Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Governor, Please veto SB 1070

Dear Governor Brewer,

Please veto SB1070.

Please listen to those who are praying. Listen to those who stand praying outside your home. Open your ears to those who stand in prayer vigils outside State Offices. Listen to voices that pray for you, pray for the State government and pray for its citizens and visitors.

The voices that are praying are asking you to consider our responsibility to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” The voices that are praying live under the admonition to “feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to give the thirsty something to drink, visit the sick and those in prison and embrace the stranger in our land.” (Matthew 25:35)

In this morning’s Arizona Republic the editors are asking for you to have the courage to do the reasonable and compassionate thing, not the expedient thing, and veto the bill. In the same publication the Rev. Warren Stewart and the Rev. Jim Wallis said this issue is more than a State issue. This is a national issue, they said and they asked you do the humane thing and veto the bill.

Christian Clergy and parishioners across this State, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodist, Lutherans, Baptists, Non-denomination clergy, clergy who would not worship together because of their theological differences, have come together to plead with you to veto SB 1070. Please listen to those that are praying for you.
Here is my prayer for you, from the Book of Common Prayer.

O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech you so to guide and bless our Governor that she may enact such laws as shall please you, to the glory of your Name and the welfare of the people of the State of Arizona. Amen.

In prayer,

The Rev. Dr. Gil Stafford
Vicar and Chaplain
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Parish
Tempe, Arizona

I sent this morning to the Governor at

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yes on Proposition 100

What can you buy for a penny these days? Not much. Ah, but for the good old days.
As a six-year-old, my parents would send me to the corner store to buy whatever was needed, a morning paper, a carton of milk, some missing ingredient for the cake my mom was baking. Typically, my parents would give me a few pennies of the change. I started saving those pennies because I loved baseball cards. When I had twenty-five cents saved, I would take my pennies to buy five packs of baseball cards, the packs were a nickel apiece, a penny a card.
It was a great joy to open each pack and discover what new cards I added to my collection. And, it wasn’t disappointing to find a duplicate because those cards were good for trading with my friends. Of course, the gum was a bonus. Over the years, with collected pennies, I bought thousands of baseball cards. Now those cards are worth a lot of money, even the no-name players of the 1960’s have gone up in value. Not a bad investment from a few pennies. Ah, for the good old days.
This week many of you will receive your early ballots for Proposition 100, the Temporary One-Cent-Sales Tax. By voting Yes on Proposition 100 you will be supporting children in our schools. Without the temporary sales tax increase, public and charter schools will be laying off hundreds of teachers and staff, increasing classroom size to forty, eliminating art, music and physical education and drastically cutting after school programs including most sports.
School have already had to lay off teachers and staff, eliminate full day kindergarten, slash programs for gifted students, reduce early education intervention programs, and postpone building and maintenance. Arizona ranks at the bottom in terms of educational spending and quality. Without the passage of Proposition 100, our poor educational system will be cemented at the bottom for generations to come.
Yes, pennies add up. I understand that concept. I understood it the age of six. I want to make the same investment in the education of today’s children in Arizona that was given to me and to my own children. I grew up here and my children were educated here, this has been a good State for our family.
Ah, for the good old days. We pay a smaller percentage of overall tax today in Arizona, than we did in the Goldwater era. In 1990, a study was conducted regarding the approaching millennium and the tax structure needed for the future. The report concluded that Arizona’s balance of income, property and sales tax was fairly equitable. Since that time, our legislatures have swung the burden of tax to rely heavily upon sales tax. If the legislature had left the tax structure that the Goldwater era conservatives put in place, today we would have an extra $3 billion dollars in the State coffers, plus a rainy day fund. Ah for the good old days.
I am in favor of investing in children of today for the sake of tomorrow. Please join me in voting Yes on Proposition 100.