Two members of the Green Party are facing off in the Aug. 29 primary for a chance to make the Tucson City Council a little more liberal.
Consultant Mike Cease and small-business owner Michael Oatman are vying for the party’s nomination in the Ward 6 race and both have the same mission — to shake up the status quo at the city of Tucson.
The race is one of only two contested city ward contests in the primary. The winner will advance to the November election to face incumbent Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik, a Democrat, and Marian Rodriguez, a Republican. The primarily midtown district runs north to about Grant Road, east to Wilmot Road, south to 22nd Street and west to downtown.
Both believe they can push through more progressive policies aimed at water harvesting, increasing solar and helping small businesses.
This isn’t their first rodeo, either.
Cease, 62, was a Green Party candidate last fall for county recorder, losing his bid against incumbent F. Ann Rodriguez.
Oatman, 45, is a bit of a political junkie and has sought the presidency twice since turning 35. The first time was as a Democrat in 2008, but he later soured on Democratic politics as being not socialist enough.
He tried to run as a Green Party candidate for president again in 2016, but failed to get enough signatures.
Cease, a long-time activist with the Sierra Club who has a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Arizona, is pushing for a new “Green Start” for the city.
He wants the city to start a revolving fund to offer low-interest loans to residents to make their homes more energy-efficient as well as compatible with solar panels.
Cease also serves on the environmental justice task force and wants what he calls “social and economic justice” to those who live in areas with TCE contamination.
“They are still getting sick and they are still dying,” Cease said. “People are trapped, they can’t sell their home because it is a Superfund side.”
Oatman wants the city to move in a new direction when it comes to raising revenues, not through tax increases but by partnering with private companies or with federal grants.
He had a long-running public access show on Access Tucson called “Illegal Knowledge.”
It went off the air about two years ago and Oatman says he wants the council to put out a new contract for public access shows, saying Creative Tucson, which took over the city’s access TV program, has failed to live up to its expectations.