Tucson Unified School District
These have been rocky years for the Tucson Unified School District. TUSD has seen big cuts in state funding, a rotating cast of superintendents who have come and gone, battles with the state over the Mexican-American Studies Program and a steady exodus of students to other districts and charter and private schools.
In short, the district is a mess—and once again, voters in TUSD have to sort between nine candidates for two seats on the board.
We're going to suggest that you single-shot one candidate who stands above the rest: Jen Darland, who has worked tirelessly as a volunteer on so many campaigns to try to improve the schools that we can't even count them. Darland is smart and possesses the kind of good judgment that we'd like to see applied to the TUSD board.
We also urge you to ABSOLUTELY NOT VOTE for two of the candidates in the field: Michael Hicks, who is seeing a second term, and Debe Campos Fleener. Hicks has been an embarrassment to the district—just take another look at the ludicrous things he said to a "Daily Show" correspondent about magical burritos—and Campos Fleener would ally herself with TUSD board member Mark Stegeman. And we most definitely do not need that.
Proposition 122 is another effort to get the state tangled up in expensive legal fights with the federal government. It would allow state lawmakers or the public to declare a federal law to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution—a designation normally reserved for the courts—and then block the state or local governments from spending any money helping with the enforcement of that federal law. We honestly can't see anything good coming out of this, but we can see plenty of bad unintended—and in some cases, intended—consequences. We say vote no.
If approved by voters, Proposition 303 would allow terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs that haven't yet been approved by the FDA. We are a tiny bit skeptical of this one, but we're leaning toward a Yes vote with the hope that we're not opening the door to snake-oil salesmen who are going to give desperately sick people false hope.
Proposition 304 would boost the salaries of state lawmakers to from the current $24,000 to $35,000 annually. On the one hand, it does seem like the pay is pretty low considering the importance of the work; one the other hand, we're unimpressed with the quality of most of the people who are winning primaries these days. We're voting no.
Proposition 415 would allow Pima County to sell up to $22 million in bonds to build a new animal-care center to replace the current facility, which is nearly a half-century old. Opponents have made a big deal about the price tag, but it comes down to less than four bucks a year for the average county resident, which really isn't asking too much—and that's assuming the cost hit the maximum. The county has worked in recent years to reduce the number of dogs and cats that are euthanized and increase the number who are adopted, which is a great thing. That track record is enough for us to urge you to vote yes on Prop 415.