Meanwhile, state Rep. Jean McGrath, the infamous Glendale Granny who so loves her Freon, is tackling the really important issues. McGrath delivered a blistering lecture to the Board of Regents last September, complaining that co-ed dorms were detrimental to the state's fight against venereal disease and teen pregnancy. She also suggested that classes in women's studies ought to be labeled "lesbian study" courses -- and she's introduced legislation, House Bill 2023, in an attempt to do just that.
Following her deranged performance in front of the regents, the GOP leadership recognized McGrath's perspicacious grasp of higher education and made her chairwoman of the Public Institution and Universities Committee in the House of Representatives. McGrath has introduced some tough measures to protect college kids from exposure to brain-rotting porn on the Web with HB 2024, which would force universities to maintain anti-porn filters on all their computers so students won't be able to visit hotnhorny.com.
In fact, McGrath doesn't want those kids browsing the Web at all, unless it's strictly educational. Another bill, HB 2025, would force universities to prevent students from using the Internet for any activity not directly related to a specific educational purpose. We're not sure how that could possibly be enforced, but we're glad McGrath has finally put her finger on a pressing crisis in our state: all those college kids wasting their time on e-bay.
THE AMNESIA DAILY STAR: The sad tale about chemical poisoning in rural Idaho supplied to Sunday's Arizona Daily Star by The Associated Press brought to mind the feature from original schlock radio personality Paul Harvey. But with the new Star, where a memory and sense of history are not needed, readers didn't get "the rest of the story."
The story in question repeated what the Boise Weekly uncovered long ago: that onetime Tucson bigshot Allan Elias operated a chemical company in such a greedy, health-be-damned manner that the cyanide compound he ordered a worker to clean out of a 25,000-gallon storage tank left the 25-year-old man severely brain damaged. Elias was convicted in U.S. District Court after a three-and-a-half-week trial. He has appealed; sentencing -- he faces up to 31 years in prison -- is pending. Even as Scott Domiguez struggled to live and breathe, Elias refused to tell authorities what was in the tank. He then lied and backdated federal safety permits.
Star editors, including the two new wheels who trained in Idaho, should have checked the Skinny's "Where Are They Now?" installment on November 18. They would have learned that Elias strutted around Tucson a few decades back building banks, putting together syndications, and making a splash with an eastside restaurant. There are plenty of people around town who remember Elias and his sleazy deals. One prominent developer remembers setting up a meeting with his mentor and chief financial backer at Elias' request and was told by the savvy financier to never again bring someone like Elias around. Even at his zenith, he couldn't pass the smell test.
Sunday's wire story was exactly the type that an Ernie Heltsley would have made complete and relevant to local readers simply out of his fabulous memory. Bereft of that asset, somebody surely could have relied on the Star library, which has a full set of Elias stories.
On the flip side, Rhonda Bodfield Sander, the Shania Twain of the Star, turned in another fine performance last week with her series on the Legislature. She put real faces to the failings of state government.
THE ENABLERS: The dimmest on the Tucson Unified School District Board, James Noel Christ rambled pointlessly and painfully last week after colleague Rosalie Lopez showed the guts and honesty to vote against his return as Board clerk. He's unfit. Later, Christ told reporters that the meeting and Lopez's objections -- ignored by Board President Mary Belle McCorkle and members Carolyn Kemmeries and Joel Ireland -- made him think that he "should stay on the Board."
He obviously missed the very important lesson political guru Emil Franzi has told countless political whores: We, the voters, choose you. You hack politicians don't choose us.
After two dreary terms, TUSD should finally be rid of Christ as well as McCorkle, the foothills elitist, and Ireland, a master manipulator who has somehow been allowed to serve three terms. Kemmeries and Lopez each have three more years in their terms.
A terrific replacement for anyone of those three duds would be Adelita Grijalva, the bright, tough, 27-year-old daughter of Raul Grijalva who has been instrumental in the successful Teen Court program. An impediment to this appropriate public service is daddy dearest. After initially championing his daughter's run for the school board -- a post he held for three terms ending in 1986 -- Grijalva then said he may not want her to run. He wants to avoid any conflict and confusion while he seeks an unprecedented run for a fourth term on the Board of Supervisors in District 5. Daddy dearest has his own problems now that people are pushing Lopez to challenge him. Raul Grijalva, known as Ralph while he was at Sunnyside High School, has led a truly charmed life, having never been seriously challenged for any political office.
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS BUSTED: The world's largest accounting and management consulting firm, which Pima County health officials are pushing for an additional million-dollar contract, was busted last week by the federal Securties and Exchange Commission for a huge list of conflicts. Huge, as in more than 8,000 cases of conflicts of interest. Seems numerous partners and the clever nerds a step below had investments in the very compainies they were auditing. Members of the Board of Supervisors, who rubber stamped a county Health Commission contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers for $210,000 for an audit of Kino Community Hospital, should be asking if any of the PricewaterhouseCoopers folks invested in any county bonds.
The firm was created in 1998 with the merger of Pricewaterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. And Arizonans are not unfamiliar with Coopers & Lybrand misbehavior and scandal. Can you say Project SLIM? That was the cost-cutting initiative adored in the early 1990s by then Gov. J. Fife Symington III. And how did Coopers land the contract? Gee, a Coopers partner, John Yeoman (UA law grad) also was Fife's campaign treasurer as well as his personal and business accountant. And on the bid committee was George Leckie, Fife's bag man (formally titled the campaign finance chairman). Leckie provided Yeoman inside information that helped Coopers lower its bid and win the SLIM, or SLIME, contract.
Yeoman, incidently, was killed in a car accident two days after he entered a not guilty plea to charges in federal court. Leckie was acquitted and later died of cancer. Coopers and Leckie previously entered agreements with the state Attorney General's Office that included stiff penalties and Coopers also entered an settlement/fine agreement with the feds.