Last Tuesday’s election in Mesa may be sending an early signal to conservatives that times are a changing given the election outcome. Incumbent city councilwoman, Janie Thom, was challenged and defeated by a newcomer, Scott Somers, in what appears to be based on voter approval for more taxes. At the same time, councilman Kyle Jones held off a challenge by several challengers over his votes to spend more taxpayer money on frills and fru-fru for the city. What could the voters be thinking in each race?
For years, the “east valley” has been considered a safe haven for conservatives. Mormon politicians have maintained control (and still do) of most elected positions in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and expanding Queen Creek. In fact, almost all east valley legislators are members of the LDS church. And if you ask just about any politically astute Mormon about taxes, the response is usually negative.
But as I mentioned in my opening line, times are a changing.
Travel across the east valley and you will see housing developments on almost every plot of land. The east valley is growing and with that rapid growth are arriving Californians and Midwesterners. Even during the summer months after the snowbirds have returned north, you will see cars with out of state plates.
With these newcomers, especially those from California, comes an attitude and willingness to accept more taxes. Perhaps that’s why Mesa is on the verge of passing its first property tax. The city council has read this trend and probably believes the time to pass a tax is now.
Perhaps the LDS political community will realize that its stronghold on political power is near its end as the masses arriving from more liberal areas of the country begin to shift the fiscal and cultural values of the east valley.