Monday, December 31, 2007

‘Lobbyists are an essential part of our democratic process’ -- Arizona Capitol Times, November 16, 2007

Employment 101 Interview with Farrell Quinlan, President of In the Arena Public Affairs, Inc.

What was your first job?

Construction laborer for a home builder in my hometown of Rutland, Vermont.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy the contest of ideas in the media, political campaigns and among policymakers. Lobbying and public affairs consulting is probably the only profession that allows me to indulge my passion for history, politics and competition while still being able to pay the bills.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Staying current on all of the devel­opments in the issue areas I need to track for current clients as well as the ones I need to track for future clients I’d like to bring on. There is so much in­formation available. It is a real art to know how to best convey the relevant information to policymakers or to the public through the media.

What is the most misunder­stood part of your job?

There’s a reason “special interests” are called special; everybody’s issue or concern is special to them. Lobbyists are an essential part of our democratic proc­ess. They become more necessary the more gov­ernment interferes in the free market and private matters. If re­formers want to reduce the influence of lobbyists, they should start with loosening govern­ment’s regulatory grip and halting its am­bitions of social engineering through the tax code.

Any tips on handling pushy press people?

You can never forget that, ultimately, reporters are merely a conduit to reaching a larger audience for your message. “Pushy” or not, the media have a job to do and it’s my responsibility to offer them accurate, timely and concise information from my side of the issue. The more successful I am at accomplishing that, the more productive and positive my relationship will be with the media.

As a student of history and politics, who do you see as history’s best politician, greatest com­mu­nicator and most inspirational leader?

History’s best pure politician was probably Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. During his remarkable 58-year career, he success­fully tamed Rome’s brutal and murderous political cul­ture and ef­fectively established a 250-year peace in Europe. For greatest com­municator, I propose Pope John Paul II. His simple admonition to “be not afraid” to those suffering under Commu­nism’s yoke was indispensable to bringing an end to that sad, bizarre chapter of hu­man history. I believe history’s most inspi­rational leader was Abra­ham Lincoln. He fulfilled America’s founding ideals by freeing the slaves, demonstrated unequaled skill and resolve in fighting to pre­serve the Union and, in the end, gave his life for his country and the cause of human dignity.

Not too long ago, you moved from working for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to heading up your own firm. What advice would you give to someone who wants to do the same?

Moving from a member/association bearing at the Arizona Chamber to a client/consultant approach now is natural in some ways and wholly unnatural in others. I am fortunate to partner with a dynamic PR and advertising firm called PRfect Media, headed by John Hernandez and Ron Meritt. Their firm didn’t have a gov­ern­ment relations and lobbying practice and I didn’t yet have the necessary administrative and “business know-how” skills to be successful on my own. Our growing In the Arena Public Affairs partnership has allowed me to focus on my strengths, like provid­ing high quality client services, while in­creasing the range of services both entities can offer their cli­ents. It’s a true win-win for both firms.

What best prepared you for being a political consultant?

I truly enjoy the ins-and-outs of public policy development and the messy, though always fasci­nating, politics that accom­pany it. I went to college at the George Washington University in Washing­ton, D.C. to be a witness at the (Reagan) Revolu­tion and see where I might contribute. Twenty years later I’m still engag­ing in dorm room-style bull sessions, only now I do it with the media and with those who can actually make those ideas a real­ity. It’s a cliché because it’s true; do what you love and you’ll never “work at a job” again.

Any other advice or thoughts?

I’ve come to realize that those who believe “the political is per­sonal” are the ones who make life frustrating. On the Right and Left, the people who conflate the two are usually the most extreme, un­persuasive and, on a personal level, the most angry and unhappy. My encounter with colon cancer, radiation treat­ments and chemotherapy in 2006 taught me that what happens in politics is not nearly as im­portant as what happens in your home and with your family and friends. The challenge is to stay en­gaged with our political and civic institutions so “the political is personal” crowd doesn’t monopolize the debate.

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: "America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War" by William J. Bennett

America: The Last Best Hope (Volume I): From the Age of Discovery to a World at War is Bill Bennett’s first installment of a journey through the first 500 or so years of American history. The work is unabashedly and refreshingly pro-American, no Zinn-ister indictments here; though the darker aspects of our heritage are not whitewashed.

Those familiar with the American Story will find interesting perspectives on supposedly long-settled historical conclusions. One such revision concerns our eighteenth president, Ulysses S. Grant. The Bennett’s portrait of the Union War Hero turned commander-in-chief is rather positive, if you set aside the scandals that rocked his administration. You learn that those scandals were more “Republican” or “Congressional” or “Establishment” scandals rather than “Grant” scandals. Grant was never seriously linked to them personally. They would have happened in some form or another with or without him in the White House. Likely, a less honorable president would have made them worse. Grant’s legacy ought to highlight his lonely efforts to support the freed slaves against white Southern reaction. I’ll be searching for a good revisionist biography of Grant’s post Civil War career to read.

It’s a longish book at 592 pages. I also own it’s companion volume which picks up where this one ends, on the eve of American entry into World War I, and concludes with victory in the Cold War (I think, haven’t read it yet, so I'm not sure.) The second book comes in at 608 pages. That’s 1,200 pages between them… far too much for me to tackle back-to-back and remain sane. I’m reading a non-U.S. history book next.

I have a nice Bill Bennett shelf developing in my personal library, the two America books plus The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories, Moral Compass: Stories for a Life's Journey and Our Sacred Honor: The Stories, Letters, Songs, Poems, Speeches, and Hymns that Gave Birth to Our Nation. All are a must to have on hand.

One criticism is not entirely fair; it’s too general and fails to burrow down into some of the more interesting vignettes Bennett ably summarizes. But, as with the Grant experience recounted above, it does offer the reader a fine survey and reminder of subjects worthy of further study.

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: "Beowulf" Just Average, IMAX Presentation A Must See

The wall-to-wall CGI version of the Old English epic "Beowulf" is an important movie, not because of the acting or even the Angelina Jolie faux-nude scene but because of the 3-D IMAX presentation that really took a mediocre and eminently forgettable flick and kicked it up to a new level. This movie will be looked back on as a turning point in the advance of 3-D in movies. To compete with the advances in HD, movie theaters will need to further differentiate themselves from the home theater experience. “Beowulf” offers one possible course for Hollywood to take to survive and thrive. Don’t wait for DVD, don’t see it at a “normal” theater. See it on 3-D IMAX only.

Look: 10 (for 3-D IMAX version)

Story: 6.5

Acting: 6

Goal: 9

Intangibles: 9

Overall: 8


Monday, December 17, 2007

That's "Capitalist Running Dog" Not "Communist" You Fool

Comrade Quinlan, head of the Arizona Communist Party, fresh from the field.

According to the Yellow Sheet Report on Monday, December 17, 2007:
[Arizona State Representative Russell] Pearce told our reporter he calls [Farrell] Quinlan "the head of the Communist Party" in Arizona.

The comments were not a surprise to Quinlan, who says he butted heads with Pearce for years while working at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"I don't take a backseat to anybody when it comes to my Republican credentials," Quinlan said.

He currently serves as a PC in LD-20 and used to work for the national GOP in D.C.
– end of report –

Thursday, November 08, 2007

COMMENTARY: Budget woes may haunt next legislative session

By Farrell Quinlan

Special for The Arizona Republic

State Capitol watchers should get prepared to experience déjà vu next legislative session on the budget deficit. Deficit? Hasn't Arizona been in surplus the last few years?

The slowdown (crash?) in the residential real estate market has seriously impacted state revenue collections. So much so that the current fiscal year is expected to have a minimum shortfall of $600 million.

A rough estimate of “normal” annual revenue growth for the state has typically been about 7 percent. During the recently concluded go-go housing market, Arizona state revenues burst their seams at a 19-20 percent rate. The governor and Legislature recognized the unexpected boon as one-time windfalls and tried to use the bonus cash for one-time expenditures, like accelerating highway construction.

However, problems appeared this summer when it became clear that revenue growth was not returning to its normal 7 percent range. Instead, it has settled into the 2-4 percent range. Not a recession, but not our normal, healthy growth rate either.

If revenues come in on the lower end of the 2-4 percent range, look for a budget deficit of $800 million to $1 billion. Public and private sector forecasters see state revenues underperforming like this for the next three to four years. This new reality has put a damper on the 2008 session.

In September, Gov. Janet Napolitano proposed a $600 million plan to close the current year gap. It included a $200 million withdrawal from the state's $700 million rainy-day fund, $100 million in agency belt-tightening and $300 million in bonding to pay for school construction. Legislative leaders have not rushed to adopt this approach, especially the debt financing of schools.

Next year is an election year, with all 90 legislative seats on the ballot, while the governor has the luxury of not having to run for re-election. This gives her enormous leverage over the Republican-led Legislature in budget negotiations.

We've all seen this before earlier this decade after 9/11. It's a recipe for a long, contentious session with tax relief hard to come by and threats to popular spending programs all around.

After a difficult 2007 session for the business community, the 2008 session is not looking any easier.

Farrell Quinlan, president of In the Arena Public Affairs, is a public affairs adviser for the West Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance.

Printed in the October 31, 2007 edition of the Arizona Republic.

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: "American Gangster" Not “Godfather” or “Goodfellas” But Close


The official site.
Look: 8
Story: 8.5
Acting: 10
Goal: 9
Intangibles: 9
Overall: 9

Friday, October 19, 2007

Definition of "Knowing" & the "Stop Illegal Hiring" Initiative

Regardless of your position on the struggle over illegal immigration in Arizona and nationally, I think you will find the below linked documents interesting. The white paper by the attorneys is not as compelling as what the meaning of “is” is, but a good read just the same.

One of the highest credibility hurdles the business community has had to clear throughout the debate over state-level employer sanctions laws is the alleged danger of trapping "legal" employers when enforcing new laws on "illegal" employers. Much of this hinges on the definition of "knowing" under federal enforcement and how that translates to any state-level enforcement scheme. Does the "knowing" standard inevitably lead to a "constructive knowledge" standard in prosecutions, thereby inflicting tough sanctions including permanent loss of all licenses for the entire company over the misdeeds of a lower-level supervisor?

"Prove it," say the proponents of state-level sanctions laws. Fair enough.

Below is the first detailed legal analysis of this question that I have seen. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to read the text of the newly filed employer sanctions initiative, there’s a link to it too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: "Stardust" Wispy, Unsubstantial Like Real Stardust


Look: 8
Story: 5
Acting: 5.5
Goal: 6
Intangibles: 6
Overall: 6

AZ's February 5th Primary An Improvement But Disappointing All The Same

State presidential primary to be moved up to Feb. 5, governor's aides confirm

By Matthew Benson

The Arizona Republic

Aug. 22, 2007 12:00 AM

Arizona is joining roughly 20 states with presidential-primary elections or caucuses on Feb. 5, aides of Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed Tuesday.

Scheduling of the primary is left to the governor, and Napolitano's proclamation moves the election up three weeks from its traditional date on the last Tuesday in February. In 2004, she moved the presidential primary to Feb. 3.

As reported last week by The Arizona Republic, Feb. 5 had been considered the likeliest date for Arizona's primary in 2008, in part because that's the earliest the primary could be scheduled without violating national-party guidelines.

The governor believes Feb. 5 gives Arizona voters the best chance to influence the choice of the Democratic and Republican nominees, said Noah Kroloff, Napolitano's chief of staff.

Arizona's primary now joins what has been dubbed Super Duper Tuesday because of the large number of states at stake that day, including electoral giants such as California and New York.

Will Arizona get lost in the shuffle? Kroloff isn't worried.

"Arizona is a big state," he said. "The Southwest is going to be an absolutely critical part of the presidential campaign cycle. You're going to see a lot of activity here."

No date was without drawbacks in this front-loaded primary season, with states leapfrogging each other to get earlier dates. Had Arizona moved its primary to a date earlier than Feb. 5, the national Democratic and Republican parties threatened to withhold half the state's delegates.

A date later than Feb. 5 carried heavy risks as well, with the likelihood that the two major-party nominees would be all but decided by then.

Nearly half the nation's Republican and Democratic delegates will have been assigned by Feb. 6.

COMMENT: February 5th is far superior to three weeks later but not too much better. The big prizes on Super-Duper Tuesday remain California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, etc. Moving Arizona one more week ahead would have made us a true battleground in advance of the crush of Super-Duper Tuesday. Now comes word Michigan is going to out-do everyone by jumping into mid-January for its primary. The big threat of not seating delegates at the national convention is so much weak tea. Quick… when was the last time Michigan’s delegates mattered at a national political convention? Florida’s? Arizona’s? They don’t because real voters decide our presidential nominations and have for at least two generations. Florida, and apparently now Michigan, don’t care if their home-grown party hacks… er… delegates have places to rest their bottoms in Denver (Democrats) and Minneapolis (Republicans) next summer. Arizona shouldn’t have either. But February 5th is better than nothing. FQ

Monday, August 20, 2007

COMMENTARY: Arizona is outside looking in -- Napolitano has power to move state’s primary date forward

By Farrell Quinlan


The ground under the 2008 presidential primary and caucus calendar continued to shift last week as South Carolina Republicans moved forward the date of their presidential primary to Jan. 19, 2008. This change has set in motion a series of counter moves by other states to reaffirm their traditional positions in the United States’ quadrennial presidential selection rites.


The action also highlights a limited window of opportunity Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has to push issues important to the West to the top of the national agenda for both parties. The clock is literally ticking on her power to move the Arizona primary forward.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. How did we get to this place?


Interlocking and sometimes contradictory state laws require New Hampshire to hold the nation’s first primary a certain number of days before any other. The Iowa Caucuses’ status as first-in-the-nation delegate selection contest is also protected by state law and pivots relative to New Hampshire’s primary date.


In the aftermath of South Carolina’s action, the most likely scenario has New Hampshire moving its primary to Tuesday, Jan. 8. If this occurs, current Iowa law says its caucuses must move to Dec. 31, 2007, or earlier.


Iowa’s governor announced last week that he wants to change their law to keep the caucuses in 2008 and away from holiday distractions. Regardless, we are about 140 days from the first opportunity for actual voters to cast votes for president.


Someone wake up Fred Thompson already.


This jockeying among the states didn’t start with South Carolina. Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature brazenly moved its primary to Jan. 29, the same day the erstwhile “first in the South” South Carolina primary was scheduled.


To forestall further marginalization, a series of large states then moved their presidential selection contests to Feb. 5. This “Super-Duper Tuesday” or “Tsunami Tuesday” features primaries or caucuses in at least 20 states, including delegate-rich states like California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and New York.


Where does Arizona fit in all this?


Right now, we’re on the outside looking in. Our primary is scheduled for Feb. 26, three weeks after “Super-Duper Tuesday” and after more than 30 states will have voted.

However, with a simple stroke of Gov. Napolitano’s pen, that can and should be changed.


Arizona law provides that “the governor may issue a proclamation moving the Presidential Preference Election to a date earlier than the fourth Tuesday in February. This proclamation shall be issued no later than 150 days before the date of the election set forth in the proclamation.”


Gov. Napolitano has until Sept. 1, 2007, to move our primary to Jan. 29, 2008, the same day as the Florida primary. She has until Sept. 8, 2007, to join “Super-Duper Tuesday” on Feb. 5, 2008.


Without her intervention, Arizona’s perspective on presidential politics will be ignored. Instead of requiring Republican and Democratic candidates to nod to dairy price supports (New Hampshire) and excessive ethanol pandering (Iowa), a Jan. 29 Arizona primary would make our issues like the border, water, transportation and natural resources more prominent.


Moreover, Arizona’s economic dynamism and racial diversity contrast nicely with Iowa and New Hampshire, states that are the two least demographically diverse in the nation.

Arizona law provides Governor Napolitano with a tremendous opportunity to promote Arizona and Western issues in the presidential nomination contests of both parties. But time is running short for her to act.


By waiting until the end of February to hold the Arizona primary, we will be effectively taking a pass on influencing the Democratic and Republican nominating process.


Governor Napolitano should exercise her power to change Arizona’s primary date to Jan. 29, 2008. By doing this, she will be doing a great service to her constituents and the nation.


Farrell Quinlan is president of In the Arena Public Affairs, a Phoenix-based government affairs and political consulting firm. He can be reached at farrellquinlan@gmail.com.


Printed in the August 17, 2007 editions of the Arizona Capitol Times and the Phoenix Business Journal

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: "Shrek the Third" is 3rd best of series


Look: 8.5
Story: 6
Acting: 6
Goal: 8
Intangibles: 7
Overall: 7.5

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Arizona Republic publishes Farrell Quinlan's first column

I have begun to write a column for the Arizona Republic's East Valley community sections. My first column addresses the ugly scene last week outside Sen. Jon Kyl's Phoenix office and the other negative things said about him by state GOP officials. Click here to read the column on the Arizona Republic's website.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - Arizona Republic

Sen. Kyl unfairly criticized on immigration reform

By Farrell Quinlan

An alarming number of leading Arizona Republican Party officials recently made outrageous attacks on Sen. Jon Kyl for his courageous leadership on the difficult issue of immigration reform.

Adding embarrassment to a once "grand old party," some party leaders backed anti-immigrant protesters who picketed Sen. Kyl's Phoenix office with poisonous and vulgar slogans.

Mothers Against Illegal Aliens, a group promoting the protest, demanded Sen. Kyl's immediate resignation because he "has betrayed his state of Arizona and the mothers of America!" They called him a "sellout" and "bagman and/or water boy" for "the White House treason."

Protest signs called him a "liar," "two-faced" and "traitor."

The protesters also held signs with lewd images and messages in full view of children on busy Camelback Road.

Such extremism and ugliness ought to be ignored, except these protesters pretend to speak for my party and me while they slander an honorable public servant.

Sen. Kyl has done more for the Republican Party and the conservative movement than all of these political posers combined.

He has been a stalwart defender of conservative principles since he was first elected to Congress in 1986.

On the Senate's Finance, Judiciary and Intelligence committees, Jon Kyl has been a bulwark against liberal assaults on our wallets, Constitution and national security.

His lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 97 percent. The Center for Security Policy scores him at 94 percent. The National Rifle Association and the National Taxpayers Union consistently give him "A" grades. He has a perfect right-to-life voting record.

The respected National Journal ranks him the third most conservative senator and the most conservative Arizonan in our delegation.

Jon Kyl takes a backseat to no one in conservative credentials.

He is also one of the most respected leaders in Washington. Time recognized him as one of the 10 best senators.

Political friend and foe alike agree that Jon Kyl is one of the most intelligent, humble and hardworking lawmakers ever to serve.

He is just the kind of man his Senate Republican colleagues can trust to tackle an issue like our chaotic and incomprehensible immigration system.

He agrees with the overwhelming majority of Americans that we are is in the midst of an illegal immigration crisis and Congress must act to secure our borders and protect our economic future.

Sen. Kyl wants to ensure that any legislation that passes a Democratic-controlled Congress includes tough new border control, employment verification and a temporary worker program that is truly temporary and settles the status of 12 million undocumented migrants without amnesty.

The compromise plan is not perfect and must be improved. But if a good bill can be crafted, leaders like Sen. Kyl will need to be part of the negotiations.

Support the compromise or not, Sen. Kyl is acting in good faith to help end the rampant lawlessness on the border.

Sen. Kyl remains true to his conservative principles and the Republican Party.

He deserve better than taunts and derision from the likes of those who protested outside his office.

Farrell Quinlan is a public affairs consultant from Chandler. He can be reached at farrellquinlan@gmail.com.

Monday, May 28, 2007

CRITIQUE & REVIEW: “28 Weeks Later" a worthy successor


28 Weeks Later is a good sequel to 28 Days Later. Usually zombie movies are not very good but the first was surprisingly good and the second helping furthers the story along and, or course, sets up another sequel. No need to see it in the theater. Wait for DVD or even pay cable. It’s an enjoyable movie for those who like that sort of thing.


Look: 7
Story: 7
Acting: 6
Goal: 9
Intangibles: 8
Overall: 7.5
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CRITIQUE & REVIEW: “Spider-Man 3" disappoints


Spider-Man 3 had some cool effects but that was about it. It had a bunch of time dedicated to relationship issues between Peter and Mary Jane… yawn. I have to agree with the majority of critics that panned this movie. Is it a bad movie? No. But for the amount of money invested, you’d think they would have done better. Maybe this entry suffers from the overall high quality of its two predecessors. See it on the big screen for the effects but don’t expect what the franchise served up before.


Look: 9
Story: 5
Acting: 6
Goal: 6
Intangibles: 6
Overall: 6.5

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CRITIQUE & REVIEW: “Grindhouse" not even worth a view on stolen cable


Grindhouse is a mess. I guess it is entertaining is parts but there is a reason those schlockfests from the 1970’s never got the respect their makers felt they deserved. They didn’t deserve the respect. This movie (movies?) is not worth even a late night cable view. Move on, nothing to see here.

Look: 2
Story: 1
Acting: 5
Goal: 7
Intangibles: 4
Overall: 4
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CRITIQUE & REVIEW: “300" is Outstanding


300 is a great, fun and very entertaining movie. It’s got all the fighting, blood and guts and action that you need, and then some. The movie (to me) has very conservative political messages. But don’t see it as a political movie, it is a big, boastful war movie. Refreshing.


Look: 10
Story: 8
Acting: 8
Goal: 10
Intangibles: 10
Overall: 9

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Tax burden shifting away from business to consumers

I was quoted in a recent Phoenix Business Journal article on tax policy in Arizona:

Some business advocates say it is important to keep state and local tax burdens low to encourage investment and job creations. They also point out that consumers are taxed indirectly via business property and other corporate levies.

"Taxes on business are generally passed on to the consumer through higher prices. In cases where such tax burdens can't be passed on to consumers, the taxable activities and the jobs associated with them will migrate to a lower tax environment, often overseas," said Farrell Quinlan, a business lobbyist and president of In the Arena Public Affairs, Inc.

"The bottom-line choice is not between regressive vs. progressive taxes, but between hidden vs. visible taxes paid by the consumer," he said.
Click here to read the entire article.

BOOK REPORT: “A Mormon in the White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney” by Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt’s “A Mormon in the White House?” is an interesting and valuable read as we go into the 2008 presidential contests. Many pundits have written Mitt Romney off because of his religion. It would be a shame if that turns out to be true. I wonder if so much of the criticism for Romney’s real (abortion) and imagined (immigration) flip-flops are not convenient stalking horses for people’s prejudice against Mormons.

Keeping with the religious theme, many critics have labeled the book a hagiography. There is little doubt of where Hewitt stands on Mitt Romney and less doubt which candidate he supports for the 2008 GOP nomination regardless of his protestations of not knowing on his radio show.

If Romney’s candidacy takes off -- and there are many indications that it might be doing just that -- Hewitt’s book will become a must-read. Look for the paperback version with a new chapter/forward closer to when primary/caucus voters actually vote.

BOOK REPORT: “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion” by Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer’s “The Truth About Muhammad” is a valuable reference book for those looking for the facts surrounding the most controversial areas in the life and teachings of the founder of Islam. Though a quick read (only about 185 pages) it is not an easy read. Spencer writes with such a defensiveness about not taking Mohammed out of context, his prose gets bogged down in long passages from the Koran and other early Islamic writings. And the translation used by Spencer read like the King James Version of the Koran with all its 17th Century anachronisms.

Spencer’s conclusions are inflammatory but the plodding way he goes about telling the tale is numbing. There is a near complete lack of narrative. It is basically a series of “Mohammed’s Most Embarrassing or Troublesome Sayings.”

The reader is not given much context for Mohammed’s success and the success of his message. What was going on in Arabia in the 7th Century that contributed to Mohammed’s movement? How was Islam different from other faith movements in the area? And many, many more unanswered questions.

The book is a place to find the “killer quote” to win an argument but not a place to find understanding about how all of these issues raised in the book intersect with Islamic history and our current challenges.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Farrell Quinlan joins PRfect Media; Opens ‘In the Arena Public Affairs’

Quinlan becomes President of In the Arena Public Affairs

(Phoenix, AZ) PRfect Media announced today that Farrell A. Quinlan has joined the Valley-based public relations and advertising agency PRfect Media, as President of In the Arena Public Affairs, a wholly owned subsidiary of PRfect Media.

Quinlan served as spokesperson for the statewide business community for 10 years. Before joining In the Arena Public Affairs, Quinlan was Vice President of Policy Development and Communications for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Quinlan will bring his extensive experience to In the Arena Public Affairs including government relations; policy development and lobbying; media relations, coalition building and grassroots development; initiative, referendum and political action committee campaigns; political research and leadership; event management and strategic planning.

“This is a great opportunity for me. After a long time in association and chamber of commerce realms, I can now use my talents to build ‘In the Arena Public Affairs’ while having the infrastructure of PRfect Media behind me,” said Quinlan. “Having the backing of a full-service agency will give our clients a whole new level of service. We can provide government relations strategies from start to finish,” Quinlan said.

“Farrell’s qualifications and abilities are a tremendous combination that will help us launch an area of service that has long been in our sights. ‘In the Arena Public Affairs’ will be able to utilize the ‘all-inclusive’ atmosphere of PRfect Media along with the political expertise that Farrell provides,” said John Hernandez, CEO, PRfect Media.

In the Arena Public Affairs is currently working with a number of clients including Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform, a statewide organization working towards a fair immigration policy.

To arrange an interview or for more information on In the Arena Public Affairs, please contact Farrell Quinlan, President, In the Arena Public Affairs at (480) 706-6880 x126 or Ron Meritt, Chief Operating Officer, PRfect Media at (480) 706-6880 x121.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Media Interviews: How to Have a Great Experience Every Time

Speaking to the media presents a rare opportunity to get your views heard. However, it doesn’t need to be a stressful or frightening prospect. There are some common sense techniques and insights everyone should know before speaking to the media to have a successful, even fun, experience with the news media every time.

First, be prepared. Never wing it.

The first thing to remember when being interviewed by the media is not to wing it. Being immersed in a subject every day doesn't mean you can spontaneously move the right bricks into place to construct the foundation of a persuasive performance. If you are called by a reporter, you might want to try to schedule an interview with them later in the day, even an hour later, so you can do the necessary preparation. The reporter knows that you are busy. As long as you work within his deadline, he should respect your request to get back to him. Try to find out the subject matter he is calling about and what questions he would like answered. During your preparation, call on the people or resources who can help you with the issue area. Also, think about how you will respond to tough or hostile questions. Do you have a clear, honest and appropriate answer to the most negative question you can imagine? Imagine what a successful interview would look and sound like. Set out to make that a reality.

Determine what your message is or what you want to say.

There is usually a good reason a reporter is talking to you about a certain subject. You are being interviewed because you bring a particular perspective to the topic because of who you are, what you do or what you have done. Consider the one or two (but not more than three) ideas you want the reporter and, more importantly, the readers, listeners or viewers, to take from your comments. These messages should be short and to the point. You should be able to list these messages or the message in a clear and concise manner throughout the interview. Don’t worry about sounding like a “broken record.” Be comfortable repeating your message points over and over again.

Stay “on message” to avoid mistakes and gaffes.

When we hear about a politician, athlete or celebrity making a gaffe in the media, it is usually because they strayed from their message and allowed emotion to take over. Remember, reporters have a job to do. Part of that job is to write about interesting subjects. Controversy and conflict are inherently interesting. They may try to portray two sides of an issue as extremes and will look for quotes to support making their stories more controversial. By staying on message, even by repeatedly restating the main point of your argument with every answer to every question, you will avoid making gaffes and embarrassing or unhelpful remarks.

Try to “bridge” your answers back to your message points.

“Bridging” creates a transition so that you can move from the “question asked” to the message you want to communicate. This helps to deflect any attempts to derail your message. After answering the direct question, immediately transition to your message. Some key phrases to help accomplish this are; “What's important to remember, however…,” or “That's one way to look at it, but I think you'd be interested in knowing…” or “Let me put that in perspective…”

Don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know.”

Most issues have many facets and the reporter will be speaking to many different sources. Don’t feel like you need to offer a comment on every aspect of a given issue. Understand why you are being interviewed and what perspective the reporter needs from you. If you are not a lawyer, don’t feel like you need to comment on legal issues outside your specific experience. The closer you keep your comments to what you know well, the less chance you will say something inaccurate or harmful to your position. Reporters know you don’t know everything. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know. Simply admit it. However, if there is information you should know, offer to get back to them with the information before their deadline. If you know someone on your side of the issue that can answer the question, offer to put the reporter in touch with that person.

Stop talking after you answer the question.

One of the most effective techniques in journalism is to just sit there and let the interviewee talk. They may ask a question to start the conversation and then let you go on and on. They may throw in a supportive “question” or “minimal encourager” here or there to keep you talking. Don’t confuse this with you having control over the interview. Most try to avoid awkward pauses in conversation. They make us uncomfortable and we usually try to fill in those gaps by talking. In an interview with a reporter, do not give in to the impulse to fill in those conversation gaps. That’s when you will most likely go off message and make embarrassing or damaging statements that get quoted and misrepresent your true sentiments and position. Stop when you are done answering the question. Just stop. Take a sip of your drink. Smile. Pet the dog. Anything. Just don’t continue answering the question. The reporter will move on.

Answer the question you want to answer, not the question they ask.

Don’t allow the reporter to totally dictate the terms of the interview. Answer all the questions, but stay “on message.” Don’t get frustrated if you are asked the same question multiple times. Often reporters will frame a question in a way that asserts a premise that you do not believe or that is damaging to your position. Reject the premise. Even go so far as to ask your own version of the question and answer it. Reporters don’t do this to be mean or to show bias. They do this to draw out an emotional response that might more accurately reflect your heartfelt views rather than a rehearsed statement. However, just because you are prepared and have a well-reasoned argument, it doesn’t mean you are being dishonest or hiding something. An emotional response might be good copy for a newspaper article or a sound bite for a radio or TV report, but it rarely reflects your views accurately.

The reporter is not your friend.

In any media interview, you are really speaking through the reporter to his or her readers, listeners or viewers. Having a good relationship with the reporter is positive. However, the success of your performance is judged by how it impacts the audience, not necessarily the reporter.

Be positive and confident throughout the interview.

When speaking to the media, be helpful and stay relaxed. If you are nervous or this is your first time talking to a reporter, it’s okay to say so (just not on the air or on camera though). A good reporter wants to get the story, not embarrass you. Listen carefully to the question. Take a few seconds to breathe and frame your answer. Speak slowly and avoid jargon. Speak with confidence and enthusiasm. Smile when you speak. Even if they can't see you, the smile and good will come through.

Stay “on the record,” it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Have the attitude that nothing is ever off the record. Assume that anything you say or give them could end up in the story. Also, be careful making jokes or using sarcasm. Things said out load often don’t seem as humorous transcribed onto a cold sheet of paper.

Seeing your name in the paper or your face on television should be fun. Relax, enjoy yourself. But take the experience seriously. Following these common sense guidelines can demystify the experience and ensure that talking to the press will be a positive experience.

Farrell Quinlan is a public relations and government affairs consultant in Chandler, Arizona. He has been a journalist, political operative, congressional staffer and for a decade was the vice president of communications and lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

2007 Major League Baseball Predictions

NATIONAL LEAGUE
NL East: New York Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Champion: New York Mets
NL MVP: Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Rookie: Chris B. Young, Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Manager: Lou Pinella, Chicago Cubs
NL Batting Champ: Miguel Cabrera, Florida Marlins (.350 range)
NL HR Champ: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies (more than 50)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Wild Card: New York Yankees
AL Champion: New York Yankees
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Cy Young: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
AL Rookie: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
AL Manager: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Batting Champ: Ichiro, Seattle Mariners (challenges .400)
AL HR Champ: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (more than 50, more then Ryan Howard)

World Series Champion: New York Mets

Miscellaneous:

  • Barry Bonds hits 34 HR breaking Hank Aarons’ career mark.
  • Roger Clemens returns to the Houston Astros, is injured, retires for good
  • Johan Santana wins more than 25 games
  • Alex Rodriguez silences critics in NY with monster season and playoffs (.310 BA, 55 HR, 145 RBI, 30 SB), opts for free agency at end of season anyway
  • Randy Johnson shows flashes of his old self (15 W, 200 K, 3.25 ERA)
  • Sammy Sosa hits 25 HRs with 80 RBI but has a low BA (.240s)
  • Mike Sweeney stays off the DL and has nice comeback season

Saturday, March 31, 2007

BOOK REPORT: “Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich” by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason

Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich” by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason is a quick read and a very good companion to the CNBC show of the same name. Cramer does have the wild man schitck going but as the "most sincerely insenere man in America" he has fun with it while offering great insite into the market for us little guys. I bought the book because I watch the show, so I was able to get into a lot of the inside baseball about the show that is present throughout the book. I'm not sure how much this will annoy or totally confuse readers who don't watch the show. I suspect it would be a negative. Overall, I liked the book. But it's short with a little too much padding. If you like Cramer and his personality, I recommend it. If not, watch the show for a week and then decide if you want more Cramer.

Friday, February 09, 2007

BOOK REPORT: “Dangerous Nation” by Robert Kagan

Robert Kagan’s “Dangerous Nation” is a very interesting and valuable book. It challenges the conventional wisdom that America’s foreign policy since the Revolutionary War has been essentially isolationist in character steeped in realpolitick and self-interest. Instead, he makes a compelling case that the United States has deep idealistic tendencies and more often than not has been driven by those ideological factors rather than cold-blooded realism.

The book is the first of two volumes. It ends right after the declaration of war on Spain in April 1898. The run up to that war is extensively covered while the Mexican War fifty years prior gets short shrift. Go figure.

What I found most fascinating about the book is the complete pollution of practically all of the United States’ institutions by the issue of slavery. This book focuses on foreign policy and the grotesque distortions that slavery imposed on our nation’s early foreign policy but I was struck by the total subsuming of the Democratic Party in the issue prior, during and even after the Civil War.

I look forward to the second part. Let’s hope it comes sooner than the 10 years Kagan says he spent writing this book.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Korkes lands construction industry post

By Mike Sunnucks
The Business Journal
January 26, 2007

A former lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry landed a post at a statewide construction industry group.

Romina Korkes has been hired as the new government affairs director at the Arizona Contractors Association.

Korkes previously was public affairs director for the state chamber, which has undergone wholesale personnel changes in recent months.

The contractors group is one of the more politically moderate business groups in the state and has warm relations with Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano.

The ACA also promoted Brett Jones to vice president. Jones previously served as the group's lobbyist.

Korkes is one of a number of staff members to leave the Arizona Chamber recently. Vice President Farrell Quinlan stepped down earlier this month to start his own public relations and lobbying outfit. Lobbyist Scott Peterson quit to take a government relations job in Wisconsin. Former chamber Chief Executive Jim Apperson resigned last year and now is a top budget adviser to Napolitano.

Apperson, a Democrat, was replaced by Glenn Hamer, the former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. Hamer's appointment and state chamber Chairman Steve Twist's strong ties to the Republican Party sparked some consternation with the governor's office and Democrats -- including chief of staff Dennis Burke -- who said the chamber is becoming partisan.
Since taking over at the chamber, Hamer has stressed that he is committed to a nonpartisan, pro-business, pro-growth agenda.

Get connected

Arizona Contractors Association: www.azca.com
Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry: www.azchamber.com

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sign the NRSC Pledge

I have signed and I urge everyone who supports victory in Iraq to sign, the following pledge:

If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.

Click here to sign the pledge too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Arizona Republic's Business Buzz


“The amount of growth and change in Arizona over the last decade has been remarkable. But in so many ways, we have kept that small town feel. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so much.”

Farrell Quinlan
Former vice president policy development and communications at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who resigned Monday after 10 years as spokesman for the state’s business community.

Longtime VP Quinlan leaves Arizona Chamber

The Business Journal of Phoenix – Monday, January 15, 2007
by Mike Sunnucks
The Business Journal

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry Vice President Farrell Quinlan is stepping down from that post.

Quinlan has been with the state chamber of commerce for 10 years and has been a leading spokesman for the business community at the state Capitol.

Quinlan is not disclosing his next career move. His last day was Jan. 15.

The state chamber is a leading statewide business advocate. It has undergone some leadership and staff changes recently with former Arizona Republican Party Director Glenn Hamer taking over for Jim Apperson late last year.

Apperson, a Democrat, went to work as a senior budget adviser to Gov. Janet Napolitano. Hamer's hiring at the state chamber sparked a spat between the business group and the Democratic governor's office.

The chamber has lobbied for tax cuts, unemployment insurance reforms and immigration reforms in recent years.

Hamer applauded Quinlan's work with the chamber including media relations, advocacy and event management. He said a replacement has not yet been named.

Quinlan leaves Arizona Chamber after a decade of service to statewide business association

Farrell A. Quinlan’s last day on the staff of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is Monday, January 15, 2007. He has been a vice president of the organization for a decade, most recently serving as Vice President of Policy Development and Communications.

Quinlan is not ready to make an announcement concerning his next career opportunity. He has a number of options available to him in organizational management, government relations and public relations in Arizona and nationally.

Quinlan has served as spokesperson for the statewide business community for 10 years. He has been a key developer and implementer of a wide-range of organizational initiatives including: media relations; government relations, policy development and lobbying; coalition building; initiative, referendum and political action committee campaigns; political research; strategic planning; marketing; event management and messaging.

Highlights of his tenure include:

Media Relations: Quinlan has been quoted regularly in Arizona and national press on a wide-range of political and business topics. His opinion pieces and on-the-record comments have appeared in numerous print media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Arizona Republic, Arizona Daily Star, The Business Journal, Congressional Quarterly, East Valley Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Tucson Citizen, Phoenix Magazine, Inside Tucson Business, Arizona Capitol Times, Washington Times, Campaigns & Elections, Bloomberg and the Associated Press. He has been an expert guest or official spokesman on numerous broadcast media programs including FOX News Channel, Voice of America, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, The Hugh Hewitt Show, Horizon (KAET-TV), Face the State (KSAZ-TV), The Phoenix File (KUTP-TV), The Barry Young Show (KFYI-AM), The Liddy & Hill Show (KFYI-AM), Business for Breakfast (KFNN-AM), KJZZ-FM, KNST-AM, KPXQ-AM and KTAR-AM.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Quinlan was responsible for the Arizona Chamber initiating an immigration policy stakeholder process in the Summer of 2003 that culminated in the organization’s leadership in opposing 2004’s Proposition 200 and the creation of a comprehensive immigration reform agenda for the statewide business community. Through his efforts, the Arizona Chamber has received national recognition for its early identification and proactive approach to immigration reform issues. He is a much sought after spokesperson on state and federal immigration issues having appeared on the Fox News Channel, National Public Radio and numerous Arizona outlets as well as in leading national publication like the Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Labor Relations Committee and its Immigration subcommittee since 2004.

Policy Development and Lobbying: Before launching the Arizona Chamber’s immigration policy efforts, Quinlan received national recognition for creating a top state-level lobbying effort to urge Arizona’s congressional delegation to vote in favor of extending normal trade relations to China and clearing the way for accession of China into the World Trade Organization. He served as the organization’s Federal Affairs representative and worked closely with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in their many initiatives on trade, workplace regulation and taxation. Quinlan managed the public policy development process at the organization for an eclectic mix of policy areas including air quality; banking; economic development; education; employee relations; energy; environment; government reform; health care; immigration; infrastructure; insurance; legal affairs; natural resources; solid and hazardous waste; state budget; taxation; technology; trade; transportation; water quality and quantity; and workforce development. He was registered with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office as an authorized lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber 1997-2007.

Coalition Building and Grassroots Development: Quinlan has been the point man at the Arizona Chamber in building permanent and limited organizational coalitions to support policy initiatives, legislation and political campaigns. Some of the issue areas where he has organized such coalitions include health care, property tax reduction, immigration reform and unemployment insurance reform. He also introduced the idea of formalizing the loose relationship between the state chamber of commerce and the scores of local chambers across the state into a standing committee of the Arizona Chamber. This Local Chambers Committee meets every week during the legislative session to discuss the business community’s legislative priorities and coordinate lobbying and grassroots efforts to support it. He has also developed grassroots lobbying strategies that include the creation of a 40,000-strong Arizona business database and the creation of web-based grassroots tools to communicate with congressional and state policymakers on critical issues for business.

Political Leadership: Quinlan has served on the steering committees and as a fundraiser for numerous ballot proposition campaigns, political action committees and independent expenditure efforts. Most notably: 2006’s Proposition 202 (against) establishing a state minimum wage, 2006’s Proposition 207 (in favor) eminent domain reform, 2004’s Proposition 101 (in favor) limiting state spending by ballot proposition, 2004’s Proposition 104 (in favor) initiative reform, 2004’s Proposition 200 (against) anti-immigration efforts, 2000’s Proposition 202 (against) growth boundaries. He has established and maintained standing political action committees for the Arizona Chamber including Arizona Chamber PAC and an independent expenditure committee, BizPAC, for which he served as treasurer for both. In his capacity as spokesperson for the Arizona Chamber, Quinlan has been a regular protagonist in print and broadcast media advocating the business community’s position on dozens of controversial political and legislative topics.

Political Research: Quinlan has long been an advocate of developing a robust political research effort at the Arizona Chamber and elsewhere. Early in his career, he served as a research intern for members of Congress and as an opposition research operative for the Republican National Committee during a presidential election year cycle. At the Arizona Chamber, Quinlan worked to build a policy research and analysis capability for the organization that included the development of a 501(c)(3) foundation to concentrate resources on providing the business community with valuable data to inform policy development. He has also had extensive experience developing and analyzing market research and polling instruments.

Event Management: Quinlan successfully integrated the Arizona Chamber events lineup into a coordinated package of old and new events that supported the public policy mission of the organization and tripled the gross income from events to over $500,000 annually. The annual gala Arizona Heritage Award dinner, annual golf classic and numerous issue-specific policy seminars (five Western Energy Summits, five Arizona Health Care Summits, eight Arizona Environmental Law Symposia, employment law seminars, an immigration reform summit and a litigation reform summit) all achieved new heights in attendance, profitability and relevance under Quinlan’s management. He also created the Arizona Chamber’s popular VIP speakers series that featured gubernatorial and congressional candidate debates, congressional and presidential candidate breakfasts or luncheons and events with Cabinet secretaries, Fortune 500 CEOs and Nobel Prize laureates.

Strategic Planning: As a senior executive staff member of the Arizona Chamber, Quinlan has been a key contributor to strategic planning and development for the organization covering marketing, membership, board recruitment and development, events, government relations and public relations.

Marketing and Branding: Quinlan has twice lead efforts to re-brand the organization including the most recent changes in 2005 that resulted in the changing of the organization’s name to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to better reflect the width and breath of the group’s membership and public policy focus. Both efforts included the adoption of new logos and the development and relaunch of the www.azchamber.com website.

Community and Civic Involvement: A graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor of arts in political communication, Quinlan is involved in many community and civic groups. Most notably: Gov. Janet Napolitano appointed him to serve on the Arizona State Quarter Commission, which is charged with developing the design of the U.S. Mint’s 2008 Arizona quarter and organizing the special coin’s rollout ceremonies in May 2008; he serves on the board of directors of Drugs Don't Work in Arizona!, a drug-free workplace initiative; and, on the advisory board of the Arizona School Choice Trust, which awards private school scholarships to needy K-12 students. He is also active in the Republican Party, serving as precinct committeeman and as Legislative District 20 2nd Vice Chairman. Quinlan and his wife Heidi live in Chandler with their two dogs (an Akita and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi).