February 23 - March 1, 1995

[The Skinny]

SAFETY LAST: The Safety Committee at Catalina High School, made up of concerned parents, teachers and neighbors, says it's still waiting for Principal Linda Schloss to respond to recommendations that include having students eat in designated areas, pick up after themselves and either be in class, study hall or at a supervised activity at all times. The committee also demands that there be consequences for students wandering willy-nilly without passes. Gee, how radical.

TUSD Board Members Mary Belle McCorkle and Gloria Copeland have responded positively, however. Guess Schloss just needs more time to decide if these are student-friendly ideas that fit into her hug-a-child-today philosophy.

Meanwhile, the Tucson Fire Department respond to two more calls at Catalina during the second week of February, bringing the firefighting response total for the month to four. May we remind you that's $125 per trip, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer?

We do like the fact that the school has bannered the next PTA meeting on its outdoor marquee. Now parents who complained they didn't know when meetings would be can't miss it if they bother to visit the school--which they might consider doing, given the fact that there was a brouhaha there on February 16 between fifth and sixth periods.

It involved a reputed member of the Bloods and another kid. About 150 kids were gathered around watching the beating in front of the south gym, when two volunteer monitors came rushing through to chase one of the kids involved in the fight. Maybe they figured they could help where the School Resource Officer couldn't.

Trouble was, these monitors graduated just last year from the gang-troubled school and reportedly were sent there to do "community service" work a few months ago, following a brush with, well, we're not sure. Sources tell us one of the monitors has recovered quite well, thank you, from a gunshot wound he received at the Ronstadt Transit Center last year.

Tongues are wagging at Catalina about who put them there and why. Perhaps Catalina High School was not the best place for them to offer their skills in community service--may we unabashedly suggest perhaps they would be more effective helping out at a hospice somewhere? Like in Alaska?

Oh yeah, the kid who took the worst of the fight had a face full of blood but he never showed up at the nurse's office. She did have to treat a very upset young woman who reacted to one of the fire episodes that same week, though.

Everyone's hoping the three-day school week during Rodeo will provide a well-needed rest for Catalina High--and the Tucson Fire Department.

DOGPATCH RUBES GET HUSTLED AGAIN: Regular readers may recall the Town of Marana's cheeseball attempt to turn down referendum petitions submitted against New World Homes' 440-acre proposal to clear-cut a whole bunch of ironwoods and saguaros for tract housing was overturned in Pima County Superior Court.

Well, part of the deal Marana's so-called "leaders" cut with New World was that the builder would pick up the tab for the town's legal fees. The attorney involved was Si Schorr, of Lewis and Roca. He's better known to The Skinny readers as the guy who's billed Pima county more than $175,000 for his piece of the action in last year's abortive and pointless Alan Lang hearings.

Schorr's bills to Marana through December totaled $76,882.29, and the town has dutifully paid them. Only problem is, New World has only coughed up $15,000 of the tab, leaving a $61,882.29 deficit to be covered by the Marana taxpayer--and Schorr has yet to bill for January.

One genius on the Dogpatch town council recently said he's sure "Larry"--Larry Leung of New World Homes--is good for it. Gee, is "Larry" good for the interest payments on the de facto loan Marana just made by picking up his tab? Why didn't the jerk-offs running Marana wait for New World to pay them before they paid Schorr?

Do the leaders of this sordid little town always automatically put developer and lawyer interests ahead of their citizens? Or do these hicks just comply with any request made by somebody wearing a tie?

Once again we see why they're called Dogpatch--and why they're having a recall election.

A BUNNY IN DOGPATCH: Bunny Badertscher is a high-powered GOP political consultant, former chief of staff to Governor J. Fife Whiteguy III and campaign leader of his first gubernatorial race. She's also run several campaigns for Congressman Jim Kolbe. Now she has a new client--Marana Mayor Ora "Mammy Yokum" Harn.

Finding Badertscher running Mammy Yokum's race out in Dogpatch is a little like discovering F. Lee Bailey defending DUI's in South Tucson. It's a tad incongruous.

And it raises several questions. Like F. Lee Bailey, Bunny doesn't work cheap, so how much money is the developer/land speculator community ready to cough up defending one of their favorite stooges?

Also, how will Badertscher explain to her Cholla Air Park neighbors her work for Harn, the politician most far-northside residents consider the biggest land raper and lifestyle destroyer around?

THE LINE ON ROCKING K ANNEXATION: We figure City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown and legendary land speculator Don Diamond have a leg up when the final vote comes to annex Diamond's Rocking K development and get him out of all those commitments he made to Pima County over petty stuff like water and sewers that could cost, well, hundreds of millions of dollars.

The count is 4-3 in favor of Diamond, the same 4-3 as the "We Care" vote, with Councilpersons Steve Leal, Molly McKasson and Bruce Wheeler voting no. Diamond gets Councilwoman Janet Marcus (she's just a gal who can't say no, especially to a staff recommendation), Councilman Roger Sedlmayr (who's always been a builder stooge) and Mayor George Miller, who's too craven to piss off Diamond again over Rocking K like he did four years ago. That little trick had Diamond raising bucks for Miller's opponent, George Borozan. Not enough to elect Borozan, mind you, but enough to scare Miller.

Which leaves Councilman Tom Saggau, a candidate elected by the left wing of the local Democratic Party and its neighborhood/tree-hugger groups. The Rocking K vote will tell us if they have any influence left with the horse they rode in on, or if they're about to get the weenie. The Skinny says watch this one closely.

AND SPEAKING OF THE DON'S LAND DEALS: Legendary land speculator Don Diamond lives on a 153-acre parcel of land at the end of Alvernon Way. That land is located in the Amphitheater School District. Currently, Diamond is selling off pieces of it as part of DMI Estate lots in sizes of about one to three acres--for prices ranging from $210,000 to $460,000 each.

Diamond is also trying to move the territory from the Amphi District to the adjoining school district, Catalina Foothills. That's because Catalina Foothills is a higher-rent school district which would increase the value of Diamond's property.

We can understand why Catalina Foothills would be delighted to get this property--it would be a boon to their tax base. But we'd be hard put to grasp why any member of the Amphi School Board would vote to lose it, 'cept maybe to suck up to a very important guy who was pictured on the front page of the Tucson Citizen as a mega mover and shaker.

Needless to say, we'll be adding Amphi School District to those agendas we have to watch.

Oh, and one more thing. That land Diamond is selling off for $130,00 to $200,000 per acre--it probably wouldn't shock you to know that under County Assessor Alan Lang it was carried on the books at a value of $2,231,022 for the whole 153 acres, including the house.

What might surprise you, though, is that after recalling Lang for a variety of offenses, not the least of which was his being a supposed stooge for big developers and land speculators, the guy we replaced him with--Rick Lyons--revalued Diamond's land.

We're told Lyons lowered the tab to $1,845,110.

Rick likes writing letters--maybe he'll send us one explaining this.

HELPING DEVELOPERS HELP THEMSELVES: Those wonderful lawmakers up at the Capitol have come up with a great way to build all those roads we need around here because the builders have put up so many crummy tracts where the roads sucked that we can no longer drive through town. They're going to give us the opportunity to vote on a special increase in the gas tax just for us folks down here in Pima County. Oh, boy.

Never mind that there will be a whole bunch of existing revenue lost when everybody driving through figures out gas is cheaper in other counties--bye-bye Triple T Truckstop. That's assuming local voters are big enough masochists to stick it to themselves so we can crank up the next generation of tract houses, et al, ad nauseam.

Anybody ever hear of a revenue device called impact fees? Or do those who live here have to keep on paying for those who move in, so a small group of developers can get rich?

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February 23 - March 1, 1995

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