Photo: Deep Well Ranch development
Shortly after Barrack Obama was elected Senator from Illinois, his wife, who was working as an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center, received a promotion and a pay increase of nearly $200,000 a year. The question arises, was Michelle Obama given the promotion and pay increase of almost 200% because of her competency or because her husband’s political influence increased exponentially when he moved from a regional state office to a national US Senator? While on its face, this coincidence doesn’t appear to be illegal, it certainly wouldn’t hold up as an example of ethical integrity.
Now on a local level, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that although I have a Prescott mailing address, my area is in the jurisdiction of Yavapai County. Even so, what happens in the City of Prescott effects all of us in the Quad City area. As a result, we should all pay strict attention to elections in this area.
The race for Mayor of Prescott should be of great interest. While the current Mayor, Greg Mengarelli certainly appears to be a very good, Christian family man, (and I would have voted for him in his first election if I lived in the city), I think some of his statements, actions and policies are more in line with “good ole boy” establishment Republicans, than the Tea Party/Trump conservative Republicans.
Here are my concerns. One of the items that the leftist/progressive/Marxist movement is to destroy the power of the middle class. A tactic they use is to dilute the votes of rural and suburban voters by importing less affluent people. That is why the call of those on the left is always for more “low income housing”.
Who makes money when the governments, local, state and federal, mandate low income housing? Large landowners, developers, big retail businesses and realtors, many of whom are establishment Republicans and Democrats. Who wins politically? Democrats and leftists. Who loses? The middle class, whose votes count for less, who’s streets are more congested, and whose schools, parks and public services are stretched to the breaking point. I don’t believe that is the intent of Mayor Mengarelli or the City Counsel, but the end result is the same. Since Greg Mengarelli has been mayor, there has been an explosion of large apartment complexes and housing developments in Prescott. Look at the houses jammed right next to each other at the Deep Well Ranch and other developments. The purpose of zoning laws is to control unrestricted growth. We see a lot of growth and very little control.
When Mayor Mengarelli accepted the $75,000 a year job with the Prescott Frontier Days (PDF), we can all understand why he did, since the Prescott mayor only makes $750 a month. The mayor admits that there is, at least the appearance of a conflict and he recuses himself from any discussions and decisions regarding PDF and the leases with the city. While we can be happy for Mengarelli for making the much larger salary from PDF, one wonders if he will be spending as much time on his $9000 a year mayor job as he does on his $75,000 a year PDF job. He should do one job or the other. While it is not illegal for Mengarelli to do both jobs, it doesn’t look like it is defensible, ethically.
When Jack Wilson was running for Prescott Mayor in 2006 against Rowle Simmons, the Wilson Campaign went high tech and tied up every possible name that Simmons could use on the internet. The result was that if you tried to get online to donate or find out about Rowle Simmons, you would wind up on a Wilson campaign site. It wasn’t illegal, but it was a highly unethical dirty trick.
Now we are seeing all kinds of Mengarelli for Mayor TV ads attacking mayoral candidate, Councilman Phil Goode. These attack ads are specious in that they imply the Phil Goode is anti-police and first responders because he did not vote for a raise in taxes. The officers of the Prescott Police Department deserve higher pay. Surrounding agencies pay more. Mayor Mengarelli has had four years to correct this problem and hasn’t done so.
These TV ads must cost a lot of money. When one candidate for office has so much more money than the opposing candidate, we should all be taking a good look at who is financing these campaigns. Where does the Mengarelli campaign get all of this money? The Mayor claims that he takes no money from developers and maybe he doesn’t directly take their money. But developers look like they’ve done a lot more developing since Greg Mengarelli’s been mayor. Not that that is illegal.