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CRIMINAL THINKING

The serial killer--or killers--loose on the streets of Phoenix? It's all the fault of Gov. Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard, two Democrats who have allowed a criminal culture to thrive in Arizona.

Or at least that's the argument coming from the GOP team of gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil and attorney general candidate Bill Montgomery, who teamed up last week for a press conference blasting Napolitano and Goddard for Arizona's high crime rate.

Their complaints are a steaming pile that shows both Republicans are getting desperate for traction. For starters, it's not like Napolitano--who supports the death penalty and signed a bill mandating jail time rather than diversion for prostitutes this year--is soft on crime.

And because many crime problems can be linked back to meth-heads who steal everything from copper piping to identities, Goddard has fought for more restrictions on the sale of cold medicine that can be used to make meth. Instead, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a weaker bill that attempted to prevent local jurisdictions from coming up with stricter requirements.

Besides, the types of crimes--rapes, shooting, etc.--that Munsil and Montgomery are complaining about aren't the sort of thing the attorney general normally focuses on. It's the responsibility of local law enforcement and county attorneys.

Which means that Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas should maybe be focusing on that crime rate--if he weren't so busy twisting the law to prosecute illegal aliens. How's that working out, anyway? Last we noticed, those cases were getting tossed out of court. But we're sure it's more important to go after would-be gardeners than the Baseline Killer.

Incidentally, Montgomery worked in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office before he decided to run for AG. Say, maybe he's to blame for those soaring crime rates!


THE EDUCATION CANDIDATE

The Skinny was so excited to receive the Clean Elections booklet in the mail this week. We love so many things about the pamphlet: How candidates are expected to explain their positions in 200 words or less. How they can lie about and attack their opponents. And how so many of them turn in statements that feature broken English.

Which brings us to our new feature: Highlights From the Candidate Statements!

Our first installment comes from Don Goldwater, the Republican nephew of Barry Goldwater who is seeking to cash in on the family name as he pursues the governor's office. Let's see how Don, who evidently didn't learn about parallel construction in high school, mangles the English language:

"Fellow Arizonans, your government is failing you in almost every area by: Allowing over a million illegal aliens a year to invade our state; Out of control wasteful spending of YOUR tax dollars--nearly doubled in 3+ years; Criminal activity at an all-time high making Arizona #1 in FBI crime statistics; Fire, ready, AIMS K-12 public school system producing unemployable graduates; Outdated transportation corridors becoming rush-hour parking lots; Health care crisis--emergency rooms closing, doctors leaving the state."

Remind us: Is he running for governor or caveman?


COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT

Speaking of Clean Elections: The regulatory system is just a hotbed of complaints in this year's gubernatorial election.

First there was the complaint against Gov. Janet Napolitano, saying she spent money on a Web site before she received her Clean Elections funds.

Last week, Democrats struck back with their own complaint that Republican Len Munsil was cooking his books. Democratic Party Executive Director David Waid said that Munsil paid political consultant Nathan Sproul $5,400 in February and $5,000 in March, but only $1,000 in April. Sproul's payment bounced back up to $6,000 in May.

The Munsil campaign also paid the VBP Group $2,000 in March, nothing in April and $2,500 in May.

"From these records, it appears that the Munsil Committee had depleted most of its available funds by the last weeks of April, which forced it to forgo the April payment to the VBP Group and to pay Sproul and Associates at a significantly reduced rate in April, and to make up for that reduced April payment by making a larger payment in May," Waid wrote in a letter to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

We're glad to see the Clean Elections system leading to a substantive discussion of the issues rather than more charges and counter-charges.

By the way: GOP contender Don Goldwater still had not, as of press time, received Clean Elections funds, which is not a good sign for his campaign.


MO' MONEY

Last week, we mentioned the financial tallies in Congressional District 8, where Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to replace Congressman Jim Kolbe.

But we neglected to mention that in heavily Democratic Congressional District 7, Democratic incumbent Raul Grijalva had reported raising $423,136 and spending $312,420.

Republican Ron Drake, the former mayor of Avondale who has been telling folks he'd be able to raise a half-million dollars to take out Grijalva, had collected $54,037, including $1,000 of his own money. Sounds like he's falling a little short of his goal.

Drake's opponent, perennial candidate Joe Sweeney, has no records filed with the FEC.


SCRAMBLEWATCH UPDATE

Democrat Gabrielle Giffords has landed another endorsement in her pursuit of the Congressional District 8 seat: The Arizona Police Association. The group joined four other public-safety organizations--the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS), the Associated Highway Patrolmen of Arizona, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona and the Tucson Fire Fighters Association--in backing Giffords.

But the big question remains whether she can overcome former newscaster Patty Weiss' name ID. To that end, Giffords launched her first TV ad earlier this week.

And yes, we know: Democrats Jeff Latas, Alex Rodriguez, Francine Shacter and Bill Johnson are also in the primary race.


BACK ON THE BALLOT

Last week, we reported how Democrats had scored a big victory when Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fields booted Republican Russ Jones off the ballot in Legislative District 24. The decision, which left only Democrat Amanda Aguirre on the ballot in the fight for an open Senate seat, set back the GOP in its quest for a veto-proof majority next year.

Just as we were hitting the streets, the Arizona Supreme Court reversed Fields' decision and put Jones back on the ballot. Although the justices agreed that Jones had falsely signed petitions claiming that he had collected the signatures, they said it wasn't enough to disqualify him from running.


AH, WHO CARES?

A couple of months back, the morning daily's editorial page chided readers for caring more about Hollywood celebrities than the important work of the Arizona Legislature.

So you'd think that the staff would be eager to interview the legislative candidates to help readers make their decisions at the polling places.

You'd be wrong. Even though only one of the local legislative races is likely to be decided in the general election rather than the primary (it's the LD 25 race, in case you--or the Star--were wondering), the editorial board has decided to endorse only in select races.

Coming in September from the Star: a post-primary editorial decrying the lousy turnout.

More by Jim Nintzel

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