THE UNION MISLABELThe Pima County Deputy Sheriff's Association union goons, who are trying to ride Republican Roland Youngling into the office of Pima County sheriff, tried last week to portray the law enforcement agency as suffering a turnover "crisis."
Union mouthpiece Jim Pratt said that too many deputies are fleeing Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat who has professionalized the department and managed to not turn into a publicity buffoon like Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. They seized on a heretofore unknown unit of measure that purported to indicate that the sheriff's department was losing .81 deputies each pay period, or 21 a year. Most, the union chant went, were joining the Tucson Police Department.
The trouble with that number is that it represents those who left deputy ranks via retirement, promotion or actual jobs elsewhere, for 2002. For 2003, the number went up to .96 of a deputy each pay period or 25 a year.
And now for the rest of the story.
Excluding sergeants and higher-ranking officers, there are 390 deputies in Dupnik's command. Seven are on military leave serving in the National Guard and with reserve units. Their jobs are being held for them. Of the remaining 383, 25 are no longer deputies. Why? Four were promoted, nine retired and seven quit. Four ventured to other agencies for various reasons, including the desire to live elsewhere. One went to the TPD. After promotions and retirements, turnover at 12 per 383, is 3 percent.
POLITICAL LAB RATSThe big money on both sides of Prop 200, the so-called Protect Arizona Now voter initiative, is largely coming from out of state, according to campaign-finance reports filed with the Secretary of State's office last week.
Yes, it seems Arizona is just the plaything of special interests who won't really have to live with the results of their political experimentation. Lucky us!
The proponents of the initiative have split into multiple political committees to spread their message that the initiative will stop illegal border crossers from subverting our elections and bleeding our welfare system. The original committee, Protect Arizona Now, has raised slightly more than a half-million bucks, but most of that came during the signature-collection process. That group has raised only $7,601 in the most recent reporting period and had just $3,360 left in the bank.
The action on the pro-200 side has shifted to Yes on Proposition 200, which collected $226,267 since August 19. The money has mostly come from Americans for Better Immigration of Virginia, Americans for Immigration Control of Virginia, the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform of Washington, D.C., and Popstop, Inc. of Maryland.
Opponents of Prop 200 had collected considerably less to get out their message that Protect Arizona Now was a badly written law that will sink the state in a legal quagmire without doing much of anything to address the real problems created by illegal immigration.
Arizonans for Real Immigration Reform reported raising $261,705, with the biggest chunk, $250,000, coming from another political committee, Arizona United for Immigration Reform. That committee, in turn, got the quarter-million from the D.C.-based Service Employees International Union. Another $10,000 for the anti-Prop 200 effort came from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
The Service Employees International Union kicked in another $210,000 after the end of the reporting period, but the effort is still well short of the million bucks Prop 200 opponent Grant Woods vowed to raise to defeat the effort. Maybe that's why we haven't gotten a mailer yet.
ALL-NEW FEAR FACTORWhen Pima County wisely put former Supervisor Dan Eckstrom on the Tucson-Pima Library board, the city manager's office went into seizure. Spooked by Eckstrom's ability to read (especially budgets), City Hall countered by bringing its own ringer, Joel D. Valdez.
That's right, Valdez, the former longtime city manager who moved a couple miles northeast in 1990 to become the senior vice president for business affairs at the University of Arizona. Valdez built the modern-day library system in his 16 years as city manager and in previous years with the library and other parts of city government.
Chances are there will be no clash of the titans. Eckstrom, a Democrat who helped create South Tucson's Sam Lena Library, has mellowed. Actually, library patrons and employees should benefit from the service of Eckstrom and Valdez.
Don't be surprised if you see Eckstrom back at County Administration or other county offices. The one-year ban on county lobbying and business activity, as spelled out in state law, expires any minute. Eckstrom likely will focus his attention on helping University Physicians Inc. enhance its ability to lift Kino Community Hospital.
POLITICS, PROPAGANDA & POPCORNIt's too late to register to vote, but those sexy Tucson Suffragettes are still out and about in an effort to remind all those virgin voters to vote on Election Day. (Or even earlier--if you want to vote from the comfort of your living room, request an early ballot by calling 740-7330 before Friday, Oct. 22.)
The Suffragettes will have their own performance-art stage at this Saturday's Fall Club Crawl™, happening downtown thanks to your friends at the Tucson Weekly. Get your wristbands now at CD City!
Then, on Sunday, Oct. 17, you can join the Suffragettes at the Loft Theater, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., for a brunch showing of Iron-Jawed Angels, the story of America's turn-of-the-century suffragettes who successfully fought for the right to vote. Along with the movie, there will be food and a panel discussion on the impact of hot babes on the democratic process. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m.
And remember: The Tucson Suffragettes are behind the big-ass Virgin Voter Ball at Hotel Congress on Election Night. An "I voted" sticker gets you free admission. Details at www.tucsonsuffragettes.com.
Meanwhile, if you're hungry for more celluloid politics, Guilio Scalinger of downtown's Screening Room has just the thing for you: The War, Politics and Democracy film series, which offers "points-of-view not normally presented in mainstream media." The series gets started this Saturday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. with a double-feature of Unprecedented, which examines the 2000 Florida voting debacle, and an 8 p.m. showing of Band of Brothers, which documents Democrat John Kerry's swift boat experience in Vietnam.
Other films on the schedule include:
- Outfoxed, which takes a fair and balanced look at Fox News with the help of former Fox staffers;
- Unconstitutional, which examines the PATRIOT Act and other intriguing new civil-liberty initiatives from the Bush Administration;
- Uncovered, which examined the many distortions and fibs told in the run-up to the Iraq war; and,
- The Fourth World War, which "weaves together the images and voices of the war on the ground--from the front lines of struggles in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Palestine, Korea and the 'War on Terror' in New York and Iraq."