The Farley Report from Phoenix #127: 3-8-11

Howdy,  Friends O'Farley,

None of us will forget the events of January 8--two months ago today. I know many of us initially felt a sense of helplessness in the face of an unmitigated tragedy. What can we do in the face of senseless violence? How can we help our community recover and lead the nation to a better place?

I know so many of you are finding your own way of doing that, whether personal or public. I have spoken with Tucsonans seeking increased commitment to solving conflicts in a civil way whether those differences are political, religious, or ethnic. Some are working to commemorate the victims in public memorials and gatherings, while others are working directly to help victims' families and others affected by the shootings. I want to tell you about another way you can help.

We have all been so inspired by the courageous actions of the heroes at the Safeway that morning, including those of our friend Daniel Hernandez whose training and quick thinking likely saved Gabby Giffords' life.

You, too, like Daniel, can save lives if you happen to be on the scene of a catastrophe. But you need to have the right training. That is why the American Red Cross is honoring Gabby and all those affected in the shootings by offering free CPR and First Aid training to anyone who wants to learn how to react in the face of an emergency.

On Saturday, March 19, the Red Cross will lead the Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday at more than 100 locations across the country. The Tucson locations are below:

TUCSON - CENTRAL at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00

Doubletree Hotel Tucson at Reid Park, Ballroom, 445 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711

TUCSON - NORTHWEST at 9:00 and 11:00

YMCA - Northwest Tucson, 7770 N. Shannon Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741

GREEN VALLEY at 9:00 and 11:00

Desert Hills Recreation Center, 2980 South Camino Del Sol, Green Valley, AZ 85622-8200

NOGALES at 9:00 and 11:00

Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAAHEC), 1171 W. Target Range Rd., Nogales, AZ 85621

SIERRA VISTA AT 9:00 AND 11:00

SACA Home Show at Buena High School, 5225 E. Buena School Blvd., Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

DOUGLAS at 9:00 and 11:00

Douglas High School , 1500 15th. St., Douglas, AZ 85607

The free CPR  and first-aid training will last 45-60 minutes, and will include instruction in hands-only CPR, controlling external bleeding and managing shock.

You are strongly encouraged to attend one of these FREE classes and learn how to administer CPR in case of an emergency. Families are welcome. If you would like to attend one of these sessions, you can RSVP online at http://www.redcrossarizona.org/site/PageServer?pagename=appeal_giffords_savealife

If you live outside of Southern Arizona, you can find your local training location at this national website:  http://www.redcross.org/savealife

I will be attending the 1pm session at the Doubletree with my family if you would like to join me.

Yesterday at the Capitol, I had the honor of hosting a man who is doing everything he can to redeem a terrible personal tragedy by saving lives in the future. Dr. Robert Okerblom's 19-year-old son Eric lost his life eighteen months ago.

Eric was bicycling on a long, straight road during good weather when he was struck and killed by a teenage driver. No one could figure out why the accident happened until Dr. Okerblom subpoenaed the driver's phone records which revealed that she was texting at the time.

Instead of retreating to grieve, family physician Dr. Okerblom decided to transform his suffering into action. Last week he began a solo unsupported bike ride from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida to bring attention to efforts to stop distracted driving. He knows he cannot bring his own son back to life, but he can save lives in the future.

He spoke eloquently at a Capitol press conference about what it is like to lose your children. "When they die, it's agony. And it doesn't go away. You just can't go back and keep living the same way. So I'm banging on doors."

He spoke in favor of this year's version of my ban on driving while texting (SB1538, which I first introduced in January 2007, and which is poised for action on the Senate floor) and my bill to ban all cellphone use while driving for 16- and 17-year-olds (HB2426, which I will be attempting to amend to another bill in upcoming weeks).

In response to a question from media about whether banning driving while texting infringes on the personal liberties of drivers, Dr. Okerblom responded, "They don't have a right to kill my family members. The roads are our public domains. We need to be safe there."

I believe this could be the year we finally get this passed, now that forty other states have also banned the practice.

There is still no public indication of when we will get a legislative budget proposal, although there are currently private meetings taking place including only Republicans, and there are rumors that the proposal could be revealed as early as late next week.

I suspect once the plans are revealed we will be moving quickly toward passage given the Republican success in passing their 214-page corporate bailout bill in three short days a couple of weeks ago. Serious problems were glossed over and objections pushed aside in favor of quick action on a highly suspect bill.

The rumored budget proposal, if enacted, could be truly devastating for most folks in our state, since hallway whispers indicate that the figures being discussed include more than 280,000 people in poverty cut from AHCCCS healthcare, $270 million cut from higher ed, and somewhere between $250 million and $600 million cut from K-12 education. I'll let you know the details as soon as I have them.

And as long as we are trading in rumors, I will leave you with an unwelcome one that I heard this afternoon from two separate reliable sources: Sarah Palin is considering moving to Bristol's new house in Maricopa in order to run for Kyl's Senate seat. Just what we need in our politics -- another politician from out of state who believes that ideology trumps jobs, the economy, and common sense. Let's hope the rumor is wrong.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.

Steve

Steve Farley
Arizona State Representative, District 28
Assistant Minority Leader
Ranking Member, Transportation Committee
Ways & Means Committee
Ethics Committee
Legislative Council
Capitol office: 602-926-3022
Tucson office: 520-398-6000
Official email: sfarley at azleg.gov 

Paid for by Friends O' Farley