Meet the Candidates

Green Mary DeCamp

Mary DeCamp has a powerful affinity for the University of Arizona.

"This is where I was exposed to some of the most brilliant minds I worked with," DeCamp told the Weekly as she posed for a photo in front of Old Main.

DeCamp grew up poor in rural Nebraska, but saw education as her ticket out of poverty. She moved to Lincoln and went to work for a cousin who was serving in the Nebraska Legislature, where she got her first experience in politics.

She moved to Arizona in the mid-'80s and landed a job at the UA. It was the start of a long relationship with the university; she would work in a variety of departments, earn a master's degree in communications, and teach a variety of courses in math, communications and political science at the UA, Northern Arizona University, Cochise College, and a Douglas charter high school.

Outside of the UA, DeCamp has had a varied career. She's worked as a waitress, librarian, bank courier, government clerk and construction worker.

She's fiercely anti-war, working with Code Pink, the Tucson Peace Center and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom to organize protests.

In 2009, for the first time, she became a politician, running for the Ward 3 Tucson City Council seat on the Green Party ticket and capturing 6 percent of the vote.

DeCamp enjoyed the political fray so much that she returned this year for a run for mayor. She handily beat fellow Green Dave Croteau in the Green Party primary, winning 369 votes to his 127.

DeCamp says the mayor's race comes down to "a choice between a lawyer, a lobbyist and a campesina."

DeCamp doesn't want to engage in politics as usual. Thanks to "global warming, peak oil and the crashing global economy," Tucson is in need of "radical change. ... These are not unattractive options. They are very doable."

DeCamp likes Republican Rick Grinnell's suggestion that the city limit trash pickup to once every two weeks. She adds that the city should place trash bins farther from homes so people need to carry their trash to dispose of it—therefore making them more aware of how much they are throwing away. If less-frequent trash collection means more stinky garbage, then people should consider composting the smelly refuse in their yards instead of tossing it into their garbage cans. And more of what is being thrown away could be shared with neighbors, who might be able to find a use for some items.

She proposes that bus fares be lowered and more buses be put on the roads. She also suggests that more people in Tucson should give up their cars; she foresees a town where each street would have a driver who would own a car and offer rides to fellow citizens. She'd like to see automobile use cut by 80 percent.

"I know that I'm not going to get that," DeCamp says, because politics is "a cooperative endeavor. You've got to negotiate and look at all sides."

She thinks the City Council erred by expanding an Avra Valley recharge facility and buying more Central Arizona Project water to bank for future use. Instead, she believes that the city should "have cut back drastically on the water that we are consuming. We should have made a momentous effort to install rainwater-harvesting and capture what's available to us."

She wants strip-mall owners to open up vacant storefronts for neighborhood residents to open "community conservation centers" where they could congregate rather than "sitting in front of their televisions and eating Doritos."

Like far too many Americans, DeCamp is now facing foreclosure on her home, which she purchased at the height of the housing bubble in 2007. Her problems started when she had a big emergency-room bill following a biking accident on Fourth Avenue. They were compounded when she lost her job at the UA and couldn't qualify for a loan modification.

She's now facing eviction from her home on Nov. 10, just two days after Election Day.

DeCamp is resigned to losing her home, and says that she's not worried about having a roof over her head. The experience, she says, will make it easier for her to speak up for the disenfranchised.

"I can stand up and speak the truth and shame the devil," DeCamp says.

Republican Rick Grinnell

Rick Grinnell has fond childhood memories of the Fox Tucson Theatre.

"I actually went to the Fox Theatre when I was a kid here," says Grinnell, who was born in Ireland but adopted as an infant by his Tucson parents.

Today, as a member of the Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment board, Grinnell is faced with deciding how to deal with the Fox Theatre's $5.6 million debt—and that's just one of the many challenges facing the state-appointed board that is frequently clashing with the city of Tucson over how special state sales-tax dollars have been spent in the past—and how they will be spent in the future.

Serving on the Rio Nuevo board is just one of Grinnell's many engagements in local politics. He's run unsuccessfully for the Tucson City Council twice, in 1995 and 1999. He's served on various boards around town, including the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority and the advisory board for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Grinnell earns a living doing public relations and consulting for various private-sector clients who need to interact with the government and the public. He hasn't released a complete client list, but his biggest account is Rosemont Copper, the Canadian-based firm that wants to build a copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Before he opened his Smart United Business Strategies firm, he worked as a right-hand man to restaurateur Bob McMahon, owner of the Metro Restaurants chain.

Grinnell says he's learned to let go of a lot of stress after dealing with a big health scare six years ago, when doctors discovered a tumor in his colon. The treatments were tough, but he survived the experience.

"I'm lucky to be alive," he says. "It taught me not to stress so much. You take a different approach."

Democrat Jonathan Rothschild

Democrat Jonathan Rothschild decided he wanted to be photographed at the top of Sentinel Peak—aka "A" Mountain—because "if you want a good perspective of what we've come from and where we need to go, you can see it all from Sentinel Peak."

A Tucson native, Rothschild has deeper roots than many in Tucson. His grandmother first came here in 1942 and opened a furniture store on South Sixth Avenue; his father went to the UA law school and opened the firm that eventually became Mesch, Clark and Rothschild, which Rothschild managed for the last dozen years before stepping down for his mayoral campaign.

Outside of practicing business law, Rothschild has taught at the UA James E. Rogers College of Law, served on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission, and been active on a variety of social-service boards, including Casas de los Niños, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, University Medical Center and the Primavera Foundation—work that has given him an "understanding of what the needs of the community are."

He got involved in Democratic politics by volunteering to become the treasurer of the Pima County Democratic Party—a role that allowed him to both understand how the party operates and learn about political fundraising. Those skills helped him persuade other Democrats from running against him in the primary, and led to him raising more than $257,000 so far for his mayoral campaign—more money than any other candidate in the city's history.

Rothschild said he decided to run for mayor because "city government has a very important role to play in our community. It covers all the basic services and, quite frankly, I think that city government is the last safety net. Whatever problems are left over, the city is required to deal with it, whether they're dealing with the police department, the fire department, their sanitation, their water, their roads. I was born here, and I'm going to die here. With my son, that's four generations."

Comments (2)

Add a comment

Add a Comment