The Daily Agenda: First stop on the apology tour
Better late than never ... Get off my (school's) lawn ... And talk about strange bedfellows.
Arizona Secretary of State and Democratic governor candidate Katie Hobbs briefly apologized for her role in firing Senate staffer Talonya Adams, her first actual apology since the case became a campaign issue.
While Hobbs publicly apologized following Adams’ first trial in 2019, she (unsuccessfully) attempted to pin the blame on Senate Republicans for firing the Black staffer following the second trial in November — a move that backfired spectacularly, as reporters and activists hounded her for the misleading statement.
In a short response to a softball question at the tail end of a friendly interview with Peacock’s Zerlina Maxwell, Hobbs offered her most direct answer to date. “I’m sorry for my role in this and I have learned from this,” she said, quickly pivoting to her time in the Secretary of State’s Office, saying she approved many much-deserved raises in that office, including for people of color earning less than $15 per hour.
That’s a far cry from less than two weeks ago, when she defended firing Adams to the Arizona Mirror’s Jeremy Duda, saying Adams deserved to be fired for her performance.
Adams has consistently said that Hobbs’ insistence that Adams was fired because she was a poor employee (despite two juries declaring she suffered discrimination) has hurt her reputation and her legal practice.
The tactic has also dragged down Hobbs’ campaign, and the decision to fully apologize was likely a political one, rather than the result of a conscience.
Still, while the Adams case certainly wasn’t a boon to her campaign, Hobbs appears to be weathering the storm. While the Republic’s EJ Montini declared the TV appearance Hobbs’ first stop on a long overdue apology tour to “resurrect” her campaign, it doesn’t appear her campaign needs resurrecting.
Without a new strong Democratic challenger jumping into the race (and, for what it’s worth, the rumor mill now declares U.S Rep. Greg Stanton is definitely not interested), Hobbs’ status as frontrunner will likely remain unchanged, despite the scandal, the “bumbled response,” and the calls from Democrats and newspaper columnists for her to drop out of the race.
When Campaign finance numbers come out, we fully expect her to dominate the competition, former lawmaker Aaron Lieberman and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez.
And while some voters may be turned off enough to leave their ballot blank, at the end of the day, it’s hard to believe people of color will look at Republican frontrunner Kari Lake, who takes pictures with Nazi sympathizers, and see her as a better option than Hobbs.
No matter who’s in the election next year, we’ll be there to cover the rollercoaster. And we’re expecting 2022 to be a doozy. We appreciate your financial support, which keeps us in business.
Sidewalks are fair game, though: The Scottsdale Unified School Board, the continuing epicenter of the parents vs the school boards battles, told hopeful politicians that they can’t campaign on school grounds, the Yellow Sheet Report writes. Kari Lake and Jim Lamon planned a Tuesday rally at the school aimed at the dossier tied to school board member Jann-Michael Greenburg.
Seems a little late: Jacob Chansley/Jake Angeli/the QAnon shaman switched attorneys Monday and is now attempting to appeal his plea deal, likely by arguing his previous lawyer (who, to be fair, insulted his client more than once) didn’t represent him properly. Because of his plea deal, he has limited ways he can seek an appeal, one of which relates to his counsel’s effectiveness.
Sure, blame it on the messenger: The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality defended its decision to ask for control of a coal ash pollution program, saying the Republic’s story about that decision, which noted the role utilities played in the request, was a “misleading narrative.” Ryan Randazzo, one of the reporters of the original story, shot back at the agency’s narrative on Twitter:
A small price to pay: People who dealt with living in Johnson Utilities territory and paying their water and sewer bills to a company with a track record of problems will receive some money for their displeasure, Randazzo reports. A class-action lawsuit brought by customers ended with a $10 million settlement, and those who paid for water from the company since October 2011 are eligible for some money.
Omicron would like a word: Some school districts are ending their mask mandates in the new year, despite rising cases and holiday travel where the disease could spread more quickly, the Republic’s Yana Kunichoff reports.
End of an era: There’s a communications shake-up at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the favorite trade group of business-types. Longtime spokesman and executive vice president Garrick Taylor is leaving to start his own public affairs firm, though will continue in a consulting role with the group. Annie Vogt will become the Chamber’s vice president of communications, and Grace Applebe will be director of policy and government affairs.
You could soon be an underpaid master’s degree holder: The Arizona Teacher Residency, a new program from the state education department, has its first partner schools set up and its application now available online. As we’ve mentioned before, the program allows participants from non-education backgrounds to get a master’s degree if they teach in the state afterward.
It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to: The Patriot Party didn’t get enough signatures to be an official party, as we noted previously, but peeling off votes from Republicans apparently wasn’t the goal anyway, party leader and election loser Daniel McCarthy told the Arizona Mirror’s Jeremy Duda. Instead, the party wanted status so it could access ballot reviews and poll observation.
Not something you want to be No. 1 at: Maricopa County outpaces other metro areas for the likelihood that children go into foster care, and kids who are Black or Native American are more likely than other children to be put into foster care, the Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl reports.
Fighting for their rights: Immigrants in Arizona are finding ways to cope with trauma they’ve experienced, like marginalization and xenophobia, by becoming activists and training others to do the same, journalist Terry Greene Sterling reports for the Guardian.
The new Bisbee?: A road trip to see the splendor of border town Douglas could be in your future, if the developer working to rehab the city succeeds, the Republic’s Clara Migoya reports.
Prepare to be thrilled by the new 316-page Arizona tax handbook, a deep dive into a subject that puts many to sleep but invigorates the wonkiest wonks. It includes 20 years of history for each type of tax and estimates how tax credits and exemptions impact the state’s coffers. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee staff also look at the past six years of statute changes for taxes. The handbook is unlikely to provide entertainment at your next holiday party, but gives an intense overview of state taxes, which is sure to delight at least one of you reading this.
Let’s do a double laugh today, because we could all use it.
First off, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar endorsed biannual candidate for something — this year it’s for attorney general — Rodney Glassman, a former Democratic member of the Tucson City Council who once ran against John McCain on a progressive platform.
But Glassman’s Democratic past proved no problem for Gosar, who declared that “like millions of others,” including former Presidents Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan, Glassman “took the red pill and concluded that whatever the Dem party used to be, today it is a socialist front.”
And time flies when you’re stuck in a neverending election.
It was exactly one year ago yesterday when Gov. Doug Ducey certified the election results in Arizona and simultaneously ignored a phone call from the former president.
This clip, much like former Gov. Jan Brewer’s infamous brain fart on live TV, will never stop bringing us some strange mix of anxiety and joy.