Speaker's actions toward Yumans were rude
Most politicians try to avoid being deliberately rude to voters, but in the case of Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin that apparently doesn't apply, at least if they are not his constituents.
It is hard to find any other way to describe what happened to a group of Yuma County residents who trekked up to Phoenix to meet Tobin the other day. They wanted to discuss Tobin's effort to get legislation passed that would impact our area's vital supply of water from the Colorado River.
The speaker sponsored HB 2338, which would establish water authorities that could buy and sell water. Yuma County water officials and others point out that could allow places like Prescott, which Tobin represents, to buy water rights from our area. We are lucky to have long established water rights from the river here, something that other parts of the state – including the two most populous areas of the state, Phoenix and Tucson – don't have.
We are right to fear being bullied for our water. There have been previous attempts. So far, the Tobin effort, as have others in the past, has been beaten back. But Tobin remains determined to get his way.
Perhaps that is why he avoided meeting with the Yuma water delegation and other interested parties. But he could hardly have handled it in a worse way.
The meeting with Tobin was previously arranged, but when the 19 people from Yuma and a few others arrived at the Arizona Capitol, they were told Tobin wasn't available. Perhaps there had been some emergency? No. At first they were told he thought the group was too large. They offered to reduce it to 12 people. Eventually they were told the real reason was he had already made up his mind on the issue.
OK, he has a right to his own thinking on the issue, but even if that was the case, couldn't he have made a little time to meet with them just out of politeness and civility? We certainly think so, especially after they had traveled so far and disrupted their lives to get there. The least he could have done was give them advanced notice so they didn't waste their time.
In our view, his actions were needlessly mean-spirited.