by Jim Nintzel
Republican City Councilman Steve Kozachik continues to challenge GOP members of the Arizona Legislature.
The latest: An op-ed in Inside Tucson Business, where he complains that state lawmakers excluded Pima County when handing out dollars for border enforcement, continue to damage the universities and are undermining efforts to get downtown redevelopment back on track. In particular, he notes that former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton has been appointed to the Rio Nuevo board:
As was the case with the original group who were appointed to the reconstituted board, I have no question about the professional qualifications the group brings.
However, one of the nominees, Jonathon Paton, was directly involved in crafting legislation by which the new board was formed. Further, Paton comes into his new position openly stating the "city has been standing in the way of progress" and that more changes need to be made to wrest further control from the city.
A modicum of homework on Mr. Paton's part would demonstrate that it was six of his former colleagues from the Legislature who, on Dec. 21, 2010, drafted a letter to the new Rio Nuevo board instructing them to refrain from coming to terms on new intergovernmental agreements with the city.
The Rio Nuevo board still has yet to come to terms with the city on an agreement that would allow us to move forward with the disposition of assets and open the door for the two bodies to begin to work on how to best invest tax dollars in the Rio Nuevo redevelopment district.
We may now put to bed any pretense this board is independent of the Legislature.
State lawmakers are playing politics with the financial viability of this city. Not one of the elected officials who represent this region voiced public opposition to the appointment, or any of the comments made by Mr. Paton.