Tammy Linn has filed suit in Yavapai County Superior Court to have Paul Armenta and Shannon Miller removed from the ballot for Prescott Mayor and City Council.
As a registered voter outside the Prescott City Limits, Paul Armenta is not eligible to vote - even for himself - in Prescott elections. So, how can he run for Mayor?
On June 10, 2009, Mayor Jack Wilson sent a letter to Governor Brewer endorsing her 2010 Budget Proposal. The letter was sent on stationery with the City of Prescott logo on it, referencing the address for City Hall, and it was signed, "Jack D. Wilson, Mayor."
This was only one day after the Prescott City Council discussed at length sending such a letter, and could not come to agreement on the measure. Council finally voted to table the issue instead of outright denying it, due to the Mayor's insistence.
Let's look at the background a bit.
Item J on the Council Agenda, June 9, 2009
The item on the Council meeting agenda read:
J. Discuss and consider adoption of Resolution No. 3967-0973 - A resolution of the Mayor and Council of the City of Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona in support of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns resolution supporting the Honorable Governor Brewer’s budget proposal.
Connie Tucker presented this item to the Council, at the request of Mayor Jack Wilson, she said. As part of her explanation, Tucker stated, "The Senate and House passed a bill that would be devastating to the City if it stands."
Tucker pointed out that the Senate/House bill included a moratorium on impact fees, which could cost the city $1.2 million, and that projects would have to be deferred or put off indefinitely.
The Governor's proposed budget does not include those moratoriums, although she did not seem to think that it was optimal. The Democrat's budget, however, Tucker said, "...is even worse."
She wrapped up by saying, "There are no good proposal's out there, but the Governor's proposal at least has the lowest impact to the City."
Once the council began discussing this item, it was clear that they were not supportive of the measure.
Councilman Bob Luzius asked if the legislator's budget could be vetoed, and noted that no bills have even been sent to the Governor for her signature. "If we send this letter, how do we know that the Governor's bill will be passed," he asked.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Suttles noted that if the Governor's tax bill is passed, none of the revenue raised would be given to the cities. "I don't see a win-win for the City of Prescott in this either way," she stated. "I'm not in favor of the letter, I'm not in favor of our legislators [plan]... We're in the middle, but I see a no-win."
Councilman Bob Bell added, "Let me tell you my main concern - we're under no obligation to support the League of Cities, and if we endorse the Governor's 1¢ sales tax, we are in grave danger of not passing our own tax increase."
Councilman Jim Lamerson voiced an even stronger opposition, "Connie, most of this is a crock. We're being hornswaggled by the legislature, and hornswaggled by the governor. .. I'm not going to support this."
Councilman Bob Roecker offered a suggestion, "Let's table this. It isn't wise to take any side of this. There's no talk of eliminating any state governor's agencies. "What they're offering us, both the legislature and the governor, none of it is any good."
The Mayor responded immediately, "I think we've got general agreement that we're going to table the motion."
Lamerson protested immediately, "I'm not so sure I agreed to table the motion, we need to tell the league of cities to stick it in their ear. Tabling it keeps it alive."
Wilson replied testily, "Well, I'm making a motion to table it."
So, table it they did, by a vote of 5-2, with Lamerson and Suttles casting the dissenting vote.
The Mayor Writes A Letter
So, despite the fact that it was the Mayor's motion to table the issue, which was voted on and approved by Council; the very next day he sent out a letter to the Governor, which begins by stating, "I am writing in support of your FY2010 Budget Proposal with one request: that you do not phase out Prescott Historical Society Funding as a state agency."
Download Mayor Wilson's letter to the Governor.
Councilman Roecker read the Mayor's letter, and noted that it's on stationery that does not include the rest of the council member names. "However," Roecker said, "It does give the impression that it's sanctioned by the City, and that's not the right impression at all."
Councilman Luzius said he didn't agree at all with the Mayor sending out the letter. "What part of 'no' doesn't he understand?"
Steve Blair, an official candidate in the upcoming Council election noted wryly, "Well, the Emperor's wearing his fancy new clothes, despite the fact that Prescott doesn't have an Emperor. They have a Mayor and City Council, and they should all work together, something this Mayor doesn't seem to understand."
When asked about how he felt regarding the letter, Councilman Lamerson answered simply, "I support his right of free speech, and that he has the freedom to write the governor or anyone else he wants as long as it's on his own."
Regarding the Mayor's use of City stationery and letterhead, Lamerson said, "He has the right to do that, as long as he recognizes that every other councilmember also has the right to send letters in their own names. And I intend on doing just that."
Related story: Wilson Ignores Council Direction
Editor's note: Due to scheduling conflicts, Mayor Wilson was not available for comment on this story. However, if we do receive a statement from him, we will publish it as soon as possible. Prescott eNews has also extended an offer to the Mayor to respond fully to this issue in an article of his own, if he so chooses.
Judge Brutinel is one of eight applicants being considered for the Arizona State Supreme Court.