Mundell, Stanfield, Tovar Interview – Podcast March 30, 2020

The Most Powerful Entity In State Government That Nobody Knows Anything About. Democratic Perspective contributors welcome Anna Tovar, Shea Stanfield and Bill Mundell to the show. All three are Democratic candidates for the Arizona Corporation Commission with the goal of wresting control of the commission from the companies they regulate and returning it to the people.

Mundell, who previously served on the commission and was the subject of attacks from the utilities it regulates, calls the commission the fourth branch of government charged with regulating government-created monopolies. He says, “In territorial days, it was called the Railroad Commission. It has come full circle with very powerful forces in Arizona.” Stanfield explains, “Pinnacle West and APS have bought four of five regulators currently sitting on the commission. The three of us are running clean. We don’t take any corporate money. No PAC money.”

“The name may not be very jazzy,” says Tovar. “But it is very important. We need commissioners who are independent…so that everyday people are being protected.

The three candidates need Arizona voters to sign petitions to get them on the ballot and make $5.00 donations to unlock funds from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. You can sign petitions and make donations online at AZSOS.gov.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Energy Policy, Government, Interviews, Political Candidacy, Political Contributions, Public Accountability, Public Policy, Regulatory Agencies, Regulatory Capture, Renewable Energy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adcock Interview – Podcast March 23, 2020

Coronavirus, Economic Relief, Social Security, and Medicare. Democratic Perspective welcomes Dan Adcock, Government Relations and Policy Director for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to discuss potential changes to Social Security and current political proposals.

Regarding the economic relief packages under consideration, Adcock says he’s worried that the stimulus will never get down to the people. It’s too focused on help for corporations with no strings attached. Under McConnell’s proposal, people who make the least money get the least benefit – between $600-$1,200. As a starter, this is particularly ill-thought-out. Seniors would have obstacles.”

“In the past, corporations get big money and use it for stock buybacks,” he continues. “We’re hoping the priorities of Senate Democrats will prevail with protections  that allow no buybacks. Stimulus should be in the form of loans and have oversight.” He goes on to discuss proposed cuts to Social Security and SSI.

As for the future of Social Security and Medicare, Adcock mentions that there are some positive plans, such as Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act. It would not only expand benefits. It would strengthen the program’s future. It would also increase spending on healthcare. Larson is trying to have it inserted into the stimulus.

Posted in Community, Economic Stimulus, Government, Interviews, Medicaid, Medicare, National Politics, Public Policy, Social Security | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scantlebury, Wolfe Interview – Podcast March 16, 2020

Verde Connect or Verde Disconnect? The co-hosts welcome Zach Wolfe & Todd Scantlebury to discuss a proposed highway project in the Verde Valley that has become controversial. The project would extend Beaverhead Flat Road to connect with AZ State Hwy 260. After learning about it some 17 months ago, the guests are leading a movement to block the plan. You can learn more at their website: VerdeDisconnect.com

Posted in Arizona Politics, Community, Community Activism, Development, Interviews, Local Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garrison Interview – Podcast March 9, 2020

“Billionaires Buying Out Millionaires.” Co-hosts Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome Randy Garrison of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors back to the show. Garrison is the Republican incumbent who is being challenged in the coming election by Democratic candidate, Donna Michaels. After explaining why he believes the Verde Valley is best represented by a Republican, Garrison addresses the most pressing issues in the Verde Valley such as population growth, land development and the shortage of workforce housing created by short-term rentals.

He describes the problem with short-term rentals in Sedona as a plague, saying the word around the city is that billionaires are buying out millionaires, making housing unaffordable for the people who work here. Garrison notes that Sedona currently needs 1,800 affordable homes just for the workforce we already have. The problem will only become greater as the area and the state continue to grow.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Civic Renewal, Community, Demographic Trends, Development, Elections, Government, Growth, Housing, Interviews, Local Politics, Public Policy, Public Private Collaboration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lenze Interview – Podcast March 2, 2020

Power Politics, Religion And Economic Exploitation In The Middle East.  Steve Williamson and Mike Cosentino welcome Paul Lenze back to the program to discuss current events in the Middle East. Lenze is a professor of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University.

The wide-ranging conversation covers US foreign policy, the future of Iran, Iraq, Palestine and the prospects for peace. Lenze notes the similarities in US foreign policy under the past three administrations, saying that stopping conflicts and protecting human rights are less of an issue than pursuing policies that benefit our oil and gas companies.

Posted in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Government, Human Rights, International Relations, Interviews, Iran, Middle East, Middle East Policy, Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, Religion | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Lenze Interview – Podcast March 2, 2020

Gehlert, Ariola Interview – Podcast February 24, 2020

Mike Cosentino’s Magical Tour Of Old Town Cottonwood. Mike, Steve and Klaus welcome George Gehlert and Jim Ariola to discuss the transformation of Old Town Cottonwood, Arizona.

Once known as the “Biggest Little Town In Arizona,” it began as a mining and ranching community. Since then it has undergone a number of transformations. It featured speakeasies and bootleggers in the 1920s. Later, it was host to movie stars who appeared in films that were made in the area. “By the 1990s, things were pretty dead down there,” says Jim. But, through the work of a lot of people, it has experienced a renaissance. Now it’s a tourist attraction that’s home to lots of restaurants, seven wine tasting rooms, boutique hotels, shops and bars all in a three-block stretch.

Posted in Arizona History, Business Cultural Change, Civic Renewal, Community, Growth, Interviews, Localist Movement, Public Policy, Public Private Collaboration, Tourism | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Gehlert, Ariola Interview – Podcast February 24, 2020

O’Brien, Kinsella Interview – February 17, 2020

Supporting Equality. Steve, Mike and Klaus welcome Kathy Kinsella and J.J. O’Brien of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians And Gays), a group that supports LGBTQ rights. The organization was founded in 1973 by the mother of a young gay man who was beaten as police watched. The Sedona Verde Valley chapter began in 2011. According to O’Brien, PFLAG meets on the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Sedona Public Library. 

Kinsella reminds listeners that, despite marriage equality, there is no federal non-discrimination law. Only about half of the states have non-discrimination laws. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of them.

Posted in Anti-Gay Discrimination, Arizona Politics, Bigotry, Civil Rights, Civil Society, Cultural Change, Education, Human Rights, Interviews, LGBT Community, LGBT Issues, Local Politics, National Politics | Tagged , | Comments Off on O’Brien, Kinsella Interview – February 17, 2020

Munro Interview – Podcast February 10, 2020

Class Action Lawsuits – A Necessary Remedy.  Steve, Mike and Klaus welcome Greg Munro, retired law professor and interim dean of the University of Montana Law School to discuss class action lawsuits. Munro begins by stating, “Class action is one of the only ways to hold corporations accountable.”

Asked about the impact of tort reform on class actions, Munro explains that tort reformers have succeeded in instituting all sorts of caps by claiming that the reforms clear the courts of unnecessary lawsuits. Yet the corporations pushing for tort reform, use the courts more than anyone else. “Tort reform takes away peoples’ rights,” he says. “The result is more power for corporations.” Munro goes on to state, “The greatest tort reform ever would be to enact universal healthcare because most of the lawsuits are the result of medical expenses.”

Posted in Civil Rights, Class Conflict, Corruption, Health Care, Income Inequality, Interviews, Jurisprudence, Justice System, Labor Unions, Legal Issues | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Munro Interview – Podcast February 10, 2020

Burdick Interview – Podcast February 3, 2020

Turning State Legislatures Blue. Democratic Perspective co-hosts Steve Williamson and Klaus von Stutterheim welcome Natalie Burdick co-chair for the Sister District Project in San Francisco. She begins by explaining that Sister District was started by five women, mostly as a therapy session after the 2016 election results. According to Burdick, “They began by asking themselves why, if Democrats are the majority in the nation, they don’t have the majority of representation? Democrats didn’t have the White House, the Senate, the House or even the majority of state legislatures.  So they set out to correct that.”

From that humble beginning, Sister District became a national organization within 3 years. A website was put up, they emailed all of their friends and, as a result, the organization now numbers more than 45,000 volunteers. “Our model is all about focusing on down-ballot offices such as state legislatures. We realized most problems started at the state legislative level,” says Burdick.

She points to Virginia as an example of the group’s efforts, which Democrats were able to turn blue in 2019.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Campaign Finance, Community Activism, Elections, Government, Interviews, National Politics, Political Clubs, Political Contributions | Tagged | Comments Off on Burdick Interview – Podcast February 3, 2020

Babbott Interview – Podcast January 27, 2020

Are Ideas More Important Than Ideologies? That’s the question posed by Art Babbott who is campaigning to represent LD-6 in the Arizona Legislature with the support of Steve Segner, owner of Sedona’s El Portal Hotel. They and the show’s hosts discuss the challenges of running for office as an independent. Babbott says he is an independent candidate by choice claiming that, too often, we choose ideas based on the party of origination rather than the quality of the idea.

Babbott has 15 years of experience in county and local government, having served as a member of Coconino County Board of Supervisors, co-chair of Four Forest Restoration Initiative, the Flagstaff City Council and a large number of other councils, boards and commissions. He is also a small business owner.

Posted in Arizona Politics, Elections, Government, Health Care, Interviews, Local Politics, Political Candidacy, Political Parties, Political Polarization | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Babbott Interview – Podcast January 27, 2020