Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That's the Kind of Insight We Expect From a University Professor

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 9:16 PM

Stop the presses! Shyam Jha, a professor at the UA's Eller College of Management, has discovered that newspapers are in financial trouble! Turns out there's this Internet thing that's lessening the demand for the print product and blogs that provide commentary and all these new things like Twitter that break news.

In an op-ed from today's morning daily
, Jha notes that "the vigil for the demise of ink-on-paper version of newspapers is on. Unless they realize they are in the information business, rather than in the business of printing and distribution, they will go the way of the typewriter and horse buggies."

To which we reply: Duh. I would think that if a student at Eller turned in this analysis, he'd get maybe a C for stringing together a bunch of factoids and coming up with a conclusion that most of us made years ago. Why is the Star printing this? Did the editors lose a bet to Shyam?

Rage in the Cage

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Democrat Cheryl Cage, who lost to Republican Al Melvin by in the Legislative District 26 Senate race last year by 1,966 votes, is already hungry for a rematch.

Cage had hoped to keep the district in Democratic hands after Melvin had narrowly lost to Democrat Charlene Pesquiera in 2006. But after defeating moderate Republican Pete Hershberger in the 2008 primary, Melvin was able to prevail in the general election.

In 2010, he’ll have the advantage of incumbency on his side. But he’s also running in a district whose voters have shown they will support Democrats when Republicans veer too far to the right.

Cage is hoping to capitalize on Melvin’s support for deep cuts to education, universities and social spending in the 2009 budget fix that was passed in January.

Melvin is well aware of his vulnerabilities, which is why—unlike some Southern Arizona Republicans—he hasn’t been complaining about wasted money with Rio Nuevo or arguing that Science Foundation Arizona is a big waste of money.

We expect Cage’s entry into the race will tamp down some of the rumors we’ve been hearing that Hershberger might

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Spreading the Wealth Around

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Congressman Raul Grijalva tells us—and the rest of the world—that he's delivering nearly $200 million in stimulus bucks for a remodel of the Nogales-Mariposa Port of Entry.

“This is important for all of Arizona,” Grijalva press-releases. “Not only will it help our local economy but our communities are increasingly concerned about security. Safety along our border is vital as Arizona continues to become more important in trade with Mexico. The funding is crucial in modernizing border infrastructure that will enhance security while promoting economic development and improving the quality of life in the border region.”

Grijalva had asked for $174 million for the port of entry remodel on his list of earmarks. Should be a big economic boost to a corner of the state that could use one.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome to Tent City!

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 3:31 PM

The Arizona Legislature is beginning to give us some hints of how they plan to balance the budget. We like the part about moving the prisons to Mexico. Maybe we can sell some counties to New Mexico or something, too.

A common target is social spending, which was already hacked in this year's budget fix, completed in January. Here's reax from the Children's Action Alliance on the proposed budget cuts:

GOP Budget Drafts Slash Family Programs

Children’s Action Alliance calls on leadership to find a less disastrous approach to balancing the state budget.

Phoenix, AZ — Children’s Action Alliance’s early analysis of the House and Senate Republican leadership draft budget proposals circulating at the state capitol show that those hardest hit by budget cuts are Arizonans who can least afford it. Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) today voiced deep concern that if these draft proposals are adopted, our communities would face a grim future in the year to come.

“With budgets like these, Arizona could expect to see tent cities of homeless families sprouting up in neighborhoods around the state,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, CAA President and CEO. “We would suffer from larger and larger crowds in our hospital emergency rooms because people would have nowhere else to go. And our ranks of children living in temporary foster care would skyrocket

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Gannett, Big Brother. Big Brother, Gannett.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:55 PM

The Gannett Blog is reporting that things keep getting weirder at the Tucson Citizen.

It appears at least one of the Corporate managers will remain on-site for the duration, my tipster says, "most likely to babysit us all while the prospective buyers are in town. If she continues to interfere with the news, there's talk of a revolt, likely the blue flu, but I think that's all big talk, considering all that severance that'd be at risk."

That has led some Citizen staff to think the manager is there to make sure nothing unflattering to Gannett appears in print during the coming -- and perhaps, final -- days. I'm told Citizen top editor Jennifer Boice today reasserted her authority over the news report; Corporate's representatives remains on site, however.

Over at Weekly World Central, we're hearing rumors that the corporate suits spiked Anne Denogean's column from today's paper, apparently because she made a Gannett reference of some sort. On today's Citizen front page, there's no column, just a picture of her with a note that her column will be back on Tuesday.

There's a bright side here: At least this is an indication that the Citizen will be PUBLISHING next Tuesday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brew and Crew Need Marijuana

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 7:46 AM

Right before the five pages of sex and call-girl ads in the LA Weekly, I noticed a full page dedicated to medicinal marijuana clinics and pharmacies--13 ads, to be exact. I noticed that at Organic Caregivers in West LA, for example, they have a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Heaven on Earth Healing has a deal going: $20 for a 1/8. Now that's a ganja ganga.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Now, let's get serious. If Gov. Brew and her crew want to look at ways to boost our economy, perhaps giving MJ a try is the way to go. It might behoove the state government to get a little high right now, and perhaps it could help our lack of funds. A green stimulus.

After all, the Obama administration looks like it's taking our country in a new direction. The AG's office announced this month that the U.S. Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana distributors, like our friends in LA.

And now a California lawmaker is trying to get his Golden State to legalize, not penalize I heard that at a protest once. He says marijuana adds $14 billion to the state's economy.

Wow, sounds like something we could use here, too. Just think what our ad department could do with all those marijuana clinic ads? This could save the newspaper industry, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A New Issue!

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 3:40 PM

The new Weekly, filled with all sorts of simply stunning journalism, is online and ready for your perusal. Feel free to comment on its contents here.

Also, keep your fingers crossed: The plan is that by this time next week, the all-new TucsonWeekly.com will be live to the world, with an integrated blog and commenting capabilities on all stories.

Fingers crossed!

RTA Election Next Steps

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Yesterday, the Tucson Weekly received a copy of a letter sent Monday by the Attorney General's Office to Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, regarding AG Terry Goddard's next steps in the recount of the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority ballots as part of his ongoing RTA criminal investigation. The letter is from Donald E. Conrad, division chief counsel of the AG's Criminal Division.

The letter confirms an examination of the ballots will begin on April 6, and will take place over the course of five days. It also confirms that the AG's office has arranged for the count to be done by the Maricopa Elections Department.

The letter is part of an invite going out to the Pima County Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party and Libertarian Party, to each nominate three people. The AG will then select one person per party to be a witness to the examination process in the room with the ballots.

The AG just doesn't want names, however; the AG also wants birth dates and Social Security numbers to do a background check on each person. Nominations need to be in the AG's office by March 30. Other restrictions include no cameras, cell phones, pens or pencils, or audio and video equipment.

Some election integrity activists aren't too pleased with the fact that they can't bring in paper and pencil in case they want to document information. But for others, it's a more practical matter: How do you find three people that can commit five days in Phoenix?

"I'm happy the AG took control of the ballots, and it appears to be very transparent. They've taken great steps to assure this is done in a very transparent manner," says Bob Westerman, chair of the Pima County Republican Party.

"As far as the process, I find it a little odd that we have to submit three names, and that they pick the one out of three. I don't see how it would matter who it is? It is an extra step I don't understand. And for me as a chairman it makes it tough to find three people qualified, but can also spent five days in Phoenix. I have basically a week now to find these people and they in turn have less than two weeks to make plans to be there."

I tried to reach Rogers, but was told he is in Phoenix. We'll keep trying to find out how he decided to respond to Conrad's letter and who he plans to send over as a rep for the Pima County Democratic Party.

If you would like to go to Phoenix to watch the process, the AG will have an area set up to accomodate a limited number of people interested in watching the process through a glass partition. And Maricopa Elections has made arrangments to put the process on the Internet through live streaming video.

Those addresses, or how to get access to the glass partition viewing area are forthcoming from the AG's office, according to the letter.

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