Guest Editorial


Today and yesterday

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john traynorIn small town politics, time really does fly. Apparently certain Carefree politicians actually believe voters are both clueless and either forgetful or uncaring. It is time, once again, for Carefree voters to demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth. This is especially important in light of the utter disarray Carefree Town leadership has created with its inept handling of the Economic Development effort.

Propositions 488 & 489 were essentially prepared to help a subset of the current elected officials and sneakily submitted for inclusion on the November election ballot. You won’t necessarily see their own names attached to the Propositions, because surrogates did the foot work. With a number of current council members, including the mayor, facing term limits they had to do something to hold on. They discovered if they can get 4 year terms approved by voters this time (yes, they tried this before) they will be able to invalidate the term limits statute and remain in office indefinitely.

After the last election the mayor, with unanimous support from the council, simply used an Administrative act to extend their current term from the voter approved 2 years to 3 and a half years. They could thank the Arizona Legislature for that good fortune because the state decided to synchronize elections state-wide in even numbered years. Instead of facing an election sooner they chose to extend their term. If Propositions 488 and 489 are approved, the mayor and council will declare the existing term limits statue invalid on a technicality.

The fragile arguments in favor of 4 year terms are tiresome and flawed. A Publicity Pamphlet you will receive from Maricopa County prior to the election will contain arguments in favor and in opposition to the Propositions. As a preamble to the 2014 arguments I’d like to reprint the opposition argument from the 2009 election when 4 year terms were most recently defeated by voters (see below). Early Ballots should have arrived around October 10. However, the Publicity Pamphlet will not be available until the week of October 20, according to a postcard received on October 10 from the Town of Carefree. If the town requested that schedule, it is a violation of Town Statues which require 33 days prior to the election. Another reason to Vote NO on Proposition 488 & 489.

Here is a reprint of the 2009 Argument in Opposition to 4 year Terms:

A View Opposing Staggered 4-year
Terms for the Carefree Town Council

Arguments have been made that 2 year elections are costly, that they are stressful on candidates, and they may threaten the continuity of government. Although these arguments have been made, they have not necessarily made sense. Any town that spends freely on its image can easily afford the modest cost of electing those that represent it. A Council seat is a volunteer position, and therefore emotional stress or financial sacrifice should not enter the picture; candidates have choices. Those unwilling to face the scrutiny of voters every two years should not volunteer.

The argument for continuity is shallow. Neither the Town staff nor anyone on the Council could remember an instance when more than two seats were replaced in any election cycle. Council tenure in Carefree has been a marvel of longevity; 2 members have served over 10 years, while others have served at least 2 terms and the same Town Administrator has been employed for over 20 years.

A nation founded upon the principals of open, democratic government has as its cornerstone, a process to choose representation which reflects the will of the people. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that our elected representatives answer to the people every two years. Successful representation is rewarded by the potential for reelection. Those not reflecting the will of the people, or not upholding the moral standards of their office, are easily removed by a routine 2-year election. Otherwise, voters must endure bad choices for the duration of a 4 year term – hardly an appealing prospect.

When politicians are about to make unpopular decisions, they prefer longer terms; voter’s tend to forget. [Highlighted today for effect!]

Please Vote NO.