Propositions, Meth Labs and AZ

10-28-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A relief break, from looking into the sad goings-on in the ecclesiastical world is certainly in order. Then again looking at the outside landscape isn’t so uplifting either. One of the candidates running for US Senate in AZ was quoted as saying, “These women who act like staying at home, leeching off their husbands or boyfriends, and just cashing the checks is some sort of feminism because they’re choosing to live that life,” she told Scottsdale nightlife magazine 944. “That’s bulls***. I mean, what the f*** are we really talking about here.” Well, I for one want to stand up for those women who “stay at home” since we have lots of them in our community.

Actually, they don't really stay at home at all. They are very involved in the community. For one, our schools, public and private would be at a real lose without the work they do. From helping in the classrooms, lunchrooms, running school field trips, serving on School councils and committees, the “stay at home women” sure don't see the inside of their homes all that much. Additionally, they are the eyes and ears of the local community. They often alert us first when there are community issues or problems, are the first to call the cities or municipalities to alert them to problems or get answers on questions or policies. Some of them even make podcasts to provide advice to other parents, such as this one by one of our mothers: . I don’t ever recall any husband referring to his wife as a “leech” but I guess there is a first time for everything.

The same candidate also referred to Arizona as “the meth-lab of democracy” and said a whole lot of other unflattering things about the people who live in Arizona. I guess we suffer from preexisting conditions. Why run to serve people you loathe? Seems like an exercise in self-hatred. It’s obvious that we greatly disappoint her to the point of embarrassment. But we’ll try to do better, to be more like Upper Manhattan-San Fran-the Hamptons, well at least the Tempe City Council is doing its best to make us hip, slick and cool with all those little scooters and bikes.

Prop 418 that some members of Tempe City Council are promoting would give Council members the power to remove another Council member. But the Ballot Prop is unnecessary since there are already protocols codified in the City Charter by which a Council member would forfeit his or her seat by taking certain actions or engaging in certain immoral or criminal behaviors. Strange that Planned Parenthood is a big backer of Prop 418. Planned Parenthood likes to fund campaigns for local offices such as City Council and most especially School Boards. By funding campaigns for School Board, Planned Parenthood hopes that once elected those candidates will promote their Comprehensive Sex Ed Programs for Schools ( ) thus ensuring more business for their Abortion Clinics. But why support Prop 418? Their claim is that Planned Parenthood is concerned with “moral turpitude”. Really? Who would have ever guessed? But I think the real reason is that since PP has funded the campaigns of some of the members of Tempe City Council, how beneficial would it be for PP if those Council members voted off the Council members who are not Planned Parenthood supporters? I sense a rat in Prop 418
or at least an easier path for PP to invade our Public Schools with their propaganda.

In general, the ballot propositions are not the best way to conduct lawmaking in a republic as they make it impossible for legislatures to amend or tweak the propositions despite unintended consequences or unforeseen problems or conflicts.

For instance: Prop 126 seems like a solution in search of a problem. Prop 127 sounds good, renewables and green energy but the last time AZ mandated a percentage of our energy had to come from renewables our utility rates here at the Church increased by 30% despite our replacing most of the AC units with energy efficient models, installing LED lighting and lowering our overall wattage usage. The biggest supporters of this Prop tend to be able to absorb increased rates but it hits the poor really hard. One of the requests our St. Vincent de Paul Conference receives the most is for assistance paying utility bills. The Wall Street Journal reported that only $385 to fund this Initiative came from people living in AZ. The other $18 million came from groups outside the state. For groups pushing us to go green, they certainly are anything but organic.

Educational Empowerment Scholarships (ESA’s) are already codified in law by the AZ Legislature and Prop 305 would make them permanent. ESA’s are Scholarships given to parents in different categories (e.g. Students with Disabilities, Blind, Deaf, Active Military etc.) so they can make the best educational choice for their child based on their child’s needs. This includes giving parents the power to choose what school, public, private or homeschool is best for their child. Think of the blind child living in rural AZ where there is no school for the blind, a parent might want to homeschool, an ESA empowers them to do that. ESA’s are already in effect and Prop 305 expands their application. It also allows the Legislature to cap the amount of scholarships by 2022. The AZ Catholic Conference and the Bishops of AZ are supporting this Ballot measure.

Here are four key principles of Catholic social doctrine that can inform your thinking as you make prudential decisions at the ballot box: Promoting and defending the dignity of the human person; Supporting the family and subsidiarity in local, state and national institutions; Working for the common good where human rights are protected and basic responsibilities are met; Acting in solidarity with concern for all as our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and most vulnerable.

Love, Fr. John B.