Who says all politicians are corrupt, dimwitted hose-bags?
Not this counterfeit canary, at least not since Governor Janet Napolitano's veto of a bill that would have made illegal immigrants subject to the state's criminal trespassing law. (In a letter to Republican Arizona House Speaker Jim Weiers, she's vowed to veto a second version of the bill, which was in the works at press time for this column, if the GOP dopes on the ropes continue taking their irrational hard line.)
The Bird's nailed Janet in the past for courting neo-conservative favor; for painting herself as tough on border security but doing little to back up that claim. But this time, this foul fowl can't help but heap kudos on La Napolitano for quashing this bill, which was passed by the Legislature but never should have made it as far as Janet's desk.
The bill was a cheap shot by lawmakers that ultimately would have had no effect on illegal immigration, but would have crowded our already overcrowded jails and made for heaps of extra work for local cops. And whaddaya know? Janet actually listened when cops complained about doing more work for the same amount of money.
The bill would have empowered state and local law enforcement officers to arrest illegal immigrants, willy-nilly, because without the proper documentation, they'd have been "trespassing" on our hallowed Arizona ground. Picture our already maxed-out coppers stopping brown-skinned people in malls and markets, and asking for proof that they were entitled to be here. Then imagine the hue and cry from race-relations activists. Not pretty.
"I was very pleased that the governor vetoed this bill," said Latino activist Alfredo Gutierrez, a former state senator who ran for governor himself in 2002. "Even though she waited 'til the last minute to veto it, I've been publicly thanking her for doing so. It's too bad that she's going to be tested again and again before the end of the session, because there will be an escalation of this kind of bill for a while now."
Even U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, a Neanderthal when it comes to civil rights issues, criticized the bill. He rightly asserted that it won't stop illegal immigration. Although fans of the bill claimed it would bolster Border Patrol workers by allowing cops to pitch in and haul off illegals caught crossing the border (or wandering through Wal-Mart), there was no concession to pay local law enforcement for the additional workload.
If Janet hadn't stopped this nonsense, our boys and girls in blue would've wound up devoting a good portion of their day to questioning Hispanic types (read: the majority of the people in Phoenix these days) rather than doing their job, which presumably is to protect our communities against such as murderers, rapists, armed robbers and meth dealers.
And how about the fact that it isn't the job of local police to enforce federal immigration law?
There's no way the Legislature will override Janet's veto, because the bill passed 17-12 in the Senate and 33-27 in the House, and an override would require 20 votes in the Senate and 40 in the House. And that's a good thing, because although the bill threatened illegals with up to six months of jail time, it didn't allocate money to the already overcrowded, underfunded county jails that would have to house our friendly visitors.
Crazy old Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "solution" -- prop up more tents across the desert to house the additional offenders -- makes about as much sense as his "let's humiliate 'em with pink underwear" hoo-ha.
Joe's GOP pals in the Legislature think that such a bill would encourage immigrants to either stay home where they belong or never head for the border in the first place. Right-wing nut-jobs, especially the likes of Joe and Speaker Weiers, are always claiming that tough-on-crime policies reduce recidivism, when there's absolutely no evidence of that. As long as people are starving in Mexico, Mexicans will keep coming -- no matter what kind of immigration policy the United States winds up enacting.
The Bird must again give kudos to President George W. Bush for insisting that Congress work toward legalizing the Mexican immigrants who are already here, and consider a guest-worker program for those who might come. This fake falcon would like to believe that Bush's being altruistic, but he probably only realizes that the economy of the Southwest would go under without illegal aliens to man, for instance, the construction industry that his campaign-contributor developer buddies are operating. And if development goes under in a city like Phoenix, so does the economy.
In any case, kudos to the guv for having the good sense to continue bashing the legislative Republican right-wingers. She has made their idiot agenda a non-factor during this legislative session. High time! Keep kicking them while they're down.
If you're anything like The Bird, you've felt the slightest bit nauseous while watching MTV's latest My Super Sweet 16 extravaganza. The show, now in its third season, follows spoiled-brat teenage girls who're planning painfully elaborate "Sweet 16" birthday parties for themselves. Program highlights always include squabbles with super-wealthy parents, high-strung temper tantrums and deeply vulgar displays of conspicuous consumption.
The most recent episode, which aired April 19, did absolutely nothing for regional pride. The show featured Scottsdale's own Marissa Leigh Dubowy, a wanna-be pop star whose "Pink Fantasy" birthday bash included some 200 guests, a $50,000 one-day house rental, three wardrobe changes (for Marissa) and a pink dye job (for her poodles, who had the nerve to grow fur that didn't match Marissa's outfits). Somebody named Frankie J. performed but was upstaged by the grand finale, which involved Marissa's doting parents gifting her with not one new car, but two -- because, after all, every high school kid needs a sportier ride for the weekend.
Marissa boasted that the party set daddy back more than $150,000, a fact that made this puerile parrot want to puke. But the folks who really should have been barfing are the taxpayers of Scottsdale. Believe it or not, they indirectly helped underwrite the whole ridiculous affair.
Here's the scoop: Back in 2004, car dealers clustered around Scottsdale and McDowell roads, better known as Scottsdale Motor Mile, began lobbying the city for some corporate welfare. They didn't have enough traffic, they whined. Car dealerships in Phoenix were taking their customers.
"How come everybody else is growing and we're not?" one of the dealers wept to the Arizona Republic.
And so the poor, impoverished car dealers made the city one of those offers that only a dupe -- or a politician -- could love: As their gift to the city, the dealers would pour some dough into advertising the Motor Mile district. (Pretty generous, huh?) And as the city's gift to them, well, the city would put some money into advertising for them, too. Say, maybe, a couple of million bucks.
The Scottsdale City Council, which has seldom turned down a chance to waste taxpayer money, embraced the idea (don't forget Mayor Mary Manross' time-wasting fight against Jenna Jameson's strip club). Last year, the city committed to giving the oh-so-underprivileged car dealers $300,000 annually -- $1.5 million over five years.
How does this all relate to 16-year-old Marissa Leigh Dubowy?
Well, Marissa's dad, the guy she credits with picking up the bill for her over-the-top party, is Marc Dubowy, owner of Mark Mitsubishi and vice president of the Motor Mile group -- the same group that begged for tax dollars because business was so tough.
So the Scottsdale Motor Mile needs single moms making $5.25 an hour to donate their tax bucks, via City Hall, to its advertising campaign. But somehow, the group's veep is doing so well that he just bought his princess two sports cars!
Jim Lane, who was the only councilman to oppose Scottsdale's Motor Mile giveaway, said he's heard from constituents who connected supposedly impoverished Marc Dubowy, auto dealer, with Daddy Warbucks Marc Dubowy, Marissa's loving papa.
"They mentioned the excess and the fact that tax dollars may have found their way to the bottom line that paid for that party," Lane snitched to The Bird.
It's exactly the sort of black eye Scottsdale doesn't need: The city is asking citizens to pass Proposition 402 on May 16, which would basically eliminate the possibility of a tax cut, even with growing city coffers. City Manager Jan Dolan has suggested that without the proposition's passage, everything from police services to her own job might have to be cut. But, Lane notes, no one's even mentioned rescinding the Motor Mile gift.
Meanwhile, Marissa Leigh -- who, after all, has a manager, a voice coach, a publicist, and two acting coaches, all of whom need paychecks -- offered a rousing defense of her My Super Sweet 16 excess at www.myspace.com. For her part, the none-too-brainy Marissa writes, "I no i come off as some STUPID ass bratty girl who is obsessed with saying im HOT but i really dont think i am!!! i am always polite to people and really im kinda a quite girl who sits back and watches everyone most the time!"
As for Daddy Dubowy, "honestly i am a daddys girl and always have been! i love my dad to death and he knows how greatful i am to have him as a dad!"
Marissa, honey, The Bird doesn't think you're a "STUPID ass bratty girl." But it must admit: This whole Pink Fantasy/dyed poodle/corporate welfare thing does make all of us fear for the future of this republic. Not to mention Desert Mountain High School, where you honed your writing ability.
Okay, so it's been open to the public for nearly a year. But this bad-ass beaker's been so busy dropping loads on Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Senate Prez Ken Bennett that it managed to miss the auspicious unveiling of the L. Ron Hubbard House at Camelback.
The Bird shits you not: Step right up, folks, and see the Phoenix tract home once owned by the founder of the Church of Scientology! And right here in our very own backyard at 5501 North 44th Street.
Seems ol' L. Ron hunkered down in the desert near Camelback Mountain beginning in March 1952, and while there managed to pinch off enough craziness to found a religion on. Who knew that the dopey cult (that's all the buzz because of the birth of Scientologist actor Tom Cruise's kid) was nurtured in our fair city? And that now, you can tread the very high-low shag that Scientology's mad genius once trod!
"You'll step right into the same living room where he met with students and demonstrated the newly developed E-Meter," the house's official Web site (www.lronhubbard.org/houses/phoenix/) excitedly promises. "There is even the upright piano where he sat and researched the wavelength of theta!"
Once inside this slump-block palace, one can see the actual desk ("complete with his Dictaphone, pens and ink bottles!") where the king of weird actually penned his five gotta-read-them-to-believe-them volumes on Dianetics, as well as innumerable articles about his "applied religious philosophy," a form of psychotherapy that asks its devotees to confront negative experiences from the past in order to achieve mental health.
Scientology spokeswoman Monica Sanz Polo swears that the L. Ron House isn't here to recruit more whacked-out weirdoes into the late Hubbard's sci-fi cult. "It's for parishioners," Sanz Polo swore. "It's there so that people can bring family members to see what we're doing in Scientology, and to see where it began."
"I would think the house wouldn't be interesting to people who don't know Scientology," Hubbard House flack Marylyse Brock added.
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The Bird sees what she means. Promotional materials for the house promise, "You can truly walk in Ron's footsteps and see where he forged the path to spiritual freedom for all mankind." Visitors get to see artifacts like L. Ron's very own camera; his typewriter; and something described as "the first LRH bust sculpted by a student."
The Bird wanted to know what the city's official take on this snoozy tract home was, but when it couldn't find Herr Hubbard's home on the City Historic Registry, it consulted Brock.
"Oh, it's not considered a landmark by the City of Phoenix," Brock told this prying pigeon. "It's considered a landmark because L. Ron Hubbard was so important. A lot of people come here from California to see [the house]."
Yikes! The hell with securing the Mexico/Arizona border against illegal aliens! Quick, somebody secure the California/Arizona border to keep any more SoCal Scientology wack-jobs from getting in!