Rio Nuevo's failures taint everything at City Hall. It's such a symbol of waste that there's no chance voters will trust city government until Rio Nuevo is turned around.
That refocus must be based on a specific plan for downtown redevelopment, created in cooperation with the state-apppointed Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District Board.
We do not believe that Councilwoman Shirley Scott, a Democrat campaigning for a fifth term, can help envision or lead the turnaround.
She is one of two elected officials who have overseen Rio Nuevo from its voter-approved creation in 1999. The other, Mayor Bob Walkup, isn't seeking re-election.
Scott does not demonstrate that she understands her role or responsibility regarding Rio Nuevo. She has said that council members are not CPAs and make decisions based on advice from the city's staff. She has blamed the failures on former managers and senior staff members.
After the city spent $230 million with little to show for it over 12 years, Scott's perspective is unacceptable.
We believe voters should elect Scott's challenger, Republican Tyler Vogt, a political newcomer, as the representative of east-side Ward 4.
In written responses to the Star (Vogt declined two invitations to meet with the editorial board), Vogt said he would push to get both the city and the Rio Nuevo district board to negotiate and "to focus on the common goals of completing what remains of Rio Nuevo."
His email added: "The city is culpable for the current Rio Nuevo situation and will be required to provide remedy for same. This is another instance where the city is not engaging in a cooperative business environment."
We don't entirely agree with that assessment. In recent months the district board is as much to blame for failing to meet with the council to settle differences over spending and the ownership of particular properties.
Asked to describe his working style, Vogt wrote, "Compromise is essential in any collaborative effort and I am willing to make tough decisions when the data indicates a change of plan is necessary."
Vogt, who has been a Tucsonan since 2000, has not been involved in city government. He wrote that he's concentrated on his family, church and career. He's a deputy chief engineer of production at Raytheon.
Star readers asked us to question candidates about several issues, including the poor condition of streets. Vogt said road maintenance would be his second budget priority behind public safety.
To pay for street repair, he wrote, "There will be cuts to secondary services, including Sun Tran."
Vogt also favors abolishing red-light cameras and radar vans, which he described as "not cost effective."
"Safety needs to be addressed by engineering controls rather than by punitive observation," he wrote.
Vogt added that "vast portions of the sign code and land-use code contain restrictions" that do not meet the city charter's mandates. Government is required, he said, "to make and enforce all such local, police, sanitary and other regulations as are deemed expedient to maintain the public peace, protect property, promote the public morals and welfare, and preserve the health of inhabitants of the city."
On paper, Vogt's use of phrases such as "focus on the common goals" and "a cooperative environment" between business and government indicate that he has the right perspective to solve the many challenges facing the city.
The Star endorses Tyler Vogt for the City Council in Ward 4.
Arizona Daily Star