The Range


There's a new Big Man On Campus! The Arizona Board of Regents selected Robert Shelton, executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as the president of the University of Arizona. Shelton begins work July 1, and his total compensation package (is that what the kids are calling it these days?) will be $550,000.

All sides expect a peaceful transition of power.

In related news, the UA men's basketball team fell to UNC in an embarrassing 86-69 loss. Which side was Shelton on? He told the Arizona Daily Star he was "rooting for the best college basketball game I've ever seen."

Outgoing UA President Peter Likins started this week with a new proposal for increased tuition and additional fees. Likins wants to increase undergrad resident tuition by $200 and out-of-state tuition by $1,222, as well as create a new $130 fee for creating a new wireless network on campus.

Poll Positions

Arizonans like nine of the proposals in Gov. Janet Napolitano's State of the State speech, according to a new poll from Phoenix PBS affiliate KAET-TV and Arizona State University. The survey of 395 registered voters showed that 88 percent agreed that teachers should earn an annual salary of $30,000; 87 percent agreed that small companies should get tax credits for providing health insurance for employees; 80 percent agreed that companies that hire illegal aliens should face substantial fines. No word on what participants thought about companies that offered health insurance to illegal aliens.

Other findings: 74 percent agreed that the state should have stricter restrictions on the sale of cold medicines to hamper home meth labs; 70 percent thought convicted sex offenders should have to wear electronic tracking devices; 67 percent wanted to expand all-day kindergarten statewide; and 65 percent agreed that National Guard troops should be stationed along the border.

Boy, you'd almost think Napolitano did some polling of her own before crafting her agenda.

The KAET poll also showed that 48 percent of participants disapproved of President George W. Bush's job performance, while 41 percent approved; and 51 percent thought the government should get court approval to wiretap suspected terrorists, while 38 percent thought spy agencies didn't need judicial oversight.

Meanwhile, a recent Rocky Mountain Poll showed Napolitano enjoying a 28-point lead over potential GOP challenger Don Goldwater and a 34-point lead over potential GOP challenger John Greene. Whether Napolitano will face either of those gentlemen or someone else remains up for grabs, since 63 percent of GOP voters in the poll didn't know who they would support for the Republican nomination.

The poll of 549 voters, which had a margin of error of 4.2 percent, also showed that U.S. Sen Jon Kyl held a 55-26 lead over Democratic challenger Jim Pederson.

But wait! Democrats quickly countered the Rocky Mountain Poll with a Zogby tracking poll that showed Pederson trailing Kyl by less than 10 points. With a margin of error of 3.7 percent, Kyl had the support of 51.9 percent, while Pederson was polling at 42.3 percent. Guess we should go ahead and have the election after all.

False Advertising

Clear Channel Outdoor suffered another legal loss when the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled the company couldn't circumvent local restrictions by putting up four big ol' honking billboards along Interstate 10 near Marana. Clear Channel had put up billboards that were 45 feet tall and 672 square feet, much larger than county regulations allowed. The court rejected the outdoor-advertising company's argument that the larger billboards were OK because it had cut a sweetheart deal with the Arizona Department of Transportation when several billboards had been removed as part of an I-10 widening project.


Arizona continues to exceed financial expectations, according to the latest report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. December revenues were more than $866 million, which was $66.9 million above expectations for the month. In the first six months of the fiscal year, the state has brought in nearly $4.2 billion, which is more than $331 million above forecast. Retail, contracting and income taxes all remain on the upswing.
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