The Skinny

HELP WANTED: Defeated County Supervisor Paul Marsh has asked select county bureaucrats, including County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, to find a place for him in county government. Marsh is looking for something where his "talents" might be used. We suggest they allow him to clean the toilets.

There's a message here for those like Marsh who become water boys for guys like mega-millionaire Don Diamond and the Growth Lobby: After you lose, they drop you like a hot potato when they don't need your vote any more.

In most jurisdictions, elected officials who've been good little lackeys find themselves in a cushy job after they've taken care of special interests. Not here.

JUST ANOTHER ROAD APPLE INFOMMERCIAL: Jeeeze, we know TV news is shallow, but did you catch last Thursday's KVOA-TV, Channel 4, Eyewitless Snooze? An entire show devoted to the reopening of a fake old western town/amusement park. What a crock. It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Don Diamond, whose interests control Old Tucson, once owned KVOA, would it?

We haven't seen anything this bush league since KOLD-TV, Channel 13, anchors dressed up in military duds to commemorate the last episode of M*A*S*H. No, make that since KVOA devoted an entire show to Biosphere II.

DON'T DRINK THE WATER: Wisconsin football fans who attended the recent Copper Bowl must have thought Tucson was still drinking C.A.P. water. A Madison newspaper suggested to those coming to town that they "pack some water. You'll be pleased to have it."

And we thought the sunshine was all Tucson was famous for.

WET WORK: The scheme to turn Tucson Water over to a self-appointed group under the guise of privatization will soon come before the City Council. Unfortunately, the proposal may have the necessary four votes. Mayor George Miller, once known as a left-liberal but leaning more as he ages to the economic theories of Milton Friedman and the Cato Institute, says it's a good idea. Not to worry about ultimate control, Miller told Channel 4's hard-working weathermen--there would still be a system where the City Council sets "policy." Gee, George, you mean like now?

Miller's support for privatization of the water company is a new twist in a long battle. During his 1995 mayoral campaign, Miller was adamantly opposed to letting Tucson Water slip into private hands.

So who's gotten to George? Well, for years, the old SAWARA group tried to dominate water policy, and under their new title of the Tucson Regional Water Council (or TRICK, for short), the same group of pro-growthers has been waiting to grab the water power under the guise of "removing it from politics." Translation--no more pesky initiatives like Prop 200 to disturb the plans of the Growth Lobby.

One of the biggest complaints about Tucson Water is that its customers outside the city limits have nothing to say about their water rates. Privatization would equalize that by eliminating any say city residents now have. Whee!

Watch the votes on this one and expect council members Michael Crawford, Janet Marcus and Shirley Scott to join Miller. Frankly, the voters should recall all four of them, because, at this point, they're nothing but Growth Lobby shills who've painfully demonstrated their incompetence at controlling the bureaucracy. Instead of doing their jobs as elected officials in our democracy, they now appear willing and eager to cede control of our town's most vital resource to a money-hungry cabal of fuck-the-desert developers.

City Councilman Steve Leal is outraged by Miller's privatization proposal. Leal compares it to burying highly dangerous nuke waste--"As if once out of view, it's no longer a problem."

Leal says Miller's idea could make things even worse, since the public's access to information within a private--or even a private, non-profit--company would be even worse than it is now.

"At least now, as a city department, the public has some access to information, even though we may have to fight for that access," Leal says.

It's sad, really. We can't help wondering what this place would have been like if the politicians had some guts.

DER GOES DA JUDGE: Superior Court Judge Lawrence Fleischman's recent resignation was no surprise to many court observers. For several reasons, he chose the first week in January to quit:

  • By leaving now, before the January 15 Arizona Supreme Court hearing on his appeal of his suspension ordered by the state Commission on Judicial Contact, he won't have to comply with possible orders to further divulge his off-bench dealings with tennis star Andre Agassi.

  • He won't have to file a financial statement for last year, as required by law.

  • And, best of all, waiting until January to do throw in the towel allows him to retire based on the higher salary granted superior court judges as of January 1. That last move is worth several hundred a month on Fleischman's lifetime pension.

Many considered him a hard-working and innovative member of the bench who accomplished tough settlements between contending parties. Others have seen him as arbitrary and arrogant. The bottom line was that he violated the rules and never completely recognized that he was a public servant.

MOORE'S PARTING SHOT: We knew departing Pima County Supervisor Ed Moore would not go quietly into that good night. He left with a parting shot at Supervisor Mike Boyd. Moore replaced Boyd's portrait on the 11th floor of the County Building with one of Forrest Gump.

C'mon, big guy, you can do better than that. Gump had integrity, always tried to do what was right, and was a big success in several endeavors. No comparison beyond mental capability.

Actually, now that we think about it, Boyd does have something in common with Gump--all those odd jobs. These days, he's moonlighting for a company that makes fake rocks and other landscaping products--products in high demand by the building industry.

In his recent financial disclosure notice, Boyd says he'll be working for the Larson Company as a "paid sales consultant."

Boyd didn't file a conflict-of-interest statement regarding his new position. Odd, since he's expected by his employer to sell or "consult" on the sale of landscape products. We suspect there might be a risk that Boyd will be doing business with individuals or companies which may come before the Board of Supervisors for rezonings and other land-use issues.

Don't forget that Mikey just got a $10,000-a-year raise, which means he's making $52,000 representing the taxpayers of District 1. Isn't there enough happening in Pima County to keep him busy at the job he's been elected to do? And why is it he's never around the office when we call? TW

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