Pima County Bonds Election: Ally Miller and the ‘Potholes Preservation Committee’ vs. Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce

Several years ago, state Representative Terri Proud, Queen of the Teabaggers, accused Pima County of misusing bond money during a fight over Marana laying claim to a county wastewater treatment plant, and demanded a state audit. The Tea-Publican legislature approved the state audit and — shockers! — Pima County passed with flying colors. The State Auditor General’s Office determined the bonds had been effectively managed and administered without bias. For the full report see: bd-auditor.general.bond.audit.report.pdf.

Terri Proud has since managed to end her political career, Terri Proud, Arizona Official, Fired Over Comment About Women in Combat, but her successor as Queen of the Teabaggers, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, has kept her false meme about the use of Pima County Bonds alive.

Miller and her right-wing allies from the Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds political committee are the force behind No on Pima County Bonds. Political committee opposes Pima County bond proposals. No on Pima County Bonds is opposed to any of the bonds passing, including the bonds for street improvements.

A.MillerWhich is odd because as the Tucson Weekly reported, Miller had no trouble directing county bond money into her own neighborhood for street improvements to benefit herself, campaign contributors and a political ally. Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller Has Odd Transportation Priorities. And Miller made a big effin’ deal about potholes in her neighborhood with this photo of her being swallowed up by a pothole. Ally Miller’s 911 Call Makes Fark.Com – Tucson Weekly.

Maybe  the Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds committee should rename itself the “Potholes Preservation Committee” instead.

The Arizona Daily Star recently editorialized, Voters should look at county’s real record on bonds:

Pima County voters will decide on seven bond packages totaling more than $815.7 million in the general election Nov. 3 (early voting begins Oct. 8). The bond questions, which appear on the ballot as propositions, are divided into themed categories, with each including specific projects.

The seven propositions are:

Prop. 425: Road and Highway Improvements. $200 million

Prop. 426: Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training. $91 million

Prop. 427: Tourism Promotion. $98 million

Prop. 428: Parks and Recreational Facilities. $191 million

Prop. 429: Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing. $105 million

Prop. 430: Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation. $112 million

Prop. 431: Flood Control and Drainage. $17 million

The bonds would fund projects across Pima County.

The projects included were reviewed and selected from a lengthy list of requests by the 25-member Pima County Bond Advisory Committee.

The committee, which comprises residents representing the county, every city and town and two tribal governments, made its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which approved the projects to go before voters.

If all seven bond propositions pass, the owner of a home valued at about $152,000 — the average in Pima County — would pay roughly $18 more on their secondary property tax bill next year.

That amount would be less, of course, if not all bond proposals pass.

Mention bonds and Pima County in the same sentence and you’ll often hear allegations that the county has misspent money from previous bonds, that projects weren’t completed as described, that the money was moved around.

The accusations aren’t true, according to a 2013 state audit of Pima County’s 1997, 2004 and 2006 General Obligation bond programs.

In fact, the Arizona Auditor General commended the county for its bond process and projects.

Such assertions, many of which were lobbed by elected and government officials during the county’s fight with Marana over a wastewater treatment plant, prompted legislation in 2012 that required the Arizona Auditor General to investigate how the county handles bonds.

From the report:

“The County spent the (bond) proceeds in accordance with the voter-authorized purposes on projects approved by the Committee and the Board. In addition, through May 2012 the County had completed 477 of the 513 projects, or 93 percent, on or before the Board’s approved completion dates. Further, any changes in the approved allocation of bond proceeds or the approved completion dates of the projects were approved by the Board, without any indication in the Board’s records that changes were made to reward or punish an entity, party, or official who stood to benefit from or be affected by the project.”

This doesn’t mean changes weren’t made, but when they were, the Board of Supervisors reviewed and approved them and followed the proper procedure.

The audit also praised Pima County for the inclusive way it approaches bonds, focusing on projects that benefit the public most, no matter where they are, and working with other jurisdictions.

Voters have much to evaluate when considering the upcoming bond elections. The amount of money is significant — the full cost will be about $1 billion over the course of the bonds’ life.

But it’s crucial the proposals be judged on their own merits, instead of disproven allegations that Pima County has mishandled prior bond programs.

Mike Varney, President and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce, writes that the Chamber has endorsed Yes on Pima County Bonds. Get the facts. Then vote yes on Pima County bond (Inside Tucson Business Weekly):

In November, voters in Pima County will have the opportunity to decide what kind of community we want. The improvements we need are embodied in a seven-question Pima County bond package.  Voters will be able to vote on each of the seven questions individually. The Tucson Metro Chamber Board of Directors has examined the seven questions and endorses a YES vote on each.

Proposition 425 — Road and Highway Improvements

Proposition 426 — Economic Development, Libraries and Workforce Training

Proposition 427 —Tourism

Proposition 428 — Parks and Recreation

Proposition 429 — Public Health, Welfare, Safety, Neighborhoods and Housing

Proposition 430 — Natural Area Conservation and Historic Preservation

Proposition 431 — Flood Control and Drainage

Unfortunately, the “just say no to everything” crowd is already circling this important community issue. Myth, distortion and fear are their tactics, hoping to scare the uneducated into voting “no” in a vacuum of facts. So get the facts.

Pima County has a wealth of information about the November bond package at webcms.pima.gov/government/bonds/

Another good resource is www.yesonpimacountybonds.com. The “just say no to everything” crowd doesn’t like facts. They prey on the unsuspecting and the uneducated with myths. Here’s a great resource to separate myth from fact: www.yesonpimacountybonds.com/myths-vs-facts/

“If you don’t change, how can you get better?” Those words came from executive leadership consultant Bill Graham during his recent appearance here in Tucson. In November, voters will have a say in their quality of life, their children’s future and the ability of Pima County to compete for greater economic prosperity. Please get the facts and urge others to approve the bond package. If you would like to have a speaker visit with your company or organization, please contact me at mvarney@tucsonchamber.org

If we don’t invest in ourselves, rest assured no one else will. This November, vote YES on Pima County bonds. 

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