Wednesday, February 16, 2011

McClusky: "We Need to Stop Wasting Money"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Shaun McClusky, the only Republican to have announced a bid for mayor of Tucson this year, responds to last week's Q&A with Democratic mayoral candidate Jonathan Rothschild:

He wants to concentrate on the revenue side: It’s what I’ve been saying for the last two years—we need to grow the pie. But that’s not going to happen overnight, and we need a sensible budget management plan to navigate the challenges we face in the next couple of years. Also, the Democrat run city council has been anything but business friendly in recent years, is Rothschild going to be able to take on his own party and really reform our land use and sign codes? Is he going to be able to take on the city bureaucracy and city manager his party has supported all these years?

Unfair perception of City Government: If Jonathan Rothschild doesn’t think our city government is being mismanaged, he hasn’t been paying enough attention in recent years.

Rio-Nuevo is not the fault of our current government / Loss of funds isn’t our fault: Of course it’s our fault, we’ve wasted hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s no reason to think that additional funds would be spent any more effectively than it has in the past. The people who are supporting Mr. Rothschild are the same people who have

directed vast amounts of taxpayer money into the pockets of consultants, studies and unproductive projects. If we keep doing the same thing over and over, how can we expect better results?

Mini-dorms: He doesn’t give an answer. Everyone says they want “infill” development, which is environmentally beneficial and cost efficient, just not in their neighborhood. Is there an easy answer? No. There are certainly some legitimate concerns among the neighborhood associations related to mini-dorms, but we have to be careful that any laws we pass don’t have unintended consequences. If you pass a law saying that no more than two unrelated people to live in a house, what about a single parent with two children who wants to move in with their boyfriend or girlfriend? What about assisted-living and other forms of senior housing?

Says the Trolley to Nowhere is an economic development tool / most of the money is from the federal government: Taxpayer dollars are taxpayer dollars no matter which government entity is providing them, but the real issue here is that nothing we’ve tried to do has come in anywhere close to the amount originally budgeted for it. Every time the city releases a new cost estimate on a project, the dollar amount goes up, and there’s no taxpayer approval for that. We need to stop wasting money and actually get things done. A part of that probably involves revising our bid processes since it’s pretty clear that a lot of the bids we’ve been accepting, whether on Rio Nuevo projects or other development are mere fantasies. Other cities, including Portland, OR and Austin, TX have created bid-processes that protect their taxpayers from cost over-runs. We need to look at doing the same.

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