The Skinny

Republican Lea Márquez-Peterson has a new gig—if she can keep it.
Republican Lea Márquez-Peterson has a new gig—if she can keep it.

Power Play

Márquez-Peterson joins the Arizona Corporation Commission

Gov. Doug Ducey is playing musical chairs again. He maneuvered one of his favorite cronies, Andy Tobin, off the Arizona Corporation Commission and back into his administration as director of the Arizona Department of Administration.

Ducey then filled the open Corp Com seat with Lea Márquez-Peterson, the former head of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Márquez-Peterson was last seen in Southern Arizona politics when she got blown out in her campaign for Congress by Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in 2018. Márquez-Peterson followed a lot of bad advice in that race, including squandering relationships she'd spent years building with the local press. Here's hoping she's wised up and realizes that blackballing the media is a dumb route to go.

We'll see how Márquez-Peterson handles the new Corp Com gig. The agency's reputation is in tatters because the state's largest utility, APS, has been not-so-secretly pouring money into electing toadies (like Tobin) who will follow the lead of the utilities it is supposed to be regulating instead of looking out for consumers. There's now a majority that is challenging APS, but where Márquez-Peterson will land on any of these issues remains to be seen. She should keep in mind that she'll be on the ballot in 2020—and being a Republican in Arizona doesn't guarantee a statewide win anymore.

Fraught Mott Got Got

Another one bites the dust in Ally Miller's office

In accordance with the prophecy set forth in The Skinny just two weeks ago, Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller claimed another scalp—within her own office.

Poor ol' Tyler Mott was fired on Thursday, May 23—the very same day the Tucson Weekly hit the street with a Skinny column introducing two new hires in office. Mott had been hired as Miller's chief of staff, alongside Bill Beard, a former Pima County Republican Party chairman and a long-serving member of the Pima County Elections Integrity Commission who now has the big responsibility of running a video camera during board meetings.

Details remain sketchy. Although Miller calls herself a champion of transparency, Beard would not even disclose whether Mott was still working in the District 1 office, telling The Skinny: "Any issues regarding HR have to go through HR." It sounded like the classic non-confirmation confirmation to us, but we went ahead and made the public-records request to make sure Mott wasn't just on an extended Memorial Day holiday. Sure enough, the county form shows Mott was terminated by the ever-unstable Miller.

He was just hired on Feb. 4, so he didn't last four months. That's not even long enough for Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to find Mott a soft landing somewhere in the Wastewater Department or something. (Chuck has been much kinder than Miller when it comes to many of her ex-employees. We suspect it's because they are willing to dish all about her crazy ideas once she has given them the ax. We certainly wouldn't suggest something like that just to heighten Miller's well-known paranoia.)

Though he probably didn't know it, Mott was doomed from the start, just like so many others who have thought it was possible to have a halfway normal life while working for Miller and her new favorite flying monkey, Lori Hunnicutt. (Hunnicutt is also the "brains" behind the hilariously named online blog Arizona Daily Independent, although it's so unclear as to what Hunnicutt is doing in Miller's office that it's impossible to say whether she spends her county time working on her side hustle.)

As we have mentioned in previous columns, taking a job in Miller's office is a callback to the fable of the scorpion who asked the frog to carry her across the river. Frog says no because he fears the scorpion will sting him; scorpion insists that's a silly fear because it would lead to them both drowning. Frog agrees to give the ride, scorpion stings him halfway across the river and they both drown. As they're going down, the frog asks why and scorpion simply says: "It's in my nature." But in the Ally Miller version, the scorpion just finds new frogs instead of drowning.

We're sure a new frog will be hopping around the District 1 offices soon enough, thinking this time, it'll be different. (We'd recommend Roger Score, who has been auditioning with his unhinged ranting at the county's Call to the Audience segments. And he showed his outstanding video recording skills when he followed auto dealer and GOP kingmaker Jim Click around the Arizona Legislature when Miller was unsuccessfully trying to squash some Rio Nuevo legislation last year—letting Click get an up-close-and-personal look at the monster he had helped create in county government.)

Miller still has Beard on the job, at least for now. But as many of Miller's former employees know, it hardly matters how well you do your job; Miller's deadly sting is inevitable. Just keep a simple mantra in your head: "Ribbit. Ribbit. Ribbit." Until the day you simply hear: "Croak."

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