Sheila Tobias, a well-known educator and activist here in southern Arizona recently has been circulating her endorsement of Donna Branch-Gilby over incumbent Sharon Bronson in the Democratic primary for District 3 Pima County Supervisor. I thought it really well done, and worth a read for anyone trying to understand why Donna is challenging an incumbent Democrat:
A Board of Supervisors election rarely generates the passion and excitement of a presidential primary; or a congressional race; or even the contest for Mayor and City Council.
But, once you think about the power exerted by the Pima County Board of Supervisors over everything that matters, from plugging potholes to budgeting and managing the libraries, from juvenile detention to solid waste land fills, from ensuring the integrity of elections to waste water treatment, county property assessments and taxing, and approving (or rejecting) rezoning requests for homes and business development, you will realize, as I have come to realize: that the upcoming election to the Board of Supervisors matters very much to all of us who live here in the County.
The five supervisors sometimes appear to be a permanent body. With two of the Supervisors in their (well-paid by the way) positions for 12 and 10 years, a third for 8 and a fourth ensconced for six, I am supporting a challenger, Donna Branch Gilby, former Pima County Chair of the Democratic Party, most recently Vice-Chair of the State Party, because Donna is committed to voter integrity (see below) and balanced growth. She’s already been endorsed by the Election Integrity Committee of the Pima County Democratic Party.
Donna has explained to me the arcane workings of the Board of Supervisors – which we voters cannot alter; all we can do is to change the “cast of characters.”
Donna is running against a Democrat in a district that includes north Tucson and extends from the West side of Tucson to the Yuma County line and south to the Mexico border and includes the Tohono O’odham Nation. If you’re wondering why a Democrat would oppose another Democrat (and two of the other Democratic Supervisors are likely to be challenged by members of their own party this year as well), the reason resides in yet another responsibility that the Supervisors have, namely, determining voting modalities, and certifying elections.
State law charges political parties with performing oversight of the election process; this includes monitoring the vote counting process. When Donna chaired the Pima County Democratic Party, she spoke numerous times on this before the Board of Supervisors. Her opponent in this election was the leading obstructionist. Even after a 3½ day trial in December 2007, when Judge Michael Miller ruled that political party officials could examine the databases of the 2006 elections, Supervisor Bronson was calling for an appeal of the judge’s ruling.
With friends like these (on voter integrity), you don’t need enemies.
Donna is a 40-year resident of Tucson with a Master’s in Public Administration from the U of A. She taught supervisory and management skills to Dept of Economic Security staff for 20 years. Was a member of AFSCME.
Served as Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party in 2006 and then as 1st Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party in 2007
Founder of the Arizona Women’s Political Caucus; served as a Director on the Boards of Tucson Peace Center, Planned Parenthood, Open Inn and as a Commissioner on the Tucson Human Relations Commission for 8 years.
She lives with her husband Bob Gilby at Milagro Cohousing - a Community in Balance with Nature, which they co-founded in 2001. She is the mother of Michelle Williams, MD, Tucson, and Toby Branch, AIA, Denver.
Donna’s priorities – including voter integrity – are ours:
Balanced growth – to ensure that the population of Pima County doesn’t exceed our water supplies – employing the Board’s power over
determining where sewer lines will go
Thus, the Board could communicate to developers that in-fill rather than sprawl is a Pima County priority; and make that ruling stick!
Transportation –through the budgeting process,
Election process – through funding and supervision over the County Elections Division
Open Decisions – Openly Arrived At
Taking more leadership so that the professional County Administrator (who has also been on the job a long time, directing policy from behind the scenes) implements Board policy rather than his own.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors is required by law to hold open “Study Sessions” at which upcoming decisions (not laws – they do not legislate) are supposed to be publicly aired. But for the past several years, these “Study Sessions” have been routinely canceled. Donna wants to bring in the kind of experienced people who invite input, criticism, and other (better) ideas when appropriate to a discussion or a decision.
Donna is likely to be opposed in her bid to unseat Supervisor Bronson (in office since 1996) by the Arizona Home Builders, Realtors, and others who have come to benefit from her long incumbency.
Once you meet Donna Branch-Gilby, you will know that she would make the Board of Supervisors more responsive to the views and the needs of people like us.
What you can do?:
Offer your support publicly, by adding your name to a list of supporters.
Volunteer, especially to do research on the impact of the Board’s actions/inaction on the utility service delivery boundary.
Make a financial contribution. County elections are not part of “Clean Elections,” so candidates must raise funds traditionally – by asking. The maximum allowed contribution is $390 per person each election cycle. Checks to “Branch-Gilby 2008” may be sent to P.O. Box 85781, Tucson, AZ 85754
Join me at a Meet the Candidate party at the home of
Bob and Joan Kaye Cauthorn
Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
30 N Camino Espanol
One block North and East of Broadway and Country Club.