I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thanks AZ "Me Party": CEOs rake in the dough.

These are the poor working people of this state who Governor Brewer's and the Tea Party's policies have been benefiting so much...the very policies the rest of America wants to emulate. By all means, let's increase the profit margins of the privileged class, and give them even more tax breaks, Arizona...

What a bunch of stupid sheep we are sometimes.

Day of Action Against Wells Fargo:
PHOENIX, April 4, 2011.


Arizona CEOs reap record payday

by Russ Wiles
Jun. 5, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The latest evidence of an uneven economic recovery comes from Arizona's corporate suites, where the top executives who run the state's shareholder-owned companies earned record paychecks last year.

The CEOs and chairmen of 43 public companies tracked by The Arizona Republic earned a median of $1.54 million in 2010, up from $1.04 million in 2009. Higher corporate profits and a resurgent stock market drove much of the increase in executive pay.

Shareholder-owned companies divulge these numbers in annual proxy reports, most of which have come out in recent weeks.

The $1.54 million is the highest since The Republic started evaluating executive pay more than a decade ago and compares with a recession low of $868,000 in 2007.

Higher compensation for these bosses - who lead some of Arizona's largest companies, including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Avnet Inc. and PetSmart - came during a year of widespread consumer stress, when unemployment in the state topped 10 percent, bankruptcy filings across Arizona surpassed 40,000 and home prices continued to slide.

But corporate leaders are paid to make money for their shareholders, and most CEOs in Arizona accomplished that in 2010. About three in four companies reported improving profit pictures in 2010 compared with 2009, helped by a strengthening economy. However, that economic strength has yet to broaden its base from corporations to an underemployed workforce.

Executive pay has emerged as perhaps the most telltale sign of a rich-poor divide in America. It became a political issue when the government clamped down on compensation as a condition of extending federal bailout funds to certain banks, insurers and automakers during the recession.

Critics cite the widening gap between what corporate leaders and mainstream workers earn.

Chief executives at roughly 300 large U.S. companies earned $11.4 million on average last year, or roughly 343 times median worker pay, according to the AFL-CIO's "executive paywatch" report.

The labor group calls that "by far the widest gap in the world."

In 1980, CEOs in the U.S. earned 42 times what workers made, according to BusinessWeek magazine.

The boards of directors charged with setting CEO pay are mostly current or retired senior executives themselves.

The pay differential between Arizona CEOs and overall state residents wasn't nearly as large as that reported by the AFL-CIO, partly because The Arizona Republic's annual study tracks pay for nearly all public corporations here, not just the biggest. The $1.54 million earned by Arizona's CEOs works out to 44 times the state's median personal income of $35,000.

One company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, stood out, with the two most highly compensated executives. Including stock options exercised and stock awards that vested last year, the company's chairman, James Moffett, received compensation of $47.5 million in 2010, while CEO Richard Adkerson received $43.8 million. The company also had the state's highest-paid female executive in Kathleen Quirk, its chief financial officer, who earned $6.2 million.

Freeport-McMoRan, the world's largest publicly traded copper-mining firm, has significant operations in North and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

The successor to Phelps Dodge, it is Arizona's most valuable company by a wide margin. It was also the state's profit leader in 2010, and its stock price jumped 52 percent including dividends during the year.

"After successfully managing through one of the most severe economic downturns in history, in 2010 we achieved the best financial results in our company's history," Freeport-McMoRan spokesman Eric Kinneberg said in a statement.

There's a fair amount of criticism and scrutiny each year when companies report their executive-pay numbers, but investors in the companies haven't been complaining much lately.

Starting in 2011, public corporations must put up their pay policies for a nonbinding vote of shareholders.

So far, roughly 98 percent of companies holding such referendums have received a majority of favorable votes, including all eight Arizona-based corporations whose results have been tracked by law firm Womble Carlyle.

"We do find a pay-for-performance sensitivity," said Jeffrey Coles, a finance professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

That was apparent in 2010, when Corporate America fared much better than Main Street.

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