I’ll Stand With Kids And Vote YES On Strong Start Tucson (Prop. 204)

By Buzz Davis

The decision by the Daily Star editorial board in last Sunday’s paper urged a “reluctant” NO vote on Strong Start Proposition 204.

I believe the Star is wrong.  Its position promotes the perpetualization of poverty.  The paper urges better student performance in Tucson schools especially better performance for minorities and low income whites.  It urges anti-poverty measures to create a better Tucson. The editorial board agrees with professional educators and research that Early Childhood education is critical to the development of young people.

Then the Star editorial board steps back and says a major community effort to improve the educational life of little kids 5 and under should be voted down. Why?  The board says “… the fatal flaw to our minds… is that Proposition 204 does not have a sunset, or ending date.”

I disagree!  Nearly all federal and state laws and local ordinances have no sunset date.  Most of the personal income or corporate tax laws have no sunset.  Most laws governing/protecting corporations like the Star have no sunset date. Most cities have a police and fire commission that a city council appoints.  Such commissions hire and fire those staffers – there is no sunset date for those laws.  Mayors and council members have little control over what the commissions do.  The decision by the Daily Starr editorial board in last Sunday’s paper urged a “reluctant” NO vote on Strong Start Proposition 204.

I believe the Daily Star is seriously wrong and its position promotes the perpetualization of poverty.  The paper urges better performance of students in the Tucson school district especially better performance for Hispanics, Native Americas, Blacks and low income whites.  The paper urges anti-poverty measures to create a better Tucson. The editorial board agrees with professional educators and research that Early Childhood education is most critical to the development of the brains of little people.

Then the Daily Star editorial board steps back and says a major community effort to improve the educational life of little kids 5 and under should be voted down. Why?  The editorial board says “… the fatal flaw to our minds… is that Proposition 204 does not have a sunset, or ending date.”

I disagree with this rationale.  Nearly all federal and state laws and local ordinances have no sunset date.  Most of the personal income or corporate tax laws have no sunset.  Most of the laws governing and protecting corporations like the Star and its owner Lee Enterprises have no sunset date. Most cities in the US have a police and fire commission that a city council appoints.  Such commissions hire and fire those staffers – there is no sunset date for those laws.  Mayors and council members have little control over what the commissions do.  They just appoint/reappoint members.

For ½ of 1% sales tax increase, the Star says, “No way, children, we cannot afford helping your education.  We think you need a Strong Start but we think those big adults should have put a sunset on that little tax.  Why that tax might cost us big folks a whopping $3 a month.”

Approximately half Tucson’s 14,000 little kids from lower income families would get 200 days of high quality preschool – because WE adults pay $3/mo.

I’ll vote with the little kids.  I hope the majority of adults do too.  We have a responsibility to try to do what is best for kids.  We need vast improvements.  Tucson is full of families living in or near poverty.

FACTS:

  • 36% of Tucson’s youth under 18 live in poverty
  • 25% of everyone lives in poverty – that’s more than 150,000 of us in poverty
  • 70,000 Hispanics, 45,000 whites and tens of thousands of others live in poverty.

Americans are getting poorer!  The Social Security Administration’s 2017 report estimates:

  • 38% of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.
  • 51% of workers made less than $30,000.
  • 63% of all workers made less than $40,000 last year.

Few Tucson families can afford to pay $800 a month for preschool for their little one.

Strong Start will help thousands of little kids be much better educated and very likely do better in public schools.  Good education comes at a cost.  Cheap it isn’t  —  nor are the A10 fight jets that fly over us each day on training flights that cost taxpayers $10,000/hr./plane!

We find the money to bomb deserts each day – we need to have the political courage to say our little kids are worth $3 a month to help hard working families give their little ones high quality preschool education!.

I urge the Daily Star editorial board to reconsider their “reluctant” NO on Strong Start Tucson.  Put our kids before partisan politics and stop using the “no sunset” knife to kill Proposition 204.

I’ll vote with the little kids and I hope the majority of adults do too.  Our responsibility is to do what is best for kids.  Vote YES on Prop. 204!

Buzz Davis, formerly of Stoughton, WI now of Tucson, is a long time progressive activist, a member of Veterans for Peace and a former VISTA Volunteer, Army officer, elected official, union organizer, impeachment organizer, former Exec.VP of WI Alliance4Retired Americans and a retired state government planner. dbuzzdavis@aol.com

Sources:

https://lanekenworthy.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/2014povertyintucson.pdf

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/10/goodbye-middle-class-51-percent-of-all-american-workers-make-less-than-30000-dollars-a-year.html

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html?print

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/tucsoncityarizona/RHI625216#viewtop

https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2016

19 Comments on "I’ll Stand With Kids And Vote YES On Strong Start Tucson (Prop. 204)"

  1. 1/2 of 1% is not why a significant number of those in Tucson live in poverty. That number quoted BTW was the number that used to be the total population of the city when I was of that age. How do I spell economic failure – City of Tucson City Council and TUSD – as long as they keep on doing the same things they are and expecting different results… Tucson will progress down the shanty road. Ain’t no yabs man! The COT morons are in charge…

  2. more taxes – NOT IF I CAN HELP IT – the pissed it down the river of waste is at near flood stages now.

  3. Just one more whiner that hasn’t figured out that the Grijalva machine is alive and well in Tucson. That is how Raul and his troops want the people, poor and dumb. That makes a good democratic sheep voter. BTW, poverty in Tucson is self imposed by the BOS and City Council along with the Enviors and cronies that have won. Will always be that way in this area. Do you think that being a sanctuary city and county have anything to do with it too? Thought not.

  4. What, Again | October 19, 2017 at 4:29 am |

    More money to educate illegals with ‘other people’s money’ and less resources for our own children.

    Just more of the same, Make Tucson Mexico Again!

    What are TUSD’s enrollment numbers this fall?

    • What an asinine response. You respond with vitriol and assume that everyone who is poor is illegal.

      • What, Again | October 22, 2017 at 6:43 am |

        You must be oblivious to how to how may seats are filled with illegals and much of the ‘poor’ in Tucson ARE illegal.

        TUSD has about 45,000 students. Conservative estimates are that 10-20% of those are children of illegals. At about $6k per year per student that means that about $3million per year is confiscated from taxpayers just to pay for those in TUSD.

        You want to pay more money for your children to share a class with students that don’t even have command of English? You don’t think that the resources it takes to educate these kids doesn’t take away from yours?

        You have any facts or just want more of “Other People’s Money”?

  5. Even with my children grown and gone, under ordinary circumstances I’d vote to take care of the future by supporting the kids. This is not an ordinary time or place. Until the residents of Tucson rise up and get the majority of the current crip of elected officials out of office, I will not vote for anything that creates or increases more expenditure. The proverbv, Once bitten, twice shy, is a good guidance in today’s Tucson.

  6. Cliche-riddled leftist machine at work again. Seems as though decrying “It’s for the kids,” still works for them but will dumbed-down voters buy the nonsense one more time? Since it’s a Tucson initiative, I’d venture a guess and sadly say, Yes. Voters there are just that stupid.

  7. The Oracle of Tucson | October 19, 2017 at 6:23 am |

    Sorry Mr. Davis, sadly I already voted NO on everything on my ballot including this boondoggle before I had the “pleasure” of reading your insightful thoughts on the matter.
    The Star is totally correct in its opposition to this measure. Any endorsement of this measure is an endorsement of poverty on all. Shamefully Mr. Davis has expertly exploited the race card in his liberally biased arguement to heap white guilt on anyone opposed to this measure.
    One look at Buzz’s resume of past accomplishments and association’s and I’m in hyper overdrive to part company from his looney leftist ideology.
    We’ve previously passed measure after measure to devert funds from any and everywhere to solve this problem but the left always returns with another tax to fix what the last tax somehow has failed to fix.
    Stay out of my wallet Buzz!!!!!

    The Oracle

  8. After 32 years of teaching in the state of Arizona and watching the voted-for increase of funds for education go into the pockets of administrators or frittered away on useless programs, any proposition having to do with supposed “improvement of education” gets a “NO!” vote from me.

    • Thank you Devilsown you have hit the head of the nail squarely – this spend and spend – what happen to the 301 money?

  9. David Thompson | October 19, 2017 at 7:23 am |

    I have determined that I am fully awake and not deeply involved in a nightmare.

    I am going to vote the same way recommended by the MGS (Miss Guided Star) NO, NO, No on 204.

    Although i am sure it is for different reasons.

    • David Thompson;

      Here’s a good guess- they object because the tax doesn’t guarantee enough copies of books like, “My Two Moms,” for three year old’s story times.

      And before you radical liberals get all huffy, remember that peer reviewed studies conducted by self identified liberal scientists show that the home environment most likely to produce well adjusted successful children is a home with a mom and a dad.

      The grandmother/grandfather raised children were next in the results.

      A pertinent finding which I do not recall now, is which of single parent or gay parent households produced the least well adjusted children.

  10. Richard Hernandez | October 19, 2017 at 8:56 am |

    Not only no but HELL NO!!

    You know what City Council andayor have done with local finances to get another Board of cronies to abuse my tax dollars? Oh the hell not.

    If City leaders want ealy childhood education then give schools Districts with elected folks and qualified educators that funding.

    FYI my District , Sunnyside has pre K, and the ” local ” tax payers foot the bill in the general fund. We appreciate the money but if the board missteps you can COUNT on fact I will hold them accountable. You , me the we will NEVER be able to demand accountability of this new City government board.

    Don’t do it VOTE resoundingly NO…

    • Thank you Mr. Hernandez – a rare moment when we are in agreement – must be near the end times.

  11. Disgusted TUSD Taxpayer | October 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm |

    TUSD has 3 Pre-Ks that have been mismanaged, are underutilized, and overfunded. Why doesn’t anyone propose using these facilities- we’re paying for them already in our propert taxed. The former director, a disgrace, fled to Patagonia to be their Superintendent before getting fired for being in HT’s pockets. TUSD wants to raise enrollment so it seems using these facilities would create a pipeline. Maybe this idea is too logical…..

  12. The last research on Head Start I`m aware of showed no long term positive effects on the educational accomplishments of students who had participated in the program. The reason sunset dates on taxes imposed through the Proposition process is needed is that without one, getting rid of the tax can be extremely difficult. Even if the tax is only $3 a month per individual is true, it adds up to big bucks for the bureaucrats to spend recklessly, a practice they are very good at. It only cost individual taxpayers a dollar a year to overpay past Superintendent, H T Sanchez, an exorbitant $500,000 a year salary, but surely the small cost to individual taxpayers is not a good argument to repeat such irresponsible spending. What makes Buzz Davis think Strong Start will be high quality? Government run schools have failed miserably throughout the country for many, many years, even when the per capita expenditure per student is way above average, so why would we expect under five education to fare any better, particularly in Tucson, where, as noted above, the last Superintendent was paid $500,000 a year by an irresponsible Board in the face of his many failures over a couple of years tenure?
    BTW, “we” do NOT find the money to bomb deserts everyday. First, military spending is a national defense decision made by the Congress and the President and Mr. Davis is being irresponsible when he asserts that the U.S. bombs the desert daily. That is just patently false. Pima County and the City of Tucson have no credibility when it comes to fulfilling their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers when spending taxpayer funds and it would be irresponsible of voters to give them even more of our money to spend until they change their behavior. Pleas vote no on this Proposition.

  13. Mr. Davis makes a good argument for the proposition that I hadn’t considered. I was going to vote no, but I am persuaded to reconsider.

    • Roberto,

      All I have to say is, generally it is more reliable to trust your initial instincts. It is so important to vote NO on this one.

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