All roads lead out of Tucson

Most of the big supporters of the road tax don't live inside the city.

More than half of the executives, politicians, business and community leaders urging Tucson voters to approve the city's half-cent sales tax increase to fund $400 million in transportation improvements don't live in the city.

Twenty-six of 48 people signing arguments for the sales tax increase and the transportation plan in the city's bulky publicity pamphlet and sample ballot can't vote in the May 21 election.

Writing for the Arizona Transit Association, Jim Shipman and Jim Dickey said that the plan "addresses the full range of Tucson's immediate transportation needs." Shipman, former head of the County Supervisors Association, is executive director of the Phoenix-based Arizona Transit Association. Dickey, the association treasurer, is director of operations for the Regional Transportation Authority in Phoenix.

Jack Jewett, a former Republican state legislator and now University of Arizona regent, co-signed the pamphlet's lead argument for the tax and transportation plan with Ray Clarke, president and chief executive of the Tucson Urban League. Jewett and Clarke are chairman and vice chairman of Community Transportation of Southern Arizona, a non-profit agency that sponsored the campaign statement. Jewett lives outside the city in a gated community in Ventana Canyon. Clarke lives in the city at Starr Pass near the tax and road plan's chief booster, Republican Mayor Bob Walkup. Now a senior vice president at Tucson Medical Center, Jewett also was a leading figure pushing a Pima County sales tax, also a half-cent on the dollar, for a 20-year $1 billion transportation plan in 1986.

But voters didn't buy it, slamming the tax and the plan, which featured an outer loop that would have greatly benefited land speculators, by 14 percentage points in a special December election.

The asphalt boys, unsurprisingly, are pushing for the transportation plan. But Dave Schneuker and Ryan Mackey, two of the three leaders of the Asphalt Pavement Association who signed an election pamphlet argument, don't live in Tucson.

City Manager James Keene has enlisted help from two of the city's four unions. The Tucson Firefighters Association and Tucson Police Officers Association are campaigning for the tax and transportation plan.

Leaders of those associations argue for passage in election pamphlet space bought by Let's Go Tucson, the political committee created to promote voter approval. The emotional plea is that the transportation plan is necessary for firefighters and cops to save lives.

Richard Anemone, a signer and leader of the Tucson Police Officers Association, lives in Oro Valley. So does Robert A. Alcala, a public engineer and member of the board of directors for the Arizona Consulting Engineers Association that is pushing voter approval. Tom McGovern, another member, has served as a leading spokesman for the new tax and transportation plan. He lives outside the city, near Sabino Canyon.

Give this much to Katie Dusenberry, a Republican who served two terms on the Board of Supervisors and is the chairwoman of the Let's Go Tucson campaign. She still lives in the city.

Jack Camper, backslapping president of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, also argues for passage. He lives outside the city

Among the other Names, prominent backers of the tax and transportation plan who don't live in the city:

Car dealer Jim Click, who lives in Tucson Country Club, where residents have consistently fought to stay outside city limits; Wally Burg, outgoing president and CEO of the Tucson Airport Authority, and his successor Bonnie Allin; Joseph Coyle, a Raytheon Missile Systems vice president; Bruce Wright, the University of Arizona administrator who oversees the UA Science and Technology Park that will benefit from city's plans to widen Houghton Road on the southeast side; Steven Odenkirk, an Oro Valley resident who is president of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance; Jim Ronstadt, the city's former parks director and the father of Republican Councilman Fred Ronstadt.

On the other side, just five of the 33 people writing arguments against the sales tax and the transportation plan live outside the city, including Tryg Sletteland, president of The Center for Biological Diversity.

If approved, the total city sales tax would climb to 2.5 percent, the only increase in city sales tax since it was doubled 33 years ago from 1 percent to 2 percent. Consumers also pay 5.6 percent in state sales tax.

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