The federal government's vow to crack down on Arizona doctors who dare prescribe cannabis leaves us with one burning question: Where is Governor J. Fife Symington III's Constitutional Defense Council when you need it?
The CDC, you'll recall, was established a couple of years ago for the express purpose of defending the state from onerous federal intrusion. As of August, it had spent about $450,000 doing things like fighting federal judges' meddling with our highly progressive prison system.
Callous denunciations of Proposition 200--the so-called Drug Medicalization Act--by the Department of Justice and the Clinton administration's drug czar would certainly seem to qualify as federal hegemony. The proposition, which state voters approved by a 2-to-1 margin, allows residents to get medical marijuana and other controlled substances, provided they can get two doctors to approve.
But the feds say they'll suspend prescription privileges of any doctor who writes such a prescription.
The CDC consists of Symington aide Michael Block, former assistant attorney general Steve Twist and Mesa attorney Ralph Pew. (State Representative Jeff "Sleazo" Groscost and Senator Stan Barnes are advisory members.) Only Pew could be reached for comment, and he was evasive as to Proposition 200's worthiness as a CDC cause.
"We haven't kicked that idea around, and it hasn't been presented to us," Pew said. "If people are concerned about it, they should appear at one of our meetings and make that known."
Under The Flash's withering questioning, however, Pew began to crack. He conceded that "certainly the discussions about it [Proposition 200] raise the issue of federalism. I can't tell you yes or no, because I haven't studied it."
Well, Ralph, if you do decide to study it, we recommend inhaling. Deeply.
Distaff Is Out of Control
The Flash is button-poppin' proud to report that his (or is it her?) November 11 reference to endangered "uppity women" at the Arizona Republic has inspired a fashion movement.
"Uppity Woman" jerseys like the one pictured here are selling briskly in the newsroom.
The only problem is, few of the women donning them are actually "uppity." They crave the status that comes with being known as uppity, without exhibiting true uppityness; in reality, they're barely headstrong or even whippersnapperish; in truth, most true Uppity Women are long gone from the newsroom.
One self-anointed Uppity Woman (who confessed to being more "Shrewish" than "Uppity") says the general public can order one of the $15 "Uppity Women" tops from Flyer Graphics by calling 967-0630. All proceeds will benefit Future Uppity Females United (FUFU).
The Editorial Wee
When Cox Communications owned Tribune Newspapers, the East Valley dailies had a rather expansive editorial board (a panel many newspapers create to hash out ideas, make political endorsements and determine positions reflected in unsigned editorials). Just weeks ago, the Trib papers had 12 people on such a board, including the publisher, general manager, executive editor, managing editor, editorial-page editor, senior writer, circulation director, business editor and the editor of each of the four regional editions.
Now that Thomson Corporation has gobbled the Tribs, it appears as though the big editorial board is a thing of the past. Tribs employees have told The Flash of the downsizing, and, indeed, the list of editorial board members has been removed from the Tribs' editorial pages.
So who's calling the shots? Word has it that the new editorial board consists of three people: Publisher Karen Wittmer, Executive Editor Jeff Bruce and Editorial Page Editor Bob Schuster.
We've also heard that The Flash was considered for the panel, but was ruled out at the last possible minute "for using too many big words."
A Wisened Stateswoman
Gubernatorial heartthrob Annette Alvarez continues to wield influence over the state's trade policy with Mexico, despite her resignation in 1992 as Governor J. Fife Symington III's international trade adviser.
State documents reveal that Alvarez has been a sounding board for the governor's Mexico policy adviser, Margie Emmermann.
Alvarez quit the Fifester's administration after reports surfaced about unusual travel expenses the two shared. In addition, the 1990 Symington campaign paid $10,000 to cover Alvarez's delinquent state and federal taxes. Alvarez once wrote the governor a letter expressing concern over their "heightened intimacy."
At times, Emmermann apparently has relied heavily on Alvarez's advice--particularly in the fall of 1995, when Emmermann sought to reorganize the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
"I hope you don't mind that I have been asking for your input on all of this," Emmermann wrote in an October 18, 1995, memo to Alvarez. "I know you understand the process, and I value your input."
Emmermann also sought Alvarez's assistance in smoothing over a border incident, and she asked Alvarez to consider preparing press releases for the commission.
"When you get a chance, let's talk about the strategy for doing these types of informative releases," Emmermann wrote to Alvarez in September 1995.
It is unknown what advice Alvarez provided Emmermann. And there is no indication that the state paid Alvarez for her advice or that she prepared any press releases. (One of The Flash's emissaries reached Alvarez last week at her Phoenix business, Alvarez Incorporated; she declined to comment. Emmermann did not return a phone call.)
Driver in Fatal Wreck Didn't Use Heroin!
The driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a car, fatally injuring the governor's longtime personal, business and campaign accountant, John David Yeoman, will not face negligent homicide charges in connection with the April 5, 1996, accident.
But David Int-Hout was indicted in November on five drug- and alcohol-related charges.
Phoenix police records state that Int-Hout was driving northbound on Seventh Street at a high rate of speed when his truck crashed into Yeoman's Ford Escort sedan. Yeoman, who was legally drunk, was attempting to cross Seventh Street to enter the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs when his car was struck by Int-Hout's truck.
Yeoman's death was a major blow to federal prosecutors investigating Symington's role in the awarding of a $1.5 million state contract to Yeoman's firm, Coopers & Lybrand. Yeoman and former Symington aide George Leckie were indicted March 14 on federal charges related to the rigging of a state contract for the governor's cost-cutting program, Project SLIM. Coopers & Lybrand last fall accepted responsibility for the firm's misconduct in winning the Project SLIM contract and agreed to pay $2.275 million to the government.
Coopers & Lybrand also stated that Symington had provided Yeoman with financial statements that "contained material errors and omissions." The firm has agreed to testify for the government in Symington's upcoming trial. The governor faces a March 18 trial date on 23 counts of fraud, perjury and extortion charges.
Assistant Maricopa County attorney Jerry Landau says the county did not file manslaughter or homicide charges against Int-Hout because both he and Yeoman were impaired by drugs or alcohol.
"It was a collision involving a person who was speeding and had drugs in his system; [he] collided with a person who turned left in front of the vehicle who also had alcohol in his system. So, we could not prove causation," Landau says.
Int-Hout was charged with possession or use of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, possession or use of marijuana, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of a dangerous drug.
He faces a maximum of six months in jail on the DUI charges, two years in prison on the marijuana and paraphernalia charges and 45 months in prison on the methamphetamine charge. Trial is set for March 10.
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