February 16 - February 22, 1995

[The Skinny]

CORPORATE WELFARE FOR JOCKS: Tucson may become the home of a minor league hockey franchise. That's the good news. Here's the bad--they want you to subsidize it.

In the tradition of the Copper Bowl and the Rockies, apparently nobody can do sports anymore without a government handout.

That noble dispenser of funds for life's necessities (like Fourth of July parties), the Tucson City Council, has been approached by a group of hockey purveyors. The city has been asked to provide a place--initially the Tucson Convention Center--and to aid the team in finding a permanent home.

Just a couple weeks ago, the council was approached to build a skating rink at a city park to be run by private "entrepreneurs." The council about bit on this one and is considering placing it at the Udall Center. Apparently you can't use ice skates at all without government intervention.

The argument will be made that this will somehow economically benefit us all by some voodoo formula which, if carried to its logical conclusion, means that we all thrive by increasing welfare payments. Bullshit. It's a scam that benefits some at the expense of others.

A BILL ONLY A MEGALOMANIAC CITY MANAGER COULD LOVE: Tucson City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown was busy last week doing his best to tout a bill before the Arizona Senate which would make annexation a breeze for cities like the Naked Pueblo.

Should SB 1393 ever become law, it would allow a superior court judge to act on a city's petition to annex areas of county land by simply assuring the court that residents and property within the area to be annexed would be better off if they were in the city.

If you live in the Palo Verde corridor or some other areas the city's annexation team is interested in, don't get too hot and bothered. Our spies assure us this bill will never make it out of committee.

But, hey, we're not always right.

YES, EVEN WE SCREW UP: The Skinny was in error last week when it reported that when Sahuarita town manager Bob Patrick went on the payroll November 1, 1994, it was one week before the vote creating the town.

The vote occurred in the September primary, which was the choice of those petitioning for incorporation. The leader of that petition drive, Anne Parrish, is now the newly appointed town clerk.

Our apologies to Patrick. But we must mention our surprise that the incorporation election occurred in September's primary, not in November's general election, thereby ensuring much lower citizen participation. The incorporation passed by only 10 votes.

Still not a great start. And we keep hearing this whole incorporation movement was created so some giant refuse company could swoop in with a regional landfill. Somebody say it ain't so.

REAL ESTATE NEWSPEAK: Much attention was recently given to the edict by the Civil Rights Division of the Arizona Attorney General's Office dictating the exact verbiage that could be used in real estate ads. The list of "unacceptable" words and phrases included "walking distance," "near churches" and "handyman special."

When pressed as to the source of this politically correct censorship, Attorney General Grant Woods mumbled something about federal guidelines.

Well, no one can seem to find any federal guidelines spelling out Woods' list of naughty and nice words, so the assumption is that we have his staff's interpretation of federal guidelines.

A Phoenix-based real estate agent is taking this to court in a First Amendment case based on the AG's ruling that she couldn't use the Christian "fish" symbol as a logo on her ads.

The case is being handled by the American Center for Law and Justice. Is this a new left-wing civil rights group? Nope--the legal arm of jerkoff TV preacher Pat Robertson's 700 Club!

This is one time we First Amendment freaks wish those right-wing Christians good luck against Arizona's most shallow and fraudulent pseudo-liberal pol.

KICKING KYL FOR THE HELL OF IT: The Arizona Daily Star ran a rather strange Page One story by Steve Meissner concerning arch-conservative U.S. Senator Jon Kyl's activities on behalf of a former German, now Latvian, politician.

The story told us that Kyl had written to the Latvian government on behalf of Joachim Siegerist, apparently unaware that the guy was so extreme that he spent 18 months in the slammer for "inciting racial hatred."

(Pardon us if we editorially comment that the troublesome First Amendment would have kept Siegerist out of the slammer over here, like it does Louis Farrakhan and others, regardless of how repulsive his views may be, and despite proto-fascist proposals in this country to jail folks for certain hate crimes.)

Kyl claimed he never knew all the details about Siegerist, and if he had, he wouldn't have attempted to intercede. Kyl stated he'd tighten up on his staff work on such items in the future.

Only problem about all this was that it occurred last September, when Kyl was still in the House. Yet, in at least two places in the Star story the deceptive term "Senator Kyl" was used.

Now you don't have to be an aging, Nazi-conservative Kyl supporter, nor even a Republican, to ask the Star--why is this story worth 28 paragraphs and a Page One slot five months after the fact?

Miss it the first time? Slow news day? Lose the file? Or just wanted to write something shitty about Kyl and couldn't find anything recent?

BYE-BYE, BIG STEVE: It's rumored that Pima County Attorney Steve Neely, nominally a Democrat, is thinking about leaving office to take a job with Governor J. Fife Whiteguy III, who is about as Republican as they come. Neely supported Symington in the 1994 election.

If this were to happen, the Pima County Board of Supervisors would appoint Neely's successor. We're told the front-runner is prosecutor David White.

White is a former Democrat now registered GOP, which does wondrous things for all those Democratic party hacks who supported Neely through a number of partisan situations, including contested primaries.

With a 3-2 GOP majority among the supes, White should sail through any appointment process, even though he's a serious gun-control advocate (thank God for little favors). Of course, we suspect the Republican majority will rationalize or ignore this item and shaft the pro-gun constituencies they've been sucking up to for the last few years.

In the meantime, the spurned Democratic Party will have to recruit that elusive and almost extinct commodity, an electable lawyer with balls who would actually want the job.

One other Neely scenario has the bulldog prosecutor running away to New Zealand as soon has he maximizes his pension benefits, which may not be until the end of his term.

SAGUAROS BEWARE: We're never surprised at the fox-in-the-chicken-coop appointments Pima County Supervisor Paul "Dim Bulb" Marsh makes, but now that he's appointed Genesis Real Estate & Development broker Bill Arnold to the Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission, we know the few eggs left in the nest are minutes from the frying pan. Arnold, former president of the Tucson Association of Realtors, will, according to The Arizona Daily Star, "focus on preservation of private property rights, ecological balance and revision of the zoning code." Never mind what we said about the eggs--with appointments like this the whole hen house is headed for crash and burn. And excuse us, but didn't the electorate already nix the big private property proposition last November? We're hopeful Arnold's definition of "ecological balance" is more than how many saguaros can be stacked in a dump truck after they've been yanked from the desert for another tract of pink, stucco boxes.

ELEMENTARY FORCES: TUSD volunteer extraordinaire Joel Stump got an overdue service award from the school district a few weeks back, at the same school board meeting where Joel Ireland put on his mask and turned into Catalina High's Werewolf from Hell. Stump's award was followed up by a Tom Turner article in The Arizona Daily Star this week profiling his miraculous work as "Mr. Science" at Sewell Elementary School.

What was really fabulous about Stump the night of his award presentation, though, was that about 10 minutes after his standing ovation, he came up to the microphone in the call to the audience and discussed what he saw as a mess going on at Sewell. Too nice to mention names, he talked about shouting matches at PTA meetings, the harassment of staff members and noted, "In the last six years, staff attrition at the school has been horrendous."

What the heck is going on over there? Stump asked the board to look into the horrible situation, and we assume they'll start with the guy in charge, Principal Bob Hooper.

Of course, one never knows what principal the TUSD board is going to get behind; Linda Schloss is still over at Catalina High School and raging Joel says he'll keep standing behind her.

By the way, how many times did fire trucks have to respond to the Catalina campus again during the first week of February, two? That's $250 taxpayers are going to have a hard time accepting come bond-election time.

POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK! The so-called Mexican government recently reacted to President Bill Clinton's proposed $1 border-crossing fee with a fax from the Tucson consulate.

"The Secretariat of Foreign Relations (of Mexico) considers...to charge for the right to cross the border is contradictory to the original purpose of both countries of facilitating the free and respectful exchange of the different instances of our bilateral relation," the release read.

We couldn't agree more--which is why we're still pissed off that the Mexican government is charging $11 for U.S. cars entering the country, along with requiring a bond based on the low blue book value of the vehicle.

And we hope the rebels win. So there.

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February 16 - February 22, 1995

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