The Arizona Republic
The pros and con jobs among ballot propositions
Citizenship is a pain in the youknow-what. At least around election time.
It’s bad enough trying to sort through the avalanche of negative name-calling trash dumped on us by candidates in the form of TV ads, mailers, social media posts and so on.
Add to that the ballot questions, along with the avalanche of negative trash dumped on us by the often anonymous big-money backers of one proposition or another in the form of TV ads, mailers, social media posts and so on.
Add to THAT the avalanche of selfproclaimed know-it-all commentary and analysis being printed or spewed on TV or posted on the internet by media hacks like ... well ... me.
It can be overwhelming. Perhaps that is why, each election cycle, I receive a few calls or emails from readers asking for advice on how to fill out their ballots.
Most of the time — if not ALL of the time — the request is phrased like this brief missive, which I received last week:
Dear Mr. Montini — Would you be so kind as to tell me which candidates you plan to vote for and which ballot propositions you support? Having this information would greatly simplify my ability to fulfill my obligation as a citizen. I’ll make the state and country a better place if I vote just the OPPOSITE as you. Sincerely ...
I don’t name candidates when responding to queries like this. You’re on your own with them. But I will occasion-
ally break down the ballot measures, which generally fall into two categories: Pros and Con jobs. Proposition 127, which would require utilities companies such as APS to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources — like the sun — by 2030 is a yes. APS is spending millions trying to scare you with promises of rate increases. As if they won’t raise your rates, again, anyway. Voting yes on 127 is something you do for your kids and grandkids.
On the other hand, we also have a number of con jobs.
Proposition 126 is one of those. Realtors are behind this. They’re not trying to protect you from new taxes but to protect themselves. In the meantime, it could significantly impact funding for education, health care and more. Both Gov. Doug Ducey and his Democratic opponent, David Garcia, are against this. That alone should be enough to convince you.
Proposition 305 is another con job, this one perpetrated by Ducey and the Legislature. It would expand the school voucher program to include all kids, which sounds like a good thing, but in reality would wind up giving taxpayer money to families that don’t need it, starve public schools, particularly rural ones, and not provide enough funding to help low income families. Plus, there’s no serious academic accountability. It’s a no.
So, too, is Proposition 306.
Back in 1998, Arizonans in a statewide vote created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a nonpartisan group meant to make elections in Arizona a least a little more credible. This proposition would put the commission in the hands of a partisan board handpicked by the governor.
Con job, pure and simple. There you have it.
Or do you?
Last election cycle, a reader asking for my ballot preferences so he could vote the opposite way sent a follow-up note after I responded to him in which he asked, “How do I know if you’re sending me your actual opinions or trying to fool me?”
What could I say but: