Filler The Skinny

LEAGUE OF WOMEN ADVOCATES: The once-proud and socially useful League of Women Voters would appear to be further degenerating into a small, elitist clique. Once upon a time the League published a large Voter's Guide each election with considerable unbiased information about candidates and ballot propositions. They haven't done that for years, partly because much of their funding for it dried up when they quit presenting information and became advocates for issues and programs.

A current example of their no-longer-unbiased posture is the recent panel discussion on water sponsored by the League and moderated by the co-chair of the League's Water Committee,

Betsy Russell. The panel, entitled "Proposition 200: A Closer Look," consisted of the following folks: Kathy Jacobs, Tucson office manager of the Arizona Department of Water Resources; Kent McClain, Tucson Water director; Mark Cross of E. Montgomery and Associates; and Steve Davis of Malcolm-Pirnie Associates. Two bureaucrats and two of their paid consultants, all of whom had one thing in common: They'd all fought vigorously against the Water Initiative recently passed by Tucson voters. And in some instances, their tactics were at best questionable (considering their use of tax money to lobby the electorate), and at worst consisted of outright lies.

The League was asked by folks from the Clean Water Coalition if they couldn't participate too, since the panel was clearly loaded against them and in favor of the development lobby's favorite stooges, the folks who've formulated the standard industry responses to what should be done now that the voters have spoken about crappy CAP water. That request was met with almost righteous indignation by the League members, who're into a we-know-what's-best-and-the-voters-don't mode. It cost them considerable credibility.

McClain didn't show up for the forum. He was probably off meeting with his boss, City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown, on how to manipulate press coverage.

CITY STAFF AND THOSE LYING STAR REPORTERS: It appears there's a new game being played by Tucson City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown and his assorted bureaucratic toadies. Whenever one of them doesn't like a story in The Arizona Daily Star, they write and call the editors and bitch about the reporter.

One example of this was a screaming incident with that paragon of straight talk, City Water Director Kent McClain, and Star reporter Keith Bagwell. McLain was in his intimidation mode and later wrote the Star trying to get Bagwell fired.

But most of the overpaid bureaucrats' ire is aimed at city beat reporter Joe Burchell. There have been several incidents in which city staffers have claimed Burchell "misquoted"--claims which were pure B.S. It appears the City Manager's office has a systematized program for ragging on the Star and attacking any reporter who doesn't swallow the usual PR goop, according to Skinny sources.

Brown and company apparently figure they can break weenie reporters and maybe get Burchell replaced with somebody more inclined to roll over--like just about anybody from the Tucson Citizen. Or the electronic media.

Brown has never forgiven Burchell his front-page feature photo and story about that $25,000 set of hot wheels supplied to him at taxpayer expense. And we've heard about one Council aide who's bragging, "We're gonna set Burchell up."

While Bagwell, and particularly Burchell, are to be commended for hanging tough with these punks, we'd like to remind the Star and all the other candy-ass media outlets in this town that once upon a time there would have been a giant reporter dogpile all over Mike Brown's pompous ass--because a vibrant and responsible media would report this phony shit. But, hey, that's what happens when you're owned by giant, out-of-town corporations.

Looks like Brown can treat reporters with the same lack of respect he treats City Council members.

IN OR OUT? The state legislative race in District 13 of Republican Ron St. John began with a bang, but it may end with a whimper. St. John and his chief handler, Bunny Badertscher, lined up all kinds of support for him, mainly from the growth lobby and moderate Republican office holders from other districts. St. John and Badertscher amassed a considerable war chest, much of which has already been spent.

Problem is, his candidacy was based on his taking a leave of absence from his county job as aide to Supervisor Mikey "The Flaky Waffle Man" Boyd. St. John planned on having his significant other support him during the period of his candidacy, but that person has been out of work for eight months.

Street talk is there's a move to get St. John's roommate a job with the Symington administration.

In the meantime, St. John can't afford to leave the county payroll, and he's told folks he may have to drop out of the race. Which would leave a lot of egg on a lot of people's faces. And we're told Congressman Jim Kolbe, who lent his name to St. John early, is livid over the current candidacy waffle.

BOGUS CANDIDATE: The latest in a series of stooge candidacies for the growth lobby is that of Pima County Planning Department worker Joe Garcia, a Democrat planning to run against Supervisor Raul Grijalva in the September primary.

Garcia's candidacy is being sponsored by a group of developers who want to take a shot at Grijalva for his supposedly anti-growth votes. They don't live in his district, and most of them are Republicans.

At an organizational meeting, Garcia pressed for financial commitments of $60,000 from the suits. Joe, baby, you're going to need more than that--ask for divine intervention, too. Why would westside Democrats vote for a guy who is so obviously the candidate of Republicans who live in the foothills--and builder and developer Republicans at that?

BUILDER SLEAZEBAG OF THE WEEK: Last week, Beckwith Homes had their tacky little signs attached to traffic devices all over the northwest side. Sleazebag see, sleazebag do--this week they've been joined by Coscan Homes in this blatant and unsafe activity, and probably by others we haven't noticed.

Any community where the county supes and their craven staffs weren't lackeys for the growth lobby would have pulled down the builders' stupid signs by now and levied the appropriate fines. We're talking about signs physically attached to traffic devices like stop signs.

This is just another arrogant display of the mentality of developers and builders, who seem to be saying, "Up yours, peasants, we own it."

LOVED BY MANY: We know it's unlikely, but did you happen to catch Dave Pittman's article on the death of John Yoeman, Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III's recently departed accountant, in the Tuesday, April 9, edition of the Tucson Citizen?

We were particularly puzzled by this paragraph:

"He (Yoeman) was a competent, qualified professional who was well thought of," said a prominent Tucson accountant who asked not to be named."

Gee, we never imagined a kind eulogy would be delivered in such a deep-throat manner. Say nothing but good about the dead--and always make sure it's not for attribution. TW

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