Phoenix Walmart Workers Planning Black Friday Protest

Categories: News

Walmart workers around Phoenix are organizing a protest outside of a Phoenix Walmart store on Black Friday.

The protest at the Walmart store near 36th Street and Thomas Road is one of 1,600 Black Friday protests planned nationwide, according to the groups backing the effort, Our Walmart and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

"I'm doing this to support other associates who have been retaliated against," Tolleson Walmart employee Sandra Sok tells New Times. "[I'll] speak up and let them know how I feel."

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Why 133 Votes Weren't Counted in the Race Between Ron Barber and Martha McSally

Categories: Election 2014

Ron Barber for Congress/Facebook
This week, Democratic Congressman Ron Barber's campaign filed a federal lawsuit over 133 votes that were cast, not counted, in the race for his congressional seat.

The margin between Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally is close enough -- 161 votes -- to require a recount, and despite the ongoing complaints from the Barber campaign over these 133 uncounted votes, the results were certified by two counties' board of supervisors.

Although the Barber campaign tried to stop the boards of supervisors in Pima and Cochise counties from approving the election results, Cochise County Elections Director Jim Vlahovich pointed to the state law that requires the boards to approve, or "canvass," the results within 20 days of the election.

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Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Reduces the GOP to a Blubbering Mass of Bigoted Whiners

Obama: turning the tables on dimwitted GOPers with his immigration gambit.

President Barack Obama's pre-Thanksgiving executive action granting a temporary reprieve from deportation for up to 5 million undocumented individuals was a brilliant example of asymmetric warfare.

Just two weeks after a major Republican midterm victory, with GOPers gaining control of the U.S. Senate, increasing their numbers in the U.S. House, and promising to undo Obama's signature achievement in office, the Affordable Care Act, Obama outflanked his massive, lumbering opposition and sent it scattering.

Depending on which bigoted blubberers from the right you want to cite, the tuskers are ready to retaliate with a lawsuit or by shutting down the government or by defunding certain federal agencies or by impeaching the president.

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Veterans Group Says "Good Riddance" to Fired Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman

Categories: News

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Phoenix VA director Sharon Helman (left) with a VA employee.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA Healthcare System, finally was fired for the wait-time manipulation scandal that may have led to some veterans' deaths.

Pete Hegseth, the CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, a veterans' advocacy group, declared "good riddance" to Helman.

"She was Exhibit 'A' of why the VA needs more accountability within its employee structure," Concerned Veterans for America legislative director Dan Caldwell tells New Times.

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Democratic Arizona Lawmaker Albert Hale Arrested on Suspicion of DUI

Arizona Representative Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels, was arrested on Sunday night on suspicion of DUI.
Democratic Arizona lawmaker and former Navajo Nation President Albert Hale was arrested on Sunday night on suspicion of DUI.

The state Department of Public Safety, which made the arrest, declined comment. The Navajo County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Hale, 64, was booked into jail in Holbrook and later released.

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Phoenix Demonstrations Related to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Fizzle

Categories: News

Ray Stern
A small group of demonstrators marched in Tempe on Monday night after the grand-jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer.
As parts of Ferguson, Missouri, burned and hundreds gathered in New York City's Times Square, related demonstrations in the Phoenix area mostly fizzled.

Following Monday's announcement that no criminal charges would be forthcoming for a white Ferguson police officer who shot an unarmed black teen in August, the largest gathering in the Phoenix metro area occurred in downtown Tempe, where up to three dozen protesters held signs and marched.

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Campaign to Recall Superintendent-Elect Diane Douglas Files Paperwork With State

Categories: Election 2014

Gage Skidmore
Diane Douglas now faces an official recall campaign more than a month before she's to take office.
A campaign to recall Diane Douglas, voters' choice for the new Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, has filed organizing paperwork with the state.

Douglas won't be sworn in to her new office until January 5. But the Republican, anti-Common-Core politician has already drawn plenty of criticism -- and not just from Democrats.

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Jan Brewer's Anti-DACA Driver's License Policy Takes Another Hit in Court

Categories: News

André Karwath
Opponents of Governor Jan Brewer's executive order that prevents certain immigrants from getting driver's licenses are claiming another court victory over Brewer this week.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Brewer's requests for rehearings, after the court had previously but a temporary ban on the state's enforcement of Brewer's order.

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, this decision paves the way for immigrants granted deferred action by the Obama Administration to get driver's licenses.

"Arizona's anti-immigrant campaign is a destructive policy that has proven to be very costly for tax payers," says Victor Viramontes, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "Now, Arizona has lost yet again in federal court, and DACA recipients will finally receive the licenses that Arizona should never have denied them."

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Warnings First for People Lingering on Road Medians in Phoenix, Then Fine or Jail

Categories: City Hall

Ray Stern
A Phoenix panhandler says he was told recently about a new city ordinance making it illegal to stay in a road median.
Lingering on a road median in Phoenix can now mean a possible fine or jail time, but police are required to give first-time warnings to offenders.

In an apparent effort to limit a dangerous form of panhandling, the Phoenix City Council last week passed an ordinance that bans pedestrians from hanging out in the middle of a street. Designated as an "emergency," it took effect immediately, and enforcement begins this week.

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Ron Barber Files Federal Lawsuit Over Uncounted Votes

Categories: Election 2014

Ron Barber for Congress/Facebook
Democratic Congressman Ron Barber's campaign has filed a federal lawsuit over 133 votes that were cast, not counted, in the race for his congressional seat.

Republican challenger Martha McSally leads Barber by 161 votes, but with a recount imminent, Barber's not giving up yet.

"We are talking about 133 Southern Arizona voters who lived up to their responsibility -- they registered to vote and then showed up to vote," Barber attorney Kevin Hamilton says in a statement. "We are asking the court to ensure that every lawful vote is counted. That's what America is all about."

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Top 10 Legitimate Complaints About Living in Phoenix

Categories: List This

Listen, we love Phoenix, but that doesn't eliminate our urge to complain.

There are some legitimate complaints to have about living in Phoenix -- find our top 10 picks below:

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Phoenix Police Detective Shot in the Leg; Suspect Fatally Shoots Himself

Categories: News

Yumi Kimura
A Phoenix police detective was shot in the leg Thursday night by a convicted felon who committed suicide before he could be arrested.

The detective, 10-year veteran Bryan Cuthbertson, was with another detective in the gang-enforcement unit Thursday night near 34th Avenue and Roosevelt Street when they tried to make contact with 31-year-old Salvador Acevedo, who was on a bicycle.

As the detectives got out of their vehicle to talk to Acevedo, he ran behind the detectives' vehicle and started shooting at them, police say.

"This just goes to prove that what we're facing in our city right now . . . is gangs, guns, and drugs," Police Chief Daniel Garcia says. "This suspect is an example of what we're facing at this point."

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"Pregnant Man" Thomas Beatie Stalked Estranged Wife With GPS Tracker, Cops Say

Categories: Crime Blotter

"Pregnant man" Thomas Beatie has been arrested on suspicion of stalking his estranged wife.
Thomas "Pregnant Man" Beatie has been arrested in Phoenix on suspicion of stalking his estranged wife with a GPS tracker.

Beatie, a woman who underwent a sex change in 1997, became famous a few years ago because of eyebrow-raising pictures of a pregnant body beneath a bearded, male-looking face. "He" since has had three children.

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Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Historic, but Leaves Many Behind

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If you do the math, you will understand why the mood at the Arizona Capitol in downtown Phoenix last night, where activists gathered to watch President Barack Obama's historic immigration speech, was one of resignation, and for some, sadness.

The White House estimates that Obama's much-anticipated executive action will cover more than four million undocumented immigrants in this country, allowing them to live and work free from fear of deportation, in a temporary status that can only be made permanent by an act of Congress.

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: This Isn't GQ

At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, we found some inmates you'll never see on the pages of GQ magazine.

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Obama's Executive Action on Immigration Legal, No Matter What Teabaggers Say

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If the White House was betting that Republicans would overreact to President Obama's impending announcement tonight on immigration, where he's expected to outline a plan that will extend deferred removal to some 5 million undocumented immigrants, boy, were they right.

For instance, Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, proud representative of Sand Land know-nothings, is all for risking a government shutdown over the president's executive action, and has stated that Obama's move will be "unconstitutional" and an "impeachable offense."

Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and all of the usual wingnut suspects are in full panic mode, crying for Obama's head. (You know, like normal.) And Republican U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has warned darkly of "instances of anarchy" and "violence" to come from Obama's executive order.

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Solana Solar Plant Produces Less Energy Than Advertised, But That's Expected, Says APS

Categories: Solar Energy

Ray Stern
The Solana solar plant near Gila Bend has delivered less electricity than expected in its first year of operation. (Photo from 2013, before plant was operational.)
The $2 billion Solana concentrated solar plant in the desert near Gila Bend is off to a slow start, producing less electricity than it might in the future.

Now in operation for slightly more than one year, Solana has delivered about two-thirds of the annual amount of electricity expected to be received in the future, say officials with Arizona Public Service.

Utility officials and the plant's builder say they anticipated it would take time for the plant to work out initial problems.

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Border Patrol Sued for Allegedly Stifling Protests at Southern Arizona Checkpoint

Categories: News

Bill Morrow
A pair of southern Arizona residents have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Border Patrol, claiming the agency is stifling its attempts to monitor and protest a Border Patrol checkpoint in their town.

Peter Ragan and Leesa Jacobson are members of a community organization called People Helping People, which, among other things, monitors the practices of Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint in Arivaca. Their lawsuit claims they have been "subject to harassment, intimidation, and retaliation by agents at the checkpoint" -- to the point that they believe their First Amendment right to engage in political speech has been violated.

"Arivaca residents have to drive through this checkpoint every day, and every time they have to answer to an armed federal agent," Jacobson says in a statement released by the ACLU of Arizona. "That's not how this country is supposed to work, but as long as the checkpoint is here I want to do everything I can to document abuses and protest the ongoing militarization of our communities and the border region."

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DPS: Truck Driver in Deadly Five-Car Crash Showed No Remorse, Was on Pain Meds

Categories: News

Paul and Sarah Troupe.
Truck driver Brian Knoll was under the influence of pain medication and showed no remorse after causing a deadly five-car freeway crash Wednesday morning, officials say.

Knoll's Freightliner -- fully loaded with a trailer full of pavers -- was traveling north on Interstate 17 about 6:45 a.m. when it plowed into 22-year-old Paul Troupe's silver sedan, causing it to explode in flames.

The impact killed Troupe, injured his wife, and caused a chain reaction that injured four other motorists.

Court records released this morning show Knoll, 54, of Phoenix, tested positive in a preliminary urine test for an opiate-based narcotic and that his behavior was oddly indifferent after being told at least one crash victim was dead.

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Diane Douglas Recall Campaign Gains Momentum

Gage Skidmore
Diane Douglas
A week after David Garcia conceded to Diane Douglas, a campaign to recall the state's new schools chief already is well under way.

The effort is led by Anthony Espinoza, a public school teacher, and Max Goshert, an aquatic safety instructor with the Red Cross. The two had discussed their concerns about Douglas before the election, and they were shocked when she won. So Espinoza started a Facebook page demanding a recall shortly after election night. It had a simple description: "Diane Douglas is not fit to lead as the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona."

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