FUN WITH REPUBLICANS: With a Republican governor and a Republican legislature approving the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars to finance a Republican presidential primary on February 27, the Skinny wonders if Arizona's non-Republicans would like to have some fun with this bogus election.
Anyone can register with the Pima County Elections Office to vote Republican--just do it by January 29. Thus, you Democrats, independents, Libertarians and even Greens could simply change your party affiliation and vote in the Republican primary. Once you've voted, you can change back.
If enough of us turn out, we could embarrass the hell out of J. Fife Deadbeat III and the other bankrupt politicians who pushed this insider job. What if Bob "Love That Nixon" Dole and the Fifester's favorite, Phil "My Momma Said..." Gramm, had a poor showing? With the low turnout currently expected, this is a distinct possibility if enough non-Republicans get out and vote. How about that dismal Richard Lugar for president from Arizona?
GROWTH AT ANY COST? Ward 5 Tucson City Councilman Steve Leal has been trying to determine how much money the city has spent on recent annexations. But the southside councilman was somewhat chagrined to learn from city staff those calculations are simply not available.
It seems city departments don't have a budgetary line item to account for expenditures specifically related to annexations. Which means, city taxpayers, your government doesn't have a clue as to how many millions are being sucked from the general fund for the questionable purpose of constantly expanding the city limits.
It gets worse. Not only is the city spending millions from the city's general fund, but our tax-and-spend, all-Democratic council is spending Tucson Water ratepayer bucks as well. How much? We don't know.
Thus far the mayor and council have been guided by city staff folklore which maintains annexations "pay for themselves after five years."
What Leal figured out is that the city can't prove that claim without a departmental-line-item system in place. Without such a system one of this council's major projects is being run on sheer guesswork. Some annexations may, in fact, be very profitable for the city over time--but how the hell are we to know?
NO-TELL FLOWING WELLS: The Skinny has again caught "Honest" John Jones, the City of Tucson's annexation guy, doing what he does best: Engaging in official acts of deceit.
On December 7 Jones wrote a letter to Pima County Assessor Rick Lyons requesting taxpayer information on something called "the Flowing Wells Annexation District."
Problem? You bet. Jones failed to notify the Flowing Wells Rural Fire District of Tucson's annexation lust in their area. Recently we revealed how Tucson officials were desperately trying to quell annexation opposition the city was receiving from the rural fire districts with offers of city jobs for all firefighters displaced by annexation. Flowing Wells is one of those districts.
Fire officials at the Flowing Wells district were stunned when they learned of Jones' letter. One district official, who refused to be identified, said the city and the district were working on a contingency plan should the city annex into the fire district. But, said the official, referring to Jones' letter, "This is no way to work out a process."
Surprise, surprise. Jones is the same city official exposed by the Skinny this past summer for more than once sending spies from his department into the private meetings of citizen property owners opposed to annexation.
COPPER BOWL BLOWJOB: It should be clear that America is entering a weird era. While we're attempting to reduce government involvement in many areas, we're simultaneously trying to increase government involvement in subsidizing rich people who do sports. We're told we get a return on our tax dollars from sports fans who come here and spend money. The same logic would dictate that we could all get rich by raising welfare payments, thus giving the poor more money to spend with local merchants.
The Copper Bowl is a classic example. Both the city and county cough up to have a second-string bowl game here, figuring it doesn't matter who plays in it, just as long as TV networks cover it. And one of the great benefits of this deal is called "exposure," meaning we get to let the world know Tucson has a bowl game, so maybe more snowbirds will notice it's warm here and aim the Wienerbago this way instead of toward Florida. Or some corporate exec will say, "Damn! I was planning to move my 500-job plant to Fargo until I noticed there was no snow on the ground at this bowl game I saw on TV in some town in Arizona. Better write for some brochures."
Can we get real?
A pathetic example of this pathetic mentality was recently displayed by KVOA-TV, Channel 4's Eyewitless News. Joe Donlan, handsome hunk and an otherwise OK news guy before he made anchor, gave us a three-minute blowjob for the Copper Bowl in the lead story on the evening of the game. Donlan's piece should have been clearly labeled an editorial, but it wasn't. He told us how wonderful the game was for our burgh and how it brought $8 to $10 million into the local economy. They interviewed the GTEC folks and even ran parts of the 60-spot airing during the network game (paid for at your expense) hawking the delights of Tucson. Then KVOA got around to telling us about the game, which, we point out, should be able to make it without tax money by now.
So what would the Eyewitless crew have done if there'd been a real story to cover that night?
FLAT-TAX FLATHEAD: The local GOP recently got presidential candidate Steve Forbes to appear at a fund-raiser for them at the Doubletree. The affair was ineptly handled, as usual, by GOP County Chair Rex Waite, who introduced Forbes as "the next president of The United States," after saying something similar during visits by senators Bob "Richard Nixon" Dole and Phil "The Pill" Gramm.
Those hapless souls who attended this boring event were given unclear instructions by hotel staff as to where the function was to occur. Because it seems there were two functions.
One local GOP type, noting there was nothing on the hotel directory, was aimed toward a certain room. Upon arriving, the message was delivered rather rudely that this was a "private function" by invitation only and that the other Forbes' event was in another part of the hotel.
Now, most of the town knows Waite is both clueless and classless, but Forbes ought to know better than to have a private function in the same place he's holding the public one. And whomever he's paying should be able to check up on the locals to make sure the attendees get the right instructions. But that's what happens to late entries in the presidential sweeps--they get the leftovers and dregs from the other campaigns, not to mention some of the losers who went with that big phony Pete Wilson.
And, by the way, it'd be nice if Forbes spent some of that TV money talking about something besides the stupid flat tax and Dole's voting record. Hey, we knew more about Colin Powell's position on the issues.
AND GOEBBELS SAID THOSE OVENS WERE FOR BAKING BREAD: Arizona Daily Star reporter Enric Volante is one of the better guys in the business, but he got suckered big time by a government PR job--specifically, those wonderful people at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, known to the rest of law enforcement as the Rogue Nazis.
Volante wrote a story about how, according to the BATF, the homeless were being used to front handgun purchases for thugs.
Unfortunately, none of the few incidents he mentioned occurred in Tucson, one of them was aborted by the gun dealer himself, and all were over a year or two old--hardly newsworthy items. Nevertheless he quoted the BATF goons as saying this stuff happened because of Arizona's "lax" gun laws.
Only one problem with that thesis: Since the Brady Bill passed, there's a police check on everybody buying a handgun, which means anybody trying to buy a whole bunch with a park bench address wouldn't get away with it, would they?
We recommend Volante and other PC reporters spend a little more time checking the transcript of the U.S. Senate hearings on stuff like BATF actions at Ruby Ridge. Even liberal gun control advocates have discovered this agency is rotten, corrupt, fascist and full of lies. Giving them any credibility is detrimental to a free society.
TERM LIMITS FOR THE JUDICIARY? It had to come--the next group of politicians facing the prospect of term limits is those lawyers who sit on judicial benches. Arizona's Republican House Speaker Mark Killian says the Legislature will be placing that referendum on the ballot for 1996. Expect the Bar Association types to go bonkers opposing this one.
There are no doubt some good reasons why politically appointed judges should not have their terms limited like the rest of the peasants, but nobody's made them yet. The response to Killian's proposal was--dig this--how "unfair" it would be to kick those lawyers out of those nice, high-paying judicial posts and make them go back to earning a living as ordinary attorneys with a real practice. Why, it could mean hardship for them.
Somehow, we don't think that one is going to be a winning argument.
TNI STRIKES AGAIN: Got an interesting Chinese menu inserted in our December 29 morning paper. On the back was the same menu. Looked pretty good, but there was no name or address of the restaurant anywhere on the piece.
Called the paper at 8:45 a.m. Talked to folks in advertising--the guy who could tell us the name of the restaurant hadn't come in yet. Called back several times. Thought the specials looked pretty good--$3.75 combo plates with egg roll and fried rice. Wanted some for lunch, but still couldn't identify mystery restaurant. Finally got the right guy on the fifth try (too late for lunch). He said it was his day off and he only came in for an hour or so, but they'd had a lot of calls. Told us they misprinted the pieces with the menu on both sides, and finally gave us the name of the place. About four hours later.
If it hadn't been for his diligence in showing up when he wasn't supposed to, we'd still be wondering along with everybody else. TNI otherwise acted like, "Gee, something happened. We'll get back to you."
Oh, and it was Wokman's, Swan and Sunrise. We'll have to try it sometime. And maybe they ought to think of trying their advertising somewhere less inept. We can understand the misprint--what we can't grasp is their inability to at least correct the blunder by telling folks who called where the hell the place was.
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