The 'Tucson Weekly' Endorsements Recap

With Nov. 6 a few short days away, we present a final look at our recommendations

A few weeks back, the Tucson Weekly editorial board shared our recommendations for some of the competitive races in this year's election.

Here's a recap. If you want to read more, see the full treatment here.

President: Barack Obama

He's done a fine job given what he was facing when he came into office, and he's way better than the alternative. Vote Obama.

U.S. Senate: Richard Carmona

Richard Carmona is independent, smart and hard-working. His background growing up poor in New York City gives him insight into the struggles of everyday Arizonans, and his résumé shows that he's faced plenty of adversity with courage and backbone.

U.S. Congress, District 1: No Recommendation

We're disappointed with both choices. Republican Jonathan Paton has done some good work in his political career, but these days, he too often panders to the right-wing and the Tea Party. Meanwhile, Ann Kirkpatrick has been distant and angry throughout her campaign, leaving us worried about how much she'd do for Southern Arizona. We appreciate that she supported the Affordable Care Act, but we were disappointed by a campaign ad that was extraordinarily dishonest. Make your own pick.

U.S. Congress, District 2: Ron Barber

We like Congressman Ron Barber's deep Tucson roots and his dedication to public service. He's spent his career helping kids with developmental disabilities at the state level, and aiding people throughout Southern Arizona as the district director for Gabrielle Giffords. He's only had a few months on the job as a congressman, but he's been continuing her legacy of constituent service and moderate politics.

U.S. Congress, District 3: Raúl Grijalva

Congressman Raul Grijalva leans pretty far to the left, but he stands head and shoulders above Republican challenger Gabriela Saucedo Mercer.

Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 1: Nancy Young Wright

Nancy Young Wright uncovered and cleaned up corruption in the Amphitheater School District before going on to support teachers, kids, university students and the downtrodden while in the Arizona Legislature. She knows the challenges that Pima County faces in balancing environmental and development concerns. Her opponent, Ally Miller, is a Tea Party organizer who will only work for narrow right-wing interests and whose antagonistic approach to politics will hurt her ability to deliver constituent service.

Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 2: Ramón Valadez

Democrat Ramón Valadez is a sharp technocrat with a keen understanding of the county's business.

Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Sharon Bronson

During her 16 years on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Democrat Sharon Bronson has worked to create the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, protecting sensitive areas and giving developers certainty about where they can build; stabilized a troubled Kino Hospital and passed along management to University Physicians; expanded park space, including the interconnected river parks; and, in recent years, kept property taxes stable.

Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 5: Richard Elías

Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías has a much better grasp of the county's business than opponent Fernando Gonzales.

Pima County Sheriff: Clarence Dupnik

Clarence Dupnik has served our community as a cop for more than a half-century and as the county sheriff for more than three decades. Unlike some Arizona sheriffs, he has never abused and humiliated prisoners for political gain; he hasn't used his job to build a reputation to run for higher office; and he hasn't rounded up people because their skin happened to be brown.

Pima County Treasurer: Beth Ford

Republican Beth Ford has done a good job of managing the accounts of the many jurisdictions in Pima County over her 12 years as Pima County treasurer, so we don't see any reason to fire her.

Pima County Recorder: F. Ann Rodriguez

Democrat F. Ann Rodriguez has done an outstanding job of modernizing the Recorder's Office for the 21st century and is responsive to taxpayers.

Arizona House of Representatives, District 9: Mohur Sarah Sidhwa and Victoria Steele

Mohur Sarah Sidhwa and Victoria Steele are pro-choice women who support abortion rights, public schools and the extension of the sales tax to boost education spending, which has been chopped far too much by Republicans in recent years.

Arizona Senate, District 9: Steve Farley

Democrat Steve Farley has a solid record of leadership. He's a wonk who knows how to get into the details of policy.

Arizona House of Representatives, District 10: Bruce Wheeler and Stefanie Mach

Democrat Bruce Wheeler has fought the good fight at the Arizona Legislature, and we're confident that political rookie Stefanie Mach will do the same.

Arizona Senate, District 10: David Bradley

When he served in the Legislature, Democrat David Bradley demonstrated a keen grasp of policy and an understanding that state government needs to support public schools, health care for Arizonans below the poverty level, state parks, tourism and economic development.

Arizona House of Representatives, District 11: Dave Joseph

Democrat Dave Joseph has a solid background in the business of running television stations and is familiar with transportation issues thanks to his work with the Regional Transportation Authority.

Arizona Senate: Legislative District 11: Jo Holt

We'd take a radioactive packrat over state Sen. Al Melvin—and we think Democrat Jo Holt is better than a radioactive packrat.

Arizona Corporation Commission: Paul Newman, Sandra Kennedy and Marcia Busching

These three Democrats are solidly behind the expansion of solar power in Arizona, while the GOP candidates would likely undermine those efforts. Vote Newman, Kennedy and Busching.

Tucson Unified School District Board: Ralph Ellinwood and Cam Juarez

Our editorial board was solidly behind Ralph Ellinwood and Cam Juarez, but was split on the third spot, with some of us supporting Betts Putnam-Hidalgo, and others preferring Kristel Foster. Any of the four would be better than the incumbents.

Proposition 114 (Crime-Victim Liability): No

This question is a solution searching for a problem that doesn't really exist and could have unintended consequences.

Proposition 115 (Judiciary Appointments): No

Arizona's judiciary is one the few parts of our government that we can be proud of. This would further politicize it by giving the governor more power to appoint judges.

Proposition 116 (Property Tax Assessments): Yes

It's a property-tax break for businesses that's more generous than we would like, but we can live with it.

Proposition 117 (Property Tax Assessment Caps): No

Proposition 117 is another effort to mess with the property-tax system that would lead, over time, to inequitable taxation on similar types of property.

Proposition 118 (Permanent Funding): Yes

This would essentially temporarily increase the amount of funding that goes to schools and other beneficiaries via the trusts that are invested in on their behalf.

Proposition 119 (State Trust Lands): Yes

A land-swap proposition that has the support of lawmakers, developers, environmentalists and other stakeholders, including the local Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, so we're OK with it—especially since any future swap would also have to be approved by voters.

Proposition 120 (State Sovereignty): Hell No

Proposition 120 promotes the nutty notion, thanks to conservative Republicans, that the state should declare it has sovereignty over all federal lands within the state. It's a goofy idea, and it's bad from a practical standpoint, given that our current Legislature has already shown that it has little interest in caring for state parks and other lands. Reject this nonsense.

Proposition 121 (Open Primaries): No

We agree that the state has significant problems with its political system. The Republican primary process has been hijacked by hard-right conservatives who have been both an embarrassment and a disaster. But we don't believe this will make it any better—and it will largely shut out third parties from the general election. Vote no.

Proposition 204 ("Quality Education and Jobs Act"): Yes

We're not crazy about this one-cent sales tax, but we're supporting it anyway—because 80 percent of the money is dedicated to K-12 and higher education, which will protect our public schools and reduce the pressure to increase tuition at our universities. Another chunk of the tax will go toward transportation, which will both create jobs for construction workers and improve our roads and highways. We think that's a worthwhile investment. The rest will go toward social programs such as health care for poor kids and will help the state bring matching federal dollars to the state. We wish we lived in a world where the tax burden was more fairly distributed, but we're willing to continue to pay at the current sales-tax level, because we believe it's going to the right parts of the budget. On top of that, all of the claims about the economic disaster that would come from this additional sales tax—lost jobs and all that malarkey—have been proven false over the last two years.

Proposition 409 (Tucson Transportation): Yes

Prop 409 would let the city borrow $100 million to get started on an aggressive street-repair program that's desperately needed. What's it gonna cost you? Well, if your house is worth $100,000, it's going to cost you $1.50 a month. That seems affordable—and like an investment worth making.