I'm Right Again Dot Com

A Weekly Online Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society —  April 4, 2018


    In 2014, we questioned the business background of a then 50-year old entrepreneur, Doug Ducey, who was running for Governor of Arizona. Prior to running for the office, He was finishing one term as Arizona Treasurer and prior to that had headed a firm that was selling franchises for stores that sold servings of an extra-rich "Cold Stone Creamery (CSC) Ice Cream."

    After reading about the number of failed CSC franchises—according to The Wall-Street Journal, as high as twenty percent—and being an ice cream addict, I did some personal research and visited a location of a new Cold Stone Creamery in a highly successful shopping center here in Tucson. Everything was perfect until I reached the cash register. Two, medium-size dips in a paper cup came to $5.75, before one added a variety of exotic add-ons, such as candy bits and a cone. Less than 100 feet away, at Safeway, I could have purchased a pint of Ben & Jerry's or Blue Bunny ice for the same price, or even less, if I purchased many stores' "house" or competitively priced ice cream.

     No surprise, within  six months, the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream parlor space in my neighborhood was empty of everything.

     Soon, Google searches found scores of critics among small investors, many of whom had lost all of their savings, and more. The most commonly held criticism was too many franchises, opened too close to other CSC locations. 

    Today, I read of a massive problem for everyone in Arizona, fostered and brought to fruition by Governor Doug Ducey, and approved by a two percent margin of we voters in the most recent election.

    Here are the parameters: When Arizona became a state in 1912, Congress provided the state with 10-million acres of federal land. Revenue from the sale or lease of the land went into a trust, the interest from which could be used to support schools and universities. The principal was to remain untouched.

    In 1999, Gov. Ducey shepherded a bill through the U.S. Congress that allowed repeal of  the federal government's oversight of the trust fund. The Arizona Legislature approved putting the measure, which became Proposition 123, on the ballot, and We, The People of Arizona, approved it by the slim margin of 50.92 "yes"to 49.8 "no" votes.

    The Great Arizona Trust Fund Raid quickly became a rampage to see what faction would benefit the most, the quickest. It made the great Oklahoma land grab look like a snail race.

    Provisions in Prop. 123 could also allow the state to divert withdrawals from the land trust fund principal to uses besides education in the future.

    So, Michael Pierce, an Arizona Resident, sued Arizona in Federal Court, saying in effect, that the land trust principal would soon be gutted, yet still not provide enough funding to make Arizona schools competitive with education in other states.

     March 26, 2018 (last Monday), Judge Neil Wake of the U.S. District Court of Arizona denied a motion by the state to dismiss the case filed by Mr. Pierce.

    Now what?

    Overshadowing all eventualities: If the judge decides that monies already dispensed from the trust fund principal—estimated to be at least $344-million, must be repaid, the ramifications for all of us and particularly every student and every teacher in all of our schools and universities in Arizona, are nothing short of being catastrophic.

    Another really bad idea; a real doozy this time, Governor.

    Arizona should fund education through tax revenue and the general fund, since much of the Land Trust Fund's earnings are already dedicated to funding education.


-Phil Richardson, Observer of the Human Condition and Storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself."—Joseph Menchen

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

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