Monday, September 20, 2010

Marijuana, the City Council, Goddard and aliens-- events abound this week

What's a politically active Tucsonan to do this week? Today and tomorrow (September 20-21) multiple meetings and events have been scheduled on top of each other.

Today and tomorrow evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m., Women for Goddard is hosting phone-banking parties. We will be calling women voters and encouraging them to vote for Terry Goddard for Arizona governor. If you are a woman with a cell phone, contact Women for Goddard at for details.

Medical Marijuana
Also, tonight-- 5:15 p.m. at the Copper Room at Randolph Park-- Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall will tell us everything we ever wanted to know about marijuana-- or at least medical marijuana in Arizona. Arizona voters will get a chance to vote-- again-- on the decriminalization of medical marijuana. (Arizonans have approved medical marijuana at least twice before, but somehow the Legislature has been able to not enact the wishes of the voters.) Here is an excerpt from LaWall's promo:

Proposition 203 is a ballot initiative to be voted on during the general election on November 2, 2010. If approved by the voters, the initiative will enact a group of statutes titled the “Arizona Medical Marijuana Act,” to include a new Chapter 28.1 in Title 36 and amendment of Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 43-1201. If adopted, the new law would decriminalize possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana for certain purposes under state law and would provide for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries and offsite cultivation locations.

Tucson City Council
Also, Tuesday is another one of those big days for the Tucson City Council. Beginning at noon with a study session and continuing through the evening with the regular meeting and call to the audience, beginning at 5:30 p.m. For weeks, Councilman Steve Kozachik has been trying to hold the other council members' feet to the fire regarding budget cuts and the downtown hotel boondoggle.

As usual, the City Manager's office is telling voters to vote for another sales tax increase to pay for core services (police, fire, parks) or face a 15% across the board cut in services-- Plans A and B-- as if these are our only 2 choices. Kosachik unveiled his Plan C in late August and a Plan D more recently. You can read his ideas here.

I agree with Kozachik that there are some budget cuts the city could make now-- like getting rid of city cars and car allowances for staff, trimming top salaries by 2%, increasing some fees, etc. I also agree with him that they should stop fiddling around with that overly expensive downtown hotel project. Having worked in PR for many years and having planned events in Tucson, I strongly believe that we need a better hotel in downtown, but the long-term financial risk of this project is too great. As we know, the city has gotten itself into several bad land deals (1,2); this one would hurt us greatly if it did not live up to it's rosy projections.

Since the city is overly reliant on sales tax and tourism-- and both are down-- we need to make tough choices.

If you're sick of politics by the end of the week, check out The Glow in Oracle. Fifty local artists-- including moi-- will display lighted sculptures, while 20 musical acts provide the ambiance.

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