I was rather outraged (again) today when I learned that the Wickenburg Sun refused to print a rebuttal letter written by Mayoral Candidate Jeannie Tirpack in response to Recall Candidate Ron Badowski’s “Editorial” in the Sun. Outraged, but not really surprised. After all, the Sun has made it quite clear which candidates it supports. Ms. Tirpack isn’t one of them.
I admire Ms. Tirpack for stepping forward to offer us a viable candidate for Mayor when the people’s recall petition was approved. As I know firsthand, there are many power-hungry people in Wickenburg, people who feel threatened when someone challenges their decisions and offers alternatives to their normal way of doing business. They do what they can to throw roadblocks in front of the people they don’t like while leaving a clear path for their friends and supporters. They vote on issues despite potential conflicts of interest, they reject petitions submitted in good faith by honest citizens, they blacklist businesses whose owners speak the truth — if that truth doesn’t make them look good. By doing this, they manage to keep the people of Wickenburg in fear — few people speak out because they’re afraid of what might happen to them or their businesses the next time they need a building permit or zoning change.
They’re the members of the Good Old Boy Network of Wickenburg and they’re selling out Wickenburg to profit themselves and their friends and family members. You’ll find them in Town Hall and at the Chamber of Commerce. And yes, perhaps at the Wickenburg Sun.
Fortunately, there’s more than one outlet for news and information in Wickenburg. WickenburgNews.com and wickenburg-az.com are proud to offer the public — including candidates — an opportunity to speak up about what they think is right or wrong in Wickenburg. The following is Ms. Tirpack’s rejected letter to the Sun, as printed on WickenburgNews.com:
Rebuttal to Badowski Opinion Piece
by Jeannie Corio Tirpack, Candidate for Mayor
I want to try, in this column, to summarize the issues that are facing Wickenburg as we enter the final days before we vote in the November Election. I have met the requirements to face Ron Badowski in the recall election that will be on the ballot, along with a recall of Vice Mayor Jim Girard , and the six candidates who will run for the three other council seats. That means that five new council members could be elected in November. This gives the community an opportunity to make a change in how things are being run in Wickenburg.
Do we need a change? My take is yes! A change of attitude, a correction of ethical conduct, a lessening of influence of special interests. A more careful approach to how and where we spend the taxpayer’s money. Sensitivity to the public’s interest over private interests.
The current Mayor, in his opinion page, lists his extensive associations that he has made in the community, and considers that as an endorsement for his being continued in his office. While impressive, it is no more than hundreds of others in our Town’s History, and many others have served with more humility.
The problem is not his connections, but the fact that he has accepted campaign contributions from several developers, and then has voted for zoning changes that have greatly increased the value of his friends’ property. (Bill Green, Myron Dieble, Jerry Diddy and Ring Ringwood all contributed to his mayoral campaign two years ago and since had zoning changes passed by the Mayor and Council.) The new slogan supporting the Mayor is “Keep Wickenburg Working.” Pundits now say, yes..”Keep Wickenburg Working…for special interests!”
I have long been an advocate for the people’s right to petition and participate. Here is a big difference between the current Mayor and me. He has instituted the famous “three-minute” rule to stifle debate when it turned against his agenda. He has mandated to the Town Clerk to return a petition from Ray Johns that attempted to refer a council action back to the voters. His attitude as expressed is “let them sue us” rather than allow the people to vote. Of course when they do vote, the vote doesn’t go his way.
The Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to endorse a slate of candidates including Mayor Badowski. Mr. Badowski, Candidates Kristi Hensen and Scott Stewart all serve on the board. Please tell me that they didn’t vote to endorse themselves. But worse. The Town of Wickenburg makes an annual contribution to the Chamber amounting to many thousands of dollars. We then have the scenario of the Mayor voting to give money to the chamber from the Town’s coffers, and then allow the Chamber to endorse him and spend money on his behalf to retain his seat. And then people question why there is a call for an ethics policy for elected officials.
Mr. Badowski claims to be a conservative. Yet every budget that he has been involved with goes higher. And now he is leading the call for bonds!
On a lighter note. Both the Mayor and I have appeared on calendars this year. I posed in a patriotic posture for the May Hospital Calendar that was used as a charity fund raising event. The Mayor appeared in the Town’s Calendar, paid for by the Town. As the cover of the Women of Wickenburg Calendar states: “This calendar features outstanding women selected by the community for their contributions to the unique way of life ‘Out Wickenburg Way'” It has been a pleasure to be a part of the community for the past 44 years!
And this caveat. If elected I promise that I will not come back to the Council and ask to be placed in a paid position, as former Mayor Lon McDermott has done. Will the Mayor make the same pledge?