As a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, I will be focusing on:
- Poverty: Choking off jobs the way we do, equals poverty. Both Pima County and the City of Tucson have developed reputations for being business “unfriendly.” Children are the hardest hit in this area. There is a high rate of poverty among children in Pima County, including the Tucson metro area.
- Infrastructure: Pima County receives $95.5 million from VLT and HURF monies that are designated for roads. The upcoming Pima County budget will be designating $26 million for roads, a reduction from the $36 million designated last fiscal year.
- Taxes: Pima County has the highest property tax in Arizona.
- Public Safety: One of the responsibilities of the Board of Supervisors is to ensure public safety. We can only do that if our public safety departments are adequately funded.
- Budget: Pima County is $1.4 billion in debt. We need to balance the budget and review priorities in Pima County.
- Cronyism: Pima County recently purchased a bowling alley and paid $600,000 above the appraisal price. Pima County also approved a financing plan to construct a new 15-million-dollar manufacturing facility for World View. The financing plan for the building’s construction includes using Certificates of Participation, or COPs, a debt issuance that doesn’t require voter approval and allows the government to borrow against an asset to fund the project. These activities bring up the obvious question – “Who is profiting from these deals?”
In 2011 Tucson was tied with two other large U.S. metro areas as the sixth poorest in the nation, with a poverty rate of 20.4%, according to data from the Census Bureau. That rate, which was well above the national poverty rate of 15.9 percent last year, was attributed to the region’s high unemployment, slow economic growth, low education levels and low-paying jobs. (Source: Inside Tucson Business, by Khara Persad, Cronkite News Service, Sept. 25, 2012)
When he ran for a Board of Supervisor’s position in 2012, candidate Fernando Gonzales asked, “Why is Tucson ranked the sixth poorest of the nation’s large metropolitan areas?” Eight years later, he asks that same question and wonders, “Has anything changed?”
According to the Phoenix Times (Source: Phoenix New Times Robert Pela July 12, 2017)
“Tucson is one of the only cities in the Southwest to rank among the worst places to live,” the study reports, before ticking off reasons why that’s so. “The economy is slow-growing, the property crime rate is crazy there, and the population is transient, making it difficult to establish a strong community.” According to the article, 25.2% of Tucsonans are poor, by Wall Street standards.
We CANNOT continue voting for the same people and expect a different result.