Tucson Elections Wrap-up

The votes have been cast, and Tucsonans sent clear messages regarding the ballot proposals. Council races are now official.

Candidates:

Richard Fimbres won Ward V beating Shaun McCluskey. Karin Uhlich hangs on to Ward III by 195 votes beating Ben Beuhler-Garcia. Steve Kozachick upsets incumbent Nina Trasoff in Ward VI by well over 1,000 votes.

Props 401 and 402, TUSD Overrides:

Both attempts by Tucson Unified School District to exceed its its budgets limits were defeated, both by substantial 20 point margins. The failure reflects a basic distrust among Tucsonans. From the many financial scandals, to the “Post Unitary Status Plan”. Greg Patterson of Espresso Pundit credits the controversial “La Raza” (The Race) program.

Young man with Karin Uhlich tee-shirt holds SEIU generated ant-prop 200 sign at Tea Party


Prop 200, Public Safety:

This ill-conceived proposal would mandate specific police and fire response times, officer/population ratios, etc.The idea was to force the council to fund basic services rather than pet projects, favored charities, and payoffs to supporters. The promotion effort was terrible, and the Left seized on the general anti-tax mood to attack the proposal. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) activists were seen at the last Tucson Tea Party parading around with signs saying that Prop 200 would increase taxes. It lost 70% to 30%

Teaching Vandalism

It came to light, in a local daily, that the City of Tucson is funding a gaffiti class. That’s right, taxpayer money is being spent teaching children how to spray paint walls. In fact, Regina Romero earmarked $8,000.00 for the project.

Most of the City agencies involved have been scurrying to find excuses, most of them are some form of “Well, we heard of the project, but had not considered or approved it, and suddenly it just happened.”

Regina Romero was the only one in the article that was either gutsy, or stupid enough to defend the program. She apparently asked a bunch of kids what they wanted to do, they said they wanted to do graffiti, and here we are. She actually said, “Who are we as adults to judge what the youth are interested in. We’re reaching kids that wouldn’t otherwise take an art class.” The answer to her question is in the question itself – WE ARE THE ADULTS. Is it not a the role of the adults in our community to guide children regarding their intrests and behaviors?

If the children said that they wanted to deconstruct buildings with fire, instead of vandalize building walls, would Ms. Romero be saying, “Who are we as adults to judge what the youth are interested in?” Would she earmark $8,000.00 to set up structures in the TFD training facility that the children could learn to burn down in a creative and educational way? Would City officials say that the purpose was to provide a place for kids to burn buildings safely so they would not go out and do it illegally?

When I was in High School, some progressive parents would let their kids drink in their houses. They thought that it would be better for the kids to do it under supervision, than out on the street somehere. It did not take long before they realised that their tacit acceptance of under-aged drinking led to a dramatic increase in the activity, and we kids did not limit it to the relative safety of their homes. The vast majority of parents already knew supervised under-aged drinking for the disaster that it was, and the progressive types came to that understanding in short order.

Hopefully, Ms. Romero will learn what some of our parents learned the hard way. It will, of course, be harder on the children who are recieveing mixed messages from those in authority.


Don’t forget to read my latest article that ran in the Tucson Weekly, and Inside Track:
http://tucsonsammy.com/tucsons-modern-streetcar-project/

Tucson City Budget – a Place to Start

It is not news that City of Tucson revenues are way down. Sales taxes account for 42% of discretionary spending, and they have dropped off significantly, with no relief predicted in the near future.

In response, the City has cut back in the areas of hiring, training, and travel. It has also “slashed 10 percent of what it gives social services groups,” according to a local daily.

I have an idea. How about slashing 100 percent of what it gives to social service groups? It would be timely in light of the current budget problems, and no, I’m not suggesting that charities and non-profits not receive funding. I’m suggesting that they be funded directly by the people. Private donations are usually based on the institution’s performance. Government donations are based on politics. Besides, if you let the government make your donation decisions for you, the next thing you know, they’ll be choosing your light bulbs for you.

Seriously, is it not somewhat dehumanizing when the City infringes on the realm of giving? When you freely give your money to a worthy cause, your karma improves and your character is strengthened. When you give other people’s money to a worthy cause, you receive no such benefits.

If you think that people only do the right thing when forced to do so, then you will find free societies frustrating.

Why not enforce the law against government handouts to big business?

This was originally published in the Tucson Weekly

Few things thrill me more than finding common ground with fellow citizens who do not share my enlightened political perspective. Recently, a constitutional issue came to my attention that may become the biggest unifying force against government malfeasance since the federal immigration bill.There are few things that aggravate laissez-faire economists more than government giveaways to private business interests. Not only is the practice morally repugnant, but it really screws up the free market by injecting artificial revenue into business that is not based on the choices of the people, but rather … well, I’m not sure on what it is based, but I have observed that these gifts tend to end up in the hands of large, national, wealthy corporations, as opposed to the small, local, struggling family businesses. The reason for this escapes me, but I’m sure that the city council members from Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana can provide one.

Our friends on the political left dislike it because they hate anything independent of the government in general–big corporations in particular–and they sure as heck don’t like large sums of government money going to private entities without overwhelming control attached to the deal.

Bottom line: No one likes to see tax money ending up as gifts to big business. There ought to be a law!

Well, as luck would have it, there is a law! Our friends at the Goldwater Institute–focus on the message, not the messenger–recently reminded us that there is a “gift clause” in the Constitution of the state of Arizona. The gift clause bars government at any level from giving grants, subsidies, property or lending its credit to private concerns. There are no exceptions. There is no test for “public benefit” or “general welfare”–just don’t effin’ do it. As the Goldwater Institute guys put it, “The Arizona Constitution erects a solid wall of separation between business and government.” This clause has been in the constitution since the get-go, and was pretty much respected for the first 50 years. It is in Article 9, Section 7 of the Arizona Constitution. You can look it up.

So there’s no need to pass a new law. It is already there–in the constitution, no less! No more exemptions from impact fees or permit fees, and no more sales-tax giveaways, right? Well, that would be true had we a functioning judiciary. Alas, the courts have essentially rendered the clause moot with bizarre case law dating back to the ’50s. Near the middle of the last century, judges began to view constitutional law not as the foundation of the government–the immutable rulebook–but as some quaint suggestions from dead white guys. They became above the law. The Supremes (members of the highest appellate court, not the Motown singing group) are the best examples of this.

If I were to make an analogy, I would imagine Justice Anthony Kennedy, or Stephen Breyer, as a chief of police. He would be charged with enforcing the law, and limit himself to that duty. Eventually, he may expand the scope of his vision. He may see the laws as guidelines, but realize that serving the greater good was his higher calling. He might, as a gesture of international goodwill, adopt some of the police methods used in South Africa–to honor their progress. If he were to be criticized, he could whine about the importance of respect for his position and the importance of his unfettered rule, with the knowledge that his was a lifetime appointment, from which he could not be removed, just like a king.

With councilmen flouting the law, and the judges flouting the law, there is a whole lot of flouting going on. What can we do? Can we demand that government officials obey the law–regardless of their branch of government? I don’t know. It seems like a tall order. Perhaps we should attend council meetings and start chanting “rule of law!” when they endeavor to violate it. Maybe we could do the same in the courtroom, or at least at the judges as they walk to their cars.

I preferred the separate branches of government when they kept each other in check, as opposed to coming together as a team. Hey, if they are a team, who is their opponent?