One recent morning, Republican Supervisor Ann Day wanted to “get some things off my chest” regarding Joe Higgins, her opponent in the Sept. 2 primary for the GOP’s Pima County District 1 supervisor nomination.
“He’s all talk versus action,” Day said. “I have the track record, the experience, and he’s all talk.”
Higgins “flip-flops on environmental issues so fast that I’m having trouble keeping track of his positions,” Day said. “He says he supports the county’s nationally recognized Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. He pays lip service to that. He loads his campaign with anti-conservation people.”
Now, Day said, “you would think he’s born again on the SDCP.”
Day said she has “worked hard” for the desert conservation plan, because “I embrace stewardship of our natural resources. I am passionate about creating a better life for all of us that live here in Pima County. Every vote I take is to protect our quality of life.”
Day said the SDCP is “a national model for environmental sustainability. I want to preserve our landscapes, our history, our culture for future generations.”
The Pima County Board of Supervisors “follows” the SDCP “with all land development and zonings, and the developers follow it. It tells us where we can grow, where we should grow, and where we shouldn’t grow. We need to become sustainable.”
Higgins “accuses me of interfering with Oro Valley’s ability to annex state land on Arroyo Grande,” Day said. “Oro Valley has asked the county to help them, to work with them to make sure the annexation is sensitive to conservation, to protection goals, to open space. Oro Valley not only wants us to work with them and the state land department, which we’ve been doing, Oro Valley is going to apparently adopt the SDCP. It makes sense to have Pima County, Oro Valley and state land working together.”
When annexation is considered, “it has to be the people” of a community “that determine whether they want to be annexed or not,” Day said. “To mandate annexation, to me, that doesn’t make sense.
“I think Oro Valley can do whatever Oro Valley wants, that’s their right,” Day said. “Jurisdictions have to maintain their sovereignty, their identity.”
On Arroyo Grande, “there are four sections that could be developed as an industrial zone,” Day said. Any development on Arroyo Grande should be managed “in a sensible way so it doesn’t impact the environment and our conservation goals.
“We want to make whatever annexation agreement that’s signed (is) enforceable,” Day said. “The 68 percent open space? If it’s signed, it must be enforceable. If it’s 68 percent open space, it’s really open space, and that it’s enforceable. I do like the direction Oro Valley is going.”
On Day’s watch, “there’ll never be a road through the Tortolitas,” she said. “That is a key, key issue, that and water. State land has not said ‘we’ll give you the CAP water.’ It all has to be declared.”
Day isn’t sure if greater Tucson will ever have a regional water authority.
“But it’s important that, for the first time ever, the two big gorillas, the city and county, are at the same table, as part of a committee to talk about water management,” Day said. “It’s very important that everybody, every small water company, every jurisdiction, be at the table. It’s critical.
“The discussion is starting. 2008 has become the year where Southern Arizona has decided that we do have a water problem, and that we live in a desert with finite water. Our water policy has been the perfect model of unsustainability.”
She defends her record on road allocations to the Northwest. “I’ve managed to get 54 percent of the entire road funding in Pima County, the last four years, in District 1. Apparently he doesn’t like the brand new road, Craycroft, that goes in front of his house.”
Higgins claims support from “high-profile Republicans” who in fact support her candidacy, Day said. “He puts their pictures and articles on his Web site, implying they support him, and they don’t.
“He doesn’t understand governance,” Day said. “He doesn’t have a plan.”
Budget has been a frustration for Day
Republican Supervisor Ann Day believes she’s “voted against more budgets and tax increases than anyone on the board of supervisors.
“I am a friend of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers,” the eight-year Republican supervisor said. “I signed their ‘no new taxes’ pledge.”
Still, Day has struggled to reduce the county budget because, she said, three Democrats outvote two Republicans.
“When you’re in the minority, you don’t do much about it,” Day said. “You vote against it.”
Day and fellow Republican Ray Carroll “the last eight years, have requested a citizens’ budget oversight committee. We can’t even get one.
“I’ve called for a strategic long-term plan, I’ve called for performance measurements in our departments. I’ve made the case for an efficient and effective government … so that our strategic goal should be to have a sound financial plan, to achieve results and to meet the needs of our citizens while minimizing our tax rate.”
She’s frustrated that a long-term financial plan is not in place.
“You keep the pressure on, that’s what I do,” Day said. “That’s what you do when you’re in the minority.”
When Day first ran, “I promised more openness, more transparent government, and to change the culture,” she said. “I want Pima County to be as efficient and effective as possible. Open and transparent, efficient and effective.
“I understand how to make good public policy,” Day said. “You discuss all the options, you take in the community values, you discuss the laws, the facts, the science, and you discuss. That’s healthy and good.
“I have helped make Pima County a great community, a great place to live,” Day said. “Great communities are no accident. They have beauty, a deep respect for history and culture, a vision, livability and quality of life. We have that here.
“To be economically competitive, you need high standards of livability,” Day said. “That gives us a competitive advantage. These livability standards attract the high-tech workers.”
Day says she retains her passion, commitment
Ann Day says she retains her passion for and commitment to service as a Pima County supervisor.
“I still have the drive, I still have the passion, I still feel I have the skills, the knowledge, the ability,” said Day, who’s in a primary contest with Joe Higgins for the Republican District 1 nomination on Sept. 2. “When you’ve been in public office as long as I have, it’s important to know how to work with people, how to bring people together.
“I want to engage citizens, community leaders and elected officials to build trust, to build bridges, to share visions, to come up with solutions to our most pressing regional problems,” among them land use, water, energy, she said.
“Compromise, consensus, communication and collaboration,” Day said. “I’m good at bringing people together, finding a middle ground, and working out problems, neighbors and developers, and it works. I do have the respect of home builders, developers and the Sierra Club, because I am balanced.
“I’m passionate about livability, and our quality of life. We have to embrace the sustainability revolution of the 21st century. It’s the higher evolution of our consciousness. And we have everything to win, and everything to lose.”