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Recall combines with two City Council races
By Doug Snover

March 4, 2006

Voters in Tempe and Chandler will begin a makeover of their respective city councils on March 14, while some voters will decide on the direction of education for the Kyrene Elementary School District.


Rae Waters, former president of the Kyrene Governing Board, is being recalled for her role in last year's decision to increase middle school classroom time in "core" subjects such as math and science at the expense of reading and language arts, al well as in such electives as music.


Waters, whose term would have lasted through December, is being challenged for her seat on the Kyrene board by attorney Patrick McGill, who says Waters "failed in her elected responsibility to protect the educational futures of our children."


"By failing to intervene with an apparently broken process, Rae Waters also failed to enact the oversight of the district's activities that she is also duty-bound to provide. In that regard she has earned her own recall," McGill says on his election website.


More than 7,000 Kyrene voters signed recall petitions, forcing the special election to decide if Waters will serve out her term or be replaced by McGill.
McGill promises a more sympathetic ear to Kyrene parents.
"As a father of two children who attend schools in the Kyrene school district, I believe providing a solid, well-rounded education for every child is important," he says on his website. "How we educate our children should be decided by the parents and teachers in tandem with each other with the assistance of state and local governments, who traditionally bear the primary responsibility for education."
"If elected . . . I pledge to work on improving public education by working with parents, teachers, local communities, fellow School Board members and administrators by supporting the fundamentals of math, English, social studies and science, while . . . ensuring strong music, PE, foreign language and (other) exploratory programs, improving . . . safety in our schools, and providing our children with a quality education."


Waters has steered clear of rhetoric about the recall, telling Wrangler News that she stands by her vote and her record. However, she acknowledges, the criticism stings.
"If you get a really thick skin, then how do you care about things? If (criticism) doesn't get to me, I guess to me it would mean that I wasn't caring," she said.
"I think there's been a lot of character assassination," she said of the recall campaign. "There have been things said about the middle school model and about me personally that were just blatantly untrue," says Waters.


City council elections
The Tempe City Council race is characterized by two incumbents looking to retain their seats against a field of challengers, while the Chandler election features a competition for mayor between incumbent Boyd Dunn and Phill Westerbrooks, who is looking to move up from his position as vice mayor.


The Dunn-Westerbooks race overshadows a race for three available City Council seats.
Incumbent Councilman Bob Caccamo is seeking reelection among a host of challengers that includes Trinity Donovan, Rick Heumann, Becky Jackson, Frank Peake and Chris Stage, who will compete for the seat held by Caccamo and those being vacated by Westerbrooks and Councilwoman Donna Wallace.


If necessary, some of the candidates will advance to the Chandler General Election scheduled for May 16.
Chandler voters also are being asked in the March 14 primary to extend the city's local alternative expenditure limitation that will allow local officials to avoid spending limits imposed by state law.
Chandler voters approved the so-called "home rule" option in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and again in 2002, and there is no organized opposition to the request for another extension in 2006.


Chandler estimates it will be allowed to spend approximately $337.4 million 2006-07 under the home rule option, up from the $225.3 million limit that would be imposed under state law. The home rule option would allow the city to similarly exceed state spending limits through the 2009-10 budget year.


In Tempe, incumbent Councilmen Ben Arredondo and Leonard Copple are seeking re-election in a field that includes challengers Shana Ellis, Onnie Shekerjian and Corey Woods. Councilwoman Pam Goronkin is not seeking re-election.
Candidates who do not collect enough votes to win outright in the March primary election will compete for the remaining seat or seats in Tempe's May 16 general election.


Tempeans also will vote in May on five bond questions.
The March primary elections mark the first time every voter will be required to show proof of identity at the polls before receiving a ballot.
The new requirement is a result of Proposition 200, the statewide initiative approved by voters in 2004.


Voters must show either one photo identification, such as an Arizona driver's license, federal identification card, or tribal enrollment card, or provide two forms of non-photo identification, such as recent (within 90 days) utility bills or bank statements, valid Arizona vehicle registration or vehicle insurance card, or voter registration card.
All identification must match the voter's name and address shown on the Maricopa County Elections signature roster.


Voters without acceptable identification at the polling place on election day will be offered a "provisional" ballot that will be counted only if the voter brings acceptable identification to the City Clerk or the Maricopa County Recorder by 5 p.m. on March 17, the Friday after the election.


Although voter identification is now required to obtain a ballot at the polls on election day, voter identification is not required for early ballots because the voter's original signature on the back of each early ballot is individually checked against the official version of the voter's signature that is on file with the Maricopa County Elections Department. If the signatures do not match, then the early ballot is not counted.


Early voting is available in both cities through March 10. Check with the City Clerk's Office or online at http://www.chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageID=33 for Chandler information or http://www.tempe.gov/clerk/ELXintro.htm in Tempe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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