The Skinny

City Hall Brawl, 2015 Edition

Mayor Rothschild kicks off campaign as this year's City Council elections start to shape up

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild formally announced his plans to run for reelection last week.

Rothschild, who is finishing up his first four-year term, told Democrats and others gathered on the patio at downtown's Connect co-working space that he was focused on "moving Tucson forward"—a slogan he tried to get the assembled crowd to chant with mixed success.

"What this campaign is going to be about is people who want to come together, who have come together, who want to work for the positive for Tucson, as opposed to those who just want to continue to complain and continue to throw arrows," Rothschild said.

He cited the city's work to repave roads using bond dollars, a water deal with Phoenix, an initiative to end veteran homelessness and the ongoing downtown renaissance as accomplishments in his first term.

"Today, Tucson's downtown is looking better than it has since I was a kid," Rothschild said, "and yes, that was a long while ago."

So far, the only person who has registered with the City Clerk's Office to run against Rothschild is a filmmaker, Chuck Williams, a Democrat who has never sought public office in Tucson before. We haven't had a chance to interview Williams just yet, but he did send over a DVD of a film he co-produced, "Eddie Presley", the story of a "down-on-his-luck ex-Elvis impersonator." We haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but "Film Threat" called it "a tribute to every rock band in L.A. who truly believes they'll be the next Guns 'n Roses and every porn actress who knows she can out-act Julia Roberts."

The rumored GOP mayoral candidate was Zach Catsorus, but The Skinny hears that his campaign may have hit a snag. We hit him up on Facebook to find out what's up, but he didn't get back to us.

While a mayoral candidate may remain elusive, it appears that we now have at least three Republican candidates for this year's City Council election.

The three GOP hopefuls filed paperwork with the City Clerk's Office on Friday, April 10.

Bill Hunt, a pilot who takes trips with the Tucson chapter of the Flying Samaritans, wants to challenge Democrat Regina Romero, who is seeking a third term in westside Ward 1.

Kelly Lawton, who works for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, wants to take on Democrat Paul Cunningham, who is seeking his second full term in northeastern Ward 2.

And Margaret Burkholder, who serves on the Vail School District governing board, wants to unseat Democrat Shirley Scott, who is seeking her fifth term in southeastern Ward 4.

818 Million Shades of Green

Pima County prepares to ask voters for approve another round of bondage

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is finally set to put a bond election on the November ballot.

The supervisors are scheduled to make the final call on a proposed $818 million package on Tuesday, April 21.

The collection of projects was developed by the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee, which had been meeting since 2006. The committee submitted a $653 million package to the county, but Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has added $160 million for road repair and adjusted a few projects elsewhere to get to the $818 million price tag.

Huckelberry told the supervisors that he had hoped that the state would consider some other way to fund roads, such as an increase in the gas tax, as that's a user fee that more equitably spreads the burden of road repair and improvement. But instead, lawmakers backed away from an earlier commitment to provide additional gas tax money to the counties, in addition to pushing more than $20 million in new expenses onto the county.

"It is inevitable the Arizona Legislature or the people of Arizona, through initiative, will have to address long-term transportation financing," Huckelberry wrote in his memo. "However, short-term measures, such as limited general-obligation bonding, may be the only local response available to improve our road maintenance capabilities."

Here's how the spending breaks down in the various proposals:

• $200 million for road and highway improvements;

• $91.3 million for economic development, libraries and workforce training;

• $98.6 million for tourism promotion;

• $191.5 million for parks and recreation;

• $105.3 million for public health, welfare, safety, neighborhoods and housing;

• $112 million for natural area conservation and historic preservation;

• $17 million for flood control and drainage.

RIP, Raul

Former Arizona governor Raul H. Castro died last week

Arizona lost a political legend with the death of Raúl H. Castro last week.

The only Latino elected to statewide office in Arizona, Castro passed away Friday, April 10, in San Diego at the age of 98.

Castro came to America from Cananea, Sonora, and worked his way into law school. He served as Pima County attorney and Pima County Superior Court judge; governor of Arizona; and as U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva said that "Arizona lost a great man. Raúl Hector Castro—judge, ambassador and historical Arizona governor—passed away, ending a lifetime of service to his country and to his state. His accomplishments and determination are an inspiration for all Mexican-Americans—to all those who call this country home."

Gov. Doug Ducey said that "Arizonans will never forget Governor Castro. He was an honorable public servant, a history-maker, a beloved family man and a strong friend and fighter for Arizona. Whether as a county attorney, a superior court judge, a United States ambassador or—as we will best remember him—our 14th governor, his life and legacy of service is forever ingrained in our history."

Vince Rabago, the chair of the Pima Democratic Latino Caucus, called Castro "a real trailblazer."

"He served as an inspiration not just for the Latino community, but for everyone in the state of Arizona and beyond," Rabago said. "We will miss his humbleness, wit, amazing storytelling abilities and historical perspective, but we will not forget his public service and legacy."

"Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel" airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday mornings on KGUN-9. This week's show features interviews with Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

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