LOOKING BACK: The Skinny has been with us since early 1993. The hellish spawn of the dour and perpetually disgusted Weekly staff, its purpose was to serve as a vehicle for news, gossip and commentary not found in the Naked Pueblo's bland daily journalism outlets, which are little more than cash cows for giant out-of-town corporations. Only you, the reader, can judge whether we've succeeded; and, frankly, we don't care what you think--we're having way too much fun.
Everybody wants to know who writes this sucker. The answer is a whole bunch of people. We're often accused of hiding behind a curtain of anonymity, to which we respond: Yeah, so what? Since we're the only dog-and-pony show of our kind in town, we like to delude ourselves into thinking the anonymity allows anyone (well, anyone we like, that is) to contribute his or her news and views to the normally dull community debate engendered by full disclosure. In other words, we fill a niche. And the anonymity has generated a lot of participation from various folks--if we published a list, you'd be surprised.
This past year, we ran about 400 items. A quick tally on our handy-dandy DesertNet search engine tells us who we mentioned the most:
Legendary Land Speculator Don Diamond, 31 hits;
Governor J. Fife Deadbeat III, 26 hits;
Marana council member Ora "Mammy Yokum"Harn, 18 hits;
Pima County Supervisor Special Ed Moore, 38 hits;
Supervisor Mikey "The Flaky Waffle Man" Boyd, 25 hits;
Tucson City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown, 22 hits.
Some of the items on these folks have become classics. And they've accomplished what the Skinny's bilious founders hoped they would: told you stuff you wouldn't find out elsewhere.
A few examples: We've told you about the many accommodations made between City Manager Mike Brown and Don Diamond over the proposed annexation of Rocking K, even including the little helicopter ride Brown gave Diamond in a Tucson Police Department chopper. Hell, we even let some city council members know there was a plan to annex Rocking K before Brown wanted them to know.
We've ridden herd on the problems at Catalina High School and monitored a bunch of TUSD activities that never made it to the surface anywhere else.
We've kept track of local governments in the surrounding towns like Marana, Oro Valley and even Sahuarita. And by surrounding towns, we really mean surrounding.
In our own humble way, we've tried to keep the little bastards honest by calling them names that stuck--Marana became Dogpatch and Oro Valley became Caddy Shack. And we've even had to modify the latter when the good folks in OV had that recall last April and started to shape the place up.
We've gone a little further in explaining the obstruse peregrinations of the GOP majority on the Pima Board of Supervisors and included some of the more inept and bizarre bureaucrats they've installed.
And we've made a lot of happy lawyers even happier by reporting how much some of them have been paid with taxpayer dollars. Guys like John Munger and Si Schorr and Andy Schubart and Andy Federhar have gotten richer than hell at your expense, while nobody but us really noticed or cared.
We kept track of County Attorney Steve Neely, which didn't make him happy and put him in his usual pitbull intimidation mode. We still love him, though. And we let you know that he'll be going bye-bye to New Zealand soon, taking his pension with him and contributing to our balance-of-payments deficit.
We've prematurely ejaculated a whole bunch of candidacies in both the 1995 city election and for 1996 by telling you who was moving around early--and sometimes what sleazy deals they've cut.
We've stayed on the ass of some sacred cows, from the University of Arizona to KUAT-TV, and we tried to be more original when beating up the easier targets like J. Fife Deadbeat III and the bozos in the Arizona Legislature. We've tried to give you items the two dailies missed, which wasn't hard.
We've beaten up the local media, particularly the dailies, for everything from spiked stories to incompetent headlines. It's an amusing job, and we're delighted to do it. Sure, we make mistakes ourselves--lots of them--but, like evil heroin junkies with plenty of money, we'll never stop. And with the Tucson Citizen, in particular, we'll never run out of junk.
We've tried diligently not to let any of the guilty escape, to the chagrin of some of our liberal friends who think we should only beat up on the flakes on the right side of the political spectrum. To which we respond, sorry, but we've tried hard not play partisan or ideological favorites. It's our firm belief that most politicians, no matter what their ideology, are basically scum. Necessary to the proper functioning of a democracy, perhaps, but scum nonetheless.
We've even done a few attaboys for those rare pols who've deserved them on occasion, like Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Oro Valley Mayor Cheryl Skalsky, Tucson City Council members Molly McKasson and Steve Leal, Pima County supervisors Raul Grijalva and Dan Eckstrom, and state Rep. Elaine Richardson. And, yes, even Steve Neely. But God, it's hard.
We've blown some covers and covered some blows. We've had a helluva good year and a whole lot of fun. And we've pissed off a whole lot of jerks and still haven't had to make as many retractions as the Citizen has for a month or so worth of first-page blunders.
Damn, we're just so important and wonderful, even if we're the only ones who think so. And we have only one New Year's resolution: To be even more obnoxious in 1996.
WHAT A REVOLTING DEVELOPMENT THIS IS: High up in UFO country in northern Nevada, out by the federal government's ultra-hush-hush Area 51, lies Nye County, where the fires of revolution burn a little brighter thanks to our state tax dollars.
In a high-profile states' rights case, Nye County leaders have claimed jurisdiction over the federal lands within the county borders. Declaring this aggression will not stand, the federal government has filed suit to have the Nye County law struck down.
Last month, Arizona's Constitutional Defense Council voted to give $10,000 to Defenders of Property Rights, a private outfit which is assisting Nye County in the lawsuit.
We can all feel proud of our support--Nye County is on the cutting edge of the anti-fed revolution. In fact, folks up there have taken to bombing federal employees; one U.S. Forest Service staffer had his van blown up right in his driveway.
Most incredible of all, the state of Nevada has sided with the feds against Nye County. Could you imagine what would happen if Rhode Island sided with Santa Cruz County in a lawsuit against the state? Those giddy patriots at the Capitol would be squealing like stuck pigs.
What's next for the CDC--a couple thousand bucks for the Timothy McVeigh Legal Defense Fund?
SHOVEL A LITTLE OF THAT PORK THIS WAY: Incidentally, we've reviewed the bills for the Constitutional Defense Council. Through November, they had spent about one-fourth of that $1 mil they had when they started at "Go," leaving them with $757,386.
The biggest chunk--more than $90,000--went to Shaw, Pittman, Potts and Trowbridge, a Washington, D.C., firm which lost a case regarding court-appointed special masters. There are still a couple of months of billing left on that case, which is on appeal; we'll share the climbing numbers as they come in.
And close to $30,000 went to the law firm of Streich Lang, for researching possible challenges to federal environmental standards. And we're sure this is just a coincidence: Streich Lang is also handling Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III's bankruptcy. We certainly hope the Governor hasn't negotiated a special rate with Streich Lang--we do so hate those allegations of pay-offs and insider deals.
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