For those of you who supported me in my 2016 run for Pima County Supervisor, you have my heartfelt gratitude for believing in me. For those who supported either of the other 2 candidates, I realize that times change and I welcome a dialog with you to learn what is important to you, your family, and Pima County.
After my loss in the 2016 primary for the office of Pima County Supervisor, I found other ways to serve Pima county. I became active in local politics, became a precinct committeeman (PC) for Legislative District 2 (LD2) and helped several candidates while serving as the 3rd vice chair of LD2. During that time, I was selected as the PC of the year for LD2 and went on to be elected as the 1st vice chair a few months ago. I recently stepped down from 1st vice chair of LD2 prior to filing as a candidate for the 2020 election. Bill Bracco, town council member for the town of Sahuarita, appointed me to serve as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner and I was recently elected by the Planning and Zoning Commissioners to serve as the vice chairman of the commission. Additionally, Supervisor Christy appointed me to serve as a Board of Adjustment commissioner for Pima County District 4. So, as you can gather, I’ve been busy serving our community in different ways, and had not planned to challenge Supervisor Christy – until a troubling pattern of supporting new taxes and “special deals” for select organizations became clear.
Upon filing to challenge Supervisor Christy, I immediately drove to his office to tell him directly out of respect for him and the office he holds. Mr Christy wasn’t in the office at that time, so I shared my news with a member of his staff and left. Over the weekend, I wrote an email to follow up after my visit and included my resignation from the Board of Adjustment again, out of respect for Supervisor Christy. A couple of days later Mr Christy and I connected on the phone where we had a friendly conversation, and based on my performance on the board of adjustment, he asked me to continue to serve in that capacity.
One of most important campaigns I have been part of was to help oppose Proposition 463. This is an important difference between myself and Supervisor Christy. Supervisor Christy supported and campaigned for this tax increase that most of us opposed. The Stop Prop 463 committee was able to help get the word out to Pima county on a very small budget and with several volunteers while those who supported Prop 463 spent a significant amount of money to put additional bond debt on Pima County residents.
After hearing first hand at the Board of Supervisor meeting from Supervisor Christy as he explained his vote to send the bond issue to the voters that he “felt it should be left up to the voters”. The outcome of the vote proved the majority of the residents of Pima County feel they are taxed enough. Supervisor Christy has consistently supported adding additional tax burdens to the residents of Pima county. After Prop 463 failed at the polls, I appeared before the Board of Supervisors where I explained to all the supervisors including Mr Christy that I considered him a friend, friends don’t always agree, but when they disagree – they speak frankly with each other. I went on to say I was disappointed in his support of additional taxes – especially when the county has a very poor track record of spending our tax dollars wisely.
In fact, although you frequently hear about how the state sweeps our HURF and VLT monies, many people don’t realize that in this current fiscal year Pima county received 92 million dollars in HURF and VLT money after all sweeps. Instead of using that money to maintain our roads, 18 million is used to pay the 1997 road bonds, 26 million gets swept into the general fund by the county administrator to use on whatever he sees fit, and 40 million goes to pay for the majority of the 43 million Pima County Transportation Department salaries and overhead. Virtual none of the money is used to maintain our roads! Salaries and overhead should be a very small percentage of the money spent on maintaining our roads – especially when the work is contracted out to vendors.
After Supervisor Christy recently supported mortgaging our county buildings in the form of Certificates of Participation (COP) to fund the infrastructure improvements to Rocking K on behalf of Diamond Ventures while other developers are expected to fund their own infrastructure improvements. Certificates of Participation do not require voter approval – so much for “leaving it to the voters to decide”.
Using Supervisor Christy’s language – Once again, who you choose to best represent your point of view should be left up to the voters. Some might take issue with me challenging a fellow Republican in the primary for an office Mr Christy holds, but if we can’t challenge members of our own party, how do we have a prayer of challenging members of other parties where there are more striking differences.