Political Sound and Furyby Art Jacobson on Jul. 08, 2009, under Development, Rio Nuevo, State Politics, Tucson Politics, Uncategorized
The Latest on The State Budget Negotiations
In an exclusive interview with Representative David Bradley (D District 28) The Data Port has learned the current state of progress on balancing Arizona’s budget. The first action to be taken was to correct one of the consequences of Governor Brewer’s vetoing of the education budget. She vetoed all of it, which would have left the schools with no money at all and unable to open in the fall.
According to Bradley the legislators “fixed the eduction budget” and corrected another consequence of the veto that would have made it impossible for Arizona to receive Federal stimulus funds.
Bradley reports that the Democrats are sitting at the negotiating table with the Republicans and the Governor is closeted with Republican leaders. She continues to refuse to talk to anyone in the Democratic leadership.
According to Bradley a sales tax deal is in the works under which the state sales tax would be extended to all services except medicine and food, but reduced from 5% to 3.4%. This would greatly increase income but would save the average family $275 a year.
Bradley wryly commented that progress is slow but that “We should have a state budget by August.”
The Long Republican Nose and Tucson City Elections
As the Republican-dominated legislature rushed toward adjournment it decided it didn’t like the way we elect our council members.
In Tucson each ward decides in a primary who its Democratic and Republican candidates will be. However, in the general election the vote is city-wide. A consequence of this may be that even though a ward is predominantly Republican it may find itself with a Democratic council person, or vice-versa.
The legislature decided that “first ward and then city-wide” was out. Also out were partisan elections. All candidates for the council would run as no-party-declared candidates. No one The Data Port contacted, including Democratic and Republican Party headquarters in Tucson, knew whether Governor Brewer had actually signed the bill. It probably won’t matter if she does, since Tucson is organized by a City Charter, and the state Supreme Court decided in 1951 that the Lege has no power to alter or control a city charter.
Meanwhile, Back at The Rialto
Rob O’Dell, writing in today’s Arizona Daily Star, reports that the City Council and developers Martin and Stiteler yet again failed to reach agreement on a plan to preserve Rialto Theater access to its Green Room and office space. The theater has been using that space rent free.
“Martin and Stiteler were rebuffed last month for a development agreement that would have given them $4 million in city land for $1.7 million worth of developer improvements downtown,” O’Dell reports.
What followed was a spitting match in which the developers threatened to collect back rent, then threatened eviction, and the city threatened to start proceedings to condemn the property.
Some of us thought this was a truly bad deal from the get-go, since many of the developments that were promised would be in the developers’ own property…the building that’s next the Rialto.
Based on quotes in today’s O’Dell article, council members Trasoff and Glassman think this is a great deal, swapping $4 million worth of property for $1.7 million worth of improvements, gifts and develpment, most of it in the developers’ own property. As a bonus gob of icing on the cake there was no guarantee that the $4 million worth of property would ever be developed.