Nothing against UNS, which is sponsoring this proposition on the Flagstaff City Ballot. The company has provided relatively cheap, reliable, and safe service for decades. But in 2020, an extension of a franchise for 25 years to a fossil fuel source seems out of line and out of touch to us.
To be clear, the City itself is not sponsoring this proposition — that’s why there are no City information forums or pamphlets as there are for Prop 435. All the more reason to take a step back until voters have a chance to be more fully informed of what is at stake.
The City of Flagstaff recently declared a climate emergency and adopted a resolution to make the city “carbon neutral” by 2030. Proceeding with Prop 434 without more information and debate seems out of step with that unanimous City Council resolution.
If the proposition is voted down, as we suggest it should be, the Mayor has the power to extend the franchise for 2 years during which time more thoughtful consideration can take place, including potential renegotiation and planning to related to the city’s climate policy.
As local climate activists have written:
If Proposition 434 passes, UNS Gas will continue to pay the same 2% fee (basically, rent) to the City that they have for the last 25 years for the right use the City rights of way for infrastructure. The important point here is that the City could have negotiated a better deal. It could have negotiated a 4% fee, half of which could have continued to go directly into the City’s general fund, just like it has for the last 25 years, and the other half could have gone to fund various climate-related actions, such as increasing energy efficiency for our most vulnerable populations, outreach and education on equitable climate action, and implementing other strategies in the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). This would work much the same way as any other carbon fee: the polluters pay an increased cost because of the impacts of their fossil fuels so that we can collectively work on mitigating further damage.Dara Marks Marino, Eli Chamberlain, Ariel Coffey, Marilyn Weissman, Andy Bessler, Joe Shannon, Sara Kubisty, Natalie Jacobs, Ted Martinez, Shawn Newell
For the August 4 election, the Coconino County Democratic Party recommends a “No” vote on Prop 434.
Prop 435 – Seeks to adjust City spending levels. This would raise the maximum the city can spend by $4,000,000 (in 1980 dollars) or about $30,000,000 in today’s dollars. At this time, the County Party is not making a recommendation. You can learn more about this proposition at a Virtual Town Hall scheduled for July 21 at 10:00 AM. You can join this Town Hall (or listen to a recording of an earlier one on July 12) by going to this web site: