Thursday, May 29, 2008

Resplendence is a big word

re·splen·dent Audio Help (rĭ-splěn'dənt) Pronunciation Key

adj. Splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin resplendēns, resplendent-, present participle of resplendēre, to shine brightly : re-, re- + splendēre, to shine.]

re·splen'dence, re·splen'den·cy n., re·splen'dent·ly adv.

Apparently, Mesa is getting a new dazzling courthouse. Located downtown, its set to open 2010 and help build up the downtown area. From the look of the architecture, its going to be nice to look at, but maybe I am wrong, but the court isn't usually the type of thing I would use to draw people downtown. "Generators of humanity" don't seem like the type that are going to help draw in a hip crowd.

I understand that the court is needed, but they need to do a better job on educting the voters on where the funding is coming from. I had to look it up, and the courthouse money is coming from voter approved bonds. All the average person sees is that in the middle of a huge financial shortfall, the city is spending over $30 million on a palatial new courthouse. I know that there is more to it than that, but the perception is still out there.

Say goodbye to the councilmembers tonight

There is a reception tonight to honor the Mesa City Councilmembers who are leaving after their years of service. The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Mesa Convention Center. Formal presentations (and I am assuming speeches) begin at 5 p.m.

From Bailey's Brake Shop to Riverview to a proposed property tax to Waveyard, there has been a lot of healthy debate and scrutiny of Mesa and how things are done. Only time will tell how this mayor and council will be remembered, but they should be honored and thanked for their service.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tempe Marketplace

I was browsing the Mesa section of AzCentral this morning, when I came across this ad for Tempe Marketplace. It makes sense that they are advertising to the surrounding communities including those who would be interesting in the Mesa section. My real question was, why isn't Riverview doing the same? You'd think that they would be inviting people, especially in Mesa, to check the place out.

I drove through the backside of Riverview the other day when I was in that part of town. I went all the way to Dobson, and I was pretty impressed with all of the work that is going on back there. They new office stuff is well underway and the hotel stuff is starting. Combined that with the new auto dealers, and there is a lot of stuff going on, but you don't hear a lot about it.

Tempe Marketplace is a retail only place, so it makes sense that they are advertising, but the only advertising I ever see is from the tenants of Riverview, nothing about the shopping center in general. With all this cool stuff going on, you'd think that we would hear more about it.

Pioneer Park Train removal delayed

A couple has decided to donate $15,000 towards the effort to save the Pioneer Park train. With the measly $3,000 they were able to raise before that, they are now a whopping 4.5% of their way to the goal of raising the $400,000 needed to save the train.

I think I'll hold of on starting the fundraising thermometer.

I have many fond memories of the train, but I still don't think its worth the time and effort of saving. We should let those people who want it to take it off our hands and move on. If the people want to save it, they should have stepped up by now. The city should not be wasting any of its own money on this project. I hope the new mayor and council see that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Election Wrap-Up

The Arizona Republic has a breakdown of the Mesa Election results. Scott Smith won handily in 5 of the 6 districts, only dropping Griswold's home district. He also won 33 of the 41 total precincts. Here are the numbers:

Rex Griswold: 2,590, 34 percent
Scott Smith: 5,100, 66 percent

Griswold: 2,583, 37 percent
Smith: 4,453, 63 percent

Griswold: 1,896,42 percent
Smith: 2,576, 58 percent

Griswold: 934, 35 percent
Smith: 1,723, 65 percent

Griswold: 6,928, 56 percent
Smith: 5,482, 44 percent

Griswold: 5,829, 46 percent
Smith: 6,929, 54 percent

Following the election results, the folks over at Griswold Watch have decided to shut things down. However, the people behind Scott Smith Watch have decided to keep things up and running and have already taken a few shots at the new mayor-elect. However, its hard to take them seriously when they are extolling the virtues of a plan concocted by Mayor Hawker.

Very interesting

Just goes to show how much I know. I had no idea that Rex Griswold's campaign manager is one of the bloggers over at Sonoran Alliance. On one hand, I have to give the blog credit, they didn't do a whole lot regarding the race, although he could have been writing about it all the time. On the other hand, I go back to this Mesa Elections Round-Up post and it comes together in a whole new light.

The talk of the town and in the comments sections of several articles has been allegations that people from Griswold's campaign were using the fact that Smith was mormon to drive turn out from evangelical supporters. Back when the article was written, the issue hadn't really bubbled to the surface and the posting looked more like an intellectual exercise than a campaign post. However, now understanding who it was written by, there seems to add a lot of credence to these claims.

I give the guy credit for fairly analyzing the race after the fact, but you have to wonder what they were doing during the campaign.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On the bond issue

Its t-minus 10 days until the new mayor and council takes over and both the Tribune and the Republic have outlined some of the biggest work that is going to be done right away. There is a budget to be passed, and the bond issue to be decided.

While I think that high paying jobs are important, sorry Jim Ripley, I think we need to get public safety under control first. Certainly, moving Mesa from where it is to where it can be is going to take some dramatic changes and a drive for high paying jobs. However, people aren't going to want to stick around if they can't count on the police or fire to be there when they are needed.

On the bond issue, I am glad there is some talk about it needing to be cut and the new council facing the facts that it didn't go through a real public review process. Like I have said before, two people does not a citizen's review make. I think that going to the voters and asking for a $408 million property tax right now is not the best idea. They would be wise to try to get that number down significantly.

I am not suggesting that the money come out of the public safety section, although I question some of the priorities laid out in the current package. Are the stations that need to be replaced really in such bad shape that we couldn't hold off for a bit?

The biggest area that needs to be cut is in the $230 million that is set aside for new streets. With the big-ticket transit hike also potentially on the ballot, I wonder if its wise to have very many street related improvements on the ballot. If voters go against this transit thing, which I think many will, their rejection may spill over and impact the transportation bond. I understand that there are a lot of streets that are needed, especially in the East part of Mesa, but does it make the public safety bonds more vulnerable?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Higgins wins District 5

Dina Higgins cruised to a big victory as well yesterday. She beat Phil Austin with 57.3% of the vote. Not quite as high as my 59% prediction from the primary, but its still rather impressive. Its especially a big deal since she was far behind in fundraising. The Tribune has an interesting story about her grassroots campaign.

There are some bitter folks out there, and some are making it known in the comment section of the Republic Article. I think that there were some people who assumed that Austin's money advantage would translate into a closer race. As it is, it looks like her enthusiasm and feet on the ground got the job done. Sounds like she worked a lot harder. I don't buy any allegations of a whisper campaign or anything like that.

The other interesting observation is the day after the election, fundraising has become sort of a hot topic, with people saying that Smith only won because he had money and endorsements, but ignoring the fact that Higgins won without either. Could it be that perhaps voters are able to discern the candidates that they like from the ones that they don't?

Scott Smith wins Election

Scott Smith is the new Mesa Mayor. Here are the election results.

Smith 55.7%
Griswold 44.0%

Here is the Republic coverage and here is the Tribune coverage. There are a lot of interesting differences between the online versions of these stories and what ended up being printed in the paper. It looks like, based on the comments, that the online stories were edited and updated throughout the night.

In looking at the election results, it turns out that my predictions were a tad on the conservative side. I guess I should have taken into account that the endorsement of Claudia Walters would have a bigger impact swinging Smith's way.

Smith won early ballots with 54.7% of the vote and it appears that he won on Election Day with 62.4% of the vote. Clearly, the momentum was with Smith from start to finish of this general election. Once again, I wish Smith and the rest of the new councilmembers congratulations. Now, I wish them good luck and encourage them to do what it takes to make sure that the people of Mesa can trust government again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mesa's General Election is tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Election Day. Remember that polls are open all day until 7:00pm. If you need any additional information before you vote, here are some resources:

Here is the final coverage from the Newspapers complete with some heavy comment sections:

Arizona Republic Coverage
East Valley Tribune Final Q and A

Here is the final coverage from the candidate watchdogs:

Rex Griswold Watch
Scott Smith Watch

Here are the candidate websites:

Rex Griswold's Web site
Scott Smith's Web site

District 5
Phil Austin's Web site
Dina Higgins' Web site

Mesa Gateway Strategic Development Plan

Mesa's planning and zoning board are still looking it over, but it looks as if Mesa is getting close on a Strategic Development plan for Gateway. It looks like there are two altenatives on the table that approach development differently and should give people some options. I would think that they would want to keep as much flexibility as possible if they really think that people are going to be innovative in the area. It will be interesting to see what they come up with out of their time in ASU's fancy decision theater thing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rex Griswold gets tricky

I had someone call me today and tell me that they got a weird phone call regarding the Mesa Mayor's race. It was some sort of survey, but once they answered who they were voting for, the operator shared negative information about the candidate. I thought this was curious, so I looked around, and sure enough there are other folks confirming that this activity is going on. Of course, Rex Watch is talking about it and Scott Smith even released an official statement about it.

I didn't know much about it, but apparently this technique is known as push polling, which is "is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll."

I did a little research and apparently and its not the first time that it has happened in a heated Mesa race. I found a Tribune article from a few years ago talking about the Riverview campaign and how the opponents were doing "political telemarketing." Now that I think about it, I remember hearing some stuff about this during that campaign. Well, it didn't seem to end up working so well for those guys.

I wonder if Griswold will have any better luck.

Boring story - interesting comments!

I have been watching the comments section grow over the last day or so regarding the Mesa Mayor's race and a forum they attended earlier in the week. First about the story itself, as several people point out, here is the quote that makes the article:

"If you don't perform, you don't have a job. That sounds tough, but that's how things get done," Griswold said.

Of course, people are jumping on this because many people feel like the job hasn't been done, and he has been underpeforming for 5 years. That's partially due to the fact that he never really defends himself of his record on the issues. I have heard several people say that he has voted with the majority 90% of the time, is that true? How can he think he has done a good job if that is true? He has constantly pointed to his experience as a positive, except for when people try to saddle him with the faults of the past council.

However, as I said, the comments section has really turned into a battle royale between Rex and Scott supporters. Lots of hilarious back and forth that just shows how passionate their supporters are. If you have a minute, go through the comments for yourself.

So Long Mayor Hawker

Gary Nelson did a very nice write up about Mayor Keno Hawker in the Arizona Republic today. In June, he is going to be out of Mesa Public office after 18 years of service to the community. One thing you can always say about the guy is that he is honest about his responses - I thought he was going to come off a lot more defensive, but more than anything, I think he was fairly pensive about his time as mayor.

The comment section is full of people who dismissively write him off as good riddance, and some of the things that they feel are probably well deserved. However, there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon that either he helped set up, or didn't have the opportunity to mess up that will benefit Mesa for many years to come. I think that Bailey's Brake Shop was really the beginning of the end and that combined with the city's financial problems have really cast this administration with a negative light. In the end, I think Hawker leaves with a mixed legacy of someone who came in to change the system, and was ultimately changed by the system.

I was also a little surprised that he didn't say anything about either of the remaining Mayoral candidates or the fact that his hand picked choice lost in the primary. I have heard that he is not a big fan of Scott Smith, but I wonder what he thinks about Rex Griswold.

Serial Strangler Suspect Caught!

A suspect for the 4 crimes recently connected by DNA evidence has been arrested. Congratulations to the Mesa PD for such swift actions regarding the issue, and hopefully bringing someone to justice. We'll have to wait for more information to see if this is really the guy or who he is, but hopefully the city can breathe a sigh of relief knowing someone is in custody.

I have to say that the police have been doing a really good job in handling difficult situations lately from the serial strangler to the the Fiesta Mall stabbings. They have been keeping the public in the loop more and holding neighborhood meetings to keep people informed. I hope that they continue to move in this direction.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mesa Keeps MD Helicopters

MD Helicopters will remain at Falcon Field until 2013. Here is the Republic's take on it as well. Looks like they are going to keep the rent lower and give MD some flexibility in expansion over the next few years. This, however, is only part of the deal. Mesa now needs to figure out a way to cut a deal with MD to get them on another 100 acres to expand their business and bring the jet manufacturer here as well.

Right now, I am happy to say, that after a lot of missteps, Mesa was able to keep what it had all along. They need to start shooting for the long term deal which could secure MD's future here through 2033.

Welcome back Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kremes has come back to Mesa. I'll admit that I missed them. The folks in the comments section want to condemn society for our love of sweet treats, but good things can be enjoyed in moderation. The picture of the kids playing video games out front to win a spot for free donuts for a year was great! You gotta love it when people to wacky things for free stuff.

Monday, May 12, 2008

District 5 Candidates Sound Off

Here is a very insightful Q and A with both of the remaining candidates for District 5. At this point, this race has come down to the experience & mediation vs. enthusiasm & research.

Austin points several times to his experience as a prosecutor to help solidify his credentials, but he doesn't mention his time as president of Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens. I would have thought he would have wanted to talk about that as part of his experience as well. Maybe he is trying to walk the fine line between experience and insider. He talks a lot about working together and still points to his desire to reach out and better communicate with people.

Higgins, on the other hand, seems to point to her people skills and her responsiveness. The fact that she was able to win the primary without raising a lot of money says that she is enthusiastic and she must be out in the community a lot spreading her message. Several of her responses indicate that she would want more information or studies to make sure that things "make sense." She seems to be the more pensive of the two.

Cutting secret deals on the Transit plan

The Governor is giving up impact fees to homebuilders to bribe them into paying for the campaign for her $42 billion tax increase. You hear about these kinds of deals from time to time, but mostly it seems like there just rumors or an unspoken agreement. However this time, the Tribune even has a copy of the letter that lays out the agreement between the two groups. That seems like bad news.

There are couple folks who have already weighed in on this topic, with Espresso Pundit calling it Chicago style politics and the folks at the House GOP blog calling it a backroom deal. However, I am more surprised that there isn't more outrage about something like this. The Governor is looking to raise the state sales tax by 1 cent and is letting developers off the hook at the same time. This plan she is proposing better be a doozy because this thing certainly doesn't look like its starting off on the right foot.

Another case linked to serial attacker

The Arizona Republic and the Tribune are reporting that a 4th case has now been linked to the DNA of an attacker that has already committed 2 murders and a rape. I wish we knew more about what the victims were last seen so we can know what to warn people against. In the meantime, women around Mesa should take extra precautions and make sure that you stay safe and report anything suspicious.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Early Ballot and Fundraising Update

We got a nice big update on the May Election today with new early ballot returns and fundraising amounts as well. Its hard to believe but 34,613 early ballots have already been turned in for this election. I got a lot of positive feedback from my projections from last time, so I figure that I will do them again:

Districts 1-4 (Smith 63.7%, Griswold 36.3%)
15,236 Early Votes
Smith - 9,705
Griswold - 5,531

District 5 (Griswold 61.7%, Smith 38.3%)
9,115 Early Votes
Griswold - 5,624
Smith - 3,491

District 6 (Smith 53.3%, Griswold 46.7%)
10,262 Early Votes
Smith - 5,470
Griswold - 4,792

TOTAL Early Voting Projection:
34,613 Early Votes
Smith - 18,666 (53.9%)
Griswold - 15,947 (46.1%)

Now, I recognize that since I used the same formulas as last time, the percentages are going to be similar. However, you can look at the turnout and see how the vote margin is potentially changing based on where the votes are coming from. And since the votes are coming in steadily from across the city, you can see that if things hold to last election, Smith's lead has grown from 1900 votes to 2700 votes.

Combine that with the fact that Smith outraised Griswold by more than 2 to 1 over the last period, and you can see that Griswold potentially has a steep hill to climb. Griswold changed his tone a few weeks back and this may have softened Smith's lead a bit, but the real question is, has he done anything dramatic to change the trend from last time? I think the answer is no. That combined with the fundraising disadvantage and I predict that there may be some desperation in the last week.

As for Higgins and Austin, I still have to assume that Higgins has the advantage because of the big lead she had in the primary, but being outraised 8 to 1 over the last month is not a positive sign. She somehow got the big lead with early ballots in the last election without raising any money, so perhaps she can do it again. Clearly Austin has the money advantage - however, with over 9ooo votes in their race, is there a whole lot of change that he can drive in these last 11 days?

Good News

I don't know much about Bond ratings and the A vs. AA vs. Doubleplusgood A makes no sense to me. However, the good news is that, apparently, Mesa's bond rating has improved. People seem awfully excited about it, so it must be the first time in awhile. What it means for us is the potential in reduced interest payments and more money for the stuff that the taxes are actually supposed to pay for. How much? It doesn't say, but at least it seems to be moving in the right direction. Plus, this could have a positive impact on any bonds that may be brought to the voters in November.

However, I don't think that City leaders should see this improvement as a mandate for $400 million in bonds. First, bond ratings are the sort of thing that you have to point to the voters and say "trust me this is good" because the large majority don't know what it means. Second, the economy is bad, so saying that Mesa got a better credit card rate doesn't mean that people think the city should go on a spending spree. Finally, I still have yet to really hear anything about the bonds. Someone just sent this link to me not to long ago with all the bond info. Really, there is a bond election already - I didn't know anyone had called it? How many months has it been since they did the community outreach and 2 people showed up? I understand that the Mesa City Council is "contemplating" it, but its probably about time they started asking the community to think about it as well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Council approves Slum-Code denies Gas Allowance

The Mesa City Council has declined to increase their car allowance from $150 to $300 a month. I think this was a good move, but Nelson rightly points out the irony that the room reached hushed tones over a $12,000 expenditure but let a $26 million court house fly right by. It is not the right time for the council to be increasing their fees anyway, even if it seems like a nice nod to the future council One of the commenters named TOMO noted:

"At $3.50/gallon and assuming 20 mpg that is over 800 miles a month? Do their council jobs really require them to travel that much? Of course to and from work shouldn't count."

I was wondering if he was talking about before or after the potential increase. So I did the math and thats 800 miles BEFORE the increase - so the increase would have put them at 1600 miles a month. I doubt anyone on the council is driving that much. For those who don't think thats a fair comparison, I will do it based on the standard mileage rate as well. Now, the standard mileage rate is up to 50.5 cents a mile now (REALLY?), which would still mean that the councilmembers are getting reimbursed for about 300 miles a month on their car. That seems fair.

The recap from the Tribune focuses more on the Slum-Code which they are putting to the ballot in November. There are still some questions to be entered, but I predict that this will pass in November. Just look at some of the pictures linked in the comment section. All the proponents for this law are going to have to do is point to the horrible slum conditions and trash and couches everywhere and people are going to vote yes. Let's hope that they put some safeguards in place to make sure that this law doesn't get abused.

2 murders in Mesa linked to 3rd victim

The Mesa PD have matched the DNA of a person who has murdered 2 to a sexual assault from August. Here is the Tribune's take on it as well. While they know that all three incidents are linked, they have no suspects or clues.

The only available description of the killer is he's 25 to 35 years old, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-11 with short, dark hair. I wonder if this is enough to call in the BAU from "Criminal Minds."

I hope that this doesn't put the city in a state of emergency, but if you see anything weird you should call the police. Women should be especially careful and avoid walking alone. Police can't be everywhere at once, and we as a community need to step up and be part of the solution. If you see anything, you should call (480) 644-5763.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Blake Herzog Mention

Well, I got a nice mention in Herblog: Blake Herzog's blog. The only real question I have is why Blake is writing this stuff at almost midnight on Sunday night. Either way, I thank her for the mention and agree that the more people become engaged in Mesa, the better the city will be.

Also, back on the blog issue, I have looked back at the comments and resident complainer and comment-basher disgustedmesan went on to say negative things about Mesa Issues. I just have to laugh because if you scroll back through the guys posts, nearly every single one is targeted at someone else, at either something they said or them in general. I guess its really easy when all you do is pick on other people's comments.

Not digging for the hard facts and demanding answers? Apparently you don't spend too much time on my site. I guess because I don't always attack people, I must be "sugarcoating" everything.

Hope the signage isn't quite as obnoxious

A new Tempe Marketplace sized shopping center is breaking ground in East Mesa. It sounds like a fairly regular collection of stores, so who knows if it will have any of the same features of Tempe Marketplace - they probably just wanted to give us a size comparison. However, there is some particular thoughts when that name is brought up and they should have considered it before they used the comparison. I am sure its just a coincidence on the names, but lets hope that they don't go for the same signage that Marketplace has because that stuff is atrocious.

A plan for apartments and hotel space is interesting, although, who is going to want to live in them besides the people who work in the shopping center? Without other employment centers in the area, its hard to believe that there is a dramatic need for apartments in that area. However, it looks like this project is going to be built without incentives and without an election. Hooray!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

No mention of yours truly?

Here is a great story about Griswold Watch and Scott Smith Watch from the Tribune. Lucky guys even got their headers shown with comparisons to the candidate websites that they parody. I am sure that their traffic is through the roof today.

Like I have said before, we have some creative folks around town and these sites are consistently funny and informative of whats going on. I do have to pretend to be outraged for one second... Seriously, an article about blogs covering Mesa politics and there is no mention of yours truly?

At least she didn't mention the Mesa Issues impostor who clearly was just copying me and trying to confuse people.

Anyway, congratulations to both sites for getting in the paper. If you haven't checked them out, you really should. Check out Griswold Watch and Scott Smith Watch to see what the buzz is about. The Internet is a great route for people to get their thoughts directly out without having it filtered through the media or through other people. That's why I love this medium. I hope that both of them keep posting through the end of the election.

Sign thieves

Is anyone else sick of the signs around town? Well, apparently so, because the signs seem to be disappearing at record pace. I would assume that some are being stolen by people who want to use them for painting, building a dog house or something. I would also assume that some people think the election is already over, and so they are taking down what they think are just eyesores. However, its interesting to see so many signs pop back up only to go missing again. There are a few signs that have gone missing several times only to get replaced a week or so later. Thats a lot of work, from what I can tell of those guys on the side of the road pounding in posts and dragging those big things around.

It sounds to me like someone is going around and purposely stealing signs. Which at $50 bucks a pop, is a big deal.

Big decisions

Glad to see that the council is getting down to business and doing some major stuff before they leave office. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon and its important that they get some of the stuff done now instead of waiting for the new mayor and council to be in place. However, it almost feels like they have allowed a lot of this stuff to back up and now are trying to force through as much as possible in an attempt to salvage their legacy. Look what is on the agenda:

- Slum Landlord Law
- Annexation Procedures
- Check Cashing limitations
- Parcel 51
- DeRito project near gateway
- Falcon Field open space
- Pawn Shop near Main and Lindsay

Don't get me wrong. These are the kinds of decisions that should be made and I am glad that they are finally getting done. I guess my real question is: what took so long? Some of these things should have been settled a long time ago.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Big time ballot returns

Holy cow, 24,860 people have already voted in Mesa's upcoming election. Once again, a big portion of the votes have come in from the East part of the city, with District 6 turning in 7,629 ballots and District 5 turning in 6,458. That is 56.6% of the votes coming in from East Mesa.

Griswold will probably win District 5 handily again this time, but remember that Smith ended up winning District 6 last time. So, I wonder how close it will be. Looking back at my post about the Primary Results, I tend to wonder if it truly will end up with District 5 agains all the rest of Mesa again.

I have done a little bit of projections based on the numbers from last time using the percentages found in the Arizona Republic article referencing the Primary numbers. I am basing these counts solely on the head to head from Smith and Griswold from last time around, not even including any boost that Walters may offer if her voters follow her to Smith:

Districts 1-4 (Smith 63.7%, Griswold 36.3%)
10,773 Early Votes
Smith - 6,862
Griswold - 3,911

District 5 (Griswold 61.7%, Smith 38.3%)
6,458 Early Votes
Griswold - 3,985
Smith - 2,473

District 6 (Smith 53.3%, Griswold 46.7%)
7,629 Early Votes
Smith - 4,066
Griswold - 3,563

TOTAL Early Voting Projection:
24,860 Early Votes
Smith - 13,401 (53.9%)
Griswold - 11,459 (46.1%)

I wonder if other people have done these same calculations and thats why we are now seeing more aggressive positions from Griswold. If, say, another 25,000 ballots are coming in, he would have to win the next set by a similar margin that I am predicting that Smith is currently winning. Thats an 8% point shift to stem the tide. Of course, this is all conjecture based on the primary results, so take them for what they are. However, what has really changed since then? It will be interesting to see how close I am when the ballots get counted later this month.

ETA: I have been asked by a reader to do the same rundown for the District 5 race. This, of course, is based on head to head between the two from the primary. Also, its based on the whole turn out and I know that Higgins did really well on the Early Ballots last time, so this may be a bit low. However, ask and ye shall receive:

District 5 (Higgins 59.8%, Austin 40.2%)
6,458 Early Votes
Higgins - 3,682
Austin - 2,776

Seems like this kind of stuff happens when the economy is down

Mesa CARE is under scrutiny for some sloppy books and some questionable spending decisions. I think that they do a lot of good work for the community, but it always seems like people only need to get their act together when times are tight financially. When people have to start watching the pennies that they spend, they want their charities to do so as well. It makes you wonder how long these types of problems have been going on and if there are other things that we aren't hearing about.

Now, I am not sure if all of these allegations are true, but $3,500 going missing without a police report is problematic. Its also a bad thing to pay $5,000 to your daughter without telling someone about it. These are the types of things that people should be paying attention to.

Charities should go through an audit process on a regular basis whether or not they have had any claims against them. That way, we can donors can feel comfortable that their money is being spent as promised.