Staffers at the Arizona Corporation Commission were shocked by what they considered unethical behavior by newly elected Republican commissioner Jim Irvin, who assigns commission projects and analytical work normally given to commission staffers to an outsider--political adviser Jack Rose.
Because Rose isn't on the commission payroll, allowing him to conduct the state's business is, well, highly irregular.
Rose, a former Mohave County supervisor, also is close to Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and former Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson.
Apparently, Irvin figured out that some folks at the Corporation Commission weren't pleased with a political operative carrying on commission business. So a couple of weeks ago, Irvin wrote a memo to his fellow commissioners, Democrat Renz Jennings and Commission chairman Carl Kunasek. (Neither Jennings nor Kunasek is terribly fond of Irvin, insiders say.) In the memo, Irvin said he'd started a "Loaned Executive Program" and that his first Loaned Executive was Jack Rose. Rose would work on commission projects for a period of six months to a year, Irvin wrote.
Irvin was out of town and unavailable for comment, but Rose expresses surprise that some commission staffers seem upset by his presence. After all, he says, he's just a "policy wonk" volunteering his time. Rose says he will get no money for his tenure and claims that neither he nor his educational consulting business, the Ivy Group, has received any payment from Irvin or anyone else.
Anybody wanna play with the grid?
Tune Out the Speaker
The Flash caught up with Representative Kathi Foster, Democrat of Phoenix, for an update on race relations on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives.
Quick recap: Last week, a local TV reporter alleged that Speaker of the House Don Aldridge stuck his foot in his mouth with anti-Semitic remarks regarding hate-crimes legislation, specifically: ". . . There are a few Jews who are members of this body who are pushing this most fervently . . ."
Those few Jews--and more than a handful of Gentiles--were horrified.
Aldridge's response? His great-grandmother was Jewish.
And, apparently, some of his best friends are black.
Foster says she and Representative Tom Horne, a Phoenix Republican, had a troubling conversation in which Horne argued that Aldridge is not a bigot, and cited as evidence "the fact of how nicely he [Aldridge] treated Art, meaning Art Hamilton," who is House minority leader and also African American.
"I just kinda thought, 'Oh, my God,'" Foster recalls.
"And, later, when I mentioned it to Art, he said, 'I feel like I'm in Mississippi in 1955.'"
That Art--what a crackup. Everyone knows how humid it feels in Mississippi.
For the second year in a row, the American Rivers environmental group has named Pinto Creek in the Tonto National Forest just outside Globe to its list of the 10 most endangered rivers in the United States.
The threat to Pinto Creek comes from the impending Carlota mine, a 300-acre pit that a Canadian company wants to install right in the middle of the creek. The copper ore that comes out of that hole would be piled in the middle of a nearby wash (which flows into the creek) and doused with sulfuric acid to leach out the copper.
Diversion channels would be dug to guide creek water around both the mine pit and the leach pad, which would change the chemistry and the temperature of the water. And if either diversion channel failed during a flood, the poisoned mine tailings could cascade down into Roosevelt Lake, Phoenix's water supply ("No Miner Consideration," September 7, 1995).
The Environmental Protection Agency said the Carlota mine's draft environmental impact statement was the worst such document it had seen since 1990, but nonetheless, under the terms of the Mining Law of 1872, the U.S. Forest Service has had no choice but to lumber along to try to make the EIS acceptable.
The final EIS could be published within a month, at which time the fate of Pinto Creek flows to the Army Corps of Engineers. If the corps issues the requisite permits, only the EPA can dam up the Mining Law process and save the creek. And that's about as likely as J. Fife Symington III repaying his debts.
Speling Ar Reelly Hard
The successful lobbyist at the Arizona Legislature is one who panders to the legislator's every wish. Rule No. 1: Never say or do anything to offend a lawmaker's sense of pride, such as using the word "punctilious" in a sentence. Or using a sentence. Or being punctilious.
Also, don't do what the Arizona Rail Passenger Association did. The ARPA, which constantly rails on behalf of commuter train service for Phoenix, stumbled on the most basic step in pampering legislative egos. It doesn't know how to spell the names of two key senators working on important commuter rail legislation, Senate Bill 1101. The group's March newsletter, the always page-turning ARPA Update, misspelled Senator Ed Cirillo's name "C-i-r-r-i-l-o," while Senator Chris Cummiskey's was misspelled "K-u-m-m-i-s-k-u-i."
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