As to be expected during election season, I am greeted with campaign ads in my mailbox nearly everyday.
Yesterday, I received the above pro-Prop 401 card (without the circles and numbers, of course). This is one deceptive ad; in fact the statements circled in blue are blatant lies. (The items circled in yellow can be dismissed as unsubstantiated public relations claims.)
Prop 401 does absolutely NOTHING to (1) streamline city government or (2) cut bureaucracy. Prop 401 changes some hiring and firing procedures, but these changes actually strengthen the city's bureaucracy by further consolidating power in the office of the unelected city manager. No bureaucratic positions are eliminated, no budgets are cut, and no departments are eliminated by Prop 401.
Regarding (3) hold bureaucrats accountable, I contend that only elected officials are accountable to the voters-- not bureaucrats. Less government accountability is my biggest beef with Prop 401. By taking power away from the Mayor and City Council (while at the same time more than doubling their salaries), Prop 401 strengthens bureaucracy. (Yes, with Prop 401, certain department heads will lose their civil service protection, but the bureaucrats in these positions never have been accountable to voters, so it's a bit of a red herring, in my opinion.)
So, I'd like to see the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) send out a mailer that tells what Prop 401 actually does:
1- Prop 401 more than doubles the salaries of the Mayor and Council, while diminishing their power.
2- Prop 401 changes hiring and firing processes to increase the power of the unelected city manager.
3- Prop 401 eliminates civil service protection for some department heads and allows the unelected city manager to more easily eliminate staff, which also increases his power.
4- Prop 401 eliminates the off-year elections, thus, enabling the election of the Mayor and all City Council members in the same year. (This saves money, but also potentially weakens our elected officials. SALC members have big bucks; if the entire city government is up for election in the same year, they could easily flood the election with money in an attempt to take over the Democratically-controlled City Council in one fell swoop.)
The bottomline is that Prop 401 is an attempt by big business to weaken and, therefore, control Tucson city government (the way they control the Arizona Legislature). These corporatists are using money and lies to sway your vote.
One look at the Yes on Prop 401 campaign finance reports tells us who the puppeteer is behind the curtain-- big business. Yes on Prop 401 has received a handful of $100 donations, but by far the donations in support of Prop 401 are $500- $10,000 donations from businesses. What are they doing with these funds? Yes on Prop 401 has paid thousands of dollars to a public relations firm, a marketing firm, and a paid lobbyist-- to sway your vote.
In stark contract, the grassroots, all-volunteer Protect Local Control Vote No on Prop 401 group has $70 in the bank.
Don't buy the lie. Vote NO on Prop 401.
P.S.-- As a snarky side note to the PR firm, you've got a run-on sentence in the blue section at the top. :)
UPDATE October 4: The Arizona Daily Star posted a story about the groups for and against Prop 401. They reported that as of last week, Prop 401 supporters have raised $47.000, while the Protect Local Control committee has raised $320.