Friday Catchall: Voters thinking pensions … and pool?

As depicted in this photo illustration with a Prescott Idol crowd in the background, a voter thinks downtown Prescott needs a swimming pool. “They should study the events we could have with that,” he said. However, I like to think he was kidding. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier illustration)

As depicted in this photo illustration with a Prescott Idol crowd in the background, a voter thinks downtown Prescott needs a swimming pool. “They should study the events we could have with that,” he said. However, I like to think he was kidding. (Tim Wiederaenders/Courier illustration)

The Friday Catchall:

• CHALLENGES – The Prescott election is winding down, yet we have not heard much from the people who matter – the voters.

Ballots in this primary are due Tuesday, Aug. 29. If you have not mailed yours, at this point you need to hand deliver it to City Hall downtown or the county Elections Department on Fair Street.

While the Courier has put the candidates’ positions and opinions out there for the past few months – visit www.dcourier.com/news/elections to read the articles and Q&As – I believe what the voters think is paramount: not how they vote (we’ll know that soon enough), but what they care about.

Follow me on this contrarian journey – a look from the other side – that I took over the past week; I wanted to know what Prescott residents see as the biggest challenges facing the city.

Wayne Cooper, 32, said he is worried about water. “Too many people outside the city have wells that have an effect on the water table, more than what we use,” Cooper, a street performer, said downtown, adding that Prescott water supplies are stretched thin “and the city is bringing on Deep Well Ranch’s 10,000 homes?”

Five people – ranging in age from 50 to 79 – said the pension system needs fixing. They were split over Prop 443 (the proposed sales tax increase to help pay down the $78 million unfunded liability). All concerned care about the retirees, and hold them harmless. “It’s not their fault, they paid into the system and got a great deal,” Angela Norman said.

The concern is pensions nowadays are not realistic when the state does not manage the funds properly, they said.

For Prescott to be left holding the bag took some explaining. And some still think it is Prescott’s fault. Yet, whether the state will enact realistic and effective solutions in time – within two to three years – is the most popular question.

Alex Parr, 54, redirected the conversation to city garbage collection. “If they want to be above board, the city would stop competing with private business and get out of trash collections,” he said. “That would save money.”

Then there’s the Prescott airport, said Steve Mitchell, 44, who is looking for “better” work. “I wonder if the talk over regional cooperation will ever bring results,” he said, adding that the city and surrounding towns should work together to build a thriving economic center – rather than rely on tourism for revenue.

The seven other folks I spoke with echoed many of these positions, excepting Brian – who did not want to give his full name: “They need to dig up the courthouse plaza and build a (swimming) pool. That would bring people down here! They should study the events we could have with that.”

Sure, Brian. I can imagine how well it would go over the first time someone put their car into the water.

I like to think Brian was kidding. What’s more serious is how voters match up with the candidates. The key is to visit the Courier elections link above. Some candidates line up with these voters, some disagree (I don’t think any advocate a pool).

Unless the candidates flip-flop or change their minds (yes, they can and do), we really do know what we’re going to get.

• LIGHTS MEAN NOTHING? I have to vent. On Thursday, about 9:15 a.m. at Pioneer Parkway and Willow Creek Road, the semi and the pickup with an open trailer that turned anyway, what was that? Your left-turn arrow was red because my green was strong and bright for, seriously, 10 seconds.

This kind of respect for your fellow man/driver speaks volumes.

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): Courthouse plaza – tonight, Aug. 25, at 6:30 the CheekTones perform as part of the Summer Concert Series; and Saturday, Aug. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. the Mile High Square Dancers offer dancing on the north side of the plaza (last of the year).