The Skinny

A STAR IS BORN: Tucson Weekly Automatic Weapons Editor Emil Franzi has replaced John C. Scott as the chief talk-show host on 1400 KTUC-AM. The show, which airs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, is called Franzi: 10 to 1. Catchy, huh?

Uncle Emil, as we call him here at The Skinny, plans to alter Scott's format with "a lot more voices besides mine," and spend less time than Scott raging about local politicians and more on other subjects.

"My connection with The Weekly will help build a great audience," Franzi announced. (He may have been drinking at the time.) "I hope to include as many Weekly personalities as I can, at least those who have one--like Jim Nintzel, Jeff Smith and Tom Danehy. Listen up on Thursday for The Skinny of the air."

Oh, God, we're infamous.

Franzi's planning to establish a series of regular features, including his own version of a round-table panel to jawbone about local news. "Boredom will not be allowed," he claims.

And what happened to Scott? We hear he's gone to work for Vicki Cox-Golder and the rest of the Growth Lobby.

AT LEAST YOU WON'T CATCH FRANZI IN A CHEAP MOTEL ROOM. AND IF YOU DO, THE ONLY THING HE'LL BE FOOLING WITH IS UNDERAGE SCOTCH: So the author of the Tucson Citizen's family column, the moon-faced, rolly-polly John Jennings, was busted in a cheap motel room with a wad of bills as, police allege, he was waiting to make hot, monkey love with a 17-year-old girl and another woman. Funny how we read about it first in The Arizona Daily Star. That was last week.

Then, this past Sunday, we read in The Star that KGUN-TV, Channel 9's moon-faced, rolly-polly weatherman Bill Rogers allegedly tried to cheat a little old lady out of a couple of hundred bucks by lying to her while selling her a crappy used car, a business he was apparently doing a lot of on the side.

Kudos to The Star for reporting on the peccadilloes of those in the press. If the charges are true, both of these alleged moral morons should get their sorry asses out of town.

ALAN LANG, CALL THE OFFICE: After complaining as a candidate about the big breaks professional firms were getting appealing tax assessments, the stats are in on Pima County Assessor Rick Lyons' first cycle. Guess what--those who used a tax appeals firm did, on the average, twice as well as citizens who handled their own appeals. This could mean one of two things: either the process has become so complex that ordinary folks are incapable of penetrating it; or, those who hear tax appeals are more likely to give their buddies in the business a break.

Either way it sucks, and there's a need for reform. Are you reading this, Rick?

MAYBE IT WAS THE VIPER MILITIA: The recent high-profile car bombing of local speculator Gary Triano naturally has a gaggle of federal agents crawling all over the murder site at La Paloma. And, if nothing else, the incident indicates the boys over at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms--BATF--don't know squat about the area of their supposed expertise. Or perhaps it's just that they've become totally politicized by the Clinton administration.

The Sunday Arizona Daily Star quoted a BATF official as saying the explosion could've been the result of black powder, and that there's lots of guys who keep it around to reload. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of explosives (which we all possess here at The Skinny) knows the amount of black powder required to propel Triano's windshield over 200 yards would fill the whole damn car.

It appears the agent's statement was merely a sleazy attempt to push the agenda of an agency which is more concerned with guys who shoot 19th-century weapons than it is with professional hit men.

Pardon us, but when a guy with a vowel on the end of his name--who was of Spanish descent, by the way, not Italian--with multiple connections to gambling in varying parts of the world and major money problems gets blown to hell in a car bombing, we're thinking it's time to speculate about the "M" word--mob, Mafia, Cosa Nostra, Wise Guys, Connected--and not some nerd who shoots an old muzzle loader.

When you hear hoof beats, don't think zebras.

SHIRLEY, CHECK THE OBITS: In the summer of 1995, the Pima County Board of Supervisors appointed a citizen's bond advisory committee to come up with a proposal to submit to voters in 1997. Included on that committee were representatives from other jurisdictions who were told to make their own appointments.

The City of Tucson did so, and in the council meeting of September 5, their choice was a gentleman named Robert Pitroff who was appointed to a two-year term. In addition, the council named Councilwoman Shirley Scott as official liaison to the county committee.

Pitroff dutifully attended meetings on behalf of the city until January of 1996, when his wife notified the appropriate officials that he was ill and entering the hospital. Sadly, Pitroff died in September of this year.

And it would seem this is when the council's liaison person, Scott, finally noticed Tucson had been unrepresented for about nine months on a committee planning the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars with money derived to a great extent from city residents. At least that's about the time Scott's aide, John Macko, started showing up for bond advisory committee meetings. Problem was, the city had never named him as an official member, so he couldn't even vote. It's now November and Councilwoman Scott has finally placed the matter of Pitroff's replacement on the council's agenda.

Remember this one the next time you hear them bitch about lack of intergovernmental cooperation.

STILL RUNNING? Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eddie Basha was seen at President Bill Clinton's last rally in Tempe looking every bit the candidate. The dynamic grocery store magnate was wedged between two beefy bodyguards.

Voters sure blew it when they picked J. Fife Deadbeat III over Eddie. But we may have a chance to redeem ourselves: Rumors are rampant in the vast urban sprawl to the north that Basha will make a second run.

THOSE WILD 'N' CRAZY REPUBLICANS: The Pima County Republican Club is being booted out of its longtime monthly meeting place, Carlos Murphy's restaurant downtown. Seems the management was chagrined to find some racist hate literature floating around after one of the GOP's meetings. Something about Bill Clinton fathering a love child by a prostititue in the Deep South.

We can understand why business types would be upset by that. And we sympathize with the GOP stalwarts who had nothing to do with the printed material, but who must now find a new meeting place.

But shouldn't that be a lesson for the Republicans? Maybe Bob What's-His-Name would have won the presidency if it weren't for the shrill, nasty tone some Republicans adopted regarding Bubba and Mrs. Clinton. If only the Republicans--the real ones, who believe in individual freedom and personal moderation--had the backbone to boot out the right-wing Christians and the super-rich hatemongers, they might have a real party again. TW

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