PROJECT WHITE HOUSE: LET THE GAMES BEGIN!The final ballot is set for Arizona's Feb. 5 presidential primary--and we're excited to announce that half of the candidates on the Democratic ballot are participating in Project White House!
One-third of the candidates on the GOP ballot are also participating in PWH.
For those who came in late: Project White House is Tucson Weekly's first Reality Journalism contest. Presidential candidates--including 12 of the 24 Democrats on the ballot and eight of the 24 Republicans--are competing not only to win the primary itself, but also to capture the coveted Tucson Weekly endorsement.
Placement on the ballot was determined by drawing lots--and Project White House contestants won the top slot on both ballots! Sandy Whitehouse of Vail--who says her last name is her best qualification for the office--is atop the Democratic ballot, while James Creighton Mitchell Jr. of Illinois is the first name on the GOP ballot.
We're sorry to say that paperwork problems prevented some of our would-be candidates from making the ballot. For example, an application from Jim Anderson, owner of the legendary Meet Rack saloon, appears to have been rejected.
And regular readers may remember Daniel Kingery, who is campaigning for the presidency as he travels the country--and lives--in an ancient Crown Vic. We told you a few weeks ago about how Kingery once transformed a New Hampshire junkyard into a stripper performance venue to resolve some zoning issues.
Well, Kingery called last week to let us know he was told by staffers at the Secretary of State's Office that they were rejecting his application because he had listed "Willcox" as his street address. Guess being homeless in America means you're not welcome to run for president in Arizona.
It sounds kinda unfair, but when it comes right down to it, we reckon that if you can't manage to properly fill out a two-page form, you're probably not quite ready to take control of the Free World.
At any rate, you'll want to stop by the Weekly blog for a complete list of all the candidates participating in Project White House.
What about the candidates who aren't part of PWH? Well, we hate to exclude anyone, so we're making an exciting announcement: We're inviting anyone who's on the Arizona primary ballot but not yet signed up for Project White to join the fun.
That's right: The contest is now open to John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama and all the rest. If you're working on one of those campaigns and want to participate in PWH, drop us an e-mail.
PARTY CRASHINGSomething to keep in mind about that presidential primary: Only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective primaries on Feb. 5. If you're one of the growing number of voters not affiliated with either party, you have to join one by Monday, Jan. 7, 2008, if you don't want to sit out the primary.
MAKING A SPLASHNewly elected Ward 2 Councilman Rodney Glassman is galloping green right out the gate. Two weeks after being sworn into office, Glassman is already pushing for changes in the city's building codes to require plumbing systems that would allow the use of graywater--the leftovers from washing machines, showers and hand sinks--for watering gardens and lawns. He also wants all new homes to be equipped with systems for solar water heaters, and new commercial developments to have rainwater-recovery systems for landscape irrigation.
Glassman, who managed to get letters of support for the concepts (if not the details) from the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and other development outfits as well as environmental organizations, is asking staff to study how to get the new rules in place by 2010.
CREDIT AGENCIESAs the end of the year draws near, so does the opportunity for Skinny readers to make those tax-deductible contributions that help lower income-tax bills while helping schools and those living on the edge in our community.
For those of you who don't have brainy accountants, here's how it works: You can give up to $200 ($400 for a couple) to a charity that helps the working poor. When you file your income-tax return, you get the amount of your contribution taken off your tax bill--so you essentially get the money right back.
We asked a few other elected officials and other bigwigs to give shout-outs to charities that are eligible for tax credits.
Ward 3 City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich suggests readers contribute to the Primavera Foundation, which helps homeless people find shelter, work and job-training. Uhlich, who was executive director at Primavera for about a decade before she took the reins of the Southwest Center for Economic Integrity, says the organization "not only provides relief for people who are suffering and in poverty, but also tries to address root causes of those social issues."
To make a contribution to Primavera, call 623-5111, ext. 107, or go online to the Primavera Web site.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Shirley Scott likes the Pima Prevention Partnership, which she credits with doing "great work" in helping people beat drug and alcohol addictions and stay sober. To make a contribution, contact Sandra Klinger at 624-5800, ext. 1203, or email.
Newly elected Ward 2 Councilman Rodney Glassman suggests you consider Habitat for Humanity, which aids low-income folks in achieving the American dream of home ownership. You can make your contribution online, or call 326-1217.
City Manager Mike Hein recommends you give to Casa Maria, the Catholic relief outfit that provides food, shelter and clothing to the needy. Give the indefatigable Brian Flagg a call at 624-0132 for details on how to make a contribution.
Richard Elias, the chair of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, says the Community Food Bank needs your help. You can make donations online or call 622-0525 for more details.
County Supervisor Sharon Bronson of District 3 says Youth on Their Own, a nonprofit that helps teens who are struggling to find food, shelter and clothing, deserves some help this year. Bronson tells us Youth on Their Own is "a homegrown organization with low overhead, operating on a shoestring with dedicated volunteers that effectively focuses on helping young adults bootstrap themselves by graduating from high school. Most go on to college. Few bucks, big results!" Call Youth on Their Own at 293-1136 for details on making a donation.
Mayor Bob Walkup suggests you consider giving money to your favorite local school in addition to making a charitable tax credit.
In principle, we gotta lay down a caveat: These particular tax credits make for lousy policy. Year after year, the data has shown that in general, schools in rich neighborhoods tend to do a lot better than schools in poor neighborhoods, mostly because rich folks have the extra cheddar to toss to schools--and more reasons to look for tax breaks.
We'd just as soon the money stay in the state treasury and get doled out on equitable basis. But as long as the credits are available, we'd advise you to consider giving to a school in a stressed neighborhood.
This one works pretty much the same as the working-poor tax credit. You can give up to $200 ($400 per couple) to an Arizona public or charter school and get that money back when you file the tax return.
There's a more generous credit for private schools. You can give up to $500 ($1,000 per couple) to a private-school tuition organization. Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll recommends you write your check to the Catholic Tuition Support Organization, which provides scholarships to kids attending Catholic schools.