ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby on Growth, Conservation and the County Budget

Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby is challenging District 3 Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson in the Sept. 2 primary. Tucson Weekly staff writer Mari Herreras talked to Branch-Gilby about the environment and the county’s budget priorities.

Is there more to your campaign than election transparency?

Yes. We need to be much more careful with how we use our land and our water so we can stay here. If the board doesn’t start acting very soon to change how they do their rezoning and how they work with the city and other municipalities, we will find ourselves in a box.

What’s your take on the creation of the water authority between Tucson and Pima County?

They’re getting themselves all on the same page and they are opening it to the public. Five meetings were in the morning. I went to first two. I’m glad they are in the evenings now, but it’s not clear yet how it will develop. But there are people on that committee and people in the audience that keep bringing up questions on our water supply—how reliable is this assured 100-year supply? It’s on paper only Continue reading


ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Sharon Bronson on Growth and Conservation

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby in the Sept. 2 primary. In this interview with Tucson Weekly staff writer Mari Herreras, Bronson talks about growth and the environment. Learn more about the race here.

When you first ran 12 years ago your platform focused on growth issues and the environment. How do you see growth and environment issues today?

Lots to be done. The conservation plan was a great first step in managing growth. We’ve covered about 26,000 acres of critical habitat and another 130,000 acres of habitat through acquired ranch lands. So we’ve made some critical important steps. But there’s always much more to be done in terms of habitat protection.

What do you see doing the next four years?

In the next four years, I’ll be putting an emphasis on regional planning and water. When I came on board I was the critical vote on impact fees. Growth has to be sustainable. Our economy has to be sustainable and equitable for all our citizens. Our natural resources and water have to be sustainable. And certainly our Sonoran Desert eco-system.

Taking the first step, we’ve formed the Continue reading

Nucleus Meltdown: A Not Quite LiveBlog of the Debate Between Democratic Candidates for the Pima County Board of Supervisors

Two incumbents on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 3’s Sharon Bronson and District 2’s Ramon Valadez, met their respective Democratic challengers, Donna Branch Gilby and Robert Robuck, at a meeting of the Pima County Democratic Party’s Nucleus Club last week. Supporters cheered and applauded; critics booed and hissed. Here’s a recap of the raucous caucus.

6:01 p.m.: Moderator Ash Silverberg introduces the candidates. Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez talks about growing up in Pima County and getting his start in politics when he interned for Dan Eckstrom, the previous District 2 supervisor and kingpin of southside politics. Valadez mentions that he also served in the Arizona Legislature and as an aide to Gov. Janet Napolitano. He says the county has made a lot of progress with conservation, sustainability and transportation. He gets big applause.

6:04 p.m.: Robert Robuck explains that he moved to Sahuarita from California because his wife grew up here. He says he got worried about local politics when he learned about plans to mine copper in the Santa Rita Mountains. Robuck decided to run for office when Valadez wouldn’t return his call regarding the mining proposal. He mentions that election integrity is a big issue in his campaign. The crowd goes wild with applause.

6:07 p.m.: Donna Branch-Gilby says she running against Bronson “because it was time to stop asking, stop lobbying, stop explaining about the necessity of really being sure we had an accurate election in a democracy and it was time to do something about it.”

Branch-Gilby gives props to Bronson for her work on the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan before calling Bronson “the leading obstructionist” on the election-integrity issue. She also complains that Continue reading

Branch-Gilby At Great Watermelon Meet-Up

Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby, who is challenging Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson in District 3, will be in Picture Rocks this Saturday, July 12, passing out cold watermelon. Even if you’re not a Picture Rocks resident, getting some cold watermelon could be mighty tasty this monsoon season!

Branch-Gilby will be at the Great Watermelon Meet-Up from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on the southwest corner of Sandario and Picture Rocks roads.

According to a press release from Camp Branch-Gilby, the candidate will be “passing out cold slices of watermelon and conversing with her future constituents…”

“I want to invite all the folks who are in the area on Saturday morning to come by and say hello,” Branch-Gilby press-releases. “I’m looking forward to meeting people and listening to their ideas and concerns about Pima County,”

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Donna Branch-Gilby Talks About Whether Republican Ray Carroll Recruited Her To Run

Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby talks about why she thinks new leadership is needed on the Pima County Board of Supervisors and addresses rumors that she was recruited to run by Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll. Branch-Gilby is challenging Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson in the Sept. 2 Democratic primary. Find out more about the race here or pick up this week’s print edition of the Tucson Weekly.

Some county critics complain that County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is in charge of the county, not the elected officials. What do you see happening?

The thing is he needs to be under the direction of the board, not vice versa, and they have to put themselves in a position where it is hard to be prepared for his advice, because they don’t meet together. The only time they meet together is when Huckelberry is there, Chris Straub and all of the public.

The Board of Supervisors is often scheduled to have these study session, but they frequently get canceled. Would you bring back study sessions?

By state law they are required to hold a study session. I said to one of the staff, “How do you ever communicate?” because it’s against the open meeting law Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Sharon Bronson on Election Integrity

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby in the Sept. 2 primary. In this interview with Tucson Weekly staff writer Mari Herreras, Bronson explains why she voted against turning over election databases to the Pima County Democratic Party. Learn more about the race here and look for coverage of the race in this week’s print edition of the Tucson Weekly.

Your opponent, Donna Branch-Gilby accuses you have being an obstructionist in how you voted when election integrity issues went before the board. Do you want a chance to explain why you voted against providing the election database files to the Democratic Party?

The reality is that we had the County Attorney and the Secretary of State concurred that the databases were not public records, and in order to release them we needed a court order to determine those really were public records. In January we released the records. It’s that simple. But it is a little more perplexing when we offered that same database but in a secure environment, but for some reason the Democratic Party didn’t find it satisfactory, and I still don’t understand why.

I’m all for election integrity. Who isn’t? But there remain two components we need to always things about—security and transparency. I think the recommendations we looked at on July 1 will help us move forward in balancing those issues.

Secretary of State Jan Brewer was not happy Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Sharon Bronson On Why She’s Running for Reelection

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby in the Sept. 2 primary. The Tucson Weekly interviewed Bronson about why she’s seeking a fourth term. Learn more about the race here.

How does it feel going for your fourth term in office as a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors?

It doesn’t feel like it’s been 12 years, but literally feels like it’s been 12 days.

The district is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. You’re literally always on the go.

There are so many needs in the communities that comprise District 3. I’ve enjoyed working with the constituents in helping them bring good things to the community.

Ajo is a good example. It’s far from the city of Tucson and the city core. Since I’ve been elected we’ve been doing some important work for that community. We’d invite you to take a tour of the Curley School. It is an economic development project, it’s an affordable housing project, and it’s an affordable and livable workspace for artists and artisans. It is really moving the economy of Ajo.

When the mine closed the economy of Ajo was seriously threatened, as well as the lives of the residents of Ajo. It’s a cutting edge project for rural economic development. We’ve brought it about $11 million (to match private contributions of) $30 million in that project and we’re not done yet. They’ve just recent converted the old cafeteria into a museum and gift shop for the artists to sell their work, and we’ve also create a micro-business center so the artists and artisans know how to market their products. It’s not only about creating a sustainable economy. You can have to also create community.

Critics of the board of supervisors say you and your fellow supervisors do not make real policy decision, but that it’s Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry who makes the decisions. How is county policy made?

Chuck Huckelberry serves at the pleasure of the majority of the board. The boards of supervisors are very much in control. That’s why Continue reading