by Jim Nintzel
Barring an unexpected change in state law, three seats on the Tucson City Council are up for grabs this year.
Newly minted Democrat Steve Kozachik, who jumped from the Republican Party earlier this month, filed last week to run for the midtown Ward 6 seat.
“There are a lot really important things that are underway,” says Kozachik, who wants to continue his work on water-policy issues, budget challenges, downtown redevelopment, the future of the Broadway widening and firearms regulation. “This isn’t just about filling potholes.”
Democrat Richard Fimbres, who is completing his first term in south-central Ward 5, filed to run in early January. And in north-central Ward 3, Karin Uhlich filed her paperwork on Jan. 18.
“We’re at a real crossroads in Tucson in terms of moving toward a better pattern for growth,” says Uhlich, who wants to continue working on water policy, the issues related to infill development and improvements to the transit system.
So far, none of the Democrats has drawn a Republican opponent.
Kozachik made a few waves last week when he floated the idea that the city could save some money if it just skipped the election this year, given that the state passed a law last year that said that all city elections must occur in the fall of even-numbered years to coincide with presidential and gubernatorial elections.
“One way we could save about $2 million this year has to do with the state and their consolidated elections bill—the one that places all elections in even numbered years,” Kozachik wrote in his newsletter. “They have to go back and fix the language this session since we are due to have an election this fall. There are options they can consider, some of which include having us run for one- or three-year terms this fall, or skipping this year’s election altogether and synchronizing us in a 2014 election. If left to me, I’d certainly opt for that. I believe people are just suffering election-cycle fatigue.”
Kozachik walked back that proposal yesterday, telling The Range that he didn’t want to skip this year’s election and was just trying to make the point that the Legislature had passed a law that left no direction to the cities about how to structure the elections this year. He says that he fully expects to run for office this year.
The city of Tucson is fighting the new law in court, arguing that the city’s charter authority allows it to schedule elections when it wants.