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letter to the editor

Ron Smith

By Ron Smith

As an aging-in-place advocate, I would like to endorse both Nancy Smith and Bob Marsh for Maricopa’s City Council. I’ve worked with both of them over the past year and have been impressed with their commitment to senior needs and issues.

Vice Mayor Nancy Smith (no relation) has a proven record of championing senior events and support, such as the senior citizen Lunch and Learn program and her work with the Age-Friendly Advisory Committee. Bob is on the Board of Directors of the Maricopa Senior Coalition, Inc., a non-profit that is focused on bringing senior services and resources to Maricopa. Bob’s persistence has been instrumental in working with our city manager and city staff to find a permanent solution to our need for a senior center.

Vice Mayor Nancy Smith brings the passion and enthusiasm needed to help shape a young city like Maricopa. She loves her work and her city. She pays attention to what is needed and does her homework and she is quick to respond when there is a need. In the midst of the pandemic, she was fielding a lot of requests from constituents needing services and supplies.

In the stretch of about a week and a half she put together a nonprofit alliance, CopaCares2020, to serve the community with food and supplies that people were unable to obtain on their own. She brings all her project planning skills from her professional career and her get-it-done attitude to focus on community needs that will help us be a dynamic and senior friendly city. She knows that the city must have a great economic development program to expand both services and create a sustainable tax base to stay within budget and find ways to lower tax rates.

Bob Marsh brings an engineer’s perspective to everything that he does. I have engineers in my family and I have always admired their ability to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions makes Bob a great problem solver. Every good team needs this kind of insight to be productive and effective. He is retired and available to give as much time as is necessary to bulldog a problem and bring senior insight to the City Council.

Being on a fixed income he knows the importance of keeping taxes and spending under control. His experience on Maricopa’s Planning and Zoning Commission, the Desert Cedars HOA Board, the senior center and work with the Maricopa Flood Control District has demonstrated the immense contributions that he has already made to our community.

His engineering and IT experience will be invaluable as we tackle major infrastructure projects, such as, transportation, expanded health services, flood control and prevention, water management, solar energy and internet bandwidth. He is superbly skilled to help the city navigate all of these services needed to support our economic development needs and the quality of life within Maricopa.

Maricopa seniors need to vote for both Vice Mayor Smith and Bob Marsh on Aug. 4.


Ron Smith is a Maricopa resident, a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Board and an aging-in-place advocate.

Peg Chapados

By Peg Chapados

It is my pleasure to enthusiastically endorse Andre LaFond for Maricopa City Council.

As a former Maricopa Vice Mayor and Councilmember, I have enjoyed the privilege and pleasure of working with many people who exemplify a genuine and altruistic passion for our community, businesses, and residents. Andre is one such person.

Andre is a businessman, veteran, active citizen, husband and (soon-to-be/new) father. As I have gotten to know him over the years, I have witnessed his professionalism and solid personal ethics. I have seen his ever-growing interest in all-things Maricopa and his willingness to do the research, not proceed on assumptions. No matter the subject, Andre wants the data and facts. He is also open to opinions and recommendations offered from myriad sources. He is self-motivated, eager to learn, and offers to help when, where and however he can. I believe Andre would make an excellent elected representative and leader.

Andre has taken time to meet with various leaders of local government, education, seniors, HOAs, public safety, and others. He regularly attends Council meetings (in-person or electronically since the COVID-19 restrictions) and appreciates the value and importance of “being there”. He enjoys talking with people, seeking their perceptions and expectations about quality of life in Maricopa. He listens to opinions, valuing knowledge and experiences shared.

Andre believes public safety is a top priority in keeping Maricopa a safe city that people choose to call home. He is eager to improve and expand Maricopa’s smart and innovative economic development, transportation challenges, and is ready to continue working with others to mitigate or solve our flood plain issues.

Andre is a graduate of the Maricopa Citizens Leadership Academy and continues to learn about our city. He understands our priorities, long-term goals, and has a keen awareness of our potential. He embraces Maricopa’s vision for today as well as her future. He is ready to work hard to be part of building and sustaining that future.

Andre LaFond will be a conscientious and dedicated Council Member. He understands the time commitment and personal sacrifices that go into serving as an elected official and is ready to make that commitment.

I humbly ask you to please vote for Andre LaFond for Maricopa City Council. Thank you.


Peg Chapados is former vice-mayor of Maricopa.

Mike Vukmir
By Mike Vukmir
Now that Bernie has endorsed Joe Biden, those of us who are looking for relief from the burden of perhaps a 20% co-pay for Medicare or perhaps from a United Health Care Policy that costs $957 a month, has a $10,000 deductible, then a 20% copay up to a max out of pocket of $20,000 now have to look to progressives in the U.S. Senate and House who are running, like Eva Putzova, to move our progressive, single-payer health care coverage goals forward.
Being a small business owner in Casa Grande (10 high skilled employees), it’s simply impossible, with the above health care rates, to provide health insurance to my employees and remain competitive with much larger industries who can spread the insurance cost over many employees, age brackets and negotiate substantial volume rate reductions. This cripples companies like ours that must compete with labor from China and India and then large American industries for labor who can afford health care and thus access to older higher skilled employees.
Small businesses are the backbone of America. Not having single payer does them no service in the world market. Eva will help lead that effort in the House.
Mike Vukmir is a resident of Maricopa and president of Environmental Equipment Services Inc. of AZ in Casa Grande.

Nancy Smith. (Photo by Victor Moreno)

By Vice Mayor Nancy Smith

Ever since the city announced we are reducing the City’s primary and secondary property tax rate for 2020-21, we get the question, “How can you do that with the impacts of COVID-19?” Most cities and maybe counties will keep the same rate, increase the rate or layoff employees.

The city manager, Mayor Christian Price, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi and I (a budget subcommittee of the city council) met to discuss the details. This is still to be approved by the entire city council in a May/June city council meeting, but here’s how we can do this.

COVID – 19 Potential Budgetary Impacts/Contingencies:

The City will continue its practice of conservative budgeting with planned contingencies should revenues fall short of expectations to include:

  • Creation of COVID-19 Contingency Fund against lost revenues
    • Budget contingencies in place against reduction in revenues to include:
    o Part-time (seasonal) personnel reductions
    o New position allocations will be deferred until revenues stabilize
    o HURF related projects will be deferred until revenues stabilize
    o New vehicles and equipment purchases will be deferred until revenues stabilize
    o Capital projects and equipment will be prioritized based on public safety and economic/job generation needs. Projects that are fully funded (cash on hand) without reliance on the use of general funds can go forward. These projects will keep people employed and bolster the local economy. All other projects will be evaluated based on revenue stabilization.
    • If necessary, reliance on the Catastrophic & Budget Stabilization Reserve that was established in FY 2020.
    • Although the projected budget for FY 2021 does not anticipate the use of reserve funds to balance this budget, the City has sufficient reserves to whether any short-term fiscal impact.

Therefore, certain projects, capital equipment purchases and new hires may be deferred until revenue stabilization is confirmed. A list of these expenditures will be produced prior to the end of this fiscal year. The City Manager’s office will be the sole determination as to when these expenditures will be greenlighted. Please note that planned contingencies do not include furloughs or layoffs of any full-time or permanent part-time personnel as there will not be any.

This can be achieved when government leadership lives within its means.


Nancy Smith is vice mayor of the City of Maricopa and running for re-election to the city council.



Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.

By Laura Kozma

I take my Mom fishing at Pacana Park to get out of the house. I see there’s fencing around the little house where the picnic benches are now. We go there to get out of the sun. What gives the city the right? We are not children, we are adults! What is our town becoming communistic? 99.99999999% of us don’t even have the virus and last I knew we were in America! This virus panic the media has hyped up is a crock of crap already! Our city, our state need to get back to work and stop all this nonsense!

Laura Kozma is a resident of Maricopa.

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Seniors gather outside Bashas' early Wednesday.

By Paul Lenhard

I woke at 3:30 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. What to do? I went to Maricopa Bashas’ first senior-only shopping from 5 to 6 a.m. I got there about 4:30 and was about the 20th person there. At 5 a.m. the line swelled to approximately 300 people excited to finally be able to get some shopping done.

Sadly, the store wasn’t restocked from the night prior and we found no toilet paper, paper towels or water. The seniors-only shopping was a wonderful idea, but most left disappointed. Let’s all hope they can restock prior to the next.

Because I was already up, I went to Walmart, and arrived about 5:20 a.m. I stood in line with 30-40 folks in front of me. A Walmart employee informed waiting shoppers the plan for entry and they let us in. Walmart had arrows on the floor directing to water products and paper supplies. They had a reasonable amount to distribute and employees handed out one to each shopper. Although they are not fully stocked, many food and essential items were available in the grocery isles

If folks are in extreme need, I’d suggest get to Walmart early (5:15 in line )

Stay safe and be kind

Paul Lenhard is a retired Maricopa resident.

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By Bill Day

Kristina Donnay FNP-C and Bill Day

Maricopa Wellness Center, a full-service Med Spa is honored to receive the “Small Business of the Year” award from the Maricopa Chamber. The center is a high-tech facility offering cutting edge treatments using state-of-the-art equipment proven by research, FDA approved and widely published in medical literature.

The highly trained licensed staff assists clients in getting the results they desire for their body and skin concerns. We would like to thank the City of Maricopa, our clients and customers for their continued support. LIVE WELL BE WELL.


Bill Day is the office manager for Maricopa Wellness Center in Maricopa, AZ.

 

Adam Saks

By Adam Saks

Most people’s first job will be in the retail or hospitality business.  These industries offer flexible schedules that are perfect for teenagers looking to gain valuable experience and earn some income.  I’m proud to play my part in providing these types of opportunities to the up-and-coming workforce.

But entry-level employment opportunities are only part of the equation in preparing for a career and serious income.  As a community, we need to invest in our schools and our educators.  Because within those classrooms are future managers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, astronauts, artists and, yes, retail and hospitality executives.

As a life-long advocate for education, this was never more important to me than when my kids starting going to public school. My fervor for education became even more pronounced through my service on the board of directors for First Things First, Pinal Regional Partnership Council. The Pinal region encompasses Pinal County, including the City of Maricopa and the Ak-Chin Indian Community.

The Pinal Regional Partnership Council makes it a priority to support the healthy development and learning of the young children in the region. Recognizing that a quality education begins at a very young age, the Council’s programs include:

  • Improving the quality of child care and preschool programs
  • Scholarships for children to access high-quality early learning
  • Improving the quality of family, friend and neighbor care
  • Strengthening families through voluntary home visiting and parenting education
  • Developmental, sensory and oral health screenings
  • Effective collaboration among system partners

One of the things I know for sure, both as a dad and an employer, is that kids who are engaged at a young age, learning coping skills, playing (working) with others, will have the type of “spirit” and work ethic that makes them a good employee. In the workforce, 20% of what you bring to the table is skill, but 80% is the “person that you are,” which is developed and nurtured at home and in our schools.

Investing in quality education means supporting our teachers – giving them the financial resources they need to make their classrooms a place of learning, innovation and discovery.  Investing in education means voting “yes” when our schools have a bond issue on a ballot. Investing in education means volunteering your time to programs like DECA or other on-campus programs.

We have an unparalleled opportunity for the Pinal County region to be recognized as the hub for technology, growth and economic prosperity.  Let’s continue to invest in the people that are cultivating and preparing our youth to become the people who will help us realize this goal. My business depends on an educated workforce. I bet yours does, too.


Adam Saks is general manager of UltraStar Multi-tainment Center at Ak-Chin Circle.  He is vice chair of the Pinal Regional Partnership Council for First Things First and currently serves on the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance and is a founding Board Member of the Maricopa Community Foundation. Saks and his wife, Lynn and their children reside in Chandler.

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By Scott Bartle

Scott Bartle, InMaricopa publisher

Dear Readers,

Unbelievably, the holiday season is upon us. Halloween is in the rear-view mirror, and now folks are counting down the number of shopping days until Christmas.

But before we get there, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I am writing to tell you how thankful we are for you, our readers. It is for you and because of you our company, services and jobs exist.

We are in our 15th year bringing you hyper-local news and information. We have always made Maricopa news accessible to you at no charge, and we always will. And it is because of your support of our advertisers we are able to do so.

InMaricopa advertisers effectively pick up the tab on myriad costs incurred to report, write, edit, design, print and mail you this magazine. Same drill for InMaricopa.com, Maricopa Health Guide, New Resident Guide and our social media outlets. Businesses financially support the operation so you get our services free.

In addition to the value we bring by entertaining, informing and educating readers, the services we provide, as evidence by our Constitution’s First Amendment, have far-reaching societal benefits.

Our mission is to inform our readers and support our advertisers. We cannot do one without the other, and you are vital to both. Advertisers support us because you support them, and we are inexpressibly grateful to you for that.

Whether you find vendors on the ad list, research local resources in the business directory or just enjoy perusing the ads throughout, know your support of these businesses is critically important and much appreciated.

On behalf of my colleagues at InMaricopa, thank you. Thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support. And thank you for your support of our advertisers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Appreciatively,

Scott Bartle
Publisher


This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Tim Kanavel

By Tim Kanavel
Pinal County Economic Development director

As the economic development manager for Pinal County, my primary responsibility is to attract new business to our region.  From local businesses looking to expand or out-of-market companies looking to relocate, our job is to do what we can to make our cities and towns as attractive as possible as these executives make their business locations decisions.

And without exception, each and every business leader we speak to emphasizes the importance of a qualified workforce as among the top considerations when looking to relocate or expand a business.

That is why I, along with my economic development colleagues around the region, were so deeply disappointed to learn that the majority of education bond proposals that were on our ballots earlier this month were  defeated at the polls.

All elected officials and our residents tell us they want new businesses in our communities.  To attract the kinds of businesses that generate quality jobs, new tax revenues and other positive economic impacts that benefit all Pinal County residents, we have to demonstrate that our cities have a quality workforce to support these new jobs.  And that starts with making an investment in our K-12 school systems.

Investing in education should not take place only once every two years at the polls.  Education should be top-of-mind at all times for everyone who lives in Pinal County.  Our elected officials have a responsibility to make education a priority in our county. The private sector has a responsibility to make education a priority in our county. And our residents have a responsibility to make education a priority in our county as well.

Since 2013, more than $8 billion of new private capital has been invested by new companies that have come to Pinal County, and there are many more on the way.  But to keep this positive momentum moving forward and to continue to be attractive to business, we must ensure our schools are adequately funded.

Our future depends on it.

Tim Kanavel oversees the planning, development and implementation of economic policies, programs and relationships that will establish all of Pinal County as a major economic player in the Sun Corridor.  Kanavel, a long-time economic development professional, serves on the board of directors for the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance.

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Lucinda Boyd

By Lucinda Boyd

Dear Editor,

Child marriage is a serious problem in the United States, affecting thousands of children each year. “Child marriage” is defined as anyone under age 18 and the laws for such marriages vary widely state by state.

Many people don’t know that child marriage still happens in the United States. Some think that child marriage in the United States only occurs in rural areas and in conservative, religious households. While this was historically the case, nowadays child marriage occurs all across the demographic spectrum, although in most cases the victims are girls. Each year 12 million girls are married around the world.

Child marriage is a violation of Article 16 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” In 2016, the U.S. Department of State published a document that expressed child marriage in other countries to be a denial of human rights, yet it remains legal in the majority of the United States. The United Nations has defined child marriage as “an appalling violation of human rights,” because no one is mature enough to consent to marriage before age 18. Child marriage is considered to be the most common form of sexual exploitation of girls.

Child marriage should also be recognized as a form of human trafficking. The United Nations Trafficking Protocol of 2000, an international protocol joined by the United States in December of 2000, defines trafficking as “the recruitment… transfer… or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation.” This definition can be applied to child marriage because the child is being transferred from an adult (parent/guardian) to another adult (husband) and often ends up being mistreated and sexually abused. The protocol criminalizes trafficking acts, with no exceptions for religious traditions and practices. This includes whether the minor consented or not. Child marriage fits these parameters and should be criminalized.

Many of the girls who are married as children experience long-term physical and sexual abuse. The age differential between the girl and her husband often gives the male the ability to dominate and control their younger, vulnerable wives. Child brides often experience a range of negative physical and mental health outcomes.

Young girls and young women are at much higher risk of maternal and infant deaths, compared to women who have children after age 20. They also have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections. In comparison to women who first married as adults, research has found those who first married as a child have a higher likelihood of suffering from psychiatric disorders throughout their lifetimes, such as depression, addictions, phobias, anxiety and antisocial personality disorder.

These women also have extreme difficulties leaving the marriage because of the lack of access to lawyers, shelters and counseling. Due to their age, minors cannot file any type of legal action, including divorce. Without access to these resources, it is nearly impossible to get help.

In April 2018, Arizona raised the minimum marriage age to 16. Such underage marriages must be approved by a superior court, must have either parental consent or an emancipated minor, and the age differences between the parties must not be more than three years.

Our children deserve better. Child marriage must be prohibited by law in all states. We must protect our children and give them the best possible chance for the future.

Join us for 16 days of activism beginning Nov. 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day.

https://www.facebook.com/ZontaMaricopa/

Lucinda Boyd is president of Zonta Club of Maricopa.

Alan Marchione
Alan Marchione

By Alan Marchione

On Nov. 5, with their overwhelming rejection of Prop 437, voters sent a strong message to the MUSD, they’ll no longer support a “tax and spend when it’s wanted” ideology. The district needs to heed that message, and re-evaluate its approach to taxpayer funding. The mechanics of Prop 437 were seriously flawed, and voter intelligence greatly underestimated. Operations and maintenance should never be bonded, and in an online post, resident Marty McDonald stated it beautifully, when he referenced this fact as the “murder weapon” for the bond.

As a taxpayer, one of my biggest concern lies with those elected officials in the community that openly supported fleecing the taxpayer with such a failed monetary ideology, and even included their names and statements in the numerous mailers sent to our homes. Do we actually have elected officials in Maricopa that believe financing HVAC systems, school buses and building repairs for 28 years, knowing their life expectancy is half of the bond life, is a wise and appropriate use of taxpayer funds? Sadly, the answer is YES.

We finance homes for 30 years because a home will still be there in 30 years, and if it burns down or is flooded, it’s rebuilt. Think of it this way, had the bond passed… If a child born today were to purchase a home on their 18th birthday, they would be paying property taxes on the bond until they were 28, for items that went out of service when they were 12. Children that aren’t even born yet would be bearing the financial burden long after we had moved on. Common sense, and a long-term vision has to be used when bonding public funds. Instant gratification by way of bonding taxpayer funds, has become the “kick the can down the road” mentality, and is not sustainable.

We need to hold School Board members, and City Councilmembers accountable. Have some of them become so liberal towards the spending of taxpayer monies, and pandering for votes on re-electability, they’ve violated their own principles on being good stewards of our money? If none of us would finance an HVAC system for 28 years with our own money, what would make them think that’s an appropriate decision with other peoples’ money? Pay attention to your local elected officials… It’s what they do that matters, not what they say, or the political games they play. Too many local elected officials are more concerned about being liked, than they are about being leaders; are more interested in telling taxpayers what they want to hear, instead of having the fortitude to tell them what they need to hear. Remember these talking points at the next election.

Regarding the MUSD, the district needs to earn the trust of the taxpayer, and it would be my suggestion if another attempt is made for a bond, learn from this experience, and bond ONLY for a school. However, it would be unwise to make another attempt in 2020, as that would just further alienate vigilant voters. Moving forward in the short-term, the MUSD will need to focus on building the high school its great students and teachers need, while still respecting the fact that they’re spending other people’s money to do it. Public entities don’t have their own money; only money it has taken from us, the taxpayer, and we are not a bottomless source of revenue.

Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.

 

 

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Alan Marchione

By Alan Marchione

Alan Marchione

A few years ago, I wrote an article discussing what I called “Kitchen Table Economics.” It’s the idea that in the course of balancing a budget, families sit down together at their kitchen table and balance their expenses with respect to incoming funds. We should expect our City and the MUSD to do the same, but I don’t feel the MUSD is practicing this most basic fundamental of personal finance with taxpayer funds. With regard to Proposition 437, I see red flags. I’ll explain further.

The largest component of Prop 437 is the construction of a new high school for the district, which, on its own, would be a cumbersome request of the taxpayer. However, where the problem lies, is what’s to be done with the remainder of the $113 million in principle and interest.

The first red flag is the request to use funds for the “repair and replacement of systems and infrastructure like HVAC, roofing and weatherization of aging buildings and facilities.” This request sends the message MUSD has failed to proactively budget for operations and maintenance of its existing facilities. There’s no contingency? There’s no reserve fund to anticipate eventual maintenance and repairs of existing assets? Even HOAs are required to maintain reserve funds for just this purpose.

Let’s get this straight, for the taxpayer: The MUSD wants you to approve a bond for $113 million, over a period of 28 years, in part for operation and maintenance of existing facilities, all while requesting funds to build more facilities, without providing a budgetary roadmap for similar operation and maintenance expenses in the future, whereas the items being purchased with bond funds won’t last the life of the bond. Where’s the common sense in that?

A second red flag of the bond request is “facility enhancements to increase security and promote safety.” Once again, taxpayers would be paying interest on items with a life expectancy less than the 28 years they’ll be paying on them – all while providing no roadmap for operation and maintenance. If security technology is included, then I would ask what the life expectancy is of such items when compared to the pace at which technology is moving? As a reference, how long before your current cell phone is considered “old school?”

It’s extremely unwise to bond maintenance and operations. The MUSD should not be given bond funds to build new capital assets if they can’t provide the taxpayer with a roadmap in their budget allocating for operations and maintenance of the new facility, or even their existing facilities. This entire program is robbing Peter to pay Paul on steroids and is a huge red flag.

There are those in the community that’ll approve any measure that contain “school” and “tax” in the same sentence, and there are those who will vote no on any measure that contains the word “tax” in any sentence. Just because taxpayers ask questions on why taxes need to be increased does not mean they don’t care about children and/or teachers.

Questions are good, and spawn effective debate.

Taxpayer money is not monopoly money, and we need to hold public entities accountable on how taxpayer funds are spent. The position towards the expenditure of taxpayer funds should not be to tax and spend when it’s wanted, but that of a zero-based budgeting ideology that explains and justifies why taxpayer funds are needed and/or if they are being properly managed – before ever asking for more.

Join me in voting No on Prop 437’s Red Flags.

Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.

Sponsored Content

Paid for by: Yes for Maricopa Schools PAC

Your vote will count in this election. Although conversations during canvasses and telephone surveys indicate strong community support, you must vote to make your voice heard. Through your mail-in ballot or on Nov. 5, please vote YES on Proposition 437.

The future of our community and our quality of life is directly connected to the success of the Maricopa Unified School District. As Maricopa grows, so does the school district and their facility needs that must be addressed. The quality of our schools helps drive economic development and the long-term health of Maricopa. Your YES vote will be a smart investment to our schools, our children and our city.

Our quality education system plays a critical role in developing a talented workforce that attracts new businesses. New businesses strengthen and diversify our economy.

Sometimes there is a difference of opinion about how to keep our schools special and increase student achievement. But there is no disagreement about the high level at which our schools are performing and what they contribute to our community. Studies show that quality schools can increase property values up to 15%.

Why is Proposition 437 so important? Currently, all Maricopa Unified School District schools are at or near capacity and additional funds are needed for safety improvements, new buses, heating, cooling, roofs repairs and deferred maintenance.

Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) student enrollment is expected to increase between 4,100 and 5,800 students over the next eight years

  • MUSD currently serves nearly 7,500 students in preschool-12th grade
  • MUSD transports more than 3,000 students, 800,000 miles, on 48 buses each year
  • MUSD offers award-winning academic, performing arts, and athletic programs
  • MUSD includes two “A” schools and an A+ School of Excellence

Your YES vote on Proposition 437 will provide MUSD with funds to:

  • Build an additional high school and acquire land
  • Repair and replace HVAC, roofing, and perform weatherization of buildings
  • Purchase additional buses to transport students
  • Make facility improvements to increase security and promote safety

Additionally, the Maricopa Unified School District and Governing Board are committed to an open and transparent budget process. If the bond is approved, a citizen oversight committee will be appointed to ensure bond funds are spent on time, on budget and as promised.

Great schools are a great investment in our community. Vote YES on Proposition 437.

 

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By Joshua Babb

Joshua Babb (submitted photo)

Fellow Maricopa residents, we are in another election season, and MUSD is asking again for more funding. As you recall, MUSD currently has one override and one bond that we are paying on.

They are back now, asking for additional funding in the form of a bond. I am not against proper education funding. However, I want to urge each of you to vote no on proposition 437. Let me explain why I believe this bond is a bad deal for MUSD and Maricopa.

According to MUSD and the Yes for Maricopa Schools PAC, this bond for $68 million is twofold; $48 million to build a new high school and $20 million to other projects such as HVAC, buses, security, etc.

Need for a new high school

First, I want to address the need for a new high school. There is no doubt there is a need for a new high school in Maricopa. However, what is in question is what kind of facility is needed. MUSD hired a consultant company to analyze their growth rate, and the company recommended MUSD proceed with a starter school. This would be a smaller facility and be designed in such a way that could be added onto and grow as the student population grew within Maricopa. The school board rejected this proposal and wanted to build a full-out high school that would not be filled for years to come.

Second, what is also essential for voters to understand is that the state education board has approved funding of $22.3 for this project and 40 acres of land for the new high school. MUSD’s own estimates for the starter schools indicates it would have been 125,000 square feet at $179.69 per square foot, putting the starter school cost at $22,461,250. Just above what the state is providing. So the question at hand is, why do we need a full-size high school right now? And why ask the voters for more money when the state provided what is needed for a new school?

The other $20 million

MUSD indicates that after state funding, there could be as much as $20 million left over after the construction of a new high school. MUSD has indicated that they want to use this funding to repair HVACs, roofs, etc. and getting new buses. They should be budgeting for these items through a typical year. Does it make financial sense to fund these short-term items on a bond that we will be paying down for 28 years? Would you put a car repair on a 28-year loan? No.

Yes for Maricopa Schools PAC

This PAC is pushing for proposition 437. I find it interesting that this PAC is funded by mostly those outside of Maricopa. Major donors include contractors, consultants, businesses and out-of-state individuals. Let’s not let those who don’t live in Maricopa drive how much we are paying on our taxes. Those that are interested in learning more I recommend going to http://www.pinalesa.org

Accountability: 

MUSD thinks we as voters should willingly increase our tax burden year after year. If you listen to the school board meeting where they voted to approve this bond measure, the only reason two voted against it was they wanted the bond to be a larger amount. Furthermore, your MUSD board members said in that very same meeting they intend on coming back and asking the voters for more in the coming years. Keep that in mind as you vote this year and next year when there are four school board positions up for reelection.

Joshua Babb is a business architect and a member of the City of Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission.

Merry Grace

By Merry Grace

There seems to be a lot of wrong information being tossed around on the upcoming bond election for Maricopa Unified School District. We need to remember that this bond will be used for more than just a new high school, with funds also designated to be used district-wide to repair roofing, HVAC and to increase security and transportation.

The new high school is crucial and long overdue. This is more than just adding extra class space. A new high school means better student/teacher ratios, better counseling opportunities with a smaller student population, more gym space for events and athletics, minimizes the need to leave town to seek a large venue for an overcrowded Prom, decreases the consideration to limit guests at an overcrowded graduation, increases extra curricular opportunities, increases safety, increases cafeteria space for a reasonable size lunch period, increases better parking space and so much more.

There is a town hall coming up on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m in the Maricopa Unified School District office. This is the chance for everyone to come out to engage in a discussion while getting the facts. I hope to see this room packed.

This district serves the majority of the student population in our community including Ak Chin, homeless, ELL, Special Education, Gifted Education, etc. The award winning programs and success stories all lead to amazing accomplishments every year with each graduating class surpassing the previous class.  We cannot keep building new homes and expect to keep wrongfully packing in students to a small space, limiting the quality of their education, limiting opportunities and putting safety at risk with an over-capacity school.

Our household will be voting Yes, not as parents as we will no longer have a student in school after 2022. We are voting as concerned community members who understand the value of having thriving schools in a community. You cannot grow your community and not grow your schools.

I hope to see everyone at the town hall on Oct. 22. Let’s unite and get the facts. Our future students deserve the best. Maricopa it is time to elevate our community.


Merry Grace is a Maricopa resident.

Alan Marchione

By Alan Marchione

Alan Marchione

Here we go again. This November, taxpayers once again find themselves badgered by the Maricopa Unified School District on what percentage of their hard-earned dollars they can actually allocate to the care of and interests of their own families. The MUSD, already having an existing bond in place, after passing the current override, and the approval of the Red for Ed measure last year, wants even more of your money. Remember this measure is on the ballot as many of you are mailing your Pinal County property tax payments, due by Nov. 1.

It’s not surprising how strategic the MUSD is being in proposing Prop 437 to voters this November. This measure in the off-election cycle guarantees most of you will stay home, or be less interested in casting your vote, allowing advocates of the measure to pass it while most aren’t looking. In a calculated effort, Mayor Price, Council and School Board Members have all come out in favor of the measure, without addressing any of the valid arguments against the tax increase.

Prop 437 seeks voter approval for nearly $113 million of our hard-earned income. Don’t be fooled by the $68 million request, because that number doesn’t include the 28 years of interest we’ll all be on the hook for. On average, you’re looking at an additional $300 annually to the District on your tax bill – let that sink in.

Also, don’t be fooled by propaganda suggesting economic development will be adversely affected if not passed. Even with the MUSD’s years-long low ranking of 75th in Arizona, houses continue to be sold, and property values continue to rise. Maricopa is, and will remain a predominantly bedroom community for many years to come, and a majority of us feel that pain driving the 347 each day. There are no big companies coming to Maricopa with its limited infrastructure, and the Valley has too much unoccupied business capacity for Maricopa to become a viable option for business overflow.

What’s also not mentioned is the increased capacity for high school students at our local charter schools, and Heritage Academy which has a brand new facility coming online, serving grades 6-12 in the near future. If your child attends one of our many local charter schools, your increased tax spending will not benefit their education in the slightest. Not one dollar of Prop 437 tax dollars, or the current override tax will ever go to your child’s charter school. You’ll be subsidizing schools your children don’t even attend.

I’ll make the assumption the vast majority of Maricopa’s residents moved to the city because of the lower cost of housing. Many residents already question that decision, when factoring in the higher cost of utilities, fuel and maintenance costs on their vehicles, and with property taxes rivaling some counties in California, any savings in the cost of homeownership is basically eliminated; thus making a move to, or back to, the Valley more appealing.

If you’re a senior on a fixed income, can you afford another tax increase? Seasonal residents will again be realizing an increase in their property taxes, with no voice in the matter, and no realized benefits. Maricopa business owners will be burdened with increased costs as already high rental rates increase even higher to offset the cost.

Understand this… MUSD will never have enough of your money. Even with an existing bond in place, the override tax in place, higher tax revenues coming in from higher property values, and Red for Ed funds, they are continuing to petition for more funds, and will do so indefinitely. Their appetite for your tax dollars is insatiable, and they’ll tax you to death to get it.

Send a message to the MUSD to “budget for reality,” Join me in Voting NO on Prop 437.


Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.

 

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By Cara Lovegrove

Dear Editor and Fellow Citizens of Maricopa,

Recently, I was given the opportunity to serve my community and failed you. I want to start this letter by first apologizing for my actions. The moment I found out I missed jury duty I realized I had made a big mistake. I didn’t know however, the severity of the situation nor how much of an inconvenience I was causing the court and my community.

Speaking with the Honorable Judge Riggs, I now understand the nuisance I caused and I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. Not only was the court case in jeopardy of being held that day, but I might have also wasted the time for the court, and those jurors who did come through with the fulfillment of their civic duty.

The penalty for being in contempt of missing jury duty without proper court approval is up to $500 in fines and up to 6 months jail time. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to write this apology instead of facing the devastating penalties that could have affected the lives of many, including my precious daughter.

This community means so much to my family and I. If chosen again, I will make sure to follow the guidelines accordingly and hope you also recognize this importance should you be called to serve one day in the future.

Cara Lovegrove is a resident of Maricopa.

By Christian Price

With materials and labor costs rising as much as 40 percent in the past year alone, this carefully choreographed dance between land developers, building contractors and business owners is getting trickier and trickier.

Mayor Christian Price (submitted photo)

As many of you know, last month, a contingent from Maricopa, which included myself and City staff,  participated in the International Conference of Shopping Centers (ICSC) in Las Vegas.

This particular show is a veritable “who’s who” of developers, financiers, site selectors, place makers, retailers, hoteliers and so much more. More than 35,000 attendees congregate in one place looking to make connections, build relationships, get to know new areas and land sites and start the lengthy process of making deals to potentially pull new “stuff” out of the ground.

When it comes to this type of economic development, cities like Maricopa are often prevented from revealing information to the public until the business itself gives us permission.  And although we may be bursting with pride when a business expresses an interest in our city, we must abide by their wishes before making any big announcements.

But something we can share is how the business and development community look at expanding their product to a market, specifically one like Maricopa.

Each market or land site within a city, county or state has a long list of challenges to overcome, long before development can ever be considered, and the way a developer or business perceives a given market has to fit into their “proprietary formula for success” that is specific to their industry, market conditions, economic and consumer trends, political certainty, financial opportunity, availability to capital and so on.

Almost all businesses have and use these formulas to calculate the amount of risk they are willing to make when considering a multi-million-dollar investment into the market. Some company formulas, in my opinion, are more open to trying something new, non-conforming or taking new risks, but many are not. And almost every company swears their formula is “tried and true” based on their years of operations as a business. Trying to get them to deviate, even just a little bit, from these calculated formulas of success is almost impossible. And of course, for each company, each type of business, every different brand within that company or industry type, they are all different!

Whether we agree with them on how Maricopa fits into their formulas or not, we understand that they do change and evolve over time for a variety of reasons — which, in and of itself, is a reason to never give up trying to meet with them, tell them our story, expound on our virtues and persuade them on the merits of a new location for their enterprise here within the borders of our fair city. But the reality is, there are real barriers in locating to any market, even one like Maricopa.

Economies change, CEOs and boards of directors change. Risk tolerances and policies change. Markets change. Progress with “shovel-ready sites” changes.

Site challenges change with infrastructure improvements and other growth-related issues.  Population and rooftops matter immensely to these folks. And the perception of what other businesses have done recently or the growth or successes of other businesses in the area may all come into play when decisions are being made.

Thus, as we continue to meet and speak with a variety of businesses, many of which you have shared with me on Facebook that you’d like to see come to Maricopa, and even more that you haven’t, we are literally wading our way through and trying to address these various challenges that are made evident from our very first encounter.

Sometimes a business is simply looking for “the easy sure thing” when it comes to development, and who can blame them? I would do the very same thing. But looking for that easy-to-develop, with-no-challenges site is a little like looking for a unicorn in today’s marketplace. Of course, we all know a business can choose to move heaven and earth if they really want to be located in a given market, but again most need shepherding and lots of encouragement, stats, data, hand-holding and reminders to the decision-makers that we want them here in Maricopa.

We are a young (16-years-old) city. We are not an already-built and established city.  We rely on our partners and developers whom we have been fostering relationships with for years that understand the market and are interested in working with us to get new businesses into their soon-to-be-developed buildings.

With materials and labor costs rising as much as 40 percent in the past year alone, this carefully choreographed dance between land developers, building contractors and business owners is getting trickier and trickier.

During our time at ICSC we had a very direct discussion with one of our partners, a developer who is actively working with us to attract new businesses and pull buildings and businesses out of the ground that our community has expressed interest in. We expressed our community’s wants and desires; he is willing to work with us, but explained that getting to where we want to be is a process. That we have to build slowly and deliberately, that each new business allows us to attract other businesses. Such is the life cycle of a growing city.

When a business locates to a new area and is successful, it creates development momentum.  Their success also sends a ripple effect through the system that the development community takes note of. This drives their interest in a city to further investigate and ultimately participate in the marketplace.

For example, many of our residents have expressed a desire to have a sit-down restaurant or a “nice steak house.” But to get there you must first start with a fast casual restaurant.  Once that restaurant is here and doing well, they expand. And others take notice and consider locating here as well. Which, in turn, prompts other restaurants until eventually the “nice steak house” in Maricopa is a reality.

While there are always exceptions to the above mentioned rules, generally speaking, that is the standard life cycle of a city and how businesses, restaurants, retailers and others make their decisions.

We are very hopeful that this next phase of development for Maricopa will see some of these new businesses that we are all looking for.  Our city staff and others are working alongside the developers and the owners of the properties on this vision for our city.

I don’t share this with you as an excuse or to push off our goals of growing our economy and our quality of life here within the city. (If that were the case I certainly wouldn’t have walked over 30+ miles in dress shoes to talk to all these folks!)  But rather to have you walk a mile in those shoes, understand the process and the conversations that we’ve been having that convey to the business decision-makers what our community wants.

There are bright and exciting days ahead for this marvelous city. But the process in which economic development occurs, new buildings are built, new stores and businesses open, is not one that happens overnight and it doesn’t typically happen without a little assistance and guidance.  With so many moving parts that must align perfectly in order for things to come out of the ground, development can certainly be challenging, but definitely not impossible.

And in my book, the City of Maricopa is most definitely worth the effort.

Christian Price is the mayor of Maricopa.

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Kimberly Diedrich (contributed photo)

By Kimberly Diedrich

Women’s Empowerment comes from our own achievements, not by denigrating or attacking others.

Recently a women’s empowerment seminar was held at Maricopa’s City Hall. In attendance were over 200 people coming together to celebrate women’s empowerment and the role women play in Maricopa’s developing community. I was excited about the opportunity to share in the powerful energy that exists in today’s women and how we can achieve greater successes in the future.

Unfortunately, the seminar started off on a very sour note. Instead of having an introduction by somebody who had an uplifting and empowering message, we were forced to listen to a woman continue to blame others and play the victim one more time as she rehashed years-old events.

Julia Gusse, a member of Maricopa’s city council, chose to make her opening comments about enduring some phantom wrongs and how she overcame these as an empowered woman. In fact, all she did was revisit her own contempt for others.

Without naming names, she chose to talk about being the one person who protected women from a former council member who was accused of sexual harassment. What she failed to do was mention that the accusations were independently investigated, and the council member was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Her failure to tell the whole story makes a mockery of the real goals of empowerment because she is unwilling to accept her own failures and chooses to see her “victory” where there was nothing to be victorious over. In fact, her willingness to see her involvement as somehow the savior of these other women is in complete contrast to the goals of an independent, strong, empowered woman. Telling a half story so that it suits your agenda is manipulative and wrong.

Next, she trampled on the institution that she wraps herself in by claiming when she was found guilty of violating the ethics code of the city council it was only because of her “tone” when attacking a former council member and citizen during a council meeting. Instead of accepting her colleagues’ unanimous admonishment and learning from her behavior, she has diluted the consequences of her actions to something that makes her the victim, a role she is familiar playing.

Over the course of Ms. Gusse’s political career she has engaged in attacking and forcing investigations on nearly every male member of the city council she has served with. Through the tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours of investigations the only person every found guilty of anything was Ms. Gusse herself.

When Ms. Gusse rose to make the opening comments at the event, I was hopeful that she had seen the destruction she has caused through her false and misleading allegations and would speak about how realizing that men and those who are her political opposites are not her enemies. Had that been the message, I would have been encouraged and excited about how the next three hours would be empowering. Instead, I had to listen to a regurgitation of old events that Ms. Gusse twisted into some form of empowerment for herself.

She clearly does not understand what empowerment is.


Kimberly Diedrich is the owner of Home is Where the Hound Is.

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By Lucinda Boyd

Lucinda Boyd

As our Maricopa Community prepares for the new overpass and roadways, the new growth and development that is coming to our city is welcoming. We are proud of our Multigenerational Copper Sky facility, the fields are being used for tournaments and people are coming into our community from all over the US, many say they are the best fields in state and beyond. Thanks to those who made this a possibility.

It is a good time to reflect on the role of women in our community. Many changes in our community are a result of leadership from women in our community, whether it be at the city level, through community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, volunteer organizations and women’s organizations. Our voices are strong.

Yet in 2019, the United States and Arizona still have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, passed out of Congress in 1972 as a bipartisan issue. Arizona has always been a leader in women’s rights.

On Saturday, April 6, 2019, Area 5 of Zonta International, the Zonta clubs of Maricopa, Casa Grande, Tucson, Nogales, Phoenix and East Valley Phoenix met in Maricopa and endorsed the ratification by Arizona of the Equal Rights Amendment. We are women, activists in our communities dedicated to the goals of Zonta International — to be part of a global community working together to empower women and girls. Thus, it is particularly frustrating to us that we are still working for constitutional equality here in Arizona.

We urge legislators to vote for ratification of the ERA. Bills are still before the Legislature in HCR 2030, 1009 and SCR 1006. We are not giving up until equality, in our Constitution, is a reality. Some of us have been in this fight for a very long time, some of us have just joined, but we will be watching and asking those running in 2020 “Did you support women’s equality in 2019?”


Lucinda Boyd is the president of Zonta Club of Maricopa.

 

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Peg Chapados

By Peg Chapados

On Thursday, Feb. 7, for the better part of the day, City Council WIG-ged out at City Hall! But, in this case it’s a good thing, because WIG stands for Wildly Imaginative Goals!

The event was the 2019 City Council Strategic Planning Retreat, which is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion. How so?

City Council – all seven members were there, along with department directors and some staff, the city manager, city attorney, a reporter (who was not able to stay the entire time), and me. Strategic – extremely, considering this was City Manager Horst’s first one since joining the Maricopa team in June 2018. Planning – what I observed was more like “we’ve talked about plans for some time; let’s continue, but let’s also focus on and prioritize action steps to get things done.” Retreat – anything but. The day was all about the 2040 Vision components and elements using strategic advancement.

Council Chambers buzzed with excitement, innovation, creative thinking, engaging dialogue, solutions, visionaries, and possibilities. Kudos to City Council on the discussions and outcomes. Your individual and collective input will help move, no propel, our city forward.

Council heard and talked about lots of innovative recommendations, gave honest feedback based on history and lessons learned, but also approached each idea or challenge with strategic vision of what Maricopa can and will become. Mayor and Council provided direction to the City Manager and staff that will mean bringing back options and specific action plans to implement or execute. Change will happen, but it will be change that strengthens Maricopa.

I have attended Strategic Planning sessions for over 10 years. Many as a resident and six as a member of Council. There have been lots of good ideas, great dialogue and positive input over the years, but this one was by far the most productive and effective. Well done staff, well done Rick Horst, well done City Council!

Highlights included:

  • Addressing and fixing flood plain issues which challenge our development potential
  • Growing Maricopa’s economy
  • Continuing to look at who or what are not here (yet) and leveraging partnerships and resources to get what we need and want now
  • Taking care of seniors and veterans by providing dedicated space for them
  • Enhancing programs and activities that showcase Copper Sky, including the impact that our first hotel and other retail, residential and commercial projects will bring
  • Developing a business park with expansion capabilities, offering the next step in bringing jobs and business opportunities to Maricopa
  • Long-range planning that will transform various areas throughout Maricopa into parks, recreation space, improved housing/residential areas, business centers, retail developments, etc.
  • Smart growth with a plan, which includes revising some current policies, processes and Codes while keeping us responsive and competitive, yet distinctive
  • Focusing on the present, embracing and learning from the past, and creating a future that is sustainable, affordable and the result of collaboration and cooperation
  • Strengthening partnerships, promoting collaboration, and maximizing the synergy of SMEs (subject matter experts) that work together to accomplish anything and everything
  • Continuing to focus on quality of life but also quality of place – making Maricopa a preferred and sought-out destination to live, work, play and learn.

This only begins to mention things shared at the 2019 Strategic Planning Retreat. Look for further developments as they evolve. There are lots more things to come, and it will surely be great to see, but even better to be part of. City Council, thank you, and let’s get busy!


Peg Chapados is a former member of Maricopa City Council and former vice mayor.

Christian Price

The 2019 Legislative session begins on Jan. 14, and our newly elected legislators will join their incumbent colleagues to begin the hard and critically important work of representing their constituents in the Arizona House and Senate. And the League of Arizona Cities and Towns is ready to help.

The League exists to promote local self-government and municipal independence and this mission has never been more important in the State of Arizona than it is today.

Our primary focus is to represent the interests of cities and towns before the Arizona Legislature, and to strengthen the quality of life and common good of all citizens of Arizona municipalities. We do this through advocacy of legislative and administrative policy that help to make our municipalities more efficient and responsive to our citizens’ needs, and also through review of any policy proposals that could be counter to these goals. When appropriate we seek effective compromise.

Whether elected at the local or state level, we all are bound by our common desire and duty to do what is right for all Arizonans, and it is this shared value that should bring us together to work for the benefit of every citizen that we collectively represent.

As president of the Arizona League, I join with our 25-member Executive Committee and all member cities and towns across our state, to work with our colleagues at the state legislature to find common ground in good policy-making and to ensure that the best interests of our cities and towns are represented.  Together, we can continue to build an even better Arizona – a state that we all love and revere.


Christian Price is the president of League of Arizona Cities and Towns and the mayor of Maricopa.

Rep. Mark Finchem

By Rep. Mark Finchem

HB2002 is a response to calls from parents and teachers to end political activism in the K-12 classroom. Parents expect teachers to teach, not to indoctrinate. There is a teachable moment here.

Contrary to what leftist political pundits and apologists for injecting politics everywhere assert, we employ teachers to inspire curiosity in science, and to foster competency in reading, mathematics and writing, not to promote ideological obedience. In essence there is an agency relationship created in the employment relationship. The claim that HB2002, pre-filed for the 2019 Legislative session, silences the First Amendment right of teacher free speech is a false claim, fabricated for headlines. The claim is unfounded, and actually runs counter to the 2015 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Arce V. Douglas.

In Arce, Judge Wallace Tashima ruled, “state limitations on school curricula that restrict a student’s access to materials otherwise available may be upheld only where they are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns—especially in a context such as this, where the local school board has already determined that the material at issue adds value to its local school curriculum. Granting wider discretion has the potential to substantially hinder a student’s ability to develop the individualized insight and experience needed to meaningfully exercise her rights of speech, press, and political freedom. Pico, 457 U.S. at 867,” (Tashima, 2015, Pg. 27, Pa.1). In short, teachers are not permitted to evangelize their personal political positions, but must teach narrowly to the approved curriculum.

I respect teachers and the teaching profession. Teachers play a critical role in our society; they are often trusted advisors, mentors and influencers of the next generation of leaders, and society at large. It is shocking that individuals occupying positions of trust in the eyes of parents and our children, object to standards of professional conduct. Professionals including attorneys, accountants, realtors, architects and even journalists subscribe to their respective Codes of Ethics. It sets these vocations aside as professions. As professionals, teachers should follow the lead of most other professions and embrace a code of ethics.

Over the last two years, hundreds of parents have demanded relief from political activities in Arizona K-12 classrooms, and the bullying that goes with resistance. Since the introduction of HB2002, many teachers have expressed support for the call to end what they [emphasis added] call, “political indoctrination” in the K-12 classroom. The most common statement recorded from teachers is unnerving: “Finally someone is taking action.”

Professions adopt Codes of Ethics, to promote credibility for their practitioners. Such a “Code” is significant as an acknowledgement that the professionals in their ranks conduct themselves in such a way as to elevate the work they do beyond a task. A code of conduct that governs the work that one will do, how they will do it, and the line that one will not cross in the course of exercising their craft, is what defines value.

Those who oppose ethics in the classroom claim there is no political indoctrination, so if that is indeed the case then there should be no fear of a Code of Ethics that holds people accountable for the expectations set by their principals in the agency relationship, in this case the parents of the children they are entrusted to teach.

Herein lies the crux of the matter, parents expect teachers to teach, not to indoctrinate by way of their own political persuasions. We employ them to inspire curiosity and learning, not obedience to a specific ideology. Recall the lessons from Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies; such books reveal the cost of teaching obedience over standing for freedom of thought. The K-12 classroom is not an ideological playground for adults, and our children are not their political play toys.

Parents are walking away from public schools at an increasing rate, and giving many reasons. This is one of their major concerns. I encourage political engagement, I encourage political speech, just not in the classroom. Like religion, teachers must remember, their customers – parents – often have a different worldview that must be respected, lest public schools become irrelevant. For those who can’t show the professional discipline necessary to leave their political speech out of the classroom, they need to find another job.


Mark Finchem, Republican, is an Arizona legislator representing District 11. He introduced House Bill 2002 last week

 

Reference: Tashima, W., (2015). Arce v. Douglas, 793 F.3d 968 (9th Cir.2015)
https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/07/07/13-15657.pdf

 

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By Scott Bartle

Scott Bartle, InMaricopa publisher

Dear Readers,

Unbelievably, the holiday season is upon us. Halloween is in the rear-view mirror, and now folks are counting down the number of shopping days until Christmas.

But before we get there, we celebrate Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I am writing to tell you how thankful we are for you, our readers. It is for you and because of you our company, services and jobs exist.

We are in our 14th year bringing you hyperlocal news and information. We have always made Maricopa news accessible to you at no charge, and we always will. And it is because of your support of our advertisers we are able to do so.

InMaricopa advertisers effectively pick up the tab on myriad costs incurred to report, write, edit, design, print and mail you this magazine. Same drill for InMaricopa.com, Maricopa Health Guide, New Resident Guide and our social media outlets. Businesses financially support the operation so you get our services free.

In addition to the value we bring by entertaining, informing and educating readers, the services we provide, as evidence by our Constitution’s First Amendment, have far-reaching societal benefits.

Our mission is to inform our readers and support our advertisers. We cannot do one without the other, and you are vital to both. Advertisers support us because you support them, and we are inexpressibly grateful to you for that.

Whether you find vendors on the ad list, research local resources in the business directory or just enjoy perusing the ads throughout, know your support of these businesses is critically important and much appreciated.

On behalf of my colleagues at InMaricopa, thank you. Thank you for your readership. Thank you for your support. And thank you for your support of our advertisers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Appreciatively,

 

Scott Bartle
Publisher


This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Judy Webster runs Camino Montessori in Maricopa. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

An open letter to the Maricopa community

By Judy Webster

As many of you are aware, Camino Montessori closed its doors at the end of the school day on Oct. 5. This was a gut-wrenching decision, and I am absolutely brokenhearted about it. It was my dream to bring affordable Montessori education to a community that did not have it. I have poured my heart and soul into this dream for the past nine years, and even two weeks after we closed our doors I continue to grieve over the closing. It is not something I ever dreamed would happen.

I feel terrible for the staff that gave their all to make this a successful school. I feel terrible about not being able to continue the mission of bringing Montessori education to the Maricopa community. Above all else, I feel terrible anguish for letting down the children and families that called Camino their school.
I totally understand the anger that some people have expressed about the closing and especially about the very short notice that was given. If we could have found any way to move forward without closing or if we could have found any way to keep the doors open longer (end of October, end of semester, end of the year) we would have pursued it. The fact of the matter is, we ran out of money.

Many may say that Camino must have known that there were money problems. The answer to that is yes, we knew it was going to be very tight. We lost a lot of enrollment during the second semester last year but managed to make it to the end of the school year. We were convinced that by adding enrollment over the summer, we would be able to continue to keep the doors open. During the summer we did indeed increase the enrollment to a number that would have supported the school but unfortunately on the first day of school, many of the new enrollees did not show up.

Through August and September, we looked at many options to keep the doors open including but not limited to the hiring of a management company to take over operations, combining classrooms, reducing staff, selling the property we had purchased, etc. In the end, we did not see a way to continue without building excessive debt. My husband and I have put a great deal of our own money into this school (our choice) but the well dried up, we did not have funds to meet the needs to continue the school. We seriously doubt we will ever recoup that money. We also understand that this is a risk of running a business.

There were other dynamics to the financial issues that I will not go into in this letter as we adhere to strict confidentiality when it comes to personnel, students, business and potential business partners. I will not “throw anyone under the bus.” Needless to say, all of it related to enrollment or, more fitting, lack of enrollment. The bottom line is, I was the charter holder, I was the director of the school and I accept responsibility.

It is very important for me to let everyone know that the school complied with all legal requirements for students. We alerted staff and families the day after the Board voted to close the school. Understanding that the abrupt closing was going to be difficult for the children and their families we tried to do everything we could think of to help make the change as seamless as possible. We gave families a list of charter, private and public schools along with contact information and provided a handout about home schooling. The day after we let the families know we were closing, we contacted nearly every school on that list to let them know that we were closing and got information about openings they had. We shared that information with the families as well. I offered to meet one on one with any families that wanted help finding new schools. We made copies of all student records and made them available to families on the last day so that they would have the information to give to their child’s potential new school. The staff and I did everything we could think of to make the last couple of days at Camino as positive experience as possible.

I would like to thank the Maricopa community for the incredible support you have shown for Camino Montessori. From government officials to businesses to the wonderful families and children, I will never forget you. I truly hope that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive Camino for the abrupt closing.

Very Sincerely,

Judy Webster
Camino Montessori

By Ralph Atchue

Ralph Atchue

I’m Ralph Atchue, your candidate for the Arizona State Senate and I need your vote.  There is a clear and distinct difference between my vision and my opponent’s long voting record.  Here are just a few key issues:

I support full funding for public education – teachers’ pay and the entire system.  We are still $800 million/year below 2008 funding.

I propose a non-partisan comprehensive audit of the state’s tax policies.  I intend to find every loophole and credit that is not paying a return on investment – those funds can pay for improved education, infrastructure, health care (Maricopa should have a hospital) and reduction of skyrocketing sales taxes.  Our economy can and should work for every family.

I demand protections be strengthened for our public lands and vital resources.  I will fight to make sure future generations have clean air and pure sustained water.  We cannot risk our environment for short term profit.

I pledge to investigate and stop all forms of unethical practices within state government.  We must not allow conflicts of interest that result in elected legislators using their positions of power to profit from tax payer money. We deserve ethical government that is transparent and accountable.

I commit to working with teachers, parents, law enforcement and students to find ways to make our schools safer. I will never allow a gun lobby to protect ideology over the safety of our children.

2018 gives us a chance to make some changes.  As a Clean Elections Candidate, I owe all my allegiance to you – Arizona’s voters.  I’m ready to get to work for you.

Ralph Atchue is the Democratic nominee for State Senate LD 11.

 

By Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith (submitted photo)

Please join me in supporting my friend Bret Roberts for Arizona House of Representatives in District 11.

As a member of the City of Maricopa’s City Council I know, first hand, that our city is desperate for a representative who understands the needs of cities and counties as they set their legislation and budget at the state level. Bret Roberts has taken the time to speak to me and ask me about those needs. No other candidate has shown this same level of interest.

Over the last 18 months, Bret Roberts has also spent significant time understanding the main issues at the state level. Bret has served the public very well in his current position as Constable and I believe he has the skills and passion to continue fighting for Maricopa voters especially as it relates to his commitment to secure our border, support law enforcement, promote economic opportunity and invest in education.

I encourage you to strongly consider supporting a candidate who understands the needs of Maricopa as well as the rest of District 11. Support Bret Roberts for Arizona House of Representatives in District 11.

 


Nancy Smith is a City of Maricopa Council Member

By Vincent Manfredi

Vincent Manfredi

When you go to vote this coming election, I think the choice for constable in Maricopa and Stanfield is clear.

Glenn Morrison is my choice and I ask you to also support him. Glenn puts his life on the line to protect you and I every time he puts on his Pinal County Sheriff Office Posse uniform. He has volunteered thousands of hours in the last 7 years patrolling communities in Pinal County ensuring the safety of the residents. Glenn does not get paid to be a Posse member but does it as a service to his community. What could be a better example of community service?

Glenn has been part of the community for years well before he decided to run for office. It is hard to think of someone more suited to hold the office of Constable. Glenn is endorsed by Pinal County Supervisor and former Maricopa Mayor Anthony Smith, Current Maricopa Mayor Christian Price, Current Vice Mayor Peg Chapados, Council Member Nancy Smith, Current Constable Bret Roberts, State Sen. Steve Smith, State Representatives Mark Finchem and Vince Leach, Pinal County Deputy Association, Firefighters Local and others. With that much support it’s a good bet he is known to be involved and active, in Maricopa and beyond.

So, whether you vote on election day or early ballot, vote Morrison for Constable.

Vincent Manfredi is a Maricopa Council Member.

By Merry Grace

Merry Grace

The election of our next constable is not one to be taken lightly.  This elected position is for a peace officer tasked with the execution of orders from the Justice Court. These orders can include, but are not limited to, evictions, protection, seizure of property, service of criminal and civil subpoenas and summonses, orders to collect judgments, and more.

As a mom, I am endorsing Mr. Andre LaFond as he brings with him a strong commitment to service and community while using his skills and experience to carry out those orders and tasks. Andre LaFond brings with him 14 years of private law enforcement, experience as an Army veteran, leadership experience as an Eagle Scout and various community outreach training, service and collaborative ethics to put service before self.  Mr. LaFond hopes to further his impact as constable by offering resources and support to people such as evictees or domestic violence victims and expand support programs. He holds this position in the highest regard and will work hard to ensure the safety of our citizens while collaborating with law enforcement.

Most important to me is his desire and commitment to work with the City of Maricopa Police Department to bridge the gap and build a partnership. I have seen Mr. LaFond at school safety meetings, community meetings and various events. Not only does he engage in the discussions and works to become a part of the solutions but he goes the extra step to provide information and resources by way of posting recaps on social media especially when it comes to safety.  We need continued support from our elected officials to lead by example while increasing community engagement and involvement.

I see Mr. LaFond holding this position with the utmost respect while working hard to develop community support and increase partnerships to better our community.  Creating and developing a partnership with local and county law enforcement while bridging the gap with city organizations, schools, citizens and leaders will only lead to a thriving community all while serving and protecting our citizens.

Join me in electing Andre LaFond as our next constable.


Merry Grace is a resident of Maricopa.