Hype is steadily growing for the 2012 presidential election, but we may be overlooking a critically important election right in our own neighborhood.

On August 30, 2011, cities throughout Arizona will be holding elections for mayor and city council, including Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, and Prescott.

According to the Arizona Republic, a disappointing 10 percent of Phoenix residents are projected to vote in this election which will ultimately decide who will control the most close-to-home issues for the next four years. While many of us are preoccupied with the gargantuan battles being fought at the state and federal levels, it seems we’re neglecting the tangible battles that are occurring daily in our city governments.

Many don’t realize that these local battles can have a profound impact on the direction of the state.

Look at what’s happening in California’s Proposition 8 ruling which declared the voters’ decision to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman unconstitutional.

The presiding judge referenced a City of San Francisco law which enacted the Equal Benefits Ordinance, allowing same-sex partners who are employees of city contractors or vendors to receive the same benefits as married couples. The judge argued that it would be economically harmful to the City of San Francisco if Prop 8 passed based in part on upholding this city law.

Even though 52.30% of California citizens voted in favor of Prop 8 (many of whom were from outside San Francisco), one city’s bad policies ultimately could impact every person in the state.

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