Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sun, Oct. 20

Tamberella critical of current board

Editor's note: The Miner is running a series of stories on opposed candidates whose names appear on the Nov.

7 ballot.

Buster Johnson, a Republican from Lake Havasu City, is running for re-election for his District 3 seat on the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, and is challenged Nov.

7 by Joe Tamberella, an independent from Golden Valley.

Johnson, who was elected in 1996, ran unopposed in the GOP primary, and no Democrats filed to run.

The district extends from the southern county line at Alamo Lake, and includes Oatman, a portion of the Interstate 40 corridor, all of the Sacramento Valley and a stretch of Golden Valley up to five miles north of State Route 68.

Supervisors earn $47,500 a year.

Tamberella is profiled here.

Joe Tamberella, a 10-year resident of Golden Valley, is running on a platform critical of the board majority's support of industrial development, Buster Johnson.

If elected, Tamberella said he would move to abolish the Mohave County Economic Development Authority because he believes it has been ineffective in attracting high-paying jobs, and wants the county Planning and Zoning Department to take over economic development.

MCEDA is a private, nonprofit group that contracts with the county to bring in industry and jobs.

"(MCEDA) brings in bad, polluting industries with low wages," Tamberella said.

"Ten dollars an hour is a low wage."

Tamberella, a 44-year-old karaoke host at a Laughlin casino, said planning and zoning should be in charge of economic development because employees are familiar with rules and regulations involving zoning and would not be influenced by outside interests.

(Bill Goodale, acting executive director of MCEDA, headed P&Z during the mid-1970s.)

"I would like to see nonpolluting industries come here," Tamberella said.

"We need to expand our tourism because tourists spend their money and go home."

He said he also wants to see light manufacturing, such as companies that set up shop at the Kingman Airport Industrial Park.

A private prison proposed near the site of the Griffith Energy Project under construction off Griffith Road and Interstate 40 is not the kind of industry Tamberella wants to see.

"A prison that pays $10 an hour is worthless," he said.

"If the county cannot keep detention people at $10 an hour and the state cannot keep workers in prisons at $13 an hour, I am questioning the type of people who would accept a $10-an-hour job at a private prison."

Tamberella also has harshly criticized the Griffith plant because it is expected to use 3,063 acre-feet of water a year (MCEDA's figures) and county government committed millions of dollars to pay for roads and a water system to serve the plant and other industries.

However, now that Griffith is a done deal and is expected to begin producing energy next summer, Tamberella believes the county should reopen the contract with the plant's owners to negotiate a better deal.

For instance, he suggested requiring Griffith to pay the county 25 percent of the plant's profits because the county paid for 25 percent of the infrastructure serving the natural gas-fired power plant.

The proceeds could go into the county's general fund and be used for paying for roads, raises for county employees and other purposes, Tamberella said.

Tamberella said he opposes raising sales and property taxes to increase county revenues.

The supervisors considered raising taxes before approving a $148 million budget for the 2000-2001 fiscal year on Aug.

7 to cover raises, replacing the motor pool and for other purposes.

They considered an additional quarter-percent sales tax, on top of the current tax of 5 percent in the unincorporated area and 7.25 percent in the county's four cities.

The primary property tax rate is $1.75 for $100 in assessed valuation.

The supervisors should not raise taxes because they have used county funds to benefit the private sector, according to Tamberella.

"I don't think if you raise sales taxes tomorrow employees will get a raise," he said.

"It will disappear into other projects."

Tamberella also opposes a decision supported by the board majority of Johnson and Supervisor Jim Zaborsky of Bullhead City to build the county complex of 200 acres of land off Shinarump Drive and Aztec Road donated by Litchfield Park developer Fred Eldean.

The supervisors recently agreed to study a site near Superior Court in downtown Kingman after the City Council kicked in $50,000.

Citing budget constraints, Tamberella questioned the need to build a new county complex, but said the dilapidated building housing the Mohave County Sheriff's Office on West Beale Street needs to be remodeled or rebuilt.

The sheriff's office could be housed in a modular building on land Eldean agreed to donate, Tamberella said.

"And that way we have (more) sheriff's coverage in Golden Valley," he said.

"What good is the sheriff's office in Kingman? (Sheriff Tom Sheahan) does not have jurisdiction in Kingman."

Tamberella said he favors doing a study on the water supply in Mohave County, but believes the study should be done by the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency and not by a consultant hired by the county.

"Having private companies do it is inefficient because they are not as qualified as the federal people," he said.

Tamberella, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who grew up in Long Island, said voters should pick him because he is highly qualified and has "complained about Mohave County since the day I got here." He also considers himself knowledgeable about contracts.

He earned a bachelor's degree in graphic arts and advertising from the State University of New York in Farmingdale.

He also holds a certificate in paralegal studies from Long Island University and in the casino industry from the Community College of Southern Nevada.

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