Friday, March 07, 2008

Candidate update - Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Lost in the hubbub of the campaigns for President...and Congress...and State Legislature...and County Sheriff...and County Attorney...and City Council...and even certain JP and Constable seats...have been the races for County Supervisor. That's unfortunate, because outside of certain statewide offices, county supervisors have the most practical political power in the state. They certainly have more day-to-day impact on folks than any member of Congress, even though those races get far more attention.

Traditionally (well, in recent years, anyway :) ), the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has almost exclusively been a playground for Republicans, except for Mary Rose Wilcox in District 5 (southwestern Maricopa County - it's not a perfect match with Congressman Ed Pastor's CD4, but it's close).

The county supervisors oversee an annual budget of $2.5 billion, but do so with very little oversight (little oversight *of* them or *by* them.) For instance, it's been years since the MCSO was subject to an independent audit, something that some of the members of the board have made noise about, especially in the weeks since the Great Honduras Junket...errr..."Training And Professional Exchange Program" came to light.

But they still haven't done anything to bring fiscal responsibility to the MCSO.

Their reason? It would take too much effort for them to do their jobs.

From the Phoenix New Times -

...Because the sheriff's $241 million budget is the biggest in the county, such an audit would undoubtedly require the entire 18-member audit staff working for months on end.

"It would take the board to come and tell us they wanted us to spend our resources onto such a big audit," says County Auditor Ross Tate. "They haven't done that."

Jim Bloom, chief of staff for Supervisor Andy Kunasek, echoed Tate. "If we were to audit the Sheriff in totality, it would take not only our entire audit staff, but a lot of his staff, too," he says. "It wouldn't make any sense. If we did an audit that big on his operations, in the meantime, we wouldn't be doing an audit on anyone else."
Change is coming, however.

This year, at least three of the supes face Democratic challengers and at least one faces a challenger in the Rep primary.

In District 1, the normally unopposed Fulton Brock is facing Ed Hermes, a former member of the state Board of Regents and current Vice-Chair of the LD17 Democrats. He has also worked for the Arizona Department of Agriculture and served in Governor Napolitano's Smart Growth Cabinet.

In District 2, Don Stapley faces lawyer Joel Sinclaire (D) of Scottsdale. No campaign website yet that I could find; research indicates that he is active in the Sierra Club.

In addition to facing a Democratic challenger in the general election, Stapley faces the prospect of a primary challenge. Cassandra Perkins (no website found), also of Scottsdale, has filed organizational paperwork. All I could find on her is that she is heavily involved in education.

That's not entirely a positive, however - she was President of the Governing Board of the Christopher Verde School District. That's the district that was formed as a tax dodge (i.e. - the school district without schools.) She moved to the Cave Creek Unified School District board when Verde was forced to merge with Cave Creek.

In District 3, Andy Kunasek is facing Marilyn Fox (no website yet), a legislative candidate in 2006 and current chair of the LD7 Democrats. Background on Kunasek and why he is unfit to be a county supervisor here and here.

Note: it's possible that I've missed a couple of candidates here. My research was through the Maricopa County Recorders Office website, and while that website has many strengths, it has a singularly *horrible* committee search function. You have to know all or part of a candidate's name.

I searched by vowel and tried to sort through every county registered committee.

There are a *lot* of JP, constable, and school board candidates this year. :)


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