The Skinny

ENDORSEMENT EMBARRASSMENT: The Sorry-Assed Homebuilders Association hasn't yet released its endorsements for the Pima County Board of Supervisors--better hurry, guys, early voting has been underway for at least three weeks--but Tucson Weekly staff psychic Stella Sabrini has gazed into the future to foretell some of their picks.

According to Stella, in the Democratic primary in District 1, where Mike Boyd's retirement leaves an open seat, the cementheads will go with Byron Howard, the former homebuilding executive, over John Crouch, the candidate who wants to impose steep impact fees, downzone land and establish urban growth boundaries. Even a phone-line psychic could see that one coming.

But Stella foresees a shocking turn of events in the GOP primary, where state Sen. Ann Day is facing state Rep. Dan Schottel. Schottel opposes development restrictions, impact fees, downzoning property, expanding county parks and protecting the pygmy owl. He's basically everything the Growth Lobby could hope for, while Day is considered wishy-washy. So who will they endorse? Stella tells us their pick is Day, mainly because they figure she's going to win and they don't want to piss her off. The forecast for the general election remains clouded.

In District 3, you've got the phantasmal Dick Pacheco trying to unseat incumbent Sharon Bronson. An environmental activist before her election to the board, Bronson has moved to the center since taking office, but she's still supporting the Citizens Growth Management Initiative, that draconian nightmare that the Growth Lobby promises will shut down growth, torpedo the state's economy, make your mom sick and kill your fish. Bronson was even party to the lawsuit that knocked the legislature's dippy Growing Smarter alternative off the ballot earlier this month.

Well, guess what? Stella tells us SAHBA's going to endorse Bronson, and not just because Pacheco's campaign is a house of tarot cards. Stella sees some big projects from some of SAHBA's heavyweights on the horizon in District 3, and they don't want to piss her off either.

That leaves District 5, where incumbent Raul Grijalva is facing Jim Click Automotive Team member Dan Medina. Medina gets the endorsement no problem. He's got Click in his corner and homebuilders don't care about pissing off Grijalva, because he doesn't do anything for 'em anyway. In this race, they've basically got nothing to lose.

HOLLOW MAN: Most candidates are excited at the thought of getting some free TV time to get their message out, even if it means putting up with questions from the local media. Not Democrat Richard "Dick" Pacheco, who is trying--albeit not too hard--to unseat Supervisor Sharon Bronson in the September 12 primary.

Pacheco, who has dodged the Weekly's phone calls, recently turned down an interview request from Peggy Johnson of PBS affiliate KUAT-TV, channel 6. In a letter to Johnson, Pacheco explained that "after serious consideration, I have decided it would be in my best interests to avoid the media at this time. -- I originally thought it would be good to do a few interviews but, after seeing the results and embarrassment Dan Medina received after his interviews, I feel it doesn't pay to take a beating for ten or fifteen minutes of questions and answers. It wasn't like this ten or fifteen years ago when I was a legislator, but things have unfortunately gotten mean and nasty since then. I think it is better for the voters to decide who they want in office with the message we send in the mail."

In a helpful gesture, Pacheco enclosed "some material that I have been putting together for the interview I have now decided not to do."

Pacheco's complaint--that the media are just too damn mean--suggests that nobody ever expected him to understand much of anything back in his legislative days. (Pacheco, by his own admission, was glad that lobbyists would "spoonfeed" him all he needed to know about legislation.)

Evidently, it's too much to expect a candidate would do even the slightest bit of homework before putting his name on the ballot. It's clear from his interview with the morning daily that Pacheco didn't know the difference between the Citizens Growth Management Initiative and the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan--which makes him completely out of touch with the issues facing the board of supervisors.

Pacheco was suckered into the race by a group of his friends, including former Superior Court Clerk Jim Corbett, who has been mad at Bronson since she failed to go along with a fix to land him a Justice of the Peace post after he gave up being court clerk after 20 years. Corbett is chairing Pacheco's campaign, but if he wanted to spook Bronson, the effort is failing. At a forum sponsored by the Pima Association of Taxpayers last weekend, Bronson openly mocked the absent Pacheco as nothing more than a "potted plant."

Pacheco told the Star that he had chosen to stay in the race to preserve his dignity. If he--or any of his so-called friends--had cared about that, he never would have launched a campaign in the first place.

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