The Skinny

DID THESE PEOPLE EVER HEAR OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT? Ginny Chin is a member of the Fountain Hills School Board. She was also, until recently, an aide to Tucson state Sen. Ruth Solomon. After she committed the dastardly crime of writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper, she was fired on the orders of Senate President Randall Gnant, who had arbitrarily ordered all Arizona Senate staff, including those who work for individual senators, not to "lobby."

Huh? Since when does Gnant have the power to unilaterally make that decision? Nowhere in news accounts of this incident have we ever been told that the order was ever ratified by the full senate or the senate caucus. Gnant is totally out of line.

But the real goat here would appear to be Solomon, who didn't have the guts to challenge Gnant's decision or the arbitrary process involved. She told Capitol News Service that she disagreed with the rule, but had no way to fight Chin's dismissal.

Horseshit, Ruth. For openers you could have told him to cram it and left her on the payroll, thereby challenging the rule before somebody other than Gnant. You could also have called a meeting of the caucus that gave Gnant the job and discovered if he had the votes to uphold his crappy little power play. Finally, you could have resigned your committee chairmanship in protest and run against the Nazi bastard for Senate President yourself.

You had lots of options, Senator, and you were too craven to choose any of them.

HAIL RAUL: Democratic Board of Supervisors Chairman Raúl Grijalva was walking on air last week after securing a vote from fickle friend Sharon Bronson to go with the solid support of Dan Eckstrom to initiate a Pima County holiday for Cesar Chavez.

Grijalva needed to get this done before he could resign and run for Congress in the new District 7 that he'll win in a cakewalk.

What took you so long, Raúl? It's embarrassing to have to follow such cities as Denver, where even Mayor Wellington Webb signed off on a Chavez holiday last summer.

We have no complaint with Chavez, a quiet, effective, gracious and humble man who died in 1993 near his Yuma-area birthplace. The founder of the United Farm Workers was devoted and, despite being inflated by the Kennedys, kept his focus.

In office since 1989, Grijalva had plenty of time to honor Chavez long ago--even Phoenix did it in more than one way. Now Grijalva should mimic the steps taken by a number of his allies to rename city parks for influential Mexican-Americans. He should march down to 1010 (Tucson Unified School District headquarters) and demand that the southwest-side school that bears his name be renamed Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

What was Grijalva's thanks for the Chavez holiday? Two days later, his buddy Jesus Romo Vejar announced his campaign for Congress in District 7, crowding Grijalva's place on the ballot. Romo's ex-wife and fellow activist, Isabel Garcia, was co-chair of the Chavez Holiday committee. It was Grijalva who told then-County Manager Enrique Serna in 1992 to hire Garcia as county legal defender--the second public defender. The job now pays $98,473 a year.

Romo is the first Democrat to formally announce. Yuma City Councilman Ross Hieb, a Republican, is already in. State Sen. Elaine Richardson, a Tucson Democrat, has an exploratory committee going and had a successful fundraiser last week. Romo, with his open-borders policies, might erode a little of Grijalva's left, but he'll have little campaign money.

Dollars have been a problem for Romo, who fell into bankruptcy five years ago because of big tax debt. No shame in bankruptcy, particularly for a lawyer who took on many indigent clients. But Romo spins it like he declined cases from big-money clients just to work for the poor. He was represented in the bankruptcy pro-bono by a lawyer from the big-time firm DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacey. No problem there, either. Except that Romo, for part of the time, was the lawyer for Mexican-American students and parents against TUSD. His opposing counsel at TUSD? DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacey.

TOURING: We've enjoyed every word in the Star written by Touchstone Energy El Tour de Tucson's Alan D. Fischer Presented by Diamond Ventures.

SEE HOW THEY RUN: More political scrambling to report in the wake of the state's new political lines: Rep. Carol Somers, who won a state House of Representatives seat in District 13 last year, is now living in a more comfortably Republican district that includes big parts of what used to be heavily Republican District 12, including the Catalina Foothills and the town of Oro Valley. Somers, who has proven to be a hard worker (if a little too sympathetic to the local Chamber of Commerce), has announced she'll seek re-election from her current residence.

That puts her in a primary race against the two current Republicans representing District 12 in the House, Steve Huffman and Pete Hershberger. Huffman actually lives in the new district, while Hershberger will have to abandon his north-central Tucson home to find new digs in the new district. (We still find it hard to believe people who move around town just to hang onto a job in the legislature, but some political junkies must really get hooked.) It's sure to be a fun primary next year, especially since Huffman hasn't been able to lose the gang of conservative Republicans who hate his guts.

Somers' fellow District 13 House member, Gabrielle Giffords, is also talking about moving from her parents' palatial pad out on Soldier Trail to a midtown home in the new heavily Democratic district. Other current House members there include District 14's Marion Pickens, a Democrat, and Ed Poelstra, a Republican who slipped into office on Democratic turf after "Kamikaze" Katie Bolger siphoned enough votes away from Democrat Demetri Downing to allow a GOP victory. We hear Poelstra may enhance his chances of winning by bolting the Republican Party and registering with the Democrats. Evidently, the GOP hasn't done enough to support him, so why stick around?

BREAKING THE NEWS: We've pretty much given up on local television news--and judging from the steadily slipping audience share, we're not alone--but every once in a while we find ourselves watching it, partly because we hope it'll get better, but mostly because it's more fun than rubbernecking at traffic accidents.

So we happened to be watching a report on KGUN-9 last week when we were treated to a story on making Tucson a safer place. An on-the-scene clown--er, correspondent--was in a parking lot bringing us a report about making sure our car wouldn't be stolen. Some of the valuable tips: Don't leave the windows down, doors unlocked and keys on the dashboard while your car is in a crowded parking lot. In other words, KGUN-9 News is now bringing us stories for COMPLETE IDIOTS!

We don't doubt that there are dolts who leave their keys on the dash and the windows open. We just think people that stupid pretty much deserve to have their cars stolen. In general, Tucson would be a safer place if people that stupid would just move away.

If this is a typical example of 9-on-your-side reporting, we'd rather have 'em against us.

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