Late April in Baja Arizona… ahhh… the weather is gorgeous, the skies are blue, plants are springing back to life, and community events pack the weekends. If Baja Arizona has such an luscious environment and close-knit, eclectic community, why is it that the natives are often weary and depressed this time of year?
Why? Because by late April we have been pummeled by the Arizona Legislature for nearly four months.
With Russell Pearce as president of the Arizona Senate, 2011 has been a particularly rough year: corporate tax cuts, birther bills, guns-for-everyone-everywhere bills, anchor baby bills, everyone-should-be-a-border-patrol-agent bills, and a who-needs-education-or-healthcare-or-parks-when-you-got-prisons budget. Heavy sigh… (Wait a minute… did I miss something? Was there a jobs bill proposed this session?)
Down here in Baja Arizona, we have been repeatedly and unfairly targeted by the Arizona Legislature. I’ve lost track of all of the specifically anti-Tucson or anti-Pima County legislation that is winding its way through the rented halls of the Arizona Legislature. Some of the most egregious bills were sponsored by or promoted by one of our one Baja Arizona Senators– Frank “let’s-shoot-varmints-in-the-night” Antenori.
Now that Governor Jan Brewer has stood up to the Arizona Legislature and actually VETOED two of the crazier bills– guns near campuses and the birther bill– I’m hoping she’ll keep going. Governor, there are many more bills worthy of your veto pen!
Let’s make this easy and not confuse the situation with lots of numbers … Jan, honey, pretty please veto anything in these categories…trust me… you can do it!
- Anything proposed by Antenori. This includes his bills to give Pima County infrastructure to the town of Marana and his plans to become king of Tucson by regulating how many employees the city can hire and which contracts go out for bid. (Last time I checked, Antenori didn’t hold any elected offices in our city or county government.)
- Anything that is discriminatory against a group or individual. In addition to all of the anti-children, anti-sick people, and anti-immigrant legislation, this category would include all of the anti-Tucson and anti-Pima County legislation not proposed by our so-called Senator (see #1). It also would include Pearce’s obvious political ploy to give millions of dollars to Maricopa and Pinal Counties for border security but leaves out Pima County (which actually borders Mexico) because he doesn’t like our sheriff.
- Anything that is none of the Legislature’s business.
3a. The Legislature has no business sticking its nose into the management of University Medical Center, the University of Arizona College of Medicine, or the newly formed UA Healthcare (HB2067). Would you want Pearce or Antenori deciding who should get medical care and what care should be given? Oops… that’s right. Arizona’s Death Panels have been hard at work destroying healthcare in our state. Don’t let them take over one of out best hospitals! Doctors and professional healthcare administrators should run healthcare institutions– not wacky ideologues.
3b. The Legislature has no business dictating the types of housing that can be built in Tucson. HB 2005 (AKA the Mini-Dorm Proliferation Act of 2011) states that when a municipality has issued a building permit for construction of a residential structure located within two miles of either a military base or a state-owned educational facility (such as the University of Arizona), then any use of the structure for residential purposes under one lease agreement by members of the U.S. Military or by faculty, employees or students of the educational facility is deemed to be in accordance with zoning regulations (regardless of how the area is really zoned). To make matters worse, the amendment is retroactive to Jan 1, 2010 OR the issuance of the permit, whichever came first. In other words, it would allow MINI-DORMS to be legal in R-1 and R-2 zoned areas! This bill is to be voted on soon by the Senate.
- Anything that would cut jobs instead of creating jobs. OK… sorry, Jan, I tried to trick you on this one because NONE of the Legislation suggested by the majority party this session creates a single job but several pieces of legislation will actually increase unemployment– particularly the cuts to healthcare and education– or hurt workers.
- Anything that is the responsibility of another branch of government. The Arizona Legislature has a particularly “all knowing” aura about it this year. Not only are they taking on tasks that belong to the federal government (like immigration and border security), they are taking on tasks that belong to the cities and counties (as mentioned above).
You’re the decider, Jan. Please?