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The Range

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FAIR Game

Opponents of the Protect Arizona Now initiative, which would put bureaucratic roadblocks in the path of illegal immigrants seeking state benefits and force voters to show ID when casting a ballot, filed a Hail Mary lawsuit to disqualify the proposition from appearing on the November ballot, arguing that petition passers were unqualified for various statutory reasons.

The PAN critics also continued to hammer away at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the big-bucks Washington, D.C., organization that funded the PAN petition effort. FAIR recently smacked Kathy McKee, the official chair of the PAN campaign, after McKee tapped white "separatist" Virginia Abernethy as an adviser. FAIR officials condemned Abernethy's "repugnant" views in a press release and demanded that McKee step down from her leadership post.

Shortly afterward, the Center for a New Community, which opposes the PAN initiative, responded with a press release condemning FAIR for continuing "to work with numerous organizations and individuals who either work alongside Dr. Abernethy in racist organizations or share her 'repulsive separatist views.'"

CNC officials suggested FAIR's condemnation was linked to its ongoing efforts to depose McKee as the formal chair of the Protect Arizona Now campaign. McKee has been at odds with other leaders of the campaign for several months.

Meanwhile, Gov. Janet Napolitano's administration released reports showing that the cost of compliance with the initiative, should it pass on Election Day, could reach into the tens of millions of dollars.

State Rep. Randy Graf, a leader in the initiative effort, dismissed those figures as a "wish list" for state agencies.


Running Into Static

Radio personality Brian Jeffries, well known as the "voice of the Wildcats," triumphed over an effort to sideline him by the corporate overlords of Clear Channel Communications. Jeffries, aka Brian Dryden, used to work for Clear Channel's KNST-AM, which recently lost the right to broadcast UA football, basketball and baseball games to radio station KCUB. In the wake of that blunder, station management offered Jeffries a swell deal: He'd continue to provide them with sports reports, but with a pay cut of $40,000 a year. When Jeffries declined that offer, he got the ax.

Jeffries has been hired by KCUB to continue his role as Wildcat sports commentator, but Clear Channel now wants to enforce a non-compete clause in his contract that forbids him from working for another radio station for 185 days after termination.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Jane Eikleberry denied Clear Channel's request for an injunction to prevent Jeffries from covering sports for KCUB. The legal maneuvering is scheduled to continue later this year in Eikleberry's courtroom.


In the Dumps

Tucsonans continue to receive their first bills for trash collection from the city of Tucson. The $14 monthly charge, which appears on water bills, was approved on a 4-3 vote by the Tucson City Council earlier this year, with Mayor Bob Walkup and council members Fred Ronstadt, Carol West and Kathleen Dunbar supporting the fee.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Shirley Scott fired off a memo to City Manager James Keene and her fellow council members, informing them that she was going to direct calls from angry constituents to their offices in the future.


Burrito Bulletin

The Range recently received a press release announcing the launch of the Chili Cheese Locator at www.chilicheese.org , a Web site dedicated to pressuring Taco Bell into bringing back the chili cheese burrito. It appears many Taco Bell locations are phasing out the chili cheese burrito, leading to the creation of--we're not making this up--the Culinary Crisis Coalition, which has launched a campaign to restore this "delicacy" to Taco Bell menus. The Chili Cheese Locator helps users find Taco Bell locations that are still serving the chili cheese burrito.

"We never imagined that the demand for this product was so wide-spread," said Steve Gomez, a spokesperson for ChiliCheese.org. "The support we've received from the public, as well numerous media outlets, hopefully means that the beloved Chili Cheese Burrito won't remain out of reach for long."

The Range suggests tossing all Taco Bell products into a toilet and going to any of Tucson's authentic Mexican restaurants for a decent plate of food.

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