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Tucson leaders need professional help after bond losses

In hatching and selling the 2015 bond program, county leaders played the game of thrones as they have in the past and wound up on the receiving end of a Red Wedding massacre. The broad community coalition responsible for the horror show should ask themselves, "Just how personal was the voter rebuke and how deep runs the antipathy to the players?"... Read more»

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4 comments on this story

1
116 comments
Nov 29, 2015, 2:33 pm
-0 +1

Did I miss it?  I’ll read again, but as far as political strategy goes, using the passage of the 2004 and 2006 bonds…ain’t apples to apples comparison.

You do point out that the collective WE of Tucson didn’t feel so broke at that time, but those earlier bond elections were SPECIAL ELECTIONS.  Held in May.  When only activists are inclined to show up at the polls to vote for their project.

I have not done my own research into registered voter turn out on those two special elections, but I would be amazed if it was even close to our 38 or so percent that showed up in November 2015.

Something to ponder.

2
22 comments
Nov 30, 2015, 3:05 am
-0 +1

This is true, TucsonGirl. There was a special election and the tax bills went out too. Some of this got left on the cutting room floor. However, I think maybe it was a wash because it was a city election bringing out a more progressive vote (less leave me alone) from the urban core. Whatever they gain in no voters, they probably thought they gained in potential yes voters. So I didn’t include it ... but it’s a good point you raise.

When these columns get long, I have to sort of leave some stuff to fully discuss the point rather than bullet point. Then again ... at 2200 words or so, I could have found a spot for it.

I appreciate your reading.

3
20 comments
Nov 30, 2015, 8:08 am
-0 +0

The bond election turnout was almost double the 2004 bond election, which itself was almost double the 1997 vote.  Green Valley turned out 70 %, Oro Valley 60 %—and voted No!  It’s pretty clear the voters have spoken, and any effort to revive pieces of the mess for 2016 will surely make people even more upset.  What part of “will of the people” and “the voters have spoken” do they not understand?

For many, even most, of us west of the Tucson Mountains it was about manipulation concerning the county administrator’s proposed Interstate 11 route through the Avra Valley—a highway that will destroy the communities, wildlife and archaeological treasures of the valley.

The “Sonoran Corridor,” originally labeled I-11 on county maps, could have been a fairly straight east-west road serving Raytheon, the airport, and UA Tech Park.  That gift of public money to profitable private corporations would have raised eyebrows, but the “jobs” mantra would likely have prevailed.

But Mr. Huckelberry chose to drop the road south to benefit a Diamond Ventures planned 3000 acre development, and then west to link to his Avra Valley route.  We saw it as a back-door effort to legitimize the Huckelberry Highway, and the efforts to put just the Sonoran Corridor, maybe with a few other projects for camoflauge (sp?), on the 2016 ballot just tells us we were right.  Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get us!

The Sonoran Corridor was added late, moved up in priority, tied to expected-to-pass road repairs, and first on the ballot.  Hmmm….

There was also a lot of dissembling.  Mr. Huckelberry and Mr. Hecker gave lengthy but non-responsive answers to pertinent questions, such as: “Isn’t it true that the projected property tax increase is based on a low interest rate while the bond measure allows that rate to go up to 8 percent?”  and “Isn’t it a fact that the bonds won’t be paid off until 2043?”

The No voters cut across party lines.  Despite Democrat endorsement, Democrats voited No.  Despite big business endorsement—and money—Republicans voted No.  Tea Party folks and Greens like me voted No.

The election could be looked at as a vote of no confidence.  In another system that would mean the prime minister—or in our case county administrator—would have to go.

4
7 comments
Nov 30, 2015, 8:36 am
-0 +0

Excellent analysis. The AF “Community” Partnership went rushing in to revive purchase of land near the D-M firing range. You might think there is a little money in the huge Defense budget to do this. Steve Kozachik went rushing into to try to sell Sonoran Corridor. He forgot that some voters didn’t like the way it was craftily added to “road repairs” that they thought was a sure winner. Sneaky.

Both forgot that the voters gave the whole package a resounding thumbs down. Coming back so soon might just tick people off.

Another reason the bond issue may have gone down is the growing number of retirees and failure to sell areas like Green Valley, Oro Valley, Tanque Verde, and Marana. Publicizing Huckleberry’s $320k salary didn’t help. Think he moved from his Flowing Wells home to the Foothills.
Great job!

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