Prop 205: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
The War on Drugs is a colossal failure and there's no reason to keep ruining people's lives with felony records for smoking weed. Opponents have rolled out laughable "reefer madness" claims about the potency of today's weed and the terrible things that have happened in states such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Those ads have had to rely on a large amount of BS to make their point, which tells you opponents don't have much of a case. It's high time we decriminalized MJ.
Prop 206: The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act
The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act would increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2017 and, in steps, boost that to $12 an hour by 2020. It would also mandate at least a few sick days for workers and set a $9 minimum wage for tipped workers.
We're all for it. The gap between the rich and poor just keeps growing in the United States and far too many of our fellow Arizonans live below the poverty line. State lawmakers are never going to do anything about this (except make it harder for local jurisdictions to pass their own minimum wage standards) so you're gonna have to do the heavy lifting on this one yourselves.
U.S. Senate: Ann Kirkpatrick
Sen. John McCain has sadly calcified into an obstructionist who is now vowing to prevent Supreme Court seats from being filled unless Republicans hold the White House. When you are openly cheering the destruction of a branch of government to serve your ideological ends, it is time for you to go. Bring on the reasonable alternative, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who has demonstrated the kind of bipartisan cooperation McCain wistfully longs for even as he works as hard as he can to demonize the opposing party.
Congressional District 1: Tom O'Halleran
You don't get much more bipartisan than Tom O'Halleran, who served as a Republican in the Arizona Legislature and now is seeking a congressional seat as a Democrat. That's not because his values have changed; it's because the GOP has become increasingly radicalized during the last eight years of the Obama administration as it sought to destroy the president (and ended up doing great damage to itself). His opponent, the sketchy Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, embraces dogma over practicality.
Congressional District 2
We respect the work that Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally has done for Southern Arizona, including her efforts to save the A-10 and prevent the closure of the Cherrybell postal center. And there's no doubt that she works hard both on Capitol Hill and back here in Southern Arizona to help constituents. But McSally too often follows the party line, such as her support for efforts to defund Planned Parenthood's important work to provide health care to women and men in our community. And her reluctance to debate
Democrat Matt Heinz supports abortion rights, improving the Affordable Care Act without losing the advances for people with pre-existing conditions and fighting climate change.
District 1: Brian Bickel
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller is a crank who has opposed nearly every economic development effort the county has made, including the effort to retain Raytheon, the county's largest employer. Miller lies without compunction, runs from the media when challenged and is a tyrannical boss to her staff, which turns over with astonishing regularity because very few people can stand working for her and even those who can often end up being canned.
Brian Bickel is the kind of Democrat that moderate Republicans should consider supporting to help restore some measure of sanity to their party. He's a former Marine who had a long and successful career as a healthcare administrator and was willing to step up to challenge Miller despite the long odds against him in a district that leans heavily Republican. Vote Brian Bickel in District 1.
District 3: Sharon Bronson
The only thing worse than reelecting Ally Miller is giving her control of the board. Knocking Democrat Sharon Bronson out of office would do just that, which is reason enough to return Bronson for a sixth term. But besides that, Bronson supported the county's successful lawsuit to keep the state from illegally forcing increases in local property tax bills (which Miller opposed); has helped forge the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan; worked to expand a southside hospital while improving care and lowering costs (which Miller opposed); supported a major modernization of the county's sewer system that vastly improved the treatment of waste while reducing the stink we used to endure on drives along I-10; pushed for a major improvements for the Pima Animal Care Center (which Miller opposed); and has championed The Loop, the extraordinary trail system that combines riverbank protection with a public park that links the entire metro area for walkers, joggers and cyclists (which Miller opposed). Clearly, the county would be a worse place without Bronson on the board.
Pima County Sheriff: Mark Napier
Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos has reacted badly to criticism of his leadership after he was appointed to the job following the retirement of Clarence Dupnik, who had served as sheriff since 1980. The FBI indictment of his No. 2 guy for misuse of seized funds didn't reassure us that all is well in the PCSD. Republican Mark Napier seems a better choice this year.
Pima County Assessor: Bill Staples
Over his 12 years in office, Staples has done a good job. We'd vote to keep him.
Arizona Corporation Commission: Bob Burns, Bill Mundell, Tom Chabin
The current crop serving on the Arizona Corporation have done an amazing job of destroying the reputation of the regulatory agency, which is designed to be the watchdog of the public against the schemes of monopolistic utilities. Instead, thanks for all the dark money that Arizona Public Service has been poured into the 2014 races for the ACC, the commissioners now look like lapdogs for the utility as it seeks to wipe out Arizona's growing rooftop solar industry and increase electric bills via arcane meter measurements.
The only shining light on the current commission is Republican Bob Burns, who has called for an investigation into APS's campaign spending. We'd also like to see the two Democrats, Bill Mundell (who previously served on the ACC as a Republican) and Tom Chabin, join the ACC. Both have promised to support Burns' call for an investigation and both promise to watch out for consumers rather than the utilities. Let's put an end to the insider dealing and make sure the Arizona Corporation Commission returns to its role as a watchdog for the citizens of Arizona.
Legislature District 2, House of Representatives: Rosanna Gabaldon and Chris Ackerley
While we don't agree with Republican Chris Ackerley on every issue, we do think that he's been a solid supporter of education issues. And as long as the GOP will have a majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, it's useful to have a moderate Republican in the mix who can fight for Southern Arizona issues. Meanwhile, Democrat Rosanna Gabaldon has served well during her time in the Legislature.
Legislative District 2, Senate: Andrea Dalessandro
Democrat Andrea Dalessandro is a tireless advocate for her constituents and a pain in the ass to the GOP majority in the Senate, so we're all for sending her back for another two years.
Legislative District 9, House of Representatives: Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley
Trauma surgeon Randy Friese has learned the ropes during his first term at the Arizona Legislature and deserves a chance to continue representing the residents of District 9. Pamela Powers Hannley would be fine replacement for Victoria Steele.
Legislative District 10, House of Representatives: Stefanie Mach and Kirsten Engel
Stefanie Mach has been a solid representative for Tucson, while Kirsten Engel has an extensive background as an attorney who has specialized in environmental matters. Both would support better schools, more environmental protection, more university funding and smart economic development.
Legislative District 10, Senate: Dave Bradley
Democrat Dave Bradley has, over his long service in the Arizona Legislature, demonstrated that he is a thoughtful lawmaker who stands aligned with our values. He deserves another term.
Pima County Superintendent of Schools: Dustin Williams
While the Pima County Superintendent of Schools is mostly an administrative post, it does have some important duties, especially when it comes to filling vacancies on school boards. Pima County has two solid candidates to choose between: Democrat Dustin Williams and Republican Margaret Burkholder. We're with Williams.
Amphi School District
Sadly, the Amphi School District does not have a lot of great choices to fill three open seats this year. The only candidate we can really get behind is longtime teacher Julie Cozad, who can be trusted to make good decisions for district. We'd also advise you to withhold support from Vicki Cox Golder, who served on the board 20 years ago and left behind a district that was plagued with insider dealings and poor management.
Tucson Unified School District
We have some issues with current TUSD board members Kristel Foster and Cam Juarez, but they're still a better alternative to challengers who would fall in with board member Mark Stegeman. We also think it's time for Stegeman to go, so we recommend you give your third vote to Betts Putnam Hildago, who would serve as a better watchdog on the board.