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Marital Law

Political consultant Jason Rose started off 2000 with a bang by proposing to zoning attorney Jordan Rich at the stroke of midnight. The question got popped at John Teets' tony little fete in the ballroom of the Phoenician.

Rose and Rich are a match made in media heaven, if the Flash ever saw one.

With high-profile clients such as Wal-Mart and developers who want a new arena for the Phoenix Coyotes, Rose certainly gets his fair share of headlines, but the Flash has been amazed in the past couple of years at how Rich, a young associate at Burch & Cracchiolo, has infiltrated gossip columns and other media. She's ubiquitous -- on all sorts of charity and political committees; she even pens columns for two local newspapers. The Flash wonders how -- with all that, and a whirlwind romance with Rose -- she has time to perform her legal duties.

And now Rich -- the Valley's own Ally McBeal, if you believe Scottsdale gossipmeister Danny Medina -- has a wedding to plan. The Flash hears the date is May 13, the guest list is gargantuan and the setting will be the Arizona Biltmore.

This isn't the first time Rose has planned a May wedding. He was slated to marry Stacey Pawlowski -- political fund-raiser extraordinaire whose clients include Steve Forbes -- just last May.

That engagement was broken off with weeks to spare. No "official" word as to why, but the Flash has reason to believe that the would-have-been bride used proceeds from the sale of unused wedding items to outfit her home with hardwood floors -- and has no regrets.

They Fled the Lead

Bullets go up, bullets come down -- or so the dramatic public service announcements tell us ever since the tragic death of 14-year-old Shannon Smith last June from a falling bullet. The shooter was never found.

Issues come up, issues go down -- or so we've learned this New Year's, when, despite the rain of discharged lead and a fallen-bullet injury of another 14-year-old child, Phoenix police have demonstrated that arresting sky-shooters is not a high priority.

Back in November, Smith's parents, state Representative Chris Cummiskey and state Senator Mark Spitzer pushed for the passage of "Shannon's Law," which increases the potential charge for recklessly discharging a weapon from a misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

Emphasizing that the measure was supported by the National Rifle Association, and therefore must be okay, the Republic backed the passage of this law in an editorial, saying, "Shannon's Law will make a statement to lawbreakers and law enforcers alike that this community will no longer indulge such irrational and deadly foolishness."

Statements are nice. But actions are better.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore police confiscated 122 guns and arrested more than 100 people for celebratory gunfire over New Year's weekend. The arrests were the result of a citywide crackdown prompted by past complaints about falling bullets.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office tested a new radar system on New Year's that pinpoints the location of gunshots fired. The results were inconclusive, confusing fireworks with discharged weapons, but the Sheriff's Office got kudos for making an effort.

The Arizona Republic, by contrast, ran a story on January 2 titled "Bullet from the sky strikes teen in skull" next to another New Year's Eve story, titled "Peace and quiet unexpected but nice for officers."

Peace and quiet for officers, perhaps, but not for the hundreds of residents making midnight calls to Phoenix police reporting celebratory gunfire.

And the total number of people arrested in Phoenix for discharging guns into the air over New Year's?

One, says Phoenix police detective Bob Ragsdale.

And the reason he was caught?

While police were investigating a call, officers and neighbors happened to witness a man shooting his gun into the air.

In other words, the arrest fell into their lap.

Ragsdale explains that "it's very hard to prove" cases of celebratory gunfire, which is probably true. And it is doubtlessly a pain to investigate the hundreds of phone calls on New Year's, and the dozens of shots-fired calls Phoenix police routinely receive every night. And it's probably not much fun to cruise neighborhoods where gunfire is reported and hunt for shooters, who are likely intoxicated and definitely armed.

But Baltimore police have proved investigating celebratory gunfire can get results. The Sun reported that Baltimore's mayor said police officers used to ignore gunfire. Then the problem became so pervasive that the mayor ordered a change of attitude, and made pursuing complaints of celebratory gunfire a priority.

When do you suppose Phoenix will reach that point?

Feed the Flash: voice, 602-229-8486; fax, 602-340-8806; online, flash@newtimes.com


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