David Garcia endorses open borders: “Just imagine … no wall in southern Arizona”

PHOENIX — Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia asked an applauding audience of progressives Saturday night to imagine getting to live in an America with no borders.

Garcia, one of two candidates running for the Democratic nomination, attended the liberal Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans over the weekend. The annual confab is a gathering of far-left politicians, candidates, and activists talking about their political agendas.

Participants in this year’s conference included Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic for office in New York. Ocasio-Cortez — an admitted socialist who believes that “capitalism … will not always exist in the world” — was spotted dining with Garcia on Sunday.

Speaking on stage, Garcia asked the applauding audience to “imagine” a borderless America.

“As we come together to close Netroots, I want to just take a second and imagine,” the Democrat said. “Let’s just imagine … Just imagine no wall. No wall in southern Arizona.”

(You can listen to the speech here.)

Garcia has taken a number of controversial positions about border security since launching his campaign. He has called for the abolishment of ICE and the dismantling of the Border Strike Force, which targets cartels and traffickers along the border. He also suggested during a radio interview in June 2018 that Arizona “should pull our resources from the border,” including the National Guard.

The Democratic primary between Garcia and former state senator Steve Farley takes place on August 28.


Adrian Fontes flubs early-voting process, affecting 2,000 Arizona voters

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is under intense scrutiny after a news report revealed Friday that an undisclosed ‘computer glitch’ in his office put nearly 2,000 Arizonans at risk of not receiving early-voting ballots.

Fontes, a Democrat, was elected to his position in 2016 after running on a campaign platform of “rebuilding trust in the election system.”

But, for the more than 1,900 Arizonans affected, Fontes’ campaign pledge isn’t living up.

“Almost 2,000 independent voters nearly did not receive early ballots — and more than 750 are still at risk of not getting an early ballot — because of a computer glitch on the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website,” the Arizona Republic reported in a front-page story.

The County Recorder’s system failed to ask independent voters which party ballot they would like: Republican, Democrat Party, or Green. Those voters have to resolve the issue and request another, proper ballot. “If they do not do so before Aug. 17, they will likely not receive an early ballot,” the newspaper continued.

The controversy was covered during ABC 15’s nightly newscast, which noted that the “ballot blunder” has left more than 750 voters still at risk. “If it stays that way, depending on the race, results could be affected,” anchor Steve Irvin explained. KTAR also covered the controversy on-air throughout Friday evening.

Fontes is a lawyer by trade. While running for office, the Democrat politicized similar ballot-box problems, painting them as deliberate attempts by his opponent — then-Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell — to suppress the vote.

“This wasn’t just an inconvenience,” Fontes told the liberal magazine Mother Jones, referring to long lines on Election Day. “This was a deterrent, an intentional deterrent to keep people from voting.”

The Democrat used a taxpayer-funded committee hearing to promote his campaign that March, unexpectedly telling the attendees that he had “decided that I was going to run.”

“Hold on. Don’t take my time,” he snapped at members of the audience who were making noises. “I will tell you right now that I do not want Helen Purcell to resign. I want to beat her at the ballot box … At ElectFontes(dot)com, you can get more information.”

Fontes came under fire earlier this year for telling a constituent and candidate for office to “go F-yourself” on social media, adding, “By the way, is your Mom also running your campaign?”

The Democrat responded afterward that “I would like to move on” from the controversy.


Ruben Gallego: Mueller should investigate Trump for tweeting

PHOENIX — Congressman Ruben Gallego said Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should investigate President Donald Trump for tweeting.

Gallego, who represents Arizona’s seventh congressional district, appeared on CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Biltzer” Thursday afternoon to talk about the special counsel’s ongoing investigation. Blitzer said that Mueller is “taking a very close look at the president’s tweets to see if they amount to witness intimidation, obstruction of justice.”

Asked if the Twitter feed rises to that level, Gallego responded in the affirmative and claimed that the public sees his tweets as “a form of intimidation.”

(You can watch the exchange here.)

“Certainly,” the Democrat said. “Look, if this had been the president writing letters or letters to the editor and publishing it in the New York Post or New York Times, Washington Post — I think a lot of people would have actually said, ‘Yes, this is a form of intimidation, a form of obstruction of justice.’”

“That is a worthwhile reason why Mueller should be investigating,” he continued.

Gallego came under fire in February when — for the second time in one year — he called President Trump “a psychopath” and ominously warned that “America will regret the day you were ever born.”


Unearthed: In racist posts online, Juan Mendez celebrated “white flight” from public schools, compared Arizona to Jim Crow South

PHOENIX — State Senator Juan Mendez published racially charged posts on social forums in 2016, celebrating what he called “white flight” from public schools and deriding those Arizonans as “evil.”

Mendez, a Democrat, retweeted several Twitter posts this month calling on a colleague to resign for making other racially charged comments at a fundraiser about the number of white children in public schools. However, the Democrat made similar comments online celebrating “white flight from the public schools” just months before entering his position in the state legislature.

His comments, reported on for the first time today, were quietly published by the Democrat on the social forum website Reddit in 2016.

Responding to a user who asked what it was like in Arizona, Mendez wrote that the state is “pretty bad” and that living here “takes it’s [sic] toll” on him.

“People who supported Jim Crow laws of our racist past would be proud with how we’ve pretty much instituted and brought about the effects that they were hoping for,” Mendez wrote under his username.

The Democrat added that the only reason some areas were “not so bad” is “because of the economic segregation and the white flight from the public schools — the evil and ignorant people pretty much keep to themselves.”

In another forum post, Mendez again derided Arizona, saying that “if it wasn’t for this racist state and it’s [sic] backwards politics I would [sic] be as liberal as I am today.”

“I think everyone should come to AZ like people did with the South,” the Democrat added, another reference comparing his home state to the Jim Crow South.

Mendez faced significant scrutiny earlier this year after admitting that he had plagiarized a candidate questionnaire while running for office. However, his serial plagiarism went on for at least five years, something for which the state senator — who works as a co-instructor at Phoenix College — still has not provided an answer.

Mendez is running for re-election in November 2018. He is scheduled to debate his primary opponent, Debbie Manuel, on June 27.


Tom Steyer compares himself to Martin Luther King, pledges “to get rid of” Donald Trump

PHOENIX — California billionaire Tom Steyer this week compared his political work to the civil rights work of Martin Luther King, Jr., and bragged about the “fantastic return” on his political investments.

Steyer, who is funding a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump, appeared on POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast Tuesday. The Democratic billionaire spoke with host Isaac Dovere about the controversial origins of his wealth and the goals of his political operation.

Asked why other Democratic donors haven’t embraced his impeachment efforts, Steyer responded that may Democrats have benefited from Republican policies.

“There are lots of people who are quite happy with the way things are,” he said. “And there are lots of people who are Democrats and liberal-leaning who love to have their taxes reduced.”

Steyer said that it is “impossible to answer” whether Democrats will actually move forward with impeaching the president if the party retakes the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018 but admitted that, if personally given the power, he would do so tomorrow.

“We have a president who is lawless and reckless and is threatening our democracy and making us unsafe, and we need to get rid of him.”

The host asked Steyer about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s contention that talking about impeachment is a “gift” to Republicans during the mid-term elections. The Democratic mega-donor responded that impeaching him is “upsetting the status quo” and compared his efforts to those of civil rights-era leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Any time in American history that there has been an attempt to upset the status quo, there have been people within the status quo, within the establishment, saying, ‘It may be true. It may be something we should deal with. It may be important. But not now,’” Steyer continued. “So, if you look at the civil rights movement, I mean the pushback was not, ‘You’re not telling the truth.’ The pushback was, ‘We’re dealing with it in time.’ You know, ‘Stand down so we can deal with it in time.’”

The California billionaire also is funding a controversial ballot proposal in Arizona that, if implemented, would force the state’s utilities to obtain half of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2030.

Protesters lined the streets of Tucson last week when Steyer landed in southern Arizona to talk about it at an event hosted by the Pima County Democratic Party. The group behind his proposal is facing several controversies, including serious allegations from former employees who claim that they were subject to illegal signature-gathering quotas.

Critics contend that the renewable mandate would significantly increase families’ monthly electricity bills. They have also questioned whether the billionaire would profit from such a mandate.

“When you say that there’s no return on my investment, of course I think that’s wrong,” Steyer said on Tuesday’s podcast. “Because I think there’s a fantastic return on my investment.”


Arizonans protest Tom Steyer in Tucson: “He’s ruined California. Now he’s coming … to ruin Arizona.”

PHOENIX — Arizonans flocked to Tucson in droves Saturday to protest California billionaire Tom Steyer.

Steyer is funding a controversial ballot proposal that would force Arizona’s utilities to obtain half of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2030. Critics — including elected officials, business organizations, and many others — contend that such a mandate would lead to higher utility bills for families across the state.

The Democratic mega-donor visited the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson Saturday for the “7th Annual Udall Dinner & Spirit of Arizona Awards” hosted by the Pima County Democratic Party. Steyer is listed as the “Keynote Speaker” on an official invitation and was expected to speak about his ongoing ballot campaign.

But the annual event didn’t go as planned.

Instead of receiving a warm welcome, the streets were lined with Arizonans pushing back against the billionaire’s political agenda and his involvement in the state’s 2018 mid-term elections.

“He’s ruined California,” one protester told KGUN. “Now he’s coming to Arizona to ruin Arizona.”

Arizonans in the crowd chanted “Send Steyer Home” and held signs with phrases like “Steyer Needs To Retire” and “Say No To California Energy Prices.” Other signs highlighted the hypocrisy of the mega-donor’s wealth. (Steyer’s hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, was heavily invested in domestic and foreign coal operations.)

“They have no idea that this is going to cost Arizonans, raise the price of homes, [and] raise your energy bills,” David Eppihimer, chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, told the station.

No other Democrats were named on the official event invitation, but various social media posts indicate that Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman Felecia Rotellini and Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema were in attendance.

In addition to his green-energy proposal, Steyer has spent millions of dollars trying to impeach President Donald Trump. The campaign has received some support from Democrats in Arizona — including Tucson City Council member Regina Romero — but has otherwise been met with skepticism from national Democrats who fear it could increase Republican turnout in November.

The political leanings of Pima County — historically seen as “bluer” than other areas in the state — have begun to shift in recent years as the region benefited from policies spearheaded by Republican officials. Reforms to the teacher certification process, for example, helped Vail School District start the 2017 school year with zero teacher vacancies, and economic development strategies continue to attract new jobs and investments to a county where the unemployment rate topped 10 percent in 2010.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi traveled to Arizona earlier this year to make the Democratic Party’s case against the 2017 tax reform legislation. However, she skipped the Tucson portion of the tour — in what some suggested was a sign of the legislation’s increasing popularity among Democrats and Republicans.

For his part, Steyer doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The billionaire is pushing ahead with his impeachment campaign and is backing green-energy proposals in several states. An affordable energy coalition is spearheading an effort to stop the mandate in Arizona while Steyer’s committee works to collect the required number of signatures for it to appear on the 2018 mid-term ballot.

So far, not a single Arizonan has financially contributed to the green-energy campaign.

A version of this article appears at The Farley Report.


Smoking gun appears, as former employees of Tom Steyer-led campaign come forward

PHOENIX — The controversial ballot proposal tied to California billionaire Tom Steyer is facing increased scrutiny this week after former employees came forward alleging illegal campaign signature quotas.

The ballot proposal, if implemented, would require Arizona’s utilities to obtain half of their energy from renewable sources (not including nuclear) by the year 2030. It has received widespread criticism from the business community and others as a threat to the state’s economy. Critics of the proposal say that it will lead to significantly higher monthly utility bills for families and a burdensome mandate on businesses looking to expand in the region.

The committee overseeing the initiative is in the process of collecting signatures required for it to appear on the November 2018 ballot — but its signature-gathering operation has fallen under a dark cloud of suspicion.

Arizonans for Affordable Electricity (AFAE), an organization fighting the mandate, filed a complaint Wednesday asking the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to investigate the committee and its signature-gathering vendor after former employees came forward with allegations of impropriety.

AFAE says that it is aware of at least five former employees of FieldWorks, the signature-gathering vendor, who claim that they were wrongfully terminated. (The committee overseeing the ballot proposal paid FieldWorks more than $589,000 in the first quarter of 2018 alone; NextGen Climate Action, another political group tied to Tom Steyer, also provided the committee an in-kind contribution of more than $141,000 that was itemized as petition-gathering assistance though the same vendor.)

The former employees signed declarations confirming that they faced signature-gathering quotas while employed by FieldWorks ranging from 65 to 68 signatures during each eight-hour shift. Those performance standards, AFAE says, are prohibited in Arizona and constitute “yet another example of the initiative campaign and its billionaire benefactor Tom Steyer playing fast and loose with the law.”

“Election fraud is a serious matter, which is why lawmakers and Governor Ducey acted in 2017 to prohibit exactly these kinds of activities on the part of initiative campaigns,” said Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the affordable-energy coalition. “Signature gatherers who know they must meet an established quota in order to keep their job are incentivized to commit fraud.”

The complaint sent to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office is requesting that all signatures gathered by FieldWorks petition-circulators subject to the quota be deemed invalid, a major possible blow to the group’s goal of appearing on the midterm ballot.

The revelation comes less than one month after State Representative Vince Leach and State Senator John Kavanagh expressed concerns about “an alarming interference with the proper functioning of Arizona’s ballot initiative system.” The legislators said that the committee, by flooding the registration system with an excessive number of petition-circulators (“who will never collect a signature”) was “purposely creating a burden on the State.”

State Election Director Eric Spencer subsequently issued a criminal referral to the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for his review of the potential violations.

The committee overseeing the ballot proposal has faced near-constant criticism for its ties to Steyer, a Democratic Party mega-donor who is spearheading a national campaign to impeach President Donald Trump. All of the green-energy committee’s funding so far comes from NextGen Climate Action, another San Francisco-based political group funded by the California billionaire. Arizonans have not contributed a single cent to the effort, according to the newest campaign-finance reports.

The proposal met the disapproval of Arizona lawmakers in recent months, who warn that the mandate would have devastating economic impacts in their districts. A physics professor at Arizona State University also posited that such a mandate would actually make the state more dependent on fossil fuels than it is today without the assistance of nuclear energy, which the proposal excludes.