Filler The Skinny

HERE COME THE BIG BUCKS: If the rumors are right, the Growth Lobby is about to flex its muscle on behalf on Republican Vicki Cox-Golder, who is facing both Democrat Sharon Bronson and man-without-a-party Ed Moore in the Pima County Board of Supervisors District 3 race.

Vicki is in trouble (See "Clash Of The Titans," page 6). Although she has already raised more than $50,000, she's blown most of it on polling, poorly produced mailers and extensive consulting work, all of which barely carried her through a brutal GOP primary that splintered her support in the Republican Party. Given that Democrats already outnumber Republicans in District 3, as well as the fact that Moore is likely to hurt Cox-Golder more than Bronson, Vicki is going to need a lot of money to win her campaign.

Sources tell The Skinny local heavy hitters will soon begin soliciting contributions for an independent campaign committee. Unfettered by little things like campaign finance laws that limit individual contributions, such a committee would open up an avenue for a deluge of stuccodollars to fuel a negative campaign against Bronson and possibly Moore.

It was Moore himself who reaped the benefits of an independent campaign committee during his last run in 1992, when the local GOP spent more than $56,000 on behalf of Moore, a two-term Democrat who was making his first run as a Republican. Among the contributors to the independent committee were--surprise--legendary land speculator Don Diamond ($10,500), auto dealer and banker Jim Click ($8,500), developer David Mehl and his wife Bonnie ($5,000) and attorney John Munger ($2,250). Munger would later snatch a lucrative lobbying contract from the Board of Supervisors.

The 1992 independent campaign committee paid for those pricey ads that ran during high-rated football games, showing Democratic candidate John Kromko turning into that wacky clown. Many local political veterans believe those ads carried Moore over the top.

"I've heard the rumor, too," confirms Rex Waite, chairman of Pima County Republicans. "I would presume that, from a political point of view, that would be a good way to go for Vicki Cox-Golder."

Cox-Golder says she hasn't heard about any plans for an independent finance committee.

"Besides that, I don't think I'm supposed to hear about any of it if it is going on," she says.

CHARGE 'EM FOR GRAVITY: Ward 3 Tucson City Councilman Michael Crawford was on the John C. Scott radio gabfest last Friday saying the city is trying to live up to the voters' wishes when it comes to providing decent drinking water, given our CAP mess. Yeah, right. But we actually laughed out loud when Crawford, who has apparently taken on the role of the Growth Lobby's errand boy, said it would be really, really expensive to implement an effective CAP recharge program.

You know, Michael, people just aren't that stupid here. Recharge is far cheaper than the incredibly complex and expensive scheme Tucson Water bureaucrats have proposed. They want to build a giant, $300-$500 million experimental membrane filtration plant to replace the $250 million CAP treatment plant that failed and now sits idle out there in the desert.

And it did fail, Michael, despite your efforts to gloss over that point on the Scott show--it failed to deliver decent water to our homes. Tucson Water's longtime bureaucrats and the developers they serve are trying to downplay that whole sorry episode in our community's history, but it's hard to bury such a gargantuan boondoggle.

We hear rumors that Bob Miranda, who used to be on the school board, has moved into to Ward 3 and may be interested in a run at the city council. None too soon, we say.

STOOGE PATROL: What's with Michael Crawford, anyway? The unelected member of the Tucson City Council (he was appointed by the other council members when pathetic loser Tom Saggau flaked out) has done nothing but spout the Growth Lobby line since he was appointed to his high office. Perhaps it has something to do with his tight connections to half-billionaire Don Diamond's political machine. The son of longtime Diamond pilot fish Stanley Abrams is Crawford's aide. And golly, it almost seems as if Crawford is taking public relations advice from Abrams' wife, Judy. Like some kind of trained parrot, Crawford's been appearing regularly on local radio, complaining about Proposition 200, Ed Moore and, yes, the Tucson Weekly.

What's up, Mike? Did the Don order Judy to tell you to yap it up at every public opportunity? We wonder if there'll be a bunch of fat contributions from the other Diamond stooges in your bag when you finally have to face the voters next year.

SMELLY, PUKING ERRANT BABBITRY: And speaking of Stan Abrams, what's this PR scheme he's pushing around town? Something about forming a big committee to tell the world and ourselves what's right with Tucson? That'll sell more homes, for sure.

We recall another Don Diamond buddy telling us a while back, when the Growth Lobby cynically formed that pointless, do-nothing We Care committee supposedly to improve the quality of life in this burg, that the reason they were doing so was not because they were concerned about joblessness among our youth, or crime, or grime or whatever, but because they really needed to get a handle on these problems. Otherwise, he said, the bad publicity might cut into future home sales.

Of course, our two daily papers never publicized that aspect of that particular dog-and-pony show, although they sure pushed the overall program. What a waste of ink.

And we bet they'll eagerly jump on Abrams big PR scheme like rats on cheese. After all, isn't that the way rich people think we should deal with our problems--with a PR campaign. Gee, it sure seems to be working with teen smoking.

DUMB & DUMBER: The flatulent New Times, a freakish hybrid of corporate and alternative journalism, recently took one of its limp-wristed shots at Phoenix's other dull paper, The Arizona Republic. In its Flashes column, the New Times' Columbia School of Boredom grads were attempting to nail Republic reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers. Seems the Republic hack allegedly made up quotes attributed to Tucson-based author Tom Miller. Miller blamed the problem on "rank sloppiness" on the part of Brinkley-Rogers, according to Flashes.

Only problem is, the Flash has that problem, too. They listed Miller as the author of On the Boarder. It's Border, you panty-waisted twits. Or don't you know the difference between the Mexican border and a Mexican boarder?

Also amusing is the fact that New Times is suing The Republic, which recently ran a large story on New Times' ongoing greedy attempts to become the Gannett chain of alternative journalism. Seems The Republic folks used an insider document to prepare the story, and New Times wants to find out who leaked it.

Gee, you'd think a newspaper like New Times--which would probably think nothing of breaking major political stories using secret court documents fished from a trash dumpster--would have appreciated the publicity and simply let it go at that. TW

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