Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Library Friends Bookstore sale honors fathers

During June the Library Friends of Payson Bookstore will be honoring fathers with a 2 for 1 sale of all male authors.

Included in this sale will be hardcover, paperback, fiction, and non-fiction books. Come in and find treasures by such prominent authors as; Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Stephen King, John Grisham, Dale Brown, James Michner, Robert Ludlum, Dean Koontz, and many more. Given the Bookstore’s already low prices, this two for one special is an incredible bargain. Consider giving dad a couple of good books on Fathers Day. He will like them much better than another tie.

As another nod to fathers, all sports, history, and political books will be featured as a 2 for 1 special during June. The Bookstore has recently had an influx of books with a political theme which would make great gifts for any father interested in domestic and world affairs.

Every penny spent in the Library Friends of Payson Bookstore is reinvested in the Payson Library to support the purchase of new material and many special programs. Therefore, Bookstore customers not only benefit from one of the best values to be found in Payson, they also support an important civic institution. Bookstore stock changes daily, so the wise shopper visits frequently.

The Bookstore is located to the right of the circulation desk just inside the Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Road. For more information visit the Library Friends of Payson website at

Watchdog: PSWID budget numbers don't add up

(Blog Editor's note: The following update from Water for Pine Strawberry is presented as a public service for our friends in Pine and Strawberry.  We cannot vouch for the opinions contained therein, but have always found information from this organization to be accurate and reliable.)

The budget hearing for Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District's (PSWID) fiscal year 2011-2012 budget will be held on June 23 at 6 p.m. The July 21 regular meeting has been cancelled. Currently meetings are being held at the PSWID offices.

This update is only going to deal with the financial aspects that were discussed at the May 19 meeting. The other topics in the meeting will be covered in Part 2.

All of the documents that are referenced in this update can be found here on our website:

May 19, 2011 PSWID Meeting, Part 1

Recap of Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Budget 
Mike Greer presented a set of slides, Recap of 2010-2011 Fiscal Year, talking about what the board sees as their accomplishments. The slides include a projection of the revenues and expenses at the end of next month and a comparison of those numbers to the budget for the year.

As usual, some of the numbers presented by Mr. Greer don’t line up with the financial numbers that are available to the public. Several of them end up being less than they are currently being reported. These numbers are Mr. Greer’s projections for the end of June. Currently, the financial data for PSWID through the end of April is available on its website:

i. Mr. Greer has Bank Proceeds (money drawn from the Compass Bank line of credit) of $1,263,095.97. The April Cash Flow statement shows $1,362,310.72.

ii. Mr. Greer has Administration Expenses of $155,553.18. The April Cash Flow statement has Administration Expenses at $168,170.46. Adding two more months at the April spending rate, would bring the projected total for the year to $183,392.

iii. Mr. Greer has Interest Expense of $176,993.06. The April Cash flow statement has Interest Expense at $199,839.89. Adding two more months at the April spending rate, would bring the projected total for the year to $245,533.

iv. Mr. Greer includes an estimate of the Misc Fees revenue for the year of $68,710.48. As of the end of April, Misc Fees collected are $39,798.24. Adding two more months of the April Misc Fees collected results in a projection of $50,392.

Correcting for the above means that rather than a positive cash flow of $84,211 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, there was a negative cash flow of $32,286.Comment: Is it too much to expect to get a consistent set of numbers from Mr. Greer? Time and again, the numbers he presents in public don’t line up with the financial numbers being reported on the PSWID website. Perhaps there is a reason why the numbers don’t line up. He owes the public an explanation of why those numbers are different or to make a correction. How can the public trust the expenditure of over $4 million dollars next year to a Treasurer who can’t get his numbers right? What is the rest of the board doing while all this goes on?

Refinancing of Existing Compass Bank Loan 
Board approved acceptance of the offer from Compass Bank for a new loan that will pay off the existing Compass Bank loans and provide an additional $1,000,000 to the district.

The terms of the loan are a fixed interest rate of 4.55% for seven years, with a 25 year amortization. The total loan value would be $7,414,000. There is a refinance fee of $37,000. The loan would start 7/1/2011.

Comment: In the original loan agreement there were pre-payment penalties; my recollection is that it was 2% if repaid in the second year of the loan. There was no discussion as to whether that was being paid or not.

Proposed Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Budget 
Mr. Greer also presented a set of slides, Proposed 2011-2012 Fiscal Year Budget, that outline the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. There are also documents for the Published Budget Summary, Detailed Breakdown of Proposed Budget for 2011-2012, and Detailed Breakdown of Proposed Capital Budget for 2011-2012.

The board is not proposing any changes to the rate structure or the rates themselves. However they are raising the property tax levy by 50%, from $200,000 to $300,000.

Comment: Back when the board was pretending that there would be no cost to rate payers for acquiring the water system, a $300,000 property tax levy was added, along with gross misstatement of costs and revenues, in order to make that appear to work. The property tax levy was supposed to decrease to $200,000 the second year, $100,000 the third, and then be gone forever. The board members said publicly that property taxes would not be used to prop up the district. This was the year it was supposed to drop to $100,000. For me, the property tax levy is equivalent to about five monthly bills.

Total budgeted spending increases from $3,123,080 to $4,298,138, an increase of $1,175,058 (37.6%).

They have budgeted to spend the entire $1,000,000 in additional capital from the new Compass Bank loan in this fiscal year. The major items listed in the capital budget are:
i. Existing well improvements: $86,800
ii. New Service Truck: $65,900
iii. Mapping System-AUTOCAD: $100,000
iv. Meter Replacement: $26,614
v. Pine Creek Canyon Road Widening: $250,000
vi. Second Milk Ranch Well: $160,162
vii. Generator Installation: $265,000
viii. Infrastructure and Development Improvements: $799,209

Comment: The Infrastructure and Development Improvements fund is basically a slush fund for whatever they want to spend money on. While they haven’t talked about it publicly of late, the purchase of the Solitude Trails DWID is likely still in their minds. It would be just as big a rip off of public funds as the Milk Ranch well was.

Comment: The board has spent $2,250,000 and is now planning on spending an additional $1,000,000 without any master plan in place. Without a plan as to what the water system actually needs and the priority of those needs, money has been and will continue to be wasted at the whim of the board members and their patrons.

In reviewing the numbers in the proposed budget, the following issues stood out:
i. Budget assumes $84,211 is left over from the 2010-2011 fiscal year. As noted above, the actual may be a negative $32,286.

ii. The contingency of $31,464, at about 2.25% of the variable part of the budget, seems to be too small. The district is on the hook for any overrun of the fuel, chemical, and parts costs above what has been included in the CH2M Hill contract. The CH2M Hill contract requires extra payment for some services. Add in other unexpected events and there is risk that this won’t be sufficient.

iii. The slides state that it is being assumed that there are two customers per month, but looking at the revenue amounts projected for impact fees and install fees, it looks like that reflects two customers in the entire year.

iv. There are two entries, “Electric on Water Shares” and “Telephones on Water Shares”. Based on the values listed for those and the lack of other entries for the district’s wells, it appears that these entries cover all wells, not just water sharing wells.

This update is from the group Water For Pine Strawberry and is not necessarily the opinion of the Rim Country Gazette Blog.  Updates on earlier meetings are available on our website: .

Water For Pine Strawberry is a group of residents who are concerned about the community’s water issues and how they can best be resolved. Visit our web site,, for more information. The website for PSWID is .

Clarifications can be submitted by anyone who is explicitly named, implicitly identifiable, or a board member to items in this update. Clarifications will be posted on our website. We reserve the right to post a response. Clarifications must deal with the topics discussed in the update that relate to the individual or the board. They must be in family friendly language and be non-abusive. When the clarification is accepted, it will be posted to the website and notice of that posting will be added to the next update.

Monday, May 30, 2011

State needs to keep its promise and fund education


State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is critical of her fellow legislators in a "My Turn" column in today's (May 30) Arizona Republic.  She points out that we voters overwhelmingly approved a state sales tax increase a year ago with the understanding that the funds raised were to go to education and other vital state services.  She writes:

"These leaders who asked voters to support Prop. 100 but then failed to fully fund schools - all the while handing out tax cuts for corporations and special interests - broke their promises.  Public schools and our higher education system have already suffered devastating cuts."

To subscribe to The Arizona Republic, your best newspaper value, call 1-800-332-6733.  To read the column here, click on:

Editorial: Honor the troops by bringing them home


(Editor's note: This editorial appeared in The Cap Times

It is unfortunate but true that this Memorial Day — when we pause to honor those Americans who have fought the good fights against British colonialism, the sin of slavery and the menace of fascism — is marred by the painful reality that U.S. troops are currently bogged down in a lingering mess of George Bush’s creation in Iraq and a quagmire of George Bush’s creation in Afghanistan.

Appallingly, Barack Obama has maintained these undeclared wars of occupation. And he has now steered the United States into another fight with Libya.

The soldiers involved in these fights are good men and women. But these are not good fights. Nor are they necessary fights for the U.S. military.

There are arguments to be made, some of them sound, some of them not, that people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have reasons to be fighting. But the fights are their own — not America’s.

The cynicism of the previous administration, which was led by a president whose family pulled strings to keep him out of the Vietnam War and a vice president who dodged the draft five times during that conflict, was beyond contempt. But so too is the cynicism of many Democrats, who, despite their disdain for the failed foreign policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney, continue to echo the empty rhetoric of the administration when it comes to the debate about how best to end the war.

The best way to “support the troops” who have been placed in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya is to bring them home.

Congress considered the prospect last week and more than 200 members of the House voted for a proposal to begin taking steps to exit Afghanistan. Unfortunately, a few more members opposed that necessary step.

The growing opposition to the misguided mission in Afghanistan, as well as the clear opposition to any expansion of the Libya mission, is encouraging.

America is growing weary of endless war.

Wars of whim, fought without congressional authorization and without exit strategies, are not fights for democracy.

Fights for democracy can only be considered successful when American democracy is open and vibrant enough to allow for a realistic discussion of the nation’s circumstance. Those “my-country-right-or-wrong” politicians and pundits who would shut down dissent on Memorial Day, or any other day, make a mockery of the oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to speak truth to power and to assemble for the purpose of petitioning for the redress of grievances.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Vietnam War-era counsel to Americans holds true this Memorial Day. Americans who love their country and its promise must move beyond “the prophesying of smooth patriotism” toward “a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history.”

No honest reading of the history of America’s founding, or of recent events, can lead to a conclusion that the current wars of whim are justified.

Americans have fought and died in pursuit of noble and necessary causes. It is right to celebrate their memory. But it is right, as well, to recognize that not all wars are noble and necessary. And when a war is not justified, it is time to honor the troops by bringing them home.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joplin tornado recalls memories of Flint disaster

Tornado! The very word touches a primal place deep inside me.

Growing up in Flint, Michigan, the threat of tornadoes was a regular summer occurrence. They were usually preceded by a vicious thunderstorm, and they sent us, as a family, down to the basement where we would huddle around a crackly radio and wait until the weather passed and the warnings expired. It seemed to happen two or three or four times every summer.

Time had dulled those unpleasant memories, as time tends to do. Being the eternally hopeful creatures we are, we’re more likely to remember the good stuff from the past and push the bad to some recessed place in the brain from whence it takes a reminder of some sort to retrieve it.

That reminder came on the front page of the May 24 edition of The Arizona Republic. It was an article about the half-mile wide tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo. on May 22. The Associated Press article called it “the nation’s deadliest single twister in nearly 60 years….” The tornado that equaled its death toll of 116 occurred in June 1953 in Flint, Mich. and I was there.

As the memories of that deadly day flooded back, I Googled the Flint tornado and found a treasure trove of photos and information. Here’s one of the online overviews:

“At about 8:30 pm, on Monday evening, June 8, 1953, a tornado touched down near the intersection of W. Coldwater and North Linden roads, just north of Flint. Before the storm left Genesee County, 116 people died in the Beecher district. A one half mile wide track of destruction was left.

“Most people living in the area were at home with the children in bed. By the time people heard the storm's roar, their houses were being torn apart.

“The slow moving tornado wrecked 340 houses, severely damaged many others and injured 844 persons. The major damage was concentrated between Clio Road & N. Dort Hwy. This area contained mostly small homes with some businesses and a high school.

“The Beecher tornado was the last single tornado to cause over 100 deaths the United States. It is ranked the 9th deadliest tornado in U. S. history.”

That and the other accounts took me back to my hometown on that summer day. I was 10 years old, my brothers 7 and 1. Until that 1953 tornado, we took the warnings broadcast on the radio much less seriously than we did the ones that came after. Close calls tend to make you appreciate your mortality.

And, in fact, the death toll in the Flint tornado was so high in part because so many people failed to heed the warnings and take cover. Our motto in Flint must have been, “It couldn’t happen here.”

I don’t even remember if we were in the basement that evening when my dad called the two oldest brothers outside in the gathering dusk to witness an amazing sight.

If you’ve ever been close to a tornado, you know the eerie calm that precedes it and the almost evil yellow sky. It creates a sick feeling of foreboding that’s impossible to describe, as if time is standing still waiting for nature to unleash its fury.

We stood in the driveway and watched in awe as a real, live tornado passed overhead. It would touch down on the other side of Flint, a couple of miles away.

We didn’t linger long. We went inside and down to the basement.

Within minutes, it was over.  The first radio reports were incomplete and inconclusive, but it was clear that Flint would never be the same.

Just like in Joplin, it took days to count the dead, but stories emerged about people who were miraculously still alive even though the houses they were in were gone. And then there was the story about the people who had gone to a drive-in movie theater in the storm’s path.

A local radio DJ interrupted his show to advise them to leave. Most didn’t. It couldn’t happen here. One who did leave told the Flint Journal about the experience:

“Bruce Sage remembers his uncle rolling down the car window at the drive-in and shouting to Bruce's mother in their car: ‘Get out. Now.’ He remembers the movie screen tumbling as they tore out of the lot, remembers the debris flying by and his mother telling Bruce and his siblings to stay down in the back seat of their '49 Buick, until she could get them to safety.”

Many of the deaths occurred at that drive-in theater.

My dad worked as a tax assessor for the City of Flint. While the area devastated by the tornado was restricted, he had access. He took his home movie camera into the area the next day and got some stunning film that we watched over and over – always on a projector set up in the basement.

While those scenes are forever imbedded in my memory, I did not recall what happened after the tornado passed. The articles I found reminded me that our community of some 200,000 rebounded and rebuilt:

“Community response to this tragedy was immediate and overwhelming. Unsolicited donations poured in. General Motors, the United Auto Workers and numerous businesses made generous donation to a disaster fund. Hundreds of local workers gave through payroll deductions. Within a few weeks over $900,000 was collected.

“In late August, 8,000 volunteers participated in a weekend building bee known as ‘Operation Tornado.’ In 90f heat, people from all walks of life gave more than 80,000 hours and built 193 houses.

"For its efforts, Flint was honored as the 'All-American city of 1953.'"

I suspect Joplin will do the same. It’s that eternally hopeful thing again.

But like those of us who went through the Flint tornado, Joplin residents will never forget. As Bruce Sage, now retired, put it: “The memories are very much alive. They never go away.”

It just takes something like Joplin to trigger them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Naomi Wolf's RSN post: 'My sex life with the TSA'

(Gazette Blog Editor's note: The following blog post is somewhat sexually explicit, but it's also darn funny and, we think, revealing.  We have therefore decided its redeeming social value outweighs its prurience.  Enjoy.)

By Naomi Wolf
Reader Supported News

27 May 11 - This blog post is titled: "My Sex Life With the TSA." Because I am getting a LOT of action from them.

I went through JFK this past week. As usual, I request not to go through the backscatter machines. And as usual, they tell me that SINCE I mentioned it at all, they have to give me a "pat-down."

Well, without flowers or candlelight or even a nice dinner, I am led into a highly visible corner, after quite a wait for a "female officer". They did ask if I wanted to go somewhere private but I would have felt even MORE uncomfortable NOT in a public setting.

A very attractive African-American woman in her mid-twenties was tasked with searching me. So of course, a skanky male traveler - white, mid-forties, affluent - decides to stand around and watch.

As this nice young woman goes through the whole procedure, I asked her - as I always ask TSA officials - if their training had explained to them WHY this process was necessary or what purpose it served. She said, "No," and her female colleague standing nearby also said "No."

Interestingly, the procedure is quite highly eroticized. She kept saying "Now I am going to touch your sensitive area." Which made me think that at least a generation of young women are going to learn where their clitorises are through our US tax dollar, which certainly has a social benefit.

But as she was engaged in quite thoroughly going through this process, the skanky white affluent male traveler, who was now done with his own security process, was HANGING OVER THE EDGE of the low barrier, perfectly relaxed, enjoying the scenario! And commenting: "Hey, can I have you pat me down?" "Hey, its always big hairy men with hair on their knuckles patting me down ... I want you to pat me down ... can I participate? I'll sign a waiver!" Swear to God.

So this poor woman - shades of the DSK cleaner, but harassed this time by the State - is being sexually degraded by the process she has to go through; sexually degraded by a passenger; and I feel rather sexually degraded too, by the process put in place by the State.

Finally I say sharply to him, "That's enough!" and the two women look at me in surprise.

"We thought he was with you!" they say.

"Never seen him before," I comment. And we all have a moment of bonding, being women in a state of complete skanked-at-ness.

Brought to you by the United States Government. 

Naomi Wolf, Bestselling Author - The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

Friday, May 27, 2011

Most pharmacies miss dangerous drug interactions

By Karin Lorentzen
Arizona Health Sciences Center

May 23, 2011 - The findings of a new study suggest a fundamental problem exists with the way drug interactions are evaluated by knowledge databases.

A study conducted at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy found that only 28 percent of pharmacies' clinical decision support software systems – the computer programs that are in place to alert pharmacists to possible medication problems – correctly identified potentially dangerous drug-drug interactions.

The study was conducted at 64 pharmacies across Arizona.

Members of the research team tested the pharmacy software using a set of prescription orders for a standardized fictitious patient. The prescriptions consisted of 18 different medications that posed 13 clinically significant drug-drug interactions.

Of the 64 pharmacies, only 18 correctly identified all of the eligible drug-drug interactions and non-interactions.

"These findings suggest that we have a fundamental problem with the way interactions are evaluated by drug knowledge databases," said Daniel Malone, UA professor of pharmacy and lead investigator on the study.

"The weakness of these systems could lead to medication errors that might harm patients. Pharmacists should become familiar with how their computer system identifies drug interactions. Consumers should always inform their doctor and pharmacist about all medications and other therapies they are using. The risk of harm from dangerous combinations can be reduced when patients create and maintain a medication list."

Other members of the UA College of Pharmacy research team were Terri Warholak, assistant professor; Lisa Hines, PharmD, clinical pharmacist; and Kim Saverno, doctoral candidate.

Beeline finished, no Valley closures over holiday

Construction work along Arizona State Route 87, aka the Beeline Highway, is set to wrap up just in time for the upcoming holiday weekend!

That means motorists who travel between the Valley and Rim Country communities this Memorial Day – and all summer long – will enjoy a safer, quicker and more scenic drive.

Arizona 87 is the major link between the metro Phoenix region and Payson and is a popular route for Valley residents hoping to take a vacation from the heat.

Holiday weekends and summer months are particularly busy for the stretch of road. In the past, large numbers of vehicles heading back down to the Valley would create backups on the last steep incline before the highway drops toward the Bush Highway.

But now drivers should see some significant upgrades to portions of the highway!

This week ADOT is putting the finishing touches on an $11.7 million roadway improvement and erosion-control project. Funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the project included repairing slopes and ditches, reinforcing embankments and implementing roadway modifications to meet state and federal standards on Arizona 87 between New Four Peaks Road (milepost 204) and Dos S Ranch Road (milepost 210).

If you take a drive up or down Arizona 87, some things you’ll be sure to notice are:

A 1.5-mile southbound climbing lane that was added to reduce backups caused by slow-moving trucks and RVs.

Highway shoulders that were widened for safety.

Erosion control measures that were taken on adjacent slopes to reduce the possibility of rocks falling onto the roadway.

It’s important to note that work began in September 2010 and was completed not only on time, but also on budget!

No Valley Closures over holiday weekend
May 27 - 30, 2011

Weekend Valley Freeways Closures & Restrictions

Drivers will not face any construction-related closures over Memorial Day weekend in the Phoenix area. Drivers who travel elsewhere in the state should be aware of existing work zones that require lane restrictions:

I-10 approximately 40 miles west of downtown Phoenix (milepost 105). Highway is narrowed to one lane in both directions for a bridge improvement project at the Hassayampa River. Please allow extra time and consider traveling earlier in the day or later at night to avoid heaviest holiday traffic.

I-17 approximately 20 miles south of Flagstaff (milepost 322). Highway is narrowed to one lane in both directions for interchange reconstruction at Munds Park. Please allow extra travel time and be prepared for slower traffic in the area.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legendary PHS drama teacher John Siler dies

Photos courtesy Thomas Walling
John L. Siler went to sleep in Jesus May 23rd , 2011.  He is survived by his beloved wife, Kathy Siler, his loving daughter Candice Siler, and four grandchildren.  John, a lifetime teacher, had a passion for helping his students to see possibilities.  A Celebration of Life for John L. Siler will be held Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. in PHS Auditorium.  Graveside Services are Monday, June 27 at 9 a.m. at the Coolidge Cemetery.  Instead of flowers, please donate to the John L. Siler Benefit Memorial Fund (Scholarship Fund) at Wells Fargo Bank.  He is forever in our hearts.

Fire restrictions in effect throughout Arizona

This is the time of year when we begin planning our trips to our favorite outdoor places in Arizona. Whether it is a day trip or a weekend camping trip, it is important you confirm if the area you plan to visit has issued Fire Restrictions. Know before you go, so you can take the right equipment and supplies.

Continued dry conditions and an increase in wildfire activity throughout Arizona have led to the issuance of Fire Restrictions throughout the southern half of the state, predominantly. The primary land management agencies as well as some counties and municipalities have determined that Fire Restrictions would be in the interest of public safety.

The most detrimental fires happen during this time of year before the lightning and monsoons. Most of the time it is preventable human actions that are starting fires under extremely hazardous conditions. Fire restrictions assist in reducing the chances of human caused fires and ensure there are enough firefighting resources to respond quickly to keep fires small.

Why is there variation in Fire Restrictions from area to area? While in general the restrictions are similar, individually each agency or area may have slightly different conditions or facilities. Several factors like how dry it is, how much rain we have received and the long term weather outlook, as well as the amount of fire activity, assist agencies in making the determination of whether or not they should issue restrictions. Once it is determined, evaluations are made as to the locations where campfires or propane stoves may or may not be allowed.

Most Fire Restrictions not only restrict campfires and the use of charcoal grills, they also address and may prohibit smoking outdoors or activities such as welding and chainsaw or equipment use that have the potential to start fires. Many areas allow the use of propane and petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices, and others may only allow them only in developed camping or recreation areas. Some areas may allow a campfire in designated locations where there is little threat of escape, if used properly. An example would be a developed campground where vegetation has been cleared and sites are patrolled regularly by campground hosts. But do not assume you are safe if you are going to a developed area, check and know before you go.

Regardless of the level of restriction, all open flame will be prohibited on Red Flag days within the timeframe announced within the notice. Red Flag days are announced by the National Weather Service on days where high winds and low humidity create conditions where fire behavior would be EXTREME if a fire started. Make sure to check daily for Red Flag Alerts, or when in doubt, if it is dry and windy out, adjust your plans to restrict any activity that may cause a fire.  It is important to remember that Fireworks are NOT allowed on Public Lands year-round and many state and local municipalities may have implemented local regulations on the use of fireworks.

A violation of posted restrictions could result in citations, fines, jail time or reimbursement of the entire cost to put out the fire and rehabilitate the fire area.

Agencies & Areas in Restrictions As of May 20, 2011:

In general, to date, the following areas have entered into Fire Restrictions and you should contact each area directly for more detailed information. Most areas currently not under restrictions may enter restrictions later in the summer.
All State Trust Lands in Arizona
Coronado & Tonto National Forests
All National Parks in Arizona
All Fish & Wildlife Service Lands/Refuges
Most BLM Lands with the exception of Kingman Field Office & Arizona
Strip District in NW AZ
Most BIA, Indian Trust and Tribal lands

Where to go for more details & information:

More localized and specific contact and fire restriction information can be found at the sources listed below.

Fire Restrictions Hotline

Public Lands Information Center- Fire Restrictions for Arizona

Arizona Fire Prevention & Information [Fire Restrictions & Red Flag Alerts]

Darkhorse water treatment plant site emerges

You read it here first

By Jim Keyworth
Gazette Blog Editor

A new site has emerged as the favorite for the C.C. Cragin water treatment plant that the Town of Payson plans to build near the unincorporated community of Mesa del Caballo.

According to a U.S. Forest Service official, the site was suggested by a Mesa del Caballo resident whose property would have been directly impacted by the site previously favored.  The new site is across Houston Mesa Road from most of the community, but still adjacent to several homes.  

Dubbed WTP7, it does not impact the community's views of the Rim.  It is also on higher ground, making it attractive to the Town of Payson.

In an e-mail to Bear Sherfey, the Mesa del resident who proposed the new location, the Forest Service official wrote: "Bear, your 'new' alternative water treatment plant location, as you identified in your comment letter, has been accepted by the NEPA contractor. The Town of Payson engineer had determined that your suggestion was feasible, from the engineering perspective. Therefore, your comment is identified as 'substantive' and needs to be considered in the final environmental assessment. Good job!"

In an e-mail to the Mesa del Caballo Water Committee, the official complimented the community for its active involvement in the selection process: "...all the folks in the Forest Service, both Phoenix and Payson offices, have heard of your concerns and (WTP7) is now the forward direction the process is moving towards. Good news."

The Town of Payson wants to locate the water treatment plant near Mesa del Caballo so the water-starved community of 400 homes and possibly other small communities along Houston Mesa Road can have access to C.C. Cragin water and help finance the project. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Human height doesn't necessarily mean progress

Arizona State University biological anthropology professor Alexandra Brewis addresses the trade-offs for being tall on the "Room for Debate" page of the New York Times.

In “Do We Want to be Supersize Humans?” Brewis, who is the executive director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, explains that human height does not necessarily represent progress. During gestation and the formative years, height is often sacrificed by the body for other life-saving or -enhancing traits, such as a stronger brain or immune system.

“Often, trade-offs against height are for more immediate and critical challenges that make sense when viewed in a developmental or evolutionary perspective,” Brewis said.

She notes that the value placed on height by our society is arbitrary and in contrast to the preference for small or moderate statures in many other societies.

“Being short makes sense in many contexts. Perhaps not right now, but as social and ecological conditions change, it likely will again,” Brewis concluded.

Article source:
New York Times


Editor's Note: Links are included for informational purposes only. Due to varying editorial policies, news publications may remove or change a link for archival purposes at any time without notice.

Council action flies in face of fundamental justice

The cavalier attitude of the Payson Town Council continues.  Now the council has failed to heed the recommendation of an independent hearing officer (former Judge Ronnie McDaniel, for God's sake) and instead upheld Town Manager Debra Galbraith's firing of longtime employee Tonia Erin.

What's most incredible about the council's action: nobody can prove that Erin is actually guilty of the act that supposedly led to her firing - looking at Galbraith's e-mails.  What, Mayor Evans, happened to the basic American concept of innocent until proven guilty? Please note that councilors Ed Blair and Fred Carpenter were the only ones who voted to reinstate Erin.

The bottom line remains: Whatever Debra wants, Debra gets.  What does she have on this council, anyway?

Big front page story on Cragin in today's Republic

This is one you won't want to miss, far and away the best article yet written about C.C. Cragin Reservoir -- how it works and what it means for Rim Country residents.  It's on the front page of today's (May 25) Arizona Republic.

If, like me, the articles about water in the local paper leave you scratching your head, be sure to click on the link below and read this extensive, in depth story about our water future.  Reporter Shaun McKinnon, who wrote it, is an outstanding journalist.

To have the Republic delivered to your home seven days a week, call 1-800-332-6733.  With the Safeway and Bashas' ads, the big Sunday paper, and hundreds of dollars worth of coupons, it's by far your best newspaper value.

Here's the link to the Cragin story, which you'll find under the ARIZONA NEWS tab:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


According to an Associated Press-GfK poll, Americans want the legislature to leave Medicare and Social Security alone.  In fact, three out of five Americans see the two programs as critical for their financial security.

But it might not matter anyway, because California preacher Harold Camping - the radio evangelist dude who misfired on his prediction that the world was going to end May 21 - now says it will really, really end Oct. 21.  Seems he made a mathematical mistake in his earlier prediction.

To read both stories, click on  To have the Republic delivered to your house seven days a week, including hundreds of dollars in coupons in the big Sunday paper, call 1-800-332-6733.

Why Russians believe we don't own our homes

A post-Soviet-era apartment complex looms behind a house that probably predates the 1917 Russian Revolution. (Photos courtesy Jane Zavisca)

An example of housing built after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Since mortgages are anathema to many Russians, new housing in Russia is generally built for the well-to-do who have cash to pay up front for construction.

By Jeff Harrison
University of Arizona Communications

UA sociologist Jane Zavisca says the two countries are polar opposites when it comes to mortgage financing.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, one of the structural problems the new government and free-market economy had to deal with was housing. Most Russians lived in government-owned apartments that had been built beginning in the late 1950s. The question then became, who owned all of that Soviet-era housing?

In her new book, "Housing the New Russia," due to be published by Cornell University Press, Jane Zavisca said the new Russian government dealt with it by announcing that this huge stock of apartments was, as of 1992, privately owned.

"Wherever you were, that's what you got," said Zavisca, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Arizona.

It was a hugely popular move because it instantly created wealth. But it also created problems, she said. If you shared an apartment with six other people, you owned one-seventh of it. And if you wanted a nicer place with more room, a better view, or to be closer to work and shopping, unless you had ready cash, you would need a mortgage.

The new government tried to create a housing market by replicating the American housing system, essentially using the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, as a template to encourage Russians to take out mortgage loans.

"This was all designed by USAID, one of their biggest foreign aid programs ever," Zavisca said. "It was an American model of what a housing market is: home ownership and securitized mortgages."

Supposedly all of that privatized housing and wealth would spur the natural development of a housing market. Those who felt they had more housing than they needed would look to trade down and use the leftover money for other things. The private sector would emerge to produce housing for those who had been left out.

"That didn't really happen," Zavisca said.

Housing construction declined by 70 percent from 1992 to 2002, the first decade after the Soviet era. The construction industry in Russia has evolved to cater to wealthy and well-to-do middle class clients who could pay with cash, but there is a lack of trust by both contractors and consumers. No one wants to pay up front and wait, or deal with credit.

Most Russians also have to deal with the fact that they cannot afford mortgages, since housing prices are very high relative to incomes and interest rates stand at about 12 percent. And most of them say they wouldn't want a mortgage even if they could qualify for one.

Unlike Americans who for decades have willingly taken on 30-year mortgages to buy housing, Russians have largely balked at the notion. Even when young families were offered a $10,000 credit, roughly a year's wages and the equivalent of $60,000 in the U.S., toward the down payment for a house, Zavisca said there was little interest.

"Few Russians are willing to take out mortgages because the risk of foreclosure is unacceptable, and because they view interest payments – which they call overpayments – as unfair. As one Russian put it: ‘To enter into a mortgage is to become a slave for 30 years, with the bank as your master.'"

That hasn't stopped Russians from going into debt, though. They may be averse to mortgages but they love credit cards, small consumer loans and point-of-purchase store credit.

"In my interviews, people there often compared credit card debt favorably to mortgages, the inverse of here in the U.S., where mortgages are viewed as virtuous and responsible.

"Russia is completely the opposite. It may be a legacy of Soviet entitlement to housing, where housing is viewed as a right to them. Even thought the Soviet government owned the housing, people thought of it as their own and had the right to pass it down to their children, or swap with someone who wanted to trade with you.

"It was a kind of quasi-marketplace. It just wasn't financialized."

She said Russians find it odd that Americans call themselves "homeowners" from the day they close on a mortgage loan. For Russians, ownership only begins after all debts are paid off.

Zavisca said she is planning a follow-up study on mortgages in the U.S. to learn how Americans equate owing with owning, and how "home ownership" has become Americans' metaphor for a mortgage.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thinks looking up if we ignore 'Global Warmers'

Why don’t we just put this Global Warming thing to rest? After all, here we are in the waning days of May, almost Memorial Day when God intended for everyone to lather up in SPF 80, go to a lake and cook out. Yet, the wind is howling with gusts around hurricane force and a cold rain is dropping the temperature to below freezing.

Late May, mind you, and no sign of spring. The pretty girls who attempted to greet the month with a ceremonial dance around the May Pole were conspicuous this year in their long johns and parkas. Several people were arrested at City Hall for smoking, but it turned out that it was only their steamy breath condensing in the chill, creating the illusion.

Global warming? Ha! Who believes it?

O.K. ninety-nine percent of the world’s foremost scientists make that claim, but let’s hear it for the little man. The thermometer don’t lie. Al Gore does.

You think good God fearing Christians are going to be lured into an obvious Socialist plot to stop all coal mining and oil drilling? That’s their plan, of course, to convince us we don’t need anything to keep us warm anymore. Global warming will do it. Well, only from our cold dead hands will you be able to remove our thermometers. The government don’t own the weather. Only a fool shivers in the cold and calls it warming.

Granted, something different is going on. We’ve had the most devastating hurricanes, record-busting tornadoes, all-time record flooding, melting glaciers and icebergs, and what not. Japan has experienced a record breaking earthquake and tsunami. Haiti has pretty much been wiped out. Indonesia was almost washed away. That don’t necessarily prove anything, though. It could just be a phase.

Like my good friend Ed Welge, a columnist for our local newspaper, the Roundup, says:
"Anyone believing in the Communist, Godless, governmental take-over masquerading as Global Warming should get an engineering degree like mine." (No pun intended.) Evidence is in the mind of the beholder.

On another slant, I just realized that I might be writing this in an entirely different universal plane. Signs are up all across the U.S. warning that the world ends today, May 21, yet here I am, hacking away. Perhaps what seems like reality is only an illusion, or maybe the end comes later in the day. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

I seem to recall, however, from my old Sunday School days, that no man knows the day or the hour of the “End.” I don’t know where the “end-timers” are getting their information, but I think I’ll stick with that.

Maybe we are actually approaching the end, though. Somewhere else in The Bible, I think, there is a reference to the lion and the lamb lying down in peace together. Well, lo and behold! The towns of Payson and Star Valley have decided to grind their swords into plowshares and form an alliance to bring a four-year college to these parts. I read it in the paper, so it must be true. Funding is guaranteed, too. Proceeds from the speed trap will be shared by both communities. Signs and wonders, I tell you.

I moved from the gnarly traffic, noise and contentiousness of a small southern town gone crazy on the steroids of competition and “growth.” Now, growth is a perfectly acceptable goal as long as it is somewhat loyal to reasonable balance and consideration for the common good. Trouble is, performance-enhancing drugs like greed, hubris, prejudice, etc. are far more powerful motivations.

I absolutely do not believe that building a college here in Rim Country will create anything remotely like what has happened to many cities. In fact, I am convinced that the college will insure that this area will be able to sustain economic growth on a completely reasonable and reliable track – something that no other opportunity can approach.

Change and some accommodation will be required, however. Neither Payson nor Star Valley can expect to remain the sleepy little local communities, frozen in time that they have become over the years. The common good will be well served, I believe. If the world actually survives, this will be one of the nicest places for future generations to enjoy it.

No need to build sky-scrapers and freeways, either. Local charm should prevail, but no longer will there be an abundance of “Space Available” signs in store windows. Prosperity is not selective. As the saying goes, “A high tide lifts all boats.”

That is: if we hold steady and not give in to the Global Warmers or the End Timers.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Can we survive Fukushima's apocalyptic threat?


By Harvey Wasserman
Reader Supported News

20 May 11 - Fukushima may be in an apocalyptic downward spiral.

Forget the corporate-induced media coma that says otherwise ... or nothing at all.

Lethal radiation is spewing unabated. Emission levels could seriously escalate. There is no end in sight. The potential is many times worse than Chernobyl.

Containing this disaster may be beyond the abilities of Tokyo Electric or the Japanese government.

There is no reason to incur further unnecessary risk. With all needed resources, it's time for the world's best scientists and engineers to take charge.

Even then the outcome is unclear.

For a brief but terrifying overview, consult Dr. Chris Busby as interviewed by RT/TV.

Fukushima Units One, Two and Three are all in various stages of melting down.

Molten fuel at Unit One may have burned through its reactor pressure vessel, with water poured in to cool it merely pouring out the bottom.

A growing pond of highly radioactive liquid is softening the ground and draining into the ocean.

There is no way to predict where these molten masses of fuel will yet go.

Especially in the event of an aftershock, steam and hydrogen explosions could blow out what's left of the containments.

The extra plutonium in the MOX fuel at Unit Three is an added liability.

At least one spent fuel pool has been on fire.

The site has already suffered at least two hydrogen explosions. Some believe a fission explosion may also have occurred.

All have weakened the structures and support systems on site.

These shocks and the soft ground may be why Unit Four has partially sunk and is tipping, possibly on the brink of collapse. Even a relatively minor aftershock could mean catastrophe.

More explosions are possible. More leaks are virtually certain.

Escalated radiation levels from any one of the reactors could force all workers to evacuate, leaving the entire site to chance.

The New York Times has now reported that critical valve failures that contributed to the Fukushima disaster are likely at numerous US reactors.

Significant radioactive debris has been found thousands of yards from the plant. Radiation levels in Tokyo, nearly 200 miles away, have risen. Fallout has been detected in North America and throughout Europe.

Radiation pouring into the sea has begun to spread worldwide.

There is much more, none of it good.

Japan and Germany have had the good survival sense to abandon future reactor construction, and to shut some existing sites.

But here, the corporate media blackout is virtually complete. Out of sight, out of mind seems the strategy for an industry desperate for federal loan guarantees and continued operation of a rickety fleet of decaying old reactors.

The Obama Administration has ended radiation monitoring of seafood in the Pacific. It does not provide reliable, systematic radiological or medical data on fallout coming to the United States.

But we may all be in unprecedented danger.

A national movement is underway to end atomic give-aways and turn to a green-powered Earth.

Now we must also move ALL the world's governments beyond denial to focus on somehow bringing Fukushima under control.

After two months of all-out effort, four reactors and at least that many spent fuel pools remain at risk.

Our survival depends on stopping Fukushima from further irradiating us all.

The world community has come together to put a new sarcophagus around Chernobyl.

A parallel, more urgent effort now needs to focus on Fukushima.

Whatever technical, scientific and material resources are available to our species, that's what needs to go there.


Harvey Wasserman's "Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030" is at He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and writes regularly for He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including "Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?," "As Goes Ohio: Election Theft Since 2004," "How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008," and "What Happened in Ohio."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Council reverts to form - in pocket of developers


Lest you doubt that the developers are back in control of the Payson Town Council, take note of its decision on Thursday to let a developer rezone a parcel off Tyler Parkway so he can build 12 houses instead of seven - overturning a 6-1 planning commission decision against the rezoning despite "fierce objections" from residents in attendance.

The vote was 6-1, with only Councilor Ed Blair dissenting.  "There is no need for the wants of the few to supersede the wants of the majority," Blair said.  "I am concerned about special privileges being given where there is absolutely no need for this change.  In my opinion, it is bad policy for the town council to change the zoning to guarantee a developer's return."

And we hear realtor Michael Hughes is being groomed as the next mayor.  We still hold that realtors serving on the council have a serious conflict of interest.

Time to come up with some very viable and impartial candidates for Payson council and mayor.

It's wedding day at Pine Strawberry Thrift Shop

For the weeks of May 25-29 and June 1-4, the Pine Strawberry Thrift Shop will be featuring items for a very special 'Wedding Day.'

We have several different styles and sizes of gorgeous wedding dresses.  We will also be featuring beautiful dresses for the rest of the wedding party. There will be the 'extras': flowers, toasting glasses, serving pieces, and other very nice accessories that will make your wedding day not only special, but affordable.

P/S Thrift Shop
AZ Hwy 87 Pine
Open Wed - Sat 9am - 4pm
Phone: 476-4633

Friday, May 20, 2011

'If you can get to the high country right now, go'

by Rory Aikens
It's a crazy weather week again. Keeps life interesting -- snow in May, ya gotta love it.

Expected to "return to normal" this weekend though.

The full moon was May 17 and the last quarter is May 24. The new moon is June 1.

Now that you are oriented to weather and some celestial movements, let's chat about fishing.

First things first -- a lot of the high country lakes are still providing anglers larger winter hold-over trout in addition to stockers. Woods Canyon and Willow Springs are two of the tops.

Anglers at Big Lake are routinely catching nice rainbows, large cutthroats and even some brookies. Crescent Lake is great right now.

The streams are certainly worth a visit, from Tonto and Christopher creeks below the Mogollon Rim to the two forks of the Black River in the White Mountains, plus the Little Colorado River in Greer and Sheeps Crossing on the flanks of Mt. Baldy. Saw a family along Tonto Creek this past weekend with a lovely stringer of trout.

For those looking for trophy-sized trout, Becker Lake near Springerville is one of the top producers right now. Don't forget, it's now catch-and-release only there with artificial lures and flies. DON'T use bait at Becker (sounds like a song).

If you can get to the high country right now, go. This is the prime time for trout fishing.

However, even with a little precipitation and even some high country snow this week, it's been pretty dry and windy at times, so please be careful out there, especially with campfires. Take along a jacket and a smile.

Here's another piece of good news -- Gila trout are being stocked again this week in Frye Mesa Reservoir on the flanks of Mt. Graham. This is the only place in Arizona where you can fish for these native trout. You might even go for the "Grand Slam of Mt. Graham" and try for a Gila trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, Apache trout (another native) and brook trout. They can all be found in various waters on this interesting mountain towering above Safford.

Closer to the Phoenix area, you can now fish the entire length of the Lower Salt River -- Salt River Project is drawing water from Saguaro Lake rather than from Bartlett Lake, adding miles more fishing opportunity for anglers. The Lower Salt is scheduled to be stocked this week with trout, but you might also be able to catch bass, sunfish and catfish as well in the deeper pools. Be sure to get your Tonto Pass before you go or along the way -- they don't sell it along the river.

The Lower Salt is a ball. Besides being a great place for beginning fly anglers (lots of room for back casts without snagging vegegation), it's a wonderful place to make like Huckleberry Finn and fish with night crawlers. The secret is using light line (no more than 6-pound test), and a small hook (I like No. 6 or 8) with a night crawler, and little or no weight.

Personally, I like a very small split shot, just enough to cast but not enough to take the worm to the bottom. You want the worm to float freely in the current. Cast at a 45-degree angle upstream, and simply let the current carry the bait, mending your line (taking in the slack line) as it floats downstream. By the way, you can do the same thing with a casting float and a fly, such as a woolly bugger, even with spinning equipment. It's a good first step to fly fishing.

It's simple, easy and fun. You can use a similar technique on our energetic mountain streams for rainbow, brown and Apache trout.

Okay, onto the desert impoundments. It's mostly post-spawn time, although it is possible to still find some largemouth bass spawning. Typically, those bass will be spawning in deeper water in the coves, not in the backs of coves. But with all this weird weather, who knows? Mother Nature is throwing us curves (more like knuckle balls).

Take your pick -- Pleasant, Bartlett, Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt are all good producers. Havasu has superb fishing. Lake Powell this time of year can be a dream when the winds don't blow. They are having to wait in line at the Powell fish cleaning stations because so many fish are being caught. No kidding. Mead will provide you some decent fishing and lots of desert solitaire in the dry air.

With the full moon this week, using submersible lights isn't the most viable technique, except after when the moon sets. But the moonlight fishing is still quite the experience.

Don't forget Lees Ferry -- anglers up there are raving about the fishing for wild rainbow trout, saying it hasn't been this good in years. Very high flows, so don't plan to wade and fish, it's mostly drift fishing right now.

There are also some co-o-o-o-l fishing opportunities (for cool water fish). Lake Mary is providing some pretty good northern pike fishing opportunities, as well as some decent sized yellow perch as well. Long Lake (such as the photo on the top right from Long Lake) also has some huge pike, but it can be tough to fish on windy days.

Lower Lake Mary has some chunky hold-over trout. Fish it now, it may dry up considerably this summer. Remember, this is an ephemeral lake. By fall it might revert to being a huge elk meadow again.

It's that time of year when reports don't matter, but getting out does. Pick your lake and go -- the bite is on everywhere. It's not "you should have been here yesterday" it's more like "you want to be here today, tomorrow or the next day."

Don't miss out. Go catch some tail-jumping memories. Maybe I'll see you out there.

ADOT's Weekend Valley freeway update

Headed to the Valley this weekend for some shopping or a little R&R? Here's what ADOT wants you to know about local freeway closures and restrictions:

Weekend Valley Closures and Restrictions
May 20 - 23, 2011

Drivers should be aware of the following restrictions:

Eastbound Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) closed between Loop 101 and Country Club Drive in Mesa from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday

Eastbound I-10 narrowed to one lane between Estrella Parkway and Dysart Road from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday

Westbound I-10 narrowed to one lane between Sarival Avenue and Citrus Road from 11:30 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday

Spring rodeo a go despite equine virus scare

The Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo will take this weekend as scheduled, despite an outbreak of Equine Virus - EVH-1 (West Nile).

Many veterinarians in Arizona are advising their clients to keep their horses at home. It was also reported on some Valley radio stations that Gary Hardt Memorial rodeo was cancelled and postponed for a month. "All of this is not true," according to John Landino of the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee.

"(Local horse veterinarian Dr.) Drew Justice spoke with six local vets that confirmed there is not a problem," Landino said. "We also spoke with the official vet office for Arizona and confirmed that there was no foundation for the panic and no restriction on horse movement is in place. The Rodeo will go on this weekend and several people with $50,000+ horses will be coming to compete.

Dixieland, big band jazz groups offer free concert

Dr. Jass & the Heartbeats, a local Dixieland band, will team up with the Payson High School Jazz Band in a performance at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 23 in the Payson High School Auditorium according to Gerry Reynolds and Mike Buskirk.

The two bands will alternate, each performing for an hour. Admission is free.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hardt Spring Rodeo, Aero Fair on tap for weekend


May 21, 2011
Place: Payson Airport
Time: 7:30 AM - 2 PM

Pancake Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Payson Pilots Association offers a pancake, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee breakfast
Adults - $7
Kids under 10 - $4


All day-EAA Chapter #810 offering airplane rides $25 per person.
Experience this elevated view of our magnificent Rim Country and the thrill of flying!

Fly in traffic all day long and vendors with something for everyone.

This year will offer a wide assortment of vintage
aircraft to modern experimental and Light Sport Aircraft

Gary Hardt Memorial

Date: May 20-21, 2011
Place: Payson Event Center

Thursday, May 19
Cactus WPRA Barrel Racing
Gates open @ 5:00 PM
Performance starts @ 7:00 PM
Admission - 1 or more cans of food

Friday, May 20
"Tough Enough To Wear Pink" night
Gates open 5:00 PM
Performance starts @ 7:00 PM

Saturday, May 21
“Patriot” Performance to Honor our Wounded and Fallen Veterans
Gates open 5:00 PM
Performance starts @ 7:00 PM

Adults $14
Seniors $12
Kids 8-12 $10
Kids 7 and under Free

Rodeo Dances
May 20,21
OxBow Saloon
Doors open 5 p.m.

For more info: 928-474-9440

Photo courtesy
Seventeen people were arrested at a sit-in at Aetna in midtown Manhattan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011-2012 SEASON

Dazzling Acrobatic Displays
Tuesday, Sept. 27

Captivating Guitar Mastery
Tuesday, Oct. 25

The Ultimate Tribute
Wednesday, Nov. 9

Stunning Multi-Media Event
Tuesday, Nov. 29

Nashville Songwriter/Guitarist
Thursday, Jan. 12

Song, Dance, Storytelling Journey
Tuesday, Feb. 28

Comedy, Musical Troupe
Friday, March 16

New Generation in American Music
Thursday, April 19

All eight concerts just $85 before July 1.  
For more information, please call 928-474-6115 or 928-478-4363.  
You may also click here for the TCCA website:

Actually, the rich don't create jobs -- we do

By Dave Johnson
Campaign for America's Future

You hear it again and again, variation after variation on a core message: if you tax rich people it kills jobs. You hear about "job-killing tax hikes," or that "taxing the rich hurts jobs," "taxes kill jobs," "taxes take money out of the economy, "if you tax the rich they won't be able to provide jobs." ... on and on it goes. So do we really depend on "the rich" to "create" jobs? Or do jobs get created when they fill a need?

Here is a recent typical example, Obama Touts Job-Killing Tax Plan, written by a "senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth."

Some people, in their pursuit of profit, benefit their fellow humans by creating new or better goods and services, and then by employing others. We call such people entrepreneurs and productive workers.

Others are parasites who suck the blood and energy away from the productive. Such people are most often found in government.

Perhaps the most vivid description of what happens to a society where the parasites become so numerous and powerful that they destroy their productive hosts is Ayn Rand’s classic novel “Atlas Shrugged.” ...

Producers and Parasites
The idea that there are producers and parasites as expressed in the example above has become a core philosophy of conservatives. They claim that wealthy people "produce" and are rich because they "produce." The rest of us are "parasites" who suck blood and energy from the productive rich, by taxing them. In this belief system, We, the People are basically just "the help" who are otherwise in the way, and taxing the producers to pay for our "entitlements." We "take money" from the producers through taxes, which are "redistributed" to the parasites. They repeat the slogan, "Taxes are theft," and take the "money we earned" by "force" (i.e. government.)

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner echoes this core philosophy of "producers" and "parasites," saying yesterday,I believe raising taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to hire people is the wrong idea,” he said. “For those people to give that money to the government…means it wont get reinvested in our economy at a time when we’re trying to create jobs.”

"The very people" who "hire people" shouldn't have to pay taxes because that money is then taken out of the productive economy and just given to the parasites -- "the help" -- meaning you and me...

So is it true? Do "they" create jobs? Do we "depend on" the wealthy to "create jobs?"

Demand Creates Jobs
I used to own a business and have been in senior positions at other businesses, and I know many others who have started and operated businesses of all sizes. I can tell you from direct experience that I tried very hard to employ the right number of people. What I mean by this is that when there were lots of customers I would add people to meet the demand. And when demand slacked off I had to let people go.

If I had extra money I wouldn't just hire people to sit around and read the paper. And if I had more customers than I could handle that -- the revenue generated by meeting the additional demand from the extra customers -- is what would pay for employing more people to meet the demand. It is a pretty simple equation:

You employ the right number of people to meet the demand your business has.

If you ask around you will find that every business tries to employ the right number of people to meet the demand. Any business owner or manager will tell you that they hire based on need, not on how much they have in the bank. (Read more here, in last year's Businesses Do Not Create Jobs.)
Taxes make absolutely no difference in the hiring equation.

In fact, paying taxes means you are already making money, which means you have already hired the right number of people. Taxes are based on subtracting your costs from your revenue, and if you have profits after you cover your costs, then you might be taxed. You don't even calculate your taxes until well after the hiring decision has been made. You don;t lay people off to "cover" your taxes. And even if you did lay people off to "cover' taxes it would lower your costs and you would have more profit, which means you would have more taxes... except that laying someone off when you had demand would cause you to have less revenue, ... and you see how ridiculous it is to associate taxes with hiring at all!

People coming in the door and buying things is what creates jobs.

The Rich Do Not Create Jobs
Lots of regular people having money to spend is what creates jobs and businesses. That is the basic idea of demand-side economics and it works. In a consumer-driven economy designed to serve people, regular people with money in their pockets is what keeps everything going. And the equal opportunity of democracy with its reinvestment in infrastructure and education and the other fruits of democracy is fundamental to keeping a demand-side economy functioning.

When all the money goes to a few at the top everything breaks down. Taxing the people at the top and reinvesting the money into the democratic society is fundamental to keeping things going.

Democracy Creates Jobs
This idea that a few wealthy people -- the "producers" -- hand everything down to the rest of us -- "the parasites" -- is fundamentally at odds with the concept of democracy. In a democracy we all have an equal voice and an equal stake in how our society and our economy does. We do not "depend" on the good graces of a favored few for our livelihoods. We all are supposed to have an equal opportunity, and equal rights. And there are things we are all entitled to -- "entitlements" -- that we get just because we were born here. But we all share in the responsibility to cover the costs of democracy -- with the rich having a greater responsibility than the rest of us because they receive the most benefit from it.

This is why we have "progressive taxes" where the rates are supposed to go up as the income does.

Taxes Are The Lifeblood Of Democracy And The Prosperity That Democracy Produces
In a democracy the rich are supposed to pay more to cover things like building and maintaining the roads and schools because these are the things that enable their wealth. They actually do use the roads and schools more because the roads enable their businesses to prosper and the schools provide educated employees. But it isn't just that the rich use roads more, it is that everyone has a right to use roads and a right to transportation because we are a democracy and everyone has the same rights. And as a citizen in a democracy you have an obligation to pay your share for that.

A democracy is supposed have a progressive tax structure that is in proportion to the means to pay. We do this becausethose who get more from the system do so because the democratic system offers them that ability. Their wealth is because of our system and therefore they owe back to the system in proportion. (Plus, history has taught the lesson that great wealth opposes democracy, so democracy must oppose the accumulation of great, disproportional wealth. In other words, part of the contract of living in a democracy is your obligation to protect the democracy and high taxes at the top is one of those protections.)

The conservative "producer and parasite" anti-tax philosophy is fundamentally at odds with the concepts of democracy (which they proudly acknowledge - see more here, and here) and should be understood and criticized as such. Taxes do not "take money out of the economy" they enable the economy. The rich do not "create jobs, We, the People create jobs.
Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.
Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.
Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.
Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Woman admits role in 'Macho B' jaguar capture

Courtesy photos
Macho B, the only known living jaguar in the United States,  was euthanized after being captured illegally in 2009.   

TUCSON, Ariz. – Janay Brun, 39, of Sasabe, Ariz., executed a diversion agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office today where she admitted to committing an Attempted Take of an Endangered Species, which is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Brun admitted under oath before by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to placing jaguar scat at a snare site in an attempt to capture the jaguar known as Macho B. Less than two weeks after its initial capture in February of 2009, the ailing Macho B, the only known jaguar living in the United States, had to be recaptured and euthanized by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish.

Under the terms of the agreement, the information against Brun was dismissed and will not be reinstated if she complies with the terms of the diversion agreement; namely that she not be involved in any jaguar or large cat study in the United States for 12 months and that she not violate any federal, state, or local law.

“I am pleased with this agreement because Ms. Brun has been cooperative with our investigation, and now she has admitted under oath her involvement in the capture of the jaguar Macho B,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke.

On February 4, 2009, at or near Ruby, Ariz., in the Atascosa Mountain region, Brun and Emil McCain placed jaguar scat near snare sites in an attempt to capture and trap the jaguar known as Macho B. McCain worked with Brun as part of the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project, whose main task was photographing and tracking jaguar activity in Southern Arizona. Brun knew that there had been recent evidence of Macho B's presence in the area of the snares. The snares had been set for the purpose of capturing and placing tracking collars on mountain lions and bears; there was no authorization or permission to intentionally capture a jaguar. Macho B was caught on February 18, 2009 at the snare site where Brun had placed scat.

McCain had previously pled guilty to the same offense and received five years probation with the condition that he not participate in any jaguar or large cat study in the United States for that period, and a $1,000 fine.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The prosecution was handled by Ryan P. DeJoe, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.