Discover more from Arizona Agenda
The Daily Agenda: So smart, so brief
Busy, BRB ... Taiwan is so hot right now ... And we need a Swifty reporter on the U.S. Senate race.
As we mentioned, we’ll be tinkering with the usual format this fall as we bring on some new talent and get the Agenda up to its usual breakneck speed ahead of the 2024 madness.
Writing one whole email a day is a lot of work! Hank can’t handle this kind of pressure. So until things settle — and we’re hoping that’s soon(!) — we’ll be breaking up the daily email into more manageable bite-sized pieces like this more often.
Just think of it as the Agenda’s version of Smart Brevity™.
Coordination is key: Gov. Katie Hobbs is heading out of town on a trade mission to Taiwan, even though Secretary of State Adrian Fontes just came back from a trade mission in Taiwan. No word yet on if Hobbs’ “privately-funded” campaign security guard, J.M. "Jesse" Torrez, who quietly scored a six-figure gig as leader of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, as the Republic’s Stacey Barchenger reports, is also going to Taiwan.
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Click the button now!
We’re all pretty stressed: Fontes thinks someone needs to “throw the first punch” and file a lawsuit challenging former President Donald Trump’s ability to run for the office again, the Washington Post notes in a piece about the growing rumblings of a challenge under a reconstruction-era provision of the U.S. Constitution barring anyone from holding office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” In related news, a team of election experts issued a report warning democracy is “under great stress” ahead of the 2024 elections and offering proposed solutions under several categories including media, social media, law and tech. One of the recommendations is a speedy resolution to the question of whether Trump is eligible to run.
Justine Wadsack is an inside (nut)job: State Senator and gullible human Justine Wadsack believes, among many other bizarre things, that 9/11 was an inside job. The Arizona Mirror’s Jerod MacDonald-Evoy noted that to celebrate September 11th this year, Wadsack “shared a fake transcript from United Flight 93 and liked multiple posts on social media alluding to the events of the day being a ‘false flag’ and an ‘inside job.’” In response, Wadsack proposed defunding the “media thought police,” which, as far as we know, she doesn’t fund. And in Arizona’s Uber-conservative Mohave County, law enforcement officials are warning that their proposed slash-and-burn budget, which would cut 18% from the county’s general fund budget, will “effectively defund law enforcement” and severely impact public safety, per reporter Dave Hawkins.
If you like Wadsack, you’ll love them: Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman scored a 4,000 word profile in the Republic, even though he wouldn’t answer questions or speak to reporter Ray Stern for the piece. The fake elector, banned-from-Twitter troll farm operator and suspicious homebuyer has amassed a lot of wealth and political power since coming onto the scene as a Higley Unified School District board member about a decade ago. Also in long reads about people with bizarre beliefs, the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting has a three-part report on how the “sovereign citizen” movement is picking up steam as more people send long typo-laden rants to county recorders declaring themselves no longer citizens. Sedona, apparently, is awash in sovereign citizens, who like the hippie vibes. Police are worried and public officials are tired of their harassment.
“In 2020, the Pima County recorder received about 50 such filings, according to an AZCIR review. In 2022, it received more than 1,400,” AZCIR fellows Isaac Stone Simonelli and Brendon Derr write.
Republicans v. gun owners: Arizona Republican lawmakers plan to file a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s proclamation creating a national monument around Grand Canyon National Park, including nearly a million acres of land that is culturally significant to more than a dozen Native American tribes, Politico reports. But hunters and fishermen really like the new monument, which will preserve hunting and fishing access, the Republic’s Jake Frederico reports.
No mo 480: Speaking of the East Valley, we’re running out of 480 area code numbers, so the state is going to start randomly assigning area codes and no longer assign them based on where you live in the Valley. The Republic’s Russ Wiles reports that there are still a lot of 623 numbers available. Because, really, who wants a 623 number? Also if you’ve just been not paying your utility bills and waiting for someone to tell you how to do it, well, Wiles has you covered.
Longtime Valley communications strategist, former reporter and loyal Agenda reader Chip Scutari joined Democratic Rep. Analise Ortiz on 12News’ “Sunday Square Off” with Brahm Resnik this week to talk about Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s attempt to kill off dual-language programs and replace them with old-school structured English immersion classes. We were at the roundtable in spirit.
“The immersion method (of teaching English) is not working. There was a great piece in the Arizona Agenda — shout out to Hank Stephenson who did a great breakdown on it — and recent test results show only 9% of English language learners are proficient right now,” Scutari said.
Watch the whole segment here.
But then we saw this Daily Beast piece about Kari Lake’s phone call this weekend with Blake Masters, and literally every sentence is funnier than the last. If you read just one thing today (besides the Agenda), do yourself a favor and make it this.
Shout out to all your early risers who hung out with Hank in the discussion thread yesterday and told us what makes you tick. We racked up more than 150 comments, attracted no trolls and heard some really insightful thoughts from all of you. It was actually really fun! We’ll have to do it semi-regularly.