Q: Do you think mistrust of City Hall’s spending decisions is a valid issue in the Nov. 5 election? Why or why not?
l Linda Seger, president, Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association:
When this question was posed to the members in my community I spoke with, it was met with a variety of responses. Some residents immediately commented that governments have and will always have an element of mistrust — no matter what they do because you cannot please everyone. As long as no criminal charges or verdicts occur, most of the mistrust is based on information “leaked with or without proof” from person to person, gaining a life all of its own.
So, how do we filter the endless stream of accusations and decide to make our ballot box decisions on what is best for our community?
Local elections do not generally bring out a large percentage of voters. Candidates usually do not spark a huge voter turnout unless they are individuals who have created enough public exposure to see them voted in or out.
One resident told me voting is the only way people can feel we have a say in our city process. “We have no voice after the election if we put the wrong person in office.” Why did they feel that way? Response was “you can’t fight City Hall!”
That was echoed by others. Feeling was shared that candidates become detached from the “average Joe” and his needs when people get into office.
For the most part, they like the new form of city government but think things got done faster under the old form when there were commissioners. They think we have too many city employees in administrative jobs.
l Kevin Curl, president, Southwest Area Neighbors:
The word mistrust is taboo around City Hall — it’s the word no one within a five-block radius of May’s Island seems willing to discuss, except as parodied in colorful colloquies in late-night City Council meetings. Yet beyond City Hall, it’s a recurring sentiment in nearly every neighborhood and demographic I come across.
A recent cause of mistrust comes from an arguably deceptive diversion of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds awarded under the pretext of repairing the long-defunct hydroelectric dam but then rerouted toward a parking ramp, while FEMA rejected Arizona’s request for assistance after a wildfire that killed 19 firefighters. An award that Mayor Ron Corbett says “is a good thing” but just doesn’t sit well with me or most I’ve talked with.
Twice now, an embarrassingly small number of voters have turned out to defeat the LOST extension proposals against two very different campaign strategies pushing for it. It is my fervent hope that if this latest attempt to extend LOST is shot down yet again, the mayor, City Council and City Hall will realize voters are tired of the downtown focus and ignoring the basic needs of a city, and it will reinforce the issue of mistrust that City Hall fails to recognize. I only hope indifference evidenced by past low voter turnout isn’t the norm again this November.