Here’s my take on several of the State and Flagstaff Propositions you will be seeing on the ballot. This is my personal opinion and I encourage you to do your own research.
Prop 406: Flagstaff Maintenance Facility
In my opinion, this is the wrong project at the wrong time. The project cost with interest will be nearly $40,000,000. We’ve got a lot of needs in Flagstaff. While I aknowledge the need for a solution to the current maintenance yard’s shortcomings, I am confident we can find a more reasonable solution and will work towards one regardless. I do not believe prop 406 is it. Read my previous post.
Prop 405: Forest Thinning
It’s clear to most everyone that our forests need to be thinned and the decades of fire suppression has failed us greatly as is evident with many recent catastrophic fires including the Shultz Fire. We are now in a position that we need to act and get our forests thinned sooner rather than later. Enter the City of Flagstaff’s plan to thin the forests in the Dry Lake Hills area, Mormon Mountain and other locations. The plan is to borrow up to $10,000,000 so the City can thin mostly National Forest Lands. Of big concern is a fire in the Dry Lake Hills area which could cause fire damage and flood damage through large parts of Flagstaff, similar to what we saw in the Doney Park area as a result of the Schultz Fire. Also of concern is a fire on Mormon Mountain which could cause flooding that may damage Lake Mary as a water supply. Lake Mary provides a large amount of Flagstaff’s surface water and is a very important water source.
When this bond question came before Council for approval to pass onto the voters I argued against borrowing money, in part, or in its entirety, for this project and suggested we reallocate existing funds to take care of this issue. I was in the minority. So I find myself in a tough position. I support forest thinning. I believe we’re in this tough situation because the Federal Government has not properly managed our forests. Flagstaff, for its part, perhaps in the past did not lobby as hard as we should have to make this a priority and did not save up funds to address this issue on an ongoing basis. So what we have is a cumulative failure to address this issue that has led now to a potentially dangerous situation that must be taken care of.
Many points of failure have occurred over the years that have led us to this point. I find myself in a tough position of reluctantly supporting Prop 405. However, if approved, I am not going to give up finding alternate funding sources to get this project done. I’m also going to work hard to try and step up lobbying of our State and Federal Representatives. Past policies have failed us and it’s time to take care of our forests. If this passes though, this should be a one time stop gap. We need to reallocate funds from some existing City revenues towards wild land forest maintenance so that we do not have to borrow money again for something that should be regular maintenance combined with better lobbying efforts and other methods of thinning our forests including the private sector.
Prop 120: Sovereign Lands
If you support Flagstaff Prop 405, you should at least look into Prop 120, which would put Federal lands under state control. The largest portion of lands to be thinned under the Prop 405 plan are Federal Lands. With Prop 405 Flagstaff residents will assume debt to maintain lands they do not control or own. We’ll be maintaining Federal Land at our expense. This failure in forest management has got to be resolved and I ask you to look into Prop 120.
Prop 121: Top Two
The intention of this prop may be good but I am afraid the results will not be. This is an attempt to make our elections non partisan. I believe the effect will be the opposite. You may see your choices as two Democrats or two Republicans, essentially knocking out opposing parties. I also believe this will be a third party killer, it would be nearly impossible for a third party to get on the ballot with this prop.
Prop 204: Extend the Sales Tax
Please read my previous blog on prop 204. In short, I will not support a permanent extension of this 1 cent sales tax. I believe all taxes should have a sunset clause and should come back before the voters for re-approval. We should not be encumbering generations not yet born with taxes we impose. Read my previous post.