A VALLEY NATIONAL BANK executive recently called his company a "sleeping giant." Hell, it's practically comatose after last week's frightening stock plunge onto Wall Street. Looks like VNB CEO JIM SIMMONS, one of the last surviving good ol' boys of Arizona finance, sure has the Midas touch. He scooted out of the top spot at UNITED BANK when it was sold to out-of-town boys, and that complex deal landed in court. Britishers STANDARD CHARTERED claim that they were snookered by "distorted" financial reports. The Brits bought United for $335 million and then sold it to CITICORP for only $210 million. Hey, it wasn't Jim's fault. He landed a good job at VNB and, surprise, it's going off the deep end. Hey, that's not Jim's fault, either. Now, Jim's nearing age 65 and preparing for his VNB retirement party (slated for February), so he's getting another job lined up. His buddy GEORGE BUSH may appoint him to the OVERSIGHT BOARD of the RESOLUTION TRUST CORP., which is supposed to oversee the multibillion-dollar bailout of thrifts nationwide. Maybe "oversight" is the right kind of task for Jimbo. . . .
It's time to play PIN THE TAIL ON CHARLIE! Here's an example: PAUL KATZ, who was recently appointed to the MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT bench by GOVERNOR ROSE MOFFORD, is the son of EARL KATZ, who is the top fund raiser for Senator DENNIS DeCONCINI, whose other top aide, RON OBER, runs R.A. HOMES, which received $50 million in loans from LINCOLN SAVINGS, which was owned by CHARLIE KEATING, who gave campaign bucks to DeConcini, who tried to get federal regulators to ease off Lincoln. Whew! This is fun! Oh, we almost forgot. Katz and Ober also are partners in a spinoff called R.A. GROUP II LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, which also got money from Lincoln. . . .
Warning to high-speed bicyclists! Scottsdale may force you off PIMA ROAD, SHEA BOULEVARD, and DYNAMITE BOULEVARD. The city's TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION is considering plans for off-road bike paths on those three proposed "parkways." That's a great idea, but some people want the city to ban bicyclists from those streets if the paths are built. And that's not so great for serious peddlers who want to get in some good, hard training and go fast enough not to cause traffic problems for motorists. Commission member ERIC IDARIUS, who's pushing the bikers' cause in the hot controversy, notes that there's a national and state trend away from making off-road bike paths mandatory for all riders. The commission's tentatively set to debate the issue November 16. Phoenix doesn't have such problems. In fact, Phoenix doesn't even have a transportation commission. And if it had one, you can bet that people who like bicycles wouldn't be on it.