Going to trial on 22 criminal counts of fraud and attempted extortion can, in fact, take a toll on one's political influence.
For those keeping score, the Symington-McCain team (S&M) has struck out once again in its campaign to punish Republicans who've displeased the royal sensibilities of Arizona's two most ambitious yet petty Republicans.
The latest to triumph over S&M: former Republican state representative John Keegan, who was elected mayor of suburban Peoria in a come-from-behind run-off with the Fifester's hand-picked candidate, incumbent Peoria councilman Dave Pearson.
Not only did Pearson enjoy support of the S&M machine but also had hands-on help of Symington's Darth Vader, executive aide Barry Aarons, who helped Pearson during the campaign and even pressured lobbyists for donations to the Pearson war chest.
Have no pity for loser Pearson, however: As Symington has done in the past, the guv can lift Pearson out of the ignominy of defeat and give him a cushy job for volunteering to be a kamikaze kandidate.
Like others who displeased the governor and U.S. Senator John McCain, Keegan was guilty of political crimes: He (a) endorsed Symington's gubernatorial opponent in the 1994 election, Barbara Barrett, and (b) is married to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan, who dared publicly call on the Fifester to resign rather than continue humiliating Arizona with his shenanigans.
(Keegan's son also lost his ROTC scholarship to Grand Canyon University after Keegan publicly supported Barrett.)
Other patrons of S&M have tumbled. Texas U.S. Senator Phil Gramm believed S&M when they promised him he'd win Arizona's S&M-rigged GOP presidential primary. Gramm not only didn't win, he withdrew before the primary.
Then S&M recruited ill-equipped Phoenix vice mayor Thelda Williams to run against Mayor Skip Rimsza, whose crime was refusing to support Gramm.
Thelda was drubbed--but (surprise!) landed a job for her pains with the Republican party's favorite Crime Avenger, Sheriff Joke Arpaio, shuffling papers.
Remember Carol Crockett? She was a no-name kamikaze kandidate, too--picked by S&M to run against county schools superintendent Sandra Dowling, another Barrett supporter who refused McCain's command to support the Fifester.
Crockett was squired around to GOP precinct meetings by Aarons, but was blown away on election day by Dowling. For her willingness to be a sacrificial lamb, the guv gave Crockett a cushy make-work job on his staff at $50,000 plus.
(Odd, too, how Dowling's son lost his appointment as a midshipman to Annapolis after his mother displeased McCain. Maybe just coincidence, but McCain is on the Annapolis Board of Visitors.)
Next up as an S&M political proxy: state Senator John Kaites, recruited by McCain to run for state attorney general against Tom McGovern, a deputy AG who is expected to be tapped by outgoing AG Grant Woods.
Contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, Woods is not into S&M. McCain and Woods, once a dream team, have been estranged since Woods declined the honor of being a McCain yes man, and since he began opposing and beating major Symington policies.
Will Work for AHCCCS
What happens if you work for a guy who gets elected governor? You follow him to government work, of course. But what happens if the governor gets indicted and you're expected to testify against him?
In the case of Jim Cockerham, onetime chief financial officer of the Symington Company, you move over to another government program. Cockerham started his new job May 27 at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) running the agency's Division of Business and Finance. Starting salary: $89,269.
Cockerham leaves a position in the Governor's Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting.
The Flash doesn't know if the plum job will affect what Cockerham spills about the Fifester on the stand, but one thing is certain: The citizens of Arizona can rest easy knowing someone who once handled Fife's finances is now responsible for millions of tax dollars at AHCCCS.
Emma's an Alien
It's an old joke by now about City Councilwoman Frances Emma Barwood and her call for an investigation into the mysterious lights seen above Phoenix back in March. It's even gotten to the point that fun seekers at City Hall have taken the time and expense to print business cards snickering at Barwood's otherworldly interests. The Flash found one without the help of a Mulder or Scully, and it reads:
"Frances Emma Barwood, The Planet XENON, No phone required--Just talk into Tin Foil I WILL HEAR YOU."
Is it just The Flash, or has anyone else noticed that the councilwoman's initials are FEB?
Happy, Shiny People
Starting this week, the airwaves will be saturated with a new ad campaign from the Arizona Republic. Apparently, it's meant to make readers feel better about consuming the unpalatable.
Below are the lyrics to the sunny commercial jingle, which features cartoonist Steve Benson and political columnist Keven Willey, two extremely Aryan individuals.
You see, the Republic wants you to think it is projecting a wholesome image, with a song that could have been ripped from Up With People. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read it and weep for this great nation:
When I walk down the street
I feel glad I was born
Music comes singing out of every door
I see faces I know
And they give me that sign
There's something between us
And it feels so right
It's one world, yeah yeah
It's your world, yeah yeah.
As any good patriot will attest, the jingle is chock-full o' subversive messages:
"I walk down the street" is clearly a subliminal endorsement of an oppressive transit tax--an issue that is headed for the ballot.
"I feel glad I was born"--this is actually a positive message, a validation of the Right to Life movement, diabolically inserted to allay suspicions of true patriots, probably at the insistence of Marianne Moody Jennings.
"Music comes singing out of every door/I see faces I know" is a subliminal attempt to coerce people into informing on their neighbors, of telling the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the patriots' efforts to defend their constitutional rights.
"And they give me that sign"--none other than the sign of the beast.
"There's something between us"--a subscription to the Republic, government-subsidized condoms and Godless conspiracies involving the Freemasons.
"It's one world" is the most blatant and dangerous line, an unmitigated endorsement of United Nations rule.
"It's your world"--an attempt to undermine private-property rights by making every tramp and illegal alien believe he deserves the same things the true Aryan patriots claim as their manifest destiny.
"Yeah yeah"--an endorsement of the Beatles and their satanic message of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Instead of "Just Say No," kids are commanded to say "Yeah yeah."
The Flash understands that county prosecutors dissected all possible defensive formations before charging Jake "The Snake" Plummer with four felonies and one misdemeanor after his night of grabby passion at Club Rio.
Some penalties that were considered but waved off: holding, personal foul, illegal use of hands, unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal crack-block, intentional groping and roughing to kick her.
The Flash also hears that Plummer plans to countersue his accusers for pass interference.
Perhaps the Arizona Cardinals should put him at tailback.
So why isn't the summer's biggest blockbuster playing on the state's biggest screen?
That's what moviegoers wondered when local multiplex mogul Dan Harkins recently relegated The Lost World: Jurassic Park to several smaller venues around town, while his showcase Cine Capri--with its "event picture"-friendly wraparound screen--hosted the intimate Addicted to Love instead.
The explanation from Harkins' camp, where the phone has been ringing off the hook with queries from baffled film buffs? A complicated studio "noncompete" clause that basically prevents the imperiled bijou from going head-to-head with the nearby AMC Town & Country complex, which is also running the Steven Spielberg dinosaur opera. Harkins reportedly had the option of negotiating a deal with the rival chain that would have enabled a Cine Capri playdate, but backed off early on.
One big factor? The dinosaurs' run of the house would have been cut short by Batman and Robin, the Cine Capri's new tenants as of June 20.
Feed The Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, [email protected]