Yes, that's right. I've kept an intimate diary of the entire deal. As I look back through this journal of the Eighties, I see that more often than not my intuition has been pretty amazing. Also, through the years I've had the opportunity to hobnob with most of the so-called big shots in this town, and I'm amazed to this day that way too few of them followed my advice.
Remember, these are just excerpts. The entire document, when it's published in hard-cover form someday soon, will totally blow people away. (By the way, if you should come across anything that is factually less than completely accurate, drop me a line and I'll give you a tiny proofreading credit somewhere in the preface.) Anyway, I've left some of my best stuff out, just to save some things for the book. When it comes out, I strongly advise you to buy it.
February 15, 1980
Spent two hours trying to get across the Salt River. The damn thing is flooded again, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say somebody moved us all to the banks of the Mississippi in the middle of the night. At this rate, people are going to start thinking of Phoenix as the new Memphis. You know: river city, people fly-fishing from the Central Avenue bridge, barges working the river between here and Yuma. Delta blues. Speaking of music, while I was in the car, I got to listen to John Giese and Bill Andres on KDKB. Funny guys. That format is perfect for them. I can't imagine either one of them (Bill especially) working at a Top 40 station or something like that. As for John, I think his style would be ideal for a station that played oldies. But not too old. Old like Deep Purple. March 1, 1980
Had lunch with Barry Goldwater down at the Adams. He's not taking his opponent in this fall's election very seriously, and I warned him that I think it's going to be closer than he thinks. The guy's name is Bill Schulz. Has a lot of dough. Barry's all pissed off about this Iranian hostage thing, too. I told him that they'll never let them go while Carter is president. Barry asked (again) about my political future. I told him I think I can be more effective working behind the scenes. Also gave him some investment advice. "Boots," I told him. "Cowboy boots." I've heard that local disco station KXTC is going country soon, and John Travolta's new movie is all about Texas and country living. Hard for me to believe, but I think shit-kicking is going to be the next big trend. Later went out to the Playboy Club, where the crowd wasn't very big at all. That joint's best years are behind it. June 10, 1980
Canceled a meeting with Mike Lacey, the editor of New Times. He says he wants to hire me as a columnist or something. I can't see it. I mean, a free weekly? Besides, this was the paper that recently ran this letter to the editor: "I play in one of the local country-rock bands in town and would like all the punk rockers everywhere to know that I feel sorry for them and what they represent." Sheesh. Later, went to the Star System new-wave club in Tempe. Bands included the Pills, the Nervous, the Spiffs, and, of course, the Vomit Pigs. December 6, 1980
Went to a farewell concert for Hans Olson. Last week he told New Times: "I've definitely decided to get out of Phoenix." Later went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Sombrero Theater. Decided not to become part of bizarre cult associated with movie. Not that I have anything against dressing up in odd costumes, but I think Ronald Reagan's going to have something to say about this kind of lifestyle now that he's been elected president. He's an old-fashioned conservative, and I doubt he'll have much patience for anybody who indulges in fringe behavior. You know, astrology or what have you. May 16, 1981
Went to a welcome-home concert for Hans Olson. Also, Sandy O'Connor called. She thinks the president will nominate her for the Supreme Court. She asked for my opinion, and I told her to go for it if she thinks she can handle the Washington winters. Also got a call from an old friend who works in radio in Chicago. He wanted to know if there was anyone worth talking to here in this market and I gave him Jonathon Brandmeier's name. I think he's perfect for that market. September 10, 1981
Latest nugget in the rumor mill: The Rolling Stones are going to play a big concert sometime in the next few months out at ASU. Sure. Aren't those guys getting kind of old for arena shows? January 3, 1982
Big dinner with John Rhodes. Says he's tired of the grind. Wants to call it quits, but he's afraid that if he retires and moves back to Arizona, his family (son Jay in particular) will drive him nuts. Find the kid an out-of-state job, I told him. Picked up the check ($65), as usual. Had an appointment with Bill Close earlier in the afternoon and met with him down at Channel 10. As usual, I walked right in off the street and into his office. You know, they'd better do something about their security down there. Downtown isn't getting any safer, and someday some nut is going to walk in off the street and cause some real trouble. Since Bill's in the communications business, I tipped him to a little investment opportunity I've been hearing about. It's called the compact disc, and I have a hunch it's going to replace records someday as the way people listen to music. Bill laughed when I told him, but his mood changed when I reminded him about the hunch I had three years ago about the Sony Walkman. Later went out to the Razberry Rhinoceros to hear the Effects. Saw Anita, the babe who does the 24-Hour Nautilus ads. She told me she wants to have my child.
November 25, 1982
Terry Goddard left a message on my machine. Wants me to lead his "kitchen cabinet" while he runs for mayor next year. Of course, he hasn't announced yet. I've been advising him secretly on his campaign to change the method for electing city council from at-large to district, and I'm pretty sure it's going to pass. We'll find out next week at the election. Now, all of a sudden, he thinks he's ready to be mayor. The conventional wisdom on Terry is that he wants to be governor once Bruce Babbitt takes over Barry G.'s Senate seat. Well, for one thing, I think Bruce has his sights set a little higher than the Senate. (Speaking of sight, Babbitt isn't going anywhere until he ditches those Coke-bottle specs of his.) Anyway, I haven't called Terry back yet. There was another message on my machine. That Lacey character again. He keeps pestering me about writing for his rag. I've talked to Tom Fitzpatrick at the Republic about it, and he advised me to steer clear of New Times. "Go ahead and do it if you want to wreck your career," he said. "I wouldn't work there for a million bucks." Strong words from a guy who works for Duke Tully. Later, went out to a show at Chuckles, the new comedy club. I think the standup thing is still a couple of years off, but I'd be willing to bet there'll be a half-dozen clubs like this one around town in the next five or six years. Had dinner at Rick's Cafe Americana with Babbitt. I paid, of course. He's afraid of trouble down in the mining towns. All I told him was to keep the National Guard out of it. He also asked me what I thought about TG's try for mayor. I told him that Pete Dunn wasn't much of an opponent, and that I thought Terry would be mayor for several years to come. Later, ran into Lacey at Chuy's and he made his monthly plea to get me to come to work for him. Told him I'd think about it. Then went over to the Devil House to catch the Jetzons. Saw Mary Jo West there. She has an offer to go do the overnight news show at CBS. I told her she'll be miserable in New York. February 6, 1984
Lunch at the Q & Brew in Tempe with Tom Collins, who had all kinds of juicy gossip. For one thing, he thinks he can put together a scandalous drug investigation of a certain local basketball team in the next couple of years. I told him to lay off, that these things always get sticky, and that people will be basically underwhelmed by the revelation that professional basketball players enjoy the occasional toot. "Toot?" he said. "This is a cocaine investigation. What are you talking about?" So I dropped it. Later, had drinks at Estelle's with Lacey. What can I say? He's a persistent fellow. When he got down on his knees right there in the restaurant, I broke down and finally told him that I'd seriously consider writing a column for New Times. He said he'd put together a proposal right away. October 8, 1984
Just got back from Charlie Keating's island in the Caribbean. Charlie flew me down there for a planning session. Seems he wants to get into the savings-and-loan game. My immediate reaction was to start swimming for Cuba. I mean, stick to what you know, Charlie! I guess building subdivisions isn't enough. He also mumbled something about wanting to build luxury hotels, too. My guess is that he'll do okay for the first few years (depending on how his friends in Washington treat him), but then, watch your wallet! Had lunch at Entz-White with Lacey. (It struck me how the building there would make an excellent disco.) He's still trying to come up with the financing for a salary-and-benefits package for me. What's it been, six months? I suggested he call Keating, who seems to have money to burn lately. Later went to a farewell concert for Hans Olson.
January 15, 1985
Rode around in J. Fife Symington's limo for a couple of hours looking at development property. He's all stressed out over the upcoming zoning hearings for his little Esplanade thing. I told him to cool it, because I was sure they'll let him build just about anything he wants. While we were talking shop, I warned Fife about the coming real estate bust and advised him to find something else to do with his time around 1990, which is when I think everything will be bottoming out. Later, had a late dinner at the Pastaria downtown. Great concept in a mediocre location about three years ahead of its time. Sports bars are going to be huge someday soon, but this one won't be. After dinner went to a welcome-home concert for Hans Olson. February 23, 1985
Caught the first Outlaws game of the year. Not surprisingly, this USFL enterprise is a complete stiff. Even though this is spring football with a bad team, a bad coach and bad ownership, it makes me wonder whether Phoenix will support a real pro football team. What would happen if a team moved here and started playing in the fall? The owner would probably try to charge an awful lot for tickets, and that would piss people off. Plus, it's too hot for day games. The team would have to be totally excellent to get any fan support. If some doof moves a mediocre team here, I predict it will be a total flop. Bought tickets for the U2 concert coming up next month. I have a feeling this band is going to be really big someday.
September 13, 1985
Well, Bill Schulz has dropped out of next year's governor's race, but I doubt we've heard the last of him. BB's presidential campaign has started up, and my only advice to him has been not to bother. I mean, he has to spend the next year of his life in Iowa, of all places. And for what? To become a punch line for Mark Russell? Anyway, that McCain fellow has a campaign going for BG's seat in the Senate. Hey, the guy has a good hook--that POW thing. As long as he doesn't overdo it, the yahoos will eat it up. I have a feeling that wrap-yourself-in-the-flag patriotism is the wave of the future politically. Lacey and I have reached a dead end in negotiations for my column. Hey, it's his loss as far as I'm concerned. I've got plenty of stuff to do, what with the gubernatorial elections coming up next year. Had my usual monthly lunch (Pop's) with Tom Collins. He dropped a little conversational bomb about a certain local newspaper publisher who likes to dress up and play fighter pilot. (Didn't have the heart to tell TC that Duke Tully's nonexistent war record has been common knowledge to the folks in my circle for eons.) TC said he wants to expose Tully. All this intrigue. I wonder how things are going at home for Tom?
April 15, 1986. Everybody's talking about Edmus Scarey, that guy who hosts the horror movies on Channel 15. I don't know, there's something about the guy that's a little too autentico, you know what I'm saying? Had a picnic lunch with Bob Gosnell in South Mountain Park. Bob says he's a little worried about last-minute opposition to the land swap he's got with the city which will help him put in a new golf course for the Pointe. I told him to play hardball, that the petition carriers are probably just a bunch of leaf-lickers and old ladies, and that a little muscle will shut them right up. He thanked me for the advice and offered me a lift home. I told him I'd walk. Later ran into Alfredo Gutierrez at The Purple Turtle. Told him I thought he was getting out of the legislature at precisely the right time. Saw Lacey at the bar, too, and we got into it again over the column. I think I'll have to do it just so I can occasionally go out and have a beer in peace in this town. October 12, 1986
Are people in this state in for a huge surprise come election day, or what? Schulz is running again, and he and Carolyn Warner will split the vote just enough to give Mecham the win. I warned Burt Barr about this guy, and my advice to Carolyn has been the same: Even though Mecham's run and lost for governor roughly every election year since Arizona was made a state, this guy is poison. The next couple of years are going to be interesting, that's for sure. Speaking of Mecham, one of his guys called the other day and asked if I'd be interested in working as his press secretary once he's elected. I told him I'd think about it. Since then I've thought about it, and I've decided I'd rather have my eyes removed with barbecue tongs.
February 16, 1987 Ev calls me three or four times a day now, either to ask my advice on something or just to rap. I do my best, but the guy doesn't seem to have much of a clue. Three months ago I said, "Don't mess with the King Day thing. They'll burn your toast over that one." Last month I told him, "Ev baby, not all of the recall people are homosexuals or Communists. Okay?" Yesterday it was something John Kolbe had written. "Ignore him, Ev. You don't want to make him a hero." It's easy to see that brother Willard's got all the brains in the Mecham family. The Hans Olson farewell concert at Tony's New Yorker last night drew a pretty good crowd. I'll miss the guy.
September 5, 1987
What a year this has been! Mecham's running the state, Ollie North is on TV every day, and now the Pope is here for a visit. Had lunch with His Honor John Paul at Pete's Fish and Chips on Mill Avenue. He was wondering if I had any free time to maybe do some consulting work for him. I had to tell him that I was completely booked up through the mid-1990s, what with my column work, a potential run for the governor's office, plus all the side consulting I'm already doing for local big shots like the governor and others. After lunch we went out and hit a couple of buckets of balls. Il Papa's a decent golfer, and you get the feeling that he'd like to get out a lot more. While I had his ear, I asked him to ask God for me what the deal was with the Arizona-Arizona State football series. JP2 closed his eyes for a few minutes, then said, "I don't know what this means, but the vibe I'm getting from the Big Guy right now is not to start picking the Devils again until about '92." I thanked him and told him to stay a little looser on his follow-through. "Welcome Home Hans" concert a big success.
January 7, 1988
Well, I've made up my mind. I'm going to run for governor. Mecham's made such a mess of things, I couldn't do any worse. Had lunch with Ladmo to see if he might work as my campaign manager. Said he'd think about it if he could work it into his schedule. Also, put some calls out to local goombahs for financing help. Keating, Gosnell, and Wolfson all said they'd be happy to pitch in. Had lunch at Char's in Mesa with Ralph Milstead, who's been working with Pat Murphy and Ed Buck on the Mecham impeachment project I outlined for them earlier last year. Sounds like they've got some good stuff. As usual, Ralph wanted to know if I knew any "hot chicks."
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August 25, 1988
Rose Mofford called again, and again I had to tell her that I was getting out of the consulting business for good after this fall's presidential election. She offered me every job she had on the ninth floor, and I had to turn her down cold. I'm completely burned out on politics, current events, everything. It's this Quayle thing. Bush wants him to be vice president and won't back down a bit on that. As Quayle's long-time behind-the-scenes spin doctor, I've got a lot of pressure on me to get the kid ready to run. He'll do fine, but once he's in I'm going to retire, for a while at least. Actually, I have a gig lined up with the City of Phoenix. I'm going to help them plan their street-construction projects. The guy they've got coordinating it now has this short-term memory problem, and he can't remember from one day to the next which streets he's ordered to be torn up. It's a bummer. August 23, 1989
Had dinner with Bill Bidwill, who wanted my opinion on his coaching situation. I told him that Gene Stallings is a good man and deserves all the support he can get. Also a new contract. Billy, ever the enigmatic imp, didn't say what he would do one way or another. He's already ignored my advice to lower ticket prices, play night games and maybe consider getting rid of the team. If he keeps going at this rate, the Cardinals will be playing in front of 30,000 by the middle of the season. I picked up the check.