1. Who will benefit from the Super Bowl's coming to Tempe?
It will be a fine thing for hotels, airlines, rental-car people and restaurants in Scottsdale. The average man need not expect any dramatic change in lifestyle. All of the available tickets will go to local politicians and business insiders. Cards' owner Bill Bidwill will take bows for bringing the game here. He will announce that sometime after the game, he will begin rebuilding his team. On game day, there will be a traffic jam.
On the other hand, for months in advance, you can expect a monotonous drum-beating for the event in the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. Bill Goodykoontz, the Republic's trivia correspondent, will be named managing editor. Chief editorial writer William Cheshire will call it his most significant experience in journalism since the day he went to work for the Moonies in Washington, D.C.
Radio talk-show hosts will be enthralled by the game. Pat McMahon will interview Super Bowl-connected plumbers and electricians for months in advance. All of them (that is, the plumbers and electricians) will take credit for the passage of the Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day bill. Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan will be honored guests in the expanded press box. On game day, there will be a traffic jam.
Arizona State University, the institution that can't find a way to provide enough English classes so students can graduate in four years, will gleefully spend still more millions to upgrade Sun Devil Stadium's playing field for the National Football League. The costs for the field will be passed on to taxpayers. Evan Mecham will be excoriated repeatedly for causing the game's original cancellation. He will deny responsibility and announce that he is running for governor again on a platform advocating the expulsion of all homosexuals from the state. On the day of the game, there will be a traffic jam.
2. Will Max Dunlap be convicted?
The trouble with old murder cases is that they are like twice-told tales. Nobody remembers the exact details. They begin arguing over who said exactly what. And soon everyone tires of the constant haggling.
No one is a more tiresome haggler than Murray Miller, Dunlap's defense attorney. A day in a courtroom with Miller is enough to make most judges and opposing attorneys ready to spend the night in a padded hospital room.
"Mr. Miller," Judge Norman Hall keeps saying, "let's not take six months on a case that needs only three. Let's move on."
But that's Murray Miller's secret. He never moves on. He never stops haggling. At the end of the day, only he appears unperturbed. The prosecution's case has now been presented by assistant attorney generals Fred Newton and Warren Granville. For those who watched regularly, it was a strong presentation.
John Harvey Adamson's testimony detailing his meetings with Dunlap was convincing.
On the other hand, the testimony by John Sellers, the former Phoenix detective who led the original investigation, was muddled and even suspicious. Sellers came across like a wise guy who was being deliberately evasive. Under Miller's cross-examination, he professed to remember almost no details of the case. It was an astonishing and troubling performance.
Sellers, now in retirement, had been hired by the Attorney General's Office as an investigator and well-paid for his work. His mysterious memory lapse makes one wonder about its root causes.
Sellers' performance was so strange that this alone might sow doubts in the minds of the jurors. In order to free Dunlap, Miller must convince the jury that there has been an elaborate conspiracy against him. But who had a motive to create such a plot?
Inevitably, Dunlap must take the stand to tell his own story. In the end, the jury will choose to believe either Adamson or Dunlap.
I went over to the North High School library the other day and looked up Dunlap's photos in the old yearbooks. When a librarian realized I was researching Max Dunlap, she thoughtfully produced a booklet listing some of the top North High graduates. Among them were Dallas Long, former U.S. Olympic shot-put champion, and Wayne Newton, the Las Vegas singer.
I found Dunlap's photos right away. In the courtroom, Dunlap is a tired and worried 64-year-old man. But in that 1948 copy of the Mustang, the youthful Dunlap is vital and handsome. He is shown being crowned king of his graduating class with a young girl named Jackie Ginn as his queen. According to the yearbook, the library was converted into a dance floor for the big celebration of that honor on the night of the homecoming football game.
In another photograph, Dunlap is shown as a member of the varsity basketball team on which he played all four of his years in high school. He was also a member of the Future Farmers of America club and he is shown there, too. It was through his activity with the latter group that Dunlap met his mentor, Kemper Marley.
There must have been times when Dunlap thought that meeting Marley was the luckiest event of his life. Over the years of their friendship, Marley treated him like a son and lent him more than a million dollars. And then Marley actually forgave the loans. The motive to move against Don Bolles for criticizing Marley is apparent.
Now, Dunlap sits in that courtroom facing the possibility of the death penalty. Strange, isn't it? None of us can predict where or how we'll end up. 3. Why did it take so long to bring Dunlap to trial for the second time?
Bob Corbin, the former attorney general, was incredibly inept. Corbin used the lame alibi that he couldn't bring the case back to court because nobody would believe John Harvey Adamson.
This is the same attorney general who found Charles Keating totally believable and found nothing illegal in his activities. Corbin remained Keating's pal to the end. Of course, his vision may have been blurred by the fact that Keating was his largest political contributor. Corbin now heads the National Rifle Association and campaigns for the rights of children to bear guns freely wherever they choose to roam. He has recently hired former U.S. attorney Linda Akers as an aide. It was Akers who ordered the storming of the Fort McDowell Indian reservation and the seizing of all those pinball machines.
4. Why can't Lute Olson's UofA teams win the big games?
Let me answer that with a question. Have you ever noticed Lute's body language as he minces along the sidelines? He is a man who can pick and assemble talent. However, he lacks the capacity to inspire young men to action. His Tucson restaurant is no bargain, either.
5. Why does President Bill Clinton refuse to hold press conferences?
The other night, Clinton gave a brief talk before the White House radio and TV people which has not been reported on.
Here are a few of the things he said. You will note by the tone that he meant most of it as a joke. But there is a kernel of truth here, too:
"Well, you keep asking for a press conference and here it is. If you want to know the reason I can stiff you, it's because of Larry King. He liberated me from you."
"Bernie Nussbaum, my White House counsel, is 33 and looks like 90. One of his jobs was to get me an attorney general. He is responsible for Zoá Baird and Kimba Wood and another dozen whose names never got in the newspapers. You might ask why I keep such an incompetent around?
"We were about to announce Janet Reno. I thought she could be a folk hero. But then, I thought, what the hell am I gonna do if this doesn't work? I looked at Nussbaum and said: 'This is it. If Reno doesn't work, you're getting a sex-change operation.'" "A lot of you thought I was too young and inexperienced to handle foreign policy--and you were right. But you have to admit, I look good meeting with other heads of state. I watched Ronald Reagan. So I know when to tilt my head and smile." Clinton closed by citing Thomas Jefferson's statement that a free press was the most important thing we have.
At the close, his remarks were greeted by polite applause. There was little enthusiasm. Clinton is heading into rough waters. 6. Why did Governor Fife Symington bring Burton Barr back to deal with the gambling problems on the reservations?
Burton Barr is one of the great connivers and fixers in the benighted political history of this state. For years Barr ran the Republican party and the governor's office by virtue of his strangle hold over the legislature.
He controlled everything. Political donations went directly to Barr, who then picked out his loyal followers and gave them money for their campaigns.
He was a political czar who grew so heady with success that he thought he was a much-loved figure who could breeze into the governor's office. He was soundly beaten by none other than Evan Mecham in a Republican primary.
He is a cynical manipulator who has always played both sides of the street. As a Republican, he teamed up with Bruce Babbitt, a Democratic governor, to grease legislation. He became godfather to one of Babbitt's children. Later he became Terry Goddard's top adviser.
Anytime Barr shows up and takes a side, you know right away who are the guys in the black hats. It's time to check your wallet.
7. Why shouldn't we trust Bruce Babbitt?
He always has an angle. Babbitt's whole goal in life is to schmooze the press and avoid criticism. He wants to be loved by them and supported in any future endeavors.
That's what is behind Babbitt's offer to appoint NBC anchor Tom Brokaw as National Park Service head. Babbitt also leaked the fact that another candidate was Robert Redford.
Let's get serious. Brokaw makes more than $2 million a year for doing the nightly news. Redford makes close to $10 million for each film. The job Babbitt is offering pays $112,000.
8. If The Crying Game was the best and most original film of last year, why won't it win the Academy Award?
Because it's not an American film. The powers behind Clint Eastwood have organized a blitz campaign to make certain the honor goes to his Western, Unforgiven.
The problem is that the Academy Awards don't mean that much anymore. They have demolished themselves. Over the years, the boring, listless, overlong TV shows have been marked by barbarous displays of egotism by various Hollywood luminaries. It takes more than Jack Nicholson sitting in the third row in a pair of dark sunglasses to make an entertaining evening.
9. How does a lawyer get appointed to the Superior Court bench in Maricopa County?
Take the case of Chris Skelley, appointed to the bench last week by Governor J. Fife Symington III.
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Skelley's father is a former far-right-wing-Republican member of the House of Representatives who was a close ally of Burton Barr. Just a day after it was announced that Barr was joining up with Symington, the governor picked Skelley from a long list of candidates for the bench. 10. How far will the Suns go in the playoffs?
Not far at all unless Coach Whataburger can convince them to rebound and play defense on a regular basis.
11. What's the worst-designed airport terminal in North America?
Terminal Four at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport wins hands down. Nobody can possibly cope with it. To start with, the system of ramps intimidates you even before you get in the building. A prize should be given for anyone who is able to park his car, pick up a passenger and then find his car again in less than 40 minutes. The long walk to the gates makes a stressful journey out of every trip out of town.
And now that airlines are plunging toward financial collapse, it's apparent the construction of this extra terminal was an astonishing waste of public funds.