HAIL, EL ED: We wish to express our condolences to former
Pima County Supervisor Ed Moore and his family as we note
the passing of his mother, an interesting and giving woman.
We can't help but note that Moore, deposed in 1996 by Sharon Bronson after three terms on the Board of Supervisors, still lurks. He lunched at La Parrilla Suiza recently with Scott Egan, the ultra-Irish aide to appointed Supervisor Sugar Ray Carroll. That puts Moore in contact with four supervisors' offices. He also dines with Bronson at those neo-rustic far westside steak houses; plays golf with board Chairman Mikey Boyd; and chats with his for-public-consumption-nemesis Raul Grijalva. Hats off to Ed!
THIS BUD'S NOT FOR YOU: E.S. "Bud" Walker, the good-ole boy Pima County supervisor ousted by Ed Moore in 1984, returned to board offices last week and got his ass appropriately kicked 5-0 on a minor rezoning he was fighting.
As outlined by The Weekly last month, Bud tried to block spaghetti western Joe Cesare from converting a 14-acre parcel on North Oracle and Chula Vista from zoning for 55 townhomes--which Bud voted for in 1977--to a less intense and less disruptive office building and a Manor Care facility for Alzheimer's sufferers.
Even Raul Grijalva subdued his animosity toward Cesare long enough to make a sensible vote. The two had even sat together sharing jokes in the county cafeteria the previous day. Raul also granted an audience to Cowboy Bud, who lives west of the Cesare property. But it didn't help that Bud hired former one-term Supervisor Ron Asta, now a Rezonings-R-Us dude, to help crap on Cesare's plans. Bud spent the morning with a few other neighborhood types bad-mouthing Cesare, who, amazingly enough, didn't have it coming on this one. Bud spent part of the subsequent public hearing cussing Cesare, his former big-time political benefactor.
These nouveau NIMBYs were so stupid and arrogant that they even told renowned activist "Citizen" Samuel Winchester Morey to clam up. Bud continued his tasteless display by being nasty to Cesare's kid, Jeff, a gregarious and exceedingly polite young man whose attempts to be nice to Walker last week were met by foul muttering.
You were better, Bud, when you were simply a has-been. Good night, now.
Meanwhile, Sheriff's Captain/Casas Adobe Mayor/Metro Water Board member Martha Cramer foolishly whined to the board that the Cesare zoning, as well as others within the boundaries of that village-in-limbo, Casas Adobes, should have been delayed for action by her village's government-in-waiting.
Supervisor Sugar Ray Carroll politely told Cramer: "Forget about it."
By the way, Marty, you're collecting too many titles. What's next? Kino Community Hospital CEO?
A BOYD WHO ACTUALLY MAKES MIKEY SEEM ACCEPTABLE: Dumb ex-TV sports hack Thom Boyd is trying to unseat good-guy Judge Robert Gibson from Justice of the Peace in the central and foothills Precinct 1. Propped up by idiots like disgraced former Constable F. Lee Archer, Thom (go ahead, pronounce the "Th"--we do) Boyd tried this once before. But he didn't make it close to the ballot in 1994 because his nominating petitions were so terribly faulty.
Gibson has served with honor and distinction since defeating Tom Rallis, also a good JP, in 1986. Gibson is a real-life hero who was shot and left for dead during a drug bust he was making as a Sheriff's detective back in the 1970s. Boyd's highlight is that he read the sports on KVOA in the early 1980s. He was such a cheerleader that he routinely downplayed the scandals that engulfed the University of Arizona athletic department. The Skinny has a long memory, Thom. And it remembers how you told viewers one night that they would hear no more of one of the scandal offshoots--a slush fund that helped bounce then-Athletic Director Dave Strack. The Skinny also remembers, Thom, what a cheap whore you were, accepting freebies like tennis shoes from companies that wanted plugs on the air.
If ever there were a clear choice for voters, it's in JP 1.
HOSE JOB: Over the past five years, Tucson Water has had peak-demand days during which customers used between 141 and 152 million gallons of water. And during some months in summers past, the city's water system has had to supply from 3.7 billion to 4.3 billion gallons.
But this past June, pumping from city wells never exceeded 150 million gallons a day and was usually considerably less. The monthly total of water pumped was just under four billion gallons. Both of these figures were well within past experience.
So why the potential "water crisis" that was splashed across the front pages and blathered about on local TV news a few weeks ago? This despite a much cooler and wetter year than normal.
A primary cause of the problem was Tucson Water's 1996 decision, approved by the City Council, that called for drilling eight new wells in each of the following two years at a total cost of $4 million. The goal? "To provide the (water) capacity needed to meet demand," according to city officials.
But then these plans were changed. The two-year budget for drilling was cut to $1 million, and the number of new wells reduced accordingly.
No city official we've contacted can explain the reason behind the change. Tucson Water mouthpiece Mitch Basefsky speculated it was a result of plans to put new wells in service by this summer at the Avra Valley CAVSARP site (See "Knee Deep in Muddy Water," Tucson Weekly, July 2).
That idea was dropped in early 1997, yet the city didn't return to the proposal to drill more wells elsewhere. Basefsky couldn't explain why.
According to Basefsky, other factors also reduced Tucson's water supply this year. One is that existing wells are losing pumping capacity at a rate faster than anticipated, thus producing less water than anticipated.
Another complication, he says, was that two of the five new wells counted on for additional water this summer weren't ready in time. Because of unforeseen delays in the procurement process, one of these wells didn't come on line until early July, and the other is just now becoming operational.
Peak demand for water this year has actually been lower than in four of the preceding five summers. Despite that, water officials began discussing the possibility of enforcing mandatory conservation programs, ranging from a ban on all outdoor irrigation to a prohibition on restaurants serving water unless requested.
But it wasn't increased customer demand that caused this "shortage." It was Tucson Water's inability to provide the same amount of water it has in the past.
Tucson Water's solution is to promote CAVSARP. By 2001, eight wells should be functioning at that controversial facility, producing water which will quickly become very CAP-like.
Could there be something more than just Tucson Water's typically poor management involved here?
Rich Wiersma, a member of the city's Citizen Water Advisory Committee and an outspoken critic of Tucson Water, thinks so:
"Tucson doesn't have a water-quantity problem," Wiersma says. "We have a water-delivery problem. Tucson Water has motivation to create a crisis in order to manipulate people to accept the inferior quality of chemically treated Central Arizona Project water."
TALK ABOUT TERRIBLE TIMING: For months, the City Council has been telling Tucson's police officers there was no money to pay them more. Now SunTran workers are threatening to strike unless they get substantially higher raises than offered.
But next week the Council will be discussing the possibility of spending millions of dollars on new city buildings. The projects would be funded using general fund revenues--money that can be spent for any purpose, including raises.
Undoubtedly, Tucson's city employees are generally very well compensated, especially given the low wages paid to most workersin private business in this town. Plus, the city benefits package can't be beat.
But in Tucson city government, buildings often come first, especially since they are a one-time expense compared to the never-ending obligation of a pay raise.
We'll see what the City Council does. But the lament that there's no more money for employees is a very hollow one. It just comes down to spending priorities.
Meanwhile, has anyone else noticed something strange about this SunTran situation? A year ago, to end bus drivers and mechanics' week-long strike, the City Council promised to pay them wages comparable to what city employees are paid.
Several months ago the Council was told that $1.3 million would achieve the goal. But apparently nobody bothered to check with Sun Tran employees to see if they agreed.
So instead of working out this issue before it became a problem, now the community is facing another bus strike. Looks to us like what we got here is a failure to communicate.
POLITICS 101 FOR DUMB REPORTERS: The state GOP has decided to oppose two of this year's seven statewide ballot initiatives, the so-called "clean elections" proposal and the Grant Woods-Paul Johnson "open-primary" initiative. The latter must contend with a watered-down version, cooked up by the Legislature, which will also be on the ballot as a referendum.
OK, kiddies--and that includes all the kiddies currently carrying a press pass--here's the difference between an "initiative" and a "referendum." An initiative is a law proposed by the folks--or some folks with a checkbook--which gets on the ballot by petition. There are two kinds of referenda. One is when citizens pass petitions to "refer" an act of a legislative body to the people to see if they wish to ratify it. The other is when the legislative body places a proposal on the ballot for the people to decide. We have several of the latter this time around, but some of the boneheads in the media keep calling them "initiatives." Got it now, dummies?
So the Legislature has this "open-primary" proposal that would allow independents and minor party members to vote in the primaries of the Democrats and Republicans. The Johnson-Woods proposal goes much further, allowing everybody to go back and forth and vote in whatever primary they want--on the same ballot. You could pick a Dem for guv, a Rep for senate, and a Whig for sheriff.
The state GOP, which finds this is as cockamamie as the Legislature, are to be commended for being honest enough to just oppose it, while the GOP majority in the Legislature just went for a watered-down--and stupid--con job. In fact, the state GOP should get some points for actually having an opinion about something, since the constant lack of opinions is destroying the major parties here and across the country.
GROW THIS, GEORGE: Pima County Supervisor Raul Grijalva has noted that the City of Tucson has done little or nothing to back up the county's attempts to exert some control over urban sprawl. He's also pointed out that the Tucson City Council has been pretty much AWOL from the growth debate.
Tucson Mayor George Miller responded that the city does a great job of controlling growth, pointing to the many in-fill projects which he maintains equals sprawl control.
OK, but isn't this the same Mayor who wants to annex more and more of this whole valley, who has constantly led the biggest sprawler of all, the City of Tucson, into rolling over for every outskirts project in sight, from Civano to Rocking K to Starr Pass? Isn't this the man who wants Oro Valley and Marana to gobble up Tortolita and Casas Adobes, thus fueling even more insane growth policies? Isn't this the same Growth Lobby stooge we've been writing about for years? Give us a break, George--"Sprawl" is your middle name.
RAINBOW BREAD: One last footnote to the July 4 Rainbow Gathering in the woods. The Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council voted to declare the gathering an "emergency," and the bill for all the extra police protection they decided they needed was sent to the State Emergency Fund. The tab? Over $70,000, to be paid for by those of us who live in the rest of the state.
That the cops had little to do goes without saying, and the bill was for the period June 26 to July 12--one week for each side of the July 4 event. Since the only criminal of note was caught by Rainbow security personnel and turned over to law enforcement authorities, can the Rainbow people collect a piece of this cop money emergency fund, too?
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