Posts Tagged ‘SALC’

7th March
2009
written by madge

Dr. Likins President of SALC

SALC (Southern Arizona Leadership Council) is a group of CEO’s that came together 20+ years ago. Members pay upwards of $6000+ per year to be a part of an elite club. They get together to lament on the great work they are doing in the community and support the work of local government. Judge for yourself the results.

As of late SALC has taken on the Tucson Town Hall forum, which brought together various community and political leaders together to talk about our regions problems. They are running a pretty cool ‘Tucson Values Teachers – a support teachers campaign’ and working hard on literacy issues in our community. SALC and Tucson Town Hall sponsored an Urban Land Institute series on the coming Megalopolis. There was a time when SALC was a little more willing to push an agenda – HERE. See SALC members list HERE

SALC just put out a position paper asking the state legislators to tax our business properties to balance the state budget. Not your typical position for a group of business leaders.

Hey guys, Arizona’s budget took 100 years to get to $6 billion (2001) and five to grow another $4 billion. Between 2001 and 2006,  our state budget had ballooned to $10.3 billion. Budget growth far outpaced population increases at every level of government. What caused the huge increase in dollars to the state coffers you ask? Only one of the biggest housing booms in the United States history.

What does each level of Arizona government depend on as their economic piggy bank? Construction! Huge amounts of sales taxes, income taxes and assorted fees rolled into City, State and County government and they spent spent spent.

Time to pay the piper.  Private businesses are laying off and cutting to the bone to survive. Entire industries are virtually shutting down.  Why shouldn’t government be doing the same? You spent too much in the good times and now it’s time to trim back in the bad. My home values are back to 2004 levels, how about yours?

Don’t gimmick,  shift between funds, bond, sell our lottery revenues, put up speed cameras all over the place,  borrow or use accounting tricks. Cut back like we’ve had to do.

Certain areas are going to be hurt. Unfortunately things like university education, 21st Century Fund, Rio Nuevo, k-12, healthcare among others are going to suffer a little pain. It’s not going to be a fun time. We will emerge through this tough spot in a better position. It’s the cycle of life. Booms and busts have come and gone for generations.

The states, cities and counties that address the issues head on will emerge stronger and attract better and stronger industries. Better and stronger industries mean more money for government……you get the point. The first sentence of the SALC position statement should say it all……

From RumRomanismRebellion.com.    

While agreeing that Arizona’s tax policies deter business and the creation of jobs, the SALC Board of Directors believes that it is imprudent during the state’s financial crisis to permanently repeal the state equalization property tax. It is critically important to preserve the state’s infrastructure for the future, and SALC believes repealing the tax right now would do more harm than good. SALC believes that preserving the tax is only one part of a larger set of actions needed to ensure the state is prepared to be competitive in the future.

Hrm. They also call for the tax to be suspended later, which I don’t agree with, but, unlike our legislators, they seem to understand that cutting revenue when you are running out of money makes no sense. That’s what a business background will do: twist your brain around with practicalities.

Later in the release, they outline what they think state budget priorities should be:

1. Continue to the extent possible to provide basic services to ensure the health and well being of the most vulnerable among us.
2. Consider a combination of spending reductions, deferrals, debt financing, revenue enhancement and other short-term strategies to solve the budget shortfall.
3. Maintain to the extent possible investment spending in areas like education and economic development.
4. Investigate and pursue all non-state sources of assistance, such as federal stimulus spending and federal grants.
5. Base spending cuts on specific programmatic considerations.

Health? Education? Economic development? What sort of anti-American Socialism is this? Hank Amos, Jim Click, Bruce Ash, Steve Lynn, Don Pitt, Katie Dusenberry…trotskyites all!

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13th February
2009
written by JHiggins

Antenori took a lot of heat from the local papers during his campaign and realized early on he wouldn’t get a fair shake. He actually refused to go to the editorial interview for his general election race, the Citizen endorsed him anyway. 

This week he’s taking a bunch of heat for cutting the $25 million annual funding of the the 21st Century Science Fund. The fund was set up with the help of SALC, Greater Phoenix Leadership Council and the Flagstaff 40 to set up state funding for economic development purposes.  Read our previous post HERE.

Needless to say Antenori took a lot of heat for cutting 21st Century. The house leadership, Governor, business community and newspapers piled on. I spoke with Frank and can sympathise with his position. How do you tell a mother that AHCCCS isnt’ going to cover her child’s needed procude due to budget constraints and then let anything non essential exist on the states dole?

Raise taxes you say and and cut less? Here’s an interesting fact I heard from another State legislator; it took Arizona 100 years to grow it’s budget to $6 billion. It took Napolitano only 4 years to grow it to $10.3 billion. Do you think we over spent a bit?

In the middle of all the anger and arm twisting Antenori chose to write and OP ED to the Az Star. Thanks again to Gila Courier. Here is his response from the editorial board;

 

Dear Mr. Antenori,

Thank you for submitting a guest opinion to the Arizona Daily Star. We regret to inform you that we have decided against using your article because it fundamentally misrepresents how Science Foundation Arizona works and how it uses state money.

As a guest opinion writer, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but your facts must be correct. In this case, they are not. Please see our notes embedded within your article below and you’ll see where we believe the guest opinion is in error. In general, we believe your article mischaracterizes the funding as a cash bonus to big corporations and neglects to mention that corporations contribute money to match the state’s money.

Sincerely,

Martin Rosales
Editorial writer
Arizona Daily Star

4th February
2009
written by Arizona Kid

Follow the bouncing ball. This gets a little complicated and the story is still developing but here is what we know so far. Thanks to Gila Courier – HEREfor filling in some of the pieces. And a post HERE from American Conservative Blog digs into the mission of 21st Century a bit more.

Here we go…

1. AZ is facing a major budget shortfall as we all know. Conservative Republicans have the power and through a combination of hatchet and scalpel they are carving back the expenses and refusing to touch the income. Education is the big hit along with across the board cuts in almost every program.

2. A group of House legislators go after an apparent sacred cow, the 21st Century Fund;

The Arizona Guardian reported on Friday that Rep. Jerry Weiers (LD 12) was part of a group of legislators who fought against the continued funding of the corporate welfare, slush fund known as the 21st Century Fund. Saturday the Arizona Republic reported that Rep. Sam Crump (LD 6) and 4 freshman legislators also stood against the system and made sure that the $22.5 million went toward education instead of special interests and large corporations. The Republic did not state who they were but this blog has learned that at least 5 freshmen possibly one more stood their ground.

The comment section of Seeing Red AZ had some details but this blog has uncovered more of the story. The five new Representatives who stayed strong in opposing corporate welfare were Carl Seel (LD 6,) Steve Montenegro (LD 12,) David Stevens (LD 25,) Frank Antenori (LD 30,) and David Gowan(LD 30.) Seel, Montenegro, Stevens, and Antenori were summoned to the governor’s office for some one on one time. They all stood firm.

3.  Rep. Sam Crump was stipped of his chairmanship by speaker Kirk Adams in retaliation for spear heading the cuts. 

In a stunning development, House Speaker Kirk Adams has stripped State Representative Sam Crump of his committee chairmanship and is also apparently taking steps to strip him of his office space and administrative assistant.  Adams is taking these steps to punish Crump for his lead role in cutting the funding for Janet Napolitano’s 21st Century Fund.

4.  And now for the Tucson connection. Apparently Southern Arizona Leadership Council (SALC) got very up in arms over the cut of 21st Century Fund and went into motion. The Greater Phoenix Leadership Council, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Flagstaff 40 were instrumental in setting it up in the first place.

5. The final connecting of the dots. 21st Centruy Fund awarded $2.2 million in 07′ and $9 million in 08′ to a group created here in southern Arizona called C-PATH. Their mission is to bring pharmaceuticals to market quicker than the traditional FDA process. The two areas of focus for C-PATH are cancer and alzhiemer drugs. Who was just appointed to run C-PATH? Non other than Rick Myer the former head of SALC and one of 3 finalist for the TUSD Superintendent job.

The cost and time to bring a drug to market in the U.S. is staggering. Only a fraction of the promising drugs ever emerge beyond the phase IV studies to become a viable product. The days of the blockbuster may be behind us. The industry is trending towards more niche drugs that fit ever smaller patient populations. Couple mergers of major pharma companies like Wyeth and Pfizer, tightening of the FDA approval process and you can see that C-PATH is a tough investment, especially if it’s public dollars. It’s getting to be that the only companies that can weather the R&D storm and  bring a drug to market are the big boys, pretty risky investment with public money.

Economic development is critical to our state and our region. Without knowing to many of the ins and outs and successes of the new C-PATH program it’s hard to say if the states investment is going to pay dividends. C-PATH is clearly a well thought out long term investment that was lobbied for by big business interest in our state. The question is will the cut in funding be the cut in end of the program? Will private industry step in and carry the torch. Will SALC and Meyer continue to flex their muscles to protect their funding?

From American Conservative Repubican;

Making Arizona competitive in a global economy may be a worthy goal for the private and public sector, but it shouldn’t be funded with your tax dollars. Every citizen is free and encouraged to donate to any charity or non profit they wish to, but government funds are the people’s money, it is taken out of the pockets of the people by the force of law and should be used, as Lincoln said, to do those things the people can’t do for themselves.

25th November
2008
written by madge

Some cities have non partisan elections like; L.A., Chicago, Houston and some have democratic elections like; Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Here in Arizona ALL cities EXCEPT Tucson have non-partisan elections. Even the 1 square mile city of South Tucson voted this past November to go non-partisan.

Tucson has been ruined over the past 40-plus years because of politics — bad politics. Individuals are elected to office with more loyalty to their political parties and personal ambitions than to the residents of their city, county or state. Politics creep in and affect our governments ability to fill pot holes and pick up garbage.

Back in late 1999 and early 2000′s a group of business and civic leaders came together to propose a ballot initiative to change the Tucson charter to implement NON-PARTISAN elections in the City.  Read The Weekly – HERE.  Long story short SALC took the lead  and put together a cast of characters to work on the charter changes. 

The big players are already in place. The Leadership Council’s members include attorney Si Schorr, land speculator Don Diamond, car dealers Jim Click and Buck O’Rielly, Realtor Hank Amos, real estate developer Joe Cesare, developer Roy Drachman, construction mogul Hal Ashton, AZ Mail Order king Paul Baker, attorney John Munger and Raytheon Missile Systems president Joe Coyle.

Johnston says that the proposed charter changes include:

· expanding the City Council wards from six to eight;

· providing the mayor the right to vote on issues before the Council, including the right to be counted for a quorum;

· replacing partisan elections for city offices with nonpartisan elections.

Easing the annexation of unincorporated areas into the city was also an implicit part of last year’s plan. Leadership Council board member Schorr pointed out in a July 7, 2000 guest editorial in the Arizona Daily Star that “increased wards allow for and encourage unincorporated areas near the city to consider annexation with the knowledge they can help form new city wards.”

Johnston recently acknowledged that facilitating annexation is still the main reason his group wants to implement changes to the charter.

Annexation remains a major priority of city officials, too. Andrew Greenhill, Walkup’s chief of staff, said the mayor last week asked Pima County’s state legislative delegation to consider a bill that would remove barriers to annexation.

Greenhill could not say what the mayor specifically had in mind when he put forward his ideas. Walkup was unavailable for comment. Without changes to current state law, a large-scale annexation could take years to accomplish.

Democratic mayor Volgy set out on a clear path to ensure that the party and the power would shift for the next twenty plus years. From a previous post on this blog:

The city’s anti-business movement “got legs” during the terms of Democratic mayors Tom Volgy (1987-91) and George Miller (1991-99). Both had won council seats in 1977.

“As no-growthers, they started to empower extremists and staff to follow their lead,” the SAHBA director said. “The people they hired decades ago are killing today’s redevelopment efforts. Many have moved up into policy-making positions with their negative attitudes toward progress.”

Regarding the conflicts of business versus neighborhoods, Volgy once said, “It’s hard for business groups to understand what the neighborhoods want, and vice versa. It’s very hard to put themselves in each other’s shoes.”

The way we elect our political leaders empowers party bosses and neighborhood activists at the expense of the public as a whole. Due to party enrollment and gerrymandered districts, few elections are competitive. Winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to election in Tucson. 

The unwritten water cooler talk in democratic circles is that any hope for future annexation of surrounding communities will be a challenge. It seems that Tucson Democrats are enjoying their blockbuster voter rolls. It’s a known fact that Tucson has a high democratic voter advantage and the surrounding communities of the Catalina Foothills and at one time Green Valley have  higher Republican party voter rolls. 

As long Tucson has a city full of die-hard yellow dog Democrats, who believe in FDR style government social collectivism with an unbreakable determination to maintain the status quo at any cost, and one of the highest percentages of government sector workers of any spot in the country, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Rabid, frothing, vitriolic political partisanship in Tucson is part and parcel of the mess that the area has become. The Democratic Party and Organized Neighborhoods have been in bed together so long that both fear any separation.

Bottom up government as is being proposed by Jonathan Paton, not Top Down government that has destroyed the areas prosperity, is a real-life possibility for changing the landscape. But nobody seems to want to get out of their Lazy Boy, their Barstool or their bench at the Union Hall long enough to do anything about it.

It’s pathetic and sick and it breaks my heart.

 From National Civic League – Model City revisions on the Pros and Cons of non partisan elections:

Pros: Nonpartisan elections may be appropriate for most cities because they downplay partisan differences between candidates that do not necessarily match significant policy differences that are salient at the time of an election. In this sense, they avoid an unnecessary source of divisiveness in a community. As a result, voters can focus on candidates’ policy stands and problem-solving skills. It takes the focus off of party affiliation, and places it on what makes sense for the city. An incumbent mayor may be the target of the opposition party organization on the state level because he or she is a potential candidate for higher office, not because of the quality of performance in the mayor’s office. It can make it easier for members of minority parties to be elected. The ability to hold nonpartisan elections promotes local autonomy since the outcome of local elections is less likely to be determined by national or state political current, and it demonstrates that city politics differ substantially from state politics.

Partisan differences may be relevant to local policy decisions, e.g., positions on privatization and tax cuts at the local level may correspond to party differences, and nonpartisan elections can be the venue of efforts to mobilize party supporters. These efforts are less likely to have substantial impact when the partisan connection is weak. When elections are partisan, however, parties will be structurally connected to local elections regardless of relevance. A consequence of partisan elections is that candidates run first in party primaries with the winners facing each other in the general election. If one party with a substantial majority has more than one strong candidate, only one will survive to be considered by all the voters (including unaffiliated voters) in the general election, which typically receives far more media attention and a larger voter turnout. In nonpartisan elections, the top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, would be the candidates in the general election.

In sum, there can be advantages to party involvement in elections, but the institution of partisan elections requires that party always be the dominant feature in city campaigns. City governments should recognize that nonpartisan elections can depress voter turnout among voters with lower socio-economic status and take other measures to encourage voter participation and citizen participation generally.

Cons:Nevertheless, partisan elections have advantages. Partisanship is part of politics even when not officially recognized. Parties can help candidates run better campaigns. Party affiliation conveys information to voters, who for the most part do not have time to evaluate the effectiveness or distinguish the claims of each candidate. This is especially important for voters who without a party cue would be less likely to identify their stakes in the outcome of an election. Partisan elections offset the overrepresentation of minority parties. Finally, partisan elections can assist voters of lower socio-economic status. The mobilization efforts of parties offset the informational and resource disadvantages of poorer, less educated voters who are less likely to identify with organizations other than political parties that might work to promote turnout.

 

From National League of Cities – HERE

Election systems in American cities are determined by the nature of the council members’ constituency (See Local Elections) and by the presence or absence of party labels on the ballot.  With regard to the second feature, there are two types of ballots for city council members.  In partisan elections, the party affiliation of the candidate is indicated on the ballot, whereas in nonpartisan elections it is not. 

According to a 2001 survey,  77% of the responding cities have nonpartisan elections, and 23% have partisan elections.  (See Form of Government and Type of Election in 30 Largest Cities)

Proponents of nonpartisan ballots suggest that:

  • political parties are irrelevant to providing services; experts and professionals should determine the service needs of the constituents.

Proponents for partisan elections argue that:

  • Absence of party labels confuses voters; a voter who must choose from among a group of candidates who he or she knows nothing about will have no meaningful basis in casting a ballot;
  • In absence of party ballot, voters will turn to whatever cue is available, and often this cue turns out to be the ethnicity of a candidate’s name;
  • Non-partisanship tends to produce elected officials more representative of the upper socioeconomic strata than of the general populace and aggravate the class bias in voting turnout, namely because in true non-partisan systems there are no organizations of local party workers to bring lower-class citizens to the polls on election day; and
  • Non-partisanship destroys resources important to coalition building and effective governance.
17th November
2008
written by madge

A step towards a regional fix to our problems OR another group that does nothing? Only time will tell.

The 2007 Tucson Regional Town Hall was an exercise held last summer here in Tucson. The Town Hall was designed to indentify and hopefully fix some of our regions issues.

The Town Hall was organized by Southern Arizona Leadership Council. SALC is Tucson’s CEO brain trust. So far the group is good at putting these things on but we’re not sure how good they are at the implementation. SALC’s effectiveness during the recent Regional Transportation Authority plan is notable, let’s hope they can repeat.

With the Town Hall behind us, we’ve identified what our problems are but the million dollar question is ‘NOW WHAT?’.

The AZ Star’s Sam Negri had some interesting thoughts on the Town Hall:

It was with a clenched jaw and a stiff neck that we approached the report and recommendations of the Tucson Regional Town Hall, a document released to the public on Wednesday.
After all, the town hall, a meeting that involved approximately 160 participants selected from a much larger group of applicants, had spent roughly 30 hours in May focused on issues that are hardly new to Tucson residents.
We cannot say anyone will be startled by the findings in the town hall report. But that’s less a reductive statement than it is an acknowledgement, sadly, that the region’s problems have remained more or less constant for years.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of building a community that remains focused on the need to convert talk into practical decisions. In the past, we’ve tended to react to problems later rather than sooner, in the process creating the negative consequences we then criticize and organize town hall discussion groups to address.
It’s a closed loop that needs to be broken.
The town hall discussions were initiated by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, or SALC, and conducted under the sponsorship of 33 public and private organizations, including the Arizona Daily Star. Each of these groups has a vested interest in practical results.

In the end, the town hall discussion pointed to a simple fact: The Tucson region must do more for itself.
The town hall that SALC put together dealt with much of what we already know, including the belief that there is considerable talent in our region. It also illustrated that there is a nucleus of individuals who are genuinely concerned with the future.

Those participants were a fraction of a much larger group that is ready to set aside the cynicism of the past and finally address the future as though we will all be here forever. For that, future generations will be thankful.
Contact editorial writer Sam Negri at snegri@azstarnet.com
Once again the problem with Tucson is Tucson itself. There are dozens of groups on all sides of the political spectrum that function in their own little worlds without an over arching concern from the community as a whole. The walls have been built over decades. The alphabet soup of acronyms like SAHBA, ASBA, TREO, TAR, LMNOP and XYZ are working hard to justify their existence and cater to their membership. The real leadership that is required to pull it all together is sorely lacking. We continue to stumble, miss opportunities and watch the world evolve around us.
Checking in with our other local paper – Teya Vitu – Tucson Citizen take on the Town Hall HERE.
Two months ago, a novel concept was introduced for the Tucson Regional Town Hall: This gathering slated for Sunday through Wednesday at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort would feature not just the “usual suspects” but would include people who range across the socioeconomic spectrum.
Guess what? The 159-delegate field is woefully top-heavy with usual suspects, with barely a trace of the worker bee beneath the executive level.
There’s a freelance writer and a creative writing teacher in the prison system, but beyond that the region’s future will be discussed almost exclusively by top-boss types. Some 74 participants have the title “president” in some way, 23 are executive directors, 14 are chief executives, all the county’s mayors are on board as are six of seven members of the Tucson City Council and three of five Pima County supervisors.
Not a soul from the retail-sector trenches to be seen. Not a single teacher from the K-12 trenches.
The common man (or woman) will not be present.
That is a travesty because the non-titled folks – likely those among the 700 who applied for the Town Hall but weren’t picked – often bring up practical and even profound ideas that would never bounce around in boardrooms but could just be the solutions for Tucson’s woes.
The roster was picked by the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, which is coordinating the Town Hall, and the Arizona Town Hall, the organization that is moderating the event. SALC did the hand picking of mayor and CEO types, and SALC culled the field of general applicants – and sadly picked out the exact same executive-caliber candidates.
Diana Rhoades, 40, applied while she was an outreach specialist at the Sonoran Institute but was not picked – not high enough on any totem pole, apparently.
“I was disappointed,” said Rhoades, now campaign manager for City Council candidate Regina Romero (a chosen delegate). “Some people who were invited said this is the same old people. I was excited about taking part. They said they wanted young people, new people. I wanted to bring the conservation angle, smart growth angle. I live downtown. I walk everywhere.”
Arizona Town Hall President Tara Jackson in an earlier interview said she looked for applicants with demonstrated leadership skills. That’s fine for part of the field, but you can’t have a delegation entirely composed of leaders.
Tucson needs fresh voices, input from the younger generations, people new to the process who can break through the doldrums of thinking in baby steps.
The Tucson establishment of “usual suspects” has proved that by itself it doesn’t have the moxie to give Tucson the push needed to get the region ready to become a 2 million population metro area.
Ron Shoopman, SALC’s president, insists that this Town Hall process will inject new vigor in these “usual suspects.” He pointed out the embryonic successes at regional cooperation last year with voter approval of the regional transportation plan and Joint Technological Education District, which will allow the region’s school districts to have shared technology education resources.
“The RTA and JTED are both examples of groups from different walks of life coming together for a common cause,” said Shoopman, a retired Air Force brigadier general. “I think there’s energy in this community we haven’t seen before. We’ve always had the same outcome because we’ve had 100 groups working independently on the same issue. Now, if we can get those groups working together on those issues, we have a chance to make changes for the better.”
This Town Hall was an ideal opportunity to bring a new generation to the table.
Now we will once again have to desperately hope these 159 people can get through Tucson’s brick wall: We meet fantastically but don’t have much of a track record to take the next steps after a meeting.
Teya Vitu covers downtown for the Tucson Citizen and for six years has watched the endless false starts or tiny steps taken here in economic development.
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