Monday, August 16, 2004

DFA-Tucson Meetup Minutes


Meetup Minutes
August 4, 2004
Next Meetup September 1,
7:-00 p.m. at Northwest Community Center.

Announcements

Jim Driscoll of the Arizona Leadership Institute announced that the goal is to register at least 24,000 new voters, of which about 14,000 have already been registered.  The group goes to targeted precincts that have low registration levels, primarily minority and low income areas.  Registration will be followed up by phone calls to get out the vote.

Katie Bolger and Jeff Simpson of Keep it Clean reported that although the Superior Court ruled that the item should not be on the ballot, the group continues to campaign and have house parties to pay off legal fees and prepare for the next challenge.  (Note:  the Supreme Court agreed with the Superior Court last week, so the threat to the clean elections system is over for now).

John Losh urged people to download materials at www.johnkerry.com for distribution while getting out the vote.  GOTV activities will include phone calls and precinct walking, as well as helping people get early ballots.  Contact the Democratic party to help.

Anthea announced that DFA/T will sponsor some candidate forums and a political film fest in the near future.  Progress is being made on a DFA/T web site.  Specifics to follow.

Main Speaker
City Councilman, Steve Leal
, talked about The Political Economics of Annexation.  He first described what he feels are seriously flawed economic analyses conducted by city staff to support the concept that annexation benefits the city because of increased tax revenue.  He challenged the validity of the analyses on the grounds that a large percentage of the real costs of serving annexed areas, such as police and fire protection, were ignored or underrepresented.  He pointed out that it is expensive to provide services, especially to areas such as the Catalina Foothills, where homes are relatively far apart.  His challenges to staff analyses resulted in more accurate approaches, but the current analysis is still lacking.  New figures show that annexation actually costs more than it brings in in taxes.

He then pointed out that the areas to be annexed are predominately Republican and successful annexation would result in long-term control of the city council by elected republicans, especially since candidates are selected by ward in the primary and city-wide in the general election.
The City introduced a bill in the legislature to change annexation requirements.  Currently landowners who want to be annexed can petition to do so.  The bill would reverse the process so that the city can propose annexation and the landowners can only petition to stop the annexation.  It failed, but will be reintroduced.

If you are member of a DFA chapter elsewhere in Arizona, please send your minutes in for posting.

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