With the race for attorney general a dead heat, Democrat Janet Napolitano and Republican Tom McGovern are looking for cash--and cachet--wherever they can find it.
McGovern sort of scored on both fronts when he snagged former veep and current Paradise Valleyite Dan Quayle as the main attraction at a fund raiser last week. The take? "A lot," McGovern campaign manager Cassidy Campana tells the Flash--more than $10,000. A good thing for Tom, since, as of early October, McGovern had an embarrassing $14,500 on hand, next to Napolitano's $250,000. Of course, Janet didn't have a primary opponent--Tom did.
As for cachet, some politicos wonder if the Quayle cash fest also means an all-important endorsement from the Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper, which happens to be owned by Quayle's family and on whose board Danny Boy sits. McGovern and Napolitano met with the Republic's editorial board last Monday.
Quayle reportedly brought down the house by telling the fund raisers he is convinced that the Monica Lewinsky scandal will hurt Bill Clinton's chances for reelection.
Power to the People
The essence of college football made a brief but glorious return last Saturday, thanks to a power failure at Sun Devil Stadium during Arizona State's overhyped game against Notre Dame.
The power failure abruptly terminated ASU's irritating barrage of in-stadium commercials that pimp everything from pizza to cars.
It couldn't have come at a worse time for ASU. This game was seen as a dress rehearsal for the Fiesta Bowl, which will host the national-championship game at Sun Devil Stadium in January. And from a marketing standpoint (which is the athletic department's standpoint), the Notre Dame game was one of the most important in ASU history. Supposedly, nobody draws like the Fighting Irish.
The game epitomized Sun Devil greed. ASU refused to sell single-game seats, forcing fans intent on seeing Notre Dame to buy season tickets if they wanted to be certain of getting a seat.
All the hubbub was for naught.
Scalpers scurried to dump tickets for $5 before kickoff. And the game itself was boring--the only intrigue was whether the public-address system and giant video screen would reawaken before the game ended.
The outage occurred when a transformer on the west concourse inexplicably failed during halftime, rendering scoreboards, the video screen and the PA system useless. The outage also knocked the game off ABC regional television for most of the third quarter.
"It was bizarre in the press box," says ASU spokesman Doug Tammaro. "We didn't have an internal PA, so picture watching a game through a window without any sound. It was strange."
ASU's marketeers were powerless to hawk their products. PA announcer Jeff Munn's 120-page advertising script was useless. So, too, were the 30-second video-screen ads for Cox Communications, America West Airlines and Biddulph Oldsmobile.
Tammaro says the power failure is not expected to impact the $275,000 ABC is to pay each school for television rights. Nor have any corporate sponsors complained about not having their ads broadcast during the game.
"What can you do?" Tammaro asks.
Just play football.
The players, coaches and referees took the field for the second half and did what they came to do. But thanks to the power gremlins, fan were treated to pure football with no distractions. Fans actually had to concentrate a little to keep track not only of the score but of time remaining, downs and field position.
The unadulterated sights and sounds of college football filled in the rest. Without the drone of the PA system, the Sun Devil band suddenly became relevant. And the quicker pace of the television-free game was obvious. There were no long delays while a guy in a red shirt stood on the field, preventing play from resuming until a beer or tire or shaver commercial was finished.
A pleasant, relaxing atmosphere permeated the grandstands. Complaints about the power outage were overwhelmed by comments about how wonderful it was to simply watch the game and listen to the crowd and the band.
Who knows what kind of spontaneous frenzy would have broken out if the Sun Devils had actually given Notre Dame a struggle? (The Fighting Irish won, 28-9.) Unfortunately, there will probably never be another opportunity to find out.
There is no doubt, however, about who was responsible for the outage. A large, rotating sign beneath the southeast scoreboard was locked in place throughout the second half. It read: "APS: The official power source for Sun Devil Stadium."
The Arizona Republic is batting zero for two in recent attempts to hire a managing editor to replace the dearly departed Steve Knickmeyer, who once lurched through the newsroom wearing a straitjacket and a sign proclaiming "I'm Not Krazy."
On August 14, Pam Johnson, the Republic's executive editor, e-mailed her loyal scribes thusly:
"I have been negotiating the last 3 weeks with Peter Bhatia of Portland. He told me yesterday that he has decided to stay in Portland. Peter is a talented editor who would have made a good leader for The Republic. He represents the caliber of person I am committed to pursuing for the managing editor's job.
"The next step will be to involve a search firm to uncover additional candidates. The firm also will help evaluate internal candidates. I'll keep you informed."
Please do, Pam.
Bhatia declined to tell the Flash why he refused the Republic's generous offer. But . . . gee . . . could it be because HE LIVES IN PORTLAND? And edits the Oregonian?
Sources tell the Flash that an earlier Republic entreaty to an editor from Spokane, Washington, also was rejected.
Knickmeyer, who was canned for popping off to a journalism magazine this spring, theorizes that both editors rejected the job because neither is "fat, lazy, incompetent and slow."
Whoever said politics makes strange bedfellows probably didn't envision that the politicians would literally sleep in the same bed, but that'll be the case if Susan Bitter Smith and her husband, Paul, are both elected to the board of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.
Bitter Smith, a cable-TV exec and former Scottsdale city councilwoman, says she and Paul, a political consultant, were recruited by conservatives who wanted some opposition to the current, more liberal membership, which includes Democrats Grady Gammage Jr. and Sam Goddard.
The CAWCD--which covers Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties--runs the Central Arizona Project. Five of the 15 seats are up for grabs. Besides the Smiths, Gammage and Goddard, other candidates are Ernest Buchanan, Dan Donahoe, Karl F. Kohlhoff and Mark Lewis.
Bitter Smith tells the Flash she's not worried about perceived improprieties, pointing out that the Smiths would be just two of 15 CAWCD board members. Of her husband, she says, "He and I are very different people. . . . We are sometimes on opposite sides of the issue."
And her reason for agreeing to run? "Nobody else wanted to do it."
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