Recognizable or Recognized?

“Do you know so-and-so?”

In its best form this question may be the entree to an introduction by the asker, sometimes it is fishing for an introduction for the asker, most often it is a conversational calibration tool (i.e. if you know so-and-so the conversation will go one way, if not it will go another).

For many years I have taken to answering this question the same way:

“Are you asking if I know them… or if they know me?”

For instance, at one time I was the personal banker for a very well known businessman in Tucson. I did work for him on a weekly basis, regularly interacted with his sister and other members of his family, received personal thank you cards from him when I helped associates of his, my parents attend a rather small Christmas party with him most years. I know this man fairly well… but I don’t think he could pick me out of a crowd.

This question of whether I know someone or whether they know me, is at the heart of a tension between the states of being recognizable vs being recognized. A recognizable person knows the right names and faces. A recognized person is known by the right names and faces.

Continue reading


Interview on KVOI 1030 AM, “Wake Up Tucson” 01/09/17

Deep dive into the structural differences being the selection of the chief executive in parliamentary vs presidential systems. Discussion touches on the ratio of high-performing liberal democracies to their adoption of parliamentary vs presidential structures, the differentiation between head of state and head of government, and the Constitutional history which lead to our form of presidential system including the purpose of the Electoral College.

Beyond Nov. 8th

I wear my political philosophy on my sleeve… which many would tell me is bad for my friendships and my business.

I have not really found that to be true.

Engaging on difficult topics with strangers, friends, even clients, disciplines me to be thoughtful, be kind, be humble, to look for humor, and always start by seeking areas of agreement. Quite often I fall short of this bar, I get prideful about the depth of my understanding, sometimes my temper starts to boil, I become competitive and try to “win” or monologue when I should simply be listening. However, I am regularly brought low when I do these things, when I step outside the proper bounds of civilized discussion. Painfully, though luckily, almost every time I do these things circumstance disciplines me… and I get better.

Whatever skill I have today at communicating my beliefs comes not from inborn ability but mostly from screwing up and doing it wrong then learning and doing better. Whatever skill I have tomorrow or next year will be bred from the mistakes I make between now and then.

Continue reading

Raising The Bar: Redux

As members of the Colorado Legislature who played intimate roles in the budgeting and appropriation of marijuana tax revenues, we feel it is our duty to set the record straight so that voters in both states have accurate information about this subject.

We can say with certainty that the claims about Colorado marijuana tax revenues featured in your committee’s ads range from highly misleading to wholly inaccurate. As you can see in the attached issue brief provided by Colorado Legislative Council staff and fact sheet produced by the Colorado Department of Education:

[List of notable inaccuracies]

We respectfully request that you stop airing or otherwise publishing campaign ads that contradict these facts. We also trust they will be reflected in any of your future communications to Arizona voters regarding Colorado’s experience with regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use. (Colorado Officials Politely Ask Arizona’s Anti-Marijuana Group To Stop Lying)

Almost five years ago, I wrote an article entitled Raising The Bar. The subject of this article was the perennially poor quality of public policy conversation and punditry from which our city, county and state suffer.

This year Arizona has a demonstrably destructive minimum wage hike and benefits mandate on the ballot (Proposition 206). New law which will knock more rungs out of the bottom of the employment ladder and make it harder for young people and low skilled workers to find a path to success in the labor market.

However, with the laudable exceptions of Americans for Prosperity Arizona and The Free Enterprise Club, no organizations have attempted to form a principled opposition to this harmful initiative. No one is trying to educate and persuade voters regarding this critical economic issue.

Continue reading

AirBnB’s Corrosive Community Commitment

Just got an email from Airbnb regarding their new “Community Commitment”. It reads:

“You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgment or bias.”

Now to be clear, this isn’t just about nice words, it has real teeth. If you don’t make this pledge, starting November 1st, you will be prohibited from either hosting or booking with the service.

I don’t know specifically where this is coming from, though anti-discrimination is of course perennially in the air. However, I am extremely sorry to see AirBnB either fall in with the one-size-fits-all crowd or feel it has been pushed to this action by dominating regulators and other pressure groups.

Continue reading

Why “Yes” on Prop 205?

The reason to vote Yes on 205, is because the No Campaign has worked so diligently to turn this election into a referendum on the continuation of the drug war.

The same people who fought against medical marijuana passage, have repeatedly attempted to undermine the initiative since passage, and blocked legislative legalization of recreational marijuana at every turn, are now running one of the more dishonest campaigns I have ever seen (What Are Crafters Of Anti-Pot Ads Smoking?). Major funding ($500K) for which is coming from the maker of a demonstrably lethal opioid (Fentanyl Maker Donates Big…). A company who admitted in shareholder communications that they made the donation due to fear of competition from legal marijuana sales.

This coalition has fought safe marijuana legislation every step of the way. This group of individuals and organizations have known this was coming if the legislature did not take action. Major policy conferences have discussed the necessity of legislative action for the last decade in order to stave off ballot initiatives. The No Campaign coalition chose to reject cooperation with marijuana policy reformers and left them only one path forward.

Continue reading

Fictional Russian Naval Officer Offers Some Perspective For Trump Supporters: “You’ve killed us!”

As more evidence comes out to confirm that Trump is exactly as awful as we all knew he was, Republicans who had attempted to remain faithful to the party are finally running for the lifeboats. These “unendorsements” unsurprisingly have triggered a classic Trump tantrum over the past two days, turning his Twitter account, communications team and supporter base against established and prospective Republican legislators vying for seats in November.

For instance, after Paul Ryan stated he would no longer campaign with Mr. Trump, Ben Shapiro notes:

That led Trump to tweet, “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.” Of course, Trump could spend more of his time on not being the worst Republican candidate in history rather than bashing the man he needs in order to pass his agenda. But that wouldn’t be Trumpian, would it? Trump Doesn’t Care Whether The GOP Keeps Congress

Continue reading

Wayne Grudem’s Incomplete Retraction

Wayne Grudem has finally retracted his ill informed and ill advised endorsement of Donald Trump (Trump’s Moral Character and the Election). As he himself admits, he didn’t do his research, and that upon looking further it is clear that no one for whom character counts should support Trump’s candidacy.

However, I share this only because of how often it was shared with me, not as an endorsement of Grudem’s opinions.

While I am happy to see him retract his endorsement (including the extraordinary step of having Townhall remove the original article), this article and his thinking continue to be poorly researched, containing inexcusable gaps for someone who presumes to speak as a political pundit.

Continue reading

How NOT Shocking

The only thing shocking about the new Trump video is how NOT shocking it is… Anyone who has given more than a passing glance to this election knows Trump is the worst kind of misogynistic bully and likely a rapist, who throws his money and fame around to avoid charges being filed.

We are supposed to train up our children in the ways we want them to be as adults… How can any parent of a daughter drive around with a Trump/Pence bumper sticker on their car? How can any parent of a son explain how to properly respect women on the one hand while explaining how they are voting for The Donald on the other.

There is an honest, principled politician who has executed every office he has held honorably and effectively, and he is on the ballot in all 50 states… Gary Johnson was a 2-term Republican governor in the blue state of New Mexico… If you can no longer stomach the 2016 Republican nominee I would encourage you to give him a look. Go beyond the couple of goofy sound bites and give him a real look. I would suggest starting with his speech at CPAC:

CPD Should Recognize Its Mistake And Let Gary Debate

The presidential campaign of Gov. Gary Johnson has officially accomplished something that hasn’t happened in 20 years: a third party candidacy achieved ballot access in all 50 states.

The Libertarian Party ticket of Johnson and Bill Weld (two, 2-term, Republican governors, from blue states) have support across the country, represent a distinctly different policy platform than the major party candidates (“fiscally responsible, socially inclusive”), and will be an option facing every voter on their election ballot this Fall.

Yet, as of today, you will not see them in the national presidential debates. Continue reading