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BISBEE WIRE #70/candidates that want to spend your money? Bisbee issues of importance /happenings

editor: fred miller          April 14, 2024 #70/ April 2024


This is mostly about the primary election on July 30 with early voting beginning July 3. Who is running, important dates, and some election related shorts, as well as happenings in Bisbee.

I believe there are important issues for anyone running for office. I've outlined several below for Bisbee candidates. Of prime importance is the economic viability of the downtown business district in OB. And that affects the City of Bisbee. As noted, there are 10 buildings for sale -4 of which are vacant, two more to be demolished or extensively rebuilt, one business closed for a year, and one potential lodging business in limbo. This does not bode well and needs serious attention with a public/private clear plan of action.

Some of the Bisbee and County candidates have been interviewed on KBRP magazine by Mike Thornton, more to come. He and I hope to do some kind of a roundtable with candidates to foster an exchange of views about what they see as important issues. (I appear every Friday at 10 am on the magazine with a Wire hour. Next show 4/19. And you can read Ali Morse's and my opinion piece about David Stevens selected memory on Thornton's program here) if it is not paywalled.

In November in addition to the candidates races, there will be several propositions on the November ballot. The legislature's republicans have succeeded in abandoned their legislative duties and referred three state statutes  and three constitutional amendments to date, and likely more to be added as the session drags on.

It's a long election season folks.

Meanwhile the weekend of April 19, 20,21 OB will be hoppin. Vans, bands, singing, swinging, cosplay and hairspray, dancing and prancing. Go do it.


................​AROUND TOWN................

Watta weekend!


April 20 Greenway Elementary school 5:30

April 21 Presbyterian annex/24 Howell 3:00

more info here


Rita Verri's Rhythms of Bisbee April 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

tix at

Earth Day Clothing Exchange at Saturday Market April 20

Weird Wild West, Thursday-Monday, April 18-22;

Mile High Music Festival April 20 12-8 Jonquil

Alice in Bisbeeland.Thursday-Sunday, April 18-21.



Join us at the Bisbee Saturday Market on April 27th from 9 am to 1 pm. Bring all the art supplies you want to get rid of and/or pick up some new-to-you art making materials!



pics of our burg

The Prowl

Doug Stanhope first TV appearance (Sooo cute! He use to have hair!)


Best place to live


Shed it or Shred it May 11, 9-12, Ace parking lot. Get rid of unused personal papers; those xmas cards from 1999, tax returns of 2005, unfinished terrible novels; unused reading or seeing glasses;  They no long take outdated medicines or electronics, nor discarded husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends. 


The Stepping Back in Time Walking Tour with historian Boyd Nicholl will take you through the streets of Bisbee while sharing the community’s history. The tour starts at the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum building stairs each Saturday at 2:00 pm and is limited to 12 guests.


More City Events

Resources from This Week in read go here

Copper Queen Library education and wellness events for adults and kids:

For a complete list of Senior Center activities email

For science-related events and activities visit

Discover Bisbee Arizona - the official website of Bisbee with Queen Mine tour and reservations:

Bisbee Enclave: Online directory of businesses in Bisbee:

...............THE CITY................




The council will meet in a special session, to interview and select one person to fill the vacant Ward 2 seat. These are the people who have applied.

Richard “Pete” Skinner (co-owner Warren Peace Cafe)

Brian McClain (contractor)

Nicholas (Nick) Mueller (established chess club)

Cynthia Conroy (former director Bisbee Vogue)




Agenda and Background Here:

(The background for council agenda topics is important and necessary for transparency in city government. The city clerks, Ashley Coronado or Nina Williams post agendas, generally the Thursday before meetings. You may request to get on the mail list from them. The notes reveal details of individual topics such as contracts the city is signing, revised salaries/wages of departments, minutes of past meetings, special event details, monthly expenditures, and much more. In short it is how the city is functioning. It is a good idea to at least look at the background once to see the format and how topics are included. I tend to pick out those items of most me. You may have different ideas of what is interesting.)

Of Interest:

#1 How your money is spent

#2 Consent agenda where Bisbee Pride is seeking approval for seven events/permits. Also a liquor license for the Oliver House.

#4-9 Lotsa accepting dough and contract awards

#10 Pool update from the city manager



The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today that the Copper Queen Library is among 30 finalists for the 2024 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The Copper Queen Library (CQL) is one of two institutions in Arizona to be selected as a finalist for this award. The CQL extends congratulations to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for also being honored.

 The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For 30 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

 “The 30 National Medal finalists from across the United States showcase the tremendous abilities of libraries and museums to serve as trusted, dynamic public spaces that meet the needs of their communities,” said IMLS Acting Director Cyndee Landrum. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these outstanding institutions. We congratulate them on their collective effort to respond to community needs, preserve diverse history and culture, and create a sense of belonging for all Americans.”


To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging Copper Queen Library community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media using the hashtags #ShareYourStory and #IMLSmedals, and engage with IMLS on X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. For more information, please visit the IMLS website.

National Medal winners will be announced in late May. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during an in-person National Medals Ceremony in Washington, DC this summer.



*****Contribute to your community******

Airport Advisory Commission - 2 Vacancies

Appeals Board for the Property Maintenance Code - 2 Vacancies

Board of Adjustment - 1 Vacancy 

Library Advisory Board - 1 Vacancy 

Police/Fire Advisory Committee - 3 Vacancies (2-Ward 3 & 1-Ward 1) 

Transit Advisory Committee - 3 Vacancies (Bisbee Citizen / Local Disability Community / Local Business)

Youth Council- 4 Vacancy (3 Youth and 1 Youth Adult Adviser)



Pool Lifeguard

Transit Driver


Police Officer

Mine Tour Guide




Jen Fifield has a new article out on who is or is not paying for Cochise County Supervisor's legal fees. It's left supe Peggy Judd dangling with no safety net. Fiefield and VoteBeat are among the best sources of what is going on with voting in AZ. Go here for the article.


County Elections Director Tim Maddix has resigned. This will be the fifth elections director in 2 years. Marisol Renteria has been appointed interim director. 

Mattix was appointed to the role in October 2023  after the abrupt resignation of Bob Bartlesmeyer, and just oversaw the 2024 Presidential Preference Election and Hand Count Audit. A news release from the county says Mattix is departing for personal family reasons and comes with regret, as he had hoped to provide stability for the elections department through the 2024 election season.


U.S. Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva announced that he’s being treated for cancer, after seeking treatment for a persistent cough that he initially believed was pneumonia. Grijalva, who has not cast a vote in Congress since February, did not release many details about his diagnosis, saying only that “after further testing and imaging, my physician discovered that I have cancer." Grijalva said in the news release that he’s confident in his “vigorous course of treatment.” The 76 year old Grijalva said he intends to keep in the race for what will be his 21st year in that office if elected.



Attorney General Kris Mayes is demanding the Arizona Corporation Commission reconsider a decision to allow Arizona Public Service to increase its rates on customers who have rooftop solar panels. The commission voted on an amendment that adds a monthly charge of between $2.50 to $3 for residential customers with rooftop solar power. 

The new rates, which took effect March 8, also saw the average electric bill increase by approximately 8%, or between $10 and $12.

Mayes’ office claims that the commission violated the Arizona Constitution by making a change that impacts a select set of ratepayers without providing any evidence justifying the solar surcharge. 



When is a prayer a sermon? Rep Diaz opposed the prez marking the day that Easter aso happened to fall on.

Diaz does not hide his preference of combining state politics with his personal religion. His main website brandishes a large cross overlaying the American flag. Diaz incorrectly and ignorantly said that President Joe Biden proclaimed the holiday on the same day as Easter this year, and went on to say that it was “proof” of “light” versus “dark,” and then followed up with saying the U.S. was an “unrighteous nation.” (Easter typically occurs between March 22 and April 25, falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.)

"Eternal life is not available just to everybody, it is available just to those that acknowledge Jesus Christ," Diaz said on the House floor. Oh damn! just when I thought I was fa-eva.



Speaking in that special language babble that only the chosen can hear. Perhaps Senator Kern is praying in tongues that he won't be put in jail as a fake elector



AG Kris Mayes will soon be wrapping up her investigation republicans who signed bogus documents and the state seal in an effort to subvert the 2020 election results. Former cochise county chair Robert Montgomery is one of those fakers. She has also subpoenaed Reps Biggs and Gosar.




For anyone running for office in Bisbee, there are many issues to understand or at least grasp their importance.

Council members in the past have not been very pro-active. There hasn't been much initiation and leadership, with the exception of Mayor Budge, coming from council members. Hopefully that will change as two new council members in Wards 1(elected) and 2 (appointed) take their seats.

These are my takes on some of the more pressing issues facing the council.


Bisbee is not a well-off city. We have an aged infrastructure, a static aging population, a sometimes cantankerous citizenry, and a tax base inadequate to fund the things that need doing. Consequently understanding the budget is basic to understanding how the city runs;  what can and can't be done. Often candidates have wonderful ideas that are based on dollars that are just not in the budget. And won't be. Hopefully all candidates read the draft budget and will attend the budget hearings beginning 4/22 and participate with informed opinions.

There are a few issues that are necessary to understand and act on for Bisbee's long term economic health.


I've been here 30 years. There are more commercial buildings for sale or repair than I've ever seen. There are currently ten commercial buildings for sale, One business-Letson Loft/8 rooms- will take a year to be rebuilt due to fire, two buildings-28, 30 Main-that will need to be demolished or extensively rebuilt, and one housing project at 100 Clawson that has come to a standstill in OB.

This is a serious economic threat to the future of Bisbee. Although a private sector problem, it has and will continue to adversely impact the city's economic tax base. A small public/private group should be formed to help market the properties and figure out a way forward. The council should be involved. And soon.

These properties are for sale: Copper Queen Hotel 11 Howell ($12,500,000), Cafe Roka-35 Main ($1.65 million) Art Home building at 79 Main ($625,000), Santiagos/San Ramon 1 Howell $1,670,000), Grand Hotel 61 Main ($3 mil), Acacia building 69 Main ($800,000), Convention Center 2 Main ($1,800,000), Stock Exchange 15 Brewery ($1,750,000),former Artemisia Gallery 27 Main ($690,000), 6 Naco Road ($1,200,000). Four of these buildings are empty, the remainder have businesses.


It is imperative that Bisbee is the site for the new county jail, now called the Cochise County Justice Center. There is ample county owned space near the existing jail.  Consequently anyone seeking office should be aware that there needs to be vigilance about siting the new jail in Bisbee. In this case vigilance means ensuring that Bisbee is represented on any committee planning for the new jail and advocating for Bisbee as the only centralized site that makes economic sense to the county. (The county issued an RFP, now closed, for selecting a vendor to provide Jail Planning Services. Unusually, no announcement as to who was selected.) It would also mean seeking allies from around the county to consolidate support the siting of the jail in Bisbee.

This is why it is important...There are two main courts in Bisbee and one in SV that house the six divisions of the Superior Court. Additionally the county attorney's office is here. The court apparatus should be near to the jail for issues of attorney visits, transportation, and trial logistics. If another jail site were chosen, such as Sierra Vista, not only would Bisbee lose the staffing and incidental purchases from employees at the jail, within the next five years there would be pressure to bring the entire court system (judges/attorneys/court apparatus), about 50-75 employees, to be near the jail.  And out of Bisbee. A huge economic loss to our city.


Tourism is the economic lifeblood of Bisbee. Yet, the economic engine of Bisbee has tended to get only sporadic attention in the past 20 years, with the exception of 2015-2019 when Jen Luria was tourism manager and there was a plan, a consistent tourism message, and a strong social media development. Although interrupted by the pandemic, we still see the results of her efforts.

Whomever is the visitor center/tourism manger, currently Heather Andrews, needs guidance for the overall placement of marketing material, and consistency of message.

There has been very slow acceptance on the part of the council and city officials to understand the economic implications of Tourism. It wasn’t until the iBisbee economic development committee explored several other economic options unsuccessfully , that it became clear that Tourism was it.

The various types of tourism/visitors should be identified as to the kind of visitation that would most fit with Bisbee history and residents We need to maintain a balance that both protects and benefits residents, and provides the positive aspects of economic growth as well as interesting visitation.  There is a lot of pie-in-the-sky ideas about bringing people to town, but what is needed is community-based tourism.

One other thing to be addressed is the need for events to be spread out throughout the year. There are too many events in the Spring, not enough in the summer/f and late fall/winter. The council is the only body that can do that by approval or disapproval of event permits. There are no need for events in March and April because those are prime visitation months anyway.


Assessing the damage or lack thereof on the Bisbee long term rental market is a necessity in planning for the future. We need specific data, not wild guesstimates, about what now is available. The city has made big strides in the past few years particularly with a set of regs that could be monitored for compliance. Also the city could ask air b&b for data that would show the number of SRT’s over a 5 year period to the present, the average price range over that period, and the number of occupancy days.


The city badly needs a hotel with at least 30-50 rooms, meeting spaces, and other amenities. The Copper Queen Hotel fits that bill, but the past owners have not had either the experience or the bucks-or both-to make the historic hotel what it could be. A small marketing committee could be established to find a buyer with deep pockets to refurbish the hotel. That likely would mean seeking a major hotel corporation that has a boutique division.

If we had an historical, but modern functional hotel, the city could then market to small conventions, retreats, families, and others. The long term vexing problem of lack of visitation during the week could be solved. It could and would stimulate economic growth.


Fire safety

We badly need a new fire suppression system in Old Bisbee. One of the challenges and necessities is building support among residents, other cities, the county, elected state and federal officials, get them to start advocating more forcefully for our historic town and also taking that expanded support to  granting agencies.

In addition to the non-profit Firewise, there needs to be a concerted programmatic effort by the city to get homeowners to clean up fire hazards and dry vegetation in and around their yards. Once a program was in place it could also be used as evidence to insurance companies that fire hazards were being mitigated.


It is increasingly difficult to get home insurance at a resonable price. We have had personal experience with our own home insurance going from $1200 a year to $2400 with no notice and no way to challenge the figure. Fortunately we were able to find another insurance company at a more reasonable rate. It turns out that is not unusual for home insurance rate hikes in Bisbee.  Elected officials have to organize support and take it to those insurance companies and demand responses as to why Bisbee has become a target for huge price hikes.

Public Safety

There is a need to figure out how to keep police and firefighters. That means finding the dough. Both departments are understaffed and that results in spotty safety coverage at various times in a 24 hour period. It also means those working are overworked. Not good.

Drugs have become a problem leading to petty theft and an increase in homelessness. A prolonged determined effort to arrest meth, fentanyl, heroin, and crack, wholesale dealers is necessary. There is too much averting eyes to problems of drugs. On the other hand, enticing a large grow facility could contribute to empllyment and economic growth.

Clean up Bisbee

Although the 'broken window' theory has some merit in urban environs, it is less so in rural cities. However it is clear that when governing bodies and residents take pride in their city, that many things get fixed. In Bisbee one of the problems in all the wards is that there are non functional cars sitting on public property. Cars without plates or up to date registration, cars that block views of intersections, cars that can't run. It is not too much to ask that residents, police, and the council begin a long term program to remove those vehicles. This isn't 'gentrification' or 'attacks on the poor'. It is taking pride in our city.



The races for individual offices are set as noted below. There are a few outside possible challenges to signature petitions, but those have to be done by 4/15.

Candidates have 14 days to scour their opponents’ nomination petitions for forgeries, double signers, voters who don’t live in the district, voters of the wrong party or any other technicality that they might be able to use in court to disqualify signatures — and eventually disqualify the candidate. In face someone took out papers to potentially challenge County Attorney McIntyre signatures. If you would like to see any petition challenges go here.

This info came from the Sec. of State website


July 1.....Last day to register to vote in Primary

July 3.....Early voting begins (mail in and

July 19...Last day to request a mail ballot

July 26...Last day to vote early in person


August 4...last day for curing ballots

Åugust 5....first day to canvass returns

August 12...last day for supes to canvass returns

August 15.....Official statewide canvass of voting results


(generally Bisbee elections are decided in the primary with the winner receiving 50% + 1 vote.)


Mayor Ken Budge…..Wanda Leikem…..Gretchen Bonaduce

Ward 1 …..Shay Sanders, Karen Schumacher

Ward 2…..Mel Sowid

Ward 3….Juanetta Hill



District 1   Tom Crosby-r, Teresa Waslh -(D), Clint Briseno-6

District 2  Tom Linndeman, -d  Joni Giacomion-d  Kathleen Gomez-r

District 3  lotsa repubs, 2 independents, 1 democrat

County Recorder    Anne Carl (d)   David Stevens (r)

All other offices are unopposed, treasurer, sheriff, school super, county attorney

In addition, these offices are also on the ballot:

Several Fire Districts including Naco and Palominos, Six Water Districts, Naco Sanitary District


STATE DISTRICTS.....for district boundaries go here

District 21 (Legislative District/State)  BISBEE 

District 21 includes neighborhoods in central Tucson south of Broadway between 4th Avenue and Pantano Road. It stretches south through Sahuarita and takes in Southern Arizona communities such as Nogales, Bisbee, south of why 92/Palominas as well as the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Roughly 73 percent of the district’s voters live in Pima County, while 22 percent live in Santa Cruz and 5 percent live in Cochise County. A total of 41 percent of the voters are registered Democrats, 21 percent are registered Republicans and 38 percent aren’t registered with either party, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Given the Democratic voter-registration advantage, District 21 is considered “outside of competitive range” by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

In the Senate race, no one has filed to run against Democratic incumbent Rosanna Galbadon, who is seeking her third term in that chamber after serving four terms in the House of Representatives.

In the House, Democrat Briana “Breezy” Ortega is challenging incumbent Reps. Consuelo Hernandez and Stephanie Stahl Hamilton.

Republican Christopher Kibbey filed to take on the two winners of that House primary.

District 19 (Legislative District/State) 

Nearly half of District 19 voters—48 percent—live in Cochise County. Roughly 34 percent live in southeastern Pima County, with the remainder scattered around Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties. The GOP-leaning district is considered, in the words of the Arizona Redistricting Commission, “outside the competitive range,” with Republicans making up 42 percent of voters, Democrats making up 24 percent and voters not registered with either party making up 34 percent. Douglas is in this district.

Sen. David Gowan served four terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, including two years as Speaker of the House, after first winning a seat in 2008. He won his Senate seat in 2018. He's facing a challenge from Democrat Bob Karp, who got about 37 percent of the vote in a 2020 challenge to Gowan.

District 19 House Reps. Gail Griffin and Lupe Diaz, both Republicans, are unopposed.

For Congress:

CD6: Is most of Cochise County excluding border cities. Extends into Greenlee County.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani will once again face Kathleen Winn, a former local radio talk show host who landed 19 percent/distant third in the five-way 2022 primary against Ciscomani.  Libertarian Vance Cast is also in the Primary

Ciscomani’s district is one of the most competitive in Arizona, and Ciscomani hasn’t stuck with the MAGA wing of his party as closely as the wingnuts  would like. Winn’s challenge has the backing of U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs’ wife (and many believe, the Freedum Caucus leader himself).

The prevailing Republican is looking at a race against Democrat Kirsten Engel, a former state lawmaker who came within 2 percentage points of defeating Ciscomani in this competitive congressional district in 2022. This year, Engel is centering on abortion rights in her campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already named her among 17 candidates in "Red to Blue" districts strategists hope to flip this year.

CD 7

Extends along the border includes Douglas, Bisbee, Yuma, and goes into much of south Tucson,

Congressman Raul Grijalva, runs for his 12th term representing a heavily Democratic Southern Arizona district, who announced April 2 that he is undergoing treatment for cancer, has a challenge from Republican political newcomer Daniel Butierez in the general.


With independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s move to retire from the Senate rather than seek a second term, Arizona’s Senate seat is up for grabs. On the GOP side, unsuccessful 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is facing Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in the GOP primary. (Lesser-known candidate Elizabeth Jeen Reye also filed to run in the GOP primary.) On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego faces a clear path to the Democratic nomination. After snapping a three-decade losing streak in 2018, Arizona Democrats have won another two U.S. Senate races with retired astronaut Mark Kelly and hope to extend that streak this year with Gallego.

The Green Party has a primary shaping up in the Senate race, with Arturo Hernandez and Michael Norton both filing to run on the ticket.

Arizona Corporation Commission

Three statewide seats are up for grabs on the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees businesses and regulates utilities, including approving rate hikes for utility bills. Not well known, but decisions they make affect every Arizonan.

Democrat Anna Tovar and Republican Jim O'Connor aren't running for reelection. Republican Lea Marquez Peterson is seeking a second full term. She is joined in the race by Republicans Christy Kelly, Rene Lopez and Rachel Walden and Democrats Jonathan Hill, Ylenia Aquilar and Joshua Polacheck.

O'Connor has echoed election-fraud concerns of anit-democracy republicans, asking counties to stop using machines in elections and exploring how the Corporation Commission could hold a hearing on the use of "voting machines," which he called an "incredible risk to our republic." Thomas Van Flein was named chief counsel for the commission. He previously was chief of staff for Paul Gosar-an extremist-and also worked for Sarah Palin;



County filing petitions

County Elections Procedures

Bisbee election info


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