RUMOR CONTROL: Tucson Police Chief Doug Smith assures The Skinny he's not looking for a job elsewhere. All you street cops whispering about the chief's possible change of address can just cool it--Smith has made a vow to stick it out here in the Naked Pueblo, and he's not the type to break a vow. Right?

WATER WHEELS: Well, the self-appointed business and community "leaders" allied with the Central Arizona Water Conservation District say the voters of Tucson have made a serious mistake in rejecting CAP water for drinking. The voters' decision, the CAPocrats say, was based on propaganda and deliberate misinformation.

Wrong, fat cats: The voters rejected CAP water because it tastes like crap and wrecked our pipes.

We find it fascinating when something as abstract as the concept of psychological projection crops up in public life, but here it is--the CAPocrats accuse their opponents of propagandizing even as the CAPocrats themselves spend big bucks to do just that.

Perhaps the fancy Phoenix public relations firm the CAPocrats hired recently can make us forget that awful taste and annoying hassle. Of course that would mean broadcasting their own brand of propaganda and misinformation. Might we suggest a snappy little slogan for their upcoming campaign. Something like: "Sure it's gross, but we'll pay you extra to swallow!"

We're also fascinated by the well-coifed arrogance the CAPocrats displayed at their meeting in Tucson last week--their smug assurance they alone know what's best for us; their unblinking assertions we voters must have been daft--why else would we have ignored the favorable CAP editorials in both daily papers?

The truth is, both daily papers are dependent upon the big development/business interests. And CAP water is being pushed on us gagging citizens because the development/business interests whom the dailies serve damn well want us to take as much CAP water as we can, so explosive, uncontrolled growth will continue and they can rake in ever more money.

Which suggests an even better slogan: "You'll drink this crap because it's good for us!"

PRO-CANCEROUS GROWTH: And speaking of everybody's favorite bird-cage liner, have you noticed The Arizona Daily Star's B.S. editorial stances recently? They came out in favor of that ridiculous plan to put the New U out in IBM la-la land, undoubtedly much to the delight of legendary land speculator Don Diamond, whose mega project Rocking K is nearby. And the Star recently appeared to flip-flop and lend its support to the idea that tax money should subsidize professional Baseball when it comes to building that spring-training stadium the rich white guys are salivating about. Funny, but isn't Diamond associated with that project, too?

When did the Don become a partner in Pulitzer Publishing? More importantly, why do those folks responsible for the Star's official editorials write like over-educated twits?

"SCREW U" UPDATE: Celestino Fernández, the provostest with the mostest ego, gave an immodestly titled little talk at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church last week: "My Life And My Vision."

It's too bad the good church folk subjected to his high-sounding blather didn't get a gander at his temper tantrum on the floor of the UA Faculty Senate a few weeks earlier. Cel, provost of Arizona International Campus (that's AIC, as in "ache" to us taxpayers), didn't like it when a faculty senator asked him whether he planned to give up his own tenure at the UA.

It was a logical question, given that Cel heads the new college set to go as the only institution in the Arizona system that will be tenure-free.

"I don't think that's yours or the Senate's business," Cel snapped. A few days later, Cel sent a letter to every faculty senator explaining that he considers his tenure to be an important job benefit. Left unsaid was why he doesn't consider it an important job benefit for the AIC profs who will be under his administrative thumb.

We have a question of our own, your provostness: How do you spell "hypocrite?"

AND SPEAKING OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We're really amused by all the bleatings from the UA Administration about how they need more funding from the state Legislature.

It seems to us the UA has plenty of money--there's enough to start the New U way off in the middle of nowhere, there's enough to bulldoze the homes of senior citizens to build parking lots, there's enough to push Sixth Street merchants out of their restaurants and stores. In fact, the only thing the university doesn't seem to be able to afford is journalism and phys ed programs.

Frankly, we're happy to see lawmakers put the squeeze on the UA. It might make them remember their priority ought to be education, not building an empire and helping developers rape the Rincon Valley.

THAT HOVERING SHITHAMMER: We also got a big kick out of Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III's recent whining that the press has focused too much on his negatives.

Yes, it's outrageous that people might lower their opinion about a man just because he's stiffing his debtors for $25 million. Or because his company owes a couple million in taxes. Or because, in spite of the above, he continues to enjoy a life of luxury few of us will ever experience.

No, it couldn't be any of those things. Gov. Deadbeat maintains he'd be doing much better in the polls if he were running for office and had money to spend for TV ads and direct mailings singing his praises. Of course, Gov. Deadbeat didn't really have the money to do that during his last election--he ended the 1994 campaign more than $150,000 in debt. How unusual for him.

In fact, he's now using money he's collected for a possible 1998 campaign to pay off those 1994 debts--which allows contributors who gave the maximum contribution to give even more. This sleazy move has made him the target of yet another probe by a prosecutor--in this case, Attorney General Grant Woods, who's investigating whether Gov. Deadbeat has violated the letter of campaign finance laws. (It's a foregone conclusion, of course, that he violated the spirit.)

And then there's those FBI guys and that looming federal indictment. Gee, maybe Fife can start putting together a direct mailing for his potential jury pool.

BLIND AMBITION: District 11 Rep. Elaine Richardson made it official this week--she'll face off against fellow House member Jorge Luis Garcia in the Democratic primary for the District 11 Senate seat being surrendered by retiring state Sen. Peter Goudinoff.

We've also heard Republican Sharon Collins, who lost to George Miller in the city's mayoral race last November, is considering a run in District 14, currently represented by Democrats Marion Pickens and Hershella Horton in the House and Ruth Solomon in the Senate.

And, over in District 10, community activist Betty Liggins has announced she'll again try to knock either ticket-fixing Phil Hubbard or fruitcake-shoplifting Carmen Cajero out of the House. And, in the most interesting rumor we've heard lately (next to a February 11 indictment date for a certain pale deadbeat), Chuy Higuera may also be considering a run in District 10. Higuera, who left the state Senate in disgrace after getting nailed in AzScam, had better make sure that felony conviction didn't strip him of his right to run for office.

SPECIAL ED'S PAYBACK TIME: While he contemplates under which party's banner he'll seek re-election, Pima County Supervisor "Special Ed" Moore is doing all he can to pay for the race. Moore is calling those who do business with the county and whose contracts he's supported in the past and hitting them up for campaign contributions.

In the past, Ed's handled things differently. In 1984 he spent his own money, and in 1988 and 1992 he had others do the check gathering. Now it seems he has to be his own bag man. Which, when you consider his many pious pronouncements on "corruption," is highly interesting.

Hey Ed, beating up on contractors for campaign money looks pretty damn corrupt to us. Maybe next you could charge a user fee for constituent services.

PUSSYFOOTING AROUND PANHANDLERS: They were just too politically correct to do it. The all-Democratic Tucson City Council rejected a move by Council Member Molly McKasson to tighten up on Fourth Avenue panhandlers who gang up on working people and students and intimidate them until they cough up.

The council has instead appointed a committee to study the problem and has ordered the Tucson Police Department to try to use existing laws to control the scum.

Think of what could be done with that ordinance if you applied it to guys like Jerry Colangelo, Don Diamond and other baseball team owners who are constantly operating in packs and ganging up on groups of merchants and politicians to intimidate them until they cough up. Hey, come to think of it, these rich guys are the most obnoxious group of panhandlers we've ever seen. TW

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