I’m tired of those who claim the cronyism and corruption of Tucson’s city government are akin to Chicago’s. It insults Chicago. Detroit, in all its squalor and incompetence, may be a better example.
Back in my traveling, political consulting days, I worked several cycles in Illinois for GOP types who actually won before they blew it all being as corrupt as those they replaced. Some of my old friends may still be wearing ankle bracelets. One thing I learned was the attitude of Chicago voters.
If introduced to his alderman (they have 50 elected by party and by ward – 49 are Democrats), that voter would say something like, “Hey, you’re my alderman. You get to shake people down. Well, pick up the garbage on time, send the cops when we need ‘em, keep the snow plows running, fill the pot holes and I’ll vote to let ya keep stealing. Otherwise I’ll find somebody else.”
That summarizes the Chicago version of the social contract. It’s also the system that gave you the current White House occupant but he was only a machine errand boy; others did the heavy lifting. I once visited a regular Democrat ward headquarters. The three names and titles on the door were Ward Committeeman (top), Cook County Supervisor (middle) and State Senator (bottom). Obama would be a much better president if he’d had some responsibility actually running something.
Tucson voters have low expectations. Their elected officials, save for Councilman Steve Kozachik, pander to a small elite of mostly self-appointed neighborhood activists who pretend to have a real constituency while ignoring the needs of most everybody else. The council makes judgment calls based on who shows up to meetings, never determining if there is anyone behind those in the room. They fold for the most shallow bluffs.
The political parties are similarly clueless. Republicans have a quasi-religious faith that this game is somehow on the level. Democrats are attempting to emulate their Chicago brethren by muscling primary candidates and using other forms of thuggish behavior without noticing that a key component of successful bossism is taking care of those who ultimately have the power to replace you.
The Chicago machine has become an alliance between favored business interests and left wing descendants of (American community organizer) Saul Alinsky. Certain businesses thrive, others don’t. Public employee unions and select nonprofits run amuck in certain places, not others. The deals are done, the fix is in.
Tucson Democrats play this way, too, but on a much narrower scale. Most of Tucson’s business community is shut out and remains over-regulated and generally dumped upon while whomever passes for local business leaders with few exceptions are basically onlookers.
If the business types ever realized just how much papier-mache the current Democrat regime is made of and mounted a genuine effort to clean up the town, they could. The very presence of Kozachik and the closeness of the other races in 2009 proves it. That the local GOP had to run a primary write-in to get a mayoral candidate on the ballot indicates the abdication of any responsibility by both the GOP and the business community.
The role of the local media contributes to the problem. Tucson’s only remaining print daily and only significant weekly approach Democrat sycophancy far too often. The local electronic media mostly rips and reads. The blogs are too scattered. Too many voters don’t know how bad things really are until they lose a transmission to a chuckhole or find out cops no longer make onsite reports on non-life-threatening accidents.
Tucson has one more chance in November to wake up and replace those currently running the place into the ground. To blindly re-elect this council and the handpicked mayoral candidate of the current Democrat machine would only give the productive class another reason to move on.
Listen to Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., on Inside Track, KVOI 690 AM.
The Explorer welcomes opposing viewpoints at firstname.lastname@example.org.