Phoenix – Valley Metro was put on notice by the grassroots group supporting Proposition 105, Building a Better Phoenix, that use of taxpayer dollars to oppose the August measure violates state law.
The group sent a letter regarding Valley Metro CEO, Scott Smith, and his apparent campaigning against the passage of Proposition 105 at various events. The group alleges that his actions are in violation of Arizona law.
Arizona law broadly directs that any public agency of the state:
“shall not spend or use public resources to influence an election,” a proscription that encompasses not only cash outlays but also the compensated time of “personnel and any other thing of value of the public entity.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-192(A).
Susan Gudino, Treasurer of the Building a Better Phoenix campaign stated, “We believe Mr. Smith’s conscription of taxpayer resources to advance his political preferences not only violates Arizona law, but also subverts the organizational missions of the agencies he leads and grossly abuses the public trust.”
The group also accuses Valley Metro of spreading “falsehoods by telling Phoenix citizens that Proposition 105 was poorly drafted and will potentially eliminate funding for the maintenance of existing light rail lines.”
“The ridiculous claim that Prop 105 would end funding for existing light rail lines was tested in the lawsuit filed by the Association of General Contractors last spring,” Gudino said. “Despite the fact that the Arizona Supreme Court reviewed the measure and concluded that the Prop 105 language is 100% accurate, Valley Metro continues to spread this false claim in a desperate attempt to force light rail into South Phoenix.”