Home rule, and golf rules - The Explorer: Editorials

Home rule, and golf rules

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Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 8:05 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

It was written here in December — come March, Oro Valley voters should say "yes" on Question 1, the local alternative expenditure limitation, commonly known as home rule.

The arguments haven't changed. In overly simple terms, home rule allows the town to set a budget, and spend to that amount. Without home rule, a state-imposed expenditure limit is applied to the town. It is much lower than Oro Valley's current budget. If home rule fails, Oro Valley would have to cut tens of millions from a budget that provides essential, basic services.

"If it's not passed, it would just cripple the community," said Stacey Lemos, Oro Valley's finance director and assistant town manager.

"We would be out of business as a town," agrees Town Councilman Barry Gillaspie.

The state's limit is a punitive, arbitrary restriction that gives power to state government over local authority. Anyone think that's a good idea?

Since December, a couple conditions have changed.

Residents have formed a political action committee, Yes on Question 1, that is advocating for a "yes" vote on home rule. Consider that for a minute. Local people care enough about this non-partisan decision to expend their own time and money to work for its passage. They write that "if Question 1 fails, that state formula would force drastic budget reductions — up to 60 percent — and would affect police, parks and recreation, road maintenance, water utility services and other programs that are important to Oro Valley."

It's not a tax increase, nor a decrease. "It simply allows Oro Valley to determine its own budget according to local needs, revenues and spending priorities," the committee adds.  Here's another development. Two business associations, the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson Association of Realtors, have endorsed "yes" votes on home rule. That indicates clearly that home rule is not anti-business, not anti-housing or real estate. It's simply the best way for the community to govern itself.

Every four years since 1982, Oro Valley residents have passed the home rule question. They should do so again in voting that ends March 9.

•••

Professional golf has its rabid enthusiasts, the people who watch every tournament, monitor The Golf Channel while they're ironing clothes, chatter about Tiger and Phil and the rest.

The intense golf fans in greater Tucson have already made plans to attend next week's World Golf Championships — Accenture Match Play Championship tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain.

For the tournament to succeed, for it to raise $1 million in charity funds for the Tucson Conquistadores, for the PGA Tour, Accenture and the rest to see the long-term viability of a world-class golf event in Tucson every February, Match Play needs … you.

Here's the great secret about Match Play. Even if you're a mild pro golf enthusiast, Match Play is a complete blast. The golfers are amazing, and they're right in front of you. The course is breathtaking. The format is exciting. The people-watching is singular; even seen a huddle of Asian photographers grappling for access to a teen-aged Japanese phenom, Ryo Ishikawa? It's right here in our backyards.

"You don't need to be a golfer, or even a golf fan, to go to the tournament, because there's so many other things" to see, said Conquistadores executive director Judy McDermott said. "We're very lucky." Lucky, indeed.

"We hope people will come out and enjoy an exciting week of world-class golf," said Wade Dunagan, executive director of the WGC — Accenture Match Play Championship.

As spring training recedes, Match Play is joining the Gem Show and The Rodeo as premier Tucson events. Dunagan, McDermott, the Ritz-Carlton, the Conquistadores and all the rest do a terrific job. It's world-class stuff. Partake.

 

— DPP

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