The Skinny

MRS. ORIGINALITY: We all remember how TUSD board member Brenda Even tried to land her late husband John Even's seat on the Pima County Board of Supervisors. He died just four months after taking the District 4 office earlier this year. But Brenda's hopes were dashed when the supes picked Republican Ray Carroll, who now faces re-election in a special election in 1998.

Since District 4 is heavily Republican, the real fight will be in the September primary, where Carroll will face Brenda Even and accountant Ken Marcus, who was also a finalist during the appointment process.

Earlier this month, both Even and Marcus took out nominating petitions and began circulating bios to the press.

The Skinny, which never throws anything away, noticed a curious similarity between John Even's 1996 campaign logo ("John Even--Leadership '96") and Brenda Even's 1998 campaign logo ("Brenda Even--Leadership '98").

Looking more closely at the two bio sheets, we began to hear a undeniable echo. John's bio, for example, begins:

"John R. Even has been a resident of Tucson since 1967. His roots in the community are deep and his commitment to serving the people of Tucson is well documented.

Meanwhile, the first paragraph in Brenda's bio reads:

"Brenda B. Even has been a resident of Tucson since 1967. Her involvement in the community and her commitment to serving its people are well known and documented."

Skinny Both also have a similar record of political experience.

John: "A lifelong Republican, Even has served the Republican Party.... A financial supporter to party and campaign activities for 20-plus years, Even has also actively participated in several local, state and national campaigns."

Brenda: "A lifelong Republican, Even has lived in District 4 for 30 years and has been a financial contributor to party and campaign activities. She has also participated in several local, state and national campaigns."

And, of course, there's the family angle.

John: "Even is married to Brenda B. Even.... They have four adult children. Together, through their work with non-profit organizations, they have dedicated a great deal of time and energy to improving the quality of life in Tucson."

Brenda: "Even was married to the late John R. Even, long-time attorney, community leader and the previously elected Supervisor in District 4. They have four adult children.... Together, through their work both with public and non-profit organizations, they have devoted a great deal of time and energy to improving the quality of life in Tucson."

Brenda's said from the start that she was the rightful heir to John's "legacy" from his four months on the board. Now, it appears she's even begun to channel him.

TUCSON'S BIGGEST TV POLLUTER SUPPORTS EVEN: The perky purveyor of those awful and ubiquitous auto-dealership commercials that have stunk up local airwaves for years, Jim "I'm-Now-Richer-Than-Holmes Tuttle" Click, is currently busy drumming up support for Brenda Even's supervisorial candidacy. Must be a tad hard to do, if, as we're told, the Clickster's spending more and more of his time in Newport Beach, Calif., overseeing his many business interests in the Golden State.

Click's involvement with the Even campaign points up her biggest problem--she's nothing but a shill for the Growth Lobby's big-money boys. In fact, she and her late husband were partners of legendary land speculator Don Diamond in at least one real estate deal that we're aware of.

We find it amusingly reprehensible that grossly rich Republicans like Click would back Even, when they have a perfectly good--and honest--incumbent Republican in that office today. But we guess Supervisor Ray Carroll's not getting the big boys' support because he won't carry their dirty laundry. His vote against the proposed Asarco deal, which would deface the scenic Santa Rita Mountains south of town in pursuit of mindless economic growth, was breathtaking. Of course, it was pleasantly startling only because we've come to expect nothing more than crass, plutocratic ass-kissing from today's Republican pols--even the fundamentalist-Christian-weirdo ones.

We'd like to believe there's still hope for the Republican Party--the party of Abraham Lincoln, for Christ's sake. But the fatcat faction of this once-noble organization has greedily converted it into a corrupt and mindless machine for lining their own pockets at the expense of an increasingly disenfranchised general population--a population which is growing proportionately poorer as more wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few.

Yeah, sure--the same could be said of Democrats. But at least local Republicans now have a small opportunity to help bring on the impending national disaster by voting for Brenda Even come September.

BATTLE OF THE FATCAT-ASS-KISSERS? Congressman Jim Kolbe, Beltway bad boy and Prince of NAFTA, may face a challenger in next year's Republican primary. Harold Vangilder, a former Sierra Vista councilman who took an unsuccessful stab at the statehouse last year, is putting together a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Vangilder, an openly pea-brained geek and far-right, greedheaded Wise Use flying-monkey, reportedly will focus on the "lifestyle issue" in his campaign, so Kolbe, who is openly gay and looking really old and dissipated these days, should anticipate a nasty, name-calling, unpleasant race. We doubt, however, that anyone will hear that wimp Vanguilder over the name-calling from gays still ticked about Kolbe's stand against gay marriage. (And, God help us, we wonder how Kolbe's current same-sex partner feels about that.)

Perhaps it's too much to ask, but we're hoping these two lousy candidates get into a big, hairy bitch-slapping fight and then topple into the stinking, open sewer of some shabby border maqiladora known for its lethal industrial waste. It's just the sort of Republican primary debate America really needs.

TAXPAYERS STRIKE OUT? We certainly hope the Tucson Sidewinders--the ballclub formerly known as the Tucson Toros--reach those high attendance goals set in the contract team owner Martin Stone inked with the Pima County Board of Supervisors last week.

Under the deal, the county will get $200,000 a year from the Sidewinders if attendance climbs to 350,000--a high hurdle, given that the triple-A Toros averaged less than 250,000 fans a season at Hi Corbett Field over the last couple of years. If attendance holds steady at those numbers, the county will get about $100,000.

When the supes first voted to build the stadium, we were assured the money to pay back the ballpark bonds would come from revenues generated by taxes on rental cars, RVs and motel rooms. That meant no dollars would come from the county's general fund.

Of course, back then the ballpark was supposed to cost $25 million. When the construction bids came in, however, the cost shot up to about $35 million. Surprisingly, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the stadium still wouldn't be a drain on the general fund--but that he hoped to get $200,000 a year from the Tucson Toros to provide a "cushion" for the bond payback.

Well, Stone turned out to be a better negotiator than County Parks Director Dan Felix, who headed the team that worked out the details of the deal with Stone. On a 3-to-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors ratified the contract, which a child of three can see favors the Sidewinders.

Huckelberry advised the supes to take the deal, hoping it would ensure the county would be able to pay off the bonds used to build the stadium. His advice was enough to convince Republicans Mike Boyd and Ray Carroll and Democrat Raul Grijalva to approve the deal, while Democrats Sharon Bronson and Dan Eckstrom opposed it.

We can understand Boyd's vote--he's made a twisted, dog-licking political career out of taking care of guys like Stone. And Carroll is the new kid on the block who'll eventually learn how to smell the rotten cheese. But Grijalva's vote to support what Eckstrom rightfully calls "corporate welfare" is disturbing. We hope the often publicly drunk and increasingly pathetic Grijalva didn't cast his vote on this issue based on his irrational personal animosity toward Eckstrom and Bronson. Maybe Grijalva just felt obligated to back up Felix, who's one of his favorites in the bureaucracy.

But hope spring eternal in baseball. Maybe the Sidewinders will hit those high attendance numbers--and maybe the Cubs will win a pennant.

BOMBASTIC, HELL-RAISING GROWTH HOUND: We don't often agree with our favorite daytime radio talk-show host, John C. Scott. But he regularly tells people to read The Weekly, puts Senior Editor Jim Nintzel on the air on Thursdays to discuss the latest issue, and even lets Weekly Automatic Weapons Editor Emil Franzi sound off--so it's our turn to promo him.

Scott does what few people in this town do: He discusses local issues and lets you hear local guests. During the last election season, he provided a forum to discuss the pros and cons of the incorporation, water, transportation and minimum-wage issues, as well as allowing candidates a chance to chat at length and take questions from callers.

Scott is a flea-bitten running dog for the Growth Lobby, and we suspect he's proud of it. But he does qualify as one of this town's few good hell-raisers. Check him out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on KTKT, 990-AM. TW

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