The Skinny

BENCH PRESS: Theodore Cameron Abrams, son of developer and clingy political insider Stanley P. Abrams, has been handed a spot on the bench at City Court. Cost to taxpayers: $92,373 just in salary, which is an incredible leap for Teddy, who made nowhere near that in his advocate's job at play-court on the Tohono O'odham Nation, in Pima County government, in private practice or in the City Council office he helped ruin.

Kathleen Dunbar, the squeaky, giggly Republican City Councilwoman, took over the Ward 3 office where Ted Abrams once served as Iago to appointed Councilman Michael Crawford, a Democrat. Jerry Anderson performed community service in 1997 when he knocked out Crawford, who had been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Tom Saggau. Stanley Abrams, key confidante to then Democratic Mayor George Miller and now a key confidante to Republican Mayor Bob Walkup, pulled the strings to get Crawford installed. Dunbar is bright enough to know that young Theodore Abrams was a key reason that Crawford lost.

Too bad Dunbar was not bright enough to block the improper vote that elevated Abrams. Dunbar, who once served on the citizens committee that screened magistrate candidates, praised the strength of this set: Abrams, Jeffrey Klotz, Patricia Mehrhoff and Robert D. Wright. Then she moved for approval of Klotz, the city's senior public defender. Democrat Steve Leal made a substitute motion for Wright, a retired Army captain and for the last three years a special city magistrate.

Democrat José Ibarra was oddly eager to please, clumsily sticking his nose in and saying: "Not to cloud the waters, but I think we should, I'd like to make a substitute motion --"

With Walkup in his usual out-of-touch mode, Leal appropriately told Ibarra he was out of order and that motions cannot be "stacked."

Leal could only get support from Democrat Shirley Scott and his motion for Wright failed 5-2.

Mayor Walkup should have then called for vote on the original--Dunbar's--motion. Instead he allowed the dilatory move by Ibarra to slip in his substitute for Abrams, a truly odd stroke for Ibarra. Crawford and Abrams were and remain among Ibarra's least liked. But José's got an election next year and he's delusional enough to think that Teddy's dad is going to deliver bags of campaign cash. No way, José.

Walkup was thrilled to diss Dunbar and quickly called for a vote on Ibarra's nomination of Abrams, which passed, in one of the oddest splits, 4 to 3. Ibarra joined Walkup, Scott and Republican Fred Ronstadt. Carol West, Dunbar and Leal dissented.

Ronstadt's support for Abrams, a 38-year-old Democrat, was a sure bet. Fred's dad, Jim, was one of 41 people who inundated the council with puffy letters for Teddy. Fans of Mehrhoff, a city prosecutor, generated four letters; Wright got three and Klotz one.

From those letters, we learned much about the young Abrams. Significantly that included from Robert Glennon, the Morris K. Udall professor of law and public policy at the University of Arizona, who wrote that Abrams "also has political experience."

Lisa Bradford told the council he should be magistrate because he led the effort for the recent 20-year high school reunion. Paul Jamison, some kind of OfficeMax document big shot, illustrated how grand Abrams is. "To describe Ted in one word is nearly impossible," Jamison wrote. "Intelligent? Honest? Witty? Dedicated?-- middle school basketball legend."

James Nesci, king of the DUI defense, wrote that he "could think of no other candidate who will instill more public confidence in the City Court bench than Ted Abrams." Nesci also said that Teddy, "simply put, works and plays well with others."

Only David Braun, a lawyer with the Arizona attorney general, was honest enough to write that his letter was in response to Ted Abrams' request for such an endorsement.

The council also heard from Justice Stanley Feldman, who is retiring from his spot on the Arizona Supreme Court. Feldman claimed he was "familiar with (Abrams') law career since his graduation." How? From the briefings he got from Stan Abrams at the UA basketball games?

Hey, wait.

What the hell is Abrams doing with these trivial matters of City Court? Feldman is leaving. Teddy fully deserves to be the next justice on the state Supreme Court!

Let's write letters.

UNWELCOME MAT: The City of Tucson's suddenly infamous "enemies list" is starting to look a lot like that famous Drug company relief section in The Homeland Security Act--nobody wants to claim it.

According to the Arizona Daily Star's Joe Burchell--who's been around longer than the entire Mayor and Council and most of the bureaucrats, and who will probably still be here when they're gone--the city has a list of 25 folks it will give only limited access to city facilities. When queried about getting a copy of the list or the criteria used in building it, City Clerk Kathy Detrick replied that the information was not available but the fact that there were only 25 names on it proved that it wasn't being "abused."

It gets better. Last Friday, Mayor Bob Walkup told radio talk-show host Bert Lee that he knew nothing about it and questioned if it even existed. Ever eager to suck up, Bert suggested that the city could have legal recourse against the Star for its bad reporting if the list wasn't real.

Saturday morning, the Star reported that Walkup has told City Manager Jim Keene to get rid of the list he couldn't confirm existed the day before. We saw Keene scurrying around claiming he didn't know how the list got made up. Maybe they both needed to check in with City Clerk Detrich and her husband, Brad, the longtime powerbroker in the City Attorney's office who may have considerably more clout than mere potted plants like the Mayor and Council.

But the real bottom line here, as they'd say at Raytheon: How long are the people of Tucson and the media going to put up with this bush-league fascist policy of treating citizens no one claims are dangerous like pariahs? The folks on it--who may have a helluva lawsuit we'll all pay for--appear to be annoying political gadflys who bother politicians and bureaucrats. You know, kinda like us.

It's time to dump not only Mayor Doofus, but the entrenched clot of elitists he's surrounded himself with, including Keene, Detrick, City Attorney Michael House and anybody else responsible for this travesty. These people work for us, not the other way around.

WEST WINDS: Speaking of next year's City Council races, Dan Benavidez, a flack over at the Pima County Attorney's Office, recently ran his name up the old flagpole as a potential opponent against Carol West in next September's Democratic primary. Now we're told Benavidez has already lowered the colors, telling friends he won't run.

But we hear others are interested, including Clarence Boykins, the assistant director of the Tucson Convention Center and longtime political activist who led the push for Pima County's Martin Luthor King Jr. holiday.

Another effort is said to be afoot to draft two-time congressional candidate Mary Judge Ryan. Unable to make in the majors, Ryan may be willing to accept assignment in the minor leagues.

How vulnerable is West? The city's unions sure don't like her and liberal Democrats are unhappy about how she's often hung tight with the Republicans on the council. Even former Mayor George Miller, who was all for development as long as it provided dollars to help the downtrodden, is openly dissing her in the press. Maybe that's because today's council now supports unfettered development, but has forgotten the part about helping the less fortunate.

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