Police investigating the missing water-bill money said there was not enough evidence to charge anyone with a crime and noted Ibarra's office was plagued by a loose accounting system that allowed staff members to dip into the cash box whenever they needed lunch money or petty cash. Earlier in the year, City Manager James Keene had warned Ibarra that the collection of water bills was "just a problem waiting to happen."
Reid's claim--a precursor to a lawsuit if the city doesn't pay up--alleges that Ibarra accused Reid of stealing the money as retaliation for her supposed disloyalty in leaking information related to Ibarra's illegal use of city e-mail for campaign purposes. The e-scandal launched an earlier police investigation at the Ward 1 office.
Reid is represented by former Ward 3 City Councilman Michael Crawford, who was knocked out of office in 1997. During the two years they served together, a mutual loathing developed between Ibarra and Crawford, which means we can look forward to some fun depositions if the city doesn't settle. "Ibarra is totally fucked," one Republican operative gleefully tells The Range. "My nipples are hard just thinking about it."
If nothing else, Reid's claim may have taught Ibarra to think before he shoots off his mouth. Last week, he declined to say anything about the legal action: "I'd like to comment, but I can't."
The much-needed rain may be a boon for the parched desert and antsy TV weather reporters, but it's not doing local roads any good. City crews are out patching a plethora of potholes on major streets, according to Michael Graham, spokesman for the Tucson Transportation Department, who says that when it comes to asphalt, "Water is the enemy."
Graham reports that the city has spent about $4.3 million on pothole repair in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, with another $2.3 million in the budget for the next three months. The priority is arterials and collectors rather than residential streets, because a lot more cars are driving a lot faster on the major roads. (Incidentally, the current bill for re-building Tucson's crumbling residential streets: $300 million, according to Graham.)
Report your potholes to the Department of Transportation's hotline at 791-3154.
In related transportation news, legislation that would transform the Pima Association of Governments into a full-fledged regional transportation authority, complete with the power to ask voters once again to approve a half-cent sales tax, cruised through the Senate Finance Committee last week on a 6-1 vote.