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Trust Bob

Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup teamed up with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross and Flagstaff Mayor Joe Donaldson to support Proposition 106, aka Conserving Arizona's Future, an initiative that would reform the state trust land system.

Prop 106 would set aside 690,000 acres for conservation and update the way the state disposes of state trust land, which was set aside at statehood, primarily to benefit education. Get the details yourself, including maps of the areas to be protected, at conservingarizonasfuture.com.

"I believe it is a very balanced approach to protecting some of more sensitive environmental areas, particularly Tumamoc Hill," Walkup said earlier this week. "I think it does a lot for Tucson, and it's a very wise thing to do."

Prop 106 is also supported by The Nature Conservancy, the Arizona Education Association and the Sonoran Institute. The Sierra Club has remained neutral.

The initiative is opposed the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, which has contributed more than $600,000 to an opposition campaign, and cattle ranchers, who fret that the reform will hamper their ability to hang on to low-cost leases for grazing land.

State lawmakers have placed a competing measure, Prop 105, on the ballot that would set aside fewer than 50,000 acres for conservation, with more to come at the discretion of the Legislature.


Judgment Day

The Arizona Supreme Court slapped down Gov. Janet Napolitano's use of the line-item veto to eliminate part of a bill she opposed during this year's legislative session.

Arizona lawmakers had given state workers a raise, but eliminated civil-service protection for some of the highest-paid employees. Napolitano approved the pay hike but tried to use the line-item veto to restore the civil-service protections. GOP lawmakers responded with the lawsuit, arguing that Napolitano had vetoed a policy decision, but the line-item veto power was limited to spending issues.

The Supreme Court agreed, saying Napolitano had overstepped her boundaries. Republicans leaders hailed the decision as a major defeat of Napolitano's power grab, while Napolitano dismissed it as no biggie.

The next big legal battle for state lawmakers: Whether the voucher plan they passed this year is constitutional.


We Are the Champions

No time for losers! The Tucson Sidewinders swept the Pacific Coast League championship series, knocking out the Red Rock Express in three games. The win gave the Sidewinders their first-ever crown. The Tucson Toros last won the championship in 1993.

The Sidewinders were scheduled to play the Toledo Mud Hens, winners of the International League championship series, in the inaugural Bricktown Showdown, on Sept. 19.

Elsewhere on the sports beat: The University of Arizona football team held off the surprisingly competitive Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks last Saturday, Sept. 16, winning 28-10 at home. Adam Austin started at quarterback because Willie Tuitama suffered a concussion in the previous game against Louisiana State University, but Tuitama did take the field near the end of the game.

Next up for the Cats: the No. 3 University of Southern California Trojans at Arizona Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 23.


Scrooged

Following an exposé in the Arizona Daily Star, Patti Noland, clerk of the Pima County Superior Court, announced she would no longer give employees a half-day off during the holiday season.


¡Peligroso!

The U.S. State Department extended its warning that parts of Mexico remain dangerous places for travelers.

"U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Mexico should exercise extreme caution when in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times," the advisory noted. "Public sources suggest that narcotics-related violence has claimed 1,500 lives in Mexico this year. In recent months there have been execution-style murders of Mexican and U.S. citizens in Tamaulipas (particularly Nuevo Laredo), Michoacan, Baja California, Guerrero and other states."

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