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Ally Miller announces she won't seek another term on the Pima County Board of Supervisors
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, the region's looniest local official, announced on Facebook this week that she won't be running for reelection next year.
"After giving it much consideration, I have decided it is time to retire and move on to another phase of my life," Miller wrote. "Thanks to everyone for all of the support you have given me over these last several years. Now we need to find someone to step up to run for this seat."
Miller's two terms have been marked primarily by hostility. She was hostile to her colleagues on the Board of Supervisors. She was hostile to the press. She was hostile to county administrators. (Her Twitter bio includes the line: "Time to oust County Dictator Huckelberry.") She was even hostile to her own staff; we've never seen so many people come and go in a supervisor's office over the course of two terms. (One former employee told us: "All she does is bark, bark, bark.")
Tongues are wagging about Ally's next move. Will she challenge state Rep. Mark Finchem in Legislative District 11? Finchem earned Ally's enmity after he supported an extension of downtown Tucson's Rio Nuevo District because—well, it wasn't really clear why she hates Rio Nuevo, given that the downtown revitalization agency has turned itself around since its rough early days and downtown is flourishing in recent years. (Not to digress, but a State Auditor General report released last week noted that "the accomplishments of the District in the latest performance audit period are truly exceptional.")
Or will Ally run for Congressional District 1? Republicans in that sprawling district, now held by Democrat Tom O'Halleran, have a history of nominating terribly flawed candidates, so she'd have a shot in the primary. But Ally has alienated the biz community as much as she has her colleagues and the press, so raising enough money to make a viable run is impossible.
We're guessing Miller is actually leaving town and retreating to her summer home in Idaho. To which we say: Can we help load the moving truck?
Whatever her future holds, we think it's time to relive a few of Ally's greatest hits:
• Ally's Whoppers: Miller launched her 2012 campaign for the Board of Supes with an outrageous claim that $340 million couldn't be accounted for in the county's transportation budget. Miller, who said her allegation was based on an anonymous report she received via email, could not back up her accusation and, after the Weekly reported on her wild accusation, she stopped talking about it. Likewise, a year later, Miller declared on Facebook that she had heard "complaints over the past few years from developers and real estate folks who allege they are being required to hire certain 'consultants' for high fees to get their development plans approved in Pima County." Again, Miller never backed up her claims, though she did say she would report the alleged extortion to the proper authorities. If she ever did, nothing came of it.
• A Bugged Office: Several former members of Miller's staff told The Skinny that Ally believed that Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry had planted listening devices in her office. "She was very, very paranoid," one former staffer told the Weekly. Asked directly if she believed her office was bugged, Miller said she did not.
• Dodging Public Records Law: Miller used a private email address to work with her staff, sidestepping laws that require public officials to keep their records public. While Miller denied that any of her emails from private addresses were related to her official duties, emails turned over by former staffers clearly demonstrated that she was lying.
• Opposing Raytheon: Miller famously opposed a county initiative to relocated a major road near Raytheon's Tucson HQ in order to persuade the region's largest employer to expand its facility. Miller argued that Raytheon hadn't promised to stay if the road work was done and that no one from Raytheon had lobbied her. Years later, after the project was completed, Raytheon announced a major expansion and Miller attended the groundbreaking, posing with shovel in hand.
• The 911 Call: After Miller was upset by a Weekly story that revealed she was re-directing road repair dollars to her own neighborhood, she called 911 to ask for 24-hour police protection and asked the 911 dispatcher if he could do something to remove the story from the internet. "Ma'am, I'm just a 911 operator," the harried public servant replied.
• The Arizona Daily Independent: There was one media source in town that Miller didn't alienate: The Arizona Daily Independent. ADI founder Lori Hunnicutt was so fond of Miller that she shared propaganda pieces with the supervisor and her staff ahead of publication. In one email uncovered by the Tucson Sentinel, Hunnicutt sent Miller's then-chief of staff a draft of a story that was edited by the Miller staffer and returned to Hunnicutt, who responded: "Thank you! If there's anything you think I should add, let me know. [I]f Ally needs more kudos in it, etc." Last year, Miller ended the pretense completely and hired Hunnicutt as an aide.
• The Falken Affair: This one is so weird sometimes we think it was just a dream. But a teenage staffer in Miller's office, Timothy DesJarlais, launched a news blog under the pen name of Jim Falken. Once the obvious deception was uncovered, Miller insisted that DesJarlais had been set up and filed an FBI complaint, saying that she and DesJarlais were victims of a complex plot. Once DesJarlais confessed to his deception, Miller called for him to be prosecuted.