Savvy Arizona voters--both of them--generally expect political ads flooding the airwaves to be as fair and objective as an old issue of Pravda.
Yet even by this generous standard, a spot paid for by supporters of Proposition 102 fails miserably. The ad features Connie Richardson, whose 18-year-old son Danny was stabbed to death by another youth at a north Phoenix mall in 1995 ("Killing Time," March 14).
In the ad's voice-over, Richardson complains that her son's alleged killer, 17-year-old Chris Acevedo, once again prowls the streets after being freed by the courts. The implication is that Acevedo would still be behind bars if Proposition 102, Governor J. Fife Symington III's latest diversionary tactic, were law. The measure calls for the automatic transfer of youths accused of violent crimes to adult courts.
There's just one problem: Acevedo, like almost all teens held on suspicion of murder, was transferred into adult court, which released him on bond pending his trial in January.
Richardson could just as easily be doing ads for foes of Proposition 102.
Meanwhile, the pro-102 campaign, the Committee to Stop Juvenile Crime, is being financed by hefty donations from Arizona's corporate elite. The two biggest donors are Phelps Dodge and Dial Corp., which threw in $100,000 and $70,000, respectively.
The Flash wondered why a huge mining operation like Phelps Dodge would support an initiative that would seem to be of so little direct benefit to it.
"As you know, we have mining operations in communities all over the state," Phelps Dodge vice president Tom Foster says, adding that Proposition 102 is what's best for those communities.
So PD just wants to be another good corporate citizen? There's no political payback from the Governor's Office?
"I can't think of one," Foster says, adding, "I don't really think this would be the place for us to do it."
"And what would be?" The Flash blurted.
Foster only chuckled.
Vote Smart (Actually, It Should Be Smartly)
And speaking of political character assassi--we mean, ads: Are you catatonic from endless political ads, but still seeking the lowdown on congressional candidates?
Project Vote Smart can deliver voting records, campaign contribution reports and performance evaluations on every congressional candidate in the nation--for free.
Operated by the Center for National Independence in Politics at Oregon State University (home of the Beavers), Project Vote Smart offers a voter's research hot line at 1-800-622-SMART. The hot line is staffed with researchers who can tell you how candidates responded to a survey the organization conducted.
Hot-line callers can also receive a 75-page manual jammed with information about Arizona political campaigns. The organization's data are also available on the Internet at http://www.vote-smart.org.
The nonpartisan Project Vote Smart was founded by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford and former senators Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. (The members of the quartet reportedly came up with this swell idea during a gin-soaked bacchanal that ensued after they had totally butchered a Habitat for Humanity job.)
Anyway, ten of the 12 congressional candidates in Arizona responded to Project Vote Smart's political survey. Only incumbent representatives Matthew Salmon, a Republican, and Democrat Ed Pastor refused to participate. (They reportedly were working on a Habitat for Humanity project.)
It's No Tent City
Sheriff Joke Arpaio says his innovative approach to low-income housing (those are his campaign signs) will save county taxpayers untold dollars. (The resident of his structure didn't ask the county for a house; therefore, the sheriff has saved the county $157,000.)
The Mayor's Wife Is On Your Private Line
The Indianapolis Star--a vital organ (spleen) in the corpulent corporate body that also girds the Arizona Republic (gall bladder) and the Phoenix gazette (uvula)--apologized to its readers last week for treating an Indiana politician unfairly.
The Star's editors printed the apology after determining that Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, the Republican nominee for governor, had been unfairly singled out for criticism in a column titled "Behind Closed Doors."
According to the editorial review, "Behind Closed Doors" had fired 13 barbs at Goldsmith since Labor Day. Goldsmith's Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Frank O'Bannon, had suffered no such barbarism.
Once it was decided that an apology must be issued, the Star's editor confessed ". . . the editors responsible for reviewing this column recognize that this scorecard raises a question of balance--whether we cross the line between criticism and partisanship. For allowing that question to be raised, we apologize."
The New York Times reported October 22 that the apology infuriated reporters at the Star.
The Star failed to apologize for allowing the raising of the question of whether Goldsmith's wife, Margaret, a member of the Pulliam family, which controls Central Newspapers, had anything to do with the mea culpa. Dan Quayle, by the way, also occupies a twig on the Pulliam family tree.
Next Big Trend: Karaoke Macarena
This cancer has spread too far. Just last month, New Times' Best of Phoenix supplement gave Chez Nous the nod (again) for the Valley's hippest lounge, a place where the terminally cool go for dry martinis in retro splendor. For more than 30 years, it's been a refuge against the faddish and fleeting.
Even Chez Nous, however, is not immune to the Macarena.
Nearly choking on a vodka-sodden olive, The Flash and entourage were shocked on a recent night when Chez Nous entertainers Roscoe Taylor and Tim Forkes launched into the cheesy Latinized hokey-pokey, and several Nous Agers actually got up to dance.
Apparently, The Flash isn't the only one unhappy about it. "[Owner Bobby Pavlovic] has already talked to them about it," she says.
(In recognition of this august occasion, The Flash makes it possible for you and other hepcats to bask in the wonder of "The Chipmunks Macarena." Call the Flashline at 229-8486 or visit Flashes online at phoenixnewtimes.com.)