The Farley Report from Phoenix #139: 10-18-11

Howdy, Friends O'Farley…

It's Public Input Month at the Farley Report. Arizona needs you to step up and make your voices heard on two vital issues that will determine our future.

First, to ensure our economy and quality of life for the rest of this century, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) needs to hear from you as it creates the alternatives analysis and environmental impact study for passenger rail between Tucson and Phoenix.

Analysts have projected that, even if I-10 is expanded to ten lanes, by 2050 a trip to Phoenix will take more than five hours by car -- assuming there is not a dust storm in the way. We need to plan and build alternatives now.

Passenger rail could get us there in about an hour, which gives us back increasingly precious time. By attracting people to the train, the interstate would be less congested, creating less need for costly highway expansion. If we covered the tracks and stations with solar panels, we could generate twice the power we need to operate the train, providing a clean source of energy for surrounding communities.

ADOT is moving full speed ahead on evaluating routes, types of train propulsion, stations, and more so that we have the plans in place for future funding -- possibly from private transportation capital companies who may seek to build and operate the line.

So please go online today and let ADOT know what you want where you want it. They need to hear from you before November 14.

Second, we have draft maps for our new legislative districts available for public comment, and the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) needs to hear from you. 

The members of the IRC have done done an amazing job under relentless attacks from entrenched conservative politicians like Jan Brewer, who summed up the supercharged partisan histrionics from the right in a vitriolic press release, screaming, "This unaccountable, unelected Commission has misused its authority to draw a congressional map that is every Democrat's dream. This is nothing less than neglect of duty and gross misconduct." 

Amazingly, the Governor said this about a congressional district map that created four safe Republican districts, two safe Democratic districts, and three competitive districts. Hardly a dream for any Democrat I know. Perhaps she thinks that Republicans can't compete in competitive districts? 

Unfortunately, the legislative map, while it has some pretty good points, needs some work to be done. Once again, the Republicans end up with a built-in advantage -- 15 safe districts out of 30, compared to Democrats getting only 9 safe districts, leaving no more than six as competitive. 

You can see the map here:

I suggest you click on the Google Maps link -- it's easier to zoom in and out of the various boundaries.

Two of those competitive districts are in Tucson, and no matter where the final lines are drawn, I will be representing one of them. I am actually very happy with that, even though I currently have a very safe Democratic district. Why?

I have said for years that I am willing to share District 28's Democrats with District 26 so that we can have more of a chance of electing good legislators from both districts. That's exactly the way the districts are drafted. District 26 (now known as District 9) and District 28 (now known as District 10) both will have a Democratic advantage of only around 3%. I will be able to walk the talk -- when districts are fair and competitive, and elected officials have to work for your vote, I believe that common-sense leaders will carry the day.

So I am not asking you to make my district more safe for me -- with your support in the campaign, I will prevail and be able to continue to represent you. I am asking you to make other districts more like mine -- less safe for entrenched politicians.

It is patently unfair to give 50% of the districts to Republicans, with no chance of Democrats taking any of those seats -- especially since Republicans only number 35% of the state's registered voters. 

What I ask is that you emphasize that this legislative draft map needs to be improved by making at least four or five of those safe Republican districts into competitive districts. That won't take much effort -- only a few tweaks will do the trick. They can still lean Republican, but not by enough to put them out of striking distance for Democrats. 

This can be done without harming the integrity of the ten majority-minority districts that are in place to assure fair minority representation. We do not have to choose between competition and minority representation. We can and must have both.

Entrenched politicians can no longer take voters for granted simply because of the way the lines are drawn. Arizona needs a responsive, accountable legislature to help us thrive in this century. 

Members of the Tea Party have swallowed the Republican partisan line, and are commenting to the IRC in force to make the lines even less fair. We need to counter their influence with well-reasoned arguments for more competition. 

So please, take this final opportunity to let the IRC know how you feel, in person and online. The future of our community depends on your action:

--> The last public input meeting in Tucson will be on Monday, October 24, at 6:00 p.m., at the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom, 1303 E. University Blvd. 

--> Write your comments online THIS WEEK at the IRC website:

Campaigning in a competitive district will require more resources -- money and volunteers. Please contribute what you can to my re-election campaign as I carry out my leadership duties to recruit, support, and elect a new generation of Arizona leaders. I can't do this alone. I need your support right now. 

Visit my new and improved campaign website at

---> You can contribute up to $424 per person online by going to my newly updated website and clicking on the "Contribute" button. Thanks so much for helping us transform our state. Every dollar you can share will make a difference. <---

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Representative.


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 

Please contribute up to $424 per person to help me carry on the work:

Paid for by Friends O' Farley