Best Expulsion 2018 | Don Shooter | Megalopolitan Life | Phoenix

Arizona has had several #MeToo issues by this time. But the case of Don Shooter helped set the bar at proper Arizona depth. Shooter had a good run in the state Legislature, but only because Harvey Weinstein had not yet happened. Shooter was known to be a serious horndog and lech — a guy who never let an emotion come between him and a crass wisecrack, especially if the target was a woman. As former Arizona Republic publisher Mi-Ai Parrish later related, when he met her, he quipped that his one regret in life was failing to nail "Asian twins." But she didn't say anything. It wasn't until well after Weinstein, but just before Matt Lauer, that women, starting with state Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita, finally came forward publicly to out Shooter as the harasser he was. The Legislature commissioned an investigation that released a damning report in January that concluded Shooter had created a hostile work environment at the state Capitol. House Speaker J.D. Mesnard asked Shooter to resign, but, true to form, Shooter stood his ground and tried to play the part of a political victim. The House voted 56-3 to oust him, forcing Shooter to take his disgraced nameplate back to Yuma. One problem: The law didn't prevent Shooter from running for office again, which he did. Voters chose the clear solution and sent him packing in the August primary election.

Kevin DeMenna is one of those longtime fixtures in the Arizona Legislature, a lobbyist who's outlasted many of the once-famous newsmakers he wined and dined. DeMenna Public Affairs started in 1998. He ran into trouble a few years ago, though, and was found with pot and opiates in his car. He'd let his addiction to pills get the best of him — he said he got hooked while trying to cope with the pain of an old rodeo injury. But he came back after his sons, Joe and Ryan, formed a new company in 2017. The trio handle all sorts of clients, but they're best known for representing the Arizona Dispensary Association, a group of politics-minded medical-marijuana store operators. In April, the DeMenna family created a buzz in the cannabis industry with a photo tweeted by Governor Doug Ducey's office showing them and dispensary representatives around a large table with the famously anti-cannabis governor. The DeMennas say they want to help the dispensaries work with the Republican-leaning government to make changes to the 2010 medical-marijuana law that many see as overdue, such as a lower patient card fee and testing for contaminants. The family that sways (opinion) together, stays together.

Former revenge-porn operator Craig Brittain — a conspiracy theorist and fringe Arizona Senate candidate — has experienced many low points. There was the time when he was forced to settle with the Federal Trade Commission after operating a website that extorted women in exchange for deleting nude photos of them posted online. Then there was his unsuccessful 2018 bid for Senator Jeff Flake's seat, when Brittain failed to obtain the required number of signatures to get on the ballot. ("This is a rigged sham and cannot even be considered an election at this point," Brittain told Phoenix New Times in a text message.) But perhaps the greatest blow to Brittain was when his favorite social network, Twitter, deleted his account (for the second time) in March. Twitter is often criticized for a hands-off approach when it comes to bigots and trolls, but it seems like the network has had enough of Brittain. Shortly before Twitter deep-sixed his account, Brittain was tweeting vile conspiracy theories about the teenage survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Good riddance, Craig.

Arizona charter schools are supposed to be open to everyone. They can't discriminate against prospective students on the basis of gender, ethnicity, disability, or language proficiency. But as it turns out, some charter schools were ignoring state law. In a December 2017 report titled "Schools Choosing Students," the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that a shocking number of charter schools use exclusionary enrollment policies. Families attempting to enroll their child in charter schools faced essays, interviews, requests for a birth certificate or Social Security number, and fees. Some schools asked whether the prospective student had a disability or special education needs, and others asked about the primary language spoken at home. The ACLU argued that these hurdles are unacceptable, and last spring advocates showed up to lobby the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Apparently, the board was listening. In June, officials reviewed enrollment policies and mandated changes at almost 100 charter schools. The ACLU says that more oversight is needed. Nevertheless, the campaign achieved an impressive outcome: a fairly quick response from a board that has been criticized for a laissez-faire approach to charter schools.

A bill that would provide unlimited menstrual supplies to women in Arizona prisons stalled in the House because Representative T.J. Shope, a Republican from Coolidge who chairs the House Rules Committee, wouldn't put it on the agenda. #LetItFlow activists, outraged that female inmates received only 12 sanitary pads a month, took matters into their own hands by sending pads, tampons, and cash to purchase feminine hygiene products to the Arizona Department of Corrections, by way of Shope's office. Well, that unblocked the process. Within days, the ADC changed its policy, increasing the number of pads per inmate to 36 per month. Naturally, Shope, a man, took credit for the success: "When I became aware of this issue, I reached out to ADC and urged them to change the policy and they now have!" he wrote in a self-congratulatory press release. Oh, yeah, at the bottom of the statement he acknowledged that Democratic Representative Athena Salman, a woman, had actually introduced the legislation that he had previously derailed. We'll excuse Shope's slight as a case of MPS — Manly Power Shit.

The boys and girls in the state Legislature had this great gig going. The Arizona Constitution apparently prohibited the arrest of legislators during or right before a session "in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace or shooting someone on Fifth Avenue." (Okay, we added that last one.) In other words, legislators could pretend they were Indy car drivers going to and from work. But then state Representative Paul Mosley spoiled their little secret by pulling the immunity card on a sheriff's deputy who clocked the Republican from Havasu City traveling 97 mph in a 55 mph zone. Mosley even bragged to the deputy that he had been driving 120 mph earlier and sometimes hit 140. The deputy let him go, and no one would have been the wiser except for that damn body cam. The video of the stop went viral, and that meant that Daddy, i.e. Governor Doug Ducey, found out. Uh-oh. The governor whacked Mosley and other legislators with a sternly worded statement. "No one is above the law, and certainly not politicians. Everyone should know that, but clearly a reminder is needed," Ducey said. Then, the governor grounded the speed demons with an executive order empowering state law enforcement officers to cite elected officials for criminal violations such as speeding or reckless driving. No word if he's going to prevent them from going to the prom.

David Stringer is the gift that keeps on giving Phoenix New Times more internet traffic. He created his first digital sensation in 2017 when, according to fellow legislator Jesus Rubalcava, the Prescott Republican with the bad toupee told a group of businesspeople and educators that teachers are paid well enough because they have an easy, part-time job that doesn't require a specific skill set. And they get two months off in the summer. (That set social media on fire.) Then, he acknowledged earlier this year that the job might have a certain degree of difficulty because, as he told attendees at a Yavapai County Republican Men's Forum, "there aren't enough white kids to go around" in Arizona schools. He blamed the problem on immigration, which he called "an existential threat to the United States" and "politically destabilizing." That prompted even staunch Republicans like Governor Doug Ducey to call for Stringer to resign. He did not. In fact, he doubled down on his anti-immigration stance in a campaign ad, claiming immigration "creates a permanent underclass and traps people in poverty." Apparently, there were still enough white, non-teacher Republican voters to go around in the Legislative District 11 primary because they voted for him to run again in the fall.

Bike-share services are a good idea in theory. Riders can use their smartphone to pay to rent a bike, then leave it at their destination without having to return it. It saves money compared with car ownership, and reduces carbon emissions. In reality, certain parts of metro Phoenix have become a bike-share wasteland, with abandoned two-wheelers left anywhere and everywhere you can think of. It'd be kind of funny if it wasn't so annoying. The Instagram account @litterbikesofaz shares our opinion; its feed is jammed with photos of sad, discarded bikes (and parts of bikes) hanging from fences, lying in roadways, and dumped in canals. Next time you see one, take a picture and send it in.

When local poet Jared Duran first started doing his Limited Engagement podcast, it was an excuse for him to pick the brains of some of Phoenix's finest writers. Duran's podcast quickly expanded beyond that scope as he started interviewing musicians, journalists, theater people — even relatively big names like Soft Boys frontman/U.K. cult songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. Like all the best podcasts, a lot of the charm comes from the host. Duran's a rambler, in the best possible way: The intros to his shows can often be 10 minutes long as he weighs in on the Valley's cultural scene and on the things that are on his mind. His interviews also share that digressive feeling, as conversations often detour into surprising territory. And now that Duran has started his own publishing imprint and co-hosts a second podcast, Hoot N Review, with writer Jenna Duncan, he's got a whole lot more to talk about.

The current KJZZ schedule airs The Show at 9 a.m., so if you're well into your day of meetings and conference calls by then, we'll tell you what you're missing. The Show is a collection of oral news stories and features focusing on the Phoenix area, as well as Maricopa County, the state, and the country at large. Hosts Mark Brodie, Lauren Gilger, Steve Goldstein, and Tiara Vian — backed by their small but effective team of producers and reporters — cover everything from making Phoenix a "soccer town" to the Valley's air quality to Planned Parenthood AZ to the adventures of Don Shooter. If you really can't catch it live, we have two podcast suggestions: KJZZ's The Show and KJZZ's The Show: Friday Newscap.

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