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Thu, Oct. 17

Competing ballot measures get attention at town hall

PRESCOTT ­ Competing measures dominated much of the discussion at a Prescott meeting Friday about the 19 propositions on Arizona's Nov. 7 general election ballot.

The Secretary of State's Office is conducting town halls about the propositions throughout Arizona. Nearly 100 people attended the meeting at the Las Fuentes Resort Village in Prescott, where resident Jan Hilton helped organize the event.

Two competing propositions, 105 and 106, seek to change the way Arizona manages its state trust lands.

Two other competing propositions, 201 and 206, seek to impose statewide smoking restrictions.

Several elected officials spoke in favor of Proposition 106, "Conserving Arizona's Future," and against Prop. 105. Prop. 106 came from a citizens' petition drive, while Prop. 105 is a referral from the state Legislature.

Proposition "105 obviously is a diversion tactic to confuse the public," said Rep. Tom O'Halleran, R-Sedona, who voted against Prop. 105 in the legislative session.

Teachers' and superintendents' groups support Prop. 106 because it's clear about how to provide money to the State Land Department, while Prop. 105 continues to under-finance the department and leaves too many decisions up to the Legislature, O'Halleran said.

Teachers support Prop. 106 while the Arizona Homebuilders' Association supports Prop. 105, Prescott City Council Member Bob Luzius said.

"What have the Homebuilders of Arizona done for you or me?" he said.

Prescott Unified School District Board Member Joan Fleming also stood in support of Prop. 106.

"I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve land that we're not going to get another chance at," such as Badger or "P" Mountain in Prescott, local resident Jack Wilson said.

Prop. 106 would automatically conserve numerous trust land parcels in Yavapai County, noted supporter Kathy Lopez, who helped circulate petitions to gather more than 123,000 signatures for the proposition. It would permanently protect Badger Mountain, Glassford Hill in Prescott Valley, Big Chino Sub-basin grasslands, areas along the Verde River, Burro Canyon and other parcels.

Only one speaker said he'd vote against Prop. 106, after questioning the potential $6 million annually it would provide for administration of trust lands and sales. He said it might be best to vote against both propositions 105 and 106.

A local doctor and psychologist spoke out in favor of one smoking ban law and against another. They both prefer Proposition 201 over Proposition 206.

"This is a health matter," said Dr. Bob Matthies, who helped spearhead Prescott's existing law against smoking in public places.

Prop. 201 would not supercede Prescott's existing law, and it would ban smoking in saloons across Arizona.

Prop. 206 would allow smoking in bars and supercede Prescott's law, so people would be able to smoke in Prescott's bars again.

If voters approve both propositions, the one with the most votes wins, State Elections Director Joe Kanefield told the audience in response to a question.

Kanefield noted that propositions in the 100 series of numbers are proposals to amend the Arizona Constitution; those in the set of 200s are citizen initiatives to change state law; the 300 series of propositions are state law changes that the Legislature is seeking; and those in the 400 series are local ballot measures.

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