The Skinny


Throughout the Prop 200 campaign, opponents warned that the initiative was so sloppily written that it was going to cover a wide range of government services, while supporters said the other side was exaggerating its impact.

Now that voters have approved Prop 200, which would force anyone applying for undefined "public benefits" to prove their legal residency in Arizona, one supporter is saying what opponents said all along--that Prop 200 covers almost any "public benefit."

Earlier this week, Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services reported that Randy Pullen, one of the top dogs in the Prop 200 campaign, is now planning to take that argument to court.

Steve Roman of Bank One, an opponent of Prop 200, told Fischer that Pullen himself said the initiative would have limited impact during a debate. Pullen denied ever saying such a thing, adding that he said "it could be limited to welfare. I could understand how it could be, legally."

Pullen got his start in politics with two runs for mayor of Phoenix in which he got his ass handed to him. During one ill-fated campaign, the Arizona Republic reported how Pullen's campaign called police to report a stolen camera. Once a cop showed up to investigate the crime, the camera mysteriously re-appeared. So a campaign worker snapped a photo of Pullen shaking hands with the cop--a photo which later turned up in a Pullen campaign flier showing how he was tough on crime. When he wasn't filing false police reports, anyway.

It appears to us that Pullen could be a first-class political weasel. Not necessarily is--but we could understand how he could be.


No election hangover at Pima County. Props to the Division of Elections director Brad Nelson and his crew, as well as the elves tending to the voter roll under the command of Registrar Chris Roads and Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. There may have been minor gaffes during the long election season, but both crews deserve credit for hard work that carried to the day after the election. The Skinny was in both offices the day after and didn't have to get the least bit cranky. That's because workers--including Nelson--dug for files without any complaint.


Raytheon exec Alex Rodriguez, who slid home to a TUSD board seat with a less-than-a-percentage-point victory over Pam Perry, missed the due date for his campaign finance reports by eight days. A-Rod sucked up the $10-a-day fine, records at the Pima County's Division of Elections show, and filed a report that revealed $17,629 in total spending through Oct. 13. He dumped in $8,000 of his own money, according to the reports.

But that's about all the pre-election report shows. Why miss a deadline on a report that is almost totally blank?

More flagrant violations occurred. Joel Ireland, who won a fifth term, cooked up an independent committee that, among other things, read his scripts about saving TUSD and the rest of mankind on frequent radio spots.

And since Ireland isn't required to play by the rules, it follows that the indy committee, Parents for Achievement and Safe Schools, flat blew off filing any of the required financial reports.

Instead, Susan Delaney, the committee's treasurer, scribbled a note to Brad Nelson, the elections director. She pleaded a "good cause defense."

"While I'm embarassed (sic) to be writing you this, I am new to the whole process and would so appreciate you forgiving us this $80."

Delaney also filed blanks.

Rodriguez is the lone new kid on the TUSD board. Judy Burns easily won a second term. Bruce Burke and Adelita Grijalva are midway through their first terms.

The A-Rod-added board will have a tricky time figuring out what to do after voters approved $235 million in bonds for wish-list construction projects, but spiked two budget overrides that would have provided the cash TUSD needs for staff, teachers, equipment and buses to complement the construction.

Then there's the deseg order and the search for a new superintendent. Some free advice: Interim boss Roger Pfeuffer should be enticed to stay. He's doing fine. His greatest achievement was showing the door to Jane Butler, the troublesome, meddlesome and ineffective legal counsel.

Pfeuffer's hapless predecessor, Stan Paz, is a finalist for superintendent of the 211,000-student Houston Independent School District, according to report last weekend in the Houston Chronicle.


The Arizona Supreme Court came to town last week to hear arguments about whether the city of Tucson can continue to pursue enforcement action against billboards that violate city code.

The nut of the case rests on a law passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2000 that gave cities and towns two years to file charges after violations were uncovered. To persuade lawmakers to pass the bill, billboard baron Karl Eller himself swore the law would not be used retroactively.

After lawmakers narrowly passed the law, Eller sold off his holding to the wretched conglomerate Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. , which promptly turned to attorney John Munger to argue in court that the law should be applied retroactively, so the city couldn't pursue enforcement on a whole bunch of these hideous erections.

Munger won at both the local and appeals levels, leaving the matter in the hands of the Arizona Supreme Court. In a fair and decent world, the justices would overturn those decisions and let the city once again go after illegal billboards. In our world, we'll wait and see.


Bill Bonanno, eldest son of the late capo di tutti capi Joseph Bonanno and the former head of the Bonanno crime family, will be back on the bookshelves with an unlikely partner: Joe Pistone, the FBI special agent who went undercover to work with Bonanno crews.

Pistone's story was detailed in a book and the wonderfully insightful 1997 movie Donnie Brasco, starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. A number of the boys portrayed in that movie made headlines for much of the year with trials and tattling. New arrests have reduced today's Bonanno crime family to a gang that can't think straight.

Bonanno, a skilled writer and storyteller, provided more education with his 1999 book, Bound By Honor, which, like his father's book, Man of Honor, details action in New York, but also gives readers a first-hand look at Mafia history in Tucson.

The two, joined by David Fisher, have written a mob-and-law novel titled The Good Guys. Advance copies show that readers will have a special seat at mob social clubs.

The book is scheduled to hit the market in January, but you can get a rare preview this Sunday, Nov. 14, when Bonanno joins radiomen Emil Franzi and Mike Tully on Inside Track on KJLL, 1330-AM.


We're told former Libertarian mayoral and legislative candidate Kimberly Swanson may be weighing a run against Ward 3 City Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar in next year's GOP primary.

In one memorable moment during a mayoral debate last year, she wildly swung some sort of war club dyed with her own menstrual blood above Democrat Tom Volgy's head.

Swanson's major issues have included marijuana decriminalization and funding for the arts, so she should fit right in the GOP's big tent.

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