Good morning, Phoenix.
Will Phoenix ban new rail construction? Will city officials require annual assessments of Phoenix's pension debt, limiting new spending on services such as libraries and parks if pensions are not 90 percent funded while prohibiting City Council members from receiving pensions?
Only YOU, Voters of the Sun, can decide. (Of the Valley cities, only Phoenix is holding a municipal election today.) Read on for details on how to vote if you haven't and what you're voting on if you have somehow avoided the news for the past couple of months.
My dog ate my early ballot! Can I still vote on election day?
Yes, you can vote at any of these places. Be in line by 7 p.m, or BE SILENCED. You don't need to show up at any particular polling place. Just go to one of Phoenix's 28 voting centers and cast a ballot. Want to speed up the process? Have your government-issued photo ID with your name and address on hand. Don't have photo ID? Bring two forms of valid identification with your name and address. Read the following if you're not sure if your identification will work:
Can I still mail in my early ballot?
NO. The city stopped accepting posted ballots on August 23. GET YOUR ASS TO THE POLLS. However, if your dog did not eat your ballot, hold onto it. You can still fill it out, bring it to a voting center, SKIP THE LINE, and drop that sucker in the ballot box.
What are officials expecting for turnout?
High, for a local, off-year election. As of August 23, Phoenix has received 165,025 early ballots for the special election. As ABC15 noted, that's already more than voted (107,277) in 2013 during Phoenix's last proposition-only election.
What's on the ballot?
Proposition 105 and Proposition 106.
What is Proposition 105?
This is the one about light rail. If more Phoenix residents vote YES than NO on the initiative, the city will ban all new rail construction. That would likely kill planned extensions in south Phoenix, north Phoenix, and more. And it wouldn't just be light rail that gets derailed. Streetcars, commuter rails — basically any mode of transportation on a track would be out of the picture for Phoenix. Any funds for rail projects (which have been approved by voters multiple times) would be redirected toward infrastructure improvements (read: roads).
Again: Vote YES if you want Phoenix to ban new light rail projects. Vote NO if you want to see more light rail in the future.
Who is behind Proposition 105?
Like the disciplinary records of Phoenix police officers or the identity of Q, this is a question with a murky answer. South Phoenix business owners are definitely involved. Last year, they objected to a planned extension down South Central Avenue, arguing that gentrification would follow and construction along the road would drive away customers.
But around summer 2018, the business owners started talking about stopping all light rail, period. People began to suspect that the anti-transit Koch brothers (or should we say Koch brother?) meddled their way into the debate. They were right! The Koch-funded Arizona Free Enterprise Club has distanced itself from the campaign, but Phoenix New Times reported this month that it played a major role in putting Proposition 105 on the ballot.
Who is against Proposition 105?
A shit-ton of people! The opposition is mostly from the left, but also includes some right-leaning business groups and nonprofits. Mayor Kate Gallego and the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce oppose 105. So do the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and Arizona State University. The opposition formally organized under a political committee called Invest in PHX. Here's its full list of Prop 105 opponents.
What is Proposition 106?
Your guess is as good as mine. Just kidding! But it is super-complicated. Basically, if more Phoenix residents vote YES than NO on the initiative, the city will limit new spending to help pay down its pension debt. First, the city would conduct an annual assessment of its debt. Then, if the retirement system is not 90 percent funded, the city will be barred from spending any more than increases for population growth. That would likely halt spending on services such as parks, libraries, homeless shelters, and more. Public safety-related expenses, such as police and fire services, would be exempt. The initiative would also ban City Council members from receiving pensions.
Who is behind Proposition 106?
Phoenix City Council member Sal DiCiccio, along with a pair of out-of-state political operatives and a city council woman in Utah. They view Phoenix as a test case. If successful here, the idea is to replicate the pension initiative in other cities.
Who is against Proposition 106?
Basically the same groups that are opposed to 105.
Enough with all this technical talk. I am READY TO PARTY.
Good news, voters on most sides of both debates will have a place to watch results as they begin to roll in around 8 p.m. Supporters of Proposition 105 will be showing up to Poncho's Mexican Food and Cantina at 7:30. Opponents of Proposition 105 and Proposition 106 will be at The Van Buren. Supporters of Proposition 106 will not be hosting a party, according to Tim Mooney, one of the political operatives behind the initiative.
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