News

Flashes

Anchor Steamy, the Sequel
Here's a hot VCR alert for all you Jineane Ford fans out there. Just weeks after The Flash printed revealing shots of the Channel 12 anchor as she appeared in the 1983 drive-in flick Chattanooga Choo Choo, rival station KPHO Channel 5 will air the movie in its entirety this Saturday night at 11:05.

Although KPHO had scheduled the movie long before The Flash exposed Ford's bimbo-movie past and has no special plans to promote it, KPHO shouldn't be surprised if ratings go right through the roof. Why? When video clips of young Jineane's Choo Choo striptease appeared in this paper's online edition (www.phoenixnewtimes.com), more than 4,000 viewed and/or downloaded the scintillating snippets. Back to you, Jineane . . .

She's No Woodward
Admitting that hers was the last major American paper not to do a feature on Sheriff Joke Arpaio, Washington Post reporter Sue Anne Pressley contacted New Times recently to ask about the Crime Avenger.

In town waiting for a verdict in the Fifester's trial, Pressley saw in the Sher a way to salvage a wasted week. So she arranged for a jail visit and a sit-down with the Joke. She also bothered to ask about NT's reporting on Arpaio, which led The Flash to believe the Post, known for its uncompromising treatment of Beltway politicos, might actually examine Arpaio's record.

No such luck. If Sue Anne had been on the Watergate story, it would've been spot news.

Her standard drive-by treatment of pink underwear and green bologna and golly-gee isn't he a character appeared on the Post's August 25 front page.

Like just about every other news organization that has seen in Arpaio fodder for an entertaining -- and easy -- article, Pressley presented the debate over Arpaio in just the terms he likes: tough approaches to criminals versus bleeding-heart ideas about rehabilitation.

Sue Anne missed the parts about how the Joke's biggest critics are his own employees; that law enforcers across the state consider the sheriff a laughingstock; that Arpaio's grandstanding in Phoenix jeopardizes policing in unincorporated areas; that "free" programs like the posse actually waste millions; that the county's jails -- where most inmates are presumed innocent while they await trial -- are subject to a proven pattern of torture and medical neglect, leaving the county open to liability suits; that Arpaio's paranoid fear of leaks has decimated much of his senior patrol staff; that a state auditor confirmed the New Times discovery that the sheriff misused more than $200,000 of taxpayer money; that his office refuses to turn over posse financial records and investigative reports of jail crimes; that information uncovered by the Joke's own investigators suggests Scott Norberg was murdered.

But, hey, details are hard.
On the other hand, the liberaleasternmediaelite probably considers the Joke a natural by-product of our backward ways. After all, the criminal trial of a sitting governor for 21 counts of fraud and extortion has hardly raised an eyebrow east of the Pecos.

Fallon Your Sword
The Flash has always been a sucker for underdogs.
Here in the Valley, no one fits that description better than the ragtag group of Libertarians and fringe Republicans opposed to Phoenix's plan to raise the sales tax to fund mass-transit improvements.

Sure, opponents' arguments against the half-cent tax sound a bit shrill. But, dammit, at least they care, and they deserve a fair shot at voicing their opposition.

Unfortunately, the city has substantially denied opponents that right--a right guaranteed them under the city's own election rules.

At issue is the voter information guide produced by the city and mailed to the homes of prospective voters. By law, the guide, which carries arguments submitted by both the initiative's detractors and backers, must be mailed to voters no less than eight days before they cast their ballots.

Here's the catch: This year, more than 42,000 voters--half the number that voted in the last citywide election--requested absentee, also known as "early," ballots.

Those ballots will start arriving in voters' homes three days before the pamphlets.

"What's the purpose of the pamphlet if it shows up after people send in their ballots?" asks Gary Fallon, who leads one of the groups opposed to the tax.

Fallon points out that for shoestring groups like his, the pamphlets represent their best hope of spreading the word.

The discrepancy has caused no heartburn at City Hall, where everyone is bus-tling to get the tax passed.

So Fallon has had to take his fight to Maricopa County Superior Court, where he filed suit on August 15 seeking to have the early ballots thrown out. No hearing has been set.

"We think we have a good case," says Fallon, though he admits he doesn't expect any judge to take the drastic step of nullifying the election results.

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