The only thing “overwhelming” about the vote was the silence of 900,000 Phoenicians who did not vote.
60,000 of a total adult population of about one million voted in favor of Phoenix’s seven bond issues this week.
And yet, the Arizona Republic and Phoenix leaders called the vote a “resounding” and “overwhelming” victory for Mayor Phil Gordon, who now has now gotten the approval to spend some $2 billion of taxpayer money on a series of projects and the debt to pay for them.
The only thing “resounding” and “overwhelming” about the vote was the deafening silence of the nearly one million Phoenicians who did not vote in support of the bond program.
The bond program is littered with giveaways to private organizations whose beneficiaries will be select groups of Phoenicians at the expense of the rest of us who withheld our support for the bond.
In Phoenix, democracy has fallen prey to special interests, including the many private parties, developers and investors, who will make out like bandits. The city, in order to guarantee victory, scheduled the vote in the spring of an off-year election, ensuring that the most ardent supporters of the bond, namely those standing to benefit, would the ones showing up to vote.
Such is life in Phoenix where some 60,000 decide how the money of one million of their neighbors should be spent.
It doesn’t need to be so. At the very least, cities should be required to hold bond referendums during general elections in the fall, when voters are more aware of elections and turnout is higher.