August 3 - August 9, 1995

The Skinny

BIG ED FINDS FAULTY ROLE MODEL: In a recent letter published in The Arizona Daily Star, GOP Supervisor Big Ed Moore shared his convoluted reasoning on the subject of funding law enforcement. The bottom line is, according to Moore, they do things differently in Maricopa County and we should do things more like them.

Excuse us, but Maricopa County is not exactly a role model for good government. The April 1995 issue of Governing magazine had a cover story comparing Phoenix city government to Maricopa's county government. The article was entitled "Good Government, Bad Government." While they may have over-rated Phoenix, they were right on when they called Maricopa "one of America's worst run counties."

We would remind Big Ed that Maricopa County got caught issuing funny money via "tax anticipation" notes, and totally infuriated its electorate by imposing a sales tax to build a baseball stadium. Gee, maybe that's the part Ed likes.

We would also remind him that Maricopa does supply 2.60 deputy sheriffs per 1,000 of population served, while we in Pima County get only 1.46. That sounds pretty good until you realize they've got crazy Joe Arpaio as sheriff, while we have Clarence Dupnik, who is an accomplished lawman and who is certainly not crazy.

But then, old four-star Joe does have some definite similarities with Big Ed. Both are pontificating egomaniacs who love to see their name in print and claim they're the only guys who know the answers.

Which makes us grateful for Clarence--could you imagine a sheriff who acted like Ed Moore?

BOY, ARE WE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE TRANSCRIPTS: Trial for the seven top Pima County employees fired by the Board of Supervisors GOP majority in 1993 has been set for February in U.S. District Court. All sides have agreed on the start date and, apparently, any attempts at a settlement have bogged down, which is bad news for the three Republican incumbents--Big Ed Moore, Mikey Boyd and Paul Marsh.

All three will be facing stiff opposition in their own primaries, and--as we've seen from the deposition samples we've run--Mikey and Paul sure did look stupid. Big Ed is still being deposed, so look forward to those a few choice excerpts between now and trial time. We expect the proceedings to be the local equivalent of the O.J. Simpson trials--only a lot more fun!

CALL 1-800-SHUT UP: Tucson GOP mayoral candidate Sharon Collins has a standard shot at Mayor George Miller and the all-Demo council she works into every speech. Collins says they are so overloaded with consultants at city hall that when trouble erupts, "They don't call 911, they call 1-800-CONSULT."

Turns out there's a real outfit with that number, a telecommunications consulting firm in Tustin, California. It's run by a gentleman named Wolf who says people throw his number around in other parts of the country, too, resulting in a smattering of crank calls from hither and yon.

He's yet to get enough from the Tucson area to be a nuisance, but if Collins keeps making the point and using that soundbite, he may have to ask her to lay off.

REQUEST-A-STIFF: Since he retired from the Sheriff's Department, former Deputy Ron Ochs has become a favorite with Supervisor Big Ed Moore. He's given Ochs several appointments, including one to the Sports Authority. Those are the kinds of committee assignments a politician often doles out to friends seeking public office, which Ochs is--he wants the GOP nomination in 1996 to run against Democratic Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Moore will have to give an Ochs candidacy more than a couple of appointments--like maybe artificial respiration. Ochs spent 20 years as a deputy sheriff and rose to the rank of...deputy sheriff. And in the 1994 GOP primary he was defeated for the post of precinct committeeman.

Friends of Dupnik consider a stiff like Ochs easy pickings. The big question: Why is Moore jacking around with him and why is he trying to alienate Dupnik? That's Moore--making friends wherever he can.

THE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER WHO WENT UP A MOUNTAIN AND CAME DOWN WITH A HOOKER: Pima Community College Board member, UA gerontologist, and former upstanding citizen Ted Koff made the front page of The Arizona Daily Star for allegedly trying to pick up a Miracle Mile hooker. What moved the article to the front page was the allegation that the city bureaucracy, including City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown and Chief of Police Doug Smith, were in on a cover-up/fix to take care of Koff. The charges were dropped, and several council members are calling for an investigation.

It now appears nobody actually fixed the rap (though somebody may have been trying to) because it was a shaky bust to begin with. The lady involved had no priors and she wasn't written up, although Koff was cited (which should bring smiles to faces of a lot of feminists).

In the meantime, the establishment press has been generally kinder to Koff than they were to actor Hugh Grant, with some local publications not even mentioning the incident. Pardon us, but we expect a little better behavior from the leader of an educational institution than we do from a movie star.

BUILDING FEE UPDATE: The first dog-and-pony show on impact fees was put on last week by the Pima County Transportation Department in conjunction with its allies, the consultants hired by the Southern Arizona Homebuilders.

Appearing at Canyon del Oro High School in the heart of the heavily affected northwest side, the act was missing a principle element called "citizen input."

But some citizens were in the audience and achieved a major victory when, led by Northwest Coalition President Lan Lester, they pushed the players for more information on how they justified their numbers. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has been using the figure of $3,100 per new house in that area for transportation costs. The builders, who once again whined on the front pages of both dailies with their annoying wrap-around ads last weekend, don't think they should pay for all the costs of new development and are bitching about the $3,100 figure.

Guess what: Lester and his gang got the actors to tell how they derived that $3,100 figure. It's computed on 20 percent of the actual development impact costs. So we have the builders complaining about paying little more than a fraction of their tab, which actually totals $15,500 per new home. And that's just for the roads!

Everybody in Pima County owes Lester and the Northwest Coalition folks a big one for prying the real number out of a bunch of stooges in Pima County government--stooges who are clearly controlled by the development industry, just like most of their bosses on the Board of Supes.

MEMO FROM THE BIG KAHUNA: "...I have a portable cell phone...I pay for the calls placed to both these numbers so you can telephone me without worrying about paying for the call.

"It's better to call my car phone, then you can leave a message on my voice mail if I don't answer. I'll be automatically paged within a few minutes of your message.

"If you want to page me directly, the statewide Tucson number is...Just punch the number where you want me to return your call and end it with the # (pound) sign.

"My home number is...Although I have Call Waiting, it's disabled when I'm using the modem on my home computer. In this case you'll get a busy signal when you call. At these times I'll leave my pager on so you can directly beep me."

The preceding ludicrous memo comes from deep within The Arizona Daily Star's city desk computer and allegedly was written by City Editor John Silva, in an apparent attempt to tell his vast legion of reporters how to get a hold of him. Funny thing is, the reporters tend to jump through hoops to avoid having any contact whatsoever with Silva, who is generally regarded as...well, ask any Star reporter.

WESTWARD BLOW: The Western States Coalition recently had its Summit IV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which organizers described as "a common cry for common sense."

The coalition, the latest political arm of the Wise Use movement, threw the hootenanny with the aim of sharing the latest political trends and training activists in the art of the soundbite and media manipulation.

A spy in attendance tells The Skinny that the talk was mostly about reforming federal grazing policies, flushing the Endangered Species Act and grabbing federal lands. Most of the attendees were rural ranchers, with a few timber types in the mix. Absent were Wise Use stalwarts from the mining and real estate industries--Realtors, our insider speculates, weren't present because they hope to get hold of ranchland so they can subdivide it and build their tract houses.

While the leadership took pains to distance itself from the gun-toting gang members in the militia movement, our spy reports the militias themselves had a visible presence.

A recent recruit to the Wise Use cause is Michael Deaver, who worked in the Reagan White House from January 1981 to May 1985. Deaver is described in press materials as having "over two decades of extensive political and image-making experience."

And, after all, that's what much of this is about: creating an image of hard-working rural folk who just want to make their living off the land. Take, for example, the packets that were distributed to teach people how to deal with reporters and write press releases. Included was a page full of suggested soundbites, including:

• "The ESA broke my family into splinters."

• "Families are not renewable, forests are."

• "Please enjoy biking, then thank mining."

• "I'm not running from the Spotted Owl anymore."

• "Women and children should NOT suffer (starve) to protect a species."

• "Don't separate me from my child."

• "The forests produce stable families."

• "What's happening to many westerners is similar to the kind of cruel treatment Vietnam vets got when they returned home. Loggers, miners and ranchers were asked to provide these products and we've done so responsibly. Now a minority of people are loudly accusing us of being tree murderers and land rapers. We know it's not true, and it hurts. It's a feeling that can make you lose faith in your government and it's beginning to get passed on to a new generation of kids."

• "When rural western families turn on the evening news we hear that eastern politicians and environmental groups are trying to stop us from destroying the land by taking away our livelihoods. Then we go the front porch and look out over endless forests, beautiful canyons, and range lands and say, 'What must they be thinking, this is the most awesome place God ever created.' "

Yes, it's certainly an authentic, grass-roots movement when people are being trained to repeat mantras about what they think while sitting on their front porch.

Don't be fooled: The West is no longer full of small-claim miners working their stake. The money that's fronting groups like the Western States Coalition is coming from mining and logging corporations that care no more about the people on the land than those dreadful eastern politicians and government bureaucrats. The companies are concerned with losing their low-cost access to public lands, which belong to you and me.

As our spy observed, the Western States Coalition is doing its best to appear to be a grass-roots movement, but it's really Astroturf.

THE FORCES OF EVIL, CANCEROUS GROWTH STRIKE BACK: We knew it had to happen--a bunch of powerful, growth-at-all cost, money-grubbing business types have filed suit to stop Tucson's recharge initiative. These 25 self-appointed guardians of the private purse claim the initiative attempts to micro-manage water policy instead of setting that policy. It's a weak argument at best, but we don't underestimate the power of the local land-raping plutocracy to impose its will, even on our court system.

The fact remains: People who've been forced to use CAP water think it's worse than horse piss and should be employed mainly to recharge our underground water supply. But the power elite in this community apparently feel lots of bad water is better than a reasonable amount of good water when it comes to fueling Tucson's already wildly unnatural pace of development.

Hey, who cares if all those newcomers and their children get sick and die--as long as they first buy their cheap little Estes Homes and their rattletrap R.B. "Buck" O'Rielly Chevys and all the rest of the crap that passes for the trappings of civilization in these consumer culture days. What's decent water got to do with making money? Oh, and while we're at it, let's see how many millions of transplanted Californians we can cram into this valley.

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August 3 - August 9, 1995

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