Anyone who has driven through east Phoenix in the last year has seen Roger Rudman's handiwork. He's the guy who posted those horrendous signs urging voters to "Recall Rebecca Macbeth." Macbeth is a justice of the peace and Rudman's estranged lover. Rudman put up the signs in an attempt to get Macbeth booted out of office last year ("Spurn, Baby, Spurn," November 24, 1993).
Rudman also used attack signs during his 1992 bid for state Senate, against Democrat Chuck Blanchard. He covered Legislative District 25 with signs accusing Blanchard of supporting child molestation--a ludicrous charge that was never substantiated.
Rudman failed in his Senate bid and in his attempts to have Macbeth recalled.
When Macbeth launched her reelection campaign this summer, Rudman's anti-Rebecca signs reappeared.
But Rudman, 48, a former bail bondsman and Macbeth campaign manager, had already left town by then.
It seems Roger Rudman, Phoenix's campaign-sign Rude Man, is a candidate for justice of the peace in Sparks, Nevada, a community about three miles east of Reno. Rudman told a Reno journalist he moved to Sparks eight months ago; he identified himself as an "investor."
According to the Washoe County elections department, Rudman placed second in a three-way primary September 6, and now faces two-term incumbent Larma Volk in the general election.
Rudman refused to discuss his campaign with New Times.
His opponent, incumbent Volk, says only, "I saw the article [in New Times last year] . . . but I have not made it an issue. I'm trying to run a clean campaign, I'm not doing any mudslinging."
A Man of Conviction
Legislative District 19 voters picked themselves a convicted felon September 13, thanks to ringing endorsements from Senate Majority Whip Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, U.S. Representative Bob Stump and Mr. Chain Gang himself, Governor Fife Symington.
Scott Bundgaard, 26, served two years' probation for his part in a scheme to steal automotive equipment from a Smitty's he worked at in 1986. (His rights to vote and hold office have since been restored.) One of Bundgaard's opponents, Robert Cavaca, pointed it out, and even the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette took note. Neither paper endorsed Bundgaard, who, along with fellow Republican winner David Eberhart, is already assured a spot in the House of Representatives. There are no Democrats in the race.
The Gazette editorialized, ". . . Court records show him [Bundgaard] indicted on three counts of burglary, one count of fraudulent schemes, and one count of theft. Bundgaard, who has led a crime-free life since, explained he was young, without friends and lacked the courage to say no back then. These are hardly the qualities you want in a lawmaker."
But in an ad paid for by Bundgaard, which appeared in the Sun City Daily News Sun just prior to the primary, Brewer, Arpaio, Stump and Symington eloquently begged to differ. Symington said of Bundgaard, who founded the Northwest Valley Young Republicans, "Scott has been an effective Republican worker and a committed supporter of Republican candidates and Republican principles. I commend him for his dedication."
Stump: "He has the enthusiasm and commitment to promote Republican values."
Brewer: "I trust Scott to fairly, honestly, and forthrightly represent the citizens of District 19."
And Arpaio: "Scott is that rare man who got into a little trouble as a teenager, and rather than succumb to the wrong values, has used his life in service to the community."
Bundgaard was the top vote-getter in the primary.
The legislator-in-waiting downplays his indiscretions, preferring to focus on his recent community service instead. (For one thing, he's a member of Sheriff Joe's posse.)
"I knew a guy [Smitty's employee] was taking some things. . . . I didn't say anything, didn't tell on him, anything like that. I never profited from it, never took anything. That's what I got in trouble for," Bundgaard says.
His highest priority in office will be education. He'll be a sure "yes" vote on school vouchers, one of Symington's pet issues. Rick DeGraw, Democrat Eddie Basha's campaign manager, says he's known about Symington's endorsement of Bundgaard for weeks, but didn't say anything until New Times asked about it. (Perhaps that's because DeGraw pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in AzScam.)
"We've been given this information, but unlike the Fife Symington campaign, we don't believe that you run campaigns by trying to run people down or trying to declare that somebody's an evil person," DeGraw says, adding he has nothing against Bundgaard. "Just because Fife Symington endorsed him [Bundgaard] doesn't make him a bad person."
No Green for the Greens
Workplace charity fund-raising committees for two of the state's largest employers--the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona--have rejected proposals from Environmental Fund of Arizona, a consortium of environmental and animal-rights organizations.
Workplace fund drives, in which employees are asked to donate money to charity and often get to specify where those dollars go, raise big bucks. Last year Phoenix raised half a million dollars; the state took in about the same. Phoenix allows its employees to choose from among about 200 charities, half of which are affiliated with United Way. The state lists 500 charities; 75 percent are United Way affiliates.
For years United Way, which requires that charitable organizations devote themselves to "the provision of health and human service programs," has informally set the guidelines for workplace giving.
Environmental Fund of Arizona includes, among others, Sierra Club, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Grand Canyon Trust and Animal Legal Defense Fund. Founded in 1993, the fund has already been included in workplace campaigns covering the City of Tucson and federal employees in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties.
Philip Moulton, an employee of the Arizona Corporation Commission and chairman of the applications subcommittee for the State Employees Charitable Campaign, says the state used to include environmental groups, but decided this year to exclude such groups because he believes they do not meet the United Way criteria. Groups that had been included in the past were allowed to take part this year, he says, but will not be included in the future.
The steering committee agreed with Moulton. The panel is composed of 12 state agency heads; coincidentally, the committee does not include agency heads from agencies that oversee environmental regulations, such as Department of Environmental Quality or Department of Water Resources.
As usual, Arizona isn't on the cutting edge of social consciousness.
Jim Abernathy, executive director of the Environmental Support Center in Washington, D.C., says, "It's becoming the exception rather than the rule that state and local governments exclude environmental federations or other alternative groups."
He and other environmentalists cite studies that say, "when choices are introduced into the system, the total amount of money going into the charities goes up . . . very significantly."
Abernathy doesn't buy the argument that workplace giving should exclude environmental causes because such causes don't include health services.
"If preventing air pollution is not health-related, I don't know what is," he says. Phoenix City Councilmember Craig Tribken agrees. He's spent two years trying to convince the city's Community Service Fund Drive to include environmental groups such as Environmental Fund for Arizona. Unlike the state, it's never allowed them.
"I don't get it. I just plain don't get it," says Tribken. "They [workplace fund drives] only do things that quote, help people, and this carries with it the presumption that environmental groups don't help people."
So far, Tribken has been unsuccessful, and chairperson Dee Wheeler-Cronin, who heads the city's 15-employee fund-drive committee, says she doesn't expect he ever will be.
While the outlook is bleak, Stephanie Nichols-Young, corporate secretary for Environmental Fund of Arizona, isn't worried. "It's going to take time to educate people that we're here," she says.
A Closet Altruist
Last year, Echo, a magazine catering to Arizona's gay and lesbian population, handed its first "Turkey of the Year" award to U.S. Senator John McCain in honor of his decision to address the Oregon Citizens Alliance, a group that opposes gay rights.
So it's not surprising that another publication, The U Report (whose motto is "The Paper for People Who Know That It's In to Go Out!"), recently carried a raging debate on the topic of McCain's decision to serve as an honorary co-host of the Community AIDS Council's second annual AIDS Recognition Awards dinner, held last Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton.
Local and Washington, D.C., AIDS activists, physicians and other community members addressed the topic, in a two-page feature titled "John McCain: Saint or Satan."
McCain did not return phone calls from New Times.
Many activists said they welcome McCain's interest and support.
But not everyone. Ty Ross, identified as a "businessman" but better known as the grandson of former U.S. senator Barry Goldwater, offered his opinion: "He [McCain] always manages to turn everything to his benefit. A couple of years ago, he jumped on the bandwagon for this big event which was supposed to be for my grandfather [Barry Goldwater]. The whole thing turned into a big spotlight for McCain's political campaign for that year. He's a political prostitute. But the bottom line is money, and if he can bring it in for AIDS, well . . ."
McCain made a personal contribution of $1,000, says CAC chairperson Beth Meyer. But he didn't make it to the dinner. He was called away on more pressing business, Meyer says--to campaign for Republicans in other states.