Friday Homestead Dispatch
Lactose Ladled Lard
Welfare, happiness, well-being must embrace the philosophical concept of the good life. She listed some relevant ingredients, goals toward which a child might grow. Economic and moral freedom, virtue, compassion and altruism, satisfying work through engagement with demanding tasks, a flourishing network of personal relationships, earning the esteem of others, pursuing larger meanings to one’s existence, and having at the center of one’s life one or a small number of significant relations defined above all by love. — The Children Act, Ian McEwan
“People are not affecting climate change. You’re going to tell me that back in the Ice Age, how much taxes did people pay, and how many changes did governments make to melt the ice? The climate is going to continue to change. And there is no reason to just open up our borders and allow everyone in and continue to funnel over $50 billion or however many billions of dollars or trillions of dollars to foreign countries all over the world simply because they don’t like the climate change.” — Marjorie Taylor Greene actually speaking out loud in a Congressional hearing on Thursday. Oy.
Today’s wordy words include two updates from two recent posts that are Arizona centric. I’ve been visiting the Ma-in-law in Prescott, Arizona this week where the internet is spotty and chores took the lead. I did have time to catch up with neighbor Ben Owens as he was prepping his boat for a fishing trip. Ben and I no longer talk politics as we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum…works out just fine. And he does an admirable job on looking in on Jean, who’s 92 and still living on her own. Ben’s no youngster as he turns 85 this week but is physically active and still pretty mentally sharp, except for his political views, of course…
I’ve been getting some interesting responses on the Prop 412 TEP extension bill post
from last Monday. A friend sent me an essay from a friend of his that basically lays out how TEP’s investors could take a very small hit from their revenues from 2025, invest it back into the company, the monies of which would accomplish its goals without burdening the taxpayers and/or ratepayers. TEP generated $1.8 billion, $1.6 billion, and $1.4 billion in 2022, 2021, and 2020, respectively. Its investors had net incomes of $217.4 million, $201.2 million, and $191.4 million in those same respective years. Can you say greed?
Also pointed out by another friend is that TEP is a subsidiary of Fortis, a Canadian multinational energy company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Fortis pays a quarterly dividend of approximately $0.42 every three months. In 2022, their total dividend was $2.17 per share, and with 479 million outstanding shares, they paid a staggering $1.03913 billion Canadian dollars to shareholders. A portion of these dividends has been extracted from you and the Tucson economy, eventually funneled to shareholders and the corporate conglomerate in Canada.
He also made a very good point that, on a not unrelated subject, that it's time we explore the possibility of transforming TEP into a community-owned public utility, taking control back from a foreign corporation that drains wealth from our community. He mentioned the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas as an example of a community based utility, not unlike a credit union, that benefits the people living in the area. I need to do more research into this but the idea of communities across the country taking charge of their own destinies is appealing.
All that said, I’m still not convinced either way on this proposition. More later.
Update on Fondomonte:
Many of you read my piece last week on the Fondomonte (Saudi) farms west of Phoenix with unlimited water privileges. This week The state of Arizona has rescinded drilling permits for two water wells for a Saudi Arabia-owned alfalfa farm in the western portion of the state after authorities said they discovered inconsistencies in the company's well applications.
This week, Attorney General Kris Mayes said her office uncovered the inconsistencies in applications for new wells for the company Fondomonte Arizona LLC, which uses sprinklers to grow alfalfa in La Paz County and exports it to feed dairy cattle in Saudi Arabia. The company does not pay for the water it uses. When Mayes brought the inconsistencies in the applications to the attention of state officials, they agreed to rescind the permits, which were approved in August.
Mayes tweeted last week "Just 8 months ago, Arizona state agencies approved new deep-water wells in La Paz County for a Saudi-owned company to pump thousands of gallons of water per-minute. I can tell you that today — just before Earth Day — that's not happening. Those drill permits have been revoked. It's time to wake up and protect Arizona's most precious natural resource - water. Due to the historic long-term drought facing the state and the growing effects of climate change, Arizona is on the cusp of a water crisis that could have devastating impacts for all Arizonans. For too long, our state leaders have been asleep at the wheel while this crisis has only grown. Well, with new state leadership and the ever-increasing urgency of the issue, now is the time for the state government to get serious about regulating groundwater across Arizona.”
Democratic governor Katie Hobbs vetoed House Bill 2509, dubbed the “Tamale Bill,” that would’ve legally allowed cooks from home to sell their wares this week. According to the New York Times, Under Arizona’s tamale bill (or “tamal bill,” to use the Spanish spelling), home cooks making perishable foods who take a $10 online food-safety class, register with the state and label their foods could join the roughly 15,000 people who are already registered as part of Arizona’s legal “cottage food” industry, selling homemade tortillas, cookies, roasted nuts and other foods that do not need refrigeration. Several tamale vendors said they would gladly register with the state if they could.
Originally this bill had wide bipartisan support, passing 26-4 in the Senate and 25-11 in the House. But 12 Democrats who originally supported the bill did an about-face to support Gov. Hobbs rather than the voices of their constituents. Tucson Rep. Alma Hernandez was one who did not back Hobbs on the veto. She said, “Standing up for my community and my people is not a political power struggle. It is about standing up for what is right and standing firm with my first vote. It is about real people’s struggles, not a game. I will continue to stand up for my community. I know I am not alone. I would rather be politically dead than hypocritically immortalized.”
According to the Arizona Republic, Apparently, the need to protect a Democratic governor from embarrassment outweighs the need to protect homemade cooks – and the people who already flock to buy the culinary goodness they whip up in their non-government-licensed kitchens.
“Senate Democrats will not be providing the required votes needed to override Governor Hobbs’ veto of HB 2509,” they announced on Friday. “The bill, which we recognize has some benefits, also has some concerns brought forward by health advocates after the final vote.”
Former state Health Director Will Humble, now the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, says the benefits of the bill outweigh the risk, allowing people to supplement their income and adding in protections for their customers who already are buying their food.
Part of the controversy was voiced by Rep. Mariana Sandoval, D-Goodyear, who questioned why the majority party (Republicans) refused to hear pro-immigrant bills if it was committed to the welfare of immigrants. According to the Tucson Sentinel, Sandoval is a co-sponsor of House Bill 2604, which sought to eliminate the proof of citizenship requirement for driver’s license applications.
She noted that there is still ample opportunity for the legislature to expand the list of food products sold by Arizonans, echoing a statement issued by Senate Democrats that voiced a willingness to help craft an improved version. Additions that have been proposed include allowing the Department of Health Services to inspect home kitchens and implementing an annual revenue cap — both of which were lambasted by override supporters on Tuesday as nonstarters.
One possible behind the scenes wrench-in-the-works, that I could find little to no reporting on at all, is that one of the groups pushing the Tamale Bill is Americans For Prosperity, a libertarian conservative political advocacy group in the United States funded by Charles Koch and his brother David. As the Koch brothers' primary political advocacy group, it is one of the most influential American conservative organizations. Maybe, just maybe, there may be a better bill in the works and the political underpinnings at work in Maricopa County are hidden from view at this time. Stay tuned…
More from the Borderlands Selfie Series…this is #7. Many of ‘our’ people are heading north and east for the summer, so it will be the true desert rats sticking it out through the summer heat. We could possibly hit our first triple digit this Sunday but the misting systems are in full swing.