News

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Political Theater: McSally Schedules Town Hall Just in Time To Scramble Critics

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 12:38 PM

It's a trap! - JESSE WEBSTER
  • Jesse Webster
  • It's a trap!
You have to hand it to Congresswoman Martha McSally: Faced with the possibility that she would look cowardly for refusing to hold an open-topic town hall, she figured out a way to outmaneuver local constituents who were hoping to tarnish her carefully polished image of a fighter who is standing up to Washington.

And so today, McSally will be having a town hall in Sahuarita and a group of her more critical constituents will be hosting their own “McSally Take a Stand” town hall in Tucson.

As the Weekly has reported earlier, pressure has been growing on McSally to do an open-topic town hall. McSally has steered away from such events, preferring to do town halls via conference call or appear at workplaces like IBM or Raytheon (where people who might challenge her would be inhibited by the presence of their bosses) or at senior centers.

McSally’s reluctance to do a traditional town hall is understandable, given the way that Tea Party activists used them during the Obama administration to challenge Democratic congressmen and the way that Democrats have flipped the script and are now using them to challenge Republican members of Congress as they prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act, eliminate insurance protections for citizens with pre-existing health conditions, allow coal-mine operators to dump waste into streams, deliver ginormous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, create a new tax on imports (including those that keep the Southern Arizona economy churning), destroy Planned Parenthood, transform Medicare into a voucher system, round up as many undocumented immigrants as their private prisons can hold, undermine NATO and the European Union, and otherwise pursue the Trump-Ryan-McConnell agenda while they control the White House and Congress.

Various constituents have met with members of McSally’s staff, including District Director C.J. Karamargin (a former local newspaper reporter and communications director for Gabby Giffords when she held the seat that McSally now has), to request a town hall. Karamargin had the job of telling them that it either wasn’t going to happen or that something might be in the works.

But after a bunch of protestors showed up at McSally’s office to deliver petitions requesting a town hall, McSally herself quietly asked a handful of the leaders up to her office to discuss the idea of town hall. Accounts of the meeting vary, but several of those women who were in the meeting say that McSally shifted from sympathetic to condescending in her conversation with them. At the end of the meeting, McSally said she’d try to work with them to schedule some kind of town hall.
As a result, the women involved agreed to hold off on their plan to host the “McSally Take a Stand” town hall without McSally, where they would discuss various issues and try to suss out McSally’s stance on them—which can be challenging, given that McSally will often sidestep controversial details, such as what exactly the “replace” portion of the plan to repeal-and-replace Obamacare involves.

At the same time, McSally did a town hall via conference call and said that she wasn’t attending the McSally Take a Stand town hall because it amounted to “political theater” and a “political ambush.”

The organizers of the McSally Take a Stand town hall insist that they wanted a civil exchange and not a contentious event, as some town halls around the country have become.

Marion Chubon, the founder of McSally Take a Stand, says she was looking for a way “to engage with (McSally) in a meaningful way.”

Chubon said her group “truly is motivated by civil discourse and having her represent us. This wasn’t a trap.”

Chubon says she’s not a professional political activist; she’s a 49-year-old local mom who has a crafting business and her previous political activity consisted on walking her neighborhood on behalf of Gabby Giffords.

She decided to get more involved in politics after Trump’s election.

“Honestly, I can’t believe that anyone thinks what’s happening in Washington is OK,” Chubon says. “I understand there are political machinations at work but it is lunacy up there. She is a leader of our community and we need her to reassure us she’s taking care of us.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tracking the Tricked: Police Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 9:55 AM

click image MIKE CHRISTY FOR ARIZONA DAILY STAR 2014
  • Mike Christy for Arizona Daily Star 2014

The Southern Arizona Anti-Trafficking Unified Response Network task force, known as SAATURN, received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to research, track and combat human trafficking in Tucson for three years. The grant and task force began in October 2015.

Tucson Police Department is one of three grantees for this task force, joining CODAC Health, Recovery and Wellness and the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women.

Detective Jennifer Crawford has been investigating violent crime for nearly 17 years, and currently works in TPD's Street Crime Interdiction Unit—the unit responsible for studying human trafficking in Tucson.

Crawford said events like the Gem Show or large sporting events can draw more trafficking activity because the exploitative industry tends to "follow the money" and crowded events can attract an influx of trafficking of girls from other cities.

She said one of the main ways police keep tabs on trafficking is through online sites such as Backpage, where third-party contributors, such as escorts, can sell "dates."

The money from the grant allocated for TPD is spent on operational equipment as well as training and outreach programs, according to Crawford. The Street Crime Interdiction Unit is comprised of four detectives and two federal agents, and grant money will also be spent on funding the team's investigative hours should they have to work overtime.

"They help support us and we're able to do a lot more than we used to and also work at a federal level if we need to," Crawford said.

Crawford said trafficking tends to be a harder crime to prosecute than others. Reasons being victims can be hesitant to disclose information and it can be difficult to keep victims on track during an unfortunately tedious court process.

"I'd say we've definitely made a lot of strides and we've moved forward a lot in the last year since we've gotten our task force up and running and with our support service people as well," Crawford said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TUSD Suspense Continues

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 5:33 PM

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, postponed for the second week in a row publicly discussing an agenda item which brings into question the Superintendent H.T. Sánchez's job.

The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez.  At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent. - DANYELLE KHMARA
  • Danyelle Khmara
  • The Duffy Community center was overflowing with concerned parents, public officials and community members, weighing in on the work of TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sánchez. At the special TUSD Governing Board meeting Tuesday night, many spoke in support of and against the superintendent.
The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board announced last night they were once again postponing the agenda item concerning Superintendent H.T. Sánchez’s job.

The Duffy Community Center was so packed that overflow crowds had to wait outside. For over three hours, the board and superintendent were in executive session. At about 7:45 p.m., Sánchez somberly took his seat with the board and was met by loud applause from the audience. But not everyone was clapping.

For an hour, community members spoke for and against Sánchez with either raised-voice rancor or grateful tears on topics such as superintendent turnover rates, student-enrollment numbers, Prop 301 spending, childhood bullying, dropout rates, race and unsuccessful desegregation measures.

Several people spoke in Spanish with an English translator, accounting times Sánchez had personally helped their children.

Cassandra Becerra, a mother of TUSD students, is one of Sánchez’s supporters. While waiting for the meeting to start, she told the Tucson Weekly she’s seen the superintendent in the schools and fighting for the good of the district.

“I strongly believe he’s here because he cares about this district,” she said, holding a sign with a red, white and blue drawing of Sánchez, copying the iconic “hope” poster representing Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Continue reading »

Did the TUSD Board Come To Bury Sanchez Or To Praise Him? (Answer: C, None Of the Above)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 1:44 PM

tusd.jpg
At the second TUSD board meeting in as many weeks, the board punted on the topic of keeping or firing Superintendent Sanchez. Last week, on Feb. 14, the action item was removed from the board's agenda. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, it was the meeting's sole agenda item. After an executive session which ran hours longer than scheduled, the board members walked into the standing-room-only meeting room, listened to members of the audience speak out for and against Sanchez, then told the audience the item had been tabled. See y'all next week!

None of us regular folks know exactly why a vote on Sanchez's future was delayed. The decision was made in executive session, and the board members are supposed to keep those sessions confidential. So the next step is anyone's guess. Sanchez may yet be fired; he may be allowed to remain with conditions; or the board may simply vote against the call to get rid of him and be done with it. I have a feeling the board doesn't know much more about the outcome than the rest of us.

So, nothing happened. But I observed something and drew a conclusion which may or may not be accurate. What I observed was, there's not a whole lot of passionate community support for the "Fire Sanchez" movement. There are probably a significant number of people in the community who are dissatisfied with his performance as superintendent, people who wouldn't be unhappy to see him go, but if the meeting is any indication, the core group of Sanchez haters, the people with fire in their bellies, is reasonably small.

Full disclosure: I think Sanchez should stick around at least until his contract runs out in 2018, so that may color my subjective, anecdotal observations. I claim no scientific rigor here. That being said, I watched carefully, and this is what I observed. If I'm wrong, I'm sure others will let me know.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

'Enemy of the People': The Phrase's Ironic and Instructive Literary History

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 5:05 PM

IMAGES COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA
  • Images courtesy of Wikimedia
In a recent tweet, Trump called the press "the enemy of the American people." Days earlier, though he didn't use the phrase, he made a similar accusation about our courts when they ruled against his Muslim ban. I'm sure Trump had no idea he was quoting the title of a 19th century play, An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen, in his tweet, nor could he know how ironic the play's title is or how clearly it reveals his intentions. The "enemy" in the play is a man who dared speak truth to power. Power, as it often does, did everything it could to suppress the truth.

We're not very familiar with Ibsen these days, but we know Steven Spielberg, and most of us have seen Jaws. The opening of the movie is based loosely on Ibsen's play.

Late one night in Spielberg's little tourist beach town, we see a swimmer killed by a shark. When the coroner confirms to the police chief that it was a shark attack, the chief decides to close the beaches until they're safe. The mayor disagrees. It's the beginning of the summer tourist season, he says, and closing the beaches would be disastrous for the town's economy. The mayor convinces the coroner to change the cause of death, to say the swimmer was caught in the blades of a boat's propeller — in other words, to lie. The mayor forbids the police chief from closing the beaches. It takes two more shark attacks before the mayor acknowledges that the police chief was right and closes the beaches, which is when the hunt for the Great White begins.

Ibsen's original Enemy of the People has a similar setup. A small town's economy is based around its health baths. A local doctor discovers that the water is contaminated and writes an article which he submits to the editor of the local paper. The editor is eager to print it, both to report the problems with the baths and to use it as a way to expose the corruption running rampant in the town's government. But the mayor intervenes. He convinces the editor that printing the truth would be bad for the town, so the editor pulls the doctor's article. In its place, he runs a statement by the mayor praising the quality of the baths.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Get Lost in the (Buffalo) Sauce

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 12:30 PM

The competition will be fierce, but only one can be the Lord of the Wings.

click image TUCSON MEDIA WORKS
  • Tucson Media Works

40 local restaurants and 30 breweries will be coming together at this year's Tucson Wing Festival on Saturday, March 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Rillito Park Race Track to provide the best wings and beer the Southwest has to offer. The chefs will be able to compete for the Lord of the Wings title by whipping up their finest creations for a panel of judges. Not only will guests be allowed to sample wings from every booth, but they can also learn about the best pairing techniques from the brewers.

Two bands and a DJ will also be there to encourage guests to resist the inevitable food coma by moving, dancing and staying active after feasting. As if this event needed any more entertainment options besides booze, food and music, there will also be carnival rides and interactive games on site.

As much food and beer samples your heart desires are included in the ticket price. General admission is $40 and VIP admission, which includes a private seating area, servers, exclusive beers and extra food, is $85. You can purchase tickets on this Eventbrite page. Guests must be 21 years old or over.

click image GIPHY
  • GIPHY

Tags: , , , , ,

Monday, February 20, 2017

T.H.R.E.A.T. Watch: Bless, Keep and Protect Our Free Press

Posted By on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 12:30 PM

man_erosion_title.jpg
Since the election, I have feared the mainstream press would collapse under the weight of Trump's endless onslaught. Instead, it has dug in its heels and held its ground. It could have normalized our aberrant new political order, accepting the presidential campaign as a variation on a standard political theme, treating Trump's continual lies and outrages as the growing pains of an eccentric newbie trying to learn how to be president, acting like his agenda fits neatly under the headline, "Elections have consequences." But it hasn't. From the New York Times, to the Washington Post, to papers in other major cities, to the Associated Press which supplies most of the national stories in the Star, to principled conservative writers who are horrified at what they're witnessing, journalists have striven to show the reading public how unusual, how outlandish our present situation really is. CNN, to my surprise, has responded to constant Trumpian attacks by stepping up its coverage of the White House, and MSNBC, especially in its evening shows, has zeroed in on the day's events and spotlighted why we need to remain concerned and vigilant. Even Fox has spoken occasional truth to power.

In much of the daily news and in many magazines, truth telling is trumping Trumpism. Facts are still facts, and diligent, whip-smart investigative journalists are digging to see what facts they can uncover beneath the facts we already know. It's not a perfect process. It's flawed, messy and many-headed. But that's what unfettered journalism is all about, and it's what authoritarian leaders hate and fear, and do everything they can to suppress.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Death in the Arizona Borderlands

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 5:06 PM

Since 2001, thousands of migrant have died in the desert of the U.S.-Mexico border. Activists, professionals and migrants talk about the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Arizona borderlands.


Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

Carnival of Illusion conjures an evening of old-world magic by blending their international travel theme with all… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays, 5:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 3, 8 p.m. and Saturdays, 5 & 8 p.m. Continues through April 22 160 South Scott Ave

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Political Theater: McSally Schedules Town Hall Just in Time To Scramble Critics (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. The Weekly List: 19 Things To Do In Tucson in the Next 10 Days (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Laugh Like a Woman: Tucson Women’s Comedy Festival (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Tracking the Tricked: Police Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. TUSD Suspense Continues (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation