No, no, a thousand times, no!

Sorry, Senator Tibshraeny, but I got to disagree with you here. Yes, in theory, toll roads would pay for themselves. But tolls have a nasty way of continuing on long after the roads are paid for. One of the wonderful things about living in the western U.S. is the almost complete lack of tollbooths, and I’m no hurry to see them spring up in the Valley. Find some other way, because Lord knows we need our freeways to catch up with our growth, but let us drive on them without the worry of a tollbooth waiting for us ahead.

 
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January 31st, 2007 by exurbankevin

ExLg Scoops the Republic!


Our readers knew about this hours before AzCentral caught on! (Two hours to be exact.)

 
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January 31st, 2007 by admindude

My Decision.

Since the Rawles story broke, we at Exurban League (okay, mostly me), have been discussing a possible recall of Mesa’s non-responsive Councilmember. Yesterday, I even stopped by the City Clerk’s office to get the required paperwork for a recall campaign.

After perusing the small mountain of bureacratic requirements and legal vagaries, I sought additional input from friends, community leaders and neighbors here in District 3. And the end of all this, I mapped out the major pros and cons of a recall.

PROS


  • Hold Rawles accountable
  • Exercise our rights

CONS


  • The approximately $40,000 of taxpayer funds needed for a special election
  • A special election could not be held until November 2007 (possibly September, but not likely)
  • Could endanger the most qualified representation for District 3

After weighing both lists, and considering the significant legal, financial and time resources required, I have decided it would be counter-productive for me personally to launch a recall campaign.

With the City’s dwindling treasury, I believe that $40,000 could be much better spent elsewhere. Especially since a successful campaign would cut short Rawles tenure by just a single year. If an election could be held later this spring, it would be more effective. But a recall seems like a lot of time and effort to boot out one isolated, ineffective Councilmember for 12 months.

Also, we would need to find a placeholder for the last year of Rawles’ term. Someone who would be willing to serve for one year, then step down to make room for the former Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh who has already announced his candidacy. With a long track record of actually listening to his constituents (what a thought!), Kavanaugh is obviously the most qualified person to fill District 3’s council seat.

We’ve had a great debate on this issue, both in blog entries and the comment sections. I’m sure a few of our readers are supportive of this choice, while others are disappointed. To those desiring a recall, any citizen of District 3 can launch the effort. Please don’t let my decision hold you back.

If someone is still interested in going through with a recall of Councilmember Rawles, let me provide some advice. The 889 signatures is by far the easiest part. The City Clerk’s office (an excellent team, by the way) will give you a phone-book sized pile of instructions, laws and forms, many from the State of Arizona. You will be required to set up an official organization with the State, appoint officers, set up a special account and comply with all the campaign finance requirements.

I strongly advise you to first line-up significant legal and book-keeping resources. Since Rawles is a lawyer who essentially sued his way into office, I would expect him to challenge any citizen-led effort. Also, due to the complexities of election and finance law, expect this to be a full-time job from now through Election Day in November. I just wanted you to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.

As far as Mr. Rawles goes, he has lost what little respect he had in this community, damaged his anti-war effort by making it look utterly anti-American, and made a mockery of his purported Libertarian principles. (Taxation without representation, anyone?) And I’m sure the backlash over his ill-conceived decision has only just begun. It’s not to late to take my simple advice, sir.

Thanks again to all of our readers and everyone who shared their input on the recall decision — pro, con or indifferent. The many email, phone and face-to-face conversations helped more than I can say.

 
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January 31st, 2007 by admindude

I’m a Gipper, you’re a Gipper,

we’re all Gippers…

Wouldn’t you like to be a Gipper, too?

(If you’re a young’un, click here to get that.)

Personally, I think the GOP’s been missing Reagan since Inaguration Day, 1988. Men like him don’t come around that often.

 
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January 30th, 2007 by exurbankevin

Finally,

A reason to watch the Grammy Awards.

I missed the Sychronicity tour by *one week* when I moved down here. I’ve been looking forward to this for twenty+ years.

 
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January 30th, 2007 by exurbankevin

Hooray for partisan bickering!


No, really
.

“House Democratic leaders Monday abandoned attempts to revive an annual pay raise cherished by rank and file lawmakers, a decision prompted by lingering GOP anger over last year’s campaign.

Lawmakers’ pay will be frozen at $165,200 for this year in a dispute fueled by the Democrats’ use of the issue in last year’s campaign, violating a yearslong understanding that the competing parties would not attack each other over pay raises.

At issue is the annual congressional cost of living adjustment, or COLA, under which lawmakers automatically get a pay hike unless Congress votes to block it. Democratic and Republican leaders had worked cozily for years to make sure an annual pay-related vote went smoothly.”

Automatic pay raises ech year? Granted, the biannual performance review Congressman face on the 1st Tuesday in November can be a little drastic, but I don’t think I’ve worked at a job with an automatic pay raise, ever.

If Congress is willing to argue and bicker over their raises, saving us taxpayers a few bucks in the process, who am I to argue?

 
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January 30th, 2007 by exurbankevin

Rawles’ Town Meeting – Tuesday Night

From a City of Mesa press release:



The Mesa City Council invites residents to attend their District Town Meeting to learn about the City’s valuable programs and services. Each meeting will kick-off at 6:00 p.m. with the City Manager and District Councilmember providing a brief overview of the City. The overview will provide information that residents may not know about Mesa’s past, as well as its current budget.

An open house will follow until 7:30 p.m. where residents are invited to meet City staff and learn more about City programs and services through a variety of short presentations….


District 3
Councilmember Tom Rawles
Tuesday, Jan. 30
La Casita Recreation Center
2719 South Reyes

I wonder if they’ll begin with the pledge.

 
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January 30th, 2007 by admindude

I owe Mesa an apology

One of my first posts here disparged downtown Mesa, and now that I’ve had a chance to spend an afternoon walking the streets of Main Street, I need to take back a lot of what I said. Mesa’s doing a lot of things right, relying on small local businesses and trying to get people out of their cars and into the stores.

I still think the Arts Center doesn’t fit in well, but you can read (and see) more here.

 
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January 28th, 2007 by exurbankevin

Sweet 16.

It’s time for a brief break in Exurban League’s “all Rawles, all the
time” coverage for a very special announcement. The Phoenix Suns have
won 16 games in a row, breaking the franchise record set earlier just
last month. They have a chance to extend the streak Sunday at
Cleveland. Way to go, guys!
 
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January 27th, 2007 by admindude

The way out.

Todd, we of course welcome your thoughtful comments. Even though you’re one of those, ahem, Tempe people. ::shudder::

Just kidding! I too had wondered if all the public pressure would simply cause Tom Rawles to reflect on his duties as the people’s representative and change his mind. But, as I expected, Mr. Rawles appears incapable of changing his mind once it clicks to the “locked” position.

Mr. Rawles has a long history. He has a chronic inability or unwillingness to listen to his constituents. This holds true both for Mesa District 3 and Maricopa County when he sat on the Board of Supervisors.

If 90 percent of his constituents told him that they disagree with his unwillingness to stand for the pledge, I am sadly confident that he would still refuse. To Rawles, it’s only about Rawles. It’s Tom’s Principles. Tom’s Conscience. Tom, Tom, Tom.

Look at that interview Kevin posted yesterday. You know the one word that is missing?

Constituents.

It’s nowhere to be found. Never once does he mention or even acknowledge the people he promised to represent. He does however say “I” 13 times and “my” 3 times. It’s all about Tom.

If Mr. Rawles opened his ears and changed his mind on this one position, I personally would drop talk of a recall. It would show that he is willing to carry out his governmental duties by listening to his constituents. All he would have to say is something like this:

Over the past week I have heard loud and clear from District 3 — the people I swore to represent. They have told me that they disagree with my personal, heartfelt decision not to stand for the pledge of allegiance. You see, I feel strongly that [insert anti-war stuff here].

Everyone who knows me respects my willingness to make unpopular choices when necessary. However, when I took my oath of office, I promised to represent the people of Mesa District 3. The people who sent me here. As a Councilmember, it isn’t just about me; it’s about them.

So, after much consideration, I have decided to stand on principle. Through the end of my term, I represent District 3 at City of Mesa Council meetings. And to represent those fine people, I will stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at official Council-related functions.

When I am representing only myself, I will continue my protest against [Bush, Halliburton, evil Neo-Con cabal, etc.], whether it’s a pancake breakfast or an Arizona Diamondbacks game. Not that I’m all that welcome at Chase Field.::laughter::

And it’s over. Rawles looks responsive to his constituents while still standing solid on principle. In fact, he would be answering to a much higher principle — that of representative democracy.

And by gently joking about his controversial Board of Supervisors vote against a taxpayer-funded ballpark, he would ingratiate himself to everyone watching. (BTW, I actually was sympathetic to that position as were many of his constituents.)

So please think about it, Tom. While you still have the chance.

 
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January 27th, 2007 by admindude