Yuma community activist Jack Kretzer is collecting signatures on petitions for a number of initiatives he is pursuing that if approved by city of Yuma voters, would amend the City Charter in a variety of areas of municipal government.
He and others will be manning a table at the Yuma County Fair this week, located in the Theater Building near the photography section. Only city of Yuma registered voters are eligible to sign the petitions.
Kretzer needs 1,230 signatures of city residents on each petition to have the initiatives placed on the ballot for the next city election. According to the Arizona constitution, petitions shall be filed not less than four months from the date of the election when they will be on the ballot. The primary election is Aug. 27 and the general election is Nov. 5.
The measures include:
• Preserve our charter — Petition No. I2012-02 is one Kretzer resurrected from the previous year. It has been amended and renumbered I2013-05. The measure would amend Article VI of the City Charter to require that the city attorney be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of each city council. Currently, the attorney answers to the city administrator. The proposed amendment also would require that “the council shall control all litigation of the city, and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or to assist the city attorney in connection with its legal matters. All litigation and engagement of outside counsel decisions shall be made in a properly posted public meeting.”
• Voice of the people — Petition No. I2013-02 will mandate that call to the public be permanently placed on the agenda at the beginning of each Yuma City Council meeting following the roll call. If approved, the measure would amend Article VIII of the Yuma City Charter, overturning an ordinance recently passed by the council to place call to the public at the end of its meetings.
• Maximize housing values — Petition No. I2013-03 would add Article XIX to the City Charter to create a minimum housing code and occupancy permit application system, which Kretzer said would enhance property values and lower crime. The measure also would require annual inspections of rental properties.
• Inform them all — Petition No. I 2013-04 would add Article XVIII to the City Charter to create and operate two dedicated public access cable channels to be governed by a permanent seven-member commission. Infrastructure and operating costs for the channels would be funded through cable franchise fees. The channels, which Kretzer said were dedicated by the area's cable provider for public access, government and education, could be used by nonprofits, local organizations and other entities.
• Preserve Yuma's history — Petition No. I2013-06 would amend Article III of the City Charter governing the distribution of revenue from the city's 2 percent special tax for restaurants, bars and hotels. The amendment would require that $200,000 go to the Arizona Historical Society for the operation and maintenance of the Sanguinetti House and $800,000 be used for the acquisition, restoration and maintenance of historic buildings in the city.
• We won't subsidize — Petition No. I2013-07 would amend Article XIV of the City Charter to base water and sewer rates on the costs of a service area rather than impose the same rates citywide. Kretzer said the purpose of the initiative is to stop subsidization of utility rates in the eastern part of the city by residents in the older parts of the city.
Kretzer also is collecting signatures to establish a “John Doe Party” for voters who are not registered as either Democrats or Republicans.
In addition, copies of I2013-01, which is being circulated by another action committee, will be at Kretzer's table at the fair for city residents to sign. If approved by voters, the initiative would reverse the decision to add fluoride to the city of Yuma's potable water system.