In this day and age, most of us can relate to the feeling that our elected officials aren’t really listening to us or acting in our best interests. But here’s the story of a group of citizens who are actually going to do something about it.
Citizens Opposed to Globe Becoming a Prison Town has been organizing against a proposed private prison there for almost a year now. They are one of the most effective and organized yet truly grassroots groups out there. They have packed City Council meetings with people speaking out against the prison and handed in thousands of signatures of Globe residents on a petition in opposition to the plan. Yet their City Council and Economic Development Board have refused to listen.
So they are going to put the democratic process to the test. They’re going to put the prison up for a vote.
They have two ballot initiatives in the works. The first simply says that no new prison can be built in Globe without first being approved by residents through a public vote. The second requires voter approval for any municipal resource to be spent or utilized for any new prison construction project within, or outside Globe’s jurisdictional boundaries.
It’s a simple concept, but revolutionary in today’s political environment, particularly where these kinds of prison development deals are concerned. Given the scandals that have recently arisen regarding Arizona politicians on the take (Fiesta Bowl, anyone?) and influence-peddling by corporations in state government (two of the Governor’s top advisors have ties to Corrections Corporation of America), what happens when you put the people BACK in the equation? What might we learn by exposing these ordinarily backroom deals to the light of day?
The people of Globe are about to find out. And you can bet that the for-profit prison corporations will be watching very closely to see what happens, because if the people of Globe can do it, so can the people of Florence, or Eloy, or Tucson. Score one for democracy.
You can read the group’s official press release here:
Public Information/Press Release June 3, 2011
TWO Ballot Initiatives are being launched by Citizens of Globe, AZ who do not want their community to become another rural Arizona Prison Town.
These TWO Ballot Initiatives are closely related, but have distinct purposes. (see attached)
The first Ballot Initiative is titled, VOTERS MUST APPROVE NEW PRISON IN GLOBE ACT. It requires Voter approval for any new prison constructed within Globe’s City Limits.
The second Ballot Initiative is titled, NO CITY RESOURCE SPENT ON NEW PRISON ACT. It requires Voter approval for any municipal resource to be spent or utilized for any new prison construction project within, or outside Globe’s jurisdictional boundaries.
Citizens have launched these TWO Ballot Initiatives because local elected officials refuse to pass a Resolution that would prohibit a 1000 to 2000 – bed proposed private prison from being constructed in the Globe community.
Nearly a year ago, citizens began speaking out in opposition to a proposed private prison project. More than 2,500 area residents signed a Declaration of Opposition to such a prison, and implored elected officials to pass a Resolution that would safeguard their community from the private prison ‘industry’. These elected officials refused to act on behalf of their constituents. Globe residents continue to ask, “If they don’t represent the citizens of this community, then who do they represent?”
The Arizona Constitution provides for citizens to “Initiate”, or propose laws or measures that are enacted by a direct vote of the people. The citizens of Globe are now taking action to accomplish what their elected representatives refused and failed to do.
Citizens of Globe must gather 582 signatures to place these TWO Initiatives on the ballot at the City’s next regular election in March, 2012. Registered Voters of Globe, Arizona will ultimately decide the outcome of this very important community issue.
The Committees organizing these TWO Ballot Initiative Campaigns are receiving legal counsel from the Phoenix Law Firm, Perkins Coie, LLP. Attorney, Rhonda L. Barnes, can be reached at 602-351-8305 or RBarnes@perkinscoie.com.
Jim E. Moss, Committee Chairman
480-540-1279 or email@example.com