For a run-down of Tucson Weekly’s endorsements on the propositions, click here.
Do you fear that unless we make gay marriage even more illegal in Arizona, we are hastening the destruction of our families and, eventually, our civilization? Are you worried about saving the endangered species known as the payday-loan shark? Do you want to give a raise to state lawmakers?
These are among the questions you’ll decide when you go to the ballot in November. After officials finished checking signatures on the initiative petitions, Arizonans were left with seven statewide ballot props, along with anything your local school districts or other jurisdictions throw your way.
While we’ll be reporting on these measures in more detail in the months to come, ScrambleWatch has put together capsule descriptions of each of the measures.
You’ll also be asked to approve a $6K a year raise for state lawmakers.
A few notes about initiatives:
They’ve all got Big Money Interests behind them because it’s really not possible anymore for a volunteer effort to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. To just create or change the law, you needed 153,365 valid signatures from registered voters this year; to amend the Arizona Constitution, you needed 230,047 valid signatures.
That means paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to an outfit such as Petition Partners of Scottsdale. Petition Partners then pays their subcontractors, who pay their subcontractors, who pay their subcontractors, with the last bit of change dripping down into the pockets of the homeless guys with clipboards who accost you at libraries and street fairs.
Since it takes a professional organization to get an initiative on the ballot, we won’t be seeing a pair of propositions dealing with illegal immigration this year from that nitwit Don Goldwater, the nephew of the late ’n’ legendary Barry Goldwater who is doing all he can do damage the family brand.
You may recall that Goldwater, after losing a bumbling campaign for governor that mostly focused on illegal immigration, had last year teamed up with state Rep. Russell Pearce to launch the Legal Arizona Workers, which would have shut down employers who have undocumented workers on the payroll.
Goldwater announced last week that he didn’t have enough signatures to make the ballot after all, but he said he didn’t see it as a defeat because the effort had forced the Arizona Legislature to pass a tough employer-sanctions law.
What Goldwater didn’t mention: His decision to push ahead with the Legal Arizona Workers initiative after the Legislature passed an employer-sanction bill had the unintended consequence of awakening the business community, which decided it needed its own alternative to the Goldwater plan.
Wake Up, Arizona!, a non-profit group headed by McDonald’s franchiser Mac Magruder, has put a proposal on the ballot that gives a whole new set of defenses to employers who have illegal immigrants on the payroll while busting on companies that hire day laborers under the table. Nice job undermining your own law there, Don.
Goldwater and Pearce were also unable to get enough signatures for another ballot proposal that would have given local cops the authority to arrest people for trespassing if they are in the country illegally.
In his e-mail, Goldwater thanked supporters for braving “multiple death threats, physical attacks, harassment, adverse weather conditions and lack of outside financial support.”
Let’s all be thankful that no one was killed while collecting signatures for Goldwater’s failure.
One thing we should note: Even if Don had managed to scare up more money, he would have run into trouble because political consultant Nathan Sproul, who was working for Wake Up Arizona!, forced his petition gatherers to agree to a non-compete clause that prohibited them from gathering signatures for the alternative initiative. That’s a nice touch, Nathan!
The need for Big Money also did in a pair of efforts to roll back and freeze property values to rein in property taxes, as the backers were unable to find a big checkbook to help them out.
And—no big surprise here—you won’t get a chance to vote on the measures proposed by Joel Barr, an inmate in the Arizona state prison system. Barr had several new laws he wanted to create, including a ban on plea bargains and a requirement that any prosecutors would need two eyewitnesses to convict anyone of a crime unless there was really compelling evidence. Perhaps in a reflection of how difficult it is to run an initiative effort from behind bars, Barr also wanted to change the law so that petitions could be passed on 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper, “standardizing the petition format to fit predominant communications technologies,” so it would be easier to do a petition drive via the Internet.