The Skinny

CITY WATER STRIKES AGAIN: Attempts by water-recharge foes to establish a lake with a terminal storage facility for CAP water ran into a little competition this past weekend. The crew digging the foundation for the new federal court house downtown struck a water line, and the big hole filled up with a considerable amount of city water.

Blame is currently--and quietly--being exchanged between contractors and the Tucson Water bureaucrats. In the meantime, we had a new body of water that exceeded Tucson City Councilwoman Janet Marcus' duck pond and rivaled the stupid CAP lake constantly promoted by Pima County Recorder Ann Rodriguez. Costs of clean-up and construction delays while the hole was pumped out over the Veteran's Day weekend will probably be borne by some combination of federal taxpayers and Tucson Water ratepayers.

CHANNEL 4 BUYS BATF SNOWJOB: The gullibility of our local press corps knows no bounds. Last week we labeled as pure BS the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' claims that the explosive used in the Gary Triano car bombing was "black powder." The statement was undoubtedly designed to promote the agency's political agenda. We've since confirmed with law enforcement sources close to the investigation that a "high-explosive device" was used. This was apparent to anybody who knew anything about stuff that goes "boom."

Conventional black powder, the kind used mostly in 19th-century weapons and Civil War reenactments, is not defined by the BATF itself as a "high explosive."

It would have required more than 50 pounds of black powder to do the damage to Triano's car we saw. And if black powder were the explosive in question, there would have been a large cloud of smoke and plenty of residue. While the explosive that killed Triano may have been granulated and may have been black or gray in color, it wasn't black powder. But Eyewitless News, two nights in a row, featured a can of "black gun powder" in covering the story.

To give BATF the benefit of the doubt, sometimes investigative agencies put out disinformation to get whomever they're wire-tapping to comment, or to otherwise garner feedback on an investigation. When this occurs, the media then decide whether to play along and help the spread the bullshit to help the cops catch the bad guys. We don't think that happened here--we think Channel 4 just bought the whole putrid enchilada and never noticed they were hustled.

HOW TO BLOW A CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: Many Arizonans down here are wondering how J.D. Hayworth, one of the biggest blowhards in the GOP freshman class, survived a close challenge up in the 6th Congressional District from Steve Owens. Before you attribute it all to Maricopa County conservatism, check this:

In a radio interview a few days before the election, Owens was asked about all the money being poured into the race by both sides. His response: "Four-hundred-thousand dollars is a lot of money for a rinky-dink congressional district."

Hayworth and the media picked up on the remark and stuck it up Owens' rear end. Seems enough voters preferred blowhard to elitist carpetbagger, and thus J.D. is still with us.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? When Republican Dan Schottel first ran for the state House of Representatives, the Tucson Citizen described the former owner of the Wooden Nickel as a "Tavern keeper." Later on they endorsed his candidacy, and suddenly they began referring to him as a "restaurateur."

This time around the Citizen chose to support Schottel's unsuccessful opponents, and we note that he went back to being a "tavern keeper" in the Citizen columns.

So we're just wondering: When Schottel was the Citizen's guy, would they have been willing to reclassify the pickled hard-boiled eggs and potato chips that sat behind his bar as "cuisine?"

SPECIAL ED, R.I.P.: Well, we won't have Supervisor Ed Moore to kick around any more. He took it in the shorts bigtime this past election, running a distant third to Democrat Sharon Bronson. In a good week he could make half the Skinny all by himself, based on his bizarre moves and gross inconsistencies. Now we're hearing that his loss went according to plan--he just wanted to take Republican Vicki Cox-Golder with him in a sort of murder-suicide move.

But getting past all the bullshit and bombast, it's only fair to point out a few things Big Ed did during his 12 years on the Board that were actually beneficial: He caught the state AHCCCS program overcharging Pima taxpayers; he was on the right side of the water issue and helped on Prop 200; and his little-known involvement in The Tohono O'odham tribal election a few years back helped keep the tribe from being ripped off by out-of-state developers.

So in some ways we'll miss ya, Big Guy. If nothing else, you were great copy.

MR. ETHICS STRIKES AGAIN: District 13's newest representative, Democrat Brian Fagin, edged out Republican Scott Kirtley by just under 1,800 votes in Pima County's most hotly contested House race.

Fagin, who has long bemoaned the lack of "high ethics" among lawmakers, decided to correct this deficiency by buying himself a House seat. During the primary, he loaned the campaign more than $20,000 to pay for slick mailers and roadside signs.

Because Fagin was pouring his own money into the campaign, Kirtley was allowed to accept contributions in excess of the $270 limit. Kirtley says he was able to raise a total of about $27,000 for his campaign.

In the waning days of the general campaign, Fagin dropped a mailer to all District 13 Republicans, encouraging them to forsake their party loyalty to consider the supposed best candidate in the race--him. He even put together four "Republicans for Fagin," including KRQ morning jock Betsy Bruce, a highly respected political mind in GOP circles. (Yes, we're kidding.)

Fagin also dropped a mailer to all Democrats, urging them to remember party loyalty when they went to the polls.

These kinds of mailers are expensive, as are the radio ads and other campaign incidentals. That's why, the day before the election, Fagin informed his fellow candidates he'd loaned the campaign an additional $44,000--which suggests he ran the campaign on credit and intended to pay all the bills at the end.

We don't know if Fagin waited until the last minute to inform his opponents about his big check to avoid the suggestion he was buying the election, or because he didn't want to give his opponents the chance to raise more money--but either way it's not the type of upfront behavior we'd expect from a fella who spends so much time spewing about the need for better ethics.

Kirtley, who believes Fagin broke campaign law by running on credit, has already filed a complaint with the secretary of state's office, which has forwarded the allegation to the attorney general's office--which will probably file it away somewhere, since nobody ever seems to care when candidates break campaign finance law.

But it's interesting to see Mr. Ethics already has a cloud over his head. Our guess: His next move will be to claim the investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt to sully his bullshit reputation. TW

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