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IN THE BIG TENT: Congressman-por-vida Raúl Grijalva has been busy reinventing himself and his political bio in periodic New York Times profiles, but this time, he surprised even us. Grijalva joined a junket that including Republican Mayor Bob Walkup touring the Pascua Yaqui's new Casino del Sol. The Tucson Citizen was there for coverage and listed Grijalva as a Republican.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Board of Realtors took out a third-page ad in the Star/Citizen to laud Grijalva.

Who knew?


TRUTH IN TAXATION AND OTHER LIES: Our penny-pinching pals at the Arizona Tax Research Association successfully pushed through a state law a few years ago that sought to force governments to more accurately forewarn the victims of tax increases, be they explosive or creeping. The goal was to get these usual lying governments to 'fess up that they were taking in more property tax money--even when tax rates were stagnant.

Pima County perfected the art of the dodge to cover for three straight years of tax increases pushed through by the Democratic majority on the Board of Supervisors from 1997 through 1999.

Our favorite morning daily newspaper is now aiding in the cover-up. In two stories last week on the county's budget, readers of the Arizona Daily Star were treated to slipshod reporting.

First came the advance by the Star's Phoenix reporter. He relied on the Truth in Taxation notice to assert that for a $100,000 home, the portion of the tax bill for daily county operations would rise from $392 to $407. No, it won't. That tax rate is $4.07 per $100 of assessed value, and has been since 1999. That part of the tax burden stays at $407 for the year. But even though the rate remains unchanged, most taxpayers will see a steeper tax bill because property values are climbing.

The day after supervisors voted to tentatively approve the county's first billion-buck budget, the Star noted that Sugar Ray Carroll, a Republican, "voted for the first time for a county budget."

Really?

Call us anal, but when we checked the voting record, we found this from June 18, 2001:

Huckelberry stated "the proposed final budget would be in the amount of $955,800,000 with no increase in the primary property tax rate. The rate would remain at $4.07.

"Upon the roll call vote being taken, the motion carried unanimously by a five to zero vote."

Aside from that vote and the poor choice in 1998 to raise taxes, it is true that Sugar Ray had voted against all other county budgets and, except for 1998, all tax increases.


HEIN QUARTERS: Marana Manager Mike Hein has left Dogpatch to join Pima Prime Minister Chuck Huckelberry's cabinet as a deputy manager for community and economic development. It's a good move. Hein is a smarty pants who earned high marks transforming Marana as the premier rollover for developers. He also performed well at Nogales City Hall--a treacherous snakepit--and in South Tucson. We'll try not to hold it against Hein, 36, that he lives in Oro Valley.

Hein will be in line for Huckelberry's job if the prime minister realizes after the 2004 Board of Supes elections that he cannot take more than 30 years, including 12 as The Boss. John Bernal, a vato suave who is deputy county administrator for public works, also is a leading candidate to replace Huckelberry.


FIRED UP: As we watch the continuing blaze atop Mount Lemmon, we have to wonder: What the hell is wrong with federal officials who say that money is only available after a blaze has devastated a community? Are we all supposed to fiddle while the state burns?

Gov. Janet Napolitano has requested $232 million in federal funds to start aggressive fuel-reduction efforts in other areas of Arizona that are primed to go up in smoke.

So what's the answer from the feds? Sorry, but that's not our policy.

Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is said to be weighing a run for governor in 2006, openly sparred with Napolitano on the issue, essentially arguing she was a dumbass for even suggesting it.

"My office will be actively engaged in increasing this amount for subsequent years, but the size and nature of the state's request limit the likelihood for success this year," wrote Hayworth in a snotty letter to Napolitano.

Yes, and if we wait a few years, Arizona's forests may have burned down completely, so we won't need to thin anything.

Perhaps we should suggest that the fires are being started by al-Qaeda. Maybe then, the feds would find the money to stop the fires before they start.


STERN & SPERM: Howard Stern fans have fallen in love with Tyrone Henry, the Tucson pornographer convicted of fraud for allegedly "painting" the faces of blindfolded minors who thought they were trying out a new facial treatment ("Don't Do the Dew," June 5).

Henry has been the subject of applause on a message board at SternFanNetwork.com, the site that claims to "pick up where the show leaves off." Henry is spending seven years in prison for fraud, which was the only thing the prosecutor could get him on--sexual assault or misconduct charges wouldn't, um, stick, since he didn't touch the girls, nor would indecent exposure since they never actually saw his genitalia.

"What a genius this guy is!!!" writes one user named Blackdog in response to the Weekly story posted on the site under the Stern fan-rephrased heading "Bukake facial cream for young girls." (You're better off if we don't explain what bukake means.)

A regular message-poster Fugly2 added: "I agree with Blackdog. Fucking Johnny Cochran couldn't have come up with the forethought. The blindfolding: pure fucking genius. Not to mention I chubbed a little just reading the story."

Fugly wasn't the only one to get off on the piece. Message boarder highlyDsgusting writes: "I had to rub one out after reading this article."

It's always nice to know that our writing is having an effect on our readers. It's even nicer when they show their love without popping a boner.

JoeyBoots writes: "this is an awesome human interest story -- funny as hell. It should be a movie of the week or at least an after school special -- those always teach a lesson and this is one topic the kids need to know about."


HERE'S TO INCOMPETENCE: Jim Lugo is looking for some big kids to help him in his quest to amend Arizona's boozing laws to let bars stay open until 3 a.m. Phoenix activist Lugo can't bring his initiative petition into bars himself since he's only 19 years old.

Far be it from us to complain--hell, he's got our vote--but we're hoping that there's more competence behind the Last Call Initiative than there seems to be so far.

Here's an excerpt from one ugly e-mail that's being circulated by its mentally impaired supporters:

"Jim Lugo, has started the initiative to get pass the Last Call Act through legislature for bar closure to changed from 1am till 3am. To do this he has to get 150,000 signatures from Arizona citizens to get this proposition on the ballet.

"... If we sit back and do nothing this very well could end up like the smoking ban that has now plagued the whole East Vally. Excercise your rights."

Then the e-mail's author, Phoenix resident Stephen Sacra, outlines the petition process, getting it unforgivably wrong, saying all that you need to do is print out the petition and get people to sign it. They need to be REGISTERED VOTERS, you drunken slob. (This was one of the main reasons why young smokers weren't able to counter the smoking ban on, as Sacra says, the East Vally Ballet.)

It'll not only take competence, but a miracle to beat out Arizona's killjoy voting force, even if the law would boost sales, tourism and tax intakes, as Lugo promises. Already, Lugo will have to face down some mean mothers, that is, against drunk driving.

The task ahead of him is worth a stiff drink: to convince 123,000 mostly shit-faced voters to sign his petition. Last year, during the Indian Gaming petition drives, signature collectors were making upwards of $3 apiece.

Lugo's got no money, and so far, the liquor industry hasn't expressed much interest.

So the first step is that he needs some supporters with horizontal drivers licenses to come to his aid. For petition info: www.lastcallact.com.


GOLDEN NINTZEL: The Skinny is proud to announce that Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer has honored our own Jim Nintzel with her Golden Rule Citizen recognition.

Late last session the Legislature resolved to turn Arizona into a "Golden Rule State," that believes "we should treat others the way we would like to be treated." Hypocrisy, anyone? Shortly after the resolution was passed, Brewer launched an online nomination form, where everybody can nominate whomever they please as long as they justify with a paragraph of explanation.

Nintzel was honored with the award because -- well for no good reason whatsoever, unless you count his equal-opportunity political reporting. He's pretty much an asshole to every politican, regardless of race, creed or religion.

The Golden Rule is often credited to Jesus' main man Matthew, who wrote in verse 7:12, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."


GOOGLE THIS: Web tip of the week: Swing by Google and enter a search for "Weapons of Mass Destruction." Then click on "I'm Feeling Lucky." George W. Bush won't get a laugh out of what pops up, but you might.

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