RAÚL GRIJALVA, THIS IS YOUR LIFE! Good campaigns traditionally do opposition research on political opponents to dig up dirt that can be fed to hungry reporters or assembled into negative attack ads.
But those campaigns don't usually post the entire report on the Web for anyone to review.
However, earlier this week, our local Drudge Report, www.AzCorruption.com (owned by Brent Scott, son of Tucson City Councilwoman Shirley Scott and edited in part by former Ward 4 aide John Macko), posted a lengthy dossier on the life and hard times of former Pima County Supervisor Raúl Grijalva, one of eight Democrats battling for the new Congressional District 7 seat.
The 80-plus-page report, much of which was drawn from the pages of this rag, vacuums Grijalva's political history, recounting his 1985 DUI arrest, his campaign contributions from developers and real estate interests, his history of patronage and delivery of county contracts for his pals, his push for higher taxes on the county board, his conflicts of interests and details on Grijalva's secret love child. (Just kidding about that last bit! Ha-ha!)
So who assembled the report? That's the mystery, but a number of clues, including references to Emily's List, the national political organization that helps fund female candidates, point in the direction of Elaine Richardson, the state senator who is also chasing the congressional seat. Asked about the dossier, Richardson says her campaign did perform a background check on Grijalva and one other candidate in the race, as well as having the snoops sniff around her own trail.
Richardson reports she's investigating to see if there are similarities between the posted report and her campaign's file. If it turns out someone from her campaign leaked the report, she promises heads will roll.
"That's not the way I do business," Richardson says. "The other thing is, if we do an opposition report, why would I give my work away? If it happened, then somebody did something they weren't supposed to, acting on their own, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it."
YOU BE THE JUDGE: Mary Judge Ryan, running another suicide campaign for Congress, leads a charmed life. Pima County taxpayers give her $110,000 a year to serve as the chief deputy to Democratic County Attorney Barbara LaWall. That alone was a shocking promotion for a hack civil attorney who was so easily rattled and defeated by the media on public records battles and by personnel lawyers representing the many who were unlawfully fired.
Under Santa Barbara, the County Attorney's Office is a real stickler for detail. Except, of course, for her own pets. Ryan, a Democrat, is challenging nine-term Republican Jim Kolbe in District 8 that covers much of Tucson and southeast Arizona. Ryan kicked off her campaign early this year, though there is scarcely a seam separating this campaign from her 2000 effort that ended with a primary loss to former state Sen. George Cunningham, who is now running for the Arizona Corporation Commission.
County personnel rules, the kind Ryan loved to whine about in front of the Merit Commission, has this to say about the political campaigns of all county employees:
"When an employee files petitions of candidacy for an elective office other than School Board Member, the employee should be placed on a leave of absence without pay if it is determined that the employee's election activities prevent the employee from performing her/his County duties, or that the election activities adversely affect the operation of the department."
Ryan went half-time and half-pay on July 1.
Gun-grabbing and Ryan's other election activities, at least for Santa Barbara, are consistent with, not adverse to the County Attorney operation.
But elections--their own--and the County Attorney's Office have historically been, well, seamless.
Down the street, Peter Hormel, a Democratic candidate for the Legislature in westside District 27, has the same issue. He is on the staff of the Legal Defender's Office, providing counsel to indigent defendants. Hormel is bright and courageous--he ran a fine yet impossible campaign against LaWall on the Green ticket two years ago. He is not likely to be one to campaign on county time, although the Legal Defender's Office, under Isabel Garcia, is strictly a Raúl Grijalva-for-Congress shop.
Y TU SEGURIDAD, TAMBIEN: TUSD can't help itself but offend with its blind stupidity. For the first time in memory, the TUSD governing board had an armed security guard standing between the board's dais and citizens, parents, teachers and others in the audience last week. This preposterous move was the work of Mary Belle McCorkle, the increasingly-out-of-touch board president. Much of the overflow crowd came from various Mexican-American coalitions amplifying the call for full funding of $500,000 for Hispanic Studies. The four-year-old program has been raided to jack up other TUSD budgets.
Perhaps McCorkle, who struggled the rest of the evening with another slaughter of Roberts Rules of Order (she wasted 20 minutes saying there must be a vote on a call for the question when she should have simply told Lopez that her call was premature), should give the Pinkertons a call.
TUTORS FOR PRINCIPALS: Because of the flip-flop of the TUSD board's blond bimbo Carolyn Kemmeries, Sahuaro High School Principal Steve Wilson was allowed to keep his job despite horrendous, demoralizing and costly performance through three years. That includes a 50 percent turnover in faculty, which must be a record.
It is hard to imagine how Wilson was a PAC-10 basketball official; the way he calls 'em is bizarre. With coaching from the TUSD legal office, Wilson botched the Bloodsworth-Berryhill matter so badly that Jim Bloodsworth, a well-regarded math teacher, has filed a weighty claim against TUSD.
Superintendent Stan Paz buckled when Wilson threatened to stir up trouble if he got/gets canned. Plan One to ship Wilson to a school without a sports program. (It's his consistent inconsistency and favoritism toward young Allen Iversons that is most disturbing.) But a job at Howenstine went to someone else. Then Paz toyed with the idea of shipping Wilson, who thinks Spanish is Greek, to Pueblo as an assistant principal. What a disaster that would have been for the young and promising new principal at Pueblo, Richard Carranza. When that was blocked, Paz provided the McCorkle/Kemmeries/Joel Ireland majority with the Wilson protection plan. Taxpayers are footing the bill for a tutor to help Wilson.
FORK IN THE ROAD: In the wake of May's disastrous sales tax election, the City Council asking Tucsonans what kind of transportation plan they want for the future.
Three council members, Democrats Steve Leal, José Ibarra and Shirley Scott, host an open house from 10 a.m. to noon this Saturday, July 20, at in the Copper Room at the Randolph Club House, 600 N. Alvernon Way. If you've got questions, call the Ward 5 office 791-4231.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar will host a transportation forum from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, at the Ward 3 office, 1510 E. Grant Road. (We imagine it'll go better than the last one, when the peasants were on the verge of firing up their torches and burning down Castle Dunbar over the much-hated Grant/Campbell grade-separated intersection.) For more information, call 791-4711.