RSSAll Entries in the "Opinion" Category

FROM THE EDITOR: Awards put work in perspective

FROM THE EDITOR: Awards put work in perspective


During the day-to-day grind involved in writing, editing and producing a college newspaper, it can sometimes be hard to keep the work we do in proper perspective.

The frenzy to keep up with breaking news, meet deadlines and succeed in other aspects of life can sometimes blur our judgment about what exactly we are trying to accomplish.

It often requires recognition from an external source to help us take stock of our situation, to see things with an “outsider’s eye,” so to speak.

When the Society of Professional Journalists recently recognized Aztec Press as a regional finalist for a Mark of Excellence Award, it helped us see how our work compares with that of our peers.

As it turns out, our results aren’t too shabby.

Aztec Press won the top SPJ regional award for student publications in 2008 and also earned a national finalist award.

The paper has been a Mark of Excellence award regional finalist every year since then.

I should also mention that we are now competing against the “big boys” in the SPJ contest, including universities with student populations over 10,000 strong.

The category for community colleges was eliminated a few years ago, but that hasn’t stopped us from being recognized as one of the best student publications in the Southwest.

The feedback the paper receives, whether it is from students, employees or other journalists, is almost always positive.

Multiple people have told me that the paper continues to improve and provide the type of coverage for which they are looking.

Our staff works to advance our journalistic prowess as we deliver the news, entertainment and sports reporting that you expect from your college paper.

Every two weeks, our goal is to bring you a better newspaper than the issue before. We continue to strive for improvement. After all, none of us is perfect.

If you have an idea for how we can expand, let us know.

Tell us what we can do to make Aztec Press even better, so we can continue to provide the type of coverage our readers expect and deserve.

If we happen to win more awards along the way, so be it.

Enjoy the issue.


Genocide requires reflection and prevention

Genocide requires reflection and prevention


April is Genocide Awareness Month, a time when everyone should stop and remember the senseless violence carried out against unsuspecting populations and work to prevent them from happening again.

Approximately 100 million people have been victims of genocide since Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944. Lemkin added “genocide” to our vocabulary in direct response to the Holocaust, and hoped humanity would avoid the deplorable act of systematic mass murder in the future.

After World War II, we promised ourselves genocide would end. But the despicable stain of death continues to plague many nations marked unimportant by the mainstream media that wield the power to bring awareness to these atrocities.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine began on Nov. 29, 1947 when the United Nations adopted Resolution 181.

Thousands have died as a result of direct attacks between Palestine and Israel, and it is impossible to know how many thousands more have died in the occupied territories due to the apartheid-like conditions imposed by the government of Israel.

Beginning in April 1994, the world watched as almost a million perished in the Rwandan genocide.

The world continues to watch as a similar massacre unfolds in Syria, where more than 150,000 have been killed and millions displaced from their homes.

Other conflicts in Central African Republic, Myanmar and Sudan continue with even less international attention, but the numerous deaths that happen there are no less meaningful.

However, there are some  working to bring these issues to light.

Scottsdale Community College hosted its third annual Genocide Awareness Week beginning on April 7. John L. Liffiton, director of SCC’s Genocide Awareness Week, said the United

States must remain abreast of the negative impact that genocide has at home, and the dire consequences that accompany any leanings toward isolationism.

“To look at the world and to think that these things are not going to make an impact on us as a country is shortsighted,” Liffiton said. “Everybody who feels like being isolationists, I understand they want the best for America at heart, but it would be remiss on our part as a country not to be interested in what’s going on in the rest of the world.”

Now is the time for action, not standing idly by as innocent civilians are slaughtered.

Genocide Awareness Month is a sad reminder of our brutal past and present, but this painful education can be the catalyst that creates hope for generations yet to join us.

Del Grande believes the world is an interconnected community where each one must teach one.

Pg06-Opinion-Del Grande_David

Hate makes waste

Hate makes waste


Humans have an average life expectancy of about 80 years. Not everyone is lucky enough to make it that far. Thus, life is too short to hold onto hate, anger and negativity.

Yes, sometimes it seems like people deserve the anger and hate you send in their direction via dirty looks and graphic hand gestures.

Venting by way of angry texts, phone calls or social media might help to temporarily alleviate some of the pent-up negativity.

However, in doing so you are just wasting the precious amount of time you have by fixating on whatever is causing you to feel that way.

Simply put, giving in to hate and anger only leads to a negative attitude toward people, situations and life in general. No one wants to be around that.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than being stuck in a room with someone who is seething with negativity.

If you are the one with a hateful and negative attitude, no one wants to be around you. Luckily, there is a simple way to solve this problem. Let it go.

It may not be easy, but try to be the adult and move on.

The reasons to lose the bad attitude and negative outlook far outweigh any reasons to continue going down that path.

And ultimately, there is seldom any way of ever knowing who will still be here tomorrow and who will not.

Losing someone close to you before you have the chance to mend a broken relationship may be the hardest thing you’ll ever go through.

Once a person is gone, it’s too late to ask or grant forgiveness, or patch things up. You’ll carry this burden with you for the rest of your life.

No, not every person you have an altercation with, be it physical or verbal, will die tomorrow.

Still, why waste time and energy being angry or avoiding apologies because you don’t think you should have to say sorry first?

Life is short. It’s messy, full of ups and downs, with many unpleasant situations. Don’t waste what little time you have by being an angry, negative person.

In the words of the wise Yoda: “Beware of the dark side.”

Let it go.

Graham has recently been enlightened to the ways of the light side and no longer harbors any anger for anyone. She is a changed lady.


Campus janitors deserve more respect

Campus janitors deserve more respect


If you have ever walked through your school or college and wondered how it stays so clean, you should thank the janitors and maintenance workers.

Being a janitor is not glamorous, but it’s honest work. If you enjoy having things clean, you should appreciate these unsung heroes.

Of course, appreciating janitors and maintenance workers depends on how you look at it.

My dad has been a janitor at an elementary school in a small town for 13 years and he’s enjoyed it for the most part. My dad does it all: fix, move or put together anything. I’m not exaggerating.

Being a janitor at a school where the students are wilder, like a high school, can be tougher. Teenagers can be such jerks.

I remember feeling so bad for the janitors in my high school because they had to clean the intentionally messed up bathrooms, unclog the toilets and clean the mirrors.

Looking back, the janitors at my high school were always the ones getting excited about the football and basketball games. They would shake your hand like they were your best friend. It broke my heart when people purposely broke things or made messes just for fun.

At a college, things are different. The janitorial staff at Pima Community College does a great job of keeping campuses looking good.

Still, janitors don’t get the respect they deserve. Next time you come across someone cleaning a bathroom or mopping a hallway, say thanks or give them a shoutout. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

Nobody thinks about how tough that job can be or the many gross things janitors must do.

Waxing floors is not easy. Cleaning up vomit is not fun. But our janitors go out every day and do a fantastic job of keeping our school clean and looking good.

Be grateful.

Hoyos grew up listening to all sorts of stories told from the perspective of a janitor.


Letter to the Editor: Veterans Center, fix yourself

Letter to the Editor: Veterans Center, fix yourself

I am a non-traditional, veteran full-time student pursuing an associate of science degree in order to fulfill prerequisites for a graduate program. Since I also work full time at Fort Huachuca, I have a three-hour roundtrip commute when I attend my classes or science labs in the evenings.

Due to my full-time schedule (I have taken 55 hours over the past three semesters) and the distance I am from any PCC campus, I rely heavily upon email and telephone to communicate with PCC and my instructors.

My experience with this over the past year with PCC, and especially my instructors, has been incredible with one glaring exception: the Veterans Center.

Emails sent via the “Contact Us” on the veterans page remain unanswered. Multiple voicemails left on the Veterans Center answering machine remain unanswered.

Therefore, I was not at all shocked when I discovered that PCC would no longer be eligible to certify veterans benefits for this semester or for the next 60 days due to multiple violations and compliance issues.

The apathetic response I’ve received thus far from the Veterans Center is likely a reflection of their overall attitude, and apparently the Department of Veterans Affairs agrees.

I am a former Sergeant First Class with multiple combat deployments overseas as an infantryman and in military intelligence.

Despite my extremely busy schedule, as a former non-commissioned officer, I must accept my share of the responsibility for the Veterans Center’s issues as I have not, until now, spoken up about the Veterans Center’s shortcomings and failures.

I am fortunate in that I have the means to afford to pay for my education.  However, I feel for those veterans who, in attempting to use their hard-earned veterans education benefits, placed their faith in an office that long ago abandoned them on the battlefield.

I do not know what steps PCC will take towards assisting those veterans – but an apology is insufficient for a veteran who suddenly discovers that she now has to come up with $2,000 to cover her total cost of education.

To the Veterans Center – fix yourselves, and make this right.

Kenneth Albrecht

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: State must reinvest in college education

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: State must reinvest in college education

The recent decision by Pima Community College leaders to raise tuition has brought the soaring costs of higher education back into our collective consciousness.

As the price of everything from food and gas to clothing continues to rise, an extra $5 per credit hour for classes will take another bite out of college students’ wallets.

Who is ultimately responsible for the increasing price of trying to better oneself via education?

The easy answer: the Arizona legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer.

Brewer has overseen what the Washington Post calls “the most draconian cuts to state college and university budgets in the nation” in her quest to lower the state budget.

While she achieved that goal, students and others with little or no income have paid the price.

Arizona has cut its state spending per student in half since 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

PCC has seen its share of the budget provided by the state dwindle from 15 percent to a mere 5 percent.

Now that the economy is supposedly recovering, state government should bring an end to austerity measures and reinvest in colleges and the people who benefit from them.

Numerous studies have proven that funds spent on higher education translate to an enormous cost-benefit. That means overall the money will be well spent, unlike many other projects around Tucson that have become money-pits over the years.

Community colleges are famous for advancing the local area. Increased investment by the state would allow Pima to revitalize Tucson through programs currently in danger of falling behind global standards.

Institutions would be able to hire more top-level talent and upgrade the quality of teaching if wages for instructors were more competitive and incentives were available for greater achievement.

Students who are already working long hours in conjunction with school, stretching their financial aid or living with their parents to save money should not be expected to pay for technological advances or salary increases.

The state needs to roll back education cuts and reinvest in the future of Arizona. The flow of taxpayer money to institutions of higher learning must be restored.

Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton. The Editorial Board can be reached for comment at

My parking tips can help

My parking tips can help


As a student at both Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, I have driven to many campuses and parked in many different lots and garages.

Here are a few hard-earned tips that could make your life easier:

First, don’t expect your usual spot to be open. You probably have a preferred parking space, but it won’t always be available. Be prepared to park far away from your destination. A little exercise won’t hurt.

Also, expect your vehicle to receive dings and dents. I have been victim to a few hit and runs, but fortunately they were very minor. To reduce the possibility of vehicle damage, strive to park as perfectly as possible. Perpetrators are almost never caught.

Next, leave early. If you can’t find a spot at your first choice, you’ll have time to park somewhere else.

Not allowing enough time causes stress and guarantees you’ll be late to class. Besides, you never know when you’ll encounter an accident or traffic.

Please fix your parking. OK, that’s not a tip, it’s a demand.

If you take up two spots, shame on you. Don’t be embarrassed to fix your parking job. Nobody is judging, unless you block a perfectly fine spot.

For UA, if you live nearby I highly advise you to take public transportation or purchase a parking permit. Public transportation is cheaper but a permit saves you time.

UA offers no free parking during the school week. However, some lots are free after 6 p.m. and garages are free after midnight.

If you are parked in a garage and will be out late, a nap in your car could save you some cash.

If you attend a sporting event, park far away from the arena. Traffic is especially hectic after football and basketball games. The farther away you park, the easier it is to avoid postgame traffic. Again, a little exercise is good for you.

Following these tips will help all of us reduce parking lot stress.

Willcoxson, a journalism student, is waiting to be involved in the largely unknown world.
Pg06-Opinion-Will Willcoxson

FROM THE EDITOR: It’s time to stop and smell the roses

FROM THE EDITOR: It’s time to stop and smell the roses


During the course of the semester, it can be difficult not to get burned out, to quit, to throw your hands in the air and say, “Enough!”

A grueling class schedule, long hours of reading and studying, plus jobs and families can take a mental toll on all of us.

The stress of trying to keep up grades, apply for scholarships or internships, or finish those last few classes in order to graduate can be enough to crack even the strongest individual.

More than one student has broken under the enormous pressure each of us face to be successful, to contribute to society and leave the world a better place than what we found.

We must remember that life is also meant to be enjoyed, savored and experienced.

Our time is far too short to be spent endlessly fretting over trivial matters like grades and test scores, or money and success, no matter how important they seem to us now.

Engage those people and things that give you true happiness and fulfillment. Reject those that attempt to hold you back or change who you are.

Stop and unwind, unplug from life’s daily frustrations, recharge your batteries.

This is the time of year for rebirth, a new beginning, a fresh start.

Spring break has just given us that chance to recalibrate ourselves, to escape the pressures of college life, to have some fun, at least for a little while.

In that spirit of revitalization and joviality and with April Fools’ Day upon us, the editors at Aztec Press decided to have some fun as well.

The grind of newspaper production can sometimes get to us, even though we are passionate about informing and entertaining our readers.

The parody stories that appear in this April Fools’ issue were a change of pace for those of us who usually cover board meetings or other hard news stories.

Getting a chance to write some light-hearted pieces was just what we needed to prepare for the second half of the semester.

I hope you have as much fun reading them as we did writing them. Enjoy the issue.




Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton





Marrying young is no huge burden

Marrying young is no huge burden


Marrying at a young age may seem appalling to some, but it’s a different story for those of us who must deal with the criticism.

Marriage has nothing to do with age. Whether you’re 18 or 80, marrying someone means coming together as one and devoting your lives to each other.

Critics feel free to provide an endless list of negatives when young couples tie the knot. Common pessimistic thoughts include “they’re too young,” “they’re not financially stable” or “they’re not ready to start a family.”

As a 20-year-old bride myself, here are a few things I would like to tell the doubters.

Getting married doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll start a family right away, but it does prepare us for when we’re ready.

Also, the people who say relationships cause you to lose your independence have no idea what it’s like to be in a committed relationship.

My marriage follows a military tradition of marrying young. When members of the military are stationed in areas around the world, being married allows significant others to live on-post. Single soldiers live in barracks.

Being a military wife comes with its own denigration. We are away from our husband for months, sometimes not sure whether he will return home.

Despite the hardship, our marriages continue to be scrutinized by those who don’t seem to understand the concept.

Being married teaches us how to live for someone just as much as we live for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean losing who we are.

We can still go out with friends. Is there a law prohibiting married people from having fun? Since when did being married mean giving up on who you are independently?

It’s a beautiful feeling knowing that you’ve married the love of your life and are no longer existing only for yourself.

Marriage brings out our inner motivator. We push for each other and are each other’s biggest supporters. We want to see our spouse triumph just as much as we want to personally succeed.

Getting married at a young age means knowing what you want in life and going after it.

Tran sees nothing wrong with marrying young. If you see yourself with that certain person for the rest of your life, why wait?

Pg06-Opinion-Loc Tran

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: Late registration must put students first

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: Late registration must put students first

Pima Community College is considering eliminating late registration. Students would need the instructor’s permission to enroll in classes after a cut-off date.

The college must remember that students will be the ones most affected by this change.

Faculty Senate has cited numerous statistics and studies indicating that students who start class late have less chance of succeeding.

Less chance is better than no chance at all. That’s what students will face if instructors prohibit them from joining a class.

Students are often forced to enroll late through no fault of their own. Courses are canceled last-minute, sometimes with little or no communication from the college or instructors.

Even if students are notified of a cancellation a week before the course begins, it can be difficult to find another class that fits their schedule or is applicable to their degree plan.

Other times, students show up the first day and realize the class isn’t what they thought it would be, or the instructor’s teaching style doesn’t work for them.

Why should students be punished because the college cancels classes or for attempting to enroll in a class that provides a better fit?

Any student will tell you the first day of class usually involves review of the syllabus and a brief introduction to course material. A few instructors assign small, preliminary assignments.

Those who can’t make up that sort of work probably wouldn’t be successful in the class anyway. It is unfair to punish every potential student just because a few people might have trouble catching up.

It’s admirable to seek ways to increase student success rates, but the solution is not to ban late enrollment.

Instead, instructors could allow students to make up initial assignments without point deductions. Teachers could mandate time in the Learning Center for those who missed classes or allow students to come in during office hours to discuss what was covered on the first days.

Another solution would be for the college to offer more late-start classes that begin a few weeks after traditional courses. This would offer students a chance to change or add classes without danger of falling behind.

Pima has already attempted changes that altered its mission of open admittance, with disastrous results. Modifying late registration will again put Pima on a slippery slope at a time when the college is attempting to get off probation.

As the march toward changing late registration continues, administration and instructors must remember that students are the ones paying for classes. Excluding students is not the way to increase success.

Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton. The Editorial Board can be reached for comment at

Yo, slow the #@%! down

Yo, slow the #@%! down


They’re everywhere. I see them, regardless of where in Tucson I’m at.

Cacti? Pawn shops? Walgreens? No. I’m talking about reckless drivers, and they really piss me off.

Whether I’m driving down Golf Links, stopping to buy groceries or going to class, they’re there—inconsiderate people in a hurry, endangering others.

Arizona in general is a dangerous place to drive. According to the most recent Department of Transportation statistics (2008-2011), Arizona suffered 1.37 fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

The national average was 1.16, and the safest states had less than half Arizona’s rate.

As for Tucson, motorists seem to constantly whip around parking lots, corner way too fast around narrow turns or zig-zag jackasstically through traffic, all so they can be one car-length ahead of me at the next stoplight.

Tucson is also filled with narrow, crumbling roads, unsafe intersections and old confusing neighborhoods.

Throw in a lack of bike lanes and sidewalks, a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists and plenty of drivers unfamiliar with the idiosyncrasies of Arizona roads, and you’ve got a deadly mix.

It’s madness.

Please, people, just slow down and show a bit more respect for your fellow citizens. It won’t hurt. I promise.

What might really hurt is if your haste ends up seriously injuring or even killing someone.

I would be devastated if I hit and killed somebody’s pet, let alone a fellow human being.

Never mind the legal and financial ramifications. What would you say to the parent of a child you just hit? Or the child whose mother you just killed?

Hopefully you’ll never have to figure that out.

Think I’m making too big a deal about this?

Perhaps, but consider this: Since I proposed this column, my Aztec Press colleague Loc Tran’s car was the innocent victim of a reckless driver, and my friend Amanda saw two idiots doing multiple donuts on Golf Links near Swan at 8:30 a.m.

Clearly some people out there have been watching way too many “Fast and Furious” movies.

Let’s face it, folks—Tucson is an inherently unsafe driving town to begin with. Let’s not complicate the issue.

Pg06 - traffic

Aztec Press photo illustration by Larry Gaurano

Pg06-Opinion-Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

Anderson is a lifelong student of history who wants everyone to get where they’re going safely. Is that really too much to ask?

Eating disorders affect men, too

Eating disorders affect men, too


Women are not the only ones who suffer from eating disorders. There should be equal emphasis on recognizing them in men.

Eating disorders have always been seen as a women’s issue, but there has been a rising increase in men since the late ‘90s.

In a 2007 Harvard study of 3,000 people with eating disorders, men represented 20 percent of those who suffered from anorexia or bulimia.

Forty percent of those men suffered from binge eating disorder, defined as compulsive overeating. Common signs are eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, and the inability to stop eating.

Eating disorders are harder to detect in males, mostly because people don’t expect men to suffer from body image issues. Most men live in denial about their disorder or refuse to seek treatment because they feel it is emasculative.

Those who do seek help face challenges. Of the 72 U.S. inpatient rehabilitation facilities that treat people suffering from eating disorders, just 41 accept men.

Currently, only two rehab facilities in Arizona treat men: Rosewood Ranch and Remuda Ranch, both located in Wickenburg. Rosewood is the only one that accepts Medicaid.

Most rehab facilities refuse treatment out of fear that a male presence will trigger negative reactions in their female tenants. This discrimination harms the growing number of males with eating disorders who seek professional help.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder, go to to take a free, anonymous self-assessment.

And remember, eating disorders aren’t sexist.

Pg06-Opinion-Robert Hernandez

Robert Hernandez

Hernandez is in his first semester on the Aztec Press staff.

Freedom fights from Kiev to Caracas

Freedom fights from Kiev to Caracas


I woke up today feeling aware of the world, and I noticed that it has begun to spin more and more erratically while we stand at the precipice of unease with revolutions and conquest.

Fires light city squares, barricades line the streets as men with guns march steadily towards those who believe in change, citizens in Kiev and Caracas wonder what tomorrow will bring, struggling for a semblance of order and prosperity.

People of Kiev fight for reform and behind the scenes Russia and the U.S. make power plays to coax the Ukraine into their ideologies. This seems eerily reminiscent of a Cold War-like strategy that both employed through out the world to expand territory through foreign governments.

For those who don’t know think back on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and Russia’s in Afghanistan, both examples of proxy war.

It seems like a proxy war is on the world’s horizon. Though there is difference in landscape both countries tread today.

Unlike the old Cold War, Russia hasn’t found a strong enough ideology to grasp in order to reach its former red glory. While the arms race happened back then, the Olympics in Sochi has shown the world that the country is still not up to par economically.

Some have said that Putin has a Soviet re-Union in mind and with recent developments one would be hard-pressed to agree.

Given our history with Russia, we are at a certain disadvantage in dealing with the Ukrainian situation. This dilemma mimics that of Germany during the years of its division between east and west. Some of the population is asking the U.S. for aid, while others still maintain their strong Russian ties.

Tension is rising as Viktor Yanukovych was finally toppled, but recently Russia has sent armed troops into the Crimean border to bring order, according to Putin.

“It will be legitimate and correspond to international law because we have a direct request from a legitimate president and it corresponds to our interests in protecting people who are close to us,” Putin said in a press conference.

In a video clip released by CNN, a single unarmed Ukrainian officer approaches Russian forces and was greeted with rifles and an aggressive tone as he neared.

So far Russian forces have invaded 10 military bases and have deployed warships in Crimea.

Mounting troops in that magnitude and asking the Ukrainian army to lay down their weapons, sounds much more like a large-scale offensive than anything else. Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.N. said that Russia has overrun the country with nearly 16,000 troops and though both countries claim to discourage war, tensions are extremely palpable.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, traveled to Independence Square in Kiev to observe the tragedy that befell it. The western powers threaten Russia with sanctions but they show little signs of backing down and trouble brews closer to home.

In Venezuela, Presidenté Nicolás Maduro sends scores of police to contain student protestors who are fed up with the lack of necessary commodities to live. Maduro has scorned the protestors as coup-mongers, though his opposition Leopoldo Lopez seeks only to make him step down via legal means.

Lopez is a Harvard educated ex-mayor of one of the districts of Caracas.

In a testament to his resolve, Lopez surrendered himself to the Venezuelan government on Feb. 18 on alleged murder charges by the government for those who have died protests.

“We are going through a dark period, where thieves are rewarded by the government. The Venezuelans who want peaceful change in accordance with democracy and the constitution are being imprisoned,” Lopez said during a protest.

The protestors, comprised mostly of college students, say the government is corrupt and does little reduce the gargantuan crime rate, and the economy is crumbling before them with shortages of flour and even staples such as toilet paper.

Venezuelans are silenced as Maduro has diabled the citizens use of social media. People of the country cannot upload photos or video, Maduro explained to CNN that this was due to a “connection problem” that began in northern Venezuela and affected the country.

Revolution, it is indeed a proper word.

The world is spinning and we turn with it, these countries may be in far away lands but they make me think if we will ever rise from our conformity.

Economic crisis, social discord and the proverbial Big Brother not letting us escape his glance. When will we have enough?

Pg07-Warm War illustration

Aztec Press illustration by Rachel White

Local pizzeria takes a stand

Local pizzeria takes a stand


Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria, on East Broadway Boulevard at Sawtelle Avenue, showed its opposition to SB 1062 with a sign.

The now-famous poster reads “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Arizona Legislators.”

It mocks SB 1062 by claiming a right to refuse service to Arizona lawmakers, such as bill sponsor Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler.

The sign was created and submitted via Facebook by customer Barbie Donovan. After owner Rocco DiGrazia printed and displayed the sign, it gathered more than 20,000 “likes” on Facebook and received national media exposure.

Though DiGrazia is no longer speaking to press, he told Time magazine that he has regular customers and staff who would have been affected by SB 1062.

“Why discriminate against anybody? I’m just trying to make some food,” he said.

The sign continues to hang on Rocco’s storefront, in the upper corner of the shop’s door.

Pg07-Poster-Serving legislators

Aztec Press photo illustration by
Jayden Becker-Norman

SB 1062 dead, but legacy lives on

SB 1062 dead, but legacy lives on


Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 Feb. 25 after much objection to the bill from the public and representatives. The bill would have protected religious business owners from serving any customers who interfered with their “observance” of their religion.

A majority of the public saw this bill as a blatant attempt to legalize infringement on civil rights, particularly those of the LGBT community in Arizona.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, responded to the bill by revealing he is gay during a March 5 news conference. He said the bill prompted his decision and now joins Sen. Robert Meza, D-Phoenix, and Rep. Demion Clinco, D-Tucson, as openly gay officials.

In the wake of SB 1062, however, looms another controversial bill introduced in the interests of religious freedoms.

HB 2481, which is sponsored by many of the same representatives who supported HB 2153 (the bill that eventually became SB 1062), aims to defend public officials from performing same-sex marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs.

As with SB 1062, this law would protect individuals from policy that does not yet exist in Arizona state law.

Many representatives who supported SB 1062 said they would not support similar legislation due to the political, social and economic responses to the bill.

SB 1062 bill was introduced and sponsored by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, and co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, and Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix.

Senators and representatives from both parties openly opposed SB 1062, including some who initially voted for it.

Worsley, along with Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, and Majority Whip Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, who voted for the bill, sent Brewer a letter prior to the veto explaining their mistake.

“We feel it was a solution in search of a problem,” Worsley said in the letter.

The vote was a clear division between parties in the State Senate and opposed by only three Republican representatives in the House: Reps. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, and Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix.

Worsley also requested a revote, which, with three or more Republican Senators switching their votes, would have killed the bill.

Cathi Harrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative lobbyist organization, wrote the bill. Harrod still believes there is nothing discriminatory about her bill.

“The politics, the outcry against the bill has nothing to do with the actual merits of the bill and the actual language of the bill,” she said in an interview Feb. 25, after the bill was vetoed.

“It is simply a political tactic that has been carrying the day the past few days,” she said.

The Center for Arizona Policy states its goal is to promote “life, marriage and family, and religious liberty,” and is currently lobbying for stricter abortion regulations and expanding scholarship programs.

Yarbrough sponsored a similar legislation in early 2013. The bill, SB 1172, would have allowed individuals to “use potential infringements of religious freedom” as a claim or defense in judicial proceedings. That bill was also vetoed by Brewer.

In an ironic twist, SB 1062 seems to have changed the way representatives view potential legislation. With HB 2148 likely to be voted on within the next week, the public will have a chance to see how representatives’ opinions have changed.