Filler The Skinny

HA-HA-HEE-HEE-HOOT-HOOT: We swear that was the most amusing single piece we've ever read on legendary land speculator Don Diamond and the cheesy, unreal world in which he functions--and to think it appeared in Monday's Arizona Daily Star, a rag generally not known for its humor. Our hats go off to reporter Keith Bagwell.

Of course the Star is a "Just-The-Facts, Ma'am" kinda publication, so to get the full comic opera pleasure, we had to read between the deliberately dull lines regarding Diamond's wish to sell some of his freebie CAP water rights from his massive Rocking K development to the fabled City of Scottsdale. Naturally Diamond would reap millions in the process. For purposes of our opera, imagine all the players in the proper costumes:

The Time: The late 20th century, an era in which mankind has managed to rape and defile almost all the easily accessible natural beauty of the planet.

The Place: The once-beautiful town of Tootson, a car culture community in a once-unique, but now mostly paved, bio-region.

The Characters:

• Stupid and greedy city officials, sleazy land developers, quick-buck mega-merchants bent on growth at all costs.

• The Don, the granddaddy of all land speculators. Cunning and quick--the T-Rex of the land development jungle.

• Idiotic state government officials willing to do anything to please a friend of the Governor's. The Governor, by the way, likes really rich people such as the Don because they can pay for the lawyers to keep him out of prison, where he fears he'll be audited every time he bends over to pick up the soap.

The Plot: The city officials and their developer and mega-merchant overlords have labored long and hard to kill a once-great river and bring its crappy-tasting water to Tootson so that more Chevys will be sold and the rich will prosper. Never mind that the little people don't like the awful water and refuse to drink it, for Tootson is an oligarchy, and they will eventually obey.

At the top of the heap sits the great Don, the most powerful man in Tootson. Out of fear and misplaced respect, the gutless city official have given him--absolutely free--rights to a big share of the crappy water, which they describe as an elixir of the finest quality--at least when any of the common folk are around. Of course the bureaucrats and the rich in Tootson all drink expensive bottled water, even as they laugh at the suffering little people behind their backs.

But now, sensing even more money to be made elsewhere, the Don wants to sell his rights to the crappy water to another community--a move which is breathtaking in its audacity and sheer greed.

Will the politicians and lesser rich people find the spine to rise up and thwart the powerful, money-mad Don and succeed in their self-righteous quest to make the unsuspecting common folk drink horse piss? Will the idiotic state officials and the fearful Governor agree to allow the Don to trade dirt-cheap land for primo real estate?

With some comic relief from the clownish common folk, a little romance between City Manager Mike Brown and Brown's own image in a mirror, and, of course, terrible whiteboy singing and dancing by the Governor, this might be a really amusing show.

Say, we've got some horse piss in the barn...

INDEPENDENT MEANS: Artist/Realtor Marsha Mendelsohn has announced as an independent candidate for the seat of Supervisor "Special Ed" Moore, who is currently, and unfortunately, still a Republican. Mendelsohn joins three other women--Republicans Ann Holden and Vicki Cox-Golder, and Democrat Sharon Bronson--in vying for Moore's seat.

Mendelsohn's announcement exhibited some lack of reality. She declared an independent candidacy would free her from the policies of a political party. She has apparently failed to grasp that, on local issues, neither party has any policies, and that the real policy makers are the developers who own most of both parties' candidates and a share of the independent candidates to boot.

However, Mendelsohn's decision to run could affect possible plans by Moore to run as an independent himself. An additional independent would give greater value to the two party choices. We suggest Moore run as a Whig.

Oh, and will the idiot responsible for putting all those little candidate announcement boxes in The Arizona Daily Star please read up on election law? Independent candidates do not "collect the signatures of voters who are not members of Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or other parties," but instead collect their signatures from people who did not vote in the primary for the particular office they seek.

WHADDA DEAL: Pima County Supervisor "Special Ed" Moore is under some sort of grand jury investigation for his 1992 campaign financing. We've been told it's a civil matter. Anyway, Moore recently filed "amended reports" to both his campaign reporting and his personal finances.

We don't know if Moore did anything illegal, but try this for sleazy:

As we've told you before, Moore got his GOP colleagues Mike Boyd and Paul Marsh to hire Moore's choice of attorney to be paid by the taxpayers to represent the three of them in the now-infamous case of the illegally dismissed county executives. That fiasco cost taxpayers close to $4 million in a recent settlement, including about $300,000 to attorney Larry Schubart.

Now Schubart is a decent guy and a good attorney, and he's done nothing illegal. But in our opinion it smelled pretty bad when we found out that Schubart has been Moore's de facto banker, having loaned Moore a lot of money before and during the period when Moore arranged to have Schubart paid by Pima County taxpayers.

LYONS AND TIGERS AND HONEY BEES: Last January the Town of Oro Valley surveyed their voters and found most of them wouldn't object to paying a small property tax for a variety of parks and open-space items, including acquiring land in Honey Bee Canyon, the last remaining unprotected Class 1 riparian area in Pima County. Town officials proceeded accordingly, placing a five-part bond proposal on the March 12 ballot.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the election. Everybody got their new property assessments, and it appears that our county assessor, Rick Lyons, has jacked everybody's values up and given them a de facto property tax increase far exceeding the cost of those bonds the Oro Valley folks, who suddenly turned fearful, eventually rejected.

We're sorry that happened, but we can understand it: The second part of the "Growth Bill" is coming due. When more folks move here, real estate prices go up, and so do assessments. Good deal if you're selling your house and taking off. Not so good deal if you're just living here and plan to stay.

And these recent developments indicate just how clueless the GOP majority on the Board of Supervisors really is. They claim they've been good tax fighters because they've held the line on the property tax rate--so what if everybody still pays more in actual dollars? Makes us wonder if these guys even know where babies come from.

And good luck in getting Pima County voters to pass any new bond elections for anything. Watch our sewer and road problems grow along with our taxes.

Know what causes this mess? Allowing in more people than we can afford to serve, that's what.

And what can we do? We can try restraining growth. The first step should be to quit subsidizing and encouraging growth. We should stop imagining that massive growth is good for anybody but a small number of land speculators, developers and Chevy dealers.

RUNNING AGAINST RAUL? It's no secret that developers would love to be rid of Pima County Supervisor Raul Grijalva. Now it looks like they have found themselves a horse to challenge him in the District 5 race this fall.

The Skinny recently heard homebuilder types like Chris Monson, David Mehl and Bill Estes are backing the campaign of a mysterious stranger named Joe Garcia.

No, it's not the same Joe Garcia who enlightens readers about his neighbors and pets every Monday in that hard-hitting Tucson Citizen column. This Joe Garcia is a staffer in the county's Developmental Services Department.

The stucco-loving bulldozer crowd have dedicated themselves to putting together a warchest of $60,000 for their man Garcia, who will face Grijalva in the September Democratic primary if he can gather enough valid signatures to make the ballot.

THAT HOVERING SHITHAMMER: So now the seemingly never-ending federal investigation into Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III's finances has resulted in indictments for his accountant, John Yeoman, and his former right-hand man, George Leckie, for allegedly rigging the bid on Project SLIM so Fife's accounting firm, Coopers & Lybrand, would be sure to get the $1.5 million account from, the state (as well as a subsequent $3 million account that grew out of the first SLIM contract).

Hey, $4.5 million of taxpayer dollars steered to the accounting firm the Governor owed tens of thousands of dollars--we don't understand why anyone would see any connection.

Do you suppose the feds have chosen to lean on Yeoman in hopes of getting him to testify against Fife? After all, Yeoman's the one who would have cooked Fife's books back when Fife was a "successful businessman" getting those multi-million-dollar loans for all those developments that went belly-up.

Sounds to us like the other shoe is waiting to drop. Between the feds and the bankruptcy proceedings, 1996 just doesn't seem to be Fife's year. TW

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