Prime Cuts

Who's Running In The Upcoming Tucson City Council Primary?

By Jim Nintzel

TUCSONANS WILL GO to the polls in September and November this year to fill two contested seats on the City Council.

Because there are more than 128,000 Democrats and only about 84,000 Republicans in the city limits, Democrats have a formidable edge in city elections. That means, as usual, the key decisions will be made in the September primary election.

In midtown Ward 6, five Democrats--Octavio Barcelo, Tres English, Alison Hughes, Leo Pilachowski and Carol Zimmerman--are facing off for the office now held by retiring Councilwoman Molly McKasson. The winner of the race will face Republican Fred Ronstadt in November.

Feature In northwestern Ward 3, Councilman Michael Crawford, who was appointed to the seat in 1995, will face three other Democrats: Jerry Anderson, Alex Himmelman and Demitri Downing. Republican Dan Copeland may be on the November ballot, but rumors in the GOP suggest he may be dropping out of the race soon.

Ward 5 incumbent Steve Leal is unopposed in his re-election effort.

The general election ballot may also contain several propositions, including:

  • An attempt to overturn the 1995 water initiative, which barred the direct delivery of CAP water;

  • A change in the way the city administration bargains with labor unions (an initiative pushed by the cops' union); and,

  • An increase in the minimum wage to $7 an hour. (As of press time, the backers of the minimum-wage initiative had not collected enough signatures to make it onto the ballot, but they turned in additional signatures earlier this week. In addition, anticipating this ballot issue, the Arizona Legislature passed a law this year which forbids cities to set minimum-wage standards higher than the federal level, which would apparently make the Tucson law invalid even if it did pass.)

The City Council is also expected to place several propositions on the ballot relating to charter changes, and a salary commission is expected to recommend voters approve a pay raise for mayor and council.

Primary election day is September 16. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is August 18. General election day is November 4.

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