Open Yer Mouse and Shay Aah
If you are an alcohol- or drug-addicted doctor, Sue Gerard is your salvation.
State Representative Gerard wants to ensure that derelict doctors and other health-care professionals are protected from public scrutiny. That's why she sponsored House Bill 2028, the "Drunk Doctor Bill." Gerard's pet bill would reverse current state law, which protects the public from drunken doctors. HB 2028 would instead protect the drunken doctors from the public by keeping records of those addictions secret.
What's more, under Gerard's bill, state regulatory boards won't have to investigate the public's complaints about, say, a doctor who operated on the wrong limb after consuming a quart of tequila--provided that doctor promises to go into a secret treatment program. This means the state probably won't punish a doctor for practicing bad medicine if the doctor was drunk or drugged at the time. And if a doctor has a bad track record that is drug- or alcohol-related, we won't be able to find out about it.
HB 2028 sailed through the House and Senate and has been sent to committee for a final rewrite. It is almost certain to become law unless we all phone our elected officials and protest en masse. To get numbers for your representatives and senators, call 542-4900.
What would possess a seemingly rational (by Arizona legislative standards) public servant like Gerard to conjure such an onerous bill?
The Flash has learned that the Phoenix Republican has a rather embarrassing addiction herself--to campaign contributions from health-care professionals who would benefit from her sleazy Drunk Doctor Bill.
Campaign records for 1996 indicate Gerard received about $27,600 from health-care organizations and professionals who would reap the rewards from the measure. Attorneys who represent doctors also contributed to Gerard's reelection campaign. All of Gerard's contributions for the year totaled $64,476.14.
Sue Gerard--they'll drink to her.
Fife's Light Reading
While Governor J. Fife Symington III professes never to read New Times, he apparently couldn't resist last week's issue, which chronicled his family's business and personal relationship with a suspected Mexican drug trafficker and money launderer ("Symington Family Partner Under Suspicion").
The Fifester told an entourage accompanying him on a tour of a Camelback Road office building last Thursday that he read the story soon after it hit the streets on Wednesday, March 19.
The story was the topic of discussion at the Symington home, where one of his sons was quite agitated over it.
"I talked about it with my son last night and he was very upset and I had to explain to him that they were attacking me and not him," the governor reportedly told a gathering at the Londen Center office complex at 44th Street and Camelback Road.
Symington made the comment after accosting an office worker who was holding a copy of the paper.
"I was waiting to light up my cigarette and just wishing they would go in, and he approached me and saw the New Times," the office worker, who asked not to be identified, says. "He stopped for a moment and then said, 'I see the National Enquirer is alive and well.'"
"I told him, 'Freedom of the press is alive and well.'
"Then he grabbed and shook my hand anyway. He shook my hand so hard that he jammed my ring into my finger and it left a big red mark. He definitely was a little bit nervous. The adrenaline was pumping," the worker says.
New Times awaits the governor's comment on his family's relationship with Culiacan produce mogul Alejandro Canelos Rodriguez.
For that matter, we're still waiting for the rest of Arizona's so-called "news" media to ask the governor one simple question:
Why is your family in business with a suspected drug trafficker who can't get a visa to enter the United States?
Fife Likes Suck-ups
But, hey, some of Fife's best friends are Mexican.
The latest issue of George--the shallow People magazine of politics--features a four-spread on the Fifester. Titled "The Trouble With Fife," the piece includes a scene in which Symington speaks to a Kiwanis club:
"Symington tells the Kiwanians that a few days earlier he was in Sonora for a meeting of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, where he'd had a fine time. 'They actually like me in Mexico,' he says to much laughter. 'I actually get treated like a governor when I'm in Sonora. They even suck up to you.'"
And if the New York Times is correct, getting treated like a governor in Sonora means treating oneself to drug payoffs. A Times story accuses Sonoran Governor Manlio Fabio Beltrones of as much.
The Fifester doesn't realize how wonderful he has it in Arizona, even if he is bankrupt and bound for prison. It's hard to imagine anyone--even Mexican Chamber of Commerce types--being bigger Symington suck-ups than, say, Arizona's GOP legislative leadership.
The guy's a white-collar criminal who's cozy with an alleged drug runner. But don't ask Mark Killian or John Greene. The former House speaker and Senate president, respectively, provided heavy cover for Symington and his agenda. Both have been richly rewarded for suck-uppage: Killian with directorship of the state Department of Revenue, and Greene with the directorship of the state Insurance Department. Both posts pay $103,000 a year.
And the current House speaker, Don Aldridge, is so footloose as to make Killian and Greene into pillars of rectitude.
It's Just Plane Wrong
When the Fifester summoned the state Department of Public Safety's King Air turbojet for a quick dash to the Rose Bowl, he also reserved a couple seats for someone he's deeply indebted to.
He invited Luis Mejia and Mejia's wife to join the first family on its taxpayer-paid jaunt to Pasadena for the New Year's Day football game between Arizona State and Ohio State.
It's not like Mejia couldn't afford to pay his own way; he is, after all, one of four attorneys (all from the highflying Washington, D.C., law firm of Akin, Gump, Strouss, Hauer & Feld) representing the Fifester in his May 13 federal criminal trial on 23 counts of bank fraud, perjury and extortion.
At last count, our bankrupt guv owed Akin, Gump more than $600,000.
Arizona taxpayers forked over $1,629.36 for the junket.
J.D.'s Peak Performance
Last Sunday, The Flash joined the rest of the ants who have a genetic need to scurry up Squaw Peak. As The Flash neared the trail's midpoint on wobbly legs, the idyllic afternoon calm was shattered.
"I wanna go all the way to the top!" wailed a towheaded little girl, lower lip trembling visibly.
"I'm sorry," said her father with grave finality, "but we've gone as far as we're going to go."
"But I wanna go to the top!" the girl squealed again, bursting into tears.
The Flash tried to hike discreetly around the scene of familial discord.
"Honey, we're not going any further," the man said, doing his best to conceal his frustration. "It's just too dangerous. Besides, we need to go down and catch up with mommy."
There was something vaguely familiar about the man. That booming voice. That florid face concealed beneath a floppy white hat. Those Beltway-blanched legs.
Who else could it be but U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth?
With renewed interest, The Flash studied the scene. Gridlock had clearly set in. How would it be resolved? Was a compromise in order?
This standoff was not to be resolved anytime soon, so The Flash pressed on. After a brief rest at the top, The Flash turned to head down, curious to see which of the Hayworths had prevailed.
The answer soon became apparent: Not far below the summit, the little girl scrambled over the rocks, father in tow.
"You're doing a real good job, honey," Hayworth panted. "We're almost there, aren't we?"
On St. Patrick's Day, the anniversary of paraplegic Richard Post's hellish night in Sheriff Joke Arpaio's jail, attorneys Joel Robbins and Patti Shelton filed a lawsuit on behalf of Post against the sheriff, the county and several detention officers.
Post still awaits surgery for the broken neck he received at the hands of Joke's jailers.
Post, who has been paralyzed below the waist for 12 years, was arrested after arguing with a bar owner and for possessing one gram of marijuana. When he arrived at Madison Street Jail in the early morning hours of March 18, 1996, Post was pulled out of his wheelchair and put into a medieval-looking restraint chair by jail guards who didn't appreciate Post's banging on his cell door while repeatedly requesting a catheter so he could urinate. Post spent the next six hours cinched down in the device, causing him serious injury.
Post continues to suffer from his single night in Madison Street Jail. Neurosurgeon Dr. Mazen Khayata told Post that to repair his broken neck, he would need to crack Post's sternum, remove a vertebra, install steel posts, then fuse his neck together. But once Khayata realized that Post had received his injuries at the county jail, he chickened out and referred Post's case to another surgeon.
Post's new doctor tells him that his spinal cord was so severely stretched, it hasn't had time to rebound. Post is told he'll need seven to nine months of physical therapy before a surgeon can operate. Meanwhile, his upper-body strength continues to deteriorate. "My right arm is actually getting smaller," he says, "and there's still a lot of pain."
Arpaio, meanwhile, has had little to say on the matter, refusing to answer questions about Post during a recent press conference in front of Madison Street Jail. From the safety of a radio studio, however, Arpaio recently responded to a caller by saying, "My officers did nothing wrong. It's a dead case."
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Hmmm. Perhaps Sheriff Joke got Richard Post confused with Scott Norberg.
Quayle's Pinko Palace
Talk about your irony, fate and unintended consequences: Real estate sources say the Paradise Valley home bought by ex-veep Dan Quayle and his lawyer/novelist spouse Marilyn was on the for-sale market for 17 years--offered by heirs of Henry Wallace, another vice president, who served under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Wallace, incidentally, was once accused of being a commie.
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