Voters will decide who will be the next Pima County assessor, recorder, and treasurer in the Nov. 8 general election.
Below are answers, edited for space, to a short questionnaire sent to candidates. Republican Treasurer Beth Ford is running unopposed for the office she has held since 2000.
County Assessor candidates
Democrat Bill Staples, 56, has held the job as Pima County assessor for the past 12 years.
Why do you think you are the best candidate for Pima County assessor?
Staples says his best qualifications are his 12 years of experience managing more than 125 employees at the Assessor’s Office, 20 years of professional appraisal experience and serving in professional associations and on the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
What do you see as the most important challenge at the Assessor’s Office and how do you plan to fix it?
The most important challenge is “finding proper balance,” he said. Assessor staff was reduced 20 percent in the past 12 years, while the number of properties valued by staff went up 18 percent, a feat made possible through training, education, and technology.
The current “complex and confusing” multi-year assessment calendar will be replaced with a single-year calendar, he said, and the Legislature likely will exempt business personal property.
The need to plan for those changes is “critical,” he said.
Independent Suzanne Droubie, 47, works as a senior managing consultant at the Paradigm Tax Group. She is a relative newcomer to the local political scene, with this campaign being her first political experience.
Droubie has more than 20 years of experience in real estate, management, and customer service. More than seven of those years she spent at the Assessor’s Office.
“My experience, along with being fiscally conservative and customer service oriented make me the best candidate,” she said.
The loss of objectivity, lack of communication and absence of respect for the taxpayer and the appeal process are the most important challenges, she said.
She plans to prevent wasteful spending and unnecessary litigation, apply values and exemptions without bias, treat taxpayer concerns with respect and make the Assessor’s Office a source of easy-to-use information. She also will send representatives to hear taxpayer grievances at State Board of Equalization hearings.
“All of this can and will be fixed by simply implementing a culture of public service back into the Assessor’s Office,” she said.
County Recorder candidates
F. Ann Rodriguez
Democrat F. Ann Rodriguez, 62, has been the Pima County recorder since 1993.
Her job is to make sure the Recorder’s Office is enforcing state laws and suggesting legislation that would benefit Pima County citizens, she said.
She has automated and modernized the Recorder’s Office by replacing manual searches of books and microfilm with computer equipment. She initiated the permanent early voting list and expanded the public records available on the Recorder’s Office website.
“I have a reputation of treating all candidates fairly with a high regard for fairness during candidate nomination challenges,” she said.
Citizens old enough to vote need to be educated on the impact of every candidate and how the elected candidates will impact them directly, she said.
Voters registered as “independent” or “party not designated” should be encouraged to participate in state primary elections. She plans to focus on encouraging voters who receive a vote-by-mail ballot to vote and return their ballots.
Mike Cease, 62, has held leadership positions in the Green Party of Pima County since 2010.
Citizen participation is the foundation of democracy, he said, but nearly 300,000 age-eligible Pima County citizens are not registered to vote.
“We need to change the establishment,” he said. “My opponent represents the status quo. I believe we need to take bold, progressive and innovative administrative steps. We must exercise courage to think outside of the box and try new things.”
He plans to overlay U.S. Census data with voter data mapping to create a detailed roadmap for outreach, on a precinct-by-precinct basis, to the neighborhoods that are the most underserved.
He believes 287,461 new voters can be registered to vote over the next four years. His administration would end voter disenfranchisement in Pima County and says it would become a national model for full citizen participation in democracy.
Early voting starts Oct. 12.
Contact Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or email@example.com. On Twitter @CurtTucsonStar.