Pinal voters will have few primary choices to make at the county level, and most Aug. 4 winners will be unopposed in November.
One of the offices that is contested is county assessor, where two-term incumbent Republican Douglas Wolf is being challenged by Michael Cruz. Wolf had a background in computers and real estate and has approached the job in a serious manner. Unfortunately, critics have said for years he is sometimes taking the wrong approach.
Wolf’s office has been in opposition with farmers, who long have been a mainstay in the economy. Attempts have been made to reassess farmland at a higher rate when it is fallow. Sometimes it was merely because there was insufficient water to grow a crop.
Wolf also has sought to add assessments for industrial equipment that corporate management said was real property. Major corporations pay major taxes in this area, and they spend considerable effort to determine their tax liability in advance. Surprises are the enemy of good corporate citizens and sometimes lead to loss of jobs.
Companies have been forced to add extra expenses for accounting fees to justify their position. Also, the county has had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees while losing in court because of Wolf’s decisions. Other county officials have been critical of Wolf because his actions have jeopardized efforts to create and maintain jobs.
Cruz has been an educator and worked as a tax professional. He has a degree in business and an MBA in human resources. We endorse Mike Cruz for assessor and thank him for giving the voters a choice.
County Supervisor Steve Miller of Casa Grande, who has done an outstanding job of representing his district and the county, is unopposed. In District 1 a longtime public servant, and one of the few Democratic officeholders in this area now, Pete Rios, is opposed in the primary by Ruben Leos of Picacho. The district includes much of central and eastern Pinal.
Leos retired as a captain in the Pinal Sheriff’s Office and has a good record of public service. Rios, however, has been a steady, informed voice on the board and previously was a longtime state legislator and state leader. We endorse Rios for re-election.