On this weekend's episode of Zona Politics: Arizona Daily Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons sits down to talk about Donald Trump, Doug Ducey, Ally Miller and more. Then Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll talks about why he's calling it quits and how the political environment has changed in the two decades he's served District 4. And then retired Gen. Hoyt "Sandy" Vandenberg and Bill Westcott talk about their proposal to build a memorial to the USS Arizona on the UA Mall. (Make your donation here.)
You can catch the show at 8 a.m. Sunday on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on DirecTV, Dish and broadcast. You can also listen to it at 5 p.m. Sunday on KXCI, 91.3 FM. Or watch online above.
Here's a rush transcript of the show:
Hello, everyone. I'm Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel, and we're here to talk Zona Politics. Today, we'll be talking with Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll as well as two men working to create a memorial to the USS Arizona on the U of A Mall. And we begin with one of Tucson's most notorious scoundrels, Arizona Daily Star cartoonist Dave Fitzsimmons. Dave, thanks for joining us here on Zona Politics.
(Fitzsimmons) My pleasure, senior writer. I guess I'm the senior cartoonist of the Arizona Red Star.
(Nintzel) Indeed you are. And what is it like being an editorial cartoonist in Arizona?
(Fitzsimmons) Oh, what a target-rich environment! I died many years ago and went to heaven, and this is heaven to me. This is paradise. When I started at the Star in '86 Evan Mecham was governor, and when he was driven from office, I thought to myself, that's the last of goofy politics in Arizona. And, happily, I was so very, very wrong. This has been a rich cornucopia for me. Yeah. I'm in heaven. I love being a cartoonist in Arizona. And I love being employed. It's great to be working indoors doodling and ridiculing hard-working, decent people, in light of the fact that there are only about 25 cartoonists left in the United States working at newspapers, so ....
(Nintzel) Are you eligible for endangered species protection?
(Fitzsimmons) I am! I am ferruginous.
(Nintzel) Active at dawn and dusk. I know that one. Trump. Is the country losing its collective mind or finally coming to its senses?
(Fitzsimmons) That is a wonderful question. I think the country is—both are occurring, depending on your perspective. Trump has tapped into a what I believe is the inner Nazi inside all of us. When I was growing up, I used to play with my toy soldiers and I was convinced that my Japanese and German toy soldiers were evil. That the people in in those uniforms were evil. I was so wrong. They're just human beings like the rest of us. There's nothing that really makes the Germans distinct from the Americans. And then desperate times call for really weird politics. Here in the United States, we have a population, like myself—old, white males—who have had a hard time adapting to the globalization that has hit them like a hammer, and so they have to find somebody to blame and Trump is the godsend. And he's a godsend for cartoonists as well. It's a delight to have a fascist, authoritarian, sexist bigot running for office. And from my perspective, you know I'm a commie, all that he's doing is simply voicing aloud the Republican sentiments that smarter Republicans have just kept to themselves.
(Nintzel) The dog whistle.
(Fitzsimmons) The dog whistle, and I don't know about you, but I'm really shocked that the party that loves Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter is shocked and dismayed by the behavior of Donald Trump. Puleez.
(Nintzel) Trump really does seem to have Senator John McCain in a bit of a bind, what with the insults Trump has been throwing his way, but he's still supporting him. Do you think the "Straight Talk Express" has taken a wrong turn on this one?
(Fitzsimmons) I think that poor Mr. McCain—I don't know what became of whatever spine he might have at one time possessed, but this makes for a wonderful cartoon. I think it's going to be in Tuesday's paper, which I drew this morning, in fact. What a mind reader you are! It's Trump's hair, sort of as a wig but trapped under the wig, behind bars, is John McCain, and the caption is: "McCain's no war hero. He got captured" And McCain saying, "For a second time." Poor McCain. It's been a ... it must be hard if you're a relatively reasonable human being, holding the office of senator in a state where you have to curry favor with lunatics in Maricopa County. You're just not conservative enough.
(Nintzel) Hillary vs. Bernie. Bernie's really hanging in there. Are you longing to see a Donald vs. Bernie debate?
(Fitzsimmons) I am, in another planet, another world. But I am a realist. I just, despite what the polls say, I just do not have faith that Bernie Sanders would fare well with the American masses. I can't help but think the smear machine would destroy him, whereas Hillary is gifted at survival.
(Nintzel, offscreen) She's already been destroyed.
(Fitzsimmons) She's already been destroyed multiple times. She is the Phoenix! (Makes terrible bird noise.) Good cartoon idea. Thank you.
(Nintzel) Get right on that one. Arizona legislature wrapped up work a few weeks back. The session provided you with plenty of material. Some of your highlights?
(Fitzsimmons) Ah! The first thing I've got to say is, I love the writing of H.L. Mencken. You probably like Mencken. You probably read his stuff.
(Nintzel, off-camera) Life of Kings.
(Fitzsimmons) Yeah, Life of Kings, great stuff. Being an American. (paraphrasing Mencken) "The American people, talking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the Middle Ages." And our legislature is a body of poltroons for the most part. It means chickens. Birds. Our legislature, I'm grateful that KidsCare was saved. Whew! How amazing it is to live in a state where we are grateful that something simply reasonable and pragmatic occurs, takes place.
(Nintzel) That they're willing to accept federal dollars to insure children.
(Fitzsimmons) Yes, but on the flipside, we still have a public policymaker in control, who believe in whimsical, magical nonsense such as trickle-down economics and supply-side, which is shaping your tax policy, which, I think, we're still on a clear path to converting this into Kansas with prickly pear. Which I can all love because it's great cartoon material. Human suffering is wonderful for cartoons.
(Nintzel) Governor Ducey, two sessions under his belt, now, running that legislature, more or less. What do you think of the governor?
(Fitzsimmons) I'm surprised he's not vice-presidential material. I'm surprised he's not on Donald Trump's short list. I'll tell you what I do think of the governor. I've met him a couple of times and he certainly is a shiny-faced, cheerful, chucklehead of a man. I'm always vexed by, perhaps you are, too, when you meet these individuals, or like Ally Miller, whom you have met.
(Nintzel) She's up next. I want to talk about her.
(Fitzsimmons) Oh, wonderful! Well, when you meet a true believer you know, an individual who is locked into an ideology that's inflexible, and, unfortunately, our governor Ducey is one of those, he's just going to smile as he wreaks tax cut, after tax cut, after tax cut. It's going to be a delight to witness.
(Nintzel) Ally Miller, you mentioned her. Pima County Board of Supervisors, my favorite Supervisor, probably because she's the only elected official to ever call 911 to see if they could have a story I wrote taken down off the internet.
(Fitzsimmons) Perhaps you're a high-five man. That's high five.
(Nintzel) She's mostly refused to talk to me, but I ran into her after a forum one time, and she says to me, "Are you still drawing me with those teabag earrings," and I realized she had me mixed up with you.
(Fitzgerald) Wow! I heard she asked Tim Stellar virtually the same question. She is dazed and confused. Oh, she's had this before....
(Nintzel) You've made more of an impression on her than me or Tim.
(Fitzsimmons) Apparently. I've never heard from her. No emails, no letters. I guess it's just not passing ... her telepathic messages aren't passing through her tinfoil helmet to me, or out of her bunker, which is the biosphere, I understand. I think it's still in her district. Yeah. I was thinking of writing a column about my attempts to get in contact with her. I think the next step is I'm going to try to climb like Spider-Man up the side of the county building and (makes knocking sound). Rap on the window to see if I get a response.
(Nintzel) She'll have security coming in a hurry, I think.
(Fitzsimmons) Yeah. Ally Miller is such a wonderful case study of an archetype that has poisoned American politics. On the left as well. That same kind of archetype of the inflexible ideologue. It's so vexing and frustrating. And that's something that's kind of new to me. It seems to be a new phenomenon the past decade or so, and it just kind of bubbled up to the surface, and now they actually hold office. For example, in my corner of the woods, my representative is Mark Finchem. You have to know have to know your Mr. Finchem. He's a delightful fella. Kalamazoo's finest.
(Nintzel) We're going to have to leave it there, Fitz. Thanks so much for coming in.
(Fitzsimmons) But wait! There's ... okay.
(Nintzel) And we'll be right back.
(Nintzel) And we're back with Zona Politics. I'm your host, Jim Nintzel, and my next guest is Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll. Earlier this year, Supervisor Carroll announced he would not seek re-election to the District 4 seat he has held since 1997. Ray, welcome to Zona Politics.
(Carroll) Thanks for having me, Jim. I'm delighted to be here.
(Nintzel) So why are you calling it quits?
(Carroll) Well, Jim, five terms in elected office in local office is which is what I really enjoy, was quite enough. I think it's time to let someone else take a chance, run for office and see how it works out for them. For me, I have been happy to have survived five terms. I kind of chalk it up to football, boxing and politics—they’re all are contact sports and I'm just glad I survived each one of those, but it's time for me to hang up my gloves and my spikes and move on out of politics into some other business or some other field.
(Nintzel) What are you most proud of from your years on the board?
(Carroll) Well, obviously over the years we've developed some very far-reaching initiatives, such as the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. I think that's an important success story. I think it's nationally recognized as an ambitious, yet obviously a successful plan, and I think it's been a great model for other communities that are dealing with endangered species as other things get in the way of their growth. And it's important for them to know that we're willing and helpful, and I think that it's brought certainty to development while keeping very pristine and important Sonoran Desert intact.
(Nintzel) And are you getting involved at all? There's a Republican primary to determine who's going to replace you? There's former car dealer Steve Christy in there. There's a Tea Party activist, Marla Closen. Are you weighing in on that at all?
(Carroll) Well, I'll talk to any candidate that wants to seek out my input, and certainly I've talked to the candidates in District 4. I think Steve Christy coming in after I announced my retirement, in fact, was a good start for him. I think that he's been in the office, he's been in the running for office, now, since probably the beginning of March, and I'm very sure that someday we'll be able to sit down something where I can support and help him.
(Nintzel) Talk a little bit just about how the tone of county politics has changed in the 20 years you've been on the board.
(Carroll) Well, 20 years, obviously when I first came into office, we had many statesmen in Southern Arizona and across the state of Arizona. Barry Goldwater was still active in politics in Phoenix, no longer in the Senate by the time I got into office, but we had people like Jim Kolbe and great chairpersons of the party here locally that really thought that the Republican Party should be a big tent. I see less of that more and more. It's become a little more, let's just say, defined as far as the chasm between, let's say, “the establishment” and, as you mentioned earlier, the kind of Tea Party Patriots that have cranked up the rhetoric. I believe that Southern Arizona, Republicans just got so frustrated with losing local offices in every election cycle, that, you know, a lot of people have walked away from the party, and these later people that came into the Tea Party Patriots and other programs pretty much usurped the party from the community, and have now been running it in their own image, and it's not winning elections, Jim. It's certainly important for all of us to reach out and try to represent the entire community, not just a faction of the community.
(Nintzel) And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued a biological opinion regarding the Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains that supports the mine going forward. You've been a long-time opponent of the mine. Are you disappointed in that biological opinion?
(Carroll) Well, I think so. It's going to be challenged in court, most definitely. There've been reports and Freedom of Information Act requests in the past. This is a complete contradiction to the way they've been heading prior. I think it was a political decision. I think that's unfortunate. That's why it's probably going to not survive judicial review, but you still have the Environmental Protection Agency that's concerned and has weighed in many times against the mine and what it's going to do to our water supply. And you still have the Corps of Engineers which is very concerned about the runoff and the pollution that they get into the canyons, but especially the Empire Cienega, the wash and the creek preserve. We have millions and millions of taxpayer dollars from the Bureau of Land Management, from Pima County and other agencies that have invested in the Cienega Creek, Davidson Canyon and other locales, and I think that it's going to be the EPA and the Corps of Engineers that protects those and stops the mine.
(Nintzel) The county recently approved an incentive package for World View (Enterprises), the ballooning company/ You're going to be building them a headquarters and a launch pad and then they're going to be leasing it back from you. The Goldwater Institute has said this is a violation of Arizona Constitution's Gift Clause. They're taking you to court over this and are concerned about some other process issues, in terms of open bidding and such. Why did you think this was a good deal?
(Carroll) Well I voted for the deal simply because the space industry, and the founders of World View, are at the cutting edge of new business and new opportunities for Southern Arizona. I felt that it was an important job first off, to support them. I have great support for the business community from the Arizona Commerce Authority, from local business leaders, and I'm afraid that the Goldwater Institute is trying to tie one of our hands behind our back when it comes to economic development. So, of course I'm against the suit. I think it's important for us to be able to have the same tools in our tool box that other communities have to provide incentives for economic development, so, I believe it's important for all of us to stand up on the board against this Goldwater suit, and just say it's politics, because that's what it really is. We have very similar projects that were done in, very similar projects that were done in Scottsdale and other locales, and the Goldwater didn't raise a finger to attack them. It's very political. I think it's a unfortunate, because, as I mention, the Scottsdale Air Park, they did a very similar job in recruiting a company called Gemini Airlines, similar to how we did it with World View, and they were never even looked at by the Goldwater Institute, so, again, I think that any judge will probably throw this case out, And I'm looking forward to having it end, soon.
(Nintzel) About a minute left, but I don't want to leave out mentioning your former colleague on the board Ann Day, who was killed in a tragic car collision just a few weeks ago. What would you like to say about that?
(Carroll) It's important for all of us to know that she did a good job. She had a good record of serving her community. But for all of us that knew her personally, we're terribly heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred over Mother's Day weekend. What a sad reminder every Mother's Day for her kids and grandkids to have to deal with. She was, as I said, a friend. and a colleague that I respected very much, and I'm saddened by her passing, especially in such a tragic way, unnecessary loss from a drunk driver.
(Nintzel) Alright. We're going to have to leave it there. Ray Carroll, thank you for coming by, and talking about what's going on with Pima County, and we will be right back with some gentlemen who are working on a memorial to the USS Arizona at the University of Arizona Mall.
(Nintzel) And we're back with Zona Politics. I'm your I'm your host, Jim Nintzel, and my next guests are retired Major General Hoyt "Sandy" Vandenberg. Jr., who graduated from the United States Military Academy, in 1951 and commanded the 390th Tactical Fighters' Squadron during the Vietnam War. He also served as Commandant of the United States Air Force Academy, and as Vice Commander and Chief of the Pacific Air Forces before he retired in 1981. We're also joined by Bill Westcott, who lost an uncle in the attack on the USS Arizona and is working with General Vandenberg to establish a memorial to the USS Arizona on the U of A Mall. Gentlemen welcome to Zona Politics. And, before we get started, we have a video you put together about the project, and let's take a look at that, now.
(Westcott): The USS Arizona Mall Memorial Project is a citizen-sponsored project designed to recognize the sacrifice of the sailors and marines on December 7 1941.
(David Carter) The USS Arizona Mall Memorial will be an outline to full scale of the 597-foot length of the deck of the ship. It almost exactly fits into the width of the Mall, and the length between Old Main and the desert garden We will outline it with bronze medallions, each inscribed with the names of the 1,177 men who were killed on the ship on December 7, 1941. These were not just names. These were individuals.
(Westcott) The overwhelming majority of the kids on the ship were between the ages of 17 and 22. The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands of students that cross that mall are the same age. Had one generation not made the sacrifice, the current generation would not be here in the way that it is now. So as students walk across that mall, across that big open space, our hope is that they will be able to glance at those dates and feel for themselves the importance of being young with a lot of potential, and recognize that the sacrifice made by those people young, with potential, vanished within an instant.
(Charles Albanese) And it represents not just 1,177 young men, it represents what the country went through at that particular time, and the scale of it, to me, is incredible. I get goosebumps when I think about what it can be to me.
(Westcott) It is historical context, tying in elements of the University of Arizona already committed to the USS Arizona, for example the library and elements of the Student Union.
(Albanese) All the variety of celebrations of student activities, of community activities, they can all exist as well, and the memorial won't interrupt it in one way.
(Westcott) In a small way, we believe that this outline shows the scale of the ship, it shows the scale of war it shows the scale of commitment to freedom, and the American way of life.
(Nintzel) So that's a really remarkable coincidence that the U of A Mall is the shape and length and width of the USS Arizona. General Vandenberg, talk a little bit about why it's important to remember the sailors who lost their lives aboard the Arizona.
(Gen. Vandenberg) I'm glad to answer that question. Incidentally, I think this project was ordained to be in the Mall. My father was a major in, back in 1941 when the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor, and he was in planning in the old War Department building. He was listening to the Redskin football game in our apartment on Cathedral Ave. in Washington, D.C., and I heard that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. I ran and told my father. He took off and I didn't see him for two weeks. Of course later he went overseas to the opposite theater in Europe, but the USS Arizona. I remember the next day getting on a bus and going to a movie down to F Street with a friend on Massachusetts Ave. We went right by the Japanese Embassy, and they were burning papers in the yard. It made a big impression on me. And the war then followed, and all of it, I lived through, all of it is something I will never forget, and all of it is something I think other people should be aware of.
(Nintzel) What do you like about the way this memorial is set up?
(Gen. Vandenberg) Well I think, having 1,177 small medallions outlining this project on the mall I think they'll speak to us I think there's going to be a cry, that they represent for all those that fought and died in World War II, the message they send is "Don't forget. Don't forget us. Don't forget us." "Don't forget us," and that's what the Mall's all about.
(Nintzel) And, Bill, you lost an uncle on the USS Arizona. That's inspired your father to enlist in the Navy, and the attack on Pearl Harbor really shaped your family's life in many ways. Talk about that a little bit.
(Westcott) My dad was 15 when the attack occurred. He was in the ninth grade. He, the following Monday, he dropped out of school and enlisted. He enlisted in the Navy, and a couple of years later, he was in the South Pacific, shooting down Japanese Zeroes on one shift, and running the mortuary detail the following shift. He stayed in until '47. He came back. I was born about nine months later. And I will tell you that my, the experience with my father was that he didn't ever talk, not only about the war, but to me or my family. It was an amazing experience. You could see that there was something in him that he didn't think he could get out by telling you about it. So, my father died in 2011, and I have searched for a way to pay respect to him, his loss, out family the families of the 1,177 and the 404,000 men that and the women that died in World War II. Just yesterday when I got home, after lunch with General Vandenberg, my uncle sent me the Purple Heart for my uncle, dated December 7, 1941, and I have to tell you that it was a ten minutes of not moving in front of that object. And I felt in my heart, like the general feels, that this is a project that is mean to be the generation of today, needs to know and understand the price that was paid to have the society that they have.
(Nintzel) And, General, there are only a few survivors of Pearl Harbor still with us, and we're losing World War II veterans to age, talk a little about what you know about the men who fought in World War II.
(Gen. Vandenberg) Well, of course, my area of expertise was the flyers, but I think just to pick up from what Bill said, this memorial all the medallions there that outline this project, limited to sailors, and Marines, I feel strongly that they represent everyone that fought and died for freedom, and served in uniform for this country, that's what the project makes you think. It's all-encompassing. I think it's the apotheosis of World War II.
(Nintzel) And, Bill, you need to raise $100,000 for this project by the first of June. The pressure is really on. Now, how can folks help?
(Westcott) They can go to USSArizonaMallMemorial.org They can take a look at the full video that you just referenced. They can look across the screen to the big red donate button, and they can push that, and that will take you directly to the University of Arizona Foundation to make a contribution, or they can send a contribution to the Foundation itself at 1111 North Cherry Tucson, Arizona 85721.
(Nintzel) Alright, well thank you guys for your time. We're all out of time, here, but General, thank you for your long service to our country, and we will be right back with some closing thoughts.
(Nintzel) That's our show for today. Next week, we'll be taking a break for Memorial Day Weekend, but we'll be back the first weekend in June. My thanks to our media partners at Tucson Weekly, Tucson Local Media and KXCI 91.3 FM, where you can hear the show at 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. If you missed any part of today's show, you can find all our episodes at zonapolitics.com, and be sure to follow us on Facebook. I'm Jim Nintzel. Thanks for watching, and on behalf of everyone down here on the Zona Politics team, I'd like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday weekend.