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The Executioner's Song and Dance
State Representative Scott Bundgaard considers himself an "idea man." His fresh idea for this month: kill people.

The District 19 Republican intends to introduce a bill requiring capital punishment for interstate drug dealers or people who produce "a commercial amount" of illegal drugs, whatever that means.

May we recommend death by stoning?
"This will be a tough bill to get through--I think it's going to take a lot of education. But what's right is right," Bundgaard crowed to the Arizona Capitol Times. ". . . We've got to start somewhere."
Amen to that, brother Bundgaard. How about starting with a law requiring the state to sever the sticky fingers of petty criminals like Scott Bundgaard?

It's fitting that Bundgaard, 27, has taken an interest in the criminal justice system, since he's been in it. Bundgaard--known around the Capitol as "The Fence"--served two years' probation for his part in a scheme to steal automotive equipment from a department store where he worked in 1986. He originally was indicted on three counts of burglary, one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of theft.

Bundgaard's fellow solons are lining up to co-sponsor the death-penalty legislation, or to introduce similar bills of their own. "I have no problem with it," Representative Tom Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told ACT.

Of course, Bundgaard would wet his leisure suit if he had to witness an execution. He's another vacant right winger who sees the GOP's Get-Mean Bandwagon as his only hope of having cocktails with people of influence. Literally. Earlier in the year, a Republican newsletter says The Fence was asking this question at a party: "Don't you want to buy a member of the Appropriations Committee a drink?"

Bundgaard doesn't even come up with original viciousness. He borrowed Pete Wilson's ideas and phraseology to propose an end to Arizona Affirmative Action programs. And he got the idea for his kill-the-druggies proposal from U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Bundgaard told ACT that he doesn't mind being compared to Gingrich. "Except I'm thinner and taller and still have the same color hair I was born with."

He could have added: "And Newt's smart."

Written Off
After making every newsroom employee reapply and interview for his or her job, the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette have completed their newsroom merger. The winners are assigned to the metro desk or some other downtown department. The losers go to the suburban-bureau "zones."

A few familiar names that you won't be seeing so often on the news pages anymore:

Jonathan Sidener, who covered the Governor's Office, sentenced to Scottsdale.
Medical writer David Cannella, East Valley zone.
County reporter Susan Leonard, East Valley.
City Hall reporter Abraham Kwok, night cops. (He'll still get news bylines.)
Superior Court reporter Brent Whiting, West Valley.
Business writer Barbara Deters--covering Surprise and Sun City West.

Absorbing perhaps the biggest slap in the face was religion writer Kim Sue Lia Perkes, who is no longer even in the newsroom. Her temporary assignment: writing copy for special supplements. Perkes, by the way, is the sitting president of the 500-member Arizona Press Club.

But with the postmerger reporter-to-editor ratio estimated at 2.5 to 1, reporters in the newsroom may soon envy those in the hinterlands.


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