Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith on Monday pointed to the passage earlier this month of two city bond issues supported by the city's first property tax in decades as evidence that Arizonans will open their wallets for public transportation and other infrastructure projects - if political leaders present a clear vision.
Smith's comments came at a conference entitled Arizona 2030. He was one of several speakers who discussed the state's future needs and how to develop public support for a broad mix of public and private infrastructure for transportation, energy, water, education, public health and telecommunications.
Mesa's projects supported by property taxes are for public safety facilities and street construction. Smith suggested that state leaders could learn from local government with its local values, efficiencies and nonpartisan approach to solving problems.
"A pothole is not Republican; it is not Democrat," he said, emphasizing the importance of nonpartisanship in solving infrastructure issues.
The conference at Arizona State University's Tempe campus was fostered by ASU President Michael Crow, who asked faculty members what it would take for the state to prepare for a population of 10 million people by the year 2030.
The current population is about 6.2 million.
The answer was $288 billion for education, public health, public safety, transportation, water and other public services.
Conference participants did not take a position for or against any specific action. Rather, the conference focused on learning about ASU's assessment of what will be needed to accommodate state growth when it resumes and what it would take to create the political and public climate for spending on infrastructure.
Arizona Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said conferees should not expect the legislature to focus on the 2030 findings before the state's operating budget is brought into balance against plummeting revenues caused by the current economic struggles.
Tom R. Rex, associate director for ASU's Center for Competitiveness and Prosperity Research, suggested that one way to fight the state's recession would be spending on infrastructure projects to put construction workers back to work.
Transportation development seemed to be the issue most in play, as several speakers talked in favor of public-private partnerships, including toll roads as a way to get around insufficient gas tax revenues.
Some participants cited the bipartisan approach to the Central Arizona Project, the canal system that transports Colorado River water to central Arizona and as far south as Tucson.
Late Washington leaders Rep. John Rhodes, a Mesa Republican, and Sen. Carl Hayden and Rep. Morris Udall, both Democrats, are credited with making the water infrastructure project a reality.
Others referred to the bipartisan coalition that came together to pass Proposition 400 in 2004, a massive roads and light-rail measure underwritten by a half-cent sales tax.
Crow summarized the conference, calling for public understanding that "Grade-A infrastructure is the basis for economic growth" and critical for global competition.
Monday, December 29, 2008
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Sunday, December 28, 2008
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Saturday, December 27, 2008
Cam Simpson reports on Rod Blagojevich.
Among the hundreds of hours of conversations involving Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich secretly recorded by the FBI since Oct. 22, one phone call is drawing particular scrutiny among politicos, journalists and others in Washington. It was a marathon conference call on Monday, Nov. 10.
The call lasted about two hours. On the phone were Mr. Blagojevich, his wife, his general counsel, an unnamed adviser, and John Harris, the governor’s chief of staff and his co-defendant in this week’s case.
But what’s drawing the most interest is who was on the line from Washington, and the sequence of political events that followed that same night and in the ensuing days regarding Barack Obama’s close friend and adviser, Valerie Jarrett.
According to the FBI, there were “various Washington, D.C., based advisers” on the call with Mr. Blagojevich & Co., although the Washington callers are not named. The FBI also said participants popped on and off the line throughout the conversation.
During the call, Mr. Blagojevich and those closest to him allegedly detailed virtually every one of their ideas for turning Mr. Obama’s open Senate seat into something valuable. Specifically, the governor asked “what he can get from the President-elect for the Senate seat,” the FBI alleged, adding later that callers talked about how to “monetize” Mr. Blagojevich’s connections.
Mr. Blagojevich also bemoaned what he called his financial struggles, although his post reportedly pays about $177,000 per year. “The immediate challenge,” the governor allegedly said, “[is] how do we take some of the financial pressure off of our family.”
Callers discussed the possibility of ambassadorships, which are made by the president. They talked about an appointment for Mr. Blagojevich as head of the Department of Health and Human Services, also made by the president. They explored the idea of getting Mr. Obama to use his clout to put the governor’s wife on corporate boards. And they discussed a deal involving the Service Employee International Union, which would be asked to install Mr. Blagojevich over one of its top political groups in exchange for the union getting to tell Mr. Obama that it was delivering the open U.S. Senate seat to his favorite candidate.
That candidate, Mr. Blagojevich believed, was Valerie Jarrett, according to sources familiar with this part of the probe.
There is no inference that Mr. Obama knew about or encouraged any of this alleged scheming, and he has explicitly denied it. But the big question today is this: Were any members of his transition team among the “Washington advisers” on the line during this marathon conference call, or did one of the participants fill them in about these wild ideas?
Mr. Obama’s people are not commenting on details about the case. But the reason that question is on so many minds today is because of what happened that very same Monday night.
At 7:56 p.m. Eastern Time, CNN reported that “two Democratic sources close to President-elect Barack Obama tell CNN that top adviser Valerie Jarrett will not be appointed to replace him in the U.S. Senate.”
That was an abrupt turnaround. While we can’t vouch for CNN’s reportage, the network had reported that same weekend that Ms. Jarrett was Mr. Obama’s top choice. (Ms. Jarrett herself confirmed that she was out of contention two days after it was reported by CNN, and two days after the marathon conference call. She told the PBS show The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, “Well, you know what? I`m actually not interested in the Senate position.”)
At a bare minimum, the timing of Team Obama’s decision to remove Ms. Jarrett’s name from contention, or at least to remove her name from the public speculation about the post, seems extraordinarily lucky. It came on the very same day the FBI secretly recorded Mr. Blagojevich telling a huge conference call loaded with politicos, in Illinois and Washington, that he wasn’t about to give the Senate spot away for nothing.
It’s also the same recorded conversation in which Mr. Blagojevich uses an obscenity to refer to Mr. Obama, before the governor makes clear he won’t give the president-elect the seat for free. “F— him. For nothing? F— him.”
Look for everyone to continue focusing on this call, and who from Washington was on the line.
Friday, December 26, 2008
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Thursday, December 25, 2008
Company Announces Limited Time, End-of-Year Cost Reduction Program to Help Small Businesses Weather Financial Storm
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Bo Sanchez presents the CEBU INTERNET MARKETING WORKSHOP (Hands-on training on how to Make Money Online)
For more details of the workshop, CLICK HERE!
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