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Wheel Thing

Viva la revolution! The Tucson City Council has made the streets safe for motorized bike riders. The city's regulations, sparked by a state law that carved out a new definition for the increasingly popular motorized bikes, require riders to stay off sidewalks and have a headlamp and rear reflector if they are out after dark. Riders and passengers younger than 18 must also wear helmets.

The approval came despite objections from the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Citizens' Transportation Advisory Committee, both of which recommended that the bikes be banned except on private property for safety reasons.

"Motorized bicycles can reach speeds of more than 25 mph," noted Malcolm Pavey, chair of the Citizens' Transportation Advisory Committee. "With a clutch operating system and a rudimentary braking system designed for mountain bikes or even beach cruisers, control of motorized bicycles is a valid safety concern for unlicensed operators."

Pavey added that "motorized bicycles present problems and can even be dangerous to traditional riders because of their speeds."

What a killjoy!

The council was also critical of plans by Davis-Monthan officials to build a waste-to-energy incinerator that would burn trash to generate electricity on the Air Force base. Ward 5 Councilman Steve Leal told The Range he'd like to see Air Force officials consider using solar energy instead.


Going Downtown

Gov. Janet Napolitano sure loves downtown revitalization! The Napster dropped into Tucson last Wednesday, Sept. 20, to sign the Rio Nuevo extension bill, which will allow the city to pocket hundreds of millions of dollars in state sales taxes for downtown projects. Also attending the ceremony: Mayor Bob Walkup, state Sen. Tim Bee and state Rep. Steve Huffman, whose political career recently died of heart failure. The dignitaries thanked a number of supporters of the bill, including Senate President Ken Bennett and House Speaker Jim Weiers, but The Range was surprised to learn that the entire event was not sponsored by Cox Cable.


Statute Celebration

Speaking of new laws: The latest batch, passed by the Arizona Legislature during its lengthy winter/spring session, went into effect last Thursday. Among our favorites:

· Cable companies can't be required to provide more than four public, educational or government channels as part of a franchise agreement with cities and towns.

· Breastfeeding in public is no longer considered indecent exposure.

· Defensive-driving classes can take no more than 4 1/2 hours.

· Homeowners' associations can't stop residents from flying military, state, tribal or POW-MIA flags.

· Active-duty military members no longer have to pay income taxes on their military paychecks.

· Arizonans who have conceal-carry permits no longer must take refresher safety courses.

· Human remains must be shipped in suitable shipping containers.

· Crime victims are now eligible for one free copy of their crime reports.

· Cops can prevent minors from entering Mexico without parental permission, although they can't detain the minors.

· Military personnel have new protections against collection efforts by payday lenders.

· Prostitution carries a mandatory jail sentence.

· The sale or purchase of telephone records without the owners' permission is now prohibited.

· Wealthy Arizonans no longer have to worry about paying a state estate tax.

· Bestiality is now a class 6 felony.

· Microbreweries and vineyards face fewer regulations related to distribution.

· All public classrooms, from kindergarten though college, must fly a U.S. flag by next summer.


No Touchdowns

The UA football team lost another tough game last Saturday, Sept. 23, falling to the USC Trojans by a score of 20-3. This week's Willie Tuitama injury: a sprained ankle, though the quarterback may be well enough to start against the Washington Huskies at Arizona Stadium this Saturday.

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