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WAIT, REX: The one-time king (by default) of the Pima County Republican Party must serve his full three-year sentence in state prison for kidnapping and assaulting his soon-to-be ex-wife, Helen Baldridge, two years ago.

With no surprise, Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat with close ties to County Attorney Barbara LaWall, rejected a unanimous vote by the state Board of Executive Clemency that recommended Waite, 74, be released.

Waite terrorized Baldridge on two occasions, including a bizarre episode where he tied her to the bed, threatened to kill himself, threatened to torch the house, untied her and then performed oral sex on her. Waite then violated a restraining order six weeks later when he--boozed, confused and depressed--broke into the home he once shared with Baldridge.

Rather than take a plea offer that included only probation, the proud and stupid Waite gambled with a trial. He was promptly convicted, but Howard Fell, the Superior Court judge pro tem whose previous career was in the prosecutor shop, said the mandatory minimum sentence was too long. Waite was ill, remorseful, had no previous trouble with crime, no propensity for further crime, and a long record of community service, Fell said. The judge gave Waite leave to seek early release.

The next assault was on the truth with what became the Waite echo from LaWall and her Chief Deputy, Mary Judge Ryan, along with Democrats on the City Council and the domestic violence agencies that support and are supported by the politicians.

Waite, they sang, was using his political connections to achieve release. Wrong. It was a former LaWall colleague, Judge Fell, who first recommended release. Waite was a buffoonish hack who stumbled into his only political jobs--he was appointed County Assessor in 1991 and became county GOP boss in the mid-1990s. This is a man who lost every election, beyond the one fixed for his party chairmanship, he ever ran in. This is a man who lost the Assessor's Office to Alan Lang, the Democrat who had his own catalog of domestic violence and someone who, with his Deputy Tom Naifeh, did much more damage to the tax rolls.

Waite had no connections. To wit: Jane Dee Hull, Napolitano's Republican predecessor, let the clemency recommendation rot on her desk by taking no action.

Mary Judge Ryan, who cannot shed her delusions about being in Congress, spouted incorrectly that Waite was guilty of sexual assault.

She is rightly indignant about domestic violence. But she had no trouble taking a $500 contribution to her not-a-chance-in-hell campaign against U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Tucson, last year from Ken Orms, the big-talking mortgage banker and real estate broker. He struck his fiancee, Robin Gardner, in the face, according to Oro Valley and Pima County court records, on March 11, 2000.

Orms, who later lost a $900,000 Superior Court judgment to Gardner over employment and personal matters, successfully completed probation on the domestic violence/assault charge and, under a provision of Arizona law, had that charge dismissed.

Young prison punks have twice beaten Waite, who has a new woman in his life and a new wedding planned. His top-tier, but tired lawyer Bob Hirsh has appealed Waite's conviction. Even eternally hopeful Hirsh thinks a reversal is unlikely. Helen Baldridge, who operates an eastside beauty shop, has filed for bankruptcy.


THAT'S A RAP: The Federal Elections Commission has decided against a cameo in the Ruben Reyes-Raúl Grijalva production arising from a no-show job Reyes was handed at Pima County last year after his boss and mentor left the Board of Supervisors to capture the District 7 seat in the U.S. Congress.

Reyes, a longtime aide to Supervisor Grijalva and now an aide to Congressman Grijalva, was handed a job to produce a movie on county youth programs. He accomplished next to nothing on that while staying busy, even while he reported that he was ill, on Grijalva's campaign. He gave up the movie job for full-time work for Grijalva after news of his production (non) schedule hit the dailies.

Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll asked that the feds look into the matter for potential violation of campaign finance laws.

The feds, however, don't do windows.


COUNTY BITES: The animal-loving Board of Supervisors love to protect all the creatures, great and small, that roam and slither the desert. But to pets, supes say: Drop Dead.

Supervisors voted unanimously last October to jack up all the rates and fees charged at Animal Control, which is under the direction of Rodrigo Silva, a callous horse doctor who has the right political connections.

Those steep fees have led to the horror of poor pet owners having their dogs and cats slaughtered by the county, a revelation brought out by the Arizona Daily Star's domestic animal reporter Kimberly Matas.

Silva made matters worse in his oddly arrogant, what-me? manner by not alerting County Prime Minister Chuck Huckelberry to the gathering storm.

And it falls upon Huckelberry, not to the inept supervisors who profess their love of animals, to fix this problem. And he has done so. He immediately ordered a review of the fees, lower fees for first-time fence jumpers, ordered that Animal Control start taking plastic--many other county agencies take credit cards--and begin a community service or volunteer program whereby owners of various canine/feline escape artists can spring their loved ones by working at Animal Control. There's lots of cleaning, feeding, watering, grooming and paper work for those who can't pay usurious fees.

Save the poop for the supes.


STOLEN HERITAGE: The budget deal reached last week by Gov. Janet Napolitano and legislative leaders includes a $10 million grab of Heritage Fund dollars that were supposed to be spent on acquiring habitat for endangered species. OK, so the money, raised by the state lottery, was just sitting there, but that's because the Game and Fish Commission doesn't much care for protecting endangered species, so they weren't in a rush to spend the dollars.

Even though the money will be used to fund the state parks, we understand all too well the lament of Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr, who fears officials will tap the Heritage Fund for at least $20 million to balance next year's budget: "They start out by taking some, then some more, then zero it out."


PATRIOT ACT: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold an earlier decision that bans the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public classrooms because it contains the phrase "under God."

The decision brought a quick response from Attorney General John Ashcroft, who assured the press that, "The Justice Department will spare no effort to preserve the rights of all our citizens to pledge allegiance to the American flag."

In related news, the Justice Department will redouble its efforts to erode the civil liberties that the flag represents.


SEPARATED AT BIRTH? We're delighted to note the capture of high-ranking al-Qaeda fuckhead Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Were we the only ones to notice his stunning similarity to porn star Ron Jeremy? Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen the two of them together?

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