ARIZONA, HOME OF THE OK QUARREL

HEY, WE'RE THE GRAND CANYON STATE. WE LIKE BIG SCHISMS.

Status of feud: When the AG's staff played the governor's staff in a pickup basketball game, Symington's spear carriers showed up wearing "Woods for Attorney General" tee shirts. The AG's team, led by the photogenic AG himself, won, in overtime. Meanwhile, the AG's official spokesman acquired a bad Southern drawl and called up the governor's radio show to berate Symington for failing to support the AG's legislative program. In recent developments, the boys have been playing political football with the state's pesky crime problem.

Them's fightin' words: The Phoenix Gazette, listening in over lunch at the Arizona Center, overheard Woods deliberating out loud the merits of the RTC's case against his close friend J. Fife. "The ideal circumstance," the Gazette says he said, "is he gets tagged and the next day I announce." @rule:

@body:Feuding parties: Wacks versus Mods. Nature of feud: "Wack" is short for wacko, which is what the far-right faction (Waction?) of the Republican caucus at the Arizona State Legislature is called by more "mod"-erate GOP members.

Recent history of hostilities: The major dividing issues are, predictably, abortion and taxes. The Wacks, led by Mark Killian and Greg Patterson, believe those two things weigh approximately the same on the Lord's mortal-sin scale. The Mods, comparatively, are godless, atheistic Marxists.

Status of feud: Oh, who cares?
Them's fightin' words: "Hey, let's compromise."
@rule:
@body:Feuding parties: Sam Steiger versus John Conlan.

Nature of feud: Fratricidal. In 1976, Sam Steiger was a five-term U.S. representative running in the Republican primary for a Senate seat. John Conlan was his Republican opponent. The race became so bitter (Steiger won the primary) that voters were completely turned off to the idea of voting for a Republican, and instead elected the Democrat in the general election, in this case the relatively unknown Pima County attorney. Recent history of hostilities: None. But people still talk about the Steiger-Conlan race, the granddaddy of recent Arizona political feuds, as if it were Zeus versus Neptune.

Status of feud: That Pima County attorney was Dennis DeConcini.
Them's fightin' words: "Government sucks," said Steiger, speaking at a campaign event during his most recent run for governor.

@rule:
@body:Feuding parties: Evan Mecham versus the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. Nature of feud: Commercial. Political. Moral. Mecham, repetitive-stress political candidate for the beyond-the-fringe right wing, has feuded with the R&G since hot-type days. Says they're--are you seated?--too liberal. To counter the Commie tactics of the dailies, Mecham actually published his own rag for several years in the 60s, called the Evening American. Mecham dusted off his pointy publisher's cap for his 1986 governor's race, printing wildly successful hit-piece tabloids before the primary and general, perhaps the decade's most effective local print communication. After Mecham won the election, then-publisher Pat Murphy cluster-covered the guv with columnist John Kolbe (As far as I'm concerned, he's a nonperson, and that's it," said Mecham of Kolbe at one point) and reporters Michael Murphy and Sam Stanton. Recent history of hostilities: Late last year, Mecham had to ditch his most recent effort to demonopolize the Phoenix print media--a fantasy paper he would have called Arizona News Day--when repo men came for the newsroom telephones (which had only been used to pry money for the pipe-dream paper from the good people of Arizona). Status of feud: Is there an election year nearby? Them's fightin' words: When Stanton confronted Mecham on a blatant contradiction during a news conference, the governor got nose to nose with the reporter and fumed: "Don't ever ask me for a true statement again." @rule:

@body:Feuding parties: Cattle ranchers versus environmentalists.
Nature of feud: Some 1,200 ranchers in Arizona keep livestock on federally owned land, for which they pay monthly grazing fees (at a rate considerably lower than rates for private land). Environmentalists say the federally subsidized moo-cows stomp the fragile desert ecosystem and poop up endangered river habitats.

Recent history of hostilities: Bruce Babbitt, from an Arizona ranching family but now U.S. Secretary of the Interior, this summer announced a grazing-fee hike from $1.86 per head to $4.28.

Status of feud: Even ranchers are jumping on the leaner-beef bandwagon.
Them's fightin' words: Jack Metzger, a honcho of the National Cattlemen's Association, called Babbitt "a political snake." @rule:

@body:Feuding parties: The University of Arizona versus the Mount Graham red squirrel. Nature of feud: Commercial. UofA, which reaps vast sums in grant money for its astronomy department, wants to keep building telescopes atop Mount Graham near Safford, which happens to be the only habitat in the world for the eight-ounce squirrel, which has been recognized as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1987. Recent history of hostilities: The university attempted to infiltrate antitelescope activists by sending in an undercover cop, whose cover was partially blown when he showed up at a vegetarian potluck toting a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Status of feud: The university's stargazers generate at least $10 million a year in grants. Estimates place the squirrel population at fewer than 350. You do the math.

Them's fightin' words: "People and squirrels live together fine," says UofA astronomer Peter Strittmatter. "They are whores," says Robin Silver, an emergency-room doctor in Phoenix who has led the battle against the university's telescope builders. @rule:

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