Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tucson City Charter: 'It's old, so let's get rid of it.'

This morning Arizona Public Media aired a balanced report on Prop 401 by Robert Rappaport.

Several pro-401 corporate talking heads were interviewed, and Tom Prezelski, former state legislator and chair of the grassroots Protect Local Control coalition, provided the anti-401 opinion.

Two of the pro-401 group's arguments that were aired today don't hold much water in my opinion.

A representative from Cox Communications who was identified as the head of the Yes on 401 group pumped up the cost savings which would be earned from consolidated elections. (I can't give you her name because she is not identified on the Yes on 401 website. I think that it is telling that they do not name the officers of their committee on their website. Maybe the pro-401 group is not as diverse as they would lead us to believe. Just look at the parent company's membership list.)

The nameless head of Yes on 401 said that by having the entire Tucson City Council elected in the same year we would not only same money, but the Council would be more likely to work together, since they were elected in the same year. (Well, maybe, but I don't see much evidence of this in the Congress or the Arizona Legislature. That assertion is just unsubstantiated PR, in my opinion.)

What the nameless head of Yes on 401 is not saying is that by electing the entire City Council in the same year, forces with enough money could sweep the entire Council-- thanks to the corporate personhood/campaign finance ruling from the Roberts court. Who would have the money to do this? The corporatists from the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC)-- Diamond Ventures, TEP, Jim Click, Chase Bank, O'Reilly Ventures, SW Gas, Tucson Realty and Trust, etc.-- the same people who are bringing you Prop 401. How convenient is that?

Another pro-401 argument that is regularly touted is the "it's-old-so-let's-get-rid-of-it" argument. Local lawyer Jeff Rogers offered that rationale this morning on the radio. Personally, I think this is the weakest argument the SALC corporatists have.

The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, the "Star Spangled Banner", the Statue of Liberty, the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the works of Shakespeare, my Mom, etc., etc. (should I go on?) are all older than Tucson's City Charter. Should we throw them out "because they're old?"

Let's not be fooled by big money. Vote No on 401.


  1. Pamela, I am interested why you don't think making M&C full time? I've been railing on that for years...I curious about your reasons - BILL FORD

    You can also see my Tucson blog @ http://urbanuniversityinterface.com/

  2. I do agree that M&C should receive full time salary, but with lay-offs and furloughs among city workers and others, this is not the time.

    I think this package should have been split up-- something that F. Ann Rodriguez suggested at a townhall in the spring. For example, I agree that the department heads should not get civil service protection. The city has repeatedly signed bad land deals that leads me to believe there is either corruption, incompetence, or both amongst the city staff.