THE BEST OF FIFE

HE BROUGHT US AN RTC LAWSUIT, A GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION AND A "CAR OF THE PEOPLE." NOT TO MENTION GEORGE LECKIE AND ANNETTE ALVAREZ. OH, WHAT THE HECK, WE'LL MENTION THEM.

While we're at it, we might as well mention a few other goodies Marsh and his employees bought. Like:

A $3,954.25 payment to Land's End, an upscale catalogue company, processed through the Department of Commerce under the governor's security code.

$17,508.08 to Marriott Desert Palm Springs hotel in Palm Desert, California, to promote filmmaking in Arizona. (This included $500 for flowers and a $5,737.31 bar bill.)

Marsh left Commerce last year to, like, pursue a career in real estate.
Best secretary since Rosemary Woods: Joyce Reibel was a loyal Symington Company employee for 11 years. Earlier this year, however, New Times acquired a memo written by her attorney, Ivan Mathew, documenting Reibel's admission that for years--along with picking up prescriptions and chauffeuring the Symington kids--she helped Fife doctor his financial statements. Mathew wrote the memo to summarize an interview Reibel had with the FBI prior to her testimony before a federal grand jury.

Best editor friend, if you don't like something a columnist wrote and want it completely rewritten, publicly humiliating the columnist, the newspaper and, generally, the institution of journalism: William P. "Bill" Cheshire. In a remarkably informative think piece published on a Sunday after the conclusion of 1993's legislative session, Arizona Republic political columnist Keven Willey offered up a midterm report card of Symington's work. The governor almost failed--six D's and a C. But Mommy (Symington staffers) ran to the principal (then-editorial-page editor Cheshire). The following Sunday, Fife emerged as a model student.

Cheshire did the regrading himself. "Some of the governor's homework papers had gotten shoved down behind the sofa cushions," he wrote, and awarded Symington three A's and a B-plus. (Cheshire knows his right-wing academics--former employers include ultraconservative North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and the Moonie-run Washington Times.)

That must have been too much for even the Quayle-lovin' Republic, because shortly thereafter, Cheshire lost his editor's title and was demoted to columnist. Too bad for the Fife folks, who in Cheshire had a real insider friend at the R&G. Cheshire and Symington communications chief Jay Heiler are longtime pals. At one point, Cheshire tried to lure Heiler over to the Republic.

Best newspaper: Arizona Republic. In February 1992, the Washington Post contrasted the Mesa Tribune's "aggressive" reporting with that of its more flaccid counterpart to the west: "The governor . . . has found some sympathy in Phoenix's two conservative newspapers. One of them, the Republic, has furiously defended the governor, calling RTC actions 'McCarthyesque.'"

Of course, the Republic endorsed Fife for another term, putting the lie to its logo-rific "Saving Arizona's Children" campaign. (See: Best impersonation of Ebenezer Scrooge.)

Best political columnist: It's none other than John Kolbe, R-Gazette, the only columnist ever able to master the art of harrumphing in print. The scribe's little brother, Jim, is Arizona's congressman from District 5, and a Republican to boot. Nobody could be convinced to actually research any of Big John's pro-Fife harangues, so you'll just have to take our word for it.

Best Impersonations
Best impersonation of Duke Tully: It was the height of the Gulf War, and Fife was fighting his own battle to win a run-off against Terry Goddard and become Arizona's governor. So the Fife campaign dug up a photograph--for use in campaign literature and commercials--showing, as New Times put it in 1991, "Captain Symington in sunglasses and aviator gear, la Tom Cruise, standing next to the cockpit ladder of a Vietnam-era jet fighter." Problem is, Fife wasn't a fighter pilot--a detail Goddard fanciers quickly pointed out. They said Fife spent the Vietnam War in the safe haven of Thailand, where he was a paper pusher and air traffic controller. Symington campaigners told people that Fife "planned and implemented" search and rescue missions for downed Air Force fliers in Thailand, although one Symington staffer admitted to New Times, "I think the Bronze Star [which Symington received] was sort of an administrative thing." Best impersonation of Mother Teresa: Fife solemnly vowed in his 1990 campaign "Plan for Arizona": "Investing in children and families will come first on my list of concerns."

Best impersonation of Ebenezer Scrooge: In April, the Children's Action Alliance released a study claiming that the state's children are far worse off than they were Pre-Fife. As CAA head Carol Kamin put it, ". . . we are clearly moving in the wrong direction." According to the study, in the last four years, funding for child-care programs, child-abuse investigations and treatment money for juvenile courts all declined about 20 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

In the past two years, ten children in the care of the Department of Economic Security's Child "Protective" Services have died. An audit revealed that one-third of CPS' foster-care neglect and abuse claims hadn't been investigated.

Best impersonation of William J. Bennett: Fife's greatest personal legislative failure has been school vouchers. For years, he's tried to cram through the legislature a pilot program offering 2,000 kids vouchers of $1,500 each, so they can attend private school--just like Fife's children.

Except Fife's kids attend Phoenix Country Day School, annual tuition $10,000.

No matter. The National Education Association (dubbed National Extortion Association by conservatives) and the Arizona Education Association are scrambling, and Fife's gotten A's for effort from national school-choice fans like William J. Bennett--former Reagan education secretary, Bush drug czar and editor of The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...