THE DIRTY STUFF: When Luis Gonzales, who's one of five Democrats running for Bruce Wheeler's Ward 1 City Council seat in the September 19 primary, filed his campaign forms with the city clerk's office, he listed himself as debt-free. That's news to attorney Bill Risner.
Risner says Gonzales owes him $17,000 plus interest stemming from the 1992 court case over Gonzales' eligibility in the 1992 Democratic primary, in which Gonzales launched a run against District 5 Supervisor Raul Grijalva. Grijalva hired Risner to challenge the validity of Gonzales' signatures, leading a judge to throw out most of them out and knock Gonzales off the ballot. In addition, the judge awarded Risner $17,000 in attorney fees, which the attorney has yet to collect.
Gonzales is claiming ignorance about the debt.
"I haven't received anything from Mr. Risner," he says. When asked if there was a $17,000 judgment against him in the case, Gonzales replies, "There may have been, but I don't have it. If I don't have it, I can't put it in my statements, right? If I get it and there is one, I can amend my statements." Moments later, he adds, "I guess the dirty stuff is starting, eh?"
Gonzales may "get it" later this summer, when he's scheduled to appear before a Superior Court judge to review his failure to pay the debt, according to Risner.
MILLER'S BIG GOP $$$: The first financial reports are in for this year's candidates in the Tucson city election, and Mayor George Miller leads the pack with $37,557 as of May 31. Miller's contributor list is interesting because it's loaded with Republican heavies like Jim Click, David Mehl and Buck O'Rielly. In fact, it's loaded with just about every car dealer in town--except for Bob Beaudry, who's leading the charge on the water initiative that his colleagues oppose. Lots of homebuilder and developer types are also supporting Miller.
The ostensible reason GOP fat cats are with Miller is because Republican mayoral candidate Sharon Collins is also supporting that water initiative, but most of them had kicked into Miller before Collins announced her position. The real reason: Most of the fat cats don't believe a Republican can win a city election and they've quit trying. And these special interest groups obviously find Miller acceptable or they'd just sit it out.
Which is good news for Miller financially, but the situation contains the seeds of a backlash from everybody from neighborhood types to water-initiative supporters to regular Democrats. These people are questioning why a bunch of Republican car dealers and home builders are going with Miller--it's enough to make any tree hugger stop and think and take a second look at Bruce Wheeler. Or maybe even Collins after the primary.
SPEAKING OF CAMPAIGN DOLLARS: Republican candidate Ray Fontaine, who's running for Bruce Wheeler's Ward 1 City Council seat, has brought aboard both car dealer Jim Click and developer David Mehl as his finance chairmen. As of May 31, he had raised less than $1,000 and received nothing from either Click or Mehl. More than three months ago, the Click family kicked in $800 to Mayor George Miller, while the Mehl clan gave the mayor $400, which sorta tells Ray where the priorities are.
And Miller's contributors include attorney John Even and Realtor Vicki Cox-Golder, both of whom have coughed up $100. Apparently, Even and Cox-Golder are more worried about keeping the developers and car dealers happy than they are about offending the regular Republicans they'll both need if they plan to run against GOP incumbents Paul Marsh and Ed Moore next year for the Board of Supes. Lots of Republican activists consider this behavior not only opportunistic, but tacky.
DOGPATCH--WE'RE BAAAAAACK: The security guards for Ranch Holdings in the Continental Ranch portion of Marana--otherwise known as the Marana Police Department--removed 11 signs that trumpeted displeasing messages to the developer. The cops also cited Ray Brisbine of Marana for a misdemeanor sign code violation.
Of course those aren't the same rules Dogpatch officials play by when it comes to sign codes violations by both local businesses and the developers themselves, as a casual drive through town demonstrates.
Marana officials claim they're laying off sign code enforcement for businesses until they re-write the code, and they also claim they have a "verbal agreement" with the businesses. ( Which makes us ask: How do you get a copy of a "verbal agreement" under the freedom of information act?) Which means Brisbine's bust is a classic case of selective enforcement--and clearly another abuse of power by those who run the town.
Just another example: Dogpatch is nothing but a fiefdom for builders and developers, filled with town council members and paid staff who are nothing but toadies and stooges.
BLIND AMBITION: State Sen. Patti Noland has announced she won't seek re-election in District 13, causing a whole lot of potential motion over there. The first Republican sniffing the air is George Borozan, former broadcaster and state Tax Appeals Board chairman. While Borozan lost the mayor's race to George Miller four years ago, he ran a good race, carrying the city portions of District 13. Democrats Andy Nichols and George Cunningham, who currently represent the district in the state House of Representatives, will have to flip a coin if they plan to try moving up.
On the House side, Bible-thumping Shane Wikfors, who lost to Nichols and Cunningham last year, is considering another try. And Ron St. John, aide to Supervisor Mikey Boyd, is looking seriously at the possibilities. We'd heard that Boyd himself might take a shot at a legislative seat (because he heard you get reimbursed for mileage expenses) but the rumor hasn't panned out, particularly since the per diem was not increased.
THE FINAL CONFLICT? The TUSD Governing Board considered a motion to seek Title I grant monies from the Department of Education last month, with a large chunk of the grant earmarked for the Family Resource and Wellness Centers, which earlier this year considered TUSD Board President Brenda B. Even for a $50,000 post as executive director.
Even recused herself from voting on the motion since she had long ago file a Declaration of Conflict of Interest with TUSD, pledging not to vote on contracts and decisions involving the Wellness Centers. The motion failed by a vote of 3 to 1.
The next day, following the vote on the failed motion, Even requested an opinion from TUSD legal counsel as to whether her current participation as a non-salaried officer with the Wellness Centers constitutes a potential conflict of interest. In other words: Never mind what she had declared earlier about a potential conflict--Even wanted back into the action.
P. Lawrence Klose, senior legal counsel for TUSD, said that Even does not have a conflict of interest at this time. Klose also advised Even to notify the board that her Declaration of Conflict of Interest on file with TUSD is no longer applicable.
So now Even no longer has to refrain from voting on contracts and decisions involving the Wellness Centers. Hey, that's fine with us--as long as she doesn't ever wind up getting paid to run the place.
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