Heiler would be another Symington friend inside the Republic's insular editorial department, which Republic and Phoenix Gazette journalists refer to as "Biosphere 3." Last year, when R&G employees were asked to rate the performances of in-house departments, the Republic's editorial department got among the lowest marks.

Last week, Scottsdale Progress columnist Steve Wilson wrote about an imaginary Symington-Cheshire conversation in the wake of Cheshire's fawning column. Wilson has Symington telling Cheshire, "Even some people on my staff, affectionately, of course, refer to you as Toady Bill."

Contacted for comment, Cheshire said, "You can quote me as saying that I consider the New Times a disreputable rag." Then he hung up.

This from a man whose own "homework" lacks credibility. While rebutting Willey's report card, Cheshire mentioned that the Resolution Trust Corporation "hopes to squeeze him [Symington] for some of the money lost when a sour real estate market collapsed Western Savings & Loan." Right industry; wrong direction. Actually, Symington was on the board of Southwest Savings and Loan.

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