GRIJALVA DUPES DUPNIK: Pima County's most popular and most powerful official, Clarence W. Dupnik, was most surprised to learn that he was among the big shots listed as endorsing Raúl Grijalva for Congress in the eight-way Democratic primary in District 7.
"He did that without my knowledge and without my permission," said Dupnik, a Democrat in office since 1980. "He asked me for my endorsement and I told him and the other candidates who asked that I was staying out of this one."
Dupnik used some colorful language, but we won't repeat it here (although something similar can be found in our Uncensored ads in the back.)
Grijalva, who bailed from the Board of Supervisors in February after 13 years, arrogated a Dupnik endorsement that his campaign, A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva, touts in campaign literature.
Dupnik would have been a shoo-in for this congressional seat. Now he constitutes A Whole Lot Less for Grijalva.
Across town, Mary Judge Ryan has the peculiar backing of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees in her delusional attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, a nine-term Republican.
During her time as lead personnel lawyer for the County Attorney's Office, Ryan, a Democrat, blistered, battered and belittled many Pima County employees who fought faulty firings, demotions and pay cuts before the Merit (Civil Service) Commission. Fortunately, the commission rarely bought into Ryan's exaggerations. She and her mentor, Democratic County Attorney Barbara LaWall, also have shown little regard for workers who must sign special and hokey loyalty and behavior oaths. And those with real time in Tucson will remember it was Ryan who defended the indefensible, County Administrator Manoj Vyas and his puppeteers on the GOP Board of Supervisors majority, after they canned or demoted many employees in a reorganization that cost taxpayers nearly $5 million in settlements and legal fees.
AFSCME's endorsement of Ryan is as incongruous as, say, a plug from the Arizona Daily Star would be. The Star and its lawyers repeatedly had to educate and embarrass an obstinate Ryan in the 1990s on why government documents are public.
FULL OF GAS: State Sen. David Petersen, who is running for the State Treasurer office being vacated by gubernatorial candidate Carol Springer, recently explained why voters should pick him over Richard Petrenka, a longtime staffer in the Treasurer's Office, in the September 10 primary.
Petersen said that had he been treasurer, he would have warned everyone against voting for the infamous alt-fuel bill that cost the state more than $100 million in 2000.
Gee, we thought it was primarily the job of lawmakers to read legislation for such problems. That's evidently beyond the capabilities of Petersen, who as a legislator voted in favor of the alt-fuel bill--a little detail he neglected to mention. A warning about the consequences might have been helpful back then, Dave.
Petersen also complained that the state trust funds have lost money in the stock market collapse and said he'd sell off the stock now. That's called buying high, selling low--a surefire way to lose money in the market.
Petersen is a colossal dunderhead who is clearly willing to say anything to get elected. Vote for the other guy.
MUY ESTUPIDO: As we mentioned last week, former state lawmaker Tom Horne has been single-mindedly focused on bilingual ed in his bid to unseat State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera in the Republican primary. Horne, who has dropped about $280,000 of his own money into his campaign, has been attacking Molera on radio and TV spots, claiming that Molera hasn't done enough to enact the ban on bilingual ed passed by voters in 2000.
Molera, who was appointed to the office when Republican Lisa Graham Keegan abandoned the job to join some education think-tank, has argued that districts, under the voter-approved law, have the option of using waivers to keep students in bilingual programs.
One of Horne's favorite targets has been the Pendergrast School District, which he says has handed out far too many waivers.
This week, Molera hit back, saying that the percentage of bilingual waivers issued to English language learners in the Pendergrast School District is about 4 percent, while the statewide average is 11 percent.
More to the point, Molera pointed out that the Paradise Valley School District has issued waivers to 14 percent of its English learners. Why is that significant? Because Tom Horne is president of the Paradise Valley School District.
"Tom Horne claims he will enforce the ban on bilingual education statewide, but he clearly can't even enforce the ban on bilingual education in Paradise Valley, where he serves as president of the school district governing board," says Molera.
We're a little concerned about some of Molera's policies--he seems overeager to privatize education--but he's head and shoulders above Horne, who has revealed himself to be nothing more than an ugly demagogue appealing to the worst in voters.
Check out the Superintendent for Public Instruction candidates yourself when they debate at a forum on at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 22, at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. For more info call 327-7652.
DUVAL DO-WAH: Fred DuVal, the talented and smarty-pants former aide to Gov. Bruce Babbitt and President Bill Clinton, checked his swing for Congress in the new Tucson-Nogales-Yuma-Gila Bend-Tolleson district but is hoping he can return to D.C. via Flagstaff.
DuVal has a terribly tough draw in the Democratic primary in District 1 that stretches from Four Corners to the northern edge of Pima County. The former Tucson High School student body prez (class of 1972) faces Steve Udall, a cousin of Mo's and the popular, longtime Apache County prosecutor.
A Udall win would leave only Utah of the Four Corner states without a Udall in Congress.
DuVal, whose father was the founding dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, was part of a young Babbitt staff that included his future father-in-law, Tucson lawyer and venture capitalist Larry Hecker.
GOOBERS ON PARADE: Don't take our word for it--check out the gubernatorial candidates for yourself this Friday, August 16, when they slug it out in a forum sponsored by the Tucson Marriott Business Council, which has invited all the candidates down here to Tucson. (Maybe even Democrat front-runner Janet Napolitano will show up!). Candidates will be asked to address funding for the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Indian gaming props and guest worker programs. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott University Park Hotel, 880 E. Second St.
The gubernatorial candidates return next week for another debate, co-sponsored by the Goldwater Institute and the Tucson Citizen, at the Marriott from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20.
SOUR LIMÓN: Word has it that Tucson Citizen managing editor Michael Limón has received his orders and is shipping out to become executive editor at the Gannett outlet in Fort Collins, Colo. The news has brought much rejoicing in the Citizen newsroom, where Limón had few fans among his demoralized troops.
The great fear among those employees is the possibility that assistant managing editor Joe Garcia, known for his insightless columns, will be promoted into the ME spot. But knowing the way Gannett operates, the new overlord will probably be shipped in from out of town.