GO WITH THE FLOW: City Water Czar David Victor Modeer thirsts for power. He wants to expand his control over what you drink and how much you pay for it. Modeer is running for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District--the board that oversees management of the CAP, composed of members from Pima, Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Modeer, an unaffiliated voter who lives high at Sabino Springs well outside the city, filed papers to seek one of four Pima County CAP seats in the nonpartisan election Nov. 5.

Tucson Water customers get to pay for Modeer's political campaign.

Modeer, who loves to star in Tucson Water commercials, is sticking his grill on our television screens again. This time, folksy Dave is at the kitchen table reading a paper that has a headline bragging about Tucson Water's use of a CAP blend.

It is the type of electioneering perfected by City Hall. And the city's unelected politicians need something to do after snubbing the City Council to squander more than $1 million on an extravagant campaign to pimp the failed half-cent increase in sales tax for a faulty transportation scheme.

Carol Zimmerman, whose husband Pete Zimmerman ran that monumentally expensive, losing campaign, is seeking a CAP board seat. A Democrat, Zimmerman was the iron-fisted aide to Tom Volgy when he was mayor from 1987-1991 and the Ward 6 City Councilman before that. She also got clobbered in her own race for that council office in 1997.

Still, none of Modeer's rivals can share a fraction of the luxurious media exposure he showers upon himself. Not even Bob Beaudry, a CAP board incumbent and part of the Tucson car dealing family, can buy that kind of publicity.

Modeer, 56, also thumbed his nose at other election laws. He filed an affidavit of qualification on Aug. 7 after he collected his nominating signatures. This should have been done before he started any campaign work. Modeer won't sweat it. He can have the City Attorney's office explain it away why this is not an election or campaign finance violation. Modeer also is swearing that he'll spend no more than $500 for his campaign. Sure, when you have the vast television campaign of Tucson Water behind you, the campaign account can stay low.

Candidates like Modeer needed to collect 200 signatures of Pima County voters. But he left most of that dirty work to others, collecting about half of those signatures on his own. Modeer had some Tucson Water consultants and contractors collect his political nomination signatures.

Among the other names in this race is Steve Weatherspoon, a Tucson lawyer is seeking a return to the CAP water board, which levies a property tax that hits a $100,000 home for about $14 a year. Peter Wierenga, director of the Water Resources Research Center, wants to splash in this political pool. Former state Sen. John Mawhinney, a Republican, also wants a seat, as does Diana Kai, an addition to the Marana farming family.

HOLIER THAN THOU: The Rev. Joel T. Ireland is making a big push to consolidate political power not only on the Tucson Unified School District board he has polluted since 1989, but also in the Democratic Party.

Ireland is suing Jim Bloodsworth, the algebra teacher who clashed with former Sahuaro High Principal Steve Wilson, to keep Bloodsworth from running for a spot on the TUSD board.

A bench-warming lawyer who mostly handles insurance cases for Goldberg & Osborne, Ireland will be in Superior Court Aug. 26 to try to prove that Bloodsworth's nominating petitions lack the required number of valid signatures for the nonpartisan race that concludes Nov. 5. Bloodsworth, who has a $3.5 million claim against TUSD pending, did in fact cut it too close on his petitions, leaving little room for error.

Ireland waltzed into his fourth term unopposed by virtue of secret political deals among usual enemies in 2000 and is in, baring a possible recall, for another two years. When Bloodsworth and others filed costly (even for defense) claims against TUSD, Ireland denigrated the moves at a meeting earlier this summer by announcing: "Anyone can sue."

Wonder how his bosses at The Eagle feel about that?

Meanwhile, Ireland is threatening to seize control of his precinct west of the University of Arizona. Ireland is running a slate for three Democratic Party precinct committee slots: himself and his two apolitical sons. The power-mad Ireland rushed to get signatures--only five were needed--after the other two candidates who are tried and true Democratic workers, Mark O'Hare and state Sen. Elaine Richardson, completed the task. And at least two Ireland petitions, in some cases, carry signatures that would be struck in court because they were collected after the same person signed both Richardson's and O'Hare's petitions.

The young Irelands are hardly party stalwarts. Sam is listed in Pima County records as registering on April 15. Voter history? A big fat 0. Records show he is still a virgin, having failed to cast a ballot, even in the special city election on May 16. Brother Aaron, whom daddy's friends put on the TUSD payroll, changed his voter registration to daddy's house at 532 E. First St. two years ago. He voted for daddy in 2000 and in the City Council elections last year, but did not bother to vote in May on the city's proposal to jack up sales taxes by 25 percent.

What's a Precinct 231 voter to do? Vote O'Hare, Richardson and write in your name or that of a neighbor. Boycott Ireland.

TRUE COLORS: Pima County Green Party boss Mary Catharine Bolger, better known as Katie, shed her Green skin on the Aug. 12 deadline and shifted to No Party designation. That's hardly neutral. Now she can join independents and crash the Democratic Party's primary bash for Congress in District 7 and the Board of Supervisors special election in District 5.

Another Green Party darling, Peter Hormel, already dumped the nearly 1,800 county Greens who worked hard to gain ballot status in Pima, to run as a Democrat for the state House of Representatives in District 27.

Say this much about Carolyn Campbell, the onetime aide to former City Councilwoman Molly McKasson: She didn't party hop. She's still a Green.

Bolger and the Greens lost a Superior Court battle earlier this summer when they wanted permission to vote in the Democratic Party even as Greens. Their success in gaining ballot status in Pima County obviates such party hopping.

CHAMBER OF HORRORS: The Tucson Chamber of Commerce has unleashed its first round of endorsements--but don't expect much help from their picks.

Check out the governor's race, where the Chamber nitwits endorsed all three Republicans: Matt Salmon, Betsey Bayless and Carol Springer.

Or the attorney general primary, where two of three Republicans--John Greene and Foster Robberson--got the Chamber's nod.

Useless. Just useless.

Hey, we don't make many endorsements these days, but you won't catch us endorsing more than one candidate in a race (although we may un-endorse more than one of 'em).

The Chamber makes endorsements to curry favor. Endorsing more than one candidate doesn't curry favor with all of them--it just pisses them off and makes the chamber look like a gang of wishy-washy wimps. That's no way to build political muscle.

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