Skinny PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF: Two days after our record-breaking low turn-out primary election, an Arizona Daily Suckwad lead editorial, headlined "Crummy voter turnout," had the audacity to pronounce: "Non-voters should be embarrassed by it."

Unfortunately, in attributing that shamefully low voter participation to everything from lack of candidates to inactivity by political party leaders, the Star editorialist had the chutzpah to exclude the non-role played by the daily newspapers and televised media, which completely botched the coverage.

The Star's so-called editors failed to appoint a full-time political reporter until the last two weeks of the campaign, neglected even to mention--much less cover--the candidates' announcements, allowed a series of last-minute smear pieces to be mailed by candidates without comment, and even quit publishing a list of polling places in the election-day edition. It was a most dismal performance for a newspaper that purports to support our democratic republic.

If the voters are apathetic, they're simply following the lead of a local media, which seem to have a hard time reporting on politics unless blowjobs are somehow involved.

But, of course, apathy isn't completely to blame in this case. Voters aren't just apathetic, they're disgusted. And some of that disgust stems from the inability of the feel-good media to tell us much of anything that's relevant about those seeking or holding public office. In the last few days before the primary, much was made of the Kaites-McGovern GOP primary for attorney general. Would the media have given a rat's ass about who was running for that critical office if that contest hadn't degenerated into a pissing contest? Did they care until it started looking like something worthy of the Jerry Springer Show? Was their coverage any deeper than what you'd get from Springer?

A message for the Star's incompetent editors: Quit bitching and get to work.

OH, GROW UP: Sure, the aforementioned GOP primary for the Attorney General's seat was a mud bath--but Democratic AG candidate Janet Napolitano's proposal to avoid that in the general election is a load of crap.

Napolitano called for a neutral judge to baby-sit the campaign: "I propose that before either of us makes a written, radio broadcast or televised statement about the other, the statement be reviewed by neutral arbitrator for accuracy and completeness."

Just what we need now--some kind of great political poobah lending his seal of approval to campaign mailers. Sorry, Janet, but this isn't student council--state politics is a grown-up's game. It can get messy, but we'll take that over letting a Distinguished Citizen censor political speech. What kind of cockamamie precedent would a stupid stunt like this set? There's only one referee in politics--the electorate.

TINY TROUBLES: There might be more trouble for the Amphi School District's plan to build that new high school in prime habitat for the endangered pygmy owl.

Construction is now on hold as Amphi battles the Defenders of Wildlife and the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity in federal court. Last spring, U.S. District Court Judge Frank Zapata ruled Amphi could build the school, but the environmental groups won an injunction preventing construction until an appeal could be heard in federal court in San Francisco, which is scheduled for early October.

Earlier this week, attorneys for the environmental groups filed a motion alleging that "an additional and previously unknown endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is presently occupying the vicinity of the proposed Amphitheater school site, in areas different from the owl(s) already found to be on a portion of the site," according to Defenders of Wildlife attorney Chandra Rosenthal.

The revelation comes as Amphi Board members Mike Bernal and Gary Woodard are touring district schools to defend the decision to blow millions fighting to build the school. Don't expect this development to alter the district's strategy--nothing short of a court ruling is likely to do that.

A NEW CHIEF--THE FIX IS IN: Although City Manager Luis Guttierez has appointed a committee to screen applicants for the job of Tucson police chief, it's an ill-kept secret that the choice will not only be one of the four current deputy chiefs, but that the leading contender is Richard Miranda. So we're now going through the charade of having these Guttierez-designated candidates apply for the job.

Meanwhile the Tucson's citizen-based "police commission," which has no real power, is recommending a nationwide search--a recommendation the City Manager has simply ignored. We'd like to see the City Council spank his butt for that, but it probably won't happen, given the passive nature of our elected potted plants.

But there's still another direction to look for the ideal chief: toward all of those in local law enforcement with sufficient rank and experience to equal any of the four deputy chiefs. There are numerous high-ranking cops in other jurisdictions--DPS, the feds, or the Pima County Sheriff's Department, to name a few--who are at least equally qualified.

One of our finest local cops is Sheriff's Major David Bosman, who has proved over the years that he can kick ass and take names--something sorely lacking in TPD leadership.

Bosman, or others like him, are hardly going to apply for the job in what is apparently a rigged process. The manner in which the appointment process is being handled tells other qualified potential candidates right up front that the city doesn't want any of them

It's clear that TPD has severe internal problems. Fleeing Chief Doug Smith is bugging out for a big pay cut with the feds faster than an ARVN unit under fire, and a child of four can tell he failed at getting a handle on a force beset with major problems of corruption and poor administration. Unfortunately, the City Council and the local media who print their handouts still seem to believe that nothing is fundamentally wrong at TPD. Much is, and failure to admit it is the biggest part of the problem.

Failing to go beyond the four current deputy chiefs only preserves the dangerously ineffective status quo.

TEA-BAGGED: The fix appears to be in with the Tucson Education Association's Political Action Committee's endorsement of candidates for the TUSD board. The rigging techniques are numerous, but the key problem is Paul Felix, assistant director for human resources at TUSD. Repeat: assistant human resource director. Not teacher.

Felix is a stooge for TUSD Board President, The Rev. Joel Ireland (who's been busy screaming at cops who've dared to stop his girlfriend on suspicion of drunk driving) and board members Gloria Copeland and James Noel Christ.

A teacher whose only background in human resources was his stint as interim assistant director, Felix's longtime political chicanery paid off in June when he was promoted to the human resources job permanently. That only underscores why TUSD has its well-deserved reputation as a political patronage cesspool. They put a political hack in at human resources right behind Human Resources Director Joan Richardson, who knows how to keep politicians happy with fat cash contributions.

Now Felix owes The Rev., who unfortunately is not up for election this year, and Copeland, who is battling eight rivals for one of the two open school board seats.

Felix is one of seven members on the TEAPAC panel that is screening TUSD candidates. That's a conflict, in more than one way. He's management, not a teacher. And he's actively supporting Copeland so that he may cling to his job. Felix lacks the integrity to resign from the panel.

Pernela Jones, the TEA president, should restore some credibility and remove him. The screening itself apparently is an ambush. Candidates fill out a questionnaire in advance but aren't told a second questionnaire awaits at the interview. Candidates, or at least some who are not TEA darlings, also were not advised that the sessions are videotaped until they were seated.

LABOR OF LOVE: It's little wonder why Brenda Even could get only 33 percent of the vote in her dismal, losing primary race to oust Sugar Ray Carroll from the Board of Supervisors seat once held by her late husband. Rather than devoting her attention to Republican voters on the eastside and in Green Valley, Even hung out with her ally on the TUSD board, Gloria Copeland. Genius! Even and Copeland made a joint appearance at with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees at the Labor Day parade around Reid Park. While Copeland pandered, gutless AFSCME leaders should have remembered that Even was really no friend, having voted against teachers and other workers.

IRRESPONSIBLE PARTNERS: The Partnership for Responsible Government, a group of big-shot Mexican-Americans, finally is trying to comply with election law. The group evaded reporting requirements for nearly five months while sticking its nose in the TUSD board race. The Partnership sponsored a forum in April and has been busy soliciting money for candidates it deems worthy. But it wasn't until August 13 that the Partnership, headed by Martha Elias and Frank Felix, decided that it ought to file an organization statement. The Partnership's fundraising letter of July was a real hoot, claiming that the general election is November 10. It's safe to assume that the results from the November 3 general election will be known by then.

Message to the Partnership: Check your mailbox. A citation from the county Elections Division is on its way, notifying you that you still have not filed your financial statement.

A NEW REPUBLICAN LEADER: The Pima County GOP has a new member of its Central Committee, elected unopposed in Tuesday's primary from Legislative District 11. He's Scott Egan--wit, raconteur, and currently an aide to Supervisor Ray Carroll.

It'd been a long road for Egan to travel. He was formerly an aide to Democrat City Council members Bruce Wheeler and Mike Haggerty, and much has been made of his one-time registration as a member of the Communist Party. Like a host of one-time lefties and Commies who now grace the mastheads of various conservative publications, Egan has ended up in the Republican Party.

We hope those who have for years bemoaned the lack of a "Big Tent" mentality among the GOP will now welcome Egan into their midst. Perhaps he'll expand his current participation and run for the party's state committee, or even attempt to be elected as one of those who helps draft its platform. Congratulations, Scotty boy, on your most recent epiphany. TW

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