Maricopa County has had its share of controversial or criminal county officials over the years. Perhaps it is due to the nature of county government in Arizona, which has many people elected to positions. The latest example is Paul Petersen, the county assessor who won two elections but also…

Gov. Doug Ducey has selected a new head of the Arizona Department of Corrections, and David Shinn certainly seems to have the right qualifications. He is a veteran of federal prisons and most recently has been a senior official in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. He faces challenges in Arizona bu…

Decades ago, growing cotton was the main economic engine that drove the development of Casa Grande, Eloy and Coolidge. For many years, agriculture was the leading source of jobs and income. That changed over the years with a few factors, including mechanization, costs, commodity markets and …

Hydroelectric power has been important to parts of the United States for many years. But it’s difficult to build new dams now because they often are controversial for environmental reasons and they already have been built at many of the best sites. A new proposal from a Phoenix company to pu…

Arizona regulates use of groundwater in high-growth and vulnerable areas, and that is a good thing. However, the rules and process present some problems, especially from effects of the Great Recession. The state House of Representatives has a committee looking into the effects on Pinal Count…

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb’s Redirection Mentor Program, which began in San Tan Valley early this year, has expanded to the Casa Grande area. It certainly has the potential to make a difference with young people who might be headed in the wrong direction with their lives.

Pinal County Manager Greg Stanley is retiring after several years of service to the county. The Board of Supervisors has selected Louis Andersen, who like Stanley previously worked in the Public Works Department, as the new manager.

Pinal County’s pending sales tax for building roads was back in the news last week when arguments were heard on a lawsuit that seeks to kill the tax. The county’s Regional Transportation Authority, meanwhile, has been collecting the half-cent tax but has not been able to spend the money. The…

Arizona has had a shortage of corrections officers for a long time, but a recent report highlights that problem. In the 2017-18 budget year, the state paid $40 million in overtime, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic. That clearly is not a good thing for the state or the workers…

Arizona and other states are preparing for more elections next year following the off-year round in 2018. The next general election, however, will include a vote for president, the first following 2016, when Donald Trump won a shocking victory and foreign hacking attempts played a major part…

We all know that technology has changed American life for the good and sometimes bad. Along with that, new forms of crime have developed, especially in identity theft and other cyber crime. However, new ways of preventing crime also have developed.

With mass shootings continuing at a numbing pace, opinions are flying about how to deal with this complex problem. American sentiment supports increased background checks, and Congress may act on that soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is waiting for President Trump to …

Phoenix voters last week rejected two measures that had been the subject of much rhetoric and advertising. Perhaps they made the right choice in deciding against blocking light rail expansion and new limits on spending. However, both propositions point out problems in municipal government an…

A Valley legislator is pushing an idea proposed before to count prison inmates for census purposes where they are from, not where they actually live. The proposal, which would have the greatest negative impact on Pinal County’s largest legislative district, should be shelved the way it was before.

Central Arizona College opened its doors 50 years ago after years of work and dreaming by some farsighted community leaders in Pinal County. The college has celebrated each decade of its existence, but this milestone fittingly is being marked throughout the whole academic year, starting this…

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors this week set property tax rates for all districts and governmental entities in the county, although most of them were known in advance when budgets were set. Looking at them together, however, provides some good news.

A report aired last week paints a troubling picture of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Following a televised story that showed inmates at the Lewis prison in Buckeye could freely open and close cell doors, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the report. To prepare it, he turned to an excellent so…

Another attempt to get Arizona voters to approve recreational marijuana was rolled out last week. This follows rejection last year by only 51% of those casting a ballot. With the next general election more than 14 months away, prepare to be bombarded with information and spin.

Americans have been dealing this week with two more mass shootings that killed 31 people last weekend. In light of that, Gov. Doug Ducey had some very timely remarks last week about his ongoing effort to detain people deemed dangerous. Of course, with the number of mass killings in recent ye…

The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that residents have a constitutional right to online privacy that goes above what they have under the U.S. Constitution. For that, they can thank the Arizona Constitution, which says: “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home inv…

Despite summer heat and the occasional monsoon storm, Arizona is a great place for outdoor activity most of the time. That led to new bases to train a huge number of military pilots in the World War II era, which introduced many to the then-lightly populated state. And it also led to making …

As Pinal County schools open for the new year, educators once again are striving to obtain the best results from their students. At the same time, some Arizona leaders continue to seek the best as well. Arizonans long have sought to raise achievement in education, and the job is not easy.

A large number of Americans have been troubled by gridlock in Washington, so some hopeful signs this month are welcome. One is over immigration, which has been a big issue in Arizona for years while politicians have been unwilling to work together on any meaningful reforms. This has led to h…

Pinal County’s population grew rapidly in this century because of a land shortage to build homes in Maricopa County and the fact that land was cheaper in Pinal. That is still the case, although housing in Pinal has become less affordable. Since the Great Recession, when a huge inventory of h…

According to federal statistics, a third of teenagers smoked in 1997, and only 9% in 2015. The bad news is that use of electronic cigarettes has risen from 0.6% in 2011 to 20% recently. Vaping is billed as a desirable substitute for smoking, but for millions of teens becoming addicted, it cl…

President Trump has found an alternative to a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census, which would have played out in court because of Democratic opposition. Immigration is an issue that greatly affects Arizona and Pinal County, but another one is the subject of an executive order from …

Planning for Interstate 11, which could connect Pinal County to Las Vegas and destinations much farther, has continued for several years. In these days when infrastructure funding is often lacking, such a project sometimes seems to be fantasy, yet it makes sense and very well could happen. A…

Even though Casa Grande has a beautiful new Community Recreation Center, some of its major new buildings are old enough that the city has paid down much of its debt. That means the secondary tax rate is falling considerably this year, giving the City Council an option of raising the primary …

Americans always have celebrated the Fourth of July in a big way, as well they should. It’s a day to have some fun while also appreciating the steps some patriots took in the 1770s to establish a nation based on principles that were new at the time. Unfortunately, they have not become univer…

Pinal has long been the state’s third most populous county, but traditionally it was quite rural in nature. That has changed with rapid growth in the 21st century. Sandwiched between the two metropolitan areas in a major Sun Belt state, Pinal is piling up population increases that had long b…

After years of intense battle between the town of Florence and Florence Copper, a settlement may be on the horizon. A 5-2 vote by the Town Council toward that end occurred Friday, and that is a major change in stance. It followed a $1.7 million judgment the company won and signs that some re…

Arizona’s leaders recently dealt with a pending shortage of Colorado River water. While a wet winter and spring may have delayed the problem, it won’t go away and will need future intervention. At least decisions were made to cope.

The population in Arizona and Pinal County is growing, making the state a much larger force than it was in earlier times. Meanwhile, some areas are shrinking, at least in the number of students in school. That is creating a challenge for those responsible for operating schools in those areas…

The Arizona Court of Appeals has rejected an argument from Pinal County Assessor Douglas Wolf regarding classification of ranch land. The unanimous ruling was the correct one, saying that the land should not be reclassified as vacant, which would mean more property taxes for the owner.

Americans generally take a dim view of the pay and perks received by their elected officials, but those people should be compensated to the point that public service is not an excessive burden. There is much to be said for having regular folks, and not just the wealthy, in statehouses and Co…

Americans know well about the gridlock in Congress, and many of them are tired of it. There is no better example than with the immigration issue. It has been a major campaign theme of President Trump for years, and Democrats have no intention of giving him a legislative victory. Meanwhile, t…

Casa Grande City Council members were obviously reluctant as they asked questions about a change they no doubt knew they had to make. The discussion at a study session Monday evening was about a staff recommendation to suspend the decades-old curbside recycling program. For many years reside…

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors last week reviewed a plan to borrow money and construct some new buildings. Meanwhile, the board reviewed a budget that calls for a 4-cent decrease in the property tax rate. Both developments can be seen as a sign of growth in the county and managing Pin…

The Arizona Legislature finally finished work on its budget late on Memorial Day and adjourned a session that was longer than some. Criticism usually follows adjournment, but the legislators actually did a pretty good job of allocating the revenue that comes from a good economy. In doing tha…

Pinal County communities, along with those all over the nation, on Monday will be honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. At Mountain View Cemetery, the Casa Grande Memorial Day event will be put on, beginning at 9 a.m., by J. Warren Funeral Services and variou…

The Arizona Legislature is dealing with its typical end-of-session battle — passing a budget. The session started at the beginning of the calendar year and has extended longer than it does sometimes. The big challenge now is to get the budget done, as the beginning of the fiscal year is litt…

Arizona’s primary elections are likely to be a few weeks earlier because of a bill passed by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Doug Ducey. On balance that seems like a good change, although it means more weeks of political signs and robocalls.

Arizona’s public safety retirement program has had challenges for years. Local governments have had to strain their budgets to keep up with rising pension costs and in some cases avoid hiring first responders because of it.

The city of Casa Grande opened its long-awaited Community Recreation Center on Monday, and it is an amenity that was worth the wait. The center was built largely with bonds approved by voters 13 years ago. It was put on hold during the Great Recession as a budget squeeze would have made oper…

Concern has been expressed for years about the potential of robots taking more jobs away. Some of that recently has focused on self-driving vehicles, as many Americans get a paycheck as drivers. However, a trend seems to be developing, and it might be beneficial with the amount of traffic se…

Casa Grande has had a homeless problem for years, something that the city government and various organizations have attempted to deal with. The new CGHELPS Resource Center in Peart Park represents a major, coordinated effort that should be beneficial.

The Arizona Legislature is working toward passage of a budget, which normally is the culmination of the session. Last year a major increase in teacher pay was a priority, and this year Gov. Doug Ducey is pushing compensation for corrections officers. That is important, especially because the…

Central Arizona College has a budget for the year beginning July 1 that calls for a slight tax decrease. Meanwhile, the college is expecting a little more funding from its local property tax: $1 million. That is the result of growth in total property values, and the college seems to be budge…

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