February 9 - February 15, 1995

[The Skinny]

FIFE BOLDLY SAVES CIVILIZATION FROM COLLAPSE! Spies within the right wing tell us that J. Fife Whiteguy III's right-hand man, Wes Gullet, regaled a GOP group last week with tales of how Fife took a lead role in crafting the Mexican bail-out, thus preventing "the world's biggest economic crisis."

Fife has always been good at figuring out how to get big loans--especially ones backed by us taxpayers (anyone remember Southwest Savings?)

After his tale of Fife's great statesmanship, Wes went on to share the Ninth Floor's perspective that government is sooo big because "taxing the rich increases government revenue and government size." Gosh, we thought government grew because the legislature passed bills and the governor signed them into law. We can't wait to hear how Wes explains where babies come from.

CAPITOL CHATTER: Those radical--or is it extremist?--environmentalists at the Sierra Club continue to mock those visionaries at the statehouse.

In a bulletin sent out last week, the organization gave the "Call-Me-Cleopatra-'Cause-I'm-Queen- of-DeNile' award" to Rep. Carol Springer, a Prescott Republican. Despite being one of the loudest voices bitching about those damned unfunded mandates the feds keep shoving down our throats, Springer failed to back legislation that would have prevented the state from imposing unfunded mandates on cities and counties because "our relationship to them is not the same."

Senators Stan Barnes and Manuel "Lito" Peña Jr., meanwhile, won "The Beggar Your Neighbor Award." The senators, who have offices next door to one another, introduced identical legislation rather than talking to one another. Tab for taxpayers: $1,500.

ALL THOSE REPUBLICANS LOOK ALIKE TO US, TOO: In The Arizona Daily Star of January 29, political reporter Steve Meissner told us that former Congressman and HUD Secretary Jack Kemp had been introduced at the GOP State convention by former Governor Evan Mecham.

Unfortunately, Mecham couldn't have introduced Kemp because Kemp wasn't in attendance. The guy Mecham did introduce was Alan Keyes, Maryland talk show host and former U.S. Senate candidate.

As the only other GOP candidates in attendance were Phil Gramm and Pat Buchanan, it isn't like there were a lot of folks to mix up. And it's a little hard to confuse Keyes, an African-American, with Kemp, who is painfully white.

WHAM-BAM, SO-LONG, MA'AM? The way The Skinny hears it, former Assistant City Manager Beverly Ginn (now legal advisor to the Tucson Police Department) was reading an ad in a national trade journal when she noticed an advertisement for an assistant city manager's position in Tucson--her position.

Ginn wasted little time confronting City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown, who reportedly did what we now expect the slippery little fella to do every time--he danced. Brown allegedly told Ginn he was just testing the waters so he could develop a talent pool.

The following week, Ginn was informed her services were no longer required as an assistant city manager.

The Skinny asked Brown if he placed an ad prior to discussing the issue with Ginn. Brown responded, "I can't remember if I took out the ad before (I talked with her) or after."

Ginn, who suffered serious financial consequences and the loss of a the use of a city car, declined to discuss the issue, "On or off the record."

GIVE HIM AN INCH, AND HE'LL TAKE CITY HALL: Once again City Manager Mike Brown has displayed his power-hungry arrogance, this time in responding to a request by Councilwoman Janet Marcus about what changes Brown would recommend in the City Charter.

Marcus says she was looking for "technical adjustments" to the charter. Brown tipped his hand by deciding such items as the power of the mayor and council in appointing the police and fire chiefs and the size of the council itself are "technical." Right.

After The Arizona Daily Star's Joe Burchell wrote about Brown's rather pushy approach, Brown went on the John C. Scott show and attempted damage control. But again he tried to define major charter revisions shifting power from the council to himself as mere "technical matters."

Brown's penchant for using the slightest excuse to expand his own power is well exemplified in this. Unfortunately, our mayor and council are classic examples of the "student government" mentality left over from the now generally discredited elitist progressive era.

Any attempt to further reduce the power of these elected officials would only accrue to the unelected bureaucracy headed by Brown. And such a move would further diminish the "democracy" we all claim to support.

A WELL-PAID ADMINISTRATOR OF FUTURE POSSIBILITIES: By about 10 votes in the November election, we now have a new agenda to watch as Sahuarita becomes our latest incorporated community. As we pointed out earlier, because the new town had no initial tax base it has made an agreement with Pima County to pay the hired help with county tax funds (loaned at 6 percent interest).

Sahuarita's first two employees are Town Manager Bob Patrick, husband of Pima County Developmental Services Director Judy Patrick, and Town Clerk Anne Parrish.

Both are now ensconced on the county payroll. Parrish, who is paid $14.42 an hour, began on December 1. Patrick makes $28.85 an hour, and began collecting as of--dig this!--November 1.

Hey, the election creating the town wasn't held until November 8. So how in the hell did Pima County approve an agreement in late December allowing Patrick to get paid retroactive to the town's formation? Something stinks here, and it ain't fish pie.

Just another example of why Arizona leads the rest of the nation in amusing governmental practices. Our politicians can collect their pensions while they're still getting paid to hold the office, and now bureaucrats can cash in for managing a town that has yet to be created.

Great way to start off, Bob.

AND SPEAKING OF EXPANDING HORIZONS FOR THOSE ON THE PUBLIC TIT: There's a proposal to double the per diem paid state legislators who reside outside Maricopa County, from $60 a day to $120, with a proportionate increase for Phoenix area legislators.

Arguments parroted by pols of both parties (and slobberingly endorsed in another dipshit Tucson Citizen editorial) are that the job only pays $15,000 a year and it's tough to live in another city for $60 a day.

Quit the crap, folks. A tax-free $60 a day works out to $1,800 a month while the legislature's in session. Anybody who can't figure out how to live on that shouldn't be in office in the first place. To double it to $3,600 is totally obscene and a rip-off of the taxpayer.

Being a state legislator is a part-time job. Right now, assuming the regular session lasts 100 days, and the rest of business requiring presence in the state capitol necessitates enough time to run the gig up to six months out of 12, that means these folks get $15,000 plus another $11,000 tax free for six months' work.

Before proposing any more cuts in services to any of the rest of us, these hypocrites should consider cutting, not increasing, what they pull out themselves.

THE REX WAITE WAY TO RICHES: Being a city council person is another part-time job. It pays $12,000 a year. One detail always overlooked by those pols who complain about how bad this is for themselves or their fellow members of the political class is the fringes they never include in the total take.

Try health and pension benefits, but also don't forget the free car. That vehicle includes everything from gas to insurance and would require a pre-tax income of at least $500 month for the rest of us to equal.

Attempts by friends of the council, namely a committee on salaries appointed by them, to get voters to approve an increase has resulted in one amusing sideshow. Republican County Chairman Rex Waite was widely quoted as saying the GOP supports raising the pay for each council member to $40,000 a year and the mayor's from $24,000 to $60,000.

This statement has many Republicans privately seething. Waite's penchant for stating his personal preferences without bothering to poll his committee or it's officers is becoming a major irritant to them. Apparently Waite hasn't noticed the GOP just won an election by promising to cut government expenses, and not by advocating tripling the salaries of local politicians.

Behind all of this is the mistaken belief that if you raise the salary of those you elect, you'll attract better people. For years the salary of state legislators in California has been more than ample, approaching $100,000 when you factor all the bennies. The result has been about the same percentage of pols going to the slammer as we had in AzScam, albeit for a bigger chunk of the action.

Which only proves there is no evidence higher pay attracts better folks, but much evidence that it does generate bigger crooks.

A GOVERNMENT OF SYCOPHANTIC ASS-KISSERS: Former Secretary of State Jim Shumway has finished his consultant's report on what went wrong with the 1994 election in Pima County. As it is written in fluent bureaucratic B.S., most of the local press is having a problem figuring out what it means.

The answer is obvious.

The problems--ranging from losing ballots to not printing them properly in the first place--stems from one fundamental source. As we at the Skinny have been telling you all along, the problem was caused by an inept Board of Supervisors turning over elections to inadequate and incompetent underlings chosen, above all else, for their ass-kissing ability. In listing blunder after blunder, Shumway draws simple conclusions that fall short of actually spelling out blame.

Well, we'd like to spell the blame out now that we have the same chronicle of events from another source. The blame falls on the people legally charged with running the election, namely the entire Board of Supervisors and Clerk of the Board Jane Williams.

The board's majority was so busy hiring sycophants that it failed in its job. And the board's minority could have shown a little more diligence in monitoring the whole gross fiasco.

We hope the voters of Oro Valley, two-thirds of whom were disenfranchised by the raw stupidity of incompetent Pima County elections officials, will remember when Supervisor Mikey Boyd runs for re-election in 1996 that he's a big part of the reason their votes didn't count in 1994.

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February 9 - February 15, 1995

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