Apr 27, 2010

ARIZONA DOWNFALL ALERT: What happened to the bold demand for a citizens ¨individual liberties¨ and the Tradition of WELCOMING Pioneer Hospitality?


ARIZONA and YO
By Leonardo Ricardo

When I was in my mid twenties, in the mid sixties, I became a Buyer at Goldwaters Departments Store, Phoenix, Arizona. Goldwaters had branch stores in Scottsdale, Prescott and Park Central (sort of mid-town Phoenix) at that time. Goldwaters then was just sold by the Goldwater family to Associated Dry Goods (Lord and Taylor, JW Robinson, The Denver, Stix Baer and Fuller, Joseph Horne, and many ¨better¨ nationwide Department Stores as was Goldwaters).

I had been well-recommended for this job at Goldwaters as I had already been successful as a young Retail Buyer at a Department Store in the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. It seemed a perfect progression for me to move from San Francisco to Arizona because the Goldwaters management were known to be ¨quality¨ folks who had a reputation for hiring ¨quality¨ folks for their fast growing ¨quality¨ department store chain that would quickly expand into many other parts of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. They, the Goldwaters management and staff, also treated employees like REAL Ladies and Gentlemen and paid us well. Curiously, the buying staff, were ALL Anglo-Saxon, Protestant/Catholic (Episcopalians included) types (with the exception of the Fur Salon Buyer who was Jewish) and very, very, clean cut and quite a well ¨turned out¨ appearing, and being, exclusive cluster of retail talent.

Robert Goldwater, Barry´s Brother, was Chairman of the Board of Goldwaters (a honorary title that allowed him a fine office in the Executive ¨wing¨ and no doubt other ¨perks¨ that I was unaware of).

The reason I´m sharing this little part of my real life journey with you is that Goldwater´s was the first time in my life that I intermingled with VERY CONSERVATIVE political people (even though I came from a family of Republicans). What could that possibly mean to a young, OUT, Democrat and Gay person like me direct from San Francisco during the ¨Make Love Not War¨ sixties? It meant that very soon I would find my first taste of REAL freedom to be the INDIVIDUAL that God made me to be without worrying about ¨covering¨ myself. Even after living in San Francisco, who would have thought it in CONSERVATIVE ARIZONA?. I was FREE! Yes, that´s right, there in the midst of Goldwaterland (Senator Barry´s house was very close to the smallish, yet wonderful, house I leased that was accross from Camelback Inn in Scottsdale), and Barry Goldwaters lifelong supporters, family and friends and I WAS FULLY ACCEPTED as GAY and nobody blinked! That turned my head! It was made clear to me that I was a fullfledged gentleman, a full fledged well-paid equal standing employee whom they trusted and a valued as a friend too...my ¨individual rights¨ were to be honored/respected and I was on a level playing field with EVERYONE else (and I received a large promotion within a year). True, the hub in this Goldwaters ¨club¨ was made up of mostly WHITE PEOPLE (and so were our wealthy clients) at the time but there was a distinct, and obvious fondness for Latinos and Native American people too (there were Latinos and Native Americans amongst the executive staff although mostly lifelong employees and only a few).

The Phoenix/Scottsdale of those years was very clearly divided by income (as it probably still is) with lots of medium income WHITE retirement people in Sun City and on the ¨Avenue¨ side of Phoenix. Some people of color lived in ¨South Phoenix¨ and around downtown...Mesa and Tempe were populated by many Mormons and Scottsdale side of town was well-to-do White people and Jewish people from Chicago (who mostly were in residence in the Winter and named ¨Snow Birds¨)...many international ¨notable citizens¨ visited Arizona in the Winter as well as celebrities of every stripe. Sammy Davis Jr. was in concert in Scottsdale and Lady Pamela Mountbatten (the Queens cousin) and David Hicks her husband actually made a personal promotional visit to my departments at Goldwaters...on and on it went with Joseph Stalins pregnant daughter, Svetlana, a regular customer too (she was married to Arq. Green from Frank Lloyd Wrights) to Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke fame.

THIS ALL BRINGS ME TO THE BIG QUESTION: Why the arrogance, exclusion, discrimination and racism in Arizona? Who are these out-of-control white people who decades later wish to humiliate others in the name of a God and Nation that NEED NO DEFENSE (especially by demonizers of others)? What happened to the REAL conservatives, the REAL quality people and when were they replaced by, greedy bigots, political opportunists, religious supremists and common haters?


ARIZONA POLITICS HITS A LOW POINT
The Arizona Republic

¨A fundamental principle of law is that it should protect the innocent. Of all the damage made possible by Gov. Jan Brewer's signature on Friday to Senate Bill 1070, the worst is not the harm to the world's judgment of Arizona or to this law's economic consequences.

The worst effect is its grave potential for causing harm to innocent, taxpaying American citizens who no longer can feel certain of the law's blindness.
That is the terrible harm of it. SB 1070 lifts the blindfold of Lady Justice and commands her to see one different from the other, irrespective of innocence. Brewer's televised signing ceremony for this harsh, unnecessary legislation constitutes the low point of an administration we have come to admire for its often surprising grit in the face of hard times. We held out hope for more.

Whether Arizona pays a price for indulging the whims of state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is no longer the issue. We are paying a price. Not since the dismal days of our nationally infamous fight over a holiday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has the profile of Arizona descended this low...¨ HERE

ARIZONA GOVERNOR JAN BREWER IS ON THE WAR PATH. IN A NOT-SO-SUBTLE WAY, SHE IS MARGINALIZING AND DISCRIMINATING AGAINST NEARLY EVERY MINORITY GROUP IN HER STATE.
By Ruth Schneider

To start the week off, Brewer cut domestic partner benefits for state employees and their dependents – on the pretense of saving a few bucks. She saves $3 million by cutting the benefits of roughly 800 affected employees. How much does she spend on benefits for everyone else? About $625 million. Looking at it that way, $3 million is merely a drop in the budgetary bucket.

The Arizona Daily Star reported: “Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday that she believes ‘God has placed me in this powerful position as Arizona’s governor’ to help the state weather its troubles.”

Somebody please remind Brewer and her ilk of the phrase “separation of church and state.” It’s in the Constitution. HERE

TRAVESTIES IN ARIZONA
By Lisa Fox

¨Let’s face it. In the U.S., we are a nation of mutts. With the exception of the Native Americans, we’re all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. The only way that Arizona police and sheriffs can exercise this law fairly is to pull over every person who isn’t obviously Native American.¨ HERE

MEXICAN PRESIDENT WARNS HE WILL NOT SIT IDLY
By El Universal

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican President Felipe Calderón condemned the new Arizona law on Monday, saying it “opens the door to intolerance, hate, discrimination, and abuse in law enforcement,” El Universal reports. Calderón said no one should stand idly by as the rights of Mexican citizens are under attack. He promised to help Mexican citizens -– whether they have papers or not -– address any rights violations. The Mexican president welcomed President Obama's rejection of the Arizona law, but affirmed that the new law -- which he called “opportunistic legislation" driven by election politics -- "affects the bonds of friendship, commerce, tourism and culture with Arizona.” HERE

UPDATE ON WEDNESDAY:

ARIZONA´S LOOMING TOURISM DISASTER
by kos

Backers of the ethnic cleansing law in Arizona claim that nationwide calls for boycotts of Arizona won't amount to much. Maybe they will, or maybe they won't, but this won't be so easy to laugh off.

The Mexican government warned its citizens Tuesday to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of a tough new law that requires all immigrants and visitors to carry U.S.-issued documents or risk arrest.

Why should this worry Arizona? Because Arizona is heavily dependent (PDF) on the tourism industry. From the state's tourism board 2008 annual report (the last year they have available):

The total (direct and secondary) impact of the Arizona travel industry in 2008 was 310,000 jobs and $10.2 billion earnings. Of that amount, Mexico is a huge percentage.

The total (direct and secondary).¨ see all the disasterous numbers for Arizona, click HERE

· Thanks to Counterlight, sidebar
· Thanks to The Arizona Republic
· Thanks to Barry and Robert Goldwater
· Thanks to Goldwaters Department Store (now Macy´s Group)
· Thanks to The Formerly WELCOMING Arizona
· Thanks to The Individuals Liberty
· Thanks to Flickr Photo Sharing
· Thanks to The Arizona Star
· Thanks to 365 Gay, sidebar
· Thanks to Ruth Schneider
· Thanks to My Manner of Life, sidebar
· Thanks to Lisa Fox
· Thanks to President Felipe Calderón, Mexico
· Thanks to El Universal
· Thanks to Daily Kos, sidebar

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