An Argument for voting for Eddie Cook for Assessor and for John Allen as Treasurer

Two of the six contested races on our ballot have not attracted endorsements by credible endorsing organizations. I don’t know why the lack of endorsements, but I am prepared to vote both races. I hope my logic will help you.

If you want to help make policy in Arizona, it is best to run for the Legislature. The elected municipal posts — in the cities and the counties — are ministerial rather than policy jobs. Those offices have only the powers delegated to them by the Legislature. They are important jobs, but to do them well, the office-seekers must focus on the job. It is not helpful if they use the posts to promote themselves or their agendas.

I think at least part of the reason endorsers picked Stephen Richer over Clair Van Steenwyk and Jerry Sheridan over Joe Arpaio is that both Steenwyk and Arpaio, by their own frequent admission, are not really interested in the jobs of recorder and sheriff. Mr Van Steenwyk seems to think he will use the post of recorder to campaign against the National Popular Vote, where what Maricopa County needs is a well-trained recorder like Mr Richer. We may find things to admire about Mr Arpaio, but none of us imagine that he simply wants to be a good sheriff.

Royce Flora and Rodney Glassman, as candidates for treasurer and assessor, wish to position themselves as “friends of the taxpayer.” How might they do that? The Arizona Constitution requires the so-called Limited Property Value (LPV) — the fraction of our houses’ value on which we actually get taxed — to go up by 5% every year. If you look at your tax bill, you will see that most of the dozen or so entities on whose behalf Maricopa County taxes us — mostly schools — do not take advantage of the automatic increase and instead levy a lower increase, usually something designed to give them a reliable, inflation-adjusted source of revenue. They tell Maricopa County how much they need and Maricopa County provides the service of collecting the tax for them. What would a Friend of the Taxpayer do? There is almost no room for discretion in this system. Here’s what the Chairman of the county Board of Supervisors says.

What Maricopa County needs are people willing to do the ministerial job of running the assessment and taxing systems professionally. I will vote for Eddie Cook as Assessor and John Allen as Treasurer.