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Get Out of Town! 

Our annual 'naughty' list of people, places, entities and other ne'er-do-wells Tucson would be better off without!

Those of us here at Weekly World Central are a bit depressed.

Why, you ask? Well, we're now in our seventh year of kicking people/places/organizations/whatevs out of town, and a disturbing number of our dishonorees have not heeded our instructions to leave.

Case in point: At least two of this year's Get Out of Town! recipients have been previously booted out of Tucson in these pages. We have an informal rule around here that we try not to kick people out of town more than once; however, these two men's actions this year were so lame that we felt compelled to kick them out again.

Who knows? Maybe this time, they'll actually leave. (We're not holding our breath.)

In any case, welcome to our annual Get Out of Town! issue. Enjoy this "naughty" list, and be sure to come back next week for our "nice" list, in the form of our annual Local Heroes issue.


BILL ARNOLD

As we once again kick real-estate broker Bill Arnold out of town, we do so with some trepidation. The last time he appeared on this list, in 2006, we got the Worst Fan Mail Ever: a short note saying our pen pal was reading our paper in the smallest room in his house and using it appropriately.

It's not an original line; George Bernard Shaw is said to have told a critic something along the same lines: "I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. Your critique is in front of me. Shortly, it will be behind me."

But we're relatively sure that Shaw did not actually mail the result to the critic.

We were not so lucky.

Yes, someone—and we're not saying it was Bill Arnold, because he could just have some really loyal friends—sent us a crap-smeared copy of "Get Out of Town!"

Gross. We know. But we also knew the job was dangerous when we took it. And we'll just have our interns open the mail for the next few weeks.

In 2006, we kicked Bill out of town after he was implicated in that strange stalkeratzi episode with former state Sen. Toni Hellon.

This year, we're kicking him out of town for his role in pushing the Public Safety First Initiative. You probably remember that one from the city election; the Tucson Association of Realtors tried to convince Tucsonans that we could afford a lovely addition to the city charter that was well beyond our price range. Not to worry, the real-estate agents promised; the real cost will come a few years down the road, and we'll be able to afford it then. Where have we heard that before?

The campaign was built around fear (of crime), which is one the easiest political buttons to push. Studies will show that people almost always think crime is getting worse, even when the rates are dropping, as they are in Tucson. It's a cynical political ploy that, sadly, used our police and fire unions as a hammer to attack Democrats.

That it did not work—70 percent of the voters rejected the idea—is a testament to the wisdom of Tucson voters.

—Jim Nintzel


ARTIST WHINERS

The world is always cruel. We know this with great certainty. And today, we're all dealing with this nasty economic depression. If you're an artist, it must feel like the universe is playing a cruel joke on you. (Hell, it feels like that to journalists, too.)

Many artists do the right thing: They work like fools, get a life and make a living. But at Weekly World Central, every once in a while, we have to deal with artists fueled by self-importance and pretentious aggrandizement.

We here at the Weekly write as much as humanly possible about all the good works and bad people that exist in our dusty town. But occasionally, a good work or a bad person will not get any ink.

If you're an artist who does not receive coverage in our pages, please: Don't turn all whiny and threatening when we tell you we can't write about you because our schedule is full; believe us. It really is full. Yelling on the phone, trying to get another writer to do a story on you and/or sending pompous e-mails doesn't help. It's sad; it's pathetic; and it makes us never want to cover you. Ever. Period.

It's not like we're vengeful here at Weekly World Central. We like art, artists and the other cool, good people of Tucson. But we only have so many pages and so much time, and we have to plan ahead. Stop your whining, and if you can't, then get out of town! I hear there's a city just down the yellow brick road, with a fantastical weekly that prints everything under the sun, where extra pages appear with the sprinkle of fairy dust.

—Mari Herreras


"BOOMERS" ON THE ECONOMY

If you think the local economy is bad now, just wait.

The number of foreclosures remains obscene; government budgets are getting redder; the local unemployment rate remains unusually high. As a result, lots of people are rightfully worried about the future, so they're not spending money like they once did.

Despite that, some Tucson "boomers" keep insisting that the financial good times will be coming back shortly. They believe this community's "boom" and "bust" economic cycles are always defined by long "booms" and short "busts."

Aesop could have written a fairy tale about the make-believe world these commentators paint. But in reality, things are bleak now, and they may get even worse over the next few years. The lack of individual and institutional financial reserves, combined with the failure to diversify Tucson's population-growth-driven economy, means we could well be in this downturn for quite awhile.

The parable of the ant and the grasshopper is appropriate: Tucson has been bouncing along, never worrying much about tomorrow. After all, the sun almost always shines, so life's good—right?

But now that the financial winter has set in, the starkness of our bare economic cupboard has become apparent.

That situation isn't going to be changed by community "boomers" who keep seeing signs of a pending return of the good times—without evidence to back it up. They need to take their Pollyannaish approach to reality and hop the next freight train out of town.

—Dave Devine


JIM CLICK

Auto-dealer Jim Click has raised money for good causes, helping people from disadvantaged kids to developmentally disabled adults. We'll give him props for that.

But he also tosses around his fortune on bad political campaigns. This year, the Clicker poured six figures into the aforementioned Public Safety First Initiative, which was opposed by most of his fellow members of the business community. And, by the way, the proposition flies in the face of most Republican principles about unfunded mandates. But if there's some political advantage to be scored, we guess those principles aren't that important.

The Clicker and his pal, Nathan Sproul, were also behind a last-minute slamming of Democrat Richard Fimbres for allegedly mishandling money while he served as the head of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. At worst, this was a minor paperwork snafu, although Fimbres' opponent, Republican Shaun McClusky, shamelessly tried to make it look like Fimbres was stealing money. Considering Fimbres' good works to help Hispanic youth stay in school and off the streets, the ploy was a vile slam.

So we say: Enough, Jim Click. Get out of town! (As we understand it, you're already spending most of your time in the People's Republic of California, anyway.)

—J.N.


CRAIGSLIST SCAMMERS

I love Craigslist. Sold a chair on there that I originally got for free. Bought a $500 TV for $185 (almost brand-new, and not even stolen). And then there are the hours of free entertainment I've gotten laughing at Craigslist personals.

So why are so many people trying to fuck up Craigslist? If I'm selling my laptop, I'm not going to respond to an e-mail written by somebody who can barely string a sentence together, requesting that I ship the item to God-knows-where in exchange for a promise that I'll receive twice my asking price. If I'm perusing car ads looking for a quality pre-owned vehicle, it's just going to annoy me when I find multiple offers of 2009 Toyota Priuses for $3,000. And, hey, if I'm thinking about buying your shelving unit, and I make an appointment to see it, can you please be home when I show up at the agreed-upon time?

But the worst kind of Craigslist douchebag is the one you actually meet, who seems so trustworthy and discloses just enough personal information for you to think he couldn't possibly screw you over—and then he does. Like the guy who took a $70 deposit from me for some Mexican tile and then skipped the country. Now he's back, but he's not returning my calls. How many other people did he screw? Or was nobody else as stupid as me?

A.J., if you read this, contact me, and tell me it's all been some big misunderstanding. I promise we'll print a retraction. Just give me my damn $70 back, or get out of town!

—Anna Mirocha


CROCS

Just when I thought I had conquered my serious fear of all things clown-ish, some sadistic footwear bozo invented Crocs. Familiar feelings of terror grabbed hold of me the first time I saw a person wearing these colorful, clown-like monstrosities.

Like fanny packs, scrunchies and other ridiculous fashion trends, I assumed that Crocs were a passing fancy, so I coped with the anxiety.

But they did not go away. They are everywhere—on kids, on grandparents, and now even on grown women in the form of 3-inch wedges. Yes: Crocs shaped like heels, for female clowns.

Everyone knows that comfortable feet are happy feet, but that doesn't give the people of Tucson a license to toss their dignity aside. For the same reason that you would not wear your Snuggie to the office, Crocs should be limited to more discreet spheres, like private residences and locker-room showers.

If you don't value your self-respect, then how about your safety? Google "Crocs" and "escalators" for hundreds of thousands of hits on the dangers of mixing toes with super-grip traction.

Crocs, the circus left town a while back. It's time for you to go, too.

—Erica Nannini


"DROUGHT," THE TERM

Those who say Tucson is suffering from a drought need to pack their bags and head for the hills. Nine straight years of reduced rainfall may not be a mere anomaly; it could be the new reality.

Experts are predicting that this winter is going to be a wet one, and let's hope that's true. But over the last decade, rainfall has been less than 75 percent of the historic normal.

Nonetheless, local commentators keep referring to what we're experiencing as a drought. These wide-eyed optimists are praying things go back to the way they once mythically were, when summer monsoons and winter storms dropped bucketfuls of rainfall on Tucson.

But those days appear to be long gone. Whether it's because of global warming or just a return to the ultra-dry climate experienced by the earliest settlers of this region, Tucson's annual rainfall amounts seem to have decreased significantly for the long term.

What used to be below-average rainfall is now normal, and what was once normal can now be considered wet. As a result, we're not in a drought any longer; we're just living in a drier desert.

—D.D.


THE GAY SCENE

Every urban metropolis has its gay village or gay (aka "arts") district. Think West Hollywood in Los Angeles, San Diego's Hillcrest, Montrose in Houston, Columbus, Ohio's Short North, or Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle.

Let me reiterate: Even Columbus, Ohio, has a vibrant gay district.

One of the sad facts of our little city is that it has no quantifiable gay scene. Tucson's queers are relegated to a pathetic smattering of dingy, tasteless bars and the odd gay-themed restaurant or coffeehouse.

If gay and lesbian establishments are the building blocks to constructing a viable communal identity, then Tucson needs to rethink its game plan entirely. Tucson's gay bars feel ghettoized and invisible; I dare the average straight reader to name one gay bar (and anything with an acronym for a title doesn't count).

Tucson doesn't have gay places that foster a sense of excitement or empowerment about being queer. They're generally poorly maintained and sleazy, more anachronistic than contemporary, as if we're still meant to skulk around in the shadows.

Then there's our Pride festival, relegated to one little sliver of Reid Park. C'mon! Pride should be all about taking the fucking city over and being visible by publicly misbehaving. It's not about retreating to our little out-of-the-way corner like mollified children.

Get it together, Tucson's gay scene. Treat yourself to a two-week vacation in the Castro, or Chicago's Boystown, and come back with some ideas about how to not be so ... unremarkable.

—Sean Bottai


GYM-GOERS WHO DON'T WIPE DOWN

Oh, the gym.

Working up a sweat there, are ya? Good job; that's admirable. You have the incline pushed up on that treadmill, and you're powering through the burn. Man, you're sweaty. That was a good workout. Time to go home and admire yourself naked in front of the mirror. It's well-deserved.

WAIT. HOLD IT. STOP RIGHT THERE.

Don't leave that machine without wiping it down first. Hello?! The gym has those handy disinfecting dispensers right over there, next to the paper towels. Take three seconds, and walk your sweaty ass over there. No one's gonna take your ugly water bottle while you briefly step away.

The next person to jump on the machine doesn't want your sweaty stuff all over the place. Do you know what's in sweat? Do you know there's a little epidemic going around called H1N1? Ugh. Wipe down the machine, and don't spread your germs. Be a little more courteous to your fellow sweaty gym patrons.

It's rude to make someone else clean up your mess. So, after working out, clean up a little bit—or go to a different gym, far away, out of town.

—Amanda Portillo


HOME INVADERS

We're tired of reading about knuckle-draggers who've made home invasions into a career choice, and managed to terrorize our fine burg in the process.

Half the time, in their zeal to hijack a pot stash, these enterprising chaps can't even manage to find the correct address. So rather than giving some drug honcho his comeuppance, they end up freaking out an innocent family. (Of course, Tucson's cookie-cutter developers and their one-stucco-fits-all design styles don't help.)

Anyway, the result is complete thuggery, as our city is transformed into even more of a jungle, with the animals running the show. Here are a few snapshots:

• Diamond Taylor received 4 1/2 years in the pokey for a March home invasion, during which he robbed seven UA students. The students were held at gunpoint while Taylor and his pals heisted TVs, cash, jewelry and laptop computers.

• Angel Gonzales was shot to death in November after his home was invaded by three masked men who ordered Gonzalez to hand over any drugs he had.

• Thomas Barnes was sentenced to 15 years after admitting participation in a May home invasion during which he pistol-whipped a 10-year-old kid. After searching the home, Barnes and his colleagues turned up no dope. So they ransacked the adjoining home, and found nothing there, either.

Wankers like Taylor and Barnes did score heavy time in the Big House, so they'll definitely be getting out of town. We hope all of the other home invaders will soon follow.

—Tim Vanderpool


INTERSECTIONS WITHOUT BUS PULLOUTS

We've all been there: Going down Speedway at 80 mph the legal speed limit, only to be forced to a dead stop at a green light because a bus is blocking an entire lane as it picks up passengers.

Ironically, this annoyance has gotten more severe thanks to the inclusion of pullout lanes in some areas, where buses can stop without impeding the traffic flow: Now that we've seen how nicely cars and buses can co-exist, getting stopped behind anything with a Sun Tran logo is enough to drive anyone into a pugilistic rage.

For every nice bus-get-out-the-way area, there are two holy-crap-I'm-not-going-to-stop-in-time areas on Grant Road. Besides that whole stopping thing, cars waiting behind buses often stick out into the intersection, especially when the light changes, and it's wheelchair-boarding time.

We don't have fancy Phoenix-sized freeways to quickly get from place to place, so these pullouts are a must at any intersection with a stoplight.

—Nick Smith


IPHONE OBSESS-EES

The iPhone store has an app that shows how long the lines are at Disneyland at any given moment. Cool.

There is another one that transforms your voice to sound like T-Pain. Also cool. Revolutionary, even. But ...

Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought phones were for talking, and not making users sound like rap robots and whatnot. The iPhone elite now have all these useless skills at their fingertips and suddenly think they are better than everyone else.

Well, you iPhone maniacs can stop bragging about your phone's crazy new capabilities, because the rest of us just plain don't care. Try telling someone who does care. On second thought, your best bet may be to talk into the app you've just downloaded and hope that T-Pain will start talking back.

Call us when they come out with an app that can reach through the phone and kick these iPhone obsess-ees clear out of town.

—E.N.


MALL KIOSKS

Survival is the only thing on my mind in the Tucson Mall at Christmas-time. As if it weren't difficult enough to dodge bargain-driven fellow shoppers, you've now got to worry about those pesky kiosk folks trying to derail you from your mission.

They lure in passers-by with a come-hither line about testing out a new hair iron. Shoppers who have been hooked before know to keep a fixed gaze straight ahead and ignore the constant verbal assaults about switching phone providers or learning a new language with just two videotapes. Alas, not even blatant rudeness discourages these commission-driven goons.

Such invasive sales tactics border on harassment. I am tempted to create a "no soliciting" sign and wear it around my neck. If only I could screen these bothersome salesmen like I screen my calls, or hide behind an intimidating bodyguard.

Mall kiosks and your employees: Please understand that no one wants what you are selling, and wheel yourselves the hell out of town.

—E.N.


MIDDAY TRAINS

There's a certain romance to the sound of trains passing by in the night. The mournful clamor of the train adds a weirdly industrial lyricism to most of our downtown neighborhoods.

That's all well and good between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. But why, oh why, does the train so often make its slow, deliberate way through town during busy traffic times?

This happens routinely to people rushing across town on Sixth Street, driving north or south where Granada Avenue turns into Main Avenue, attempting to access Interstate 10 at Prince or Ruthrauff roads, or navigating the neighborhood streets going in and out of Armory Park between Park and Fourth avenues.

What's more dispiriting than seeing those crossing barriers suddenly descend over the intersection ahead of you? Suddenly, the roadway becomes a hallucinatory string of brake lights as frustrated motorists sit idly in their cars waiting for the train to crawl by at a pace any jogger could surpass.

In some instances, it's possible to turn your car around and forge some kind of detour to escape—but Tucsonans shouldn't have to do this during 5:30 p.m. traffic or while driving cross-town at 7 a.m.

During high-travel times, those trains should park it on the outskirts of town and wait for us to be done with our commutes!

—S.B.


JOHN MUNGER

Ah, Mr. Munger, where do we begin? For years, we've watched your vituperative antics as the conservative counterpart on Arizona Illustrated's "Political Faceoff" (something we noted when we kicked you out of town back in 2004). Each week, you reliably trotted out the moment's fashionable Republican talking points. This was particularly entertaining during the Bush years, when your complete lack of original thought echoed directly from White House corridors. As head of the Arizona GOP, you also helped saddle us with legislative Neanderthals intent upon dragging this state back into the Dark Ages.

Now you're running for governor, on a platform of drastically lowering taxes. Guess you missed the memos about Arizona's $2 billion budget deficit. Or about how schools are laying off teachers by the bushel. Or the fact that social services are being slashed for our state's neediest folks. Or how folks can't even pull off for a whiz at closed rest stops.

Then there's your novel approach to energy: Let's go nuclear! (Can anybody say "Chernobyl?") Oh, and we love your castigation of the Arizona's trail-blazing Clean Elections act as "welfare for politicians."

But we'll admit that the most enlightening aspect of your gubernatorial bid is its slogan, "Real Leadership, No Excuses." That raises a chuckle, since you spend your off-the-trail time lawyering for Tucson Greyhound Park, a sorry old track which does nothing but make excuses for failing to obey the law and treat its dogs humanely.

These are just a few reasons, Mr. Munger, why you should hightail it out of town.

—T.V.


OWNERS OF LOOSE DOGS

There is a hidden menace plaguing residential areas all across our fair city: loose dogs.

It's important to understand the difference between loose dogs and strays. Stray dogs tend to be wary of people and will, mostly, try to slink by without having an encounter. The presence of stray dogs is often more heart-wrenching than dangerous.

But watch out for yard dogs that have escaped captivity and are inexplicably wandering the streets. There are dog owners who leave their driveway gates open and let their dogs run loose. Not only is this terrifying and potentially dangerous to people; it's dangerous to the loose dogs, who are at risk of being struck by a car or injured in a dogfight.

There are also owners who have inefficient or malfunctioning fencing surrounding their property, and whose dogs can—if they choose—slip through cracks between the gate and fence, wriggle under the bottom of the fencing, or push their way through broken gaps in the chain link.

Dog owners, if you can't properly and safely keep your dog(s), can you please get the heck out of our fair city? The rural lifestyle might suit you better.

—S.B.


PARENTS WHO DRAG KIDS TO CONCERTS

Parents who haul their toddlers to classical-music concerts are so adorable in their seemingly innocent belief that the child will behave.

Good behavior, sadly, is rare. More often, parents are forced to shush the kid, beg for silence or play with the youngster to try to avoid an outburst of disruptive screaming.

An August concert by the St. Andrew's Bach Society offered a prime example of this inexcusable behavior.

A couple with their 3-year-old daughter was in attendance. After unsuccessfully trying to get the little girl to behave, the family moved to the back of the hall, but the child's behavior still caused problems for those sitting nearby.

Occurrences like these are so typical of the "It's all about me!" attitude of some parents. They want to hear a concert, and as a result, they jeopardize the enjoyment of everyone else in the audience by bringing their child. This is not charming in the least.

It's not the children's fault; they're kids, after all. So, parents, the next time you think of attending a classical concert with your young child, here's another thought: Get the heck out of town instead.

—D.D.


PEOPLE WHO THINK RECYCLING BINS ARE TRASH CANS

OK, so they look kind of similar—they're both about the same shape. They both have wheels and a lid. They're both made out of hard plastic.

But they're different colors. And one of them freaking says "Recycling" on it. Why would anyone who has both a recycling bin and a trash can use them interchangeably?

Recently, my recycling bin was stolen. (Why? Maybe that's a subject for another "Get Out of Town!" rant.) One week, I used my lovely neighbors' bin. When I lifted its lid to dump in my collection of aluminum cans, junk mail and plastic bottles, what did I find? Yard clippings, paper towels, an empty Doritos bag, a Hefty bag full of who knows what ... and an old shoe. Not recyclable materials.

Maybe their trash can was full, I thought—but when I peeked in there, what did I find? Regular trash, yes, but also aluminum cans, junk mail and plastic bottles. Recyclable materials. I've checked both bins since then, embarrassing myself in front of dog-walkers and drivers-by. This wasn't an isolated mistake.

I know the Earth is going to hell in a hand basket, and there's a good chance the natural world as we know it is beyond saving anyway. I know recycling uses so much energy that it's not even that great. But all you have to do is put one kind of trash in one bin and another kind in another bin. Why not give it a whirl?

—A.M.


PIMA ASSOCIATION OF TAXPAYERS

In the days leading up to the November election, the Pima Association of Taxpayers placed signs around town that said, "We're taxed to the max! Just say no on all props."

Well, that's pretty much what Tucson voters did: They just said no.

They shot down the ill-advised Public Safety First Initiative, aka Proposition 200. Unfortunately, they also voted down Propositions 401 and 402, budget overrides that would have brought much-needed money into the cash-strapped Tucson Unified School District.

The real puzzler, though, was that voters also rejected Proposition 400, aka the "home rule" initiative, which would have allowed the city of Tucson to override an arbitrary state-imposed expenditure formula and, therefore, spend all of the revenue that the city brings in. Now, as a result of Prop 400's failure, the city could potentially be unable to spend all of that money in future years, taking away much-needed funds from the city budget as a result. Taxpayers wouldn't save anything; the money would just sit there, untouchable, for the time being.

Prop 400 lost by a narrow 949 votes. We don't want to give these knuckleheads too much credit here, but it's possible that those ignorant Pima Association of Taxpayers and their shallow signs could have made the difference.

We're not even sure the Pima Association of Taxpayers was against Prop 400. The PAT Web site specifically says: "Pima Association of Taxpayers urges a 'NO' vote on Propositions 200, 401, 402." There's nothing said about Prop 400—yet that didn't stop them from putting out their misleading signs.

John Kromko, Mary Schuh, Mary Terry Schiltz and crew only seem to know one word: no. They're against everything—but there are many things, some of them funded by taxes, that Tucsonans need.

—Jimmy Boegle


SLOW SHOPPERS

I am by nature impatient. I come by it honestly: My father was one of the most irritable people ever to walk the planet.

I am not nearly as tense as he was, and many people I know are unaware of my crankiness, partly because I put on a good show of equanimity, and partly because I am usually fine with whatever happens.

But trap me in a meeting where people keep saying the same thing over and over? I'm ready to slap someone. And traffic jams make me want to die.

I like to do things quickly, and nothing brings my impatient streak to the surface like people physically getting in my way in an environment where I am usually able to function efficiently. I first realized this years ago when, at the beginning of every semester, the cafeteria at the west end of the old UA Student Union was flooded with bewildered newbies, vaguely drifting from the salad bar to the grill, trying to figure out how to buy their lunch. I'd feel like snatching their trays and whacking them to make them move faster.

Needless to say, I never go to the mall. So now I mostly feel this type of impatience when I have to hit a grocery store at a bad time, a bad time being defined as the weekend or the run-up to a major holiday.

I don't mind stores being busy; I love the hustling atmosphere of Trader Joe's at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, when the bouncy staff is moving at top speed, and the shoppers are all on their last lap of the day. What I hate is a lack of focus, and that becalmed, Muzak-backed stuck-in-an-elevator feeling of a grocery store on a Saturday morning.

For sheer aggravation, though, nothing compares to the shoppers who jam my regular stores just before Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are individuals who normally eat all their meals in restaurants, judging from their air of mystification as they finger the onions or stand entranced before the cheese case, blocking access to the Parmesan and sharp cheddar.

Then there are your frantic shoppers, people unhinged by the prospect of producing the required feast. Picking up my turkey the day before Thanksgiving at Whole Foods, I repeatedly ran into a pair of middle-age women, possibly sisters, who were so wrought up about the next day's meal that the air became electric wherever they went. I first noticed them in the pasta and grain aisle—which, with the help of their cart, they were effectively blocking as they discussed a box of pilaf with an intensity more appropriate to buying a new car, or, perhaps, to adopting a child.

God help them, and all the people who haven't got a clue in the kitchen. Anyone who hasn't come to terms with the size of her oven before Nov. 25 is in deep trouble. And in my way.

—Renée Downing


TEA PARTIES

Remember when political rhetoric could be boiled down to a simple, time-saving pro- or anti- stance? Pick name of person/place/issue; pick either good or bad.

All of that has gone out the window with the advent of the "tea party" movement. What in the heck do these people stand for?

The closest I can find to any sort of unifying cause or message is a dislike of government spending and/or the president. While opposition to wasteful spending doesn't seem out of the ordinary, gatherings like these often bring out more crazies than last year's crazy party in Crazy City. It's common to see signs depicting the Obama as the Joker, the president as a Bolshevik, or the president as a Klingon.

What's worse is some tea-partiers have taken to calling themselves "tea baggers" as a badge of honor. (If I have to explain what tea bagging means, you probably shouldn't know in the first place.)

It's hard to sort out what single message, if any, the tea parties are advocating. Taxes bad? Sarah Palin good? Science bad? Saying you're against wasteful government spending is like saying you're a fan of breathing.

It's time to send these tea parties back to Boston Harbor.

—N.S.


JOEL WALDMAN

Most of the time, local TV reporters who try to do political reports make fools of themselves. We're not sure it's entirely their fault; the medium has limitations that prevent any sense of context.

But KGUN Channel 9 reporter Joel Waldman really outdid himself in October, with a story about the City Council election and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Waldman built his report around an exhibit called "Big Dick No. 1," a painting of colorful phalluses which, he claimed, had been purchased with city tax dollars and would soon be on display in the downtown fire station that MOCA was taking over, even though the Department of Homeland Security wanted to pay up to a half-million dollars to rent it.

Joel made so many errors in his three-minute report that it was hard to track them all. Some of them were minor; others were complete falsehoods, including:

• His unchecked assertion that "Big Dick No. 1" was going to be on display in MOCA's new home. The artwork was actually a loaner to the museum for a show done four years ago (before the council members being criticized for supporting it were even on the City Council).

• An unchecked assertion by Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash that "a lot of taxpayer dollars" had been spent on "Big Dick No. 1." No taxpayer dollars were spent on it.

• An unchecked claim that the Department of Homeland Security was ready to rent out the fire station. There was no record of Homeland Security ever showing an interest.

• Our favorite: A claim that an independent campaign committee was planning on running an ad in the Tucson Citizen, a newspaper that had closed down earlier in the year. It's bad enough that Waldman doesn't know what newspapers are published in Tucson, but it's downright embarrassing when you consider that he had covered the closure of the Citizen months earlier.

A guy with these kinds of skills doesn't belong in Tucson. He belongs in Washington, D.C., working for the big boys at Fox News. Get a move on, Joel! Stop wasting your talents here.

—J.N.

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