by Jim Nintzel
This week's piece "Bunch of Dicks" had its genesis after I saw this KGUN-9 News report last week that was so riddled with phony statements, mistakes and moments of unintentional humor that I almost thought it was an audition for The Daily Show. Anne-Marie Russell should consider running it as a performance-art hit piece during the first installation at MOCA's new headquarters.
It was so bad that reporter Joel Waldman had to do a follow-up that contradicts a number of points he didn't check out in this original piece.
Here are my favorite moments:
1:12: Joel refers to the political committee as “Tucson Vision Community” even as the camera shows a “Tucson Vision Committee” tag.
1:34: Joel tells us an ad is “set to run in next week’s Tucson Citizen.” That’s the paper that stopped publishing six months ago.
1:39: Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash alleges that the Tucson City Council “"authorized the expenditure of a lot of dollars on a piece work called 'Big Dick No. 1.'" ("Dick" is bleeped out.)
Fact check: The show that included “Big Dicks No. 1” was in 2005, when Republicans controlled the city council. No tax dollars were spent on the artwork, which was borrowed as part of a show at MOCA. MOCA has not gotten any TPAC dollars since 2006, when it got about $500.
1:50: Joel shows a picture of “Big Dicks No. 1,” completely blurred out. Nothing inaccurate here, but it struck me as something straight out of Monty Python.
2:05: Joel reports that Ash has told him
that the city gave up $84,000 a year in rent for the downtown firehouse. Ash has since admitted to us he can’t substantiate that claim; City Manager Mike Letcher says “there's no truth to that rumor.”
2:21: Joel reports that “Big Dicks No. 1” will be one of the first exhibits at MOCA once it moves into the fire station. Completely false.
3:13: Jennifer Waddell asks Joel about the Tucson Vision Committee. Joel says it's “kind of vague.” Well, it's vague unless you go to the city's Web site and download the campaign finance report from Tucson Vision Committee. You'll find out four people had made contributions as of the last filing. (New reports are due tomorrow.) One of them is Michael Goodman, the mini-dorm developer who is battling the City Council, which is trying to slow down his efforts to throw up student housing north the university with little regard for longtime residents. Gee, wonder why he wants to see a change in the City Council?
Joel continues, saying the committee's "role is expenditures to give out money to kind of battle the people who are in city council right now. Clearly they’re very unhappy with the job they are doing and exceptionally unhappy about the fact that they gave that firehouse out for $1 a year when they claim they were offered $84,000 a year for with a cap of up to, I believe, $5 million."
Aside from the nonsense at the start of his answer—"role is expenditures to give out money to kind of battle the people who are in City Council right now"?—the rest of the statement is completely contradicted by city officials, who say that Homeland Security never showed an interest in the building.