Tomorrow, the city of Tucson will turnout at the polls to decide in the primary election who will run for mayor.
We already know that Sharon Collins will represent the Republican ticket (no one is challenging her) and Ed Kahn is rounding out the race on the Libertarian front. Those spots are assured for the election on the first Tuesday in November.
But who will represent the Democrats?
Councilman Bruce Wheeler, in an attempt to climb the political ladder, is challenging former councilman and Tucson Mayor George Miller's bid for re-election.
Subtle differences abound between both candidates, even though both seem to virtually take the same stand on the major issues at hand.
Both have stated that the city needs to increase spending to $1 million in the fight against crime and promised to raise spending for prevention programs. Their stance on the city's garbage situation and underemployment are virtually the same as well.
But, we know Miller favors siting New Campus downtown rather than putting it out at the IBM facility on South Rita Road. About the only way this will occur is if his hopes that Microsoft comes to town and leases space at the UA's Science and Technology Park come true.
Both have voiced their plans on treating Central Arizona Project water before recharging Tucson's aquifers; except for one minor difference. Miller would like to see the existence of a private facility to remove salinity and other unnecessary minerals before recharging. Wheeler would like that job to go to an existing public utility Ÿ which could mean raising taxes. The good thing about this, though, is that both have stated the CAP recharge will not go through until a facility is in place to treat the muddy Colorado river water.
Despite the slight differences in both men's stand on the existing issues, it is also clear that both have differing leadership styles. Miller, at 72, is the quiet man of Tucson, who seems to lead by listening. Wheeler, on the other hand has been compared to a "guerrilla" when it comes to political tactics and gamesmanship. We see the true man when he goes into action challenging directors of city programs, law enforcement agencies, and so forth.
It seems when Wheeler is around, heads usually roll. Miller seems to get one's attention by just being plain likeable, while Wheeler drags his fingernails across a blackboard. One is subtle, while the other can be annoying.
So, who should be the mayor? In the past Tucson has predominantly voted Democratic and whoever wins the nomination tomorrow will likely be mayor. If that is the case, then November's election doesn't really matter. The race we need to be concerned with is who will take the Democratic ticket. And if that is the case, then we need to get out and vote tomorrow Ÿ not November.
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