I learned that the “Invest in Ed” ballot prop was removed from the ballot. I knew that the Red for Ed folks are a pretty determined bunch. So, having learned from their mistakes, I assumed they would get it right next time.
However, in the media and among friends, I heard no call for greater diligence. I did hear whining about big-money interests and schemes to kick judges off the Arizona Supreme Court, but no arguments regarding the law as it applied to this case. The only concern was the outcome, and the legal process be damned.
There are legitimate reasons for removing a judge, but the effects of a decision are not one of them. It is the duty of a judge to ignore the politics and the effects of the decision. If you work to remove a judge for not supporting your politics, you are corrupting the concept of an impartial judiciary.
David Safier recently wrote in the Tucson Weekly, “We need to be Red-hot angry over the decision by Ducey’s Supreme Court, backed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, to take the Invest in Education initiative off the ballot.” This statement implies that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry conspired with the Arizona Supreme Court “to take the Invest in Education initiative off the ballot.” This is widely accepted by many as fact.
Is there a way to determine if that accusation is true? The test is to look at the decision and see if it is justified according to the law. If we objectively look at the facts, it is quite clear that the official description contains false statements regarding the change in the state income tax and omits information regarding the new law’s effect on inflation indexing. These are not minor technicalities. The wording totally misrepresented the Invest in Education ballot proposition and left out information important to the voter. Therefore, the court had no choice in its decision.
The big complaint by many is that the voters will now not be able to vote on the issue; but, if it went to the ballot with a false description, then the voters would still not be voting on the issue.
I have always suspected that the primary purpose of the Red for Ed movement was to defeat Gov. Doug Ducey and to increase Democrat voter turnout. That would explain why the initial frenzy was centered around the governor rather than the local districts that are responsible for teacher compensation. I’m not letting the state of Arizona off the hook, but it is not the place to start regarding teacher pay. I also suspect that the timing is not coincidental, with the anger still growing and probably peaking when ballots arrive in the mail.
Mr. Safier started by saying, “We need to be Red-hot angry…” That is the salvage, using that loss to ramp up the anger and hatred to increase voter turnout; but can there be a downside to being “Red-hot angry”?
We have already seen teachers violate their contracts and flout state law by staging an illegal strike. What does the “red-hot” level look like? Will we come to a point where the law not only plays no role in discussions, but puts even fewer constraints on behavior? Will Red for Ed become above the law?
Note to the Red for Ed army. You are not Antifa thugs, you are college-educated professionals. You created the problems with the Invest in Ed initiative, not the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Arizona Supreme Court. So, be professional, own the screw-up, and do it right next time. Besides, there are plenty of other fronts in your war.