Oct 312012

By Nick Worth
In addition to helping determine the result of hotly contested races for President and for Arizona U.S. Sena-tor in the General Election next Tuesday, Nov. 6, Navajo County voters will also face important choices on the local, state and national levels.
In Navajo County, District III Supervisor J.R. DeSpain (D) is being challenged by Sylvia Allen (R). In the District V Supervisor race, Dawnafe Whitesinger (D), who beat out incumbent Jerry Brownlow in the Primary Election, is facing off against Dee Johnson (I). Voters will also be choosing between County Recorder Laurette Justman (D) and challenger Michele Baker (R). County Sheriff KC Clark (D) is challenged by Cameron D. Peterson (R). Division II Superior Court Judge Bob Higgins (D) is facing a challenge by Shawn D. Taylor (R).
All the other Navajo County candidates are unopposed, including District I Supervisor Jonathon Nez (D), District II Supervisor Jesse Thompson (D), District IV Supervisor David Tenney (R), County Attorney Brad Carlyon (D), County Treasurer Manuel “Manny” Hernandez (D), County School Superintendent Linda Lee Morrow (D), County Assessor Cammy Darris, Division III Superior Court Judge John Lamb and Division IV Superior Court Judge Michala Ruechel.
Joseph City voters will also have to choose from among 10 candidates to elect three positions on the Joseph City School District Governing Board. The candidates are incumbent Edwin “Ed” Sorgen, and John Cochran, Julie B. Davis, Karsten Flake, Wayne Hulsey, Eldon Larson, Ivin C. Lee, Jason Martineau, Alonzo “Lonnie” McLaws and Jennie Miller.
The race for the District 6 State Senate seat is a matchup between Chester Crandell (R) and Tom Chabin (D). In the House of Representatives race for District 6, voters will be electing two candidates from among four hopefuls, including Brenda Barton (R), Bob Thorpe (R), Doug Ballard (D) and Angela LeFevre (D).
At the state level, nine candidates are vying for the three open seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Incumbent Bob Stump (R) is joined in the race by Robert “Bob” Burns (R) and Susan Bitter Smith (R). The three are facing off against Marcia Busching (D), and incumbents Sandra Kennedy (D) and Paul Newman (D). Adding interest to the race are Christopher Gohl (L), Thomas Meadows (G) and Daniel Pout (G).
A yes/no vote will also be cast to determine if Arizona Supreme Court Justice John Pelander should be retained.
Voters will also have to decide who will fill retiring U.S. Senator Jon Kyl’s seat to represent Arizona in the nation’s capital. The three candidates for the position are Jeff Flake (R), Richard Carmona (D) and Marc Vic-tor (L).
Jonathan Paton (R), Ann Kirkpatrick (D) and Kim Allen (L) are in a three-way race to fill the District 1 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the presidential race, Navajo County voters have a choice between incumbent Barack Obama (D), and challengers Mitt Romney (R), Gary Johnson (L) and Jill Stein (G).
Voters will also be asked to decide the fate of a number of propositions in the election.
Proposition 114, if passed, would protect crime victims from liability for damages suffered by a person who was injured while committing or attempting to commit a felony against the victim.
Proposition 115 is a complex overhaul of Arizona’s merit selection system of judges and justices. It includes term limit increases of Arizona Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Superior Court justices and judges, raising their retirement age from 70 to 75, and makes changes to appointment committees and procedures.
Proposition 116 seeks to set the amount exempt from annual taxes on business equipment and machinery purchased after 2012 to an amount equal to the combined earnings of 50 Arizona workers.
Proposition 117 would set a limit on the annual percentage increase in property values used to determine property taxes at no more than five percent above the previous year, and establish a single limited property value as the basis for determining all property taxes on real property beginning in 2014.
Proposition 118 would change the formula for the State Land Trust Permanent Endowment Fund, which funds public institutions such as schools, to 2.5 percent of the average monthly market values of the fund for the immediately preceding five years.
Proposition 119 would authorize the exchange of state trust lands if it is related to either protecting military facilities or improving the management of the state trust lands.
Proposition 120 seeks to repeal the state’s disclaimer of a right and title to public lands within the state except Indian reservations, as well as Arizona’s consent to provisions of the Enabling Act. In effect, it would transfer ownership and responsibility for national parks and federal lands within the state to the state.
Proposition 121 is the “Top Two Primary Initiative” measure, which would replace the current party primary election with an election in which all voters, regardless of party affiliation, would vote in a single primary election, and the two candidates with the highest number of votes would then face off in the General Election.
Proposition 204 would permanently increase the state sales tax by one cent per dollar, effective June 1, 2013. The purpose of the proposed tax is to generate funds for education, public transportation infrastructure projects and human services.
There are some tough choices ahead for voters, both in which candidate to elect in a given race and on the numerous propositions. Voters are urged to become informed on the issues, candidates and propositions so they can cast a ballot next Tuesday that speaks for their interests.