FLASHLINE

With Friends Like These . . .
If you're following the state legislative circus, you're familiar with Senate Bill 1290, the so-called environmental audit bill. Environmentalists and other non-cranks have dubbed 1290 the Polluter Protection Act. It would allow corporations to escape prosecution for polluting, provided they disclose their misdeeds to the state in a written enviro-audit. Oh, yeah; the bill also guarantees confidentiality for the polluters by turning a citizen who dares disclose pollution-audit data into a criminal.

The Flash has reason to believe that SB 1290 jumped a freighter and fled Rumania during the fall of the Ceausescu regime, and has been living in state Senator Jim Buster's fallout shelter ever since. Defenders of clean air and water--and of the public's right to know--have squealed about 1290 like sprigs of slandered broccoli. This bill is so repressive that even aspiring dictator Fife Symington has threatened to veto it.

The Arizona Newspaper Association--the one organization expected to be righteously indignant whenever access to government records is threatened--has remained conspicuously silent.

Not only did the ANA and its paid lobbyist, Phil MacDonnell, fail to say a word against SB 1290; MacDonnell even registered at one hearing to testify in favor of 1290.

By now you savvy fans of wacky governance are asking: "What's up with that!?"

Well, what's up is that MacDonnell has a conflict of interest nearly the size of Tony West's dewlap. MacDonnell is registered as a lobbyist for both the Arizona Newspaper Association and Waste Management Incorporated--a firm that makes its money by hauling around garbage and other toxic gunk. (MacDonnell, a former state liquor department chief and failed congressional candidate, is also registered to cut smokin' deals on behalf of the tobacco industry. He didn't return phone calls.)

ANA director John Fearing says limited resources required his group to "narrow its focus" on bills it would lobby for or against. That new focus squinted Senate Bill 1290 right out of the picture.

What, you ask, remained in the picture?
Well, the ANA fought like a deranged chihuahua to stop SB 1080, which conspires to suppress regulatory records about the most diabolical of Arizona's business monsters--accountants.

Beat the Tax--Eat More Snake
Has it occurred to anyone else that the Powers That Be were able to pull off the stadium-tax levy because the opposition was so friggin' lame?

DiamondBank backers couldn't have begged for a more desirable opposition than Taxpayers Against Corporate Welfare. This loose confederation of libertarians reminds The Flash of the Germans in those old World War II movies--the ones who kept running out in front of the machine guns and getting mowed down.

Well, those marketing geniuses at Taxpayers Against Corporate Welfare have conceived yet another can't-miss promotion that's certain to spell doom for the stadium tax: the All-American Snake Fry, coming April 23, 2 to 5 p.m., at 4700 North Central.

TACW is offering a mouth-watering quarter pound of rattlesnake meat for $15. That's pretty pricey--especially for antitax tightwads. The Flash intends to stretch his dollar by taking along a box of Snake Helper.

For those of you who can't stomach snake (which we've heard tastes just like chicken), TACW is also offering hot dogs and chicken (which we've heard taste just like snake).

 
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