For the first time in 2011, the Arizona Town Hall Community Outreach meeting was held in Douglas. City Manager Curtis Shook hosted the meeting last Thursday.
The event brought together more than 30 community leaders from Cochise County who enjoyed lunch while they heard to the speech offered by the presenters
The topic for discussion included the highlights of the 97th Arizona Town Hall held on November, 2010, a consensus of recommended actions to help build the future of Arizona’s government systems for the next 100 years.
Those recommendations are:
1. Elect the best people
a. Abolish term limits
b. Create competitive districts
c. Reform or repeal the Clean Elections Law
d. Increase legislative salaries
2. Empower government to solve problems be seeking out “best practices”
a. Reexamine Arizona’s tax structure to create a more balanced and stable system.
b. Eliminate the supermajority requirement to raise revenue which hinders the legislature from making difficult revenue choices.
c. Raise or eliminate the $350,000 debt limit which is inefficient, untenable and unpoliced.
d. End unfunded mandates and legislative sweeps which create adversarial relationships between state and local government.
3. Reform and reorganize the executive branch.
a. Appoint (subject to senate confirmation similar to merit selection of judges) the positions of mine inspector, superintendent of education and state treasurer.
4. Support Arizona’s judicial branch.
a. Expand merit selection.
b. Establish a stable funding source for the judiciary.
c. Abolish the mandatory retirement age of 70.
d. Increase education and training for justices of the peace.
e. Develop methods to better inform Arizona’s citizens on how the court system works.
5. Reform the constitutional amendment processes.
6. Develop long-term and strategic planning processes.
7. Refocus government priorities
a. Highest priorities should be education and economic development.
8. Increase transparency in decision-making.
9. Improve coordination among governments.
10. Promote civic involvement.
After the presenters finished, Shook asked all those present to express their opinion on what recommendations should receive priority and how can they make the recommendations a reality while Tara Jackson made a compilation of all opinions and presented to those attended:
The community discussion statement says: “Our Legislature is supposed to represent all the people, not their own personal intend. We need to reform or promote clean elections to correct this problem. We should also consider eliminating early ballots because of misinformation that impact early voters.
“Cuts to the Arizona’s budget have a significant negative impact on our Healthcare and Education systems as well as local organizations. Unfunded mandates is another significant problem for local communities; especially those outside Maricopa County.
Arizona’s Legislature is over expanded and now wrongly placed the responsibilities for many financial problems on the back of local and rural areas. To create a Legislature appropriate to the entire state we need to create some changes in how we elect our legislators.
We need our legislators to drop focusing in certain areas and start focusing on improving education and our economy. To keep good people living in the state and to support our next generation we need to support education at all levels and we need our local leaders to all step up for education.
To accomplish the goals there must be efforts on grass-roots levels to change things. It starts at home, and expands to school systems. We need to be active and inform voters and encourage people to vote.”
The 98th Arizona Town Hall will be held on May 1-4, 2011 in Tucson and will focus on capitalizing Arizona’s Arts & Culture.
To get more information about the Arizona Town Hall or to present your opinion you can call the Town Hall office at (602)252-9600 or visit the website at www.aztownhall.org