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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bear Down and defeat Prop. 200

    Ballot measure a disaster for Tucson and the UA

    Let’s face it: Tucson city politics are pretty boring for the average Wildcat. Confined on campus and caught up in the inevitable midterm grind that falls upon all of us this time of year, it’s hard to get excited about the things such as garbage fees and resource management that dominate local policy debates. With abysmal student turnout even in our own student government elections, which are a mere click away for most students, we may be tilting at lazy, apathetic windmills by encouraging you to vote in today’s city elections. But every Wildcat who turns on the tap or sips from a drinking fountain on campus should have incentive to vote today – the future of UA’s water supply could be affected by today’s election.

    The biggest issue on the ballot is a poorly written measure known as Proposition 200. The proposition seeks to address the constant conflict between growth and water management that affects desert cities everywhere – an important policy issue that Tucson needs to reasonably address. But Prop. 200 is an ineptly authored hydra that could easily create many more problems than it would prevent.

    There are a slew of reasons to vote against Prop. 200. It would vaporize $24 million in the city budget and prohibit tax increases, service cuts or privatization to make up for it. It would force businesses that safely use reclaimed water for purposes other than drinking to waste our precious groundwater. It places burdensome caps and unrealistic restrictions on water policy, breaks apart a regional water-sharing network, and is widely opposed by experts in growth and almost all elected local policymakers. But if that’s not enough, here’s one more reason: at best, this disaster of a measure would leave the future of the UA’s own water supply uncertain. At worst, it could cut it off altogether.

    UA students should be acutely interested in the measure, because the future of our water supply depends upon it. A provision in the amendment would prohibit Tucson Water from providing water to other “”distributors.”” Opponents of the proposition have argued that if passed, that requirement could cut the water supply to the UA and University Medical Center, since state law classifies both as “”water providers.”” The proposition’s opponents have overplayed fear of the city turning off the tap, but the ambiguous wording is still a concern. The unclear language probably wouldn’t cut off our water supply – but it could embroil the University and the city in a pointless legal battle to define the difference between a “”distributor”” and a “”water provider,”” which is currently uncertain under Arizona law.

    In an interview last Friday on KUAT’s “”Arizona Illustrated,”” Larry Hecker, chairman of the “”No on Prop. 200″” committee, admitted that if the measure is passed, “”realistically, what will probably happen is a judge will be asked to intervene and issue a cease-and-desist order and the matter will be litigated.”” In the same interview, the author of the resolution, former state legislator John Kromko, called the fears over cut-off “”ridiculous,”” but offered no clarification about the interpretation of the terms. As is, the legal language is ambiguous, and since the measure’s wording doesn’t conform with existing legal terms, “”the argument that it will require cutoff is substantial,”” according to UA law professor Robert Glennon, interviewed by the Arizona Daily Star. The UA might not be thrown into a voter-dictated drought, but legislation as confusing and clumsily written as Prop. 200 deserves to be trashed.

    It’s easy to show Wildcat pride by rushing the field or throwing on a red T-shirt – it’s far more meaningful to vote. City polls are open to registered voters until 7 p.m. today. Bear down, cast a NO vote and defeat the daft Prop. 200.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler, Connor Mendenhall and Jeremiah Simmons.ÿ

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