THAT SINKING FEELING...It was another rough week for John Kromko's Prop 200, which city voters will decide in November. First, a crew of Republicans and Democrats from the City Council, Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona Legislature got together in front of an effluent-fueled fountain at Reid Park to declare their opposition to Kromko's initiative, saying the beautiful water feature would be banned under the stringent conditions of the Tucson Water Users' Bill of Rights.
Just days later, the lefties at the Pima County Interfaith Council came out against the proposition, which would repeal the city's $14-a-month garbage fee, prohibit Tucson Water from hooking up new homes once the city is delivering most of its CAP allotment, and restrict the use of reclaimed water. The PCIC crew said that repealing the garbage fee would affect Tucson's funding for social spending--including that big check that goes to the PCIC's favorite job-training program, JobPath.
That Kromko--he's a uniter, not a divider.
As the erstwhile lawmaker gets hammered from the right and the left, his main campaign strategy seems to be putting up ginormous signs saying the Prop 200 will stop growth and cut your taxes.
It doesn't strike us as a winning strategy, but what else can Kromko do? As of Oct. 1, Kromko had only scraped together about $12K for his campaign and was down to his last two grand. (Where's Bob Beaudry when you need him?)
What do you bet that Kromko files some wackadoodle lawsuit before Election Day to grab a little last-minute media attention?
Meanwhile, the No on 200 committee has enough money to get the Death Star quite operational. The group has raised some $400K, with the money coming from the usual suspects: Jim Click, Don Diamond, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, the Tucson Association of Realtors--well, you get the picture. If you want more details, you can check the reports yourself on the city Web page.
We hear tell that they're going to spend three-quarters of a mil by Election Day.
The money is getting run through political consultants Zimmerman and Associates. Hope they get Kromko something nice for Christmas; he's a real rainmaker for them.
STUMBLEWATCH '07: OBLIGATORY CAMPAIGN- FINANCE EDITIONThe latest city campaign-finance reports pretty much reinforce our working theory that the Democrats are going to run away with the campaign.
Republican Dan Spahr has the impossible dream of toppling incumbent Democrat Shirley Scott. The financial analyst had raised only $241 in the latest reporting period, according to the paperwork he filed with the City Clerk's office. Spahr, who had spent about $6,800 on his campaign, had about $550 in the bank as of Oct. 1.
That tells us that nobody thinks Spahr is much of an investment. Along with the incumbent and party registration advantage, Scott had raised more than $38K and still had more than $28K in the bank. She's feeling so confident that she hasn't even bothered to apply for matching funds from the city treasury.
Most candidates are being thrifty about dipping into the city's publicly funded campaign-finance program this year, either because they don't need the money or, conversely, they're in such tight financial straits that they can't qualify.
Mayor Bob Walkup, who is facing token opposition from lovable-if-not-credible Green Party candidate Dave Croteau, hasn't even applied for the dollars; Ward 1 Democratic candidate Regina Romero, who merely has to brush aside hapless Green candidate Beryl Baker to win in November, hasn't put her hand out yet, either.
In eastside Ward 2--the only real race--both Ward 2 candidates have grabbed matching funds. Democrat Rodney Glassman had raised a total of $91,117 for his campaign, including $45,877 in public funds. He was still sitting on almost $60K at the end of September.
Republican Lori Oien hasn't had the same sort of success, although she's raised a reasonable $39,500, including $16,106 in matching funds. Oien had about $25,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period.
Although the council races aren't looking so bright for the GOP, the Pima County Republican Party is still giving it the ol' college try. The GOP dipped into its account to send out a get-out-the-vote piece will an illustration of a ballot getting tossed into the trash. That's not the imagery we would have used--it probably gave most voters a subliminal hint of what they ought to do with the mailer--but then again, everybody tells us we don't know anything about politics.
The GOP mailer had a list of ways the "Democrat Controlled City Council" had "failed" the city. Numero uno: garbage-collection fees. That struck us as kind of weird, given that Mayor Walkup, whose photo appears on the mailer, was the swing vote to create the trash fee in the first place.
To find out just what the GOP meant by failure, we reached out to Pima County Republican Party chair Judi White, who explained that Democrats Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich failed to follow through with their promises to repeal or reduce the fees. But she acknowledged that her candidates this year--Walkup, Oien and Spahr--all think repealing the fee would be a bad idea. So basically, the GOP is knocking Democrats for agreeing that the city should keep the trash fee. Is that failing? You decide--we're too confused to figure it out.
The mailer also said Democrats had failed to fix the streets or attend to neighborhood safety. But White conceded that the Democrats had started paving neighborhoods streets, though she says it should have started a long time ago. Judi, it did start a long time ago--admittedly, when Republicans controlled the council and enacted the trash fee.
Likewise, the Council is hiring more police officers and putting more money into after-school programs to help with that neighborhood-safety program.
The final item on the GOP's failure checklist is just a blank line where you can make up anything you're mad about. Hey, put in whatever you want: The GOP already invented the first three.
SCRAMBLEWATCH '08: FLIP THIS HOUSE EDITIONIt's a little early to be looking ahead at 2008, but what the hell: We hear that House Speaker Jim Weiers' days may be numbered.
With his support of the employer-sanctions law that has the business community uneasy, Weiers appears to have painted a target on his back. We hear that Mac Magruder, a conservative Republican, McDonald's franchisee and a leader of Wake Up Arizona (a bunch of business guys who aren't all happy about the idea of losing their business license if they've got illegal workers on the payroll), has said he's ready to spend more than a half-million bucks targeting Weiers next year. Since Weiers represents a swing district and barely outpolled a Democrat in '06, the Speaker should have reason to be worried.
Even if he prevails at the ballot box, Weiers may find himself overthrown by Rep. Kirk Adams, an up-and-coming Republican who seems less rabid than many of his East Valley colleagues.
Of course, that's all assuming the GOP doesn't lose the House--which, with the targeting that the Arizona Democratic Party is doing, seems like an actual possibility. Even some Republican insiders we know are sweating the possibility of a turnover.