ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Frank Antenori on Higher Education

Republican Frank Antenori is facing Republican David Gowan and Democrat Andrea Dalessandro in the race for two seats in House of Representatives in Legislative District 30. We asked him some questions on higher education.

Should the state provide more funding for universities?

Not in the disproportionate way the state has been doing it. I think we need to spend more of that money in the rural areas of the state. I also would like the UA to be able to profit from any research they do when they develop a patentable product. For example, if the UA developed a new landing device for Mars, I think they should be able to sell that technology and be able to get money off what goes to the university.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for in-state students?

No, I think that we need to decrease tuition as low as possible for in-state students. It is a fundamental principle that we should take care of our students first. Kids from this state, if I had my way, would pay virtually nothing.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for out-of-state students?

Out-of-state, I’m sorry. You want to come here from New Mexico, you are going to pay. The purpose of the Continue reading


ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Frank Antenori on Education

Republican Frank Antenori is facing Republican David Gowan and Democrat Andrea Dalessandro in the race for two House seats in Legislative District 30. We asked him some questions on education.

Should the AIMS test remain a requirement for high-school graduation?

You have to have some sort of benchmark. If you leave it to the subjectivity of the teacher, you are going to have such a wide standard range and it’s not going to be fun. You’ve got to have a statewide objective resource to measure performance, so you know which schools are cutting the mustard and which aren’t. That’s why I like the Regents Exam. There are just some kids that can’t pass the AIMS. They spent twelve years in school, got decent grades, are hard-working kids, and they have an aptitude issue or an inability to take tests-–there are various reasons. I believe they should be given a diploma. But there should be some credit for kids that are able to pass a standardized test that demonstrates their aptitude across the board. That’s where I think a Regents type exam where you have two diplomas, a standard diploma and Regents diploma, should be looked at.

Do you favor any changes for the AIMS test?

It should always be changed. You look at what they do with the SAT and the ACT; they change them every year. There’s a committee that evaluates societal norms, cultural changes and scientific changes. There’s always a requirement to change the test and update the test. I think it should have an annual review of educators and professors and professionals to determine the test is fair, equitable and up-to-date.

Do you support state-funded vouchers for private or religious schools?

I don’t favor them for religious schools, because I fear them being abused. You open the door to…all these crazy schools. You open the door to all these schools like that one sect of Mormons…And you just get nervous. I believe in public schools vouchers, to include charter schools and Continue reading

LD30 Debate

The LD30 Clean Elections debate last Thursday between House of Representatives candidates Democrat Andrea Delasandro and Republicans David Gowan and Frank Antenori didn’t bring people out in droves; nor did the Senate race between Rep. Jonathan Paton and Democrat Georgette Valle.  But, for all you political junkies who didn’t attend, roll up your sleeve and tie off your arm: Here comes your fix.

House of Representatives

Moderator Dave Irwin gave the candidates two-and-a-half-minutes for opening statements.  We’ll give them a paragraph and a picture.

“Mr. Anetori,” who didn’t bother to correct the moderator’s mispronounciation of his name, went first. He told the fewer than 50-person crowd of mostly over 50-year-old voters that “the state is broken” and the most important thing for Arizona right now is getting the budget back on track, without gimmicks like traffic cameras. He called for employer sanctions and said we’ve got to deal with the education problem. He supports merit pay for teachers.

Next up was David Gowan, who thanked the voters who supported him in the primary election and mentioned his history, family, education and volunteer service with the Boy Scouts. He said we’ve got to take control of the state budget and the border and he believes in competition and merit pay for teachers.

Democrat Andrea Dalessandro said she wants to be part of the new delegation going to Phoenix.  She told the crowd that her humble childhood and work as a CPA makes her uniquely experienced to handle the budget. She calls for problem solving over politics and says protecting education is her top priority because “although children and young people are only part of our population, they are 100 percent of our future.”

Highlights from the House

What would your priority be in fixing the state budget?

Dalessandro says she wouldn’t cut back in schools but would make other necessary cuts, starting with the House speaker’s slush fund.

Antenori says most people think “politicians are good for two things–spending your money and asking for more. I’m not that kind of politician.” He calls legislators Continue reading

The After Math: Crunching Numbers in Last Week’s Primary

GOP champ: Al Melvin

Questions and answers in the wake of last week’s primary election:

What was the big takeaway in the legislative races?

Conservatives ruled. In almost every local race in GOP districts, the most conservative candidates carried the day.

In the GOP primary for the Legislative District 26 Senate seat, Republican Al Melvin beat state Rep. Pete Hershberger by exposing his liberal leanings, just as Melvin beat incumbent Toni Hellon two years ago. Melvin captured 10,131 votes compared to Hershberger’s 8,857 in the district which runs from SaddleBrooke down through Oro Valley and across the Catalina Foothills.

Now comes the big test for Melvin: Can he win a general election? Melvin has sanded down many of his rough edges, but he’s facing a savvy Democrat in Cheryl Cage, who managed a Democratic campaign that was able to overcome the GOP voter advantage in the 2006 District 26 House race. On top of that, the political mood still doesn’t favor Continue reading

Match Game: Judge Rules Against Portion of Clean Elections Program

Opponents of Arizona’s Clean Elections system won a big round in court last week when federal Judge Roslyn Silver said that the campaign-finance program’s matching-funds provision could be unconstitutional.

In a case brought by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of various GOP candidates, Silver didn’t rule against the Clean Elections system itself, which provides qualifying candidates for state office with campaign dollars.

But Silver said the Goldwater Institute folks have a point when they say that giving some candidates more money if their privately funded opponents break certain spending limits could violate the First Amendment.

For example, most candidates for the Arizona Legislature get $12,921 if they can collect 220 $5 contributions for residents of their district. But if a traditionally funded candidate spends more money than that, then Clean Election gives participating candidates a dollar-for-dollar match. The match tops out at three times the original Clean Elections funding for the campaign.

That leads to some privately funded candidates getting hosed. We’ve reported in recent week on the twists in the four-way GOP primary in Legislative District 30, which pitted two Clean Elections candidates, Sharon Collins and David Gowan, against two candidates who were raising money from private contributors—Doug Sposito and Frank Antenori.

By raising a respectable amount of money and lending his campaign $12,000, Sposito was able to spend Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Frank Antenori on Crime

Having made it through the primaries, Republican Frank Antenori will run against David Gowan and Andrea Dalessandro in the general election for one of two seats in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked him some questions on crime.

Should we increase state funding for prison construction?

Yes, right now there is a policy where we are allowing people to get out of jail who haven’t fully served their sentence because we don’t have space. I would like to see private contractors run some of the lower-security prisons in this state to reduce costs. I’ve built prisoner war camps- it’s not hard and it’s not expensive. That would free up the heavier lifting and the state can run the violent criminal prisons.

Should we spend more on programs that provide prisoners with vocational education while they are behind bars?

Not for inmates who received life sentences. If you’ve got an inmate who was caught with cocaine and is serving five years, yes, I think that guy needs another line of work so he doesn’t go back to selling drugs. For the murderers and rapists, sorry buddy, you’re in the can and you’re staying there. If it was up to me, I would stick them in a room with a little 6-inch by 6-inch window and nothing else.

Should we look at alternatives to imprisonment for non-violent offenders?

Yes, you can’t just lock everybody up. There are some people who had no parents and grew up in an environment that was not conducive to societal norms and behaviors. My idea is to take these people and put them in a reform school atmosphere where they are given an alternative such as a boot camp. If it’s a first offense they could attend this special school and would be allowed to re-enter society with a clean slate. Now, if they screw us and commit another felony or don’t attend class they get sent to jail.

Do you support “hate crimes” legislation that increases penalties for crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation?

Absolutely not, there’s no difference between you, me, or anybody else, regardless of skin color. If I murder you, it doesn’t matter whether I murder you because I hate women or because I just hate you. The crime is still murder.

Should the state spend more on programs and facilities for at-risk youth?

I think that kids need structure, they need discipline and they need a father or an authority figure in their lives. I think there should be funding for something similar to a Big Brother program that involves some after-school productive activity or a vocational technical program that provides these kids with a marketable skill.

Should the state spend more on state and local agencies to fight terrorism?

How would that work? Cops are cops. The FBI has all the investigative capability and the NSA has all the eavesdropping and spying capability. Cops just need to be diligent, alert, and aware and so does the public. Local level is, I think, diligence.

Should the state have a “three-strikes” law that puts criminals behind bars for life for a third felony offense?

I’m all for the three-strike rule. The vast majority of people in this country go through life without even encountering the law, other then maybe a parking ticket. People who commit a felony three times in a row need to be separated from society for the rest of their lives.


Frank Talk: Antenori’s Response to GOP Activist Pete Davis

Republican Frank Antenori, who is seeking a seat in Legislative District 30, asked that we post his full letter responding to GOP activist Pete Davis’ denouncement of him following our report on fundraising in Legislative District 30.

I certainly miss spoke in some of my comments to the Tucson Weekly. Between the contorted public funding mechanisms of campaigns here in Arizona and my passionate opposition to weakening of the Employer’s Sanction Law, I let frustration take over. I should have never let that happen, and rest assured it won’t happen again.

I also should have left David and Sharon out of what is clearly a policy disagreement between me and the other candidate.  I have spoken with both of them privately and apologized for my poor choice of words.

It would have been nice to have Mr. Davis on my side and I hope we can settle our differences so he may some day reconsider supporting my candidacy.

It is precisely because I do have a moral compass that I am passionately dedicated to ending what is clearly the exploitation of people entering our country illegally.

The draw from illegal jobs, offered by unscrupulous employers Continue reading