#3. Attacking Teachers with Fines

On May 5th, 1925, science teacher John Scopes was arrested for violating Tennessee’s newly passed Butler Act, making the teaching of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution a criminal act. The trial, known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, gained worldwide attention as all eyes turned to a small courthouse in Dayton, TN. Two legal giants, former three time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan and famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow, faced off at trial. At the end, Scopes was convicted and sentenced to a fine of $100 in 1925 dollars. And the rest is history.

Subsequent cases about this topic occurred with one reaching the US Supreme Court in 1987 in Edwards v. Aguillard. In this case, Louisiana tried again to outlaw Darwin with different language, asking for balance between Evolution and Creationism. Evolution won again. However, the precedent was set that State Governments can manipulate education policy if they disagree with the things taught.

Fast forward to 2021 here in Arizona. We now have SB1532 which, according to the Arizona Republic, “Arizona teachers could face a $5,000 penalty if they allow classroom discussions on controversial topics such as racism or fail to give equal weight to divisive topics, under provisions of a last-minute amendment that flew through the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday.”

Teaching slavery, the Holocaust, the Indian Removal Act, internment of Japanese during WW2, Mylai Massacre, and scores of other acts in our history would be forbidden if Governor Ducey signs it. It targets mostly social studies teachers, who would teach these topics as part of the Arizona State Social Studies Standards requirement to develop critical thought and analysis of events, not just knowing who, what, where, and when. The “how” and “why” could have a social studies teacher facing a $5,000 fine.

Joel John is supposedly a teacher and voted YES in the House for this. Here is a screen-cap of this “teacher’s” anti-teacher vote on the Teacher Gag Bill.

District Four, and Arizona at large, deserve better than a Republican representative who says he is a teacher, then votes to destroy education because the extreme right wing in his Party is offended children may not learn what THEY want them to learn. Joel John is a failure and needs to be replaced. He needs to be replaced with a teacher that puts education first and right wing conspiracy theorists the door they deserve.

District Four needs Aram Katz as its second representative in the Arizona House. Let’s make education destroying Joel John a one term memory on Election Day 2022. You can help by contributing to Katz for House at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/aram2022.

Join me on the campaign trail. http://www.katzforhouse.org

Here is the article: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2021/05/05/arizona-bill-would-fine-teachers-discussion-controversial-issues/4961516001/

#2: Warfare on American streets; NRA style

As I write this, there have been six mass shootings over the weekend of May 22nd and May 23rd of 2021. Six. Mass. Shootings. Six of them. And where is Joel John when it comes to this issue of guns and their mass-proliferation of them on our streets? Silent as always, because, according to his own website, “As responsible gun owners in District 4, we value our right to defend ourselves and our families.  As a Lifetime Member of the NRA, and someone who continues his family hunting tradition, Joel will protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Joel is strongly pro-life, believing that every human life has value and should be protected. “

Before we logically dissect his drivel, let’s just point out there have been mass shootings, according to CNN, in (1) New Jersey, (2) South Carolina, (3) Georgia, (4) Youngstown, Ohio, (5) Columbus, Ohio, and (6) Minnesota. Six in one weekend. I would say “thoughts and prayers,” but all the thoughts and all the prayers aren’t doing anything. Action is what is needed, but NRA-for-life apologist Joel John has been bought and paid for by the gun lobby and as such, he will remain bought and paid for, so he will do nothing.

Now, let’s look at his drivel. ” As responsible gun owners in District 4, we value our right to defend ourselves and our families.  As a Lifetime Member of the NRA, and someone who continues his family hunting tradition, Joel will protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” We are not talking about the right to defend yourself, Mr. John. We’re talking about mass shootings. Try to not muddy the waters please. I grew up in gun country in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate NY. I was a Boy Scout and earned my rifle shooting merit badge. I grew up around guns in the 1980s and 1990s. My own high school in NY actually made the first day of hunting season a day off from school so those that hunted could do it, teacher and student. We’re not talking about guns like my army veteran brother’s side arm. We’re not talking with my 30-06 hunting rifle when I grew up, or my pump action shotgun, or my .22 rifle. We’re talking AR15s and military grade weaponry, things that have only one purpose: Killing people.

Yes, Mr. John. I know. Don’t blame the tool, blame the person with the tool. A knife is a tool and it can be used to kill. Ban that, Mr. Katz. That is an interesting take, Mr. John. Allow me to address the talking point.

1) No one HAS EVER COME for your guns! See, there is this thing in the US Constitution saying retro-active laws are unconstitutional. Passing any gun regulation is not “coming from your guns” because, and listen closely Mr. Bought by the NRA, that would amount to an ex-post facto law. That’s in Article One, Section Nine, Clause Three of the US Constitution. Buybacks and people given incentives to turn them in are not unconstitutional. If gun control is passed, all before it are “grandfathered.” It will apply to the future, not the past. Your fearmongering scare tactic is as hollow as your position.

2) The primary purpose of a knife is to cut things, and has been since it’s invention back at the dawn of human civilization. The primary purpose of a car is to get from point A to point B. The primary purpose of dynamite, as stated by inventor Alfred Nobel, was to assist in mining and building. However, when he witnessed people misuse his creation with the intention to kill, he regretted inventing it. The primary purpose of a hammer is the bang in a nail. When you use your gun to cut something, drive somewhere, build something, help in mining, or bang in a nail, a thinking person will accept this drivel of an argument.

3) Have you ever read the part of the Second Amendment before the comma? Do you even understand it? Do you even know what it means? When you read it, we can debate it. To help you, sir, here it is: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,.” What well-regulated militia are you a part of, sir?

Finally, Mr. John comes back and says ” Joel is strongly pro-life, believing that every human life has value and should be protected. “ Except when a gun in involved. Then forget the death and protect and shield the gun. Or pretty much any place else when it comes to a person living. I will guarantee Mr. Pro-Life supports capital punishment and against all reasonable gun control laws. Preborn gets all his attention and will dictate to a woman what she can do with her body. Pre-school needs to fend for themselves, especially, God Forbid, it someone with a gun goes onto a school here in Arizona and tries to re-create what happened in Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, or, most recently, Idaho.

Guns are irreplaceable, according to Mr. John, and your truncated right to own one is sacrosanct. Your right to life before birth is also sacrosanct. Your right to live after and not be shot is up for debate. He will hide behind that it is not in the Bill of Rights, but it is. It’s called the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. This is called the “including, but not limited to” amendment.

Maybe you should read the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights before mentioning it on your platform, sir. It would make you more credible and less of a hypocrite. Just remember that NRA lifelong membership when, God forbid, another mass shooting happens, only it happens in your backyard. But according to the NRA, sir, people shot to death seem to only be collateral damage.

(1)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/23/us/new-jersey-house-shooting/index.html

(2)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/23/us/north-charleston-shooting-concert/index.html

(3)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/23/us/south-fulton-shooting-three-dead/index.html

(4)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/23/us/youngstown-ohio-shooting-sunday/index.html

(5)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/23/us/columbus-ohio-bicentennial-park-shooting/index.html

(6)https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/22/us/minneapolis-shooting-2-killed/index.html

#1. Arizona faces numerous problems

One part of being a social studies teacher is one needs to keep up on local, state, and national issues, debates, and legislation so the teacher can effectively teach the how and why something is being proposed or debated. As I watch the legislature in Phoenix, I’ve come to a realization that if I want to make the changes I fell will benefit my students, their families, their communities, and the entire state of Arizona, I will need to do more than just teach and discuss the process. I will need to become a part of it.

It is with that, among other things, including a discussion with my wife and family, that I decided to run the Arizona State House. I know it will be a long and hard journey, but I truly believe if voters are as fed up with politicians that control the legislature using their positions in office to enhance enrich their donors and themselves while ignoring the needs of the people of Arizona, they need to be replaced.

Think about this for a moment. What will help you pay the bills more; the state legislature spending millions of your tax dollars rehashing an election from 2020 or spending that same tax money on our schools, roads, hospitals, and everything else they have ignored for decades? What will enable you take care of your children better; arguing over something the state has little to no control over, such as immigration, or arguing over something we do have control over, such as health care for all Arizonans?

Right now, we are fighting in Arizona a battle of division vs. a battle of unity. For example, the right to marry is an inherent right of all people. All adults have the right to marry. The Republicans vigorously opposed the right of people who are LGBTQ to marry, but no heterosexual marriage ever ended because a LGBTQ couple got married If any heterosexual marriage ended solely because two LGBTQ people getting married, the heterosexual marriage had huge problems before that.

Republicans have been saying for years gun control means people will take your guns away. Arizona didn’t fall apart with sensible gun legislation and no one came for your guns. Not one gun was taken from anyone by anyone in any level of government, except under police action due to criminal acts. Joe Biden isn’t taking your guns. Janet Napolitano didn’t take any guns. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton didn’t take any guns. The scare tactics was a lie and has always been one.

Arizona legalized marijuana. Those who fought against it claimed Arizona would fall into lawlessness. It hasn’t happened. After all the arguing over everything the Republicans said would destroy Arizona, the sky didn’t fall. These scare tactics need to stop. They are offensive to you and insulting to the intelligence.

Arizona is quickly becoming a complete national embarrassment due to the actions of the Republicans in Phoenix. Joel John is one of those Republicans, though he may try to distance himself from them on the election trail and run to the center, only to pivot back to the extreme right-wing of his after the election. He claims he is bi-partisan, but votes straight Republican. I will say one thing: when his donor buy him, he stays bought.

However, let’s not give him that chance. Let work together to make sure Joel John is a single term representative that, by his webpage, only seems to represent agri-business, mining interests, the NRA, and the QAnon/conspiracy theorist wing of the Republican Party, the same people who brought you the attack on the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021.

Charlene Fernandez needs another Democrat beside her from District Four to lead the state out of the quagmire the Republicans have put us in for decades. I ask for your support and vote to become the District’s other Democratic representative.

Thank you for reading.