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Alan Korwin’s 2020 Arizona Ballot Analysis

First draft, 10/21/2020

If people send me valid comments I may change my outlook and re-post.


[Special bonus segment (at end) -- Is the next presidential debate (10/22/2020, Thu. eve.) unbiased?]


AZ VOTE SUMMARY (Descriptions follow)

I don't endorse or oppose candidates.


Prop 444. “Locally Controlled Alternative Expenditure Limitation”

(Phoenix only, where I live) aka Home Rule. VOTE NO.


Prop 449. Maricopa County Special Health Care District (where I live)

Continue a property tax. VOTE NO.


State Prop 207. “The Smart and Safe Act”  Legalize Marijuana

-- VOTE YES -- If you want pot more available and less criminalized than it already is, plus retail sales stores.

-- VOTE NO -- If you want to leave things as they are with medical marijuana dispensaries widely available.

-- AND -- A “yes” vote also introduces 19 pages of new state bureaucracy, regulations, taxation, crimes, licensing, permanent government and private sector jobs, a new billion-dollar industry, speech regulations, tracking, penalties, fines and fees, and competition for the underground marijuana industry run by foreign and domestic drug cartels.

State Prop 208. “Proposed by Initiative Petition Relating to Education Funding”

(Income Tax Increase)



Retention of Judges.  See description below.


“Non-partisan Races” (Yeah, right; they are hardly non-partisan)  See details below

-- Phoenix Mayor

-- City Council Members

-- Maricopa County Community College District at Large (The biggest community college system in the U.S., I taught at all 10 of these MCCC colleges)

-- Judges of the Superior Court (the inferior court, can you believe they call the inferior court the superior court?)

-- Justices of the Supreme Court

-- Judges of the Court of Appeals Div. I

-- Paradise Valley Unified School District 69

-- [I am only reporting on the contents of my ballot.]


Background and Details

The Constitution leaves the “Times, Places and Manner” of holding elections up to the States (subject to Congress to prevent States from screwing around too much. To bring order to the system, in 1875, Congress enacted 2 USC §7, the familiar first Tuesday after the first Monday in November guideline:

“The Tuesday next after the 1st Monday in November, in every even numbered year, is established as the day for the election, in each of the States and Territories of the United States, of Representatives and Delegates to the Congress commencing on the 3d day of January next thereafter.” [NOTE: It says “the day for the election,” not the week, month or season.]

We have now gravitated to this bizarre (and in my opinion unhealthy) phenomenon of a stretched out election, where newscasters and politicians rant “We’re in the middle of an election!” for weeks on end, and use that as an excuse for all sorts of shenanigans, as you’re seeing on nightly broadcasts (can’t really say “news”).

The nation is supposed to rise up as one, on a single day, and choose its leaders. Simple, clean, final, elegant, done.

Instead, we have this mess going on literally for months, dragging the vote out into a process. “Millions have already voted!” partisans bleat, and one candidate for president came close to death, potentially wasting all the ballots of those who voted from him... what then?

The election is coming from letter carriers, and the mailbox, instead of the ballot box. Illinois recently had a candidate for governor (Blagojevich) convicted and imprisoned on felony charges, but still gathering early votes! Don’t vote early and waste yours. Besides, all the juicy dirt comes out near the end. You haven't even heard tomorrow's debate -- what's the vote-early logic there?

Don’t vote early! I have to tell you this? The parties tell you to vote early. They’re afraid you’ll forget. They figure you’re idiots. Late votes count less? Or don't count? Really? Media should be blaring: "WITH 40% MAILED BALLOTS, RESULTS WON'T BE KNOWN FOR DAYS!" They earn your distrust. You haven’t even gotten this analysis until now. And I might change it as I learn more. What, have you got shpilkes? (Ants in the pants.) Are you fully informed? Uhhh, no.

As you likely know by now, I don’t endorse or oppose candidates -- just no way to know if they are or will remain good or bad. McCain as you may recall seemed really good, then wrote a bill to secretly and totally close down gun shows and arrest the promoters -- He lied to my face about it, in public. You’re on your own on candidate selections (though I will file a complete ballot of course). Most folks just go party line, and that divide (Democrat/Republican, Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative) is explained here:

I can however study the propositions, and make a reasonably informed choice. Here is what I found, for my ballot in Phoenix, Ariz. I remain open to change, don’t vote early.

There is no waiting to go to a polling place, walk past the lines, and drop off your filled in early ballot. Get the sticker, even though one came with your ballot.


Prop 444. “Locally Controlled Alternative Expenditure Limitation”

(Phoenix only, where I am)

VOTE NO.  aka Home Rule also called Local Control

Should the Phoenix mayor and city council continue to set the spending limit for the city (as controlled by law)? They stretch it perpetually, beyond the population and inflation guidelines, giving us bloated budgets. A vote NO forces control back to the state legislature, to expenditure levels from 1979-1980, a $1.3 billion reduction, across the board, a cut in city government of about a third. There will be desperate screams about essential services, and in the end, fat will get trimmed and blames will get placed. Who should control the spending limit for Phoenix has two answers: the state (if NO votes win) or the city council where controls get ignored (if YES votes win).


Prop 449. Maricopa County Special Health Care District (where I live)

VOTE NO. Continue a property tax

Maricopa County homeowners pay a secondary property tax (it varies, about $38 on a $200K home) which expires in Aug. 2025, to pay for these services. The county spun off these medical facilities into their own district in 2002, making the county books look good. These are mainly the county burn center, services for the indigent, behavioral health, public teaching hospital and more. If it fails to pass, they’ll come back again, while the county picks up the tab.


State Prop 207 “The Smart and Safe Act”  Legalize Marijuana

-- Vote YES If you want pot more available and less criminalized than it already is, and retail sales stores.

-- Vote NO If you want to leave things as they are with so-called “medical marijuana” dispensaries.

-- AND: A “yes” vote also introduces 19 pages of new state bureaucracy, regulations, taxation, permanent government and private sector jobs, a new billion dollar industry, speech regulations, and competition for the underground marijuana industry run by foreign and domestic drug cartels.


Pot is already readily available in Arizona, anyone interested can register for the mandatory government ID card, and numerous doctors are cooperative. People also know they can avoid the system and instead simply score from friends, which goes on all the time, right down to young school kids, all of which remains illegal though. Prop 207 will make purchase, possession and home growing of consumer amounts (one ounce, six plants), and refined goods like hashish (five grams), perfectly legal under state law, for people over 21. It remains totally banned under federal law though, but feds lack any serious apparatus (or desire) to enforce that. Gun rights are technically banned in connection with pot, currently listed as a Schedule I drug, up there with heroin and other hard stuff. Prop 207 doesn’t change that.

The biggest issue may be that the 19 pages of law, drafted by Big Bud with Big Brother, creates an entire new monopoly branch of government, projected at $1 billion per year. The list of controls, taxes, testing, regulators, OMG, it’s a bureaucratic entanglement beyond anything you might wish on your enemies. Is pot good or bad? The arguments pro and con are robust and compelling both ways. Do you want this much more government in your life, and an inextricable new business monopoly like big pharma? Hey, the cartels just need a box of baggies and cash, it’s a vegetable. I am not recommending a vote either way, it’s a wedge issue and you’ve decided. Read this one, it’s fascinating how their minds work. As with other revenue bills, promises of where the huge sums of money will go seem unreliable to me.

The government published summary covers only some high points (chuckle), but omits so many juicy details, as am I, the bill gives you so much: budgets for lawyers to take cases, money for expunging old criminal records, packaging requirements, speech limits on advertising, zoning controls for manufacturing, retailing, security, potency guidelines, planting limits, visibility from outside your home, required locked rooms, it’s a brave new world). It also introduces a sort of declaratory law, declaring what IS legal, instead of describing what is illegal, unusual in state code. With all the bureaucracy, and pot widely available anyway, I’m leaning to NO, legalizing and decriminalizing should be much simpler and less expensive.


State Prop 208 “Relating to Education Funding” (Tax Increase)


Teacher groups and the school bureaucracy are back with the same request, we can’t educate without-- more tax money. With what I’ve seen and heard about curricula, educator results, treatment of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, I think the teaching community needs punishment and re-education camps, not more funding. Because they can mobilize all their members, and frequently seek funding during the slowest elections with the least turnout, they “pack the vote” and often get their huge funding bills to pass. This one raises the state income tax highest bracket to 8% (+3.5% over existing). The list of where the money goes doesn’t guarantee any to teachers. Running the program comes off the top. The splits are long, cumbersome, unlikely to manifest as described and you won’t know who got the big bucks. Education needs improvement, this isn’t how. VOTE NO.

It’s a terrible time for government to take more money from small businesses and make Arizona even less attractive to economic relocation here, with the Chinese plague and lockdowns forcing downturns.


Retention of Judges

I’ve gotten into a lot of hot water here in the past for violating my cardinal rule, don’t endorse or oppose candidates. In Arizona we don’t vote for judges as in some states, we vote to retain them after they are appointed to the bench. They are typically all retained, usually by large margins, people just vote yes.

When we were still meeting people as we walked through life, before the plague, I met many judges. Bright, dull, charming, talkative, likeable or not, I would ask, and haven’t found judges who support fully informed juries. Look up the John Peter Zenger trial, when juries decided not just the facts of a case, but whether the law itself seemed right or wrong, and fair. That’s no longer done. I think that’s wrong, but judges support it, with the derogatory name of “jury nullification.” It seems to me juries should be able to nullify charges if the underlying law is unjust. I can’t support keeping that information from juries. On judge retention, only judges who support fully informed juries belong on the bench. Most judges get 100% positive ratings from the system in the voter info booklet.

Originalism, all over the news due to the vacant Supreme Court seat, it matters at that federal level, but not so much locally -- What did the words mean when they were written? Textualism, which is similar and often incorrectly used synonymously, may be more of an issue for state law. What do the words say? 

Our local courts may bump into but do not decide constitutional issues. More often they have to figure out what the state legislature said with their wording. What were they trying to say -- with often convoluted, obscure, self-contradictory just dark text. For example, read our gun laws carefully -- there is no real definition of a real gun. A judge should not guess at what legislators meant to say, or what they should have said, but sometimes judges do, or have to. It would be very tough to figure that out for every -- or any -- state judge running. There are some cases serving as juicy examples of the problem, I recall being exposed to examples during legal seminars, if you really want a deep dive look some up. Are the judges up for retention textualists? Or activists, deciding what they think is right? Or some other “-ist” rather than neutral arbiters who understand the role of juries? Since most don’t have jury trials, what difference, at this point, does it make?


“Non-Partisan” Offices

These are hardly non-partisan, they just don’t wear their parties on their sleeves (or road signs). They are fiercely democrat or republican in their views, these people, they just are. You have to ask knowledgeable friends, as I do, and you can, to get a take on individuals. I won’t publicly divulge this (candidate selections). Your vote is supposed to be private, and a secret. Free speech no longer protects this. Now there’s a problem.

-- Phoenix Mayor

-- City Council Members

-- Maricopa County Community College District at Large (The biggest community college system in the U.S., I taught at all 10 of these MCCC colleges)

-- Judges of the Superior Court (the inferior court, can you believe they call the inferior court the superior court?)

-- Justices of the Supreme Court

-- Judges of the Court of Appeals Div. I

-- Paradise Valley Unified School District 69

-- [I am only reporting on the contents of my ballot.]






It’s good they are staying off wedge issues and scandals that cannot be resolved, people and candidates are set in their ways (impeachment, Russia collusion hoax, abortion, FBI malfeasance, Hunter’s laptop, funding Islamists, statute destruction, atheism/antifa/Qanon/pizzagate/missing emails/long list). We shall see.


(Topics chosen by the honest debate moderator for Thursday)

So ask yourself: “Does mass media believe Trump is (right/wrong) on these neutral topics?”

Fighting Covid19

American families

Race in America

Climate change

National security



See? No bias in the questions, mass media assures us.


Now, same question to you --

“Does mass media believe Trump is (right/wrong) on these topics?”

(NOT chosen to be part of the debate)


Support Israel

Strengthen Military

Build Infrastructure

Capitalism Markets

Founding Principles

Bill of Rights

Foreign Policy

Self Defense


Defunding Police

Civil Unrest

Immigration Control

Only Citizens Vote

School Curricula

1776 v. 1619

State Bailouts

Congressional anti-Semitism

Bureaucratic Overreach

International Enemies

Favorite Movies


You get the idea. A debate can be biased by the selection of topics. If you agree, write this up in your own words, and send it to every media outlet, print, radio, TV, internet. You do keep a list of them, right? A media list? If you’re fond of saying someone ought to do something, well, that’s you, and this is easy. Go online (you’re already there), search a bit, and start a media list. Make it grow over time. It is POWER.

Thanks for making a difference.



enn ess

I have found over the years, most every time you vote yes on any gov mandated legislation is always a vote for more reg, gov control over your basic freedoms. Less for you, more for them.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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