Making Democracy Work

Criminal Justice Report

Dr Kevin Wright, PHD, Criminal Justice ASU

Click on the x below for the Power point presentation on Criminal Justice Reform

"Incarcerated in Arizona, Why you should care"? Click on the "x" below for the entire presentation!



For several years, Pat Mathews and Marge Mead have attended meetings of the Joint Environmental Task Force, a non-partisan coalition composed of representatives of several organizations (i.e., LWV, PORA, HOA, SCDC, Dist. 4 Republicans, Arizona Victims of Valley Fever, etc.) and municipalities (Sun City, Sun City West, Youngtown, Surprise, Coyote Lakes, Ventana Lakes, Peoria). The purpose of JETF is to help improve Northwest Valley air quality, which is very poor largely because of the 27 river-bottom mines located in an 8-mile stretch of the Agua Fria River that runs through the above-named municipalities and developments.

The mining companies are permitted not only to extract sand, rock, and gravel but also to manufacture concrete and asphalt, a process that releases a number of dangerous, toxic substances into the air (including carcinogens like benzene, formaldehyde, chromium, hydrogen chloride, phenol, and toluene), in addition to particulates emitted by mining and crushing operations and the associated truck traffic..

Members of JETF attend the Maricopa County Air Quality Department's permitting meetings and regularly protest the granting of additional permits to the mining companies because modeling has demonstrated that allowing further clustering of these operations will exacerbate the already compromised health of residents and school children in the area. After careful scrutiny, JETF Chair Shirley McDonald, an experienced chemical engineer, has often pointed out to MCAQ inaccuracies in the permit requests submitted by the mining companies.

Although to date JETF has not been successful in thwarting the permitting of further mining operations, the group has garnered much media and public attention, as demonstrated by the over 200 local residents who attended a MCAQ Department permit meeting on February 9 and over 50 people who attended a special JETF meeting on April 6 at the Coyote Lakes Recreation Club. The JETF has pressured a mining company to change its back-up signal to a less strident level and is continuing the dialogue with MCAQ regarding a truck route change to reduce the traffic on Beardsley Road, a significant source of fine particulates. The Task Force has also asked MCAQ for additional monitors and cumulative modeling to help track the source and amount of contaminants from the mining operations

The County Air Quality Department has informed JETF that state law is notoriously weak and lacks the rules that would help restrict the permitting of additional river-bottom mining. For instance, a permit may be granted for mining in a certain location, but the actual operation is allowed to occur at a distant site (a "portable plant," although the permit application may not have indicated this intention) near other similar operations ("clustering"). The last legislation regulating mining was passed in the late 19th century--and concerned only mountain-top mining. So MCAQ does not have the legal authority necessary to deny permits. Attempts by JETF to influence legislators to change this unhealthy situation have been thwarted by the powerful Rock Products Association, which lobbies for the mining companies.

The JETF meets monthly, generally at 1:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday at PORA, in Sun City West. Residents of the region who are concerned about the adverse impact on their health due to poorly monitored and regulated mining operations are welcome to attend. Please contact Marge Mead (623-815-8522; to RSVP so that a room large enough to accommodate expected guests can be arranged.

Submitted by: Marge Mead


During this League year, the Civics Education Committee of the LWV/NWMC and local branches of the AAUW sponsored a booth at the spring fair of the Dysart School District. AAUW and League money paid for the handouts and a wonderful sign for the booth.
The theme of the booth was "GET INVOLVED -- Parents and Community Members: Learn how to make a Difference!" We passed out dozens of brochures with that title, as well as other League materials. The brochure contained names and contact information for local state representatives and senators, education committee members of the state legislature, and local school boards. In addition, there were instructions on how to contact one's legislators directly and how to access legislative committees via computer and TV.

Chair: Bonnie Saunders Members: Bonnie Boyce-Wilson, Lois Brechner, Margaret Eltzroth, Doris Flax, and Marge Mead


The original plan developed by the Civics Education Program Committee, a coalition comprised of representatives from the Glendale, Northwest Valley, and Sun City/Peoria AAUW branches and the League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County and chaired by Bonnie Saunders (President of LWV-AZ and a member of LWV-NWMC and AAUW-NWV) was created in accordance with the program as described in the application submitted by our branch to the AAUW-AZ Community Action Grant Committee by March 1, 2009. The CAG of $200 was subsequently awarded to the Sun City/Peoria branch. During the course of several meetings, the specific problems plaguing our state's public school system and speakers who would be most knowledgeable about practical solutions were identified. Various committee members volunteered to contact the possible speakers, investigate venues and audiences in light of the most effective method for informing the voters in the Northwest Valley about the need for adequate financing for public schools, and encouraging them to follow the passage of legislation affecting public school education and, thus, the students attending our Northwest Valley schools.

Doris Flax, Director of Education for LWV-AZ and AAUW-NWV, spent a great deal of time contacting PTA/PTO presidents and school board members as well as principals and civics education teachers and reported back to the CE Committee that the effort to reach parents and other community members through presentations to individual PTAs would probably not yield favorable results as these meetings were often sparsely attended. She contacted the sponsors of the Dysart Community Connections Fair, scheduled for March 6 on the Valley Vista High School Campus, about arranging for a booth at the Fair at which information could be provided by members of the CE Committee to the fairgoers and their children. Our request was approved, and committee members worked together to obtain and organize information to be copied and distributed (copy of packet attached). The non-partisan material was gathered from the County Election office, state elected officials, the Dysart District's Social Studies Director Mary Hoffman, Arizona Capitol Times' "Green Book," the Internet, and ideas generated by the committee members themselves.

Other handouts relating to civic involvement were made available at the Booth. The booth was decorated with red, white and blue balloons and featured a large laminated sign with the message to "Get Involved! Parents and Community Members, Learn How to Make a Difference." (Sign by Marge Mead; frame by Frank Mead: a family project) An AAUW banner was fastened to the front of the booth. Doris arranged to have four senior high school girls arrive before the fair opened to tape little signs on each of several hundred All Natural/Organic lollipops that read "LICK IGNORANCE! Speak out!" The lollipops were given to students and parents to accompany the print material to encourage them to advocate for their children's education more forcefully.

Several hundred fairgoers attended the event, which started at 10:00 a.m.on March 6, 2010. The fairgoers were asked to donate a non-perishable food item to benefit the newly established Dysart Family Resource Center. The festivities began with a parade led by the Valley Vista High School Marching Band and the Cheer Squads of many elementary schools, followed by speeches by officials from the cities of Surprise and El Mirage and the Dysart School District Central Office. The mayor of Surprise stopped by our booth to comment on the importance of civic participation and congratulate the success of our efforts.

Submitted by: Marge Mead Co-director, Sun City/Peoria AAUW Civics Education Project


Our league was asked to assist The Cliffs Condominium Association conduct their court-ordered elections as a neutral third party. The Cliffs is a 300-plus unit condominium development located at Bell Road and El Mirage Road outside of Sun City West.

There were two elections scheduled:

The September 1 election determined if their Board of Directors should have seven or three members; the other election held on September 30 was to elect three members. The league was paid about $2600 for our services. At the September 1 election, LWV/NWV First Vice President, Roberta Davidson, was the presiding election judge. Francis McEvoy (Clinger), Lois Brechner, and Doris Flax assisted in counting the ballots and signing in election-day voters.

On September 30, Bonnie Saunders officiated at the procedures with Jan Lundstrom, Jean Darnell, Valerie Ellien, Lois Brechner, and Doris Flax assisting with similar chores as in the first election.

We were also able to receive an additional $1000 awarded us from the retired judge who was the mediator between the parties.

Submitted by: Roberta Davidson


The hand-out at the Annual Meeting contained the figures of our last monthly statement of our Fiscal Year 2009-2010 that ends each year on March 31st.

The large discrepancies (under INCOME) between the Contribution and Fundraising figures against the Budget for the year are as follows:

CONTRIBUTIONS were budgeted for $500.00. Our Year-to-Date figure was $2816.61. Of that figure the Elaine Grossman Estate contribution to us was $2086.61.

FUNDRAISING was budgeted for $240.00. Our year-to-date figure was $4017.81. Of that figure the Cliffs Election earned us $3164.84 less $496.99 expenses for that project. This number appears under EXPENDITURES. Our yearly garage sale brought us $160.00.

Lois Brechner introduced our new Budget for 2010-2011 which begins on April 1st, 2010.

Submitted by: Birdie Bussell