WHEN THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS WANTS YOUR OPINION, IT'LL GIVE
IT TO YOU: The League of Women Voters, once respected
as a disseminator of balanced, objective information the rest
of the electorate could count on, has hit a new low in its recent
history of pushing partisan views under the guise of neutr We
obviously love a good opinion, and we're full of 'em--or it, depending
on your politics.
But the League has a longtime reputation for non-partisanship--a reputation it's never publicly renounced. And now, in its sleaziest ploy to date, it's pretending a rigged panel discussion it's sponsoring will provide some sort of balanced presentation to guide us at the polls this November.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The subject of this subterfuge is that already deceptively packaged attempt to shove crappy CAP water down our throats, Proposition 201, which a cabal of developers, pool builders and land speculator Joe Cesar are pushing as "the new clean water initiative." May they all be publicly forced to drink horse piss. The "discussion," to be held at 7 p.m., October 14, at the Errol Montgomery Building, 1550 E. Prince Road, is co-sponsored by the Arizona Hydrological Society.
The panelists are: Chuck Freitas, the guy who heads the committee promoting Proposition 201; Kathy Jacobs, of the Arizona Department Of Water Resources; Bruce Johnson, of the city's nefarious water department (see "Flow Job," this issue); Jerry Matlock, listed as a private consultant, but whose principle business has been with Tucson Water; and Carol West, of the Tucson Regional Water Council, an organization that has endorsed Proposition 201.
Forget where you stand on this issue. The massive bias of the League of Women Voters in creating a panel consisting of five people all hostile to 1995's Propostion 200--the real clean water initiative that stopped CAP from ruining our health and homes--negates whatever credibility the League once possessed as a source of impartial information.
This reprehensible, pseudo-elitist stacking of an issues "forum" under the guise of an open discussion can lead only to a growing contempt for the League by local political activists and those who care about our community.
THE FOURTH-CLASS ESTATE: Former Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy recently wrote a piece in The Arizona Daily Star opining, among other things, that the local press should assume responsibility for crying foul when anonymous political hit pieces are mailed to potential voters at the last minute. "Doing so would alert voters that the law is being broken and to be aware that there is something tremendously unfair going on," he wrote.
We agree with Volgy that the press should be on the alert for violations of the law, which in this case required that the literature's sponsors be clearly identified.
Of the two hit pieces that were the subject of Volgy's complaint, one, he says, was perpetrated by someone who had recently filed for bankruptcy, thus somehow making any of that person's expenditures illegal. Excuse us, but if Volgy would check it out, he'd find the bankruptcy in question was a business bankruptcy, long since canceled. We understand this person claims to have been stiffed on past bills by certain savvy political types. Delightfully ironic, if true. And, for the record, the piece in question was pretty soft stuff--nowhere near the venom Jefferson and Adams spit at each other back in 1800.
The second mailing bore no identifying features at all, and reprinted several pieces from the Tucson Weekly. That mailing was clearly illegal, and The Weekly's editors would love to find the perpetrator and beat the snot out of him--or, better yet, make him fork over, say, $4.8 million and the keys to his crappy car.
However, we disagree with Volgy that something "tremendously unfair" was going on. Have you forgotten, Tom, that politics is a dirty business? One in which "fairness" often decays into the confusing realm of relativity? In this baffling dimension, it becomes infinitely more difficult for the voters to distinguish what is "fair" from what is "unfair" when the local media more or less ignore an election, as they did--perhaps deliberately--with the September 16 primary.
The real crime here was not some petty misdemeanor of an anonymous mailing; the real crime was the felonious nonfeasance by Tucson's fat and lazy substitute for hardball journalism, a substitute unwilling to brave the rough-and-tumble classroom of local politics. (And by the way, we half suspect Tucson's pro-Growth Lobby media chose to ignore the primary because it appeared their candidates were headed for easy victories, thanks to a sleepy electorate.)
So instead of merely urging the media to react to minor, last-minute shenanigans, Tom, perhaps you should be urging them to cover the damn candidates in the first place. That way all the little slingshots, paperclip shivs and spitwads are much more likely to be in plain view on the teacher's desk when the bell rings calling us to morning assembly.
BOZOS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: On September 30, the Amphitheater School District Board hid out in a closed-door executive session for several hours, while the members apparently took the opportunity to discuss the sad consequences of their own blithering incompetence.
The secret session came close on the heels of a blistering public hearing in which numerous outraged folks gave the board members some real good reasons why they should forget the shady deal they made to acquire overpriced, environmentally sensitive property for a new high school.
One of the people seen going into the lengthy secret session was an attorney from the law firm of DeConcini, McDonald, Yetwin & Lacy, which leads us to suspect the Amphi Board may finally be taking seriously both the environmental problems with the proposed high-school site, as well as the conflict-of-interest issue in that ill-considered land transaction.
Unfortunately, throwing more lawyers at the problem in order to justify this poorly thought-out land deal also means the cost of that site continues to grow. The arrogance and secrecy of the Amphi Board should be warning flags for residents and taxpayers--it's time to think about recalling these bozos.
RONSTADT RUMBLINGS: Just after the September primary, the Tucson Citizen wasted a front-page headline telling us Republican Ward Six city council candidate Fred Ronstadt is out to break the Democratic monopoly at City Hall. Whoop-de-doo-doo!
Well, now it's October and only this past Tuesday did Ronstadt come up with the 200 contributors at $10 a pop he needed to qualify for city matching funds for his ever-so exciting campaign.
This indicates a lack of interest in his campaign by the Growth Lobby and the Proposition 201 dirty water boys--all of whom you'd think should be supporting Ronstadt against Democrat Alison Hughes.
It takes a couple of weeks for the City Clerk to go through the paper work and start cutting checks for matching funds, meaning Ronstadt will have about a three-week campaign.
Some GOP sources say Ronstadt hasn't tried very hard to raise the money, which is usually done by mailing and phoning GOP activists and contributors, as well as pestering your friends and family. In fact, one would think a guy named Ronstadt would've had enough relatives in town to have his campaign all greased and gassed and ready to go right after the primary.
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