Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Who is Tucson’s progressive choice for mayor?

Mayoral candidates Grinnell, DeCamp, and Rothschild. (Image Credit: Arizona Public Media.)

Tucson is in the midst of an all mail-in election for mayor and 3 city council seats. Ballots were mailed to all registered voters a few weeks ago, but I’m sure there are thousands of you out there– like me– who have not voted yet.

If you haven’t voted yet, this one’s for you…

The mayor’s race is a three-way between Republican Rick Grinnell, Democrat Jonathan Rothschild, and Green Mary DeCamp. Last week, I gave you my thoughts on Grinnell (professional lobbyist, member of both Rio Nuevo Boards, and would-be Mayor for the 1%). Today’s post will focus on Rothschild and DeCamp.

After the August primary, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Tucson Chapter e-mailed questionnaires to all of the candidates still left standing– Grinnell, Rothschild, and DeCamp in the mayor’s race, and Republicans Jennifer Rawson and Tyler Vogt, Green Beryl Baker,  and Democratic incumbents Shirley Scott, Paul Cunningham, and Regina Romero for City Council. The 20 questions were based upon PDA’s core issues: economic and social justice, corporate personhood, universal healthcare, global warming and the environment, fair and transparent elections, and end the wars/redirect the funding.

PDA didn’t really expect the Republicans to answer our questions, and they didn’t. But we were really surprised when none of the Democratic incumbents for City Council answered them either. Only three candidates took the time to answer our questionnaire–Rothschild, DeCamp, and Baker.

Both Rothschild and DeCamp also agreed to personal interviews with 2-3 PDA Steering Committee members. Each of the interviewers scored the questions independently with a possible 2 points for each question for a total of 40 points for a perfect score (ie, the candates’ responses were well-aligned with PDA’s stance on core issues); partial responses received 1 point; and off-the-mark, woefully incomplete, or unanswered responses received 0 points.

In the end, with surprising consistency across the interviewers, the composite scores were: Rothschild 29 and DeCamp 26 (pretty darn close for a mainstream candidate vs a green).

On some issues– like the environment— Rothschild and DeCamp were well-aligned with each other and with PDA. Both of them promote walkable/bikeable neighborhoods, water harvesting and conservation, and solar energy promotion.

On clean elections— they both support clean elections (although DeCamp is running clean and Rothschild isn’t), and they both support limiting campaign contributions. In addition, DeCamp also promotes Instant Runoff Voting, a interesting idea that could eliminate the “Ralph Nadar Effect”.

On other issues– like economic and social justice— they were worlds apart. On job creation, Rothschild’s answers were very mainstream and not detailed: strengthen the educational system; work with the University of Arizona tech transfer department and related businesses to create a technology and research hub; and see his 180 Day Plan (which is very pro-business).

DeCamp’s answers were anything but mainstream. She focused on building local businesses–rather than on attracting new businesses with economic incentives (ie, tax breaks, free land, reduced or no fees, whatever) and building a micro-financing system to help new start-up companies. She also envisions expanding Tucson’s neighborhood centers and broadening their scope by adding tutoring,  basic healthcare, free advice from SCORE for new start-up businesses, community-based police stations, space for non-profits (eg, Literacy Volunteers, the Community Food Bank, etc.), and more. When asked how she would pay for expansion of the neighborhood centers (which have suffered budget cuts, staff lay-offs, and reductions in services and hours), she pointed to the millions that Tucson is investing with TREO (the folks who offer those incentives to out-of-state businesses and bring new call center jobs to Tucson) and the Metropolitan Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (the folks who sell cowboys and cactus to get people to vacation in the resorts that ring the city).

At first blush, DeCamp’s Community Conservation Centers seem like pie-in-the-sky for a cash-strapped city but think of the possibilities in business development, educational attainment, healthcare savings, and community-building that this local investment could bring — not to mention directly creating jobs in the centers themselves. I am not dissing Rothschild’s technology hub idea; that’s good, but I’ve heard it before. I think DeCamp’s community center idea is a fresh complement to his. I also like her emphasis on promoting Tucson’s strengths and growing local business— instead of trying to lure businesses or sports teams away from other cities.

This fascinating exercise in democracy left me longing for a mashup mayor between Rothschild and DeCamp. As a member of the Democratic Party’s Executive Committee for several years and as the managing partner of a law firm with city contracts, Rothschild is an insider with connections to the establishment. DeCamp is an outsider with fresh ideas and connections to the activist community– particularly those sympathetic to Occupy Tucson, where she has been camping out since Day 1. (Rothschild hasn’t even visited Occupy Tucson, or if he has, there has been no media coverage of it.)

Here are the questions facing Tucson’s more progressive voters:

Can an establishment candidate break out and seek creative solutions?

Can an anti-establishment candidate survive in our entrenched city government?

Now you see why The Tucson Progressive is still holding onto her mail-in ballot.

What’s a person to do? VOTE.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. The deadline is 7 p.m.

If you want to mail your ballot, get it in the mail by Friday, November 4.

If you want to drop off your ballot, here is a list of polling places where you can deposit your mailed ballot.

More Background Information

For candidate background information, check this Arizona Public Media link. To watch the AZPM mayoral forum, check DeCamp’s website.

27 comments on “Who is Tucson’s progressive choice for mayor?

  1. Tip O'Neill
    November 3, 2011

    I voted for Mary. I held my ballot for as long as seemed reasonable, hoping that Rothschild might change his position and offer a small tidbit of support for Occupy Tucson, but it isn’t coming so I mailed my ballot.

    • Pamela Powers
      November 3, 2011

      I’m with you, Tip. I think Tucson needs new ideas, and we’re not getting them from Democrats or Republicans. Rothschild and Grinnell are offering their party lines– Moderate Democrat vs Republican tool for the rich. 

      PDA has 900 members (registered Democrats, Greens, and Independents) in Pima County, and we’re active. That alone should scare the Democrats into being a bit more progressive than Republican-lite. 

  2. Mary DeCamp
    November 3, 2011

    Thanks!  I would urge everyone to check the candidates’ financial filings to see who is walking their talk.  The Mary for Mayor campaign is frugal and spending money IN TUCSON.  The 2 major party candidates are spending their war chests on slick advertisements, often sending dollars OUT of Tucson.
    Just sayin’…

      November 3, 2011

      Well, now….The early (and final) tally is in – green candidate gets three votes.

  3. Alex Maldonado
    November 3, 2011

    Recently changed political party’s from Democrat to Green, after seeing the two-party system continue to fight each other in the sandbox. Voted for Mayor Mary and Beryl Baker. Left the ballot blank for Cunningham and Scott who will have nothing to do with Occupy Tucson. If our city leaders want nothing to do with the people, then I want nothing to do with our city leaders.

    • cochisecitizen
      November 3, 2011

      The Republicans have been unparalleled in their dirty underhanded tactics to seize power and/or keep it. Like the ouster of the Independent IRC Chairwoman, and the Republicans in Congress blocking any and all measures for job creation – they want the economy to be as bad as possible in Nov. 2012 to better their chances. What are Democrats supposed to do, roll over and say “please sir, may I have some more”?

      I live out in Cochise county, so the Tucson Mayor/City Council races have little interest to me, but DeCamp comes off as a particularly weak candidate. I do vote for the Green Party candidate when I just can’t stand the Democratic candidate. I voted for the Green Party candidate for US Senate last year,  I couldn’t stand Glassman and McCain was going to beat him by 30+ points anyway. But if I lived in Tucson I’d vote for Rothschild,  if for not more reason than to just make sure Grinnell doesn’t sneak in. Gronnnell has been running so many TV ads there’s obviously a lot of money behind him, and there’s always a reason for that, and it’s never for the good of the 99%. 

  4. Jim Hannley
    November 3, 2011

    Pamela, thank you for the thoughtful, timely, and very informative article on this important political race. 
    “At first blush, DeCamp’s Community Conservation Centers seem like pie-in-the-sky for a cash-strapped city but think of the possibilities in business development, educational attainment, healthcare savings, and community-building that this local investment could bring — not to mention directly creating jobs in the centers themselves.”
    I think you are spot on here. Mary’s ideas are fresh and reflect the thinking that one finds from visionaries who are not deeply connected to the “establishment”. I frequently speak about the enormous sums of investment capital which flows out of Tucson from which we see very little in return. Mary shows insight into ramping up (not scaling down as we have seen from the present Democratic-led Mayor and Council) of the Neighborhood Centers. Her plan to fund this expansion by eliminating funding for the flaccid Metro Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau and the ineffective TREO are spot on. Your observation about how effective she could be in the rock solid City bureaucracy is keen. I have witnessed how intransigent City departments can be even under moderate democratic leadership. A “mashup” of the Rothschild and DeCamp would be wonderful.

    • The Truth
      November 3, 2011

      I do not see Community/Neighborhood Center idea as fresh. There are existing Neighborhood Center, we have had them for years and years, they really made little to no impact. Is the idea ‘fresh’ because it came out of a Green party canidate? Aligning yourself so much with any ‘party’ and adhearing to their throughts really limits your individual perspective. I can understand if forming your own opinions is too stressful, maybe it makes your brain hurt. Otherwise, review the facts with an open mind and make informed decisions. Tucson needs inflow of money from other parts of the country in order to grow….be that from US vacationers or Mexican nationals coming up for shopping. Inflows from outside a community is the way a community grows, along with a strong base of local business. You cannot dismiss either tourism dollars or local business growth if you want to succeed in the longterm.

      One last point, the way Tucson is set up, the Mayor really cannot enact the changes you metion. You would be better served to look at the council members……but I guess the reporter here has her own agenda. Too bad.

      • Pamela Powers
        November 3, 2011

        “The Truth”- you should check your facts. What Mary is suggesting goes far beyond our current neighborhood center model because there would be many more centers, more services, and longer hours. Also, our current neighborhood centers– plus Parks and Rec and KIDCO– have been favorite budget-cutting targets because they serve the people– and not business. 

      • The Truth
        November 4, 2011

        I stand corrected, the problem with failing community centers is there are not enough of them….of course, the answer was there the whole time.

        Oh Pam, that must be one of the best statements you have ever written. Thank you for the smile.

        “What Mary is suggesting goes far beyond our current neighborhood center model because there would be many more centers, more services, and longer hours.”

      • Jim Hannley
        November 3, 2011

        TT, I mentioned the enormous amount of investment capital flowing out of our city to Wall Street, which you did not take up. Also, how about a little civility (my brain hurts? open mind? pulleeez). Mary is talking about a qualitatively different Neighborhood Center. If you think the Neighborhood Centers are not making an impact on the community, perhaps you should drop into one once in awhile.

      • The Truth
        November 4, 2011

        I am in the neighborhood centers quite often, doing my part to help the community. I think they are nice places and better than most other cities. My point is they are not money makers in any way. I do not see them creating jobs or developing business. They do what they are intended to do.

        If your answer to making our City financially stable is build more centers or pour more money into them….that really is short sighted and sounds like someone without a clear sense of what is needed to grow our City (or even keep it afloat).

    November 3, 2011

    Folks remind me of McGovern supporters years back when they exclaimed…”How could he have lost by THAT much? Everyone I know voted for him”.

    • Tip O'Neill
      November 3, 2011

      Actually we were asking ourselves “How can so many voters be SO stupid?”
      Things never change. 

      • leftfield
        November 4, 2011

        If you remember, upon the first election of George W. Bush, a European newspaper’s front page featured a photo of King George with the headline, “What Were They Thinking?”.

  6. fraser007
    November 3, 2011

    Your joking….right? You all know Rothschild will win. Just what we need …another liberal lawyer. Mary De Camp although a nice person is just another flaming liberal who will get some votes from Sam Hughes and 4th Ave. Wow.
    Heck I would not even vote for Grinnell. This city is in big trouble. And four more years of a Rothschild admin will bury us forever.
    You will all get what you deserve.

  7. Carolyn Classen
    November 3, 2011

    To date, 29% of the voters have returned their ballots per City of Tucson website:
    Democrats 29,046 (32%), Republicans 18,895 (36%), Others 12,636 (20%), Libertarians 321 (17%), Greens 208 (26%).  Ballots should not be mailed back after tomorrow, but taken to the 7 polling locations on Nov. 8.

    • George W
      November 3, 2011

      Statistics are Tucson is democrat bastian….no surprise, republicans been dreaming of taking over southern arizona for a long time, but sadly for them they only represent state wide about 35% of the electorate which means 65% don’t roll with them all the time, or we would never have had a democrat governor/attorney general, not knocking 3rd parties but they tend to do no good, since most of us want our views vindicated, expressed, and a 3rd party candidate is like throwing away a good steak, waste! Ralph Nadar/Ross Perot never had a prayer, both did nothing but split the votes making the right win on Nadar’s case, and the Left win on Perot’s case, both were maybe not real sham candidates but everyone knows money was donated to Nadar by big time GOP rich fat cats….! Splitting the vote with a impossible to win 3rd candidate is a long time ole trick done by both parties!

  8. September
    November 3, 2011

    The last thing this city needs is a liberal and a  lawyer for Mayor. Rothschild is both. “Lawyer” is a big red flag !   Rick Grinnell is at least non- partisan, that is  a step in the right direction.  It would be great if we could actually get some good paying jobs in this city. Could you image we could actually work for a living instead of looking for handouts.  Mary seems very nice, but nice won’t bring in the jobs we need, it will just bury us further.  It’s time to move to the county, this city is a joke.

    • Pamela Powers
      November 4, 2011

      Non-partisan? What planet are you from?

      So, a lobbyist for mayor is better than a lawyer for mayor?

      Both Rothschild and Grinnell talk about luring jobs to Tucson magically somehow. This is a money-wasting tactic that cities and states are trying across the country. DeCamp is talking about growing businesses that started here in Tucson. Tucson wastes millions on TREO, and what do they bring us? Call low-paying center jobs, and those businesses most likely got tax incentives to come here; in other words, they are NOT contributing to our local economy except through wages. Instead giving $1 million to TREO and millions more in tax incentives to businesses who may not stay here long (remember Wiser Lock, Lockheed, IBM, Burr Brown?), why not give $5000-$10,000 grants to local businesses to expand? It will be money well-spent because businesses born and raised in Tucson are loyal to the town and the citizens.

      • The Truth
        November 4, 2011

        “those businesses most likely got tax incentives to come here;
        Why do research when we can just save time and imagine anything we wish. From this point forward my car will ‘most likely’ run on water.

        “$5000-$10,000 grants to local businesses to expand? It will be money well-spent”
        If a business has not been able to generate $5-10k of capital maybe they shouldn’t be expanding.

        By the way, have you ever taken the time to talk to Rick or gotten to know him? I am not a partisan person, I can tell you honestly that he is dedicated to Tucson. He has spent his time making our city a better place in the best ways he can. The past couple of years he has made some income from a media and consoluting business, you might have issues with a local person starting their own business and taking local clients. But even if you discount his being a local small businessman, look at the decades of service he has given our community.

      • tunkashila
        November 5, 2011

        Rick Grinnell is dedicated only to whoever writes him a check. 
        “Making the city a better place in the best ways he can.”  LMAO!!!  If being a prostitute for Rio Nuevo and the Rosemont mine (“local” clients?) can be considered dedication, then sure he’s dedicated.  Our community’s been “serviced” quite enough by this man.

  9. paul
    November 4, 2011

    Is it too much to ask from any of these progressive candidates they  address the third world roads  we enjoy here in Tucson.( that is what a tire store manager described them to me  after I asked what the odds were of my having to have 3 flat repairs done on 3 of my almost new tires) . It’s not like car registration fees are cheap in Tucson.

    • Pamela Powers
      November 4, 2011

      Definitely, city street repair is a task we all (even the Libertarians) expect government to take care of.

      Re: vehicle registration, correct it’s not cheap, but that money goes to the state, not the city. Also, remember that the Arizona Legislature stole millions from the cities and counties in 2011 to “balance” its budget. 

  10. Richard Brodesky
    November 4, 2011


    You are doing a better than superb jov with all this material. 

    I think one thing we are learning over and over again is that everything simply must be reorganized differently. 

    In Europe, people are forming collectives to start microenterprises.  In other words, people who do secretarial work, financial work, graphic design, public relations, etc. all work in one facility.  While they grow their own enterprises, they also spend time helping each other. 

    Perhaps we should have briagdes of friends who spend a day cleaning each other’s homes? 
    The possibilities are manifold

    • Pamela Powers
      November 4, 2011

      Right on. The problem is that the capitalists want us to be individuals and compete against each other– not cooperate. If we shared our tools, our homes, our land, our tasks, we wouldn’t be the good little consumers they want us to be. 

    • The Truth
      November 4, 2011

      We currently have quite a few collectives in Tucson and new business incubators. The problem with some of these ‘progressive’ bloggers is that they would like someone to knock on their door, show them exactly how to take advantage of the opportunites that already exist….it is too much work to research things, find resources and work for what you want.

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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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