The Skinny

CITIZEN COPPER BOWL PIMP: We've remarked before about how badly the Tucson Citizen has degenerated since Gannett took it over, and particularly since Donald Hatfield became its equivalent of Tucson's journalistic colonial governor. Read Hatfield's inane weekly column and the Citizen's poorly written and shabby editorials and you'll discover what passes for journalism these days in corporate America. But the afternoon rag hit a new low December 2 with its blatant pimp job for Copper Bowl funding.

The front-page promo was "SPORTS--Fighting Irish to Play in Copper Bowl?" It ran, just coincidentally, in the same edition with a lead editorial headlined, "Council must reverse snub of Copper Bowl." And that editorial ran just across the page from a lengthy advertorial by Burt Kinerk, co-founder of the Copper Bowl Foundation. Kinerk's B.S. was headlined "Copper Bowl: City money = tax revenue." Reading the hokey economics in Kinerk's propaganda was reminiscent of getting one of those letters that say, "Just send a bottle of scotch to the guy at the top of this list, put your own name on the bottom, and soon you'll receive 144 bottles yourself." And shame on Citizen sports writer/ corporate suckbutt Corky Simpson for participating in this scam.

The mentality of Copper Bowl advocates indicates the total lack of imagination and vision many of our so-called community "leaders" have. Wow, the Copper Bowl will get us that "National TV Exposure" we--for some unexplained reason--so desperately require. These are the same community "leaders" who constantly whine that we don't act like a real city. Guess what, turkeys--real cities don't salivate over the opportunity to get on camera like some Iowa turista on the Tonite Show. Real cities also don't allow themselves to get hustled by every huckster who wants to get into the taxpayers' pants.

CITIZEN PIMPING, PART TWO: We think Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has been doing a good job. He took over after the disastrous administration of Manoj Vyas and restored confidence in county government and stability to county employment. He didn't get as far as he probably wanted to in cleaning up Vyas' mess because he still had two board members--Ed Moore and Paul Marsh--who'd helped structure the nightmare.

True, some consider Huckelberry a little too close to the development community, and that may be part of the rub with the supes' new Democratic majority, who've yet to determine whether he'll remain at the helm.

The Tucson Citizen did Huckelberry no favors with a rambling editorial headlined, "Huckelberry: Ouster Would Invite Chaos," which explained how much the two GOP supes like him and how the Democrats should stop this awful talk of bringing back either former County Manager Enrique Serna or his chief deputy, Bruce Postil, both of whom were unfairly purged by the GOP majority back in 1993, before Republican Mike Boyd changed sides and voted to hire Huckelberry.

Hold it! The Citizen waxed eloquent about Serna back in the late '80s, when he was first hired, and the paper screamed with the rest of us when Serna and Postil were bushwhacked. So how does bringing either of them back institute chaos?

While we consider Huckelberry a fine administrator, we're confident the other guys would be, too. And we'd like to remind the Citizen the Demos won this election, and hence they have the right to choose their top management team.

We suspect the Growth Lobby is behind the Huckelberry editorial, just as the Copper Bowl freaks were behind the Citizen's journalistic disgrace of the day before.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT THE ARID, ZONED-OUT DAILY STAR: On December 10, the top wankers at the Star ran a boring editorial tepidly admonishing the Pima County Supes' to take their time approving proposed changes in the massive Rocking K development plan. Gee, real brave. Only they chose to run that editorial on the very morning the supes were voting on the matter.

Do these Star-crossed, ivory tower editorialists think the supervisors carefully peruse their wonderfully refined journalistic pearls of wisdom each morning over a breakfast of ham and eggs? We can see it now:

"My goodness!" remarks Ed Moore to his significant other. "Those doughty editorial professionals at the Star have once again helped us avert a foolish mistake just in the nick of time! And to think that I was prepared to bend over and spread 'em wide--politically speaking, or otherwise--for those Rocking K curs!"

Yes, it would be great if the world worked that way, and the Star's formidable cadre of professional editorialists--many with bachelor degrees!--were heeded in the hallowed halls of government. Alas, the supes apparently failed to see that editorial, and voted to approve the changes.

Nice try, bozos.

PERHAPS THEIR BRIEFS WERE TOO TIGHT: In the Star's metro section on the same day, we were treated to a bang-up report by southern Arizona's largest news-gathering team. We're talking about the Star's four paragraphs on the big stink over the Amphi School Board's breathtakingly stupid plan to build a middle school next to a northwest side airstrip.

Perhaps you saw the story on all the TV stations a few nights before the Star's "major piece" on this shameful incident, or read about it here the week before, or heard about it on that fine program, Franzi 10 To 1, on KTUC, AM-1400, even earlier.

Anyway, this textbook-perfect example of investigative brief writing appeared in the Star the same day the school board voted on the matter (See Jim Nintzel's wrap-up report in this issue). If you blinked, you probably missed the Star's coverage, although that cute little star they put at the beginning of each brief is a real eye-catcher!

BUSINESS AS USUAL: And, finally, did you catch Star reporter Alan D. Fischer's December 10 exposé on the University of Arizona's technology park in the business section? Wow, now there's a reporter who knows his way around a press release.

Fischer wrote that marketing efforts at the former IBM plant so far have "attracted eight tenants, including Microsoft Corp., Hughes Missile Systems and IBM."

Duh? IBM was already there. Microsoft has a taxpayer-subsidized boiler-room phone operation, and Hughes--well, who the hell cares as long as they don't further pollute the aquifer with cancer-causing TCE.

The big news was buried well into Fischer's official handout, er, story--namely that Lucent Technologies will be opening another boiler-room phone operation in 1998.

Life in Tucson, like the journalism here, just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it? TW

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