Emil Franzi: Random thoughts – 3/15/17

By Emil Franzi

The Case for Keeping Huckelberry

Full disclosure – I’ve known Chuck Huckelberry for almost 40 years and consider him a friend. We both went to work for Pima County in the ‘70’s. I as an Admin Asst in what was then called Physical Plant and he as junior engineer. Bottom line is I got riffed as a captain and he made Commandant of the Corps.

Part of Chuck’s ability to help us govern locally is that he IS local. It is not co-incidental that the two most competent and successful local government CEO’s have been he and his near contemporary, former Tucson City Manager Joel Valdez. Whenever you hear the frightening term “national search” you’re listening to somebody who drank the Technocrat Kool-Aid. See how well that worked for the City of Tucson, TUSD and Pima College – the three worst governed entities in Pima County. Can you even NAME any of the gypsies who wandered through here in the last 20 years?

Chuck has been made a target by the know-nothing wing of the current GOP and its bottom feeding talk show hosts. DiSImone at KVOI is on a vengeance trip because Chuck hired someone who once fired him and if he had any personal integrity he’d admit to it. Blazing Saddles over on 104.1 promotes the sleazy Arizona Daily Independent as his chief local source which has been caught lying and plagiarizing on numerous occasions. Both give local talk radio a bad name and conservatives bad information.

Many forget that we once had a GOP majority on the Pima Board, from 1992 to 1996. It was disaster, known as the “Board from Hell” that ended paying a multi-million dollar settlement to a group of illegally fired employees…for which I shared an Arizona Press Club Award with Jim Nintzel for a cover story in the Tucson Weekly, back when it was a real newspaper.

Chuck became PC CEO after the business community got tired of it and peeled Mike Boyd away and got he and the two Dems, Dan Eckstrom and Raul Grijalva to hire him. This story has been warped to claim Chuck was Grijalva’s boy. Wrong again.

Too often we confuse Pima County Government with the City of Tucson’s dorky all Dem City Council. They are poles apart.

  • The BOS abolished their phony Redlite cameras without needing a vote of the people.
  • The BOS welcomes Gunshows at the Pima Fairgrounds while the kneejerk anti-gun Tucson Council has all but abolished them within the corporate city limits. Those shows bring the County hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Watching Steve K trying to make an issue by destroying a few hundred seized guns annually in a county with over a million of them is like watching a religious fanatic digging the equivalent of the Panama Canal with a teaspoon.
    Pima County also supported and lobbied out county Dems to vote for a change in state tax laws allowing the major expansion of the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club, once more indicating a friendly attitude towards the shooting sports community. That club also brings in millions for economic development.
  • The biggest one of all, the privatization of Kino Hospital where 900 employees now work for Banner Medical, off the county payroll AND the state pension system. Some ignorant fools including one GOP Supe still don’t grasp that we pay UMC $15 million a year for transferring the responsibility for this constitutional mandate.
    Compare that to Maricopa County’s recent bonding almost a BILLION for a new County owned hospital.
  • Pima County’s debt is higher than Maricopa’s, which many whine about. But they neglect to mention Maricopa’s debt is spread between all the cities, towns and special districts they have we don’t, and that Maricopa’s many tax pockets are sales, not property which are NOT deductible on federal and state tax returns AND which are not decided by voters but pols and bureaucrats.
  • Pima County is neutral on the annexation and incorporation issue (again, except for one GOP Supe who supports everybody being in an incorporated area – Agenda 21 anybody?) allowing we who don’t want to be in a town the option.
  • Pima County has saved the lives of thousands of dogs, cats, and assorted other pets each year with a major and popular bond proposal to finally finish changing ANIMAL CONTROL to ANIMAL CARE. If, like one clueless editor who asked me why we were pitching pets in the last Supe election, then you simply don’t get it. There were two things I warned Huck to never screw around with when he got the job – compulsory annexation and guns. Add one more – pets.

The 2016 election tested the popularity of Huckelberry who was viciously misrepresented by the talk show turd throwers. Didn’t work. He basically got a mandate from Pima County voters to carry on.

In an interview with Michael Caine a few years back about his classic flick The Man Who Would be King in which he shared the starring role with Sean Connery, Caine was asked what it was like to work with the great director John Huston. Caine replied with the observation Huston made about his directing style.

“Cast well and get out of the way”.

Would that more local governments would.


Bruce Ash believes we are simply wired differently, but here are two big cultural differences:

LIBERALS DO NOT CARE ABOUT LIBERAL TALK RADIO – they see that media as a rightwing operation.

They’re correct. Liberal talk is superfluous when they have all the mainstream media with the same narrative and mindset. No conspiracy needed.

CONSERVATIVES DON”T WANT TO DEMONSTRATE – going back even before the 60’s when the left used it for presenting their views and demands , they see it a tacky leftwing way to present a position and  back off using it themselves. Trump rallies will always be smaller than leftist rallies given the same dynamics – more so when the leftys have a Soros checkbook to pad the count with paid and bussed in additions.


George reminds me of the story of an LA County GOP Dinner I attended back in the early 70’s featuring President Nixon.

The LA GOP had three “house blacks”. The night of the dinner, one was OOT, another was sick, and the third couldn’t be found. They panicked and put a tux on a chauffeur and sat him at the head table. The third gentleman showed up late and turned to Bob Finch’s local surrogate and asked “Hey Charlie, who’s the new n*****r?”

Being the house conservative has been Will’s schtick for years. He’s the thoughtful (and ineffective) conservative who does the conservative version of the Hambone Act. What he did for years was acquiesce in filling the necessary spot for liberals of presenting the opposite but permanently minority view. He filled that role, got to be “our” spokesperson picked by them giving the impression that conservatism was a permanent minority view.

He was a “never Trumper” because Trump made him obsolete. He’s still whining about that now.

NOTE: Will is an admitted atheist. Trump, while clearly a sinner and perhaps an unrepentant one, is clearly still a Christian. Who’s the real conservative?


College accreditation was once a service used by educational institutions to make the legit ones differ from the crackpots. No longer. Those services now out rank those in charge, even public institutions with elected boards like PCC. Those we choose to run them for us are NO LONGER IN CHARGE. They were supplanted by the accreditors.

You’ll find the authorization for this transfer of power in that glorious piece of crap supported by Bush 43 called “No Child Left Behind”. It basically converted elected boards (even including local primary and secondary school boards) into potted plants.

It is a classic case of technocracy running wild. It is also a classic example of the cluelessness of Bush 43 and much of the GOP about the role of school boards.

The full impact of the legislation has yet to be felt throughout the nation but the Technocracy is patient and prefers slow strangulation to avoid reaction if they move too fast.

The old cliché about the frogs and heating the water is applicable.


Emil Franzi is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner.



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