Skinny HAYDUKE LIVES! The Arizona Daily Star Northwest reports in its police log that the Heritage Highlands construction site on North Redhawk Boulevard sustained damage to a plastic irrigation pipe valued at $200. The article also quoted a Tricon Contracting foreman who stated that two weeks earlier, tires on earth-moving equipment had been slashed and four-pronged tire spikes were found in the road to the construction site.

TRY CLOWN MAKE-UP FOR ALL THE TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS: We were reading the Northwest Explorer recently and noticed that Marana Mayor Ora "Mammy Yokum" Harn had delivered a state-of-the-town address, in which she said 1998 will be a year of "growth, safety, and image improvement." Harn complained the town has been "unfairly labeled as a shameless pro-growth town by incorporation supporters trying to woo people to vote for the creation of new towns," according to the Explorer.

Huh? Check the record, Mammy. Long before the incorporation movements got started, you and the rest of the Dogpatch Council were shamelessly pro-growth.

Take, for example, the case of New World Homes back in 1994. After the Marana Town Council rezoned 440 acres to allow the construction of 1,200 homes, the citizens gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the council's vote. What did Marana officials do? After meeting with lawyers for the developer, they tossed out the signatures on laughable pretense that the type on the petitions was 1/72th (yes, one-seventy-second!) of an inch too small. Supporters of the referendum had to take the town to court to fight for their right to an election to reverse the rezoning. They won, both in the courthouse and at the ballot box, and Marana citizens picked up the legal tab for both sides--which came out to about $120,000.

Those sleazy little maneuvers continued last year, when the Marana Council approved a rezoning for Dove Mountain, developer David Mehl's plan to build 13,000 homes, three luxury resorts and four golf courses on 5,600 acres at the base of the Tortolita Mountains. (At that time, Dove Mountain was called RedHawk, which raises another question: Why do these developers keep naming their stuccoglomerations for the wildlife they kill off? Why not Dollar Vista or Bulldozer Pointe?)

In this case, a group of citizens also collected more than enough signatures to force a referendum. And this time, mindful of the chickenshit tactics the town used during the previous referendum, the organizers made a point of asking Town Clerk Sandra Groseclose if they needed anything else for the petition job. Nope, said Groseclose, you're all set.

But when the citizens turned in their petitions, Groseclose had a surprise for them--she rejected the signatures because they had failed to attach a the RedHawk specific plan--a two-inch-thick document--to all of the petitions. Once again, opponents of the rezoning had to go to court. This time, the citizens have been less successful as the case winds through the system, losing at both Superior Court and the Court of Appeals.

More recently, the Town Council tabled an annexation plan when the proposal got some bad ink in the dailies last summer. One month later, the Council approved the annexation on the consent agenda, without even discussing the matter.

Harn's spin in her state-of-the-town address is simply laughable. Marana hasn't been given a bad reputation by incorporation supporters. Rather, the town's miserable reputation helped inspire the incorporation movements of both Casas Adobes and Tortolita. Perception, in this case, is a pretty good reflection of reality. We call the town Dogpatch because the Town Council has earned the nickname.

If Harn really wants to improve Marana's image, she should try resigning and moving to Redrock.

HEY, GIVE US THE $50,000--WE'LL TELL 'EM HOW TO BEHAVE: In another pointless feel-good move to improve their image, the Pima County Board of Supervisors is about to appoint an ethics panel--with a $50,000 budget--to tell them how to behave, specifically regarding their relationships with their own bureaucracy.

Gee, we thought they were supposed to know that when they got elected. They need to spend 50 grand to appoint people to tell them?

We smell rotten fish left over from the defeated charter proposal. Didn't the charter committee try to foist upon us a re-definition of our elected officials' role in government? The policy wonks want the supervisors to make "policy" and then not interfere with how--or if--the appointed bureaucracy implements it.

This basically tells us we're too damn dumb to elect anybody who knows anything, so screw democracy and empower the unelected.

Pima County has already started down that elitist road by removing the entire health function from direct control of not only the Board of Supervisors, but even the supervisors' chief administrator. They've handed that responsibility over to an appointed--and now self-perpetuating--board.

Excuse us, but the job title, as we regularly point out, is "supervisor," not "onlooker." The five board members who voted for this idiocy just squandered our tax money. Perhaps they should spend a little more time with the state constitution and statutes which define their real job. Dealing off their responsibilities to appointed commissions is called "non-feasance." Appointing a $50,000 panel to explain "ethics" to them is absurd.

If the supervisors do anything genuinely unethical, trust us--we'll be the first to let them know.

GREEN WAR: The Arizona Daily Star's Tony Davis and Rhonda Bodfield attempted recently to explain the major rift between Democratic Pima County supervisors Raul Grijalva and Sharon Bronson. The article centered around environmental issues and attempted to contrast the two via the standard--and tired--journalistic style of "he-said, she-said." Conclusion: Some like 'em, some don't, and they should quit fighting.

In their passion to give equal space to Bronson's supporters and detractors, there wasn't much examination of Grijalva's supporters and detractors, lending yet more credence to the thesis that Bodfield has degenerated into a Grijalva shill and pulled Davis with her.

The fact that those with environmental credentials were generally favorable to Bronson was offset by those who bad-mouthed her. The article lacked a genuine summary of the environmental track record of the two.

Much is made of Grijalva's vigorous opposition to the proposed Canoa Ranch near Green Valley, on which Bronson has yet to take a stance. And Grijalva opposed a rezoning at Kinney and Bopp roads, while Bronson supported it. Many environmental and neighborhood types considered the latter a marginal call, considering the existing zonings already present.

We'd like to point out that the differences between them have put Bronson much closer to green positions around here than Grijalva:

  • Bronson joined environmental and neighborhood groups in opposing the transportation bond package; Grijalva supported it.

  • Bronson not only opposed the developer-led water initiative, Proposition 201, in last November's city election, but co-authored a ballot argument against it; Grijalva was silent.

  • Bronson has supported the incorporation of Tortolita, while Grijalva has opposed it, based on some nebulous reasoning that it would somehow "hurt" his inner-city constituencies, unless Marana and Oro Valley annexed Tortolita instead.

  • Bronson was influential in securing County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry's pygmy owl protection plan; Grijalva just voted for it.

When comparing the two, it should be noted that Bronson has had only a year in office; Grijalva has had nine.

Bronson clearly has an environmental agenda she's trying to implement. Her relationship with Grijalva has deteriorated partly because he doesn't have an agenda to preserve our unique desert environment. Grijalva's occasional feel-good pronouncements and opposition to Canoa are about all we can find.

As board chairman, it was Grijalva's role to present that yet-to-be-seen agenda on environmental and other issues. We're sorry to see that Bronson's frustration with his inability to do so has degenerated to open hostility, but it takes two to have a brawl.

Sure, it would be nice if they'd bury the hatchet. But it'd be even nicer if Grijalva got off his ass.

AIR WAR: The folks at Channel 13 Newsplex will soon have themselves a new toy! We caught a promo for KOLD-TV's new "Chopper 13" last weekend, which began with the hysterical teaser, "The only way to improve television news in Tucson is from the ground up!"

Please. If your idea of important news is a car chase or fire footage, Chopper 13 will indeed be a godsend. But if you're interested in, say, the candidates running for local office, or the latest crummy law being pushed through the Arizona Legislature, KOLD's big investment just means fewer reporters to find stories about the ongoing squandering of taxpayer dollars at the local level.

If KOLD were serious about improving TV news, management would forget about idiotic gimmicks like helicopters and hire a few more folks like Bud Foster to look beyond the superficial soundbites we're fed night after night. (And they'd get rid of that smarmy new weatherdude.)

Instead, we sadly predict Chopper 13 will start an air war among our local stations, with KVOA and KGUN soon taking to the skies--which is a real shame. Reporters are supposed to dig, not fly. TW

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