A look at Walkup's tenure as Tucson MayorPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mayor Bob Walkup steps down from his post in less than two weeks as one of the current longest serving elected city officials.
When people are critical of leadership in Tucson, much of the ire is directed at the city council.
But after working with them for 12 years, Mayor Bob Walkup believes he knows what could improve the job they do. And it starts with changing the Tucson city charter to make council members full time.
"I think if we had full time council members who understood their job is policy, and the city manager's job is operations, we could get to the point where we told city manager what to do, and he accomplishes what we told him and he tells us what he's done. So we don't have to come over here and meddle in what he's doing," said Mayor Walkup.
Walkup believes that would reduce the council's micromanaging of some issues such as police and fire staffing.
The republican mayor believes council races should be non-partisan and contends party affiliation did not dictate major decisions they've made.
On the state level, Walkup says it's clear the legislature prefers spending money in Phoenix and Maricopa rather than Tucson.
But his relationship with Governor Jan Brewer is different. Despite Walkup opposing Senate Bill 1070, he supports brewer and the job she does.
"She said, 'I'm very disappointed in your view,'" Walkup said. "I gave her the four reasons why I thought it was the wrong thing to do. She said, 'I understand that. I hope I can still count on your support for re-election.' I said absolutely."
When it comes to the recession, Walkup says he recognized homes were being built in Tucson at a dangerous rate in 2007, an early sign of the housing crisis and recession to come, but he believes the city couldn't have done more to stop it.
"If you came in and said, 'I want to build all these homes.' We couldn't have said to you, 'I'm sorry. We're not going to do that because you're going off the cliff.' There would have been a riot," Walkup said.
Walkup leaves office completely positive and optimistic about downtown development. He believes there's a precise moment in the first part of 2013 everyone will know he was right, "When the modern streetcar, the first all-American built streetcar in 58 years come rolling down the track for the first time and makes the turn by the convention center and goes over that new bridge, that new Cushing Street Bridge to the west side."
New Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will be sworn in December 5.