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Flashes

Inspiration of a Fifetime
A Paradise Valley composer who wishes to remain Anonymous has cut a tape of a song he wrote in honor of former governor J. Fife Symington III's impending incarceration, an event that will see the Fifester move from one gated community to another.

He even put together a little band just to produce the song, the Poetic Justice Band. He's hoping the country stations will recognize the poetic justice--the lyrics are meant to accompany the '60s Johnny Cash hit "Folsom Prison Blues."

"I call the song 'Florence Prison Blues,' even though Symington isn't going to prison in Arizona," says the Anonymouster. "But you could call it 'Fifester Blues' or 'Symington Blues.'"

Or the "Nellis Air Force Base Prison Blues." Disclosure: There is a horn in the band, and New Times is tooting it, because the writer saw fit to immortalize our coverage of the Fifester with our very own verse.

Without further ado, the Flash presents you with the lyrics to a song that's a lock to be No. 1 with a bullet:

Well, here's a little story
'Bout a man who ran our state
Defrauded all the bankers
A rich kid reprobate
Thought no one could touch him
He was above the law
Now he's facin' time in prison
Without old Ann or Ma

Well, he built the old Mercado
He built the Esplanade
He thought himself a master
Of the rip-off and the fraud
We knew he had it comin'
We're glad he won't go free
But, he couldn't fool the people
Justice for you and me

Well, I bet he's in the cellblock
With some lady who's a man
He did to Arizona
What happens in the can
He'll prob'ly buy the warden
The guards and inmates, too
I hope he's feelin guilty
Red, white and black and blue

He demonized New Times
For the job they had to do
He threatened them with libel
And told them he would sue
But, they stay'd the course for freedom
They knew the facts don't lie
In spite of dodging bullets
They kept their heads up high

There's a history of losers
Leading us astray
We need to be more wary
Of the crooked games they play
Listen, Arizona
Land of the rising sun
We don't need a Mecham,
Keating or Symington

Conquering IRE Land
As long as we're patting ourselves on the back, let's just continue until it's all bruised and tender.

The national journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors has released its list of award winners and finalists for 1997. New Times is on it--twice--the only news organization in this great nation that was named more than once.

The IRE judges selected four finalists for its Renner Award, given to the organization whose work best exemplifies the tenacity and spirit of investigative reporting.

Among the finalists were New Times' "Going for Broke," which exposed a paralegal bankruptcy mill whose inept practices were costing people their homes and cars. The other finalist composition was "Mel's Angels," which told how former Superior Court judge and U.S. attorney Mel McDonald had manipulated a police investigation into wrongdoing by a relative of his. Both pieces were reported and written by Paul Rubin, who's won the state's top investigative reporting awards every year for as long as anyone can remember.

The two other finalists for the Renner Award were the Palm Beach Post, for "Crime Without Punishment," a report about sentencing problems, and the Center for Investigative Reporting for "Hot Guns," an investigation into untraceable guns.

Winning the Renner Award was ABC News' PrimeTime Live, for "Blood Money," a report about the selling of organs of executed Chinese prisoners.

Other publications finishing high in various IRE categories included the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun. You get the idea.

Beltway Exodus
The Flash has noticed a trend emerging in local political circles: Washington movers and shakers moseying back to Arizona to take jobs.

For example, onetime Tucsonan Mo Elliethee, former director of communications and field operations for the Interfaith Alliance (a mainstream alternative to the Christian Coalition) in D.C., is doing communications for the Paul Johnson for Governor campaign.

Phoenician and former White House staffer Dennis Burke (not to be confused with Dennis M. Burke, head of Arizona Common Cause) is now at the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office.

Perhaps the most bizarre career move was made by Kevin Tyne, who went from directing legislative affairs for New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari in D.C. to heading up Maricopa County Supervisor Jan Brewer's office. (Tyne's wife grew up in Phoenix.)

Litigation Theology
Just weeks ago, the Flash read in a local daily that gubernatorial candidate Tom Rawles was paying himself $4,000 a month--out of his own campaign coffers--to run for office. Last week, Rawles dropped out of the race. He says he'll either donate the remainder of his war chest--about $40,000--to charity, or return it to contributors on a prorated basis.

For a guy who dropped out of the race with more than six months to go, Rawles did quite well for himself. He admits his campaign paid him $36,000 during the past nine months.

Rawles says he intends to open his own "Christian mediation" organization that will allow the pious to circumvent the legal process by solving disputes "through love." No word as to who will pay Rawles' salary.

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


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