WE'RE TIRED OF:
· Growth Lobby sharks lying to us about radon in their latest ploy to force CAP water down our throats, and the throats of our children.
· City Council members who favor big-money interests like Wal-Mart and Home Depot over local merchants and local neighborhoods.
· Unlimited annexations to keep large-scale developers happy while we, the taxpayers, foot their infrastructure bills and cope with their sprawl.
· Hearing delightful rumors about the latest big employer to hit town, only to find out it's yet another low-wage phone service center.
· Duplicitous "Democrats" like Shirley Scott and George Miller pretending to be for the people while scrambling to serve overly demanding developers and cheap-shit, out-of-state corporations.
· Car-culture crazies clamoring for more and wider roads with no thought to the future.
· Phoenix-based billboard barons who believe they have the right to exhibit their hideous erections anywhere they please over our heads.
IN SHORT, WE'RE tired of B.S. as usual in this half-baked burg, and we're going to do something about it: we're voting for Molly McKasson. Molly's got a long history of trying to do the right thing in this community. And even if she hasn't always succeeded -- an impossible task given the greedy nature of Tucson's monied elite -- during her eight years on the City Council, her loyalties have always been firmly tied to us local yokels and our increasingly besieged barrios.
During her stint representing midtown Ward 6, McKasson learned the importance of setting policy that really solves problems, rather than repeatedly fighting political brushfires as they erupt in our neighborhoods. Through hard work, she learned how to handle tricky negotiations between residents and businesses so both sides could thrive.
McKasson believes in reaching out to city residents to learn what they want from government. She pushed for the Livable Tucson planning process that went into our neighborhoods to open a dialogue and create a blueprint for the City Council to set policy.
She's consistently spoken out on the need to hike wages for Tucson's poorest workers, chiefly single moms with children. She supports job-training programs that help the disadvantaged develop the skills they need to escape poverty. And she's worked to reform taxpayer-supported economic development programs that lure more low-wage employers to our city.
She's decried the way Tucson tax dollars are spent on the fringes of our ever-growing city, supporting sprawl instead of fixing streets and sidewalks in the neighborhoods of longtime residents. She's fought to make our streets safe not just for our exhaust-belching automobiles, but for pedestrians and bicyclists as well. And let's not forget: McKasson was the councilwoman who finally got that damn orange-cone-lined suicide lane off Fifth/Sixth Street a few years back.
She supports the idea of concentric impact fees for transportation that rise as development moves outward toward the city limits, matching the county's level at the border. That won't solve our transportation problems, but it will provide a revenue stream, however paltry, to supplement our desperate road needs. And -- what a concept! -- it may even help encourage development closer to existing infrastructure.
Frankly, we'd be happy if the buses just ran on time in this town. Or, dare we suggest, if the city built an actual sidewalk or two. And what's so bad about new residents picking up their own damn infrastructure costs for a change, instead of those of us who've lived here for years?
AS A COUNCILMEMBER, McKasson provided sterling service to her constituents in Ward 6; and despite the shrillness of her critics, we have every reason to expect she'll do the same for the general population when she's elected mayor in November. Clearly, no one else in the race is as capable or as strongly inclined to work on behalf of the greater good for the greatest number in our community.
For too long now the Growth Lobby lizards have had their way with our water supply, our streets, our neighborhoods, our small businesses, our schools and our politicians. Voting for McKasson this time around certainly won't repair all the damage they've done in the last decade, but it will put their rapacious, immoral kind on notice.
Molly McKasson for mayor -- this Tuesday, and the first Tuesday in November.
LIKE MOST AVERAGE Joes, we didn't know much about Betsy Bolding before she announced she was running for mayor.
Now that we've gotten to know her, we can tell you a few things: Bolding is bright, well-connected and possesses a good sense of humor.
Unfortunately, we can't tell you much more about her, because Bolding, although she's spent more money on her campaign than any other candidate, has avoided telling us what she stands for -- all the while hiding behind the stock reply that she needs more information before making a decision.
"When it comes out in your paper, it makes me look like I'm undecided," she says with a laugh, "but I talk about unintended consequences and assessing all of the facts and costs and so forth before you make decisions, and I think that's responsible government, not wishy-washy government."
But part of "leadership," which Betsy says she would bring to City Council, is making decisions, not just promising to make the right decision somewhere down the road.
While she campaigns by criticizing the Council as dysfunctional, Bolding doesn't seem likely to shake up the status quo -- which is one reason outgoing Mayor George Miller prefers her to Molly McKasson. A Bolding administration wouldn't be a disaster for the city, but it wouldn't bring much change, either.
IN HER THREE terms on the City Council, Janet Marcus has fought many worthwhile environmental and social battles.
But she has failed to show leadership on many important issues. When brown CAP water flowed into people's homes, Marcus stood by Tucson Water staffers who said the problem would soon go away.
Despite her strong environmental record, she's also failed to tackle the problems of sprawl. She repeatedly voted to subsidize sprawling development at the so-called solar village of Civano. Yes, the building methods at Civano are valuable -- but that doesn't change the fact that most Civano residents will be burning a whole lot of gasoline on their way to and from their environmentally sensitive community.
Marcus is smart woman with an admirable political pedigree that includes stints with Planned Parenthood and Common Cause. But she remains too trusting of city staff, and too unwilling to take on the entrenched status quo to earn our endorsement.
THROUGHOUT HIS FIRST campaign for office, Pat Darcy has been a straightforward candidate who hasn't blown a lot of smoke. But many of his "common-sense" solutions -- such as spinning off control of Tucson Water to a board of "experts" -- don't really solve problems. And Darcy suffers from the same indecisiveness that plagues Bolding, asking us to trust him to do the right thing.
Pat is right when he talks about how people have lost a sense of pride in their city, and that their quality of life has diminished. He's just misplaced the blame.
Darcy complains that neighborhood associations have paralyzed Tucson politics, but the real drop in our quality of life -- worsening traffic, climbing crime rates, water woes -- can be directly linked to Tucson's runaway growth, and the politicians who ignore the way we subsidize it.
Neighborhood associations are a natural response to a status quo that has left 20 percent of our population, many of them women and children, living in poverty. At some point, people simply say they've had enough -- and they refuse to allow bulldozers to knock down historic neighborhoods to build highways. They say no to developers who think nothing of dumping hundreds of apartment units on roads that can't handle the strain. They fight to stop small patches of quiet desert from being turned into subdivisions.
But Darcy's candor has been refreshing. With a little more experience in government and a change in focus, he could develop into a potent politician.