A different Lake Kari came to our office on Tuesday.
She was, well… rather boring.
What you probably already know about Lake is anything but boring. She thinks Joe Biden is an ‘illegitimate president’, trashed just about every COVID protocol, even asking students to ignore mask mandates; and said Secretary of State Katie Hobbs – the likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate – should be locked up over unresolved allegations related to voter fraud. (Lake also wants Dr. Anthony Fauci arrested.)
Then there was her former drag queen friend calling Lake “fake” (did you get the irony?); the revelations she gave to Democratic candidates and had her photo taken with former President Obama; and his stunning and dragging debate on June 29 with GOP opponent Karrin Taylor Robson (which is worth digging into online). Then (sigh) Lake’s baseless claim that the “mules” brought 200,000 ballots to Arizona to run the 2020 election.
If you’re interested in more gossip, craziness, and bashing (she gives, she gets), there’s plenty online. Lake gets a lot of attention for all of this, but usually not for his stance on the issues. So we thought we’d stick with that because, you know, they’re important.
This is a big problem for all of Arizona and especially for us, since Hudbay Minerals is planning to drill five very large holes to exploit on our side of the Santa Ritas.
“I think the problem is really big but I don’t think it’s at the crisis level,” Lake told us. She says a lack of “big thinkers” in Arizona adds to any pain we might feel about it.
“We’re obviously in the middle of a drought and we’ve been for a while, but we can’t get out of it,” she said. “We have to consider bringing water.”
New water sources. This could include channeling from the Missouri and Mississippi river valleys; a desalination plant collaboration with Mexico (California is too screwed up politically to partner right now, Lake says); and consider cleaning brackish water underground.
“We can’t just keep regulating and giving our agriculture the end of the stick or we’re going to have a food crisis before we have a water crisis,” she said.
A Senate hearing on June 14 mentioned many of these ideas and gave a detailed report of drought conditions in the west. Seriously, that’s an understatement.
Drawing water from the Mississippi or Missouri rivers is a possibility, Lake says, and has been talked about for a while — much like rebuilding the CAP Canal. Only much longer.
“How difficult it can be to lay pipes. It’s really not that hard,” she said. (Unless, of course, building on land you don’t own; securing rights is not a quick process in the hands of the government.)
“We’re sending $60 billion to Ukraine… How much money are we going to send overseas to fix their problems before we start looking seriously at ours,” Lake said. “We need to prioritize water in the South West.”
Conservation is part of the answer, she said, but we can’t get away with it.
The longer we talked, the more important the issue seemed to become for her.
“We have water issues, I don’t want to minimize that,” she said, adding that political leaders have been kicking the streets for years.
“We’re not going to do that. We’re going to deal with it, we’re going to deal with it from day one and we’re going to take action.
I told Lake that the Sahuarita Unified School District was looking for teachers out of the country because there were none here.
His answer: who would want to be a teacher today? Salaries are stagnating, teachers are “forced to teach outrageous, stupid programs that don’t advance our children”, and the pressures are greater than ever. She also said teachers are political pawns used by Democrats and teachers’ unions every election cycle.
“Every four years they drag them, likable characters, and they are. They are the ones who work the most, they are in the classrooms with the children, the students. They do all the work and the money always ends up going to the administrators. We have enlarged the class of administrators and raised their salaries to a truly unreasonable level.
Lake wants to align state education standards with the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum, presented as a classical education. It is linked to Hillsdale College, a small Christian liberal arts school in Michigan.
No word on how much additional money it may have invested in the state budget for education, although its website states “there is no evidence that increased funding for schools run by the government translates into gains for students”.
Looks like she’s asking schools to reallocate the dollars they have, though she’s supporting the extra Prop money. 301 for teacher bonuses.
Note that Governor Ducey signed an additional $1 billion in education last week, much of which will likely go to pay raises for teachers. Ducey hasn’t exactly been a friend to public education in his eight years in office, but maybe the next governor will keep that last-second momentum going.
Nothing concrete on this one, though Lake (correctly) noted that the pandemic was a boon for some rural areas, where city dwellers wanted to escape and breathe for a while. Some workers learned they could do their jobs remotely and chose to leave congested cities for the mountains and open deserts of Arizona.
That said, Lake is fully aware that the Phoenix metro area gets the bulk of the attention and money.
“Maricopa County is getting a lot of attention, creaky wheel, grassroots people there. We get road money, infrastructure money and it goes to Maricopa County, and it’s really outrageous because last I heard people in our small communities are also paying taxes,” she said.
Lake, a native of rural Iowa, said farmers and ranchers “are being ignored by politicians who know they can get all the money and votes they need in Maricopa County. I won’t not that”.
The promise? Reduce property taxes, secure “a new, long-term supplemental water source for our ranching and farming communities to benefit from” and push back against EPA overreach.
I ask all the politicians who go through this. It’s hard because so many scams are overseas and it’s hard to reach the thieves.
The AG state office has a lot of resources, but getting them into the right hands just didn’t happen. (Green Valley is best protected by the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteer scam squad.)
Lake says it’s all about education — and for all ages, not just seniors. She says it’s a job that falls primarily to the GA, but it’s important to find the best way to get information into the hands of people — through churches, community centers, wherever that may be.
It’s a frustrating answer, but the point is that we have to defend ourselves with information. I hope she will make it a priority.
THE POLICE RECORDED ON VIDEO
Under a new law signed last week by Governor Ducey, anyone filming within eight feet of a police officer can be thrown in jail for up to 30 days.
The law’s constitutionality was immediately questioned, but Lake said she would have signed it as well.
“They’re trying to do the hardest job, and it’s harder than ever because they’re understaffed, our streets are more dangerous, the leadership we’ve had – I should call it lack of leadership, y understood this illegitimate president that we have in the White House – encouraging violence and protests that turn violent … I would sign this and fight to protect our police,” she said.
The law came into effect after police were harassed by groups of activists who shouted ugly things at them and put cameras in their faces while they worked on cases. But the law goes beyond restricting activists. Journalists have raised questions about free speech and a free press, and, as I said to Lake, eight feet can become 20 feet, then 50 feet, then…
Lake, a former television journalist, said she understood the concerns but nevertheless supported the police on the matter and was content to let the courts sort out the legalities.
Our summer intern Brianna McCord asked Lake about the rising costs of higher education. She is in college and feels the pain of the state every semester.
Lake noted that the state Constitution requires tuition to be as close to free as possible for Arizona students and said it was impossible for students to continue their college education due to the high costs.
“They’ll raise, raise, raise tuition as long as we let them and I won’t let them anymore,” she said of the Board of Regents.
His project ? Push non-university options in the form of what she calls dual-track education: after grade 10, you’re on either the commerce/certification or college route.
It’s an interesting idea, versions of which are already in place in some school districts, but it doesn’t directly address spiraling costs at Arizona’s overstaffed universities.
“We need to reform our education,” she said. “Right now they still want us to put more money into it without reforming it. And right now our education system isn’t producing kids ready for the world.”