Skinny FAIR GAME: Republican Dan Copeland, who is supposedly seeking the Ward 3 City Council seat, is denying persistent rumors he plans to drop out of the race.

"I plan to stay in the race and keep working hard, and I ask you to be fair with me," Copeland says. "Just play it fair."

As detailed in The Skinny last week, Copeland's campaign took a turn for the worse when treasurer Mary Preble quit, penning a harsh resignation letter alleging misuse of campaign funds.

Preble's letter, which was released to the media and the City Clerk's Office, accused Copeland of accepting and spending campaign contributions without keeping any records.

"No comment on (Preble's) decision," says Copeland, who was eager to end his conversation with us. "She's no longer part of our staff, and I'm going to leave it at that, and all I'm going to ask you is to be fair."

Copeland told The Skinny he'd be turning in a campaign finance report on Tuesday, August 5, which would clear his name.

"Check with the City Clerk," Copeland says. "She'll tell you none of it's true. Play it fair. I've worked so hard to get here.... I just ask that you take it light, please."

City Clerk Kathy Detrick was out of town on Tuesday and couldn't be reached for comment, but staffers in her office say Copeland had not filed a report by press time. He did not return phone calls regarding the finance statement.

Preble, meanwhile, stands by her allegations and has filed a formal complaint with the Tucson Police Department. She expects to meet with detectives this week.

"If Dan wants to continue, he sure can," says Preble, although she suspects there may be hard times ahead, "once these business people start getting asked all these questions and his checking account starts getting scrutinized."

AN OMINOUS SIGN OF THE COMING PLAGUES: There were shockingly long lines of poor folks waiting for immunizations at Pueblo High's Care Fair this past weekend.

Why? Two reasons: Welfare "reform," which has bumped many families off the state-provided healthcare rolls; and the Pima County Health Department's recent policy of capping the number of clients it serves during its weekly walk-in clinics.

Rumor has it county health offices have been instructed to use a limited number of staffers for these mandated free clinics, but the rationale--especially at this time of year, when kids need shots before returning to school--escapes us. Doesn't "mandated" mean "have to," guys?

We're told one top public health doctor was surprised at the long lines at Pueblo. He was overheard to ask, "Why are all these people here?"

Maybe because they don't make $180,000-plus a year like you do, dork.

EVEN LAND WARS HAVE PROPAGANDA MACHINES: The Town of Oro Valley has made a land grab down Tangerine Road, deep into the proposed Town of Tortolita, trying to snatch all four corners at Tangerine's intersection with La Cholla Boulevard. The move comes at the request of 16 land owners/speculators.

Meanwhile, The Arizona Daily Star's bulldog Northwest edition covered this move with the headline, "16 prefer Oro Valley to proposed Tortolita," and quoted one of the land owners, Joel Abrahms, as saying, "The intent of Tortolita is to keep things as they are, which essentially would render our property valueless."

What the Star failed to mention was that most of the 16 land owners in the area, including Abrahms, don't live there. They're absentee owners. And the Star also failed to mention that this same Abrahms and his wife signed a consent decree with the State Department of Real Estate suspending their real estate licenses in 1996 for an illegal subdivision on the northwest side.

Abrahms' claim that his nine acres would be "valueless" in Tortolita really means he thinks Oro Valley's town council is more likely to give him a better deal on a rezoning, the same motivation of others trying to flee the Tortolita incorporation. Currently zoned for several homes, Abrahms' hunk of dirt is hardly "valueless." What he's really whining about is the quick bucks he might lose if he can't get the zoning changed to a higher density--which should be his tough toenails.

The attempts by Abrahms and others speak well for the intentions of Tortolita, but the big question is: Will Oro Valley officials revert to their old posture of rolling over for every land speculator who wants annexation? The Oro Valley Town Council has been behaving better these days on that and some other growth issues--here's hoping they don't let their annexation-happy staff push them into placing land speculators ahead of their own, and Tortolita's, residents.

WHERE THE SALES DEPARTMENT COMES FIRST? Our media observers were watching KVOA-TV, Channel 4, recently, when they heard a funny little news story being teased. Seems the folks at some stupid bread company had spelled "Tucson" wrong on a billboard. We empathize, since we often do that ourselves, after we've guzzled too much tequila. Anyway, the story never aired on the news, leaving our observers with a painful case of unrequited news lust.

Now, our moles deep inside KVOA's innards inform us the item never aired because a fat cat from the station's sales department also saw the teaser, and barged into the newsroom and ordered a producer to kill that harmless little story. Aw.

We hear the Queen of Local News, Patty Weiss, was hopping mad about it, too. Sigh--we'd give anything to see royalty pissed off like that.

And we're still wondering when we'll see KVOA reporter Nancy Harrison's piece on Jim Click's service department. Have the KVOA money Nazis come down hard on that one, too, or is that just a rumor?

You know, we hear little stories like this from time to time, and we can't help but wonder just how much corporate and Growth Lobby bullshit the daily media is feeding us.

KICKING SCUTTLEBUTT: "Bent" Rod Smith, professional copycat and editor of Inside Tucson Business, asked us for a job in his latest Scuttlebutt column.

Smith, who has yet to address the embarrassing fact that one of his recent columns was nearly word-for-word identical to a Skinny gem published a week earlier, offered to provide some editorial services to clean up our grammar. We've only got one question, Rod: If we're so bad, why are you ripping us off?

Our favorite local plagiarist said we were a "nice little paper"--which is kind of amusing, when you consider that we tend to be twice the size of Rod's tiny tabloid. Let's face it: If Territorial Newspapers didn't have a fat government contract worth $265,000 a year to print public notices, Inside Tucson Business probably wouldn't even exist--a rich irony for a so-called "business" paper.

Corporate welfare recipient Smith added that he felt "shabby for having taken a poke at the lame likeness of an alternative newspaper." Hey, Rod, here's something to feel shabby about (besides the general irrelevance of your rag): stealing our work and claiming it was your own.

Rod also suggested we'd devoted "most of The Skinny to a counterattack (am I all they have to write about?)." Once again, he was suffering from delusions of grandeur. The Skinny ran about 1,900 words last week, while our little jab at him was about 500 words. Last time we checked, a little more than one-fourth didn't equal "most"--but hey, we're not surprised to learn Rod's lousy at math, too. Maybe he'd best stick to writing about nacho-cheese-covered DJs and Fabio-lookin' hunks at local resorts. TW

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