Tucson City Council Election Preview

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Like a tree that falls in the woods, if election results are not published in the "paper of record," the Arizona Daily Star, did the election ever really occur?

I realize the Tucson City Council Primary Election was uncontested, but there are people who still want to see the election results — you know, that whole transparency in elections thing. For those of you who care about election results, you can see the results here:

Democratic primary

Ward 3
Karin Uhlich, incumbent, 3448

Ward 5
Richard Fimbres, incumbent, 2542

Ward 6
Steve Kozachik, incumbent, 4830

Republican Primary

Ward 3:
Ben Buehler-Garcia, 1572

Ward 5:
Mike Polak II, 710

For Republicans who still make noise about going to ward-only elections, this would be a harbinger of a rout in November. Lucky for them, lobbyist Jonathan "Payday" Paton's attempts to have our Tea-Publican overlords in the state of Maricopa legislature dictate to the citizens of Tucson how we must conduct our city council elections have all been struck down by the court.

So how are people voting with their dollars in this city council election?

Karin Uhlich's (8-23-13) report shows total contributions of $43,461.37, with total disbursements of $29,741.22, and clean elections matching funds in the amount of $21,773.00, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $35,493.15. An additional qualifying amount for clean elections matching funds in the amount of $14,074.00 was submitted at the same time. 

Ben Buehler-Garcia's (8-23-13) report shows total contributions of $53,606, with total disbursements of $11,129.93, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $42,476.07. No receipt of clean elections matching funds are reported. He is qualified to receive clean elections matching funds.

Richard Fimbres' (8-23-13) report shows total contributions of $37,531.00, with total disbursements of $10,786.42, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $26,744.58. No receipt of clean elections matching funds are reported, but a qualifying amount for clean elections matching funds in the amount of $25,687.00 was submitted on August 16, 2013.

Mike Polak's (8-23-13) report shows total contributions of $7,645.47, with total disbursements of $6,468.35, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $1,177.12. No receipt of clean elections matching funds are reported.

Steve Kozachik's (8-16-13) report shows total contributions of $42,090.00, with total disbursements of $24,903.66, and clean elections matching funds in the amount of $33,859.00, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $51,045.34.

The hot-button issue in this city council election will be the initiative regarding public employee pensions, i.e., the Initiative to Bankrupt the City of Tucson. That matter remains in court. The Arizona Daily Star reported online on Wednesday that Pension
dispute almost settled today
. That report claimed "The two sides in a lawsuit over whether an initiative overhauling the city pension system should appear on the November ballot are close to resolving their dispute and letting the voters decide the
issue." However, that report did not appear in the print edition of the Star on Thursday, and is not in the que of headlines for Wednesday or Thursday. My sources have not yet got back to me on whether an agreement has been struck and the court has ruled.

The real money in this city council race is going to be spent by Political Action Committees and Independent Expenditure Committees with anonymous donors, many or most of whom are not even residents of Tucson.

The Committee for Sustainable Retirement in Support of Initiative Petition No. 2013-I004 is now the "Yes on 201 Committee." Its (8-2-13) report shows total contributions of $159,917.00, with total disbursements of $159.339.72, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $585.45. Don't be fooled. This committe is a front group for Virginia-based ballot initiative activist Paul Jacob, and his Liberty Initiative Fund. (According to his website, a group called Cincinnati for Pension Reform launched a
petition drive hoping to gather the 7,443 voter signatures required to
place a pension reform charter amendment on this November’s city ballot). Additional funding to date has come from another out-of-state organization, the National Taxpayers Union, an allegedly "nonpartisan" (for 501(c) tax status) right-wing anti-tax organization.

According to Ballotpedia, Liberty Initiative Fund president "Paul Jacob stated that the Liberty Initiative Fund started in 2012 "to put measures on the ballot that will expand and protect individual freedom, economic freedom, and that will hold government accountable." It has been involved in measures across Colorado, Washington, Arkansas, North Dakota, Montana, Arizona and Nevada. Jacob also said, "We’re relatively a pretty small player, but we think that’s going to change, and change rapidly." There is no information online about its board of directors.

Paul Jacob is also president of Citizens in Charge, a 501 (c) (4) advocacy organization that serves as a
partner to Citizens in Charge Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) in protecting and expanding the
initiative and referendum process. (CICF is non-partisan and does not support any initiatives, referenda, or candidates for office.)

The board of directors of Citizens in Charge includes Eric O'Keefe, a private investor and chairman and CEO of Sam Adams Alliance, Dennis Polhill, a Senior Fellow in Public Infrastructure at the Independence Institute in Colorado, William "Bill" Redpath, former chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2006-2010 and is Vice President of a financial consulting firm, and John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute.

The board of directors of Citizens in Charge Foundation includes Eric O'Keefe, a private investor and chairman and CEO of Sam Adams Alliance, Theresa Amato,  "a public advocate and author,"  Michael Foudy, a principal founder and managing member of ATB Productions, LLC, and Chairman of the Board at Stonehenge Capital Partners, Inc. and Toto Communications, Inc., and also Chief Marketing Officer at Gramercy LLC and former founding chairman of AIMS Worldwide, Inc., Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), William "Bill" Redpath, former chairman of the Libertarian Party from 2006-2010 and is Vice President of a financial consulting firm, and John Woodcock III, Chairman of Connecticut Citizens for Ballot
Initiative, CCBI, a non-partisan, issue neutral, political organization
educating citizens/voters, to support ballot initiative in the State of
Connecticut.

In other words, a who's who of anti-tax Libertarian and Tea Party wingnuts. Several
of these individuals serve on the board of other right-wing
organizations not detailed here.

Paul Jacob also writes a weekly column for Townhall.com, and his short radio commentary feature, "Common Sense," is syndicated by the Citizens In Charge Foundation on over 120 radio stations around the U.S. "On October 2, 2007, Jacob was formally indicted in Oklahoma on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the state on the matter of hiring out-of-state petitioners. Jacob claimed the petition's organizers had sought, and received, approval for this from the Oklahoma Secretary of State." These same issues are raised in the Pima County Superior Court case. "On December 18, 2008 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the underlying Oklahoma law that barred out of state petition circulators, noting that it was in violation of the First Amendment." In Arizona, out of state petition circulators have to register with the Arizona Secretary of State before circulating petitions.

Another political action commitee filed with the Tucson City Clerk is "Protecting Citizens and Public Safety PAC," filed by Delmas Dawley (employer: PCC) and Derrick Dawley (employer: Fry's Food). The PAC's (8-23-13) report shows total contributions of only $85.00. I have no idea who these guys are or for whom they are fronting.

There are the usual suspects, including "Southern Arizona Conservative PAC." Its (8-20-13) report shows total contributions of $8,673.97, with total disbursements of $1,962.79, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $11,109.73. The "Tucson Police Officers Association" (8-23-13) report shows $2,486.00 with a carry-over to a previous balance of $56,257.60, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $58,743.60.

The "Southern Arizona Business PAC" (Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce) (8-19-13) report shows total contributions of $109.06 with a carry-over to a previous balance of $8,149.62, with total disbursements of $1,000.00, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $7,258.88.

The "SAHBA PAC Issues Fund" (8-20-13) report shows total contributions of $10,425.00 with a carry-over to a previous balance of $8,161.02, with total disbursements of $2,445.99, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $16,140.03.

The "SAHBA Candidate PAC" (8-20-13) report shows total contributions of $3,895.00 with a carry-over to a previous balance of $2,714.38, with total disbursements of $6,363.59, leaving cash on hand in the amount of $1,814.38.

A Political Committee named "Tucsonans for Truth" to oppose the Initiative Petition No. 2013-I004 (presumably to become the "No on 201 Committee"), was filed in July by former Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup and former Tucson City Manager Michael Heinz. No financial report has been filed to date.

There are currently no active independent Expenditure Committees filed with the Tucson City Clerk, but my "Spidey senses" tell me that this may change soon.

The other issue on the ballot is Proposition 401 Permanent Increase to the City of Tucson's Base Expenditure Limit, which is critical to the City of Tucson's ability to budget, but it is likely to be drowned out by the fight over the Initiative to Bankrupt the City of Tucson (if it qualifies for the ballot).

2 responses to “Tucson City Council Election Preview

  1. Readers should see Tom Prezelski’s post on blog trolls. You know the rule: “Don’t feed the trolls.”

  2. You can crow all you want about this Pyrrhic victory, the bottom line is that Tucson is living proof that the arizona democrat party shouldn’t be trusted to run anything more than a dairy queen.