Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
For a city with the highest rate of poverty in the Sunbelt, you’d think there would be a few candidates talking about poverty, homelessness, unemployment/underemployment, and related issues in their campaigns.
As I listened to the KXCI rebroadcast of the recent candidate forum, I was stunned by the issues that occupied most of the candidates– particularly the Republican candidates (Mayoral Candidate Rick Grinnell and City Council Candidates Jennifer Rawson and Tyler Vogt).
Apparently, the biggest issues facing our city are not poverty, home foreclosures or unemployment; they’re burdensome development fees, over-regulation of businesses (particularly developers), and an oppressive anti-business city government.
I guess it is understandable that the Republicans would be running pro-business camgaigns, but Grinnell goes beyond business-friendly. Grinnell is the mayoral candidate for the 1% class. Here are some facts to back up this statement.
Seriously, how can you trust someone who has left major facts off of his resume?
On Grinnell’s website, he does list creating jobs and careers as a priority, but his 100 day plan is all about business.
I will host an economic strategy session with the business and social communities in order to identify who’s doing what, strengths and resources, and share a unified approach to regional economic stability.
Identify 100 local employers that want to expand and help them accomplish this. Identify and recruit another 100 new employers that are compatible and will complement existing local businesses. And we can do this keeping in mind the integrity of our neighborhoods and appreciation of our environment.
Help struggling businesses retain their employees, stay in business, with initiatives beginning with reducing utility tax to the pre-2010 budget.
Identify, reduce or remove the overburdening regulations that impede the process of expanding or starting new businesses. Remove duplication of services and shorten timeline involved in launching new enterprises.
Work with Rio Nuevo to restore the TCC to a first class Convention Center that will attract other large-scale events like the Gem Show. [NOTE: Grinnell is on the Rio Nuevo Board which is suing the city $47 million.]
Work with the tourism industry to expand our efforts in securing more group and personal tourism to our region. This could include the Southern Arizona Golf Trail.
Develop further communications with the State Legislature in Phoenix to strengthen positive relationship with our city. [Let’s make nice with Republicans to the north.]
Identify local businesses that can utilize resources available to us through the Arizona Commerce Department’s that can help us provide additional support for employer and business expansions.
Strengthen relationships with our neighbors in Sonora, Mexico who bring in $1.3 Billion a year in revenue to Southern Arizona.
Maximize and leverage long-term resources in the region through annexation by first making the City of Tucson a successful and attractive model for neighboring communities. [Emphasis added.]
One last question for Grinnell: If you want to reduce or eliminate fees for developers and other businesses, how would you pay for that? Since the city is strapped for cash and since Republicans like to have “revenue neutral” policies, f you want to cut that revenue stream, you need to tell us how you would make up your proposed tax cut for the rich. Here’s a hint: If your answer is “raise bus fares”, you are truly the candidate for the 1%.
So, if you are lucky enough to be among America’s richest 1%, Grinnell’s your candidate for Tucson Mayor. If you’re among the 99%, I suggest you check out the websites of the other two candidates Democrat Jonathan Rothschild and Green Mary DeCamp. (Stay tuned for more on them.)