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The Range

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Hard to Swallow

Tucsonans sure have caviar tastes! At least that's the impression we get from Tucson Water's Decision H2O, a survey of customers to find out how much they're willing to pay for water that's not filled with yucky particles.

The latest report from Tucson Water reveals that 56 percent of the survey takers say they like water that's got a mineral count of 450, while just 29 percent prefer a blend that has a mineral count of 650. Even after people learn that the higher-quality water will require construction of a big ol' reverse-osmosis treatment plan that will increase today's average $19 monthly water bill to $33, 49 percent of those still prefer the lower mineral count, while 35 percent say they'd rather have more minerals for a future $26 a month.

Want to stick with our current low mineral count at low cost? Sorry, but thanks to our rampant growth, that's just not an option. For more details on the survey and to participate, visit www.decisionh2o.com.

In not especially related news, Tucson Water and the Environmental Services Department (aka the sanitation department, aka the garbage department) are getting divorced after less than two years in a loveless marriage of convenience. The Tucson City Council formerly voted to split the two departments, which were merged because city officials said Tucson Water's experience in customer service and billing would help ease the implementation of a new garbage fee, which looks like it's here to stay despite promises from Democratic council members to the contrary in the 2005 election.


Will the Real Presidente Please Stand Up?

Our neighbor to the south has a new president or two. Mexican President Vicente Fox turned over the reins of powers to Felipe Calderon, who had to battle his way onstage past leftist lawmakers to take the oath of office.

The Associated Press noted that "Calderon entered through a back door and appeared suddenly on the speaker's platform, which was the site of three days of fistfights and sit-ins by lawmakers seeking to control the stage. Physically protected by dozens of lawmakers and flanked by outgoing President Vicente Fox, Calderon swore to uphold the constitution in comments almost inaudible over the noise."

After taking the oath, Calderon beat a hasty exit, according to the AP report.

Meanwhile, the man Calderon defeated, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, continues to dispute the election results and has set himself up as pretend president of a "parallel government" that has as of yet unclear powers.


Smoked

Sorry, smokers! Attorney General Terry Goddard has declared that you're on the hook for an extra 80 cents a pack to pay for health care and day care for little kids, even though the ballot description for Prop 203 contained a misprint that said the tax hike would be just .80 cents per pack.

"The text of Proposition 203 states unambiguously that the amount of the new tax is four cents per cigarette," Goddard noted in his opinion. "The unambiguous statutory language is not altered by the misprint in the ballot description."


Figured Out

Arizona Treasurer David Petersen resigned his post with just a few weeks remaining in his term before he pleaded guilty to charges related to some minor financial hanky-panky with a character-building organization.

Gov. Janet Napolitano appointed Elliot Hibbs, a former director of the Arizona Department of Revenue, to serve out Petersen's term. State Sen. Dean Martin will be sworn into the office in January.

"Elliot's more than 30 years in leadership in state government, especially as the head of two state departments, provides the necessary experience to serve as the Arizona state treasurer," Napolitano press-released. "He will work closely with Treasurer-elect Martin to ensure the transition for the state is smooth and our money is safe and secure."


They Shoot, They Score

The UA men's basketball team overcame an early 16-point deficit to defeat the University of Illinois, 84-72, on Saturday, Dec. 2. It was a revenge match for the Cats, who blew a 15-point lead in the final four minutes to lose to the Fighting Illini in the 2005 Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament.

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