Monday, October 10, 2011

How To Get Your Vote On - Myth Busting and Mad Dash to the Phoenix Mayoral Election to Ensure Greg Stanton is Our Winner

It seems like this Phoenix Mayor race has been going on forevvver, because well, it kind of has been.  But here we are - FINALLY - down to the wire.  Back in June, I wrote a post about one of the debates I had attended which you can read HERE if you're interested.  I had personally endorsed Candidate Greg Stanton well before this debate, because I believe he is the best person for the job.

Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the U.S., (recently losing out to Philly for 5th) has a dismal voter turnout record (only about 15% of registered voters turned up to vote in the recent primary) which quite frankly just pisses me off.  So many people I've talked to, not just about this particular election but about voting in general, have an extremely blase' attitude about it.

It's become one of those rights that people seem to take for granted, and as a woman who will be forever grateful to my past soul sisters who fought for years for me to have this right - within the past 100 years mind you, I don't take it lightly.  Did you know women in Saudi Arabia still don't yet have the right to vote?  There should never be an excuse of "I'm just not informed." Or "I'm too busy."  That's just bullshit.
U.S. women suffragists demonstrating for the right to vote, February 1913

So in my many conversations I've been having, some things have come up that are concerning to me with regard to this Mayoral election that is now right around the corner.

I hope you can all help me spread this message, get out the facts, and in turn, GET OUT THE VOTES.

The job of Mayor for the 6th largest city in the U.S. is an important one, especially given the "hell in a hand basket" past few years we've had with our city and state politics, as well as some of our wretched legislation, our dismal unemployment rate, our lack of action to environmental quality concerns and our blatant disregard to the importance of quality education.  Arizona's reputation is in the gutter to the rest of the country.  (Unless of course you're having a beer with an extremist Neo-Nazi who owns 72 guns, thinks Sheriff Joe is the shit, knows that climate change is a hoax and owns a very large truck to compensate for his very small penis.)  Seriously though.  We look f*cking CRAZY to the rest of the world - which is going to prevent this state from putting our economy back on track because no one is going to want to come here.  Industry OR people.  We the (sane) people, need a leader in our corner for a change.  And for those of you who say you don't vote because politicians are politicians, I would say this: At the end of the day, we're all just humans, some nicer than others.  Take the time to do your homework and engage.  Get your candidate of choice to pinky promise you that they'll try their best to do a great job.  In my world, the pinky promise is golden...

Here are talking points to share beginning NOW so we can see Greg Stanton be elected Mayor of Phoenix, instead of a lobbyist.

  • TODAY is your last chance to register to vote in this election if you need to do so.  You also need to re-register if you have moved or changed your name.  You can register to VOTE online.  Please ask everyone you encounter today who is a Phoenix resident if they are registered to vote, and if they're not, please show them how.
  • If you voted for Stanton in the Primary election, that doesn't mean you don't need to vote again - YOU DO.  This is a very important message, as many people seem to be under the impression that he has already won.  You need to VOTE again by early ballot (if you're already signed up) or at the POLLS beginning on Nov. 5, 2011.
  • Get involved.  Talk to your neighbors, talk to your customers.  Tell people who you're voting for and why.  Get neighbors to put out signs.  Knock on doors.  This election will be won with grass roots effort and determination. 
 We MUST be the change we wish to see.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Diary - Some days my life is like a dark comedy...

Dear Diary,

This happened to me today:

I went to see a client and came upon a semi truck in idle at a stop sign. The driver was in the street, totally NAKED, screaming, cussing and shaking his fist at a building. He kind of lunged at my car - totally naked.


Me: Hi there. I'd like to make a report of a semi truck driver who is completely naked in the middle of the street at 2nd St. & Garfield.

911: Which corner is he on?

Me: The one with the idling semi truck and naked guy in the street. I don't think you can miss it.

911: What ethnicity is he? Mexican? Black?

Me: White. And naked.

911: Does he have a weapon?

Me: Just his penis (said while slightly chuckling).

Roughly 10 minutes later a meter maid cop pulls up in her golf cart thingie which makes me burst out laughing.

Five minutes later, real cops - and naked semi driver is arrested.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Between Here and There - There Is a Chair

Chair in between Downtown and "Downtown" Downtown - Photo: Stacey Champion
For those of you not familiar with Downtown Phoenix, there's downtown and then there's "downtown" downtown (downtown2).  Living in the Coronado Historic District, compared to other cities where I've lived, I would consider where I live to be midtown, as it's north of the 10 freeway, but for suburb dwellers, I just say downtown so I don't confuse them.

So why is downtown so split off from downtown2?  Well, that's a good question...  Though the main answer in my eyes is what you see above.  Vacant lots.  Lots of them.  Lots of lots.  Dirt lots.  Many of them city owned.  Many of the others being land-banked by people who don't live in downtown OR downtown2.

Was there stuff on these lots before they were dirt lots?  Yep.  But now they're just big, glaring disconnects between downtown and downtown2.

Read Kevin Beechinor + Mike McDearmon's fabulous "Aiding and Abetting" for great detail, plus solutions.

The Valley of the Sunflowers project is a good start for these gaping holes that cut our city in two, and will hopefully wake up our city leaders to the fact that not only do these projects make the residents happy and beautify the neighborhoods, but they also generate fantastic press, which is a welcome thing for our political doom and gloom State.  The folks at Roosevelt Row are forging ahead along with many engaged and committed community members, and our little downtown has been getting some recent good press, like the Nick Blumberg KJZZ story.

We all would like to eventually see things built on these lots - albeit if it's good design, and not a cookie cut-out of the suburban stucco gated community ick that downtowners or anyone else with good taste and a love of real architecture can't stand.

But until then, "temporary" has become many years for most of these lots.  I hope the City of Phoenix, along with the new incoming Mayor, will open their eyes just a little wider and do a better job at thinking just a little further outside of the box.  This would be my dream project for one of the lots, and is something I'd like to try to make happen within the next two years.  

What are YOUR ideas???

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Local-Washing is Gaining Ground in Phoenix

Just like "greenwashing" became the bane for the environmental/green building movements, so too it seems that "localwashing" is set out to bastardize the hard work of many community activists and independent small businesses.

This isn't a new phenomena.  We've been seeing it creep in more and more over the past few years.  What it means, is that the activists behind the push to support local business have done a kick ass job - and the corporations, along with all of the high-priced analysts and consumer research firms they employ - have taken note and reported back to their six-figure earning superiors.

Wal-Mart promotes Local - photo via Grist
"We need to jump into the "LOCAL" market and follow the trend!"

* If you want a good glimpse into how and why we became this "want-based" society we are now, versus the "need-based" society we once were, I highly suggest you watch the 4-part BBC documentary "The Century of Self."

For those of you who don't know, or maybe don't choose to acknowledge it, corporations will find ways to tap into our emotional psyches so we can feel good about what we're buying.  It's big, big business.

Numerous examples of localwashing abound...  Especially in the food industry.

Fresh and Easy, your "neighborhood market"  is actually a subsidiary of Tesco, the 3rd largest retailer in the world.  From Walmart, to Barnes and Noble, localwashing is all around us.  It's getting plugged into big corporate names and identities left and right.

Downtown businesses, such as the newly-opened Oakville Grocery are touting the term "local" by offering roughly 300 products which are made in Arizona, which is another way "local" is being used.  Oakville Grocery Co. was purchased by New York company Dean & DeLuca in 2007.  Oakville Grocery previously had a north Scottsdale location, which closed, apparently because there was an assumption business would be more lucrative in downtown Phoenix.

While the 300 AZ products and jobs created by Oakville Grocery is great, true LOCAL in my opinion would be the Phoenix Public Market, which operates as an Arizona 501c3 non-profit, sells almost all locally grown/produced products, operates the bi-weekly open air markets, and serves as a community hub and meeting place.

Which of these two downtown grocery stores do you think will keep more money in our community and our State?  Which one is more invested in our community?

Phoenix Public Market - Photo: Stacey Champion

Who are you giving your money to?  Do you know?  This country was founded on Mom & Pop shops who made money in their community, then spent money in their community.  I try my hardest to do the same.

For example, there's a different feeling you get going to see a flick at FilmBar downtown, than going to the movies at AMC.  And again, which of these is more committed to community?  Your choices in local Phoenix abound!  There is a true local counter-part to every large corporation out there.  From places to eat, service providers, business services - you name it.  Local First Arizona can be your starting point.  My company Champion PR + Consulting is a member of Local First Arizona because I am committed not only to serving those in my community, but also because I want to do business with others who are doing the same.

FilmBar - Photo: Stacey Champion

Please don't get me wrong, my goal isn't to make anyone feel bad about going to Target, or shopping at a big supermarket or eating fast food on occasion.  I too am a consumer + a single mom, so in no way am I purporting to never do these things.  But I will say that I try very hard.  I am on a first name basis with almost every single person I do business with - the owners of the businesses,  the majority of which are within 2 square miles of my house.  We need to be each other's cheerleaders at all times.

Corporations aren't going anywhere, and on occasion they can even be beneficial to our communities.  My monthly educational/connection/project Rogue Green which is focused on sustainability issues, is up for a $10k grant through the Pepsi Refresh Everything project.  I had mixed feelings about even applying for inclusion due to my opinions surrounding large corporations, but the thought of how much I could help our community with $10k ended up clinching it for me.  Sometimes we have to pick our battles...

The message I want you to leave you with is this:

Just because something says it's LOCAL, doesn't necessarily mean it is.  There are plenty of great articles already out there on localwashing.  Read them.  Do your homework.  Try to keep as much of your hard-earned money in the community as possible.  Do business with those who give back to the community.  Get involved.

Keep it real.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mayoral Debate/Forum Mud Slingin'

Sometimes I wonder if we shall ever grow up in our politics and say definite things which mean something, or whether we shall always go on using generalities to which everyone can subscribe, and which mean very little.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday night I attended a Mayoral Debate put on by my pals from the Downtown Voices Coalition and held at the Lexington Hotel in downtown Phoenix.  It was good to see a packed house with both familiar, and new faces.

If you aren't yet registered to vote (or have moved), before you continue reading my words, please do it right now, right HERE.  People not voting, or for some reason thinking their vote doesn't matter, are part of the reason we're in this mess with our State.  The deadline to register is August 1st, so DO IT.

The candidates in attendance were: Wes Gullett, Jennifer Wright (AKA, I ape Sarah Palin - referred to from here on out as SP2) Greg Stanton, Peggy Neely, and Claude Mattox.

Some of them had done their homework to tell those of us in attendance what we wanted to hear, and some of them (okay, just SP2) hadn't.

The downtown community is strong.  We tend to be involved, vocal, passionate, and care about preserving what history hasn't been razed by greed and corruption.  We're getting stronger as different groups have joined forces to work together.  Power in numbers...

Back to the debate.

As Mrs. Roosevelt's quote above reflects, not much has changed in the world of politics, and generalities and circle speak are the main entree' during any election cycle.

All of the candidates had some great things to say that struck chords with this particular crowd.  (Except for SP2 who mainly said things that made the audience hiss, moan, and eye roll).  This forum also made me realize the importance of attending another one, outside of my "crowd," to see how all of the candidates shift and morph to different audiences.  It's on my "to do" list, as I have a strong curiosity gene.

So here were some of the good comments (again, from everyone except SP2):

  • Mattox mentioned TOD
  • Gullett made a comment about jobs following smart people
  • Neely made a comment about no more parking lots downtown
  • Mattox made a comment about hiring an urban planner
  • Gullett mentioned adaptive reuse, community gardens and pocket parks
  • Stanton made a comment about the importance of street level design
  • Palinisms were thrown around left and right by SP2
  • Stanton said CityScape was poorly designed (bonus points)
  • Gullett made a comment about the community and residents getting what we want from developers, focusing on small business, and buying locally
  • Stanton made a comment about supporting Local First and adaptive reuse
Top Palinism by SP2 - "There should be no government control or public funding for arts & culture."  (Her children apparently never enjoy such things as public libraries...)  Ick.

Favorite question to candidates:
"When was the last time you rode the light rail, and where did you ride it to?"
Only good answer - Stanton, who had ridden the light rail to the debate.  (SP2 had of course never ridden it at all.  No surprise there.)

So... Were my questions answered?  Hardly, though I know who I will be voting for because I think he will do the best job at putting his money where his mouth is.

Yes Phoenix is big and sprawling, but downtown is the city's soul.  It's our heartbeat.  It's the dressed out turkey on the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Everything surrounding it is the fixins', which makes those things/places important, but dinner would be screwed if grandma burned the frickin' turkey.

Our next Mayor should understand that.  The Mayor can only understand that by living it, breathing it, taking the turkey's temperature, and riding the damn light rail more than once or twice a year.  We need someone who can roll up their sleeves, get shit done, and re-engage this community.  Phil seemed to be doing an okay job at this for awhile, but then seemed to go sort of MIA mid dinner.  Nobody likes the person who texts at the dinner table and doesn't help clear the table.

The generalities though are still under my skin.  It reminds me of the green industry where everyone learns a few token phrases and acronyms then orders free Vista Print business cards touting themselves to be a green "expert."  Blech.  Anyone with half a brain can do that.  (Except for SP2 in this case who obviously didn't even spend 5 minutes doing her homework to not sound like an idiot with this particular audience. I would also pay $ to have her hug a homeless person just to see her expression, but that's beside the point...)

So these would be MY very specific questions to all of the candidates - except for that one, because I drink coffee, not tea.

  1. Would you take the lead in having the city become the leader (example: Minneapolis) to really promote public transport and walkability, by closing down at least one main thoroughfare in downtown to cars and only allowing buses, bikes and public transport?
  2. Would you put some kind of mandated city policy in place to demand the use of pervious concrete vs. asphalt in all future projects to minimize urban heat island effect?
  3. Would you set and achieve the goal of planting x amount of trees in the next 1-4 years?
  4. Would you work on and help enforce the codes regarding our historic buildings?
  5. Would you involve and engage the citizens of downtown by having meetings and seeking knowledge from local experts first before seeking outside assistance?
  6. Would you support the use of creative temporary projects on vacant city lots?
  7. Would you help the city implement an integrated vegetation management plan for the health of the residents to stop using harmful chemicals, and an integrated pest management plan for all city owned buildings?
  8. Would you get serious about bike safety, bike lanes, and signs and strategies to protect both bicycle riders and pedestrians?
  9. Would you speak out on land/building banking and penalize those who are harming our economy?
  10. How would you change the extreme difference in funding between say, a Paradise Valley public school, and a downtown Phoenix public school? "No child left behind - unless you're poor." (And I can speak on this topic from our own experience.)
  11. Would you vigorously pursue the sustainability industry to bring new ventures/green jobs to Phoenix? How would you do this?
  12. Would you stand behind the importance of beautification and public spaces with visual interest? i.e. Making it easier with less red tape for community organizations to create public art pieces/projects, etc.
  13. Would you help promote our art community? How would you do this?
  14. Would you promote utilizing solar and renewable energy practices in the city?
  15. Will you develop a sustainability initiative for your own office?
  16. Would you promote vibrancy by supporting short-term use of vacant city owned buildings to be used in creative ways, i.e. pop-up galleries, performance art spaces, etc.?
So there you have it folks.  My interpretation, thoughts, and questions on this particular Phoenix Mayoral forum/debate.  Please get involved with your community.  No matter where you live, or how busy you think you are.  Your vote will count in this election and stands to have an impact on not only us, but future generations as well.  Which way will we turn?  Left, or right?  But hopefully not toward SP2, or I'd seriously have to move.  Between the Crypt Keeper, Yosemite Sam, and Darth Vader, I'm already up to my eyeballs in AZ villains...

Over and out.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Thoughts On CityScape

I was recently asked my thoughts on CityScape (and the retailers).  I thought some of you may be interested in what I had to say, so here it is.

My thoughts on CityScape: (Warning - I'm rather philosophical this evening :))

When we think about our travels, whether it's in the U.S. or abroad, I think it's fair to say that most people are won over by a city by its vibrancy and charm, which in this case equates to life in/on the streets, unique experiences, and interesting things to look at.  As an example, the people who would rather browse around an eclectic used bookstore, where the owner comes to greet you and chat, aren't going to prefer to spend the same amount of time (or wish to go at all) to a large box store book retailer.

I think this equates well to the people who actually LIVE downtown.  We like unique. We like charming. We like knowing who we're giving our hard-earned dollars to. 

Life and vibrancy should be on the STREETS - not behind nondescript block walls.  I could name 20 streets throughout the places I've lived and traveled that I've loved for these reasons.  People watching is part of the urban experience.  Watching buses and bikes go by, people walking, people talking.
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN

I think CityScape blew it with bad suburban design.  The people who want to feel "safe' will continue to shop in malls.  It (CityScape) was not designed or built with the locals in mind, doesn't lend itself to a being an interesting destination where you'd want to spend any real amount of time, and even the "square' (which tries to pose as a "park" in some people's minds) lacks any sort of warmth, shade, or substance to make it interesting.

It makes me sad, because there are so many talented architects and designers here in Phoenix who DO get it, and it was such a fantastic opportunity to take a step in the right direction towards progressive, creative growth.

As far as the retailers go, I personally would have liked to see fewer big name retailers, and the only "chains" at least those that are local to our State. Though I understand it comes down to a $$$ situation, I would have rather seen smaller, organic growth with quality versus quantity, and a more thoughtful selection of tenants.  Of course with the main point being, these tenants would be facing the STREET, where you could shop like a normal human being does in cities across the country.

Can't you picture it? Cafes on the street, trees, awnings providing shade, interesting boutiques and bars, live jazz music streaming out of the doors into the street on warm spring evenings, smells from the shops... I can almost taste it.

Instead we have a "gated community feeling" shopping/entertainment plaza in the heart of our city.  And unfortunately it doesn't have much of a pulse or soul...
CityScape, Phoenix, AZ

So until things change, those of us who live in or near downtown will continue to stick to our edges - Roosevelt area, Grand Ave. - the places where you can feel the heartbeat.  Creative visionaries make any great city and draw people in - including business.  The powers that be just need to start listening to the people who actually live here...

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Confessions of an Eco Girl...

I tend to hold on to my possessions.  Maybe it's the Midwestern in me, having grown up surrounded by people whose root cellars were full of home-made canned goods and every basement contained a large freezer filled with enough food for the Apocalypse...

I still have the (very tattered and thin) favorite nightgown I wore when I was 3 which has a fish on it and says "Don't Pollute the Ocean."  Apparently I had a thing for the environment even then.

So it shouldn't come as a big surprise, knowing these things about me, that I become just as weirdly attached to my vehicles, and choose to drive them and drive them until there's just no more hope.

My very first car, which I bought with my own $1500 when I was 21 (I always lived in urban cities so had relied on public transport my whole life until that point) was a little Ford Escort.  I had that car when I moved to Los Angeles and found great pleasure in attending swanky events and demonstrating to the valet how the windows rolled up and down, and how the locks pushed down and pulled up.  I made a ton of money back then, but refused to get a new car in part because:

 a) I was stubborn
 b) I was scared to death of being car jacked
and c) I had more fun spending my money on amazing trips.

I ended up selling my little Escort for $500 when I moved to Maui, and yes, I think I may have cried when I sold it.  Ridiculous, but true.

I could tell you every car and truck I owned and loved after her.  the 1978 Chevy Luv Maui cruiser with a lumber rack and a hole in the floor board big enough for a small child to fall through , my rusty, yellow VW convertible bug I drove when Zane was a baby, my Dodge Ram pickup I'd fill with found objects and metal after I learned how to weld...  They all had good car lives I'd like to think.  I talk to my cars like some people talk to their plants, but that's beside the point.

Eight years ago I bought my Rav.  It's name is just Rav Rav, in part because that's the sound she makes when she climbs up hills.  It wasn't new, had 70,000 miles on it when I bought it, and it's been paid off for years now. As far as cars go, it's been a pretty stellar vehicle.  When my battery died last summer and I called AAA, the guy who came out just about shit his pants when he looked at it, and actually took a picture because the battery was 10 years old!  Apparently it was a good battery!

So on April 12th, I drove Miss Zoe to ballet class just like every other Monday evening.  I dropped off the kids, made sure Zoe was settled into her class, then drove down the street to quickly deposit a check at the bank.  As I left the bank, I heard a loud clunk.  Uh - oh.

I made it back to the dance studio and got it parked.  When we came out of the dance studio, it wouldn't go into reverse.  In fact, it refused to do anything but Rav without moving at all.  AAA.

"My car is locked in gear.  I need a tow truck."

They sent a locksmith van.  Figures...  It was a long evening that entailed calling boyfriend to rescue and feed kids while I waited for a real tow truck, had to keep my foot on the brake as he winched my car back out of the spot and onto the trailer, was horrified when he stopped at Circle K to buy dish soap to use to "slide" my car off the trailer bed, and waited patiently for bad news from my awesome mechanic.  Yep - dead transmission.

Thankfully I have great friends, a fabulous boyfriend, and live in close proximity to the light rail, so even though the no car situation has been a major pain in my ass, I've managed.

So this past weekend, a good friend of mine was heading to Aruba for the week, and my car situation (or lack there of) got brought up.  He offered to loan me his car while he was away.

That car, is a HUMMER.

Yep, a Hummer.  Me - Miss Rogue Green Hostess, Miss environmental consultant, is in short-term possession of the Anti Christ of vehicles to the sustainability world.

Because it's an H3, it apparently gets great gas mileage for a Hummer - a whopping 19 mpg on the highway.

I've driven it as little as possible, but I've driven it.  I'm not going to lie, in comparison to my stinky mom car, there are some things I've really appreciated.  The swanky leather seats are pretty comfy.  The satellite radio with a bazillion stations rocked my world and I've driven Zane crazy with my incessant channel switching.  Talk radio, BBC, every genre of music, traffic updates from other cities, obscure radio personalities.  I found myself going back to the reggae station most of the time though, because I think I was trying to balance things out in my brain with my hippie soul driving what is basically a war vehicle.  What a weird feeling.

I found myself blurting out loud to strangers:

"This isn't my car, I'm just borrowing it."

I dreaded being seen in it, and found myself scouting the area for people I knew before I would leap out of it and run away.  

My boyfriend has been trying to sneak pictures of me in front of it all week, no doubt to try to use as incriminating evidence and blackmail material for possible naughty favors in return.  (I scream then run away, shouting obscenities and laughing.)

So when my mechanic sent me a text yesterday to tell me my car was finally fixed, I almost wept.  Okay, maybe not actual tears weeping, but I don't think I've ever been more grateful for my little Rav Rav, though I am extremely thankful my friend entrusted his car to me while he was away so I didn't have to schlep kids and groceries on the bus because I'm a car spoiled consumer apparently.  Hey, none of us are perfect.

When we went to pick it up today and got in, Zane said,
"Yep, it still stinks.  I sure do like that new car smell the Hummer has."  (He's a 12 year old boy, so what would you expect?)
I of course crinkled my nose and launched into a lecture about volatile organic compounds and how he should be thrilled we even have a car at all, because we never had a car when I was growing up and we walked miles and took the bus everywhere.

Jesus.  Am I getting old?

Driving the Rav after driving environmental Anti Christ sort of felt like driving a golf cart.

But it's my golf cart.

And I swear this baby has another 80,000 to 90,000 miles in her...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From the Stacey Champion Who DIDN'T Mail A Puppy

Dear crazy people who keep sending me hate mail, leaving nasty comments on all of my various blogs, and are attaching my Facebook profile picture to the puppy mailing incident,

Hi there.  My name is Stacey Champion, I am 39 years old, I was born in Minneapolis, MN, I have lived in Arizona for the past 12 years, and I DID NOT TRY TO MAIL A PUPPY.  Got it?  I did NOT try to/want to/need to - mail a frickin' puppy. 

39 year old Stacey Champion, who lives in downtown Minneapolis, has a different birthday than me, and is African American - tried to mail a puppy.

If you're still pissed off, go find her instead of picking the first person (me) who shows up when you Google "Stacey Champion."  This is ridiculous.

And guess what?  They call public records PUBLIC, because they're PUBLIC!  If you're going to take the time to google a stranger, then harass them; why not take the damn time to make sure you've got the right Stacey Champion?! Get a copy of the arrest record like I did, when I was trying to make sure my identity hadn't been stolen.

Holy shitballs.

Watch this video and see for yourself!

And by the way, this is our newly adopted Humane Society puppy, Mazzy, who we got because we just lost our almost 12 year old dog this past August.  She is here, not in a UPS box, a USPS box, or any other kind of box.  Dummies.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My AZ Republic Letter to the Editor

Because letters to the editor are limited to 200 words, I didn't get to say so much that I wanted to say.  Because of what I DID say, I'll get branded as the gun-hating lefty.  People will attack me with snarky comments and call me names.  And there's a good chance the letter won't even be published because I bag on the Governor's  lack of having a "way with words."  WHO elected that woman by the way? 

When I read the paper this evening it made me cry.  Again.  I cried for the families.  I cried for the people who had to endure such a horrific event.  I cried for the increased fear this blood bath  will cause in people who may now be too scared to speak their minds or get involved.  I cried for Gabby Giffords, though I only met her on two occasions, I found her to be gracious and engaged.  She was trying and she seemed to really care.

Here are some of the things I would have liked to point out in my Letter to the Editor but couldn't due to word restraints.

I grew up in Minnesota.  All of the men in my family went deer hunting every year.  It was a way of life.  I learned how to shoot a gun at the age of 7.  I went clay pigeon shooting for fun, and have always been a pretty good shot.  My Bapa taught me gun safety from a very young age and always kept his guns locked up so they couldn't be stolen.

I have shot one living creature in my life and have a scope kiss scar from a 240 Weatherby above my right eyebrow to prove it.  I like to think of that scar as my "Karma kiss."  I had to kill a goat.

Before I started my company, I ran the indoor air division of another environmental company.  My boss had a developer client who had some goats escape up a mountain near Tucson and endanger the last herd of Bighorn Sheep native to Arizona.  It was a big story and all over the news.  They had herded out as many goats as they could, but it was crazy terrain and we had to hike in.  I said a prayer for the goat, and shot a bullet straight through his neck from 260 yards away, killing him instantly.  I fared better than the goat, only requiring 7 stitches and getting a shiner that lasted for about a week.

I killed a goat to save a sheep, and started my own company shortly thereafter, because I was disgusted by who my boss would take money from so his pretty, little wife could go to yoga classes and shop all day.. Yuck.

Though it's true intent is needed to commit any act of assault toward another, a gun makes it a whole lot easier.  I don't think it's a good idea for people to be walking around with guns willy nilly.  Our human race is far too flawed to handle it.

This is what I said in my letter:

As a politically active citizen and a mom, I have wept several times while reading the coverage of the Tucson tragedy.  That could have very well been my child who was killed or injured...

There have been so many moments living in this "wild west mentality" state over the past 12 years that have made me wince and cringe.  Reading some of the politicians’ quotes in today's newspaper regarding the shooting rampage made me physically ill.

Gov. Jan Brewer: "I think it's certainly nothing that a state would like to have happen."  Really, Governor?  Here's a newsflash for you - I can be 100% certain that NO state would ever want this to happen. How do you plan to re-brand Arizona now?  Ick.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks said that he doesn't see gun-control measures as a solution..."It's not the gun that was the problem.  It's whose hands it was in."

Hey Rep. Franks - I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not, but gun-control measures DO help control whose hand a gun ends up in. It’s called waiting periods and background checks. A crazy person without a gun isn't quite as big of a threat.

Wake up Arizona.  Guns kill people.

I think my Bapa, looking down on me from Bapa Heaven would agree with me.  I think he would think it's ridiculous that a 22 year old kid with documented mental issues, could waltz into a store and buy that weapon - with no background check what-so-ever.

I think a crazy person with a gun, is a hell of a lot scarier than a crazy person without a gun.  I think strong gun control measures in this crazy ass state would go a long way in preventing tragedies.  Like this one.

I understand the concept of using a gun to hunt to get food.  I DON'T understand the concept of "let's give every single person, including college kids, a gun so they can protect themselves."  Are you fucking kidding me?  Protect them from each other?  I think it's fair to say more people are killed by guns than those involved in fist fights.  C'mon.

I'm proud of Sheriff Dupnik for making logical statements to the press.  Holy shitballs!  We have at least one sane Sheriff in this effed up state!  I'm sure Sheriff Joe is making a Dupnik voodoo doll as we speak...

So, at the end of the day, all I can think is the hate-spewing, Tea Party, extremist politics have to stop - or more and more people are going to follow suit because they think Sarah Palin is "talking to them."  We NEED to learn from this and pass new legislation about hate mongering within politics AND gun-control measures.  We need to do it now.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who suffered massive tragedy due to a twisted web of failed systems and disregard for keeping our state's citizens safe.

I hope Arizona can do better.  My idealism is waning.