Decision 2000: Election Day arrives<br>Candidates, propositions fill ballots<br>
Whether you were waiting with anticipation or dread, Tuesday is Election Day across the nation.
More than just the next President will be decided, as a bookful of propositions will greet voters in Arizona. County and statewide candidates will also meet their fate.
And, no, the presidential race is not just between Democratic Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and Republican Governor George W. Bush of Texas. Other choices include Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, Libertarian Neil L. Smith, Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin, and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan. There is also the write-in Howard Phillips of Virginia.
In the Arizona race for U.S. senator, incumbent Republican Jon Kyl faces opposition from Independent William Toel, Libertarian Barry Hess and Green Party candidate Vance Hensen.
Republican Bob Stump has only two opponents in his bid for reelection as the U.S. Representative in District 3. Democrat Gene Scharer wants the office, as does Edward Carlson, a Libertarian.
Most state races are not quite so crowded. Candidates for state senator from District 1 are incumbent Ken Bennett, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger Dawn Knight. Both are from Prescott. In District 2 of the state senate, Republican John Verkamp, the incumbent, faces Democrat Rita Johnson.
Contests for state representative have been well fought in the Verde Valley.
In District 1, there are three candidates for two positions. Controversial Republican Barbara Blewster and her fellow incumbent Linda Binder face a challenge from Democrat Henry Camarot of Prescott.
In District 2, where there are no incumbents, there are four vying for two seats. Flagstaff Democrats Josh Allen and Jim Sedillo go toe-to-toe with Republicans Tom O’Halleran of Sedona and Margaret Roush-Meier of Flagstaff.
Also at the state level, the Corporation Commission needs two seats filled and has more than enough prospects. Republican Bill Mundell, an appointee to the office, is up against Democrat Barbara Lubin and Libertarian Ray Price for a term that ends in 2005. The other seat has a term that ends in 2007 and has Democrat Sandra Kennedy running against Republican Marc Spitzer and Libertarian Edward Zajac.
More locally, Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis, a Republican, is being challenged by Independent Hope Cermelj in an effort to retain his office.
Democrat John Thompson is taking on long-time Sheriff Buck Buchanan in an effort to be the top law enforcement officer in Yavapai County.
There are two countywide ballot issues to be decided Tuesday. Yavapai College is asking voters to approve $69.5 million in bonds for new facilities at all of its campuses. That includes a 30,000-square-foot building for classroom, multi-purpose meeting area, nursing lab and student services on the Verde Valley campus, plus an new skill center. Major renovations are also planned for that Clarkdale facility.
Passing the issue means paying about $3.15 per month per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
The other county ballot issue is the Verde Valley Technology District. All high school districts in the Valley are promoting the education technology district, which would provide funding for additional vocational programs at the high school level.
If approved, property owners in the Sedona Red Rock district, Mingus Union district and Camp Verde district would pay about $5 per year on a $100,000 valuation.
Regarding schools, all public school in the Verde Valley have school board spots up for grabs. Those running for the Cottonwood-Oak Creek board include incumbents Terry Lay, Rudy Stadelman and Marilyn Sward and challengers Susan Foley and Ernest Gabrielsen. The Mingus Union school board ballot is also full with incumbents Leland Wieweck and Norman Deal (an appointee) facing George Burns, Michael Emmett, Tom Parmarter and Harmon Avera.
In the Camp Verde Unified District, there are six names on the ballot. Andy Ayres, Charles German, Denise Kennedy, Hershel McCants, Monte Reimer and Dave Watkins are all vying for a seat. Beaver Creek School’s candidates include Gareld Hardy, Carol Layman, W.O. Palmer, Norma Dieffenbach and Miguel Hernandez.
The Clarkdale-Jerome School District is making it easy with one candidate for one open seat. Jaime Ewers Phillips is the only name on the list.
The election propositions in Arizona are many and diverse, ranging from wildlife care to tobacco settlement money.
Prop. 100 would allow designating up to 3 percent of State Trust Lands for conservation. It would allow those lands to be donated to a school district if it is used only as s site for elementary, junior high or high school instruction. It would also allow counties to impose impact fees and cities and counties to put limits on services.
Prop. 101 updates provisions and language in the state constitution. This includes changing the definition of qualified member of the state militia from "able-bodied male" to "capable" citizens. Other definitions regarding the disabled or incapacitated are modernized under the proposition.
Prop. 102 would require the state to manage wildlife in the public trust. Any initiatives regarding the taking of wildlife cannot become law without at least a two-thirds majority. Currently most initiatives require only a simple majority to pass.
Proposition 103 would increase the number of Corporation Commissioners from three to five, would permit commissioners to serve two consecutive terms and would change the term of office from six years to four years.
Prop. 104 would allow property taxes to be frozen for residents 65 or older whose total income is go more than four times the supplemental security income benefit rate. That would be five times the benefit rate if the person is married.
Prop. 105 would exempt cemetery property from property taxation.
Prop. 106 would create a five-member Citizens’ Independent Redistricting Commission to draw legislative and congressional district boundaries, repealing the State Legislature’s power to do so.
Prop. 108 would end state regulation of local phone rates in areas where more than one telecommunications company operates in competition.
Prop. 200 and Prop. 204 are linked by one goal – using tobacco settlement money. Prop. 200, however, would use the settlement money for Healthy Children, Healthy Families, a program for uninsured parents. The program provides prevention services for preschool children and families, authorizing schools to enroll uninsured children in KidsCare and funding programs for early detection of diseases.
Meanwhile , Prop. 204 would use the money to provide funding for the 1996 Healthy Arizona Initiative to provide healthcare for the working poor. If both propositions pass, the one with the most votes would get the money. If Prop. 204 comes in second in that race, it would still go into effect but would have to find other sources of funding.
Prop. 202 is the Citizens for Growth Management initiative. It requires all cities and counties to adopt growth-management plans. Communities with populations of 2,500 or more would have to draw growth boundaries, and communities would have to recover full cost for all new services provided to projects.
Prop. 203 would repeal laws requiring school districts to provide program of bilingual instruction or English-as-a-second-language instruction for pupils who are not fluent in English. All public school instructions would have to be conducted in English.
Statutory referendums include Prop. 300, which would increase the annual salary to state legislators from $24,000 to $30,000. Prop. 301 increases the state sales tax to fund education from 5 percent to 5.6 percent.