Don't Tread on Us
Jerry Colangelo isn't the only one gorging himself at the public trough that will fund the downtown baseball stadium. Private property owners are chowing down, too. Most landowners in the 22-acre stadium site have agreed to sell to the county--after putting up a good fight.
One of the big winners in the holdout is Case Properties, which owns Charlie Case Tire Company. The county appraised the Case site at $1.25 million in March.
Case balked and contested the appraisal in court before settling last week for $2.9 million. The three-month holdout was worth $137,000 a week to Case.
Sources say landowners who have agreed to sell are getting prices that average 75 percent to 100 percent above the county's appraisals. Five property owners are still holding out.
Maricopa County Treasurer Doug Todd is a chatty guy, but all he can do is sputter upon hearing that former Maricopa County manager Roy Pederson has been hired as administrator of Yolo County, near Sacramento. And Todd is speechless when he hears how the Yolo press describes Pederson. Yolo's Daily Democrat last month lauded Pederson for his "reputation for fiscal management." The paper also quoted an unidentified Arizona Republic reporter as saying Pederson "looked under every rock" to save money but became a scapegoat when the county suddenly developed a $100 million deficit.
If Pederson looked under a rock, he also stuck his head there. And the deficit didn't pile up overnight. Todd and an aide say that when they informed Pederson in early 1993 that the county had an $82 million budget shortfall, Pederson blithely responded, "I have no information from my finance department that leads me to believe that the county is in any financial difficulty" ("Dangerous Games, Your Money," April 27, 1994).
Now Pederson is getting credit in California for fiscal vigilance. And he gets a new job as the top dog in Yolo, population 150,000, at $88,000 per annum. (Pederson, who resigned his local post March 1994, was paid $116,000 for guiding Maricopa County.)
Even the Sacramento Bee sugar-coated Pederson's record in a blurb about his new job. The only mention of Pederson's Arizona woes: "He is moving from Phoenix, where he served as Maricopa County manager from 1990-1994, quitting when he saw he lacked the chemistry needed to be effective with a new Board of Supervisors."
When he finally regains his speech, Todd gasps, "That is ripe."
Yo! Low Blow!
Olympic judo hopeful Christophe Leininger won the grappling event in the National Black Belts Association Tournament in Mesa on June 10 by the seat of someone else's pants.
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Leininger, 35, who lives in Phoenix, has been national judo champ twice, has medaled in the Pan Am and World Games, has been an Olympic alternate three times and hopes to go to next year's Olympics, as well. But he had trouble getting a grip on his competition in Mesa. Leininger's accustomed to fighting people clad in the traditional and grabbable judo uniform, but the wrestler he faced was shirtless and slippery.
So Leininger de-pantsed him.
"I exposed him to the crowd," Leininger says, "pulled those elastic shorts out two or three feet. I could read the size of his jock, and so could everyone else--I think it was a small."
Leininger found the opening he was looking for--his embarrassed opponent forfeited the match.