The Skinny

KDRD, 666 AM: Gee, when the Skinny announced that former KTUC talk show gasbag John C. Scott had left the morning shift at KTUC and gone to work for the Growth Lobby, we were only kidding. But we didn't know how close we'd actually come to the truth.

Seems Scott has a partner in the time-purchase deal he has with station KTKT: Chris Monson, long-time associate and employee of legendary land speculator Don Diamond.

The partnership may explain why the criticism of Diamond and others, once a Scott standard, was muted long before he left KTUC. In fact it may explain a lot about Scott's attitude and endorsements of certain political candidates and causes.

Considering Scott's track record--most of the candidates Scott urged his minuscule audience to support in the last election were stomped--we wonder why The Don and his minions are bothering to promote such an ineffective turkey. DRD should learn a little from a fellow high-roller, Howard Hughes, who said: "Anybody can be bought. With most it isn't worth asking how much."

With that apparently firm support of Monson/Diamond money, however, we wonder why every time we tune into Scott's new show, he seems to be doing yet another over-modulated, blowhard commercial.

COUNTY LOBBYING CONTRACT UP FOR GRABS? The election of Democrat Sharon Bronson will dramatically change the dynamics of the Pima County Board of Supervisors in many ways beyond zoning votes. One item that will be affected is the county's massive lobbying contracts, which have grown almost faster than any other item in the budget and now approach, when you string them all together, about a million bucks a year.

The two principal law firms sharing the lobbying largesse are those of Democratic lawyer and Arizona Regent Art Chapa, who can sleep soundly, and the GOP firm of fellow attorney and Regent John Munger, who can't. Bronson has already announced that the $600,000 the county is paying Munger would be better spent putting more cops on the street, and probable Board Chairman Raul Grijalva has already said he wants Munger's contracts terminated.

Munger can count on the two Republican board members, Mike Boyd and John Even, to keep him at the trough, which leaves the ultimate decision to Democrat Supervisor Dan Eckstrom.

It's no secret that Eckstrom and Grijalva had an enforced alliance during the days of the GOP majority and are not close on a variety of matters. Will Eckstrom support his Democratic colleagues or cut a deal with the two GOP members to help them save their pal?

CHARTER COMMISSION GETS OFF TO BUMPY START: We told you this was a bad idea, and we urged a "no" vote on the whole dumb Charter Government process during the last election. Now it's obvious the folks so casually chosen to rewrite Pima County government aren't exactly going to be the Second Continental Congress, judging by the divisions and dysfunctionalism expressed at their first meeting last week.

And what's worse, the Charter Committee this week decided to hire the pro-growth law firm of Lewis and Roca, and its top-cat political insider and attorney Sy Schorr, for $95,000 to handle its scutt work, including public relations. Gee, we guess the governmental experts at the University of Arizona weren't as well connected--they applied for the job, too. Guess it's too much to ask to give a public contract to a public entity so taxpayers could save a little cash on this worthless exercise. Instead we have to give it to a private law firm known for its political clout.

Although the Pima County Supervisors must vote on the committee's request, it appears the fix is already in. The Charter turkeys have 180 days to come up with a new way of doing governmental business in our community, and judging by their latest actions, they'll go easy on developers and others who want a free ride at taxpayer expense.

Committee member John Kromko, who actually knows his way around government, made an excellent argument at the committee's first meeting when the subject of hiring a consultant came up. Kromko noted lawyers and their ilk are fond of worthless boiler-plate. Too bad the nerds he serves with didn't heed his observation.

The real problem is that any constitution-writing body so cumulatively ignorant of governmental structures and appropriate statutes that it actually needs Lewis and Roca is too damn weak to be given the job in the first place. James Madison didn't need a consultant, nobody ghosted the Gettysburg Address, and even the dudes who wrote the original Arizona Constitution did it themselves.

Whatever Pima County's Charter Commission comes up with, the document is bound to be wrong for most Tucsonans. TW

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