Pima County government - Tucson Local Media: Columns

Pima County government

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Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 4:00 am

This November we’ll elect all five members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and six of the seven county line officers. Supervisors are chosen by district as are Justices of the Peace and Constables. All are partisan offices.

We have attracted a batch of totally unqualified candidates, ranging from a sitting state legislator who condemns his colleagues for passing bills he co-sponsored to people running for Sheriff with law enforcement experience slightly higher than MeterMaid.

If running for Supervisor, can they name the above six County line offices? Who holds them? If running for one of those line offices, can they tell you their budget size and how many employees they have?

Many think Pima County government is broken. If your car was broken would you hire somebody who couldn’t tell a Pontiac from a Honda to fix it?

No names yet. Some could get their act together. Others are actually qualified. But I’m not a liberal. Good intentions don’t mean squat.

Some County Supe candidates promote more annexation into unincorporated areas. Others worry about the size of bonded debt while complaining about the diversion of bond money and the purchase of open space.  Incomplete and incompatible comparisons to other counties abound.

Pima County has 36 percent of its population living in unincorporated areas. In Districts 1 and 3 they’re a majority. State transportation dollars are distributed by population, and cities get a higher percentage. If all 350,000 folks not in one now lived in a town there’d be another $75 million a year for local roads. Making that happen is politically impossible.

People live in unincorporated areas because WE WANT TO.  We don’t need another batch of polls and bureaucrats to watch out for and don’t think our main purpose here is to get governments more cash. How did some Tea Party folks morph into advocates for more government?

Ask Mayor Eddie Honea why Marana chose to run a classic Gerrymander down I-10 to shopping areas on Ina Road and purposely avoided taking in all the folks along the way that pay the sales taxes they were grabbing. You might also ask him why Marana and Oro Valley put a shiv in the back of Casas Adobes and Tortolita by supporting Tucson’s lawsuit against their incorporations.

Simple reason, Marana didn’t want completed neighborhoods - local government has grown so big with one-size fits all crapola that they can no longer afford to have citizens.

Annexation involves more than just roads. It further obligates towns to more cops and parks and administration whose cost will far exceed the annual $200 per head from state highway money. Annexation will NOT mean a proportionate decrease in County expenses. Most law enforcement costs aren’t for cops but for the jail, things like K9 units and Forensic Labs, and big ticket items in the criminal justice system including courts, prosecutors, and public defenders.

Pima County has large bonded indebtedness because that is the method its voters have chosen to pay for stuff. Unlike other counties, Pima County has no sales tax beyond the RTA. Those stopping for breakfast in Eloy might notice the 13 percent combined state and local sales taxes. Pima voters have rejected all sales taxes five separate times.

Some decry the moving of County bond money around different projects claiming violation of voter intent. Many simultaneously complain about expenditures for the Open Space the same voters approved. That’s too clueless to even be hypocrisy.

The most obnoxious charges border liable against Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Chuck may spend too much, but he’s the employee of the Board. Those questioning his personal integrity should grow up, pack in their sleazy insinuations, and see if they can name the Board Chairman he reports to.  


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