LD29 Speed-Dating: No Love at First Sight

Several of the candidates for House of Representatives in LD29 met at a bar on Thursday night to talk over their differences.

The meeting, organized by Tucson Drinking Liberally, was originally marketed on the website as an “LD29 Candidate ‘Speed Dating’ Forum” but since most of the candidates got cold feet, it was just another night drinking and talking politics at The Shanty.

The three candidates who did make the date each gave a short speech and took questions from the rowdy crowd of a few dozen political junkies.

Representative Tom Prezelski started off the event and, though he didn’t appear tipsy, his tongue was definitely loose. His relaxed performance included calling a Republican lawmaker a dick and one candidate from another district “full of shit.”

Besides bashing the Legislature, he called for reform of Health Care Group and explained the benefits of bonding for school construction, invoking his experience as a tribal planner and the example of Sunnyside High School, which he says was built cheaply, piece by piece as the money became available, and now needs to be totally rebuilt.

Next up on the microphone was Ephraim Cruz, who gave a speech playing to his experience in law enforcement. He told stories of a beer run he witnessed where the cops never responded, a campaign volunteer who was shot in a random act of violence, and a friend who had to wait three days for the cops to take a report about his stolen car. He told the crowd that police involvement in immigration issues strains an already under-resourced police force.

He also said that in this day and age, there should be more ways for children to anonymously report suspicious classmates, including e-mail and text messaging, in order to cut school violence.

The only woman on this non-date was Patti Puig, who took this opportunity to mention that while animal abuse is a big problem and programs to prevent it need more funding, it does not top the need for funding of health care or education.

Puig said TUSD needs to keep the ethnic studies program and mentioned she was hoping for an endorsement from the Humane Society.

The Tucson chapter of Drinking Liberally, a national organization of Democrats discussing politics in bars, meets every Thursday at The Shanty on Fourth Avenue starting at 6 p.m. and ending when it’s over or the bar closes. Most nights it’s an informal place to relax, have a few beers, and talk politics with left-leaning pundits and politicians. Occasionally they have speakers, events or heated arguments.

The LD29 speed-dating event was scheduled back in July but, for various reasons, four of the seven Democratic candidates didn’t make it.

Daniel Patterson said that at this point in the race, canvassing to the voters is more important. He told organizers that he would try to come after it got too dark to knock on doors, but hadn’t shown by the time the other candidates started clearing out, sometime before 10 p.m.

Matt Heinz, who says he was the first candidate to RSVP to the invitation, was told by organizers on Wednesday that only one other candidate had RSVPed and therefore the forum would be impossible. The mix-up caused him to miss the forum, but he says he spoke to the group a few months ago and will “get back there after the primary.”

But by Thursday night, organizers were also expecting Eric Carbajal-Bustamante to make an appearance at the forum. But by the time the candidates were clearing out, he hadn’t shown.

Also absent was candidate Gil Guerra, who lost his shot at $19,000 in campaign money when he didn’t attend the Clean Elections debate.

“I don’t like drinking and talking in bars,” said Guerra. “That’s not where the voters are.”

11 Responses

  1. Hank — We didn’t have ‘cold feet’, we were not there because we were told this event was canceled. See email below from Drinking Liberally organizer Shasta McManus.

    Shasta McManus
    to “Daniel Patterson for AZ House (D-LD29)”
    date Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 4:02 PM
    subject Re: Living Liberally / Drinking Liberally Invites You: Candidate Speed Dating!

    …we will be scrapping the event for now.

  2. Daniel,
    When we spoke on Thursday afternoon before the event, you knew it was still going on and told me you would try to make it, but canvassing was more important.
    Am I correct?

    Also, Shasta told the crowd that when you two spoke on Thursday, you said you were going to try to come sometime between 7-8, after canvassing.
    Or are we both somehow mistaken?


  3. No, Hank, you are not correct. I informed you that Drinking Liberally told us this event was canceled, and that we communicated to them I could likely make it after dark, but we never heard back.

    We did not speak with Shasta on Thursday. The last we heard from her was the Monday email posted above about ‘scrapping the event’.

    We have enjoyed listening and talking at DL before, and would’ve liked to have been there Thursday, but the only information we had from organizers was this event was canceled.

    Sounds like Matt was also told it was canceled.

  4. Daniel,

    On Thursday, when you called to complain that your picture and full list of endorsements weren’t in the paper, you did erroneously tell me me you thought it had been canceled. You are right there- I mixed up two conversations.

    You also said that canvassing was more important and if it happened, you would be there after canvassing.

    I misspoke in my previous comment saying Shasta and you talked on Thursday. But on Thursday, we were both under the impression that you would at least try to be at Drinking Liberally after canvassing. I believe you wanted to be there. I know you weren’t there.

    At the event, Shasta said she was expecting both you and Bustamante to come some time later in the night. Neither of you showed.

    I was able to find out that the forum was still being held by making a single phone call, I don’t know why you were out of touch.


  5. Hank — You are wrong. The DL ‘speed dating’ event was canceled, and I never told you anything ‘erroneously’.

    We were not ‘out of touch’, the event was canceled. I am very busy as a candidate with a family and a job, and don’t have time to make calls to check on an event organizers told us was off.

    I just checked with Shasta about it ask why we never heard back about our offer to be there after dark, and this is what she said.

    Shasta McManus
    to “Daniel Patterson for AZ House (D-LD29)”
    date Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 11:52 PM
    subject Re: Living Liberally / Drinking Liberally Invites You: Candidate Speed Dating!
    mailed-by gmail.com

    The speed dating event was canceled. …

  6. Haha,
    Alright daniel, it was cancelled.
    The other three candidates just happened to be there- and you weren’t.
    If you don’t have time to make a phone call, how do you have time to post these messages? -and how well would you represent our district if you can’t keep up with your own plans?
    I mean, seriously, you don’t have time? You called me at 10 a.m. Thursday and had plenty of time to talk about your picture not being in the paper.
    Patti Puig knew it was still on…
    And the organizers and I were expecting you.
    Your only complaint is with my use of the term “cold feet” not the paragraph about you.
    Sorry if you feel I misrepresented the situation, but I didn’t.


  7. Hello Everyone,
    What a wonderful surprise to see my name getting so much attention. Just to set the record straight, the event was surrounded by a lot of confusion due to the canceling of the event. We decided to cancel the event on Monday night after only 2 candidates RSVPed as a “yes” and one “maybe”. We completely understand that all candidates have a lot of work to get done during these last few weeks before the primary and we are very grateful for any time candidates have to stop by and speak with us.

    After canceling the event we let Cruz and Heinz know they could feel free to stop by anyhow. Patterson however said in an e-mail that he could stop by about 7:45. I will admit that I did not respond due to 2 assumptions I had (well and I guess I proved the saying about assumptions) 1: I assumed since he has been to Drinking Liberally a number of times that by saying he could be there about 7:45, that he would be there and I didn’t need to send a reply. 2: I assumed he was on our e-mail list where I did invite any candidates who wanted to join us they could stop by to speak with us informally and specifically included Patterson’s name.
    The day before the event, Puig called and I explained to her as well that the event was canceled but feel free to stop by. The day of the event, Eric Carbajal-Bustamante called, and I repeated the same.
    As for Tom Prezelski, he had thought he had gotten back to me, but we welcomed him all just the same.

    The “Candidate Speed Dating” event was sadly canceled. Instead we offered any candidates who happened to show up equal speaking time. A sort of informal forum. Again, we appreciate any time candidates have to spend with us.

    So, Mr. Patterson, I apologize for my assumptions and please feel free to stop by any Thursday.

    Drinking Liberally has a strong history of giving the floor on any night to Elected Officials, Candidates, and Community Organizers with or without prior notice.

    In closing: Drinking Liberally, Every Thursday Night at the Shanty on 4th ave and 9th St. 6:00pm.

    -Shasta McManus

  8. Thank you, Shasta, for clearing that up.
    Like I said in the 2nd paragraph of the post, it was supposed to be a speed-dating forum but when most of the candidates (didn’t RSVP, follow up, show up, or otherwise)- “got cold feet,” it was just another night of drinking and talking politics at The Shanty.
    I appreciate you bringing us back to the quote in question.

    Mr. Patterson, I apologize, when I saw the other candidates speak and you had told me you could be there after canvassing, I thought you would show -no matter what they called it.
    Please continue to feel free to call or post anytime your picture is not in the paper or you don’t like my terminology. Keeping power in check works both ways.


  9. Hank – out of all of Nintzel’s children – you are my ScrambleWatch hero. Good work!

  10. We all know Patterson is a Media Whore – no picture and info about him is sure to get his knickers in a twist. That would definitely cause him and his infamous temper to get everyone and everything all confused. Patterson does not build bridges for change – his version of solving issues is – do it his way – and his way only. His ego is unparralled. He is a pompous, narcissistic ass. The bridge has to have a mirror at the end of it – so that Patterson can look at himself – otherwise he won’t even attempt to cross the bridge – no chance of him solving any problems for us in Phoenix. The guy can’t get along with anyone.

  11. Mari,
    Thanks, that means a lot coming from you.

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