The Morning NAFTA
Imagine Governor J. Fife Symington III's dismay as a supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement when the radical enviros at the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity convinced NAFTA's Commission for Environmental Cooperation to evaluate the effects that the growth of the Army's Fort Huachuca and the town of Sierra Vista have on southern Arizona's San Pedro River.
The Fifester shot off a letter to the commission, whose members include EPA chief Carol Browner.
"The SCBD is well known in Arizona for its radical views," Fife cautioned in his letter, referring to the radical concept of forcing the state and U.S. governments to follow their own environmental laws.
"The effect (and obvious intent) of the SCBD litigation has been to bring a virtual halt to several of our vital industries, including ranching, mining and timber," he continues. "The economy, and most especially the rural economy, of our state has suffered tremendously as the result of these often irresponsible lawsuits, and there is significant concern about SCBD's continuing effort to hinder the operations of Fort Huachuca, its surrounding community and the local economy."
The Fifester describes himself as "a devout and vocal proponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since its ideological conception." He just didn't realize that he would have to abide by its terms.
Does anyone see a pattern here?
Smoke Gets in Their Eyes
Just how much does Arizona's Republican party dislike its own attorney general, Grant Woods? Enough to ignore his role in the big Tobacco Settlement, last week's smokin' story.
In its June 23 Leadership Talking Points and FaxWire newsletters--which prep Republicans on what to say in public about pet GOP programs--the only thing editors could say about Woods was bad:
That he and Paul Johnson, former Phoenix mayor and a Democrat, are trying to upset the political apple cart with their Open Primary Initiative that would allow voters from any party to vote in the primaries.
In fact, Leadership Talking Points accused Woods and Johnson of trying to "corrupt" the process. This after the state GOP bent over while U.S. Senator John McCain and the Fifester rejiggered the '96 GOP primary for their good pal Phil Gramm.
Nevertheless, neither newsletter uttered a peep about Woods' role in the staggering $300 billion settlement with Big Tobacco.
Woods was appearing from Washington, D.C., on every TV network, quoted in major national publications and being hailed for helping to hold the tobacco industry's feet to the fire.
The sexiest Leadership Talking Points items were more yadda-yadda about tax legislation.
With the Fifester on trial for his freedom, let alone his political life, one might think the state GOP would have jumped on the Woods bandwagon for the good of party morale.
Then again, the newsletters were probably prepared in smoke-filled rooms.
The Memo of the Week was leaked to us from an agent provocateur at AlliedSignal.
Date: June 3, 1997
To: All Engines Associates
From: Greg Summe
Subject: NLRB Petition
Once again, I must advise you that the Teamsters Union have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asserting the right to represent certain associates here at Engines. While I am deeply concerned with this action, I am convinced that the majority of our associates prefer to remain union free. Unfortunately, union organizers continue to create conflict and suggest that the Teamsters have the answers to all our problems.
In the past, unions were sometimes successful at raising wages and benefits at companies that did not pay well. However, at AlliedSignal Engines you already enjoy a benefits package that ranks in the top 10 percent nationally and wages that are superior to most local companies. All this would go back on the table in collective bargaining, with no guarantees that you will end up as well as you are now. I urge you to carefully consider putting your excellent wages and benefits at risk in exchange for Teamsters' promises.
The only guarantee with a union is conflict between associates and leadership. Unions thrive on conflict and create conflict in order to sustain themselves. We have already seen the negative effects of union organizing and its impacts on our first quarter deliveries and productivity. We are not an organization without problems. But I ask you to consider carefully if the Teamsters can fix the problems or if we would not be better off working them together.
What happens next? Proceedings will take place with the NLRB to determine whether or not an election will be held at Engines. We will continue to communicate frequently about the Teamsters and their track record. I urge you to review the company's material carefully and to get the real facts on the important issues.
The Teamsters can have a very serious, negative impact on our growth strategy and ability to meet our customer needs. We will continue to aggressively oppose any union organizing at Engines. Thank you for your ongoing support and loyalty to our company.
It's all been very hush, hush, but The Flash has confirmed that former state Senate president John Greene was briefly felled in May by a heart attack that landed him in Scottsdale Memorial Hospital.
Greene, now director of Arizona's Insur-ance Department, was variously described as "taking a few days off" or "not feeling very well" when inquiries were made at the Insurance Department and the Governor's Office.
A Flash source, however, called hospitals until getting an answer from Scottsdale Memorial that Greene was in intensive care and resting. He's since returned to work.
What is it about politicians who can't 'fess up to health problems when they're missing from the scene?
For days House Speaker Don Aldridge misled colleagues about his health, first denying anything was wrong, then admitting to some problems--and finally showing up a foot short.
Don't get The Flash started on that whole FDR thing.
Skip the Lyrics
During a break in The Flash's favorite program (Xena: Warrior Princess), The Flash saw something that made him do a triple take.
That's right. Watch closely the next time the Arizona Republic's cloying jingle wafts into your living room:
When I walk down the street,
I feel glad I was born
(Cut to perky Republic columnist Keven Willey--You go, girl--smiling endearingly into the camera)
Music comes singing out of every door
I see faces I know
(Cut to Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Benson, swatting playfully at the camera from behind his cluttered desk, while the husky voice of Pam Johnson subliminally apologizes for everything he's ever done.)
And they give me that sign
There's something between us
(Cut to shot of a personalized Arizona license plate bearing the cryptic inscription "BABY X3." Now, what could that mean?)
And it feels so right
It's one world, yeah, yeah!
It's your world, yeah, yeah!
(As music swells, cut to Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza, proud father of triplets, pushing same in stretch baby carriage, smiling beatifically into the camera while the Republic's Saving Arizona's Children logo is subliminally broadcast into your dental fillings.)
Way to go, Skip! And, hey, way to go, Republic! You make a great team!
Yet The Flash cannot shake off the confusion in the wake of the Republic's pulsating series on elderly abuse. Have all of Arizona's children now been saved? Is the Republic moving on to save old people? Why don't they clear up the confusion and JUST SAVE EVERYBODY AND EVERY ORGANISM AND EVERYTHING!
That would feel so right, yeah, yeah.
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All the Leaves Are Brown
New Times staffers held a farewell gig for Peter Gilstrap last Saturday. The Strapmeister, as he is affectionately known to his colleagues, is a former NT music editor and the inimitable author of Screed. The Strapster and his smart and lovely wife, Bettie Rinehart, are seeking fame and fortune in that giant wheezebag known as Los Angeles--he as a columnist for New Times Los Angeles and she as an associate editor at Larry Flynt Publications, for whom she will write "dirty stories."
For those legions who will suffer Screed withdrawal, the Strapenheimer's latest work (he, by the way, is also smart and lovely) will soon be available on our Web site, phoenixnewtimes.com.
Those legions suffering Bettie withdrawal can find her work in Hustler, an important resource of The Flash's.
Feed The Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, email@example.com