April 13 - April 19, 1995

[The Skinny]

DUCK AND COVER: Look out, wolves and other furred, feathered and frightened friends: Attorney, hunter, fisherguy and apparent mammal Fred Belman has moved his warm-blooded body into a long sought-after seat on the state Game and Fish Commission. He's spent too much time out-of-habitat and needs to be rehabilitated--faster than we can say wildlife management.

Belman, speaking against wolf reintroduction, was recently quoted in a glowing Arizona Daily Star Tom Foust column as saying, "The wolf has had its day, just like the dinosaur had its day." Easy come, easy go, eh? What's a few million years and a bunch of geologic periods when we're talking about saving species, anyway? With rumors afoot that J. Fife Whiteguy III wants to reorganize G&F, and the new commissioner promulgating prehistoric policy, you better go out and wave goodbye to the endangered few.

Yesterday the dinosaur, today the wolf, tomorrow Fred Belman leading the rest of the hairless beasts.

MORE ENDANGERED ANIMALS: The Sorry-Ass Home Builders Association checks in with its own exciting news on the wildlife front: writing in the March SAHBA publication, President Bill Wiese is pleased to point out the NAHB, National Association of Habitat Bombers, is urging congress to further reform the near-shredded Endangered Species Act, supporting legislation "that requires socioeconomic impact be considered." Before offering protection to any sub-species, that is.

Yeah, let's kill 'em all and put up more crappy subdivisions.

FURTHER ASS-ESSMENTS: Local home builders are now recommending builders in Oro Valley attach a note with their impact assessment fees, which you may remember SAHBA fought diligently to no avail. (Why should we pay for roads, they moaned. Let the taxpayers who don't live here pay for them.) The payments, they say in their March industry rag, should be tagged "payment under protest," and they even offer an example of a letter for language-impaired builders:

"The attached payment is made under protest as it is believed that the road impact fee for La Cañada Drive is excessive and does not represent a fair allocation of the cost of the planned roadway improvements. It is believed that a disproportionately large share of the cost and burden is allocated to new growth and new development within the La Cañada benefit area, and the right is reserved to seek a refund or other appropriate remedy notwithstanding this payment."

Refund? You corporate welfare guys better cut down on those meat-rich diets--it's not doing a thing for your brain power. But thanks for the laugh, we needed it.

HMMM, CRAPPY NEWS REPORT, OR HUMAN LIVES: Saturday, on KVOA's 5:30 p.m. news, Lupita Murrrrrrrrillo was live talking about the awful wreck at Grant and I-10 hours and hours before that morning. She was driving by, not working at the time.

Cars exploding and blood everywhere, she said.

Then the anchor asked her if the situation presented a professional dilemma, suggesting her instincts must have told her to cover the disaster.

Lupita said: "I had to decide whether to save lives or call the station."

What a gal. We're just glad as heck she lives in the Naked Pueblo.

THE WATER PIGS TURN MEAN: It was almost amusing watching the Tucson City Council sit around and listen while a bunch of Maricopa business types, who happen to be members of the state Central Arizona Project Board, told the Tucson peasants what the rules are and who's really in charge.

Seems the Phoenix folk, led by Grady Gammage Jr., are thoroughly displeased with the proposed groundwater initiative that would allow us to use CAP water for groundwater recharge. In fact, they're downright angry that anybody down here in the sticks would have the audacity to challenge conventional wisdom--namely theirs--on the subject. They're worried this reaction by Tucson to crappy water may endanger their allotment at some future time.

What made the whole show more pathetic than amusing, however, was the badgering of the only member of that elected water board who supports the initiative, George Barr. He was put through the ringer while the sheep on our city council let him be insulted and intimidated.

A more appropriate response from our so-called city "leaders" would've been to tell Gammage and his ilk to shove it and get out of Barr's face. At the moment, Barr is the only public official down here who isn't sucking up to Maricopa County's insane, hypergrowth-fueled water needs, and he's the only one actually trying to represent folks who live in Pima County. How dare he!

Simple message for you bullying, smart-ass Maricopans: If you think this CAP piss is so damn great, then you pay for it.

DOGFIGHT IN DOGPATCH: Awhile back we discussed how one of the candidates for council in Marana, Phyllis Farenga, had been attacked on several issues in an anonymous flyer. A second flyer was circulated as an insert in a Marana newspaper, the Avra Valley Community News, just before the primary; once again it did not carry the name of the circulator, but it did quote a former state pest control inspector named David Cutler. Farenga owns a pest control business, and the flyers accused her, among other things, of illegally killing bats in the University of Arizona stadium a few years back.

Farenga states she not only didn't kill any bats, she testified against the people who did. She also states Cutler is no longer employed by the state board, and has since worked for one of her competitors. She's complained to the Arizona Attorney General about the election law violation in the distribution of the anonymous flyer.

Part of the second flyer chronicled Farenga's various run-ins with Marana town officials, and their attempts to fine her for a variety of traffic offenses, supposedly including driving without a license and having no insurance--both of which were false and prompted by incomplete information in the Dogpatch computer system, Farenga says. And it turns out she once wrote a check to "The Marana Ring" when paying a traffic fine, thus prompting the accusation she was showing the ruling powers "disrespect."

(Hope none of us ever get a ticket in Dogpatch. We've made a career out of showing their sorry asses lots of disrespect.)

The publisher of the Avra Valley Community News is Bill Simpson, who just happens to be the "expert witness" the town of Marana employed to claim the type size on those now famous referendum petitions was too small. He was the only printer they could find to bolster that hair-brained scheme, which was later rejected in court.

Simpson says that he didn't write the anonymous tip sheet, he just stuffed it, and somebody dropped off the inserts and the cash and it's not his problem.

Good luck with that one, Bill.

UBIQUITOUS DEVELOPER MOUTHPIECE: Local pols and bureaucrats usually give Si Schorr lots of deference. And why not--he represents half the big money boys who contribute to the local campaigns.

But Schorr's not getting any respect in Oro Valley these days. At the first meeting of the new council, Schorr got up to speak at his convenience. He was politely reminded by newly elected Mayor Cheryl Skalsky that he was speaking out of turn. If he wanted to address the council, she said, he could wait until after all the citizens who had signed up did so. In other words, take a number and get to the back of the line.

Unheard of! An elected body that treats a developer's lawyer no better than a common voter!

MIKE THE SPIKE THINKS IT'S ALL A BIG JOKE: Our inside city hall sources tell us City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown finds all the flap about his expensive new car amusing. It made The Weekly's Pork 'N' Perks column, as well as the front page of The Arizona Daily Star several days later.

Try this for further amusement, folks: The tires on that sporty Chevy list for $300 apiece. They were part of the package, but that's their replacement cost.

While he's out raising all of our fees and jacking up taxes, it's nice to know Mike The Spike is so sensitive to the folks that he drives around on $1,200 worth of tires. Hey, Mike, some of the people you're taxing don't drive $1,200 worth of car. Noblesse oblige, baby.

WAITE BLOWING SMOKE AT COLLINS CAMPAIGN: Apparently one thing Pima County GOP Chairman Rex Waite can't handle is a strong woman. That's why he's going out of his way to pull the rug from under Republican mayoral hopeful Sharon Collins.

Collins has recruited former GOP County Chairwoman Linda Barber as her campaign manager, has the endorsement of former Mayor Lew Murphy, and has longtime party stalwart Colonel Conn O'Sullivan as her finance chairman. Any one of these folks is far more relevant in GOP circles than Waite himself.

Waite claims he's talked to a variety of men who are interested in running for the mayor's job, including George Borozan and talk show host John C. Scott, both of whom deny having any conversation with Waite on the subject.

Waite replaced Kate Lynch as Republican county chair in a desperation move to save what was left of the party. Since assuming the post, he's managed to pay the rent but has accomplished little else--except lose in the assessor's race after he promised not to run, and attempt to promote himself into some kind of paying job in county government.

Instead of looking for another mayoral candidate, many Republicans think it would be in order for Waite to begin to look for some city council candidates. At the moment, Ward Two Democrat Janet Marcus (who crushed Waite eight years ago, and who narrowly defeated Paul Marsh in 1991) is unopposed.

And no Republican candidate has emerged in Roger Sedlmayr's Ward Four. Only Ward One has shown any potential GOP types, former Democratic candidate Jenny Morales and Ray Montaine, a real estate broker representing DevCon--the company that wants to redevelop downtown. That the latter has "conflict of interest" tattooed on his forehead has conveniently escaped his notice.

Meanwhile, it's becoming increasingly evident Waite is totally ineffective as a GOP leader.

POLITICAL FUDGING: Tucson attorney and conservative activist Ed Kahn recently wrote all his friends, mostly Republicans, that he was running for mayor. He asked them all to kick in $10 so he could qualify for matching funds. Kahn never mentioned one small detail.

He changed his registration to Libertarian and will be running for mayor on that party's ticket.

Which will be kind of a reverse from the Libertarian Party's 1991 act. Then their candidate was Tucson business woman Gay Lynn Goetzke, who had a strong appeal to several groups, including feminists, and who garnered 13 percent of the vote.

Kahn is noted as a social conservative with strong anti-abortion positions. Unless he's changed his mind about a lot of stuff, he'll clash with about half the Libertarian constituency.

AND THEY'RE OFF: Have you decided what horse you're backing in the 1996 presidential election? If you think you've got a sure thing, you might want to run down the the Caliente sports book at the Viña del Mar in Rocky Point, where they're taking action on the White House run.

Current odds for the candidates:

Bill Clinton: 2-1

Ross Perot: 60-1

Al Gore: 15-1

Phil Gramm: 5-2

Bob Dole: 3-1

Dick Gephardt: 30-1

Bill Bradley: 25-1

Bob Kerrey: 25-1

Pat Buchanan: 250-1

Pete Wilson: 5-1

Robert Dornan: 250-1

Alan Keyes: 250-1

Arlen Specter: 40-1

Jesse Jackson: 100-1

Colin Powell: 10-1

Lamar Alexander: 10-1

Richard Lugar: 75-1

A few words of warning: Late nominations can be posted, the winner will be determined by who takes office, and there are no refunds.

DONALD DO-RIGHT: Legendary Tucson land speculator Don Diamond wants to buy from the Resolution Trust Corporation notes to 700 acres near Saguaro National Park West. The notes would give him the right to foreclose on the land.

But the notes in question have already been bid on by the Trust for Public Land, which intends to preserve the acreage, and perhaps eventually donate it to the park.

Pima County Supervisor Raul Grijalva calls Diamond's latest move just another one of his attempts at self-enrichment at the expense of taxpayers. Diamond says he'll make sure the land goes to the park at his cost. Yeah, just like his Saguaro East deal of a couple of years ago, on which he made a bundle after engineering a zoning change and thus jacking up the value of the property.

Why not just buy the land and donate it to the park, Don. You can afford it.

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April 13 - April 19, 1995

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