At a recent forum, Ben Buehler-Garcia, a Republican who is seeking to unseat Tucson City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, warned the crowd that next month's election wasn't going to include much in the way of fireworks.
"It's going to be a very vanilla election," Buehler-Garcia said.
He got that right. The two citizen initiatives that might have fired up the election season—a push to eliminate those cameras that bust speeders at red lights and a proposal to scrap Tucson's pension program—were both disqualified because they didn't have enough valid signatures. That leaves two procedural questions on the ballot: whether to increase the city's spending limit so it can increase the budget to include all the dollars it has on hand and an update to the city's general plan. Neither measure is likely to get your average citizen riled up to vote.
And only two of the three City Council races are up for grabs: Buehler-Garcia's campaign against Uhlich in Ward 3 and Republican Mike Polak's effort to unseat Ward 5 Councilman Richard Fimbres. Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik is unopposed. (Last week, after the deadline to file as a run-in candidate passed, Kozachik announced he would return his public matching funds to the city's treasury.)
Before you dig into our profiles of the candidates, you should know:
• The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Monday, Oct. 7.
• Tucson's general elections are citywide, which means all registered voters can vote in both contested races.
• The city of Tucson now does an all-mail election. Ballots will be sent to all Tucson voters beginning Oct. 17. If you really want to vote in person, there will be six polling stations set up on Election Day—one in each ward. If you neglect to mail your ballot in, you can also drop it off at any of those locations.
See the Candidates!
If you're interested in watching the candidates debate, you've got a few opportunities in the upcoming weeks:
Friday, Oct. 4: AZ Illustrated Politics brings you a forum with Ward 3 candidates Uhlich and Buehler-Garcia. 6:30 p.m., KUAT Channel 6.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: The League of Women Voters and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce present a forum with Uhlich, Buehler-Garcia, Fimbres and Polak. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Temple Emanu-el, 225 N. Country Club Road. Free.
Thursday, Oct. 17: The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Tucson Weekly present a forum with all four candidates. 11:30 to 1:30 p.m., Doubletree Reid Park Tucson, 445 S. Alvernon Way. $30 for Hispanic Chamber members; $40 general public (includes lunch).
Friday, Oct. 18: AZ Illustrated Politics brings you a forum with Ward 5 candidates Fimbres and Polak. 6:30 p.m., KUAT Channel 6.