Filler The Skinny

OBIT: The POLITICAL CAREER of J. FIFE SYMINGTON III, 6 years old, died June 13, 1996, following a long illness. Survived by two brothers, Arrogance and Delusions of Grandeur. Memorial services will be held at a date to be established in Federal Court. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Symington Legal Defense Fund.

Yes, indeedy, the shithammer has finally fallen squarely atop Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III--a whopping 23 counts in all, from fraud to extortion.

Fife has issued his predictible cries of innocence, claiming it's all just a big misunderstanding--a casual multi-million dollar error here, a little multi-million mistake there. And he's lashed out at the feds for daring to spend all this time looking into his finances.

If you ask us, Fife is starting to look more and more like those white trash Freemen who finally waved the white flag once the feds shut out their lights. There are all these eerie parallels--the persecution complex, the hatred of the federal government, odd fantasies of superiority, mumbo-jumbo about the Founding Fathers, a conviction that they're not bound by any law except their own. Let's face it: Fife's phony financial statements really are just a more sophisticated scheme than the Freemen's bogus money orders.

You heard it here first: It's only a matter of time before Fife barricades himself in his regal new office until the feds agree to try him before a common-law grand jury made up exclusively of rich white developers.

SCREEN PLAY: Was anyone else amused by the way the TV news crews starting circling the Capitol like vultures last week as word of Gov. Deadbeat's indictment started to leak? The stink had finally grown so wretched not even the tube boobs could ignore it. (We hear a small line of TV news trucks parked in their usual spot outside the Capitol were ticketed by Capitol Police--couldn't be instructions from higher up, could it?)

Sure, the story has been unraveling ever since Gov. Deadbeat declared Bankruptcy and opened up those financial records for serious inquiry. Sure, even the most clueless and overpaid assignments editor could have just picked up a copy of the newspaper--or, God forbid, the Phoenix New Times, or this miserable rag--and tried to figure out just how scrambled Symington's finances really were.

But, hey, that would have taken something resembling an interest in civics--and valuable time away from all those positive stories about churches and schools and athletes and the boring weather.

SPEAKING OF INVESTIGATIVE BULLDOGS: Just a few short weeks before those indictments came down, Gov. Deadbeat stopped by the Tucson Citizen office for a friendly Q&A with the editorial board. And we do mean friendly. Check out this excerpt:

Q: What's going on with your legal problems?

A: All of my outstanding issues with the Bankruptcy trust have been settled. So now I'm left basically with the union pension funds

I think it's beginning to be seen for what it is--which is totally political.... There were errors and omissions and things of that nature in my financial statement because it was a personal financial statement that simplifies a very complex world. They have to prove actual, real lies on my part....

And what was the editorial board's tough follow-up question?

Q: Were you surprised when people from both political parties said the federal investigation of your business dealings had gone on long enough?

A: It's actually been seven years. It's just absolutely unbelievable. America today decides to target an individual, especially a public official, and that can just keep rolling along forever....

Nice work, guys. That's exactly the kind of sycophantic reporting that let Symington get away with passing himself as a successful businessman while his empire crumbled around him.

GET LOST, ED: So Pima County Supervisor Special Ed Moore was ticked about those City of Tucson signs in the county's rights of way? Big deal.

The signs warned residents a stretch of Thornydale Road would be closing while the city runs a pipeline to a reclaimed-water reservoir. Why the reservoir? So they can blade more sagauaros and ironwood trees and irrigate more golf courses. But Ed's not ticked over that--he's all frosty because the construction is being done by Tucson Water. Ed figures people hate the utility so much these days, that he's gonna ride that issue right back into office.

Moore told The Arizona Daily Star: "If anybody puts up illegal signs in the right of way, scaring residents, I have an obligation to do something."

Well gee, Ed, how about all those illegal signs your friends the developers have spread all over the county rights of way? You know, the signs promoting the latest stucco ghetto for up-and-coming young "executive families?" And how about the signs those developers have attached to traffic devices? Some of 'em block drivers' ability to see around corners, thus creating safety hazards.

Frankly, big guy, most voters can see right through your phony attempt to ride the anti-Tucson Water issue back into office. And while it's true the CAP bilge Tucson Water is trying to pump down our throats is utter crap, so are conniving, wacko politicians. Do all of us anti-CAP folks a favor, Ed, and retire.

WATER PURIFICATION PROGRAM: Want to help ensure that none of that foul-tasting, pipe-bursting CAP water returns to our taps? Well, consider your vote on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, a little-known taxing entity that's beginning to look very interesting.

The District's members are elected. This time around, two of Pima County's four members are bowing out, and the remaining two, Marilyn Ronstadt and Marybeth Carlile, are running for re-election.

You might remember these people. They're the ones who said nothing when guys like Grady Gammage Jr. and Sam Goddard had the nerve to scold Tucsonans who were bitching about the poor quality of CAP water. The incumbents have been nothing but tools of the local Growth Lobby and friends of the Maricopa County power structure.

And now the good news: There's a slate of four planning to take them on--a slate of clean water and Prop 200 supporters who would give the cementheads a real fit. They're familiar names to Skinny readers--Bob Beaudry, Dave Devine, Jerry Juliani and Richard Wiersma.

WASTIN' AWAY IN ORO VALLEYVILLE: Politically wacko Oro Valley Town Council member Rudy Roszak announced he was going to resign after voters again chose Cheryl Skalsky and Paul Parisi to be mayor and vice-mayor, respectively. Roszak, orignally elected with Parisi in a 1995 recall election--an election in which he had Skalsky's support--has torn the sheet with just about every political type in that northwest community. He's the guy who levels charges so unfounded and off-the-wall that he makes Ed Moore look rational. Roszak also avoids council meetings; and, on those rare occasions when he does show up, he's never even made a motion.

It's been a few weeks, and Rudy still hasn't come through with that promised resignation. Maybe it's been so long since he showed up that he's forgotten where the building is. TW

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