The Daily Agenda: We're almost to the long weekend
COVID-19 is still spiking ... Hydroxychloroquine still isn't a cure ... and Ted Nugent still impresses.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We’re grateful to all of you for reading our little newsletter every day. And we’re especially grateful for the 600+ of you who pay to support our journalism.
Your subscriptions support two local journalists in Arizona, not some random corporate overlords and investors across the country. We’re trying to keep as much of our content free as long as possible, but our ability to do so depends on people who are willing to pony up.
Because we’re feeling generous, and we’re pleased with the support we’ve received so far, we’re offering 30% off our annual price for one year if you sign up by Sunday, Nov. 28. You pay just $49 for the entire year.
Get some holiday shopping done right now and send a gift subscription to the political junkie in your life.
After the weekend, though, we’re raising our price to $8 a month or $80 per year. Inflation, amirite?!
And beyond our discounted subscription, we’re giving you the gift of less news today. It’s the last day of a holiday week, and we’ve all read too damn much. There’s no top story today, so we’ll just jump right into the rest of what’s happening. And we’re cutting the calendar, because really, you must have better things to do than a political event this weekend.
Enjoy your families and friends, read a book or watch a movie instead of keeping up with political news, and we’ll be back in your inboxes bright and early on Monday.
Be good to each other: Arizona’s COVID-19 cases are rising — we’re in the top 10 nationally for new cases this week — and health leaders are calling on us to get vaccinated and take precautions, the Republic’s Stephanie Innes reports. Hospital leaders said they’re again feeling strained, and that’s before Thanksgiving travel. The Copper Queen Hospital in Bisbee, for example, is using crisis standards of care, Arizona Public Media reports.
And in other pandemic news: The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is trying out a new method to replace quarantine requirements for unvaccinated students that put them out of the classroom, instead relying on testing and masking, KJZZ’s Rocio Hernandez reports. And in Tucson, the city’s vaccine mandate is working:
Hedge in case she wins the primary: Maricopa County Democrats’ Black Engagement Committee put out a letter declaring they “demand and require better” of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, though the group didn’t actually say it opposes her candidacy, 12News’ Brahm Resnik reports.
Shocking, we know: Meanwhile, former lawmaker Art Hamilton, who has criticized Hobbs for firing Talonya Adams and said he never seriously considered endorsing Hobbs for governor, did not endorse Hobbs for governor. He endorsed former Nogales “boy mayor” Marco Lopez instead, the Republic’s Ray Stern writes.
Prepare for a fiery meeting: The Phoenix City Council will discuss the vaccine mandate in early December, KJZZ’s Christina Estes reports. As a reminder, the council hasn’t voted on the mandate — instead, the Phoenix city manager put it in place, citing Biden administration rules for federal contractors.
Speaking of the city manager: Get to know the new Phoenix city manager, Jeff Barton, in this profile from Republic reporter Jen Fifield. Barton replaced longtime city manager Ed Zuercher. And keep in mind that Phoenix has a weak-mayor or council-manager form of city of government, where the city manager runs the day-to-day stuff while the mayor and city council dictate policy.
Censuses have consequences: Despite the growing number of Latinos in Arizona, don’t expect more majority-minority districts out of the Independent Redistricting Commission maps, Stern writes. That’s likely at least in part because of Arizona’s poor census showing undercounted Latinos in particular.
Pay them already: The restaurant workers’ strike at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport continued Tuesday. Workers with HMSHost shared the reasons they voted to strike with Republic reporter MacKenzine Brower — their union bargaining over a contract has been going on for four years.
Not steady, just slow: Expungements for marijuana charges are still going especially slowly in Pima County, where less than 100 expungements have been granted so far under a process voters approved in Prop 207, Arizona Public Media’s Andrew Oxford reports. (The pace hasn’t improved much since our deep-dive on the topic back in late August.)
We’ll take your money: The makers of JUUL e-cigarettes will pay $14.5 million to the State of Arizona to settle a lawsuit over whether they marketed their products to children. (Hank misses the mango and creme brulee flavors.)
What is this, a desert?: A massive new development that would expand Buckeye significantly could be hindered by a lack of water supply. The development needs to show it has enough water to sustain itself, and the state water department needs to sign off, the Republic’s Taylor Seely and Maritza Dominguez report.
Data centers are the new call centers: The City of Chandler is trying to restrict the growth of new data centers, saying they’re unsustainable, loud and create not-great jobs, the Republic’s Paulina Pineda reports.
Does anyone want to tell her about vaccines?: Gubernatorial TV-smasher Kari Lake let some of her donors in on a big secret: She takes the alt-right’s favorite non-COVID-19 drug, hydroxychloroquine, to ward off COVID-19 because she doesn’t want to get sick or get other people sick, the Phoenix New Times’ Katya Schwenk reports.
It’s the end of an era for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s website. We mention JLBC in this section a lot because their reports show great details about our state’s money situation in a reliable, nonpartisan way. We’re regular visitors to their website. The formerly vintage web design took a step into the future, and sure, it looks good, but we were partial to the simple early-web design of the old one. Alas, the future comes for us all at some point.
We noted in an early edition that GOP gubernatorial contender Matt Salmon has the rock-and-roll conservative vote locked up, but yesterday that lock got even firmer as noted gun and guitar lover Ted Nugent provided one of the most amazing endorsement videos we’ve seen of late, with a grab bag of words that can’t be properly conveyed through the medium of print.
The words “spirit blood-brother for God, family, country, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Ten Commandments, Golden Rule, being the best that you can be” are all strung together better than the lyrics of “Cat Scratch Fever.”