But Are We Ahead of Guam?
Fed up with a pay scale that forces some to seek food stamps, state workers protested Governor J. Fife Symington III's annual Employee Appreciation Day on April 9 by donning tee shirts that document their plight.

The front of the gray tee shirts contains a chart that shows Arizona state employees ranking last in the nation in average salaries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The back of the shirt features "Top Ten Reasons Why Arizona State Employee Pay Ranks 50th." To wit:

10. There are only 50 states.
9. The rankings are not compiled in Arizona.
8. Helps other states look better: "Thank goodness for Arizona."
7. Productivity and turnover costs are not a line item in the state budget.

6. State service provides free training and experience for employees moving to local government and the private sector.

5. Turnover cuts down on career workers and frees up future retirement funds for emergency repairs for LOTTO.

4. Low pay will continue until employee morale improves.
3. No one likes a bureaucrat, anyway.
2. When state employees qualify for the welfare programs they administer, they are more knowledgeable about the programs.

1. Arizona State Service: It's not just a job, it's an indenture.

When Truth Is Wafer-Thin
The surprises just don't stop for neighbors of the soon-to-be-built Sumitomo-Sitix silicon-wafer factory in northeast Phoenix.

First, a drawing of the facility that was displayed at public meetings and in company literature neglected to include any of the up to nine 72-foot-tall smokestacks the plant will require.

Now, the company has admitted to the Paradise Valley Independent, a weekly newspaper, that a document it produced to allay locals' pollution fears contained erroneous information, including a claim that the factory's pollution would be no worse than emissions from bakeries.

Suzanne Pfister of Nelson Robb Duval & Demenna, the Valley public relations powerhouse that flacks for the Japanese business giant, says the numbers are not "inaccurate" but were based on outdated emissions figures Sumitomo obtained from Maricopa County. Pfister says the numbers come from 1990, the last year for which they were available. Bakeries have since installed equipment that renders those numbers obsolete.

Besides, EPA officials contacted by New Times say, bakery emissions aren't really comparable to those that will be produced by the Sumitomo plant. The feds say bakery emissions are primarily ethanol, a nonhazardous compound. Sumitomo's emissions will contain a spate of hazardous compounds, including hydrofluoric acid, silver nitrate and heavy metals such as lead.

Spittin' Image
By now, every couch potato in Arizona has seen the state Department of Health Service's latest stomach-turning antitobacco commercial. You know, the one in which an unsuspecting teenage girl sips from her date's cup--and gets a mouthful of tobacco spit.

DHS spokesman Brad Christensen discloses the special-effects secrets: The boy's "tobacco" expectorations are actually a tasty mixture of spinach, caramel and molasses. And the wad in the guy's mouth? Twenty pieces of chewing gum.

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