Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Right now, public unions are trying to fleece the taxpayers of Mesa. In addition to the dozens of candidates, judicial retention decisions, and statewide propositions, voters in Mesa will also decide on two amendments to their city Charter that will result in a shakedown of taxpayers and would insulate politicians from accountability.

The first, Prop 476, would give Mesa Unions special access to leverage for taxpayer-funded benefits behind closed doors. The other, Prop 477, removes accountability for wasteful spending, allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend money without council approval and letting elected politicians off the hook.

Vote NO on Prop 476

The city of Mesa used to engage in a process known as “meet and confer” with public labor unions. This process requires city bureaucrats to “discuss” wages, benefits, and time off with union bosses. In reality, it is a way to bamboozle the city and fleece the taxpayers with millions in wasteful spending.


Arizona Families Need Tom Horne as Our Next State Superintendent

Arizona Families Need Tom Horne as Our Next State Superintendent

By Christine Accurso |

Arizona families need a complete change in our state’s Department of Education. The current superintendent, Kathy Hoffman, has not served Arizona’s children well, and she needs to be replaced. With the election upon us, NOW is the time for change.

For far too long, the Department of Education has placed its focus on teachers. But while the needs of teachers are important, the primary focus should always be on students. That’s why we need someone who will change the focus of the entire department to a service-oriented organization—and who will build a team that wants to serve the people of Arizona. The public servant that we need is Tom Horne!

Tom will not need any training. He successfully led this department before, and he will hit the ground running to get our children back on track immediately. Tom is an attorney and has served in the legislature and as our state attorney general. He supports the new ESA school choice law and wants to see that program serve our children well. Tom has met with many of Arizona’s families and has truly listened to our needs. I have full confidence that he will address them immediately when he is in office.

In contrast, under Kathy Hoffman, our children’s test scores have been plummeting. She pushed for extended school closures during the pandemic. She violated our families by releasing sensitive, private information on our children during the data breach of 2020. She pushed for professional development under gender and sex topics and equity, diversity, and inclusion. She also pushed to repeal the “No Promo Homo” law and started a “Q chat” on the ADE website where any child can be easily groomed or confused when exploring their sexuality online, away from their parents. The last four years have been dreadful for everyone except the unions who back her.

The role of the Superintendent is to execute the state education laws and the State Board of Education policies. The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) law is administered by the Superintendent, and the State Board of Education writes the policies and rules around this program. It has been in effect for over 10 years. As our current Superintendent, Kathy Hoffman has publicly stated that she wants to see an end to the program and has proven in the last four years that ESA Students who are in the program are not her priority. The fact that she picks winners and losers and plays games with our children’s education proves that she is not a good leader. Every single child matters and deserves an education that they will thrive in.

It’s time to turn our focus back to the children of Arizona. The most important focus is the academic success of our children in the core areas of study. This is a very important race, and I implore all of the people in Arizona, especially parents and grandparents, to support Tom Horne so that our children will be front and center again. Our children deserve the very best, and our families deserve to have a fully functioning Department of Education.

Christine Accurso is a wife, mother, and ESA parent who led the charge for the Decline to Sign Movement. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Who Is Influencing Your Kids?

Who Is Influencing Your Kids?

By Kurt Rohrs |

Do you know who is talking to your kids and what they are saying to them?

The mental health of children is one of the current hot topics in education. This is prompting a call for an army of social counselors, social workers, and child psychologists to be hired by school district administrations to address the issue.

Kids definitely appear to be more stressed now than they have been in the past. Some recent suicides by some of our students highlight the shocking and tragic consequences of this.

While hiring more mental health professionals in order to address the symptoms of student stress is one effort that is being pursued, the key question that still needs to be addressed is: what is the primary cause of this excessive stress?

At a recent conference on student mental health, I was able to ask several professionals this very question. All of them responded with the same answer: the influence of social media.

The Influence of Social Media

“Social Media Influencer” is now a lucrative profession. Professional influencers promote trends or products and can be highly compensated for their efforts. It is essentially a new advertising medium targeted at a young audience—including your kids.

But there is a darker side to social media influencing, particularly with cyberbullying or the promotion of lifestyle choices that run counter to parenting efforts. This can have a very harmful effect on impressionable young minds, sometimes with devastating consequences.

Many of these social media posts come with an overt or implied warning, “Don’t let your parents know,” which strips children of their primary protection against undesirable influences.

Some Social Media Channels

Tik Tok is a very popular social media site with wide public distribution that consists mostly of short videos, often recorded on a cell phone, that can entertain and amuse young minds. The intent is for a popular post to “go viral” and be shared by many people across the platform leading to an increase in the poster’s credibility as an influencer. But there are other postings that parents may find to be undesirable to have their children exposed to including drug and alcohol use, sexuality and sexual activity, and political extremism.

SnapChat is an app that is often used for small group text and video conversations between kids. The primary feature of this site is that messages are automatically deleted by the host server after a short period of time and can no longer be seen. This is supposed to protect someone from exposure of their malicious posts. The posts can only be preserved if someone takes a picture of the message, known as a “screenshot,” which can be saved on their phone or personal computer.

Many social media applications also have a feature that allows users to take conversations offline into private one-on-one exchanges through direct messages or texts. This is where a lot of cyberbullying occurs since it is generally out of the public spotlight.

Who Shouldn’t Be Talking to Your Kids?

Adolescents, who are often the instigators of malicious social media attacks that harm other kids, are not adults and have not yet developed the self-control necessary to avoid such transgressions. They are not fully aware of the consequences of their actions and often lash out without thinking. They need adult supervision.

Ill-intentioned adults, even some that could be considered as “predators,” find social media a useful way to communicate and mislead children into accepting narratives that normalize, enable, and encourage questionable behaviors. This process is also known as “grooming.”

There have also been reports of some educators using these social media channels to communicate directly to their students about their personal political and social opinions in order to circumvent restrictions that are imposed in the classrooms. Several of these educators have been exposed and removed from their positions.

Parents Need to Start Fighting Back

When it comes to social media, parental involvement is crucial. Parents need to be aware of who is talking to their kids and what they are saying.

The first step is to get on these social media platforms and monitor the conversations. Parents need to know what is being said to their kids and who is saying it.

The second step is to actively respond to objectionable content and discourage it. The argument that this somehow stifles “free speech” ignores the obvious fact that objecting to a public expressed opinion, particularly if it considered harmful to children, is also just as much of a free speech right. An army of concerned parents commenting on questionable posts should slow this down considerably.

Canceling the “Cancel Culture”

It can be said that “political correctness” has proceeded almost unchallenged in social media and in our classrooms. Any objection to the prevailing social narrative is often met with vigorous, and sometimes vicious, personal attacks on any courageous individuals who dares to speak up. The intent is to silence dissent and intimidate any reasonable opinions to the contrary.

This is where parents need to step up and brave the storm. They need to become active and support each other by pushing back on undesirable ideologies that are presented in social media. There are far more concerned parents out there than there are bullies and groomers. It’s time to go on offense. There should be no “safe space” for people that want to mislead your kids.

Kurt Rohrs is a candidate for the Chandler Unified School District Governing Board. You can find out more about his campaign here.

Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

When groups outside of Arizona have more interest in stopping an initiative reform than groups inside Arizona, that should tell you everything you need to know. And so it is with Will of the People Arizona, a group so concerned with our state that it raised nearly $325,000 in the third quarter of 2022.

That’s impressive, isn’t it? But do you know what’s even more impressive? Only $33 of the money raised by Will of the People came directly from people who actually live in Arizona!

You read that right…$33.

Despite its claim at the bottom of its website that only 20 percent of contributions are “coming from out of state,” the group received 11 payments from the Washington, D.C.-based The Fairness Project totaling more than $254,000. In addition, $70,000 came from the Berkeley-based Every Single Vote, and another D.C.-based group called Ballot Initiative Strategy Center contributed $326.11.

That’s well over 99% of the contributions to Will of the People Arizona coming from groups based in California and D.C…


America Is Facing a Cycle of Doom but Nobody Seems to Care

America Is Facing a Cycle of Doom but Nobody Seems to Care

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

America’s political class can no longer put off the inevitable. They soon will have to pay for their insanely reckless fiscal practices.

It’s not going to be pretty. America’s debt has reached an appalling $31 trillion. Annual interest payments will exceed $1 trillion this year. Debt service is well on its way to crowding out other priorities, a trend which will only accelerate.

Unfortunately, a steep rise in interest rates occurred near the end of the biggest spending binge ever. Economists are warning we are nearing the dreaded “doom loop” in which interest costs can be covered only by more borrowing which further drives up interest expense, creating a vicious cycle.

There is a weird, almost preternatural calm about our dire fiscal future during this campaign season. We’ve seen much consternation about inflation, public safety, the border, and other critical issues. Yet politicians and the media hardly mentioned the debt crisis, so the public seems to assume everything is under control.

It isn’t, not by a long shot. Uncle Sam issued $7 trillion in new debt to finance the recovery from the COVID pandemic and our panicked overreaction to the disease. It’s too bad we can’t take back that $7 trillion.

Much of it was stolen by fraud and bureaucratic bumbling. Funds went to school districts, that haven’t spent them so far, to finance the indolence of those who preferred not to work and to Democrat pet projects like “climate change.” Millions of voters in no distress whatsoever got checks, as did some illegal immigrants.

Many economists predicted that injecting that much cash into the economy would cause inflation, especially since supply was limited by weakness in the labor market, fuel shortages, and supply chain problems. They were mostly ignored but turned out to be absolutely correct. After decades of relative price stability, we are now experiencing 8% inflation with no end in sight.

Millions of non-economists are experiencing what that does to your standard of living. Suddenly, food, fuel, and shelter have become existential concerns to millions of Americans, and the economic future looks dim.

Inflation also increases government spending. Social Security benefits are inflation-adjusted, resulting in an 8%, $100 billion increase. Total government healthcare costs will grow from $710 billion last year to $915 billion.

Financial markets cannot ignore the cloud of government debt hanging over our economy. A serious recession will almost certainly soon be upon us. Already, declining stock and bond values over the past nine months assure a steep decline in capital gains tax revenue, another contributing factor to the deficit.

The Federal Reserve board is doing the only thing it can to address inflation, which is to raise core interest rates. That also directly adds to the national deficit, increasing the interest cost and driving up the balance, since no other source of funds is available.

So, to summarize, unnecessary COVID-related spending of $7 trillion has combined with chronic overspending, which caused inflation, which increased borrowing costs, which drove up the deficit, thus precipitating a recession which will deprive the government of revenues to pay down the surging debt load. Way to go, guys.

The principle response of the Biden administration has been denial. Our president claims the economy is thriving. A monthly .1% drop in the inflation rate was the pretext for claiming inflation was in decline. The national debt is never mentioned, nor are the untold trillions in future promises we have made to senior citizens and others.

Instead, Biden issued a probably unconstitutional executive order “canceling” unpaid college loans – i.e., transferring the liability to taxpayers. It was terrible public policy, penalizing those who had behaved responsibly and incentivizing student indebtedness in the future. It spent yet more money in a desperate attempt to bribe some votes for the midterm elections.

Yet there seems to be little taxpayer resentment. Why should they care? Their taxes aren’t going to increase. The obligation will be added to the great river of debt passed on to future generations—you know, those little people who don’t vote yet.

They will inherit an America feeble and impoverished, that will have forfeited its greatness because of our greed and selfishness. STOP THE SPENDING!

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s Efforts to Misinform Voters on Prop 309 Must Be Investigated

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s Efforts to Misinform Voters on Prop 309 Must Be Investigated

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Every voter should be required to provide identification before casting a ballot. It’s the bedrock of secure elections and ensures it is both easy to vote and hard to cheat. But in Arizona, some in-person voters can present two non-photo documents in place of a photo ID, and for the millions of Arizonans who choose the convenience of voting by mail, only a signature is required.

The fact is we currently treat different types of voters disparately—not all voters are showing ID. That’s why Prop 309 is critical. It creates universal voter ID requirements so that valid ID is required no matter when, where, or how we vote, meaning all voters will be treated equally and all will show ID. Plus, Prop 309 waives the fee for a state issued photo ID.

If that sounds like a no-brainer, that’s because it is.

But recently, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer waged a political campaign against Prop 309, illegally using his office and taxpayer resources to misinform voters and influence the outcome of the election…