Don Sorchych My View

DECEMBER 1, 2010

• Barto appointments stink

• Pensions

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I received a list of state Senate committees and it was illustrative of party politics. It would seem chairmanships would go to Senators that would serve the voting public, not organizations that provide the funds that got the politician into the senate.

For example, we have written volumes about Nancy Barto who was the hand maiden for terrible bills while she “served” as a rep.

bil canfield editorial cartoon
She received huge contributions from every executive in Blue Cross Blue Shield. She received contributions from individual doctors and health care institutions. She fronted for an optometrist bill that infuriated ophthalmologists who claimed her bill will increase cancer rates substantially.

Now she is chairman of Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform. That is the classic fox guarding the chicken coop.

Barto, through HB 2725, a floor amendment to the omnibus bill, allowed CCUSD to use bond proceeds, authorized by voters in 2000 to build a new high school, for other purposes. In 2006 the school board activated the bonds and began paying $51,000 per month in interest payments. In August the school board voted to use the bond proceeds for other purposes than the original vote and ignored IRS rules that call for bond use within three years. Not yet heard from are bond holders which could lose tax free status. Law suits are expected.

Barto was appointed as vice chair of the Education Committee. In addition to the above she received substantial funds from unions, including AEA, the teacher’s union. Another fox in the chicken coop appointment.

Barto’s last appointment is a member of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee.
Barto was the author of infamous HB 2154, which would have cost Arizona citizens who live on private roads millions of dollars. The bill gave any easement holder the right to demand and receive payment from others for maintenance of or “improvements” to the roads each live on. It wouldn’t have mattered if the impacted owner didn’t want the work done, they would have had to pay anyway.

One senator asked the person pushing the bill with Barto’s help about a hypothetical situation. He asked, “What if he had a home and I only lived there during summers? Now suppose a neighbor used a snowplow to clear the roads and billed him. Why should he be forced to pay?” The one guy pushing the bill, a Barto supporter, had no answer. There are dozens of similar cases. There was nothing fair about this bill, just reflection of what a Barto supporter wanted.

Lobbyists from real estate managed to defeat the bill although Barto offered to make it applicable to only Cave Creek, which would have benefited her friend and benefactor.

I was delighted Russell Pearce was elected as president of the senate and hoped to see better selections. Maybe that was expecting too much too soon. Political affiliation is important but not for those who are so self absorbed that they care only about their political careers and not constituents. Barto’s whole career shows abuse of proxies and slim support by LD 7 members who actually attend meetings regularly.

The Arizona Republic should be commended for their series on pensions. It is a nationwide scandal.

Driving to work this morning I listened to the Barry Young show on KFYI. Unfortunately Young was off and Barry Marsden was filling in along with Young’s sidekick, Michelle Larson.

I was ready to change stations when I listened to the caller, a fireman. He was torqued because he felt they were denigrating firemen and he spoke of how early retirement and large pensions were earned by the nature of their dangerous work. He also said he wasn’t in it for the money and they were trying to take away his money.

Larson pounced on the duplicity of his comment after he hung up.

Then a woman called to say we should pay large salaries, early retirement and large pensions because they risk their lives going into burning buildings.

Really? Not up here they don’t. To his credit Rural/Metro Fire Chief John Kraetz told the truth about that in a meeting in Cave Creek. When asked why Rural Metro was the butt of jokes about saving foundations, he said if going into a burning building risks the firemen’s lives, they will do all they can to save surrounding buildings but will likely let the building burn down.

What is worse is firemen love to wear T-shirts about the heroics of 9/11 firemen and policemen and they deserve such praise, but not every fireman everywhere.

Our local unionized firemen made a big deal of supporting the candidacy of Adam Trenk in Cave Creek and David Schwan in Carefree. They showed up at rallies wearing T-shirts which exclaimed they were firemen and their support should count big time, according to them. Their support is worthless as it is from every union card holder; people who are on the public dole shouldn’t be allowed to vote or demonstrate.

Marsden, for a change, made sense. He suggested especially public union holders, who are already making more money than private sector employees, should lose their lucrative pensions and be given IRAs. After all, our taxes pay their salaries, benefits and pensions.
Why shouldn’t all public employees retire at age 65 with no double dipping allowed? And why should their salaries be any higher than private employees?

Years ago there were complaints that private employees made more money than public employees. That was an excuse for bureaucrats to not only substantially raise salaries but benefits; retirement ages, retirement amounts, holidays, etc.

Now the situation is reversed and it is up to government leaders to lower wages, benefits and all the rest. Our so-called public officials and elected officials will fight it every step and it is an ideal goal for tea partiers to hold their feet to the fire. The current increased pace of the head counts of public jobs needs to be drastically reversed.

They, like private employees need to learn to do more with less.