Sunday, January 3, 2010

Questions for the Recall Effort at "Take Back Tucson"

Humberto S. Lopez was busy over the holiday season planning a small coup d'├ętat in Tucson's city council. Under the pretense of a nonpartisan initiative, real estate investor Lopez is putting together a campaign to recall council members Regina Romera, Karen Uhlich and Mayor Bob Walkup. The campaign is called "Take Back Tucson", and its about getting people in there with "proper experience, leadership skills, and personal drive". Who had Tucson in the first place and who took it away?
City Manager Mike Letcher has contributed to the council's vulnerability by pushing for a 2% rental tax, which will be passed directly onto the mid to lower income sections of the population who are likely renting.
There are two red flags with this recall campaign. First, the chosen targets appear to be the result of a partisan initiative. There's no clear presentation about why the targets are chosen over council members Rodney Glassman and Shirley Scott. Republican Mayor Walkup's name seems to be added to demonstrate that "Take Back Tucson" is a nonpartisan effort.
Second, their website offers no specific action, vote or behavior linking these suspects to the offense of turning their backs on the business community. Worse, no suggestions about what specific actions need to be taken except general platitudes like "smarter, more focused, more effective policymakers". O.K. What's that?

Here is a list of questions sent to their site:

1. What specific acts has Romero done to demonstrate she is part of the problem?

2. What specific acts has Uhlich done to demonstrate she is part of the problem?

3. What specific acts has Walkup done to demonstrate he is part of the problem?

4. What specific votes/activity can you list that support your pinning of the problem on Ulich, Walkup and Romero over other occupants like Glassman and Scott?

5. Assuming the public is capable of discerning the cause, what events take place that are "business unfriendly" and have nothing to do with any representative or democratic process?

6. How do impact fees compare to the cities that already outrank Tucson?

7. The problem with bureaucratic mazes seem like a good point. Why don't you address that problem with a "city manager" style of government?

8. What impact does the state budget crisis have on the problems with effectively funding city initiatives?

9. The dominant business community, particularly those involved with the RTA like the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, have created deceptive campaigns in the past. How does your group distinguish itself from these same hacks looking for more government hand-outs?

10. This city in particular seems to be primarily dependent on corporate welfare. The government is the primary employer, directly or indirectly, throughout this city. Davis Monthan Airforce Base, Raytheon, University of Arizona and the City of Tucson practically run the Tucson economy. What industry that comes close to this type of volume in business do you intend to target and attract to the city?

11. How are you able to successfully refute that this is a partisan initiative when the only Republican on your hit list has, by a huge margin, the highest chance of surviving an attempt at a recall?

12. Avoiding generalities, what specific actions relating to Tucson's economy are performed by serious competent leaders?

On the "Take Back Tucson" home page, there is a clock that counts backwards until the next Mayor and Council meeting. The circus is near. If the bankroll of Mr. Lopez has any connection to his coverage, expect all kinds of media-including the Arizona Daily Star, which currently seems to be eating out of his hands.
Perhaps this post should include a clock that ticks forward until we receive some real answers.


  1. Good questions, although the wording of #9 might mean you won't get a response. I heard about this today and it surprised me because I was talking with a bus driver who mentioned somewhat monumentally that "a recall" of these three was in the paper like it was big news, and I thought, oh, someone wrote an editorial or something, eh? But front page was it? Somehow it's big news that there's some campaign to oust these three? I guess you flash enough cash and have enough powerful people supporting you and you get in the paper? And why not Glassman or the others? Based on the video on the campaign's website, the members interviewed wanted rio nuevo downtown "done," because phoenix finished their "revitalization" already and "they're stealing our business." And almost all voiced their support for Steve (Kozachic) or "the Koz" and wanted candidates that would "raise the quality of jobs" and want to "keep their kids in tucson" because they moved from tucson for "greater opportunities," they won't take their friends downtown because they are embarassed and Tucson needs to "modernize itself" and one said Walkup, Ulrich and Romero don't fund police and fire enough to provide basic services. "The Koz" supported the "safety first initiative" and so do some of the supporters on the campaign's website, and he was also backed by Jim Click, southern arizona homebuilders' association, who also backed the "public safety first initiative." These guys seem like "growth culture" with powerful business backing trying to seize more political power. Just a guess, really. And the way that "The Koz" wants to kick out the local 9/11 Truth group from the ward 6 meeting space seems like politicization bordering on fascist.

  2. I guess your right about #9. I might as well rephrase it as "how are you industry hacks going to convince the public you aren't a bunch of industry hacks?"
    So far, 9/11 Truth Tucson's meeting place will continue to be at Ward 6. We have not been kicked out so let's assume there has been a "change of heart".

  3. Ah, and "the Koz" seems to be helping Access Tucson as well. What a rich tapestry of shades of grey :).