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Adventures in Government - Running the Numbers

May 1-2, 2017

Once again, I'll be lumping several events together in an effort to catch up on my backlog. This post will cover two events over the course of two days: a luncheon with the Democrats of Greater Tucson and a city council meeting in Bisbee. There's a third event that happened in between these two, but that one deserves a proper, longer post all to itself.

DGT Luncheon

Every week, the Democrats of Greater Tucson hold a luncheon featuring a guest speaker. (I'm scheduled to speak there in July.) I attend when I can, as the talk is usually pretty informative.

This time, though, I'm not sure I gained a lot from the discussion. Which is fine. When you've got to schedule a speaker every week, not all of them are going to knock it out of the park.

The speaker was Sam Almy, an analyst from the Arizona Democratic Party. He was there to analyze the results of the 2016 election to see what went wrong, basically.

Hillary Clinton did well in Tucson, actually. However, Matt Heinz did not. And the Democrats lost a state representative seat in LD10 to Todd Clodfelter.

Unfortunately, most of what Sam presented was graphs and numbers, which were too small to really read. The graphics weren't really suited to the presentation.

Mostly, though, it was a study of demographics and comparisons between areas with high and low voter registration and turnout. The numbers provided didn't really give a lot of answers, and Sam was hesitant to speculate. In short, he's a numbers guy, and he was just there to present the numbers.

At least, that's the impression I got.

The big things I learned are that 1) Matt Heinz did not receive much support from the DCCC, which is something I suspected but hadn't confirmed, and 2) the Catalina Foothills (the area north of Tucson) leans conservative, but has been shown to be open to persuasion. Both of these things are valuable to know.

Bisbee City Council

Bisbee is preparing for a massive event Memorial Day weekend: Be Bisbee Weekend, which will feature Sonorafest, the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, Bisbee Gem and Mineral Show, and other Be Bisbee activities. The city council meeting on May 2 was basically a planning/presentation meeting for that event, focused especially on Sonorafest.

According to the event planners, Sonorafest is focused on promoting trade between Arizona and Sonora, since the fortunes of these two states are so closely tied together. The planners expect Sonorafest to bring a lot of attention to Bisbee, which would presumably help local businesses and maybe do something to keep people and businesses from continuing to move away from the area.

However, some people (including a few folks on the city council) seemed dubious, and were particularly concerned that the Be Bisbee events were too much to have all on one weekend. They thought perhaps these things should be spaced out over the course of several weekends,.

The planners were adamant, however. and the majority of the council seemed about as excited as the planners.

Most of the discussion revolved around liquor permits. Usually, city councils grant liquor permits without discussion, presumably because they've been reviewed beforehand without objection. However, this time each permit was discussed individually, and things got a bit testy.

The people sitting behind me at the meeting were particularly unimpressed with the Sonorafest presentation, spending most of the time muttering under their breath, calling the presenters liars, and saying, "shut up, shut up, shut up," repeatedly. It was clear that they were there to voice their objections to the event, but there wasn't a public hearing on the topic at that meeting, so I don't know what their specific objections were.

All in all, it was a fairly exciting city council meeting. And now I'm planning to attend Sonorafest. Any excuse to visit Bisbee is worth taking, to be honest. It really is a lovely place.

Sincerely,
Charlie