As those of us at Weekly World Central were zooming toward our Tuesday press deadline, we received word that state Senate President Steve Pierce had removed two appointees—Rick Grinnell and chairwoman Jodi Bain—from the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District.
Pierce deserves a hearty round of applause for this move.
Under Bain's "leadership"—she's been the chairperson since 2010, when the Arizona Legislature took control of the board—Rio Nuevo has been a catastrophe. Instead of working to spend city tax dollars on things that would improve downtown Tucson (like, say, improvements to the Tucson Convention Center), the board has dedicated itself to squabbling with the Tucson City Council. As a result, nothing has gotten done.
Witness the news release sent out last month by the board, headlined "Attacks on the District Misdirected!" Much of the release is a whine, with Bain and company complaining that Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik said mean things about them. Waah.
While this release also makes the point that the city has not been squeaky-clean in its dealings with the new Rio Nuevo board—a point which is undeniably true—it's also undeniably true that the new Rio Nuevo board has been a complete failure in terms of getting things done. In fact, it's been worse than that, seeing as the board has been dumb enough to attack institutions, like the Rialto Theatre, that are actually bringing money and people downtown.
Perhaps Pierce's sacking of Bain and Grinnell is the first step toward getting things done. Maybe the two new appointees will spend more time working, and less time whining.
We can only hope. Thanks to Sen. Pierce for giving downtown's redevelopment district a shred of hope.