Bonds and overrides and levies … oh my!
Yes, it’s election time again. Ballots for this 100% mail-in election have been hitting mailboxes all week. And while there are a limited number of candidate elections on the November 2019 ballot, the headliner is all about the Benjamins (baby).
Arizona school districts, municipalities and special taxing districts have their hands out this fall as they seek more than $2 billion in bonding authority and other revenues. Education is making the biggest collective ask with 50 school districts across a dozen Arizona counties pursuing funding. The vast majority of money up for consideration is in Maricopa County, where 26 school districts seek a total of $1.6 billion worth of bonds and overrides to pay for needs like security upgrades, building repairs, buses, new programs, teacher and staff salaries and more.
In 2017, all 27 bond measures in Maricopa County were approved by voters – most winning by double digits – which could bode well for local schools come Nov. 5.
Like 2017, this election will be conducted with mail-in ballots only; voters are instructed to drop their ballots in the mail by Oct. 30, or at any ballot center through 7 p.m. on Election Day.
When thinking of the nicest places in Arizona, Kingman may not immediately come to mind. Or, frankly, at all. Not when the competition includes the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Bisbee, just to name a few of state’s nicest spots.
So how was it that Kingman was recently chosen the nicest place in Arizona by none other than Reader’s Digest?
It all depends on your definition of nice. This being Reader’s Digest, it’s about kindness.
Kingman largely was cited for the way residents adopted a man they called Santa James (real name, James Zyla), a homeless gentleman sporting a long gray beard as well as garb associated with that of St. Nick.
‘I saw so many acts of kindness’
As reported earlier this year by the Los Angeles Times, Zyla was both a common sight and largely ignored in Kingman. Until a few residents introduced themselves, conversations ensued and soon many residents were going out of their way to help.
Zyla, who referred to himself as a wandering musician, not only received friendly call-outs from passersby, but gift cards, bottles of water and even an occasional ride, according to the story.
Back in May, Kingman’s public information officer saw the Digest’s call for entries, nominating the town as a very nice place indeed. Not just because she worked for the city (though the nomination dovetailed nicely with duties), but also based on what she’d seen since moving to Kingman less than a year earlier.
[…] A community with a ‘small-town mentality’
In her nomination, Haines also noted how members of the city’s management team cleaned up a vacant property, inspiring others to join in.
“There are so many stories like that one,” she said. “We really have that small-town mentality where we all look out for one another.”
[…] Editors and a Reader’s Digest panel of judges chose Columbiana, Ohio, as America’s Nicest Place, mentioning the small town’s theater featuring actors with special needs.
“Nicest Places” will be featured in the November edition of Reader’s Digest.
PHOENIX — The White House on Tuesday recognized five Arizona educators, including one in the Valley, for their excellence in mentoring and teaching math and science.
Sally Stevens with the University of Arizona was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
The four recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching were:
- Deborah Nipar, Hamilton High School in Chandler
- Svea Anderson, Agua Caliente Elementary School in Tucson
- Amee Legarra, Richardson Elementary School in Tucson
- Nicole Whitt, Empire High School in Tucson
[…] The teaching award, established in 1983, is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in math and science.
The mentoring award was established in 1995.
Recipients were recognized in all 50 states plus Department of Defense Education Activity schools and U.S. territories.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation handle the nominations and awards.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday approved Barbara Barrett, a former ambassador to Finland, to become the next secretary of the U.S. Air Force after a 85-7 vote.
Barrett will serve as the Air Force’s 25th secretary, becoming the fourth woman to hold that role.
“I can think of no position that offers more excitement, challenge and meaning than the secretary of the Air Force,” Barrett said after the vote, according to an Air Force news release. “Our Air Force is the best in the world because of extraordinary airmen and civilians with whom I am now proud to serve.”
Barrett is a former chairwoman of the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation, which conducts space research and development activities and certifies rockets for launch. Previously, she served on the boards of Raytheon, Piper Aircraft and the nonprofit Space Foundation.
She is also an instrument-rated pilot and was the first civilian woman to land in an F/A-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier. In 2009, she trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, as well as in Kazakhstan, and was then certified for space travel.
Her experience in the space sector may be a benefit if Congress establishes the Space Force as a sixth branch of the military. Although the House and Senate Armed Services committees have not finalized the leadership structure of such a service, both committees have agreed with the Defense Department’s guidance to house the Space Force under the Department of the Air Force, with the Air Force secretary as its civilian head. […]
Arizona Capitol Times
Spenser, now 22, was a 19-year-old college sophomore studying international relations in New Jersey when he first applied for a summer internship working for the governor of his home state. But while finishing classes and moving out of his dorm room, he started to feel sick.
He’d contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare infection commonly referred to as “flesh-eating bacteria.” Doctors had to amputate both legs and his fingers, and Spenser’s family feared he wouldn’t survive.
The illness, and the recovery that followed, strengthened Spenser’s resolve to work in public service. And more than two years after he first applied, he finally has that internship with Gov. Doug Ducey.
Of everything you could be doing after the experience you had, why the Governor’s Office?
I think to understand why I’m at the office today, you have to understand the trajectory of my college career. I was a sophomore at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and it was the week of finals that I got sick. Going into that week, I had submitted an application for an internship at the Governor’s Office. So I came home, I had to be wheeled onto the plane in New Jersey, wheeled off in Arizona, and I was declining in health pretty quickly. The last thing I remember is holding my grandmother’s hand for comfort in one of the emergency rooms and then I woke up about three and a half weeks later with the amputation of my legs already done and them saying: “Son, we need to amputate your fingers.” I was in the hospital for about three and a half months, and about two months into my hospital stay Governor Ducey had connected the dots that this kid who is tremendously ill with necrotizing fasciitis, sepsis, strep group A — I had a lot of things going on — had also applied for an internship. I go by my middle name, Kainoa, but my real first name is Christian, so on my original application to the Governor’s Office everything was “Christian.” It took a second to realize that this guy Christian is the same as this guy Kainoa, and when Governor Ducey found that out he wanted to meet with me personally. It was an incredible experience. I was still in a daze and everything, and it was like “Wow, the governor of Arizona’s here! This is a cool day.” He said, “When you’re ready, and you’re all healthy and past recovery, you have a place to come and work for us and help the people of Arizona.”
Do you think in the past two years you’ve changed in a way that you’re getting more out of this internship or approaching things in a different way?
I woke up to a life changed, right? And I had undeniable truths that I had to accept about myself, but I think the really cool thing was being able to accept those truths, see the beauty in the situation and to really learn the lessons that were sitting in front of me. It’s allowed me to live my life with eyes both open and looking. It’s given me a lot more confidence. It’s allowed me to understand a lot of the issues from a different perspective. After about 25 surgeries, 19 blood transfusions, four different hospitals, two states and one major price to pay for my life, I can just sit here and be grateful because I had a community wanting to help and allow me to live my life with no limitations. I learned a lot from this process, and it’s taught me how to give back and why we should.
[…] Something the state House had to come to terms with this year when we got a representative in a wheelchair for the first time was realizing that this building built in the 1960s is not particularly friendly for people who are using wheelchairs. Is that something you’ve run into at the Governor’s Office?
For me, they’ve gone to tremendous lengths in making sure I don’t have to deal with those types of problems. I have an accessible bathroom on the floor that I’m able to use. They have a lot of different options for me, whether I’m on the eighth floor or working down on one of the lower floors that allows me to move around very easily. I’m able to move around the office and have a normal day as an intern without any barriers.
What’s up with the #LiveLikeKainoa hashtag?
That’s something my mom came up with while I was in the coma. She couldn’t see my eyes, obviously, I was sleeping. And all she wanted to do was see my eyes and my smile, and she started that hashtag so she could click on it and my friends back east, our family in Hawaii and our friends and family across the U.S. were all able to post somewhere. It sort of birthed into this whole community around me, and eventually one of my goals is to turn it into my own nonprofit and be able to give to the community of people living with disabilities, both seen and unseen. Each year, we raise money through a golf tournament to give back to our incredible community. They made this all about me and the first year was to raise money for our family, so I turned it on its head and said we’re going to do this for all people with disabilities. I woke up to find my name plastered across everything and I’m the last person who ever wants that. It’s taken a long time to understand that it’s not really to live like me, but it’s to live like this incredible community that’s taught me to give back.
Veridus Clients in the news
Experts: Health care ballot initiative from out-of-state labor union likely to increase patient costs
Chamber Business News
Supporters of a ballot measure proposed by a new advocacy group in Arizona claim it will make health care more accessible by holding providers to new standards, but health care leaders in the state are having none of it.
Healthcare Rising Arizona is an advocacy organization backed by California-based labor union Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW).
The group announced recently that it has filed a 2020 ballot initiative it says will improve Arizonans’ health and hospital care by addressing four main areas: patient billing, requiring providers to offer refunds if patients are overcharged; infection control, holding private hospitals to national safety standards; new wage mandates for hospital workers, with annual wage increases for four years; and pre-existing conditions.
[…] According to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the measure would increase patient costs across the board; mandate an increase in health care workers’ salaries regardless of performance; and claim responsibility for improvements already being made by the federal government, the state and local health care providers.
[…]“This California-based union, famous for picketing hospitals, is asking Arizonans to vote for an initiative that won’t improve their health care and will end up costing them more,” said Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO of AzHHA. “Moreover, it has a track record of using ballot initiatives not to improve health care in Arizona but to leverage its bargaining position with California hospitals.”
[…] Healthcare Rising Arizona wrote in a release that the ballot initiative is designed to reduce deaths and lower costs, allowing hospitals to focus on improving patient care, but Carusetta said the move is just posturing by an organization that wants to increase its involvement in Arizona.
“[The ballot initiative] is another reckless attempt by out-of-state organized labor to harm one of the brightest industry segments and largest economic drivers in the state,” Carusetta said. “This is not about improving the health care system; this is just pure union politics.”
Phoenix Business Journal
PHOENIX – If you use Uber and Lyft to get to and from Sky Harbor, you could soon be paying a lot more to do so. The airport wants to increase the fees by as much as $5. This would make Sky Harbor one of the most expensive airports for rideshare users.
We mentioned this to travelers at Sky Harbor and they all had a strong reaction. Now, this hasn’t passed, but it is up for a vote. As you can imagine, many people we spoke to were not happy about this.
Airports want to raise Uber and Lyft prices and fees could go up as much as $5. People waiting to be picked up at the airport are responding to the news that they may be paying a lot more for a ride to and from the airport.
“It would be nicer if they could do it a little more gradual than a big bump,” said Becky Phelps.
“I usually take an Uber of a Lyft because it’s reliable, fast, and economical — [it] makes my trip easy,” said Carla Rotering.
Right now, riders pay $2.60 for pickup only, but the airport is now proposing a fee for both pickup and dropoff. It’s $4 both ways, making it $8 total roundtrip by 2020, increasing to $10 roundtrip by 2024.
[…] This would be a 200% increase in fees and the airport says 80% of the funding would go toward the costs for the sky train. Both Uber and Lyft have responded in a statement.
“These fees would make Sky Harbor one of the most expensive rideshare airports for rideshare users in the country. Lyft urges the council to consider a more fair and equitable solution.
Uber responded by saying:
We support paying our fair share at airports across the country, but the city’s plan is irresponsible to riders.
This vote will be scheduled to go to Phoenix City Council on Oct. 16. We reached out to the city and city councilors and did not hear back.
Company Listed for Eighth Consecutive Year
RESTON, Va. — October 15, 2019 — Carahsoft Technology Corp., The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider®, today announced that it has been ranked on the Bloomberg Government List of Top 200 Government Contractors for the eighth consecutive year. Carahsoft ranked #80 on this year’s list, rising ten ranks since 2018 and marking the company’s third year in the top 100.
The eighth annual BGOV200 Federal Industry Leaders Study ranks the top 200 vendors by value of prime, unclassified contracts awarded by U.S. agencies in fiscal 2018. It analyzes the top contracts at 24 agencies and departments and in 27 different purchasing categories.
[…] Overall, the study found that total Federal contract spending increased 9 percent in fiscal 2018 from $512 billion in 2017. Carahsoft’s own obligations increased by 17 percent to $759 million over the same time period. The contractors on the Bloomberg Government 200 list won 64 percent of the total Federal contract spend, accounting for $327.7 billion. As in previous fiscal years, contract consolidation is expected to continue as Federal agencies expand the Office of Management and Budget’s category management initiatives and concentrate spending through contracts that the government is now designating as “best in class.” […]
The Association was honored to welcome as its keynote speaker tennis legend Andre Agassi, a longtime philanthropist and charter champion who has dedicated nearly two decades to expanding educational opportunities for kids and families across the country – particularly in low-income and underserved communities.
Agassi joined Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman to help celebrate the achievements and contributions of Arizona’s public charter schools.
[…] In 1994, Arizona became the 11th state in the nation to enact a charter school law. Today, enrollment in Arizona public charter schools is at an all-time high with more than 200,000 students attending one of over 550 charter schools statewide. The students are as unique and diverse as the schools they attend. Arizona charter schools educate a majority-minority enrollment, with 56 percent of charter students identifying as non-White.
[…] Multiple factors account for the success of charter schools in Arizona, but leading factors cited by parents include the student-centered focus of charter schools and their academic performance. Arizona now boasts charter schools of every size and specialty, including some of the nation’s premier college prep academies, STEM specialty schools, traditional, back-to-basics schools and much more. […]
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