I hope to have some video to post for y’all of Friday’s hearing put on to discuss the anti-labor bills before the legislature. In the meantime, here’s a quote from an AFSCME member that attended the hearing. He wanted to address the allegation that public employee unions are “bankrupting the state:”

I’m making less money now than I was four years ago. I want to ask who’s bankrupting who?

The legislators who attended asked all of us to call the members that represent us. It would be a bit pointless for me to do so: all three of mine (Steve Farley, Bruce Wheeler and Paula Aboud) were there.

In addition, County Supervisor Richard Elías, Councilmember Regina Romero and Pima College Board Member Sherryn Marshall were there. Elías gave the opening remarks to the legislators, and it wasn’t a big surprise that he was there: he had been a member of UFCW as a young man and his father is a union printer.

Surprising was another elected official to show up: Steve Kozachik. Kozachik described his experiences working with AFSCME as a councilmember during the city’s financial crisis and how the cooperative attitude was helpful. Heck, he actually knew the difference between collective bargaining and meet and confer. It isn’t the sort of nuance we’ve come to expect from Republican elected officials, especially when it comes to labor issues.

(Nearly) Entire Tucson City Council Endorses Carmona

Richard Carmona’s campaign has announced that the entire Tucson City Council has endorsed him.

And by that they mean six council members, even Republican Steve Kozachik. Here is Kozachik from the release:

I know Dr. Carmona as a man of integrity, a high achiever, a man of compassion for the underserved and a man who has been giving back to the Tucson and Pima County for decades. Since he is running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, from a political standpoint, I don’t have a dog in that fight.

And yet, from the standpoint of wanting to see a person emerge from that primary who I believe would best represent us with a set of values that very much mirror my own, I most certainly have a dog in that fight. Dr. Carmona is Southern Arizona’s own local hero. I’m honored to be associated with a person of his caliber.

Karin Uhlich notes that Carmona believes that “government should not interfere with the private medical decisions between a woman and her doctor,” a statement likely made to blunt the questions raised by Don Bivens’s campaign about Carmona’s commitment to reproductive choice.

By the way, the Carmona folks don’t seem to be counting among members of the council newly sworn in Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who has yet to endorse. Maybe they haven’t read the city charter.

Full release after the jump.

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At Least Their Lawyers Are Benefitting

Local Democrats have made hay of the $47 million dollar lawsuit that the state-appointed Rio Nuevo board has against the city. The question they are asking is simple: what programs will Republican Mayoral candidate Rick Grinnell, who is on the board, cut to pay for a possible judgement?

Good question, but here is mine:

What do they plan to spend the money on if they win?

One local politician released a litany of what the Rio Nuevo board has spent so far:

Let’s also be very clear about what the Rio Nuevo Board has, or has not, spent your money on since it was appointed by the Governor and State Legislature early last year:

1. Spent – Hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorney fees

2. Spent – Their current budget has over $900,000 earmarked for “Administrative Fees”

3. Has not spent – Zero on rehabilitation of capital needs to the Tucson Convention Center

4. Has not spent – Zero on any project related to revitalization of downtown

5. Have not spent – refused to pay local sub contractors for work they performed on the east entry of the TCC

Yep, they’ve paid out money to hire their friends and pay for attorneys to harass the city council, but nothing on the very projects that they are supposed to be managing. Gosh, you’d almost think that the board is just a partisan enterprise undertaken by our legislature.

By the way, that criticism I quoted there is not from Regina Romero, not from Jeff Rogers and not from AZ Blue Meanie. It’s from Republican council member and relentless critic of city government Steve Kozachik.

Someone won’t be invited to the next Grinnell for Mayor event.

Romero Returns Stegeman Donation

Regina Romero returned a donation from TUSD Governing Board President Mark Stegeman. This is from the letter she sent to Stegeman:

Thank you for your donation to my campaign. While I appreciate your support, I strongly disagree with your position on the Mexican American Studies program within the Tucson Unified School District and for that reason I am retuming your donation. I want to send a message to fellow Democrats and the public that allowing the dismantling of the Mexican American Studies program is an unacceptable affront to democratic core values.

Could You Spare a Pack of Sigs?

This week, the local Democratic Party, who apparently didn’t get the memo that writing in a mocking tone is my department, sent out a press release bragging that not only has the entire Democratic slate filed (unless you count the unendorsed Joe Flores and whackjob Marshall Home), but that no Republican has. Local Republican flack Sam Stone took the bait and assured the world (or at least the Weekly) that, yes, the Republicans will file a full slate.

Of course, his assurances came with an implication that the Democrats were planning to file a lawsuit. This will be followed later, no doubt, by fresh allegations of ACORN busing in illegal aliens and ominous questions about Paul Cunningham’s birth certificate. (I haven’t seen it, have you?)

The thesis of the press release is that, despite the Tea Party explosion last year and a pretty relentless hammering of everything City of Tucson by our local press and the folks in Phoenix, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of an electoral cyclone that is destined to sweep Democrats from office.

This goes a bit beyond whether or not the Republicans can file their signatures today or not, it’s who they’ve gotten to run. You’d think with all of the bluster from the other side, there would be no shortage of Republican candidates.

Instead, you have a Ward 1 race that is so far uncontested by the Republicans. You’d think that given the current occupant of that seat is Regina Romero, a favorite target of local radio roleros because of her liberalism and closeness to Raúl Grijalva, there would be someone, somewhere. Well, not quite.

Then there is Ward 2. Long time local politicos would be hard pressed to name the last appointed councilmember that even managed to win a primary, much less go on to re-election. You’d think that that would have made Cunningham a ripe target, especially considering he represents a fairly Republican area. Despite all of this, it wasn’t until the end of March that Jennifer Rawson pulled papers. Her sparsely attended anouncement indicates how unexcited local Republican pooh-bahs are about her chances.

And in Ward 4, oh, they actually found a real candidate in Tyler Vogt. Okay, that’s one.

Then, in the mayor’s race, well there you have a primary, albeit with two flawed candidates. Even though the local Republican establishment seems to be swinging (slowly but inevitably) behind Shaun McClusky, one has to wonder how excited they are about him when you hear that Republicans like Rick Grinnell are trying to push Democrat-turned-Independent Pat Darcy’s candidacy.

Oh, by the way: the pathetic story that is Ron Asta’s campaign isn’t over yet. Word is he’s been contacting firms to get paid signatures. He’s been running since late February, but he apparently is far enough behind to have to pay for signatures. I have my doubts that the guy will qualify.

Back to my point: it’s one thing to feed tales of a broken city government to eager reporters, whine about taxes or spout off tea drenched platitudes on local radio stations, it’s quite another to put your name out there and competently offer an alternative vision to the voters. Our local Republicans don’t seem to be ready to do that.

Hand Wringing

I’ve been amused by the handwringing over the Democratic Party’s endorsement of Regina Romero, Paul Cunningham and Shirley Scott.

Apparently, we are supposed to be shocked that the a party establishment has lined up to protect its incumbents. Shocking.

This brings up the drawback to being the candidate that takes on the establishment: the establishment tends not to support you. Once again, shocking.

The move by the Pima County Democratic Executive Committee codified something that was already going on among the candidates. Mayoral Candidate Jonathan Rothschild was already walking with Regina Romero, and there were plans among the other incumbents to cooperate.

Former Senator Luís Gonzales sent a letter to Pima County Democratic Chairman Jeff Rogers decrying the move on behalf of his candidate, Joe Flores. Gonzales shouldn’t exactly be surprised by the move: his run against Mo Udall in 1986 effectively ended his career in electoral politics. I understand that he was perplexed that the local party establishment wasn’t on board with him back them either.

Had a candidate like Miguel Ortega made the race, not only would there have not been the votes on the committee pass the endorsement, I doubt it would have even been brought up. Some of Flores’s actions make it hard to take him seriously as a candidate. He refused to answer questions (even simple biographical ones) from a local political reporter, instead refering him to his supporter, Jesse Lugo. His campaign material doesn’t lay out much of a case against Romero, instead takes a shot at Raúl Grijalva. It makes it sound like the guy is a put up candidate from two people who are using this race as a way to carry on their decades long feud with Grijalva rather than having anything to do with how Tucson is governed, or even the woman that holds the office.

I saw that David Morales is angry about the endorsement over at Three Sonorans. It surprises me that Morales would take Flores’s side in this given how strong Morales has been on issues like ethnic studies and SB 1070. For all of his talk about Democrats not being progressive enough, it’s odd for him to throw in with Lugo’s crowd.