Thoughts from Dawn Wallace
Last month, our country mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was known to many as an impassioned advocate of women’s rights. However, not as widely known, was her legacy to broader gender equality. Many of her early cases as a litigator addressed discriminatory practices against men, particularly in their roles as caregivers to the family.
Everything I have read leads me to believe that she was amused by her status as pop-culture icon—a.k.a. the Notorious R.B.G. For her great sense of humor, I am eternally grateful because it introduced her—and her story of self-determination and empowerment—to my 12-year-old daughter and her friends. Her fame and popularity among the younger generation created the opportunity for me to discuss the road to equality for women in a different way—through the powerful lens of an individual, who, otherwise gifted with all measures of success, sought to fight for the constitutional rights of all citizens.
In these particularly divisive times, her special friendship with fellow Justice Antonin Scalia affords another teachable moment—not only to the delightful tween in my life—but also as a living embodiment of the “Flinn-Brown Way.” By all accounts, the two justices and their families were close friends throughout the entirety of their lives working together. Most certainly, the two were an odd couple, one a boisterous Catholic Italian-American, the other, a shy and serious Jewish woman. They shared a love of law, teaching, music (particularly opera) and traveling (including riding an elephant together). They were also complete ideological opposites and disagreed vehemently and publicly on numerous high-profile Supreme Court cases.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Justice Scalia’s son, Eugene Scalia, recounted the many happy memories he had of his father and Justice Ginsburg as friends and professional colleagues. In the article, he states “They believed that what they were doing—arriving at their own opinions thoughtfully and advancing them vigorously—was essential to the national good.” From their own words, it was clear that their appreciation for the other’s differences was as meaningful to the justices as their similarities. Another of Justice Scalia’s sons remembered a story of when his father gifted Justice Ginsburg two dozen roses for her birthday. Justice Scalia’s clerk questioned the gift, given that she had withheld a critical vote on a 5-4 case. To that Justice Scalia responded, “Some things are more important than votes.”
At the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership, we believe that the exchange of many perspectives, particularly in discussion of complex public-policy issues, is a core value of the Flinn-Brown Fellowship. The “Flinn-Brown Way” is an expectation for respect, civility, and the development of relationships with those holding different perspectives. Like the two justices, we believe faithfully in vigorous and thoughtful debate that results in the greater good. We intentionally seek out individuals with opposite viewpoints and ideas to prove, as the justices did, that fruitful and polite civil discourse can be achieved in modern society. I’ve heard that these relationships exist in the Flinn-Brown Network and I’d love to write about it. Email me and let me know—and maybe we can build a storytelling series that all will enjoy.
One last bit of fascinating information: In 2015, a law student named Derrick Wang wrote Scalia/Ginsburg, an operatic comedy that chronicled the friendship between the two justices. When eulogizing her dear friend, Justice Ginsburg referenced a duet in the latter part of the opera, where they sing “We are different, we are one.” She characterized that the duo were “different in their interpretation of written texts, one in our reverence for the Constitution and the institution we serve.” I hope this resonates with you all, as it did with me.
On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, the opera will be broadcast on national radio.
Our New Look and What’s Next
Amid so many challenges, 2020 has been a year of self-reflection for the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. It’s time for a new beginning and a new look. Inspired by one of our state’s most iconic symbols, we reimagined our brand to strengthen our connection with the Flinn Foundation, as you can see at the top of this newsletter.
We remain committed to our original vision—to educate, inspire action and build new generations of civic leaders—and through this work, to improve the quality of life of every Arizonan. We continue to support the work of our Fellows in the Flinn-Brown Network as they reach the highest levels of public-policy development and political discourse.
Recognizing that leadership is one component of the civic-engagement continuum, civic literacy and voter education will be a greater priority in our portfolio of CivEx programming. To fully realize the vision of a strong and thriving democracy, our collaborative work with other civic organizations will concentrate on advancing a shared, data-driven goal to increase participation in all aspects of civic life.
The time is right to collectively build a better Arizona—through stronger, more meaningful work with our existing partners—and through new collaborations as we expand our programs and network across the state.
2020 Election Resources
The 2020 general-election season is in full swing, and soon early voting and vote-by-mail will start. Make sure your voice counts: Know your voting options and have a plan to vote in the general election. You can find an election resource on our website.
• Step 1: Know the Deadlines.
• Step 2. Check your voter registration.
• Step 3. Decide how to cast your ballot.
• Step 4: Vote!
Poll workers are needed! Poll workers are essential in ensuring the success of Election Day operations and processes. They operate polling places and make sure voters receive the assistance they need. This year, many veteran poll workers are not volunteering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a poll-worker shortage in many counties. To become a poll worker, sign up now or contact your local election official.
Fellows Running for Office
Good luck to all of our Fellows who are running for office on the November ballot! Learn more about them below in this newsletter.
Past and Upcoming CivEx Webinars
I want to thank Fellows Mignonne Hollis and Russ Yelton for their truly engaging presentation on rural economic development on Sept. 30. We hosted over 90 participants and, due to the overwhelming interest and demand, we will offering a Part Two! If you missed the webinar, you will be able to soon view the recording and PowerPoint in the CivEx section of our website.
Please join us for our next virtual CivEx opportunity on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 3:00 p.m. Sybil Francis, Ph.D., president & CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, will be presenting details about the CFA’s brand-new Young Talent Progress Meter. Many in the Network provided feedback in CFA’s young talent survey. Now see what others across the state had to say about the future of Arizona’s young talent. Registration will be forthcoming.
We want to hear from you! Please take five minutes to respond to this 12-question survey. We are preparing the annual printed Flinn-Brown Fellows directory and at the same time refining and adding new fields to our online public directory. We need your help to ensure we have your information up-to-date. Your thoughts on a few other topics related to the Flinn-Brown Network and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership are the final component of the survey and will help us develop future programming. Please submit your response by Oct. 30.
You can also update your contact information at any time with the link at the end of this email, which is included in every Network News.
We are less than a week from the conclusion of the 2020 Census on Monday, Oct. 5. We are still asking the Flinn-Brown Network of amazing civic leaders for an assist as we hit the final stretch. Arizona’s 2020 Census will shape the next decade for our state—so, please send an email, share information on social media, and/or let Fellow Alec Thomson know how you want to partner.
Finally, we are always more than happy to help promote your work through social media, so please reach out to me if you would like us to publicly recognize a professional accomplishment, event or program with which you are involved.
Deputy General Manager
1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?
I really enjoy working at the intersection of tough challenges facing our communities. Public transportation provides me that opportunity, as it plays a role in a wide range of issues facing our state and I work hard to make sure we actively engage on them.
One example is that goals for educational attainment are supported by removing transportation barriers for learners, as seen in the use of our free pass program for Coconino Community College students. Economic development is also supported by connecting job seekers to employment and expanding the employee base for businesses who often approach Mountain Line about better access to their business. Others include climate action and congestion by replacing single-occupancy vehicle trips, systemic inequity as low-income and minority populations are less likely to have access to personal vehicles, and affordability by reducing the amount families need to spend on car ownership, estimated at more than $10,000 annually by AAA.
I am able to participate in working groups on all of the above topics and bring transit to the table as a part of the solution. Arizona is one of only a few states across the country that invests zero state dollars into public transit. This puts an immense burden on local communities to support transit on their own. Because of that, Mountain Line works hard to assist other northern Arizona communities in looking at how they can establish and fund transit systems to advance access to transit across the state.
2. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?
Public transit was declared an essential service during the pandemic, and therefore Mountain Line remained open and ready to serve essential workers and trips. We have pivoted to focus more heavily on cleaning, safety protocols and human resource concerns. Assuring our frontline staff are able to manage stress and take care of their mental health during these challenging times has been a priority. Mostly, we are sticking with our mission of getting people where they need to go and committed to continuing to provide quality service. We are very grateful public transit received funding through the CARES Act. Otherwise, our story would be very different.
3. How is your passion for building healthy communities impacting your work in transportation and planning?
My career as a planner started with my interest in getting people physically active and improving health. Public transit has let me stay true to that original mission. Every transit trip starts by walking or bicycling, and commuting by public transit is linked with a lower risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. At the same time, we are helping to get cars off the road and improving air quality, which impacts asthma and other conditions.
Beyond getting to work on these very direct improvements in health, I work closely with bike and pedestrian staff at the city of Flagstaff to create safe and comfortable multimodal infrastructure used not only for commuting but recreation. That infrastructure has broad implications on health across the community. We just submitted a $20 million grant for bike and pedestrian improvements near transit stops. An award like that would nearly double the city’s existing 15-year budget for such infrastructure and make a lasting impact.
4. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?
I have learned an incredible amount from the Fellows about a broad range of issues and concerns directly from the people working on them. That benefits me in understanding how I might be able to help Arizona achieve goals in other sectors from my own position. In addition to advancing Arizona, I have also deepened and developed friendships. I love walking, or clicking, into a meeting and seeing a member of my cohort there unexpectedly.
Career and Professional Opportunities
The Secretary of State is seeking applicants to the Arizona Historical Advisory Council. Please reach out to Lisa Urias at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in applying.
The city of Phoenix has an executive-level opportunity to hire a director for the newly created Office of Accountability and Transparency (job id 37247). Learn more here.
The city of Yuma is hiring for the mayor’s program administrator position. This position works directly with the mayor on public policy, outreach and events. Learn more here.
The Desert Botanical Garden is hiring an assistant director of philanthropy to oversee institutional giving. Learn more here.
The city of Scottsdale Treasurer’s Office is now accepting applications for a senior budget analyst. Learn more here.
Events and Conferences
Don’t miss the upcoming Morning Scoops hosted by the Arizona Capitol Times and sponsored by the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. Join us on Oct. 8 for a panel discussion on Proposition 208: Invest in Ed, and on Oct. 15 for a panel discussion on Proposition 207: Marijuana Legalization.
Mesa Arts Center’s Creative Catalysts Program is hosting an exciting virtual networking event on Oct.15 to launch The Collective application for the 2021 cohort! Join them for a full evening of interaction, networking, and entertainment, and learn all about the plans for The Collective Creative Leadership Program 2021. Register here.
LISC Phoenix is hosting its Virtual Breakfast & Annual Community Awards event on Oct. 28 at 8:30 a.m. Register here.
Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find CivEx webinar recordings on our website.
Fellows Running for Office
Lea Marquez Peterson (2011), Arizona Corporation Commission
Coral Evans (2011), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 6
Daniel Hernandez, Jr. (2011), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 2 (re-election)
Aaron Lieberman (2017), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 28 (re-election)
Brendan Lyons (2020), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 9
Joanne Osborne (2012), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 13 (re-election)
Jennifer Pawlik (2018), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 17 (re-election)
Raquel Terán (2018), Arizona House of Representatives, LD 30 (re-election)
Chip Davis (2012), County Treasurer, Yavapai County
Tammy Caputi (2019), Scottsdale City Council
Becky Daggett (2014), Flagstaff City Council
Michelle Hess (2013), Buckeye City Council (re-election)
Flinn-Brown Fellows Updates
Eric Gudiño (Phoenix, 2012) is now the federal relations manager at the city of Phoenix.
Kate Morley (Flagstaff, 2018) is now the deputy general manager at Mountain Line.
Cynthia Seelhammer (Flagstaff, 2016) is now a professor of practice in the Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions at Arizona State University.
Denise Taylor-Sands (Phoenix, 2015) is now the environmental project specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration.