November 30 - December 6, 1995

The Skinny

SCREW THE COPS: The Skinny is grimly amused at the continually festering psychological swamp that is the City of Tucson Communications Department.

On Tuesday, November 21, for example, a supervisor ordered the shutdown of dispatching services for the Police Department's northwestern section.

Why? Because working in Commo--as the natives call it--is so stressful and such a thankless task, there aren't enough people left to do the work. We're told people who go through the expensive training process to become dispatchers soon flee to cushy secretarial jobs.

The November 21 action in effect placed responsibility for the lives of 100 officers under one dispatcher, and a new guy at that, for about four hours as Commo supervisors ordered northwestern dispatch duties combined with those for Team One, another of the city's four dispatch sections.

Cops in the field say they received no forewarning this could occur, leaving them feeling as exposed as Mark Fuhrman at the Million Man March.

We wonder if the dispatchers are going to be done away with all together and replaced with the officers' onboard computers. Hey, why not just replace the officers with robots?

All of which is amusing because we recently saw some stupid local TV news puff-piece on Commo and how wonderful all the high-tech equipment is. Get a clue, dudes: Technology is important, but it's only as wonderful as the people who use it.

Commo brass has been pissing on its own folks for far too long. If the City Council doesn't fix this department, cops are going to die for the most wretched reason imaginable--the incompetence of others. And what's more, Council folks, why would anybody want to be annexed into the City of Tucson when your police protection sucks?

THE GOLDEN RULE AS APPLIED TO THE ARTS--THOSE WHO PAY RULE: 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 very impressed when we noted the season opener was Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, with the Phoenix Symphony under Janes Sederas complete with full chorus and vocal soloists.

Oooops--that was just for the Phoenix performances. For Tucson, we got recorded music. 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?

Not really. It's just that all the members of the board of directors, almost all the corporate funding and a disproportionate amount of additional funding 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. Which tells you a lot about arts funding. Hopefully December's annual performance of the Nutcracker will host the real orchestra we've had in prior years, and not another CD.

STOP THE PRESSES! MARANA ACTUALLY TURNS DOWN A REZONING!! On a 4-2 vote, the Marana Town Council turned down a major rezoning on the old Shamrock Dairy property near I-10 and Cortaro Farms Road. Biggest reason given by the four nay-sayers was the addition of the subdivision, including the commercial portion, would put about another 1,000 kids in the Marana School District, and overload Quail Ridge Elementary. Proponents of the development by Phoenix-based El Dorado Holdings told the council the project would give the Marana School District an additional $200,000 a year.

Great math--comes to 200 bucks a kid, and is probably applicable elsewhere, so remember that next time you see development stooges from a school district pimping for higher densities. This stuff doesn't pay for itself, does it?

We'd like to report the folks in Dogpatch finally got religion on the growth question and started to give a shit, but they've rezoned so much in the rest of Marana that this was basically peanuts. Furthermore, an analysis of which Dogpatcher voted how is in order.

pix Voting aye were Mayor Eddie "Earthquake McGoon" Honea and former Mayor Ora "Mammy Yokum" Harn. Voting nay were the three council members from nearby Continental Ranch, led by their mentor Sharon "Moonbeam McSwine" Price. Also voting no was Tom Clark, the only member of the Council who's a member of Alliance Marana and who also may be the only one voting who has a three-digit IQ. Council member Herb Kai didn't vote because he owns land near the proposed project, a rare show of integrity ignored by other pols with a similar moral dilemma. (We remind you that Pima County Supervisor Special Ed Moore voted for the recent Don Diamond rezoning on River Road even though Moore lives and owns property near that project.)

And the three Continental Ranch council votes are at best classic NIMBY's, and at worst acting in the best interests of Vice-Mayor Price's employer, Continental Ranch. Building a rival development almost across the street from Continental Ranch would not exactly be in the best economic interest of her boss, would it?

Pardon our cynicism, but we don't think anybody ought to plan on putting Dogpatch on a Sierra Club calendar in the immediate future.

UNEMPLOYMENT BLUES: We're told a certain formerly highly placed Pima County bureaucrat now out of work recently found a little part-time employment during the filming of the new Kevin Costner-Don Johnson movie Tin Cup here. He applied for a job as an extra and ended up making $100 a day for three days' work. He even got to speak one line.

His entire three-day gig was spent in a local strip palace with 16 naked women. And his scene, which had to be shot over and over to get it right, involved a stripper rubbing her breasts in his face.

Yes, life is hell when you're out of work.

CITY'S NEW LOOK: In olden days, new kings changed the coinage to banish the visages of their predecessors. In these more enlightened times, we have the City of Tucson bureaucracy, many of them recently hired away from California gigs, presenting us with a new city logo.

City Manager Mike "The Spike" Brown announced he and his management team of department heads, assistant city managers and other top staffers had chosen the new logo after "considerable thought."

Their new design features a big "TUCSON" with smaller "City of" above it and the phrase "Investing In Our Community" below it. The whole shmere is topped by a triangle and has an inverted triangle beneath.

They tell us the new logo will be used on most of the city's printed material. Whoopie.

And while all those heavyweight bureaucrats were making this big decision, Tucson Police Chief Doug Smith was engaged in an important project of his own. Seems the city's police cars will now boast another new logo, this one selected from among a half dozen submitted by different graphic artists. Not surprisingly, it involves a badge motif. That oughta stop crime.

Both Brown and Smith said their new logos were necessitated by the recent change in area code. (Yes, they actually said this with straight faces.)

Let's see...the murder rate is the highest it's ever been, we can't drink CAP water, the budget is climbing, uncontrolled growth is savaging our environment and the most expensive help the city has sits around and does what? Designs a new logo?

And, of course, they never bothered to run it by the City Council.

Hey, it makes sense to us. But what we don't understand is why our expensive public servants spent all that time and money coming up with these wonderful logos when a simple but heartfelt "Fuck you, taxpayers" would have sufficed.

NO CONTEST: Well, it's official. New Campus from here on in will be known as Arizona International Campus of the University of Arizona. No doubt that catchy moniker will help pull in, hey, dozens of enthusiastic applicants to the fledgling college. Can't you just hear those high school seniors begging their parents to let them be the first class at old AICOTUA? AICOTUA (pronounced Aching-to-You-A) needs all the help it can get in attracting next year's freshman class: less than a year before its opening it remains homeless and virtually professor-less. But let's not quibble. At least it's got administrators coming out its ears.

But really, we're disappointed. What happened to the big christening contest announced a few weeks by Aching-to-You-A head honcho Celestino Fernandez, vice president and provost? He didn't even mention the contest when he presented the name Tuesday to the Regents, who by the way approved it unanimously. Maybe that's because Fernandez's contest was greeted with universal scorn here in town. Even Lo Que Pasa, the UA newspaper that hews firmly to the administrative line, couldn't resist making fun. The paper's best suggestion: Celestino State University. Tom Beal at The Star came up with a couple of dead-on doozies: Fire At Will University, in honor of Fernandez's plan to operate the school without tenure for prefessors, and Urban Sprawl University, an homage to the developers who want to put it on the eastside to beef up their personal fortunes. We here at the Skinny are modestly proud of our own Screw U., Rocking K University and Big Fix College. But we're willing to concede defeat. Aching-To-You-A U. It's got a ring to it.

VANITY PREZ: But we really don't know how Cel is going to get that big name on his vanity license plate. When we first spotted the shiny, deep turquoise Chrysler heading east on Broadway from downtown this week, we thought the perky "NEW U" inscription on the Arizona license plate probably belonged to some health club sales rep boasting about building a new healthy you with heavy equipment. But then we realized it was just the mostest provostest, Cel F. Centered, publicly relating about his gradually bloating kingdom. Gee, since Cel might have a little trouble getting the silly new name on his plate, maybe the Board of Regents will authorize funds to have it painted in gold all over his car.

And if that's a lease deal, provost, check out buying it with the $400 dollar College Grad Rebate the Chrysler dealer is offering this month. Tell 'em you've got tenure and they might throw in some new beads for your rearview mirror. New plate suggestion: "U SO VAIN."

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November 30 - December 6, 1995

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