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Sat, Sept. 21

Friday Catchall: Break from nonpartisan blackout

Greg Mengarelli, left, rejoices with his close friend, Drew Stoddard, after hearing he defeated Jean Wilcox for Mayor of Prescott on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Photo by Max Efrein.

Greg Mengarelli, left, rejoices with his close friend, Drew Stoddard, after hearing he defeated Jean Wilcox for Mayor of Prescott on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The Friday Catchall:

• NONPARTISAN – A dull roar has gone up since the City of Prescott elections, with some Courier readers stating it is not fair that a candidate pushed their party affiliation in a nonpartisan race.

The candidate they are referring to is now Mayor-elect Greg Mengarelli, who had on his campaign advertisements a mention that he is a Republican. (He also made statements as such on the campaign trail.)

I do not see the problem.

First, Prescott’s elections are nonpartisan. That means only its primary election does not pick party nominees. That is all.

For example, in the state Legislative election for District 1, there will be a primary election – in which Republicans, Democrats, etc. pick their party’s nominees (for two seats), who then advance to the general election. If they have competition in the primary, two will advance; if no competitors, two advance (or however many fewer than that are running). They cannot win it all in the primary; they get the party’s stamp of approval and advance to the general where the winners are decided – GOP versus Dems, versus Indies, etc.

That’s partisan.

In the City of Prescott nonpartisan elections, if any candidate gets 50 percent plus one vote they win – even in the primary election. That is technically what a nonpartisan election is; by Mengarelli advertising his Republican views, as he did, he was not being unfair or breaking the rules.

One of the only other differences, between nonpartisan and partisan elections, is that on the nonpartisan ballot you do not see an “R,” “I” or “D” next to the candidates’ names, Mengarelli said Thursday.

“I want people to know who I am as a person,” he said of telling people he is a Republican. “I can see the implication (of people worrying I will not represent Democrats and Independents). We’re in a hyper-sensitive world … (and) I am going to try my best to reach out to all Prescott residents. (That) doesn’t mean I’m not going to represent everyone.”

I look at this two ways: he was giving people a window into his character and beliefs, and he made it clear to voters his conservative nature.

And that is not against the rules.

• DROUGHT? — The Governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group is wading into a dry debate. Sort of.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources posted on its website Thursday:

“Weather-wise, it is one of the most anticipated events of the fall season. Will they? Or… won’t they?

“Will the Governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group recommend to Gov. (Doug) Ducey that he add the approaching ‘water year’ to the state’s lengthy string of official drought years?

“Or will the panel recommend that the official dry spell designation end in Arizona, thus following in the footsteps of California, where that state’s drought designation was lifted in the wake of its extraordinarily wet winter?

“Considering that much of Arizona remains in the same long-term state of drought it has experienced since the mid-1990s, the ICG’s recommendation for maintaining the declaration was not the toughest of calls, as it turned out.”

Yes, we’re still in a drought. Wise move, even if it was easy.

One wet winter does not end a drought. It is like the nation’s deficit and debt. A balanced budget (operating without a deficit) does not erase the $18 trillion debt.

Locally, the average annual rainfall is in the 17- to 18-inch range. We have not come close to that in decades; if each year is 3 inches short, those “threes” add up for what I call our water debt.

One wet winter does not eliminate the water debt (think: drought).

• PICK OF THE WEEK — (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): “Annie — The Musical,” 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Theatre, 215 E. Gurley St. It’s one of those great stories (though I love the one with Carol Burnett best!). 928-777-1370;

Follow Tim Wiederaenders on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or

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