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Tuesday’s Poll: Prop. 200

Proposition 200, a citizen’s initiative mandating city police staffing levels and fire department response times, is generating the most interest in the Nov. 3 Tucson general election.

It’s even bled over into the council races, as evidenced by the testy exchanges between Democratic Councilwoman Nina Trasoff and her Republican challenger Steve Kozachik on Arizona Illustrated last week.

City officials and opponents say the initiative will cost the city millions it doesn’t have while proponents say you can’t put a price on public safety.

The Star’s Rhonda Bodfield did a decent job covering the initiative’s basics in an article published Sunday.

While I don’t think Tucson is crime-ridden city, as compared to other cities its size with similar levels of poverty, the recent budget cuts, hiring freezes and early retirements have thinned the police and fire departments ranks. But while public safety is important, you can’t make it prime and gut all other city services.

I’d be more inclined to support the initiative if it had a dedicated funding source, a special tax levy – an increase in the primary property tax or a sales tax increase – to pay for it. Otherwise, it’s an unfunded government policy mandated by special interests (police and firefighter unions). That’s no way to run municipal government. Besides, we’ve seen before what happens when a special interest gets voters to pass a sweeping pubic policy change on an emotional issue – Bob Beaudry’s Water Consumer Protection Act in 1995. That initiative was a disaster that had to be undone by voters four years later.

If you don’t like the way the city administers and funds its public safety departments, elect council members who will change it to your liking.

Prop. 200 is not the way to do it.

But what do you think?

If the election were held today, how would you vote for Prop. 200?
For it: 21%
Against it: 75%
I don't know: 2%
187 users voted
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