Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Should the most powerful person in Tucson government be an unelected bureaucrat?

While most Tucsonans are busily bracing themselves for another summer or making plans to escape the heat, local corporatists are making plans to change local government– in a big way.

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) has been working on a set of Tucson city charter changes that would make the City Manager’s position much stronger. SALC’s current proposal includes four changes to the city charter:

• Give the city manager greater hire-and-fire authority over some top city department heads and remove the City Council checks-and-balances authority.

• Increase the number of wards by two.

• Give the Mayor (who currently is just a figure head) more voting power.

• Change the Mayor and Council positions from part-time to full-time.

On the surface, these changes may seem innocuous, but they’re not. Do we really want the most powerful person in our local government to be an unelected bureaucrat? Tucson has had a City Manager form of government for decades, and it’s not working.

Tucson is faced with many challenges — and opportunities. We need a strong elected visionary Mayor to lead us, not a strong bureaucrat who tosses out random ideas and lets the City Council take the political hits when the ideas prove unpopular.

Tuesday, June 15, the Tucson City Council will hold a study session to discuss these charter changes and other topics. The following Tuesday, June 22, the City Council is scheduled to vote on whether these charter changes should be added to the November ballot.

Call or e-mail your City Council member to voice your opinion on these proposed Charter Changes. The phone number for the Mayor and Council comment line is 791-4700.

Don’t let business and development further tighten their control over our local government. If SALC wants to put their ideas on the ballot, they should collect voter signatures– rather than just slipping it under the Council’s door and encouraging their action.

Making the City Manager more powerful is not the answer to Tucson’s challenges. Adopting a strong Mayor form of government is. Electing the most powerful person in the city assures that he/she will be accountable to the voters.

This article originally appeared in my Progressive Examiner column.

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About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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