March 30 - April 5, 1995

[The Skinny]

BAZABALL BE BEDDY BEDDY GOOD TO DEVELOPERS: Part of the latest lunacy in the attempts by local pols and so-called community leaders to subsidize a deadly dull sport consists of the peachy keen idea that we, the taxpayers, should build a new stadium for some rich, out-of-town guys so they can make even more money. Guys in suits are telling us this will somehow be good for all of us.

We think it'll be pretty good if you own a hotel or restaurant across the street from the stadium, not so good if you own a ceramics shop 20 miles away, and really good if you're the guy who owns the land they build that stadium on.

The latest proposal is to put the sucker at Continental Ranch. Developer Dave Dolgen has offered some free land, and the Colorado Rockies think it's a pretty good deal for them. Right. We suspect the team plans to keep concessions like the parking lot to add to the $4 beers and $3.50 hot dogs they already gouge us for at Hi Corbett Field. And, upon closer inspection, Dolgen is hardly a philanthropist.

The land in question is in a flood plain and can't be used for anything anyway. But if the county puts in a stadium, taxpayers will have to provide stuff like bank protection, which will greatly benefit Dolgen's adjoining property. As will the roads and bridges the taxpayers will have to pony up. So Dolgen gets us to spring for his infrastructure. Pretty good hustle.

We don't denigrate a guy like Dolgen for trying--in his business he's almost a class act. The hustlers aren't the problem. Our problem is the local pols we seem to keep electing who are clearly the biggest damn marks around. Some of these dumbshits actually think this is a good idea.

One more time: the so-called "multiplyer" factors used to convince us that subsidizing rich people who own sports franchises is good for us is pure, unadulterated bullshit and the worst form of voodoo economics.

AND WE DO MEAN WAFFLE: One more example of why we call him the Flaky Waffleman--Pima County Supervisor Mike Boyd wrote a long piece last year in The Desert Leaf, a monthly circulated throughout his foothills district, in which he extolled the virtues of charter government in giving the people of Pima County the opportunity to modify how that government works. In that piece, Mikey committed to the first step in the process--the election of the 15 people who will bring a new charter back before the voters this May.

The process to elect those 15 folks has bogged down and is probably in the terminal stage. And where's Mikey? Nowhere to be found. He didn't make a single motion before the Board of Supervisors to support the multiple commitments he'd made to the charter process. Which means the process is dead for the foreseeable future--and Mikey helped kill it.

We call that breaking your word. We think that's not only flaky, but downright dishonest. And one more example of why we think Mikey Boyd has no nutritional value.

GUESS WE WON'T HAVE DICK TO KICK AROUND ANY MORE: Out-of-town cash couldn't help the incumbents in Tuesday's Oro Valley recall election. Mayor Richard Parker and Councilwoman Valerie Hoyt got tossed out on their asses (the vote was 2to-1) by Rudy Roszak and Paul Parisi.

It was nothing less than they deserved.

Roszak and Parisi claimed the two losers were stooges for builders and developers. Looks like they were right: Parker and Hoyt raised a total of $7,000--all of it from the employees, contractors or relatives of builders and developers. None of it from Oro Valley, and more than a quarter of it from Phoenix.

Pathetic. As of March 16, the only Oro Valley money in the Parker/Hoyt campaign was the $4,000 or so in tax money spent by the Oro Valley Town Council to mail a puff piece to all the residents three weeks before the election.

Maybe there's hope for Honeybee Canyon.

A GOVERNMENT OF PROSECUTORS, NOT OF LAWS: Former state Rep. John Kromko is still facing misdemeanor charges for failing to turn in the inadequate number of petition signatures he gathered against Pima County Supervisor Big Ed Moore a year or so ago.

We pointed out at the time the inconsistency and downright hypocrisy of the Pima County Attorney's Office in prosecuting Kromko while they let former state Sen. Luis Gonzales slide for allegedly forging petition signatures in Gonzales' flopped attempt to run against Supervisor Raul Grijalva. In Gonzales' case, a criminal investigation had been ordered by the judge who threw Gonzales off the ballot, with enough evidence presented by Grijalva's able attorney, Bill Risner, to bag Gonzales on a bunch of charges.

Well, it's almost two years later, and the Pima County Attorney's Office blew the Gonzales case off with a ho-hum, it's just political stuff and only a misdemeanor. OK, they didn't give a shit. But wait a minute. In comes Kromko's potential misdemeanor and suddenly the political stuff gets real serious--and is, in fact, still unresolved and still hanging over Kromko.

We relate all this for one additional reason besides letting you know we think some of the folks in Steve Neely's operation are chickenshits. Seems the prime chickenshit in the Kromko matter is none other than Chief Criminal Deputy David White.

When not flipping off senior citizens whose driving habits bug him, White would seem to be following in the Neely pattern of selective prosecution.

GOING, GOING...GONE: The University of Arizona holds a once-a-month auction over on Warren Avenue, and TUSD teachers should attend. Observers recently reported spotting new and next-to-new cartons of science equipment there--beakers, test tubes and books--with "TUSD Catalina High School" neatly stamped on the outside.

Why did those supplies end up at auction when Catalina science teachers have been hollering from the beginning of the year that they need supplies?

All we can imagine is that when the school was temporarily closed, then reopened, the requested supply sheets from the chair of the science department somehow were lost, sending the desperately needed supplies into typical TUSD limbo.

Too bad. All this time the students at Catalina could have been cooking up concoctions in beakers instead of starting fires in garbage cans.

FOULING OUR NEST: You'd almost think state lawmakers didn't realize Earth Day was coming up April 20.

The vile Environmental Audit Bill (SB 1290) has passed the Senate and is now making its way through the House. As regular readers may recall, the bill gives immunity to polluters if they secretly report their environmental violations and agree to clean them up. It also socks anyone who leaks info about the violation with a stiff fine.

The audit bill has not only raised the ire of the environmental community. It's also opposed by the Department of Environmental Quality, the attorney general's office and the state's county attorneys. Even trial lawyers oppose the bill.

The legislation's supporters include garbage people, the petroleum industry, the mines and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

When a similar bill came up last year, Phil MacDonnell, lobbyist for the Arizona Newspapers Association, was a key player in its defeat. Seems newspapers have a problem with government keeping its records private--one of those watchdog things, you know.

Many capitol insiders were surprised, then, when MacDonnell changed his tune this session and supported the bill--on behalf of his new client, Waste Management, Inc. Guess garbage pays more.

Meanwhile, the Senate is looking at passing many of those nasty bills approved by the House not so long ago. Among them:

House Bill 2196, which takes away the rights of citizens to sue if the state doesn't enforce its own regulations. As we've pointed out before, only a handful of suits have ever been filed, and they've resulted in the state picking up more than a quarter million dollars. There's no reason to scrap the provision.

HB 2274, which takes the money from those darling environmental license plates away from school districts and gives it to the ranchers to set up their own environmental education centers. Yes, we can just imagine beautiful dioramas showing the lovely effect of herds of cattle on the land.

HB 2236 and HCM 2002, which make CFCs legal in Arizona in defiance of international treaty. Need we say more?

Feel free to call your lawmakers at 1-800-352-8404 to let 'em know what you think of these bills. Call Gov. J. Fife Whiteguy III at 1-800-253-0883 to let him know he might consider vetoing the legislation if it reaches his desk.

AND IN THIS CORNER: We hear some folks are getting downright testy up at the Capitol. Spies tell The Skinny that Rep. Art Hamilton, a Phoenix Democrat and House Minority Leader, challenged a fellow Democrat to a boxing match over the use of a conference room. Temper, Art.

Not to be outdone, Rep. Bob Updike, a Republican from Phoenix, asked Speaker of the House Mark Killian (R-Mesa) to step outside after Killian gave him a chastising lecture on the importance of following the GOP party line.

Now that's a double bill we'd love to see.

LET HER ROT? Help us get this straight--we pay taxes so we can have, among other things, a fabulous natural enclave like, say, Saguaro National Monument. Our taxes go to the federal government to pay for U.S. Park Service rangers who supervise these places. Right?

So when a hard-working taxpayer, say someone like 34-year-old Shannon Joy Schell, goes hiking one day in the east Monument and fails to return, it's only right the rangers go out looking for her--with lots of help from local officials and volunteers from the community, of course.

Sounds reasonable so far? We thought so.

And should the unthinkable happen--should said taxpayer fail to turn up after thousands of man-hours of searching--does it then make sense to give up?

Regrettably, on some cold, cruel dollars-expended-vs.-results-expected level, yes, it does make sense.

Which is where we've been in the case of Schell, who disappeared about six months ago after telling friends she was going hiking on the Monument's Tanque Verde Ridge Trail. They found her car near the trailhead, but they never found her.

Of course, to Schell's mother, Joyce Emmons, it could never make sense to give up the search. Emmons felt so strongly about not giving up that, as the search wound down, she went to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base commander Brig. Gen. R. R. Radcliff, begging him to send up a helicopter with special infrared equipment that might be able to spot her daughter's 95-pound body somewhere in the desert, assuming she was still alive. In response, Radcliff ordered an armed MP to escort Emmons off the base.

We guess we understand that--even though the U.S. military is a taxpayer-supported deal, and even though Emmons is also a taxpayer like her daughter was. Gee, we can't have something as humble as a mother's love interfering with the military's primary duty to break things and kill people.

But what we really don't understand, even though we've tried real hard these last few days, is why the U.S. Park Service is slowly killing Joyce Emmons. Because they are killing her--as surely as if those highly paid park rangers were shoving a knife into her already broken heart.

Emmons is convinced her daughter is dead, but she feels Shannon's spirit won't rest until her body is found. Never mind that Emmons herself will never be at peace until that day.

And although there are dogs available trained to sniff cadavers a mile away, and although a local guy named Kent Alexander, a world-class trainer, is willing to take his animals up on the mountain for a thorough search--at absolutely no cost to taxpayers, we might add--the Park Service has told him to get lost.

We're sorry, but we just don't understand that. Is the Park Service trying to cover up the fact that it did a lousy job searching in the first place? Do the rangers just want to grab for themselves all the accolades and glory that might accrue from finding a six-month-old corpse? Is it simply that highly trained dogs make them nervous?

Meanwhile, time's a wastin'--the search window will be closing as soon as the summer heat makes it difficult for the dogs to work.

Hey, it's probably not all that important, really--just something we're trying to get straight before we pay our federal taxes this year.

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March 30 - April 5, 1995

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