WATERED DOWN: As we like to remind you, most local governments are run not by the folks we elect, but by the mandarin class known as "the staff." A perfect example: The recent flap over the ballot language concerning the upcoming city water initiative.
Seems the staff placed the item on the ballot, with a fast rubber stamp by the mayor and council, to define it as their version of what they think the measure is. Well, isn't that special.
We all know staff hates any citizen interference. Now they have the audacity to abuse their power so blatantly as to re-interpret a citizen's initiative in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election.
They're not the only ones. In the next few weeks you can expect a real political "hit" job on the water initiative. The same people who gave you water flowing through a dirty diaper as a reason to oppose the 1987 all-recharge initiative will also do anything to kill the current effort to protect our water quality. These are the same people who've said repeatedly "Trust us" on water, and they have yet to deliver anything but brown, cruddy CAP poison.
They want the people of Tucson to drink this glop while they guzzle the expensive bottled stuff. But why should anybody trust them about anything when they haven't been able to deliver a quality product?
SIGNING OFF WITH JOSÉ: Kudos to Democrat Ward 1City Council candidate José Ibarra. He's the one candidate we've noted so far who has actually complied with the law that states all campaign material shall identify who paid for it. Ibarra's are the only campaign signs in town carrying the message.
This is a simple law to comply with--you just add a line to your screen or negative. Yet no one else bothered, which makes you wonder how much attention they pay or will pay to other things, and other laws. And you'd think folks like Mayor George Miller would have noticed by now, but then again, he's using the same signs he used in 1991. There's a recycling program for you.
AIRHEAD PRIORITIES: The airheads on TV have spent an inordinate amount of time telling us all about the vacancy in Ward 3 caused by the resignation of Councilflake Tom Saggau. They've paid more attention to what happened to Saggau than they ever paid to him either as a candidate or a councilman. And they've treated us to lengthy babble about the appointment process and have even spent some time on some of the 17 people who want the job--which is pretty amazing, since the folks actually running for office in November's election can't seem to get two minutes on local newscasts.
We have some questions about one of the candidates for that Ward 3 seat, investment broker and KTUC radio personality Carl "Have A Profitable Daaaay" Bedford. For example, he says he's been living at an address on North Weimer Place in Ward 3 since March 1993, and that he finally changed his registration from North Banff Avenue, in Ward 2, October 6 because, "When I re-upped my driver's license, I thought it would be done automatically."
Ooookay. But Bedford had been registered to vote at the Banff address despite a court order stemming from his long, messy, and ongoing divorce, which was filed in March 1992. That order required him to vacate the Banff address by February 1993. Court records indicate Bedford had listed his employer and a P.O. box for his address since March 1992. And his home phone number, according to the city clerk's office, turns out to be for his employer, McKee Securities. Bedford is listed in the phone book, but with no address.
Bedford says the city clerk's office has told him he's qualified to serve. Our discussion with the clerk's office, however, leads us to believe a court challenge is a real possibility if he's appointed.
THE HUNT FOR WEB OCTOBER: Step aside--the Tucson Citizen is hot on the trail of those bastards who derailed the Amtrak Sunset Limited.
Within hours of the tragedy, the Citizen published its first report on the "Sons of the Gestapo," the supposed group claiming responsibility for derailing the train. In a front-page story the day after the dastardly event, the Citizen's cracked reporters told us they'd discovered the terrorist group was not on the World Wide Web.
That's right. The Citizen revealed its investigative bulldogs had searched "dozens" of sites on the Web, only to find the infamous gang wasn't listed.
Gee, have you journalistic wonders thought about checking to see if the bad guys took out a business license? The only other place The Skinny can think to look for such cowardly scum would be in the Yellow Pages. Try it. Then you can publish another breathtaking bulletin telling us the gang wasn't listed there, either. Thank God you're still only 35 cents.
Oh, and double thanks to Citizen reporter Norman Peckham for telling us on Friday the big train derailment has yet to damage Arizona's all-important tourism industry. We were sure worried about that. It must have taken a lot of work on Norman's part to call the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau to get that big scoop--what're they gonna tell us, Norman, that frightened hordes are avoiding our twisted state out of fear they'll be shot or dismembered? Hey, come to think of it, that's why we avoid Oklahoma. That and the fact it's a state full of idiots. Hmmmm...
MORE STUPID PRESS TRICKS: Gov. J. Fife Deadbeat III's press secretary complained over the weekend that Fife was "ambushed" by 60 Minutes reporter Morley Safer.
Fife, who has always felt the press simply doesn't have any business poking into his affairs, agreed to an interview when the 60 Minutes folks said they wanted to hold Arizona up as a shining example of what the country could be under Newt's Contract with America. Amazingly, Symington seemed to think this would mean good press for the state, so he told them to bring the cameras in.
Unfortunately, while Safer touched on those topics for about half a minute, the rest of the 30-minute interview focused on the Guv's growing financial problems, leading to Fife's complaint that the interview was unfair.
Gov. Deadbeat's attempt to paint the media as dishonest is a real hoot. Let's get one thing straight: Morley Safer was doing his job. There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding Fife's fluctuating finances that he has thus far managed to avoid. We're pleased as punch someone finally cornered him.
We'd be happy to see our own local dailies take an interest in the governor's finances, but that apparently requires investigative reporting skills. Here's a hint, folks: The story isn't that Fife is bankrupt--it's how he got there. And, as we're learning from John Dougherty's fine reporting at the Phoenix New Times (some of which was reprinted in this rag last week), the road may have been paved with phony financial statements and illegal payments to a corrupt pension fund manager who is now serving time in a federal lock-up.
But you're not going to read about that stuff in the Star and Citizen. We figured once Gov. Deadbeat announced he was planning on suing the New Times, it would attract some attention, but no go.
We should give the Star some credit; they did run a wire story exposing Fife's curious loss of $35 million between 1989 and 1990. Of course, they credited the Arizona Republic with breaking the story, although the New Times had revealed the loss a week earlier. And they've done a great job covering the auction of the governor's ASU football tickets.
Well, there's still nearly two weeks before Fife is due in bankruptcy court. Perhaps one of our daily papers will find an enterprising reporter to actually start to dig into the governor's financial records--but we doubt it.
VOWS EXCHANGED: Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Marsh and legendary land speculator Don Diamond were re-married last week before a crowd of 20 well-wishers and admirers. They exchanged vows during a private breakfast ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel last Friday. Gifts from the mighty were offered to Chairman Marsh.
The marriage has silenced those nasty gossips who for weeks have been whispering Diamond would be making support payments to his longtime business partner John Even, recently seen flouncing about town telling anyone who'd listen that he wanted Marsh's position.
Longtime county watchers are wondering when and why the Diamond-Marsh romance was rekindled.
The happy couple's honeymoon plans are unknown at this time. And bon voyage, John-Boy.
CAPITOL CHATTER: Connoisseurs of intellectual kitsch are gleefully waiting for the state Legislature's next session, which begins in January. A preview of coming attractions: Last week, House Ways and Means Chair Lori Daniels (a.k.a. the Chamber's Maid) urged members to sign onto Nye County, Nevada's wacko lawsuit--the one that tells the United States it has to give your land to the states.
Even the Constitutional Defense Council thought the Nye County guys were nuts when they tried to pick up some financial support for their lawsuit a few months ago. Of course, it didn't help that they kept wandering into non-sequitors about Robert E. Lee's great heroism.
Don't forget: Nevada is the home of the Bomb-the-Forest Service-Employee hobbyists. Next time you see Rep. Daniels, ask her where you can find the best deal on camouflage togs.
BUCKS FOR BALLET: It's nice to see Ballet Arizona taking off after some shaky years. This season looks to be one of the best, and we were impressed when we learned the season opener was Carl Orff's with the Phoenix Symphony under Janes Sederas, complete with full chorus and vocal soloists.
Oooops--that's just for the Phoenix performances. For Tucson, we get recorded music. How come? Why do those barbaric philistines from right-wing Maricopa County get the real stuff while all we get is a crummy recording? Another dirty plot?
Nope. It's just that all the members of the board of directors, almost all the corporate funding and a disproportionate amount of the other funding all come from the Phoenix area. Meaning those terrible clods from north of the Gila care enough about the ballet to cough up and support it while Tucsonans sit on their cheap, arrogant, phony asses and pretend they're somehow superior.
That's why they get the real orchestra and we get the record player.
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