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The Range

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No Sale

Looks like we won't have a half-cent sales tax increase in Pima County. To no one's great surprise, Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, who blocked a similar proposal in 1997, cast the sole vote last week against the sales-tax increase.

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry had urged the Board of Supervisors to pass the sales tax to further reduce property taxes. Huckelberry and Carroll's fellow supervisors argued that the sales-tax burden would be partially borne by tourists, Mexican shoppers and the growing number of residents in neighboring counties who now pay no property taxes to the county. But Carroll, cognizant of the GOP base in his district, wasn't buying it and blocked the implementation of the tax, which requires a unanimous vote from the Board of Supervisors. (You can read Carroll's reasoning for his vote in this week's Mailbag.)


Gab Fest

A good 17 months before the November '08 election, the National Republican Congressional Committee has already started targeting freshman Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a series of robocalls and radio ads that portray her as being out of touch with Congressional District 8 voters.

Giffords had raised more than $400,000 for her re-election effort as of April 30.


Sexual Confusion

Writing in the latest edition of The New Vision, a diocese publication, Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas confessed to being perplexed as to why gays and lesbians might not feel welcome in the Catholic Church.

"I am very sensitive to the concerns I have heard from people of same-sex orientation that they feel they have no place in our parishes or in the household of faith," Kicanas said. "We need to consider how we as a Diocese or how I as bishop may be generating such misunderstanding."

At the risk of condemning ourselves to hell (again), here are a couple of ideas for Kicanas to consider: Next time a ballot initiative banning not only gay marriage, but also domestic partnerships and civil unions, comes along, maybe the church shouldn't rush out and support it. And Kicanas might consider having a talk with the Pope about toning down that Catholic teaching about how homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered" and "under no circumstances can they be approved." Just doesn't sound that welcoming to us.


Fueling Debate

Tucson's average unleaded gas price climbed to just more than $3 a gallon at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Arizona. That's an increase of 4 cents a gallon from the previous week.

Those rising prices persuaded Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to join 21 other governors in writing a letter to Congress to request an investigation into rising gas prices. We're sure Congress will get right to the bottom of that.

"The reasons for these massive increases do not appear to be tied to any recent changes in geo-political events or a weather crisis," the governors wrote. "It is difficult to understand how oil companies can be making record profits each quarter without making capital investments in refineries that would address reliability issues."


Kit and Cafoodle

Anybody want a cute little kitten? The Humane Society of Southern Arizona has so many of the tiny buggers running about that they're running out of kitten food. Help stave off catastrophe by taking a kitten home with you or dropping off a cash donation between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the shelter, 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd.


Flunkies

The Center for Women Policy Studies gave Arizona poor marks in the effort to battle sex trafficking. While the state got a C+ in criminalizing sex trafficking, it got failing grades in protecting and assisting victims; in having a statewide task force to assess the extent of trafficking; in regulating international marriage brokers; and in regulating travel-service providers.

But if you grade on a curve, the state isn't doing so badly, since nearly every other state flunked most of the categories as well.


Batter Up

The UA softball team won two games against Cal State Fullerton to take the super regional at Hillenbrand Stadium over Memorial Day weekend. The twin wins put the Wildcats back in the Women's College World Series for the 19th time in 20 years.

The top-seeded Wildcats, 44-12-1 going into the World Series, are scheduled to play Baylor University in Oklahoma City at 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, May 31.

Meanwhile, the UA baseball team finished the season in second place in the Pac-10 with a 40-15 overall record. The boys are off to the Wichita regional to face Oral Roberts on Friday, June 1, to start down the road toward a berth in the College World Series.

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