Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

According to a new study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) public school teachers are paid less than their similarly educated peers. The worst states for teachers are those where the teachers have gone on strike recently. Following West Virginia’s lead, teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma have walked out to protest dramatic cuts to investments in schools, students, and teachers, while teachers in Arizona are considering doing the same.

The new EPI report shows that striking teachers live in states with some of the largest gaps in pay between teachers and similarly educated workers in other professions. For example, while teachers nationally earn 77 cents per every dollar that other college graduates take home in weekly wages, in Arizona, teachers earn just 63 cents on the dollar. Oklahoma teachers take home 67 cents, and West Virginia teachers take home 75 cents on the dollar. And there is no state where teacher wages are equal to or better than those of other college graduates.

Meanwhile, teachers, parents and administrators and small business owners are lining up to voice their discontent because the Minneapolis School District, third largest in Minnesota, is facing a $33 million dollar shortfall, which will result in layoffs of as many as 400 teachers. Why is there a shortfall?

The city of Minneapolis provided $500 million to help fund the building of a private NFL stadium. Your taxpayer money is going to primarily help grow the profits of corporations, developers, millionaires and billionaires, and to hell with anybody who doesn’t have enough money to purchase representation in the political markets.

“The taxpayer-funded US Bank Stadium hosted its first Super Bowl last month, with billionaire real estate tycoon and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expected to reap $200 million from the new stadium each year in personal profits. The city of Minneapolis budgeted a whopping $498 million of taxpayer money to aid in the construction of the stadium, as well as to the destruction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which the new stadium replaced.

Taxpayers also will be chipping in over $7 million a year for operations and management, and do not receive discounts of any kind for funding the new facility.

Supporters of the stadium say that it spikes tourism and spending, which in turn helps the city. Many economists, however, say this spending tends to replace other local entertainment options that otherwise would have been utilized, and that city benefits for a new sports stadium are negligible, perhaps even ultimately harmful.

For a report on the Minneapolis educational crisis, click here

Click here for the EPI report.

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The idea that public school teachers need to go on strike in order to get livable wages and benefits is spreading, much to the dread of the billionaires who control both major political parties.

Early in March 2018, striking West Virginia teachers declared victory with a 5 percent raise and returned to their classrooms. Their organizing and their 13-day strike not only forced the legislature to raise their rock-bottom pay; it backed off corporate-linked education “reformers” on a host of other issues: charter schools, an anti-seniority bill, and preventing payroll deduction of union dues, and the rich who control the corporations that would benefit from these things are not happy state money went to impoverished public school teachers.

Emboldened by the success of the teachers of West Virginia, teachers in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky are now striking, sicking out, rallying, and Facebooking to push officials to raise their salaries and defend their benefits.

Teachers in Oklahoma are set to strike on April 2 if the legislature doesn’t grant a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for school support staff. It’s been a decade since Oklahoma teachers got their last raise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pay for educators there ranks last in the country, with high school teachers averaging $42,460.

Like the case in West Virginia, Oklahoma teachers are emboldened by a shortage of qualified educators. “Teachers are fleeing the state,” said Molly Jaynes, a third-grade teacher in Oklahoma City. “You can go to Arkansas and make $15,000 more; you can go to Texas and make $20,000 more”—as did Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. The state issues hundreds of emergency certifications every year to anyone with a bachelor’s degree. (It should be pointed out there is a teacher shortage throughout the United States)

Arizona teachers signed up in droves for a new Facebook group, “Arizona Educators United.” Thirty thousand joined in its first 10 days. Teachers there are building a grassroots “Red for Ed” movement, spreading photos of themselves wearing red T-shirts to school every Wednesday and assembling en masse at legislative hearings at the Capitol.

The latest state to join the strike talk is Kentucky, where the fight is about pensions and funding cuts to schools. Having systematically underfunded pensions for over a decade, the legislature is now pushing to cut cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and other employees. Like teachers in 14 other states, Kentucky teachers do not collect Social Security, so they rely entirely on the state pension system.

These four states; Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia are dominated by the Republican Party, which is controlled by billionaires. Strong labor unions can often help defeat the billionaires in state and local elections. Keeping the memberships in poverty and financially starving public education has been a political strategy, effectively waging war against children, the poor and the middle class.

On the other hands, the billionaires of the Democratic and Republican parties have to a large degree gutted the tax base of the United States by voting to export tens of millions of US jobs over the last twenty-five years in order to redistribute the massive difference between the old higher wages and benefits of tens of millions of US workers and the new poverty third world wages of the exported jobs.

Democrat politicians such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer have joined hands with Republicans such as George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and John Boehner to export those jobs, and creating the highest income and wealth inequality in US history.

On the state and local levels, the rich control contracting corporations that feed on useless public projects and services. Giving the teachers raises and higher benefits means that some public money will need to be diverted from those tax guzzling projects to the teachers, which may negatively impact the share prices of corporations.

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According to Jerry Peacemaker, “Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell was married to Phoenix City Attorney (and late) Joe R. Purcell, not the late Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas Joe Purcell. The coincidence was amazing, but they are not the same woman. My apology.”

But that was an amazing coincidence; Voter fraud on a grand scale in the form of voter suppression, and a woman named Helen Purcell. What a coincidence!

Purcell closed 140 of the 200 polling places in Maricopa County, despite an increase of anticipated voters from 300,000 in 2012 to 800,000 in 2016.

By the way, although Hillary won the Democratic Primary in Arizona, she did so on the basis of mailed in ballots. Bernie won 52 percent of the vote of those who showed up to vote, compared to 48 percent for Hillary. This massive voter suppression thus benefited Hillary. The fewer people who showed up to vote, the greater was Hillary’s lead.

By the way, notice in the video above that Purcell blames voters for the long lines because they had the audacity to show up and exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Purcell is a registered Republican.

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Over 100,000 Arizonans sent a clear message to the White House this week with a petition regarding the obvious and massive voter fraud committed by the Wall Street Democratic Establishment allowing Hillary Clinton to defeat Bernie Sanders.

Reader Jerry Peacemaker sent me a tip, which I’ve doubled checked. Jerry accurately wrote, “The late Joe Purcell (1923-1987) was Arkansas’s Lieutenant Governor from 1975-81, during the time Bill Clinton was the state’s governor. Joe Purcell was married to Helen (Hale) Purcell. Helen Purcell as Recorder of Maricopa County in Arizona was responsible for reducing the number of polling places in the state’s most highly-populated county from over 200 to 60, resulting in hours-long waiting in lines for Arizonans wishing to exercise their democratic rights.

Purcell, however, may not be the same person as the former wife of Joe Purcell. So there may not be a Clinton connection. However, voter suppression did take place in
Arizona March 22.

Lines were so long people literally spent an entire work day waiting to vote. In 2012, Maricopa County, which is the most populous county in Arizona, had over 200 polling locations open on primary day. In 2016, that number was reduced to just 60. This amounted to over 20,000 voters for every polling location, meaning voters had to stand in line for hours to cast their ballots.

As it turns out, elections in Arizona are governed by the county recorder, who determines how many polling places are actually open on Election Day. The recorder in Pima County, which houses Tucson, had twice as many polling locations open than in Maricopa County. And Pima County is roughly one-third the size of Maricopa County.

In Maricopa County, Purcell was responsible for the reduction in polling places in 2016, justifying it by saying turnout was traditionally low, so the solution was to reduce the number of places where citizens could cast their vote. She also blamed voters for the problem, because they showed up.

Purcell is incompetent or corrupt. In 2012 there were 200 polling places for an estimated 300,000 voters. In 2016, Purcell made certain there were 60 polling places for an expected turnout of 800,000 voters, according to news reporter Joe Dana.

According to one source, “As election day began, it was learned that 1.3 million voters, most of who reportedly would have voted for Sanders, were disenfranchised from voting in the Democratic primary. Additionally, significant numbers of registered Democratic voters who were told they were not on the Democratic voting lists included long-time Democrats who had voted in the Democratic primaries before without any problem. Others who properly switched their party were told they were also not on the list. At best, these Democratic voters were told, they could vote a provisional ballot which would not be counted today.”

Polling places in Latino neighborhoods were even scarcer than in Maricopa County. Many voters in Maricopa were given provisional ballots, which were not counted as votes. And the list of corruption goes on and on. Helen Purcell should be fired immediately, and her actions investigated. Criminal charges should be brought against her if needed. With 1 percent of the vote counted, the national corporate propaganda machine did their part; they announced Clinton the winner, perhaps discouraging thousands of people from voting.

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Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primaries in Idaho and Utah yesterday, and although he lost in Arizona, the Vermont senator cut into Hillary Clinton’s lead. Most of the corporate propaganda machine didn’t mention this later issue. The Oregonian newspaper noted that Clinton won Arizona, and made certain not to mention Bernie’s victories in Idaho and Utah.

For the night, Bernie won 67 delegates and Clinton 50. Clinton’s total lead is down to slightly above 200, not counting super delegates. Clinton has a big lead in pledged super delegates, but those are not binding. Those folks can change their mind. In addition, if Sanders continues to win and surpasses Clinton in non-Super delegates, it’s not likely all of those delegates will stay pledged to the Wall Street candidate.

If the Wall Street Democratic establishment wants to deprive Bernie Sanders of victory using super delegates, should he win the delegates that are voted on, the party will be showing a keen disdain for democracy within its own ranks, and make a farce of the democratic process. The result will likely fracture the Democratic Party permanently, and Wall Street will never likely gain control over whatever replaces it.

The Wall Street party establishment knows this, and may not have the stupidity or guts to bring about an end to the party. So it is likely the Super-delegates will switch should Sanders win the delegates that are voted on.

As noted in the Huffington Post after Sanders lost five states in one day, Bernie has a clear path to victory. It isn’t over, until it’s over.

Click here for more on Bernie Sanders path to victory from the Huffington Post.

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