'BURB BALLOT: Marana has a new mayor, Bobby Sutton,
but don't expect it to matter. Like the rest of the Town Council
on which he served, Sutton is just another stooge for the Growth
Lobby and will lead the charge for even more clear-cutting
and pink tract homes with phony tile roofs.
Marana also re-elected another cementhead to the Town Council, Ed Honea. Incumbent Sherry Millner was knocked off by Jim Blake, from whom we expect no major policy changes. In fact, we fully expect business as usual to continue in Dogpatch, which is nothing more than a branch office for greedy land speculators and developers. Hell, they're proud of it.
Oro Valley voters tried to take a different turn by dumping incumbent Councilwoman Cheryl Skalsky in favor of Oro Valley Neighborhood Coalition leader Wayne Bryant. Skalsky's 11-year career was terminated, partly because she has a unique ability to piss off just about everybody and partly because her relationship with the big-bucks developers had become more obvious.
Bryant, who lost previous bids for Pima County Board of Supes and Congress, is now in office, and we'll have to see if he actually does something about another local government owned by developers and land speculators. In winning two to one, Bryant revealed the high level of disgust at the way the current leadership does business in Oro Valley.
Both elections generated about a 25 percent turnout, with Marana officials doing everything they could to increase the number of voters. The establishment media bought the cover story that their efforts were prompted by belief in good government and citizen participation. Horseshit! They pimped for more voters to raise the number of signatures needed to place an initiative or recall on the ballot. Net result: They raised the requirements on referendums to about 50 signatures. BFD.
By the way--and for the record--neither town's contested election quite reached the 26.4 percent Tortolita had in its 1998 uncontested primary. We just mention that as a reminder to the Growth Lobby sluts in places like the state Land Department and the AG's Office, who still allege Tortolita isn't a real community.
CONGRESSIONAL CONTEST: Former Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy, who lost his bid to oust Republican Jim Kolbe from the Congressional District 5 House seat last November, has that rematch itch. In a letter that landed in mailboxes earlier this week, Volgy thanked contributors for their support and announced he was ready to take on Kolbe again--maybe.
Volgy's letter asks for contributions in the next three weeks. If he reaches an unstated goal, he says he'll start assembling a Y2K campaign. Otherwise, he'll return the checks.
Volgy, who picked up 45 percent of the vote to Kolbe's 51 percent, says he's been contacted in the last four months by people who say they wish they had supported him, as well as Republicans who were angered by Kolbe's vote to impeach the Philanderer-in-Chief. (Kolbe drew boos when he appeared alongside Clinton last month in Tucson.)
Volgy also suggests that a presidential election year, with a higher Democratic turnout, could make the difference.
If Volgy does run, he may face a Democratic primary challenge from state Sen. George Cunningham, who's also keen on running for the CD5 seat. Political insiders have speculated that Cunningham agreed to stay out of Volgy's way in 1998 if Volgy would stay out of Cunningham's way in 2000. The deal, if it ever existed, would appear to be off.
COLD SALSA: The City Council wisely rejected a request to provide more than $70,000 in in-kind services to Glendale-based GW Promotions Group, which was hustling the city for Salsabration, an end-of-the-millennium fiesta grande for downtown Tucson. The proposal promised "the possibility of an annual event which establishes 'salsa' to Tucson as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans." Or maybe as bullshit is to promotional materials.
As outlined in an amateurish proposal, GW Promotions hoped to bring 50,000 people from around the world to Tucson, where they would pony up $20 apiece ($25 the day of show) to enter a fenced-in section of downtown for a music festival, carnival and fireworks display. The event would climax when "Tens of thousands will gather downtown to witness a New Year's Eve blow-out to rival Times Square!"
But that's not all! The Glendale gang had several other ideas, including a torch run from Hermosillo, a bike ride up A Mountain and corporate tents where the sponsoring suits could schmooze each other right into the next century.
And our favorite idea, straight from the proposal itself: "Salsabration just wouldn't be complete without a world record-breaking event! Imagine enthusiasts of all ages coming from the far reaches of the earth to play in the WORLD'S LARGEST BINGO GAME! Valuable prizes, cash, a nationally recognized host and entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. That's memorable!"
(We're not making this up. Early proposals suggested the World's Largest Margarita or the World's Largest Piñata, perhaps in the shape of a city taxpayer.)
GW hoped to bring in more than $1.6 million, with a profit of $235,000. They'd also contribute $75,000 to downtown revitalization projects.
Astonishingly, Republican Fred Ronstadt, who constantly whines that city government has become too much like the United Way because it funds social service agencies, complained the rejection was another example of the Council turning its back on downtown revitalization. As if. Four days of non-stop stupidity, however much "fun," is not going to bring downtown back, Fred.
The jilted organizers hit the TV cameras after the vote, griping that they thought Tucson was finally grown-up enough for this kind of big-time hustle--er, world-class entertainment event. They threatened to take their fun to a place with real vision, like Oro Valley or Marana. Good luck, fellas--just attach the words economic development, and the rubes in Dogpatch will be happy to close down Price Club Boulevard for your big-ass bingofest!
One big supporter of this turkey was Carol Carpenter of the Tucson Downtown Alliance's Business Improvement District. In working with the Tempe folks, Carpenter bypassed Jeb Schoonover and Paul Bear, who have struggled mightily to restore the Rialto Theatre. Schoonover and Bear are planning their own New Year's celebration along Congress Street.
The snub was appalling, especially since Schoonover--working with the Tucson Weekly--has for several years thrown downtown's biggest party, the ever-more-popular Club Crawl. Last year's Crawl brought more than 8,000 people into downtown bars. And--why waste an opportunity for a plug?--this year's Crawl, featuring at least 80 bands on 20 different stages, will be on Saturday, April 17. Tickets will soon be available at Zia Records for a mere $5.
Apparently, Carpenter is too busy hustling the City Council with carpet-bagging bullshit artists to waste time working with local downtown folks. Reckon we're just too small-time.
COLD SHOULDER: The City Council has also been chilly to a proposal to subsidize a minor-league hockey team at the TCC. The Western Professional Hockey League is asking for a rent break, a cut of concessions and parking fees, and a new $60,000 locker room.
Listen: The recently folded Gila Monsters drew virtually no crowd. Tucsonans aren't going to head out to hockey games on weeknights, especially when tickets cost $12. The Council is absolutely right telling the hockey folks to puck off.
ORDER! ORDER! TUSD's chief legal adviser, Jane Butler, should be flunked. She has the accent but none of the panache of that old gal we so enjoy when C-SPAN airs the British Parliament.
Responding to a long overdue request for a briefing on Robert's Rules of Order, Butler broke off into a tale, that she passed off as original, of just how these rules got started and got their name. "Henry Martyn Robert was an engineering officer in the regular Army," Butler told a rapt TUSD Board and audience last week. "Without warning he was asked to preside over a church meeting and realized that de did not know how. He tried anyway and his embarrassment was supreme." Butler went on with aplomb as if she had toiled to research and write a clever presentation of a dull subject. Butler's embarrassment should be supreme. Her monologue was word-for-word off the Web. Only later did she fess up that the she checked "the Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site."
However, she could not answer such elementary questions about the necessity of minutes, whether the Board needs a motion to adjourn, or even what the Robert's Rules Web Site address is.
Particularly galling was Board Member, the Rev. Joel Tracy Ireland's petulant response to a question about minutes: "You know, I'm not interested in this discussion whatsoever. The meetings run smoothly, they've always run smoothly."
Yeah right, Joel. Gloria Copeland, under your leadership, was the model of dignity. And what about your record in you second term? We remember the night Brenda Even cut your mike off and you screamed into the recording clerk's microphone that you would have the meeting declared illegal and that you would expose the Board on the next day's John C. Scott radio show. By the way, Joel, isn't it time you resumed those wonderful appearances? We miss you, Joel. You were the Michael Crawford of TUSD.
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