A Vote for the General Plan
A friend recently asked me for information about the Goodyear 2025 General Plan. Voters have the final say about the plan as it's on the ballot for the November 4, 2014 election.
I'm all for it. Here's why.
Planning for the "plan" started quite a while ago, (I remember several meetings about the General Plan while I was in office 2 years ago). City employees mapped out a very thoughtful and detailed approach to launching a committee and community meetings. Hundreds of residents had input on the plan. For those who couldn't attend meetings - they could voice their opinions online at Goodyear Connects. The city made it difficult for residents to NOT know about it...
A general plan is required by law in Arizona. Sure! You can call it a "wish list." A general plan is basically a roadmap or blueprint to guide future growth. Goodyear's plan is ambitious and solid. It's clear a lot of time, thought, and energy went into developing this plan.
Those who develop general plans, volunteer residents and city leaders, strive for an achievable and healthy vision for making a city more desirable for residents, businesses, and visitors.
Here’s the catch to a general plan: Lawmakers. Exactly how do they plan to make a fancy plan
- on paper - come to life? They use our tax dollars.
I make no apologies for being quite conservative. I believe Goodyear needs to find a way to eliminate the food tax without jeopardizing pay for police and fire, the services they provide, and all the necessities that come with a clean and safe community.
The biggest concern about implementing a general plan is having people in office and leadership roles who will abide by the plan, and do so with fiscally conservative funding decisions. It may be that the entire “wish list” doesn’t happen - or doesn’t happen quickly. But, it’s a plan that has a lot of backing by residents in the hopes of a positive future.
If you don’t get bored by city planning, (I find it quite fascinating), I highly recommend going to the next Goodyear council retreat November 7th & 8th at the Justice Center. You'll get an idea how the council and city planners go about following the current General Plan and mapping out spending for the upcoming budget season. If history repeats itself, this meeting is not broadcast, (which is a shame because of the importance of what is discussed). Being there in person is usually the only way you'll get to see it.
Cheers to a bright future!
Jen's note: Opinions posted here are simply opinions.
Please double check the city's website or call before attending the meetings to make sure they have not been rescheduled.
Ready to Run?
You can stop holding your breath now. The City of Goodyear finally made a decision on a date for its next election for City Council.
The election has been in question since 2012 when Governor Brewer signed a law forcing the change of election cycles for many Arizona cities.
Phoenix and Tucson led the way in challenging the law which would have required local governments to move candidate elections to even-numbered years. (If you want the full history on how this all went down, a quick Internet search is helpful.)
My point here is this… Goodyear’s City Charter states its elections are to be held in odd-numbered years. While waiting for a judgement in the Phoenix and Tucson legal challenges, time has ticked away for candidates thinking about a run for council in the spring of 2015.
Should You run for Office?
Now that Goodyear leaders have decided to hold our elections on its Charter-ordered election cycle, you might be wondering, “What does it take to run for office?”
It’s my humble opinion you can benefit from the combination of these two unstated qualities in order to win in little ol' Goodyear: 1. Money. 2. Name recognition. (I’d love to see a smart, motivated, energetic, positive person break this cycle, though!)
You simply can't skimp on these qualities: You need to be organized. You have to be accurate tracking the money trail. And you need to abide by all the deadlines and laws.
So here’s where you start.
2015 Council Seats up for Election
Three Council seats are up for election in 2015. Current elected councilmembers residing in these seats are:
Until our city reaches a population of 150,000, our Charter won’t allow for electoral districts. (That topic is a blog of its own.)
Since candidate packets are not due until December 10th, we do not yet know who the candidates are for the 2015 election. Please check back here for more information in December.
The Goodyear Primary Election is March 10, 2015
The Goodyear General Election is May 19, 2015 - if needed.
If needed? Candidates who receive a majority of the vote in the primary election are officially elected into office, equal to the number of offices available. (If three candidates receive a majority of the vote, we will not have a General Election.) End of story.
If any offices remain - for which no candidate received a majority of the vote - then the next two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the primary election - per seat open - advance to the General Election. (It’s all detailed on page 23 in the City Charter if you want to get into the nitty gritty of it all.)
What are the odds of a General Election? If recent history serves as any indication… pretty good. General Elections were held for council seats in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Here’s something else to consider. If you lose, not only do you have to face the walk of shame and go pick up all your campaign signs… you still have to file your final Financial Disclosure Statement and your Termination Statement. (Oh… and don’t forget… it’s all public record and posted on the city’s website for the world to see.)
If you win, you’ll make a whopping $9,200 a year as a councilmember. It’s up to you to determine how many hours a week you put into the job. Meetings, public events, and reading materials add up on the clock.
So let’s go back to #1 on the list of reasons to run. You really have to want to do it. It’s great fun, a memorable learning experience, and an opportunity to meet generous, caring people in our All-America City!