Skinny GOOD RIDDANCE: Republican Dan Copeland's on-again, off-again campaign for the Ward 3 City Council seat may finally be nearing the end. Although Copeland told us earlier this month he planned "to stay in the race and keep working hard," The Skinny has heard the quasi-candidate is now telling people he'll drop out in the very near future.

Copeland has been dogged by controversy ever since his campaign treasurer, Mary Preble, quit and released to the media a blistering resignation letter, which alleged numerous fundraising improprieties. Following Preble's resignation, campaign chairman Vernon Lewis also stepped down.

Following the defections, Copeland appointed himself treasurer and chairman of his own campaign.

Copeland's difficulty in following rules seems to extend to his private enterprise, Copeland and Associates, an alleged lobbying firm. Although he described his business as being involved in state government relations, a check at the Arizona Secretary of State's office shows he's not registered as a lobbyist.

CRAPPY COVERAGE: Star Northwest editor Ed Cook has trouble figuring out what's going down with the range war in which Marana and Oro Valley are trying to screw the would-be town of Tortolita by annexing it out of existence. Cook only partially reported what Marana officials did when they gobbled up 1,200 acres at Tangerine and Thornydale roads.

He missed some crucial details with his story--that the Marana Town Council broke its word to the area residents when it tabled the annexation and promised to re-draw the map, a story Cook wrote and the Star carried at the time. But what the sneaky little bastards in Marana then did was continue circulating the annexation petition and then slip the item back on the August 5 consent agenda. Some of the council members didn't read the consent agenda, which is usually full of only minor items, and the annexation passed.

So how often does a government have to lie before the establishment media report it?

Cook also missed the ludicrous Catch-22 those recent Marana conscripts are in: Yes, they can take out a referendum petition to overturn the council's annexation decision, but they can't circulate that petition because they don't yet live in Marana!

Cook has been re-writing press releases from Marana and Oro Valley for about a year now--one more example of inadequate reporters sucking up to their government sources because they're too damn craven or lazy to find a real story.

Perhaps Star Northwest should stick to stories about stolen golf balls and snacks white people eat, the likes of which it's run recently.

SWEET 'N' SOUR: Even after several elections and recalls that revolved around the growth issue, the same builders and developers are still in charge of the Town of Oro Valley. The faces on the town council may change, but the bureaucracy is still owned by the Growth Lobby. Example:

The Oro Valley Town Council is currently considering three parcels of land for annexation. The parcels are owned by Vistoso Partners, Jason Wolfswinkel, and two people named John Beerling and Mike Carlier, the latter dude being a well-known developer.

The actual agenda item, placed in the calendar by Town Manager Chuck Sweet, directs Town Manager Chuck Sweet to proceed with the annexation, and states, "I make a motion" to so direct him, signed by Town Manager Chuck Sweet.

This is a valuable lesson for those who think elected officials are actually in charge of local government. Sweet runs Oro Valley, not the council, and the land speculators and developers know it--and obviously like it. Citizens can recall council members from now until the bulldozers come home and it won't mean diddle until they start electing people who'll replace the bureaucrats.

Tucson City Council members aren't the only potted plants holding office. Next time you see an OV councilman, don't forget to water him.

WHAT PART OF "NO" DIDN'T THEY UNDERSTAND? Attempts by Paul Lindsey, chairman of the losing effort to get a Pima County charter adopted in the August 5 election, wants to try again. He's proposing the Board of Supervisors call another election in May to pick a new charter committee and start over.

Fat chance. The supes have just raised the property tax rate on top of new assessments that hit many Pima County homeowners hard in the pocketbook. Another $650,000 election to salve the broken egos of the charter zealots for an issue that has no constituency clearly isn't in the cards.

If the establishment media, which supported the charter proposal and now whine about how low the voter turnout was, had spent as much time and space discussing it as they have analyzing why it got beat, more folks would've voted. Low voter turnout doesn't necessarily mean voter apathy--it's usually the result of media apathy.

Only 13 percent of the voters showed up to reject the charter, and some now say that means we should hold another election. Gee, only 18 percent of the voters showed up to pass $350,000,000 worth of Pima County bonds two months earlier. Should we reconsider those too?

SLEEP WELL TONIGHT, A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL IS OFF THE STREETS: Joe Rae is a cantankerous old man. He went broke fighting legendary land speculator Don Diamond over who really owned Rocking K Ranch on the far, far southeast side.

Diamond won the court fight, but Rae didn't quit. He filed what have been adjudicated to be false documents with the County Recorder and cost Diamond--and a bunch of other folks--a lot of time and money to get such items as false and ludicrous liens removed. For this Rae was indicted and convicted.

Superior Court Judge pro tem Stephen Rubin threw the book at Rae, ordering $1.6 million in restitution and sentencing him to the maximum six years in prison. The restitution is a paper hit--Rae is now broke. Rae, who turns 79 in November, was defiant to the end, blaming both the judge and his own attorney. Victims other than Diamond wrote asking for Rae's scalp.

You don't have to buy Rae's story to ask one question: Why are we giving what will be at least 2.8 years of hard time to a non-violent geriatric? His attitude? Who he screwed with? There are violent criminals who've been sentenced to less, or even probation. What's the deterrent message of that harsh a sentence--don't mess with the big boys? Act repentant, or else?

Seems to us we've got worse crooks and thugs to put in that jail space.

TOWN OF THE LIVING DEAD! PART II: To recount our story thus far:

City Councilweasel Mike Crawford, for no good reason--other than to butt-kiss the powerful, long-established community cabal of greed and darkness--took it upon himself to trash the Tucson Film Office and its longtime director, the highly competent Tom Hilderbrand.

The Craw's evil task was made easier by the fact that out-of-Hollywood location work had pretty much dried up around the nation due to union uprisings masterminded by the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, whose heavy-hitters wanted to stay in Tinseltown to do their gigs instead of traipsing all over America.

Seizing upon this unfortunate situation, the Craw's staff of young, overpaid flying-monkey lawyers badmouthed Hilderbrand to his film-industry colleagues around the country. The flying-monkey lawyers were trying to get enough dirt to replace Hilderbrand with--surprise!--yet another flying-monkey lawyer, whose major qualification for local Film Office work appeared to be political/social connections to the darkside.

Hilderbrand quit in disgust.

And when last we saw the Tucson Film Office, it was being dismantled by teenage zombies from the city's Office of Economic Development. They were tussling, in their cute little MBA-zombie way, over who would get which cool movie poster. At this low point, Hilderbrand's assistant quit in disgust, too.

As our current episode begins, the Film Office has been absorbed by the Economic Development blob, which knows next to nothing about filmmaking. But that hasn't stopped this inexorable slimeball of obsequious bureaucratic mediocrity (Motto: "Telemarketing jobs for all!") from gushing forth a draft report which, in keeping with our overwrought theme, could easily be titled "Son of the Tucson Film Office."

The report calls for a new Film Office to be created somewhere deep within the bowels of the Economic Development blob itself. No doubt this will be a wonderful creature--the report says it should have at least one fiscal year for "learning to walk." (If the Craw hadn't cut the legs off the previous Film Office, we wouldn't need this bullshit toddler metaphor, would we?)

And they'll be appointing a new director, too. Undoubtedly someone with strong connections to the darkside, who'll give our town's tightly-knit cabal of movie sharpies fair warning when a new production is due here; all so they can get on the phones to Hollywood, steering unsuspecting film crews to their rundown motels, begging for jobs for their brothers-in-law, and generally pestering and annoying the Hollywood moguls until they run off, screaming into the night. (Of course, not one word in the draft report addresses this very serious potential problem. But then what do you expect from Economic Development, whose henchmen were cloned to serve the rich and powerful?)

Thus the doom borne of greed and petty self-interest--the very evil the Film Office was originally created to forestall--will have finally descended upon Tucson's tiny film industry. And darkness will rule the land...forever.

What? You were expecting a happy ending to this two-bit horror flick? TW

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