New Times' online publication, phoenixnewtimes.com, is conducting a survey of views on Governor J. Fife Symington III's guilt or innocence. If the jury currently deliberating sees it anything like our Web-heads, the Fifester is a quiverin' bunny in a kennel of Rottweilers. (Note: The poll is highly unscientific and has a margin of error of quite a lot, although it does represent results The Flash fully expects to see "sometime in the future.") Here's a sampling of respondents' thoughts on our guv, and what ought to be done with him.
Bennie Quintana: It is obvious to any intelligent, or semi-intelligent, being, the guv has hoodwinked the banks as well as the entire populace of the State of AZ. Nevertheless, we're so close to California that we will probably not find him guilty. . . . We'll set him free, and someone will try to introduce legislation that we compensate him for all his court and attorneys fees. You know what? We'll probably do it! . . . We should get him and Ann out of AZ before they cost us more. She's as guilty as he is!
Todd Lang: 1. Jail in Tent City (just a few days, any more would be cruel and unusual). 2. Share in "payments" received as partner w/ other partners in various projects who lost their shirts. 3. Repay banks, etc. 4. Open a cute boutique in the Mercado. 5. Have to go to Club Rio for three weekends w/ [John] Dowd.
Jim Stonefoley: Anyone in an elected office, in charge of tax dollars, should not use the excuse, "I'm not a good bookkeeper." This should not be "ok" with the public, and he should be removed if for no other reason than his integrity is in question. Oh, yeah. Check our band out.
Rick Tannehill: Prosecution showed that all errors added up in Fife's favor, a bizarre coincidence of epic proportions, or intentional fraud. I vote for fraud.
Mitchell Fink: He eats old bread with his mouth open.
Bill Ceballos: The evidence is overwhelming, and his excuses underwhelming. . . . In keeping with his "tough-on-crime" attitude, I think Mr. Crymington should spend some time in Sheriff Joke Arpaio's county gulag, eating green bologna and emu, before beginning his stretch in the federal pen.
Curt Behun: Prison for at least three years. Then 500 hours of community service speaking to people about not committing fraud.
Sid Nordsletain: He misled the banks and the savings and loan association and used extortion policies on the pension fund people. The maximum sentence allowed by law.
Bobby Alexander: Doesn't matter as long as he's convicted and has to retire from the governorship.
Allen Bogan: He has a long history of not being able to face the truth or tell the truth. Just run him out of the state.
Ben Goren: . . . . There are far too many "coincidences" for it to be anything but a pattern of conscious deception. How could somebody who prides himself on knowing all the details of his "successful" business enterprises not know about tens of millions of dollars' worth of discrepancies--all on the same day?
William Walker: Even though the lenders relied on other data to approve his loans, if they had the true picture of his finances, they probably would not have made the loans. And since the taxpayers ultimately bail out failed banks, it is not, as Dowd suggests, a victimless crime. Sentence: a few years in prison, a big fine. A judgment that drains him of his future inheritance and ability to pay John Dowd would be poetic justice.
Kip Campbell: It seems to me that 2 pieces of paper, for the same thing, should agree. At least where I worked that was the drill. Also, blaming others went out with "Willard did it."
Glen Emory: Work latrine detail and drive for Jo[k]e Arpaio. Watch your behind, Fife!
Mike Schwarz: He knew exactly what was going on--these were very intentional "errors"! 50+ years.
Rick Moores: Without a shred of doubt in my mind, Symington is guilty of most and possibly all of the charges against him. I would think that a minimum of two to four years should await him behind bars.
For our snooty-nosed guv,
a more humble life.
Maybe answer to "Fifi,"
as some convict's wife.
Allan Bazar: He is a con man and deserves the maximum penalty. The irony of our justice system is that stiff sentences are the only real deterrents for the kind of lowlife Fife is, even though it is people such as he that promote harsher and harsher sentences for ordinary people. On the other hand, power and the trappings of "success" are probably just as addicting and overpowering for weak creatures like himself as drugs are for junkies and the thrill of violence for thugs. Watching his behavior and following the trial have convinced me not only of his guilt but of his lack of repentance. Scum such as he not only have betrayed the trust placed in them by the morons who voted for him (and will vote for the next snake-oil salesman dressed in Republican bunting to promise them lower taxes and more prisons), but, worse, devalues democracy for those who are not yet so benighted.
Dina Rose: Too many inconsistencies and mistakes. He knew the system too well and took advantage of it and the people he represents. Maximum prison sentence on each count.
Josh Keller: Many years of hard labor on a chain gang under the Arizona sun.
Shawn Reed: It's just too obvious. John Dowd doesn't help things by just blowing off all the real facts as "no big deal." Ten years in fed pen, then community service reviewing Section 8 applications!
Mike Goldstein: If these are all "honest mistakes," why did he always have a higher net worth when he wanted a loan or to stay within the loan's provisions (such as maintaining a $4 million net worth) and plead poverty when he wanted concessions? Claims that these documents "don't matter" are bullshit. He signed his name on legal documents. I think he should be dragged naked through a field of broken glass, then spend about 20 years in Sheriff Joke's Tent City. But I don't have any strong opinions.
Eric Konst: The evidence speaks for itself. 10 years.
Craig White: Don't suppose that he'll serve more than 2 years--after all, the adage of the best justice that money can buy certainly applies here. As for the man that ran for governor as "a successful businessman"--now bankrupt (financially, that is--the decision on moral bankruptcy is still in the hands of the jury)--when we consider his admissions in the trial that he made numerous mistakes, had incompetent accountants (laughably, Coopers and Lybrand), and overly optimistic anticipations of property values that he offered as proof of his personal guarantees to pay loans which he later proved unwilling/incapable of paying, he has proven himself to be unworthy of the job of executive leader of this state. He always looked his best in pinstripes anyway.
Steve Scanlan: Sentence: to be "Big Bubba's" roommate in prison . . .
Charles Ali: Force the Fifester to pay back every penny he defrauded by working as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant . . . located at the Mercado development.
George Ayers: Anyone who would purposely misrepresent his financial health to raid a pension fund deserves to be sentenced to making good what he stole, preferably through unpleasant and humiliating manual labor.
Woods Weighs In
Although radio host and part-time Attorney General Grant Woods is no fan of the Fifester's, even he can sympathize with Fife's lawyer, John Dowd.
When a caller to Woods' KTAR show August 8 criticized Dowd for cuffing a reporter, the host replied, "Well, you don't know that reporter."
The Flash, of course, is acquainted with the scribe in question, New Times' John Dougherty, and suspects that it's his habit of compulsive truth-telling that makes both the AG and the Fifester want to smack him one.
On the same show, Woods took People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to task for protesting the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, proving once again his passionate advocacy of hot dogs everywhere, if not of selective assault.
A Flock o' Cronies
The selection of the four alternates for Governor J. Fife Symington III's criminal trial attracted scrutiny from Symington's current and former top aides.
Symington press secretary Doug Cole made a rare appearance in the courtroom on August 8. He was joined by Symington chief of staff Jay "Zordon" Heiler and former aide and legal defense fund raiser Chuck Coughlin.
The three sat near the rear of the courtroom as four numbers identifying jurors were randomly selected by a courtroom clerk.
Coughlin appeared to be checking the selections against notes he had brought. Cole sat rigid in his seat, while Heiler leaned back in his chair with no expression.
Symington's legal team spent significant time and money during the jury-selection process to develop a questionnaire designed to weed out unfavorable jurors while discovering those sympathetic to the governor.
Afterward, Dowd told the press he would have been happy with any of the 16 jurors being selected to make the decision.
The jury will deliberate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. until it reaches verdicts. The media are expected to have about an hour's notice before the verdicts are read in court.