Before It Fades: 2014 and the news it brought us

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 1.38.32 PM copyBy Phil Riske | Managing Editor

(Editor’s note: eighth in a series of articles reviewing the 2014 news stories published by Rose Law Group Reporter that were most read and gained momentum during the rest of the year.)

JANUARY 2014  FEBRUARY 2014 MARCH 2014 APRIL 2014 MAY 2014 JUNE 2014

JULY 2014

 Lead stories

In voting marked by lots of outside cash, the August primary election was the first step toward these candidates’ General Election wins for top offices in Arizona: Doug Ducey (governor), Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallegos (U.S. House), Michele Reagan (secretary of state), Mark Brnovich (attorney general), Jeff DeWitt (treasurer), Diane Douglas (superintendent of public eduction), and Tom Forsee and Jim Little (corporation commission). Many major offices were uncontested. City council races created several runoffs.

For all election results, click here.


The Arizona Republic and various columnists called on APS to come clean on whether it was trying to choose who regulates it. August news was flush with opposition to APS’ campaign contributions to Little and Forsee, which were reported to reach $1M. Republic columnist Robert Robb called it “playing a dumb political game,” and Tim Steller at Arizona Daily Star wrote, “APS’ shady behavior sullies commission campaign.”


Meanwhile, APS surprised the solar industry with its sudden decision to invest directly in rooftop solar. Pending approval, the utility would install and manage 20 megawatts of PV systems on customer rooftops in Arizona using local labor replacing a proposed 20-megawatt centralized solar power plant.

The proposal was derided by the largest national solar service providers for shutting them out of the market. The issue, they say, is that APS can now rate-base distributed solar and get a guaranteed rate of return, giving it an unfair advantage over competitors.

Economy/real estate

While a significant missing piece, construction, remained weak, the general direction for the overall economy remained upward.  That trend, however, was not strong enough to cause inflation to be a problem despite rapid growth in the reserves and money supply.


Freddie Mac said the housing recovery continues to be a primarily local phenomenon. While markets with strong economies and favorable demographics were continuing to improve at a strong pace, most markets were still generally weak, and the housing market as a whole continued to plod along,


The city of Tempe was poised to sell 11 acres of land on Tempe Town Lake to a developer who claimed financial backing from Chinese and commodities-trading interests. The plan? A $1.2 billion, 2 million-square foot development on the parcels. Tempe was preparing to sell the lakeside parcels.


Apple said it was nearing completion of its glass plant in Mesa, meaning the facility’s output should hit mass production levels very soon.


Leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation and this West Valley city broke ground on the $400 million casino resort that has been the subject of lawsuits and legislation to block it.


Last year,, the Arizona Senate Republican Caucus announced a one-year study period to investigate the sale of state trust land for use by Union Pacific (UP) for a switching yard just north of the community of Red Rock. Now 13 months later there was no decision by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD) whether to sell a 950-acre tract of trust land, which would end the frustration of Pinal County officials, who have waited years for the project to get on the tracks.

The state said setting a date to auction the property won’t be until later this year or early in 2015.


The fierce competition among five states to land Tesla Motors’ planned “gigafactory” for battery production had been the economic development story of the summer.

Budget watchdogs from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas have jointly written an open letter to the states, urging them to rethink economic development and avoid giving away too much in tax breaks and incentives to corporations.


Imagine going to a huge party in which the hosts are publicly feuding. That’s what was happening with Glendale and the Arizona Cardinals less than six months before the NFL’s Super Bowl visits University of Phoenix Stadium in the West Valley city. Cardinals President Michael Bidwill ripped Glendale for failing in its role to prepare for and support the Super Bowl.


An execution team violated state execution policy by injecting Joseph Wood with 15 doses of a lethal drug combination, the inmate’s attorney said. Wood’s attorney, Dale Baich, said the Department of Corrections’ execution protocol, or policy, allowed for a second dose if the inmate is still conscious three minutes after the first dose. The botched execution took nearly two hours.

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