MEET THE NEW BOSSThe Pima County Republican Central Committee got together for its statutory election meeting last Saturday, Dec. 4, and--as regularly occurs with most partisan efforts--both the meeting and the results were ignored by the two dailies.
Outgoing Chairman John Munger, who brought new meaning to "low-profile," was replaced by longtime party activist Judi White. Expect White to be both more visible and more committed to filling out the ticket, even for those races that are deemed "unwinnable."
The long-rumored candidacy of outgoing state Rep. Randy Graf for the party chairmanship never came about. Graf wasn't even in attendance; he was off pursuing something or other in D.C. --which may have contributed to his loss (by one vote) for the party's executive committee member-at-large.
The next big GOP step is an upcoming meeting in Phoenix to elect state officers. Former Congressman and 2002 gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon is currently running unopposed for state chair. Like White, he is committed to running a broader swath of candidates.
Salmon was represented at Saturday's meeting by National Committeeman Randy Pullen. Pullen was probably not the greatest choice for a couple of reasons. He defeated Pima County's Mike Hellon in a party election that was tainted by allegations of fraud, and he's from Maricopa County. Hey Matt, if you want to build the party here, get somebody from here to speak for you.
Of the 1,200-plus GOP precinct committee slots in Pima County, only about 250 are currently filled. Compare that to 750 a decade ago, when the popular and competent Linda Barber was GOP chair. Salmon and White have a whole more to find than a replacement for Joe Sweeney.
But there's good news for the Republicans: The Dems are equally lackluster and have a similar numbers problem.
STORM TROOPERWe will give outgoing Pima Community College football coach Jeff Scurran his due: In his fourth and final season as the little big man blowing the Storm, his team won its first-ever postseason game, the Pilgrim's Pride Classic. The Storm upset Kilgore College, a Texas outfit that was ranked second in the nation among junior college teams, Saturday by a 10-7 score.
Scurran goes out a winner. He also goes out a whiner, still bitching behind the scenes (and on airplane flights, during which he's a real chatterbox while he's on the way to deliver his latest motivational speech). And he always has an outlet--the jock-sniffers who write for daily papers' sports pages, as well as the television sports nerds.
Scurran likes to claim that Pima football is being choked by PCC Chancellor Roy Flores, because Flores doesn't want the boatload of out-of-state recruits taking up spots that should go to local kids. Football at Pima was sold as a place for local talent to play--before Flores ever set foot in Tucson.
Flores isn't stupid enough to act unilaterally. He reports to an elected, five-member board of governors.
One of Flores' bosses is Richard Fimbres, the tireless director of Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano's Office of Highway Safety and a longtime leader of the League of United Latin American Citizens, who was appointed to the PCC board in 1997 and elected and re-elected without opposition. He was the key proponent of football at Pima. A talented player back in the day at Tucson High School, Fimbres figures that local kids benefit from the opportunity to play a couple more years, even if they don't sign later with a four-year-school.
But Scurran and his lackey assistants, some of whom he carried over from their grade-adjusting days at Sabino High School, went wild recruiting out-of-state players. They went nuts on the East Campus segregation from other Pima sports and arrogantly replaced Pima's historic Aztec name with the Storm.
Flores recognized that. He also recognized the school's obligation to students, whose tuition and fees have been jacked up, as well as faculty and staff, who won their not-so-hard fight for pay raises, and the taxpayers who are footing a big part of Pima's bills.
Flores saw that Scurran's Storm and other athletic programs were running amok. When he asked about costs, Flores got some bullshit defense of Scurran instead of a straight answer.
Scurran has succeeded in conning most of the local press into believing that he bolted because of new conditions handed down by Flores. Wrong. Scurran paved his own exit.
The dailies should note that Scurran's complaining hardly registered with Pima County voters. No one challenged the two PCC board members up for election last month: Fimbres, a Democrat with broad support, or even Scott Stewart, a tax-and-spend LINO (Libertarian in Name Only).
THE MUNCHIESIn their never-in-doubt campaign against Republican cracker Joe Sweeney, Congressman Raúl Grivalva's forces worked up big appetites.
Grijalvistas ate $488 worth of pizza in four orders in October, spending records show. Their clear favorite was Brooklyn Pizza, which benefited from Grijalva's contributors to the tune of $425. That included a particularly thick-crust order on Oct. 9 for $358.68.
Pizza Hut scored a $63 order from Grijalva's camp on Oct. 1.
The preference is noteworthy. Brent Kyte, the king of Tucson Pizza Hut restaurants, was one of the fall-into-line business leaders who praised Grijalva for holding meetings with them during his first term. Kyte also contributed to the Democrat's re-election treasury and was a host at a big-shots-only bash held for Grijalva at McMahon's Prime Steak House.
SPEAKING OF RAINAll the anguished hand wringing over the dismissal of KVOA anchor-mom Patty Weiss reminds us of the time Patty made summer monsoon chit-chat with then-KVOA weather wrangler Michael Goodrich.
"Michael," Patty said in her best sing-song voice, "there is thunder and lightning, but I'm still not wet."
Patty's many fans, including some members of the media who have covered the awkward mess of KVOA trying to show her the door, also have mischaracterized her stature among women in Tucson television. Pat Stevens was the real pioneer for women in television news in Tucson with KGUN.
KEENE: THE FAREWELL TOURCity Manager James Keene, leaving on a jet plane for Sacramento in January, will play five additional dates this month. Billed as "farewell open houses," Keene will venture where he has seldom gone--south of Broadway--for a bull session at the Price Service Center auditorium, 4004 S. Park Ave. It begins at 2 p.m. Gee, Kommander Keene, while you are there, you might want to have city trash maven Eliseo Garza explain why he just let the Meadows townhome community off the hook for half of its "mandatory" garbage collection fee to the tune of more than $4,300.
Keene also will meet with fans on Dec. 21 at the County-City Public Works Building, 201 N. Stone Ave., at 9 a.m., where he presumably will speak about the great strides he made in city-county cooperation. He has two shows on Dec. 22, 8:30 a.m. at Reid Park and 1:30 p.m. at the Tucson Police Department, 270 S. Stone Ave. He'll wrap it up on Dec. 27 with a 9:30 performance at City Hall in the council chambers.