Light Rail Usage in Phoenix-Prop 105

I’ve gotten a little frustrated about the frivolous arguments regarding the light rail in Phoenix, so here is some data about the light rail usage, comparison to other metro areas, and car purchase data.

As you can see Phoenix has the largest land area of any of the top 10 largest metro areas, and also has the lowest population density.

Total light rail boardings in 2014 were 14,286,093. Total boardings in 2018 were 16,511,814, which is an increase of 2,225,721. During this same time period 280,000 people moved into Maricopa County, and the average household owns 1.5 cars, so that means 420,000 cars on the roads.

Here we see that on average, roughly 5% of households do not own a vehicle.

Conclusion: Since Maricopa County consists of 9200 square miles it’s not feasible to spend 40% of the budget on a light rail that will take 40 years to reach the growing suburbs of the metro area. We have seen rapid growth in areas like Queen Creek and Goodyear which never benefit from the light rail. Although we have seen an increase in annual number of boardings, when compared to the number of times you get in your car each year(420,000 new cars from 2014-2018 x 3 times getting in car each day = 1,260,000 new “car” boardings), this number becomes trivial. Our population density is 4 times smaller than that of Los Angeles County. Thus the light rail is inefficient, irrelevant and a giant waste of money.

Mexican Government to Illegal Aliens: Prepare your documents and don’t lower your guard

On Saturday February 21st, 2015, a community forum was held at Alhambra High School in Phoenix, Arizona for undocumented immigrants to organize and learn about DACA and DAPA. A few of the organizations present were Fuente, CASE, the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition. The speakers explained how President Obama would attempt an emergency appeal to reverse the Texas court’s decision from last week, and that Monday would be when they would appeal. If not, then the appeal process would be another 6 to 8 months.

Felix, with the Mexican Consulate, spoke about the fact that the consulate can now provide birth certificates at the consulate without having to go to Mexico. He told the audience to prepare their documents for their DACA or DAPA application and to not lower their guard.

Towards the end their was a ra ra ra speech and they chanted “si se puede”.

I’ve attached some photos and sound bites of the meeting. Roughly 100 individuals attended.


Stephen Viramontes, the Arizona Field Director for the Libre Initiative, says Republicans are fucked if they don’t give Hispanics “liberty”(amnesty).

It turns out Stephen Viramontes, the Arizona Director of the Libre Initiative, supposedly a non-profit, non-partisan organization, isn’t so non-partisan. At an informal meeting hosted by the ASU Chapter of Students for Liberty on Tuesday November 18th, 2014, Stephen said “I’m gonna help Hispanics ignore Republicans and get back to the main issues of values and principles. Republicans just simply don’t care at this moment to reach out to Hispanics and be able to help.”

“if I was gonna do something with this[politics]…  I’m gonna help Hispanics ignore Republicans and get back to the main issues of values and principles. Republicans just simply don’t care at this moment to reach out to Hispanics and be able to help. You know they’ll parachute in during elections and go and do their thing, and they’re just trying to buy votes, but for long term effects demographically speaking if they don’t getting to subscribe to the principles of liberty…then we’re fucked…because of the demographic trends. There are just too many Hispanics….it’s going the way of California.”

Three days later Viramontes appeared on ABC 15 saying Obama’s proposed executive amnesty reform isn’t comprehensive enough.


Glocked and loaded

Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun


Paul M. Barrett




This novel summarizes the entrance of the Glock into the realm of manufactured firearms in the late 20th century. It delves into the beginnings of Glock and the owner Gaston Glock, who in 1980 was a manager at a radiator factory in Austria, and relates how he gained a contract with the Austrian government to manufacture a pistol.


Much of the book enumerates the legal struggles inherent with the gun industry in the 1990s, as well as the accompanying press and publicity that Glock successfully used to its advantage.


Throughout this novel you’ll find the fascinating history of Karl Walter, who was one of the first employees of Glock, and who single-handedly marketed the Glock to law enforcement officials in the United States.


The gun industry has gone through many shifts since the 1980s, both in the law enforcement industry and in the public sector. This book provides yet another morsel of information regarding the rise of one America’s most popular pistols, and illustrates how the Glock’s popularity is deeply intertwined with America’s gun culture, laws, and politics.


I recommend this book for both gun enthusiasts and the average citizen, because it describes the influence of the media on commercial enterprise. However, it’s especially interesting to see the intersection of politics and guns, an issue that seems to always be at the forefront of our minds in the 21st century, when much of the current presidential administration seems to be vociferously engaged in a battle to strengthen gun control laws.


Ryan Hartwig



Questions to consider while reading this novel



Who was a radiator factory manager in 1980 in Austra whose side job was manufacturing curtain rods?



How old was _________ when he submitted his first patent for firearm design?



Who did _________ hire to market his gun in the United States?



What strategies did Glock use to influence the market in the United States?



Do the names of Glock models correspond to the magazine capacity of their clips?



Where did ______________ test his first prototypes of the Glock 17?



Which police department first transitioned to the Glock 17 semiautomatic pistol?



What was the criteria used by the Austrian government to choose a new pistol for its military?



Which police force in the U.S. received Glocks in 1989 and then had them replaced in 1994 for new ones at no additional charge?



What aspect of the Glock 17, never before seen in a pistol, sparked a wave of negative publicity in the late 80s?



What did early tests by the FBI tell about the Glock 17?



What are some obvious disadvantages of the Glock 17? Advantages?



Which Austrian was conscripted into the German military(Wehrmacht) as a teenager during WWII?



Thursday November 15th, 2012

Tempe is a city in Arizona situated in the heart of the Phoenix Metro Valley, surrounded by the cities of Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.

If you’re familiar with the local political scene, you may know that voters in Arizona, along with Tempe residents, recently voted against a 1% tax hike. In the grand scheme of things, 1% may not seem significant, but as economists and accountants can attest, 1% can make a big difference.

This is why students belonging to Students for Liberty protested yesterday, in response to a ban on smoking enacted by the University Senate at Arizona State University. The University Senate has effectively restricted land usage for 1% of Tempe’s land.

To put the issue of smoking bans in perspective, I’ve compiled some data with regards to college campuses, their campus size, and their proposed smoking bans. Below is a table with a few universities who are interested in or already have banned tobacco on their campus.

School Acres Student Pop. Current Policy
Missouri State University



Designated Areas
Arizona State University



Building Distance
The City University of New York system



Building Distance
University of Nevada-Las Vegas



Building Distance
Mesa Community College





As you can see, Missouri State University is currently on schedule to become tobacco-free. Their current policy consists of designated smoking areas, and they hope to be completely tobacco-free by July 2013.

However, one difference with Missouri is how they arrived at the decision. The undergraduate senate voted on the ban. To my knowledge, the undergraduate government at ASU has not been involved with this decision.

Please get in touch with your undergraduate student government, and express your opinion on this crucial policy.

In my sight, this issue is one of the most significant milestones at ASU ever since that Irish kid became Student Body President for the second time.

Please see the attached spreadsheet for more information and links.



Designated Smoking Locations at Mizzou

smoking-locations_univ missouri

Proposed Ban at ASU’s Tempe Campus


FAQS for ASU’s Tobacco Ban

Students for Liberty protest

Student Senate makes the decision

Given $$$ to implement ban but failed



  • The Maricopa County Community College District has made the commitment toward a healthier environment for employees, students and guests. On July 1, 2012, all district colleges and district-owned facilities will become tobacco-free. Although the district has undertaken an expansive educational campaign, including a broad cessation component, we recognize that violations of the regulation will occur.
  • CUNY will become the largest smoke-free public university system in the United States once a broad new policy, approved by the Board of Trustees at the start of the spring semester, goes into full effect over the next year and a half.
  • COLUMBIA – Friday marks the third anniversary of the University of Missouri’s smoking ban prohibiting smoking 20 feet from building entrances, exits, windows and fresh air intake systems. Since then, Mizzou has reverted to a new policy allowing smoking only in designated smoking areas as of July 1 last year. The University of Missouri will be a smoke-free campus on or before July 1, 2013. To begin the transition, as of July 1, 2011, the tobacco use policy allows smoking only at designated outdoor areas inclusive of the entire Columbia campus and all properties owned, operated, leased or controlled by MU.
  • November 2, 2012. Yet, some colleges have had difficulty implementing a total ban. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which was given a $450,000 federal grant to develop a tobacco-free campus policy (Tobacco Free UNLV) by the spring 2012, failed to do so, according to The Rebel Yell. Some of the backlash was that the ban was too restrictive and fell to quickly on the heels of a similarly-passed state law. As a result, smoking was banned around four buildings on campus. However, a new group of students, The Student Tobacco Awareness Coalition, has now taken up the cause and has a sole aim of educating students and faculty about the dangers of tobacco use.

Piggies and Plea Bargains


Piggies and Plea Bargains



Excerpt from The Arizona Republic, September 23, 2010


UNITED NATIONS – President Barack Obama unveiled to world leaders on Wednesday a new plan for distributing U.S. aid to struggling nations, promising to ‘change the way we do business’ by putting a new focus on self-reliance and market forces to create a path out of poverty.”

The United States’ aim is not to simply dole out aid but to create ‘the conditions where assistance is no longer needed,’ Obama said in comments at the United Nations. The program will reward countries willing to cooperate in their own improvement, he said.”

The idea of helping countries become more self-sufficient is great, but as they say in Mexico, “Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho” (It’s easier said than done). Effectively providing foreign aid requires an understanding of the culture and leveraging non-profit organizations.

Understanding the target culture is essential in providing foreign aid. Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and misinformation all contribute to failed efforts to help those in need, which is why foreign aid necessitates much more than reading a textbook about the country in need, or simply asking a native’s opinion. A paradigm shift is crucial to our comprehension of the unique way of life which will be affected through our philanthropy.

Legal systems give us an idea of the vast differences that exist between cultures. The U.S. legal system is very unique, and differs greatly from those in Europe and Latin America. Consequently, legal terms such as “plea agreement” simply do not have a cultural equivalent. There is no concept for “plea agreement” in Spanish, and thus we can’t adequately convey (in Spanish) this commonplace negotiation between the lawyers, judge, and defendant. Besides law, there are many untranslatable topics such as food, expressions, and lifestyles. The result of this inability to communicate ideas brings confusion and misinterpretation.

Due to these cultural differences, it’s essential to work with pre-existing groups within the target country. Unless the purpose of the foreign aid is purely political in nature, the U.S. should deal with charitable organizations and churches to achieve the desired self-sufficiency.

There are two advantages to working through trusted in-country organizations. First, they understand how to market to the target culture, and secondly, they know how to reach the correct population. In the same way that Wal-Mart or McDonalds adjusts its marketing strategies from country to country, foreign aid projects must be adjusted according to cultural factors. For example, which local residents hear about the job skills workshop, and do they have the transportation to get there? There may be facilities available, but if the event is far away, unappealing, or unknown, then the aid money is being misused.

A perfect illustration of working within an existing institution, or program piggybacking, is the Perpetual Education Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is a program designed to improve the lives of members of the church through education and better employment. Basically, young adults who are active church members can apply through the local clergy, obtain an education, and repay the loan. This is a great example of how the church implemented a project within their existing infrastructure.

In summary, we must understand the culture and piggyback existing programs in order to maximize our foreign aid efforts. Through these methods we can hope to achieve self-sufficiency for as many as possible.

The Arizona Republic


The Perpetual Education Fund

Excerpt: Cien Años de Soledad

Page 195, General Moncada

“Lo que me preocupa — agregó — es que de tanto odiar a los militares, de tanto combatirlos, de tanto pensar en ellos, has terminado por ser igual a ellos. Y no hay un ideal en la vida que merezca tanta abyección.”


English translation by Ryan 

“What worries me”, he added, “is that because of  your opposition to the military, your hate and your focus towards them has caused you to become like them. There’s not a belief system in the world that deserves such degradation.”



Politics, Racism, Prejudice

Intergalactic Irony, Inflation, and Illegals


Kids can explore the far reaches of the galaxy on the internet but can’t leave the house without parental supervision because of fear-inducing media in the U.S., which is diffused by the internet.


The children find themselves afloat in the galaxy while the adults find themselves drowning in the negative effects of the galaxy’s greatest invention.


The children ask “how far to pluto” while the parents instruct their children as to how far they can wander.


Here’s a website that discusses free-range kids.



Gold is the best gauge of inflation and with gold doubling in price since 2008, it means the U.S. dollar has lost half of its purchasing power since the last Presidential election.


A Graph of Gold



Are they voting in Arizona?


A contradiction in the federal law

“States must ensure that ‘any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election,’ 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6(a)(1),” (page 3)

But….“For registration by mail, the NVRA requires that every State “shall accept and use the Federal Form. 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-4(a)(1) (emphasis added).” (page 4)


What Tom Horne, Arizona’s Attorney General has to say about it


Just recently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) blocked Arizona from enforcing its voter ID law.  Arizona is one if not the biggest portal of illegal immigration in the nation with half a million illegal aliens coming through the state annually. Arizona’s Attorney General Tom Horne recently stated that he believed that blocking of the law facilitated massive voter fraud by illegal aliens.


What the Feds require for voter identification

3 methods of registering

(1) registration as part of a driver’s license application; (2) mail registration using the form prescribed by the Federal Election Commission; and (3) registration at a state-designated voter registration agency

(1) Arizona MVD Website.

(2) National Mail Voter Registration Form

(3) The County Recorder’s Office

From the National Mail Voter Registration Form

Proof of identification includes:

• A current and valid photo identification or

• A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address.


What different states require

Box 6 -ID Number

“…If you have neither a drivers license nor a social security number, please indicate this on the form and a number will be assigned to you by your state.”

Arizona vs California vs Connecticut 


If you do not have a current and valid driver license or non-operating identification license or a social security number, please write “NONE” on the form. A unique identifying number will be assigned by the Secretary of State.


If you do not have a driver’s license or ID card, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not include this information, you will be required to provide identification when you vote.


Connecticut Driver’s License Number, or if none, the last four digits of your Social Security Number.


Excerpts from the case of Maria M. Gonzalez vs The State of Arizona

“On November 2, 2004, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200. The

citizen initiative amended Arizona voting laws in two ways: (1) voter

applicants are now required to submit evidence of United States citizenship,

see A.R.S. 16-152(A)(23), 16-166(F); and (2) voters who vote in-person

at the polls on election day are required to present either one form of

identification bearing their name, address, and photograph, or two

different forms of identification bearing their name and address, see

A.R.S. 16-579(A). ” (page 6 & 7)

National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA),

The NVRA requires States to “accept and use” the Federal Form. Moreover, the statute directs State election officials to register eligible voter applicants who timely submit a properly completed Federal Form. The NVRA ensures citizenship eligibility by requiring an applicant to attest and sign under penalty of perjury that he or she is a United States citizen. States may not contravene the text and purpose of the NVRA by requiring documentary proof of citizenship; such a requirement complicates rather than simplifies the federal voter registration process and is unnecessary to protect against voter fraud given other provisions of the NVRA.

[Yes, preventing voter fraud is “complicated”, but ensuring citizenship eligibility isn’t “unnecessary”]


While resort to the NVRA’s legislative history is unnecessary given States’ clear obligations under the statutory text, the legislative history further confirms Congress’s intent to preclude States from conditioning federal voter registration on the receipt of documentary proof of citizenship. Congress considered the effect of the Federal Form on the integrity of the electoral process and expressly rejected an amendment that would permit States to confirm independently an applicant’s eligibility. Permitting States to graft additional requirements onto the Federal Form would upset the delicate balance Congress achieved under the NVRA. (page 12)

[Perhaps Arizona should apologize for upsetting the “delicate balance” achieved by Congress]


To refuse to register an eligible applicant who completes a valid Federal Form – as Arizona will do unless the applicant submits documentary proof of citizenship – is not to “accept” the form at all. It is instead best described as rejecting the form, as the State’s own statute makes clear.  See A.R.S. 16-152(A)(23) (“[T]he registrar shall reject the application if no evidence of citizenship is attached.”). (page 17)

[Does the judicial system “accept” illegal activity in any form?]






Book Review: And Then The Roof Caved In

This book, written by David Faber, summarizes the collapse of the mortgage industry in 2007, and details the many factors that created this collapse.

He mentions the creation of an entity and an industry: Fannie Mae in 1938, and the subprime mortgage industry in 1993.

Of the many factors that colluded to cause this financial catastrophe were the following:

  • The inability of rating companies to gauge the risk of subprime mortgages.
  • Wall Street replacing Fannie and Freddie as regulators of the secondary mortgage industry.
  • Alan Greenspan lowering interest rates after 9/11/2011, thus reviving the dying subprime mortgage industry.
  • The creation of synthetic CDOs, mezzanine CDOs, and CDSs, with no contemplation of a decrease in home values.
  • Teaser rate underwriting, and no verification of income for homebuyers.

Definitions and Explanations:

All these are basically inventions designed to sell an untested, high risk product to clueless investors.

  • An MBS is a mortgage backed security, which is a compilation of mortgages sold to investors.
  • A CDO is a collateralized debt obligation, which is a compilation of MBSs.
  • A CDS is a credit default swap, which is insurance in the case of a defaulting CDO.
  • A synthetic CDO is a compilation of CDSs.
  • A mezzanine CDO is a way to turn high-risk mortgages into low-risk mortgages, based on subjective criteria.

My Take

David Faber provides a wonderful synopsis of this catastrophe, however, I disagree with him on the so-called “greedy” Wall Street. Wall Street is driven by profits, and so it was natural for them to take advantage of the situation.

Yes, I admit there may have been a certain level of greed involved, but another problem started in 1938, when the government created an entity to help the market. The government essentially created a new industry, and with their superb credit and government-backed reputation, Fannie and Freddie became leaders in this new industry.

Fannie and Freddie worked well until they were taken out of the picture in 2003, being replaced by Wall Street. When the government created a new market in 1938, they didn’t imagine Wall Street taking Fannie’s place in the distant future.

However, when Wall Street took Fannie’s place between 2003-2008, capitalism collided with a government-created market, and the result was chaos.

The government basically created demand for a product, financed it, and made a profit, but they were the only entity who could effectively manage the secondary mortgage industry. Without their reputation, financing, and non-profit driven ideals, they regulated the industry. Without them, the vacuum was filled by the free market.

Government agencies serve a purpose, but when they cease existing, the vacuum must be filled. When the entity filling that vacuum is un-government like, there is bound to be conflict.

As they say, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. If the round holes are capitalism, and the government is square, then my concern is the following: how long until the government stops trying to fit its square pegs, and starts creating its own square holes?