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Political Buzz – June 2011


The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission interviewed four firms today, hoping to find one to serve as a mapping consultant. The mapping consultants help the commission redraw the congressional and legislative district lines.

The commission heads to Tucson next for a meeting Wednesday. Since they didn't select a firm at today's meeting, that's likely to be on the agenda. When the agenda for that meeting is ready, you'll be able to find it at this link.



Pinal County is following in the footsteps of Pima County. Both have banned fireworks in the unincorporated areas due to extreme fire danger this summer.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the ban yesterday, and Pinal followed with a vote today.

Both votes come not only because of high fire danger, but because the state legalized use of fireworks this year. While summer revelers can still purchase the fireworks, they can't set them off in these areas, including in the city of Tucson. Some professional shows are still planned for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, however.

According to a news release from Pinal County, similar bans are in effect in Maricopa, Coconino and Cochise counties, plus on State Trust Lands and property owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

Pima County Pinal County,


Jonathan Rothschild has wanted to be mayor of Tucson for so long he can taste it. Now, his victory is virtually assured.

Yet, one political wag asks, why would anyone want to be mayor of Tucson?

"Wanting to be mayor of Tucson is like wanting for your whole life to be vice president of the United States," the wag said.

Rothschild likely will get the nod in November over whoever the Green Party candidate is. Two Greens, David Croteau and Mary DeCamp, will be on the primary ballot. But with just 800 Greens registered in Tucson, whoever wins the Green primary doesn't stand much of a chance.

Republican Shaun McCluskey released a statement today saying he has withdrawn from the nominating process. But by law, says the city clerk, a candidate cannot withdraw once there's a court challenge to the nomination. And that there is in McCluskey's case, with Democrats challenging his petitions as not having enough valid signatures.

McCluskey may want to be on the record as having withdrawn so he can file new petitions with adequate signatures by the end-of-July deadline to be a write-in candidate. That's unlikely to occur under the court challenge, to be decided on today.

Earlier court challenges knocked Republican Ron Asta and Democrat Marshall Home off the ballot. Asta didn't have enough signatures, and Home didn't meet the residency requirement.

Which leaves Rothschild. He has worked in Tucson for many years as a lawyer. He moved into the city from the Catalina Foothills a few years ago with the express intention of establishing residency to run for mayor. He has resigned as the business manager of his downtown law firm.

Tucson's next mayor? Jonathan Rothschild.


Just when some political pundits thought they were detecting shakiness in the up-to-now unshakable conservative Republican control of Arizona state government, top leaders are saying there's little to it.

The supposed rift came in the ill-fated special session Gov. Jan Brewer called two weeks ago to extend unemployment benefits. On its first day, the Legislature recessed in quick time without introducing any bills. On its second day, it met, talked awhile and adjourned when leaders determined they couldn't get the votes for passage.

That led the governor to an angry outburst suggesting that she had a deal with Senate President Russell Pearce. But others said that wasn't so, and the comments pushed theories that the Republicans were at odds with one another.

Not so, Brewer and others say, confirming what Tucson area Sens. Al Melvin and Frank Antenori told AZPM'S Andrea Kelly last week, as she reported in this blog.

Ginger Rough gives a solid accounting of it in Sunday's Arizona Republic (read it here) quoting Brewer's spokesman and House Speaker Andy Tobin in make-nice terms intended to smooth everything over.

Brewer herself gave an explanation in last Friday's Arizona Capitol Times (read it here), saying, "I firmly reject the ridiculous notion that I called the Legislature into special session as part of some grand political strategy, or to embarrass legislators. This mischief is promoted by confirmed political provocateurs."


Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce likely will face a recall election to hand onto his seat in the Legislature, either in November or next March.

The timing couldn't be better for Pearce's political opponents, who took out recall petitions against the Mesa Republican in January. Their stated cause was to remove him for his successful push for anti-immigration legislation in Arizona, most notably the notorious SB1070.

Then, in the midst of the petition drive, along came a political plum for the anti-Pearce crowd: word that his name was mentioned prominently in the investigative report on the misdeeds of Fiesta Bowl executives.

Pearce was reported to be among 16 legislators who got free tickets and took all-expenses-paid junkets to college football games for the Fiesta Bowl. At first, he denied doing anything wrong, then reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl for tickets and amended 10 years' worth of financial and gift reports he is required to file as a legislator.

Jeremy Duda of the Arizona Capitol Times said for Friday's Arizona Week broadcast that he thinks Pearce's involvement and lack of consistent, clear explanation of what happened could hurt him in the recall drive.

The signatures are still being counted, as the opposition has yet not identified a candidate to oppose Pearce, who has served in one house or another of the Legislature for 10 years. The election could be held as early as this November.


Sahuarita’s city council elected a new mayor this week, choosing a newer council member to replace 12-year councilmember Lynne Skelton. Skelton has been on the council since 1999, and she’ll continue to serve as a council member after her reelection to another four-year term this year. The new town mayor, Duane Blumberg, was elected to Sahuarita’s Town Council two years ago.

The South Tucson City Council is scheduled to elect one of its seven members as mayor June 20. The current mayor is Jennifer Eckstrom, who was reelected to the council this year. She’s been a South Tucson councilmember for 16 years and served as mayor for 6 of those years.

In the city of Tucson, where voters elect a mayor directly, Bob Walkup is not seeking reelection, so someone new will take the seat late this year.

Mayors of the local jurisdictions usually have duties beyond their town limits. They make decisions about regional issues while serving on the Pima Association of Governments and Regional Transportation Authority boards.

Sahuarita South-Tucson Tucson,

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.