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Real water people are defenders of our rights, not bureaucrats

Arizona fought California and the feds to win 1.6 million acre feet of water supplies that we pump into the Valley each year.

The lifeline to renewable water supplies that the Central Arizona Project brought to the state was not won by Arizonans fighting against each other. Rather, the victories for giant water and power resources were won by wiliness to take on a fight with California and the feds to protect our water supplies.

We can take on these fights and win, but not with a bunch of bureaucrats and watercrats. Watercrats are government-engineering bureaucrats and lawyers who work on government projects. They are nice people, but they do not know how to live on a budget.

We have a choice to make as voters: Who will lead a fight against the out-of-control federal system that would damage, destroy or restrict our water supplies, and restrict our water-pumping power supplies with a cap-and-tax system that could raise water rates by as much as 30 percent?

Will the former state employees and watercrats running for the board take on this fight with the Obama administration, or will independent-minded conservatives take on this fight? That is the question.

The eight conservatives and Republicans best able to take on that fight are:

Highly Recommended: myself, Cyndi Moulton, Raymond Johnson, TC Bundy and John Rosado

Also recommended: Andy Yates, Ray Jones and Tim Bray

Your challenge is to choose five of these eight. The others are watercrats and cannot lead the fight that’s ahead of us. Please send five conservatives to the Central Arizona Project board who are willing to fight for your state rights.

The Central Arizona Project was led by old-time, so-called water people and watercrats, including Grady Gammage, George Renner and Sid Wilson. Those days are gone, and so is the money.

Renner was voted out of office by taxpayers who were fed up with free-spending ways. Gammage negotiated a water-rights settlement that gave a big chunk of the of the Central Arizona Project allocation to the Native Americans. I served with both of these men and voted against their budgets and their tax-and-spend ways six to eight times during the eight years they ran the place.

The Central Arizona Project gets about $70 million per year from your local property taxes to repay the federal government for the giant irrigation system. Home values are dropping like a rock, so is the property tax income the Central Arizona Project receives to repay our debt.

The Central Arizona Project’s property tax income will drop $70 million to $140 million, according to economist Elliott Pollack. Your house is at a lower value; your tax payment is also lower. That means everyone is cutting back, and local government must do so, with care and sensitivity to retirement commitments already made. We must now live within our means.

We have a choice: Raise taxes or cut the budget and live in our means. I voted consistently to cut the budget and lower the headcount at the Central Arizona Project. We have cut the budget 10 percent during the past 24 months.

We must cut back and live within our means, financially. We have to be conservative in turbulent times. You should consider fiscal conservatives for the Central Arizona Project board for a period until the economy recovers. It is a prudent, conservative thing to do.

— Mark Lewis is a member of the Central Arizona Project board of directors. He is seeking re-election to the board and was responding to a guest commentary in last week’s edition.

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