Rothschild has already wrapped up his fundraising for 2015 campaign
Monday, April 27, was the first day that candidates for this year's city election can file their nominating petitions with the city—and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild celebrated by dropping off not only the maximum number of signatures, but also all the paperwork to max out the city's matching-funds program.
The signature part demonstrates solid campaign organization, but the fact that the mayor has already raised enough money to qualify for the maximum amount of public dollars—$115,838.65—is unprecedented in city politics.
That means Rothschild—a Democrat who first won the mayor's office four years ago—doesn't have to do any more fundraising for his campaign as the amount he's already raised (as long as he passes an audit) will be doubled by Tucson taxpayers. And because he signed a contract to participate in the city's matching-funds program, he can't spend any more than $231,677.30. (At least of right now; city officials will determine the final limit in July.)
The question remains as to whether he'll have to spend very much at all. With the clock ticking—nominating petitions are due by May 27—the Republican Party has yet to field a candidate. While there's still time to gather the required signatures, a rushed job can often end up bungled, as we saw when two GOP would-be mayoral candidates were booted from the ballot four years ago because of sloppy signature-gathering.
Of course, if no Republican makes the ballot in the traditional fashion, there's always the write-in option during the primary election, which was the route that Republican Rick Grinnell used to get on the ballot in 2011. Rothschild captured about 55 percent of the vote in that contest.
Meanwhile, it's looking as if the only Democrat who wanted to challenge Rothschild, filmmaker Chuck Williams, has a flop on his hands when it comes to his campaign. While his website, voteforchuckwilliams.com, has been upgraded a little bit since the last time we checked it out, he hasn't posted anything new on his Facebook page since March 21 and we haven't found anyone who is passing around his nominating petitions.
Miller staffer planning run against Carroll next year?
Your juicy rumor of the week: Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller's chief of staff, Jeannie Davis, wants to try to unseat Supervisor Ray Carroll next year.
There is no love lost between Miller and Carroll, the two Republicans on the Board of Supervisors. Although Carroll supported Miller after she won her primary in 2012 and even cohosted a fundraiser for her that year, he soon found himself on her Enemies List after she took office.
Admittedly, Miller's Enemies List is a long one that includes Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, the three Democrats on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, several of her former District 1 staffers, many of the reporters who have covered her at the Arizona Daily Star, your humble Skinny scribe, retired schoolteacher/furniture store owner Bob Dorson, The Loop bike path and—if her rabid opposition to the Pima County Animal Care Center expansion project last year is any indication—stray puppies and kittens. It might be shorter to catalog her "Friends List."
Given her abrasive nature, it's pretty clear that Miller is not going to have many victories at the Board of Supes meetings. But she remains determined to undermine Carroll, who has served on the board since 1997.
Davis, who came on as Miller's chief of staff about a year ago, is also no fan of Carroll. In 2012, she ran the campaign of Republican Sean Collins, who tried to unseat Carroll with a Tea Party-ish campaign that complained, among other things, that Carroll opposed the Rosemont Mine and supported putting water stations in the desert to prevent migrants from dying of thirst. Apparently, the pro-death-to-migrants platform isn't all that popular, as Carroll won that GOP primary race with 57 percent of the vote.
We've been told by at least one hard-right Republican that Davi—who did not respond to two emailed queries as to whether she wants to get into the race—has been telling people she wants to run against Carroll next year. If she moves forward with that plan, expect tensions on the supervisors' 11th-floor offices to climb even higher than they already are.
What's the future of Access Tucson and Tucson's Channel 12?
One of the biggest mysteries of this year's budget process: What's going on with Access Tucson? The city's public-access TV station has been steadily losing support from the city ever since the big 2007 meltdown of the national economy and the subsequent collapse of the city's finances.
Back in the mid-2000s, the nonprofit Access Tucson was getting more than a million dollars a year from the city to train Tucsonans how to use cameras, editing equipment and the like, as well as to run two TV studios in its downtown building. But this year, Access got $150,000, which is only enough to run a bare-bones operation. Still, there's a wealth of potential with the equipment at Access headquarters; last year, I was able to launch a public-affairs show, "Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel," at the facility.
Access is now sharing its building on Broadway Boulevard near Sixth Avenue with Channel 12, the city's own television production arm. Channel 12, which once produced a lot of positive shorts about the wonders of Tucson, has been likewise been pared down and mostly just broadcasts the City Council meetings these days.
Now the city appears prepared to somehow combine both operations. It's unclear exactly what the City Manager's Office has in mind, but in the coming days, the city is expected to release a new Request for Proposals to handle the city's media programs. City spokesperson Lane Mandle told us earlier this week that she can't discuss details about what the city is looking for until the RFP is released. We'll bring you an update on The Range once we get reaction to the RFP.
"Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel" airs Sunday 9:30 a.m. on KGUN-9. This week's guests are Pima County Democratic Party Chair Cheryl Cage and Pima County Republican Party Chair Bill Beard.