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Bob Newhart was nearly 30, still living with his parents in Chicago and working as an accountant, when he struck comic gold in 1960 with his first comedy album, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.”
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona will likely see lackluster economic growth in the coming year as the hangover from the housing bust continues to dampen the economic recovery, economists presenting at an annual forecast meeting said Wednesday.
PHOENIX (AP) — If Christian Avila lived a few hundred miles to the west, he would have a driver's license and qualify for in-state college tuition and a host of other opportunities available to young people granted legal status by President Barack Obama two years ago.
But Avila lives in Phoenix, and the 24-year-old immigrant who was brought here from Mexico by his parents at age 9 still has to navigate the sprawling city in fear as he drives to school or work.
"You get nervous, your legs start to tingle a little bit when there's a cop behind you, when you're doing nothing wrong by driving to work,' said Avila, a community college student and immigration activist. "You're not breaking any rules, you're following the law. But unfortunately it's where we live."
With last week's action by Obama that expanded the deferred action program and added millions of other immigrants, Avila's plight highlights a harsh reality about the president's changes. The president may be allowing them to remain in the U.S., but it doesn't mean their state will let them drive a car, get an education at an affordable rate or obtain health insurance.
A patchwork of rules began to form in states — largely along political lines — after the president allowed some young immigrants to stay in the country. Conservative states like Nebraska and Arizona kept them from getting driver's licenses while liberal locations were much more welcoming in terms of state services and benefits.
Now, states must make new decisions on how to respond to the president's action that allows millions more immigrants to remain in the U.S.
In California, Democrats, immigration groups and health care advocates are pushing for the immigrants to receive health care under the state's version of the Medicaid program. The California Department of Health Care Services is deciding how to proceed. The president's action excludes immigrants who came to the country illegally from qualifying for federal health benefits.
In Nevada, officials are drawing up a bill for the Legislature making clear that unauthorized immigrants can become teachers in the state. Current rules specify that a prospective teacher must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident before they can receive a teaching license in Nevada.
A new gubernatorial administration in Arizona will have to decide whether to continue a hard-line approach toward state benefits that outgoing Gov. Jan Brewer took.
After Obama took action in 2012 granting legal status to 1.8 million young people brought to the U.S. as children, Brewer issued an executive order denying them driver's licenses or other state benefits, including in-state tuition at the state's public universities. A federal appeals court ruled the license ban was unconstitutional, and Brewer is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Our position is unilateral action by the president does nothing to change the fact that an illegal alien's presence is the United States is not authorized under federal law," Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said.
Arizona's Republican Governor-elect, Doug Ducey, has said he intends to continue Brewer's current ban, if it survives court challenges.
Maryland's Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley, has taken a decidedly different tack. He's a supporter of state laws granting in-state tuition to people without legal status and grants them driver's licenses. He has even been willing to get into a policy fight with Obama on the stream of unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America over the Mexican border, criticizing the White House proposal earlier this year that could have expedited the deportation of the children.
Arizona remains an outlier in its treatment of immigrants granted work permits and is among the most harsh when it comes to those who remain in the U.S. without legal authorization.
States surrounding Arizona provide in-state tuition to all residents, regardless of immigration status. And in January, California joins nine other states in allowing immigrants who can't prove they're in the U.S legally to get a driver's license.
Utah provides leniency when it comes to driving privileges and education, despite passing a law in 2011 that mirrored Arizona's landmark immigration crackdown, SB1070. The state issues driving-privilege cards that must be renewed annually for those who cannot prove they're in the country legally.
Nearly 36,300 were issued last year, said Nannette Rolfe, the director of Utah's Driver License Division. Utah also offers in-state tuition at public universities and colleges to residents not in the U.S. legally.
To be eligible, students must have attended a Utah high school for at least three years and earned a diploma or GED. They can't hold a non-immigrant visa and must file an application to legalize their immigration status when eligible to do so. In the 2012-2013 academic students, 929 students took advantage of the program.
Despite the fact that life would be easier if he left the state, Avila said he's staying put.
"This is where we got dirty as kids, this is where we learn how to speak English, this is where we learn how to do a lot of stuff," he said. "Here in Arizona is where my friends, my family, live and I don't see it as an option to run away, but rather stand up and change the conditions that we live under."
Stupid is as stupid does
PHOENIX (AP) — Pedestrians will no longer be permitted to loiter at medians in Phoenix.
KPHO-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1t8Qd6J) that city officials approved an ordinance Wednesday that makes standing in the median illegal.
The ordinance goes into effect immediately because it includes an "emergency clause."
The Phoenix City Council says the ordinance is intended to prevent jaywalking, which resulted in nearly 150 injuries or fatalities in Phoenix last year.
But advocates for the homeless say the amended law is only making things harder for people already struggling.
Violators of the law would first get a documented warning from an officer. Another violation calls for a $250 fine. Anymore violations could mean a misdemeanor charge and jail time.
Advocates say affordable housing developments in the city don't accept anyone with recent misdemeanors.
Two teary-eyed servers embraced. A sign was taped to the inside of the door, directing the remaining stragglers to exit out the side entrance. This door would never open to the same place again.
The good weather doesn't hurt, but WalletHub has found a variety of other factors that make Arizona communities good places for veterans.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House lunch aiming for cooperation boiled into a fresh dispute with newly empowered Republicans over immigration reform Friday, with GOP leaders warning President Barack Obama to his face not to take unilateral action. The president stood unflinchingly by his plan to act.
Republicans attending the postelection lunch at Obama's invitation said they asked him for more time to work on legislation, but the president said his patience was running out. He underscored his intent to act on his own by the end of the year if they don't approve legislation to ease deportations before then and send it to him to sign.
The Republicans' approach, three days after they resoundingly won control of the Senate in midterm elections, "seemed to fall on deaf ears," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in a telephone interview. "The president instead of being contrite or saying in effect to America, 'I hear you,' as a result of the referendum on his policies that drove this last election, he seems unmoved and even defiant."
"I don't know why he would want to sabotage his last two years as president by doing something this provocative," said Cornyn. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this week said the president's stance was "like waving a red flag in front of a bull."
Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said there was no reason that executive action on immigration should kill opportunities for the president and Republicans to find common ground.
"I could stand up here and say Republicans to vote once again for the 50th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, that that's playing with fire or waving a red flag in front of a bull. I'm not really sure what that means," Earnest said.
The White House said lawmakers went home from the meeting with a parting gift — a six-pack of beer brewed at the White House. The White House also said Obama laid out three areas where he and Congress could work together before the end of the year — emergency funding to combat the Ebola outbreak, approval of a federal budget and quick action on spending to fight the Islamic State militant group.
House Speaker John Boehner's office said he told Obama he was ready to work with the president on a new authorization for military force against the IS group if the president worked to build bipartisan support. The White House announced soon after lunch ended that the U.S. was sending as many as 1,500 more troops to Iraq to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel as part of the mission. Obama is also asking Congress for more than $5 billion to help fund the fight.
Friday's two-hour meeting was tense at times, according to a senior House Republican aide. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, about to lose his grip on the upper chamber, barely said a word, the aide said. The aide said at one point as House Speaker John Boehner was making an argument on immigration, Obama responded that his patience was running out and Vice President Joe Biden interrupted to ask how long Republicans needed. Obama angrily cut Biden off, the aide said.
The aide was not authorized to describe the back-and-forth publicly by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Publicly Obama's tone was more upbeat as he opened the gathering. He pledged to work on ending long-running partisan gridlock and to be open to Republican ideas. The president said the lunch was a chance to "explore where we can make progress" after Americans showed in the midterm elections that they wanted to see more accomplished in Washington.
"They'd like to see more cooperation," Obama said, sitting at the middle of 13 lawmakers in the Old Family Dining Room set with the Truman china. "And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen."
Reporters were ushered out before any lawmaker spoke or the lunch of sea bass was served. Republican descriptions of the meeting were provided after they returned to Capitol Hill.
For the record, Boehner's office said he suggested that the president should back a Republican jobs bill as a starting place for bipartisan action.
Obama said at the start he was interested in "hearing and sharing ideas" for compromise on measures to boost the economy, then mentioned his personal priorities of college affordability and investment in road and building projects. He also touted improved monthly job growth numbers out Friday as evidence his economic policies are working, saying, "We're doing something right here."
Briefings on Ebola and the Islamic State from Pentagon officials dominated much of the meeting, and the immigration debate was said to have lasted about half an hour. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Republicans told Obama that any executive order, particularly on immigration but any issue, would be a "toxic decision."
"He still hasn't come to grips with the reality of the election and the consequences of the election," Barrasso said. "His tone and tenor didn't seem to reflect that of somebody whose policies were just significantly rejected all across the country just three days ago."
TUCSON -- Gov. Jan Brewer asked the Arizona Supreme Court Thursday to quash efforts by a minority of state legislators to effectively kill the expansion of the state's Medicaid program.
When the stock market crashed in 2008, most Americans, one way or another, were badly hurt. But not all. Barack Obama’s then chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, saw it as a golden opportunity to jump-start the new administration’s agenda.
Top-notch education, fast growing community, friendly Hispanic business environment, and overall best city to live in. Gilbert has been recognized and awarded for its excellence in each of these areas.
A family of four entered a local shelter with tattered clothes and tired eyes, carrying three old garbage bags holding their only belongings. A wave of relief washed over the family as they cautiously walked into the shelter, greeted by barking dogs, a clean playground and an onslaught of accommodating volunteers.
Sixty years ago, Seton Catholic Prep was just a tiny school near modern-day Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard where a Boys & Girls Club stands today.
PHOENIX -- State lawmakers cannot ignore a court order to provide more funds for schools now while they appeal the findings, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper rejected arguments by attorneys for the Legislature that her decision the state owes schools what translates to an extra $331 million is somehow not in effect. They had argued that her July ruling was subject to an automatic "stay'' while they seek Court of Appeals review.
She said her ruling simply ordered lawmakers to start complying with a previous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court that they had ignored a 2000 voter-approved mandate to adjust state aid to schools each year to account for inflation. More to the point, her order calculated exactly how much needs to be added to basic state aid "to fulfill that mandate.''
What that means, she said, is her order is in effect -- and enforceable.
Peter Gentala, an attorney for the state House, said Cooper is wrong in believing the state has to start paying the money before the Supreme Court gets a chance to see how she calculated the figure.
Gentala also said that ignores the state's financial problems. He pointed to a report released Tuesday from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee projecting a $200 million deficit for this fiscal year even without the payment to the schools.
Don Peters, who represents the school districts that sued, said Tuesday's order does not require the Legislature to come into session immediately to appropriate the funds.
But what it does, Peters said, is provide options the schools can seek to ensure the money starts flowing and is not held up by delays caused by appeals. And he said it even could provide a method of getting the money even if lawmakers balk.
Peters said the judge could simply direct the state treasurer to hand over the money to the Department of Education to be distributed to schools. That would bypass the Legislature entirely and make legislative inaction irrelevant.
And he said that order could have teeth, with Cooper empowered to jail for contempt those who ignore their orders -- including the treasurer.
Peters stressed, though, he is hoping it does not come to that.
Lawmakers at first fought the whole question of whether they were obligated to comply with the voter mandate, contending that 2000 vote was not binding on them.
That argument, however, was rejected last year by the Supreme Court. That left it up to Cooper to decide what was really owed.
That $317 million figure is what Cooper said would have been available this year to schools had legislators not ignored the inflation-funding mandate for several years during the recession. In essence, she looked at state aid for the last year when there was compliance, computed each year's inflation, and came up with a number.
Senate President Andy Biggs, however, contends that number needs to be offset by the money lawmakers gave to schools above and beyond what was required by inflation. He puts that figure at about $240 million.
Cooper, however, ruled in July that's not the way the law reads. And Tuesday's order says unless the appellate court intervenes, it's time for lawmakers to start paying up.
Peters said there is precedent for what the judge is doing -- and for the schools to seek some sanctions if lawmakers balk.
One is directing the treasurer to distribute the funds under threat of contempt. But he said there are other options.
Two decades ago the Supreme Court ruled that the system of funding school construction violated state constitutional provisions for a "general and uniform'' school system. The justices said it resulted in gross disparities between the ability of "rich'' and "poor'' districts, with some being able to afford domed stadiums while others had crumbling bathrooms.
But the justices did not spell out for lawmakers how to fix the system. Instead, they ruled that if lawmakers did not come up with an acceptable plan, they would bar the treasurer from distributing any funds to schools, a move that would have effectively shut down the education system.
It never came to that. And Peters said he presumes the same sort of compliance if the courts issue a similar order in this case.
"There have been times the Legislature didn't like court rulings,'' Peters said. "But there's never been an occasion where they just said, 'We're not going to do it.' ''
He said no one wants to see that kind of stalemate.
"But I will also tell you that if it comes down to that, I'm going to bet on the courts,'' he said. "Because they can send somebody to jail.''
Cooper is separately considering a claim by schools they are entitled to about $1.3 billion they did not get in inflation funds for prior years. A hearing on that is set for later this month.
Follow Howard Fischer on Twitter at @azcapmedia.
State lawmakers cannot ignore a court order to provide more funds for schools now while they appeal the findings, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Arizona voters will decide this November if their legislators should receive a more than $10,000 bump in their wages.
PHOENIX -- Arizona's policy of denying thousands of Arizonans in a deferred-action program access to drivers licenses is contrary to federal law, the Obama administration said Tuesday.
In a court filing, attorneys for the Department of Justice told federal appellate judges that Arizona has no legal right to decide that some people the federal government allows to remain in this country are "authorized'' to be here and that others are not. The lawyers said that as far as the federal government is concerned, all are equal under the law -- and all are entitled to the same rights and privileges, including licenses.
"Arizona may not substitute its judgment for the federal government's when it comes to establishing classifications of alien status,'' wrote Assistant Attorney General Lindsey Powell for the administration.
She said Arizona has shown no "substantial state purpose'' in crafting rules to decide that some people not in this country legally are entitled to licenses and some are not. And that, said Powell, means Brewer's edict is "pre-empted by federal law.''
Tuesday's legal brief, made in a lawsuit filed by immigrant-rights groups on behalf of "dreamers,'' does not end the matter. It remains up to the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had asked the Department of Justice for its views, to decide whether Arizona must start issuing licenses to those allowed to remain in this country under the administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But it puts the federal government on record as telling the court to void the 2012 executive order issued by Gov. Jan Brewer directing the state Department of Transportation not to give licenses to DACA recipients.
Tuesday's filing drew an angry reaction from Andrew Wilder, the governor's spokesman. "Rather than secure U.S. borders or enforce existing federal immigration laws, the Obama administration continues to afford preference and privileges to people who enter our country illegally and whose presence is unauthorized,'' he said in a prepared statement. And Wilder said the fact that Obama has agreed on his own to let certain people not here legally remain and yet challenge Arizona's authority to deny them licenses "demonstrates how unhinged and lawless this liberal administration has become.
Wilder also said Arizona is not going to change its policy without a fight.
"States, not the Obama administration, have the right to determine who is issued a driver's license,'' he said.
Powell, in her legal brief, does not disagree with that basic premise.
She admitted that states can have laws which make access to a license contingent on how the federal government classifies someone's presence in the country. And Powell even said states have "significant discretion'' in deciding what documents are necessary to prove eligibility. But what Arizona is doing, Powell told the court, is manufacturing its own artificial classification "not supported by federal law.''
The DACA program is available to those brought to this country illegally as children but who had not yet turned 30 when the president announced it. They are allowed to stay and work for two years, permission which is renewable if they meet other conditions.
To date, more than 24,000 Arizona residents have applied for DACA status, with 21,000 already accepted into the program. But Brewer, in her 2012 edict, directed ADOT not to make licenses available to DACA recipients. She cites a 1996 state law that states licenses are available only to those whose presence in the country is "authorized by federal law.''
The governor takes the position that the DACA program confers no legality on those in it but simply says they will not be pursued or deported.
Powell points out that nothing in state law defines what it means for someone's presence to be "authorized.'' In fact, she told the court, there is not even a classification of "authorized presence'' under federal law.
Yet Powell said ADOT has decided on its own that the documents provided DACA recipients allowing them to remain, are not sufficient. But she said the state does accept similar documents given to other aliens, such as those who are applying for cancellation of being removed from the country.
"By drawing such distinctions, the state has impermissibly assumed for itself the federal prerogative of classifying noncitizens,'' Powell wrote. She said the state has not shown a legitimate reason for the distinction.
"It is not apparent why, if such documents are sufficient to establish that some bearers are currently authorized to be present in the United States, they are not adequate to make that showing for all bearers,'' Powell told the court. She suggested to the judges that the only reason for the distinction ordered by Brewer is her personal disagreement with the Obama administration about the entire DACA program.
"A state may disagree with the federal government's enactment or implementation of federal law -- as Arizona has made clear it does,'' Powell said in her filing. "But a state may not respond to that disagreement by conditioning eligibility for driver's licenses on its own notions of 'authorized presence' and distinguishing among holders of federal authorization documents for that purposes, at least not without a substantial state interest.''
Powell told the court that the state's claims do not rise to that level.
The lawsuit originated with a filing by civil rights organizations who challenged Brewer's order.
Last year U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell refused to order Brewer and ADOT to start issuing licenses to DACA recipients while the case makes its way through the courts. He said there was no evidence they were being irreparably harmed in the interim.
Earlier this year, though, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit said there is evidence of harm and directed Campbell to tell ADOT to issue licenses. But Campbell refused, noting Brewer is now seeking review by the full 9th Circuit.
But the full court said it first wanted the input of the Department of Justice on the administration's position on the legal arguments. Tuesday's filing gives that to them, along with Powell's argument on why they should not disturb the order of the three-judge panel and order the licenses issued while the case drags on, a process that could take years.
One issue for the full court, at least at this point, is that question of "irreparable harm'' to dreamers while the state is denying them licenses.
In writing earlier this year for the three-judge panel, Judge Harry Pregerson said the inability to legally drive makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for them to hold jobs -- a specific right they get being in the DACA program.
Pregerson, like Powell, said Brewer's decision may be based less on law and more on personal feelings. "Defendants' policy appears intended to express animus toward DACA recipients themselves, in part because of the federal government's policy toward them,'' he wrote. "Such animus, however, is not a legitimate state interest.''
John Steinbeck was one of America’s most prolific and insightful novelists. Renowned for his prize-winning works that most of us either enjoyed or endured at some point in our education (depending upon our perspective), one of Steinbeck’s lesser known novellas is my personal fa-vorite. It is a penetrating little book called “The Pearl.”
It won't eliminate ObamaCare in Arizona, and it's unlikely to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing new air quality rules on power plants here. But proponents of Proposition 122 insist that the proposed state constitutional amendment will give Arizona the power to rein in future federal government overreach, and it would do it through the power of the purse.
Rotary started in February 1905 when Chicago lawyer Paul Harris and three friends met after dinner. The idea was to have a new club in which businessmen could get together periodically to get better acquainted. They rotated their meetings each week to the business of a member. Over the next few years Rotary transformed into a civic service club, spread across the United States and then around the world. Eventually Rotary came to Arizona and in 1914, the 100th Rotary Club was organized in Phoenix.
In what could be the first crack in the state's ban on gay marriage, a federal judge on Friday ordered the state to issue a death certificate for George Martinez that lists Green Valley resident Fred McQuire as his legal spouse.
The best place in Arizona for a Hispanic business to open its doors is in Gilbert — at least in part because Latinos there, on average, earn more than anywhere else in the country.
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A man legally married in California whose husband died last week in Tucson wants a federal judge to issue an emergency order requiring Arizona to list him on the death certificate as the spouse.
From airy beach houses filled with light to rustic retreats tucked into the mountains, vacation homes can lead to inspired decorating.