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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Unchallenged mayor not that bad of an option for upcoming term

With elections just around the corner, many are questioning whether or not Mayor Jonathan Rothschild would serve Tucson well in another term. While Rothschild is currently unopposed, he deserves to stay in his position based on his accomplishments during his current term.

First and foremost, Rothschild has had quite a positive impact on Tucson’s environmental awareness and increased sustainability, a cause near and dear to Tucsonans. In 2014, he initiated Tucson’s entrance into a mutual water agreement with Phoenix, protecting both cities in case of a water shortage.

Rothschild’s office has also began the transition of using compressed natural gas to power the city’s waste management trucks, as well as starting the city’s 10,000 Trees Campaign, which was efficiently accomplished with the help of volunteers in fall of 2014.

The mayor has also made considerable efforts in expanding the stretch of Tucson’s bike paths and running paths, while also taking the initiative to endorse heightened use of these more “green” methods of transportation.

As he promised in his original running platform, Rothschild has helped rapidly move Tucson in the direction of becoming an increasingly environmentally conscious community and has stated that he plans to continue on this path in his second term. By focusing on green initiatives and programs focused on cleaning our town for outdoor activities, Rothschild is wisely playing on the interests of locals.

As a result of the mayor’s push for increasing sustainability, Tucson was awarded a 4-STAR Community Rating for local leadership in sustainability in the summer of 2014, making the city one of only five in the nation that has been given such a high rating.

Rothschild’s administration does seem to be lacking in the area of road repair, a serious problem in Tucson, despite his successful persuading of voters to pass a $100 million bond to be put toward street improvements.

However, though it has been minimal, some progress in this area has been made under the mayor’s administration, and he is in fact ahead of schedule and under the budget he originally planned for road reparations starting in 2011.

Another important contribution Rothschild has made to this city has been through his acceptance of President Barack Obama’s challenge to end veteran homelessness.

Tucson has made notable progress not only with housing veterans, but with lowering homelessness in general. This process was jump-started with poverty simulations held by the Tucson Poverty Commission to help government officials comprehend how incredibly difficult the hardships people living in poverty face on a daily basis.

The simulations were rather effective in helping people understand and commiserate with the city’s poorer demographic, thus making government officials more inclined to work on the issue of poverty after they had “experienced” it.

In a town with controversial and sometimes even sketchy politics, especially regarding immigration, Rothschild has been successful at holding strong to his opinions and promises. For example, his work at improving relations with mayors across the border has helped economic growth and stability.

The mayor has not been afraid to speak up and make his goals for the city known to the national government, commonly voicing the city’s needs to Sen. John McCain and to Obama, regarding everything from increasing federal funding for sustainable public transportation to his desire to fully staff the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales.

Rothschild has proven himself to be a very down-to-earth and hands-on mayor. He’s been known to do things as personal as going door-to-door to talk to high school dropouts and trying to convince them to go back to school.

“I’ve witnessed several panel discussions on which the mayor has been a part and I agree with his politics,” said Naomi Present, a native Tucsonan and teacher in the Judaic studies department at the UA. “I’ve seen some of the good things he’s done for this city and I like the direction in which he’d like to take Tucson.”

It seems clear the mayor has done more good than harm for this city, and while it is uninspiring from a perspective of civic engagement that he is currently unencumbered in his reelection, it’s promising that he will likely continue to serve our community well in his second term.


Follow Talya Jaffe on Twitter.


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