Da Mayor's Debacle
The Bird's been crowin' like a rooster after an all-nighter in the henhouse over the spanking Scottsdale voters gave the pro-Proposition 401 crowd on September 12. The absurd anti-lap-dance law bit the canvas like a bum boxer, with 52 percent of the electorate essentially telling Mayor Mary Manross and the Scottsdale City Council to shove their meddlesome bluenosed morality up their effin' tailpipes!
Talk about the triumph of democracy! Despite cheerleading from Catholic zealot and former marriage counselor Manross, recorded phone calls for the new ordinance by County Attorney Candy Thomas, and the cowardly support of pinto Dem Harry "Milquetoast" Mitchell, poll-goers defiantly put the kibosh on new regulations intended to drive Scottsdale's two (heaven help us, two!) strippeterias out of business.
Even a tight GOP gubernatorial primary with Taliban-wanna-be Len Munsil drawing social conservatives to voting stations like horseflies to pony poo didn't help the prop pass. And losin' ain't free, people. Ms. Manross' mess has cost taxpayers some $46K so far, according to Scottsdale's city clerk. The bill from Maricopa County for its services isn't in yet, but it's expected to be a doozy.
2006 primary election
True, it was strip joints Babe's and Skin that collected enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. But they wouldn't have been forced to trot out a petition if Manross and her Council cohorts hadn't been hell-bent on an ordinance establishing a four-foot distance between semi-nude dancers and patrons, and making it verboten to tip G-string-clad honeys.
In the run-up to the referendum, morality maven Manross railed against the strip clubs' "negative secondary effects," but as this plumed pecker noted before the vote, these so-called secondary effects were less real than the Loch Ness Monster (see "Milquetoast Mitchell," August 31, 2006).
Scottsdale residents agreed with The Bird. Even little old ladies stopped by TV reporters at the polls croaked that the City Council and Manross needed to butt out.
But is Manross owning up for the bull she put her city through? Hell, no.
"This wasn't about me," she whined to The Bird via telly. "The entire council moved forward on this. We were trying to revise an old, outdated ordinance to protect neighborhoods."
Way to pass the buck, Mayor. But everyone knows you're a first-rate prude. Exhibit numero uno: Calling Pink Taco titan Peter Morton and asking that he change the name of his restaurant! That alone made Snottsdale a national laughingstock on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, talk radio and the 'Net. Manross' campaign against lapgrinders was simply more of the same.
Manross squawked that the Council had to change the old law for constitutional reasons. But news that porn queen Jenna Jameson had bought part of Babe's certainly put the item on the front burner. And if the old law required revision, why did it need to be stricter?
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, Mayor; what's your prob with some pervy old penguin getting a lap dance? Um, don't answer that! The better question is, why do you care?
"I don't wanna talk about those things with you," sputtered Manross.
Too bad. After all, Manross seems sorta sexy in that repressed, middle-aged librarian kinda way. Y'all know the type: prudish in public, but wild behind closed doors. Kinda starts the Taloned One to fantasizing.
But there are fantasies, and there are out and out delusions, like Herroner's pipe dream that this won't affect her run for a third term in 2008. To burst that bubble, The Bird borrows a comment overheard at the open house for the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce's new digs September 14 with Manross in eye-shot: "Look, there goes DMW: Dead Mayor Walking."
This cynical songbird still garners hate mail by the truckload over its criticism of the Zona's 9/11 memorial, which it first tweeted about last month ("Monument Valley," August 3, 2006). Some folks accuse this eagle-eyed ink-slinger of a lack of patriotism and a heart as hard as its avian noggin. All because this The Bird had the temerity to point out that AZ's link to 9/11's tragic events was weaker than tea from a twice-used teabag.
See, other than the deaths of Tempe resident Gary Bird and a handful of others who had family in Sand Land, AZ's main connection to the 9/11 attacks was through watching events unfold on the boob tube. That is, if you don't count the fact AZ flight schools trained 9/11 pilot Hani Hanjour, the Islamo-fascist responsible for slamming American Airlines Flight 77 into the side of the Pentagon.
Interestingly, that's one of the salient facts not included in the design of the recently unveiled AZ memorial christened "Moving Memories" with all the schmaltz of a Hallmark card. Dedicated September 11 at Wesley Bolin Plaza by Governor Janet "Anything to get my mug on the idiot box" Napolitano, the memorial features a timeline of sorts cut into this 40-foot metal Frisbee with a hole in the middle. Beneath the steel Frisbee is what looks like an ugly concrete ashtray. As the sun beats down on the Frisbee, that stenciled timeline of phrases and facts appears on the concrete below.
The timeline reads like a pathetic pat on the back, revealing the 9/11 memorial to be the ultimate act of self-serving narcissism. Mixed in with the dates and times of the 9/11 attacks are mawkish tidbits such as "12-year-old sold T-shirts to build memorial in Goodyear," "People of Yuma planted trees," "Remembrance garden planted in Winslow," and "Grace of Phoenix made kids giggle again."
Pardon this peacock's French, but does anyone else find this completely fucking retarded?
"We stand in 100-degree heat to give blood," reads another phrase. "216 AZ firefighters respond to WTC," states another. Duh, Americans gave so much blood post-9/11 that the Red Cross ended up throwing much of it away. And practically everywhere sent firefighters and emergency personnel. So what?
Aside from the maudlin and the self-congratulatory, there's also a cheap lefty slant to the thing. Like, war's bad, OK? So the peaceniks had to include PC crap like "Arizona Interfaith Movement promotes understanding, & respect," along with "America bad" messages such as "07-01-02, erroneous US air strike kills 46 Uruzgan civilians." Wow, this is nearly as thought-provoking as a rerun of M*A*S*H!
The whole project is so small-town and so obvious that it reminds this jaundiced jaybird of that classic comedy show Fernwood 2Nite starring Martin Mull as talk-show host Barth Gimble, the big fish in the podunk pond of fictional Fernwood, Ohio. Difference is, Fernwood 2Nite was a satire, while the lame-brains responsible for the AZ 9/11 Memorial are as serious as a case of the clap. Someone pass the penicillin, please!
What's this ferocious flapper to make of former Arizona State University Student Body Prez Yaser Alamoodi getting nabbed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
The Saudi Arabian's been cooling his heels in Arizona's Eloy Detention Center since September 6, when ICE paid an early-morning visit to Alamoodi's pad to take him into custody for being "out of status," or in the U.S. illegally. According to ICE flack Russel Ahr, Alamoodi ain't getting out 'til he sees a judge, which Ahr says could take "a few weeks." When that happens, chances are Alamoodi'll receive a one-way ticket back to camel-jockey land.
Alamoodi gained fame last year for wanting to penalize chicks who doffed their plumage for Playboy with expulsion or suspension, a stance so severe it earned him the near-universal ire of his fellow undergrads, ("Yaser, That's My Baby," December 15, 2005).
Even Stalin-esque ASU Prez Michael Crow declined to support Alamoodi's puritanical position, perhaps inspired by his homeland Saudi Arabia's medieval treatment of women. Back in S.A., any woman not covered in black from head to toe and accompanied by her husband risks being beaten and arrested by the country's religious police.
But Alamoodi's pal Deedra Abboud of Arizona's Muslim American Society says that the last thing Alamoodi wants to do is return to the Old Country.
"Yaser has no interest in living in Saudi Arabia," Abboud told The Bird. "He considers it to be a very oppressive society."
Abboud contends that Alamoodi, who resigned his post as student body prez in January, has been unfairly detained, and should be granted some sort of waiver so he can continue studying poli sci at ASU. She's trying to raise money to help Alamoodi pay for his lawyer. Other friends of Alamoodi have started a Help Yaser campaign on MySpace.
But to hear Alamoodi's soon-to-be-ex-wife tell it, the reason ICE picked him up was because he wanted to head home anyway. ASU grad and freelance journo Joy Hepp informed this gossipy gull that she filed for divorce from Alamoodi because he told her he wanted to return to Saudi Arabia without her.
"He's like, `I'm going to Saudi Arabia, and you'll be fine, basically,' confided Hepp. "So, I did the next logical thing."
Hepp withdrew her sponsorship of Alamoodi's residency application on August 9, and the ICE machine started clicking. Sources tell The Bird that Alamoodi knew his time was up. He was conveniently behind on his rent, according to them, and had planned a deportation party (no strippers, natch) for the same week ICE agents apprehended him.
At least Alamoodi won't have to fret about topless ASU coeds in Riyadh. Good luck getting a copy of Playboy there, boyo. They'd probably chop off his hand over there before he could tell the thought police that he's just looking at the mag for, um, research purposes.
Holy Heart Attack
Is the diocese of Phoenix trying to drive a Catholic priest to an early grave? That's what The Bird's wonderin' after the wheelchair-bound, 82-year-old Father Francis LeBlanc of El Mirage's Our Lady of the Sun International Shrine suffered a heart attack and had to be rushed to intensive care last week.
The French-Canadian padre, who's been saying the traditional Latin mass at his chapel for 26 years, is currently recovering at Boswell Memorial Hospital in Sun City. But The Bird suspects that baseless charges by one of Bishop Thomas Olmsted's boys may have helped put the kindly pastor in ICU.
See, Father LeBlanc recently filed a lawsuit against the Diocese because Father Hans Ruygt of Surprise's St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church accused LeBlanc in a July parish newsletter of having been "excommunicated by the Pope." Ruygt subsequently rephrased the online note, deleting the excommunication bit, while stating that LeBlanc's church "was not established by the Diocese of Phoenix and that its pastor is not recognized as a priest in good standing with our diocese."
Though Father LeBlanc has been at loggerheads with the PHX Diocese since pedophile-juggler and hit-and-runster Thomas "Potatoes" O'Brien was the Bishop, LeBlanc was never excommunicated. Indeed, he's been a Catholic priest since he was ordained back in 1950! No surprise, then, that LeBlanc's asking for a formal, public apology and $250K in damages.
"It's hurt me an awful lot," LeBlanc informed this beaker shortly before the Father's ticker tuckered out on him a tad. "I've been getting calls from California, France, Canada, and the East Coast. They say, `Were you excommunicated by the Pope? We read it in the bulletin that goes on the Internet.'"
The split between LeBlanc and the Diocese mirrors the larger split between Traditionalist Catholics who hold onto pre-Vatican II customs and liturgy, and reformers who accept Vatican II and the new mass of Pope Paul VI, said in the vernacular (English for us Anglos), rather than Latin.
Potatoes O'Brien regarded LeBlanc's celebration of the Tridentine mass as "schismatic." Olmsted allows the Tridentine mass to be said by his appointed priests, but does not regard LeBlanc or his church as part of the Diocese of Phoenix, according to Diocese spokesperson Jim Dwyer.
Still, LA-based Papal Knight and Catholic scholar Charles Coulombe claims LeBlanc can operate as an independent priest under canon law and give the sacraments "so long as he doesn't pretend to be a diocesan setup, so long as he's validly ordained and so long as he has never been censured by his own bishop," who in LeBlanc's case, is in Canada.
Ultimately, this nest-builder believes the Diocese of Phoenix would love to see LeBlanc's very profitable shrine disgraced so that parishioners will take their business to one of the Diocesan churches, like Father Ruygt's St. Clare of Assisi. Has the Diocese no shame?! Crikey, where's Martin Luther when you need him?
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.