April 27 - May 3, 1995

[The Skinny]

FIFE'S A HERO: Well, our apologies to J. Fife Whiteguy III. Last week, in our Capitol wrap-up, we said he was going sign the Environmental Audit Bill--a.k.a. the Polluter's Protection Act--in exchange for a presidential primary.

Just before we went to press, however, Fife vetoed the bill, as most everyone besides the business community prayed he would. Way to go, Fife! You just might be the environmental governor, after all.

Now, why did he do it? The Skinny has heard these rumors:

1. Fife's legislative aide Chuck Coughlin--the sycophant worked the statehouse for Fife when he wasn't busy kissing the Guv's pale white ass--blabbed to a Phoenix TV reporter about the deal to trade the Legislature's support for the primary in exchange for Fife's promise to sign the audit bill. Unfortunately for Chuck, this was seen as somewhat unethical by the Fourth Estate and proved, shall we say, uncomfortable for His Highness when he was asked by the entire press corps about the "hostage situation" on the bills well past last call on closing night.

2. Department of Environmental Quality Director Ed Fox just couldn't take much more humiliation. Insiders say Fox was frustrated enough after Symington muzzled his opposition to the private property takings law the legislature passed and voters rejected in the form of Prop 300. Fox couldn't have continued working for an administration that pulls the rug out from under him as standard operating procedure.

3. The same groups that defeated Prop 300 would put the Environmental Audit on the ballot, and probably win by an even bigger margin.

Fife does deserve an award for stage managing. For three days last week, he invited select reporters--not us, of course--to sit in on the ninth-floor deliberations, giving the appearance of a great statesman carefully weighing the pros and cons of the enviro audit bill, which would have given polluters both secrecy and immunity from penalties.

So instead of letting Godzilla loose on the state, Symington and friends have decided some cosmetic surgery is in order next session. Look for the revamped audit bill in January of '96.

GOOD LUCK, VELA: Tucson is losing one of the most intelligent and ethical of cops. Vela Hermann, an investigator with the Arizona Attorney General's Office, is moving out of state. Hermann's busted some of Tucson's biggest scam artists over the past few years. And it hasn't been easy for her. Starting out as a University of Arizona police officer, she had to survive in the male-dominated world of cops. She left the UA after winning a sexual harassment suit there--a suit in which most of her male fellow officers backed her. She's the epitome of an ethical, solid investigator...and we're gonna miss her.

MIKEY PISSES BACKWARDS, PART 47: First he was for it, then he wasn't sure, then he bacame the co-chairman to promote it, then he voted to delay it, and then he just plain forgot about it for a while. That's the track record of Supervisor Mikey "The Flaky Waffleman" Boyd on the subject of charter government.

Now Mikey's back to supporting it again, and he's asked county staff to come back in four weeks with some cost estimates on putting it on the November ballot. (If it takes four weeks to figure out how much a simple election costs, how long does it take them to figure the numbers on something real, like a bridge?)

What complicates matters and makes Mikey's vote relevant is that the other four supervisors are split 2-2 over the issue. Mikey's fellow GOP supes Big Ed Moore and Paul "Dim Bulb" Marsh oppose the charter, while Demos Dan Eckstrom and Raul Grijalva support it. And they're further split about how the two separate elections--one to pick three people from each supe district to write the charter, and the other for the voters to ratify it--should be handled. Eckstrom wants the 15 people elected in November of '96 for broadest possible participation; Grijalva wants the election to occur as soon as possible.

What makes Boyd look even dumber on the issue is that he constantly prattles about what he thinks the new charter should be. That isn't his role--that's the role of the folks who have yet to be elected. Mikey pollutes the process by constantly acting like he's part of it beyond voting to set the election.

SORRY, GUYS: In our recent discussion of County Assessor Rick Lyons' pork chop three-year consulting contract to his old buddy, former Assessor Steve Emerine, we reported a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors. It was actually 3-2, with Democrats Lyons and Emerine getting their votes from the three GOP members of the board. Democrats Dan Eckstrom and Raul Grijalva voted no--our apologies, guys.

That reverse partisanship makes the vote even more interesting. Eckstrom and Grijalva are incensed at Lyons' practices on re-assessing property. He's been sticking it to the south and west sides while reducing values in the foothills. And, as The Skinny has twice reported, Lyons has gone out of his way to take care of lowering the assessments on property owned by legendary land speculator Don Diamond. Looks like Lyons is nothing but a sane Alan Lang.

We predict that when it comes to the 1996 election, he'll probably be opposed in his own Democratic primary.

Meantime, Mikey, Paul and Big Ed have taken care of the guy who took care of Diamond. So what else is new?

BROWN RUMORS: It sounds improbable, but we keep hearing this from those in the know about town:

The rumor is that Tucson City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown is now hanging onto his job by a thread, and that City Councilman Roger "Meter Maid" Sedlmayr is the swing vote. Further, Parks & Rec Poobah Jim Ronstadt is waiting in the wings to take over when Brown gets the boot.

What makes this little tidbit hard to digest is the fact that Brown just got pretty high marks from the City Council in a recent evaluation, and that he managed to stitch together a golden parachute if the council does decide to kick him out in mid-flight. The council would look pretty stupid paying all that money to one so praised and pampered.

On the other hand, Brown's penchant for control has put him at odds with some council members, and some longtime city staffers say he's heavy-handed and paranoid.

The other part of this rumor that makes it seem even more improbable says that former city manager Joel Valdez will be running for mayor. Hey, Valdez is one of the canniest dudes in town--why would he want to be mayor?

DOGPATCH DOINGS: Our deepest condolences to the people of Marana--and the rest of Pima County. It seems we'll still have Dogpatch mayor Ora "Mammy Yokum" Harn and her stooge, Vice Mayor Sharon Price, to kick around a while longer. The two pro-cancerous growth, developer-kissing officials won in Tuesday's recall election. Sigh.

At least there's another round coming up on May 16 for two council seats plus that famous referendum on the New World Homes zoning--a referendum that so many people tried so many sleazy ways to prevent.

Among the council candidates is Bobby Sutton Jr. from Continental Ranch. Sutton, a 25-year-old Yellow Pages salesman, has to date received exactly three contributions, according to his financial report. One each from the three guys who are developing Continental Ranch.

Bobby, couldn't you at least get 10 bucks from your parents or some of your friends? It's a little obvious who you think you'll be representing if you get elected--and that sure as hell won't be the people of Marana or Continental Ranch.

Which is in the fine tradition of sleazy Marana politics, and which is why we call it Dogpatch.

Tucson Weekly's Hall of Heads
Arizona Politics Digest Archive
State of Arizona Home Page
Arizona Members of the House of Representatives
Pima County Home Page
Arizona Senators and Representatives

Contents - Page Back - Last Week - This Week - Next Week - Page Forward - Help

April 27 - May 3, 1995

Weekly Wire    © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth