The Skinny

BIG BOX BROUHAHA: While a building permit for a new Home Depot at El Con is expected to be issued shortly, opponents of the project, led by former City Council candidate Leo Pilachowski, have filed an appeal with the Tucson Board of Adjustment. Pilachowski wants to know if the council's approval of the Home Depot was permissible under the big-box regulations adopted by the council last year. The case is scheduled to be heard in late August, although city staffers have been pressuring Pilachowski to agree to move it up to this month's board agenda.

At the same time, the El Con legal team and city attorneys say they have found a legal technicality that will reduce the mall's parking requirements by almost 450 spaces. If that interpretation holds, it irons out a wrinkle that might have prevented construction of the mysterious Big Box B, narrowly approved by the City Council during the contentious El Con settlement earlier this year. And that, according to the present pro-business majority on the City Council, will help save the central city from deterioration. Or at least generate more revenue for the downtown Rio Nuevo project.

LEGAL NOTICED: Will Deputy City Attorney Brad Detrick get the now-vacant top job? Not too long ago, Tucson Councilman José Ibarra asked Detrick if he planned on removing his knives from Tom Berning's back when Berning was forced out of the City Attorney job. Then we heard Detrick was aggressively lobbying for the job even before the City Council decided how it was going to fill the position. Finally, Detrick was conspicuous in his absence from Berning's "farewell" party.

With the council now hiring a headhunting firm to vet the new city attorney candidates--and Detrick's own problems with some members of the council--we're willing to bet he won't land the job.

CHOMPED COMP TIME: Now that the local census operation is coming to a close, even more complaints about the administration of the program are being heard.

Seems low-level field managers were told by their supervisors a few months ago that their jobs would require more than 40 hours of work per week. But because the Census Bureau wouldn't pay for more than 40 hours, these employees were instructed to bill for the extra hours at the end of their jobs.

Recently, however, these workers were informed by the second-in-command at the local office: Sorry, that isn't the way the Census Bureau does business!

Some of these employees are now considering legal action to demand payment for the extra hours they worked. This bait-and-switch scheme is just another example that at the Census Bureau they may count people, but people don't count.

SANDLOT BASEBALL: The finger-pointing about who--and what--is to blame for the terrible condition of the playing field at Tucson Electric Park is nearly as much fun to watch as a home-run race. Some say the grass is dying because the grounds crew has over-watered it. Others blame a mysterious fungus. Whatever the cause, the taxpayers of Pima County should expect more than the patchy mess they now have. For the $35 million cost of TEP, you'd think we'd at least get a field of grass.

LACKING INITIATIVES: This week's feature story lays out the propositions facing voters in November. But one-man political machine Jose DeElana launched two petition drives that somehow failed to make the ballot.

The first was No More Homeless, American Jobs For Americans. The aim of DeElena's proposal, in his own words, was: "To Recall AZ State Governor Jane D. Hull First & the next one's will be her supporter's city-county & state leaders of AZ. This Braceros program - Guest worker proposal will make more American people Homeless, Americans losing jobs to Foreigners, illegals etc. I and other Americans have been deny Jobs and many Forms of discriminations has been use against us Americans, both veterans & non-veterans. And any businesses churches etc that hire Foreigners, illegals etc."

His second was the Right To Work Freedom 1st Amendment, which would allow "For Brothels to become legal in Arizona both in call & out call, Prostitution legal in the form of Brothels. Matthew 21:31, Joshua 6:17.

"Prostitutes have no rights nor freedoms in AZ. If a female has a right to murder her unborn babies because its her body. A prostitute should have the same right. Brothels can control diseases. Brothels have Doctors checking their girls everyday. Many moral values righteous females & males are not check everyday by Doctors, its why sexual diseases are spreading. It seems that hate groups like white supremacists, Gang, drug users & other hate groups have rights & freedom. Brothels should have rights 24hrs 365 days till the end of time, Judgement day. Brothels-Prostitutes have never said they want to over throw the U.S.A. Government. Brothels want to pay taxes, give money as love donations to build homeless shelters, & many other shelters, etc."