Arizona’s food banks are faced with a burgeoning number of clientele, some maxing out their resources — a byproduct of the inflation crisis. This increase in families seeking out assistance was further prompted by the ending of pandemic-era stimulus checks, tax credits, and public benefits.
The Arizona Food Bank Network (AZFBN) told AZ Free News that their clientele has grown steadily since April. AFBN is a coalition of five regional food banks and nearly 1,000 pantries and agencies, including: Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, HonorHealth Desert Mission Food Bank, St. Mary’s Food Bank, United Food Bank, and Yuma Community Food Bank.
According to AZFBN President and CEO Angie Rodgers, clients say that inflation’s adverse impact on family budgets was a chief reason for turning to food banks. Rodgers noted that inflation has impacted their network’s purchasing power. Rodgers didn’t say definitively whether their network is struggling currently to meet the needs of their increased clientele.
“The food bank network has relied on donations and more increasingly, on the purchase of food, to help meet that demand,” said Rodgers. “Of course anytime demand goes up, we need a corresponding supply to meet that need. Some food banks are able to purchase additional items when donations are low. Others rely entirely on donations.”
Rodgers had a positive outlook: she said that the holidays tend to increase food and monetary donations as well as volunteers.
“We are grateful for this support. Many food banks this season will likely be asking for additional contributions to address the need,” said Rodgers.
According to the AZFBN, an average of 1 in 7 Arizonans face food insecurity — nearly 800,000 adults and 270,000 children. Food insecurity is defined as the occasional or constant lack of access to food.
AZ Free News also spoke with Paradise Valley Community Food Bank (PVCFB). Their executive director, Kay Norris, told us that food and monetary donations aren’t meeting their community’s need for the first time in 30 years. Their food bank feeds those in need who are working.
Norris shared that they’re booked up five days a week. They had to open up on Saturdays to meet the demand for the first time in 30 years — but even that day is booked up. Norris said they saw an increase in demand last year of 60 percent.
“I can tell you we’re seeing people that I know that have never been to a food bank before,” said Norris. “We can no longer take people who walk up, because we’re booked. They have to walk away.”
PVCFB relies on 140 to 150 volunteers a week during the school year to keep up with the demand. Even with an expansion in operations, Norris said that they’re in need of more donations to meet the growing community need.
“Eventually it’s going to catch up with us if we don’t have more donations,” said Norris.
The new class of faces lining up for assistance isn’t unique to PVCFB. St. Mary’s Food Bank told12 News that many of those seeking assistance are first time clients, leading their clientele to nearly double compared to last year, from up to 650 clients daily to over 1,100 clients last Friday.
On Wednesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs said debates don’t matter when explaining why she won’t debate Republican opponent Kari Lake.
Hobbs made the remarks during a CNN interview. Voters upset over Hobbs’ refusal to debate were told to accept it as part of her campaign strategy. Hobbs added that a debate at this point was too late anyway.
“Look, we’re six days out from the election and our campaign strategy is our campaign strategy,” said Hobbs. “We’re moving forward and I’m continuing to make my case to the voters of Arizona. Whether or not we debate in this race is not going to decide this election.”
Hobbs also claimed that Lake wasn’t interested in a debate, just in creating a spectacle. The CNN “This Morning” hosts — Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, and Kaitlan Collins — insisted that Hobbs could challenge Lake’s narratives in real time.
Hobbs also neglected to debate her primary opponent, Marco Lopez. When asked the reason for avoiding that debate, Hobbs said she didn’t need to because of favorable polling. Effectively, Lopez wasn’t worth the time or effort required for a debate. Hobbs didn’t mention her initial excuse for skipping the debate with Lopez: a purported COVID-19 infection and a conflicting campaign event.
“I was miles ahead of him and won handily,” said Hobbs.
Hobbs initially told the public that she skipped the debate against Lopez because of a COVID-19 illness. Yet just several days later, Hobbs participated in an Independence Day parade in Flagstaff.
In September, Hobbs fled from in-person questions posed by media and supporters concerning her refusal to debate Lake.
Last month, Hobbs advised voters that they should forget about her refusal to debate and, instead, focus on her platform.
When Hobbs questioned Lake’s water crisis policies on social media last week, Lake pointed out that these sorts of questions were best answered in a debate. Lake has invited Hobbs repeatedly to debate her.
As the city of Phoenix prepares to navigate through a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights investigation, there is a new chief at the helm.
Michael G. Sullivan was sworn-in last Friday as Interim Chief, several weeks after he officially began working for the city under a one year contract with a base pay of $232,000. His swearing-in ceremony came just days after the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) board approved Sullivan’s application for a restricted certification
The restriction bars Sullivan from being assigned “any duty likely to result in the need to apply physical force.” His contract signed in September gives Sullivan six months to pass all AZPOST training requirements and “satisfactorily perform the practical demonstrations of proficiency in physical conditioning, vehicle operations, pursuit operations, and firearms, including firearms qualifications as required by AZPOST.”
In the meantime, city officials are planning to conduct a nationwide search for a permanent police chief, although no promises have been made to Sullivan if he wishes to stay longer.
Sullivan was hired by Phoenix PD from Baltimore PD where he has spent the last few years helping that agency deal with the fallout of a US DOJ investigation. He previously spent 20 years with Louisville PD in Kentucky.
In public comments, Sullivan has acknowledged there are many challenges facing the department beyond the US DOJ investigation. He has mentioned the agency’s understaffing problem, its lack of accountability and transparency to the community, and dwindling department morale as just some of the issues he needs to tackle while also trying to appease investigators with the US DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
In August 2021, the US DOJ announced it was undertaking a “comprehensive review” of Phoenix PD’s policies, training, supervision, and force investigations. Also under scrutiny will be the department’s “systems of accountability, including misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline.”
The investigation is authorized under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which prohibits state and local governments from engaging in “a pattern or practice of conduct” by law enforcement officers that is in violation of federal law or which deprives individuals of the constitutional rights. The Act allows the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to seek a number of remedies through civil litigation.
Despite mounting evidence debunking the environmental friendliness of electric vehicles (EV), Arizona’s leaders continue to roll out EV infrastructure.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Tucson, and Phoenix have all rolled out plans to expand EV infrastructure, as well as encourage citizens to switch to electric while transitioning government vehicles to electric. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs pledged to electrify all state vehicle fleets as part of her “clean” energy plan. The state legislature also considered bills to advance EV usage earlier this year, such as SB1102 to require new homes to have EV charging.
In the latest episode of acclaimed reporter John Stossel’s “Stossel TV,” Manhattan Institute physicist Mark Mills shared that EVs won’t change oil use and carbon dioxide emissions “in any significant way.” Mills revealed that even 300-500 million EVs would only reduce world oil consumption by 10 percent. That’s the entire US population, and 5-8 percent of the world population over 16 years old. There are approximately 15-18 million EVs in the world presently.
Most oil use comes from airplanes, buses, and big trucks — even the mining equipment to obtain copper required for EVs.
“It won’t change because those trucks last 40 years,” said Mills.
That’s another debunked claim of EV’s environmental friendliness: the mining process requires a lot of the earth for very little. One battery requires about 500,000 pounds of minerals and rock to be mined. The mining process pollutes the surrounding environment, resulting in most operations to take place abroad in Chile and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Altogether, the mining, manufacturing, and shipping process for EVs emits 10 to 20 tons of carbon dioxide.
Claims that EVs reduce carbon emissions are only true insofar as an EV is driven 100,000 miles at minimum. Even then, that mileage reduces emissions by up to 20 or 30 percent. The average EV battery lasts around 200,000 miles, though an EV warranty is 100,000 miles. (Tesla projects that it may develop a million-mile battery, though their cars are among the most expensive on the market). With every charge cycle, the battery pack loses capacity and reduces driving range.
Further, only 12 percent of electricity production comes from wind or solar power. Most comes from burning natural gas or coal. That’s nothing to say of the potential strain on the country’s energy grids under the Biden administration’s planned EV network, or under varying weather conditions such as cold snaps and heat waves.
EV sales increased 66 percent this year, following government and corporation efforts over the past several years to eradicate gas-powered vehicles and encourage EV buying through incentives like tax credits. California banned the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035, with Massachusetts and Washington following via trigger laws. Other states are on track to phase out gas vehicles over the next few decades, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Rhode Island.
That’s in addition to nearly all major car brands pledging to shift toward mostly or exclusively EV within the next several decades, including General Motors (Chevrolet, GMC, Buick), Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Volvo, and Audi.
With one week left to go before the election, the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters tightened up even more.
On Tuesday, Libertarian candidate Marc Victor dropped out of the race and endorsed Masters after speaking with the GOP candidate about his platform. Victor said that his main purpose in running was to ensure the protection of freedom and endorse his global peace advocacy organization, Live and Let Live.
Victor declared that Masters, not Kelly, aligned with his vision for improving America.
“I think we need to unite the reasonable people of the world,” said Victor. “Given where we are right now and given our options right now, Blake Masters is the best choice for United States Senate.”
Registered libertarians account for less than one percent of all voters (32,148) while independents account for nearly 34 percent of all voters (over 1.4 million). Together, that’s several hundred less than total registered Republicans (over 1.43 million) and nearly 166,000 more than registered Democrats (over 1.27 million).
Victors’ withdrawal and endorsement comes nearly a month into voting. Early voting began nearly three weeks ago, on October 12.
According to the latest poll released Tuesday, Kelly and Masters are neck and neck at 47 percent. The average of all previous polling reflects Kelly leading Masters by three points.
While Masters’ latest campaign boost came from a now-former opponent, Kelly showcased a campaign boost from the original Luke Skywalker: famed Star Wars actor Mark Hamill.
With one week left before Election Day, Twitter suspended Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem and state representative candidate Christian Lamar.
Within hours of notifying Twitter’s new, free speech-friendly owner, Elon Musk, Finchem was reinstated. Musk changed his Twitter bio to read “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” around the same time. As of Tuesday morning, Lamar’s account was reinstated also.
Finchem, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, issued a call to action concerning his suspension via Truth Social and press releases.
“Twitter has blocked my account from speaking truth with one week left until the election. They are trying to put their thumb on the scales of this election. Tag Elon Musk and tell him to unban me right now. I am the Secretary of State nominee in a swing state running against the criminal Soros-funded candidate,” Finchem wrote.
Musk promised he was “looking into it,” after lawyer and Newsmax contributor Jenna Ellis tagged him. Minutes later, Finchem’s suspension was rescinded.
Finchem said that a “commie” Twitter employee was to blame for the suspension. He said that a tweet instructing Arizonans to boo former President Barack Obama at a campaign rally may have been the reason for his suspension. Twitter didn’t inform Finchem which tweet incurred punishment.
The publicity of the Twitter suspension and Musk’s involvement prompted a response from Adrian Fontes, Finchem’s opponent. Fontes insinuated that Musk reduced his reach on Twitter.