Here's how it works: We've got keen insights for every possible election outcome. All you need to do is find out the actual results and then read the corresponding paragraphs below to learn what it all means for Tucson's future.
• If Proposition 200 fails: John Kromko's Tucson Water Users' Bill of Rights was doomed for the simple reason that the former state lawmaker thought he could just toss a proposition on the ballot without doing the hard work of actual campaigning.
Sure, Prop 200 offered plenty to appeal to a wide range of Tucsonans: The anti-tax folks loved the repeal of the $14-a-month garbage fee; the anti-growth crowd liked the sound of the ban on new water connections; and just about everyone feels queasy about the idea of having treated sewer water recycled for household use.
But after Kromko got his measure on the ballot, he didn't raise any real money for the campaign. Instead, he tried to run some sort of retro campaign that might have worked 20 years ago. He hit up neighborhood meetings, argued with editorial boards and put up some big signs on the side of the road, but he couldn't even bother to find someone with rudimentary computer skills to give his primitive Web page a little polish and an occasional update.
Meanwhile, opponents of the measure--a gang that ranged from Congressman Raul Grijalva and the Pima County Interfaith Council to the homebuilders, car dealers and other agents of The Powers That Be--spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $800,000 to get out their message that Prop 200 was a hodgepodge of half-baked ideas.
Against that kind of tide--including opposition from the two dailies and the Weekly--Kromko was only going to appeal to people who distrust government so much that they want to starve it and/or simply throw a giant spoke into its gears to see what'll happen. It appears that wasn't a majority of the electorate this year.
• If Prop 200 passes: In the upset of the year, John Kromko proved once again that he's a wily force to be reckoned with. Kromko showed that despite all the money spent against Prop 200 (and the Growth Lobby spent $800,00 of its ill-gotten gains at a disinformation campaign that voters didn't buy for a second), there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Tucson voters have declared that they know the Tucson City Council simply can't be trusted with our tax dollars or our water supply. The passage of Prop 200 repeals the tyrannical garbage tax (which has increased a shocking seven-fold under Mayor Bob Walkup!), stops our runaway growth, puts an end to all those billion-dollar giveaways to phony "downtown revitalizers" and upends the status quo. We wouldn't be surprised if it also cures a fatal illness or two down the line.
• If Mayor Bob Walkup wins: Mayor Bob Walkup won re-election way back in the summer, when no Democrat filed to run. That was a big change from 2005, when an energized Democratic slate took out Republicans Kathleen Dunbar and Fred Ronstadt by hammering them with complaints ranging from the unfair garbage fee to accusations of them selling out to Big Oil. Democrats would have had a tough time repeating that strategy against Walkup, mainly because after getting elected, they did very little to actually follow up on those gripes.
• If Green Party mayoral candidate Dave Croteau wins: In the upset of the year, Green Dave Croteau shattered political barriers, demonstrating there's no need for the traditional trappings of a campaign--mailers, phone banks, radio ads--when you have the power of an idea whose time has come. Croteau's message of sustainability, relocalization and a waterless composting toilet in every home has upended the status quo. Between his win and the passage of Prop 200, the voters of Tucson have shown the Growth Lobby that they will no longer oil the bulldozers of the growth machine with their blood, sweat and tears. Expect Croteau to move swiftly to implement his agenda, starting with an ordinance requiring all households to spend at least 60 percent of their monthly disposable income at stores and restaurants owned by Tucsonans.
• If Rodney Glassman wins in Ward 2: Democrat Rodney Glassman ran a campaign that did everything right, from maxing out on $20 contributions to promising a seat at the table for everyone. Now comes the tough part: governing. Glassman will face his first true test when the time comes to cast a vote that has the Sierra Club on one side and the Growth Lobby on the other.
• If Lori Oien wins in Ward 2: In the upset of the year, Republican Lori Oien managed to defeat Democrat Rodney Glassman despite Glassman's campaign war chest, voter-registration advantage and political backing. Oien won because Republicans, independents and even some Democrats recognized that Glassman was the wrong man for the job at a time when the Democrats are leading the city into ruin.
• If Regina Romero wins in Ward 1: Over the course of the campaign season, a lot has been said about how Rodney Glassman built a political network. That's overshadowed how well Democrat Regina Romero built hers--working with youth-employment programs and neighborhoods in Pima County government, sitting on various boards around town, doing a brief stint in Councilwoman Karin Uhlich's office and campaigning on behalf of Congressman Raul Grijalva and others. As result, once it was clear that it was time for Councilman José Ibarra to go, she didn't have to break a sweat as she strolled to victory in both the primary and general election over underfunded and rookie candidates.
• If Beryl Baker wins in Ward 1: In the upset of the year, Green Party candidate Beryl Baker managed to show that the Grijalva machine ain't what it's cracked up to be. The people of Tucson responded to Baker's message of sustainability, neighborhood engagement and--what was the other thing? We're drawing a blank.
• If Shirley Scott wins in Ward 4: What's to say about Democrat Shirley Scott winning a fourth term? How about something like: We now look to Shirley Scott to tackle the pressing issues facing our community and regional this-and-that and sustainability or whatev, yadda, yadda, yadda.
• If Dan Spahr wins in Ward 4: In the upset of the year, Republican Dan Spahr, while running a minimalist campaign, did what no Republican has accomplished in years: He knocked out a Democratic incumbent. Based on what we saw of Spahr's effort, we can only surmise that voters rallied to his side when he went from supporting some sort of garbage fee to calling for its repeal between the primary and general elections. If he follows standard Tucson City Council procedure, he'll be back to supporting the fee by the time he's sworn into office.
• If voters approve Prop 100: At long last, Tucsonans have recognized that we get what we pay for on the City Council. By granting council members a pay raise, voters can now expect better candidates to give a second thought to serving the people.
• If voters reject Prop 100: A raise for these bums? Fuhgedaboudit!