Tucson City Council races are set


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

A little noticed deadline came and went on July 18 — the deadline for write-in candidates in the Tucson City Council primary election. I seem to recall that earlier this year, "Don't make me angry" Frank Antenori promised local media villagers that he was recruiting a candidate to run against Ward 6 Tucson Council Member Steve Kozachik, probably as an "independent" candidate.

Once again the bloviating Antenori is "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," and failed to deliver. Let's hope this gasbag's "United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives" fail to deliver on their "Health and Welfare Budget Reconciliation" referendum against Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration/expansion plan. Maybe then the media will finally stop fawning over Antenori.

The Tucson City Council races are now set:

Ward 3

Karin Uhlich (D) – incumbent

Ben Buehler-Garcia (R)

Ward 5

Richard Fimbres (D) – incumbent

Michael Polak II (R)

Ward 6

Steve Kozachik (D) – incumbent

No Opponent

The Pima County Republican Party's failure to recruit a candidate against Steve Kozachik creates a bit of a problem for the party. In order to spend money on "slate" pieces to promote their candidates, it needed three candidates. I am sure that we will now see some nefarious independent expenditure committee pop up to which this money will be redirected.

Without any primary contests, the primary election is a foregone conclusion. It's too bad that we can't simply deem the candidates elected at the primary and save the city the expense of holding a primary election.

This election will be a yawner until after Labor Day. The real action will be on the ballot measures in November.

"Plan Tucson," the general plan for the City of Tucson for the next decade will be on the ballot for public approval, as required by state law.

There are also three propositions:

Proposistion 201 (Initiative Petition #2013-I004) Sustainable Retirement Benefits Act (.pdf). The Committee for Sustainable Retirement in support of the initiative
("The Committee") is the local group fronting for this out-of-state
operation by a Virginia-based advocacy organization
started by longtime ballot initiative activist Paul Jacob, the
Liberty Initiative Fund, and financed in part by the National Taxpayers Union. This is the initiative to bankrupt the City of Tucson, and turn us into Detroit. Finance Director Kelly Gottschalk estimates the change would cost taxpayers $24 million extra in the
first year alone and tens of millions more each year for more than a
decade, placing the city in line for potential financial ruin.

The traffic enforcement cameras intiative, aka the red light runners initiative, by Tucson gadfly John Kromko and his group Tucson Traffic Justice, has not yet been qualified for the ballot and assigned a number at this time.

Proposistion 401 Permanent Increase to the City of Tucson's Base Expenditure Limit (.pdf). The City Council is asking voters to approve a $50 million increase to what it can spend in a given year. Voters will decide whether city can lift state spending cap : The request won't raise taxes
or bring in any other new revenues, but it will authorize the city to
spend an extra $50 million each year, if it can find the money. If voters turn down the measure, the city would be forced to make even deeper cuts to services. If nothing's done by 2016, the city's expected costs will exceed the state limit by $9.2 million.

Right now, even if the city finds the money to cover its shortages, it
wouldn't matter under state rules. The state requires any money over the
spending cap must be put aside. If not, the municipality could face
costly penalties.

Cities have two options to get around the limits, both requiring
voter/taxpayer approval: home rule or a permanent base increase.

Rule allows the city to adjust the limits each year to whatever fits
their needs, but it requires voter approval every four years. Tucson had
home rule from 2007-10, but it was voted out in the 2009 election.

permanent base increase only requires a single vote and, if approved,
would meet the city's spending needs well into the future.

The city last raised the base in 1987 by $46.9 million which was good enough to meet city spending needs for over two decades.

The spending-limit increase won't raise any additional revenue and
wouldn't result in a bigger tax bill for residents. It would just let
the city spend any money it collects.