The Greasy Pole - Election Poses Vital Choices

Special section examines facts, furor and impacts

Pete Aleshire

Pete Aleshire

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Cut school spending — or business taxes?

Reduce sheriff’s patrols — or raise property taxes?

Find money for teacher raises — or crack down on bad teachers?

Focus county attention on reducing wildfire danger — or shift more county services in North County?

Save money for a new sewer plant — or reduce impact fees?

Raise the sales tax — or give the Legislature flexibility in a future budget crisis?

Bar deputies from reporting to work if they’ve had a drink — or leave it up to the officer?

Don’t spend money on consultants — or hurry the process of putting county records online?

Invest millions in county tax money in Arizona — or move the money out of state?

Build a nuclear waste recycling plant in Northern Arizona — or tell the feds to look elsewhere?

It’s all up to you, if you vote on Nov. 6. On the other hand, guess you could leave it all up to someone else to decide.

In this edition, we offer a

guide to the general election, with stories about all the local candidates and issues. We hope that even if you’re clutching your mail-in ballot in your hot little hands, you won’t check all the boxes until you take a look at our election coverage.

That counts double for the often-overlooked, but vital local races, like the Payson Unified School District Board, the Northern Gila County Sanitary District Board and countywide races for sheriff, treasurer, assessor and recorder. Normally, those races barely scare up enough candidates to fill the openings. This year, they’re all hotly contested.

We’ve also got coverage about the crucial debate about the future of Medicare that’s playing out in the U.S. Senate clash between Dr. Richard Carmona and Rep. Jeff Flake.

Furthermore, you’ll find stories about the wide-open, high-stakes race for state Legislative District 6, the boundaries so altered through redistricting that it’s like a whole new district. The Republican slate in that contest has stressed balancing the state budget and trying to assert control of million acres of federal land.

The Democratic slate wants to boost spending on K-12 from dead last to the national average — which would entail increasing tax revenue by eliminating many exemptions in the sales tax code.

Lots of voters have focused mostly on the presidential race, which threatens to suck all the political oxygen out of the room. But we hope that our beloved readers will give equal attention to all those down-ballot contests, which will determine the kind of community we live in for years to come.

Every vote matters. Granted —that’s a cliché. But consider what happened in the primary election. Redistricting this year for the first time created a genuine balance between north and south on the Gila County Board of Supervisors by crafting a swing district between north and south. Star Valley Judge Ronnie McDaniel’s campaign provided the first chance in a generation to win equal representation for North County, which supplies 80 percent of county revenue and accounts for about 53 percent of the population. But South County voters turned out in much greater numbers in the redrawn district securing the election of a Globe businessman to the seat. His winning margin: 28 votes.

So we hope you’ll set aside that mail-in ballot until you read our special section. And if that doesn’t answer all your questions, we hope that you’ll keep reading the paper in the weeks to come —because we’ll cover the elections right through election night.

We’ll try hard to do our job.

After that, it’s up to you.

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