This day, The Explorer has started, and by no means finished, some reporting on the primary election decisions facing voters over the next 27 days before Aug. 24.

Our first foray is into the Republican race in Congressional District 8. Three conservative candidates, all of them military veterans, are vying for the opportunity to face Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in what could be a nationally significant race come November.

Jesse Kelly, Brian Miller and Jonathan Paton all talk about immigration and the border, all talk about health care, all talk about federal spending. Each of them believes the America they love — and they all love it, deeply — is at risk.

And they all talk about Giffords, and why they're the best choice to advance on to November.

There's plenty more to report on the candidates, and we'll endeavor to do so in the several weeks ahead. Thanks for your attention. Very important decisions are ahead.

The Oro Valley Town Council is giving business owners and managers "temporary relief" on the town's sign code, "in an effort to help businesses during the economic recession."

It's a positive gesture.

How much difference does a sign make in the success of a business? Clearly, some businesses are more dependent on signage than others. Regardless, town government is trying to help business through a rough spot.

"This is not a 'residents versus businesses' issue," Councilman Steve Solomon said. "I hope the community doesn't see it that way. This impacts all of us and we have many business owners who are also residents."

From this perspective, it's never been a "residents versus businesses" issue. The people of Oro Valley want businesses to succeed; they are, after all, a major source of revenue for town government. That said, no one wants Oro Valley trashed by signs, either. The council is not granting waivers for illuminated, noise-producing or flashing signs.

Businesses that "can demonstrate reasons constituting a hardship that would justify relief can complete a waiver form" for town review. If signs are allowed, in 90 days, the business is asked for evidence the waiver is working. Of course, it will be working. This step will be hard to undo.

All this is a question of balance, with a pendulum swing to help the money-makers when times are slow. And good for town government.

For months now, the Marana Town Council, its staff and its citizens have been debating whether the town should allow a significant commercial landfill on land that is now incorporated within the town limits.

It appears now that Aug. 17 is the day of decision by the governing board.

It's the right time to decide. There are mounds of information, and volumes of public comment, to consider.

Last week, nearly 60 people wanted to comment on the zoning change that would allow the landfill to be built. More than 30 waited out the evening, some speaking more than three hours after they entered the council chambers. Those numbers are testament to the strong feelings people have, and their determination to be heard.

Perhaps the best comment last week was impartial.

"I wouldn't want to be in your shoes," one speaker told the governing board.

Indeed. This is one of those decisions that has enormous ramifications for a community.

The council's ultimate decision, fairly or otherwise, is weighted by the perception of bias because Vice Mayor Herb Kai owns the land upon which the landfill would be constructed. Kai has recused himself from conversation on the landfill, and there's no evidence the council thinks any differently because it's Kai's land, or someone else's. Still, the perception's out there, whether it's fair or not.

Thirty years of newspaper work has reinforced the thanklessness of public service, a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" sort of responsibility. The Marana Regional Landfill is one more example of it.


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