Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday Roundtable: The Wacky State Budget Fight, City Council Elections, Etc.

Posted By on Sat, May 30, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Our analysis of the week gone by, after the jump.

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City Manager Mike Letcher on the Friday Roundtable

Posted By on Sat, May 30, 2009 at 8:32 PM

See Jane See White inquire about whether the city will stand up for the Rialto Theatre as part of the downtown deal being hammered out between the city and developers Scott Stiteler and Don Martin. I ask about the rental tax, street maintenance and parks, although Letcher misunderstands my last question, thinking I was asking about parking lots.

Watch it all after the jump.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Downtown Dealings Redux

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 5:25 PM

City Manager Mike Letcher has released the latest version of the development agreement between the city of Tucson and downtown developers Scott Stiteler and Don Martin, whose negotiations have been covered in depth by Dave Devine.

The council is set to discuss the agreement this Tuesday, June 2. Letcher says he wants to council members to give him some direction on what sort of changes they want before a final version is nailed down.

Dave Devine has looked over the draft and has some quick takeaways:

• The developers are still saying they’ll spend $5 million on Rialto block, the theatre and the 200 block of East Congress St. But how much of that is spent on the theatre, which is owned by the city of Tucson, is unclear to us.

As we note in The Skinny this week, the plucky theatre is fighting for some space now owned by Stiteler and Martin that is vital to the theatre’s continued operation.

• Stiteler and Martin are reducing their commitment on Toole Avenue

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez: Your iPhone App Weekend Survival Guide

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Here are some iPhone apps you'll want to have on hand this weekend if you're going to any of the Tucson Weekly's City Week picks:

f991/1243638494-teejohn.jpgTee-John, The Bayou Philosopher

At some point during Saturday's Third Annual Night of New Orleans at Hotel Congress, you will be inspired to utter something "Cajun" (usually after a bowl of tasty jambalaya and that second Abita beer). It happens to everyone. The Tee-John app, created by Tee-Boy in Opelousas, Louisiana, helps you keep the swampy sayings authentic with a random assortment of Cajun quips, delivered in Tee-John's authentic Looosiana drawl.

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The Az Budget Strategy Plan: B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 1:36 PM

We mentioned yesterday that Gov. Jan Brewer appears to be on the verge of coming up with some kind of budget plan of her own, which may put her at odds with the GOP caucus. And that there's a business group out there, Building a Better Arizona, which will be supporting the Brewer budget plan with a media blitz. Brewer may or may not be working with them, depending on which version of the story you read and who you want to believe.

We've got more details this morning from Scarpinato at the Star, Pitzl at the Republic, and bloggers at Blog for Arizona, Sonoran Alliance and Noble Thinking. When will Espresso Pundit weigh in?

Our take: This entire budget fiasco is completely nuts.

BTW, here's the strategy memo itself, courtesy of Sonoran Alliance: highgroundmemo.pdf

Motor Vehicle Divisions

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 8:18 AM

Recently, I went to the Motor Vehicle Division to get an Arizona driver's license, and, much to my surprise, it was a smooth and painless procedure. Even with my expired out-of-state license, I was in and out of there in about an hour, new license in hand. No test; no eye chart; just a little waiting. My heavily digitized signature looks more like "Darryl Krebbs" than "David Kish," but I couldn't be happier with my license photo. Again: surprising. There I am pictured with a nice big smile, ready to impress any future cop who may hold my fate in his or her hands.

Folks in Virginia no longer have that luxury: the luxury of smiling for a driver's license photo, that is. According to The Washington Post, new security technology requires potential drivers to maintain a "neutral expression" for the photo; no teeth may show. Virginians must pose as if they are having a mug shot taken.Their new state slogan may as well be: "Virginia is for Frustrated Lovers."

I never got a license in Virginia, but I have held licenses from five states, including Pennsylvania, where I somehow passed the road test in a 1963 Chevy Impala. I remember weaving between cones in that boat, and how the officer next to me wildly swayed back and forth in the sofa-sized bench seat. (I also remember the transmission falling out at my senior prom, and my uncle towing my date and I home with his gas-company truck! Damn that beautiful car!)

The California written exam was truly absurd; I nearly failed it. (Aren't tests always absurd when you nearly fail them?) Most of the questions were about child seats, and all of them were so extreme in their safety-obsession that it was really hard for a reasonable person to guess the right answer. For example, if the question were: When driving 45 mph on a wet road, what distance should you keep between you and the car in front of you? Then the answer, of course, would be E) At least two states. I managed to acquire that California license, which was good, because in California, driving is more of a duty than a privilege.

Shortly thereafter, L.A. High School gangsters stole a car, went for a joy ride and crashed in my front yard. When the cops came, my neighbors and I all clammed up. I remember thinking, that would have been a much more useful question: When gang members crash in your front yard, what should you do? A) Give the cops a detailed description including which way they ran. Or, B) Shut the hell up. Seriously, the safer answer is B!

Tiger Celebrates 50 Years

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 6:40 AM

Tiger, the daytime bartender at the Tap Room at Hotel Congress and an all around nice guy, celebrated 50 years of working at the downtown mainstay with a celebration last night.

That's right, a half century.

For those of us who have spent a notable amount of time on the business end of Tucson bars, Tiger is the gold standard when it comes to the art of bartending.

To say Tiger is adored and respected by his patrons barely scratches the surface, and the hotel is marking the anniversary by taking 50 cents off any draft beers ordered during his shift through the end of the year. You’re the man, Tiger. Hotel Congress is located at 311 E. Congress St.; 622-8848.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Brewer Ready to Release Budget, Rumble with Republicans?

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 5:58 PM

As if the budget battle could get any weirder...

I can't afford to subscribe, so the details remain off-limits, but the Arizona Guardian is reporting that Gov. Jan Brewer is ready to unveil her own budget—and she's "preparing for war on the Legislature" with some kind of campaign blitz to persuade Republicans to support her. Huh. That sounds like the sort of thing that's just more likely to piss off lawmakers, rather than make them work with you.

Scarpinato is also on the trail.

Staff Pick

APCOT Presents The Singer Songwriter Series

Varied artists bring their unique talents to APCOT. Local celebrity judges will select the artists that will… More

@ APCOT Theater Wed., Sept. 14, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Sept. 28, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Oct. 12, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Oct. 26, 6:30-9 p.m., Wed., Nov. 9, 6:30-9 p.m. and Wed., Nov. 30, 6:30-9 p.m. 8892 E. Tanque Verde

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