Goofball Shockumentary

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So the Supreme Court told Chenal to pay $2,500 in restitution and cover the costs of the $1,018 investigation. It also suspended her license for 120 days and put her on probation for two years.

Most prospective employers would look at a record like that and run away screaming. But Tom Horne, Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction, wasn't that kind of prospective employer, the kind who cares about things like a good résumé and a history of doing the work someone's paid to do.

After all, Horne wouldn't be paying Chenal's salary -- that's what taxpayers are for!

So in January, Horne hired Chenal for a mid-level job as an "education program specialist." The department doesn't release salary info, but it did tell this squealing squawker that she's making something more than $38,818 and less than $67,000. (Yes, The Bird agrees that salary info should be public record. But whaddaya want an imaginary fowl to do, sue the DOE?)

Horne, surprisingly, was willing to take The Bird's call. Not only that, he even volunteered that Chenal's a former law partner and that, despite knowing all about her problems with her legal career, Horne personally recommended her hire.

"I've been in court with her, and she's a first-rate lawyer," Horne confided. "Family problems distracted her, and she neglected some things that shouldn't have been neglected. But I think we're lucky to get her."

Horne did have some stuff wrong, however. First he said he thought she'd only been suspended 10 days. (It was 120 days.) Then he said he was sure she'd been reinstated.

But that's not what Cari Gerchick, spokeswoman for the Arizona Supreme Court, said. At The Bird's request, Gerchick searched high and low for any record that Chenal had even turned in an application for reinstatement. There wasn't any. Nor, Gerchick reported, was there any record that Chenal had paid up that restitution.

Later, Horne said he'd discovered that Chenal hadn't been reinstated. But it was because she'd suffered a host of problems, including an aneurysm and a sick mother, and didn't have the $560 it would take to reapply. As for the money she owes her screwed clients, Chenal's worked out a payment plan, Horne averred.

And, Horne said, at his direction, she now intends to pay up the $560 and get her law license again. Not that it's necessary, of course.

"The position we hired her for doesn't require her to be admitted to the Bar," Horne tweeted. "The fact that she was available for this job is a lucky thing for us."

You said that already.

In fact, using Horne's logic, next time a state agency needs a new employee, just chuck that whole "Help Wanted" thing. The list of people who've been recently suspended from the Bar is a much better place to start.

Raising Manross' Hair

Is Larry Flynt in the restaurant biz now? That's what this feathered fiend wondered when it learned that a new Mexican grub emporium named Pink Taco would open for biz sometime in June at Scottsdale's chichi Waterfront, the highfalutin condo/shopping complex.

For those unfamiliar with the parlance, "pink taco" is a euphemism for a lady's naughty bits. And in the restaurant's hometown of Las Vegas, where the original franchise operates out of the popular Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, that fact raises nary a hair.

In Sin City, the joint looks sort of like the House of Blues on the inside, with some cheesy south-of-the-border stuff on the walls, and a menu featuring carne asada, chile relleno, taquitos, and -- perhaps needless to say -- fish tacos. (For the record, the joint's signature "pink taco" is in fact filled with grilled chicken.)

Who thought up this sassy name, this inquiring quail wanted to know? None other than the scion and grand-scion of the upscale, stodgy Morton's steak-house chain: Peter Morton, Hard Rock founder and CEO, and his twentysomething son Harry. The first PT opened in 1999, and has become so popular that dad's letting sonny-boy take the act on the road, with the Scottsdale locale to be the flagship of an empire of locations planned for Los Angeles and beyond.

But Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross doesn't want to see Prince Harry's Pink Taco, much less eat it.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela