Writing in the margins: Voters, take a left

By David Martinez III
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Every once in a while, a race comes along in which a community faces stark differences. It is the stuff politicos and activists dream of. Two candidates completely different in every possible way, minus one: They each believe they have the correct vision for that community. That race is the one Tucson faces now.

Tucson is at a crossroads: one in which, if Tucsonans turn right, they stay with the status quo, Tucson with uncontrolled growth, regressive taxation and a City Council majority with its hands in the pockets of special interests.

Or, Tucsonans can turn left and go with positive change - change that focuses on the citizens of Tucson and their needs, bold leadership and with keeping Tucson, well, Tucson. Those agents of change that deserve your vote for your City Council are the three Democratic candidates: Karin Uhlich, Nina Trasoff and Steve Leal.

In a political science class I am taking, I have learned that party identification is a major factor when voters cast their ballot. Though I advocate for voting for those of the liberal persuasion, you can gauge a candidate's level of passion when he or she speak to you. You can tell whether he or she has the corazón that is needed to do the job honorably and to represent their constituents to the greatest of his or her ability.

In the time I have spent listening to and being listened to by the Democratic candidates, I have felt their passion for this city and for its people. From that moment, I knew that the time I would spend working on Uhlich's, Trasoff's and Leal's campaigns would not be wasted.

Even though the Democratic slate is replete with strong and caring individuals, Tucsonans must also look at the bigger picture. Tucson is Tucson for a reason. No, we do not want an east-west freeway. No, we do not want concrete and pavement to replace our palo verdes and cacti. No, we do not want urban sprawl. We do not want to be another Phoenix.

Tucson is Tucson because though we snarl in traffic during rush hour, we love the fact that we can enjoy the tastes of Tucson by going to a locally owned business. Because we can take a quick trip up "A" Mountain and take in the splendor of this great city.

Tucson is Tucson because of people like Uhlich - who has served throughout her years in Tucson as the leader of many organizations - who strive to brighten the future of this community and its residents. People like Trasoff, who asked those hard-hitting questions and who wants the best for her grandchildren. People like Leal, who serves his community with valor and commitment.

The fact of the matter is Tucson has become less like Tucson since Republicans took control of the City Council. All one needs to do is look at the issues and see the backward progression.

Take growth, for example. It's inevitable, there is no denying that, but because of the lack of leadership among the elephants at City Hall, developers have been given free reign to spring cookie-cutter housing on the edge of the city without enforcing impact fees which would pay for road, sewage, water, or police and fire infrastructure, putting those costs for the new developments on the backs of longtime Tucsonans and their children.

Look at the monthly garbage tax, which is another case in which generations-old Tucsonans are fronting the costs of mismanagement by the Republicans. This is regressive taxation at its best with irrational implementation and a waiver system that piles more stress onto the backs of the weak and vulnerable.

Take a look at the issue of crime in Tucson. This city of ours has the highest property crime rate in the nation because the conservative majority has been slow to enforce ordinances pushed by Attorney General Terry Goddard regarding methamphetamine use. Rather than attacking the problem at its root and locally restricting sales of the tablet form of Sudafed, a common ingredient found in methamphetamine, the Republicans have only hacked at the branches.

Yes, Tucson has become less like Tucson, and change is needed. I encourage you to have a conversation with all the candidates and see for yourself the drive of the Democrats. Then on Nov. 8, drive yourself to the polls and make a left.

David Martinez III is a secondary education junior. If you would like to be featured in "Writing in the margins," please contact us at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.