Monday, December 31, 2007

The Disappearance of Alfredo Jiménez Mota

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Michael Marizco, on his Border Reporter blog, has a story about Alfredo Jiménez Mota, a newspaper reporter who vanished in 2005.

On the eve of the one thousandth day of the reporter’s disappearance, the following story was not accepted by Sonoran newspaper El Imparcial unless I was willing to redact the names of those suspected in his kidnapping. The reporter, Alfredo Jiménez Mota, worked for the newspaper for seven months before he disappeared, April 2005. He’s never been found.

HERMOSILLO, SONORA – It was the biggest news story to hit the border state of Sonora in a year, maybe longer.

Eleven people kidnapped at the hands of a Cananea narco-trafficker; then a manhunt by state police and the Army, riflemen in a helicopter hovering over the once provinical capital of Arizpe, meticulously stalking the band of killers who tried to escape down the banks of the Rio Sonora. The list of the dead grew by the hour. Seventeen. Then 20. Twenty-two. Maybe more, I lost count of how many died that day, May 17, 2007.

Read the full account here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Project White House: The Candidates Speak!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 3:03 PM

Next week's print edition of TW will introduce you to the 22 candidates now participating in Project White House, but a few of them are already reaching out to voters at the Project White House Blog. Swing by to learn about Sean "CF" Murphy's surprise VP invite and Richard Grayson's many celebrity endorsements.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yes, Virginia, Pima County Did Appeal

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 2:47 PM

Election-integrity activists John Brakey and Jim March called it: When Judge Michael Miller issued his ruling on Dec. 18 that would allow the Pima County Democratic Party access to the 2006 Primary and General Elections databases, Brakey and March said they worried the county would file a stay keeping the Democrats from claiming the files, and appeal the ruling. 

Evidently, three days later, the Pima County Attorney's Office did just that. 

According to two documents sent to the Tucson Weekly, on Dec. 21, the Pima County Attorney's Office filed a notice of appeal and a motion to stay the release of the records. Evidently, if the county waited to file the appeal after the Jan. 8 meeting, it would miss the legal filing deadline. 

Brakey says he believes the county's plan is clear: Tie the case up in court, get past the November elections without any spotlight on elections security, and sweep any political mess under the rug so the current slate of supes doesn’t have to worry about it during re-election campaigns. 

Supervisor Ray Carroll, during a phone interview this morning, says he didn't know the stay and appeal had been filed. He understands a discussion regarding a potential appeal is supposed to be on the Jan. 8 agenda, but he hasn't seen any report or agenda proposal finds its way his 11th-floor office. 

The agenda and any addendums for the Jan. 8 meeting will be posted on the Pima County Web site by Jan. 3.

No HOA for You!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 12:20 PM

Barry Austin, the Finisterra neighborhood resident disgusted with his homeowner's association, sent us an update on reaction to our story about his HOA voting yes to pay $3,500 for Christmas lights, but no to a neighborhood food drive for the Tucson Community Food Bank.

After press time, the Finisterra HOA held its annual meeting on Dec. 12. According to Austin, the HOA's board president Ed Landes, who didn't return our phone calls at the time, told Austin and his neighbors there were three reasons the board did not allow a food drive: allowing collection boxes in the clubhouse would "negatively affect the ambiance of the clubhouse"; "using the clubhouse hallway would be inappropriate" (he gave no detail of what made cans and boxes of food inappropriate); and "Katie (Lyster) is too busy to supervise the collection efforts." (Katie is the HOA's admin employee).

In Austin's e-mail update he wrote: "Presently, the Clubhouse hallway is used all year for previously-owned books (with boxes and bags on the floor in various places) and several times per year for telephone directories.  So it is not clear what is so different about canned / boxed food that would be there for only a short period once per year. When asked what would take so much of Katie’s time (since residents would collect the donated food each day), Ed responded that people would be 'bothering Katie asking her where they should put their donations.'" 

Despite the board's vote, Austin says he's taken one load of food to the Community Food Bank from donations that have been brought to his home. Austin says he plans to be at the next board meeting in January seeking further explanation, especially since the food bank announced this month that it may be forced to make cuts in food distributions due to budget woes and lack of donations. See this Dec. 18 editorial in the Arizona Daily Star

"Imagine how many families could be fed from the $3,500 spent on the holiday lights," Austin says. 

I'm in agreement with the letter to the editor published this issue of the Tucson Weekly. Much of these issues can be avoided by not living in developments with HOAs.

Go Midtown!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This Issue Is a Bridge, of Sorts

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 3:54 PM

It's the last issue of the year! And it's the first issue of next year, too, kinda, seeing as it'll be on the stands for the first few days of 2008.

In any case, here it is, our new issue, fully readable online. Feel free to comment on its contents here.

Project White House: The First Challenge!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2007 at 9:43 AM

We're excited to announce that the Project White House Blog is now up and running!

And that bring us to our first challenge for the Project White House candidates: Blog the Vote!

Remember that moment in 1992 when President George Herbert Walker Bush expressed amazement over a scanner in a supermarket checkout line? Most pundits say that's the moment Bill Clinton won the 1992 election.

Which just goes to show you: It's vitally important for a presidential candidate keep abreast of the latest technological trends.

That brings us to the first challenge of Project White House: Blog the Vote!

The candidates must open accounts at WordPress and post some news about their campaigns on the Project White House Blog.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Project White House: On the Air

Posted By on Mon, Dec 24, 2007 at 9:22 PM

Mark McLemore of Arizona Spotlight, which airs Fridays on KUAZ radio (89.1 FM/1550 AM), was kind enough to have me in the studio last week to talk about Project White House. You can hear the interview here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cigna Health Insurance and Corporate Greed

Posted By on Sun, Dec 23, 2007 at 10:19 PM

I have been hearing this story all weekend. It's shocking!

In what is considered the richest nation in the world--the good ole US of A--Cigna health insurance company refuses to pay for a liver transplant for one of its insurers, in this case a 17-year-old-girl who has her whole life in front of her.

You gotta wonder how these insurance people sleep at night? It's all about corporate greed. To me, insurance is the biggest ripoff in the world. You pay, pay, pay, but when you need it--they flake out.

The article says that the U.S. ranks No. 37 in health care. You would think being the richest nation in the world we would rank better. It's not that we don't have a slew of well educated doctors, nurses and researchers -- it's that the health care system doesn't make the best care available to its citizens.

By the way, Cigna raked in $16.5 BILLION in revenues in 2006. Just think of how many life-and-death procedures they failed to provide for that didn't get the press that this one did.

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