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ALEC Protesters Invade North Phoenix

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An unidentified protester gets up close and personal with a Phoenix police officer.
An Amalgam Of Groups, People, Converge On Posh North Valley Resort, Police Use Pepper Spray


By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 1, 2011 — Several hundred people converged on the Westin Kierland Resort in North Scottsdale Wednesday to oppose the American Legislative Exchange Council’s States & Nation Summit and were rebuffed from entering the facility by officers from the Phoenix police department.

Phoenix police deployed pepper spray when a handful of the protesters attempted to remove barriers erected at the entrance to the resort and made seven or eight arrests.

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The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, was launched in 1973, but has become increasingly influential. ALEC’s long-held philosophy is that the private sector should be an ally rather than an adversary in developing sound public policy.

According to ALEC statistics, their task forces have, “considered, written and approved hundreds of model bills on a wide range of issues, model legislation that will frame the debate today and far into the future. Each year, close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC Model Legislation, are introduced in the states. Of these, an average of 20 percent become law.”

Read our in-depth article on ALEC

More than 200 protesters assembled at Kierland Park, just northwest of the resort on 65th Street, at 8 a.m., and soon after marched the quarter mile to the resort. Police were at the park as early as 7 a.m. and followed protesters on bicycles, on foot, and in four police vehicles. Other police officers were waiting for protesters at the two entrances to the Westin Kierland Resort on Greenway Road and Kierland Loop.

Pepper spray was used on protesters who attempted to remove the barriers on Kierland Loop. About 20 were treated on-scene by volunteer medics.

A majority of the protesters are also involved with Occupy Phoenix, but Occupy Tucson, AZ Justice Unitarian Universalist Collective and others who wished to join with those groups and others against ALEC were also part of the crowd.

Despite the arrests and use of pepper spray, most of the protesters exercised their first amendment rights without incident.

By 1 p.m., the group made their way back to Kierland park where they ate lunch. By 3 p.m. another group of protesters resumed the protest, led by Occupy Tucson.

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Modern Times Magazine was able to uncover little about what was discussed inside the ALEC States and Nation Summit as an application for attendance was rejected. One organization, The Health Care Compact Alliance, however, did issue a press release stating that ALEC had adopted a healthcare compact model legislation that would attempt to take healthcare from the bailiwick of the federal government and place it upon the states.

"States, not the federal government, are in the best position to implement market-driven and patient-centered health care reform," said Christie Herrera, director of the Health and Human Services Task Force of ALEC. "The Health Care Compact Act adds to ALEC's powerful list of tools legislators can use to push back against the unprecedented federal health care law."

The concept of using interstate compacts to return sovereignty to the states was originally developed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a non-profit, free-market research institute. TPPF was integral in shepherding the Health Care Compact through the ALEC model legislation process, according to the press release.

"Interstate compacts are highly effective in shielding against federal overreach," said Arlene Wohlgemuth, executive director of the TPPF. "The Health Care Compact is a strong solution to many of our country's health care problems, particularly managing Medicaid on a state level."

The Health Care Compact has been introduced in 13 states since February 2011 and has already been adopted in Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri. In addition, citizen groups and state legislators in more than 20 states are actively considering the Health Care Compact.

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Some protesters are expected today at the Westin Kierland Resort, but Occupy Phoenix is focusing on a march and protest at 4 p.m. Thursday at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, 333 N. Central Road, in downtown Phoenix. Freeport McMoRan purchased Phelps-Dodge in 2007 and is one of the largest copper and gold producers in the world. It is also a member of ALEC.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is expected to join Occupy Phoenix on the march and immediately after will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. at Cesar Chavez plaza. He made an appearance at Occupy Phoenix late Wednesday evening.

Too few have too much,” said Jackson. “‘Occupy’ is really a new name for an old game. It’s a struggle for social justice. It’s a struggle for fairness."

For more information, visit the group's webpage at, the #OccupyPhoenix Facebook page at!/occupyphoenix, the group’s Twitter page at!/occupyphoenix or catch the livestream at

John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine.
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