OK, Tedski, Az Blue Meanie, Tucson Vice, Red Star, Thumper, Nate1980 and all you other political junkies out there: Here's the TW Spread on next week's election. Feel free to place your bets in the comments section. Side wagers welcomed.
TRASOFF: 3 percentage points over Kozachik
UHLICH: 5 percentage points over Buehler-Garcia
Fimbres: 10 percentage points over McClusky
Prop 200 NO: 10 percentage points over Prop 200 YES
Prop 400 NO: 5 percentage points over Prop 400 YES
Prop 401 NO: 2 percentage points over Prop 401 YES
Prop 402 NO: 2 percentage points over Prop 402 YES
INCUMBENTS IN CAPS
Overall Turnout: 26 percent
Percentage of voters casting early ballots: 60 percent
Percentage of early ballots returned compared to number mailed: 60 percent
Winners will be determined by final canvass.
Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. Gambling on the outcome of elections is strictly prohibited by Arizona law.
The Roundtable gang makes election predictions and more, after the jump. My predictions: Democrats squeak by in City Council races; the Public Safety First Initiative loses and takes down the TUSD override with it.
City Manager Mike Letcher stops by the Friday Roundtable to talk about the cost of Prop 200, the Museum of Contemporary Art's move into the downtown firehouse and the hotel deal. Watch it after the jump.
The return rate of early ballots has yet to crest the 50 percent mark as of today, which means that more than half the ballots mailed out have yet to be cast. We'll stand by our earlier prediction that we'll see the lowest rate of return yet with early ballots. We'll also stand by the prediction that percentage of early votes will reach an all-time high and turnout on Election Day will be low.
We'll take a guess that overall turnout will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 percent of Tucson's roughly 224,000 voters.
Republicans have a higher rate of return, at 54 percent, while Democrats have finally passed the 50 percent mark. But Democrats have such a registration advantage that they have sent back nearly 4,600 more ballots than Republicans.
That does not mean that all those Democrats have voted for the Democratic candidates; we would not be surprised to find there is some crossover, or at least people sitting out the council races (or voting for Jasper the marbled polecat, as TW recommended). But it's a substantial advantage over the GOP, nonetheless.
Independents are showing the least interest in the races, with just four out of 10 returning ballots. That's no surprise, either, since they tend to have less political passion in the first place.
Here's the latest, with numbers as of today:
A total of 68,325 ballots had been mailed to city voters. Of those, 33,709 ballots had been returned, which comes out to roughly 49 percent.
I challenge anyone to enter the new Hog Pit Smokehouse Bar and Grill in the old Taco Bron location at 6910 E. Tanque Verde Road without embarking on an eating binge that will leave you sauce-smothered and craving more of what comes out of the magical smoker.
I'm just going to come clean here with how this went down. I typically don't eat meat—I don't enjoy the flavor of it, so I typically order veggie options. Well, that changed this Wednesday when I stopped in the Hog Pit to check it out for the Noshing Around column, only to find myself devouring a pulled-pork sandwich in my car a half-hour later. I almost licked the to-go container too. I am not joking.
It's the smell. The place is absolutely permeated with a smoky scent that is unlike any I've encountered. I felt entranced, intoxicated and mesmerized. It was like one of those cartoons where a scent cloud in the shape of a hand grabs the character and drags him around like a ragdoll.
The pulled pork was amazing, and judging from the happy looks on the faces of the people mowing through racks of baby-back ribs, those aren't too bad either.
Check out their Facebook page here. Call 722-4302 for more info.
The Prop 200 campaign sent out a bulletin yesterday assuring everyone that there would be plenty of money to pay for the Public Safety First Initiative, which is estimated to cost $150 million or so over the next five years and more than $60 million a year after that.
Realtor Bill Arnold cited a report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that estimates that revenues will grow by 7.8 percent in fiscal year 2011.
But he didn't mention that the report includes this "Warning and Caveat: Is is responsible to base a budget on 7.8 percent estimated growth in FY ’11? Economic forecasting has limited ability to predict future, especially in unprecendented times."
Even if the prediction is right, the state is now facing a $2 billion shortfall in the current year and $3 billion shortfall next year. It won't be until 2013 that the state will reach the amount of money in income taxes that in collected in 2005 and the amount of sales taxes in collected in 2006. That's a deep hole to climb out of.
And right now, city officials are estimating that it's going to take several years before Tucson's budget stabilizes. Once it does, we won't just need money for public safety. We'll need it expenses like pothole repair and upgrading our parks.
There's no doubt that, as more money comes to city, more should be invested in public safety, just as more was invested since 2006. But locking in spending based on an uncertain hope that enough money will be there in a few years sounds like the kind of reasoning that, well, a Realtor would use to sell you a house you really can't afford.
Here's the JLBC report, which isn't nearly as hopeful as Arnold would have you believe: jlbcProjections.pdf
Why? Because this is the best Valley of the Moon Halloween show I have seen in three seasons. I don't know if it's the presence of the Lee Koplin statues from Magic Carpet that now share space with George Phar Legler's 1920s fantasy land of sprites and gnomes, but it is Valley of the Moon at its best.
Volunteers have done a great job of cleaning up the grounds and making the Magic Carpet statues fit in with Legler's space.
You have tonight and tomorrow. Don't forget that magic stone the tour guide hands out at the beginning—you're going to need it.
From Valley of the Moon:
"13 Nights of Halloween - Magic Carpet Chaos at The Haunted Ruins"
The Evil One has returned and his minions are trying to hijack the new Magic Carpet Land from the Genie. Return to the land of Fairy and embark on a mystical adventure armed with nothing more than your Magic Stone to help protect Valley of the Moon from the forces of evil. Support historic fantasyland Valley of the Moon at its annual Halloween fundraiser.
Come enjoy the debut of Tucson's largest collection of preserved statues from the former Magic Carpet Golf.
* This year's fundraiser will also have snacks available for purchase from Moondog's hotdogs and Kettlecorn *
Shows are 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tours leave the gate every 30 minutes.
Children 7-13: $5
Free admission for children under 7
Hey, moms and dads!
Having a challenging time with your kids? You can audition for the fifth season of ABC's Supernanny with Jo Frost. The casting folks are scouting in Arizona to find families in need of Jo's wisdom. Here's part of the press release:
The casting team of ABC’s popular parenting series Supernanny is currently casting for season five. The casting team will be sending producers all around Arizona to find the next Supernanny family. An open casting call will be held Nov. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Museum of Natural History (53 N. Macdonald in Mesa).
This season producers are searching for families with unique interests; parents who have ordinary and extraordinary circumstances; teen moms; parents with mean girls or bullying boys; culturally diverse parents; and blended families where both sides are seeking help. Producers want families from every type of background who are ready for the opportunity of a lifetime—a visit from America’s number one nanny, Jo Frost!
If unable to audition in Mesa, interested moms and dads in need of help with their out-of-control kids may apply at www.supernanny.com. Parents can also call 877/NANNY TIME (1-877-626-6984) for more information or e-mail Supernanny@ShedMediaUS.com.