State Senator Scott Bundgaard--convicted felon, Freon fan and free-market freak--has apparently misplaced his copy of Emily Post's Guide to Etiquette.
The Republican chair of the Senate Finance Committee has been taking shots for introducing a bill tailor-made to plunder the public coffers for the Ellman Companies, employer of his good buddy, ultraflack Jason Rose.
Bundgaard's bill would remove what piddling restrictions already exist on special tax-free stadium districts, and would also double the amount the districts can suck in public bucks. The bill would enable Scottsdale and the Ellman Companies to build a bitterly contested hockey arena for the Phoenix Coyotes at the site of Los Arcos Mall.
Rose--who counts Bundgaard as one of his closest friends--has been masterminding the PR for the effort. Bundgaard has brushed off the criticism, but a letter from one angry taxpayer must have hit too close to home.
Paula Waybright wrote an e-mail to the Legislature protesting Bundgaard's anything-for-a-pal bill.
"If this blatant behavior is not illegal, it is certainly immoral and unethical," Waybright wrote. "Scott Bundegaard (sic) should be censured and removed from office."
Displaying that rapierlike wit for which the Legislature is known, Bundgaard shot back:
"You are an irrational imbecile. How dare you accuse me of unethical behavior! You don't even know me nor have you ever asked to meet with me. You are dead wrong in your facts. But then, you folks don't deal in facts. You deal in raw emotion!"
Waybright says she was "stunned" to receive a response like that from an elected official.
Bundgaard is feeling so sensitive about the bill that he pulled it from both committees that were supposed to hear it this week. Maybe he was trying to avoid the pounding that a similar bill, meant to help the Arizona Cardinals, got from other legislators. Or maybe he was just scurrying away from the spotlight. The Flash tried to ask him, but the senator wasn't returning phone calls.
That's not to say Bundgaard has lost all social graces; he closes his reply to Waybright by telling her to "Have a nice day."
A Hand for Doug
In its eternal quest to shock the living snot out of us, the Arizona Republic led its "Arts and Ideas" section on Sunday with a piece by staffer Doug Carroll, a divorcee who claims that he is forgoing sex out of wedlock so as to set a good example for his 9-year-old boy.
Carroll declined to comment on reports that Republican Party honchos have anointed him the new front-runner to succeed U.S. Representative Matt Salmon in Congressional District One.
One Dark Joke
Maricopa County deputies have complained that for years, Sheriff Joke Arpaio has amassed power under Überlieutenant David Hendershott in the department's Gestapolike "enforcement support division."
Operatives secreted there are usually called upon to do the Jokester's dirty work. For instance, an enforcement support heavy, Bob Wetherell, was temporarily assigned to internal affairs when, according to Wetherell's court testimony, he was asked to torpedo the career of Sergeant Mark Battilana.
Deputy representative Steve Barnes reminded the Flash that another deputy implicated by Wetherell as a Battilana kneecapper, Gary McGuire, was rewarded with a post in enforcement support, as was Todd Bates, the lead investigator on the Scott Norberg investigation, which Norberg family attorney Mike Manning claims was cooked to find Norberg's death an accident.
"The regular deputies out here answering 911 emergencies call enforcement support the 'witness protection program,'" Barnes says.
No Such Thing as Bad Press?
In last week's dispatch, the Flash pronounced Sheriff Joke "officially embattled."
The Associated Press, which never moves without consulting this Pulsating Strobe, dutifully wrote a piece saying exactly that.
However, after reciting the slings and arrows the Jokester currently faces, the February 16 AP piece closes with "What, Me Worry?" Arpaio recalling the reception he received during last month's Fiesta Bowl Parade.
"Everyone was cheering, cheering, cheering. I don't get maybe four boos out of 400,000 people," he said. "They still like me."
If the proletariat still adores the Jokenheimer, the publication American Police Beat decidedly does not.
The January/February issue of American Police Beat, a publication that calls itself the "voice of the nation's law enforcement community," led its editorials with the following unsigned paean to Sheriff Joke and his minions, apparently reacting to Wetherell's allegations that Arpaio and his lackey Hendershott used underworld methods to thin the ranks of sworn deputies:
Imagine working in a law enforcement organization where what goes on is enough to make you place an anonymous call to the local newspaper. Or how about working in a law enforcement organization where police officers routinely tape conversations with one another out of fear of losing their jobs? Imagine a situation where the top dog in the house approaches you to do undercover work on a colleague--off the books no less.
How about a job where the boss tells a couple of guys they can have the assignment of their choice if they just dig a little dirt on a co-worker who's in the chief's dog-house? What if the guy you worked for wanted his mug in the paper so bad he was willing to devote police resources to destroying the career of anyone who said anything slightly critical of his methods?
What if the boss's towel boy altered witness statements to make them more damaging against the cop they were out to get, no matter what it took? Well, depending on what happens in court over the next few months, these stories and more could be coming to a newspaper near you. Look for the keywords: Maricopa County, Arizona.
Image Is Everything
The Flash is nothing if not deeply religious. So when a sharp-eyed reader brought to our attention the stunning connection between two photos that appeared on the same page in last week's New Times, this Burst of Light began singing praises and hallelujahs.
One of the two photos contains an icon of the Virgin Mary. The statue is part of a shrine that the family of a car-wreck victim created to his memory ("For Reasons Unknown," David Holthouse, February 11).
The other photo is from the scene of the 1996 north Phoenix wreck that claimed the life of the young man.
Same page. Coincidence or divinity? You be the judge.
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