The Range


CITY HALL SHOWDOWN: Ward 5 City Councilman Steve Leal demands City Manager Mike Hein's resignation.

"Over time, I have lost the comfort level that I need for a viable working relationship with a city manager," Leal writes in an e-mail. "Because of the significance of the issues at stake in our community, it leaves me no choice but to ask for your resignation."

Hein is out of town on vacation when the letter is delivered and is unavailable for comment.


GOODBYE, JOHN: Former Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce lobbyist John Dougherty dies after a lengthy battle with melanoma. Dougherty, who was just 40 years old, was a political junkie with a wicked sense of humor.

"I'll miss all the zany trouble he would get himself into," state Rep. Jonathan Paton says. "I'll miss the conversations that would go all the way from politics to relationships to everything in between."


GAS PAINS: The Range meets with Nick Theisen of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, who shares with us a new report showing that thanks to rising fuel prices, the average Arizona family has now spent their entire stimulus check from Uncle Sam on gas for their cars. "Families are signing their rebate checks over to the big oil companies," says Theisen. The PIRG report calls for increased public investments in mass transit to give Americans alternatives to driving.


RAIN RELIEF: Tucsonans get some relief from triple-digit temperatures when a torrential rainstorm hammers the Tucson area. The storm drops only .14 inches of rain at the airport, according to the National Weather Service, but it floods the university-area streets that The Range's mobile newsroom is trying to navigate. The high temp for the day is 100 degrees.

STOOD UP FOR COURT: Republican Marian McClure and Democrat Kara Kelty, who are both seeking seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission, triumph against political operatives who are challenging their nomination petitions in Maricopa County Superior Court. The case is tossed out when the parties challenging the candidates fail to show up.


ADJOURNMENT: The Arizona Legislature ends the 2008 session in a frenzy of bitter feelings and sour notes. The session is marked by money troubles as lawmakers are forced to deal with budget shortfalls that exceed $3 billion and concludes with a narrow and contentious vote to ask voters to approve a constitutional ban on gay marriage.


LATIN LOVERS: Arizona Sen. John McCain and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama both make a pitch to Hispanic voters at a meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. McCain, who concluded his comments by noting his "respect and gratitude for the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the culture, economy and security of the country I have served all my adult life," stressed his opposition to tax increases and dependence on foreign oil.

Obama criticized McCain for abandoning immigration reform while running for the GOP presidential nomination. Obama promised to deliver "immigration reform that will secure our borders, and punish employers who exploit immigrant labor: reform that finally brings the 12 million people who are here illegally out of the shadows by requiring them to take steps to become legal citizens."


WAR STORIES: Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who is supporting Democrat Barack Obama, appears on CBS News' Face the Nation to say that Sen. John McCain lacks executive experience.

"In the matters of national security policy-making, it's a matter of understanding risk," Clark said. "It's a matter of gauging your opponents, and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world, but he hasn't held executive responsibility."

In response to a question regarding McCain's years as a prisoner of war, Clark said: "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."


Scientists with the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab, joined by colleagues from around the world, are continuing to examine the results of soil testing that are being beamed to Tucson from the robotic laboratories aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander.

The science team is still in the process of analyzing the first batch of data being returned by the wet-chemistry lab aboard the spacecraft, which landed in Mars' arctic region over Memorial Day weekend.

Michael Hecht, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told reporters: "We are awash in chemistry data. We're trying to understand what is the chemistry of wet soil on Mars, what's dissolved in it, how acidic or alkaline it is. With the results we received from Phoenix yesterday, we could begin to tell what aspects of the soil might support life."

Sam Kounaves, of Tufts University, who is the science lead for the wet-chemistry investigation, says the heavily alkaline Martian soil is very similar to the upper dry valleys of Antarctica.

"Over time, I've come to the conclusion that the amazing thing about Mars is not that it's an alien world, but that in many aspects, like mineralogy, it's very much like Earth," Kounaves says.

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