Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Arizona Party Builders? Which Party Exactly?

With the fiasco surrounding the Republican Victory Fund still fresh in our minds, we couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when we learned that two candidates on a slate running for the Maricopa County Republican Committee voted against a resolution to censure Senate President Steve Pierce, and House Speaker Andy Tobin for their involvement.

Why would Lisa Gray and Rene Lopez vote against the resolution?  Were they not concerned about the underhanded actions taken by Pierce when he allowed Rich Crandall to benefit financially using the RVF money during a primary campaign?  Did they not care that Tobin tabled union bills after receiving money from unions during his campaign? Or, just maybe it was because Tobin contributed a glowing endorsement for her husband, Rick Gray?  Is there a potential conflict of interest if a County Chairman is married to a member of the legislature? 

This made us begin to wonder if there were other irregularities about their vague campaign promises and shiny fa├žade.  Especially when we read that Lisa Gray has the support of "Kook" Queen Laurie Roberts.  In fact, Roberts hopes that Lisa Gray wins the MCRC election.  She said,

 Next up: getting Lisa Gray elected as Haney's successor.
'Change is coming finally, Laurie …,' one Republican committeeman told me. 'We are weeding out these ‘Kooks’. They are self destructing too! The good, reasonable & thoughtful Republicans who want to do what is best for our state are finally making progress. We just need to make sure Haney's hand-picked AJ LaFaro does not become the County Chairman!'

LaFaro's the guy who pushed hard behind the scenes earlier this month to oust Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin from their leadership spots, saying they weren't conservative enough. Really.
 

The terms "reasonable", "thoughtful" and "progress" used by the "Republican Committeeman" sound familiar.  We hear them often from the liberal wing of the Republican/Democrat parties when they attempt to shut down the opposition by making them appear intolerant and freakishly behind the times. 

An endorsement from Roberts alone would be enough for anyone to question the true motives of this slate.  But, we wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, so we decided to look in to their claims for ourselves.  Trust but verify.


- For starters, the "Party Builders" as they call themselves, claim that
if elected, they will use "Technology and Social media."  

Gray lists one of her top achievements as having designed and donated the AZGOP logo to the State Party.  Don't we already have an MCRC website, an AZGOP website, an AZ Republicans twitter account and numerous district Facebook groups?  Do we really need to spend time focusing on reinventing the wheel? Is that what the "Party Builders" are offering?  Is a glitzy website and a party logo supposed to say "vote for me....I'm Conservative?"  Is it an odd coincidence that Lisa Gray just happens to have a business in web design and who was paid by her husband's campaign for his campaign website? 

Meh.  Not sold.


- Another statement the "Party Builders" have made is that they have "worked to unify factions within the party" and "encourage all factions of our party to be involved." 


But, then we read this from the Yellow Sheet in September:
 
"Gray promised to work toward bringing the party together so it can focus on the “90% of the Party ideals we all agree on and end the infighting over the other 10%.”
 
What exactly is the "other 10%?" 

 
The article continues:
  
“We need to really fix our infrastructure, and when I say ‘fix,’ I just mean that we need to make it stronger,” she told our reporter this afternoon. A lobbyist who knows Gray said her chances look very good. The source said Gray is a good organizer, isn’t a lightning rod and is promising to focus on the basics – propping up the party organization and increasing participation. “I don’t see her getting bogged down in a lot of those petty politics that the party has been kind of stuck in the mud on,” the lobbyist said..."


Wonder who her "lobbyist" friend might be who doesn't see her "getting bogged down in a lot of those petty politics."


Which reminds us, we have been hard pressed to find anything on their website which mentions where the slate actually stands on Constitutional and Republican principles.  For comparison, take Rob Haney's campaign statement about UNITY when he ran for Chairman in 2010:

 
"Unity in the Republican Party must be based upon support of Constitutional and Republican Platform principles of limited government or we become but a wing of the Democrat Party. As precinct committeemen (PCs), we do not lose our first amendment right to free speech in advocating for or against political policies. This is especially true when a policy proposed by a Republican Representative is clearly in opposition to the Constitution and is opposed by the majority of Republicans."


See a difference?


- Lisa Gray also claims that her team will not use the term "RINO." 

Why?  Because RINOs don't like to be called out when they sell out?  Well, if they don't want to distinguish between a "RINO" and a "Republican" then why do they throw around other descriptive terms like "conservative" and "grassroots?"  Why not just say "we are Republicans?"  While there is a time and place in politics for compromise, it is critical to know when to stand firm for your core beliefs.  The term  RINO is used to describe those who make vague, lukewarm statements designed to placate certain people.  RINOs offer little for those who passionately believe in traditional conservative values and the core principles of our party platform. 

Why would someone who claims to be a member of the TEA Party be so averse to the term RINO?  Wouldn't a self-proclaimed TEA "party builder" WANT to help rid the party of the squishy elected officials who refuse to stand on conservative principles?  Perhaps they might prefer a more politically correct term like "Progressives?"  (We prefer "leftist")


Makes one begin to wonder what kind of "party" they want to "build."


- Another interesting statement the "Party Builders" have made is that they have stayed neutral in primary elections. 

Well, except for Lisa Gray and Colleen Lombard's endorsement of Jeanette Dubreil who ran for the state House in 2012 but lost in the primary. Oh, and of course,  Gray would support her husband, Rick Gray, and even served as his campaign treasurer.  She was also paid by the Gray campaign for website design services

(Lisa and Jeanette were in the same Dodie Londen 2011 "class". )

Ms. Lombard also made a "neutral" primary election donation to J.D. Hayworth in July 2010.  While we supported J.D. in the primaries against RINO  Progressive John McCain, we aren't the ones claiming to be "neutral" in primary elections.

Then there is Mr. Paul Brierley, candidate for 1st Vice-chairman.  Brierley supported Jeff Flake during the primary election campaign in 2010 when Flake ran against Jeff Smith.  These pictures posted on Facebook on July 3, 2010 shows Brierley attending a Flake campaign event. The primary election was held on August 24th.





(Brierley is seen in the red shirt.)










Here is a recent photo of Brierley with fellow members of their slate.

Brierley also endorsed Warren Petersen during a three-man primary race for two state House seats this last year.  There was no Democrat opposition in the general election. 


For the record, we at SHIELD supported Warren Petersen as well.  However, we find it dishonest and misleading when at least three members of the "party builders" slate who are campaigning on being "neutral" in primary races, are found to have very clearly endorsed and financially supported candidates during their primary elections.


Brierley has had some questionable endorsements as well which include former State Vice-Chairman candidate, Stephen Viramontes in 2011 whose outrageous statements were highlighted last year on SHIELD.


He also endorsed John McCain's puppet, Ron Carmichael for AZ State Chairman in 2011.


Brierley is also the Director of Organization at the Arizona Farm Bureau.  You may recall that it was the Arizona Farm Bureau who was a party in a lawsuit against the state of Arizona in 2008 over E-verify legislation.  Fellow parties in the lawsuit included the Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform (Todd Landfried), Chambers of Commerce, Chicanos por la Causa, Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association, Wake Up Arizona! (Carl's Jr. and McDonald's franchise owners who have ties to Jeff Flake) and several other cheap labor contractors and businesses.


How much money did that lawsuit cost Arizona taxpayers?

The Arizona Farm Bureau has endorsed candidates such as Steve Pierce, Andy Tobin, Rich Crandall, Amanda Aguirre, Heather Carter, Debbie Lesko, and Russ Jones.  The Farm Bureau's AG PAC has also made numerous primary election donations and endorsements.  As usual, only a handful of actual conservatives made their list.

The Arizona Farm Bureau joined other organizations such as the IAF, Chicanos por la Causa, Valle del Sol, Friendly House and Border Action Network by signing off on the "Arizona Accord" (a so-called "REASONABLE IMMIGRATION REFORM" plan) paraded around by radical leftist, Randy Parraz.

Just this week we learned that the Arizona Farm Bureau has partnered with Todd Landfried's Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as part of a coalition pushing the new S.A.N.E. immigration policy (amnesty). 

 "Landfried emphasized that the negative effects of SB 1070 on the economy of Arizona propelled the conversation."

Something else we found interesting about Paul Brierley is that he was an inaugural Fellow at the "Arizona Civic Leadership Academy" program sponsored by the Flinn-Brown Foundations and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. It is a collaboration with other town and city "leadership" programs throughout the valley.  We've discussed their brainwashing  leadership training courses before.  The Foundation is dedicated to:
 
"raising the quality of life for present and future generations through expanded understanding and application of economic principles in private and public decision making."  Fellows learn to gain a better understanding of major state issues, the connections among them, and leading-edge thinking. They explore many of the major drivers of change and their impacts on state public policy—such as rural and urban differences, aging and demographics, shifting societal attitudes, the effects of the Great Recession, globalization, sustainability, and competitiveness." 


In other words, a plethora of Agenda 21 buzz words.


 To give you an idea of the kind of Fellows the program recruits, Brierley's class included Lisa Urias (see below), David Garcia (ASU professor who has consulted for organizations such as the US Dept. of Education and La Raza), David Martinez (Government Affairs Director for Arizona Students' Association), and Alberto Olivas (Director, Center for Civic Participation, Maricopa Community Colleges and member of the radical leftist group Arizona Town Hall who teaches our youth to "be the change" and other various Agenda 21 propaganda).
   FYI, Urias and Olivas both signed off on the Arizona Accord.

(Lisa Urias can be seen 5th from the left, at a Promise Arizona canvassing event to support Jerry Lewis during the Russell Pearce recall election)

 



In fact, Brierley teamed up with Urias to praise the program by saying,

 “This class was made up of registered independents, Republicans, and Democrats. Yet we were able to remove the political jerseys, listen to the facts and work together to consider sensible alternative solutions to the problems we face. We did not agree on everything. However, we understood quite clearly that public service requires leadership to work together for the good of the people—not for our own personal political careers. If we do not work together for the people in this great state, we are wasting precious time when there is so little time to waste.”


~Lisa Urias and Paul Brierley


Now why would ANYONE who claimed to be "Conservative" even entertain the thought of teaming up with leftists who want to promote Agenda 21 goals in our cities and towns? 


Again, exactly what kind of "party" are they wanting to build?


Finally, there were a few other bullet points on Ms. Gray's resume which stood out to us.  Mostly because many of the items she listed as accomplishments were things that other District Chairmen around the County have done as well, because, that was their JOB as Chairman.  Like increase district finances and reporting them to PCs, increase voter registrations, implement PC training, create a website or social media outlets like Twitter or Facebook, implement fundraising events, organize community service donations, and plan GOTV activities.

What we found worthy of researching, however, was Ms. Gray's claim that she increased the PCs in her district by 48%.  We quickly discovered that context matters.  Here's what we found:

In January 2011, Lisa Gray's district (LD9) had just over 100 elected PCs.  This equated to a 72% vacancy rate which included her own precinct! By May of 2012, another 50 or so PCs were appointed (not all that hard to do when you start out with such a large number of spaces to fill).  So, by the end of her Chairmanship, she STILL had a 60% vacancy rate.

Paul Brierley and Rene Lopez served as Chairman and 1st Vice Chair in LD21.  In January 2011 the district also had a 72% vacancy rate.  By May 2012, the vacancy rate was still high at 62%.   

By comparison, AJ LaFaro's district (LD 17) in Tempe started out with a 57% vacancy rate and lowered it to 54% by May 2012.

Jeni White's district (LD20) during the same time period went from a 69% vacancy rate to 55%.

Most impressive is David Ludwig's district (LD11) who STARTED with only an 8% vacancy rate!  Now THAT is how it is done!


Overall, adding up the vacancy rates for the two slates, it breaks down to this:

LaFaro's slate:  districts went from an overall vacancy rate of 49% to 45.8%.

Gray's slate:  districts went from an overall vacancy rate of 65% to 58.6%.  Still higher than where LaFaro's slate even started.

Based on our findings, it seems clear that our county party deserves better than vague promises and unclear positions.  We need strong, genuine leaders who have proven themselves to be willing to get involved and be proactive not because they are climbing a ladder or checking a box for future political aspirations, but because they truly believe in the cause.  Above all, we need leaders who will stand firm on their constitutional principles and not willingly cozy up to those who are trying to destroy them.