City & Local Reform

It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning.

<p>It turns out that you can fight town hall. Here’s how we’re standing up for local citizens and winning. </p>

There are almost 90,000 local governments in America, with an average of one new local government born every day. Many are unaccountable to taxpayers and special interest-driven, and the Goldwater Institute’s “New Charter for American Cities” gives citizens the tools they need to fight City Hall and hold their local governments accountable.

PHOENIX -- In July 2007, Attorney Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Goldwater Institutes Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, filed a lawsuit on behalf of six small business owners against the city of Phoenix for entering into an agreement with the Thomas J. Klutznick Company to build 3,180 parking spaces at the developers CityNorth retail center in north Phoenix, in exchange for $97.4 million in taxpayer subsidies, claiming it violated the gift clause of the Arizona Constitution.

The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and the Goldwater Institute are suing the city of Mesa over fees it is charging developers and home builders to fund public museums and arts programs.

The real estate industry group and the Phoenix think tank filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court arguing that Mesa's "cultural facilities" impact fees on new construction violate state laws and legal precedents.

A home builder's association is challenging Mesa for imposing a fee on new developments in an effort to raise revenue for museums and to preserve the city's archeological finds.

The Home Builders Association for Central Arizona is the plaintiff in a suit filed Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court that challenges Mesas cultural impact fees.

On Tuesday, the city raised the impact fees it tacks onto new homes. The goal was to use the extra money to support a range of city services from new sewage-treatment plants to parks and museums.

Read Sunday Square Off transcripts referenced in article below.

We are entering the sweaty tumult of an election season, and the records of office-holders are fair game for their opponents.

All the votes of incumbents, their spending habits and their pet issues - they're all legitimate grist for the rough, grinding mill of politics and campaigning.

But since when did the serial attackers preying on Phoenix become a political issue?

A budget override, routinely passed by 76 Arizona cities and towns in recent years, is facing surprisingly strong opposition in Scottsdale's election Tuesday from businesses affiliated with the city's strip clubs.

Fat with cash and ready to spend, Scottsdale leaders expected voters to overwhelmingly support the idea of exceeding the city's state-mandated spending cap, especially because it means no new taxes.

Instead, Scottsdale is again fighting a 1980 taxpayer revolt that led Arizona voters 26 years ago to flash-freeze municipal spending. advertisement  

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Napolitano took some symbolic punches to the face last night from opponents.

But if the front-runner looked through swollen eyelids, she perhaps saw that she converted some in the audience after taking on three aggressive opponents at a debate here. It was sponsored by the Tucson Citizen and the Goldwater Institute.

Three of four undecided voters selected at random by a reporter at the debate said they would likely vote for Napolitano.

We were a bunch of grumpy scofflaws, sitting in a defensive-driving class, nerves still raw over being caught in some act of traffic illegality.

So, when the topic of red-light cameras came up, the reaction was predictable - viscerally negative.

But this is not a reaction confined to just folks already caught in the act. Many others have raised serious privacy issues.

And I have to admit. I don't get it.

Phoenix's recent crime wave has put public safety in the headlines. As our police force works to make our streets safer, we should study ways to improve public safety.

A good place to start is with successful crime-fighting models like New York. Using hands-on leadership and statistics-driven deployment, New York's finest took back the streets. Since 1990, the murder rate has dropped 75 percent and rape, robbery and assaults have been halved.

Once the inspiration for Batman's Gotham City, New York is now the safest big city in America.

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