friends Service Committee

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.


Private prisons are a bad investment —Tucson Citizen

Cell-out-arizona wrote in TucsonCitizen.com 12 July 2011, ARIZONA DOESN’T NEED, CAN’T AFFORD MORE PRIVATE PRISONS
The Arizona Department of Corrections has given a green light to four private, for-profit correctional management corporations for the construction and management of an additional 5,000 state prison beds.

The American Friends Service Committee condemns this action as unnecessary and deeply irresponsible given the state’s economic crisis and the dismal safety records of all four of the corporations involved.

Arizona’s Auditor General estimates this expansion will cost us over $640 million by 2017. Yet our prison population only grew by only 65 inmates in 2010.

This year, our corrections budget is over $1 billion, consuming 11% of the state general fund. The Department of Corrections was the only state agency whose budget saw an increase this year.

Hm, a billion a year, like Georgia’s “950 plus million budget” that we also can’t afford.

The Tucson article cites the NY Times article that demonstrations private prisons don’t save money, continues with examples of worse public safety at private prisons, and concludes: Continue reading