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SCRAMBLEWATCH '07: DASH FOR CASH EDITION

Ward 2 Democratic candidate Rodney Glassman tells us he's already set to file for matching funds from the city for his City Council run. Glassman, who hopes to replace retiring Councilwoman Carol West, has to turn in a minimum of 200 contributions of at least $10 to qualify for a dollar-for-dollar match of privately raised money.

As part of the deal, council candidates will have to limit their spending to somewhere in the neighborhood of $90,000 this year.

Glassman has set up an ambitious fundraising goal: He wants to limit contributions to his campaign to no more than $20, which means he needs contributions from roughly 2,300 of his closest friends. So if you run into him on the street (or in the classroom, or even in Kingfisher's bar), be prepared: He's gonna hit you up.

Other city elections tidbits: We hear Democratic Councilman Steve Leal is telling folks he'll be announcing his plans to challenge Republican Mayor Bob Walkup by the end of February. Or maybe early March.

Leal will have to give up the Ward 5 seat he's held since 1989, leaving his fellow council members with the job of replacing him. We hear potential candidates include Sunnyside School Board member Eva Dong and former Tucson Pima Arts Council staffer Annabelle Nuñez.

Oh, and remember how last week we told you about that hot rumor on the street that Tucson Unified School District board member Adelita Grijalva--daughter of Congressman Raul Grijalva--was considering at run at Ward 1 Councilman's José Ibarra's seat? Turns out she's not all that interested in the office. Right now.

But we're hearing other whispers out there. For example, we're told that Regina Romero--who is now working as an aide to Ward 3 Councilwoman Karin Uhlich--may be interested in challenging Ibarra. (Gee, that should make for smooth relations between Ward 1 and Ward 3 at the weekly study sessions.) Romero, by the way, is married to Ruben Reyes, an aide to Congressman Grijalva, so if she goes for it, it's a pretty good sign that Raul has finally had enough of José, a one-time protégé.


GET YER GUNS!

The Legislature is in full swing, with somewhere around 900 bills, resolutions and memorials already awaiting a hearing in one committee or another.

Militias seem to be all the rage in the early days of the '07 session. State Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise who's worried that the federal government might take control of the National Guard, wants to create a Homeland Security Force that would be made up of unpaid but trained volunteers willing to be called into action by the governor during an emergency. The cost of the Homeland Security Force? Yet to be determined.

Harper's legislation, Senate Bill 1132, passed the Senate Government Committee on a 4-2 vote this week.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat representing Phoenix, has sponsored the yin to Harper's yang: House Bill 2286, which would make it illegal for armed groups to gather to patrol for "alleged illegal activity"--perhaps along the border? Hmm, wonder whom she could have been thinking of when she came up with that plan?

Sinema has gotten plenty of feedback on the bill, including several death threats that probably came from illegal immigrants who were trying to make the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps look bad.

We suspect Sinema's bill runs afoul of both the First and Second Amendments, but we imagine Republicans will be only too happy to give the legislation a hearing, knowing just how many firearms enthusiasts will turn out to testify.


RUSSELL'ED UP

We mentioned last week that state Rep. Russell Pearce, the Mesa Republican best known for his fierce advocacy of Operation Wetback, was among the lawmakers who were already working on a new constitutional ban on gay marriage. It appears that Russell's plan was a bit premature for some of the folks who are a little too preoccupied with what the gays are doing (we're looking your way, Center for Arizona Policy), so he's backing off while they reconsider their strategy.

Besides, Russell has plenty of other concerns. For example, he already wants to amend his successful push for a flag in every K-12 and college classroom. This year, he's sponsoring HB 2468, which would require the flags to be at least 2 feet by 3 feet.

Russell has also signed on to SB 1066, which would require all legislative candidates to take a drug test and reveal what sort of illegal or prescription drugs they're on. An alternative, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1005 would ask voters to approve a similar measure.

Pearce also has a hand in House Concurrent Resolution 2019, which asks voters to repeal the state income tax and replace it with a more broad-based sales tax. Although the exact percentage of the sales tax has yet to be determined, it would almost surely result in a tax increase for nearly every Arizonan, since Arizona's progressive income tax had about fewer than 10 percent of all households--those reporting more than $100,000 in adjusted gross income--paying more than 60 percent of the total income-tax take in 2004. (That same year, roughly 39 percent of the income tax was paid by the 2.24 percent of people who reported an adjusted gross income of more than $200K.) Hey, but who cares about the math? It's about freedom!

In a more serious vein, Pearce has once again resurrected trespass legislation to make it a crime for people to be on public or private property if they are not in the country legally. This one has met with resistance in the past from police who don't want to be drafted as immigration agents, especially since it'll disrupt their relationships with heavily Latino communities.


THIS AND THAT

A few other bills worth a mention:

· Senate Concurrent Resolution 1001, from the minds of Sens. Jack Harper and John Huppenthal, asks voters to amend the Arizona Constitution to only allow citizen initiatives that have already been introduced as bills in the Arizona Legislature--and changing any language from the legislative version would be a no-no. Maybe it's just us, but that seems to defeat to purpose of a citizen initiative.

· SCR 1009, also from Harper, asks voters to set legislators' salaries at $28,000 a year and establishes an automatic 3 percent increase unless lawmakers vote to turn down the raise. Harper tells Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services that he just wants to relieve voters of the "burden" of deciding legislative pay at the ballot box.

· House Concurrent Memorial 2001, from a passel of Democrats, urges Congress to create a cabinet-level office called the Department of Peace and Non-Violence, which would "research, educate and facilitate nonviolent conflict resolution solutions that are both domestic and international in scope."

· HCM 2004, from Russell Pearce, urges Congress to pass a law forcing cable TV providers to offer subscribers an à la carte programming option so they don't have to receive stations they don't watch.

· Sick of all those robo-calls you got during the last political season? Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson dropped a bill this week that would let voters check a box on their registration forms that would show they didn't want to get any political phone solicitations. While HB2596 wouldn't prevent politicians from making the calls, they'd know they were risking the wrath of voters by dialing the digits of people who didn't want to hear from them.

More by Jim Nintzel

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