by Jim Nintzel
Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik says that recent allegation that he urinated in public last week are “bullshit.”
Local right-wing radio jocks have been repeating the unsubstantiated claim, which was first made at the Arizona Daily Independent website.
Kozachik, who was the subject of this week’s cover story, told TW via email:
They're clearly desperate. Anybody can make an anonymous allegation, and that's all the ADI blog is. Nobody is ever on the record and so it makes it easy for them to put guys like me in the position of having to prove a negative. They smeared Ray Carroll during his campaign, and are so fringe that they've called guys like Bruce Ash and Al Melvin RINO's.The ADI article in question, like most of the content on the website, is bylined “ADI News Services.” The non-attributed story cited anonymous sources who allegedly witnessed Kozachik standing against a wall in a neighborhood near El Con:
If the Republican Party wants to regain any level of credibility in this community, they'll remove the link from their web site.
It also says something about the journalistic professionalism of KNST and Journal Broadcasting that they're running this shit on the radio day after day, but I guess that's the small-minded echo chamber of hatred that the fringe right in this town seems to thrive on. Two weeks ago it was me “testing” prostitutes through my efforts at offering a diversion program. Before that it was me having a “gay wedding with my secret lover” that they had posted on Facebook. I won't be spending the next six months of this campaign giving them any level of relevancy by answering false and anonymous allegations, but I'm more than happy to put it out there with you this one time that this group of children needs to grow up. The fact is that they'll show that they're incapable of that and that'll validate the reason behind them being a bunch of losers in virtually every election in this region.
The City Councilman, an avid runner, stopped and urinated against a wall outside of Gabby Gifford’s new neighborhood in full view of stunned passersby.
Kozachik was seen moments later, at approximately 10:16 a.m. near the Starbucks at El Con mall.
One witness to Kozachik’s public indecency said, “He ran up to the wall, faced it, and just started peeing and peeing and peeing. It seemed like an eternity.”
Witnesses had considered calling law enforcement for the public indecency, but feared retaliation. The Councilman is well-known for his angry temperament and with the mismanagement of the City budget it was unlikely, in their estimation that the cops could come any way.
As is typical of ADI articles, the story also included more anonymous reaction from people who fear to give their names while expressing their opinion:
“Some call it the ‘Tucson way’ and others call it B.S.,” said one native Tucsonan. “I call it B.S,. There is a double-standard here and people are getting sick of it. These city clowncil folks and their cronies are starving us with their boycotts, bans, and bullshit.”
One Tucsonan said of Kozachik’s lack of public decency, “He wants to regulate every part of our lives, but he can’t regulate his own bladder? God forbid, his need to pee was not caused by a 32 ounce Big Gulp, because we know what would be coming next.”
Kozachik was blunt in his reaction to the story: "It's bullshit. Two weeks ago, (radio host) Jon Justice was talking about how I was testing prostitutes when I was doing Project RAISE. Folks, grow up."
Here’s the deal: Anonymously sourced articles like this just don’t pass the sniff test (if you’ll excuse the expression in this case). If no one is willing to go on the record—including the author of the piece—you’re simply not credible. It’s amateurish and clownish.
Furthermore: Is this really the best that conservatives in this town can come up with when they’re trying to criticize public officials? The way that the radio guys have seized on this nonsense is not a reflection on Kozachik. It just demonstrates that his critics have a hard time coming up with a substantive argument, primarily because they do virtually no investigating of anything. They’re not engaged in journalism. They’re engaged in epistemic closure.
That’s not a criticism based in ideology. Listen to what Emil Franzi, a longtime local GOP political consultant, has to say about this:
There is a totally unsupported claim made in a rather disreputable website that Councilman Kozacik was seen publicly urinating. This is the same hit sheet that similarly smeared Supervisor Ray Carroll last summer with the claim that an “anonymous source” told them he has solicited a bribe from them. In both cases, this website claims that they cannot divulge the name of the accuser because they “fear retaliation”. Right.Franzi is no fan of Kozachik, but he told The Range yesterday that there's no reason to believe anything you read on the ADI website.
Now unlike the warmed over gypsy shock jocks who have repeated this claim about Kozacik, some of us have been around long enough to know better than to run with a story this dirty that somebody claims somebody told them about with no real proof. (HINT: a picture of a wet spot on a wall doesn;t count.) While I realize feeling against Kozacik runs high on the right (I’ve stoked some of it myself) the public peeing story has no credibility whatsoever and those repeating it should be ashamed of themselves and knock it off.
“All you have to do is look at that piece of shit for about 10 seconds and you know there’s something wrong with it,” Franzi said.
Franzi is running his own conservative news site, the Southern Arizona News-Examiner. He has a long-running radio talk show, Inside Track, that airs on Saturday afternoons on KVOI, 1030 AM.
Franzi said the radio hosts who have been hyping the story “give talk radio a bad name with their complete inability to investigate a claim. They’ve been conned by a publication that’s clearly a scam. You ever read that thing? There are no bylines. Why would you believe that source on anything? If you’re going to use that as your source, there’s something wrong with the way you’re doing the news at your station.”