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Take initiative to study election

Citizen Staff Writer


Associate Editor

So how did voting in the presidential primary go? Did you find the one candidate you wanted after plowing through the absurdly long ballot cluttered with scads of names of people you’ve never heard of?

OK, now here’s something that will send a chill down your spine: Nov. 4.

That’s when you’ll pick the next president. But those of us in Arizona also will pick 90 legislators, eight members of Congress, dozens of school board members, scads of county officials and on and on and on.

And those infernal propositions. That already is looking very scary.

The Secretary of State’s Office has issued paperwork for 28 initiatives. Many will not get enough signatures to win a spot on the ballot, but it’s still a very heavy load.

And the Legislature is sure to make it even worse, adding referendums of its own.

Before you get totally panicked, fearing a ballot that resembles “War and Peace,” there is a glimmer of good news.

• Six of the initiative petitions were filed by a convicted child molester in state prison. Since he is behind bars for quite a few more years, he will have trouble collecting signatures. Not surprisingly, he was unavailable for comment.

• Three initiative petitions were filed by two women whose phone has been disconnected. I couldn’t track them down, so I doubt they’ll collect the signatures they need.

• Three initiative petitions were filed by a man whose phone is disconnected. See comment above.

So that leaves “only” 16 initiatives that may be on the November ballot. They cover topics from health care to how legislative and congressional districts are drawn to limiting property taxes to regulating lawyers to eliminating affirmative action and, of course, making life more difficult for illegal immigrants.

It all makes you wonder why we even have a Legislature. Didn’t we elect these people to write laws for us? Apparently lots of ordinary Arizonans are dissatisfied and have decided to jump into the law-writing business themselves.

People such as Ted King.

The retired developer from Scottsdale is collecting signatures for an initiative that would allow the Legislature to regulate lawyers – a responsibility now handled by the State Bar of Arizona.

In his initiative, King says the bar “has failed miserably.” Few of the complaints lodged against lawyers are fully investigated, he said in an interview.

He said the Legislature regulated lawyers between 1976 and 1981, and he thinks it did a better job. Under his initiative, the Legislature would not renew the annual licenses of lawyers who fail to resolve every complaint lodged against them.

And people such as Marc Goldstone.

He’s a retired electrical engineer in Bullhead City who is collecting signatures for two proposed constitutional amendments that would limit property taxes. Both are inspired by California’s Proposition 13.

Goldstone said he got involved in this endeavor when his property tax bill increased 80 percent a couple of years ago. He appealed and the increase was cut in half.

His initiatives would provide for “predictable and affordable property taxes,” he said.

Goldstone needs 230,047 valid signatures to get his constitutional amendment on the ballot. King needs fewer signatures – 153,365 – because he wants to change law, not the state constitution. Both have until July 3 to collect the signatures.

But both may have aces up their sleeves. King and Goldstone say friendly lawmakers will try to persuade a major-ity of the Legislature to put the measures on the ballot as referendums, thus eliminating the need to collect signatures.

However it shakes out, here’s some advice for the general election: Bring your reading glasses.

Mark Kimble appears at 6:30 p.m. Fridays on the Roundtable of “Arizona Illustrated” on KUAT-TV, Channel 6. He may be reached at 573-4662 or at mkimble@tucsoncitizen.com.


For a list of initiative petition drives and a link to Marc Goldstone’s property tax initiatives, see this story at www.tucsoncitizen.com/opinion.


Some of the proposition petition drives aimed at the Nov. 4 ballot:

• A Phoenix man wants the commission that draws up legislative and congressional boundaries to be required to place a premium on making districts politically competitive.

• A group wants to pass the “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act” that would “preserve and protect the rights of individuals to make their own health care and health insurance choices.”

• Andrew Thomas, the Maricopa County attorney, wants the state constitution to prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. It would apply to all governments.

• A resident of the town of Maricopa wants to ban drivers’ use of cell phones without a hands-free device.

• Failed gubernatorial candidate Don Goldwater is pushing an initiative that mirrors the new employer sanctions law prohibiting the hiring of illegal immigrants. Initiatives are more difficult to change than laws.

• State Rep. Russell Pearce wants counties and cities to be required to enforce immigration laws.

• State Rep. Marian McClure wants to ban payday loan operations.

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