Monday, June 30, 2014

Obligatory End-of-the-Quarter Campaign Mailer: "Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes!"

Sending out these fundraiser things is a gamble you know?

Like this shot here. We spent an hour figuring out which pair of my old beat up Chucks to star in the photo, then most of the day shooting 80 different shots of different pairs of shoes, mixed w a variety of campaign imagery. We passionately debated ad strategy  right over the top of what had promised to be an enjoyable lunch break and then studied 9 prototypes of format and at one point even invested, I kid you not, 35 minutes trying out umpteen variations of the pink color for the type. And then what? Our brave little emailer heads out to do battle for your attention w all the other end-of-the-quarter ads from bigger name candidates with better funded campaigns. The whole thing might just roll snake eyes.
Why do it?
Well, because we need the money, duh! But I guarantee you we get more bang for your bucks and more actual miles than most any candidate out there. Those are REAL former campaign shoes, walked ragged chasing across the district rallying Democrats and ragging on the Right. If you met me someplace it cost me gas money to get there & I was probably headed someplace else shortly.  This quarter we traveled almost thirteen thousand miles, on the road more than half the time, including one trip that included petitioning in 22 separate cities in all seven counties of the district. Why do it? Somebody has to. I am honored so many of you have supported me to fight this battle.
I want you to support my campaign because you know it is the right thing to do, because you know I am trying my best & because you have faith that things can change. You keep me funded and I will keep at it. That simple. It’s not easy and it’s not quick, but if we work we can get there.
BTW: I actually DO need new Chucks. Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star Black High-Tops, size 11, that is. & no, this is not a paid promotion for them; but it is a fairly broad hint to you, lol.
Get information on my campaign on our website:

WE can make a Difference

Join me.

Contribute Here:

Visit the website:

Mikel Weisser
4490 Sundown Dr
So-Hi, AZ 86413

this message paid for by Mikel Weisser for US Congress
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Safer AZ Defendants’ Rights Conference to Feature High Profile MMJ “Outlaws”

For Immediate Release—
Safer AZ Defendants’ Rights Conference to Feature High Profile MMJ “Outlaws”
Contact: Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Safer Arizona
What: Defendants’ Rights Conference Featuring Billy Zonka & Billy Hayes
When: Thursday July 3, 2014
Where: Tempe’s Finest Up in Smoke smoke shop, 25 w Baseline, Suite 2, Tempe, AZ  480-755-0187

In time for his pretrial hearing Monday July 7th in Yavapai County, certified AZ medical marijuana patient Chris Martin, a celebrated chef and the founder of Billy Zonka 's edibles and the  trendy ZonkaGear clothing line, is also facing more than 125yrs of charges for creating cannabis concentrates while he had an AZ MMJ patient card. This case has generated national attention and been profiled in PHX New Times:

In conjunction w Safer AZ and The Human Solution East Valley, Martin will be holding a press conference at Up in Smoke smoke shop in Tempe, Arizona to educate the public on the rights of defendants charged w cannabis offenses . Also on hand will be another celebrated AZMMJ patient being prosecuted under outrageous charges. Billy Hayes, another noted MMJ activist and prosecuted MMJ  patient, will be on the panel.
The panel will discuss the struggles mmj patients face when prosecuted and what protections are needed to be built into the upcoming 2016 citizens' initiative for legalization. Safer AZ, Arizona’s cannabis reform PAC, sponsored the 2014 AZ marijuana legalization citizens initiative and is currently working with the cannabis reform groups and national cannabis reform leader, the Marijuana Policy Project, on the public outreach and  drafting phases of the 2016 campaign.

Come to the event to share your experiences. Learn more about defendants’ rights and learn more about how you can help make marijuana legal in AZ in 2016.

Contact mikel weisser w Safer Arizona for more details:
Visit our website at:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lake Havasu Asks, "What About Me?"

The Lake Havasu Chamber of Commerce has hosted candidate forums before, but this year they aslo asked if candidates will fill out this survey of what our plans are and what they have to do w Lake Havasu.

Here's what I said;

1) Why Are You Running For Office? I am running for office because the "conservative values agenda" over the past 40 yrs has mismanaged my country to the point of near collapse and civil war. So we find ourselves in a sense of national emergency where good citizens should act. I have spent my life working on being what I believe is good citizenship, so I must act. When I looked at the problem of the GOP destruction of the country I worked to challenge them in a variety of ways before coming to believe that my particular skill set could best be used to form a political campaign to throw the traitors out of power, to cause the public to see the error of the GOP ways. I worked in other people's campaigns enough to learn I had to take up the battle myself and I could make the biggest difference being being a candidate.

2) What Are Your Qualifications?  My most important qualification, which my opponents appear to not have, is that I care about the lives of all Americans, especially those who suffer at the hands of the powerful and wealthy, and that empathy shapes my decision making. I do not look at who has the most power and how do I advance them and garner reward for myself. This is the central difference between myself and candidates and politicians who promote the "conservative values agenda." Beyond that, I have numerous expected skills for a candidate: I am creative, intelligent, fun, apparently charismatic, extremely persistent and willing to push myself to make things work. I am very good at bargaining, both in pressing to get what I am after, but also in helping the other person feel like a winner and a collaborator. I am well educated and keep informed. Plus, I can multi-task to an extraordinary degree.

3) How Do You Plan to Support Business? I plan to invite business to help shape my agenda within these parameters. I want business to feel that the government is here to support and not to harm and then of course, business needs to act like government is an ally, not an enemy to do their part in promoting partnerships. I plan to improve infrastructure and increase government spending in community and infrastructure development. I plan to evaluate existing restrictive regulations and where possible, eliminate them or pare back on the oppressive components, but not at the expense of protecting the general public from abusive or exploitative business practices. I plan to promote a 21st century economy and provide transition support from the 20th century petroleum based economy to a 21st century diversified energy resource based economy. Lastly, I pledge to fight against the attacks on government social services, which shatter consumer spending power and weken citizen confidence.  

4)  What Will Your Duties & Responsibilities Be If You Are Elected? My number one duty is to act in a way that stays focused on doing things to improve the lives of 1st the residents of AZ-04 and then the country as a whole. It is my duty to support people, plans and processes that advance the wellbeing of our country and against actions that harm us. With that in mind, my responsibilities must include: 1) Being attentive to opinions of both my supporters and detractors, 2) Keeping my re-election campaign and party politics from directing my decisions. 3) Finding the truth in disputes, no matter whose side ultimately proves to be right. 4) Applying my creativity and the problem-solving power of the best team I can assemble to address AZ-04 issues continuingly, 7 days a week at the same pace I have campaigned for the job. & Lastly, 5) Negotiating the political landscape in a way that focuses on building allies not unscrupulously inventing and attacking enemies at the expense of the common interest.

5) What are the top three issues in our state? The number one issue for Arizona is water, in specific, but utilities in general: Our country is veering toward a water crisis and AZ is the leading edge. We must have a way to generate the water needs for the present, of course, but having sufficient water resources is the only way to build a bigger economic future for the state. Solar generated power en masse, the safe development and utilization of our gas and coal resources is part of this issue as is erecting a fully expanded grid of electricity and communication services is part of path to future of AZ. Next is rural development. 21st century business practices make it possible to develop rural access to services and products as never before. AZ's rural communities are ripe for interests that want to develop, not exploit them. Lastly, our emaciated educational system in the state must be reinvigorated if we are ever going to have a society that benefits all its citizens. Educating the poor, rural and marginalized is the best way to improve the business climate: better educated workers and consumers make the economy better for everybody.

6) What State Or Federal Issues Do You See As Having A Positive Or Negative Effect On Business In Lake Havasu? The GOP's continuing attack on education and social services is the single greatest threat to Lake Havasu. Separately, the ACA's potential to improve the lives of workers and the operating practices of businesses is routinely dismissed at best, or more often attacked by the right; but this canard has about had its day. The discussion of the future of renewable energy sources (sun, wind, bio-algae--all of which are being developed in the area) should be a legislative item every session. The same with the water issues I mentioned above matter to LHC, as does the discussion about infrastructure for transportation, communications and energy. Lastly and this is separate of the GOP complaints above, the GOP's insistence on creating and passing state laws that are not only bad for Arizonans; but more significantly here, Unconstitutional, is a central legislative issue to be addressed. The energy and resources to write and then litigiously defend flaws that will ultimately be struck down saps so much energy and treasure it has to be mentioned.  

7) What Will You Do To Support Economic Development And Tourism Relative To Lake Havasu?  I plan to support the tourist/water recreation industry in LHC by promoting travel and investing in infrastructure to get tourists to LHC and take care of their utility needs while they're here. The I-11 interstate passing through our county means the potential for highway development at all levels. Highway development goes hand in hand w community development and would want to increase the spending on arts and recreation services in town which make the community more attractive to tourists and seasonal visitors. I would also work to improve social and medical services in the area which will help w our aging visitors and residents alike.

8) What would be your method of funding public education?  The federal government should take a much more robust role in funding public education. I think that equality of access to quality education is a fundamental right of US citizenship and a disastrously neglected need over the centuries. All students, rural or no, should have access to a better standard of school: maximum class sizes, a guaranteed assortment of electives and vocational classes, counseling services, school food and clothing programs, etc. This history of neglect requires resources only the federal level can address. To fund this I call for an equalization of taxes, where higher income earners continue to contribute to the tax base in their social security and capital gains rates. I call for a re-patriotization of US corporate profits, a structure to regulate and tax, cannabis, and an electronic transaction tax. Lastly I call for an end to test-driven instruction and a return to a whole student curriculum, an end to the educational agenda of the nation being directed by a for-profit consultancy class at the expense of teacher and local autonomy. An educational system that creates paupers and illiterates is a burden. An educational system that advances the potential for all Americans in effect, funds itself.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Challenging Schweikert’s EPA Lies," A Guest Column by W John Williamson

Challenging Schweikert’s EPA Lies
(Corporate Water Use Threatens Sea Life)*
A Guest Column by W John Williamson, candidate AZ-06 (Dem)

*-- This article arrived untitled.  
On May 30, Rep. David Schweikert appeared on FOX
NEWS, talking about the EPA's proposed water rule to be added to the Clean
Water Act. He made it sound like this is some kind of frivolous exercise
by the federal government to harass private property owners. He did not
mention at all what the rule really relates to.

Here's what the proposed rule is really about, as reported by the U.S.
Water Alliance: "The EPA has finalized standards to protect billions of
fish and other aquatic life drawn each year into cooling water systems at
large power plants and factories. An estimated 2.1 billion fish, crabs,
and shrimp are killed annually by these cooling water systems. The new
rule requires plants with cooling water intakes to look at the impact on
aquatic life in local waterways and take steps to minimize that impact."

Further, the website explains: "This rule establishes requirements under
the Clean Water Act for all existing power-generating, manufacturing, and
industrial facilities that withdraw more than 2 million gallons per day of
water from waters of the U.S. and use at least 25 percent of the water
they withdraw exclusively for cooling purposes. It covers roughly 1,065
existing facilities. The rule requires the facilities to take one of seven
approaches for using the best technology available to reduce fish
impingement." ("EPA's New Rule for Cooling Water Intakes," U.S. Water
Alliance, June 11, 2014,

So this rule is designed to protect 2.1 billion fish, crabs and shrimp. No
doubt this is not just an environmental issue but a commercial issue as
well. There are probably businesses that are sustained by catching some of
those fish, crabs and shrimp. People's livelihoods no doubt depend upon
the well-being of these aquatic life forms.

Moreover, the Federal Register states: "The purposes of the proposed rule
are to ensure protection of our nation's aquatic resources and make the
process of identifying 'Waters of the U.S.' less complicated and more
efficient. The rule achieves these goals by increasing CWA program
transparency, predictability, and consistency." (Federal Register, Vol.
79, No. 76, p. 22,190, April 21, 2014.)

I bet there are a lot of people who like to fish recreationally who would
like to see those aquatic resources protected as well.

Once again, it would seem that Rep. Schweikert is obfuscating the true
nature of an issue with his misleading statements. He makes it sound like
the EPA's proposed new water rule has to do with a petty concern about a
desert wash going through his backyard when it really has to do with
protecting 2.1 billion individual entities of aquatic life that support
not only commercial but recreational interests in our great land.

When elected as your member of Congress, I will not take lightly
environmental issues that impact the well-being of commercial and
recreational fishing. Arizona has a lot of recreational fishing, and I
would want to protect that.

If you would like to contribute to my campaign, please visit my website at Click on "Make a Donation," and dare to
stand by your Democratic candidate who cares about the quality of our
water for the sake of not only business but also recreational interests.

The Future Can Be Ours by protecting, as the Federal Register states, "our
nation's aquatic resources." Water, and the life forms it sustains, are
critical to our well-being not only as Arizonans but as Americans.

"The Future Can Be Ours."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Democratic Congressional Candidates to Hold Forum in Mesa

For Immediate Release
Date: 6/17/14—
 Democratic Congressional Candidates to Hold Forum in Mesa

Mesa, AZ – AZ’s toughest fighting Congressional Democratic candidates converge this Friday, June 20th, in Mesa to present their case as to why the future of AZ is blue. Hailed as the “Gale Force Progressives,” the 3 Democrats challenging GOP incumbents in AZ’s 3 east valley Congressional districts, 4, 5, & 6, are joining forces to hold a candidate forum that advances some of the more cutting edge progressive ideas in the political spectrum.

In Congressional District 4, educator/activist/entertainer Mikel Weisser is challenging Tea Party favorite Paul Gosar. In Congressional District 5, blind visionary James Woods is challenging established AZ GOP leader, Matt Salmon. And, in Congressional District 6, high school English teacher, W. John Williamson is taking on equally entrenched Republican, David Schweikert. In each of the races the Democrat challenger is at a stark disadvantage. In each District, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats nearly 2 to 1. Yet the three Democratic challengers each somehow found their own inspirations to take on the kind of race more traditional politicians steer clear of.

“I knew it was an uphill battle when I started,” laughs Weisser. “It wasn’t ever about expecting to win for me,” says Weisser who is now in the three year of campaigning, “it is about bringing a fight to GOP ideas I know are wrong for America. About stopping Republican terrorism and backwards thinking and working for a 21st century America.” Like Williamson, who still teaches 11th grade English in Scottsdale and is also in his 2nd Congressional campaign, Weisser’s decision to take on the quixotic battle of being an average man running for Congress came from teaching his students civic responsibility. “Teach a class of 8th graders how to a bill becomes law by showing them how to analyze ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ five times a day for five years straight and there’s no way I would not stand up for what I believe in.”

James Woods, one of the few blind people to ever run for Congress, has an even more compelling reason to fight: the fact that he is alive today is a miracle of modern medicine—a living breathing success story of socialized medicine saving lives, the same kind of socialized medicine Republican Reps. Gosar, Salmon, & Schweikert have consistently worked against. Hospitalized for a rampant infection, Woods spent more than six years in hospitals, often in intensive care, surviving amputations, multiple multiple-organ failure crises, a kidney transplant and the loss of his eyesight. Woods announced his candidacy while still in his hospital bed in February. A proud secular humanist, Woods is using his unique candidacy to promote progressive ideas. “There is an extraordinarily damaging disparity between the decision-makers in Washington and the rest of us, who have to live with the decisions they make,” Woods said. “Arizonans deserve representatives who know what it’s like to face hard times, and what’s needed to overcome them.”

Weisser for one is ready for AZ to get to hear some progressive ideas. “Usually the Right dominate the conversation with their latest hooey with their purity tests of what constitutes a ‘real American’, with their gun rights boondoggles and border threat hysteria and all the real issues facing the country go unspoken.” Among the issues among the candidates agenda are educational and immigration reform, income and social inequality, the rights of the disabled and other marginalized communities, cannabis legalization, the religious right’s attack on science, banking regulations and the so-called “Robin Hood” electric transaction tax, alternative energy and water policy, campaign finance and, of course, health care. “Some of these ideas are just not discussed in political forums in this state,” Weisser laughs, “but it’s time for AZ to move forward with the rest of America into the 21st century.

The event begins at 5:30pm at the Red Mountain Multigenerational Center 7550 E. Adobe Mesa, AZ

For more on the Mikel Weisser for US Congress Campaign:

For further information contact:

Mikel Weisser
4490 Sundown Drive
So-Hi, AZ 86413
Paid for by the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign

Monday, June 16, 2014

Inside The DFA Questionnaire, Parts 1&2: Who Are You? What Inspired You?

Full Disclosure: I LOVE DFA (Democracy for America)!!

(me w Jim Dean, 2014 AZ DFA Workshop)

At a time when I feared America was at its lowest point, Howard Dean's 2004 campaign for president was the jolt that got my heart pumping again. I howled when the news media turned Howard's howl into a kiss of death and cheered when DFA( under the leadership of Howard's brother Jim) rose to be a powerhouse in Democratic politics. & then, I actually started into politics and met AZ's DFA leaders like Joe Murphy, Randall Holmes, Ken Lakind, Karyn Lathan and Toby Stahl, I was thrilled to be part of a group that fights for politics on every level, in every district. In 2012, I went through the AZ DFA candidate course (and liked it so much I snuck in to the 2014 training session just to hang out ... and for the lunch, I admit it!). I still study the DFA candidates' manual and recommend it highly for any 1st time candidate.   In 2013 I even went so far as to join the push to expand AZ's DFA presence outside of Maricopa County and signed on the dotted line for the charter for AZ's statewide DFA chapter.

My DFA endorsement application writing process was a highlight of my 2012 campaign. You learn so much who you are and what you value creating the multiple 500 word essays that make up the questionnaire.
You can read my 2012 application stub here. When I look through it, I can tell that I am different. I hope that means I've grown--
My name is Mikel Weisser, a native Texan, lifelong Democrat and one of the leading voices fighting for change in our state. My campaign slogan is “Tell the Right They’re Wrong!” I've been fighting the right for the past 25 yrs myself and know now is the time for we as a people and Democrats as a party to act.
I know about action. I first took action for a cause when I was 10 yrs old and stood up to my racist dad over having black kids at my birthday party. I first joined an organized cause when I walked into a farm workers strike at 19. Currently I’m vice chair of the state party’s progressive caucus, a charter member of our state’s statewide DFA chapter, state party regional coordinator for the legislative races in my congressional district, legislative liaison and executive director of Safer AZ, our state cannabis reform PAC, in addition to serving as secretary of my county party and still being one of the state’s more popular poets and leading rural arts organizers. My youth poetry projects ran more than 5yrs, our community book festival, which I host, is now in its 10th year and the musical open mic I created for my local Democratic party just celebrated its first year anniversary.
Juggling these roles and a few dozen more, I travel thousands of miles every month, developing the grassroots Democratic organization we must have if rural AZ is ever going to join the 21st century. A former teen runaway and plumber, I didn’t go to college until I was 30 and didn’t know how to type till I was 27. I put myself through college working first as a carnie and later as homeless shelter administrator. Along the way, I’ve collected two Masters Degrees, published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles (mostly political humor), self published several collections of poetry, and taught thousands of kids US History and Government.
And that’s how I knew I had to take on the larger role of reformer, of candidate. Each year we would start and end the school year w the INS citizenship test and watch “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” After a dozen years of that formula, and assisting in my wife's 2010 state senate campaign, I stepped up to lead my local Occupy movement and, while at a demonstration, when AZ announced the new congressional districts in 2012, someone asked me to take on the race. I did and experienced the greatest adventure I have had in what has been a very adventurous lifetime. In the end, while teaching full-time, I lost the primary by 19 votes and committed to my supporters to not give up. I would stay active and build for 3 cycles, commit to a long-range grassroots strategy to rebuild the culture and plant the desert blue.
I left teaching one year ago to campaign full-time, continue, as best I could, to create poetry and music shows in communities that have no active culture, train rural candidates and parties, learn the people and the problems we can fix. Inspire myself by inspiring others and hopefully change the world.


There are a thousand threads come together to make a moment like this; but, without any doubt, my wife, Beth Weisser’s, 2010 state senate campaign was the most important inspiration when I decided to launch my original 2012 campaign. 
(2014 campaign shot)

In summer of 2010 I was off doing my annual touring poet adventure and came home to find Beth’s campaign in full swing. At that point I had been an activist for more than 20 yrs and a Democratic volunteer for half a dozen. But her courage to stand up for what she believed in, to face a public that was majority opposition, to teach herself a whole new field of expertise and network of individuals and organizations, her ingenuity, practical creativity and drive were the inspiration that showed me how important it was to have an Arizonan populist progressive movement rise right now. I was even more profoundly struck by the fact the skills I’d gained as an educator, activist, organizer and entertainer were the same skills it takes to be the kind of leader who could help create that kind of movement.
 I have a line in my most famous poem, “Vocal Javelins,” that reads, “If we all wait for someone else to do it then we’ll never get it done.” America is ready to reject the disastrous “conservative values agenda” that’s been devastating our country for the past 40 yrs. Their appalling record of abuse and mean-spiritedness over the most recent 20yrs and the threats their policies and behaviors currently pose are an inspiration all by itself—it’s called outrage. Despite the GOP’s relentless propaganda campaign, American citizens are growing more progressive: in lifestyles, in priorities, in agendas for the future. Elsewhere citizens and Democrats are beginning to rise; but here in the west, in the rural “Real America,“ we keep waiting for someone more polished and trained, someone with more money and connections to take the reins and nothing happens. I decided to fight because the perils of not fighting for an America I believe in were far scarier than the thought of “losing.” We’re taught to believe that the winning matters more than the fight and it paralyzes us. The very immensity of the challenge of running for Congress in an R+15 district, and the fact no else had the courage to try it, became an inspiration in itself.

Then in 2014, after 6 months of traveling the district full-time to build the party, I was profoundly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s 2013 book, David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits & the Art of Battling Giants. I had spent my adult life battling the giants of my time on street corners, in classrooms and on op-ed pages, standing up for the little guy, taking on the bullies; but I had not realized the power of being the underdog or the importance of fighting for the oppressed, or how my life had built me for this fight … until that moment. Since then the path is clear: Ever up.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Safer AZ Suspends 2014 Petition, Retools for 2016 Drive

For Immediate Release—
Safer AZ Suspends 2014 Petition, Retools for 2016 Drive
Contact: Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Safer Arizona
On the one year anniversary of launching their historic citizens’ initiative to legalize marijuana statewide, Safer AZ, the cannabis reform Political Action Committee, announced the group is suspending petition gathering for the 2014 cycle to reorganize for a 2016 campaign.

At a reorganizational meeting for the group’s upcoming 2016 petitioning campaign, the initiative’s author, Dennis Bohlke, formally announced what had long been rumored-- that the group would not reach the minimum 250,000 signatures required to qualify for the ballot. “We have enjoyed so much good will and support around the state, we have to honor that and not leave folks out in the field till the last minute, when Safer AZ leadership is already planning for 2016.” The group also announced Weisser will serve as interim executive director, as Safer AZ retools to develop a full-scale operation for 2016, complete with a paid staff and fundraising arm of the organization.
Originally founded by David Wisniewski, a tech savvy active duty soldier stationed in South Korea, Safer Wisniewski soon connected with Phoenix-based computer designer Bohlke.  The two developed the organization through email and online chat. In March, Bohlke attended a statewide meeting of AZ NORML in Sierra Vista and enlisted Tucson mmj patient and defendants’ rights activist, Robert Clark and Kingman-area Democratic organizer/congressional candidate, Mikel Weisser, and the PAC was born.
 “So far Safer AZ has operated as a totally volunteer organization,” Weisser explained. “We all worked on the parts we liked and no one worked enough on central organization. We all had fulltime commitments already. Dennis runs a computer company, I’m running for Congress. Nobody had the time to work on it fulltime. We rarely worked on fundraising and though we enjoyed a LOT of good will, the moneys we received were inconsistent. You can only do so much w zero budget.”
Though the group only raised a few thousand dollars, much of that through leadership donations, in the course of a year, Safer AZ accomplished much. “When we started, politically the cannabis community was just a whipping boy for the ‘Law & Order” crowd,” Weisser laughed. “Now they know we have faces, opinions and voices. Now they know we vote.”
Devised to address cannabis reform through a variety of political approaches, Safer AZ’s legalization drive gained national attention last summer when the group first announced filing the initiative. In addition to the statewide petition gathering project directed by Bohlke, David Wisniewski built an online community through the PAC website and Facebook page that has grown to have thousands or followers nationwide. Robert Clark continued his work w the Human Solution (a national defendants’ rights group) and helped develop an activist Tucson community on cannabis issues; while Weisser focused on the state capitol and served as the group’s legislative liaison, using traditional advocacy approaches w social media to create political pressure for cannabis reform.
Safer AZ’s decriminalization bill HB2474 (written by Bohlke) had 14 Democratic sponsors and got as far as the House judiciary committee before being stopped by the GOP. The group also organized resistance to anti-cannabis bills by state senators Kelli Ward and Kimberly Yee. In addition, with the help of organizations like AZ NORML and the Phoenix Cannabis Coalition, Safer AZ created several musical events for the cannabis community often featuring cannabis friendly artists such Phoenix’s Hot Rock Supastar and the Hippy Thug Family or Tucson’s Ezra Letra.
“I’m glad we did all the different stuff we did. It’s been a great learning experience. We have been building for a stronger presence and trying to pull together the different elements of AZ cannabis reform, before we launch our 2016 package. There are numerous activist groups and stakeholder communities in AZ’s cannabis community and they don’t always play together as well as they should.” Weisser laughs.
Throughout the past year, the upstart Safer PAC often had to jostle for position among the state cannabis reform leaders. “2016 is going to require the various cannabis activists to be on the same page. I aim to be sure ALL interested parties have a chance to write some of it,” Weisser assures. Safer AZ will be drafting the initiative over the course of the summer and hopes to bring together the various cannabis activist groups in the state to contribute their part in the drafting process. “Call it a cannabis convention. We want everyone to know their concerns are looked out for as we draft the initiative; but, more importantly, with ownership comes responsibility. If everyone has a part in the creation, we all know what part we’ll have to play to make it happen.”
In addition Safer AZ is going to expand their cannabis surveys of elected officials to include candidates for the upcoming 2014 elections. “AZ doesn’t have a drug problem, we have a political problem and this is how you solve it. We need to educate the public about who they are voting for and the candidates need to be educated that this community is tired of being ignored,” Weisser smiled. “We vote, we volunteer, and we’re watching.”  
For more information contact Safer AZ:
Mikel Weisser

Thursday, June 5, 2014

KNOW THE ENEMY: Inside the Notorious C.A.P. Questionnaire

Hey sports fans,
Welcome to today’s edition of my favorite full-contact sport: culture war via electoral politics.
It's questionnaire season and the rightwing think tank, Center for Arizona Policy's, questionnaire is known far and wide as the liberals’ 3rd rail of politics. Designed and framed make Tea Party theocrats look good and everyone else look bad, "it'll kill ya if ya touch it!"
At least that's what progressives are generally told. Timid consultants typically warn if a progressive tries to answer, CAP'll twist every answer to make them look as vile as possible, usually through distortion and cherry picking answers. So, I figured, 'why make 'em cherry pick?' & tried to guarantee every answer would curl their hair.

Most progressives or liberals haven’t ever had a peek into the actual mechanics of rightwing propaganda. & even fewer of us get an opportunity to know that the smartass retorts we always like to think up ever have a chance to be received by those they’ll most annoy. The specific structure of the questionnaire also added the extra poet-intriguing constriction of requiring all answers be 25 words or less, turning each reply into a pithy practice in Twitter-age long-form haiku. Or something like it.
Here are their questions and my answers.
Why are you running?
The religious right-wing are destroying our country and someone needs to devote themselves full-time to dismantling the power of the GOP and groups like CAP.
RATE these topics: support, oppose, decline to answer:
Repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 
Greedy corporations, irresponsible think tanks and heartless doctors have attacked American patients for too long. Attacks on the ACA have to be stopped.
Providing Federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.
Planned Parenthood is our most important women's health organization and its opponents create havoc and misery. Groups like CAP must stop trying to control vaginas.
Arizona’s voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage should be defended to the fullest extent legally possible
As a voter, I disapproved of that piece of anti-American injustice and will work to dismantle it.
Protecting individuals and businesses from being required to provide services or use their artistic expression in a manner that violates their moral or religious beliefs.
There are all the protections in place necessary for bigots who value ideology over commerce. Let them be left behind. America doesn't want them.
Amending the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to balance the federal budget every year.
What a waste of energy! Our government has purposes to serve that transcend petty propaganda. Folks who want this understand neither government or humanity.
Raising the federal minimum wage.
I oppose greedy bosses who want to treat workers like slaves and sham think tanks that shill for American poverty in trade for campaign donations.
Prohibiting abortion except where it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother.
I resent your religious values framing the question and note your opposition to women's rights. Why should you guys dictate people's reproductive rights?
Adding “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” or “gender expression” to the protected classes of race, religion, age, sex, and ancestry in antidiscrimination law.
Considering hate-based, profit driven organizations like CAP we need these protections for our citizens against hate-groups’ predatory and deceptive nature.
Allowing all parents to use tax credits, vouchers, or educational savings accounts to enable children to attend any public, charter, private, homeschool, or online academy.
CAP and other rightwing anti-American groups keep trying to dismantle public education and promote theocracy. This traitorous attack on American education ought to be criminalized.
Legalizing marijuana for recreational use
I am the legislative liaison for Safer AZ, the organization working to end cannabis prohibition in AZ and challenge CAP endorsement of a prison-industrial complex.
Building the Keystone Pipeline.
The Keystone pipeline is an environmentally destructive, profit-driven, insufficient stalling technique when it comes to addressing our energy future. America must transition past petroleum.
Using human embryonic stem cells for research purposes.
I oppose anti-scientific repressive theocracy dictating public policy, medical technique and scientific progress. If Luddites want to live that way, sure, but not make policy.
Congress should consider the selective removal of the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts when they fail to observe the separation of powers.
Is this a joke question? A test to see if I'm attentive? If Congress did that THEY would be failing to observe separation of powers.
Changes to the World Wide Web that would make pornography available online only as an "opt-in" service.
Again w theocracy? Your most laughable suggestion so far. Besides the enormous impracticality of implementation, the immense popularity of porn shows how wrongheaded this is.
Amending the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to place further restrictions on the establishment and expansion of gambling by Indian tribes in the United States
Theocratic condescension + repressive business regulation to stifle competition of an already oppressed severely disadvantaged minority. Sounds like you guys.

For more fun battling the right in general and CAP in particular, the Mikel Weisser for US Congress campaign encourages activist-readers to support and/or join AZ’s premier CAP-bashers: Citizens for a Better Arizona.

Led by Randy Parraz, one of AZ’s premier progressive activists, and some of AZ’s most dynamic progressives such as Chad Snow, Paul Casteneda, Carolyn Cooper & Fred Barlam, Citizens for a Better AZ is a “a 501 C 4 nonpartisan organization committed to improving the lives of all Arizonans.” CBA challenges the Right on a variety of issues including immigration, education, & civil and voter rights. As you could imagine this battle pits CBA against CAP on a recurring basis.
THX for all your time and effort, CBA, glad to join the fight!
To join in the fight & the fun yourself against CAP, contact Citizens for a Better AZ here.
To join my fight & create your own campaign against the Right, contact me here.