Tag Archives: Tucson

Lawsuit against Tucson and balloon company to proceed

A judge has ruled that 3 of 4 counts in a lawsuit against the deal between Tucson and the space balloon company World View can go forward.

The judge has also said that she will rule on the fourth count soon.

While the deal itself might be a great idea for Tucson, it does appear from the lawsuit that the city violated state laws in negotiating it. I suspect this suit to win eventually.

Why the Goldwater Institute sued to block Tucson space deal

Link here.

The fundamental reason is that the Institute believes that, in signing its deal with World View to build its headquarters and launch site in Tucson, Pima County violated several laws as well as Arizona’s constitution. We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and thus government officials should not be allowed to violate those laws, even if they have the best of intentions.

I must say that, though I have no doubt that putting World Views space tourism balloon company in Tucson would be financially good for the city and Arizona, allowing elected officials to break the law to make deals with private companies is a very bad way to do it, and will in the end lead to far worse consequences.

Pima county files motion to dismiss World View lawsuit

In the heat of competition: The Arizona county government that made a deal with the space tourism balloon company World View to help them build their launch facilities in Tucson has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute that claims the deal is illegal.

I don’t know if the deal was illegal, but I suspect that even if it was the county will win and the deal will go through. Too much money at stake.

Tucson to be sued over space tourism deal

In the heat of competition: A think-tank has announced that it plans on suing the Tucson city government over its deal with the space tourism balloon company World View.

Jim Manley, Senior Attorney with the conservative think-tank Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, told us he’s filing the suit tomorrow on behalf of three Pima County residents. “We’re asking the court to put a stop to the World View deal and all of the deals that come out of it.”

Manley calls the World View deal “illegal” for, among other things, violating Arizona’s Gift Clause. He says, “What the Gift Clause requires is that money be spent for a public purpose, and that the government receive fair compensation in return.” The lawsuit will also state the deal violates competitive bidding laws, because, Manley says, it was negotiated in secret, with no public bidding.

As much as I think it smart of the city government to try to encourage this business to settle in Tucson, I know, living here in Tucson, that a taint of corruption lingers over the city’s very liberal government. It would not surprise me if this deal includes some of that.

World View gets incentives to settle in Arizona

The competition heats up: The space tourism balloon company World View has obtained $15 million in subsidies from an Arizona county to base their operation in Tucson.

Today’s go-ahead from the Pima County Board of Supervisors represents an initial step toward setting up the tourist operation. The supervisors voted to invest $15 million, backed by future tax revenue, to build the spaceport. World View would lease the facility from the county over a 20-year term to pay back the investment. The facility would include a launch pad, headquarters building and manufacturing facility, World View said.

Increasingly it looks like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is being left in the dust as other companies move forward with their own plans.

Big fire in the mountains above Tucson

At sunset tonight I went out into my back patio to enjoy the evening air and noticed smoke trailing off from the mountains on the opposite side of the valley. Taking a closer look with binoculars I discovered a major forest fire blazing on the front range of the Santa Catalina mountains, about a thousand feet above the city.

To give the layout, our home is on the west side of town, on a hill that overlooks the city. The Santa Catalina Mountains border the north side of Tucson, about ten miles away. (Below the fold is a short video showing the mountains and the smoke, taken today from the west side on one of the overpasses above the interstate, slightly south of my home. The video shows a view similar to what I can see.)

The fire, dubbed the Finger Rock fire after the canyon in which it started, was originally ignited by lightning last week, smoldered for a week, then re-ignited today and is spreading fast. While Diane and I watched this evening we saw the flames leap across from Pontatoc Ridge to the opposite wall of the adjacent valley, Ventana Canyon, which Diane and I last hiked in 2013. I saw flames that were easily 100 feet high.

We have hiked on Pontatoc Ridge. That trail is certainly badly damaged or destroyed. The lowest parts of the fire now appear to be burning at about 500 feet above the nearest homes in the foothills below. When it jumped into Ventana Canyon it appears to move uphill, so at the moment no one’s home is threatened. This is a very very rugged area. It will be difficult for fire crews to get there, no less work to control the blaze.

As the evening progressed and darkness set in the extent of the fire became easier to see, as the flames now stood out in the darkness through the smoke. Though the Forest Service seems sanguine about it, this is not a trivial fire. It threatens the entire front range of the Santa Catalinas, which is one of Tucson’s major recreation areas. Worse, it is close enough to the city that it poses a threat to the homes in the foothills.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Arizona county to ban employees who smoke

Put ’em in concentration camps! Pima County, which includes Tucson, Arizona, is considering banning the employment of any smokers.

Already employed smokers will be charged 30 percent more for their health insurance. The regulations will apply only to government employees.

I say, why waste time with this nonsense. Anyone who smokes is obviously the scum of the Earth, and should be rounded up and sent to camps, either to be re-educated, or to be killed if they can’t reform themselves. America is now an enlightened place, where freedom and individual responsibility have been replaced with the much deeper wisdom of the state!

In a negotiated settlement, Arizona police will pay the widow of Jose Guerena, murdered during a SWAT raid, $3.4 million.

In a negotiated settlement, Arizona police will pay the widow of Jose Guerena, murdered during a SWAT raid, $3.4 million.

The police settled because they knew that if the case had ever reached a jury, they would have lost hands down. I feel for the widow, as she probably had to settle now because she couldn’t wait the years necessary for a full victory in court.

A Tea Party event today in Tucson

Last week I received an email from the local Tucson tea party, asking if I would be willing to attend a demonstration today in response to last week’s Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. To quote the email,

We would like to stage two simultaneous protests against the train wreck they call ObamaCare, at two separate locations Monday July 2nd, 4:00pm-5:45pm. 75 people at both locations are needed to make the necessary impact. They say the Tea Party is dead. What say ye? We need your commitment.

Today those protests took place at two different prominent street corners in the Tucson area. At each location there were about fifty people lining the sidewalk and holding signs and American flags out to passing motorists. My wife Diane and I went to one of those protests. Here are my impressions:
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The real estate crash: We’ve only just begun

A real estate industry group today announced that there was a nine percent jump in foreclosures during the month of May.

RealtyTrac reported that 205,990 U.S. properties received filings last month, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, marking the first monthly increase since January. Bank repossessions climbed steeply, up 7% to 54,844, after hitting a four-year low in April.

The report also noted that foreclosures made up 26% of U.S. home sales in first quarter and that more than 30% of mortgage borrowers were still underwater.

As someone who just moved to Tucson and spent more than six months searching for and finally purchasing a home, I can add a bit of personal experience to these dry statistics. And my perspective is sadly not encouraging.
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A Republican has announced he is running for the Congressional seat in Arizona being vacated by Gabrielle Gifford.

A Republican has announced he is running for the Congressional seat in Arizona being vacated by Gabrielle Gifford.

As it turns out, I moved from Steny Hoyer’s (D-Maryland) district in Maryland to Gifford’s district in Arizona, so this is an election I will have a say in. Time to start learning something about the candidates, as the primary is now set for April 17 and the special election for June 12.

Tucson school system loses $5 million in funding because it has refused to dump ethnic studies

The Tucson school system has lost $5 million in funding because it refuses to close its Mexican studies program.

“The assertion that TUSD’s Mexican American Studies Program was designed and implemented only to promote cultural diversity and a greater understanding of the role of Mexican Americans in this nation is inaccurate and incomplete,” Huppenthal stated today. “Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program courses, curriculum and classroom materials have been found to (1) promote resentment toward a race or class of people; (2) be designed primarily for the pupils of a particular ethnic group; and (3) advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

In other words, this leftwing program was designed to promote hatred of whites and America within the immigrant Hispanic community, all good reasons for the local liberal, blue-state Democratic politicians of Tucson to want to support it, no matter the consequences.

Arizona’s ethnic studies program have been ruled illegal

An Arizona court has ruled that Arizona’s ethnic studies program are illegal.

Kowal’s ruling, first reported by The Arizona Daily Star, said the district’s Mexican-American Studies program violated state law by having one or more classes designed primarily for one ethnic group, promoting racial resentment and advocating ethnic solidarity instead of treating students as individuals. The judge, who found grounds to withhold 10 percent of the district’s monthly state aid until it comes into compliance, said the law permits the objective instruction about the oppression of people that may result in racial resentment or ethnic solidarity.

“However, teaching oppression objectively is quite different than actively presenting material in a biased, political and emotionally charged manner, which is what occurred in (Mexican-American Studies) classes,” Kowal wrote. The judge said such teaching promotes activism against white people, promotes racial resentment and advocates ethnic solidarity.

This is not a First Amendment issue. The Arizona state legislature, elected by the citizens, passed a rule stating that ethnic studies programs cannot focus on only one ethnic group. The Tucson school system cannot therefore expect funding from the state if it chooses not to obey that legislation.

I am going to the west

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and thus am undeniably what people call a city boy. Though in my youth my family spent summers in the country near Monticello in upstate New York, I never saw a real mountain. To me, a mountain was the typical rounded wooded hills of the Catskills and Adirondack Mountains.

The first time I traveled west of the Mississippi was when I was 33 years old, in 1986. I and five other caving friends went to New Mexico to attend that year’s annual caving convention. (We spent all of three hours at this week long convention. Instead of sitting in a college classroom listening to cavers talk about caving, we went caving in the Guadalupe Mountains, which to my mind was far more fun.)

When we first arrived in El Paso, we rented a car and started the three hour drive east towards Carlsbad Caverns where we planned to camp and cave for the first few days. At one point during the drive we stopped, just to look at the view. For a born Easterner who was used to hiking in forests where it might take you hours to reach a point where the trees thinned out enough to give you a lookout or vista, the west’s openness was breathtaking. Wherever you looked you could see for fifty to a hundred miles.

As I stood by the side of the road, I noticed something else, but could not put my finger on it at first. Something that was not obvious was different.
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Santa Catalina Mountains – hike to Romero Pools

An evening pause: A hike to Romero Pools in the Santa Catalina Mountains just outside Tucson, Arizona. The hiker in the video calls this one of the toughest hikes he’s ever done, but it is only 5.6 miles round trip, with only a thousand foot elevation gain. Compared to most of the other Santa Catalina hikes, which routinely require elevation gains of 3000 to 5000 feet, this one is easy.