Incumbent Ray Carroll Battles Brenda Even And Ken Marcus For The Right To Represent This Sprawling District.
By Chris Limberis
VOTERS WHO OWN Pima County's District 4 got rid of nice-but-dim Paul Marsh in 1996 and replaced him with nice-and-bright John Even.
A lawyer, real-estate investor and member of the Pima Community College Board, Even was a low-key but effective gentleman who was working to become a voice of moderation and mediation on the Board of Supervisors.
But Even was ill with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and died after just four months into his four-year term.
Even's widow, Brenda, plus Ray Carroll and Ken Marcus were all in the long line of people wanting the appointment to serve 15 months of Even's term.
They wanted the job then, and they want it now. Only Carroll's position has changed. He won the appointment on a vote so shaky that it required Clerk of the Board Lori Godoshian to break a tie.
Now voters in District 4, which includes Tucson's eastside, Green Valley, Mount Lemmon, and the Rincon and Tanque Verde valleys, will choose again on September 8 from among Carroll and his two challengers in a special Republican primary that will likely determine who gets the $52,000-a-year job until the end of 2000.
Republicans control District 4. They outnumber Democrats 47,463 to 35,035, although their registration is just under half of the total number of voters--96,338. No Democrat filed for nomination and the right to challenge the GOP winner in the November 3 general election. Still, there could be an independent candidate or write-in. But nobody but a Republican has represented District 4 since its creation in 1972, when the Board of Supervisors was expanded from three members to five.
Voters in District 4 have been down part of this path before. They also had an appointee, Pat Lopez, serve out the term of Conrad Joyner, who was forced to resign when he made an ill-planned run for Congress in 1982. Funeral home and cemetery executive Reg Morrison ended Lopez's brief spin in the District 4 seat in 1984.
So tight is the GOP hold on the District 4 seat that Republicanism is a key issue. While the 36-year-old Carroll, a charming, if sometimes stumbling Republican convert, has the advantage of incumbency, Even and Marcus are on the attack at every opportunity. Both try to ridicule and discredit Carroll for switching from the Democratic Party during Marsh's term. Carroll, meanwhile, counters with his list of prominent Republican supporters.
Carroll grew up with Chicago Democratic politics. His father was a city worker and a Daly product. His mother was a county nurse.
After graduating from Regis University, a small Catholic school in Denver, Carroll moved to Tucson. He was an agent for Grubb & Ellis Commercial Real Estate when he was appointed to the Board of Supervisors. His wife, Ann Touche, is an owner of Mills-Touche, an upscale clothing store and is the niece of a partner in the prominent insurance firm Lovitt-Touche.
Even, 59, also is from Illinois. She has a doctorate from the University of Arizona and is a counselor and investor. She has been on the Governing Board of the Tucson Unified School District for eight years.
Even says her experience over nearly 30 years in Tucson makes her more qualified than Carroll or Marcus.
Marcus, 39, grew up in Nogales and Santa Cruz County and is ending a job as finance director with Bell & Howell Cope because the company is pulling out of Tucson. He has two degrees from the UA.
Traditionally pro-business and pro-development, District 4 is changing, though perhaps not as rapidly as other once strongly pro-development areas. The District has seen population increases in the Tanque Verde Valley, the Rincon Valley as well as near the Santa Rita Mountains and around Green Valley.
Framing the growth issue is the proposed Canoa Ranch development, which would extend the retirement community of Green Valley south.
Carroll locked up his appointment last year by coming out against the Canoa proposal, offered by Fairfield Development. He has continued his opposition to the development plan and has been working on an alternative proposal--to have the historic Canoa Ranch house become a western museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
Marcus also has been against the Canoa Ranch development proposal.
As she has done with most issues, Even has not given a clear answer on Canoa, saying instead that she needs to study and evaluate the plan.
THE RACE ALSO has some surprises when it comes to development issues. Even has called for the county to elevate and solidify the position of planner, something downgraded in the previous term. On the issue of development impact fees, she reverts to study mode, while Carroll doesn't hesitate to push for full cost recovery. Marcus, meanwhile, may have difficulty increasing the current $1,550-per-house fee, saying he doesn't want such a cost to be passed on to home buyers or to be so high that it would discourage home purchases.
Transportation is perhaps the only issue about which Even is unafraid to give some detail. She and Marcus talk about staggered work schedules and commutes. But she's also a proponent of road work--expansion and construction. She wants to revive the Rillito-Pantano Parkway, which voters crushed in 1984 via the Keep it Kinky campaign.
All three candidates vow to control or cut taxes. While Even downplays Carroll's experience, he voted against a tax increase last year. Property taxes in TUSD have risen 51 percent since Even joined the TUSD Governing Board.
Carroll also closed the deal, for his appointment last year, with Grijalva on the issue of healthcare. He pledged he wouldn't tamper with or seek to dismantle the county's healthcare system, the $200-million-plus operation that includes Kino Community Hospital, Posada del Sol nursing home as well as the county HMO and clinics. Reacting in part to the repeated threat from three-term Supervisor Ed Moore to close Kino and most of the health system, Grijalva was successful in insulating it with another board. But that, too, has been controversial because of control given to an unelected, self-appointing panel. Additional controversy centers around the system's administrator, Dr. Richard Carmona.
Even's answers seem to indicate county healtchare is an experiment, but she has provided no clue whether she'll allow it to continue. Marcus would not. But his accountant's thrust, particularly on Kino, is puzzling.
Marcus subscribes to the theory advanced by his friend and supporter Supervisor Sharon Bronson, the Democrat who succeeded Moore. Like Moore, Bronson says Kino is in debt to the county general fund--primarily property taxpayers--for upwards of $18 million.
But there is no clamor among voters on the issue. And Marcus further loses audiences when he goes off on arcane discussions about accounting procedures that he says require Kino to repay this debt. His reasoning? Kino, for accounting purposes, was designed to run on revenues. Shortfalls are made up with general fund subsidies if not through other healthcare revenues. The term used for Kino and other revenue departments in the county is "Enterprise Fund."
Marcus's argument falters after examination of other revenue or enterprise departments in the county that failed to run on their own revenues. The county's Legal Services Building, formerly known as the Great American Tower and Home Federal Tower, is an example of such a fund or department failing to repay general fund subsidies. The Rillito Race Track is another example.
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