EDITORIAL FOR MARCH 15-20, 2020
Iím CAVE MANager Paul Lotsof. If you turn on a TV or read your newspaper all youíll see these days is that the Corona virus is about to wipe out the human race and all public events must be cancelled. Thereís also a few news items about this yearís presidential election and we must assume that the election wonít be cancelled because all the candidates will be dead, not to mention all the voters being dead too.
But letís be optimistic and guess that there will be a few survivors left in Benson even if nowhere else. If those survivors can take their minds off the flu and the presidential election, they might want to consider who runs the Benson City Hall. In this Augustís primary election there will be five city council seats available including that of the mayor. If you listen to CAVE News you know that Toney King has decided to give up the mayorís position and run for a regular council seat. You also know that Joe Konrad, who has been Vice Mayor, now plans to run for mayor. Also up for grabs are council seats presently filled by Pat Boyle, Larry Dempster, Joe Konrad and Nick Maldonado. Maldonado was last elected to the council in 1999 but whenever there is a vacancy on the council Maldonado gets appointed because heís guaranteed to vote with the majority on everything.
If everything were wonderful in Benson it would be fine and dandy to simply re-elect the incumbents but everything is a far cry from fine and dandy. Five years ago the city government was in a financial crisis situation with the cityís operating costs far exceeding its revenues. The reason for the cash imbalance was a combination of gross waste and inefficiency along with a city owned golf course and restaurant that were losing money like there was no tomorrow. There were only two possible solutions: Trim the fat or raise the taxes and utility rates. Trimming the fat was out of the question so the council enacted a forty percent increase in the cityís sales tax levy. Then they lied to the public and said that the forty percent increase was a one penny increase.
Today the wasteful spending is as bad as ever. The city tosses cash around like it is going out of style. People they like are handed money with little or no public benefit. And we pay for the extravagance every time we buy something. Benson has one of the highest sales tax rates in Southern Arizona. In Cochise County only Douglas has a higher rate than Bensonís 3 Ĺ percent. Many people complain about the high water, sewer and gas bills they get from the city and those complaints are justified.
Bensonís economy is as anemic as ever. There are no good paying jobs for our young people so they leave town as they always have. And Benson loses population. We have no economic development effort, mostly because every member of our city council has been completely taken in by the Vigneto hoax. Without exception they all believe that Benson will soon see an influx of untold millions of dollars once this massive housing project gets underway. Our mayor and council canít accept the fact that thereís no market for thousands of new houses in Benson and that El Dorado isnít going to create such a market.
So whatís the solution? Thereís only one solution and thatís to get some fresh blood on the Benson City Council. We need council members who have no use for waste and favoritism and also have no use for high taxes and building codes that discourage development and prevent existing property owners from making needed improvements. We also need council members who care what the public thinks, not council members who support the cancellation of the call to the public. But none of these badly needed changes can possibly happen unless some good people who are willing to come forward, stand up and be counted. We need to find candidates who will run against the incumbents and after the new mayor and council are elected they will insist on dumping the waste and the favoritism.
If you know a person who would like to help bring about change, now is the time to do something. Candidates need to go to City Hall and get nominating papers including petitions. Youíll need at least 48 signatures and the completed nominating packet must be returned to City Hall no later than the close of business on April sixth. If no good people are willing to run, weíll be stuck with more of the same for the next two years and thatís something we canít afford to let happen. April sixth is fast approaching and thereís no time to waste.
Iím CAVE MANager Paul Lotsof and the opinions youíve just heard are mine and not necessarily anyone elseís. If youíd like a copy of this editorial or youíd like to express your opinions go to the CAVE web site and select ďEditorialsĒ. Weíre at CAVEFM.com. Thatís CAVEFM.com