Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona
Today, September 30, and Monday, October 4, two neighborhood groups will host community forums on Propositions 400 and 401, which will be on the November ballot.
Prop 400 would increase the city’s sales tax to pay for core services (police, fire, parks) (1, 2), and Prop 401 would change the city’s charter (1,2).
The Tucson City Council voted in July to allow both initiatives to be put on the ballot. The sales tax increase would help the city balance its budget, but it has been a contentious issue on the City Council, with Councilman Steve Kozachik offering alternative Plans C and D to City Manager Mike Letcher’s Plans A (Prop 400) or Plan B (15% across the board cuts).
Prop 401, although more esoteric, also has been very contentious. Prop 401 is the baby of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC); this big business group claims that the City Charter should be changed because city government doesn’t run efficiently* and because it’s old. The grassroots opposition to Prop 401 takes issue with the huge Mayor and Council pay increases that are included. (I am against Prop 401 because it increases the power of the city’s bureaucracy [particularly the unelected city manager] and, therefore, makes government less accountable.)
Want to learn more about these initiatives, ask questions, or voice your opinion? Check out one of these forums. The last Props 400-401 forum, hosted by Ward 6, was a standing-room-only event (above). (Kozachik called the event “lively;” other attendees described it as wild political theater.)
Tonight, the Southside Neighborhood Association Presidential Partnership (SNAPP) will host a community forum on both Props 400 and 401 from 6-8 p.m. The event will be at the El Pueblo Activity Center Multi Purpose Room, 101 W. Irvington Road. The entrance to the parking lot is south of Irvington Road on Nogales Highway.
On October 4, the Feldman Neighborhood Association will host a community forum on only Prop 401, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will be at the chapel of St. Luke’s Home at Lee and N. First Ave.
* Regarding the efficiency of city government: well, anyone who has been following the downtown hotel hell (1, 2, 3, 4) or the other Rio Nuevo real estate deals could make a case for inefficiency. But, personally, I don’t think bigger bureaucracy is going to fix it. I believe we need strong leadership. Prop 401 should have been broken up, which would have allowed people to vote for the parts they favor.