John Lutes is a fixture of the Prescott Community.
A successful businessman on Whisky Row for over 40 years, first with the McMahon’s Furniture Store and then later with Arts Prescott Co-op and the Van Gogh’s Ear Art Gallery, Mr. Lutes has also devoted considerable time to assisting local non-profit organizations.
He is currently the Chairperson of the Yavapai Democratic Party.
Yavapai County includes all or parts of Prescott, Sedona, Peoria, Wickenburg, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Dewey-Humboldt, Prescott Valley, Jerome, Chino Valley, and Camp Verde.
A proud husband, father, and grandfather, Mr. Lutes is running to become part of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
If he wins election to the board, he wants to:
“….Help lead the conversation we need as a community about the issues that are important to us all, to listen to the diverse needs of our people, and to give
everyone a voice in our shared future. I want to see a common-sense approach to growth, water, and housing in Yavapai County that benefits everyone and preserves treasures like the Granite Dells, the Verde River, and our Courthouse Square.”
In helping plan for the future of the County, Mr. Lutes also hopes to:
“…..We must develop a plan to manage our prosperity and develop our economic sovereignty so that we keep the country in our county.”
Mr. Lutes graciously took the time to discuss his candidacy for the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.
The questions and his responses are below.
- Please tell the readers three ways the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors affects their lives?
- “(The Board) oversees a budget of a quarter of a billion tax dollars, including state and federal grants, covering roads and bridges, health services, public safety and other vital needs. I worry that people do not know the Supervisors exist or what they do.”
- “The Board helps determine local and property-tax rates. It’s like the U.S. Senate of the County.”
- “The long-range plans that the Supervisors shape and administer have huge implications for the shape and character of our urban and rural communities.”
- Please tell the readers how your education and experience has prepared you to serve on the board.
“Four decades of experience in the retail business on Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott sharpened what I learned in management and business at NAU. Running a retail business gives me a solid knowledge of the people and decision-makers in our area. I know the character of our community and what matters to our people.”
“My Degree is a BS in Forestry from NAU, which taught me a lot about systems integration. An environmental education teaches how everything in our world interacts with everything else, and no action is unto itself. Understanding perennial challenges like water are supported with a science-based view of how our natural and man-made systems interact.”
- Please describe how you would support
- Animal wellness, adoption, and protection:
“The level of sprawl-type developments seems to be ignoring animal corridors, and that affects our wildlife in adverse ways. That needs to be considered, and the way we develop should consider the impact on wildlife, including antelope, coyotes, red-tail hawks, and all other species. The way we approach this locally affects the world. I am a big promoter of animal adoption. My wife and I have always adopted from the shelters and pounds.”
2. Public safety from disease:
“The County health department should coordinate the response to disease. It should be encouraging the wearing of masks. I am concerned that our County budget will need revisions upward for pandemic preparedness. We need to be prepared for the future, and we need to be prepared at County Health Services.”
3. Ensuring immunizations are given to low income and homeless citizens:
“County Health Services should be in charge of overseeing this important function as a way to protect the whole population from the spread of disease.”
4. County Libraries:
“Where other Counties offer extensive parks-and-recreation systems and libraries, Yavapai has neglected this area as our population has grown. Expanding the parks-and-rec budget and putting it to sensible use is an initiative I’d like to have the Board consider.”
5. Veterans Services:
“The Prescott VA Center has a great reputation and our Veterans services are extremely well received. My wife’s career as a nurse at the VA has brought home to me the need to always care for our Veterans. and as County Supervisor I would continue to advocate for the support our local VA Center needs.”
6. Safeguarding waste, recycling, and sanitation:
“The County needs to get a better handle on the issue of wells and septic systems. One of the biggest issues in Yavapai County is the unregulated use of over 11,000 wells, most of them paired with septics. As long as that is the case, we will have a problem with clean, safe water. Another issue is the burying of garbage waste and the lack of regulations, especially when the waste becomes toxic, and threatens leaching into our aquifers. We should be more carefully regulating our landfills.”
“Our people feel that the County is spending money on infrastructure to promote growth and the kind of sprawl that does not help current residents. People don’t want to sit in traffic looking at a sea of rooftops. They want the openness, and infrastructure that promotes the safety and wellbeing of the people already living here. That’s where they want to see their tax dollars go in reference to infrastructure.”
“The largest spending project that the current County board is going with is a $65-million incarceration facility. On April 1 they approved it, in full knowledge of the economic downturn we have to anticipate with Covid-19. They should have delayed the project until they knew how far sales-tax revenues would fall, as well as declining property values. County voters turned down proposed sales-tax increases for the jail in the last two election cycles. In voting down the sales tax, they felt they were turning down the jail. Instead, the Supervisors increased the property tax by 18 percent without the voters’ approval, and this is upsetting voters. It does not sit well with them.”
- Please address other priorities, not covered in question four, as a member of the board you would like to pursue if elected.
“I would like to pursue responsible, forward-thinking stewardship of our shared resources, especially water. We have been treating our groundwater as more or less a fixed accounting problem rather than a vital and diminishing resource as our population grows. This needs to change. Uncontrolled urban sprawl is eroding our quality of life. We need a clearer vision for what we want the County to become long-term, and be willing to fight for that vision.”
- Please tell the reader anything you would like them to know not covered in the previous questions.
“My wife and I have made Yavapai County our home for four decades. We should preserve the best parts of our way of life for future generations. My daughter and her family live here, and I think we should preserve the treasures of Yavapai County such as the Verde River, the Granite Dells, and the Courthouse Square that we all cherish.”
Please remember to:
Turn out and vote on August 4, 2020, and November 3, 2020.
Register/sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) in Arizona or any state that allows early or absentee balloting and mail. Arizona residents can sign up at servicearizona.com
Arizona residents, mail your General Election ballot by October 28, 2020, for the November 3, 2020 election.
Check-in with the Secretary of State’s office where you live to verify your mail-in ballot was received, processed, verified, and counted.
Know the voter ID requirements in your state.
If you can, support Clean Election Candidates with a small contribution.
Also, please remember to stay informed on all the candidates and vote for all the offices on the ballot.
Also, remember to research all the ballot initiatives, sign to get them on the ballot if you support the measure, and vote on them as well.
Remember Primary Election Day is on August 4, 2020, and General Election Day is on November 3. 2020.