The Pima County Monarchy

“The Pima County Board of Supervisors is responsible for steering public policy in the region.  The five-member board provides direction to the County Administrator and the county’s various departments as they work to ensure safe communities, nurture economic development, sustainably manage natural resources and protect public health.”

“The County Administrator is responsible for carrying out the policies and goals established by the Board of Supervisors.”  — Pima County website

“Now, Therefore Be It Resolved that the Pima County Board of Supervisors opposes the construction of any new highways in or around the County that have the stated purpose of bypassing the existing Interstate 10 as it is believed that the environmental, historic, archaeological and urban form impacts could not be adequately mitigated.”  — BOS Resolution 2007-343

The above official statements are pretty clear.  The Pima County Board of Supervisors makes policy and directs its employee, the County Administrator.  The County Administrator’s job, for which he receives a handsome salary, is to carry out BOS policies.  Such a policy is Resolution 2007-343 opposing any bypass in Pima County.

That includes Chuck Huckelberry’s proposed Interstate 11 route through the Avra Valley, formerly known as the I-10 Bypass.  Then BOS Chair Sharon Bronson said so just before the November election at a candidates’ forum in Picture Rocks, a community that will be negatively impacted by the Huckelberry Highway.  The 20-year supervisor, who was narrowly reelected, was not telling the truth.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Karen Apple, responding to questions from the Avra Valley Coalition about the recently-released Scoping Summary Report (Arizona Daily Independent, January 30, 2017), “The attached 2013 letter from Pima County contains the most recent information and the current position of the county.”

That 37-page document, addressed to the Pima Association of Governments (PAG), is dated July 2, 2013 and starts off, “Please note this resolution (2007-343) is six years old.”  It goes on to lay out Huckelberry’s vision for I-11 complete with maps and land status information.  That vision, which PAG and ADOT accept as county policy, has never been voted on by the Board of Supervisors or the voters.  Resolution 2007-343 has never been repealed, although former Supervisor Ray Carroll early on said it might have to be to accommodate I-11.

The inescapable conclusion is that county policy is being made by the County Administrator without regard to policies established by his employers.  Or by anyone else.

Another instance was just reported by the Arizona Daily Independent on February 7.  Here the County Administrator inserted into the BOS Consent Agenda an extension of World View’s contract without additional compensation.  This assumes, before the fact, that the BOS will appeal a judge’s ruling that the contract award was in violation of state law regulating procurements and gifts.  According to the County Administrator, the county is exempt from those laws.

The Sonoran Corridor, formerly known as a bypass and I-11 extension and now called an auxiliary interstate, was rejected by voters in the 2015 bond elections.  Its convoluted route gives a free access highway to Don Diamond’s planned Swan Southlands development.  Going forward with it remains a county priority, with the county website stating currently: “The Sonoran Corridor is the county’s planned highway connection between Interstate 19 and 10 in an area south of the Tucson International Airport.”

In a concession to critics who noted that ADOT seem to use selected pro-I-11 news stories in their Scoping Summary Report, Ms. Apple said, “Moving forward, the I-11 study team intends to print a hard copy of every news article we capture through our clipping services and include it as part of our public records.”  At least four Arizona Daily Independent stories were ignored in the Summary Report.

It should be noted that most of the public comments in the 1326-page Report opposed I-11 and any Avra Valley route.  That does not include the 900 signers of an online petition opposing I-11.  A few journalists actually looked at the comments and reported that public opposition, while many simply put their byline on ADOT’s press release, which (surprise!) ignored the opposition.  The document can be viewed in full or in shorter segments at i11study.com; click on Arizona, and then on Reports.

The larger issue, indeed the elephant in the living room, is the assumption of unlegislated power by the County Administrator, and the failure of the Board of Supervisors – representing the voters – to curb him.  The BOS, with the brave exception of Ally Miller, carries out Huckelberry’s directions, turning democracy upside down and tearing up existing law.  Miller has been the target of Huckelberry-directed attacks, as shown by his emails reported by the Arizona Daily Independent and nowhere else.  He and his staff have blatantly tried to influence her election in violation of state law, but the Arizona Attorney General’s office doesn’t seem to be interested.

A test of Huckelberry’s strength will come February 21 when the BOS votes whether or not to support Monsanto’s request for Foreign Trade Zone status, which reduces their property taxes by two-third.  Two supervisors, Ally Miller and Richard Elias, have stated their opposition to a GMO corn seed factory in the Avra Valley near Marana High School and the herbicide exposure that could bring.

Huckelberry supporter  Sharon Bronson can be expected to do the County Administrator’s  bidding. Huckelberry ally Don Diamond made large contributions to Bronson’s campaign to narrowly defeat Kim DeMarco.  Will newcomer Steve Christy, former State Transportation Board Chair and a close ally of Huckelberry’s on I-11, vote with Huckelberry or with the people?  Will Ramón Valadez, who serves on the Pima Association of Government’s Regional Council, fall into line or vote with his constituents?

Stay tuned.  Or better yet, contact your supervisor and tell them how you feel.  Attend the February 21 BOS meeting and speak up.  Democracy – use it or lose it!

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About Albert Vetere Lannon 107 Articles
Albert grew up in the slums of New York, and moved to San Francisco when he was 21. He became a union official and labor educator after obtaining his high school GED in 1989 and earning three degrees at San Francisco State University – BA, Labor Studies; BA, Interdisciplinary Creative Arts; MA, History. He has published two books of history, Second String Red, a scholarly biography of my communist father (Lexington, 1999), and Fight or Be Slaves, a history of the Oakland-East Bay labor movement (University Press of America, 2000). Albert has published stories, poetry, essays and reviews in a variety of “little” magazines over the years. Albert retired to Tucson in 2001. He has won awards from the Arizona State Poetry Society and Society of Southwestern Authors.

12 Comments

  1. Tax, Tax, Tax, Tax, Tax, Tax. Does anybody remember why the American Revolution took place? Taxation without representation. Since Huckleberry ignores the voters of Pima County seems like a Pima County Revolution is in hand to bring down the Monarchy. Taxation Pima County into poverty while he rides in a beautiful 15 Million dollar balloon!

  2. Blah Blah Blah. Nothing is going to change and it is so depressing that I am seriously considering not voting again for Pima County Government. it’s a rigged system that will never change. The state won’t get involved in the shenanigans that are going on here and neither will the FBI so why bother? We’re stuck with this crappy board and Bronson knows that she has nothing to wrry about with a recall as long as she has Diamond and the rest of her finaniers to draw from

    • A recall of one or more of Huckleberry`s puppets can and will succeed. Green, Libertarian and Independent voters WAY outnumber the Democrats in each of the puppets` districts. Let’s just do it.

      • And let`s not forget the Pima County GOP. The last do nothing GOP Chair has been replaced so maybe the new Chair will have the good sense to support an Independent, Green and Libertarian Parties` recall effort.

        • I was a PC for he Pima County GOP and nearly left the party because of it. They wouldn’t do a whole lot that I could see and I was not impressed with how it was handled.

  3. Greed and special interest run Pima County! Bet you may have heard me say that lots of times.

    Elias has gone on record saying no and yet votes yes. Sharon and Ramon have there votes bought and paid for by corrupted special interests who make lots of $$$ off back the people.

    So let me give Elias credit though not deserved that you have a 2 to 2 vote, hum we will all learn on 21 of February if Steve Christie works for the people or special interest.

    I plan to attend the meeting please join me and I hope a room of others. I also have faith that we will have such a outcry that we will have a recall election.

  4. Folks wake up this ChuckleCherry will tax us into poverty. I for one will be writing a letter to those bozos this weekend, I will also do a mail box letter drop in my neighborhood in Marana maybe we can wake some sleeping taxpayer bears and call them to action.

  5. In politics the all mighty Dollar reigns and Chucky Bronsoon and the Don all understand this relationship. Including who is on first and what is on second. Until the pima county cabal are broken up. Expect to see a I11 corridor built. Don makes millions. Chucky gets his big fat paycheck. And Sharon gets campaign cash. Pure and simple. And the taxpayer gets screwed. Bahahhahh. Let’s all line up for our annual shearing.

  6. Expect anything different??? Silly voters, had the chance in November to change all of this and you didn’t. Really disappointed in the Avra Valley folks who chose to vote for Sharon Bronson after she flat out lied about the Sonoran Corridor. You get what you vote for and I hope you are happy with your King cause he will be around for a while. Along with yearly property tax increases.

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