by Jim Nintzel
Ward 6 City Councilwoman Nina Trasoff, who had previously stopped short of telling voters to reject the Public Safety First initiative, came out against Prop 200 yesterday during press conference yesterday at the Reid Park Zoo. (We didn't attend the conference, which also featured representatives from the business community, labor unions and social-service non-profits, but from what we've seen of the coverage on local news stations, it looks like it was a disaster.)
City Councilman Rodney Glassman also came out against the initiative this week. We've seen an e-mail in which Glassman states: "I will not be voting for Proposition 200 and do not support it. I support increasing law enforcement but this is the wrong way to do it."
With Councilwoman Regina Romero and Councilman Steve Leal also opposing the initiative and Councilwoman Shirley Scott supporting it, that leaves only Councilwoman Karin Uhlich as the fence-straddler in the fight over Prop 200. Uhlich issued a statement yesterday that tags Prop 200 as a bad idea, but she has, so far, been unwilling to say people should vote against it:
Proposition 200 is a very serious issue before the voters. Today, as early ballots are mailed to homes across the city, it is important that voters know the facts.
As I have stated all along, I have serious reservations about Prop 200,
beginning with how it would be paid for.
Because Prop 200 mandates hiring quotas during a recession and lacks an identified funding source, I am concerned that should it pass, a couple of bad outcomes are likely: the City would be forced to either make substantial cuts to other vital services like Parks and Recreation and road maintenance — on top of the cuts we have made in these areas over the past two years — or raise taxes.
The City of Tucson has already established the same public safety staffing goals as are laid out in Proposition 200. We passed the Sustainability Plan in 2006 to establish these goals and prioritize funding to reach them, and I remain 100 percent committed to making sure we get there.
The difference between the Sustainability Plan and Prop 200, however, is that the Sustainability Plan calls for reaching the goals through a dedicated percentage of increased City revenues, based on economic growth.
In other words, it has an identified revenue source. Prop 200 does not.
As I have said before, I trust the voters to make good decisions when equipped with full information.