The Bee BrothersForget Africanized bees; the scary bees are the Bee Brothers, Keith and Tim, the perpetually smiling religious righties who have ruled the eastside and Green Valley legislative district for more than a decade.
The Bees are smug. The Bees are condescending. The Bees are evasive.
Their buzz grew loud this summer during the height of the shenanigans perpetrated by a wacky group then controlling the governing board of the tiny Tanque Verde Unified School District.
As state Sen. Tim Bee--the Republican successor to his older, term-limited brother--played with the Tanque Verde majority regarding funding for a doomed high school, Keith finagled a preposterous real estate deal with the same majority. Keith Bee could not be found when his Bee Line bus company was months behind in $725-a-month rent for storage at the Tanque Verde bus yard. Did he get evicted? Nah; Keith greased a deal to flip roles and lease, for a buck a year, some residential-zoned property north of the Tanque Verde bus barn to the district. This allowed Bee Line to escape Pima County zoning regs and to strip the property.
The Bees also are cowards. Tim Bee would frequently take a powder on key votes, hiding in the state capitol complex. Keith shows up for the votes, but is too spineless to vote his convictions or to take responsibility. He is more whine than sting: "I really don't want to do this, but my constituents want me to."
Campus MagazineCampus Magazine seems to exist only to insult the intellect of UA students. What can be more demeaning than a publication that stereotypes university students as a bunch of shallow, pretty people pursuing an education in modeling, drinking and Louis Vuitton?
The articles are about as colorful as Oreos. Some of the most thought-provoking topics have included hottest student cars; hot bodies; cool water; U of A butts; and Tucson's hottest bartender.
Then there are the photos. Apparently, Campus Magazine does not believe in inner beauty. Not only do they make sure that every photo includes a white female, but very few photos show anybody who's not white.
Campus Magazine claims its purpose is "to provide students and recent graduates with the opportunity to display the skills they have acquired from their studies." If that's indeed the case, then the UA must be developing a lot of shallow, Euro-centric losers--and little else.
Clear Channel CommunicationsIt's not bad enough that Clear Channel Communications has control of seven--yes, seven!--of our hometown radio stations, bringing us homogenized playlists from corporate headquarters. (And don't be playing any anti-war songs, DJs!) But even more rotten is Clear Channel's stinky stable of ugly billboards that stretch across our city. Tucsonans voted almost two decades ago to ban billboards, but the companies that own them have used endless legal maneuvers to keep these wretched eyesores in our faces. During the 2000 legislative session, the billboard barons managed to convince state lawmakers to give them a get-out-of-jail free card that put a halt to most of the city of Tucson's enforcement actions against these hideous monstrosities. The case is on appeal, but the outlook is bleak. Get out of town, Clear Channel--and take your crappy billboards with you!
Mary DarlingLocal biologist Mary Darling has made a good living finding ways to avoid the strict requirements that go along with the federal Endangered Species Act. If you've got a project located within habitat critical to a species on the edge of extinction, such as the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl, Darling is your gal. Just ask her pals at the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association.
She went a wee bit too far recently when she convinced a developer that it was OK to move endangered Pima pineapple cacti by helicopter, even though it was illegal to move 'em by highway--a novel bending of the rules that didn't fly with the authorities. As part of a recent plea deal in federal court, Darling accepted a $5,000 fine and agreed to give up her consulting practice in Southern Arizona for five years. We say: Let's make it forever. Get out of town, Mary Darling!
Sgt. Karen L. DickersonWhat do you have to do to get fired from the Tucson Police Department? We're not exactly sure, but we know the line's somewhere between showing up to work hammered and trying to pick up an underage child on the Internet. Thank God the TPD forced the resignation of Charles Walter, who was arrested last week after allegedly showing up to meet with someone he thought was a 16-year-old girl. (It was actually a fellow officer working undercover.) But this raises the question: Why did Karen Dickerson get to keep her job?
Let's recap: Police say she apparently drove to work, where a supervisor said she had "slurred speech, a disheveled appearance, droopy eyes and a saggy face." Given a breath test, she reportedly had a blood-alcohol level higher than .20 percent.
Police Chief Richard Miranda then demoted her to sergeant (a large pay cut) and reprimanded her. But he didn't fire her, because she had a good record before that, and she has good potential. Additionally, no charges were filed against her.
Don't get me wrong; second chances are a good thing. But when a senior police officer drives to work drunk off his or her ass, and he or she gets what amounts to a slap on the wrist, that sends a bad message to the community: DUI, apparently, isn't that big of a deal.
Rodney GlassmanSocialite Rodney Britz Glassman offered last year to move from his frat-boy pad on the left bank of Rillito River--if the Board of Supervisors appointed him to fill Raul Grijalva's term.
The young trust-funder volunteered to slum in a make-believe North Euclid Avenue rental in exchange for the chance to carry on for Grijalva, a Democrat who was leaving Pima County office after 13 years to begin his stacked run for Congress.
The supes didn't buy. And Glassman, who has talked about running for everything from school board to mayor, didn't have to rent.
There was an enticing aspect to Glassman's offer--the word "move."
Please, Rodney, leave. Pack up all your inflated resumes, your grandiose and unsolicited position papers, your boasts, your toasts, your roasts (The Rodney Glassman Gentleman's Roast of Jim Click and Don Diamond? Give us a break, you world-class suck-up!), your lunches at McMahon's Prime Steak House and your maniacal cell phone use--and get that Tahoe on Interstate 10 heading out.
Skaters and hockey players who have suffered under "Commissioner" Rodney at his family's Gateway Ice Center will rejoice, because they won't have to look at the giant portrait of Rodney in the lobby.
Grijalva, kicked out of town in a good way by voters, once called Glassman a "liability." Then he hired the overgrown punk. Grijalva's community service should be to station Glassman in his D.C. office full time.
HummersTurn in your keys: Hummers are monuments to total uselessness and waste, especially in Tucson.
They have a nearly 26-inch clearance, which is a must when going to Gadabout on East Speedway Boulevard. The front bumper is 40.4 inches from the pavement of River Road. The baby, H2, weighs 8,600 pounds.
And you thought the Range Rover was a bit much?
I spit out an El Rey del Mundo (robusto larga) when I saw a white H2 in my mirror. It pulled around to my side, and I was stunned to recognize the driver as a friend--a fratello, he's so close. Love for him would require me to put him out of our misery for driving such a thing; thankfully, he shouted that he was doing a favor by taking it somewhere for his clearly less-secure brother. That's devotion.
Here on the southside, we see the H2s making those challenging trips to and from the airport; the Mercedes just won't do. And outside McKale Center, does Donald R. Diamond, approaching 76, really need DRD on his license plate to remember which full-size Hummer his keys fit?
Time to turn in those keys, boys and girls. Get out and get into what you deserve: Geo Metros.
International Wildlife MuseumIf you want to teach your kids about wildlife, go for a walk in the desert or take a trip to the mountains. You can tune in to a National Geographic special or the Discovery channel. Books, even in this day of electronic everything, still provide information to spark the imagination. Whatever you do, avoid the International Wildlife Museum, unless you want your children to learn it's OK to stuff dead animals and that it's OK to stick the heads of decapitated animals on walls in the bogus name of "education."
Aptly called the "museum of death" by its opponents when it first opened in 1988, the museum is the clever brainchild of Safari Club International, a group of wealthy hunters who find "pleasure" in accumulating kills and the accompanying trophies.
According to one report, the club's lobbying efforts are targeted at undermining the intent of the Endangered Species Act in the name of "conservation."
The museum has worked hard to acquire legitimacy since it first opened. But all the dioramas in the world don't compensate for the fact that taxidermy displays are a grotesque testament to human hubris and useless educational tools.
KB HomeIf cheap stucco houses are cancer cells metastasizing through our community, KB Home is Tucson's most dangerous carcinogen. Alas, the cancer is so widespread that the case is inoperable. We couldn't run these guys out of town without nuking the whole city.
The Los Angeles-based corporation, with $5 billion in annual revenue, slaps up more than 25,000 stucco hutches a year in 10 states including Arizona. It's currently hawking them at two dozen developments in Pima County, making KB Home Tucson's largest homebuilder.
KB Home prides itself on offering affordable housing for first-time buyers. Maybe that's because no experienced homeowner would want to live in a KB development. Whether you're paying out $93,000 in Arroyo Vista on Drexel Road or $192,000 in Riverhaven on Fort Lowell Road, you're buying into a walled (but not gated) compound crammed with look-alike beige piles dominated by garage doors. Not only do the junky designs completely lack a sense of place; the developments themselves are so isolated from their surroundings that KB Home digs sludge-coated and trash-littered retention ponds for rain runoff right next to washes where the water used to go naturally.
A necessary price to pay for affordable housing, you say? How many first-time buyers can afford to fix all the things wrong in a KB Home? A Texas-based Web site, www.kbhomesucks.com, invites complaints from homeowners across the nation. Tucsonans have posted gripes about sagging ceilings, too-low garages, cracking foundations and walls, mold, plumbing and electrical anomalies, bad caulking, amateurish paint jobs and general shoddiness.
And what happens when homeowners protest? Last summer, the company sued nine Texas protesters for $20 million, but dropped most of the targeted homeowners from the suit after the inevitable bad publicity.
Meanwhile, KB Home continues to dump its excrescencies onto such prime sites as a Phoenix airfield used by pesticide-laden crop dusters and an old bombing range in Texas that had not been certified clear of live ordnance.
We can try to run KB Home out of town, but judging from the complaints at www.kbhomesucks.com, who'd take 'em?
Jim KolbeRep. Jim Kolbe needs to travel down the yellow brick road and find some courage. We have nothing here at The Weekly against Republicans, Democrats, Greens or Libertarians--as long as they are caring free-thinkers.
Jim Kolbe hasn't showed us that he's one of those. Most of the time, he comes across as a Republican lapdog, voting whichever way his party leadership tells him to. He's done that all along on war issues. He's done that with most social issues. Heck, he even did it with the recent Medicare bill recently passed by Congress; while some free-thinking Republican conservatives voted against it, because of the huge costs to the federal government, lapdog Kolbe--who touts himself as a get-government-outta-our-lives guy--panted right along, voting the way the party told him to. Hell, the guy--a gay man--even voted for the Defense of Marriage Act a few years back. (At least he's spoken out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage; that's something, I guess.)
Watching Kolbe, we get the hint that he thinks first about his political career and keeping his party happy, with his constituents coming in an extremely distant second. That's not good.
Krispy Kreme DoughnutsIf you are into sipping high-fructose corn syrup as your beverage of choice, then you probably love Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The first time we bit into one, it was all we could do to keep our gag reflex under control. Excessively sweet is a gross understatement. That this sorry excuse for a doughnut purveyor attracts as large a following as it does is a sad commentary on the state of the collective American palate. Crunching on sugar cubes dipped in honey would be less offensive and probably healthier than ingesting whatever ingredients go into Kripsy Kreme concoctions.
Besides doughnuts lacking all flavor other than sweet to the 10th power, Krispy Kreme outlets are a visual disaster. The korporate kretins who decide matters of decor somehow chose to use the film Metropolis as inspiration. If you enjoy seeing machinery making your doughnuts with minimal human contact, and an assembly line of pasty, white circles of dough swimming in boiling grease, then floating along to the next piece of equipment, you'll love Krispy Kreme.
Not to mention beige: Everything is beige, from the doughnuts, to the glaze, to the plastic seating. With blah surroundings and cloying taste, Krispy Kreme should pack it up and move it out.
Stephen PhinnyStephen Phinny's people in New York sent the slickest press packet The Weekly has ever seen. It was headed straight for the trash--until the cover letter caught an eye.
"His grandfather founded Gerber Baby Foods. His next door neighbor was Walt Disney É but what really inspired him were family vacations in Palm Springs at a place called Smoke Tree Ranch. That's where he learned to love the desert landscape and the traditions that make a destination memorable."
So Phinny, described by his people in New York as a "visionary," blew through $13.4 million (public records reveal) to assemble the 1,047 acres that is now Saguaro Ranch at the real Tortolita, but annexed by Marana. About $1.25 million will get you a 4.1-acre lot at Phinnyville, but what will truly be memorable will be his blasting to tunnel under the rocky, hilly desert to extend Thornydale Road.
Phinny is a protected species. He kisses the right butt, including the northwest side's enviro-rulers and Raul Grijalva, who swallowed maximum cash contributions from Phinny for his virgin congressional run last year.
Phinny also lives in Telluride, Colo., which is reason enough to kick him out of Tucson, Tortolita and even Marana. As a favor to the real people of San Miguel County, Colo., we'll boot him from there, too.
Public Transportation OpponentsFrom the way the town's car dealers and home developers behaved in the last election, you'd think Steve Farley and his pals had suggested immolating every car in Tucson in a giant anti-automotive bonfire whose flames would end life as we know it in the Old Pueblo.
What they really proposed was improving the bus system, going for a limited light-rail system and repairing some crumbling city streets. The screeching hysteria against the public-transpo plan came mostly from the rich guys whose considerable fortunes depend on regularly getting everybody into new cars, and persuading those buyers to drive their gas guzzlers to new homes in subdivisions flung farther and farther out in the heretofore-unspoiled desert.
So what's the problem, Jim Click, Don Mackey, Bob Beaudry, Steve Christy and Don Diamond? Don't want your cleaning ladies to have an easier time riding the bus to clean your mansions? Not worried that the dishwashers cleaning up after your meal at the country club have no way of getting home from work? Don't want the teens in one-car families to get to high school on time? Don't want out-of-towners to have a cheap ride in from the airport?
Well, fellas, I've got news for you: Your ugly class politics are not welcome here. Other cities, yes, even cities in the car-mad Southwest, are preparing to add light rail or already have. San Diego has a model public transportation system of buses and small trains. Even Phoenix is going for light rail. Your antediluvian rantings are leaving Tucson, once again, embarrassingly behind the times. So here's a suggestion: Hop into your energy-sucking, world-politics-destabilizing, polluting vehicles, your SUVs, your Jeeps, your Chryslers, your Fords, your Plymouths, your Oldsmobiles, your Lincolns, and get out of town. And good riddance.
Laurie RufeLaurie Rufe arrived in Tucson from Roswell, N.M., just about a year ago to head up the Tucson Museum of Art. We already want to send her packing. In August, Rufe unceremoniously axed curator Joanne Stuhr without so much as a severance package. Stuhr, who had developed a sterling reputation among many TMA patrons during the last 13 years for her work building collections and developing exhibits, was escorted out of the museum by a security guard. Museum patrons and local artists were shocked by Stuhr's dismissal, and some withdrew gifts they had planned to give the museum.
It's outrageous that Rufe would toss somebody with that much experience and expertise out of the museum. Who suffers? Not Rufe, who still gets her paycheck every week. It's the people of Tucson, who lose out on a wealth of expertise, personal connections and passion for the arts. We want Joanne back. Get out of town, Laurie Rufe!
Jeff ScurranWhat if Lute Olson marched into the office of UA President Peter Likins and announced that, henceforth, his basketball team would be known as the Tornado (singular) and would wear green and black so as not to be mistaken for any of the other (read: lesser) UA teams? Even after winning more than 500 games and a national championship at Arizona, were Olson to attempt such a feat of sheer gall, Jim Click would have to dig into his other pocket for another mil to buy off a departing coach.
And yet, this is exactly what Jeff Scurran did when he started the Pima football team--and the dolts at Pima bent over and took it! Scurran left scandal-ridden Sabino High amid widespread rumors of performance-enhancing substance use among players. The school got popped for providing phantom classes to football players, "taught" by an assistant football coach.
He then became the first football coach in Pima history, and instead of trying to curry the community's favor, he pissed everybody off by headquartering the team at a branch campus, and then coming up with a stupid name (The Storm) along with a completely different color scheme for his team.
We're tempted to put together an Aztec team, sporting orange and brown, at the Main campus and kick his ass.
Tucson CitizenYou have to feel sorry for the poor ol' afternoon almost-daily. First, they're owned by Gannett, and in terms of newspaper quality, that's never good. Second, the paper is dying--fast. According to figures from Pulitzer Inc. --Gannett's partner in Tucson Newspapers, which also includes the Arizona Daily Star--the Citizen lost 7.4 percent of its circulation between 2002 and 2003. That sucks. They're only circulating about 33,000 of the babies (compared to 103,000 for the Star on weekdays), and rumors are that the actual paid circulation number is much, much lower. Folks, it's only a matter of time before Tucson's a one-daily town.
This is why the Citizen needs to be put out of its misery. There's no way Gannett's going to provide some infusion of cash and move it to morning publication--the joint operating agreement of Tucson Newspapers wouldn't let them, anyway--so, barring some miracle, it's only a matter of time before the Citizen is toast. The Citizen's circulation is so small that it's already irrelevant; it can't even compete with the mediocrity that the Star puts out.
Good-bye, Tucson Citizen. We'd say that you'll be missed É but based on your lack of readers, you're essentially gone already.
Tucson Greyhound ParkTucson Greyhound Park has been a presence for more than 50 years in South Tucson. It has provided income, jobs and entertainment to the city's residents. Bettors have walked away with green in their pockets. Thousands have watched the pretty dogs race around the track.
Sound good? It depends on who you ask.
Industry professionals will tell you the dogs are treated humanely. They are given good food, clean living conditions and a fine social environment. Animal rights supporters will tell you the dogs are treated terribly, with cases of animal mistreatment at their fingertips. Search the Internet for a few moments, and you will find both sides of the story.
But let's look beyond these two sides for a minute. Think of what is actually happening: slapping a number on the dog's back and betting money as to how fast it will run. Suppose we slapped a number on your Aunt Betty and told her to run down the street while you wagered with your buddy as to how fast she'd get there. Doesn't sound too pretty, does it? Neither does racing dogs for human profit.
Tucson WeeklyOK, when a newspaper screws up so badly--accidentally printing its syndicated sex column on a page where a chunk of a cover story on underage drinking's supposed to be--that newspaper's begging for a boot. We're embarrassed, humiliated and dearly sorry for last week's error, one that happened because of a mix-up at our out-of-state printer. We hang our head in righteous shame.
But seeing as nothing/nobody we're kicking out of town here will actually leave, we'll stay, too. And we'll do everything we can to keep the adult stuff in the adult section, where it belongs.
UA's Sixth Street Parking and Office BuildingThe UA has destroyed the pleasant Sixth Street cityscape with a new parking garage so aggressive and so ugly it literally makes people's eyes sore. A towering mess of concrete poles and open-air parking platforms, the upper floors jut out all the way to the sidewalk, creating at street level a dark, gaping space that the UA euphemistically calls a "large covered pedestrian plaza." The only pedestrians likely to venture into this menacing cavity are the hapless bus riders forced to wait at a stop that's been jammed inside, in a half-hearted nod to the virtues of public transportation. Make no mistake: With its 1,600 spaces, this is a monument to the car culture. But it inadvertently testifies to the power of the automobile to wreck a city.
Sixth Street has long been one of the most pleasant routes to the city center, serving as a bricks-and-mortar history of Tucson architecture. Starting among 1960s suburban red brick houses, Sixth wends west through Sam Hughes' 1920s bungalows, past the great ark of the UA football stadium and the handsome UA rec center, on by the old Mission Revival Mansfeld Middle School and classic Tucson High, and alongside warehouses intelligently renovated into galleries and offices. The UA should have made an effort to acknowledge this interesting context, softening the garage's façade with first-floor retail, restaurants or offices that relate to the street's life.
There's not much of a chance that this garage will be really kicked out of town; with an $18.5 million price tag, this monstrosity will mar a gateway to downtown for generations to come.
Verizon SuperPagesWARNING: The Tucson Weekly has determined Verizon's telephone directory is a clear and present danger.
Let's say you are a newcomer in need of an emergency room. You make the mistake of using Verizon's SuperPages to find the hospital nearest to you. (It was recently delivered to your door, so it must be the most up-to-date, you erroneously conclude. Besides, you don't have any other directory.) Heading for the closest listed hospital, Tucson General, you create a hazard as you careen through traffic while attempting to stanch the spurting blood from a cut you hope is not arterial. With no way of knowing Tucson General is shut down and Tucson Medical Center is about the same distance away, you put yourself at risk.
We looked at eight categories and found dumb errors in each of them. The only thing super about this colossal waste of paper is the super number of omissions and goofs. And to think: Trees died for this.
Our advice: Tear out and use the coupons so local businesses suckered into advertising see some return on their money, then recycle this useless mess. As for Verizon: Take your PatheticPages out of town.
WalgreensDrive down any city street these days, and there's one sight you are sure to see: a Walgreens store. Oops, did you just pass it? No problem. There's another one less than two miles away. Heck, you could even walk to it. Now, that's convenience. But is this really necessary?
Don't look now, but according to an April Inside Tucson Business report, the folks at the drugstore monopoly plan on maintaining their aggressive expansion strategy during the next several years. There are already more than 40 stores in Tucson, outnumbering Mickey D's. We're not lovin' that.
The chain blankets cities nationwide. As of Oct. 31, 2003, there were 205 stores in Arizona. But that's only a fraction of what's in Florida--a state less than half the size of the Grand Canyon State. The sunshine dwellers there have to contend with a whopping 609 stores.
Back in Tucson, our corners are already too crowded with those big red letters. Enough already. Pack up those building supplies and hit the road. And don't you build no more, no more.